Sinless Mary

“To create Oneself out of nothing is an impressive accomplishment,” said an atheist friend, who enjoyed especially making fun of Catholics. “But to turn around then and create your own Mother, is flabbergasting.”

Not to my surprise, that man is a Catholic today.

It is the 160th anniversary of the Dogmatic Definition of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, by Pope Pius IX. And of course, a holy day of obligation, so if you haven’t been to Mass, get there now! … And if you are a United Statist, as many of the readers of this Idleblog seem to be, get there double-quick. Because, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Conceived Without Sin, is the patroness of your country. And was so proclaimed, from Baltimore, even before this dogma was formally proclaimed at Rome.

And was so, even before the proclamation of those United States, for she came north with the Spanish missionaries, and was embraced by the Indians of the Borderlands, singing the Alabado:

Y la limpia Concepcion
De la Reina de los Cielos,
Que quedando Virgen Pura,
Es Madre del Verbo Eterno.

Which makes her, of course, both Spanish, and Indian, as well as United States American; yet even more than that, for she is Queen of Sky and Earth.

Indeed the dogma, that our Virgin Mother was born sinless — free from the sin of Adam, free from original sin — was formally proclaimed long after — centuries upon centuries after — it had already been accepted throughout the Catholic world; and by the Church both East and West. It was not something Pius IX made up on the spur of the moment (as too many Protestants were taught to believe). Read, if gentle reader will, that Pope’s own explanation, in his apostolic constitution, Ineffablis Deus (which may be found here).

Those who do not think the dogma biblical, should go and read the Book of Proverbs, or better still, just go to Mass and have it sung to you. From the eighth chapter, beginning, Dominus possedit me:

“The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything, from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived. …”

The United States, Canada, England, Australia and so forth — the English-speaking diaspora, “we” — were from our beginnings consecrated to Mary. Throughout Europe, in the later Middle Ages, England was known as the Marian land; and to this day it shows in the names of her parish churches. In the new (since 2011) Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, by which remaining faithful Anglicans may return to communion with Rome, along with their glorious liturgical heritage, this Marian tradition is again affirmed, restored and upheld.

To which I can only add: Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!