POPE PIUS IX PROCLAIMS THE DOGMA OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
On December 8, 1854, having spent all of his holy life – his boyhood,
his priesthood, as bishop, cardinal and Pope – at the feet of the Mother
of God, the most Blessed Virgin Mary, and having deeply considered also,
in his exile at Gaeta, the earnest petitions of Catholics all over the
world in its behalf, Pope Pius IX defined ex cathedra, in the glorious
Basilica of Saint Peter's before one hundred and seventy bishops and innumerable
pilgrims come literally from the ends of the earth, the divine dogma of
Our Lady's Immaculate Conception. The voice of the Sovereign Pontiff broke
and tears filled his eyes as he paused before uttering the infallible words:
"We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds
that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by
a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the
merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, was preserved immaculate
from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore
should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful...."
The Blessed Virgin Mary
As the Holy Father finished speaking, the cannon of the Castle of Sant'
Angelo boomed and the bells of the basilicas and churches of Rome long
rang out the glorious news, which ushered in the Age of Mary – the last
age of the world. The Catholic faithful rejoiced, and grace flooded their
souls as they prayed the prayer Our Lady herself had given twenty years
before to Catherine Laboure, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray
for us who have recourse to thee."