The Immaculate Conception

December 08, 2006 By: erik Category: Religion, Spain 1,143 views

Rate this post:
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)

Blessed MotherToday is the Day of the Immaculate Conception in Spain. Unlike Wednesday, today’s holiday really is a holy day.

As I understood it, the immaculate conception is the part of Catholic dogma that allows for Mary to have conceived Jesus without sinning herself. I asked Marga, who was schooled K-12 by nuns, and she confirmed my understanding. She even predicted my next question about how the miracle of the 17-day gestation is at least as fantastic as that of the spermless fertilization. “Yeah, it’s confusing, isn’t it?” was her response.

I went to the wikipedia article on the Immaculate Conception to read up on it and link to in this blog post, and what do I find? It turns out that both I and my Catholic-schooled fiancé are mistaken!

The miracle of the immaculate conception is not about the Mary conceiving Jesus!

The immaculate conception [allegedly] took place in Mary’s mother’s womb when Mary was conceived! Mary also had the same spontaneous fertilization herself (it must run in the family), but that’s what’s known as the Virgin Birth. Not only that, but December 8th is exactly nine months before Mary’s birthday! Amazing! How did that reasonable scientific fact creep in there?

The immaculate conception wasn’t part of Catholic dogma until the mid 19th century, around the time of the US Civil War, 152 years ago today, actually. I have to wonder if this concept didn’t come from some influence from some powerful members of the Cult of the Virgin. That is what the Knights Templar were all about, as you may recall. The Catholics really do worship Mary as a goddess. In Spain, she’s paraded through the streets and idolized (note my choice of word) as much as, or more than, Jesus is. So clearly, to make her a goddess, they had to take away her original sin with Pope Pius IX’s Ineffabilis Deus (Ineffable God) document published 152 years ago. Nothing like calling something “ineffable” to make people want to talk about it.

Did any of you catch the silliness of celebrating Mary’s birthday nine months after the date that the dogma was officially created?

Anyway, I wish you a happy day-that-Jesus’-grandmother-did-NOT-have-sex day. Sounds like a good enough reason to take a day off work to me! (I, unfortunately, am not employed in Spain.)

  • From the amount of time you seem to spend blogging I am assuming that you aren’t employed anywhere else either. Perhaps you have immaculate employment where you get a pay cheque without having to go through the dirty arduous process the rest of us do.

  • I wouldn’t want to dirty myself with the sin of labor like the rest of you filthy mortals.

    I gotta go. It’s time for my nap…

  • Ivancic

    As much as I love secularism and as juicy as the story of the Immaculate Conception was, being Catholic, I have to make a small but critical correction. According to this group, Mary was conceived in the usual way but unlike every other person since Adam and Eve (according to the group) she was conceived without sin (not without sex). It’s a big deal to them because she became mother of their church. But not nearly as juicy a story.

    Interestingly, most people believe the pope tells its memebers what to think. There have only been two times in the last couple hundred years when the pope has spoken about what its memebers should think, and this was one of them– and most people get it wrong. However, you were right, most people, and this includes Catholics, think it has to do with Christ being conceived without sex which is what they actually do believe and is juicy, but has nothing to do with the Immaculate Conception.

    Here is some text from the “ruling” (they call it speaking “ex cathedra” or from the chair [of the teacher]. The Catholic Church beliefs come from the Sacred Bible (like most Protestant Churches)and Sacred Tradition. This would be the latter.

    In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”

    “The Blessed Virgin Mary . . .” The subject of this immunity from original sin is the person of Mary at the moment of the creation of her soul and its infusion into her body.

    “. . .in the first instance of her conception . . .” The term conception does not mean the active or generative conception by her parents. Her body was formed in the womb of the mother, and the father had the usual share in its formation. The question does not concern the immaculateness of the generative activity of her parents. Neither does it concern the passive conception absolutely and simply (conceptio seminis carnis, inchoata), which, according to the order of nature, precedes the infusion of the rational soul. The person is truly conceived when the soul is created and infused into the body. Mary was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin at the first moment of her animation, and sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect in her soul.

    “. . .was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin. . .” The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin. The state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded. But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam — from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death.

    “. . .by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race.” The immunity from original sin was given to Mary by a singular exemption from a universal law through the same merits of Christ, by which other men are cleansed from sin by baptism. Mary needed the redeeming Saviour to obtain this exemption, and to be delivered from the universal necessity and debt (debitum) of being subject to original sin. The person of Mary, in consequence of her origin from Adam, should have been subject to sin, but, being the new Eve who was to be the mother of the new Adam, she was, by the eternal counsel of God and by the merits of Christ, withdrawn from the general law of original sin. Her redemption was the very masterpiece of Christ’s redeeming wisdom. He is a greater redeemer who pays the debt that it may not be incurred than he who pays after it has fallen on the debtor.

    Such is the meaning of the term “Immaculate Conception.”

    I work with your dad and periodcially go by the page because I really like seeing pictures from Europe and reading juicy stories.

    Martin Ivancic
    [email address was here]
    Morganton, NC 28655

  • Wow! To use your favorite adjective, that was very juicy! For those further interested, that text came from here (thanks for not including the “proof from scriptures” part). I love the phrase “conceptio seminis carnis”. I can’t decide if it sounds more or less dirty in Latin.

    Back to the topic at hand… So the Immaculate Conception implies nothing of Mary’s mother’s virginity. Her folks still did the “generative activity”. But what’s still unclear is, if the “Conception” (big-C) is not the same as the “conception” (fertilization), then the question must be asked,

    When does the Conception take place? How soon after an egg is fertilized does the soul get “infused”?

    Obviously, this is the hot topic when it comes to religous stances on abortion. The text above clearly indicates that it takes place after the little-c conception, but it doesn’t say how soon after!

    Ivancic, do you know what the Church’s official stance on this is?

    Thanks for your comment, by the way. It was very interesting.

    [My father should scold you for putting your email address into a blog comment. I’ll remove it.]

  • Ivancic

    Thanks for saving my hide on the address. I’ve probably signed something saying I would never do that.

    I believe the “official” stance is “the moment of conception” which would make all those thrown out fertilized eggs in fertility clinics dead babies. Seems like the further away it gets from your own life the easier it is to judge another, and I think the Jesus had a few things to say about that.

    In any case, there hasn’t been any word “from the chair” on this topic. When there finally is (hundreds of years from now) they will no doubt begin the proclamation, “As we have always taught…”

  • slh

    I was raised Catholic and I always believed that the Immaculate Conception had to do with Jesus’ birth. When my Mother died and I read the front of the Bible where there were definitions of different things I was in shock to read that Catholics believed Mary was the FIRST person that ever walked on this earth sinless and not Jesus.
    I have asked many intelligent Catholics and they ALL say the same thing I did. Most all Catholics have no clue that it means Mary was sinless from the beginning to the end. I can accept some of the Catholic beliefs I was raised with because they don’t have much meaning but the Immaculate Conception goes AGAINST everything the Bible teaches and makes it a Cult to me.
    It’s funny how the Pope and whoever makes these things up as they go along and then basically declares the Bible false in these areas. Catholics are taught to believe the POPE first and foremost over anything and anyone, he is their GOD. If he says it they are suppose to believe and most of all NEVER, NEVER question the Catholic Church.
    I am very saddened that the older generation of Catholics has never asked God what the truth is which is His Bible, I was never taught to read the Bible and it was totally not acceptable to read it. The Devil is so very smart, look how many people he has believing this nonsense. Don’t every under estimate his craftiness. He will stop at NOTHING to have you move your eyes off of JESUS and onto anything else.
    Please try praying to Jesus to reveal the Bible to you as you read His Holy Word. Don’t wait until it is too late. In Christian Love. SH

  • Thank you for your comment, SH.

    the Immaculate Conception goes AGAINST everything the Bible teaches

    Everything? Really?

    You know what I think is funny? How people base an entire belief system on a book that they don’t read. If there really was a book that was written by an omnipotent sky god that cared about how I behaved and provided me guidelines on how to reach eternal bliss, you’d better believe I’d read it cover to cover!

    You really worship the same vengeful god that did all that evildoing in the Old Testament? That god? Or is that not part of your Bible?

    I do have to agree with you that it’s ridiculous to believe incredible stories that humans just “make up as they go along”.

    • “You know what I think is funny? How people base an entire belief system on a book that they don\’t read. ”


  • Tiziana

    Once I dreamt I was in blackness yet not alone. Someone/thing was nearby and approached me. Not seeing or hearing was odd but not scary. It felt like a meetig of minds, a friendly mind. We greeted silently. End of dream. I was puzzled in the morning about the unusual dream but forgot about it. Only when my periods failed to arrive and the pharmacy’s pregnancy test was positive did I remember the dream. I had had the dream approximately two weeks earlier. Is there a soul at conception? Maybe.

  • Blas de Lezo

    In fact, catholics (or at least, catholics in Spain, the ones I know) are more pagan than they think. They don’t pray just one god. Everyone who knows something about spanish catholics will have realized that Virgin Mary is equally prayed (or more) than God or Jesus themselves. This is of course a reminiscence of pagan rites to Mother Earth. Everyone who lives in small port cities of Spain knows that they even have a “Virgin of the Seas”, or a sea goddes. Catholics pray to saints, and they pray to a saint for particular reasons (as our ancestors prayed to different gods or forces of nature). I’ve seen my grandmother pray to Saint Andrew for the fishermen. I know more people who pray to different saints, even to “different” virgins and, as everyone in Spain knows, every city, no matter big or small, has its Patron Saint, doing a major fiesta, even if you are not catholic (each tribe with their own “god”). Is not this a reminiscence of paganism converted into catholicism?