The Four Marian Dogmas and the Various Titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary


We Catholics love the Mother of Christ simply because Christ loves and reveres her as His own mother. “Honor thy father and mother.” Even more, Catholics recognize that the Blessed Virgin is not merely the means of Christ’s incarnation. She is the “Woman” of Genesis 3:15 who is at everlasting war with Satan.

Her silent place under the cross demonstrates her willingness to conform to Simeon’s prophecy about her: “A sword shall pierce your heart as well” (Lk 2:25). Mary experienced a piercing of the heart as her Divine Son was also pierced upon the cross of our salvation. This mystery further confirms that God has mystically associated the Holy Virgin with the infinite work of Christ’s redemption. This is why she is sometimes called the “Co-Redemptrix” (more on this controversy in a later post). So then, since the Mother of the Redeemer is not merely one of the saints, but rather has a unique role in God’s purpose and plan, the Catholic Church has proclaimed the “Four Marian Dogmas,” which are:

1. Theotokos – Mother of God as testified by St Elizabeth: “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43).

2. Ever Virgin – Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant since she contained the Word made flesh within her sacred womb. Consequently, she is set apart and inviolate.

3. Immaculate Conception – Mary was pre-redeemed in sight of the merits of Christ’s cross so that she was preserved from the stain of original sin from her very first moment. This derives from Lk 1:28 where St Gabriel addresses her as κεχαριτωμένη – which is the Greek perfect passive participle of the verb related to noun “grace.” It entails the completion of an act in the past. For the reason, the phrase has been historically translated as gratia plena or “full of grace.” One full of grace is empty of sin!

4. Bodily Assumed into Heaven – The Mother of our Lord, since she is without original sin or personal sin, experiences the glorification of her body prior to the Last Judgment. As the Ark of the New Covenant she carried up by her Divine Son into Heaven in order to inaugurate the Kingdom of God: “Arise, O Lord, and go to thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy might” (Ps 132:8). As the Hebrew Gebirah or Queen Mother. For more details, read this: “Mary as the Davidic Gebirah.”

Look for more posts today and this week focusing on titles, privileges, and prerogatives of our Immaculate Lady, such as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, Spouse of the Spirit, Seat of Wisdom, and Exterminatrix of All Heresy.

Please also read:

Download My Book for Free
Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages
Over 15,000 copies downloaded! This is a quick and easy way to learn the basic philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The Popes of the last 300 years have endorsed St Thomas Aquinas. Learn more through this accessible resources. Download it for free.

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  • Seminarian

    (2) The fact that Jesus is identified as the “first-born” son of Mary does not imply that she had other sons. The “first-born son” was an important concept in Jewish law (cf. (Gn 27; Ex 13:2; Num 3:12-13; 18:15-16; Dt 21:15-17), with special rights and duties attached. Even if no other sons followed, the “first-born” had a special role to play; that is why he had to be “ransomed” in the Temple (parents had to present their “first-born son” even if they did not know whether they would have others in the future). Thus the term has an accepted legal meaning in the context of the Old Law, under which Jesus was born (Gal 4:4); it does not imply, as it does for us today in modern English perhaps, that other children necessarily follow. Also we read of God that “he brings the first-born into the world, he says, Let all God’s angels worship him'” (Heb 1:6). But of course, the “first-born son” of God (the Word made flesh) is certainly also the “only-begotten son” of God.   (3) The reference to “his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas” (Matt 13:55), to which you allude, not only does not imply that Mary had other children but in fact it specifically proves that she did NOT.   You are perhaps aware that in the ancient idiom in which the Bible was written the word for “brother” was also used to uncles, nephews, male cousins, male in-laws … in short for male relations of any sort. It certainly is NOT limited to blood brothers. This is because in the biblical idiom specific terms did not exist for these other relations. Thus, for example, we read in Gen 14:14, “Abram heard that his brother was taken captive …”. However, this is a reference to Lot, who, in fact, was not Abram’s blood brother but his nephew. There are numerous other examples. In short, we must remember that “brother” does not always mean blood brother. Our Lord certainly had “brethren”, but they are cousins not blood brothers. The Bible tells us that standing at the foot of the Cross were several women aside from Mary the mother of Jesus: “there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25); one of these several Marys was “Mary the mother of James and Joses” (Matt 27:56). Thus two of the four disciples mentioned as “brothers of the Lord” in fact are the sons of the Virgin Mary’s “sister”, Mary of Cleophas, who is also referred to as “the other Mary” (Matt 28:1). They are thus cousins of the Lord. If we look at the whole context of the family tree of Our Lord as it emerges in the Gospel, and not just at Matt 13:55 taken out of context, we see that in fact the Bible specifically tells us that certain “brothers” of Jesus are in fact NOT his blood brothers.   It is very significant that NOWHERE does the New Testament identify anyone as “the child of Joseph and Mary”. That is the only way we could safely conclude that Mary and Joseph had children. It is irresponsible to conclude that they did, unless perhaps one could cite an early extra-biblical tradition that showed the early Church believed such a thing, but in fact the early Christians offer no such evidence, quite the contrary. Since that is the case, the use of the expressions “first-born” and “until”  and […]

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The Four Marian Dogmas and the Various Titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary


We Catholics love the Mother of Christ simply because Christ loves and reveres her as His own mother. “Honor thy father and mother.” Even more, Catholics recognize that the Blessed Virgin is not merely the means of Christ’s incarnation. She is the “Woman” of Genesis 3:15 who is at everlasting war with Satan.

Her silent place under the cross demonstrates her willingness to conform to Simeon’s prophecy about her: “A sword shall pierce your heart as well” (Lk 2:25). Mary experienced a piercing of the heart as her Divine Son was also pierced upon the cross of our salvation. This mystery further confirms that God has mystically associated the Holy Virgin with the infinite work of Christ’s redemption. This is why she is sometimes called the “Co-Redemptrix” (more on this controversy in a later post). So then, since the Mother of the Redeemer is not merely one of the saints, but rather has a unique role in God’s purpose and plan, the Catholic Church has proclaimed the “Four Marian Dogmas,” which are:

1. Theotokos – Mother of God as testified by St Elizabeth: “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43).

2. Ever Virgin – Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant since she contained the Word made flesh within her sacred womb. Consequently, she is set apart and inviolate.

3. Immaculate Conception – Mary was pre-redeemed in sight of the merits of Christ’s cross so that she was preserved from the stain of original sin from her very first moment. This derives from Lk 1:28 where St Gabriel addresses her as κεχαριτωμένη – which is the Greek perfect passive participle of the verb related to noun “grace.” It entails the completion of an act in the past. For the reason, the phrase has been historically translated as gratia plena or “full of grace.” One full of grace is empty of sin!

4. Bodily Assumed into Heaven – The Mother of our Lord, since she is without original sin or personal sin, experiences the glorification of her body prior to the Last Judgment. As the Ark of the New Covenant she carried up by her Divine Son into Heaven in order to inaugurate the Kingdom of God: “Arise, O Lord, and go to thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy might” (Ps 132:8). As the Hebrew Gebirah or Queen Mother. For more details, read this: “Mary as the Davidic Gebirah.”

Look for more posts today and this week focusing on titles, privileges, and prerogatives of our Immaculate Lady, such as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, Spouse of the Spirit, Seat of Wisdom, and Exterminatrix of All Heresy.

Please also read:

Download My Book for Free
Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages
Over 15,000 copies downloaded! This is a quick and easy way to learn the basic philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The Popes of the last 300 years have endorsed St Thomas Aquinas. Learn more through this accessible resources. Download it for free.

Comments Policy: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. If your comment contains a hyperlink to another site, your comment automatically goes into "Comments Purgatory" where it waits for release by way of moderation.

  • Seminarian

    (2) The fact that Jesus is identified as the “first-born” son of Mary does not imply that she had other sons. The “first-born son” was an important concept in Jewish law (cf. (Gn 27; Ex 13:2; Num 3:12-13; 18:15-16; Dt 21:15-17), with special rights and duties attached. Even if no other sons followed, the “first-born” had a special role to play; that is why he had to be “ransomed” in the Temple (parents had to present their “first-born son” even if they did not know whether they would have others in the future). Thus the term has an accepted legal meaning in the context of the Old Law, under which Jesus was born (Gal 4:4); it does not imply, as it does for us today in modern English perhaps, that other children necessarily follow. Also we read of God that “he brings the first-born into the world, he says, Let all God’s angels worship him'” (Heb 1:6). But of course, the “first-born son” of God (the Word made flesh) is certainly also the “only-begotten son” of God.   (3) The reference to “his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas” (Matt 13:55), to which you allude, not only does not imply that Mary had other children but in fact it specifically proves that she did NOT.   You are perhaps aware that in the ancient idiom in which the Bible was written the word for “brother” was also used to uncles, nephews, male cousins, male in-laws … in short for male relations of any sort. It certainly is NOT limited to blood brothers. This is because in the biblical idiom specific terms did not exist for these other relations. Thus, for example, we read in Gen 14:14, “Abram heard that his brother was taken captive …”. However, this is a reference to Lot, who, in fact, was not Abram’s blood brother but his nephew. There are numerous other examples. In short, we must remember that “brother” does not always mean blood brother. Our Lord certainly had “brethren”, but they are cousins not blood brothers. The Bible tells us that standing at the foot of the Cross were several women aside from Mary the mother of Jesus: “there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25); one of these several Marys was “Mary the mother of James and Joses” (Matt 27:56). Thus two of the four disciples mentioned as “brothers of the Lord” in fact are the sons of the Virgin Mary’s “sister”, Mary of Cleophas, who is also referred to as “the other Mary” (Matt 28:1). They are thus cousins of the Lord. If we look at the whole context of the family tree of Our Lord as it emerges in the Gospel, and not just at Matt 13:55 taken out of context, we see that in fact the Bible specifically tells us that certain “brothers” of Jesus are in fact NOT his blood brothers.   It is very significant that NOWHERE does the New Testament identify anyone as “the child of Joseph and Mary”. That is the only way we could safely conclude that Mary and Joseph had children. It is irresponsible to conclude that they did, unless perhaps one could cite an early extra-biblical tradition that showed the early Church believed such a thing, but in fact the early Christians offer no such evidence, quite the contrary. Since that is the case, the use of the expressions “first-born” and “until”  and […]

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