Marian dogma

Hi so I’ve been becoming a Catholic for a while and at one point I got a list of the dogmas and certain truths and started working through it to make sure I understood everything I would be implicitly declaring I believe if/when I am confirmed. I’ve whittled it down to three dogmas and three certain truths that I don’t understand at all. The dogmas are these:

Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin.
Mary is the Immaculate Conception.
After the birth of Jesus, Mary remained a Virgin.

Basically I’d really like to know where these teachings came from and what their significance is and influence. My family are protestant and I attend a protestant Christian college and take theology classes there sometimes and I have protestant friends and I’m really going to be facing a lot of questions so I’d like to at least be confident in my beliefs whether I can convince other people or not.

I will post my other questions in other threads.

Thank you in advance!


  1. Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin.
    The blessed Virgin was conceived immaculately free from Original Sin by the application of the merits of Christ’s’ Redemption preventively (instead of healing for the rest of mankind). Lk 1:28: “Hail full of grace.” This indicates a perfection of grace. This perfection is thus intensive and extensive – over the whole of her life from conception. How could the Son of God, Jesus, be conceived or born with Original Sin?
  2. Mary is the Immaculate Conception, without any stain of sin, neither Original Sin nor actual sin.
    That is what Hail full of grace means, as above.
  3. After the birth of Jesus, Mary remained a Virgin.
    Absolutely. No Original Sin, no actual sin, and perfect conformity with the will of God – the supernatural result of the fullness of grace, as Mother of God.

And the Lord so willed that she is our Mother, and He gave her to us at the foot of the cross.

She is our mother in the order of grace.

All the grace He gave to her at the moment of her conception in her mother’s womb was gratuitous – she did not merit it.

However, as she grew in that grace with her cooperation she became stronger and increased in faith, hope, and love.

She suffered beyond our imagination due to her extraordinary holiness.

These are Catholic Church teachings. You won’t be able to support these beliefs through Scripture, only through the teachings of the Church. So if you believe in the authority of the Church, then you must believe in the teachings of it. Now to an outsider, you first have to convince them that the Church has authority. That’s another issue all together!

How does the Church receive these “teachings” in a practical way? Are they communicated to the Pope by God? Are they proposed and then voted on by the magisterium? How do these teachings become policy?

Peace and All Good.

These teachings are viewed as being implicit rather than explicit in Scripture. Trough the Grace & Enlightenment of the Holy Ghost, the full meaning & import of the teachings is revealed to the Church.

Often this can be through the Magisterium of the Faithful, the basic Principle of which is that the Church as a Body has always held something to be true & Her members have always believed it, or believed it for so long that the Proclaimed Dogma is merely a Solemn Statement of the belief, which has been handed down implicitly or explicitly from the Apostles, Fathers & Doctors of the Church in accordance with the common belief & consent of the generations of Catholics, Its held that if the thing about to be Proclaimed dogma was in fact an error, God would have raised up Saints & others in the Church to oppose it and show the true understanding or to Provide the correct understanding. God wouldn’t allow the true Faith to be lost or corrupted by error & souls to be lost. If individuals or groups subsequently reject or refuse that Truth, God has at least kept the authentic belief safeguarded within the Church

Take Nestorianism for example, where Nestorius began preaching that Mary was not the Mother of God. In response, God raised up St Cyril & the ensuing Church Council, guided by the Holy Ghost to clarify & explain the Truth

With the example of the Angelic Salutation to Mary, cited above, Church Fathers, Doctors & Generations of Faithful in the Church as a whole since the time of Our Lord have Prayerfully studied & interpreted it, constantly believing & showing the full meaning contained with in the verse. Drawing it out, as a tree might grow from a seed.

I hope this makes sense, I’ll be happy for those with a greater knowledge to correct my wording or any errors I’ve inadvertently made but this is my attempt to explain the how it works

These are the same thing.

Conceived immaculate means conceived without original sin.


I would highly suggest you get Tim Staples book which does a superb job at defining all of these things. He uses scripture, tradition and reason to really bring you to a full understanding of where the teachings come from.

Get “Behold your Mother,” it will help you tremendously. From your background I can tell your going to need the detail that it will give you in helping defend the truths of our Holy Mother.

One of the most important things to remember is all of the reformers - Zwinglee, Calvin and Luther - had great devotion to Mary. They never argued the doctrines tied with her. This has only come down the line over time.

Make sure that this is always remembered - we have the unchanging Apostolic traditions of the Church, instituted by Christ.

The protestants have the wavering traditions of men that have led and continue lead to the breaking down of Christianity - a luke warm American Christian identity. (not that all American Christians are luke warm, they most definitely aren’t, but the numbers are progressively climbing)

God Bless

You should be aware that the founders of Protestantism believed and declared in writing that Mary was immaculately conceived and also that she remained a perpetual virgin.

Martin Luther:

It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin"
(Sermon: “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” 1527)

She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin- something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil.
(Personal {“Little”} Prayer Book, 1522)

Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that.
{Luther’s Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.22:23 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539)}

John Calvin:

Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ’s ‘brothers’ are sometimes mentioned.
{Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 2 / From Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p.215; on Matthew 13:55}

[On Matt 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called ‘first-born’; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.
{Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 107}

Huldreich Zwingli:

Ulrich Zwingli, the Swiss Protestant Reformer, does not see (unlike some Calvinist arguments) in the assertion of Mary’s perfect sanctity any violation of Christ’s humanity:

“He who was about to remove our sins but not to make all men holy, must be himself holy. Hence God sanctified his mother: for it was fitting that such a holy Son should have a likewise holy mother…”; “I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonorable, impious, unworthy, or evil…I hope this is sufficient to have made plain to pious and simple Christians my clear conviction on the matter of the Mother of God: 'I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity.” (Annotationes in Evangelium Lucae, and sermon on “Mary, ever virgin, Mother of God” in 1524, cited in Thurian, page 23, 76)
Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ’s ‘brothers’ are sometimes mentioned.
{Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 2 / From Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p.215; on Matthew 13:55}

[On Matt 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called ‘first-born’; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.
{Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 107}

Heinrich Bullinger:

Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575), “who represents the second generation of the Reformation and a kind of stabilization of Reformed doctrine,” and who was Cranmer’s brother-in-law, and Zwingli’s successor said:

“What pre-eminence in the eyes of God the Virgin Mary had on account of her piety, her faith, her purity, her saintliness and all her virtues, so that she can hardly be compared with any of the other saints, but should by rights be rather elevated above all of them…”; “…And if she who was wholly pure from her birth did not disdain to be purified, that is to say to receive the blessing of purification, is this not all the more reason why those who fall under the yoke of the law by reason of their real impurity should observe the same?”; “…we believe, that the pure and immaculate embodiment of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, that is to say her saintly body, was carried up into heaven by the angels…” (cited in Thurian, page 89, 197, 198)

‘The Virgin Mary . . . completely sanctified by the grace and blood of her only Son and abundantly endowed by the gift of the Holy Spirit and preferred to all . . . now lives happily with Christ in heaven and is called and remains ever-Virgin and Mother of God.’
{In Hilda Graef, Mary: A history of Doctrine and Devotion, combined ed. of vols. 1 & 2, London: Sheed & Ward, 1965, vol.2, pp.14-5}

Consider this

Luke 1:26
1:26 Then, in the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent by God, to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
1:27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the name of the virgin was Mary.
1:28 And upon entering, the Angel said to her: “Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.”
1:29 And when she had heard this, she was disturbed by his words, and she considered what kind of greeting this might be.

We have to notice HOW the Angel Gabriel called Mary, he did not say “Hail Mary full of grace” NO he called her “Full of Grace” as her NAME.

In the Old Testament whenever GOD changes the name of someone it represents to us a salient character of that person, it is very important in the context of what GOD is teaching us.
Now if GOD calls someone “Full of Grace” that pretty much removes any possibility of sin does it not?
You cannot BE “Full of Grace” and have the stain of sin in you, they are opposite and irreconcilable with each other.
Hope this help you.

Thank you for this question! I wanted to start a thread with this question as well. This is my main stumbling block to thinking about being a Catholic. The answers I’ve heard are the same ones that have been used here and on the EWTN radio shows “Catholic Answers” and “Called to Communion.”

I have been reading the Early Church Fathers from the 1st and 2nd centuries and I have not seen any teaching about Mary or anyone alluding to her conception.

Like Plainsongflower, I am earnestly interested in this and hope that we can continue to get some more good information from those of you who know.

In Christ,


Hi, Jerry! What version is this passage taken from. I’ve looked in my NIV and the KJV and it says, "You who are highly favored."

I would just like to clarify that calling Mary full of grace does not mean ‘sinless’ The Greek word used (for the word grace) is charitoō, which is also used in Eph 1:6 Unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved son.

Here’s the definition:

From G5485; to grace, that is, indue with special honor: - make accepted, be highly favoured.

So we really need to look elsewhere to see that Mary was sinless.

You could start here::wink:

It’s a good thing that Mary isn’t called just “grace” - Charitoo. She’s called “full of Grace” kecharitōmenē. It’s a theological question of what does it mean to be, FULL of Grace.

I’d also like to clarify for those that wonder why the ETF might not have stressed this - it’s purely for the same reason that they don’t use the word “Trinity” very often (if at all) before Nicaea. Many things were not brought into light until they became contentious or someone challenged the aspect of one doctrine or another.

I have these:

Catholic Public Domain Version Bible “CPDV”
This I normally use and I took the passage from, also

The DRV Douay-Rheims Version Challoner Revision:
Luke 1:28
And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

The Latin Vulgate:
Luke 1:28
et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit have gratia plena Dominus tecum benedicta tu in mulieribus

And the Koyne Greek Bible has
Luke 1:28
και εισελθων ο αγγελος προς αυτην ειπεν χαιρε κεχαριτωμενη ο κυριος μετα σου ευλογημενη συ εν γυναιξιν

The bolded reads as: chaire kecharito̱meni̱
Which is normally translated as: Hail full of grace

The KJV has:
Luke 1.28
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Which I dismiss as a valid translation, you do not find “thou that art” in the other versions and it forces meaning that is not there.
Instead of the Angel calling her “Hello, Full of Grace” **Full of Grace = name ** in most of the other versions including the original in Greek.
In the KJV the Angel says “Hello, you that is highly favoured” this is not a name!

Why would the Virgin Mary even be troubled about being addressed like this?
Apart from an adjective she is addressed as “thou” = “you” nothing to write home about.
However if an Angel comes and calls you “Full of Grace” :thumbsup: would that seem strange to you?

Also found great favour from whom? it is not stated!

Does it make sense?

I contend that the Blessed Mary was Immaculate as an imperative to the identity of Christ (the incarnate Word); this would beyond as an object of God’s revelation as taught by the Catholic faith – for that matter it’s an imperative for any Christian faith that confesses the Holy Trinity. As you know, the Holy Trinity is God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit; three Persons of the same essence of God. God has the nature of God the father and the Holy Spirit has the nature of the Spirit of God, distinct Persons of the same substance. Christ is One Person with two inseparable natures, God and Man, God (uncreated) which cannot be separated from the man Jesus born of woman. Wholly and completely God and wholly and completely man, God/man. The prophecies of the Old Testament require the Messiah to be God (uncreated) and the prophecies require him to be born from woman (creature). There is only one way Jesus Christ can be wholly Divine, and perfectly a whole man is to be born of woman who is the new Eve – sinless, i.e. and that is through His birth by Immaculate Mary. Thus to deny the Blessed Virgin Mary as Immaculate is to deny Christ as either God or man and fails to acknowledge Him as Theandros.

The Divine substance (the ‘stuff’ that underlies the act of existence) of Jesus Christ, Divine Wisdom, existed in the eternal past, exists today and will exist for the eternal future. Jesus Christ became Theandros in a specific point in time at a particular point on earth as prophesied.

The ‘Logos’ is more than the audible Word of God; more properly it is defined as the Divine Wisdom. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” is the result of the incarnation which occurs in time. The Second Person of the Trinity, Christ was always Divine Wisdom. Jesus is the light of Divine Wisdom Incarnate who “dwelt among us. . . full of grace and truth.” This is the Personified Word of God in the Person whose Divine hypostasis existed in the eternal past, exists in the Person of Christ in antiquity, exists in Christ today and exists in Jesus Christ for eternity. He joined Himself with flesh, blood, and soul of man in perfect harmony as the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Both the natures of God and man are united in a harmonious unanimity that animated His Body to a seamless concomitant act, yet not conjoined.

The Divine Christ was foretold to be born of a woman. “Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremias 1:5). The ‘prophet’ sent to all nations was formed in the belly of Mary, but before that God knew His own Wisdom. Wisdom, love of truth, is the Divine motivator, pushing us toward Christ who came through Mary; "For [Divine] wisdom is more active than all active things: and reacheth everywhere by reason of her purity. For she is a vapour [infinitesimally small] of the power of God, and a certain pure emanation of the glory of the almighty God: and therefore no defiled thing cometh into her. For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God’ s majesty, and the image of his goodness. And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself the same, she reneweth all things, and through nations conveyeth herself into holy souls, she maketh the friends of God and prophets (Wisdom 7:24-27) As the prophet tells us we become friends of God through Mary.

Sophia is the begotten, not made formed at the foundation of all existence. “The LORD begot me, the beginning. . . From of old I was formed, at the first, before the earth. When there were no deeps. . . no fountains or springs of water. . . Before the mountains were settled into place." (Proverbs 8:22-24 also see 9:9). This incarnate Word of God came to create His Kingdom on earth for the Salvation of men, “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever” (Sirach 1:1). An eternal God, “Before all ages, from the beginning, he created me [Divine Wisdom], and through all ages I shall not cease to be.” (Sirach 24:9)

Neither Noah, Daniel, Job, Abraham, John or Lot had the role that Mary was to play in God’s plan to raise up humanity. It was fitting therefore that His plan uses the salvation of Mary, “redeemed in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”[CCC 4392]. God’s power is demonstrated first in her Immaculate Conception in God’s plan to bring man out of the mire of original sin. It is Mary who is the first of the faithful, the first Catholic, the first Christian, the first disciple of Christ.

God sanctified the “tabernacle of testimony” the most holy altar of God, it could only be more fitting that He sanctify the vessel of the New Covenant. When rightly we view Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant, then appropriately she must be viewed having the sanctity of in the House of the Lord where she also dwelled. [Cf. 2 Paralipomenon 29:5]

It was fitting, therefore, that God willed that Mary was conceived free from all sin, since she was chosen to be the Ark of the New Covenant, the mother of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the incarnate Word of God. In all the possibilities Christ could have been ‘made’ God He chose Mary as a fitting vessel. For a more detailed discussion of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception see Bishop Ullathorne, The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1988 ed.) and Patrick Madrid, “Ark of the New Covenant” (This Rock, December 1991).


Great article! Explains much about our Blessed Mother.

Here’s an 11 minute video. Well worth it. Hit pause as necessary if you take notes

Sorry, but you’re mixing languages here: “full of grace” is the English translation of the Latin plena gratia, Jerome’s translation from the Greek; κεχαριτωμενη, on the other hand, is “having been given grace [or favour]”. The idea of “full” is not in the Greek; the idea of the current state as a result of a previous event is not in the Latin.

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