SPLIT: Does the Church formally teach Mary never sinned?

Thank you so much for your reply. You say that Mary never sinned. I understand that we have a defined dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, but as to her never have subsequently sinned? Is there any defined dogma that Mary did not sin, and that has to be accpeted by a Catholic? Thank you again.

“The Church has constantly regarded Mary as holy and free from all sin or moral imperfection. The Council of Trent expresses this conviction, affirming that no one “can avoid all sins, even venial sins, throughout his life, ** unless he is given a special privilege, as the Church holds with regard to the Blessed Virgin”** (DS 1573).”



Thank you. So there is no official teaching that Mary did not sin. We think/presume that she did not, but the Church has not pronounced on this.


Yes, the Church has always taught that Mary remained free from all sin, mortal, venial and original.

CCC 411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the “New Adam” who, because he “became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”, makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam.305 Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the mother of Christ, the “new Eve”. Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ’s victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.306

Brendan quoted a Pope quoting an ecumenical Council and zz912 has quoted the Catechism–it doesn’t get more official than that! :slight_smile:

And I will pile on:

the Virgin’s supreme sanctity, dignity, and immunity from all stain of sin … This sublime and singular privilege of the Blessed Virgin, together with her most excellent innocence, purity, holiness and freedom from every stain of sin … ever blessed, and free from all contagion of sin … for to her more grace was given than was necessary to conquer sin completely … God himself protected [her] against all the snares of the poisonous serpent, the incorruptible wood that the worm of sin had never corrupted [Pope Pius-9, Apostolic Constitution *Ineffabilis Deus

, which defined the Immaculate Conception]

And, lest anyone think this is not an ancient doctrine:

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 [St. Augustine, [URL=“http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1503.htm”]On Nature and Grace

, Chapter 42, AD 415]

So that adds the witness of a Pope (acknowledged as teaching ex Cathedra) and an Early Church Father and Saint and Doctor of the Church (and a titular Doctor at that: Doctor Gratiae (Doctor of Grace)). Plus an Ecumenical Council and the Catechism.

I think all the pieces are on the board now.

I think that a declaration at the Council of Trent counts as official teaching, don’t you?

“If anyone says that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or on the contrary, that he can during his whole life avoid all sins, even those that are venial, except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin, let him be anathema.” (DS 1573)

Also see CCC411, CCC494 and CCC508

How much more pronouncements do you need?

Maybe I missed the Knight (it wouldn’t be the first time)

How much more pronouncements do you need?

In fairness to the OP, I think he would likely concede that we have made our point.

The teaching that Mary never sinned is infallible under the ordinary and universal Magisterium, making it a formal dogma.

I don’t think the text in the Council of Trent on this point rises to the level of Conciliar infallibility. Trent did not define a canon on Mary’s sinlessness.

Most infallible teachings fall under the ordinary and universal Magisterium, rather than Papal Infallibility or Conciliar infallibility.

It makes no real difference either way. If it infallible under the ordinary Magisterium, then it is absolute triuth and must be accepted as such by all Catholics. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how it is declared infallible (either through papal infallibility, or as infallible under the ordinary Magisterium) what matters is that it is infallible teaching.

The notion that only teachings declared under papal infallibility are truly infallible is false. Which is also why those within the Church who still promote the possibility of female ordination ought to be put in their place by their bishops.

It should also be said that quite a few saints have disclosed that they never committed any mortal sins (by the grace of God), and quite a few saints have said that they managed not to commit even venial sins, for many years - again, by the grace of God.

It’s not surprising, really. All of us have entire categories of sins that we are never tempted to commit, or which we find easy to avoid. If we could just expand that, we’d be doing a lot better in regards to sin.

This doesn’t mean that Mary was never tempted in any way; I’m sure she was, and she lived in the normal world of sinful humans, not the Garden of Eden. So overall, she had a sterner test than Eve ever did. But with the grace of God and her own good sense, she proved that human free will doesn’t have to choose sin. We can be proud of her.

Ordination of women to the diaconate is an open question.

This is absolutely true, but I don’t expect this question to be answered in my lifetime. :slight_smile:

I had meant ordination of women priests, perhaps I should have been more specific. As we know, the ordination of women priests is impossible and not an issue open for discussion as it is contrary to Church teaching.

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