Against Modern Heresies: the Virgin Mary

It is an irreformable Catholic dogma that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin in the first moment of her Immaculate Conception. And it is also dogma that original sin harms both the body and the soul of all who are stained by that sin. So it is heresy to say that the Virgin Mary, by her Immaculate Conception, was only preserved from the effects of original sin in soul, and not also in body. Therefore, we must hold that the body of the Virgin Mary and the body of Jesus Christ also, were each unfallen, that is, unaffected by original sin.

Both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ experienced suffering and death, but this was not due to their bodies being in a fallen state. Rather, they were permitted by God to suffer and die, even though they were each untouched by the cause of suffering and death, original sin. For suffering and death entered the world through sin, and so God chose to take away sin through the suffering and death of Christ.

It is an irreformable Catholic dogma that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the end of her life on earth, was assumed into Heaven, with body and soul united. And it is the non-infallible teaching of the Magisterium that, prior to her Assumption, the Blessed Virgin Mary died and was raised from the dead. And this we are taught, non-infallibly, in the same document that teaches us, infallibly, on the Assumption: Munificentissimus Deus. So it is false to say that the Church has no teaching on whether Mary died and rose, prior to her Assumption. The ordinary assent of the faithful is required for the non-infallible teachings of the Magisterium.

The Virgin Mary is the Mother of God because she is the mother of Jesus Christ, who is God. But she is not the mother solely of his human nature, or solely of his body. The role of mother always concerns the whole person, not merely the body. So she is the mother of the person of Jesus Christ, who has two natures, human and Divine. In that sense, she is truly the mother of God.

However, it is heretical to speak as if Mary were the mother of the Trinity, or as if she gave birth to the Divine Nature before all time, or as if she had a role above the Trinity as the mother of all three Persons. For the Divine Nature has always existed, eternally, but Mary is part of God’s creation. Mary is not the mother of the Father, or the mother of the Holy Spirit, or the mother of the Trinity. It is also false to speak as if Mary has a role above the Son of God, as if, by being the mother of Jesus Christ, she were somehow greater than her Divine Son.

When praising Mary, we must always take care to give her the proper place in Creation assigned to her by God, and to avoid speaking as if she were equal to, or greater than, God or any Person of the Trinity. She gave birth to the Son of God, but He is nevertheless her Lord and Savior. Exalting Mary as if she were equal to Christ or equal to God is a diabolical heresy.

Other Errors

Some other common errors on the Virgin Mary do not perhaps rise to the level of heresy, but are nevertheless false and harmful to souls.

The claim is made that Mary could have said “No” to God, when asked to take her proper role in His plan of salvation. To the contrary, the prevenient grace of God secured the plan of salvation, such that Mary freely said “Yes”, but she could not have said “No.” And such is the case with all the Blessed in Heaven. They cannot say “No” to God, and yet they are entirely free in their wills. For grace and free will are designed to work closely together. Saying “No” to God is always contrary to true freedom.

The claim is made that there are only four Marian dogmas so far, and that there can only be five. To the contrary, there are already as least 10 Marian dogmas, and there are other important truths about Mary that could become newly-defined dogmas.

The claim is made that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces without exception. To the contrary, Mary is not Mediatrix of graces which flow from the Divine Nature to the human nature of Christ in the hypostatic union. And she is not the Mediatrix of graces which she herself receives. Otherwise, she is Mediatrix of all other graces, even of those graces given before she was conceived. For from her place in Heaven, beyond Time, she assists Christ in dispensing grace throughout time and place.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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3 Responses to Against Modern Heresies: the Virgin Mary

  1. Matt Z. says:

    I went to a Sunday Bible School a person had put together in my old parish about 8 years ago. The person that led the group and others in the group denied the perpetual virginity of Mary. The perpetual virginity of Mary is an infallible dogma, correct? I defended Mary to no avail, but I should have brought this up to the pastor but I chickened out.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Mary’s perpetual virginity is infallible under the ordinary and universal Magisterium. It is astounding that false teachers are permitted to openly teach heresy in the Church, and no one stops them.

    • Matt Z. says:

      I am somewhat to blame for not saying anything. But you are right, this is probably happening in many places. This person still has the group I believe so who knows what else is being taught. Its no wonder why mass attendence is low to go along with financial problems.

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