What are the Four Dogmas of Mary? If you are attending a Christian Church, the chances are that you have not heard this term before. The four dogmas of Mary are generally held by Catholics and a very small number of Christian denominations.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at each individual Dogma in depth. But in this introduction to the series, we’ll just give a high-level view of each of the dogmas. But first, we should explain what a dogma is.
What’s A Dogma?
So, what exactly is dogma? A dogma, simply stated, is a belief that is held to be true. So, the four Dogmas could also be understood as the “four beliefs” about Mary. Dogmas are taken very seriously. Catholics would say that if you disagree with one of the dogmas, you are committing heresy. So, this is nothing to take lightly. let’s look at the four dogmas of Mary and see what they are.
The Immaculate Conception
Most people believe that the immaculate conception refers to the conception of Jesus, but this isn’t the case. The Immaculate Conception refers to the birth of Mary, not Jesus. Catholic teaching is that Mary’s parents did not conceive her through sexual intercourse. Being conceived without sin, she was therefore sinless herself. We’ll dive deeper into this belief in the stand-alone articles to follow.
Mother Of God
The first dogma is Mary as “Mother of God”. While most Christians are probably more familiar with Mary as the “Mother of Jesus”, this is still technically a correct term. Mary is the mother of Jesus, who is God. So, mother of God is a correct term. And while most Christians would agree with this statement, there are a few nuances that will be fleshed out when we look at this dogma exclusively.
The Perpetual Virgin
Mary is also described in Catholic teaching as a perpetual virgin. They believe that Mary was a virgin before giving birth to Jesus and remained one after giving birth. When Jesus’ brothers or sisters are mentioned in the Bible, Catholic teaching is that these are not Jesus’ biological relatives from Mary.
The assumption of Mary is the belief that Mary did not die on Earth, but rather was assumed into heaven. Much like the Prophets Elisha and Elijah, she was supernaturally transported to heaven. For Catholics, Mary’s not dying a physical death is another sign of her sinlessness. Remaining sinless is a theme that runs through all these dogmas, and one that we will explore as we go forward.
As we go through this series on the four dogmas of Mary, I want to be clear on something. We are not trying to disrespect or denigrate the person of Mary. We hold her in high regard as the mother of Jesus. She deserves admiration and respect. We are just trying to get an accurate view of who Mary was, and what she did. This is the same thing we should do with all Biblical figures. The better we understand them, the better we understand what God is telling us in the accounts of their lives.
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