The Sinlessness of Mary

Q. Do Catholics have to believe in the sinlessness and assumption of Mary?

A. Yes. We are obliged to accept and believe everything the Church teaches. If you are having trouble with any doctrine of the Catholic Church then you may have to simply choose to submit to the wisdom and authority of the Church. In other words, accept it purely on faith. But of course it is far better if you are convinced that what the Church teaches is true and makes more sense than any competing ideas. But this may take time for you to research the reasons that the Church teaches the doctrine you are having trouble with. You can ask a knowledgeable priest or research on the internet. And pray for God to help you find the answers to your questions.

I can guarantee that if you are honestly searching for the truth and not just trying to find fault with the Church, you will find answers that will be both simple and sublime. I have done this research many times and every time the answers are more intelligent, more logical and better documented than I had expected. I am thoroughly convinced by the evidence and thoughtfulness of Catholic theologians and don’t have to take blind leaps of faith.

Reblog from 4/18/07

How the Catholic Church is WRONG!


The Catholic Church teaches that Mary was. . .

1) born of an immaculate conception (i.e., born without sin) 1) God says in Rom. 3:23 and 5:12 that ALL are under the curse of sin. That “none [are] righteous” (Rom. 3:10.) The CC says that Mary was “preemptively” saved, i.e., saved before birth from sin, since she was to be chosen to carry the Word made flesh and that no sinner can give birth to a sinless child if we all fall under the curse thru conception. The only problem with this is GOD’S OWN WORDS make the CC’s dogma a lie (1 John 1:8, 10.) Mary even said in Luke 1:47 that she needed a savior. Only SINNERS need a SAVIOR.

BFHU: Romans 3:1010as it is written,”(A)THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;

Then what about Jesus? If you have one exception, why not two? But that is beside the point. This is a quote from Psalms where in Ch 52 where people ARE called RIGHTEOUS.

  1. Psalm 1:5
    Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
  2. Psalm 1:6
    For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,But the way of the wicked will perish.
  3. Psalm 5:12
    For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD,
  4. Psalm 11:3
    If the foundations are destroyed,What can the righteous do?”

  5. Psalm 11:5
    The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked,
  6. I could go on, but you get the idea.

So, your quotation is hyperbolic and not meant to be taken absolutely literally. Even Scripture calls some people RIGHTEOUS. This then does not present a problem for the doctrine that Jesus was righteous, and of course Mary also and many others as well. Click Here–> The Righteous. Noah, Abraham, Job,

Paul: 2) the mother of God–2) Technically, this is true, seeing as Jesus is God in the flesh and required a human woman to bring Him into the world. But since Jesus was since before the foundation of the world (Psa. 90:2, 93:2; 1 Pet. 1:20; John 8:58), it makes a weak reason for such a title. Also, Jesus Himself said who His mother would be considered as in Matt. 12:50.

BFHU: You do not understand the reason for the title: Mother of God. As you say it is a true title, since Jesus was God and Mary was His mother, she is therefore the Mother of God. This phrase was coined during a heresy that denied the divinity of Jesus. This became an easy way to declare the deity and the humanity of Jesus at the same time. THAT is the reason for the title. Amazingly sublime.

You might want to see that the Reformers defended this Marian title. Mother of God and the Reformers

Paul:  3) a perpetual virgin, never having been touched by her husband, Joseph (i.e., no sex) 3) Matt. 1:25 says that Joseph didn’t know (consumate his union) with Mary UNTIL after the birth of Jesus. The word “until” shows that Joseph obeyed God and waited so as not to touch Mary (have sex with her) because to do so would defile her womb and introduce the sin curse thru Joseph’s seed (sperm), thus contaminating the Child and, in essence, screwing up God’s plan for mankind’s redemption.

 BFHU: Mt. 1:25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Your interpretation is certainly a possibility,  but it does not prove what you want it to prove because the word until does not always have to be interpreted the way you are interpreting it.

2 Samuel 6:23

23As to Michal daughter of Saul, she had no child till the day of her death.

The way you interpret this word this would have to mean that Michal did have a child after her death. Which we all know is impossible.

Job 27:5
“Far be it from me that I should declare you right;Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.

Does this mean that after death Job put away his integrity?

Psalm 72:7
In his days may the righteous flourish,And abundance of peace till the moon is no more.

Does this that when the moon is no more that the righteous, abundance and peace, will not flourish ?

I could go on…

You also might want to read what Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli thought about the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Paul: 4) assumed into Heaven without dying- 4) Nowhere in the Bible does it speak of ANYONE being assumed into Heaven without dying, save only Elijah and Enoch. God even tells us what happens when we die in Ecc. 12:7. Only the spirit, or the Breath of Life, returns to God. Not the whole body.

BFHU: Exactly, there is precedence for people being assumed into Heaven, Enoch and Elijah. Mary is not the first. And the whole body will be resurrected at the end of time. This is what the creed means about the resurrection of the dead. The soul does not die but goes immediately to Judgment.

The Immaculate Conception Contradicts Scripture

Q. I understand why you would think Mary was saved prior to her birth, but it simply doesn’t line up with what Jesus said. He died once for all of us. The perfect sacrifice without spot nor blemish. It had to be a blood sacrifice! He didn’t die once for Mary and then again at Calvary for the rest of us. It simply doesn’t make any sense at all. Ref: Romans 6:10
10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

BFHU: Jesus’ death saved everyone Before Christ (including Mary’s immaculate conception) and AD =Anno Domine. We do not think Jesus had to die twice.

Q. Then how could Mary be born without sin, if Jesus died after her. Makes no sense at all.

BFHU: Just as all of the OT saints were saved in anticipation of the atonement of Christ, so Mary was saved from sin before she ever sinned by Christ her savior, her son. Her sinlessness was a great gift of grace from God. She was fully human, free of the stain of original sin she was created in innocence and purity just like Adam and Eve. Just like we all might have been born (free from sin), if not for the fault of our first parents.

With God all things are possible. He is not bound by TIME. He is outside of it and able to save Mary from the stain of original sin by the merits of Christ Jesus. Don’t you agree that He could do this if He wanted to? I am sure you don’t think that this is too hard for the Almighty.

Mary is exactly the same as Adam and Eve were before the Fall. The difference is she kept herself pure,with the grace and power of God to assist her. Jesus is the new Adam and Mary is the new Eve.

Q. Yes Jesus died for the saints of old~the priest’s were no longer required to burn offerings for the remission of sin, because Jesus was the final sacrifice~the lamb without spot nor blemish, but This is no way infers that Mary was born without original sin. It’s a romantic idea, but nothing in scripture old or new testament points to this idea. Her immaculate conception didn’t make her holy. She was simply faithful and obedient to the call God had on her life. No different than anyone else who’s obedient to the call of God.

BFHU: Except she was able to keep from sinning.

Q. No different than anyone else who received a miracle from Jesus.

BFHU: Of course, miracles are all by the power of God, as was her Immaculate Conception.

Q. Jesus said, All have sinned and All fall short of the Glory of God. No where does it infer All, but Mary.

BFHU:Neither does it infer ‘all but Jesus’.

Q. Mary had other children. (She was not ever virgin) I believe the Catholic church still teaches that and it clearly states in the word that Jesus had Half Brother’s and Sisters as well.

BFHU: The Protestant interpretation of the the verses referring to the brothers of sisters of Jesus is certainly legitimate. But there is also another legitimate interpretation which the Catholic Church teaches. And that is that these were not siblings of Jesus, half, step, or otherwise but kinsman. The Greek word used in these passages can be used exactly as our word for brother and sister can be used to mean an actual sibling or a close family member or other close relationship as many Pastors say, “Brothers and Sisters…” They do not mean siblings. And neither did St. Paul when he addressed his epistles to brothers If Protestants try to force the literal sibling interpretation when adelphos is used for Jesus’ brothers then they will be forced by their own hermenutic to interpret all of the epistles and being directed only to the siblings of the author.

Q. If Joseph kept her a virgin throughout their entire marriage then he should get the kudos x a million!

BFHU: St. Joseph was a very holy man. That is why he was chosen to be the husband of Mary.

Q. Poor Joseph~not much is stated about him in the word, nor is much honor given him, but he was an obedient servant of the Lord by keeping Mary a virgin till Jesus was Born. Under Jewish Law he could have had her stoned. In response to a previous point regarding sola scriptura , read John’s warning

Revelation 22:18-19.  I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

BFHU: Are you aware that this same admonition was made in the OT three times. Does that make the New Testament illegitimate? Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Deuteronomy 12:32 Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. Proverbs 30:6 Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

Is everything after Deuteronomy “an illegitimate adding”?…even Proverbs?….and surely the NT?

Q. God takes His Word very seriously. He’s a God of order and that’s what I love about Him and His Word. It follows very logical patterns of thought. He doesn’t mince words.

BFHU: I totally agree.

Some Early Fathers did NOT Believe in the Immaculate Conception

Mariano: My question as to how you know that doctrines that are particular to Roman Catholicism predated the canonized New Testament. Let us consider the “Sinlessness of Mary/Immaculate Conception of Mary.”

The following is a partial list of those who considered Jesus alone to be sinless, and or considered Mary to have sinned, and or considered her to not have had an immaculate conception:
The New Testament, Pope Leo I, Pope Galatius, Pope Gregory I, Pope Innocent III, Clemet of Alexandria, Ambrose, Bernard, Aquinas, Augustine, Antonitus, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Origen, Basil, Cyril of Alexandria, Anselm, Peter Lombard, John of Damascus, Bonaventure.

BFHU: Your list is interesting but I will need documentation of exactly what was said and where so that I can read the context. I know for a fact that the New Testament does not state anywhere that Mary sinned or that Jesus was the only sinless person. So, this brings the whole list into question for me.

I know Protestants interpret by way of eisegesis, that the NT says Mary sinned along with the rest of us. Adam and Eve were sinless and could have remained immaculate. But they fell into sin.

On another point: your list brings something up that is not widely understood. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception was not defined and officially made an article of faith until the 19th Century. It was believed and taught in the Church, even Luther believed in Mary’s Immaculate conception. So, my understanding is, that it was generally accepted. However, because it had not been dogmatically defined, theologians were still permitted to question, explore, and discuss it. I would guess that these are the sort of writings you may be referring to above.

For instance, before the canon of the OT and NT was closed in the 5th Century, St. Jerome argued vehemently against the inclusion of the deuterocanonical books of the OT. However, once the pope closed the canon, and against St. Jerome’s advice, included the deuterocanonicals in the OT, St. Jerome, a faithful son of the Church accepted the decision and translated the OT into Latin, deuterocanonicals and all.

Similar agreements and disagreements, discussions and questions abounded regarding the exact way to understand the Trinity, before the Doctrine of the Trinity was dogmatically defined at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. That doesn’t make the doctrine wrong. Before a doctrine is dogma disagreement is acceptable. After a doctrine is dogma disagreement is heresy.

I have said this elsewhere but it fits in this context and it really is helpful. Ever since Adam & Eve God ordained marriage  between man & woman. Ok, historically and even today in some cultures there may be multiple wives. But marriage has never been between people of the same sex. So the Church has never dogmatically defined  marriage as between one man and one woman. But in the near future this may indeed need to be done because our modern culture is becoming confused about the issue and confusing Catholics about the isssue. So, if the Catholic Church dogmatically defined marriage as between a man and woman in 2020, that would not mean at all that that is the date it was first believed.  But no doubt in 2075 people will accuse the Catholic Church of inventing the dogma that marriage is only between a man and a woman in the year 2020.

Brothers and Sisters of Jesus

Q. Since Mary had other children, the brothers of Jesus, would they not be sinless also?

A. The brothers and sisters of Jesus are kinsmen of Jesus or else Joseph’s children by previous marriage.
They are not full siblings of Jesus. They are either cousins or step-siblings. Mary gave birth to only one child and remained a perpetual virgin. Even Martin Luther and John Calvin attest to this fact.

Even if Mary and Joseph had other children together, they would not have been sinless since Joseph was not sinless.

Q. Why was Joseph not sinless?

A. Joseph was not preserved from the stain of original sin by the power of God—Mary was.

Q. But, Mary came from the seed of David who himself was a sinner and murderer.

A. Mary was preserved from the sin of Adam
and her ancestor David by the power and miraculous intervention of God the Father at the first moment of her conception. She was free from all sin and a sin nature. Remember, both  Adam and Eve were created immaculate also. They were not doomed to sin like all of us. They lost this great grace, the fullness of human perfection, when they chose to rebel against their God. So, they were unable to pass on the fullness of grace to their offspring.

Dogma of the Immaculate Conception

Jeronie: I appreciate your response. However, I have some comments as well.
First, the Bible prophesied that the Messiah shall come from the line of David,
which means Mary could have been a distant relative of David. Now take note that
David has once been an adulterer and murderer, in short he has sinned.
Therefore, if Mary came from the line of David then perhaps she too is a sinner
as we all have inherited the sins of our fathers.

BFHU And she certainly would have been a sinner if God had not saved her from inheriting the fallen human nature of Adam at her conception. It is only by this saving before sin and graces all through her life that she was able to live a sinless life. It was all by the power and grace of God and her cooperation with the graces she received.

Another thing is that the
dogma of “Immaculate Conception” was solemnized by Pope Pius IX on December 8,
1854. My question is, why was it declared that time only? Isn’t it too late to
declare such doctrine you suppose is so important to you? Where was that dogma

It was not first invented at that time as many anti-Catholics want to claim. It was always believed as historical fact. It was solemnly declared to be dogma because the errors of the “Reformation” had begun to confuse the faithful to such an extent that the declaration needed to be clearly and finally proclaimed. Doctrine is not proclaimed dogmatically until confusion becomes widespread.

For instance, it has always been believed that marriage is between one man and one woman. We have no dogma on this but it is foreseeable that in the not too distant future we may need to make a dogmatic declaration of this doctrine because of the confusion our culture is injecting into the minds and hearts of the faithful. The date of that dogmatic declaration, if it becomes necessary, will not be the date it was first believed that marriage is between a man and a woman, but the date it was dogmatically defined. There is a big difference.

The Bible? I don’t think so. If Mary is sinless then she should have not
died a natural death,

The Church does not declare that Mary died only that God brought her to Heaven at the end of her earthly life. Mary may have died, in union and imitation of her divine son, despite the fact that she was not under the curse of death due to her sinlessness. Or, she skipped death and was assumed directly into Heaven b/c of her sinlessness.

again no where in the Scripture does it account that Mary
ascended to heaven like Jesus.

This is true but Scripture does not contain all the information of everything that happened at that time. See John 21 where the apostle clearly states this fact.

There are only two accounts in the Bible about
ascension, that of Jesus and Enoch.

You forgot Elijah. But the Church makes a distinction between Jesus and others. Only Jesus ascended into Heaven by His own power but Enoch, Elijah and Mary were “assumed” into Heaven by the power of God.

It is not a question of whether God will use a sinful woman or an immaculate one

True. He has used more sinful people than sinless people down through history.

but the question is if
God will use a sinner who is willing to bend to God’s will or a sinner who so much pride in his/her heart. Remember that God has used the greatest sinners in the history of the earth who were transformed by His saving grace.


Paul was a Christian persecutor but was used mightily by God for Evangelization. David was a murderer and an adulterer but he was called as the Bible says, “a man close to God’s own heart.

Very true. But let me say that it is our Tradition (teaching of the Apostles) that Mary was immaculate. It is your tradition that Mary sinned. But there is no Bible verse that explicitly says “Mary was a sinner or that she sinned.” It is merely your Protestant culture that has steeped you in the idea that Mary was a sinner. So, since neither of us has explicit scripture passages that clearly teach our view we need to see what Christians in the earliest days of the apostles and shortly thereafter believed. Catholics have believed in the immaculate conception for 2000 years. Protestants have believed Mary was a sinner for only 500 years. I would like to know upon what concrete authority Protestants dropped belief in the immaculate conception?—Even Luther believed it.

Other Post on the Immaculate Conception –>All Have Sinned and Immaculate Conception

Where Does Scripture Say Mary Was Sinless?

Jeronie Frias: “Jesus and Mary were sinless…” whose teaching is this that Mary is sinless?

BFHU: This is taught by the Catholic Church, the Church that Jesus Christ founded.

JF:There’s no verse anywhere else in the Scriptures that says Mary is sinless.

Are you aware that you are clinging to a Protestant tradition? There is no verse in Sacred Scripture that says all religious truth must be found explicitly in Scripture.
So we all believe in things that are not in Scripture. Your belief in Sola Scriptura was begun about 500 years ago. And it never would have taken hold if it was not begun after the printing press was invented which made Bibles more available and reading became more common. Before that most people were dependant upon the oral teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

However the Catholic Church has believed in the sinlessness of Mary since the beginning. Even Martin Luther believed in Mary’s sinlessness see my post HERE

JF: In fact she callled out to her God, her ‘Savior’.

And He certainly was her savior click HERE

JF:Why do you consider Mary as sinless?

Please see this post HERE

JF:Why do you equate Mary to Jesus?

We absolutely do not equate Mary with or to Jesus. Jesus is Divine. Mary is a mere human. Adam and Eve were created without a sin nature, Jesus and Mary were also conceived and born without a sin nature. Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus and Mary did not sin. That does not make her divine. She is fully human exactly as God intended all mankind to be. But due to the sin of our first parents, mankind is fallen.

JF:(Jesus) has shed His blood for man’s salvation? Certainly it’s not Mary.

Not sure what you mean by, Certainly it’s not Mary.
If you mean “Mary did not shed her blood for man’s salvation” …that is true of course