Pope Leo XIII sees Mary as the "first-born before all creatures"?


From Augustissimae Virginis Mariae 2:

Mary’s Place in the Incarnation and Redemption

God predestined her from all eternity to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word, and for that reason so highly distinguished her among all His most beautiful works in the triple order of nature, grace and glory, that the Church justly applies to her these words: “I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first-born before all creatures” (Ecclus. xxiv., 5).

The reference is to Sirach 24:5 of the Latin Vulgate and the Douay-Rheims. A similar verse is found in the RSV, KJV, and NAB in Sirach 24:3, but it reads “I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth like a mist.”

Either way, how in the world was the Pope taking a verse that seems to clearly point to either the Holy Spirit or the Word – whichever personifies Wisdom – and applying it to Mary, a creature? This baffles me. It’s not that I expect AVM is teaching infallibly, I’m just curious why the Pope would make what appears to me to be such a blunder that borders on blasphemy.


Perhaps the pope was using “first-born,” not in the chronological sense but in more of a spiritual sense, as it is used of David in Psalm 89:28, where he is called “the first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth,” even though David was neither the first-born man (Cain) nor the first-born king (Nimrod) nor even the first-born of Jesse’s sons (Eliab).

In this spiritual sense, the pope would mean that the Virgin Mary is the greatest of all mere creatures.

The Virgin Mary



Absolutely we know that Mary is the highest of all creatures.

The Holy Spirit of course NOT being a creature - He proceeds from rather than being created by Father and Son and is co-eternal and co-equal with them.

Nor in fact Wisdom, which is one of the Spirit’s gifts or attributes rather than a creature per se. The scriptures speak of Wisdom being present at Creation itself, remember? Therefore not a creature.

May as well say omniscience is a creature rather than an attribute of God.


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