Hi, guys —
I need help.
I was recently in a conversation
with several Catholic co-workers during which
I told them that it was my understanding, of their
faith, that Mary was, herself, the product of a
Virgin Birth, and that the term "Immaculate Conception" refers to the conception of
Mary, herself, rather then the conception of Jesus in her womb. They
looked at me like I was crazy and said that they
had never heard of such a thing.
- Was I way off here?
- If not, where can I go for some authority on this?
Thank you very much for any assistance you can
Was I confused about what we
believe about the Immaculate Conception
and the Virgin Birth? }
Hi, Steven —
Thank you for your question.
The Church does not believe that Mary came about as a result of her Mother,
St. Anne, having a Virgin Birth. However, the Immaculate Conception is a separate doctrine which involves Mary's conception in her mother, St. Anne's womb.
Mary's parents, Sts. Joachim and Anne, conceived Mary in the normal way,
but the Church teaches that Mary was granted a singular grace of being conceived
without the stain of original sin.
She was ** preserved ** from
sin on the basis of what Christ was going to do on the Cross.
calls this teaching, the Immaculate Conception.
To use an analogy, it was
like salvation by credit. Where the rest of us were born with original sin, struggle with sin then we come to salvation through Christ, Mary was saved
in a more glorious way. She was preserved, or prevent from falling into sin when she was conceived;
this was an act of God's grace and was not due to anything of her own nature. The Church
teaches that God did this so that Christ would have a fitting vessel for
to enter the world.
Hope this Helps,
John C. DiMascio
Hi, Steven —
John's right on the nose!
The Immaculate Conception, as the Church has officially defined it, happened in St. Anne body, not Mary's.
Now because our Blessed Mother was born immaculate and never sinned, Jesus was also conceived immaculately in Mary, nine months earlier. We celebrate this on the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25th.
Many believe as your friends do because the Church uses readings for the birth of Jesus at the Christmas Masses.
On the Virgin Birth: Mary's birth was not a virgin birth. As John said, Mary's parents, Sts. Joachim and Anne, conceived Mary in the normal way.
Jesus' Birth was a Virgin Birth — a Birth that happened at Christmas.
I means historically we know as Jesus was being born by Mary, Mary was miraculously a Virgin:
she gave birth to the Son of God, Jesus, our Saviour. For that reason she is Mother of all mankind, lay people and consecrated religious.
Hope this helps,