(Vatican Radio) On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception it is tradition for Benedict XVI to pay homage to Mary by the statue of Our Lady near the Spanish steps in the heart of Rome.
A feast day Pope Benedict XVI has often referred to as a great one , highlighting how in her sinless perfection , Mary is a great sign of hope for the Church and for the world. In Pope Benedict’s very words: " a sign of the marvels that God’s grace can accomplish in us, his human creatures: In these days of Advent, in company with the holy and immaculate Mother of God, let us prepare to welcome her Son into our lives and into our hearts"...
A Feast day which falls each year on the 8th of December, a couple of weeks ahead of Christmas.
And which refers to a dogma proclaimed by Pius IX in 1854 by the title of ‘Ineffabilis Deus’, which defines the belief that Mary, by special divine favour, was without sin from the moment she was conceived.
An idea that came as a result of a complex theological debate over the centuries in part because some theology felt it might contradict a major tenet of the Catholic faith: the universality of redemption
However as we know when Pius IX proclaimed the dogma he quoted quoting from Saint Luke’s account of the Annunciation and the Angel Gabriel’s " Hail Mary, full of grace”. Understood as a recognition that Mary must always have been free of sin …
In an effort to bring you a more in depth explanation join Benedictine Abbot Timothy Wright as he shines the spolight on this special day.: