Providence PCA Mission Church





The Development of the Roman Catholic Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception

By Andrew J. Webb


On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX in the presence of the College of Cardinals formally read the words of his bull Ineffabilis Deus, which irrevocably committed the Roman Catholic Church to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The Bull read in part:

". . . To the honor of the holy and undivided Trinity, to the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, to the exaltation of the Catholic faith, and the increase of the Catholic religion, We, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul and by Our Own, declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her Conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the omnipotent God, in consideration of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and is there fore to be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful."1

But while the Papal Bull may have finally determined the issue as a dogma within the Roman Catholic Church, the final promulgation of the doctrine as dogma "to be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful" was actually a crowning of the medieval success of Duns Scotus and the Franciscans in gaining formal theological acceptance for a doctrine that finds it's roots not in the bible or even in the writings of the Church Fathers, but rather in the tidal wave of popular devotion to Mary. A careful analysis of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception reveals that far from being "constantly believed by all the faithful", the doctrine was uniformly denied by the vast majority of theologians in the early and medieval church.

It was not until the 13th century, that the doctrine was to gain popular acceptance at all levels of the Church, and even then it was to be a source of controversy almost until its official acceptance in the 19th century. The very idea of making the doctrine a test case for Papal infallibility, which one commentary described as "almost... a reductio ad absurdum for the comfort of their foes"2, seems flawed in that no less than seven popes have made supposedly infallible declarations irreconcilable with or opposed to the doctrine.3

 As far as scriptural support is concerned, even the commission appointed by Pope Pius IX to investigate the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception could find no scriptural support for it, and instead reported that no scriptural evidence was necessary. The commission went on to say that tradition alone would be sufficient to dogmatically declare the doctrine, and that even tradition need not be shown to extend in an unbroken line to the apostolic age.4

Perhaps out of a feeling that it would be inappropriate to publish the bull without any supporting scripture the protoevangelium of Genesis 3:15 was eventually included as scriptural evidence for the doctrine. The Hebrew text, however, makes it clear that Christ and not His mother is being referred to in the passage. The scripture used for support is the faulty vulgate translation. Here the vulgate translates the Hebrew word for "he or it" (hu') as "she" ("and she shall crush thy head"). Roman Catholic theologian Ludwigg Ott indicates that he does not think the use of this verse in support of the doctrine is credible: "The Bull does not give any authentic explanation of the passage. It must also be observed that the infallibility of the Papal doctrinal decision extends only to the dogma as such and not to the reasons given as leading up to the dogma."5

 Scripture, far from lending support to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, contradicts it. This can be seen in a variety of different scriptures from those that speak of a universal aspect to original sin (Gen 8:21, Psalm 51:2, Rom 5:21, etc.) to Mary calling Christ her Savior in Luke 1:47 (implying a sense of personal sin and guilt).

 How then did a doctrine with no scriptural basis whatsoever, and which was not supported by one great teacher of the Christian Church prior to the 12th century6, come to become a dogma "to be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful?" The answer to that question can only found by examining the development of the doctrine. Let us begin that examination with the early church.

The Early Church

To say that there is little or no evidence for the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in the early church would be a major understatement, for, on the contrary, the evidence present in the early church militates against the doctrine. There simply was no perceived theological need for the doctrine and no popular Cult of the virgin powering the drive for the development of extrabiblical teachings regarding her nature. This lack of excessive popular veneration is evident both in the written witness and, what is more important to indicating the condition of popular sentiment, in the artwork of the early church:

"The Catacombs witness to the freedom of the early Church from any idolatrous veneration of the Virgin Mary. There is no apparent attempt to exalt her above the place which would naturally and necessarily be assigned to her in a full list of biblical representations. 'In those earliest decorations of the Catacombs,' says Mariott, 'which De Rossi and other Roman antiquarians believe to be before the age of Constantine, representations of the Virgin Mary occur only in such connection as is directly suggested by Holy Scripture."7

As one source put it "there was no tendency before the end of the fourth century to promote a regular cultus of the virgin, or even to address prayers to her."8

 It was the Christological debates of the 4th and 5th centuries that were to provide the catalyst for change in this situation. As the importance of the Virgin birth of Christ grew in the consciousness of the church, so too did the importance of Mary. "The more the awe and reverence of the early Church for the God-Man attempted to find adequate expression, the more natural it was that a portion of it should be transferred to his mother, the vehicle of his redeeming incarnation."9

This desire to venerate Mary was to lead to the formation of cult devoted to her veneration and exaltation. And it was this cult that has from its inception been one of the leading factors in the development of doctrine concerning her.

One of the most distressing tendencies in the growth of the Marian Cult which followed the declaration that she was rightly called theotokos (God-bearer) at the council of Ephesus (431) was the gradual adoption of elements of the apocryphal literature concerning Mary as traditions of the church. This happened in spite of the fact that Pope Galesius I had forbidden the use of this material. Many of the traditional beliefs regarding Mary such as the names of her parents, her education at the temple, the idea of her nominal marriage to Joseph - supposedly aged and with children from a previous marriage, and her assumption, are only to be found in documents that the Church had already condemned.10

What seems clear however, is that while they might have already begun to develop other questionable doctrines regarding Mary, the early church did not speculate on the conception of Mary, because it did not feel the need to do so. Mary was indeed particularly blessed among women, because she was chosen to bear the Redeemer, but the early church fathers obviously did not see her as playing a vital role in the redemption outside of this. Neither did they feel that for Christ to be sinless, Mary would need to have been sinless as well. Tertullian in his De Carne Christi says that "Christ, by putting on the flesh, made it his, and made it sinless. Irenaeus notes that "Christ made human nature pure by taking it" and Athanasius notes in On the Incarnation of the Word that "Christ sanctified his own body." In the middle ages it became unthinkable to speak of the Virgin Mary as having actually sinned, such was the force of the Marian Cult, but the early Fathers felt none of the same inhibitions and did not hesitate to frankly speak of her as a sinner. John Chrysostom spoke of her "excessive ambition at the marriage festival at Cana", asserting that she "was possibly not immune to some feeling of human vanity, wishing to attract to herself recognition from the guests by the miracle requested of Jesus and the showing of her influence over Him."11 Chrysostom also thought Mary's interruption of Christ's discourse to have Him come meet with her and His Brothers "indiscreet". Basil believed that with the apostles she too "wavered at the time of the crucifixion".12

Augustine, whose work was critical in defining the doctrine of the universality of original sin, went to great pains to ensure that Mary was not regarded as actually sinful in her lifetime. In this he was probably following his mentor Ambrose more closely than biblical doctrine. In his refutation of Pelagius in On Nature and Grace, Augustine makes clear that he disagrees violently with Pelagius' contention that there were some Old Testament Saints who did not sin, but agrees with his other statement that, concerning Mary "it is necessary to devotion to confess that she lived without sin" in the following manner "I make an exception for the Virgin Mary, about whom, for the honor due to the Lord, I do not want to have any discussion when it concerns sins, since we know that she who has been worthy to conceive and bear Him who was without sin has received a greater grace than to conquer sin completely."13 In other works, Augustine makes clear that Christ alone was without any sin (Remission of Sins, 2.24.38)

The followers of Augustine also assert that Mary was born with original sin. Eusebius Emissensus asserts that, "From the bond of the old sin [original sin] is not even the mother of the Redeemer free." While Fulgentius writes, "The Flesh of Mary, which was conceived in unrighteousness in a human way, was truly sinful flesh"14

The Doctrine Takes Shape: The Early Middle Ages

A ninth-century Benedictine Monk by the name of Pachasius Radbertus was one of the next thinkers to move the issue of the Immaculate Conception along. In a treatise entitled "You Compel Me" which he wrote pseudopigraphically under the name of Jerome, Radbertus discussed whether it might be appropriate to celebrate a festival devoted to the birth, and not just the death of the Virgin Mary. Rather than simply discussing her birth Radbertus also raised the issue of her conception, asking - but not answering - whether she had been conceived and born in original sin, or whether she like her Son had been free from the stain of original sin.15

This issue of feasts and festivals was to play an important later role in the doctrine of the immaculate conception, for eventually the church was not only to institute festivals celebrating the birth of Mary, but also festivals celebrating her conception. It was in deciding whether or not these festivals could be legitimately considered celebrations of her immaculate conception that later controversies were to break out.

By the beginning of the middle ages and following in the train of the thought of Western fathers such as Augustine, it was popularly accepted that Mary had been personally sinless in her life. The reasons for this had to do with both popular devotion - Mary had come to be seen as a standard for sinless perfection, an embodiment of ascetic virtues such as chastity, piety, and sacrifice - and also the critical question of Christ's sinlessness. It was thought that for Christ to have been preserved free from all stain of original sin, his mother had to be free from it in order to avoid transmitting it to her son. So while theologians had come to think that Mary had been freed from the stain of original sin, and had consequently lived a totally sinless life (against the thinking of their Greek forbears), the critical question became one of determining when she had been freed from original sin. In his Cur Deus Homo, no less a theologian than Anselm (1033-1109) both denied the Immaculate Conception and maintained that Mary had been born with the stain of original sin:

 "For even though the conception of this man is pure and free from the sin of carnal delight, nevertheless the Virgin herself, from whom he was taken, was "conceived in iniquities" and her mother conceived her "in sins," and she was born with original sin, since she also sinned in Adam, "in whom all have sinned"16

 Anselm instead maintained that the Virgin Mary was purified from sin prior to the birth of Jesus on account of her faith in His future sacrifice, "But that Virgin from whom the Man we are speaking of was taken was among those who before his birth were purified from sins through him, and he was taken from her in this very state of purity"17 This purification being absolutely necessary if Christ was himself was to be pure.

Curiously, while Anselm himself denied any notion of any Immaculate Conception, it was his secretary and pupil the monk Eadmer who was one of the leading figures in the early propagation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Eadmer deduced that the doctrine, although it was expressly denied by Anselm in Cur Deus Homo, was none-the-less implicitly affirmed in his works of Marian devotion, particularly On the excellency of Mary and he consequently went on to affirm the doctrine in his own On the Conception of St. Mary18 Once again the power of the Cult of the Virgin proved to have the greater influence in determining the theology of the Church.

 Later scholastic theologians after Anselm would generally agree that Mary had been purified from sin prior to her birth, but would disagree as to when this purification had taken place. Most of them were eager to avoid making Mary the "great exception", the one human being conceived without sin, so their formulations tended to have Mary conceived with sin but purged immediately, or even instantly afterwards.

Peter Abailard (1079-1142) also held that the virgin was purified of the stain of sin prior to the birth of Christ, "For man had not sinned except against his own Lord, whose obedience he had forsaken. If, then, his Lord wanted to remit the sin, as was done to the Virgin Mary and as Christ also did for many others before he underwent his passion..."19

The overall witness of the theologians of the middle ages was against what was coming to be known as "The Great Exception", the idea that Mary alone in all humanity had been exempted from original sin. So how then did it come to be the majority testimony in the Roman Catholic Church? The answer lies both in the popular force of the Marian Cult, which from it's beginnings has never ceased to work towards the greater exaltation of the mother of Christ, and in the devotion of the Franciscans and their greatest theologian, John Duns Scotus, to the promulgation of the doctrine.

Whilst the scholastic theologians were busy arguing at what point Mary had been made sinless, the popular cult of the virgin amongst the laity and the clergy was once again advancing the argument to the next step with little attention to the theological niceties so important to the theologians. As was mentioned earlier, perhaps the most the most influential area in the popular arena regarding this issue were the feasts and festivals devoted to the celebration of events in the life of the Virgin. It was the institution of one of these festivals that was to fan the long smoldering controversy into flame in the 12th century.


The Doctrine Disputed: The 12th and 13th Centuries


 In 1140 the church at Lyons instituted a festival to commemorate the immaculate conception of Mary. This produced the strongest possible reaction from Bernard of Clairvaux, a theologian whose reputation for devotion to Mary was unparalleled. Calling it a "novelty of which the rites of the Church know nothing, that reason does not approve, and ancient tradition does not commend"20 Bernard wrote to the canons of the church at Lyons expressing his shock and dismay at their action. Because of his immense stature as a medieval theologian and saint it is worthwhile to examine his letter in some detail in order to ascertain both his feelings regarding the doctrine and the reasons he gives for being unable to support it.

 In his letter Bernard initially cites the former eminence of the church at Lyons but notes that this independent decision to institute a "new ceremony" has brought their former greatness into serious doubt. He goes on to ask them if they are "more learned or more devout that the Fathers" given that they have chosen to "define what they in their prudence have left in doubt". He doubts not that their decision to institute the ceremony was out of a desire to "honor the Mother of the Lord more" but points out that such a decision must be "judicious" as she has no need of "a false honor." He goes on to list reasons that he feels she should be legitimately honored by the church and here he mentions several that one must conclude are equally without support in scripture or tradition, but which were generally assumed by the church at this point. Among them her sinlessness, ever-virgin status, her position as mediatrix, her assumption, and even the idea that she had no birth pains, as she was free from the effects of original sin prior to her birth. But Bernard goes on to maintain that the teaching of the church is that she was "certainly sanctified before her birth", but not prior to her conception. In fact, he makes a point of stressing that her sanctification simply could not have preceded her conception saying, "But there could not be sanctification before existence, nor was there existence before being conceived." He then goes on to utterly dismiss the spreading heresy that Mary was also conceived by the Holy Spirit, "Pity him who tells himself that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit and not by a man." Bernard maintains that her birth was Holy and is to be celebrated precisely because "already conceived and existing in her mother's womb she received sanctification." It is to Christ alone "that sanctified conception should be reserved." Christ "alone was sanctified before and after conception", Bernard tells them. He even goes so far as to state that even Mary must confess with all the sons of Adam "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Psalm 51:5) He finishes by telling the leaders of the church that the Virgin Mary will "gladly do without this honor with which sin seem to be honored" (for Bernard strongly felt her conception was in sin), but closes saying that as a son of the church, he remits the entire "question to the authority and example of the Roman Church."21

In this letter in particular, Bernard strongly expresses what was then the majority position of the scholastics concerning the issue. But the ground swell of popular devotion to Mary was so strong that a popular myth arose that after Bernard's death a black mark appeared on his breast as punishment for saying "what ought not to have been said of the Virgin." Bernard for his part, while eager to render all honor possible to the Virgin Mary was determined that the central Christian concepts of the universality of sin and uniqueness of Christ should not be obscured or destroyed by that devotion. In this Bernard was at odds with the almost unstoppable growth of devotionally motivated mythology that had surrounded Mary since the 4th century. Curiously Bernard, who had done much to accelerate the cult of her veneration, suddenly found himself confronted by and compelled to oppose yet another example of the fruit of that cult.

 But it was to be Thomas Aquinas, the Thomists who followed him, and the Dominican order who were to form the strongest bulwark against the doctrine of the Immaculate conception during the middle ages. With the other scholastic theologians of his age, Aquinas was eager to affirm doctrines such as the sinlessness of Mary and her sanctification in the womb, but he is forthright in his Summa Theologica in declaring that proof for this doctrine is not to be found in the bible, "Concerning the sanctification of Mary, that is that she was sanctified in utero, nothing has been handed down to us in the canonical Scriptures which do not mention her birth at all."22 Instead Thomas argues rationally (rationabiliter argumentari) for two propositions, the first being that Mary was conceived in sin;

"The Sanctification of the Virgin cannot be meant to have happened before her animation, - that is before her soul was united to her body, - for two reasons: first, because the sanctification of which we speak is none other that purification from original sin ... But guilt cannot be cleansed except by grace whose object is the rational creature only. Therefore, before the infusion of the rational soul the Virgin was not sanctified. Secondly, because only the rational creature is susceptible to guilt, the offspring conceived is not capable of guilt before the infusion of the rational soul. And if the blessed Virgin had been sanctified in any way before her animation she would never have incurred any stain of original sin and therefore would have had no need of redemption and salvation which are through Christ, of whom it is said in Matthew 1:21, "He will save his people from their sins." It is not fitting, then, that Christ should not be the Saviour of all men, as is said in 1 Timothy 4. It stands, then, that the sanctification of the blessed Virgin took place after animation."23

 The second proposition is that she was sanctified in the womb, which he deduces from the angelic greeting in Luke 1:28, and the example of Jeremiah (1:5), and John The Baptist (Luke 1:15) both of whom were also supposedly sanctified in the womb (although this interpretation contradicts that of many church fathers including Augustine). Thomas is careful to note that these are theological propositions and not revealed truth.24

Thomas' formulation regarding the conception of Mary was also the one favored by the majority of theologians during the thirteenth century. Even though the Franciscans were to become the most strident advocates of the doctrine of the immaculate conception, the founder of Franciscan theology, Bonaventura also wrote that the virgin Mary could not have been sanctified "before her animation", he elsewhere states (Locus Theol., VII, i) : "All the saints who have made mention of this matter, with one mouth have asserted that the blessed Virgin was conceived in original sin." And yet again "We must therefore believe, in conformity with the general belief that the Virgin's sanctification took place after she had contracted original sin."25

At this point it is valid to ask why the scholastics, while they were willing to attribute qualities not supported in the bible or the early church to Mary, would not be willing to support the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception as well? The answer lies not in the rational formulations that the scholastics created to explain why she could not have been sanctified prior to her conception, but in the fact that they perceived a "disquieting closeness between an immaculate conception of Mary and the miraculous conception of Jesus."26 The were aware that while the miraculous honors they accorded her set her above her fellow men, they did not violate the universal laws of sin and redemption, and they did not seriously impinge upon the personal uniqueness of Christ. The Immaculate conception did however, and made Mary the "great exception," thus according her an honor shared only with her son. It would be tempting to speculate how the scholastics would have reacted had they known how much further Mary was to be exalted after the medieval period.

The Next Step: The Devotion of the Franciscans, and the Philosophy of John Duns Scotus

While the cult of the Virgin may have supported the adoption of the doctrine of Immaculate Conception as yet another honor to be accorded her, the theological and philosophical groundwork to support its adoption did not exist, as yet. In fact, all of the serious scholastic treatises written on the subject up to that point had militated against the doctrine. It was not until the 14th century and the work of the philosopher/theologian John Duns Scotus that serious groundwork was to be laid for the later adoption of the doctrine, and once this foundational material was in place the Franciscan order began to work diligently to drum up support at all levels for the enactment of the doctrine as a dogma.

 The formulation that Duns Scotus developed can be described more properly as a philosophical or logical construction than a theological one, for it relied not at all on either the tradition of the Church or Scripture. He delivered this argument in 1301 whilst commenting on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, the standard theological "text-book" during the middle ages. Lombard's work did not support the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, saying instead that the Holy Spirit had cleansed her from sin after it had been contracted. In response Dun Scotus postulated that it was possible for God to have done one of three things to insure the sinlessness of Mary (which was by now regarded as beyond question within the church). God could have:

 1) Preserved Mary from any possibility of contracting Original Sin

 2) Delivered her from the stain of original sin prior to her birth

 3) Purified her from it at the end of some period of time prior to the birth of Christ.

 After giving these three possibilities he states "Which of these three... it was that was done, God knows," since neither scripture or tradition provide any definitive answers, "But, if it does not contradict the authority of Scripture or the authority of the church, it seems preferable to attribute greater rather than lesser excellence to Mary."27 In this formulation Dun Scotus was keeping to the popular adage of the period "Whatever was both possible and eminently fitting for God to do, that he did", which was to go on to become a foundational concept in another Marian doctrine lacking support in Scripture or tradition - the doctrine of the Assumption.

Put simply Scotus' formulation was:

 1) It was possible for God to preserve Mary from original sin

 2) It was most "suitable" for Him to do so

 3) Therefore He did

 Critics of the formulation immediately pointed out that the central issue of concern regarding the doctrine was not whether it was possible for Mary to be conceived without sin, but whether she was in fact conceived without it. Ultimately this argument was to no avail, for it was this formulation that prevailed.

 Scotus argued other points related to the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception based on this same formula, stating that it would not have been "fitting" for the Mother of the Redeemer to have been an enemy of God for even an instant: "She is there the blessed Virgin, mother of God, who was never actually an enemy (of God) by reason of actual sin or original sin, yet would have been an enemy if she had not been preserved." 28

 But Scotus' arguments in support of the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception where not confined to the above formula alone, he also argued based upon "the excellence of her Son as Redeemer." Because of this quality, he said, Christ must have had "the most perfect possible degree of mediation in respect to one creature." The most fitting candidate had to be His mother and the most perfect method of mediation was to preserve her from sin rather than delivering her from it after it had been contracted. Hence the Immaculate Conception was the most perfect method of mediation extended to the most suitable candidate.29

Just prior to his death, Duns Scotus was to inject a note of uncertainty into his own formulations adding the word "perhaps" in respect to the preservation of Mary from original sin. But by then his formulations in their original form were already being widely used by Franciscans, who were not likely to express the same reservations on the matter.30

Even after the Scotist formulation, the Dominicans struggled on continuing to produce evidence against the doctrine such as De Singulari Puritate et Perogativa Conceptionis Christi written in1470 which contains some four hundred testimonies against the dogma from the fathers of the church31 and the issue of the Doctrine became a full blown battle within the church between the Franciscans and the Scotists on one side, and the Dominicans and Thomists on the other.

 The council of Basel which met in 1438 went so far as to officially sanction the Doctrine, but because Pope Eugenius IV condemned the council itself for other reasons, its doctrines had no authority. Nevertheless the decision of the council had a far-reaching impact amongst those who read its decrees.

 In 1477 Pope Sixtus IV, a Franciscan, officially sanctioned a feast of the Immaculate, but the response was from the Dominican opposition was sharp and immediate. Later, in response to bitter feuding between the Dominicans and his own party regarding this issue, Sixtus was to issue a decree threatening both Franciscans and Dominicans with excommunication if they should accuse each other of heresy regarding this Doctrine.

 At the Council of Trent the Franciscans saw an opportunity to at last ensure that debate on the subject of the Immaculate conception be ended in favor of the doctrine. Aided by the Jesuits they demanded that Mary be excepted from the decree stating the universality of original sin.32 While this would not have established the doctrine of the Immaculate conception in and of itself, it would have made it the only viable explanation for her generally accepted sinlessness. Predictably the Dominicans strongly protested such an exception, and the matter was referred to Rome, who answered that an attempt had to be made to satisfy both parties.

It is beyond the scope of this essay to follow the doctrine beyond the Medieval Church but suffice it to say that by the end of the 15th century, while the doctrine had not yet been officially defined as a dogma of the church, it was believed and taught by the majority of the clergy and laity. From this point on the Scotist view was increasingly embraced by the church, while support for the Thomist position dwindled and official pressure was brought against those who still maintained it. Why then did support for the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception go from being a tiny minority of the church in the 12th century to the majority position in the 15th? As we have seen, while the weight of theological reasoning was against the doctrine, it was viewed with favor within the Marian cult, and this is was to be the deciding factor. To date, history has shown that every conceivable doctrine that further exalts the status of Mary that is not specifically declared heretical has eventually been adopted by the Roman Catholic Church as a dogma. This has been the case regardless of the paucity of scriptural or even traditional support for the doctrines themselves.

The popular cult of Mary has been an unstoppable juggernaut in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. It has propelled her from the simple handmaiden of the Lord, the humble mother of Christ we find in scripture to the verge of being anointed co-redemptrix and exalted to a position on par with her Divine Son. Ultimately, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was simply another step in the ongoing campaign to lift Mary as high as possible above her fellow humans. At what point the Roman Catholic church will conclude that she has been lifted high enough is impossible to say.


Abailard, Peter "Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans" A Scholastic Miscellany: Anselm to Ockham. ed. Eugene R. Fairweather Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1956.

 Anselm "Why God Became Man" A Scholastic Miscellany: Anselm to Ockham. ed. Eugene R. Fairweather Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1956.

 Carol, Juniper B. Mariology. Vol. 1 Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1954.

 Fairweather, Eugene R. "Introduction to Anselm of Canterbury," A Scholastic Miscellany: Anselm to Ockham, ed. Eugene R. Fairweather Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1956.

 Miegge, Giovanni The Virgin Mary. London: Lutterworth Press, 1955.

 Ott, Ludwig Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. Tan Books & Publishers, 1974.

 Pelikan, Jaroslav Mary Through the Centuries. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

----------. The Christian Tradition Vol.3, The Growth of Medieval Theology. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1978.

 Sheldon, C.H. History of the Christian Church. Vol. I & V New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907.

 Sweet, Louis Matthews "Immaculate Conception," The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Vol. III Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company, 1930.

 "Immaculate Conception," Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1879.

 "Immaculate Conception," Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977.


1 J.B. Carol, Mariology, Vol. 1 (Milwaukee, The Bruce Publishing Company, 1954) , 23
2 Louis Matthews Sweet, "Immaculate Conception," in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. III (Chicago, The Howard-Severance Company, 1930), 1457
3 Launoy, Prescriptions, entire
4 "Immaculate Conception," in Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, (Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1977), 455
5 Ludwigg Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 200
6 "Immaculate Conception" in Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, (New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1879), 506
7 C.H. Sheldon, History of the Christian Church, Vol. I (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907), 313
8 "Mary," in Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 221
9 Ibid., 220.
10 Ibid., p.221
11 Giovanni Miegge, The Virgin Mary, (London, Lutterworth Press, 1955), 108-109
12 "Immaculate Conception" in Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, 508
13 Augustine, On Nature and Grace, 36.42
14 "Immaculate Conception" in Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, 507
15 Jaroslav Pelikan, Mary Through the Centuries, (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1996), p.192
16 Anselm, "Why God Became Man" in A Scholastic Miscellany: Anselm to Ockham, ed. Eugene R. Fairweather (Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1956), 166
17 Ibid., p.169
18 Eugene R. Fairweather, "Introduction to Anselm of Canterbury," in Ibid., 60
19 Peter Abailard, "Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans", in Ibid., 281
20 Bernard of Clairvaux, Epistle 174
21 Miegge, The Virgin Mary, 114-115
22 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, quaest. 27 art 1-6
23 Ibid., 3.27.2
24 Miegge, The Virgin Mary, 116
25 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, quoted in Miegge, 119
26 Ibid., p.120
27 Pelikan, Mary Through the Centuries, 196
28 John Duns Scotus Commentary on Book IV, Peter Lombard's sentences
29 Pelikan, Mary Through the Centuries, 196
30 Miegge, The Virgin Mary, 124
31 "Immaculate Conception," in Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, 507
32 "Immaculate Conception," in Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 455 7


 Home Visitors  |  Sermons  |  Essays  |  Search  |  References  |  Feedback

Updated 9/11/2002
Questions or comments, contact