Were the four Marian Dogmas that the Catholic Church believes in given by Jesus Christ through visions, miracles or signs? Or if not, how did the Catholic Church adopt those four Marian Dogmas?

How did the Catholic Church know that Marian Dogma should be part of Catholicism? Was there any vision or sign?

For example, at Fatima, Portugal, Our Lady told St. Lucia, "I am the Immaculate Heart."

  • 2
    Do you have a reference for your Fatima example? Doesn't sound familiar to me.
    – Peter Turner
    Apr 1, 2020 at 18:03
  • @PeterTurner udayton.edu/imri/mary/f/fatima-and-the-immaculate-heart.php Our Lady assured Lúcia: "my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God." Thus, if we devote ourselves to her Immaculate Heart, Mary will lead us to her Son, Jesus Christ and we will be on the way to Heaven.
    – user42447
    Apr 1, 2020 at 18:49
  • 1
    That made me think of what Our Lady told St. Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception". That was a confirmation of the Marian Dogma that was proclaimed a few years before.
    – Peter Turner
    Apr 1, 2020 at 19:47
  • 1
    Dogma is based on doctrine, scriptural basis and magisterial teachings.
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 1, 2020 at 23:25
  • 4
    Private revelation has never been an obligation to believe in the Catholic Church. That includes all visions and apparitions. Miracles and signs can have many interpretations. I do not see how they can be used as doctrinal support for Catholic dogma.
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 1, 2020 at 23:32

2 Answers 2


Catholic dogma is a divinely revealed truth, proclaimed as such by the infallible teaching authority of the Church which is based on sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition.

What Is Dogma?

The Greek word dogma originally meant "opinion," but it has come to mean something much more specific.

The current understanding of "dogma" arose in the 1700s (so be warned that earlier documents, such as the writings of the Fathers or Medievals like St. Thomas Aquinas tend to use the term in the broader sense of just a theological opinion).

Cardinal Avery Dulles explains the present meaning of the term:

In current Catholic usage, the term “dogma” means a divinely revealed truth, proclaimed as such by the infallible teaching authority of the Church, and hence binding on all the faithful without exception, now and forever. [The Survival of Dogma, 153].

There are two essential elements here: First, a dogma must be divinely revealed. That is to say, it must be found explicitly or implicitly in the deposit of faith that Christ gave the Church. This is found in sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition. If something is to be a dogma, it must be in one of those two places--or in both of them.

Second, a dogma must be infallibly taught by the Magisterium as divinely revealed.

This is an important qualifier, because the Magisterium is capable of infallibly defining certain things that aren't divinely revealed. According to Church teaching, the Magisterium is able to infallibly teach both things that have been divinely revealed and truths that have a certain kind of connection with them, so that they may be properly explained and defended.

  • There's no Canon Law that prohibits the Pope to cite approved Marian Apparition aside from Sacred Word and Sacred Tradition in proclaiming a Dogma. So, definitely if ever Pope Francis proclaim the Fifth Marian Dogma, he has all the canonical power to cite numerous approved Marian Apparition partiularly Our Lady of All Nation on "Advocate" and Our Lady of Fatima citing "Immaculate Heart as the refuge of sinners" the last resort for salvation of souls. Apr 2, 2020 at 2:31
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    @itzsophia'svlogs Popes may cite appropriate Marian apparition in such works, but a dogma is nevertheless not based on that. Rome has never obliged the faithful to believe in any apparition, even Fátima, which almost every practicing Catholic believes, even the clergy.
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 2, 2020 at 12:06
  • Rome has never obliged, but all the Popes starting from Pope Leo XIII already imploring the Holy Rosary prayer daily which is the central message of the Fatima Apparition. The Church never oblige but all the works of the Church are centered on the request of Our Lady of Fatima. The Church is heading towards the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, I don't the think word "oblige" is the right term, but the Church continue to implore and are awaken to the importance of the Fatima messages after the failed asssasination of St.JP2. Apr 2, 2020 at 16:06
  • @itzsophia'svlogs The faithful are not obliged to believe in private revelation. Ergo, oblige is the correct term to employ here!
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 3, 2020 at 1:13
  • I agree "oblige", but what is the wisdom behind it? The Church wants the faithful to imitate Jesus and Mary's "Fiat", the Church wont force anyone like God to pray the rosary daily, but the Church wants the faithful to do it by "Fiat", for their prayers to become pleasing to God. The Church forcing or obliging a faithful to pray the rosary loses the efficacy of prayer. Apr 3, 2020 at 1:24

Was the adoption of the Marian Dogma due to miracles, visions, any signs or any other guidance?


To give you a very simple explanation, for the purpose of simple analogy, let us consider the very First Dogma uttered by Peter that he never read from scriptures nor heard in the synagouge, because it was not written in scriptures nor teaches by the Jews tradition in his time. Jesus asked Peter, who do you say I am?

Remember, the Church Dogma considered the Sacred Tradition and Sacred Word as "Divinely revealed & inspired".

Peter uttered from nowhere this words;

Matthew 16:13-20 New International Version (NIV) Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

In this passages, Peter had proclaimed the very First Dogma not yet "ex-cathedra", and so Jesus teaches all the Aposltes that God can give a direct revelation and one of you must seat on the Chair, when pronouncing a "Divine Revelation". And so, Jesus gave Peter the "Chair and the Keys" for him to bind his proclamation.

How about, the Dogma of Immaculate Conception? Let us look at the definition the Church used that Blessed John Scotus reveals.

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 Saviour 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 (The Immaculate Conception) Pope Pius IX".)

Like Peter in the gospel of Matthew, Blessed John Scotus wordings or statement does not come from Sacred Tradition and Sacred Word as evident that in the 13th century onwards before 1854, most theologians from West and esp. the East could not find any supporting teachings with regards to "Preservative Redemption". Blessed John Scotus like St.Peter had received "Divine revelation or inspiration" directly from God, because both of them have a "contemplative heart" like Mary who had perfected it mystically.

The elements of Dogma are not restricted to Sacred Tradition and Sacred Word as evident in the Dogma of Immaculate Conception.

Elements: Scripture and Tradition

The concept of dogma has two elements: 1) the deposit of faith, otherwise known as public revelation or the word of God, which is divine revelation as contained in Sacred Scripture (the written word) and Sacred Tradition (the unwritten word), and 2) a proposition of the Church, which not only announces the dogma but also declares it binding for the faith. This may occur through an ex cathedra decision by a Pope, or by an Ecumenical Council.

The Holy Scripture is not identical with divine revelation, but a part of it. Scriptures were written later by apostles and evangelists, who knew Jesus. They give inerrant testimony of his teachings. "Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence." Truths formally and explicitly revealed by God are certainly dogmas in the strict sense when they are proposed or defined by the Church. Such are the articles of the Apostles' Creed. - Dogma in the Catholic Church (Wikipedia)

The Dogma of Immaculate Conception was supported by Sacred Traditions from the teachings of the Church Fathers with reference to Sacred Word but this teachings is not enough to define the Dogma of Immaculate Conception. The Dogma needed the "contemplative teachings" of the "Subtle Doctor" named Blessed Duns Scotus.

Blessed Duns Scotus coined the term "Preservative Redemption" that is not found explicitly in Sacred Tradition nor in Sacred Word, but it was accepted by the Church as a good foundational support to proclaim the Dogma of Immaculate Conception.

Mary’s Preservative Redemption

A critical element of the papal definition states that this unique gift to Mary was granted “in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race.” Mary received sanctifying grace at conception through an application of the saving graces that Jesus merited for all humanity on the Cross. Mary was redeemed by Jesus Christ as every human being must be.

Once again, it was the question of the universal Redemption of Jesus Christ that led several noted theologians during the scholastic period of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to have difficulties in understanding and accepting the Immaculate Conception. Many theologians viewed Mary’s gift of sanctifying grace at conception as running contrary to Scripture passages, such as Romans 5, which refer to Christ’s need to redeem all humanity because of original sin and its effects. It was the insightful contribution of Bl. Duns Scotus (d.1308) who solved this theological misunderstanding with the principle of what is called “Preservative Redemption.”

Preservative Redemption explains that Mary’s preservation from original sin was an application by God of the saving graces merited by Jesus Christ on Calvary. Mary was redeemed at the moment of her conception through sanctifying grace by an application of Jesus’ merits on Calvary. God, being out of time, has the power to apply the graces of Redemption to individuals in different times of history and did so to Mary at the first moment of her existence.

That the Blessed Virgin’s soul was preserved from original sin at the moment of conception does not mean that Mary had no need of the Redemption of Jesus; rather, Mary owed more to the Redemption of Jesus than anyone else. In fact, Mary received from her Son a higher form of redemption. All other human beings are redeemed after they have received a fallen nature, through sacramental Baptism. Mary, on the contrary, was redeemed by the grace of Jesus at her conception, the grace which prevented Mary from ever receiving a fallen nature. Hence, the grace of Jesus redeemed Mary at conception before her nature was in any way affected by sin. Thus, we rightly say that Mary owed more to Christ than anyone else. Through the graces of Jesus at Calvary, Mary never received a fallen nature but was sanctified and thereby redeemed from the first instance of her existence.

This theological contribution by Bl. Duns Scotus helped many a theologian to see the profound complementarity between the universal Redemption of Jesus Christ and the Immaculate Conception of his Mother. In short, Mary needed to be saved, and was saved in an exalted way by her Son (13). Cf. Burghart, S.J., “Mary in Eastern Patristic Thought,” Mariology, II; Aidan Carr, O.F.M.Conv., “Mary’s Immaculate Conception,” Mariology, Vol. I; Michael O’Carroll C.S.Sp., “Immaculate Conception,” Theotokos: A Theological Encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Delaware, Michael Glazier, Inc., 1983; Carol, Fundamentals, p. 90-115 - The Immaculate Conception

How did Blessed Duns Scotus arrived at a theoligical opinion on "Preservative Redemption" when it was clearly not explicitly teaches by Sacred Tradition and Sacred Word? That's why the "Angelic Doctor" St.Thomas Aquinas have had the difficulty in understanding how can Mary be "immaculately conceived".


Was the adoption of the Marian Dogma due to miracles, visions, any signs or any other guidance?

Clearly the Dogma of Immaculate Conception was not only taken from Sacred Tradition and Sacred Word but thru other means of inspirations or revelation coming from the Holy Spirit. In your stated question it fall under "visions, any signs or other guidance" as Blessed Duns Scotus are known to be a "contemplative soul", and like Peter in the gospel a soul having a contemplative heart can receive a "Divine Revelation" directly from God and not only thru Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scriptures.

  • “Clearly the Dogma of Immaculate Conception was not only taken from Sacred Tradition and Sacred Word but thru other means of inspirations or revelation coming from the Holy Spirit.” Have you read the papal pronouncement on the Immaculate Conception (Ineffabilis Deus)? If not, you should! Tradition and Sacred Scripture are the focal points of this encyclical.
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 2, 2020 at 13:10
  • @KenGraham St.Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church could not find the Sacred Tradition nor the SAcred Word to support the "Preservative Redemption", even the Eastern Church could not find it. Can you cite any Sacred Tradition & Sacred Word that supported Blessed Duns Scotus theological opinion, that became the definition of the Dogma of IC? Apr 2, 2020 at 15:59
  • I made my point. Celia suffit!
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 3, 2020 at 1:29
  • @KenGraham And the point you made has no basis nor even cited on your link! Sorry Ken, St,Thomas Aquinas cannot find it, so it is impossible for you to defend your point. Apr 3, 2020 at 1:30

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