This ecumenical article is about general Christian views on and veneration of the Virgin Mary. For specific views, see Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic), Mary (mother of Jesus), Anglican Marian theology, Protestant views of Mary and Islamic view of Virgin Mary. For the religious order BVM, see Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, sometimes shortened to The Blessed Virgin or The Virgin Mary, is a traditional title used by most Christians and most specifically used by liturgical Christians such as Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, and some others to describe Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
Since the first century, devotion to the Virgin Mary has been a major element of the spiritual life of a vast number of Christians, primarily in Catholicism. From the Council of Ephesus in 431 to Vatican II and Pope John Paul II's encyclical Redemptoris Mater, the Virgin Mary has come to be seen not only as the Mother of God but also as the Mother of the Church, a Mediatrix who intercedes to Jesus Christ and even a proposed Co-Redemptrix.
The key role of the Virgin Mary in the beliefs of many Christians, her veneration, and the growth of Mariology have not only come about by the Marian writings of the saints or official statements but have often been driven from the ground up, from the masses of believers, and at times via reported Marian apparitions, miracles and healings.
There is a long-standing and widespread tradition in Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, Syriac and Anglican Christianity of giving special honor and devotion to the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.
Over considerable resistance, the Council of Ephesus in 431 formally sanctioned devotion to the Virgin as Theotokos, Mother of God, (more accurately translated as God bearer), sanctioning the creation of icons bearing the images of the Virgin and Child. Devotion to Mary was, however, already widespread before this point, reflected in the fresco depictions of Mother and Child in the Roman catacombs (illustration. left). The early Church Fathers saw Mary as the "new Eve" who said "yes" to God as Eve had said no. The non-canonical Gospel of James, written around 150, is a literary testament to the earliest devotion to Mary, the first document advocating her perpetual virginity. Mary, as the first Christian Saint and Mother of Jesus, was deemed to be a compassionate mediator between suffering mankind and her son, Jesus, who was seen as King and Judge. Biblical support for this position was found in the story of the Marriage at Cana whereat Mary entreated Jesus to turn water into wine (Gospel of John, Chapter 2). Elizabeth's praise of Mary "blessed art thou among women" and "who am I that the mother of my Lord would visit me?" in Luke 2 are also cited in support of Mary's role, among other passages of Scripture.
In the East, devotion to Mary blossomed in the sixth century under official patronage and imperial promotion at the Court of Constantinople. The popularity of Mary as an individual object of devotion, however, only began in the fifth century with the appearance of apocryphal versions of her life, interest in her relics, and the first churches dedicated to her name, for example, S. Maria Maggiore in Rome. A sign that the process was slower in Rome is provided by the incident during the visit of Pope Agapetus to Constantinople in 536, when he was upbraided for opposing the veneration of the theotokos and refusing to allow her icons to be displayed in Roman churches. Early seventh-century examples of new Marian dedications in Rome are the dedication in 609 of the pagan Pantheon as Santa Maria ad Martyres, "Holy Mary and the Martyrs", and the re-dedication of the early Christian titulus Julii et Calixtii, one of the oldest Roman churches, as Santa Maria in Trastevere. The earliest Marian feasts were introduced into the Roman liturgical calendar by Pope Sergius I (687-701).
Early representations of Mary show her as the "Throne of Heaven" with Mary and the Child Jesus both royally crowned with Byzantine diadems. She was further identified with the Bride in the Old Testament Song of Solomon, by such noted theologians as St. Bernard of Clairvaux. She became the prototype for the Church itself. During the Middle Ages, and especially in France, the great Cathedrals were thus named for Mary. The Marian Rosary was popularized by the followers of St. Dominic. The image of Mary as Queen was softened somewhat by Mary as Mother of the Child Jesus. St. Francis of Assisi popularized the image of the Nativity scene using live animals. This representation of the helpless Jesus suckled by his mother brought Christmas into the hearts and homes of the people. And, as journeys to the Holy Land became difficult, Mary's role in the Passion story became part of the popular Stations of the Cross as the Mother of the suffering Jesus. During the great plagues such as the Black Death, Mary became greatly popular as a compassionate intercessor and protector of mankind against the just judgment of God. Devotion to the Virgin Mary as the "new Eve" lent much to the status of women during the Middle Ages. Women who had been looked down upon as daughters of Eve, came to be looked upon as objects of veneration and inspiration. The veneration of Mary both as woman and prototype of the Church was greatly responsible for transforming the Germanic Warrior code into the Code of Chivalry. This reinterpretation of women flowered in the Courtly Love poetry of Medieval and Renaissance France. Mary, as the original "vessel of Christ" may have also influenced the legends of the Holy Grail. Her selflessness, obedience and virginal humility were reinterpreted in the literary figure of Sir Galahad, finder of the Grail.
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The earliest known Marian prayer is the Sub tuum praesidium, or Beneath Thy Protection, dating from late 2nd century. A papyrus dated to c. 250 containing the prayer in Greek was discovered in Egypt in 1917, and is the earliest known reference to the title Theotokos, confirmed by the Council of Ephesus in 431:
Beneath your compassion, We take refuge, O Mother of God: do not despise our petitions in time of trouble: but rescue us from dangers, only pure, only blessed one.
In the twelfth century indications of a regular devotion can be noted in a sermon by Bernard of Clairvaux (De duodecim stellis), from which an extract has been taken by the Roman Catholic Church and used in the Offices of the Compassion and of the Seven Dolours. Stronger evidences are discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve Regina, usually attributed either to St. Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or Bernard of Clairvaux; and also in the large book "De laudibus B. Mariae Virginis" (Douai, 1625) by Richard de Saint-Laurent.
See main article: Rosary. A popular Marian devotional is the Holy Rosary, a form of prayer in which an Our Father, ten Hail Marys and a Glory Be to the Father (together forming a "decade of the Rosary") are recited five times while meditating on the mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary (Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious) to be followed by a prayer called the "Hail Holy Queen" and perhaps the "Litany of Loreto". The rosary as a "devotional path" to the Virgin Mary has been a source of inspiration for a number of Roman Catholic figures. For instance, in his encyclical Rosarium Virginis Mariae Pope John Paul II discusses the inspiration of the rosary and how his motto "Totus Tuus" was inspired by the writings of Saint Louis de Montfort.
Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary for insults that she suffers. The Raccolta Catholic prayer book (approved by a Decree of 1854, and published by the Holy See in 1898) includes a number of such prayers.  
These prayers do not involve a petition for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair the sins of others against the Virgin Mary.
Other famous Marian prayers include the "Magnificat", the Angelus and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Marian hymns include O Mary, we Crown Thee With Blossoms Today, Hail Queen of Heaven, the Regina Coeli, and the Ave Maria. May and October are traditionally seen within Roman Catholicism as Marian months.
See main article: Marian apparitions.
The central role of Mary in the belief and practice of Catholicism is reflected in the fact that many Roman Catholic churches contain side altars dedicated to the Virgin Mary. She is also celebrated through major religious sites where it is claimed apparitions or appearances of the Virgin have occurred, often with claims by witnesses that messages to humanity were delivered.
The term Marian apparition is usually used in cases where visions of just the Virgin Mary herself are claimed. There are, however, cases (e.g. Saint Padre Pio or Sister Maria Pierina De Micheli) where visions of Jesus and Mary and conversations with both are reported. 
See also: Roman Catholic Marian art.
See also: Roman Catholic Marian music.
The Virgin Mary is highlighted in Catholic Church music though the ages. The ancient Latin Gregorian Chant masses include two Marian masses In solemnitatibus et Festis Beatae Mariae Virginis and in Festis et Memoriis One of the earliest Marian compositions outside he Gregorian chant is the popular Salve Regina in Latin from a Benedictine monk, which exists in several Gregorian versions. Other Marian supplications exist in numerous Latin versions as well The List of compositions by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina includes numerous Marian masses:
Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Mozart, Haydn and others are well known composers who contributed to Marian music. Less known is the fact, that before 1802, the secularisation, many religious congregations had their own composers. A totally unknown Father Valentin Rathgeber OSB, (1682-1750) wrote 43 masses, 164 offertories 24 concerts and, 44 Marian antiphones. Missa de Beata Virgine and the Messe de Nostre Dameare examples of individual contributions. Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine has remained structurally unchanged for the past 1500 years. Joseph Haydn wrote several Marian compositions including two famous Marian Masses: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed in honour of the Virgin Mary Latin masses and several shorter opera: Other known classic composers with Marian compositions mainly in Latin include Orlando di Lasso and Franz Schubert.
See main article: Titles of Mary
The Virgin Mary is known by many titles. Some of these titles are dogmatic in nature, referring to Marian beliefs that the Church views as necessary for salvation. Many other titles are poetic or allegorical and have lesser or no canonical status, but which form part of popular piety, with varying degrees of acceptance by the clergy. Yet more titles refer to depictions of the Virgin Mary in the history of art.
Among the most prominent Marian titles in the Roman Catholic Calendar are:
Among the most prominent Marian titles in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic liturgical calendars are:
See main article: Marian feast days.
During the month of May, May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary take place in many Catholic regions. There is no firm structure as to the content of a May devotion. It includes usually the singing of Marian anthems, readings from scriptures, a sermon, and or presentation by local choirs. The whole rosary is prayed separately and is usually not a part of a Marian devotion, although Hail-Marys are included.
Traditionally, the month of October is "rosary month" in the Catholic Church, when the faithful are encouraged to pray the rosary if possible. Since 1571, Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary, is venerated on October 7. Pope Benedict XVI, following all his predecessors, also encourages the rosary during the month of October:
Among the most prominent Marian feast days in the ordinary Roman Catholic Calendar are:
Among the most prominent Marian feast days in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic liturgical calendars are:
Some theological background is helpful for an understanding of the Virgin Mary in Catholicism. The principal Marian doctrines that have been dogmatically defined by the Roman Catholic Church are summarized below. Fuller details are to be found in the main articles.
Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy virgin to be the mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her.
This is the oldest of all dogmas concerning the Blessed Virgin. It is not only essential in Marian Theology but also in the Theology of Christ. For if Mary was not Mother of God, then Jesus was in fact not God.
This oldest dogma has given rise to extended Roman Catholic Mariological views in the 20th century. In Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II commented on the self-referential nature of being the Mother of God, by stating: "To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator!" and in his 1946 publication Compendium Mariologiae, respected Mariologist Gabriel Roschini explained that Mary did not only participate in the birth of the physical Jesus, but, with conception, she entered with him into a spiritual union. Most Mariologists agree with this position.
Mary was a Virgin before, during and after the birth of Christ (De Fide) This was taught by several writers including Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, and the Lateran Synod in the year 649 under Pope Martin I. The Catholic Church interprets virginity as including mental virginity (Latin: virginitas mentis), sensual virginity (Latin: virginitas sensus), that is freedom from sexual desires and corporal virginity (Latin: virginitas corporis). The dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary defines the latter. Mary was always a virgin, even after giving birth to Christ-in fact, Christ's birth sanctified his mother's virginity. 
Mary was conceived without original sin (De Fide). The Roman Catholic dogma concerning the Immaculate Conception of Mary teaches that Mary - unique among all human beings in history - was born without Original Sin, and never sinned throughout her life. Although the sinlessness of Mary had been held by the church since the earliest times, the means by which this came about had long been a matter of dispute. The belief that Mary must have been freed of Original sin at the very moment of conception gained acceptance in the 13th century. The doctrine was finally made binding by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854. The official Papal Bull entitled Ineffabilis Deus states:
This doctrine should not be confused with the miraculous conception of Jesus. The "Immaculate Conception" refers to Mary's own conception and birth - not to the famous miracle by which Jesus was conceived within her. Mary still needed a savior, since without Christ she would not have been preserved from original sin.
This doctrine should also not be confused with Mary's preservation from Actual sin, although it follows logically that if she were freed from Original Sin, which is in essence a lack of sanctifying grace, she would have been free of the disordered inclinations to sin which are the result of a lack of sanctifying grace.
Mary was assumed with body and soul into heaven. (De Fide) The Assumption of Mary - meaning that, at the end of her earthly life, Mary was taken directly into Heaven - has been held by both the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches since at least the 6th century. However, it was not until 1950 that it was officially pronounced a dogma by Pope Pius XII in his Papal Bull Munificentissimus Deus. The Pope defined the dogma in these words:
The title, Mother of the Church, which is not a dogma in the narrow sense, was a theme of the writings of Augustine of Hippo. It was proclaimed by Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council in 1964. The title, Mother of the Church is a parallel to a more ancient title, Mary, Mother of all Christians which is based on a traditional Catholic interpretation of John 19:25-27:
The traditional Catholic interpretation is that the "beloved disciple" is a type for all Christians who are beloved disciples. Thus, Jesus gives all Christians his mother as their own. As Mother of all Christians, Mary is Mother of the Church. An alternative interpretation is that Jesus was referring only to the Apostle John, asking John to fulfill a son's duty.
In his encyclical Redemptoris Mater, on March 25, 1987, Pope John Paul II said:
The title Mother of the Church was again affirmed by him at a general audience on September 17, 1997.
See main article: Marian shrines.
See also: Roman Catholic Marian churches.
In the culture and practice the Roman Catholic Church - a shrine to the Virgin Mary or Marian shrine is a shrine marking an apparition or other miracle ascribed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or a site on which is centered a historically strong Marian devotion.
Some of the largest shrines are due to reported Marian apparitions to young and simple people on remote hilltops that had hardly been heard of prior to the reported apparition. The case of Saint Juan Diego's reported vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531 is similar to the case of Saint Bernadette Soubirous's vision in 1858 of Our Lady of Lourdes. Both saints reported a miraculous Lady on a hilltop who asked them to request that the local priests build a chapel at the site of the vision. Both visions included a reference to roses and led to large churches being built at the sites. Like Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, Our Lady of Lourdes is a major Catholic symbol in France. Both young people were eventually declared as saints.
See main article: Marian shrines.
See also: Roman Catholic Marian churches. A large number of shrines to the Blessed Virgin exist on all continents, and they draw a large number of pilgrims every year. Major shrines considered most significant for their apparitions and miracles include:
Other reported apparition sites include Međugorje, which is not considered a shrine by the Holy See, yet receives a large number of pilgrims every year. The number of pilgrims who visit some of the approved shrines every year can be significant. E.g. Lourdes with a population of around 15,000 people, receives about 5,000,000 pilgrims every year and within France only Paris has more hotel rooms than Lourdes.
See main article: House of the Virgin Mary.
The visions of Jesus and Mary reported by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, and written by Klemens Brentano in 1852, led a French priest Abbé Julien Gouyet to discover a house near Ephesus in Turkey in 1881. This house is assumed by some Catholics and some Muslims to be the House of the Virgin Mary. The Holy See has taken no official position on the authenticity of the discovery yet, but in 1896 Pope Leo XIII visited it and in 1951 Pope Pius XII initially declared the house a Holy Place. Pope John XXIII later made the declaration permanent. Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 visited the house and treated it as a shrine.
See main article: Theotokos.
A great many traditions revolve around the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, in Orthodoxy. It is believed by Orthodox Christians that she was and remained a Virgin before and after Christ's birth. Many of the Church's beliefs concerning the Virgin Mary are reflected in the apocryphal text "The Nativity of Mary", which was not included in scripture, but is considered by Orthodox faithful to be accurate in its description of events. This tells that the child Mary was consecrated at the age of three to serve in the temple as a temple virgin. Zachariah, at that time High Priest of the Temple, did the unthinkable and carried Mary into the Holy of Holies as a sign of her importance – that she herself would become the ark in which God would take form. At the age of twelve she was required to give up her position and marry, but she desired to remain forever a virgin in dedication to God. And so it was decided to marry her to a close relative, Joseph, an uncle or cousin, an older man, a widower, who would take care of her and allow her to retain her virginity. And so it was that when the time came she submitted to God's will and allowed the Christ to take form within her. It is believed by many Orthodox that she, in her life, committed no sin; however, the Orthodox do not accept the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate conception. In the theology of the Orthodox Church, from the very moment of conception, Christ was fully God and fully man. Therefore Orthodox Christians believe that it is correct to say that Mary is indeed the Theotokos, the Birth-giver of God, and that she is the greatest of all humans ever to have lived except for Christ her Son.
After the birth of Jesus the Orthodox Church believes that she remained a virgin, continuing to serve God in all ways. She travelled much with her son, and was present both at his Passion on the Cross and at his ascension into heaven. It is also believed that she was the first to know of her son's resurrection – the Archangel Gabriel appearing to her once more and revealing it to her. It is believed she lived to the age of seventy and called all the apostles to her before she died. According to tradition Saint Thomas arrived late and was not present at her death. Desiring to kiss her hand one last time he opened her tomb but her body was gone. The Orthodox believe she was assumed into heaven bodily; however, unlike in the Roman Catholic Church, it is not a dogmatic prescription, and the holy day is usually referred to as the Feast of the Dormition, rather than the Assumption.
Theologians from the Orthodox tradition have made prominent contributions to the development of Marian thought and devotion.John Damascene (c 650 - c 750) was one of the greatest Orthodox theologians. among other Marian writings, he proclaimed the essential nature of Mary's heavenly Assumption, or dormition, and her mediative role.
See also: Protestant views of Mary. Protestants typically hold that Mary was the mother of Jesus, but was an ordinary woman devoted to God. Therefore, there are virtually no Marian veneration, Marian feasts, Marian pilgrimages, Marian art, Marian music or Marian spirituality in today's Protestant communities. Within these views, Roman Catholic beliefs and practices, which endured more than 1500 years after Jesus' death, are at times rejected as heresy, e.g. theologian Karl Barth wrote that "the heresy of the Catholic Church is its mariology."
Some early Protestants venerated and honored Mary. Martin Luther said Mary is "the highest woman", that "we can never honor her enough", that "the veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart", and that Christians should "wish that everyone know and respect her". John Calvin said, "It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor." Zwingli said, "I esteem immensely the Mother of God", and, "The more the honor and love of Christ increases among men, so much the esteem and honor given to Mary should grow". Thus the idea of respect and high honor was not rejected by the first Protestants; but, they came to criticize the Roman Catholics for blurring the line, between high admiration of the grace of God wherever it is seen in a human being, and religious service given to another creature. The Roman Catholic practice of celebrating saints' days and making intercessory requests addressed especially to Mary and other departed saints they considered (and consider) to be idolatry. With the exception of some portions of the Anglican Communion, Protestantism usually follows the reformers in rejecting the practice of directly addressing Mary and other saints in prayers of admiration or petition, as part of their religious worship of God.
Today's Protestants acknowledge that Mary is "blessed among women" (Luke 1:42) but they do not agree that Mary is to be venerated. She is considered to be an outstanding example of a life dedicated to God. Indeed the word that she uses to describe herself in Luke 1:38 (usually translated as "bond-servant" or "slave") refers to someone whose will is consumed by the will of another - in this case Mary's will is consumed by God's. Rather than granting Mary any kind of "dulia", Protestants note that her role in scripture seems to diminish - after the birth of Jesus she is hardly mentioned. From this it may be said that her attitude paralleled that of John the Baptist who said "He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).
1. If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God (for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God become flesh), let him be anathema.
2. If anyone will not confess that the Word of God has TWO nativities, that which is before all ages from the Father, outside time and without a body, and secondly that nativity of these latter days when the Word of God came down from the heavens and was made flesh of holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin, and was born from her: let him be anathema.
Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. (Ezekiel 44:2)
This represents a point of divergence within the Christian world, with Protestant Christians teaching that Mary did in fact have other children, described in the Bible as Jesus' brothers and sisters, in verses such as Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3. The meaning of the word adelphos in the original Greek texts is disputed, viewed on the one hand as literally meaning brethren/brother, or by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches as meaning male cousin, male friend, etc. Within the New Testament the word appears over 346 times. Alternatively, many Eastern (and some Western) Christians (both Catholic and Orthodox) teach that the "brothers and sisters" of Jesus referenced in the Scriptures were children of Joseph from a previous marriage.
While the perpetual virginity of Mary is seen as having immense importance to Catholic teaching, Protestants' rejection of the doctrine is not considered spiritually significant for them. Although they object to what they see as extra-Biblical traditions, it is of no consequence to Protestant Christianity whether Mary did or did not have other children after Jesus. Protestant theology teaches that God intended Mary and Joseph as husband and wife "to become one flesh" (Genesis 2) and that the New Testament commanded Mary to fulfill her marital role to her husband Joseph. (1 Corinthians 7:5)
"So I made an ark of boards of incorruptible wood, and I hewed tables of stone like the first, and I went up to the mountain, and the two tables were in my hand." (Deuteronomy 10:3 Breton LXX)Other translations use the words "setim", "acacia", "indestructible", and "hard" to describe the wood used. In any case, Moses used this wood because it was regarded as very durable and "incorruptible." The Ark of the Covenant has been regarded by both Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians as being the "type" in typological terms in the Old Testament of Mary and therefore it would seem fitting that the New Ark likewise be made "incorruptible" or "immaculate."
This belief dates back to the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church. The inclusion of the feast of an individual's birthday indicated that they were regarded as sanctified from the womb. Only three figures in the Christian tradition have their birthdays celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church, Jesus, John the Baptist - both of whom are described as sanctified before their birth in Luke's Gospel - and Mary.
Protestant and Orthodox Christians alike denounce the dogma for different reasons, and such differences have had major effects on history through the Great Schism and the Reformation. They view it as an example of Papal hubris. Protestants hold that the dogma means that Mary has no need for a savior, and is in violation of Romans 3 where it is declared that all have sinned and that no one is righteous (unless saved by Jesus).
Catholics say that Mary's preservation from Original Sin, that is, her Immaculate Conception is not the same as her preservation from Actual sin, since Original Sin is not an Actual sin one commits, but state of deprivation of sanctifying grace. This lack of sanctifying grace is what inclines us toward sin. Mary, having been given sanctifying grace from the moment of her conception, lacked the inclination to sin. However, even being sinless, Mary was still in need of a savior, for it is precisely the work of the savior that preserved her from both Original Sin and Actual sin. One can be saved from Actual sin after falling into sin, and one can be saved before ever falling into sin. For Catholics, Mary was preserved from Original Sin before contracting it, and from Actual sin before falling into sin. Catholics believe that Jesus could not have been born into a sinful vessel. Thus, a sinless Mary becomes necessary to accommodate Jesus' birth. And therefore Mary must have been without Actual sin as well.
Yet Protestant Churches hold that Jesus' mission to Earth was to overcome sin and do not recognize the difficulty in Jesus being born to an ordinary woman which Catholics view as impossible. Protestants argue that conquering sin and cleansing the world from sin was Jesus' purpose in entering a fallen and sinful world, and do not view Jesus as needing a birth mother to be anything but an ordinary woman. What Catholics categorically reject does not gather much attention from Protestants, who readily dismiss the problem with the idea that "with God all things are possible."
Meanwhile, Orthodox Christians and many Protestants view the dogma as erroneous and unnecessary. Catholics, Orthodox, and most Protestant Christians view Original Sin as imposing a tendency toward evil and an inclination to sin, drawing people towards sin. They believe a person is actually guilty only for sins he actually commits. But the Orthodox and most Protestants depart from Catholic beliefs in believing that Mary, being born with Original Sin would have this inclination to sin but she remained sinless because she did not commit any sins; instead, she dedicated her whole life to God from the beginning.