Martin Luther On the Immaculate Conception of Mary


Q. What is the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?
A. It is the Dogma of the Catholic Church that Mary was conceived without sin and remained sinless throughout her whole life.

The Catholic Church has always believed that Mary, just like Adam and Eve, was conceived without a fallen nature and unlike our first parents, she resisted temptation to sin by the grace of God, throughout her whole life.

Interestingly, Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant Reformation believed in Mary’s Immaculate Conception.

Luther’s words follow:

It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin.

(Sermon: “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” December [?] 1527; from Hartmann Grisar, S.J., from the German Werke, Erlangen, 1826-1868, edited by J.G. Plochmann and J.A. Irmischer,

She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin- something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil.

-Personal {“Little”} Prayer Book, 1522

[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures. (Sermon, Christmas, 1531)

No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity. (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation, 1537)

One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521)

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