Immaculate Conception Information

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Immaculate Conception Information

#1

Post by Angel Cake » Mon Oct 30, 2006 5:47 pm

Last night I was reading a post and was too tired to respond to it. Unfortunately, now I can't find the post.

The writer said something about the immaculate conception of Jesus, and I wanted to clarify something. Jesus is not the product of "immaculate conception." He is the product of virginal conception.

"Immaculate conception" is a Catholic belief about Mary. That is why she is often pictured as saying, "I am the Immaculate Conception." Catholics believe that Mary was conceived in the normal way but without Original Sin so that it would not be passed to Jesus. (Someone else, in another post, mentioned that Catholics believe Mary was conceived by a virgin, but that is a misunderstanding of the dogma of Immaculate Conception. Catholics believe she was conceived the normal way but without sin and that only Jesus is from a virgin birth.)

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#2

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:46 pm

Immaculate conception entails Mary did not pass on the inherited original sin. It is therefore believed Mary was without the defects of such sin by God's grace: "Mary was preserved from these defects by God's grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings." (http://www.catholic.com/library/Immacul ... _Assum.asp)

Now I do not know why this doctrine came to be held, but my thoughts are that it was likely in order to prevent sin being passed on to Jesus. Yet, if this is so, then I see it follows one has to also believe that Mary lived a life without sin if Jesus was to also be conceived immaculately. A question could also be asked as to whether Mary needed to also be immaculately conceived to be without such sin herself? Yes, it is said that God preserved Mary from such sin by grace. So why not simply say God preserved Jesus from such sin by grace? Since grace seems unnecessarily applied to Mary, and not simply to Christ, it seems to me that Mary is being somewhat deified with the doctrine of the immaculate conception (I apologize in advance to any Catholics here ;)).

K
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#3

Post by Angel Cake » Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:58 pm

I didn't mean to get into whether or not the doctrine is correct. I just wanted to clarify a term that someone used.

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#4

Post by Byblos » Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:09 pm

Kurieuo wrote:Immaculate conception entails Mary did not pass on the inherited original sin. It is therefore believed Mary was without the defects of such sin by God's grace: "Mary was preserved from these defects by God's grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings." (http://www.catholic.com/library/Immacul ... _Assum.asp)

Now I do not know why this doctrine came to be held, but my thoughts are that it was likely in order to prevent sin being passed on to Jesus. Yet, if this is so, then I see it follows one has to also believe that Mary lived a life without sin if Jesus was to also be conceived immaculately. A question could also be asked as to whether Mary needed to also be immaculately conceived to be without such sin herself? Yes, it is said that God preserved Mary from such sin by grace. So why not simply say God preserved Jesus from such sin by grace? Since grace seems unnecessarily applied to Mary, and not simply to Christ, it seems to me that Mary is being somewhat deified with the doctrine of the immaculate conception (I apologize in advance to any Catholics here ;)).

K


No need for apologies K. And hey, we all know I'm the only Catholic around here, don't we? :wink:

In any case, immaculate and virginal conceptions are used virtually interchangeably in catholic terms. Here's a link where Pope John Paul II discussed the virginal conception of Mary as fact. To be honest, I personally don't lose much sleep thinking of the marian issue. Yes, she is venerated (though I'd stop short of calling it deified). There's no question that Mary was unique among women just by virtue of carrying God in the flesh in her womb. I believe she is in heaven at least in spirit (if not physically). Beyond that, I really don't think it's anything terribly important.

God bless,

Byblos.
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#5

Post by Angel Cake » Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:42 pm

Here's a link where Pope John Paul II discussed the virginal conception of Mary as fact.
I read the article you referred to but didn't see anything that said Mary was the product of a virginal conception. It says Jesus was the product of virginal conception. (In other words, Mary was a virgin.) That's not what the Immaculate Conception means as I already said. The Immaculate Conception pertains to the conception of Mary as a baby. The link you gave illustrates the very point that I was trying to make: that people confuse the virgin conception/birth of Jesus and the immaculate conception of Mary as being the same thing, which they are not, since you, also, confused the two.
In any case, immaculate and virginal conceptions are used virtually interchangeably in catholic terms.
I must respectfully disagree that they are not. The virginal conception refers to the conception of Jesus because Mary was a virgin and did not have sex.

The immaculate conception refers to Mary and the fact that her parents, Anna and Joachim, had relations without passing on Original Sin.

Here is what the Catechism says about the dogma of the Immaculate Conception:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says of the Immaculate Conception of Mary:

490. To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role". The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace". In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace.

491. 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, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1844:

"The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin." (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854.)

492. The "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" by which Mary is "enriched from the first instant of her conception" comes wholly from Christ: she is "redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son." The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person "in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and chose her "in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love."

493. The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God "the All-Holy" (Panagia) and celebrate her as "free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature". By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.



Here is an address given by Pope John Paul II on June 12, 1996, about the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which backs up what I am saying:

Immaculate Conception Defined by Pius IX
1. Down the centuries, the conviction that Mary was preserved from every stain of sin from her conception, so that she is to be called all holy, gradually gained ground in the liturgy and theology. At the start of the 19th century, this development led to a petition drive for a dogmatic definition of the privilege of the Immaculate Conception.

Around the middle of the century with the intention of accepting this request, Pope Pius IX after consulting the theologians, questioned the Bishops about the opportuneness and the possibility of such a definition, convoking as it were a "council in writing". The result was significant: the vast majority of the 604 Bishops gave a positive response to the question.

After such an extensive consultation which emphasized my venerable Predecessor's concern to express the Church's faith in the definition of the dogma, he set about preparing the document with equal care.

Blessed Virgin is free from every stain of sin

The special commission of theologians set up by Pius IX to determine the revealed doctrine assigned the essential role to ecclesial practice. And this criterion influenced the formulation of the dogma, which preferred expressions taken from the Church's lived experience, from the faith and worship of the Christian people, to scholastic definitions.

Finally in 1854, with the Bull Ineffabilis, Pius IX solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception: ".. We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from every stain of original sin is a doctrine revealed by God and, for this reason, must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful" (DS 2803).
2. The proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception expresses the essential datum of faith. Pope Alexander VII, in the Bull Sollicitudo of 1661, spoke of the preservation of Mary's soul "in its creation and infusion into the body" (DS 2017). Pius IX's definition, however, prescinds from all explanations about how the soul is infused into the body and attributes to the person of Mary, at the first moment of her conception, the fact of her being preserved from every stain of original sin.
The freedom "from every stain of original sin" entails as a positive consequence the total freedom from all sin as well as the proclamation of Mary's perfect holiness, a doctrine to which the dogmatic definition makes a fundamental contribution. In fact, the negative formulation of the Marian privilege, which resulted from the earlier controversies about original sin that arose in the West, must always be complemented by the positive expression of Mary's holiness more explicitly stressed in the Eastern tradition.

Pius IX's definition refers only to the freedom from original sin and does not explicitly include the freedom from concupiscence. Nevertheless, Mary's complete preservation from every stain of sin also has as a consequence her freedom from concupiscence, a disordered tendency which, according to the Council of Trent, comes from sin and inclines to sin (DS 1515). 3. Granted "by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God", this preservation from original sin is an absolutely gratuitous divine favour, which Mary received at the first moment of her existence.

The dogmatic definition does not say that this singular privilege is unique, but lets that be intuited. The affirmation of this uniqueness, however, is explicitly stated in the Encyclical Fulgens corona of 1953, where Pope Pius XII speaks of "the very singular privilege which was never granted to another person" (AAS 45 [1953], 580), thus excluding the possibility, maintained by some but without foundation, of attributing this privilege also to St Joseph.

The Virgin Mother received the singular grace of being immaculately conceived "in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race", that is, of his universal redeeming action.

The text of the dogmatic definition does not expressly declare that Mary was redeemed, but the same Bull Ineffabilis states elsewhere that "she was redeemed in the most sublime way". This is the extraordinary truth: Christ was the redeemer of his Mother and carried out his redemptive action in her "in the most perfect way" (Fulgens corona, AAS 45 [1953], 581), from the first moment of her existence. The Second Vatican Council proclaimed that the Church "admires and exalts in Mary the most excellent fruit of the Redemption" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 103).

Solemn definition serves the faith of God's People

4. This solemnly proclaimed doctrine is expressly termed a "doctrine revealed by God". Pope Pius IX adds that it must be "firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful". Consequently, whoever does not make this doctrine his own, or maintains an opinion contrary to it, "is shipwrecked in faith" and "separates himself from Catholic unity".

In proclaiming the truth of this dogma of the Immaculate Conception, my venerable Predecessor was conscious of exercising his power of infallible teaching as the universal Pastor of the Church, which several years later would be solemnly defined at the First Vatican Council. Thus he put his infallible Magisterium into action as a service to the faith of God's People, and it is significant that he did so by defining Mary's privilege.
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#6

Post by Canuckster1127 » Tue Oct 31, 2006 7:23 am

Is there a solely Biblical Basis do you think for the immaculate conception or is it more a reasoning backward to attempt to further the state of the absence of original sin in Christ? (Rhetorical question as I don't believe there is a scriptural basis, but if any are aware of it, by all means please place it before us.)

Would it not then beg the question as to if it were so important, why does the Scripture itself not establish it?

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#7

Post by Byblos » Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:02 am

Canuckster1127 wrote:Is there a solely Biblical Basis do you think for the immaculate conception or is it more a reasoning backward to attempt to further the state of the absence of original sin in Christ? (Rhetorical question as I don't believe there is a scriptural basis, but if any are aware of it, by all means please place it before us.)

Would it not then beg the question as to if it were so important, why does the Scripture itself not establish it?

Bart


Bart,

The only strictly biblical basis I could think of is the angel Gabriel addressing Mary as "Full of Grace". Other arguments stem from her being declared the new ark of the covenant. If you recall, the ark had to be built from the purest of the pure material. Since Jesus was the new covenant, ergo Mary was the new ark and had to be pure (free of original sin). The defense against Rom 3:23 "since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" is that "all" cannot be used as a blanket statement without exception since indeed there were exceptions. One being Jesus himself, and the other 2 are Adam and Eve who were created without sin. Of course, there's always oral traditions that the catholic church relies on but there's no sense in using them here if we can't agree on their validity.

Angel Cake,

I stand corrected, and welcome to the site. It's good to see another fellow Catholic who's not apprehensive about their faith. Hope you stick around and I look forward to your contribution.

In Christ,

John.
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#8

Post by Canuckster1127 » Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:31 am

The only strictly biblical basis I could think of is the angel Gabriel addressing Mary as "Full of Grace". Other arguments stem from her being declared the new ark of the covenant. If you recall, the ark had to be built from the purest of the pure material. Since Jesus was the new covenant, ergo Mary was the new ark and had to be pure (free of original sin). The defense against Rom 3:23 "since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" is that "all" cannot be used as a blanket statement without exception since indeed there were exceptions. One being Jesus himself, and the other 2 are Adam and Eve who were created without sin. Of course, there's always oral traditions that the catholic church relies on but there's no sense in using them here if we can't agree on their validity.


John,

Thanks. That is helpful. I can understand including Adam and Eve perhaps, in the context of original sin, but of course, being the vehicle in terms of our collective identification, Adam and Eve did sin and fall short of the Glory of God.

I obviously do not accept the concept of the immaculate conception with regard to Mary as either necessary or Biblical. I believe as well the siblings of Christ were through Mary as well and not previous children from Joseph in another marriage such as is postulated by some seeking to maintain Mary's virgin status even following Christ's birth. Sex within marriage not being sinful and in fact a wonderful gift and plan of God, would not need to be seen as tainting in any regard, and the Bible once again is silent on the issue other than noting Christ did have siblings.

The elevation of Mary in this regard strikes me as reflective of outside concepts of goddess worship that were somehow legitimized within the structure of the Catholic Church.

That being said, as I've said before, I believe one can be saved and Catholic.

I've also thought at times that many in the protestant tradition fail to give Mary the respect and attention she is due in reaction to what are seen as excesses in the Catholic tradition and that's not particularly balanced either.

Just speaking my mind honestly in this regard and not seeking to argue it at length. It does, as we've both noted reduce to a question of authority and that is a very basic difference between the Catholic and Protestant traditions that you and I will not resolve.

Blessings,

Bart
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#9

Post by bizzt » Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:34 am

Byblos wrote:
Bart,

The only strictly biblical basis I could think of is the angel Gabriel addressing Mary as "Full of Grace". Other arguments stem from her being declared the new ark of the covenant. If you recall, the ark had to be built from the purest of the pure material. Since Jesus was the new covenant, ergo Mary was the new ark and had to be pure (free of original sin). The defense against Rom 3:23 "since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" is that "all" cannot be used as a blanket statement without exception since indeed there were exceptions. One being Jesus himself, and the other 2 are Adam and Eve who were created without sin. Of course, there's always oral traditions that the catholic church relies on but there's no sense in using them here if we can't agree on their validity.

Angel Cake,

I stand corrected, and welcome to the site. It's good to see another fellow Catholic who's not apprehensive about their faith. Hope you stick around and I look forward to your contribution.

In Christ,

John.
Fairly informative Conversation...

"Full of Grace"... What do you take from that Sentence John? What does Grace mean? Does it mean that the Grace of God was on her and Pardoned her Sins? One Can walk in Grace as we do all the time with our Lord Jesus. However that does not mean one does not Sin.

Now Romans 3 was for us to understand the Sinful nature of Man Kind that only One did not Sin on this Earth and that was Christ who died for all Mankind including his Mother. We are starting to get into something that says Mary did not need Christ to die for her. Is this what you are advocating John? (I don't think you are but do you see what I am getting at) I still am not sure about the asking for Saints including Mary to pray for us however we are putting Mary like Bart said on a Level of being a Goddess.

Anyways I am not here to Argue or anything but would like a further Explanation from a Catholics Perspective.

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#10

Post by Byblos » Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:57 am

bizzt wrote:
Fairly informative Conversation...

"Full of Grace"... What do you take from that Sentence John? What does Grace mean? Does it mean that the Grace of God was on her and Pardoned her Sins? One Can walk in Grace as we do all the time with our Lord Jesus. However that does not mean one does not Sin.


You are quite right with your last sentence. Mary being full of grace or free from original sin does not preclude her from ever sinning (whether or not she did notwithstanding). Like I said, Mary, being chosen to be the new ark of the covenant, needed to be pure, i.e. full of grace from inception so that she can fulfill her role as the bearer of the new covenant, i.e. Christ.
bizzt wrote:Now Romans 3 was for us to understand the Sinful nature of Man Kind that only One did not Sin on this Earth and that was Christ who died for all Mankind including his Mother. We are starting to get into something that says Mary did not need Christ to die for her. Is this what you are advocating John? (I don't think you are but do you see what I am getting at) I still am not sure about the asking for Saints including Mary to pray for us however we are putting Mary like Bart said on a Level of being a Goddess.


You are also quite right in saying Mary did indeed need Christ. I hope I didn't make an impression otherwise. However, there is a distinction between how we need Jesus and how she needs him. For the rest of humanity, Christ cures us of all sin, including original one. In Mary's case, it is a preventative kind of saving, since she was born free of original sin but still had the capacity to sin (though we believe she didn't). At least, that's how I understand it.
bizzt wrote:Anyways I am not here to Argue or anything but would like a further Explanation from a Catholics Perspective.


Well, here it is, however convoluted (but then again what religious topic isn't? :wink:).

John.
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#11

Post by bizzt » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:15 am

Byblos wrote:
You are quite right with your last sentence. Mary being full of grace or free from original sin does not preclude her from ever sinning (whether or not she did notwithstanding). Like I said, Mary, being chosen to be the new ark of the covenant, needed to be pure, i.e. full of grace from inception so that she can fulfill her role as the bearer of the new covenant, i.e. Christ.
Why does it matter if Mary had Original Sin or not? How is Original Sin Passed on? If the Holy Spirit Indwelled within Mary do you not think the Sin would end right there. How can the Curse be passed along in a Virginial Conception?

You are also quite right in saying Mary did indeed need Christ. I hope I didn't make an impression otherwise. However, there is a distinction between how we need Jesus and how she needs him. For the rest of humanity, Christ cures us of all sin, including original one. In Mary's case, it is a preventative kind of saving, since she was born free of original sin but still had the capacity to sin (though we believe she didn't). At least, that's how I understand it.
How is there a Distinction John? If she did not sin then she is put on the same pedastal as Christ is. The only difference is Christ Died and was resurrected and we are therefore Resurrected with him. We all have to die to our Sins and then Be resurrected with Christ. Baptism basically :).

Thanks John
Well, here it is, however convoluted (but then again what religious topic isn't? :wink:).

John.
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#12

Post by Byblos » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:36 am

I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability (which may not turn out to be much, but here goes it anyway).
bizzt wrote:Why does it matter if Mary had Original Sin or not?


Why it matters I don't know but the best possible explanation I have is that when it comes to Jesus and the gospel in general, there's almost always a parallel between the old and new testaments. In the old testament God's covenant with his people had to be carried in an ark. God commanded that the ark be constructed from the finest and purest material there is. Since Mary was chosen to carry Jesus, the new covenant, she was considered to be the new ark of the covenant and had to be pure as well. Pure did not only entail being a virgin but also free from original sin. That's the best I can do.
bizzt wrote:How is Original Sin Passed on?


Again to my understanding, original sin is passed on from generation to generation since Adam. Mary being the exception in preparation for her role as the ark of the new covenant.
bizzt wrote:If the Holy Spirit Indwelled within Mary do you not think the Sin would end right there.


I agree but I'm not quite certain the Holy Spirit was operating at the time of Mary's conception (her mother's conception with her I should say).
bizzt wrote:How can the Curse be passed along in a Virginial Conception?


Don't have an answer to this one but my guess is that original sin is not only propagated by the descendants of Adam but also by the descendants of Eve.
bizzt wrote:How is there a Distinction John? If she did not sin then she is put on the same pedastal as Christ is.


The distinction is that we all have original sin and she didn't. Other than that, we all need Christ for our salvation, including Mary.
bizzt wrote: The only difference is Christ Died and was resurrected and we are therefore Resurrected with him. We all have to die to our Sins and then Be resurrected with Christ. Baptism basically :).


Agreed, although I'm not sure if Mary was ever baptized. I'll have to look into that.
bizzt wrote:Sometimes it is all about the perception glasses you are wearing :)


Too true 8) :)
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#13

Post by Angel Cake » Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:36 pm

Angel Cake,

I stand corrected, and welcome to the site. It's good to see another fellow Catholic who's not apprehensive about their faith. Hope you stick around and I look forward to your contribution.

In Christ,

John.
Thanks. Boy, did I open a can of worms with this thread or what? heehee :D

Here is a quotation from Pop John Paul's address that may shed light on a few questions:
This is the extraordinary truth: Christ was the redeemer of his Mother and carried out his redemptive action in her "in the most perfect way" (Fulgens corona, AAS 45 [1953], 581), from the first moment of her existence.
It seems she did need a Savior (Jesus), but He redeemed her before she could sin (at her conception). I might be wrong, but that's what it sounds like to me.

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#14

Post by Byblos » Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:23 pm

Angel Cake wrote:
Angel Cake,

I stand corrected, and welcome to the site. It's good to see another fellow Catholic who's not apprehensive about their faith. Hope you stick around and I look forward to your contribution.

In Christ,

John.


Thanks. Boy, did I open a can of worms with this thread or what? heehee :D


No worries, we're kinda used to it here.
Angel Cake wrote:Here is a quotation from Pop John Paul's address that may shed light on a few questions:
This is the extraordinary truth: Christ was the redeemer of his Mother and carried out his redemptive action in her "in the most perfect way" (Fulgens corona, AAS 45 [1953], 581), from the first moment of her existence.


It seems she did need a Savior (Jesus), but He redeemed her before she could sin (at her conception). I might be wrong, but that's what it sounds like to me.


That would be my understanding as well. Bottom line is, Mary is not put on a pedestal equal to Jesus (or deified in any way) as Christ was her redeemer. The manner in which she was redeemed is slightly different due to her being chosen to be the ark of the new covenant from before she was ever born.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

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#15

Post by bizzt » Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:56 pm

Now this sounds a little Better. So God gave her a role that she had to fulfill and then had to change Salvation for her so she could become the "Ark of the Covenant" to Birth Jesus. The question is did she know of this before she was told by the Angel or After? Does Scripture speak of this?

Thanks

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