Monday, December 8, 2008

Immaculate Misconception

Leave it to Steve Guerin to know the factoid of the day... Contrary to my long-held beliefs due to my Catholic upbringing, which included going to a nun-run elementary school and a priest-run middle school, today I found out the real truth about today's holiday.  The Immaculate Conception does not (I repeat does not) refer to the Virgin Mary's conception of Jesus, after the angel announced the news to her.  What the Immaculate Conception actually refers to the conception of Mary herself!   The Wikipedia entry about this Catholic dogma is very clear about the misconception that many of us have about this holy day.  It clearly states that:
Her immaculate conception in the womb of her mother, by normal sexual intercourse, should not be confused with the doctrine of the virginal conception of her son Jesus.
The immaculate conception refers to the fact that She was born immaculate (without stain or sin) and our Holy Mary is therefore doubly immaculate, both at Her own birth as well as when She gave birth to Jesus while still remaining a Virgin.  
I am conducting an informal survey today to see how many Catholics actually know this fact and, so far, 100% of the sample has confirmed how widespread the misconception of the immaculate conception really is.  Amazing!  Thanks Steve!