Catholic Marian Doctrines

Important Points

  • Mary’s graces are from God, not from her. She merely received them with humility.

  • Mary is a created human being; but she had special graces that God gave her.

  • Mary is not God, and thus she is not worshipped. However, she is greatly honored.


Four Marian Doctrines explain Mary’s personal relationship with God, and her role in human salvation:

Immaculate Conception

By God’s grace, Mary was sinless from her conception. This grace was from God to prepare Mary as a suitable vessel to give birth to Jesus. She was given the dignity and holiness required to become “Mother of God”.

The Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception states “that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege from Almighty God and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, was kept free of every stain of original sin”.

Adam and Eve were sinless by a special grace from God until they were tempted by Satan and sinned. By God’s grace, Mary was sinless. Mary was not tempted by Satan as Adam and Eve were.

Perpetual Virginity

That Mary never had sexual relations during her lifetime. This doctrine also maintains that Jesus Christ was Mary's only child, and the so-called "brothers and sisters" are close relations.

Mother of God

Jesus is God and Mary was, therefore, the Mother of God.  Mother of God in Greek is “Theotokos” or “Birth-giver of God”. This is more than a biological fact, but is a mystical reality. Mary's divine motherhood was proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus in 431.


Assumption of Mary

She was assumed body and soul into heaven at her death. Since she was sinless, there was no need for her to be judged with death, which is the penalty of sin. A distinction needs to be made between Ascension and Assumption. Jesus Christ, Son of God and Risen Lord, ascended into heaven, a sign of divine power. Mary, on the contrary, was elevated or assumed into heaven by the power and grace of God.

© 2020 by Robert Barnett