CLAIM: Roman Catholic scholars argue that Mary was sinless, because she was referred to as “blessed” in this passage. Moreover, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (i.e. the sinlessness of Mary) was declared by Pope Pius IX in 1854. Was Mary sinless or not?
RESPONSE: While Mary was called “blessed,” she is no where referred to as sinless. In fact, the Bible states that all human beings are sinful. For instance, Paul argues that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Solomon states, “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46) and “there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins” (Eccl. 7:20). The psalmist writes, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Ps. 130:3) and “For in Your sight no man living is righteous” (Ps. 143:2) and “There is no one who does good” (Ps. 14:1). The Proverbs ask, “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin’?” (Prov. 20:9)
When followers tried to venerate Mary in any special way, Jesus rebuked them. For instance, a woman cried out, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed” (Lk. 11:27). But Jesus responded, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it” (v.28). In addition, later in this passage, Mary admits that she needs a Savior. Luke writes, “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Lk. 1:47). If Mary was sinless, then she wouldn’t have needed a Savior.