File this one under “Purely My Own Conjecture” but as the understanding of the Immaculate Comception is so widely misunderstood, I believe that misconceptions about the Church are what has lead to the erroneous definition of “Immaculate Conception. The other day I was listening to a Bruce Springsteen song, and one of the lyrics mentions the Immaculate Conceptions. But judging from the context, the lyric was talking about a conception without the sexual act. I hear this mistake all the time; most predominantly on TV and in movies, where you’d think these big time writers would actually know what they’re talking about, but clearly don’t. When I try to correct people about their misuse of the term “Immaculate Conception” they swear that I’m the one who has it wrong. The misconception is so common that when I state what the Immaculate Conception actually is, they think I’m in error. Which actually fascinates and amazes me. So I thought that I might take a moment to address what the Immaculate Conception is, what it is not, and why I think people get it wrong.
The Immaculate Conception IS NOT…
For those of you who don’t know this…stand by…here comes the bomb. The Immaculate Conception has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the virgin-conception of Jesus Christ by Mary, the Blessed Mother. Let me re-state: Jesus being conceived in the womb of Mary, who conceived him as a virgin, IS NOT the Immaculate Conception. It is erroneous to refer to a conception that occurs without the sexual act as “an immaculate conception”.
The Immaculate Conception IS…
The Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of MARY, the mother of Christ. NOT the conception of Jesus Christ Himself. Again, the Immaculate Conception points to the conception of Mary…not Jesus. To be more specific, Mary—unlike the rest of us—was conceived without the stain of original sin. God preserved her from that tarnish in order to prepare her to conceive His incarnate Son, Jesus Christ. Why? Because God cannot be born of a vessel of sin. So to prepare her for the conception of Jesus Christ, God insulated her from the stain of original sin. THAT is what the Immaculate Conception is.
Why people get it wrong…
Again, file this under “Purely My Own Conjecture”…It seems to me that Catholics are widely–and mistakenly–thought of as believing that sex is dirty. Without sex, you are without “filth”, hence you are immaculate. This of course is utterly stupid. Catholics don’t believe sex is dirty. If anything we regard sex as something much more profoundly beautiful than any other community or individual of any other religious affiliation (or otherwise unaffiliated). But my feeling is that peoples’ misunderstanding about Catholics and Sex is what prompts the erroneous understanding of what the Immaculate Conception is.
Just a theory. But it’s a good one!
[That Crazy Catholic]