It should be made known that the Roman Catholic Church acknowledges the Eastern Orthodox Church as truly orthodox for a reason. This is because, contrary to common non-Catholic misconceptions, the beliefs of the Eastern Orthodox Church (primarily in regard to mysticism), do not conflict with what the Roman Catholic Church teaches in regard to mysticism. One of these things that is agreed upon by the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox is the Dormition of Mary (in the Eastern Orthodox tradition) and the Assumption of Mary (in the Roman Catholic tradition). What does N.T. Wright, a New Testament scholar out of Oxford and former Bishop of Durham say about the Dormition vs. Assumption of Mary?
Though attempts are made to align the ‘dormition’ of Mary (her ‘falling asleep’, i.e. her death) with her ‘assumption’, the two are in fact significantly different. The Orthodox say Mary died, and that her body is resting and will eventually be rejoined with her soul; the Romans say she didn’t die, and that both her body and soul are already in heaven.
(Wright, “Rethinking Tradition”)
Where is the source that N.T. Wright gives for this? Where does he make appeals to trying to understand what the Dormition of Mary or the Assumption of Mary are? Where does he address Pope Pius XII’s comments on the Assumption of Mary? And if he does not, then why doesn’t he? There should at least be some sort of statement in the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions affirming that the Assumption of Mary and the Dormition of Mary are in fact different. But why is there no addressing where this information is coming from in N.T. Wright’s writing? Is he referring to a Protestant scholar or is he referring to a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox scholar on this issue? I don’t really know where he’s getting his information from. It appears the article from his webpage is in another source so it’s possible he’s made the reference there, I don’t know.
Are the Assumption of Mary or Dormition of Mary really that fundamentally different? In truth, N.T. Wright’s assertion on the difference between the two is actually stretching the truth a bit too much. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Mary was in fact resurrected just like her Son. And if N.T. Wright wanted to research into Pope Pius XII’s statement on the Assumption of Mary, he would see that Pius XII also argues that Mary in fact did die.
The Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos recalls the physical glorification of Mary as she shares in the resurrection life of her Son, Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. When, at her death (or falling asleep, that is, dormition), Jesus Christ received her body and soul into heaven, He in a way gave all humanity a preview of the transfiguration that awaits all of us in the Kingdom to come.
(Fotopoulou Sophia, “The Dormition of Theotokos”)
And of course, Pope Pius XII’s statement on the Assumption of Mary.
These words are found in this volume: “Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself.” … Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.”
(Pius XII, “MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS DEFINING THE DOGMA OF THE ASSUMPTION”)
They are so different from each other that both the Dormition of Mary and the Assumption of Mary are eerily similar. Wait a second…