Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ineffabilis Deus: Have You Read the Dogmatic Definition of the Immaculate Conception?

Blessed Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception to all! The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was defined in 1854 by Pope Bl. Pius IX (though it was taught for many centuries beforehand). It refers to the singular privilege that is Our Lady's--that from the first moment of her conception, she was preserved from all stain of original sin. It does not refer to the conception of Jesus (Incarnation) or a catch by Franco Harris ("immaculate reception"). The dogma is defined in the apostolic constitution, Ineffabilis Deus, which is in its entirety is found here.

Hopefully you went to Mass today because it is a holy day of obligation. If you missed Mass today or if you have not yet read the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Catholic ruler smack upon thy knuckles! (Calm down, it only stings for a minute.)

The bare minimum of Catholic mandatory reading is reproduced below (emphases my own):

Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. 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."

Seriously though, read it. It's only about as long as the lead story in a magazine. If I could be anywhere in the U.S. today, it would be here. Alas, I am not! If you are there, say a prayer for me. Happy feast day!
Mosaic of the Immaculate Conception, Basilica of the National Shrine
of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.