In the normal scheme of things Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, would in early June, be starting to show signs - sickness at dawn, a craving for pickles, a slight bulge in the midriff - that she was expecting the famous baby that would be born at the end of December. That there was no acknowledged father, and since Mary was somehow proven to be still intact and inviolate, so there arose the story of the Immaculate Conception and the miraculous nature of Mary's maternal condition. To believers, the lady then swiftly rose to the level of a sub-deity - and there are those especially ardent admirers who, to this day, worship Mary, demand her recognition as a truly godlike creature, and pray to her with as much enthusiasm as they do to her esteemed son. By so doing, these super-keen people are said to be practitioners of mariolatry, or

the idolatrous worship of the Virgin Mary, attributed by opponents to Roman Catholics.

Mainstream Catholics, in common with most sensible Christians, take a dim view of the Mariolaters in their midst, and urge instead the rather more benign devotion to her memory displayed by the milder-mannered Marians. These men and women have tended to be regarded with a greater degree of tolerance - but also with some puzzled pity, it being generally difficult to explain the precise purpose of their attentions.

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  • nbmandel

    Are you sure you mean Immaculate Conception in the first paragraph, and not the Virgin Birth? 

  • KC

    Uncanny how people always get this wrong. The Immaculate Conception (which is the name both of an event and of a person, the Blessed Virgin Mary) took place as an event on December 8 in the womb of Mary's mother Saint Ann, nine months before the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, September 8. Mary's physical conception was the product of natural sexual intercourse. The immaculateness had nothing to do with sex but rather with the stain (Latin "macula") of Original Sin, the root of mankind's imperfection, from which Mary and Mary alone, in all the history of the human race, was from the very instant of her conception exempt. This is one of the things that makes her sorta special in the minds of Catholics. Note that the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception took place in 1854, after decades of Rousseauians and years of Marxists spinning notions based on man being born good and victimized by society, leading them to advocate what is jokingly referred to as the immanentization of the eschaton. The Immaculate Conception was a big piece of the opposing Catholic vision of man's imperfection which required Redemption, the culmination of the Immaculate Conception, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, leading to fulfillment in Heaven, not on Earth.