Immaculate Conception Clarification

So this is from the Catechism:
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. “Let it be done to me according to your word. . .
(*** added for emphasis)

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Was Mary capable of sinning? Like how Eve was born without sin, but choose to enter into it? Or did Mary have something analogous to what a Protestant may call “efficacious grace,” that is to say, it would have been impossible for her to Sin in light of the grace she had received? (Bible verses to help clarify would be great!)

Thank you!

you’re not going to find much in the bible.

I agree there’s not much in the Bible except that Mary was full of grace. My understanding is that Mary was capable of sinning, God never “overrides” our free will. What sort of accomplishment would it be if she didn’t sin because she was incapable of sinning? No, she was capable, but chose not to-- that is why she is so special. Eve was perfectly capable of not sinning as was Adam. They were filled with original holiness and justice. I’ll steal the quote from the Indiana Jones movie when I say, “They chose poorly.”

It is likely that God gave Mary every gift of the Holy Spirit (Is 11:2) and one of those gifts is “holy fear of the Lord” which definitely would lead someone away from sin, as would all the gifts of the Spirit… Because Mary was in a state of holiness since conception, she was likely very sensitive to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But honestly, I do not think she was given more of an advantage (to not sin) by her immaculate conception than Eve was given in her “immaculate” creation.

I agree with Prayer Warrior. Father Hardon taught that Mary was incapable of sin. But that would mean she didn’t have free will.

Being free of original sin, Mary was not internally tempted - she didn’t have concupiscence. But external temptations would still exist - as they did for Eve and even for Jesus. So she still could have sinned.

She could have said NO to God. She would have seen the weight of what was being asked of her even though she didn’t know exactly how it would all unfold. She could have said, “no, this is too much for me.” If she didn’t have this possibility, her “yes” wouldn’t have the value of faith.

I agree totally with this ^^^


I have long wondered about Mary being free from concupiscence. Although generally accepted by theologians, I thought it was open to contrary opinion.

Mary had free will and could have chosen to sin. However, she was free from the concupiscence that leads us to desire sin; therefore, she was able to reject sin knowing that it would displease God.

Thanks everyone! I talked to my parish Priest today and he confirmed what you all are saying. Mary could have rebelled, but she choose not to. She was free and human like the rest of us.

God bless!

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