What are the four Marian Dogmas?

by Matt Slick
9/28/14

The four Marian dogmas1 are the Mother of God, Mary's perpetual virginity, her Immaculate Conception, and her Assumption into heaven. Here they are documented from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC.

  1. Mother of God, Theotokos, established in 431,
    1. "Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus,” Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord.” In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos)," (CCC 495).
    2. "Mary is truly "Mother of God" since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself," (CCC 509).
    3. "Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom." In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested," (CCC 721).
  2. Perpetual Virginity, that Mary remained a virgin her whole life.
    1. "The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.” And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin," (CCC 499)
    2. "Mary “remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin” (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is “the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38)," (CCC 510).
  3. Immaculate Conception, Mary herself was conceived sinless, and thus redeemed at her conception.  established in 1854.
    1. "Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin," (CCC 491).
    2. "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death," (CCC 966).
    3. "The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church" . "Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christi, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints," (CCC 2177).
  4. Assumption, Mary was taken bodily into heaven, established in 1950
    1. "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death," (CCC 966).
    2. "The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life. “Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church.” (1167; 2043) “Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christi, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints," (CCC 2177).

Though each of these four dogmas have been declared true by the Roman Catholic Church, except for the "mother of God," none of these can be found in Scripture. Now, please understand that when I mention the "Mother of God" I am agreeing that Mary is the mother of Jesus who has two natures, divine and human. But I disagree with the unwarranted exultation of Mary associated with that title. For more information on this problem please see the articles Is Mary the mother of God, theotokos? and There is a logical fallacy in the argument that Mary is the mother of God.

Nevertheless, Roman Catholicism asserts that each of these doctrines are found in Scripture.

"It is the conviction of Roman Catholics that the Marian dogmas formulate a faith consonant with Scripture."2

The truth is, they are not found in Scripture. The perpetual virginity of Mary, which says that she always remained a virgin, cannot be demonstrated from the Bible. For this issue please see the article Did Mary Have Other Children? The doctrine that she was conceived without original sin is also not found in Scripture. To deal with this issue please see the article If Mary was sinless, why was she unclean and had to offer a sacrifice for sin? Finally, regarding the Assumption of Mary, that she was taken bodily into heaven, please see The Bodily Assumption of Mary. The truth is that the Roman Catholic Church has violated Scripture.

"Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other," (1 Corinthians 4:6).

 

  • 1. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/mary/general-information/the-four-marian-dogmas/
  • 2. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/angl-comm-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_1981_authority-church-ii_en.html
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.