Roman Catholicism: Mary

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Roman Catholic Doctrine on the Virgin Mary

Like other Christian denominations, the Roman Catholic Church teaches Mary, a virgin, was the mother of Jesus. Unlike many other denominations however, it also teaches that Mary was conceived without original sin (the Immaculate Conception) as well as other doctrines not usually accepted by other Christian denominations.

Marian Dogma


Theotokos is a Greek word and means "the one who gives birth to God". This doctrine was formulated by the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. The title "Mother of God" derives from this doctrine.

Perpetual virginity of Mary

This doctrine asserts that Mary stayed virgin during and after the birth of Jesus Christ and thus had no other children. Passages in the Bible which mention the brothers and sisters of Jesus are understood by the Roman Catholic Church to be referring to counsins of Jesus.

Immaculate Conception

This doctrine teaches that Mary was conceived without original sin and was therefore sinless throughout her life.

Assumption of Mary

The "Assumption of Mary" is the teaching that because of her sinlessness and because death is the result of sin, Mary never experienced a physical death but instead was raised alive into the presence of Christ. It was officially recognized as church doctrine by Pope Pius XII in 1950 AD.

Roman Catholicism: Co-Redemptrix

This doctrine is controversially discussed inside the church. It is not official church teaching and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prior to becoming the Pope, has previously stated his opposition to the doctrine being officially proclaimed.

There are a variety of opinions as to what the title co-redemptrix means. It refers to Mary in some way participating in the redemption of humanity and within the limits of traditional Catholic doctrine it could mean that Mary through her positive response to God's grace cooperates in the redemption brought by Christ.

Hyperdulia - Special veneration

This doctrine teaches that Mary is worthy of special veneration and devotion because of her special role in history.

Marian prayers


Marian apparitions

The Catholic church maintains that on certain occasions and in certain places Mary appears in visions. Such places include Lourdes, Fatima and Guadelupe. A catholic is not held to believe in such apparitions.



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