Immaculate Conception

**I believe in the Immaculate Conception and that Mary was free from original sin, but I’m a bit confused about something else. She never ever sinned, I know, but did the Immaculate Conception make her incapable of sinning or simply protect her from mortal sin and fill her with such grace that she had no temptation to sin??? If you could please clarify, that would be great


I am sure she still had temptation - even Jesus was faced with it. You are right in saying that she was never in sin, but she made the choice not to sin.

The way I understand it, Mary was born without concupiscence, the human tendency towards sin. She would have faced temptation, but did not have this human tendency, that is all.

Yes, the Blessed Virgin was free from the inclination to sin (concupiscence), and was also morally impeccable. Our Lord, on the other hand, being God, was metaphysically impeccable - sinning would have been entirely against His nature as God. The Blessed Virgin was given the gift of impeccability (just as she was miraculously conceived without sin). She herself had no inclination to sin, but that does not mean that no outside forces could have attempted to tempt her (as Satan tried to tempt Our Lord).

That Mary was free from concupiscence and also had the gift of impeccability can be shown from the common teaching of theologians before Vatican II (e.g., Herve, Ott, Pohle, Tanquerey). I only say that because multi-volume theology manuals aren’t written anymore.

For example: (see page 72 on the B/W PDF version). There we read:

“The Blessed Virgin Mary was throughout her life actually exempt from every impulse of concupiscence.”

See also: (Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma.) There we read:

“From her conception Mary was free from all motions of concupiscence. (Sent. communis.)” [n. 156 on the above link]

This answer is actually a bit confusing to me, because how could Jesus be fully human, and be able to really understand our sufferings and difficulties, if he did not ever have any temptations to sin? It cannot really be a temptation if one does not at least have an innate pull towards the sin, can it?

Adam and Eve were not impeccable, but neither did they have the inclination to sin (before their Fall). Only a temptation outside of themselves could have led them into sin, and that’s exactly what happened.

Our Lord had no internal temptation to sin (and was impeccable), but it was still possible for Satan to at least try and tempt Him; this too was a temptation outside of Himself. Pride can lead people (and fallen angels, apparently) to attempt the impossible.

Our Lord experienced emotions, and He suffered in His human nature, so He could experience some of what we go through and understand our difficulties (He saw sinners, what sin did to them, as well as true repentance). Even though Our Lord had no internal pulling towards the temptations put before Him, they were still temptations nevertheless. I might be able to better explain it later today (I’ll do some reading and come back to this topic). :slight_smile:

Neither Mary nor Christ ever sinned. But for Christ this was impossible because He is God and God cannot sin. Mary could have sinned but chose not to, she still had free will, she just made the right choices.

A better distinction would be:

it was intrinsically impossible for Christ to have sinned, for He is God;

it was extrinsically impossible for Mary to have sinned, for she was given this unique gift by God.

Remember, Christ too had free will.

Since the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, we know with certainty that Jesus did face temptation.

The difference is that Jesus and Mary were not inclined toward sin; in other words, though they could have freely chosen to sin, they were able to resist sin more easily than the rest of us.

Moreover, and I’m just thinking out loud at this point, I suspect that their personal holiness made sinful thoughts and actions repugnant to them. They were repelled by the same things that would attract you and me.

Here’s a poor analogy: one man cannot bear the thought of drinking alcohol or of sleeping with a woman who is not his wife while another dives into both activities at every opportunity. One is attracted (even seeking out these things); one is repelled.

Hope that helps.

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