The Immaculate Virgin Conception of Mary

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception asserts that Mary, the mother of Jesus and so the mother of God, was preserved from inheriting original sin; she was preserved from all of the effects of original sin, in body and soul. So her body was unfallen, and her soul had the state of grace, from conception.

But, as a speculative theological opinion, I also believe that the conception of Mary did not occur in the usual manner (by natural marital relations). Instead, Mary was conceived of both her parents, Anne and Joachim, in a manner that was entirely virginal and entirely miraculous. This manner of conception is described by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, in books which have received the imprimatur many times, throughout many different publications, in one nation and language after another.

There are reasons for holding this view, based on Sacred Scripture:
{11:11} Amen I say to you, among those born of women, there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Mary and Jesus were both born of women, and they are both greater than John. Yet Jesus says that no one is greater than John who is born of women. So we must interpret “born of women” as meaning conceived and born in the usual manner, and we must conclude that Mary and Jesus were each conceived and born in a different manner. They were each conceived and born in a manner which was entirely virginal and entirely miraculously.

Jesus and Mary were each perfect virgins. Being conceived and born miraculous makes their virginity perfect. This does not mean that Saint Ann, Mary’s mother, was a virgin. It only means that the manner of conception was virginal.

This idea has not, as some claim, been condemned by the Church.

“In 1677 the Holy See condemned the error of Imperiali who taught that St. Anne in the conception and birth of Mary remained virgin”. That error was the claim that Anne remained a virgin, not that the mode of conception was virginal. Some cite a “document” Benedict XIV, De Festis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi et Beatae Mariae Virginis as condemning this idea. But that document was written as a private theologian, not as Pope. Also, it only condemns the idea that Ann was a virgin and the idea that Ann transmitted this privilege to Mary.

So the idea is a tenable speculative theological opinion. It expresses a greater glory in Mary, that she would be given the privileges of a virgin conception and virgin birth, similar to those of Christ. There are differences between the conceptions and births of Mary and Jesus:

(1) Christ is Divine, whereas Mary is merely human. Thus, Christ’s conception was an Incarnation, whereas Mary’s conception was not an Incarnation.
(2) Mary was conceived, virginally and miraculously, of both her parents (St. Joachim and St. Ann). Christ was conceived, virginally and miraculously, of only one human parent (the Virgin Mary). This difference indicates that Christ is Divine, with God alone as His Father, whereas Mary is merely human.
(3) Christ was conceived, virginally and miraculously, of a perfect Virgin. Mary was conceived, virginally and miraculously, of Joachim and Ann, who were not virgins. Joachim and Ann conceived a child years earlier, the older sister of the Virgin Mary (Jn 19:25).

The births of Mary and Jesus were each miraculous. First, the child was in the womb. Then, in the next instant, the child was out of the womb, without traveling from point A to point B. This mode of birth is described by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich and Saint Bridget.

More on this idea here.

God desired
that the Virginity of Mary,
the Mother of Jesus Christ,
be so perfect, complete, and all-encompassing
that even the manner of her Immaculate Conception
and her Holy Birth
were required by God
to be entirely Virginal,
occurring solely and entirely by a miracle of God,
and not in the usual way.

By the way, the true historical date of the Immaculate Conception was November 8th (in the morning); the true birth date of Mary was August 5th. The true date of the Incarnation/conception of Jesus was February 25th and his true birth date was November 25th.

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

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

This entry was posted in commentary, Mariology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Immaculate Virgin Conception of Mary

  1. Shane Hogan says:

    Hello again Ron. I find the question about the miraculous virginal conception of Mary particularly interesting because at the moment I am reading The City of God by Mary of Jesus of Ágreda. In it she describes the conception of Mary in great detail, as by a natural, but perfectly holy, sexual act between her parents. Have you read this? Does it have greater or lesser standing in the Church vis a vis Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich?
    Shane Hogan

    • Ron Conte says:

      I have not found Mary of Agreda’s revelations to be accurate historically (in dating events from Mary and Jesus’ lives). I’m not surprised that she seems to have erred on this point as well. Do you have an exact quote or reference I can look at?

Comments are closed.