Why did the church declare as dogma Mary's immaculate conception?


#1

here's what i'd like to know: why, in 1850 or so, did the church feel the need to do so? not seeking the theological basis for the decision. rather, i'm curious about why the church did so in 1850 as opposed to 1750, 1550, or 950? does anyone know? can you recommend a book that would explain it? thanks.


#2

It’s tough to say “why” precisely as if there is a singular reason. The ultimate reason is because the Holy Spirit so moved the Church to declare it.

I think one could discern that the age of the enlightenment demanded the help of Our Lady and more widespread Marian devotion. I don’t know any books specific to the question off-hand.


#3

something must have been happening at the time to cause the pope to do it. he didn't just wake up one day and decide to do so. if anyone has any insight into the particular historical events around that time that influenced his decision, i'd be curious to know what they were.


#4

Very good question! I'd like to hear an answer.

Just quickly glancing around for an answer, a large majority of the Church believed in the Immaculate Conception. In the pontificate prior to Pius IX's, bishops urged Pope Gregory XVI to define it as dogma.

An article here
states the following:

"In the history of dogmas that of the Immaculate Conception is unique because it was defined by Pius IX not so much because of proofs in Scripture or ancient tradition, but due to a profound sensus fidelium and the Magisterium"

Therefore, it may not be so much that a heretical belief was becoming more popular (as we have seen in the Council of Niceae, Constantinople, etc) that needed the alternative, orthodox view to be clarified and set in stone, but a wide acclamation of interest and devotion to the belief. It was the "sense of the faithful."


#5

This isn't an answer to your question but this quote from Bishop Sheen is classic;

*“Just suppose that you could have pre-existed your own mother, in much the same way that an artist pre-exists his painting. Furthermore, suppose that you had the infinite power to make your mother anything that you pleased, just as a great artist like Raphael has the power of realizing his artistic ideas. Suppose you had this double power, what kind of mother would you have made for yourself? Would you have made her of such a type that would make you blush because of her unwomanly and un-mother-like actions? Would you have made her exteriorly and interiorly of such a character as to make you ashamed of her? Or would you have made her, so far as human beauty goes; the most beautiful woman in the world; and so far as beauty of the soul goes, one who would radiate every virtue, every manner of kindness and charity and loveliness; one who by the purity of her life and her mind and her heart would be an inspiration not only to you but even to your fellow men, so that all would look up to her as the very incarnation of what is best in motherhood?

Now if you who are an imperfect being and who have not the most delicate conception of all that is fine in life would have wished for the loveliest of mothers, do you think that our Blessed Lord, who not only pre-existed His own mother but who had an infinite power to make her just what He chose, would in virtue of all the infinite delicacy of His spirit make her any less pure and loving and beautiful than you would have made your own mother? If you who hate selfishness would have made her selfless and you who hate ugliness would have made her beautiful, do you not think that the Son of God, who hates sin, would have made His own mother sinless and He who hates moral ugliness would have made her immaculately beautiful?” – Bishop Fulton Sheen
*


#6

[quote="captainmike, post:1, topic:309749"]
here's what i'd like to know: why, in 1850 or so, did the church feel the need to do so? not seeking the theological basis for the decision. rather, i'm curious about why the church did so in 1850 as opposed to 1750, 1550, or 950? does anyone know? can you recommend a book that would explain it? thanks.

[/quote]

The Church is a living creation of the Lord - of the Lord's body. As it has grown it has moved from milk to meat. Furthermore, some things were not meant to be dogmatically defined until the minions of satan forced the issue. Yet, the belief of the Church has always been the same. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth and cannot be in error. When error occurs externally, it is up to the Church to safeguard the flock.

It is certain that the Church will dogmatically dictate something in the future that we all believe now, and have always believed. Let us imagine it to be in 750 years. Now, imagine that in a thousand years that scoffers suggest that the Catholic Church just made it up 250 years prior. Does that make it invalid? No, the Church has always believed it and it has only been forced to dictate it based on the invincible ignorance of its detractors some 750 years in the future.


#7

[quote="captainmike, post:1, topic:309749"]
here's what i'd like to know: why, in 1850 or so, did the church feel the need to do so? not seeking the theological basis for the decision. rather, i'm curious about why the church did so in 1850 as opposed to 1750, 1550, or 950? does anyone know? can you recommend a book that would explain it? thanks.

[/quote]

Counter-Reformation


#8

On page 272 of Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating writes that the Pope hoped the 1854 definition would inspire “devotion to her.”

In Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, he says on p. 199 that the Pope proclaimed the dogma “as revealed by God.”

In Dr. Alan Schreck’s Compact History of the Catholic Church, on p. 96, he says that Pius IX “sought to clarify certain points of the Catholic faith that were being questioned or disputed.” The preceding pages detail the Church’s dealings with intellectual and political liberalism.


#9

In the 1850's, The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette, a poorly educated young teenager in Lourdes, France and declared to Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Given that Lourdes was then a remote mountain village and Bernadette's lack of education, she did not know what it meant. The Bishop did. And the Church did too.

Today, Our Lady of Lourdes is still highly revered and thousands of sick and handicapped people and healthy ones too (me also) make pilgrimages to Lourdes each year. A number have had miraculous cures.

Bernadette remained uneducated and became a nun who peformed household chores for the other nuns. Her body is incorrupt. She is a Saint.

In the 1950's Hollywood made a movie, "The Song of Bernadette."


#10

At around that time, women became more assertive, educated, & sought equality with men in all areas ..... thus, it is likely the Pope decided to be pro-active, and elevate a great lady to near deity status.
Did the HS direct him to do so ......? It is possible,.....my examination of scriptures shows Christ reserved his criticism MAINLY to men, .....women on the otherhand, seldom got rebuked !! I'm not saying they will be judged by a different standard, but .....perhaps Christ knew they had tougher lives/trials than men, and gives them extra graces to deal with their temptations/trials/abuses from men....and they will receive fewer stripes for same offenses.


#11

[quote="brb3, post:10, topic:309749"]

Did the HS direct him to do so ......? It is possible,.....my examination of scriptures hows Christ reserved his criticism MAINLY to men.

[/quote]

Absolutely. The proclamation was made "Ex Cathedra" (from the chair) which means these dogmas may not be doubted or set aside when proclaimed in that extraordinary manner. The only other time in Church history that this was done was with the dogma of Mary's Assumption.

I don't see what Christ's "criticism to men" has to do with this?


#12

[quote="Sirach2, post:11, topic:309749"]
Absolutely. The proclamation was made "Ex Cathedra" (from the chair) which means these dogmas may not be doubted or set aside when proclaimed in that extraordinary manner. The only other time in Church history that this was done was with the dogma of Mary's Assumption.

I don't see what Christ's "criticism to men" has to do with this?

[/quote]

Mary, in her Song, acknowledged her common, poor, third tier status ... then notes God chose her, to become THE GREATEST, among women, !! Think of her humility ....not saying she was greatest among all created mankind, but only of women.

For 1850 years, it was seen as such....now, only in last 150 years, has she been moved into THE TOP SPOT, now claimed the greatest human ever ... by many. Even by Peter's Chair !!!


#13

[quote="brb3, post:12, topic:309749"]
Mary, in her Song, acknowledged her common, poor, third tier status ... then notes God chose her, to become THE GREATEST, among women, !! Think of her humility ....not saying she was greatest among all created mankind, but only of women.

For 1850 years, it was seen as such....now, only in last 150 years, has she been moved into THE TOP SPOT, now claimed the greatest human ever ... by many. Even by Peter's Chair !!!

[/quote]

Does that bother you? Mary was always revered throughout church history. Issuing a formal document did not suddenly change her status, but made it obligatory for belief.


#14

1854 saw the Vatican's temporal power challenged in the midst of Italian unification. Italy had witnessed uprisings and the Hapsburg's fought to retain control over their states in the Italian peninsula. Independents created shifting alliances to include former colonizer France as resentment over Austrian power surged, even coninuing into the "Great War." The secret society, the Carbonari, were violently urging a united Italy. Many Carbonari were themselves executed after assassinating various officials. Pius IX was at first open to reform but had a minister executed which soured him on this movement. All this stemmed from the 1815 Congress of Vienna where the Hapsburg's reconfirmed their territorial hold on Italian states after Napoleon was ousted.

In the midst of this Risorgomento/Resurgence to bring a united Italy, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was promulgated in 1854. 1858 saw the apparitions at Lourdes, France, with Our Lady using the title, voiced in the local patois spoken by Bernadette Soubirous, "Que soy era Immaculada Conceptiou." "I am the Immaculate Conception." This "I am" statement flustered theologians who averred that only God could make an "I am" statement of "is-ness." St. Maximillian Kolbe posited that her spousal unity with divinity, i.e., the Holy Spirit (something we all will share when Christ returns for His Church), fixed the Immaculate Conception in the realm of the divine though not divinity herself.

One may see the Immaculate Conception, the pre-venient, pre-Incarnation reservation of the Virgin Mary from the stain of Original Sin, as showing her as the "New Eve" to Christ's "New Adam." This pre-Incarnation salvation of the Virgin Mary was enjoyed by Enoch and Elijah through Christ's being "The Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world" as John states in his Apocalypse, named after the unveiling of the Bride. Marriage, the first sacrament, and the last, is the target of profane assault today.

The Fatima apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary because, "God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart" apply. If the Immaculate Conception is a gracious gift by God, the Immaculate Heart is the faith response of perfect purity of intent we must all attain, being commanded, "Be perfect even as My Father in Heaven is perfect." And more seemingly geo-political but actually spiritual enmity against the Genesis 3:15 Woman & Seed entails as God requests the Bishops, led by Peter, to at one time publicly and solemnly consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart for the conversion of that nation; this to prompt the Immaculate Heart's conversion of Russia, given as the "only" means to a period of peace. Russia is given as God's instrument of chastisement and she will otherwise spread her errors leading to the "annihilation" of nations. Derivative Russian error has led to the slaughter of millions.

The Immaculate Conception is an attribute graciously given by God to an elect soul who herself is accounted, "Blessed among women," uplifting all women; with her "other children" united in the Body of Christ, Genesis 3:15's "seed" being a collective term. It is her FIAT, "Be it done unto me according to thy word," that unveils her faith response, confirming her Immaculate Heart, her purity of intent we all must attain.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception affirms the need of this gift from God as the Holy Spirit can brook no impurity, cannot forgive any sin against His person; and His spousal unity with divinity demands a spotless Bride. "The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.'" This is the ultimate reason in the economy of salvation for Christ's sacrifice in eternity as The Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world! Christ's Bride, the Church, will enjoy the same spotless salvation confected in the fullness of time via His consecration and sacrifice of His Body and Blood at the cross.

This eternal sacrifice confirming the New & Eternal Covenant is in eternity and time at every Mass as Christ is not being re-crucified. May the Holy Spirit bring divine unity through loving obedience to the Way, Truth & Life and perfection as that of the Father's to honor His will. <--goats + sheep--> Christ came to bring, not peace, but the sword of division. The First Vatican Council was convened under Pius IX and held in 1869-1870 and promulgated the dogma of Papal Infallibility. The episcopal consecration of Russia led by Peter; and the Immaculate Heart's subsequent conversion of Russia, including milions of Muslims and unity with the politically-entangled Russian Orthodox Church; these fruits, including world peace, would be an elegant solution to the reservations of those who don't embrace the Immaculate Conception, who don't see the need to honor and emulate the Immaculate Heart faith response, or accept the verity of Papal Infallibility claimed to declare dogma.

This continuity of the seemingly geo-political being rooted in the spiritual parallels that of the Sacred Heart's revelations to the King of France, an office that is no more because of failure to act. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception is not a singularity but part of the wholistic process of bringing truth to light that is Peter and the Apostle's divinely-inspired and divinely-granted power and authority and why the obedient Virgin Mary awaits their invitation while enduring the slaughter of millions of her "other children" per chapter 12 of John's Apocalpyse.

Blessed Virgin Mary, pierced with a sword of sorrow that the thoughts of all may be revealed, expose all thoughts; cleansing them in the fire of love which is your Son, Jesus Christ's Sacred Heart.


#15

[quote="Sirach2, post:13, topic:309749"]
Does that bother you? Mary was always revered throughout church history. Issuing a formal document did not suddenly change her status, but made it obligatory for belief.

[/quote]

Not if Pope was directed by HS to do so, rather than for cultural or secular necessity reasons.
Look how the Protestant churches have been decimated by their secular/cultural decisions.


#16

[quote="brb3, post:15, topic:309749"]

Look how the Protestant churches have been decimated by their secular/cultural decisions.

[/quote]

And look how The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has stood the test of time for over 2000 years, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!


#17

On Dec 8 last month, when I was attending Mass, it seemed to me that the significance of the Immaculate Conception (and hence the recognition by the Church) is that with Mary, God was sort-of rebooting creation, a spiritual creation, to be sure. with a woman, his future human mother, who, like Eve, was created without the baggage of original sin.

This has, this way, a tremendous importance about God restoring humanity, and reversing the effects of original sin.

Recall in Genesis 3 or 4 (I seem to think) that Eve says that she has borne a son with the help of God. That's an accurate description of Jesus' birth from Mary.

So, there is a lot of recapitulation of creation in the birth of Christ, and Mary's IC is part of it. Like other things, the Church was not to understand them until a time starting with Pentecost and the descent of the Holy Spirit into the Church.

Certainly part of the context was a couple hundred years of erosion of the Church as a result of the protestant (so-called) reformation.


#18

This article that I am currently reading goes into a bit of the history of the dogma.

ewtn.com/faith/teachings/marya2.htm


#19

Here is another article worth reading on the subject.
thesacredpage.com/2010/12/history-of-doctrine-of-marys-immaculate.html


#20

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