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Daily Catholic Question

Are the Annunciation and the Immaculate Conception the same thing?

The Annunciation, observed on March 25, celebrates Mary’s miraculous conception of Jesus, who has no human biological father. Because the angel Gabriel “announced” the conception to her (Luke 1:26-38), the feast is known as the Annunciation. Mary’s response to Gabriel, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38b), sets the pattern of openness for everyone who follows Jesus.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, observed on December 8, celebrates the conception of Mary by her parents (Joachim and Anne, according to an early Christian tradition). The conception was natural except that Mary was preserved from original sin. Even though this teaching was solemnly defined only in 1854 by Pope Pius IX, Catholics had believed it and celebrated it liturgically for many centuries.

Because there is no Gospel story specifically about the conception of Mary, the Catholic Church uses the same passage (Luke 1:26-38, Gabriel’s announcement to Mary) on each solemnity—even though each celebrates a different conception.

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Friday, March 8, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 3/7/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 3/9/2013


Gregory VII: The 10th century and the first half of the 11th were dark days for the Church, partly because the papacy was the pawn of various Roman families. In 1049, things began to change when Pope Leo IX, a reformer, was elected. He brought a young monk named Hildebrand to Rome as his counselor and special representative on important missions. He was to become Gregory VII. 
<p>Three evils plagued the Church then: simony (the buying and selling of sacred offices and things), the unlawful marriage of the clergy and lay investiture (kings and nobles controlling the appointment of Church officials). To all of these Hildebrand directed his reformer’s attention, first as counselor to the popes and later (1073-1085) as pope himself. </p><p>Gregory’s papal letters stress the role of bishop of Rome as the vicar of Christ and the visible center of unity in the Church. He is well known for his long dispute with Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV over who should control the selection of bishops and abbots. </p><p>Gregory fiercely resisted any attack on the liberty of the Church. For this he suffered and finally died in exile. He said, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.” Thirty years later the Church finally won its struggle against lay investiture.</p> American Catholic Blog In Christ, true God and true man, our humanity was taken to God. Christ opened the path to us. If we entrust our life to him, if we let ourselves be guided by him, we are certain to be in safe hands, in the hands of our Savior.

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