Cardinal Newman on the Immaculate Conception

Thursday, December 8, AD 2016

Memorandum On the Immaculate Conception


1. IT is so difficult for me to enter into the feelings of a person who understands the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and yet objects to it, that I am diffident about attempting to speak on the subject. I was accused of holding it, in one of the first books I wrote, twenty years ago. On the other hand, this very fact may be an argument against an objector—for why should it not have been difficult to me at that time, if there were a real difficulty in receiving it?

2. Does not the objector consider that Eve was created, or born, without original sin? Why does not this shock him? Would he have been inclined to worship Eve in that first estate of hers? Why, then, Mary?

3. Does he not believe that St. John Baptist had the grace of God—i.e., was regenerated, even before his birth? What do we believe of Mary, but that grace was given her at a still earlier period? All we say is, that grace was given her from the first moment of her existence.

4. We do not say that she did not owe her salvation to the death of her Son. Just the contrary, we say that she, of all mere children of Adam, is in the truest sense the fruit and the purchase of His Passion. He has done for her more than for anyone else. To others He gives grace and regeneration at a point in their earthly existence; to her, from the very beginning.

5. We do not make her nature different from others. Though, as St. Austin says, we do not like to name her in the same breath with mention of sin, yet, certainly she would have been a frail being, like Eve, without the grace of God. A more abundant gift of grace made her what she was from the first. It was not her nature which secured her perseverance, but the excess of grace which hindered Nature acting as Nature ever will act. There is no difference in kind between her and us, though an inconceivable difference of degree. She and we are both simply saved by the grace of Christ.

Thus, sincerely speaking, I really do not see what the difficulty is, and should like it set down distinctly in words. I will add that the above statement is no private statement of my own. I never heard of any Catholic who ever had any other view. I never heard of any other put forth by anyone.

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Immaculate Mary

Saturday, December 8, AD 2012

Something for the weekend.  There can only be one song on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception:  Immaculate Mary.  A Lourdes hymn, it was probably first sung in 1873.  No one really knows who wrote the lyrics of the hymn although it has been attributed to  Abbe Gaignet, a priest of Lucon.  The melody is from a traditional Pyrenean song.  It has long been a favorite hymn of Catholics in America.

The belief that Mary was conceived without the taint of original sin had its champions long before it was proclaimed as dogma of the Church in 1854  and some of the supporters, er, are unexpected!

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10 Responses to Immaculate Mary

  • My most poingnant memory of this song was hearing it at St James Church in
    Medjugorje in the summer of 1988, when my wife and I went there. The whole Church resounded when it was sung and I was struck by the difference in the
    emphasis placed on “a VE” as opposed to the “A ve”, we sing in America. I had
    never heard the subtle but striking difference before. I really liked hearing it
    sung with the “different” vocal accenting. I actually prefer the way I heard it
    sung there.

    This was a couple of months before our now 24 year old son was born and just
    a few more months before the meltdown of our marriage. Each time I hear this
    song, which I love, dearly, it floods me with such conflicting memories of enduring joy and agonizing sorrow. It truly is bittersweet.

    God bless.

  • We are ready to celebrate Christmas once again and everyone who thinks he is “Christian” will for a while be thinking of that wondrous event a couple of thousand years ago.

    There is no need to go into how it has been so commercialized that the real meaning of the most significant event in all human history has been more or less reduced to glamorizing the art of gift giving for adults and a child’s best bedtime story ever with new toys or clothing to boot.

    We should recall the birth of Christ was a really very personal thing for one young woman as well as the amazing singular moment in time which changed the course of history for mankind’s existence.

    This awesome moment came about as a result of the decision that a young woman made nine months earlier when asked if the Spirit of the Most High God could be allowed to come into her very soul and body in order to bring salvation to suffering humanity. Frightened by the very presence of the Spirit of God to which she had dedicated her life there before her, yet certain of her desire to please her Lord she humbly surrendered herself to His personal plan for her and His universal plan for mankind. That decision, that surrender and that act of faith formed the foundation for what we proudly cherish as Christianity today.

    Knowing this we need to view the joy of Christmas not only for God’s great gift of His redeeming Son but also the opportunity to thank Mary for her most gracious and humble offering of total personal submission to the will of God for the benefit of all mankind. The shouts and praise hailed to all the kings of this world for their triumphs over the centuries are whispers compared to Mary’s gentle but earthshaking voice that night when she softly answered “yes” to God and said “be it done unto me according to your Will”.

    So, with this perspective, whether we realize it or not we can and do in fact celebrate Christmas every time we devotedly and faithfully say “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death'”.

    Loving Mary makes you want to follow Christ to serve and praise God…Forever!

  • Salve Regina!

    ” . . . I fly unto You, O Virgin or virgins, my Mother! To You do I come. Before You I stand, sinful and sorrowful. […]”

    Desire the love of humility. Meditate upon Mary’s humility when the Angel Gabriel greeted her with these words, “Hail, full of grace!”

    And, I remember a six-year-old, yahoo in the courtyard of St. Eugene’s Chapel, the Bronx, singing, “O Mary we crown thee with flowers today! Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May. […]”

  • “To be as white as wool is a measure of brilliance however to be whiteness itself is all together a class of it’s own.” That is the definition of Immaculate accordingly given by one of her sons St. Maximilian Kolbe.
    When she told St. Bernadette that “I am the Immaculate Conception, she confirmed the Churches dogma proclaimed four years prior.
    In the end of Chapt. 12 book of Revelation Her offspring are those who a) live by the commandments, b) give testimony of Her Son Jesus the Christ.

    Peace to my brothers and sisters of the Handmaid of the Lord. What a gift to be orher Christ bearers with Mary Immaculate as our model.

    I’m away from my books, so if my quotes are not perfect please forgive me.
    Philip, a Knight of the Immaculata.

  • To sing it at Lourdes and feel her presence in the enclosure was a real blessing I wish everyone could share. Mary has indeed done great things for me. When our B-47 crew was on alert in Saragossa, Spain in 1960, I was on liberty and walking in the city when I received a distinct vocal locution to turn right at the next corner. I did, and it led me to Our Lady of the Pillar Church, the first church in the world dedicated to Mary that was dedicated by St. James in 40 A.D.

    Everyone should be consecrated ti the Immaculate Heart of Mary , and offer everything to God through her hands because God directs everything to us through those same hands.

    You have spoken eloquently Bill Sr.

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  • Our parish here in Tauranga NZ is “St.Mary Immacualte”. This is the second Catholic parish founded in NZ by Bp. Pompalier in 1840, and his whole episcopacy he placed un der the protection of Mary. He came from Lyons in France, where the great early father of the Church, St. Irenaeus of Lyons had his diocese. Irenaeus had been taught by a student ( can’t recall just now) of St. John the Apostle – so our parish has a direct line through the NZ and French bishops back to St. John.
    As a side topic, I was graced this morning at the 8 am Mass to be accepted into Candidacy for ordination to the Diaconate, which should take place in about 6 months, God willing.

  • Don the Kiwi: My prayers go with you.

  • “As a side topic, I was graced this morning at the 8 am Mass to be accepted into Candidacy for ordination to the Diaconate, which should take place in about 6 months, God willing.”

    Bravo Don!

  • Congratulations Don the Kiwi!

Ineffabilis Deus

Thursday, December 8, AD 2011


Apostolic Constitution issued by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854.


God Ineffable — whose ways are mercy and truth, whose will is omnipotence itself, and whose wisdom “reaches from end to end mightily, and orders all things sweetly” — having foreseen from all eternity the lamentable wretchedness of the entire human race which would result from the sin of Adam, decreed, by a plan hidden from the centuries, to complete the first work of his goodness by a mystery yet more wondrously sublime through the Incarnation of the Word. This he decreed in order that man who, contrary to the plan of Divine Mercy had been led into sin by the cunning malice of Satan, should not perish; and in order that what had been lost in the first Adam would be gloriously restored in the Second Adam. From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world. Above all creatures did God so loved her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.

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