[quote=RyanL]If Adam and Eve, who were without sin and walked with God as creatures with their creator, were capable of sinning, how is it that the Blessed Mother was not?
The Blessed Mother was not just without sin. She had an inherent quality (by grace) that Adam and Eve did not possess. Fr Hardon already explained this and I invite you to read it again, paying attention to the portion I underlined:
"Was the Blessed Virgin free from stain because she did not offend God, or because she was impeccable and incapable of sin? The latter is common teaching in Catholic Tradition, while distinguishing it from the impeccability enjoyed by Christ. His may be called absolute and derived from the union of his human nature with the divinity. He could not sin because he was God, and God is infinitely holy. Mary could not sin by reason of an inherent quality, which some place midway between the state of souls in the beatific vision and that of our first parents before the fall.
“Concretely this quality may be identified with perseverance in grace as regards grave sin, and confirmation in grace for lesser sins. In either case, however, her incapacity for sin differed radically from that of Christ. Where his was based on the fact that he is a divine person, hers was an added prerogative. It was absolutely necessary that he could not sin, since God is sinless. It was a free gift of God’s mercy that Mary could not sin, but only because she was protected by divine favor.” (pp. 159-160 of The Catholic Catechism)
How, exactly, do you know that Mary possessed the Beatific Vision prior to the Annunciation?
Um I never said that Mary posssessed the Beatific Vision prior to the Annunciation (or for that matter after the Annunciation).
Since you dismiss the Catholic Encyclopedia, Pope John Paul II, and Fr John A Hardon, I doubt you’ll listen to Pope Pius IX but I’ll give it a shot:
“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.”
This is from Ineffabilis Deus within which was defined the Immaculate Conception
If Mary at the moment of the Immaculate Conception possesed a “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” than that means she was holier at that moment than the saints and angels in heaven who are incapable of sinning. But if Mary were not also incapable of sinning, then those saints and angels who are incapable of sinning would be holier than Mary in that respect. So therefore, Mary was incapable of sinning, being not only holier than all the angels and saints in Heaven, but also so holy “under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.”