Mary's Sinlessness


It seems that Mary’s sinlessness is logically unsound.

For Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” We can rephrase this as saying “Let he who is without sin judge” or “Let not those who are with sin judge.” From the former we can conclude “If someone is without sin, he may judge” or “Someone may judge if he is without sin.” From the latter we can conclude, “If someone may judge, he must be without sin” or “Someone may judge only if he is without sin.” From these two statements we can conclude, “Someone may judge if and only if he is without sin.” Thus if Mary is without sin, she may judge. However, only God may judge, and Mary is not God. Therefore, it is not the case that Mary is without sin. Furthermore, if God alone may judge, then no one other than God may judge, for all are with sin, if only original sin and not actual sin. Thus the Immaculate Conception is false.

I’m not trying to disprove the Immaculate Conception. On the contrary, I am presenting a logical argument to see where it fails. :slight_smile:


Who’s to say Mary can’t judge? Matthew 19:28 - Jesus speaks of the Apostles sitting on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. It’s entirely possible that she can indeed judge on God’s behalf as they will.


The beauty of logic! An argument can be set up so well and then so easily knocked down! :tiphat:


Also, one can not claim that the Apostles were sinless, and yet they are still judges.

No, Jesus is using “He who is without sin shall cast the first stone” in a different context.

Interesting note, I’d heard that many early Scripture texts removed this story from the bible, because it mistakenly convinced people not to judge the actions of others.


Lev 20:10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.”

It’s God’s very own law. So the issue was not judging, for God commanded the Jews to judge. The issue was to avoid the trap set by the Pharisees with their questioning, and also to awaken in them a sense of their own sinfulness and hypocrisy.

Also, be sure and separate out the act of judging a person’s eternal fate, with all the other forms of judging that are not reserved to God alone. God has never told us we cannot judge, even unto death. “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?..Do you not know that we are to judge angels?” (1 Cor 6:2-3)


I find it wonderful that you are using reason to explore the Catholic faith (and hopefully other faiths too).

I think your argument is not strong in the beginning because when Jesus says those words he knows that no one around him is without sin. So I think we can only say that he implied the latter rephrasing “Let not those who are with sin judge” with additional requirements (like being God) being necessary to judge but not mentioned because he knew no one would fulfill this “first” requirement.


Don’t you forget that in the Bible, it says that we will also judge the angels.

Are you up to this task? :wink:


Paul told the Corinthians:

2What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

Seems to me that we are to judge one another, after all. Oh, he also said:

1 Corinthians 6:3
Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

We’re not without sin, yet we are to judge. Back to the drawing board on this Mary thing…

Hope this helps. :tiphat:


One important point to remember is the audience to whom Jesus directed the question. Jesus was directing his question at the scribes and pharisees. He said, “He who is without sin among you…”. Context is everything. There is no mention that Mary was among them and in the unlikelyhood that she was, I doubt that she would condemn the aldulterous woman either.

On an additional note, there is speculation that when Jesus wrote on the ground, he was writing sins that were committed by those present. This speculation is somewhat supported by the fact that those who heard him were convicted by their conscience. There is nothing to back this up, but it does sound logical.


I think a profound difficulty (at least personally) with the idea of the sinlessness of Mary is the simple idea of anyone being sinless. I can kind of give it to Christ by over emphasizing His divine nature and forgetting about His humanity, but because of that the idea of anyone being sinless becomes equal to being divine. Thus the problem that Protestantism has with Mary. The reality is that if being sinless made you God we’ve got a heaven filled with angels who are perfect sinless spiritual beings. Yet they aren’t God, and as has been pointed out we will be judges over them.


In addition to the angel rebuttal you state to refute sinlessness equalling being divine consider the following: God has far more qualities than sinlessness (eg creator of all, eternal -no beginning, etc) that are part of the Divine nature. Mary does not have these.



You have several errors of logic. First off, your paraphrasing is not necessarily a set of synonymous statements… you changed the meaning when you changed the words (hence, no logical flow because A !-> B).

Second, you make a bad presumption. Jesus was without sin… He didn’t say “let he who is without sin throw the first stone” and then pick up a rock to give it a hurl. Perhaps Mary, who was also without sin, didn’t feel the compulsion to clobber someone… we’ll never know because we’re (at least, I’m) not the Immaculate Conception.

Third, the command is not to refrain from judging. The story leads more to the importance of mercy and self-reflection in judgement rather than not to judge at all.

Fourth and finally, as has already been pointed out, there will be human judges, so it is highly improbably to say that Mary CAN’T judge others.


And I saw seats; and they sat upon them; and judgment was given unto them; and the souls of them that were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and who had not adored the beast nor his image, nor received his character on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition.)


John Hiner


Though perhaps unknowingly, you’ve actually hit the nail on the head. :thumbsup: It’s precisely because of a lack of understanding within Protestantism of the complete Divinity AND the complete Humanity of Christ that brings about their problems vis-à-vis His Mother. If it cannot be seen that He is/was sinless in His humanity – more specifically that He could not sin – then an appreciation of the sanctity of His mother falls by the wayside. As a healer He must have what He is going to share, i.e., must be fully, i.e., perfectly human and Divine or He could not heal us. He gives us the health, as it were, He has. If He did not have this health we, being sick, could not receive healing. So it is not Christ Who is not fully human; it is we, in our fallen state, who are not yet fully human. Only when we by His merits are conformed to Him by divine grace will our humanity be all that it should be. Christ is the Model and Goal for humanity, not vice-versa.

Christ has the fully human nature, i.e., one not wounded by sin. His humanity is therefore graced and in harmony with the Divine. For us to be tending toward sin is for us not to be fully human; therefore we are not the vantage point of healing of our wounded nature but He is. It follows that for Him to heal our infirmity He must bring health to our infirmity. We can’t give what we don’t have, so He must have this health of being fully human, i.e., in harmony with God in order to give it to us by grace. He therefore could not sin, which makes him perfectly human, not less human.

It is Catholic teaching that Mary alone, from the moment of her Immaculate Conception in her mother’s womb, received all the graces that Christ has made us heir to but to which only Mary fully corresponds. We, by our openness to and obedience to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives are more or less transformed into the likeness of Christ through the graces He has won for us. This transformation into an image of the true Image of God takes place over our lifetimes, however long or short they may be. It is His own grace that conforms us to Himself, He continuing through us the Incarnation (according to the level of our fidelity and depth of union with Him) in our time and place.

Our life of faith is not a one-shot deal, but a lived-out fidelity in which Faith and Charity grow and mature through obedience into the true Image we are called to be and which the Blessed Virgin Mary already embodies to the fullest extent possible for a human being (and that extent inimitable) by virtue of her being chosen to bear God’s Son and His preparation of her to receive Him.

The reality is that if being sinless made you God we’ve got a heaven filled with angels who are perfect sinless spiritual beings. Yet they aren’t God, and as has been pointed out we will be judges over them.

A very good point!



As this passage reads “Judge the angels”. Is this passage refering to falling angels. Hence, heavenly Angels I believe can not commit sin, hence they are in heaven and sin can not exist in heaven, however if these Angels did commit sin and therefore would be resorted to our Judgement, why wouldnt God boot them out along has he did with Satan long ago.

Trying to understand

In Christ!


[SIGN]Question: If we Catholics actually worship Mary, why would we dishonor her by constantly denying the fact? [/SIGN] Brilliant!


My understanding, auhsoj, is that it refers to both the forever-sinless heavenly angels and the fallen angels. (My personal understanding, this is not Catholic doctrine). But St. Thomas Aquinas has a different view. He claims the scripture is speaking not of judging angels in the sense of rewarding/condemning but judging angels in the sense of making a comparison whereby certain men are judged higher than certain angels:


Sometimes I get these random thoughts that I just jot down. The meditation flows on to Mary as mother but I think it is still on topic because it relates to her continued sinlessness after conception. It is not a learned treatise, just my thoughts. At great risk, I share them with you.

Meditation on the Immaculate Conception 23/04/2007

This has all probably been thought before but I was just thinking about it and this sort of popped into my head.

It is not possible for there to be any sin in God.

The Word, who is God, became flesh. Mary’s flesh was the human contribution. Jesus was knit from the flesh of Mary so she could not possibly have had any taint of sin whatsoever, original or otherwise.

It is not possible for God to unite with sin.

So she must have been graced from the moment of her conception to have no trace of original sin and given further grace to keep her from sin thereafter.

Mary is united with Jesus in a way no other human has ever been or can be. He is flesh of her flesh, quite literally her own flesh and blood. No one else can say that.

Can you imagine, as a mother, what having Jesus as your child would have been like? What was He like as a baby? Did he sleep through the night? Did his eyes look right into your soul? What an awesome responsibility. To her fell the task of raising Jesus properly. She had to make sure he had all the usual – food, clothes, shelter, but in addition, she was his primary teacher in life. Though he was the Word, when he became a baby, he made himself completely helpless. He emptied himself, as it says in scripture, to become one like us. He learned to honour the Father from Mary. She was the one who taught him – how to walk, how to talk, how to feed himself, how to dress himself, how to behave. She was given the responsibility of raising the Saviour with the correct Nurture. Motherhood is much much more than just giving birth. What Grace she was given to do this. Hail Mary, Full of Grace!

How close they must have been. The mother-son relationship has always been very strong. How united Mary was with Jesus and His Purpose, how much love there was/is between them. Everything she did was for Him, out of love. Since she was so united, physically and spiritually, with Jesus, more than any other human ever has been, she could not do anything (sin) that would be contrary to the Love between them. She could not hurt Jesus that way because she just loves Him too much.


Adoration, Honor, and the love of a mother goes much deeper than the Scriptures. In the latin based cultures the mother is more precious and important than the father.

If a son or daughter was given an ultimatum on whom had to live and whom had to die, 99% would choose the mother to live and the father to die.


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