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Could Mary have sinned?


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Could Mary have sinned?  

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[quote name='ofpheritup' date='Oct 28 2005, 11:00 PM']I do not understand. How could Mary give herself to God at the moment of her conception? She was like what, seconds old.
Where is this in scripture?     HELP.

Are you sure we are not talking about Jesus' conception?
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No, we are talking about Mary's conception. The Immaculate Conception. We are not talking about the Virgin Birth, which would be the birth of Christ. (Remember, Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, begotten not made, one in being with the Father.)

[quote name='Ineffabilis Deus']Alexander VII, who authoritatively and decisively declared the mind of the Church: "Concerning the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, ancient indeed is that devotion of the faithful based on the belief that her soul, in the first instant of its creation and in the first instant of the soul's infusion into the body, was, by a special grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, her Son and the Redeemer of the human race, preserved free from all stain of original sin. And in this sense have the faithful ever solemnized and celebrated the Feast of the Conception."[/quote]

[quote name='Ineffabilis Deus']They affirmed that the same Virgin is, and is deservedly, the first and especial work of God, escaping the fiery arrows the the evil one; that she is beautiful by nature and entirely free from all stain; that at her Immaculate Conception she came into the world all radiant like the dawn. For it was certainly not fitting that this vessel of election should be wounded by the common injuries, since she, differing so much from the others, had only nature in common with them, not sin. In fact, it was quite fitting that, as the Only-Begotten has a Father in heaven, whom the Seraphim extol as thrice holy, so he should have a Mother on earth who would never be without the splendor of holiness.[/quote]

[quote name='Ineffabilis Deus']Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."[/quote]

What I have explained in the previous post is the explaination of the INFALLIBLE dogma that Mary was free from sin from her Immaculate Conception. And there is no explicit statement in scripture for this, but then again, there doesn't need to be. There is support for the position, but there is nothing explicit. Why? Because Scripture is part of Tradition, not vice versa. The Immaculate Conception comes to us as INFALLIBLE dogma from [url="http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9ineff.htm"]Ineffabilis Deus[/url]. This is the declaration, and it should help to answer your questions.

Incidentally, from the moment of our conception, we are full human beings. This cannot be denied. While we may have the stain of original sin, it doesn't mean that God cannot act in a miraculous way and eleviate that burden. As a matter of fact, he did, once, with Mary. However, when God communicated with Mary it was at the moment of her conception. He said, "You have a choice, Yes or No?" She said YES!!!!!! That yes is vocalized in the Magnificat, but had existed from the moment of her conception.

In short, the Immaculate Conception was a miracle. In short, the Blessed Virgin is the prototypical Christian. She gave herself first and completely to God, from the moment of her conception, without ceasing without distraction, without regret. It is her joy and our standard. We should strive to be like her, in all things. Again, Totus Tuus.

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We cannot say that Mary may have, in fact, sinned, but I don't think it makes sense to say that she could not have sinned. She had chosen God, agreed. Choosing God does not in any way limit free will, agreed. She was full of grace, agreed. But, for humans, the choice is not made once and for all. The choice has to be re-made every day, every minute. Mary was so closely united to God that it would have been highly unlikely for her to sin, and would have made no sense and would have required a complete rejection of God (as opposed to a muddling sort of wandering away), but I don't see how it makes sense to say that Mary could not have rebelled/rejected God.

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[quote name='Cam42' date='Oct 28 2005, 07:04 PM']Could Mary have sinned?

Quite simply put, NO.  Regardless of what personal opinion is on the matter, the Church teaches that Mary could not have sinned.  Why?

The reason that she could not have sinned is because she was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.

We should look to Luke 1:28;
That is an important understanding.  She is full of grace.  It is not the same as when we are baptized, the relationship of God's Grace to Mary is totally different and unique.  It is a characteristic of Mary.  It is part of her being.  She is not eveloped in it as we are.  The sanctifying grace is not given sacramentally, as it is with you and I, but rather it was granted from the moment of conception.

Her will was illumined and supported by this special grace from the moment of her conception.  Another way of looking at it, she was endowed with sanctifying grace from the moment of her conception to the moment of her death, unceasingly.

This might seem as though her free will would be in some way compromised, but that could not be farther from the truth.  Her free will cooperated completely and fully with God at all times.  It was part of the endowment of sanctifying grace.  It was freely given and was freely accepted at the moment of conception.  Hence the Immaculate Conception.

Let's look to Luke 1:38;
and Luke 2:35;
Finally, look at Galations 4:4;
There are some who argue that this can't be the case, but looking at this from a Catholic point of view she is the prototypical Christian.  She is what we strive to be as Christians.

Her Magnificat is appropos:

[quote name='Luke 1:46-55']et ait Maria magnificat anima mea Dominum et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est et sanctum nomen eius et misericordia eius in progenies et progenies timentibus eum fecit potentiam in brachio suo dispersit superbos mente cordis sui deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles esurientes implevit bonis et divites dimisit inanes suscepit Israhel puerum suum memorari misericordiae sicut locutus est ad patres nostros Abraham et semini eius in saecula[/quote]

It was her free giving of herself at her conception that is a witness to the fact that she could not have sinned. Why, because of her free giving of her will she told sin no, and yes to God at her conception....Totus Tuus.

N.B. The Latin usage is simply for accuracy's sake. It is easier to show the strength of the words in Sacred Scripture.
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We can dispell that grace once it is in us. Otherwise, this denies free will and it borders Revisionism, no?

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[quote name='Maria' date='Oct 29 2005, 12:44 AM']We cannot say that Mary may have, in fact, sinned, but I don't think it makes sense to say that she could not have sinned. She had chosen God, agreed. Choosing God does not in any way limit free will, agreed. She was full of grace, agreed. But, for humans, the choice is not made once and for all. The choice has to be re-made every day, every minute. Mary was so closely united to God that it would have been highly unlikely for her to sin, and would have made no sense and would have required a complete rejection of God (as opposed to a muddling sort of wandering away), but I don't see how it makes sense to say that Mary could not have rebelled/rejected God.
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I am going to go with Maria on this one. Mary was human, free will, choices, etc.

Back to her conception. She chose to be sinless. I am going to disagree. No one at their moment of conception chooses.

Conception is medically speaking the when the egg is feriilized.
It seems a little "out there" to say that anyone would have the ability to choose anything at that particular time. There is no brain to think, no lips to speak. That comes later. Much later.

Edited by ofpheritup
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[quote name='Maria' date=' Today, 01:44 AM']We cannot say that Mary may have, in fact, sinned, but I don't think it makes sense to say that she could not have sinned. She had chosen God, agreed. Choosing God does not in any way limit free will, agreed. She was full of grace, agreed. But, for humans, the choice is not made once and for all. The choice has to be re-made every day, every minute. Mary was so closely united to God that it would have been highly unlikely for her to sin, and would have made no sense and would have required a complete rejection of God (as opposed to a muddling sort of wandering away), but I don't see how it makes sense to say that Mary could not have rebelled/rejected God.[/quote]


[quote name='ofpheritup' date='Oct 29 2005, 07:34 AM']I am going to go  with Maria on this one. Mary was human, free will, choices, etc. 

Back to her conception. She chose to be sinless. I am going to disagree. No one at their moment of conception chooses. 

Conception is medically speaking the when the egg is feriilized.
It seems a little "out there" to say that anyone would have the ability to choose anything at that particular time. There is no brain to think, no lips to speak. That comes later.  Much later.
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It was precisely BECAUSE of her free will that she could not have sinned. Why? Because she chose freely, at the moment of her conception to participate in an "especial way" with God. God made sanctifying grace a characteristic of her person. That is not the case with us.

Stop thinking in the finite. God does not always operate in the finite. When He acts outside the Natural Law, that is a miracle. And the Immaculate Conception is most certainly that. Again, go back and read Ineffabilis Deus. It lays out the INFALLIBLE dogma. To hold a position otherwise is to deny the Catholic Church.

From the moment of her conception she participated with God in a different way. She was sinless. She chose to be that way. She vocalized this in the Magnificat. She could not have sinned, because at the moment of her conception, she CHOSE FREELY not to ever sin.

[quote name='qfnol31' date=' Today, 02:08 AM']We can dispell that grace once it is in us. Otherwise, this denies free will and it borders Revisionism, no?[/quote]

If you were talking about anyone other than Mary or Christ, then yes, it would border on Revisionism. However, because sanctifying grace is a characteristic of Mary, it is not Revisionism, and it does not border on it. What it is, is the Immaculate Conception. Because Mary's characteristics make her participation in the salvific work "especial," and unique, she could do nothing other than be obedient to the salvific work of God.

Again, Ineffabilis Deus sums up the whole meaning. And my assertations are completely in line with the INFALLIBLE pronouncement. To hold a position otherwise is to deny the Catholic Church.

[quote name='Ineffabilis Deus']Even the Council of Trent itself, when it promulgated the dogmatic decree concerning original sin, following the testimonies of the Sacred Scriptures, of the Holy Fathers and of the renowned Council, decreed and defined that all men are born infected by original sin; nevertheless, it solemnly declared that it had no intention of including the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, in this decree and in the general extension of its definition. Indeed, considering the times and circumstances, the Fathers of Trent sufficiently intimated by this declaration that the Blessed Virgin Mary was free from the original stain; and thus they clearly signified that nothing could be reasonably cited from the Sacred Scriptures, from Tradition, or from the authority of the Fathers, which would in any way be opposed to so great a prerogative of the Blessed Virgin.[/quote]

This clearly shows that her prerogative was to ALWAYS do what God intended.

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Ineffabilis Deus says nothing of the sort that Mary could not sin. It simply says she was born full of grace.

All men, so long as they are on this earth, can sin. Because she was full of grace from the moment of her conception, Our Lady had no disordered inclination to do so. But she still could have.

Mary's life did not end at conception, and neither did her free will. The Christian life is a continual and free choice to serve God. Mary, like everyone, could have chosen not to at one moment or another in her life.

You're really reaching, Cam. And to suggest that your proposition is Church teaching, let alone dogma, is off the mark. The Church has never spoken of an inability to sin on Our Lady's part. She has simply declared her fullness of grace from the moment of her conception, from which you have drawn out an erroneous personal opinion.

Edited by Era Might
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[quote name='Cam42' date='Oct 28 2005, 08:04 PM']Could Mary have sinned?
The reason that she could not have sinned is because she was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.
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Preserved from these defects? Yes, she was preserved from the corrupt nature of original sin, but her free will remained intact. Was her will much more “free” than yours or mine because of this preservation? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean that she didn’t have to make choices, including choices about being obedient to God and cooperating with the plan of salvation.

[quote name='Cam42' date='Oct 28 2005, 08:04 PM']N.B. The Latin usage is simply for accuracy's sake. It is easier to show the strength of the words in Sacred Scripture.
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Why you didn’t just go back to the original Greek, I’ll never know . . . . ;)


Ineffabilis Deus affirms that Mary “had only nature in common with them, not sin.” OK. It is part of our nature that we are free to choose whether to cooperate with God. If Mary was an angel, then according to my understanding of angelology and the nature of angels, she would have made a “once and for all” decision for God. However, her nature was human and human beings do not work like that. We have limited understanding, we must follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Did Mary show faithfulness in a completely unique way? Yes. Did she do so because she was preserved from original sin? Yes. Does that mean that she could not have chosen to do other than follow God? No.

[quote name='Cam42' date='Oct 29 2005, 08:28 AM']It was precisely BECAUSE of her free will that she could not have sinned. Why? Because she chose freely, at the moment of her conception to participate in an "especial way" with God. [right][snapback]773125[/snapback][/right]
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Cam, I’m not seeing anything in your quotes from Ineffabilis Deus that Mary made a choice, once and for all, at the moment of her conception to cooperate with God (even understanding that God works eternally). God gave the gift. Mary spent her life accepting it.

I also don’t see anyone denying the INFALLIBLE dogma about the Immaculate Conception. The Church has defined dogmatically and in an infallible manner that Mary was preserved from original sin. That’s it. Theological opinion on whether she could later have chosen to sin is not an abrogation the dogma, but is precisely that—theological opinion.

Edited by Thumper
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to say that no choice can be maid at the moment of conception because there is no brain et cetera is reductionist and thus in error. acts of the human will take place primarily in the soul, not the brain. the brain is merely a reflection of the soul's excercise of the free will God gave us.

and Cam's use of the Latin is for precision's sake... the Latin is backed up by the Church to be true and that language generally helps with the most defined nuances.

however, I also like the Greek of Luke 1:28
[quote]ΚΑΙ ΕΙΣΕΛΘΩΝ ΠΡΟΣ ΑΥΤΗΝ ΕΙΠΕΝ ΧΑΙΡΕ [b]ΚΕΧΑΡΙΤΩΜΕΝΗ[/b] Ο ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ΜΕΤΑ ΣΟΥ [/quote]
perfect past participle of the verb to be encompassed with grace meaning that Mary was always, from the moment of conception, completed and encompassed with grace and thus did not suffer the deficiency caused by original sin

however, I would also argue that Mary being preserved from the tendency towards sin and by nature she is full of grace does not mean she did not, throughout her whole life, contain the [i]capacity[/i] to reject that grace and sin. it was within her power as a human being. she did not sin, and she did not hold a tendency towards sinning, but she had just as much power as Eve did to disobey God if she so put her will into it.

to say that she did not have the capacity to sin is wrong I think, because it deminishes her role as the new eve. she had to put an act of will into the coninual obedience of God her entire life. she had to put an act of will into her 'fiat' accepting Christ to undo Eve's act of will against god.

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As great as this philosophizing is, where does the Bible exclude Mary from this?

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness,...

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all have sinned, yes. but not Jesus.

St. Paul is there speaking to the Christians in Rome, and there intends to remind all of those Christians in Rome that they are all sinners. He knows Mary isn't there.

Scripture is inspired in what it intends to say. If you think that St. Paul intended to say Mary had sinned... well I think you're overextending his thoughts just a little too far.

anyway, the Greek of Luke 1:28 proves that she had never sinned from the time of her conception until the time of the annunciation

ΚΑΙ ΕΙΣΕΛΘΩΝ ΠΡΟΣ ΑΥΤΗΝ ΕΙΠΕΝ ΧΑΙΡΕ ΚΕΧΑΡΙΤΩΜΕΝΗ Ο ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ΜΕΤΑ ΣΟΥ

ΚΕΧΑΡΙΤΩΜΕΝΗ means "full of, completed with, absolutely encompassed with grace right now and at all points in the past". that is the state of the verb here (the only other place where you'll find "full of grace" in scripture is regarding Stephen when he was stoned to death, but there it does not use this tense, its tense means that in that one specific moment he was full of grace)

when one sins, they fall out of the grace of God. if Mary had sinned just once before the Angel Gabriel said that, the Angel Gabriel would have been wrong. But we can trust the words of an Angel.

thereby scripture itself says Mary did not have original sin and that she did not sin for all the time until she met the Angel Gabriel.

now if someone did not sin for that entire time in their life, you think they were going to start sinning right after God was incarnated through them and they lived with God Incarnate for thirty years???

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My first reaction is, "Mary did not sin but she had the capacity to sin."

But then I think, "Both Jimmy Akin and Cam say otherwise."

Smart as I may be, I defer to Jimmy and Cam as we research further.

[quote]As great as this philosophizing is, where does the Bible exclude Mary from this?[/quote]
It does not exclude Mary but finds fulfillment in Mary in Luke 1:28. "All have sinned" is not an absolute statement; it excludes all who are incapable of the act of the will necessary to sin, which includes [i]kecharitomene[/i], Mary. "Justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" is a perfect description of the Immaculate Conception.

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you fail to understand the nature of the tense used when the Angel Gabriel says Mary is full of grace.

it means that AT EVERY POINT of Mary's existence up until the Angel Gabriel came she was full of Grace. it's a perfect past participle, it was her continuous state and nature her whole life to that point.

if at any point she had sinned, then at that one point she would have been out of God's grace and favor. even if for one breif second she had sinned, then at least in that one breif second, since God cannot stand nor favor sin, she would have been outside of God's grace and favor. but ΚΕΧΑΡΙΤΩΜΕΝΗ means that in every point in time she was by nature full of grace, thus sinless.

if she had been born with original sin, then at least while she had that original sin she would have been out of grace and favor with God and thus ΚΕΧΑΡΙΤΩΜΕΝΗ would have been an untrue statement about her. if she had sinned for one breif second ΚΕΧΑΡΙΤΩΜΕΝΗ would have been an untrue statement about her. she could have been called 'full of grace' in the present tense ( or ΠΛΗΡΗΣ ΧΑΡΙΤΟΣ, literally [i]full[/i] of [i]grace[/i])), but not ΚΕΧΑΡΙΤΩΜΕΝΗ

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[quote name='Cam42' date='Oct 28 2005, 10:58 PM']Incidentally, from the moment of our conception, we are full human beings.  This cannot be denied.  While we may have the stain of original sin, it doesn't mean that God cannot act in a miraculous way and eleviate that burden.  As a matter of fact, he did, once, with Mary.  However, when God communicated with Mary it was at the moment of her conception.  He said, "You have a choice, Yes or No?"  She said YES!!!!!!  That yes is vocalized in the Magnificat, but had existed from the moment of her conception.
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Did Mary then, at the moment of her choice, have the ability to say "no" and therefore sin?

Sounds like the choice the angels had.

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I know of no teaching of the Magisterium stating explicitly that Mary was not capable of sinning (although she certainly didn't act on such a capability).

In this life, she was presented with good and evil. In order to love God freely, she would have to be able to choose to love Him. To be able to choose implies that she had another option. She was presented throughout her natural life with the temptation to sin. Therefore, she had to have the ability to sin.

However, in heaven, there is not the choice to reject heaven. The time of choosing is over and the time of enjoying is at hand. In heaven, we will enjoy a perpetuation of our choice to love God.

I could be wrong, but I would need to see a statement from the Universal Magisterium to believe that I am.

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