Skip to comments.Essays for Lent: The Immaculate Conception
Posted on 03/25/2012 7:53:32 PM PDT by Salvation
The Immaculate Conception
by Sebastian R. Fama
In 1854 Pope Pius IX affirmed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. He wrote, in part, "We declare, pronounce and define, that the doctrine which holds that the most blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, was preserved immune from all stain of sin, by a singular grace and privilege of the omnipotent God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ " (Ineffabilis Deus).
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is consistent with the teachings of Scripture. In fact it is foretold in Genesis 3:15 where God says to Satan, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heal." The seed of the woman is Jesus; so the woman is Mary. The seed of Satan is sin. If the enmity between Mary and Satan were not the same as the enmity between Jesus and sin they would not have been included in the same sentence. The word enmity appears only once and it is applied to both situations. If there is a complete enmity between Christ and sin there must be a complete enmity between Mary and Satan. If Mary were to sin she would be cooperating to some degree with Satan and there would be no complete enmity.
Some claim that the woman is Eve or the nation of Israel. Eve does not qualify because she was a sinner. Likewise it couldn't be the nation of Israel, as the Israelites were at times famous for their rebellion against God. There are others who identify the woman as the Church. This would seem to be the most unlikely choice as Jesus is the seed of the woman. This means that the woman came first. Clearly Jesus came before the Church as He was the one who established it.
The New Testament is consistent with the Old. Luke 1:28 records the angel Gabriel addressing Mary: "Hail full of grace." Note that Gabriel does not address Mary by name but by the title "Full of Grace." The Greek word kekaritomene (kεcaritωmέnη), which is translated as "Full of Grace," means, among other things, much graced or imbued with special honor. Could this refer to the special honor of bearing the Savior? It cannot, because the word kekaritomene is a perfect participle, which simply means that it refers to something that was completed in the past. At this point Mary had not even been asked, nor had she as yet accepted, the role of bearing the Savior.
It is by the grace of God that we avoid sin. To be full of grace would be a prerequisite to being sinless. However, being sinless does not make Mary equal to God. Remember that Adam and Eve were created sinless and that did not make them equal to God.
The early Church viewed Mary as the second Eve. Both were born without sin, the first would fail; the second would triumph. The early Church fathers called Mary "all holy," "all pure," "most innocent," "a miracle of grace," "purer than the angels," and "altogether without sin." These quotes all come from the first three centuries of Church history. So the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception could not be a later invention as some allege.
Does this mean that Mary didn't need a savior? Not at all, we can be preserved from sin or we can be saved from sin. Mary was preserved from sin. On a smaller scale we are sometimes preserved from sin. By the grace of God I have never killed anyone. I was preserved from a particular sin. There are murderers who have turned to Christ and no longer have the desire to kill. They were saved from a particular sin.
But what about Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God?" Do you suppose that the word "all" includes severely retarded adults or babies who die at birth? Of course not. Paul is not speaking in the absolute terms that some assume he is. The meaning of this verse lies in its context. Who is Paul talking to? What is the issue being discussed? In the first three chapters of Romans, Paul is telling the Jewish Christians that they have no advantage over the Gentile Christians. In effect he is saying it doesn't make a difference, you are all in the same boat. Jews and Gentiles have all sinned and fallen short. Mary's sin offering in Luke 2:22 does not present a problem either, as it refers to ritual uncleanness and was purely external.
Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation and the chief proponent of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), said the following in a sermon: "But as the Virgin Mary was herself born of a father and mother in the natural way, many have been disposed to assert that she was also born in original sin, though all with one mouth affirm that she was sanctified in the maternal womb, and conceived without concupiscence." (On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God).
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You are >right, absolutely so! I was using the term Roman Catholic as it’s understood by the >world in general to mean the Church where the man in charge wears the big hat.
If that is the case then Mary's mother would, of necessity, have had to be born without sin, since her grandson is the son of God. And therefore, Mary's grandmother ... since the great grandson ... etc. etc. ...
Upon arrival at final step (Eve was sinless) I claim the proof is complete by induction ... therefore, the initial conjecture (Mary was sinless) is proven false.
Male headship dictates that the sin nature is passed down throught the man (Rom. 5:12), not the woman. And if the sin nature is passed down through the man, then there is no issue with Mary giving birth to the sinless son of God.
No, I don't know the difference between a doctrine and a dogma. Is that relevant? I assumed that since you said that those who believe otherwise would be doomed to hell ... whether I call it a doctrine or a dogma is not germaine to my eternal destiny.
I don't want to split hairs over terminology ...
Explain why my proof is invalid.
gghd, that’s me, used the name of the boat NOT the Catholic Church to explain the Immaculate Conception. I was using the name to illustrate the >Truth of the Immaculate Conception as explained by the Catholic Church.
There are Protestants that call it a ‘theory’ & incorrectly think the >Truth of the Immaculate Conception as taught by Catholics did not exist until >1854. I used the >1492 date, a commonly accepted date & name of a ship to >demonstrate that the >Truth of the Immaculate Conception has >always been revealed to us by the Catholic Church.
Information about the Immaculate Conception is readily available now days in the Bible & on the Internet & as such really doesn’t need a ‘proof’ as understood by Protestants.
Jesus Christ is without SIN & I gave an example of how He prevented his mother from falling into >original sin. It would be an interesting exercise to have >Protestants explain what they would do >for their mother in the same circumstances.
We, Catholics, know Jesus >honored His mother, & as His mother, she is >also our mother as we ALL become ‘brothers & sisters’ of Jesus Christ & through Him> children of God.
The question is: Why do Protestants call Jesus Christ “their best friend” & persist in calling His mother a real sinner. It’s ‘biblically’ incorrect & also violates the ‘Code of the West,’ pardner.
Catholic Answers says the IC is a doctrine.
The questions you ask are ALL answered on the Internet. Please look at Catholic Answers or EWTN or The Catechism of the Catholic Church for correct teaching.
As a note: Romans5: 12 ‘Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned.’ This passage doesn’t teach what you maintain. We know Jesus was ‘conceived’ by the Holy Spirit & was without sin.
Jesus Christ honored his mother as required by the 10 commandments. Theologically, it is possible to believe: The Virgin Mary was redeemed >before she was conceived here on earth. God is eternal. ALL OF CREATION lives in the Heart of God before it is created.
The real question for ALL people when faced with the Truth of the Immaculate Conception is: “WHAT would you do for >your mother????” We know absolutely;> Jesus Christ was without sin & Honored his mother & Father. We are >always being ‘tested’ by God.
I’m butting into the conversation uninvited. At this moment, I have some ‘extra’ time. Salvation is a very busy person. +++I’m an Irishman that belongs to the public society of >Buttinskies.
This is from #491 of the Catechism of the Church, in part: ‘...Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the >dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses...”
Please look at my comment #12 on this thread. God decides >fault. & Fault is determined by God on: 1. Willfulness, 2. Full knowledge & 3. Serious matter.
God will decide ‘ultimate destiny’ & we are judged by our ‘thoughts, words, what we do & what we fail to do.’ We are all called to be Holy as God is Holy. We ALL need to pray for one another. = Lord have Mercy.
Since the scriptures are totally silent on the birth of Mary, anything you believe about her birth is speculation at best.
Jesus Christ honored his mother as required by the 10 commandments.
And by your own logic, He would have also honored Joseph for the same reason; it was required by the 10 Commandments. If Jesus provided Mary with her redemption to honor her via the 10 commandments ... they He would have had to do the same for Joseph; which is of course not a doctrine that Catholics hold, Josephs' immaculate conception.
Lemme guess your response ...
"Joseph wasnt really Jesus' father, so He didnt have to give him his redemption at his birth."
You are right about Saint Joseph. Jesus Christ honored God as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.
God did not leave us to wander the earth as a Motherless child. God gave us Holy Mother our Church to guide our ways on the path to Heaven. Out of the Heart of Jesus Christ was born His Church.
In the Bible, it is the Church that is given >authority from God. & We know the Bible came out of the Church. Jesus Christ promises that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church.
Christianity is NOT NOT NOT about a book = the Bible. Christianity is about a person & that person is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the WORD of God made flesh. & The Church is His Body.
ALL of creation & ALL of the Bible can be summed up in one Word & that Word is = Jesus.
I apologize gghd.
I >may have made a mistake. That is why in the Catholic Church, Priests are given >authority to teach & They are well education in Christianity.
St Joseph was >redeemed by Jesus Christ & he is a very Holy person.
I do not know when St. Joseph was redeemed.
From reading the Bible, it appears as though St. John the Baptist was ‘saved’ while he was in the womb. At six months of age in the womb, St. John the Baptist >leaped for joy at the sound of The Virgin Mary’s voice.
St. Joseph may have been redeemed at >birth. But the Immaculate Conception is about the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ.
Pray for me! I need prayers to over come the sin of ‘sloth’ as I confess I am just to lazy at the moment to do any research about the ‘theology on when St. Joseph was redeemed.’
As the man that was given the responsibility of raising Jesus Christ to be a man, St. Joseph >must have been a ‘manly-man’ & also Holy before God.
Could hardly believe it when I open the Catholic Dictionary window and "doctrine" was the word!
Featured Term (selected at random):
Any truth taught by the Church as necessary for acceptance by the faithful. The truth may be either formally revealed (as the Real Presence), or a theological conclusion (as the canonization of a saint), or part of the natural law (as the sinfulness of contraception). In any case, what makes it doctrine is that the Church authority teaches that it is to be believed. this teaching may be done either solemnly in ex cathedra pronouncements or ordinarily in the perennial exercise of the Church's magisterium or teaching authority. Dogmas are those doctrines which the Church proposes for belief as formally revealed by God. (Etym. Latin doctrina, teaching.)
Doctrine taught by the Church to be believed by all the faithful as part of divine revelation. All dogmas, therefore, are formally revealed truths and promulgated as such by the Church. they are revealed either in Scripture or tradition, either explicitly (as the Incarnation) or implicitly (as the Assumption). Moreover, their acceptance by the faithful must be proposed as necessary for salvation. they may be taught by the Church in a solemn manner, as with the definition of the Immaculate Conception, or in an ordinary way, as with the constant teaching on the malice of taking innocent human life. (Etym. Latin dogma; from Greek dogma, declaration, decree.)
Dogma are those 'beliefs' that the RCC deems necessary for salvation.
Doctrine is all other 'beliefs' that the church deems 'important but secondary' ... i.e. not required for salvation.
Is that a correct understanding?
What would be the official source of determining whether the IC is a doctrine or a dogma ... since there are different opinions out there?
And thanks for the education on dogma vs. doctrine ... I learned something.