A different Catholic source states the following:
The Immaculate Conception is a Catholic term that many have heard of, but few are informed about. Wrongly, many think the immaculate conception refers to Jesus' conception. The truth is this 1854 Catholic proclamation states that Mary was immaculately conceived and redeemed in her mother's womb and remained sinless her whole life through:Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, - full of grace - through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. (Cathecism of the Catholic Church, Liguori, Mo: Liguori Publications, 1994, pp. 123,124.)
The most Blessed Virgin MaryDemands for a definition of the Immaculate Conception had been received at Rome long before Pius IX, but with his accession to the papacy these demands were renewed with vigor because of the Pope's known veneration for the Mother of God. Among the less-well-known facts of his life is the cure from epilepsy that John Mary Mastai-Ferretti, the future Pius IX, attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. He vowed to do everything in his power to advance her cause and make her better known and loved by the people. (John A. Hardon, The Catholic Cathecism, Garden City, NJ: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975, p. 156.)
Exemption from original sin carries with it two corollary consequences: From the time of her conception, Mary was also free from all motions of concupiscence, and also (on attaining the use of reason) free from every personal sin during her whole life. (Ibid., p. 158.)
From all of that sprung the Catholic praise song, Immaculate Mary:
Immaculate Mary Praise SongImmaculate Mary, your praises we sing,The information circulated about Mary continues to go further and further from the Scriptures, as shown in this song. It not only mentions her being immaculate, but also states that she is co-reigning in heaven with Jesus where the ones there proclaim her glory.
you now reign in splendor with Jesus, our king.
Ave, ave, ave Maria. Ave, ave Maria.
In heaven the blessed your glory proclaim,
on earth, we your children invoke your fair name.
Ave, ave, ave Maria. Ave, ave Maria!
Soon after the Pope's 1854 proclamation about the immaculate conception of Mary was the vision at Lourdes France:
The Vision at LourdesIn his [Pope Pius IX] judgment the Virgin Mary herself wished to confirm by some special sign the definition that the Vicar of her divine Son had pronounced amid the applause of the whole Church. "Four years had not elapsed when, in the French town at the foot of the Pyrenees, the Virgin Mother showed herself to a simple and innocent girl at the grotto of Messabielle and to this same girl, earnestly inquiring the name of her with whose vision she was favored, with eyes raised to heaven and sweetly saying, she replied ‘I am the Immaculate Conception.'" Following the other visions, thousands of people from every country in the world have made pilgrimages to Lourdes, where "miraculous favors were granted them, which excited the admiration of all and confirmed the Catholic religion as the only one given approval by God." (Ibid., pp. 162, 163.)It becomes very clear from Lourdes, as well as other Catholic visions, that Catholic doctrine is taught or reinforced by such visions, especially when accompanied by miracles. The problem with this proof is twofold:
- Not all miracles are from God.
- Other religions, which flatly reject and oppose Catholicism, also claim visions, miracles and signs from God, but those visions contradict the Catholic visions. With these facts, we know that the messages communicated in visions are not always true, since truth can't contradict truth.
We must be very careful with visions, since the devil can disguise himself in a venomous attempt to deceive people who believe in God, as shown in Scripture:And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (2 Cor 11:14)For the devil to masquerade as an angel of light means that he can appear as a messenger of God. (The word angel means messenger in the Greek.) Hence, this Scripture shows that it is possible that the devil could appear as the Virgin Mary to deceive. The only way we can know with absolute certainty the truth about any vision, from any religion, is to examine the doctrinal message communicated in it with the Bible.
The Bible is to be the sole source of doctrine for the Christian (2 Tim. 3:16,17). When this basic fact is recognized various forms of confusion are immediately cleared up. When the truth of Scripture is received one can find the God of the Bible, if he seeks God with all of his heart:
The Only Sure Guide To God's TruthYou will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13)Regarding the teaching of the immaculate conception of Mary, all it takes to show the fallacy of it is to ponder and receive the following Scriptures:For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Rom. 3:23).Therefore, Mary has sinned, just like you and I have. Also, the second part of that verse reveals a unique feature of God's glory, namely He has never sinned at any time, since He is God. So Romans 3:23 is a double blow to the immaculate conception of Mary belief, which has absolutely no support from the Bible. (Catholicism must go to other sources outside the Holy Scriptures for its teaching.)
Besides Rom. 3:23, other Scriptures speak of only one who was without sin—the Lord Jesus—with never any mention of Mary:
Only Jesus Was SinlessFor we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. (Heb 4:15)According to these verses of Scripture (or the teaching of the earliest Christian church), Jesus never sinned, but everyone else has. All others have been guilty of sin at sometime in their life, which is also shown elsewhere in Scripture:
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21)
But with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Pet 1:19)
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. (1 Pet 2:22)
Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. (Heb 7:26)For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. (Rom 11:32)Certainly, Mary is included in these last two verses, which indicts her like the rest of us as people who have sinned. Hence, we all need a Savior. Certainly, Mary knew her own need of this as shown in the following Scripture:
If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:10)And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1:47)
From an unscriptural belief about Mary's conception being without sin, many have been further misled to trust in her instead of the God of the Scriptures. This God has revealed His truth in the Bible, which leads us to the Lord Jesus. He alone is the Christian's refuge, hope, strength, etc. Spiritual life is only found in him, according to Scripture. He is to be the object of our faith for salvation. This is vital truth for many sincere Catholics because the Mary of Catholicism is not the Mary of the Bible.
The Conclusion From Scripture
Regarding Mary's immaculate conception or any doctrine, one is surely making the gravest of all mistakes by rejecting God's eternal truth given to mankind in the Bible for anything else, even if it comes through a vision accompanied by miracles. Dear reader, may this not be the case with you. Remember, nothing can be wrong with going solely by what the Bible declares, which is foundational to the Christian life as well as salvation itself. This is the only safe, sure way to know God's truth. (Please verify for yourself the above Scriptures from your own Bible.) God bless you.
Anathemas - The True and The False
John 6:53 and The Eucharist
Peter's Primacy, Apostolic Succession and Mt. 16:18
The Plan Of Salvation
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