✟ God the Redeemer ✟
The Mother of the Redeemer
Revealed Truth (Defined Dogma)

Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin.
("The Immaculate Conception")

Lay Catechist Notes/Associated Doctrines
    Conception of a human being occurs when God creates out of nothing an immortal soul and "infuses" this soul in to the just fertilized egg. All human beings created since Adam and Eve have been created with Original Sin and the lack of Sanctifying Grace. Mary, however, to become the vessel for the Incarnate God, was preserved from this defect, so that she entered existence in a state of grace (i.e. with Sanctifying Grace in her soul). The Church teaches that Mary was, in a way, "pre-redeemed", in that she was freed from the effects of Original Sin by a special gift of God (who is outside of time and space) who applied the merits won by Jesus Christ prior to Him having won them.

    Associated Catholic Doctrine(s):
    1. "From her conception, Mary was free from all motions of concupiscence." (sententia communis)
    2. "In consequence of a Special Privilege of Grace from God, Mary was free from every personal sin during her whole life." (sententia fidei proxima)
Divine Revelation (Scriptural Proof)
  • 15I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. (Genesis 3:15)
  • 28And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Luke 1:28)
  • 41And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. (Luke 1:41-42)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • 490 To become the mother of the Saviour, 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 1854:
      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, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.
  • 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".
Ecumenical Council Documents
  • General Council of Trent (1545)
    • Decree Concerning Original Sin
      • "This holy council declares, however, that  it is not its intention to include in this decree, which deals with original sin, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the mother of God , but that the constitutions of Pope Sixtus IV, of happy memory, are to be observed under the penalties contained in those constitutions, which it renews."
Papal Encyclical Documents
  • Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum (1904) - That Most Happy Day - Pius X
    • "An interval of a few months will again bring round  that most happy day on which, fifty years ago , Our Predecessor Pius IX., Pontiff of holy memory, surrounded by a noble crown of Cardinals and Bishops,  pronounced and promulgated with the authority of the infallible magisterium asa truth revealed by God that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception was free from all stain of original sin . All the world knows the feelings with which the faithful of all the nations of the earth received this proclamation and the manifestations of public satisfaction and joy which greeted it, for truly there has not been in the memory of man any more universal or more harmonious expression of sentiment shown towards the august Mother of God or the Vicar of Jesus Christ."
    • "18. If anyone desires a confirmation of this it may easily be found in  the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary . For leaving aside tradition which, as well as Scripture, is a source of truth, how has this persuasion of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin appeared so conformed to the Catholic mind and feeling that it has been held as being one, and as it were inborn in the soul of the faithful? "We shrink from saying," is the answer of Dionysius of Chartreux, "of this woman who was to crush the head of the serpent that had been crushed by him and that Mother of God that she had ever been a daughter of the Evil One" (Sent. d. 3, q. 1). No, to the Christian intelligence  the idea is unthinkable that the flesh of Christ, holy, stainless, innocent, was formed in the womb of Mary of a flesh which had ever, if only for the briefest moment, contracted any stain . And why so, but because an infinite opposition separates God from sin? There certainly we have the origin of the conviction common to all Christians that  Jesus Christ before, clothed in human nature, He cleansed us from our sins in His blood, accorded Mary the grace and special privilege of being preserved and exempted, from the first moment of her conception, from all stain of original sin ."

  • Fulgens Corona (1953) - Radiant Crown - Pius XII
    • "7. In the first place,  the foundation of this doctrine is to be found in Sacred Scripture, where we are taught that God, Creator of all things, after the sad fall of Adam, addressed the serpent, the tempter and corrupter, in these words, which not a few Fathers, Doctors of the Church and many approved interpreters applied to the Virgin Mother of God: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed " (Gen. III-15)."
    • "8. Moreover,  since the same holy Virgin is saluted "full of grace" and "blessed among wome n" (Luke I. 28, 24), by these words, as Catholic tradition has always interpreted, it is plainly indicated that "by this singular and solemn salutation, otherwise never heard of, it is shown that the  Mother of God was the abode of all Divine graces , adorned with all the charisms of the Holy Spirit, yea, the treasury well nigh infinite and abyss inexhaustible of these charisms, so  that she was never subjected to the one accursed " (Bull  Ineffabilis Deus )."
    • "11. This high office which the Council of Ephesus solemnly declared and sanctioned against the heresy of Nestorius (Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Lux Veritatis; Acta Apost. Sedis, Vol. 23, P. 493, ss) and greater than which does not seem possible,  demands the fullness of Divine grace and a soul immune from stain, since it requires the greatest dignity and sanctity after Christ . Yea indeed, from this sublime office of the Mother of Godseem to flow, as it were from a most limpid hidden source, all the privileges and graces with which her soul and life were adorned in such extraordinary manner and measure."

  • Ad Caeli Reginam (1954) - Queen of Heaven - Pius XII
    • "41. In order to understand better this sublime dignity of the Mother of God over all creatures  let us recall that the holy Mother of God was, at the very moment of her Immaculate Conception, so filled with grace as to surpass the grace of all the Saints . Wherefore, as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius IX wrote, God "showered her with heavenly gifts and graces from the treasury of His divinity so far beyond what He gave to all the angels and saints that  she was ever free from the least stain of sin ; she is so beautiful and perfect, and possesses such fullness of innocence and holiness, that under God a greater could not be dreamed, and only God can comprehend the marvel."

  • Le Pelerinage de Lourdes (1957) - The Pilgrimage to Lourdes - Pius XII
    • "16. The Virgin Mary herself desired this tie. " What the Sovereign Pontiff defined in Rome through his infallible Magisterium, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, blessed among all women, wanted to confirm by her own words , it seems, when shortly afterward she manifested herself by a famous apparition at the grotto of Massabielle. . ." Certainly the infallible word of the Roman Pontiff, the authoritative interpreter of revealed truth, needed no heavenly confirmation that it might be accepted by the faithful.  But with what emotion and gratitude did the Christian people and their pastors receive from the lips of Bernadette this answer which came from heaven: "I am the Immaculate Conception! "
    • "21. The fiftieth anniversary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin gave Saint Pius X occasion to bear witness in a solemn document to the historic connection between this act of the Magisterium and the apparitions at Lourdes. "Pius IX," he wrote, " had hardly defined it to be of Catholic faith that Mary was from her very origin exempt from sin, when the Virgin herself began performing miracles at Lourdes. "

  • Redemptoris Mater (1987) - Mother of the Redeemer - John Paul II
    • "10. The Letter to the Ephesians, speaking of the "glory of grace" that "God, the Father...has bestowed on us in his beloved Son," adds: "In him we have redemption through his blood" (Eph. 1:7). According to the belief formulated in solemn documents of the Church, this "glory of grace" is manifested in the Mother of God through the fact that she has been "redeemed in a more sublime manner."  By virtue of the richness of the grace of the beloved Son, by reason of the redemptive merits of him who willed to become her Son, Mary was preserved from the inheritance of original sin. In this way, from the first moment of her conception- which is to say of her existence-she belonged to Christ, sharing in the salvific and sanctifying grace and in that love which has its beginning in the "Beloved," the Son of the Eternal Father, who through the Incarnation became her own Son . Consequently,  through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the order of grace, which is a participation in the divine nature, Mary receives life from him to whom she herself, in the order of earthly generation, gave life as a mother . The liturgy does not hesitate to call her "mother of her Creator" and to hail her with the words which Dante Alighieri places on the lips of St. Bernard: "daughter of your Son." And since Mary receives this "new life" with a fullness corresponding to the Son's love for the Mother, and thus corresponding to the dignity of the divine motherhood, the angel at the Annunciation calls her "full of grace."
Church Magisterium Documents
  • Ineffabilis Deus (1854) - God Ineffable (Too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words) - Pius IX
    • "God Ineffable -- whose ways are mercy and truth, whose will is omnipotence itself, and whose wisdom "reaches from end to end mightily, and orders all things sweetly" -- having foreseen from all eternity the lamentable wretchedness of the entire human race which would result from the sin of Adam, decreed, by a plan hidden from the centuries, to complete the first work of his goodness by a mystery yet more wondrously sublime through the Incarnation of the Word. This he decreed in order that man who, contrary to the plan of Divine Mercy had been led into sin by the cunning malice of Satan, should not perish; and in order that what had been lost in the first Adam would be gloriously restored in the Second Adam. From the very beginning, and  before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world . Above all creatures did God so loved her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight.  Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin , all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully."
    • "Hence the words of one of our predecessors, Alexander VII, who authoritatively and decisively declared the mind of the Church: " Concerning the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, ancient indeed is that devotion of the faithful based on the belief that her soul, in the first instant of its creation and in the first instant of the soul's infusion into the body, was, by a special grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, her Son and the Redeemer of the human race, preserved free from all stain of original sin . And in this sense have the faithful ever solemnized and celebrated the Feast of the Conception."
    • "Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: " We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful ."