anne joakem and mary - smallWritten by: Lawrence Lam

For Americans  –  yes, Saturday is a Holy Day of obligation! She’s your mother! As a recap, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception commemorates the fact that Our Lady was conceived free of original sin. It is a dogma of the Catholic Church and one that has to face quite a bit of objections from Protestants.

One of the many objections that I haven’t heard answered very frequently was this one, and I’ll take it on in this post:

If Mary was conceived without original sin so that Jesus could have a perfect Mother, why weren’t Mary’s parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne immaculately conceived?

This question is an attempt to trap the Catholic in some sort of inconsistency. The appeal to consistency argument in general is dangerous as it presumes we can tell God what is and is not consistent behaviour. The first answer is that God simply did not need to do so, so He didn’t.

There is no necessity that God needed to prepare a sinless parentage for Mary in order for Mary to be conceived sinless. Mary is sinless not for her own sake but for the greater glory of her Son. Remember that we do not worship Mary. The Ark of the Covenant (Mary) doesn’t need her own Ark. We know that her parents are saints and God ordered it such that Mary would be raised in a good home, but the Church doesn’t go so far as to say that her parents were sinless, nor is there any evidence to this.

This is also another demonstration of God active in time. If Mary’s parents were free from original sin, then so would their parents and so on. We’d need to trace Mary’s Immaculate Conception up an ancestry of immaculately conceived forefathers that somehow doesn’t link back to Adam. Mary’s protection from original sin is the same salvation that we all enjoy through her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This was a specific gift to the woman who said “Yes” to God and not an inherited right. Jesus and Mary are the new Adam and Eve, who were also created free from original sin. By virtue of our baptism, we are born again free of original sin and by celebrating the Immaculate Conception, we are not just honouring our Mother but celebrating our own baptism. What a wonderful world we’d be living in if Adam and Eve never sinned in the first place. What society would be like is hard to speculate, but the imagination of this is what gravitates us toward the Heavenly banquet that we hope to enjoy.

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If publishing article online please attribute source Serviam Ministries with link to original article.

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