The Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic doctrine which asserts that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was preserved by God from the stain of original sin at the time of her own conception. The Roman Catholic Church also teaches that Mary lived a life completely free from sin.
|The Immaculate Conception (Of Mary)|
|SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS|
The Immaculate Concept is commonly confused with the doctrine of the virgin birth, though the two doctrines deal with separate subjects.
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the teaching of The Immaculate Conception to be official Roman Catholic teaching in his apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus (Latin for "Ineffable God"). The letter itself contains a history of the belief, citing its roots as a belief of the early Church, as well as citing the approval of Roman Catholic Bishops worldwide, who had been asked to weigh in on the matter. Ineffabilis Deus is considered by most Roman Catholics as an infallible decree issued ex cathreda (from the Pope, using his office to declare a previously held belief official dogma), a very rare occurance within the Church.
Ambrose (Sermon xlii. 6, Int. Opp., S. Ambrosii) (Blessed Virgin, p. 77)
- The prophet David danced before the Ark. Now what else should we say the Ark was but holy Mary? The Ark bore within it the tables of the Testament, but Mary bore the Heir of the same Testament itself. The former contained in it the Law, the latter the Gospel. The one had the voice of God, the other His Word. The Ark, indeed, was radiant within and without with the glitter of gold, but holy Mary shone within and without with the splendor of virginity. The one was adorned with earthly gold, the other with heavenly.