I don’t know if this has been picked up on much in the Blogosphere, but according to HH, Benny Sixteen, there is no contradiction between the Eastern and Western traditions surrounding our Lady’s final destiny. Together they form a part of “the uninterrupted faith of the Church”.
While noting that the Scripture’s “last reference to her earthly life” is that she was in the Cenacle with the apostles on the day of Pentecost (placing her squarely “situated in the mystery of Christ and of the Church”), “subsequently, a twofold tradition — in Jerusalem and Ephesus — attests to her “dormition,” as the East says, that is, her “falling asleep” in God.”
He then goes on as if to say that the “Dormition” – Mary’s bodily death – is to be accepted as an authentic part of the Catholic (Western) Faith also, despite the deliberate manner in which Pius XII left the question open in his declaration in 1950:
That [her “falling asleep”] was the event that preceded her passage from earth to heaven, confessed by the uninterrupted faith of the Church. In the eighth century, for example, John Damascene, great doctor of the Eastern Church, established a direct relation between Mary’s “dormition” and Jesus’ death, affirming explicitly the truth of her corporal assumption. In a famous homily he wrote: “It was necessary that she who bore the Creator in her womb when he was a baby, should live with him in the tabernacles of heaven” (Second Homily on the Dormition, 14, PG 96, 741 B).
Could it be that Pope Benedict is not only offering an “olive branch” to the Eastern Churches on this matter, but the whole bloody tree?!