According to many Catholic apologists, like Dr. Robert Sungenis,1 the dogma of the immaculate conception of Mary is not simply binding because it is a divinely revealed dogma, but according to them it is binding additionally because logically speaking without Mary being sinless Jesus could not accomplish the redemptive work in the first place.

What exactly do they mean by this?

The story goes like this, to save mankind Jesus had to be sinless. Therefore Mary had to be sinless to not pass on original sin. But then Protestant apologists just say "the grace could have been given directly to Jesus" or "why wasn't the grace given to the mother and father of Mary, or even further back?"

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. Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.”

Blessed Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 8 December 1854

Questions in formal form is as follows: Why was it necessary for the salvation plan to have specifically Mary the mother of Jesus be utterly without sin?

1. For example, in this video debate at 1:05:18 ("because if she isn't sinless, she's going to produce a sinful Savior") and 1:13:00.

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    One cannot answer this question from a catholic perspective if they must put aside dogmatic obligations. If one did that the answer would be primarily opinion based rather than a well sourced catholic answer.
    – user23657
    Aug 13, 2018 at 14:29
  • christianity.stackexchange.com/q/44707/23657. Related
    – user23657
    Aug 13, 2018 at 14:45
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    According to Augustine and Thomas, the incarnation of Christ wasn't actually necessary for salvation, so the immaculate conception certainly wasn't. Oct 6, 2018 at 10:48
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    According to St. Thomas Aquinas only Adam was responsible for transmitting original sin to the human race. Thus it follows that only the Holy Spirit was responsible for preserving Christ from original sin, not Mary.
    – Ken Graham
    Nov 3, 2018 at 12:41
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    "According to many Catholic apologists, like Dr. Robert Sungenis, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not simply binding because it is a divinely revealed dogma, but according to them it is binding additionally because logically speaking without Mary being sinless Jesus could not accomplish the redemptive work in the first place." Can you name a few Catholic theologians with this viewpoint. In 2008 his local bishop had instructed him to stop writing about Jews and to remove the name "Catholic" from his blog.
    – Ken Graham
    May 1, 2019 at 12:56

6 Answers 6


Was Mary's Immaculate Conception Absolutely Necessary for our Salvation?

Before I go on with my answer, I object to that fact that you claim that according to many Catholic apologists, like Dr. Robert Sungenis, the dogma of the immaculate conception of Mary is necessary for our salvation.

"According to many Catholic apologists, like Dr. Robert Sungenis, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not simply binding because it is a divinely revealed dogma, but according to them it is binding additionally because logically speaking without Mary being sinless Jesus could not accomplish the redemptive work in the first place." Can someone please name a few Catholic theologians with this viewpoint. In 2008 his local bishop had instructed him to stop writing about Jews and to remove the name "Catholic" from his blog.

The short answer is no.

Our salvation was guarantied by Our lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.

The Catholic Church believes that it was not absolutely or intrinsically necessary for the Blessed Virgin Mary to be sinless; only fitting or appropriate (God making the choice).

Thus, even a dogmatic belief in the Immaculate Conception does not in any way impinge upon the Two Natures of Christ. We believe the Immaculate Conception happened, and are required to believe this, but we don't believe that it had to happen exactly as it did (in all possible worlds, etc.), in order for God to be God.

All the Immaculate Conception did was make Mary as Eve was before the Fall (precisely why the Church fathers often called her the Second Eve or New Eve): unfallen and sinless; not subject to original sin. As Cardinal Newman remarked: why is it considered such an extraordinary thing that God chose to simply make one person -- the Mother of God the Son, the Theotokos -- the way that all of us would have been, but for the Fall?

Fr. Ryan Erlenbush wrote on The New Theological Movement website (12-8-11):

And this is the great difference between Jesus and Mary: She required a special grace to preserve her from the stain of sin, but our Savior (by virtue of the Incarnation itself, and on account of his divinity) could not possibly have contracted the guilt or debt of original sin in any respect.

While our Blessed Lady, even though Immaculately Conceived, required a Redeemer (namely, her own Son, Christ Jesus), the Lord did not have any need of a Redeemer. No special grace was required (beyond that of the Incarnation itself) to keep the Christ Child from original sin – he could not possibly have contracted it.

In this sense, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is seen to be fitting and true while (in itself) not absolutely necessary, but the sinlessness of the Lord Jesus is absolutely necessary and super-eminently fitting.

Was Mary's Immaculate Conception Absolutely Necessary?

St. Thomas Aquinas maintains that it was indeed possible for Our Lord Jesus Christ to have been born of sinful woman; Christ's glory would not have been diminished thereby. But, he states elsewhere, it would have been inappropriate:

God so prepares and endows those, whom He chooses for some particular office, that they are rendered capable of fulfilling it, according to 2 Cor. 3:6: "(Who) hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament." Now the Blessed Virgin was chosen by God to be His Mother. Therefore there can be no doubt that God, by His grace, made her worthy of that office. ... But she would not have been worthy to be the Mother of God, if she had ever sinned. First, because the honor of the parents reflects on the child, according to Prov. 17:6: "The glory of children are their fathers": and consequently, on the other hand, the Mother's shame would have reflected on her Son. Secondly, because of the singular affinity between her and Christ, who took flesh from her: and it is written (2 Cor. 6:15): "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" Thirdly, because of the singular manner in which the Son of God, who is the "Divine Wisdom" (1 Cor. 1:24) dwelt in her, not only in her soul but in her womb. And it is written (Wis. 1:4): "Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins."

We must therefore confess simply that the Blessed Virgin committed no actual sin, neither mortal nor venial; so that what is written (Cant 4:7) is fulfilled: "Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee," etc. - Was the dogma of the Immaculate Conception formulated in response to someone challenging Mary's ability to bear a perfect Son?

If God preserved Mary from all sin, He could have preserved Christ's body and soul likewise without the grace of Mary's Immaculate Conception.

Was it necessary for God to make Mary immaculate at her conception so that she could be Jesus' mother?

No. The Church only speaks of the Immaculate Conception as something that was "fitting," something that made Mary a "fit habitation" (i.e., suitable dwelling) for the Son of God, not something that was necessary.

And hence they [the Church Fathers] affirmed that the Blessed Virgin was, through grace, entirely free from every stain of sin, and from all corruption of body, soul and mind; that she was always united with God and joined to him by an eternal covenant; that she was never in darkness but always in light; and that, therefore, she was entirely a fit habitation for Christ, not because of the state of her body, but because of her original grace. . . .

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 [Ineffabilis Deus].

Can anyone show where in Pope Pius IX's Papal Encyclical Ineffabilis Deus that the Mary's Immaculate Conception was absolutely necessary for our salvation. You can not!

Unless one can show evidence to the contrary, in Pope Pius IX's dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception that the Immaculate Conception of the Ever Virgin Mary was necessary for our salvation, the contrary is to be upheld.

St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa clearly states that it was Adam and not Eve that was responsible for the transition of original sin. Now if Mary, the Mother of Jesus is the New Eve and Jesus Christ is the New Adam, it is obvious that the Immaculate Conception was not necessary for our salvation for the Holy Spirit can operate in that dwelling place He so chooses to. It the Holy Spirit that made it possible for Christ to be free of original sin and not Mary, the New Eve.

The solution of this question is made clear by what has been said. For it has been stated that original sin is transmitted by the first parent in so far as he is the mover in the begetting of his children: wherefore it has been said that if anyone were begotten materially only, of human flesh, they would not contract original sin. Now it is evident that in the opinion of philosophers, the active principle of generation is from the father, while the mother provides the matter. Therefore original sin, is contracted, not from the mother, but from the father: so that, accordingly, if Eve, and not Adam, had sinned, their children would not contract original sin: whereas, if Adam, and not Eve, had sinned, they would contract it. - Whether if Eve, and not Adam, had sinned, their children would have contracted original sin?

  • Where exactly does the Catholic Church officially declare that the immaculate conception was not necessary? After all, the dogma itself explains that it was necessary (Mary free from stain of original sin). Other than providing this, it sounds like a personal opinion, thus a down vote.
    – SLM
    Aug 13, 2018 at 14:35
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    @SLM Can you show me in Pope Pius IX's Ineffabilis Deus that the Immaculate Conception was absolutely necessary for our salvation. You can not!
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 14, 2018 at 0:36
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    @SolaGratia It is not the definition that is in question. It is whether or not that Mary's Immaculate Conception was absolutely necessary for our salvation. It is not in the definition.
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 21, 2018 at 11:18
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    It doesn't need to say. It's a dogmatic definition. That means its binding on all Catholics for belief... where do you see the 'optionalness' to this particular dogma. Aug 21, 2018 at 11:28
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    @SolaGratia the confusion is between the senses of necessary, the Dogma is necessary to believe because it is dogma, but that doesn't mean it is necessary in the sense of the salvation of the Human Race would have been impossible without the Immaculate Conception" (Which is Ken's point)
    – eques
    Sep 22, 2020 at 21:41

Her being immaculately conceived was not absolutely necessary for Christ's redemption of mankind, but one must at the very least not deny the dogma of the Immaculate Conception if he wishes to be saved.

Christ could have made superabundant satisfaction for our sin with one drop of His Precious Blood, as St. Bernard said, so His passion was not necessary in the sense of "anything which of its nature cannot be otherwise" (Summa Theologica III q. 46 a. 1 "Whether it was necessary for Christ to suffer for the deliverance of the human race?" co.).

Similarly with the Immaculate Conception: "for to her more grace was given than was necessary to conquer sin completely," as Bl. Pius IX wrote in Ineffabilis Deus.

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    Dangit you beat me to it. Although I was going to include this answer of mine which referred to the Summa part 3 q 31 a 4 ad 3. Aug 11, 2018 at 18:44
  • The dogma states that Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin. There's a reason for this belief. It's not enough to opine that it wasn't necessary and thus contradict the dogma. Show us official Catholic doctrine that says Mary could have been anyone in any state whatsoever. Otherwise, for Catholics, you should probably believe what it says. Thus a down vote.
    – SLM
    Aug 13, 2018 at 19:56
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    @SLM The dogma doesn't say it was absolutely necessary. The dogma says "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." (Ineffabilis Deus).
    – Geremia
    Aug 13, 2018 at 22:48
  • @Geremia we need to understand the Catholic teaching on origional sin and its transmission in order to understand the dogma of the necessity of Mary's immaculate conception. CCC-404- "By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice." See? Propogation via Adam/Eve (parents). Thus the absolute necessity for your dogma's stance.
    – SLM
    Aug 14, 2018 at 0:20
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. May 6, 2019 at 0:41

EDIT: That Mary was conceived free from sin, or rather possessing sanctifying grace, is not theoretically necessary for salvation to have been accomplished: non-rejection of it as part of the Faith is necessary for one to be said to hold the true Faith, the converse of which cannot save, being contrary to the Faith.

Dr. Sungenis aside, as well as reasons for why it may or may not be necessary for a sinless Saviour, for the moment, the necessity or bindingness of this dogma, like all others, doesn't consist in the degree of importance it holds in and of itself, or with respect to the grand scheme of salvation history as a whole, but rather simply that it is true, like the other truths of the Faith, and so just as binding—not less.

When the Church says that it is 'absolutely necessary for salvation that it is believed that,' it is simply stating not that belief in this truth 'saves,' or 'completes the list of things you have to acknowledge and believe about the Faith,' but that failure to adhere to what has been authoritatively defined as part of the true Faith, is heresy in every case.

An example might help. The Church can rightly say it is 'absolutely necessary for salvation' to believe in the two wills of Christ. Yes, it's not as important as some other doctrines, and you can be saved without ever getting to the stage where such details become relevant to begin with, at least for some people, especially the more simple. But it's necessary in the same sense that belief in all the other truths of the Faith are: that it's true.

Rejection of any part of the Faith is rejection of the Faith, period. Therefore, that Jesus wept could be made 'absolutely necessary for salvation' that you believe it—because it is true.

It's also a clear way of stating the Church's official, authoritative stance on a doctrinal issue theretofore not stated with an equal dogmatic force; to express the gravity of belief in a definition is a great way of making it unequivocally the official statement on the belief of the Church.

Hopefully that puts it into perspective a little.

The Necessity of the Immaculate Conception

What is incontrovertable no matter how you look at it is this fact: Jesus would need saved from the inevitable contraction of original sin if it wasn't Mary who rather was saved in this way.

The Saviour being Himself saved from sin obviously was never part of God's plan. That much everyone can agree upon.

New Adam, New Eve

Christ is the new Adam. He is here to establish the New Creation. It's not 'illegal,' is it? to assume there could at least potentially be an 'Eve' to go with him? Well, Christians from the earliest times have seen in Mary a definite parallel between Mary and Eve in the exact same context of the parallel between Adam and Christ, citing some Scriptural types fulfilled in her; they could be enumerated at length.

Given this, it stands to reason God didn't start out again with a sinless Adam and yet just another sinful Eve, but rather a sinless Eve to generate the sinless Adam, so that they would be the sinless "flesh of my flesh" duo to begin the New Creation.


The Immaculate Conception is just the doctrine that God saved Mary so that there was no intervention needed at all to preserve Christ from contracting the sinful nature which would be passed on to Him (which 'miraculously preserving Him' would be—a kind of salvation). It's sublime. God saves Mary in an preminent way, the first markdely "made graceful" since Eve, so that she can simply give birth to a true Son, born with a grace-filled human nature without any intervention.

It makes Jesus her true Son—"flesh of my flesh," "of the seed of David." 'Planting' someone not from her own flesh would not make her "the mother of my Lord," and "the fruit of [her] womb" in any true sense, but a false sense.

The Infinte Regression Objection and Misunderstanding

The Immaculate Conception is sometimes argued for in a fallacious way: Jesus could not have come from Mary sinless. As I described above this isn't strictly true. Consequently, some object with the objection that 'this would logically have to go right by to Mary's parents right back to Eve herself!'

This is false, because whereas God needs only to save Mary from contracting sin, He doesn't need to save her parents from this for His purposes, because their dignity does not require that they deserve a freedom from the whole association with original sin: but Christ most certainly does. God grabbed Mary out of the line of inevitable contractions of original sin so that Jesus wouldn't be that one 'grabbed' out and 'saved.' If we can rightly call Mary 'saved' because of this preservation from the contraction of original sin—and we most certainly and and do—then in order for the same not to be said of Jesus, we must of necessity hold the Immaculate Conception of Mary, or concede that we believe Jesus is not a true descendant of David or Mary, but was rather planted in a surrogate of no true relation to Himself; whereas we know this to be false from Scripture.

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    Dr. Robert A. Sungenis is not the greatest Catholic apologists to say the least and his views are a little strange to some Catholics. By 2008 his local bishop had instructed him to stop writing about Jews and to remove the name "Catholic" from his blog.
    – Ken Graham
    May 1, 2019 at 12:51
  • @jongricafort The immaculate conception was a special privilege (miracle) of grace, and not a natural occurrence due to the holiness of Joachim and/or Anna. Mary was "saved" from what was definitely going to happen to her: being yet another child of wrath. May 6, 2019 at 12:54
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    Cardinal Newmann is right: conception is the moment of existence of a human being. That's the immaculate conception. The immaculate conception is the miracle of Mary's being preserved from the curse of Adam. It's not a miracle if it had to happen naturally. It didn't. Joachim and Anna were not free of original or personal sin, and there is no Catholic doctrine that teaches that. In fact, the Council of Trent said that if anyone says "it's possible to avoid all sins, even venial (except by a special privilege of God as the Church holds with regard to the Blessed Virgin), let him be anathema." May 6, 2019 at 13:42
  • No, she was prevented from what we was doomed to be without the grace of God fallen daughter of Adam. She was only ever in grace, "having been graced" by God to bear the Son. She didn't exist in a state of sin ever. She would have unless God miraculously intervened, because Joachim and Anna were not immaculately conceived. They would pass on the curse of Adam had God no chosen Mary and saved her from that fate. May 6, 2019 at 14:44
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. May 6, 2019 at 14:46

Why was it necessary for Mary to be immaculately conceived (IC); that is, without sin?

As a Christian, my answer is no it wasn't necessary and I could discuss this elsewhere. But this post is to answer the question from the Catholic POV. Its official answer is yes it was necessary. This is the why.

To be sure, as shown in some the answers already, there are some Catholics who suppose the answer to be no. But so far there is no official commentary like I hope to provide.

Here’s a link to the whole dogmatic statement. The quotes used are from this: Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius IX on the Immaculate Conception (December 8, 1854) .

In the dogmatic statement, the Pope outlines at least three reasons why for the necessity. It was always the eternal plan of God. It was prophesied by God. It was the only way to be free from inherited original sin.

It was always the plan.

“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.”

God had a mother in mind from the beginning. What kind of mother; would she be a fallen person like the rest of us or not? She would be different.

It was necessary in order for her to triumph over the serpent.

“And indeed it was wholly fitting that so wonderful a mother should be ever resplendent with the glory of most sublime holiness and so completely free from all taint of original sin that she would triumph utterly over the ancient serpent.”

This is also from the dogmatic statement.

"I will put enmities between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed"[13] -- taught that by this divine prophecy the merciful Redeemer of mankind, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was clearly foretold: That his most Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, was prophetically indicated; and, at the same time, the very enmity of both against the evil one was significantly expressed. Hence, just as Christ, the Mediator between God and man, assumed human nature, blotted the handwriting of the decree that stood against us, and fastened it triumphantly to the cross, so the most holy Virgin, united with him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot.[14]”

So we see it was prophesied as necessary. Therefore it was necessary. It could not have happened in any other way. God does not lie. This too is a reason why.

So now we know two reasons why it was absolutely necessary and planned from before time began.

To take a negative tack, if it was unnecessary for her IC, then her triumph prophesied in God’s Word, has no meaning. For Mary to triumph over the serpent, IC says she had to be free of the taint of original sin. There is no other way; it was absolutely necessary.

It was necessary to avoid any sort of hereditary taint from her parents.

This of course is not to castigate her parents, but as all other parents, we are born in sin, in a fallen state.

“They [papal predecessors] did so to enhance its importance and dignity by a suitable Office and Mass, whereby the prerogative of the Virgin, her exception from the hereditary taint, was most distinctly affirmed.”

So, we find the official Catholic dogma of the reason for why the necessity of IC.

Original Sin

For those who still cling to their doubt in their dogma’s necessity or the reasons why, we can make their IC dogma even more clear if we take a brief side detour and skim the Catholic conception of original sin. It believes original sin is transmitted via the parents (plural). So, in Christ’s case, we have one half of the pure Spirit, but without the other half of a pure mother, sin would still get transmitted from parent(s) to child. Catholics thus decided Mary had to be also pure. This too necessitates the IC and tells us the reason why.

“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.”

So again, had Mary not been necessarily exempted due to IC, she would have been infected by original sin and thus bore Christ “infected by original sin”.


This is from the Catechism, which affirms this answer; that is, it was necessary for Mary to be without sin.

490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role."132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace".133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace.

491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

As to the question if God would grant Mary to be immaculately conceived, why not do the same for Christ and thus not be a requirement for Mary?

The reason is because God did that in fact via the fact of the virgin conceiving and giving birth. God is the one without sin with whom (somehow) Mary became pregnant. The old idea was Mary or a mother generally provided the blood to the fetus, but that is not so. Nonetheless that was the explanation for IC. The mother needed pure blood to give to the baby.

Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii) that "the Son of God, from the Virgin's purest blood, formed Himself flesh, animated with a rational soul." ... Wherefore Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii) that Christ's body was not conceived "seminally." But the menstrual blood, the flow of which is subject to monthly periods, has a certain natural impurity of corruption: like other superfluities, which nature does not heed, and therefore expels. Of such menstrual blood infected with corruption and repudiated by nature, the conception is not formed; but from a certain secretion of the pure blood which by a process of elimination is prepared for conception, being, as it were, more pure and more perfect than the rest of the blood. Nevertheless, it is tainted with the impurity of lust in the conception of other men: inasmuch as by sexual intercourse this blood is drawn to a place apt for conception. This, however, did not take place in Christ's conception: because this blood was brought together in the Virgin's womb and fashioned into a child by the operation of the Holy Ghost. Therefore is Christ's body said to be "formed of the most chaste and purest blood of the Virgin." Aquinas reference to John of Damascus

So now we know the answer why and whether it was absolutely necessary for Mary to be immaculately conceived from the Catholic POV and its dogma. The answer is yes it was necessary for Mary's IC and we know at least three reasons for why.

  • Down votes are easy, but so far, no one has actually refuted this answer by providing alternative sources or reasonings.
    – SLM
    Oct 5, 2018 at 16:00
  • Is there an effort without explanation to downvote the replies who provide the official Catholic Church proof that it was necessry and to upvote the unofficial, but perhaps hoped for view, that it was not necessary. Just askin''.
    – SLM
    Oct 6, 2018 at 17:04
  • Unless one can show evidence to the contrary, in Pope Pius IX's dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception (Ineffabilis Deus) that the Immaculate Conception of the Ever Virgin Mary was necessary for our salvation the contrary is to be upheld. The Church only speaks of the Immaculate Conception as something that was "fitting," something that made Mary a "fit habitation" (i.e., suitable dwelling) for the Son of God, not something that was necessary. Where is your "official Catholic proof" within the Church's dogmatic definition?
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 7, 2018 at 13:52
  • @KenGraham It is shown throughout my answer. Most notably is the Catholic idea of original sin. IC was necessary because, in Catholic view, that is the way original sin (OC) is transmitted (mother to son) and thus only way to block said transmission is IC. Read my answer that quotes official Catholic dogma with this understanding. Better yet, educate yourself on Catholic idea of transmission of OS and then reread. "so completely free from all taint of original sin" The only way for that to happen was IC. That's the official Catholic dogma.
    – SLM
    Oct 7, 2018 at 17:11
  • As well, this necessity obviates the need and argues against the generational counter that is brought up. It wasn't Mary's parents who had to be free of the taint of original sin; it was Mary. Original sin, Catholics believe, is transmitted from mother to son. Thus the necessity of Mary (not her parents) to be IC.
    – SLM
    Oct 7, 2018 at 17:14

Immaculate Conception - Why was it NECESSARY for our Salvation?

Important Key Words in the Dogma of Immaculate Conception:

God has "chosen" and "prepares", this does not pertains to the soul of Mary but to Her "immaculate flesh" as the soul will come from God alone but the creation of immaculate flesh is in the cooperation of St.Joachim and St.Anne.

God had chosen Mary to be the Mother of the Incarnate Word, but the mystery word is "prepares", How does God prepares the existence of Mary? When does his preparation start, is it from the very seed of his earthly Father?

Don't be surprise about the meaning of the name of St.Joachim, it means "God prepares"https://www.sheknows.com/baby-names/name/joachim/.

O most blessed loins of Joachim from which came forth a spotless seed! O glorious womb of Anne in which a most holy offspring grew.” John of Damascus, Homily I (ante A.D. 749).

"O blessed loins of Joachim, whence the all-pure seed was poured out! O glorious womb of Anna, in which the most holy fetus grew and was formed, silently increasing! O womb in which was conceived the living heaven, wider than the wideness of the heavens." [Ibid, 2; "Fetus" means offspring in Latin. We mention this because in modern societies the term has lost its Latin and (and true) definition and has come to signify a "non-person" for all practical purposes, a distortion for political manipulation------The Web Master] http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/mary19-2.htm

Note: Full details Why& How St.Joachim "spotless seed"came through can be read here;https://christianity.stackexchange.com/posts/68807/edit

Therefore, the preparation of Mary's existence start with the carrier of the "spotless seed". That's why God in His Wisdom in Genesis3:15 starts the perennial enmity from the "seed".As St.John Paul II teaches that "Mary's enmity towards satan is absolute".Now, for it to become "absolute" meaning there's no room where satan "touches" Mary's existence it must start from the seed.https://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2bvm21.htm

This is where St.John Damascene teaching on "spotless seed" shines through and anchored on Psalm139:16 on the word "unformed body". A man seed not yet united to egg cell of the woman is "unformed".

"...When I was being made in secret,fashioned in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped,before one came to be. "(Psalm139:16)

Question? What is the meaning of "unformed"? and it also stated primacy as it says "my days were shaped ,before one came to be".Does this passages pertains to "spotless seed" and Mary being shaped or prepares?

This "ABSOLUTE ENMITY" alone demands the "NECESSITY" of Immaculate Conception and not just at the moment of conception but at the very seed to make it absolute enmity.

MARY’S ENMITY TOWARDS SATAN WAS ABSOLUTE Pope John Paul II Mary’s faithful co-operation in the saving work of her Son made it fitting that she should be completely free from sin and share fully in Christ’s gracehttps://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2bvm21.htm


Immaculate soul originates from God, Mary was given a pure soul endowed with singular privelege and many gifts for a Divine purpose destined to Her role of Divine Motherhood and Spiritual Motherhood of all the redeemed.

The giving of "immaculate soul" pose no problem as it is a dogma of the Church contemplated by Blessed Duns Scotus.

But for a body to received an "immaculate soul" it must also be freed not only from "original sin" but also from it's "concupiscence" as the scriptures teaches "nothing defiled shall enter the presence of God/Kingdom".


How to produce an "immaculate body" a flesh & blood free from original sin and concupiscence, in this area God need the cooperation of man in the parents of Mary.

Council of Trent Teaches that Mary's "immaculate body" must overcome;

“For behold I was conceived in iniquities: and in sins did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm50:7)

St. Joachim and St.Anne was both pious and being baptized means the original sin was removed from them, but not the "stain of sin" or the inclination to sin with we called "concupiscence".

Can St.Joachim & St.Anne master the original justice lost by Adam & Eve and overcome concupiscense of the flesh, meaning "lustful inclinations"?

Let' review Council of Trent teaching on transmission of original sin

§ 23. The Transmission of Original Sin

Original sin is transmitted by natural generation. (De fide.)

The Council of Trent says: propagatione, non imitatione transfusum omnibus. D 790. In the baptism of children that is expurgated which they have incurred through generation. D 791.

As original sin is a peccatum naturae, it is transmitted in the same way as human nature, through the natural act of generation. Although according to its origin, it is a single sin (D 790) that is the sin of the head of the race alone (the sin of Eve is not the cause of original sin) it is multiplied over and over again through natural generation whenever a child of Adam enters existence. In each act of generation human nature is communicated in a condition deprived of grace.

The chief cause (causa efficiens principalis) of original sin is the sin of Adam alone. The instrumental cause (causa efficiens instrumentalis) is the natural act of generation, which gives rise to the connection of the individual human being with the head of the race. The actual concupiscence associated with the act of generation, the sexual pleasure (libido) is, contrary to the view of St. Augustine (De nuptiis et concup. I 23, 25; 24, 27), neither the cause nor the inescapable condition for the reproduction of original sin. It is only an accompanying phenomenon of the act of generation, which in itself alone is the instrumental cause of the transmission of original sin. Cf. S. th. 1 II 82, 4 ad 3.

The Council of Trent defined that the "concupiscence" is only an accompanying phenomenon which is the instrumental cause of the transmission of original sin.

St.Joachim and St.Anne vow of chastity & purity eliminated "concupiscence" in the procreation act, plus the "Disobedience" of Adam was overcome by St.Joachim by doing the procreative act in "OBEDIENCE TO GOD'S WILL" as shown in the narrative link of the life of St.Joachim and St.Anne.

It's a long beautiful narration highlighted by the visit of St.Gabriel in delivering the message of God to St.Joachim.

St.Anne life accounts on conception

"After God had created Mary’s "immaculate soul", He showed it to the choirs of angels in Heaven, and they felt intense joy upon seeing its unique beauty.

Then, as Mary’s soul was infused into her body, her holy mother St. Ann was filled with the Holy Ghost and experienced an extraordinary devotion and happiness. Throughout the rest of her life and especially during the next nine months, she constantly received new graces and enlightenment concerning the great mystery of the Incarnation, and she frequently praised the Lord in canticles of love.

“O Lord and Creator, with eternal thanks I offer Thee this blessed fruit of my womb which I have received from Thy bounty without any merit of mine. But how shall I be able to treat such a child worthily?”

“The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics” compiled by Raphael Brown: An Account of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We can see that from the conception of St.Anne it overcame the passage from Psalm 50:7 that is the basis of St.Augustine that is proclaimed in the dogma on original sin declared by the Council of Trent.

This beautiful pious life of St.Joachim & St.Anne contributed in producing an offspring well-disposed "immaculate body" to received the gift of "immaculate soul" endowed with singular privelege and many gifts. All of this things are the working of Divine Providence.

As we can see from this introduction of the article"

"At a time much like our own, when the ancient serpent had infected the whole earth with its poisonous breath and apparently enjoyed peaceful control over mortals who had become blind to the light of reason; when the pride of men reigned supreme and fools had become innumerable; when His justice had such an excellent cause for annihilating all of creation and reducing it to its original nothingness; God instead directed His attention to the attribute of His mercy, sending into the world two most bright luminaries to announce the approaching dawn of the Sun of Justice, Christ our Salvation. These were St. Joachim and St. Anne, prepared and created by especial decree according to His own heart. - Saint Joachim (Roman Catholic Saints)

And beuatifully and powerfully concluded by St.Bridget revelation;

The Blessed Virgin Said to St. Bridget of Sweden:

“It is a truth that I was "conceived without Original Sin and not in sin". A golden hour was my conception. My Son joined my father and my mother in a marriage of such "chastity" that a "purer union" has never been seen. Sensuality was extinguished in them. Thus my "flesh" was formed through divine charity.

Note: See closely the wording on St.Bridget revelation "chastity, purer union, and sensuality was extinguished in them" meaning "concupiscence was absent thus an "immaculate flesh" was produce.

(excerpt; The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics;Book Author Raphael Brown)

In, closing St.Joachim & St.Anne life of purity and chastity merited God's grace to overcome "concupiscence" of the flesh and by "OBEDIENCE" in following God's Will in doing the "procreation act" which thru Archangel Gabriel delivered messages God's Divine Plan was accomplished.

So back to your question, is "Immaculate Concepcion" necessary?

The answer is, it is necessary primarily because it is the "Divine Will" and the Divine Will govern all things towards the salvation of man.

Sweet Heart of Mary be my salvation.(Pieta Prayer Booklet)

  • Your reply to this question dwells more on devotional aspects than on dogmatic proofs. The life of Saints Joachim and Anne are based on apocryphal documents to say the least.
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 7, 2018 at 14:11
  • @KenGraham Yes, you may called it devotional but God would not prepare St.Joachim & St.Anne to reach the height of sanctity required to conceive a child destined to become the Thetokos in the order of grace. St.Joachim received the grace to pour-out a "spotless seed" while St.Anne received a grace to conceived a child devoid of concupiscence. This is the Wisdom of God in creating Mary in the order of grace. May 1, 2019 at 5:08

It was necessary for Mary to be immaculately conceived in the plan of salvation because without that GRACE Jesus would either have been sinful or have been in debt. I will now expound on this answer.

Scenario n*1: Mary is conceived like all of us and Jesus is not given a grace ❌

Formal explanation:

1- Human Parents of Mary (no grace) --> Original Sin

2- Human Mary (no grace) --> Original Sin

3- Human Jesus (no grace) --> Original Sin (❌)

This means that Jesus would contract Original Sin, because although he is God he is also human, and all of his humanity comes from Mary and no where else. God is not a cheater, he cannot somehow overcharge his human nature with a divine nature, they must be distinct, trully human and trully divine. He cannot negate Original Sin without a grace, because he inherited the human nature like all humans after Adam, neither did he create his human nature at the moment of his virginal conception for it is written "the Woman shall conceive"(Isaiah 7:14).

"What has not been assumed has not been healed; it is what is united to his divinity that is saved." ☩ St. Gregory of Nazianzus

Epistle to the Philippians 2:6-7

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Scenario n*2: Mary is conceived like all of us and Jesus is given a grace ❌

Formal explanation:

1- Human Parents of Mary (no grace) --> Original Sin

2- Human Mary (no grace) --> Original Sin

3- Human Jesus (grace) --> Original Perfection (❌)

Many Protestants see a valid point here, but in actuality it is much more complicated than it may seem. If the grace was applied to Jesus, it would mean that the God-man needed grace in other words needed to loan to buy us out of captivity. Just reading that should make lights go off. Jesus could not have saved us if he also needed to save himself, being in debt from birth like all of us.

Gospel of St. John 6:60-62

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if(hypothetical, he is not bound) you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!

Scenario n*3: Mary immaculately conceived because of parents and Jesus is not given a grace ❌

Formal explanation:

1- Human Parents of Mary (grace) --> Original Perfection (❌)

2- Human Mary (no grace) --> Original Perfection

3- Human Jesus (no grace) --> Original Perfection

In theory this could work, but it would be asymetrical and unecessary. Asymetrical because the image of old Adam/old Eve vs New Adam/New Eve is lost. Unecessary because the grace could just have been given to Mary. Not to mention that the parents, however many in the past, would have to remain sinless from day one til last day to make it worth it in the first place, which is improbable. To the skeptics, if you believe this argument is weak I invite you to consider the relentless symetry applied by God in the crucifixion. Jesus could perhaps have saved us by being stoned to death, but if that was the case we wouldn't be able to compare the Tree of Life with the Wooden Cross and the fruit of life with the precious flesh and blood we all eat every sunday. That is just scrapping the surface of symbology employed by God, it is all over the Bible and exists even on a cosmic level, Jonathan Pageau, an Eastern Orthodox, and his "symbolic world" may be of help. Therefore this explanation is ad hoc and should be discarded, Ockham's Razor and everything.

Scenario n*4: Infallible Catholic Dogma: The Immaculate Conception ✅

Formal explanation:

1- Human Parents of Mary (no grace) --> Original Sin

2- Human Mary (grace) --> Original Perfection [Immaculate Conception] ✅

3- Human Jesus (no grace) --> Original Perfection [Virginal Conception] ✅

This is the most intelligent solution. Minimal risk of the immaculate to waste the loan, Christ is free of charge, and everything is harmonized with a New Eve and a New Adam distinct from the general populace yet remaining fully human to save the humans.

Well [does the Gospel say]: married but a virgin; because she is the type of the Church, which is also married but remains immaculate.. The Virgin [Church] conceived us by the Holy Spirit and, as a virgin, gave birth to us without pain. And perhaps this is why holy Mary, married to one man [Joseph], is made fruitful by another [the Holy Spirit], to show that the individual churches are filled with the Spirit and with grace, even as they are united to the person of a temporal priest.

☩ St. Ambrose, master of St. Augustine the "Doctor of Grace"

For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, ‘Be it unto me according to thy word.’ And by her has He been born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him. ☩ St. Justin Martyr (160 AD)

Gospel of St. Luke 1:28-30

28 And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Epistle of St. Jude 24-25

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, 25 to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen. - Early Church Fathers on Mary as the New Eve

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DISCLAIMER: This is not a case for the 'absolute' necessity of the Marian dogma, this is a case for the logical necessity of the Marian dogma. There is a difference between God choosing foundational laws(laws of nature, etc) and God building upon those laws. We are existing in the framework God himself established in eternity. In other words, there are fundamentally different possible worlds in which we are saved without Mary's immaculate conception, but there are not possible words in which we are saved without the Marian dogma if the fundamental laws remain the same and that's a killer point. Within the system we live in which God established to demonstrate his justice and mercy most magnificently and most satisfyingly the Marian dogma is necessary not only for its profound goodness and beauty but also for its logical necessity as God is not a liar nor a cheater, he will not negate his own foundational logic.

  • 3
    Please don't add irrelevant art to all your posts. Does your schema of these four scenarios have a source anywhere? "Asymetrical because the image of old Adam/old Eve vs New Adam/New Eve is lost." What does this mean? Who is the new Eve in this scenario?
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 13, 2018 at 1:51
  • 1
    Funny enough, my irrelevant art tells you who the new Eve is, it's even implied in my quotes. The new Eve is the Virgin Mary. We're visual creatues and this site has visual aid, about time we get to using it and stop having bland answers all the time. Not saying abuse it, just saying use it. Aug 13, 2018 at 1:53
  • 5
    Your answer is at odds with the others I don’t think it represents official catholic teaching. You put the Catholicism tag on your question so your answer should represent catholic doctrine.
    – user23657
    Aug 13, 2018 at 3:05
  • 3
    I still think it's perverse to call Mary the new Eve, but whatever, that's not the issue here. Can you address what I first asked? "Does your schema of these four scenarios have a source anywhere?"
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 15, 2018 at 23:17
  • 2
    Unless one can show evidence to the contrary, in Pope Pius IX's dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception that the Immaculate Conception of the Ever Virgin Mary was necessary for our salvation the contrary is to be upheld.
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 5, 2018 at 23:31

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