Immaculate Conception

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.

Immaculate Conception

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

For centuries Roman Catholic theologians pondered the question of how a normal human being, Mary, could give birth to a perfect human being, Jesus, who was born without sin, outside the restrictions of the "original sin" passed on from Adam and Eve to their progeny.

Finally, in 1854, the problem was solved. As with most religious pronouncements, there is a story behind the story.

Pope Pius IX served longer than any other pope in history, but it was during a time when the papacy was losing power. The political situation was such that he even had to leave Rome, unable to return until the French intervened. But Pius was determined to confirm the power of the office. Thus it was that in 1854 he issued the bull Ineffabilis Deus. It was the first time in history a pope said he was infallible and didn't need a council's approval if he spoke ex cathedra ("from the chair"). In the words of the first Vatican Council (see Vatican Councils), defining the conditions under which the pope is infallible:

The Roman pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that divine infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith or morals; and therefore such definitions are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church.

Then he sat back to await developments. And nothing really happened. There was no great clamor from either pew or pulpit, so the doctrine of papal infallibility was determined.

The test case, so to speak, was the determination that Mary was born free from all taint of sin, including original sin. By virtue of the fact that she was chosen to be the mother of the Savior, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary became official Church dogma. It was based on the idea that a person becomes truly conceived when a soul is created and fused with the body. In anticipation of what Mary was going to do when she conceived Jesus, she was, in effect, sanctified at the moment of her own conception. The original state of innocence did not free her from the consequences of sorrow, pain, and illness, but it did mean that she was sinless.

References in periodicals archive ?
Aside from the Philippines, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is also being celebrated by Catholic churches in Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Spain, United States, Canada, and other countries.
If built, the addition would push Immaculate Conception to 5,579 from 2,100 square feet.
amp;nbsp;The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Church.
The quest for a way of representing the Immaculate Conception in art began when the doctrine became the subject of heated theological controversy from the 12th century.
Never mind that it was proclaimed only in 1859, so close to the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception.
These works are often beautiful--in particular the chalked Blow up 41--the asexual reproduction of rhodomicrobium vannillie after Velazquez's Immaculate Conception (1617), 2004, in which Johnson manages a kind of microbial pointillism, the gathering spores ingeniously implying the delicate nimbus that surrounds the head of the Virgin in the original.
VAN NUYS - Pretty girls in party dresses, carrying roses and walking in a candlelight procession, will be one of the highlights May 15 when the Parish of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Philippine Independent Church, celebrates its annual Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan festivals.
More difficult are the theological and biological gaffes: in spite of being a good Catholic, Annie associates the Immaculate Conception with Jesus' physical birth, rather than with the state of Mary's lack of original sin; Annie and Kevin's baby is walking and eating solid foods by the time she's six months old without these feats seeming remarkable to any onlooker.
4) are boldly and persuasively disproved in Denis Hue's rich and very welcome overview of the early modern literary competition in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
Addressing several hundred parishioners of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne, Ind.
8 of every year a special non-working holiday in the entire country "to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the principal patroness of the Philippines.