Our Lady of the Underpass

by SDG

in Mary

Ordinarily, I don’t pay much attention to "sightings" of Mary in all manner of creation. It kind of reminds me of the child’s game of spotting pictures in clouds. That’s not a bad thing, per se, but certainly not something that should be taken seriously. So, when I saw this story about another such "sighting," I sighed and shrugged.

However, a reader over at Relapsed Catholic had a wonderful comment on the matter, also working in an observation about our new Pope:

"I saw a clip today of a young German woman being interviewed in Rome. I forget her exact words, but she indicated that the election of Benedict represents the redemption of Germany: the country that produced Hitler has now produced a Pope. What a neat thought! [Especially when one remembers that both men were born on Holy Saturday. --MA]

"You probably caught that ‘Our Lady of the Underpass’ story. I admit I tend to roll my eyes when people see the Blessed Virgin in pieces of toast and parking garage walls. However, lately I’ve been smiling at the idea of the Child Jesus scribbling pictures of Mommy all over — just because he can, you know?"

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{ 25 comments }

Ed Peters April 21, 2005 at 2:14 pm

These things ARE NOT MARY. They are nothing, just shadows, oil slicks, water stains. Our Lady NEVER appears IN something, IN some medium. She simply APPEARS. I am really sick of these stories, they really get my goat. Don’t these people know ANYTHING about verified Marian appearances? Rant over. For now.

Suzanne April 21, 2005 at 2:30 pm

Yes, just last night there was a story on the news here locally in Oklahoma about someone seeing Mary holding the baby Jesus in a tree trunk!
*sigh*

Michelle Arnold April 21, 2005 at 2:36 pm

Dr. Peters: Agreed. But the commenter I quoted was making exactly that point — not that the pictures are Mary, or a genuine Marian apparition, but that it’s a pious thought to think of them as pictures of Mary, icons of Mary, placed within creation.

dcs April 21, 2005 at 3:25 pm

Our Lady NEVER appears IN something, IN some medium.
I think you mean that she never appears ONLY in some medium — after all, her image is on the tilma of Guadalupe.

dcs April 21, 2005 at 3:28 pm

Btw, Hitler was Austrian.

Michelle Arnold April 21, 2005 at 3:31 pm

Yes, dcs, but he is preeminently identified with Germany.

whimsy April 21, 2005 at 3:46 pm

God said to Poland with JPII: A reward for your faithfulness… I love you.
God said to Germany with B16: I love you. Come home.

Ed Peters April 21, 2005 at 4:22 pm

hi M: did my post say otherwise? hi dcs: i was not talking about her image, obviously, i was talking about her. oh golly, let people beleive what they want. i saw mary in a peanut butter smudge. but i was hungry.

art April 21, 2005 at 5:35 pm

The whole Mary in a sandwich/Mary on a wall thing makes Catholics look bad.

JonathanR. April 21, 2005 at 6:47 pm

Its kinda POD, but I find it more joyfully amusing than irritating. Remember those Roscharch (sp?) tests? Maybe with the influx of these people seeing Mary everywhere, it is a sign that Mary is on a lot of people’s minds.

brian mclaughlin April 25, 2005 at 12:21 pm

If Catholics would follow the one true gospel of the Scriptures, they wouldn’t be falling for every superstitious prompting image on walls, windows and grilled cheese sandwiches. Very sad.

John April 25, 2005 at 2:43 pm

Brian M.,
That was a disrespectful and uninformed post. Superstition is condemned by Catholic teaching in no uncertain terms.
How would you feel if I accused you of worshipping paper Bibles as a god and charged you with the sin of idolatry?
Lastly, the Bible condemns the idea of “going by the Bible alone or “sola scriptura”:
http://www.geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/staplessolascriptura.html

Ben April 26, 2005 at 6:54 am

Brian is absolutely right. Far too much superstition amongst Catholics. They’d be far better off using their time studying God’s Word than running after oil stains. So sad!!!

John April 26, 2005 at 9:01 am

Ben, be specific.
Define superstition, and then give a specific example of Catholics resorting to it.

Jonathan May 1, 2005 at 11:37 am

There’s nothing wrong with piously interpreting shapes in nature as a picture of someone or something you love. Protestant do this all the time with crosses and stuff. As long as you don’t try to base dogma on it, who cares?

Ben May 6, 2005 at 6:51 am

Yeah right, how many Protestant shrines are there?

Antonio May 6, 2005 at 7:12 am

how many protestant shrine? one! here it is:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3944549.stm

Ben May 7, 2005 at 6:35 am

That URL address doesn’t work.

Bob Waters December 4, 2006 at 1:15 pm

C’mon, Jimmy. The logic of that allegation that the sola Scriptura is unscriptural is about in the same league as that by which one perceives the BVM on the Fullerton Avenue overpass. In fact, that whole page you link to is pretty lame.
Various regional synods composed various NT canons at various times and places, no official list was adopted by the Roman Catholic church until Trent. Reflect that the sola Scriptura is asserted as applying to us, not the apostles and prophets through whom the Scriptures were written! Nobody ever claimed that the apostles and prophets through whom the Scriptures were written needed to have them in their hands before proclaiming their contents! And while the Scriptures are everywhere deferred to in the Bible, the New Testament certainly doesn’t portray Peter as exercising any similar personal authority!
You really ought to learn to listen to the Fathers, too:
Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, (with) the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God. (St. Augustine, De unitate ecclesiae, chp. 10).
Regarding the things I say, I should supply even the proofs, so I will not seem to rely on my own opinions, but rather, prove them with Scripture, so that the matter will remain certain and steadfast. (John Chrysostom).
We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture (Basil the Great).
The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth. (Athanasius).
Beware of innovation, Jimmy! ;)

francis 03 December 4, 2006 at 1:34 pm

Jimmy has never posted on this thread, Bob. And I don’t see how anything you said undermines the fact that sola scriptura is decidedly not contained in Scripture. As your post reflects, Scripture doesn’t even contain a definition of which texts are Scripture and which aren’t.

bill912 December 4, 2006 at 1:39 pm

The canon of scripture was dedided by Pope Damasus in the year 382, confirmed by the Councils of Hippo(394) and Carthage(397).
If Sola Scriptura is not unscriptural, please point out the verse that clearly teaches it.

Esau December 4, 2006 at 1:51 pm

BOB WATERS:
Various regional synods composed various NT canons at various times and places, no official list was adopted by the Roman Catholic church until Trent. Reflect that the sola Scriptura is asserted as applying to us, not the apostles and prophets through whom the Scriptures were written! Nobody ever claimed that the apostles and prophets through whom the Scriptures were written needed to have them in their hands before proclaiming their contents!
Christians always accepted the Canon of books contained in the Catholic bible that present Catholics continue to accept unto today since the 4th century.
All the canons of Scripture that you find from the Councils of Hippo to Carthage from 393 to 397, the Synod of Rome in 382; all the canons of Scripture that you find from St. Athanasius and on forward have these books.
Christians everywhere from the 4th century on accepted all of these books found in the Catholic bible until the Reformation where there were those books that didn’t jive with Martin Luther’s own personal beliefs and, thus, were rejected; they would subsequently be rejected in the same vein by all of the reformers as well.
So, we’re on very, very firm ground as Catholics when we accept the Canon of books that were decided and re-affirmed time and again since the 4th Century.
And while the Scriptures are everywhere deferred to in the Bible, the New Testament certainly doesn’t portray Peter as exercising any similar personal authority!
Bob, as you, yourself, had proposed to Jimmy –
You really ought to learn to listen to the Fathers, too:
Clement of Alexandria
“[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? ‘Behold, we have left all and have followed you’” [Matt. 19:27, Mark 10:28] ( Who Is the Rich Man That is Saved? 21:3–5 [A.D. 200]).
Tertullian
“[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church; and whatever you shall have bound or you shall have loosed, not what they shall have bound or they shall have loosed” ( Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).
Letter of Clement to James
“Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was, by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter, the first-fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ, with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect” ( Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).
Origen
“[I]f we were to attend carefully to the Gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens” ( Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]).
Cyprian
“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ . . . On him he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [ cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” ( The Unity of the Catholic Church 4 [A.D. 251]).
Cyril of Jerusalem
“In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis” [Acts 9:32–34] ( Catechetical Lectures, 17:27 [A.D. 350]).
Ephraim
“[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures” ( Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).
Ambrose
“[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church . . .’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?” ( The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).
Jerome
“Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to over-throw Simon Magus and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord” ( Lives of Illustrious Men 1 [A.D. 396]).
Augustine
“Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven’” ( Sermons 295:2 [A.D. 411]).
Augustine
“Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?” ( Commentary on John 56:1 [A.D. 416]).
[Above Quotes are Compliments of your Neighborhood CA!]
If you look at Scripture, there is a lively awareness of the Faith being passed down in a variety of means – sometimes in written form and sometimes not in written form. The original preaching of the Apostles was oral and Jesus’ teaching was oral (He didn’t write any books of Scripture) and so they lived in a largely oral culture back then and, as a result, there was a much heavier dependence on the spoken word and other elements of Tradition like liturgical action that were not written down. That Tradition then – I should explain, ‘That which is handed on’ – and so if you have the body of Christian belief, it was something that was handed onto us from Jesus and the Apostles – part of it was handed on in written form but part of it went beyond writing, which is one of the reasons that there are some questions that Scripture doesn’t seem to answer clearly.
Like, for example, the question whether or not you should baptize babies or not; or whether you baptize by immersion or not. We know people are supposed to be baptized but we don’t have the details of how it was supposed to work: whether you did it for babies as well, whether you could do it by pouring. The reason for that is pretty clear: Scripture doesn’t answer those questions because it expects for you to be an Early Christian, reading about the Church but looking to the practice of the Church to answer those questions for you. So, if you’re one of the first readers of the Book of Romans, let’s say, then you’re already a Christian in all likelihood and you’ve already been baptized and so you knew how they did it. As a result, the bible never contains instructions and so people from different groups have reasonable attempts to try to figure it out based on looking at little clues in one passage or another but it’s unclear because Scripture never tries to address that question. It assumes you already know the answer based on looking to the practice of the Church.
We find in several places a healthy appreciation of Tradition; particularly, for example, in St. Paul’s writings. In 1 Cor 11, in verse 2, he commends the Corinthians for the fact that they keep the Traditions just as he delivered them to them and in the Thessalonians Epistles, in 2 Thess, Paul says to adhere to all of the traditions whether they’ve received them in writing or not and that’ still a principle that applies today. We have to adhere to all of the Christian Faith that has been handed down to us not simply that part of it that’s been written down. There’s nothing anywhere in Scripture that says all of the Christian Faith is going to get written down. That’s a doctrine that’s unique to Protestantism and that only came up in the 16th Century.
Beware of innovation, BOB! ;)

bill912 December 4, 2006 at 1:54 pm

“…the New Testament certainly doesn’t portray Peter as exercising any similar personal authority!”
Acts, chapter 10: Peter, on his authority as head of the Church, determined that the pagan centurion, Cornelius, and his family, did not have to be circumsized or follow the Jewish Law in order to enter the Church.

Esau December 4, 2006 at 2:01 pm

“…the New Testament certainly doesn’t portray Peter as exercising any similar personal authority!”
The primacy of Peter is clearly noted in the Bible:
“And I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock ['Peter' is Greek for 'rock'] 1 will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19).
“I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:33).
God sent an angel to Peter to announce the Resurrection of Jesus (Mark 6:7).
The risen Jesus first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34).
Peter headed the meeting which elected Matthias as replacement for Judas (Acts 1:13-26).
Peter led the apostles in preaching on Pentecost (Acts 2:14).
Peter led the meeting which decided on which terms Gentiles would be allowed into the Church (Acts 15).
Peter was the judge of Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5:1-11).
Jesus entrusted Peter with his flock, making him too a Good Shepherd (John 21:15-17).
Peter performed the first miracle after Pentecost (Acts 3).
After his conversion Paul went to see Peter, the chief apostle (Gal. 1:18).
Throughout the New Testament, when the apostles are listed as a group, Peter’s name is always first. Sometimes it’s just “Peter and the twelve. ”
Peter’s name is mentioned more often than the names of all the other apostles put together.
[Again, Compliments of your Neighborhood CA!]

bill912 December 4, 2006 at 2:03 pm

Bob, please cite for us the Authority you accept for believing that the books of the Bible are Divinely inspired, and that only these books and no others belong in the Bible.

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