Today is the Day of the Immaculate Conception in Spain. Unlike Wednesday, today's holiday really is a holy day. As I understood it, the immaculate conception is the part of Catholic dogma that allows for Mary to have conceived Jesus without sinning herself. I asked Marga, who was schooled K-12 by nuns, and she confirmed my understanding. She even predicted my next question about how the miracle of the 17-day gestation is at least as fantastic as that of the spermless fertilization. "Yeah, it's confusing, isn't it?" was her response.
I went to the wikipedia article on the Immaculate Conception to read up on it and link to in this blog post, and what do I find? It turns out that both I and my Catholic-schooled fiancé are mistaken!
The miracle of the immaculate conception is not about the Mary conceiving Jesus!
The immaculate conception [allegedly] took place in Mary's mother's womb when Mary was conceived! Mary also had the same spontaneous fertilization herself (it must run in the family), but that's what's known as the Virgin Birth. Not only that, but December 8th is exactly nine months before Mary's birthday! Amazing! How did that reasonable scientific fact creep in there?
The immaculate conception wasn't part of Catholic dogma until the mid 19th century, around the time of the US Civil War, 152 years ago today, actually. I have to wonder if this concept didn't come from some influence from some powerful members of the Cult of the Virgin. That is what the Knights Templar were all about, as you may recall. The Catholics really do worship Mary as a goddess. In Spain, she's paraded through the streets and idolized (note my choice of word) as much as, or more than, Jesus is. So clearly, to make her a goddess, they had to take away her original sin with Pope Pius IX's Ineffabilis Deus (Ineffable God) document published 152 years ago. Nothing like calling something "ineffable" to make people want to talk about it.
Did any of you catch the silliness of celebrating Mary's birthday nine months after the date that the dogma was officially created?
Anyway, I wish you a happy day-that-Jesus'-grandmother-did-NOT-have-sex day. Sounds like a good enough reason to take a day off work to me! (I, unfortunately, am not employed in Spain.)