Mary Research

I was having a discussion with my wife about Mary. More specifically about her sinlessness.

Below is a quote I found from the tract at CA.

“Mary, too, required a Savior. Like all other descendants of Adam, she was subject to the necessity of contracting original sin. But by a special intervention of God, undertaken at the instant she was conceived, she was preserved from the stain of original sin and its consequences. She was therefore redeemed by the grace of Christ, but in a special way—by anticipation.” (from

So my question is: Where did the Church get that? What text, document, written form of researchable Tradition states where this information originally came from? I’m not asking in a critical way, just curious.

Thanksfor your help.

The dogma goes all the way back to the beginning. God begins revealing it to us at the very beginning of the Book of Genesis.

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.

(Genesis 3:15)

There is eternal enmity between Mary and Satan. This is where it starts. God begins to reveal the Pure Virgin as the perfection of all creation right there.

A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
a garden locked, a fountain sealed.

(Song of Solomon 4:12)

This is Mary, the garden prepared as the bride of the Holy Spirit, locked and sealed against impurity, reserved for God alone.

The Papal Encyclical which defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception - Ineffabilis Deus - is a good place to start any research on the topic.


Not sure, but surely someone on the forum can answer that.

However, I like to think of it this way. Christ said to know a tree by its fruit, that a good tree can’t bear bad fruit, a bad tree can’t bear good fruit.

We have Christ coming from Mary. If she were sinful at all, how could Christ, who is sinless, come from her?

Well that’s what the doctrine said.
One clue in Scripture is found when Mary is called “Full of Grace.”
No one before Mary was “Full of Grace,” but LOADED WITH SIN!

Another point of logic comes when we consider
Jesus. If Mary was sinful, Jesus would have in–
herited Mary’s sin. Simply Logic. :wink:

Thanks Tim, I’ll look at the encyclical.

My first thought with the Song of Solomon quote was the Church is called the Bride of Christ. It would be strange for this to refer to both the church and Mary. Not positive, just a first thought.

Thanks. The first part of the linked tract does deal with that, and I thnk I get the logic re: needing to be without sin to bear Jesus.

I was wondering where they would have gotten the idea sufficiently that they would be able to base a doctrine on it. Everything else I’ve read i.e. “the Eucharist being Jesus’ true flesh” has a basis in Scripture. The pattern of the liturgy in the church Fathers.

I am trying to get back to the “original source” as it were.

Thanks again.

I’m confused Judas… couldn’t God have logically protected Jesus from sin (especially because He was born of the Spirit) in the same way God “logically” had Mary born sinless?

I don’t see the logical consistency to be honest.

“Original Sources” huh? Well there I’m less than useless, lol! :smiley:

From the encyclical:

*Testimonies of Tradition

And indeed, illustrious documents of venerable antiquity, of both the Eastern and the Western Church, very forcibly testify that this doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the most Blessed Virgin, which was daily more and more splendidly explained, stated and confirmed by the highest authority, teaching, zeal, knowledge, and wisdom of the Church, and which was disseminated among all peoples and nations of the Catholic world in a marvelous manner – this doctrine always existed in the Church as a doctrine that has been received from our ancestors, and that has been stamped with the character of revealed doctrine. For the Church of Christ, watchful guardian that she is, and defender of the dogmas deposited with her, never changes anything, never diminishes anything, never adds anything to them; but with all diligence she treats the ancient documents faithfully and wisely; if they really are of ancient origin and if the faith of the Fathers has transmitted them, she strives to investigate and explain them in such a way that the ancient dogmas of heavenly doctrine will be made evident and clear, but will retain their full, integral, and proper nature, and will grown only within their own genus – that is, within the same dogma, in the same sense and the same meaning.*

Anyone know the documents which are mentione? Other paragraphs have footnotes. This one did not.

"and that has been stamped with the character of revealed doctrine. ". Could this imply that there may be no “documentation” but that it has always been believed and accepted by the church and as such, today’s church should accept it as well?

Again, thanks.

If I were looking into this, I would start with the writings of the Fathers of the Church.:shrug: I don’t have the specific writings, but some of the books of their writings have topic headings.

The phrase "full of grace” is a translation of the Greek kecharitomene. It is similar to when Chist called Simon, “Peter”, as Peter is not a name, but literally meant “Rock.” This word in Greek would represent the proper name of the person being addressed by the angel, and it must on that account express a characteristic quality of Mary. It would prove she was, from conception, full of grace.

The following is taken from

Luke 1:28 uses a special conjugated form of “charitoo.” It uses “kecharitomene,” while Ephesians 1:6 uses “echaritosen,” which is a different form of the verb “charitoo.” Echaritosen means “he graced” (or bestowed grace). Echaritosen signifies a momentary action, an action brought to pass (Blass and DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament, p. 166). Whereas, Kecharitomene, the perfect passive participle, shows a completeness with a permanent result. Kecharitomene denotes continuance of a completed action (H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar [Harvard Univ Press, 1968], p. 108-109, sec 1852:b; also Blass and DeBrunner, p. 175).

The Mystery of Mary by Paul Haffner

Chapter 4: Full of Grace

The early centuries

The angel Gabriel greeted Mary with the words ‘Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour!’ (Lk. 1:28), in greek ‘chaire kecharitomene’. Just as Mary pondered the meaning of this greeting (Lk 1:29), so also the Church has deepened her understanding of Mary’s fullness in grace. It has already been seen that Luke presents this greeting with an alliterative play on words. The same basic root (charis or ‘grace’) is present in both the expression for ‘Rejoice’ and also ‘you who enjoy God’s favour’, in order to highlight the special nature of God’s gift of grace to Mary. Moreover, the past perfect participial form of the verb ‘charitoo’ present in kecharitomene, is causitive, indicating a change or transformation in the recipient, prior to the grace of maternity.

In Eastern Christendom, the awareness that Mary was the first to fully participate in the grace of Christ’s Paschal Mystery was expressed in the greek word Panagia, meaning ‘the All-Holy One’. It seems that the first Father to use this expression was the Alexandrian thinker Origen, as he commented on the angel’s greeting to Mary: ‘This greeting is reserved only to Mary. Because, if she had known that such a greeting had been addressed to others (she was well-versed in the Law, and was All-Holy, and had meditated on the prophecies), it would not have startled her as a special greeting.’


Do you know of any correlation between Mary being filled with grace and us receiving “grace upon grace” as listed in John 1?

{16 And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:16 RSV-CE)}

Yes that is true. I think it is wrong to say that God made Mary sinless so that sin wouldn’t pass on to Jesus. As you pointed out he could have just protected Jesus.

The idea comes from the fact that Mary is the Ark of the new covenant, the theotokos (God carrier).
She is the place that God himself rested.
Let’s think about this, and I don’t have the scripture passages, but the ark of the covenant and the holiest of holies had to be pure Right? Why? because God himself was in the holiest of holies.

So why would he decide to spend 9 months around impurity?

I personly believe it because I feel God would not do that. If he was wasn’t willing to hang around Adam and eve after they introduced original sin he wouldn’t spend 9 months inside a woman infected with it.

Did Mary spend 9 months in a woman surrounded by sin? I’m glad you see my point of view in regards to Judas’s comment but I have a similar issue here too. Jesus wouldn’t be around sin for nine months but Mary was? And if Mary wasn’t then why can’t the same standard be applied to Christ?

Mary’s Immaculate Conception

“He was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle was exempt from putridity and corruption.” Hippolytus, Orations Inillud, Dominus pascit me (ante A.D. 235).

“This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God, is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one.” Origen, Homily 1(A.D. 244).

“Let woman praise Her, the pure Mary.” Ephraim, Hymns on the Nativity, 15:23 (A.D. 370).

“Thou alone and thy Mother are in all things fair, there is no flaw in thee and no stain in thy Mother.” Ephraem, Nisibene Hymns, 27:8 (A.D. 370).

“O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides.” Athanasius, Homily of the Papyrus of Turin, 71:216 (ante AD 373).

“Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin.” Ambrose, Sermon 22:30 (A.D. 388).

“We must except the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin.” Augustine, Nature and Grace,4 2[36] (A.D.415).

“As he formed her without my stain of her own, so He proceeded from her contracting no stain.” Proclus of Constantinople, Homily 1 (ante A.D. 446).

“A virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect, untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body, like a lily sprouting among thorns.” Theodotus of Ancrya, Homily VI:11(ante A.D. 446).

“The angel took not the Virgin from Joseph, but gave her to Christ, to whom she was pledged from Joseph, but gave her to Christ, to whom she was pledged in the womb, when she was made.” Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 140 (A.D. 449).

“[T]he very fact that God has elected her proves that none was ever holier than Mary, if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary.” Jacob of Sarug (ante A.D. 521).

“She is born like the cherubim, she who is of a pure, immaculate clay.” Theotokos of Livias, Panegyric for the feast of the Assumption, 5:6 (ante A.D. 650).

“Today humanity, in all the radiance of her immaculate nobility, receives its ancient beauty. The shame of sin had darkened the splendour and attraction of human nature; but when the Mother of the Fair One par excellence is born, this nature regains in her person its ancient privileges and is fashioned according to a perfect model truly worthy of God… The reform of our nature begins today and the aged world, subjected to a wholly divine transformation, receives the first fruits of the second creation.” Andrew of Crete, Sermon I, On the Birth of Mary (A.D. 733).

“[T]ruly elect, and superior to all, not by the altitude of lofty structures, but as excelling all in the greatness and purity of sublime and divine virtues, and having no affinity with sin whatever.” Germanus of Constantinople, Marracci in S. Germani Mariali (ante A.D. 733).

“O most blessed loins of Joachim from which came forth a spotless seed! O glorious womb of Anne in which a most holy offspring grew.” John of Damascus, Homily I (ante A.D. 749).

If you will look into Lourdes, I believe she herself says that she is the Immaculate Conception. Granted, belief in this is not required to be Catholic, but with so much proof (to me) that it is real, I’m going to go with her words. (The Consecration to Jesus through Mary readings have paid off! :slight_smile: )

Mary is a creature, only Jesus is God. So yes there is a difference. He is the only one that requires to be surrounded by holiness because that’s what he requires. There is no logical reason to do the same for Mary.

Jesus is the King, Mary is his Handmaid. Before the King comes his handmaid must be cleaned up in order to properly serve the King.

So does the handmaid deserve the same treatment as the King?
Should her handmaid be clean before she arrives?

No. She has no handmaid. She does not deserve the same treatment as the king, she is only a handmaid.

Thanks for the replies, particularly the church fathers.

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