Q. So, despite the fact that scripture says, “All have sinned” Catholics reject that scripture and say instead, “All have sinned, except Mary?”
A. Not exactly. We would say “All have sinned except Jesus and Mary.” If Christians accept the fact that Jesus was sinless and that He was fully Human then the statement “All have sinned” has at least one exception that all Christians agree upon. Therefore, if there is one exception (Jesus) then why can there not be another exception? Mary. There are examples in Scripture of seeming absolutes, such as all, no one or every, that just do not mean ABSOLUTELY all, no one or every, with NO EXCEPTIONS.
John 3:32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony.
Here is John the Baptist talking about Jesus. Is it true that no one receives his testimony? Of course not. This is a hyperbolic use of “no one”. John accepted His testimony and we know the apostles and many others accepted it.
Mark 14:53-64 states “all” the Sanhedrin assembled for Christ’s trial, that the “whole council” sought for testimony against Him and they “all condemned him to death.”
But we know there were exceptions to the “whole” and the “all,” such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. Again, this verbiage indicates a majority of the Sanhedrin or all of its members who were actually in attendance at the trial—but not literally every single person who composed this Jewish council.
Romans 3:10-11 None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God.
In its immediate context, we see Paul is reproving Jews who thought mere physical lineage from Abraham ensured their place in God’s family by quoting from Psalm 14:1. But when we look to all of Sacred Scripture, we find Paul’s use of “no one” in his argument could not possibly mean every single human being, or Scripture would be contradicting itself!
Exceptions to the “none” and “no one” in Romans 3 are God’s faithful people as revealed by numerous OT passages. These state some certainly did obey the command to “seek for God.” They are even called “the righteous” in several places, including this exact same Psalm in verse 5! Thus, even the phrase, “none is righteous,” has scriptural exceptions, meaning neither the “none” nor the “no one” of Romans 3:10-11 should be interpreted as encompassing absolutely every single person.
Thus, “all have sinned” in Romans 3:23 does not have to mean every single human being who has ever lived has sinned. Even Martin Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary long before it was officially defined as a dogma of the Church. See what Luther said HERE.
It is also interesting that even though the Eastern Orthodox Churches broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in the 11th century, they have always and continue to teach Mary’s lifelong sinlessness. This fact adds to the credibility and antiquity of this Catholic doctrine.
If you question this doctrine you really have to ask yourself:
“Could God have created Mary without a sin nature?”
Of course He could.
“Theoretically, could Mary, without the defect of original sin have resisted the temptation to sin throughout her whole life with the grace of God?”
But is this historically accurate? Well, all existing Christian Churches hold the Immaculate Conception to be true up to and including the reformer, Martin Luther. So WHO and by WHAT authority did this belief get thrown out?