The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a devotion to the idea that the Virgin Mary is free of sin. Catholics celebrate the feast on December 8.
The idea comes from the Eastern Church at Constantinople. One of the entry points into the west was the Normans (Norsemen) of what is now France (Normandy).
The devotion came up from the people and the Church responded. There was a lot of religious controversy about the Immaculate Conception over the years as thinkers debated exactly how far back the Virgin Mary’s “sinlessness” goes.
The Immaculate Conception became Catholic dogma in 1854. The move seems to have been part of a power play for popularity by the Catholic church in Rome as it was losing power during the rise of Italian nationalism and the movement towards the unification of Italy.
Patroness of the Immaculate Conception
The Virgin Mary is the official patroness of Brazil, Spain, and the United States.
American bishops chose her as patroness of the United States in 1846.
What does the Immaculate Conception Mean?
So the Virgin Mary is so free of sin that even her conception was free of sin?
The whole thing is a little confusing. The Immaculate Conception gets confused with the conception of Jesus. It gets confused with the idea of a fatherless birth.
The need to make conception holy suggests that there is something wrong with sex. The founding fathers of the Christian Church thought that sex was bad, so you needed some kind of hall pass to get through it and birth with a clean soul.
The idea of the Immaculate Conception and its arguments are silly, but the essence of the devotion is that woman is equally divine and good. You can deduce that women, being divine, should be respected.