Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception, a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church to the effect that the Blessed Virgin "from the first moment of her conception in the womb of her mother was preserved free from all taint of original sin." The doctrine can be traced back in a vague form to an early period, but it was never distinctly stated before the 12th century. In 1140 St. Bernard of Clairvaux addressed a remonstrance to the canons of Lyons cathedral because they had introduced a festival in celebration of the doctrine without episcopal sanction. Early in the 14th century the doctrine was upheld by the Franciscan schoolman, Duns Scotus, and its truth and falsehood became a matter of keen controversy between his order and their Dominican opponents. The University of Paris generally supported the view of the Franciscans, and in 1439 the doctrine was recommended as a "pious opinion "by the Council of Basel. In the same council the 8th Dec. was set apart for the celebration of the "Feast of the Immaculate Conception." The matter continued to be more or less warmly debated during the following centuries, but in 1854 it was settled by the publication of the Papal Bull "Ineffabilis Deus," which made the dogma an article of the Catholic faith.