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All About Mary

Immaculate Conception Dogma

The Immaculate Conception

– Vincent Wiseman, O.P October 17, 2003

History of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception


During its first centuries, the Church's attention to Mary focused on her virginity and maternity. These particular aspects were highlighted as the Church struggled to articulate its belief on the natures and person of Jesus more clearly and definitively in response to the erroneous teachings about Him, put forth by the Docetists and other Gnostics, the Arians, and the Nestorians. The Church's Marian teachings served to clarify what the Church believed about Jesus. As the Church reflected on Mary's cooperation in the Incarnation as well as her intimate relationship with Jesus as His Mother, the Church also began to appreciate and ponder the holiness of this woman who cooperated with God in the Incarnation.

While the Fathers taught Mary's sinlessness, there is no clearly evident teaching with regard to Mary and original sin in their writings. For instance, Augustine writes about Mary's sinlessness. Responding to the Pelagian claim that by their own efforts believers could be sinless, Augustine insisted that every human was a sinner. However, after saying this, he made an exception of Mary: "We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sin, out of honor to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin."[1] Luigi Gambero observes that some scholars conclude from this that Augustine meant not only personal sin but also original sin. Gambero, however, is convinced that Augustine was referring only to personal sin. He considers such an interpretation to be more in accord with the totality of Augustine's theology.[2]

In the late sixth century there was a feast of Mary's nativity in the East. In the seventh century a feast of Mary's conception began to be celebrated. St. Andrew of Crete wrote a canon for the morning office of the feast in the late seventh century, probably when he was the deacon at Santa Sophia in Constantinople. During the Iconoclastic difficulties, the feast was probably restricted to monasteries, but by 850 it was generally celebrated in the East. The feast was celebrated as the "Conception of Saint Anne, the Mother of the Theotokos," which places emphasis on the active sense of conception. Presently, the feast is a minor one in the Eastern Church.

Although Mary's conception was celebrated in the East, this does not necessarily mean that the Eastern Church considered Mary to have been conceived without sin. Cornelius Bouman observes:

From the fact that St. Anne's conception is called 'holy,' we are not entitled to conclude to the existence of the idea of the Immaculate Conception in the later Western sense. Everyone who is acquainted with Byzantine liturgical texts knows that in them holy very often means nothing more than venerable...On the other hand, from the general existence of the feast in the Byzantine East, and from the wording of the liturgical formulas, it is clear that the pious faithful and the theologians of that period did not deny the holiness of the Virgin's conception in our sense of the term.[3]

There is a difference between the Eastern and Western idea of original sin. The Eastern Church places its attention on the concept of deification, the process by which God shares His divine nature with human beings. In choosing disobedience, Adam broke his union with God, making it impossible to fulfill his nature. After the Fall, Adam's descendants inherited this unfulfilled state, although holy people before the time of Christ were acted upon externally by grace. It was only with Christ that humanity could enter into this internal transformation by the grace of deification.[4] Thus, original sin is interpreted as a condition by which human nature that does not share in deification is unfulfilled.

The Eastern Church perceives Mary as being sinless yet in some sense participating in the fallen nature of the children of Adam. Eastern emphasis is placed on the Annunciation, during which the Spirit prepared her for her role. Vladimir Lossky comments on the Eastern Church's attitude towards the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception:

It is not for nothing that the Orthodox Church, in her liturgical texts, calls David 'the ancestor of God' and gives the same name of 'holy and righteous ancestors of God' to Joachim and Anna. The Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception seems to break up this uninterrupted succession of Old Testament holiness, which reaches its fulfillment at the moment of the Annunciation, when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Virgin to make her fit to receive the Word of the Father in her womb. The Orthodox Church does not admit the idea that the Holy Virgin was thus exempted from the lot of the rest of fallen humanity - the idea of a 'privilege' which makes her into a being ransomed before the redemptive work, by virtue of the future merits of her Son. It is not by virtue of a privilege received at the moment of her conception by her parents that we venerate the Mother of God more than any other created being. She was holy and pure from all sin from her mother's womb, but still this holiness does not place her outside the rest of humanity before Christ. She was not, at the moment of the Annunciation, in a state analogous to that of Eve before the Fall. The first Eve–'the mother of all the living,' lent her ear to the words of the seducer in the state of paradise, in the state of innocent humanity. The second Eve– she who was chosen to become the mother of God - heard and understood the angelic word in the state of fallen humanity. This is why this unique election does not separate her from the rest of humanity, from all her fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, whether saints or sinners, whose best part she represents.[5]

Ironically, it was the Eastern Church which developed the concepts which brought about the understanding of the Immaculate Conception in the West. In calling attention to Mary's sinlessness, the Eastern Fathers prepared the way for an understanding of the Immaculate Conception in the West. Thus, Andrew of Crete (d. 740) writes:

Today that [human] nature, which was first brought forth from the earth, receives divinity for the first time; the dust, having been raised up, hastens with festive trend toward the highest peak of glory. Today, from us and for us, Adam offers Mary to God as firstfruits, and, with the unpoisoned parts of the muddy dough, is formed a bread for the rebuilding of the human race....Today pure human nature receives from God the gift of the original creation and reverts to its original purity. By giving our inherited splendor, which had been hidden by the deformity of vice, to the Mother of Him who is beautiful, human nature receives a magnificent and most divine renovation, which becomes a complete restoration. The restoration, in turn, becomes deification, and this becomes a new formation, like its pristine state.[6]

The feast of Mary's Conception appears to have spread from the East into Western Europe in two directions. One was by way of Southern Italy. The feast may have been celebrated in Naples around the year 850. At that time, the liturgy of Southern Italy was very much influenced by the Byzantine liturgy. The second approach was by way of England. Liturgical documents from around 1030 exist which indicate that the feast of the Conception was celebrated in England at the Benedictine abbeys of Old Minster and Newminster, both in Winchester, on December 8. Since the feast was celebrated on December 9 in the East, the December date suggests an Eastern influence.

In England, the celebration spread under the influence of the monasteries. Helsin, abbot of Ramsay, was reported to have been saved from shipwreck by promising to promote the feast. Leofric, the bishop of Exeter from 1050 to 1075, left a missal which contains three liturgical prayers for the feast. The celebration appears less apparent after the Norman invasion in 1066 but revived in the next century. One indication of the spread of the feast is the comments of those who resisted it. Lanfranc of Canterbury (1089) and Alexander Neckam, abbot of Cirencester, (1217) are known to have disapproved of the feast. However, certain English theologians became proponents for the celebration of the feast, including Anselm the Younger of Bury (nephew of St. Anselm), Osbert of Stoke Clare of Westminister (d. 1170), St. Anselm's former secretary, Eadmer of Canterbury (d. 1124), and Warin of Worcester.

The difficulty that others had with celebrating Mary's conception was the conviction that every person was conceived with original sin. Romans 5:12 states: "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, so death passed to all men, inasmuch as all sinned." One of the strong arguments for the universality of original sin was Augustine's assertion that original sin is transmitted in the act of begetting the child by the parents' concupiscence:

We do not deny, that of whatever kind of parents they are born, they are still under the devil's dominion, unless they be born again in Christ, and by his grace be removed from the power of darkness and translated into His kingdom, who willed not to be born from the same union of the two sexes...Our to distinguish between the evil of carnal concupiscence from which sin man who is born there contracts original sin, and the good of marriage.[7]

If the concupiscence of conjugal relations caused the transmission of original sin, then every child had original sin, except for Jesus who was born of a virginal conception. The Church struggled with the tension between the growing liturgical celebration of the feast of the Conception and the misgivings of theologians. Edward O'Connor has said that the Immaculate Conception "occasioned what was perhaps the most prolonged and passionate debate that has ever been carried on Catholic theology."[8]

When the Chapter of Canons at the Cathedral of Lyons introduced the celebration of the feast around 1140, Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) wrote to them expressing his displeasure. Bernard asks them how can they introduce a celebration which the ritual of the Church does not know, reason does not assert, and ancient tradition does not commend. He wonders if they are more devout than the Fathers and Doctors.[9] He maintains that Mary was sanctified in the womb, as was John the Baptist, for which reason the church celebrates her birthday.[10] Bernard proceeds to assert that Mary was born without sin and never committed sin during her life.[11] He bolsters his argument that Mary had original sin with the premise that original sin is transmitted through concupiscence and affirms that only Jesus was conceived without sin, noting Psalm 51:7, "In iniquity I was conceived and in sin did my mother conceive me."[12] He informs the canons that "The virgin queen does not need any false honor."[13]

Even though the feast was being celebrated, there was some confusion among those who celebrated the feast as to Mary and original sin. Augustine's theory that the parents' concupiscence contaminated the soul of the child was generally held. However, theologians had various interpretations of the nature of original sin regarding whether it was sin itself, concupiscence, guilt, or a punishment, so it is not clear what theologians meant when they maintained that Mary had or did not have original sin.[14] Even those whose writings were otherwise very affirmative with regard to Mary did not necessarily accept that she could have been spared original sin. Thus Rupert, the abbot of the Benedictines at Deutz (d. c. 1125), states: "And you truly were able to say, 'Behold in iniquity was I conceived and in sin my mother conceived me' (Ps. 51). Since you were of the mass which was corrupted in Adam, you were not free from the hereditary sin."[15]

St. Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109), while maintaining the universality of original sin, asserted the absolute purity of Mary in a way that was conducive towards understanding the Immaculate Conception:

It is right that that Virgin should shine with a purity greater than which one is not able to imagine, to whom God the Father was disposed to give His only Son, whom He loved as Himself, begotten equal from His heart, that He would naturally be the Son of God the Father and of the Virgin at the same time.[16]

Among those who did not accept the feast, there was a conviction that Mary was either purified in the womb or (and further) purified at the time of the Annunciation. Because of the lack of clarity regarding the nature of original sin, it is not clear whether Mary's purification at the time of the Incarnation meant that she was purified of the effects of original sin or of the sin itself.[17] Nor was the question of Mary's relationship to the universal redemption sufficiently explained by those beginning to hold that Mary was free from original sin.

Albert the Great (d. 1280), in his commentary on the third book of the Sentences, writes: "We say that the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before animation: and saying otherwise is a heresy condemned by Blessed Bernard in his letter to [the canons of] Lyons, and by all the masters of Paris."[18] Animation was the name which described the point in time at which the rational soul is placed in the body. Following Aristotle, Albert and Thomas taught that each human person upon conception receives first a nutritive and then a sensitive soul before the rational soul was given.[19]

St. Bonaventure (d. 1274) raises the concern that every person must be saved by the merits of Christ: "And as it pertains to the excellent dignity of Christ, that He is the Redeemer and Savior of all, and that He opens the door to all, and that He alone died for all, the Virgin Mary is not excluded from this generality, lest while increasing the Mother's excellence, the glory of the Son be lessened: and so the mother attests, who wishes the Son to be more extolled and honored than she herself, the Creator than the creature."[20]


To understand the complexities of this issue, it may be helpful to examine St. Thomas’ teaching on Mary’s sanctification in the Summa Theologiae. In III, 27, 1, Thomas raises the question, “Whether the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before her birth from the womb?” He considers the objections to sanctification in the womb, noting that one cannot be born again who has not already been born, that if she was free of original sin she could have gone to heaven without the help of Jesus’ blood, contrary to Heb 10:19, and that original sin is related to one’s origin just as actual sin is related to one’s actions.

Thomas responds by noting that while nothing in said of the Virgin’s conception in the Scriptures, [Pseudo-] Augustine argues the Virgin’s Assumption by the use of reason. Thomas asserts: “For it is reasonable to believe that she, who brought forth "the Only-Begotten of the Father full of grace and truth," received greater privileges of grace than all others: hence we read (Lk. 1:28) that the angel addressed her in the words: "Hail, full of grace!"” Thomas maintains that John the Baptist was sanctified in his mother’s womb according to Luke 1:15, "He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb." Thomas asserts that it is reasonable to believe the Blessed Virgin to have been sanctified before her birth from the womb. (III, 27, 1).

Thomas points out that while grace is usually given through the sacraments to those who are already born, God does not limit His power to the sacraments (III, 27, 1, ad 2). Thomas maintains that even though Mary was freed from the personal stain of original sin in the womb, she was not freed from the guilt that all of human nature was subject and so could not enter heaven except through Jesus’ sacrifice (III, 27, 1, ad3). Thomas affirms that original sin is transmitted when the off-spring is animated (receives a human soul) and Mary could have been sanctified after animation (III, 27, 1, ad4).

However, in III, 27, 2, Thomas raises the question “Whether the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before animation?” He observes that more grace was given to Mary than any other saint, and that it was fitting that she shine with greater purity, and that the feast of her conception was celebrated in some areas, implying that her conception was holy. However, he proposes that just as God’s tabernacle in the Old Testament had to be perfected before the cloud covered it and the glory of the Lord was present, so this was a figure signifying that His Tabernacle in the New Testament should be perfected in body and soul.

Thomas concludes that Mary could not have been sanctified before animation for two reasons. He declares that “the sanctification, of which we are speaking, is nothing but the cleansing from original sin.” But sin can only be taken away by grace and grace can only exist in a rational creature. Therefore Mary needed a rational soul before she could be sanctified. This argument is dependent on the Aristotelian theory that the human soul is only given after the sensitive and then animal soul has been implanted. Thomas’ stronger reason is that if Mary never had original sin, she would not have needed redemption and the salvation that comes from Christ, of whom Matthew writes "He shall save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21). Then Jesus would not be the "Savior of all" (1 Tim. 4:10).

Thomas asserts: “If the soul of the Blessed Virgin had never incurred the stain of original sin, this would be derogatory to the dignity of Christ, by reason of His being the universal Savior of all. Consequently after Christ, who, as the universal Savior of all, needed not to be saved, the purity of the Blessed Virgin holds the highest place” Thomas maintains: “The Blessed Virgin did indeed contract original sin, but was cleansed from it before her birth from the womb” (III, 27, 2, ad2).

Thomas does address the fact that the Church of Rome does not celebrate the feast of the Conception of Mary but does tolerate the celebration in other places. If the conception is celebrated then it would seem to be without sin. However, Thomas proposes that what is actually being celebrated is Mary’s sanctification, which date is unknown (III, 27, 2, ad3).

Thomas points out that the sanctification of our total nature is the freeing of our whole human nature from the corruption of sin and punishment which takes place at the resurrection. Since Mary was conceived by the intercourse of husband and wife she would have contacted original sin through them according to Augustine’s principle that original sin is transmitted by the concupiscence that takes place during marriage relations (III, 27, 2, ad4).

Some scholars find ambiguity in Thomas' earlier works. In his commentary on the first book of the Sentences, Thomas states that Mary was immune from actual and original sin.[21] However, in his commentary on the third book of the Sentences, after explaining that grace could not be given before the infusion of the soul, Thomas adds that neither could grace have been granted at the instant of the infusion of Mary's soul since Christ alone did not need redemption.[22] Thomas Mullaney, O.P. argues that Thomas, born near Naples where the feast of Mary's conception had been celebrated for generations, originally held for the Immaculate Conception, but developed an attitude of caution under the influence of the Church in Rome which did not celebrate the feast.[23]

Thomas raises a further question whether Mary was free from the rebellion of the lower powers against reason (called the “fomes”), which with death is a punishment of original sin (III, 27, 3). Thomas notes that in the usual order, "Power is made perfect in infirmity" (2 Cor. 12:9). Thomas observes, however, that the passage from the Song of Songs, "Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee!" (Canticles 4:7), applies to Mary.

Thomas argues that this rebellion of the lower powers against reason is not sinful in itself but inclines to sin. One cannot say, without contradicting oneself that Mary had the condition of our rebellious lower nature but that she was not inclined to sin. Thomas then states that by the “abundance of grace bestowed on the Blessed Virgin,” her lower powers were always subject to reason much as Adam’s were before he sinned. Thomas notes that even before the Incarnation, some were freed from condemnation by “faith in Christ,” yet no one could be freed from the “law of flesh... (or)...of the members” except through Christ (Rm. 7:23, 25).

On this basis, Thomas maintains that the weakness of the flesh was present in Mary after her sanctification in the womb but that it was fettered “by reason of the abundant grace bestowed on her in her sanctification, and still more perfectly by Divine Providence preserving her sensitive soul, in a singular manner, from any inordinate movement.” In the conception of Christ, she received a full freedom from this inclination to sin, as the full freedom passed from the Son to the mother (III, 27, 3). From His “fullness,” her grace was derived although just as Jesus assumed the penalties of death and the other physical effects of original sin, so she was not freed from these (III, 27, 3, ad1).

Thomas affirms that although the “infirmity of the flesh” can be an “occasional cause of perfect virtue” it is not a necessary cause, “It is quite enough to ascribe to the Blessed Virgin perfect virtue and abundant grace” (III, 27, 3, ad2). The Holy Spirit effected a twofold purification in Mary, first giving her mind a unity of purpose and disengaged it from a multiplicity of things at her sanctification. The second purification by the Holy Spirit was at the conception of Christ, when she was entirely freed from the rebellion of the lower nature (III, 27, 3, ad 3).

Thomas asks whether Mary was freed of actual sin. Thomas notes that Augustine thought that Mary might have been troubled by doubt at the death of Jesus and that Chrysostom thought that Mary asked Jesus to come out to see her out of vain glory or to produce wine to raise herself in others’ esteem because she did not believe in Him as she should. However, Thomas recalls Augustine’s words in (De Nat. et Grat. xxxvi), that there should be no question of sin with regard to Mary “on account of the honor due her Son, since she was “most certainly guilty of no sin” and “an abundance of grace was given her...that she might be in every way the conqueror of sin.”

Thomas affirms that God prepares and endows those whom He chooses for particular offices, and that Mary was made worthy of her office, according to "Thou hast found grace with God: behold thou shall conceive" (Lk. 1:30, 31). her sin would have reflected upon her Son. (III, 27, 4). Thomas also points out the “singular affinity between her and Christ” and the singular manner in which the Son of God, who is the "Divine Wisdom" (1 Cor. 1:24) dwelt in her, not only in her soul but in her womb. therefore Thomas asserts that Mary never committed actual sin (III, 27, 4). Thomas adds that in addition to any rebelliousness in her lower nature being fettered, divine providence did not permit any inordinate motion from that nature (III, 27, 4, ad 1).

Thomas addresses the statements of certain Fathers who attribute doubt to Mary, saying that this is not the doubt of unbelief but of “wonder and discussion” (III, 27, 4, ad 2). With regard to Chrysostom’s attribution of vain glory to her, Thomas comments: “In those words Chrysostom goes too far. They may, however, be explained as meaning that our Lord corrected in her, not the inordinate motion of vain glory in regard to herself, but that which might be in the thoughts of others.” (III, 27, 4, ad 3).

In III, 27, 5, Thomas considers “whether, by her sanctification in the womb, the Blessed Virgin received the fullness of grace?” Thomas points out that the angel addressed her as "full of grace" (Lk. 1:28), and refers to Pseudo-Jerome’s letter on the Assumption: "Full indeed of grace: for to others it is given in portions; whereas on Mary the fullness of grace was showered all at once" (cf. Ep. ad Paul. et Eustoch.). Thomas argues that the nearer a thing is to its principle, the greater it shares in the effects of that principle. He states: “Now Christ is the principle of grace, authoritatively as to His Godhead, instrumentally as to His humanity: whence (Jn. 1:17) it is written: "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." But the Blessed Virgin Mary was nearest to Christ in His humanity: because He received His human nature from her. Therefore it was due to her to receive a greater fullness of grace than others” (III, 27, 5).

Thomas comments that God gives to each person according to the purpose for which He has chosen him or her. Thomas affirms: “It was proper to Him to have such a fullness of grace that it overflowed from Him into all, according to John 1:16: "Of His fullness we have all received." Whereas the Blessed Virgin Mary received such a fullness of grace that she was nearest of all to the Author of grace; so that she received within her Him Who is full of all grace; and by bringing Him forth, she, in a manner, dispensed grace to all” (III, 27, 5, ad 1).

Thomas speaks of a threefold perfection of grace in Mary. the first was her sanctification “by which she was made worthy to be the mother of Christ.” The second perfection of grace in the Blessed Virgin was through the presence of the Son of God Incarnate in her womb. The third perfection of the end is that which she has in glory.” Thomas notes that each stage is a greater perfection: “For at first in her sanctification she received grace inclining her to good: in the conception of the Son of God she received consummate grace confirming her in good; and in her glorification her grace was further consummated so as to perfect her in the enjoyment of all good” (III, 27, 5, ad 2).

Thomas proposes that Mary received the gifts such as wisdom, miracles, and even prophecy, “as it benefited her condition of life.” He observes that she exercised wisdom in contemplation: "But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart." Lk. 2:19, and she exhibited prophecy, as in the canticle, "My soul doth magnify the Lord" (Lk. 1:46, etc.) (III, 27, 5, ad 3).

Thomas comments that it is not possible to know God’s reasons why He bestows grace on one person and not another, yet there does seem to be a certain fittingness, as in the sanctification of John the Baptist "He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb" (Lk. 1:15) or Jeremiah "Before thou came forth out of the womb I sanctified thee" (Jer. 1:5) (III, 27, 6). But Thomas maintains that the grace given to Mary was superior than theirs: “The blessed Virgin, who was chosen by God to be His Mother, received a fuller grace of sanctification than John the Baptist and Jeremiah, who were chosen to foreshadow in a special way the sanctification effected by Christ. A sign of this is that it was granted to the Blessed Virgin thence-forward never to sin either mortally or venially: whereas to the others who were thus sanctified it was granted thenceforward not to sin mortally, through the protection of God's grace” (III, 27, 6, ad 1).


A development which brought some resolution to the theological difficulties comes with the Franciscan William of Ware (d. ca. 1305), who sets forth an argument based on God's ability to do anything and the fittingness of doing it. William of Ware argues that God could create a sinless being: "What he could do, it was fitting that He should do so and from this it follows that He did do it; for the Son should honor the Mother"[24] These three verbs, "He could do," potuit, " it was fitting," decuit, " He did do," fecit were the basis of the line of thought arguing from fittingness.

William of Ware approaches the question of the universal redemption in Jesus by asserting that Mary "needed the Passion of Christ, not on account of any sin that was in her, but on account of that which would have been in her, had her Son not preserved her through faith. Thus Augustine, in his sermon on Magdalene, says that there are two kinds of debts – those that are contracted and paid, and those that are not contracted, but could have been."[25]

William of Ware was convinced that it was better to make a mistake by attributing too much to Mary than not enough: "If I must err – seeing that I am not certain about the opposite position –I would rather err by excess in giving a privilege to Mary, than by defect, diminishing or taking from her a privilege which she had."[26]


John Duns Scotus (d. 1308) was a student of William of Ware. He also was a Franciscan and taught at Oxford and Paris. He argues that the most perfect form of mediation would be to preserve another from sin. According to Scotus, this is what Christ did: "The most perfect mediator exercises the most perfect act of mediation possible with respect to some person for whom he mediates; therefore Christ had the most perfect form of mediation possible with respect to someone for whom He was Mediator. But for no one did He exercise a more excellent form of mediation than for Mary....But this would not be so if He had not merited to preserve her from original sin."[27] And also: "It is a more excellent benefit to preserve a person from evil than to permit him to fall into it and then deliver him from it."[28]

Duns Scotus maintains that Mary has received a greater redemption from Christ rather than less redemption:

Mary would have had the greatest need of Christ as Redeemer; for by reason of her procreation, which followed the common mode, she would have contracted original sin had she not been kept from it by the grace of the Mediator, and just as others are in need of Christ for the remission, by his merit, of sin which they have already contracted, so Mary would have been in still greater need of a Mediator preventing her from contracting sin.[29]

Scotus' arguments are based on God's sovereign power. Thus he asserts:

...grace is the equivalent to original justice, so far as God's approval of the soul is concerned; for, by reason of this approval, original sin does not reside in a soul that has grace. God could have conferred as much grace on her in the first moment of her soul's existence as He does on another soul at circumcision or baptism; in that moment, then, the soul would not have had original sin, as it would not have it afterwards when the person is baptized.[30]

In Scotus' arguments, he, at times, asserts the possibility that Mary's Immaculate Conception could be possible without stating that it is in fact so. However, in certain locations, he does affirm the Immaculate Conception: "The Blessed Mother of God...was never at enmity [with God] whether actually on account of actual sins or originally – because of original sin. She would have been had she not been preserved."[31]

The Augustinian Gregory of Rimini (d. 1358) challenged Duns Scotus' position arguing that if it were more perfect for God to redeem by preservation than God could have more perfectly redeemed the human race by preserving it all from sin. The Nominalists, following William of Ochkam, promoted Scotus' teaching.

The Franciscans became the defenders of the Immaculate Conception while the Dominicans continued to assert Thomas' reservations. In 1387, a Dominican, John Montson, was asked by a board of more than thirty theologians at the University of Paris to retract four propositions of his master's thesis which denied the Immaculate Conception. When he concluded that Clement VII (the Avignon Pope at time of Schism), to whom he had appealed his case, was likely to decide against him, Montson left the areas adhering to the Avignon Pope for those of the Roman Pope. His actions were condemned in Avignon and in Paris. This was perceived as victory for those promoting the Immaculate Conception.

The Council of Basel (1431-1449) attempted to resolve the Western schism; however, the representatives of the Roman Pope did not stay at the Council. On September 17, 1438, at the thirty-sixth session, the Council declared that by a special act of prevention, Mary was never stained with original sin. However, after the conclusion of the Schism, the Church accepted only the first twenty-two sessions, and the declaration was not adopted by the universal Church. bsp;

Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1494), a Franciscan, was the first Pope to allow the feast to be celebrated in the curia but this was not extended to the universal Church. The feast was still referred to as "Mary's Conception." Sixtus IV issued two bulls entitled, Grave nimis, in which forbade either side from calling each other heretical. At the Lateran Council V (1512-17), Leo X proposed raising the question of the Immaculate Conception but was dissuaded by Cardinal Cajetan's opposition. The Council of Trent chose not to define the Immaculate Conception but stated:

This holy Council declares that it does not intend to include in this decree on original sin, the blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God; but that the constitutions of Pope Sixtus IV... are to be observed, under the penalties contained in those constitutions, which [the present council] renews.[32]

The Dominican Saint Pius V's reform of the liturgy lessened the solemnity of the feast but also allowed a wider celebration. Innocent XII on May 15, 1693, extended the feast to the whole Church with an office and octave. It was made a holiday of obligation by Clement XI on December 6, 1708.

The Dominicans preferred to refer to the feast as that of Mary's sanctification but the Popes, including the Dominican Pius V, referred to it as the feast of her conception. Pius did allow those who had used the title "sanctification" for the feast for over two hundred years to retain it, though this exemption was revoked by Gregory XV on May 24, 1622. Those who promoted the teaching of the Immaculate Conception came to be known as "immaculists" and those who were opposed as the "maculists." Some Dominicans defended the Immaculate Conception such as Ambrose Catharinus (d. 1553) and Thomas Campanella (d. 1639).

It was only on May 17, 1806, that Pius VII allowed the Franciscans to add the words "Immaculata" to the name of the feast in the preface, and Gregory XVI in 1838 extended the privilege to any dioceses and orders who requested it. Frederick Jelly notes: "When even the Dominicans appealed for the privilege in 1843, doubtless on account of a definite invitation from the Holy See, and the difficulties of some of them that their oath of allegiance to follow the teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas prevented them from pronouncing such a formula as "Immaculate Conception" were resolved, the last bastion of Roman Catholic resistance to the dogma disappeared."[33] In 1846, at the sixth provincial council of Baltimore, the American bishops petitioned the Pope to make Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, the patroness of the United States.


In 1830, St. Catherine Labouré received a series of apparitions from Our Lady during which she received a medal that came to be known as the "Miraculous Medal." Engraved on the medal were the words, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

After consulting theologians, Pius IX, questioned the bishops of the universal church as to whether he should define the Immaculate Conception. 546 of the 603 bishops consulted responded affirmatively, four or five did not think it could be defined, twenty-four questioned whether the time was opportune, and ten preferred an indirect definition. Pius IX was assisted in composing his papal bull, Ineffabilis Deus, by a Jesuit theologian Perrone and by Dom Gueranger, Abbot of Solesmes. The document was not entirely completed when the Pope made the declaration on December 8, 1854. The essential definition was:

We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful.[34]

George Tavard has commented on the definition:

The positive point of the definition links the Immaculate Conception of Mary to the merits of Christ that would have been applied to her by anticipation or retroactively. The Son's merits flowed back upon the mother, not in the irreversible temporality of history but in the sovereign mind of God the Creator who makes all creatures what they are. This perspective derives from John Duns Scotus's remarkable insight. What was, with John Duns Scotus, a hypothesis that contradicted the theology of all his predecessors, is introduced in the Catholic faith...It is the Creator, and not the conditions of the world or the sinful behavior of ancestors, that gives being to each creature. A parallel is thus implied between the virginal conception of Jesus and the immaculate conception of Mary.[35]

Frederick Jelly has noted the role which the magisterium, tradition, and the sense of the faithful have shown in the recognition of the truths of the faith:

Vatican II has clearly put into proper perspective the role of the church's magisterium in the development of doctrine, particularly in its relationship to Scripture and tradition. In the tradition that comes from the apostles, there is a "growth in insight into the realities and words that are being passed on." The task of interpreting authentically the Word of God, of which Scripture and tradition make up a "single sacred deposit" has been "entrusted" to the magisterium, which "is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant" and can propose for belief as being revealed by God only what is "drawn from this single deposit of faith.'' The magisterium is not the total bearer of tradition, of what is passed on from the apostles, but the proximate norm of determining just what is authentic and so somehow divinely revealed in the transmission and development of that deposit of faith. The transmitters of tradition are actually all who are graced with apostolic faith in the church of Christ, some of whom are obviously called to have a greater hand in it than others, but embracing all in the "sensus fidelium.''.[36]

Jelly also points out the connection between Mary's Immaculate Conception and her maternity:

The primary reason given in Ineffabilis Deus for the doctrine of Mary's Immaculate Conception is that she was chosen to be Theotokos by the triune God. This harmonizes with the constant theological testimony in tradition that Mary was blessed by God with special and even unique graces and privileges so that she might be a "worthy" God-bearer. It also accords with Vatican II's "hierarchy of truths,"... Within this hierarchy, in which the primary or central truths are the Trinity, incarnation, and redemption, Mary's Immaculate Conception would indeed be considered secondary or peripheral. The function of such revealed truths or dogmas is to shed light upon the central mysteries of our Christian faith and also to inspire us to live more fully in fidelity to them. Besides the trinitarian and Christocentric characteristics of the Immaculate Conception, by reason of the dogma's inherent relationship to Mary's motherhood of God the Son or Word made flesh, it has soteriological and ecclesiotypical aspects as well, which help enlighten us about the central mystery of our redemption by Christ alone and inspire us to more devoted discipleship.[37]

Karl Rahner has written on the implications of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception: "Mary is someone who has been redeemed radically....Mary is...the highest and most radical instance of the realization of salvation..."[38] He explains why this is the case:

The Church's teaching that is expressed in these words, simply states that the most blessed virgin Mother of God was adorned by God with sanctifying grace from the first instant of her existence, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ her son, that is, on account of the redemption effected by her son. Consequently, she never knew that state which we call original sin, and which consists precisely in the lack of grace in men caused in them by the sin of the first man at the beginning of human history. The Immaculate Conception of the blessed Virgin, therefore, consists simply in her having possessed the divine life of grace from the beginning of her existence, a life of grace that was given her (without her meriting it), by the prevenient grace of God, so that through this gracefilled beginning of her life, she might become the mother of the redeemer in the manner God had intended her to be for his own Son. For that reason, she was enveloped from the beginning of her life in the redemptive and saving love of God. Such is, quite simply, the content of this doctrine which Pius IX in 1854 solemnly defined as a truth of the Catholic faith.[39]

Rahner relates Mary's sinless state to our experience of sanctifying grace:

The Immaculate Conception means that Mary possessed grace from the beginning. What does it signify, though, to say that someone has sanctifying grace? This dry technical term of theology makes it sound as though some thing were meant, yet ultimately sanctifying grace and its possession do not signify any thing, not even merely some sublime, mysterious condition of our souls, lying beyond the world of our personal experience and only believed in a remote, theoretical way. Sanctifying grace, fundamentally, means God himself, his communications to created spirits, the gift which is God himself. Grace is light, love, receptive access of a human being's life as a spiritual person to the infinite expanses of the Godhead. Grace means freedom, strength, a pledge of eternal life, the predominant influence of the Holy Spirit in the depths of the soul, adoptive sonship and an eternal inheritance. Mary does not differ from us because she possessed these gifts. It is her possession of them from the beginning, and incomparably, that is the sole difference between her and us.[40]

John Macquarrie, an Anglican theologian, has illustrated the positive manner in which the Immaculate Conception needs to be understood:

Instead of putting the dogma of Immaculate Conception in the negative form by stating that Mary was preserved from the stain of original sin, we may put it in an affirmative way and say she was preserved in a right relatedness to God. An equivalent affirmative expression would be to say that she was always the recipient of grace. She was surrounded with grace from her original conception in the mind of God to her actual historical conception in the love of her parents.[41]

Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., emphasizes that Mary's Immaculate Conception is bound with Jesus' saving death:

Mary was exempt from the universal stain of original sin. What is more, she did not at any time personally commit sin, and indeed was not even acquainted with actual sin or evil desire. This is due entirely to the uniquely sanctifying power of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, the pure gift of his mercy which is effective in our case in the forgiveness of sins. His mother's sanctity was just as much the result of the shedding of Christ's blood as our feeble efforts to resist sin, or the longing for heaven which the thief on the cross experienced almost too late. But, with Mary, this goes even further – the mercy and redemption, which she enjoyed were greater and more profound and far-reaching than ours.[42]

Jesus, in fact, suffered more for Mary than for anyone else: "If we consider Christ's redemptive suffering on the Cross in its aspect of sacrificial love, we can, and indeed are bound to, conclude that He suffered first and foremost and most of all for Mary....As the most beautiful creation of his redemptive death, Mary is the person for whom Christ shed his redeeming blood most liberally and with the most fervent sacrificial love."[43]

Schillebeeckx affirms the validity of Mary's redemption by prevention:

The real distinction between Mary's case – coming redeemed into the world – and ours – being redeemed later –throws a totally different light on the painful character of Christ's death considered as the redemption by exemption of his mother. At the deepest level, Christ's redemption is sacrificial love, a breaking through of God's mercy into a torn and disrupted world which imparted its painful character to this divine intervention. The prevention of the malice of sin by anticipation is indeed in accord with the whole of Redemption, but it must at the same time be seen in a different light from the expiation of and the redemption from the actually present malice of sin.[44]

Schillebeeckx asserts that Mary cooperated with her own redemption in a greater manner than we do:

As a consequence of this, her co-operation in her own redemption was incomparably greater than our co-operation in our redemption. We can therefore reasonably claim that Mary is our prototype and model, and that we may, in faith, confidently acknowledge her as such, in our positive response to the Redemption which is brought to us in the God-man, Christ, alone. In this respect, then, Mary stands as a pattern of the Christian attitude towards life, and every Christian should look upon her as his constant example.[45]

Mary's exemption from sin did not exempt her from human sufferings:

The privilege of her Immaculate Conception did not in any sense include exemption from the normal process of human development, nor did it imply that she possessed a kind of omniscience, that she was incapable of making any mistakes which were not of a moral nature, or that she was not subject to spiritual progress or improvement, even concerning the mystery of salvation. Like Christ himself, Mary was in no way exempt from the consequences of original sin, which she took upon herself, insofar as they were not sinful.[46]

Mary's response to God was one of total openness:

By virtue of the grace of her exceptional and special election, Mary realized, in her person, the fundamental openness and receptivity of the Old Testament expectation of the Messiah in all its various lines of development, which had been steadily and continuously converging towards one single point. It was this openness and receptivity which became, at least at that level, the ultimate disposition of the Incarnation. All this is, then, the pure work of grace. God prepared for his coming in and through the Jewish people and ultimately through the Virgin Mary. But, as is always the case, every grace is a receiving, from the subject's point of view. Thus, during the whole of the time before the Message, Mary's holiness was a pure receptivity and openness towards God's potential gifts.[47]

At certain moments of her life, Mary's response to God's initiatives has ramifications in the history of salvation:

Even if Mary did personalize her exceptional objective state of being redeemed in a subjectively sublime manner through the whole of her life, it is nonetheless possible to distinguish, in her life as in Christ's, various climaxes which form the summit of her subjective acceptance of Christ's redemption. Chief among these are her virgin openness, her fiat, her communion with Christ's sacrifice at the foot of the Cross, her physical death and her experience of Pentecost.[48]


The Liturgy for the feast of the Immaculate Conception uses the story of the Fall in Genesis 3:9-15, 20 as the first reading, suggesting the Mary/Eve comparison. The second reading from Ephesians 1:3-6, 11, 12, speaks of those who are chosen in Christ, emphasizing the "mysterious purpose of God," "Who foresaw the redemption worked in His Son. Those chosen are to be "holy and spotless." The Gospel is the Annunciation account (Luke 1:26-28) relating Mary's Immaculate Conception to her maternity.

The opening prayer explicitly ties Mary's Immaculate Conception to the Redemption:

Father, You prepared the Virgin Mary to be the worthy mother of Your Son. You let her share beforehand in the salvation Christ would bring by His death, and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception. Help us by her prayers to live in Your presence without sin.[49]

The preface carries out the theme of Mary's relationship to the Church:

You allowed no stain of Adam's sin to touch the Virgin Mary. Full of grace, she was to be a worthy mother of Your Son, Your sign of favor to the Church at its beginning, and the promise of its perfection as the bride of Christ, radiant in beauty. Purest of Virgins, she was to bring forth Your Son, the innocent lamb who takes away our sins. You chose her from all women to be our advocate with You and our pattern of holiness.[50]

1 Augustine, On Nature and Grace, (De Natura et Gratia), 42 (36), in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, V, ed. Philip Schaff (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co, 1980), 135.

2 Luigi Gambero, Mary and the Fathers of the Church, trans. Thomas Buffer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999), 226.

3 Cornelius A. Bouman, "The Immaculate Conception in the Liturgy," in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 119.

4 Cf. Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1976), 130-134.

5 Vladimir Lossky, In the Image and Likeness of God (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1974), 203-204.

6 Andrew of Crete, Homily 1 on the Nativity, in Luigi Gambero, Mary and the Fathers of the Church, trans. Thomas Buffer (San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 1999), 394-395; PG 87, 809 D-812 A.

7 Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, (De Nuptiis et Concupiscentia), I, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, V, ed. Philip Schaff (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co, 1980), 263-264.

8 Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), vi.

9 "...novam inducendo celebritatem, quam ritus Ecclesiae nescit, non probat ratio, non commendat antiqua traditio. Nunquid Patribus doctores, aut devotiores summus? " Bernard "Ad Canonicos Lugdunenses, De Conceptione S. Mariae," Epistolo CLXXIV, 1; PL 182, 333.

10 "Fuit procul dubio et Mater Domini ante sancta, quam nata: nec fallitur omnino sancta Ecclesia, sanctum reputans ipsum Nativitatis ejus diem, et omnia anno cum exultatione universae terrae votiva celebritate suscipiens." Bernard "Ad Canonicos Lugdunenses, De Conceptione S. Mariae," Epistolo CLXXIV, 5; PL 182, 334.

11 "Ego puto, quod et copiosior sanctificationis benedictio in eam descenderit, quae ipsius non solum sanctificaret ortum, sed et vitam ab omni deinceps peccato custodiret immunem." Bernard "Ad Canonicos Lugdunenses, De Conceptione S. Mariae," Epistolo CLXXIV, 5; PL 182, 334.

12 "Solus itaque Domininus Jesus de Spiritu santo conceptus, quia solus et ante conceptum sanctus." Bernard "Ad Canonicos Lugdunenses, De Conceptione S. Mariae," Epistolo CLXXIV, 7; PL 182, 335.

13 "Virgo regia falso non eget honore." Bernard "Ad Canonicos Lugdunenses, De Conceptione S. Mariae," Epistolo CLXXIV, 2; PL 182, 333.

14 Carlo Balic, O.F.M., "The Mediaeval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus" in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 166.

15 “Et tu quidem veraciter dicere potueras: ‘Ecce enim in iniquitatiibus concepta sum, et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.’ Cum enim esses de massa quae in Adam corrupta est, haereditaria peccati, originalis labe non carebas.” Rupert of Deutz, In Cantica Canticorum, 1; PL 168, 841.

16 "Nempe decens erat, ut ea putitate, qua major sub Deo nequit intelligi, Virgo illa niteret, cui Deus Pater unicum Filium suum, quem de corde suo aequalem sibi gentium, tamquam seipsum dilegebat, ita dare disponebat, ut naturaliter esset unus idemque communis Dei Patris et Virginis Filius..." Anselm, Liber de Conceptu Virginali et Originali Peccato, XVIII, PL 158, 451.

17 Carlo Balic, O.F.M., "The Mediaeval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus," in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 167.

18 "Dicimus, quod Beata Virgo non fuit sanctificata ante animationem: et qui dicunt oppositum, est haeresis condemnata a Beato Bernardo in epistola ad Lugdunenses, et a Magistris omnibus Parisiensibus." Albertus Magnus, Commentarii in III Sententiarum, vol. xxiii, B. Alberti Magni, Opera Omnia (Paris: Ludovicum Vives, 1894), d.3, a.4 sol., 47.

19 "Et ideo dicendum est quod anima praexistit in embryone a principio quidem nutitiva, postmodum autem sensitiva, et tandem intellectiva." Thomas Aquinas, S. Th. Ia, 118, 2 ad2.

20 "Et ideo, quia hoc spectat ad excellentem dignitatem Christi, quod ipse est omnium Redemptor et Salvator, et quod ipse omnibus aperuit ianuam, et quod ipse unus pro omnibus mortuus est; nullatenus ab hac generalitate beata Virgo Maria excludenda est, ne, dum Matris excellentia ampliatur, Filii gloria minuatur: et sic Mater provocetur, quae magis vult Filium extolii et honorari quam se ipsam, utpote Creatorem quam creaturam." Bonaventure, Commentaria in Quatuor Libros Sententiarum Magistri Librum Sententiarum, III, In Tertium Librum Sententiarum, d.3, p.1, q. 2 (Ad Claras Aquas: Collegii S. Bonaventurae, 1887), 68.

21 "Et talis fuit puritas beatae Virginis, quae a peccato originali et actuali immunis fuit." Thomas Aquinas, Commentum in Primum Librum Senteniarum, vol. vii, Thomae Aquinatis Opera Omnia (Paris: Ludovicum Vives, 1873), d. xliv, q.1, a. iii, 529.

22 "Ad secundum quaestionem dicendum, quod sanctificatio beatae Virginis non potuit esse decenter ante infusionem animae, quia gratiae capax nondum erat, sed nec etiam in ipso instanti infusionis, ut scilicet per gratiam tunc sibi infusam conservaretur, ne culpam originalem incurreret. Christus enim hoc singulariter in humano genere habet ut redemptione non egeat, quia caput nostrum est, sed omnibus convenit redimi per ipsum. Hoc autem esse non posset, si alia anima inveniretur quae nunquam, originali macula fuisset infecta; et ideo nec beatae Virgini, nec alicui praeter Christum hoc concessum est." Thomas Aquinas, Commentum in Tertium Librum Senteniarum, vol. ix, Thomae Aquinatis Opera Omnia (Paris: Ludovicum Vives, 1873), d. iii, q.1, a. i, 51.

23 See Thomas U. Mullaney, O.P., "Mary Immaculate in the Writings of St. Thomas," The Thomist, XVII (1954): 433-468.

24 William of Ware, Sent. III, quaestio De conceptione beatae Virginis, quoted by Carlo Balic, O.F.M., "The Mediaeval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus," in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 203.

25 William of Ware, Sent. III, quaestio De conceptione beatae Virginis, quoted by Carlo Balic, O.F.M., "The Mediaeval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus," in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 203.

26 William of Ware, Sent. III, quaestio De conceptione beatae Virginis, quoted by Carlo Balic, O.F.M., "The Mediaeval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus," in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 203.

27]Duns Scotus, Ordinatio, III d.3 q.1, quoted by Carlo Balic, O.F.M., "The Mediaeval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus," in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 207.

28 Duns Scotus, Ordinatio, III d.3 q.1, quoted by Carlo Balic, O.F.M., "The Mediaeval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus" in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 208.

29 Duns Scotus, Ordinatio, III d.3 q.1, quoted by Carlo Balic, O.F.M., "The Mediaeval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus" in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 207.

30 Duns Scotus, Ordinatio, III d.3 q.1, quoted by Carlo Balic, O.F.M., "The Mediaeval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus," in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 205.

31 Duns Scotus, Ordinatio, III d.3 q.1, quoted by Carlo Balic, O.F.M., "The Mediaeval Controversy over the Immaculate Conception up to the Death of Scotus," in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 208-209.

32 Council of Trent, Session V, Decretum de peccato originali, No. 6, Denzinger 833.

33 Frederick M. Jelly, O.P. "The Roman Catholic Dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception," The One Mediator, The Saints, and Mary: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VIII, ed. H. George Anderson, J. Francis Stafford, Joseph A. Burgess (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1992), 266.

34 Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, quoted by Rene Laurentin, "The Role of the Papal Magisterium in the Development of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception," trans by Charles Sheedy, C.S.C. and Edward Shea, C.S.C., in Edward O'Connor, C.S.C., The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: History and Significance (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1958), 312.

3] George H. Tavard, The Thousand Faces of the Virgin Mary (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1996), 195.

36 Frederick M. Jelly, O.P. "The Roman Catholic Dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception," The One Mediator, The Saints, and Mary: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VIII, ed. H. George Anderson, J. Francis Stafford, Joseph A. Burgess (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1992), 270.

37 Frederick M. Jelly, O.P. "The Roman Catholic Dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception," The One Mediator, The Saints, and Mary: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VIII, ed. H. George Anderson, J. Francis Stafford, Joseph A. Burgess (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1992), 276.

38 Karl Rahner, S.J., Foundations of Christian Faith. An Introduction to the Idea of Christianity (London, 1978), 387.

39 Karl Rahner, Mary Mother of the Lord (London: Catholic Book Club, 1963), 43-44.

40 Karl Rahner, Mary Mother of the Lord (London: Catholic Book Club, 1963), 48-49.

41 John Macquarrie, Mary for All Christians (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1990), 71-72.

42 Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., Mary, Mother of the Redemption (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1964, 50.

43 Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., Mary, Mother of the Redemption (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1964), 50.

44 Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., Mary, Mother of the Redemption (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1964), 50-51.

45 Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., Mary, Mother of the Redemption (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1964), 79.

46 Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., Mary, Mother of the Redemption (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1964), 53.

47 Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., Mary, Mother of the Redemption (New York: Sheed & Ward,1964), 54.

48 Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., Mary, Mother of the Redemption (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1964), 53-53.

49 "Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception," The Sacramentary (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1974), 754.

50 "Preface of the Immaculate Conception," The Sacramentary (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1974), 489.

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