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"PREPARED for the WORD INCARNATE"
This feast invites us to meditate on the virtue of purity. "Mary alone — 'our tainted nature's solitary boast'— never saw her soul's purity darkened with the dust of any stain, nor did she see in any part of her triumphal course toward heaven any sin or trace of worldliness. By a unique and singular privilege from God she was preserved from original sin from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception; by another privilege derived from the first, the Lord did not permit her ever to be stained even with those unavoidable failings of human weakness." — Luis M. Martinez
History of the Dogma
Credit must be given to the Oriental Church for having been the first to institute the feast of Mary's Conception. St. Andrew of Crete (660-740), in his canon In conceptionem Sanctae ac Dei aviae Annae, provides us with the first historical document bearing testimony to the existence of the present feast. It was only many years later that the West accepted it, and not without strong opposition. The very first testimony to the existence of the feast in the West is had from a celebrated marble kalendarium found in Naples dating as far back as the ninth century. It is England, in fact, that first introduced this Marian feast into the Latin liturgy.
In a precious document, Leofric's kalendarium (eleventh century), in which is found the present feast, the collect states: "Deus qui beatae Mariae Virginis conceptionem angelico vaticinio parentibus praedixisti." We note from this that in England, as in the Orient, traces remained of the Protoevangelium narrative establishing a parallel between Mary's Conception and that of St. John the Baptist. Judging also from other kalendaria of that same period wherein no mention is made of this feast, it would seem that at the outset this feast was limited to Winchester, Worcester, Exeter, Canterbury, and the surrounding localities. ...Read More
Pope Benedict XVI (2005 - present)
Blessed Pope John Paul II (1978 - 2005)
Pope Paul VI (1963 - 1978)
Pope John XXIII (1958 - 1963)
More Papal and other Church Documents - (Honorius III - 1215 through
Benedict XVI - present year)