Emblem of the Papacy

A series of articles on
Roman Catholic
Virgin Mary - Diego Velazquez

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RosaryScapularImmaculate HeartSeven JoysSeven SorrowsFirst SaturdaysActs of Reparation

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Ubi Primum is an encyclical of Pope Pius IX to the bishops of the Catholic Church asking them for opinion on the definition of a dogma on the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. It is an important mariological document which defined Mary as the Mediatrix of salvation. It was issued on February 2, 1849

In the 19th century, the veneration of the Immaculata increased in several countries especially France and the United States, where all Catholic bishops petitioned Pope Pius IX in 1846 to declare the Immaculate Virgin to be the Patron for the United States of America. [1] Regarding a possible dogma, Pius IX created a commission of theologians and a commission of cardinals for consideration.[2] The encylical Ubi Primum seeks the opinions of the bishops on the same question. This approach was quoted by Pope Pius XII in 1946, when in Deiparae Virginis Mariae, he inquired from the bishops about a possible dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary:

But, while paternally exhorting you to do this, thus following the example of Our Predecessors, and particularly that of Pius IX when about to define the dogma of the Mother of God's Immaculate Conception, we earnestly beg you to inform us about the devotion of your clergy and people (taking into account their faith and piety) toward the Assumption of the most Blessed Virgin Mary.[3]

The positive response to Ubi Primum led to the 1854 bull Ineffabilis Deus, which defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The definition of 1854 was immunity from original sin, assuming Mary’s redemption by Christ.[4] Later, Popes Pius X and Pius XII elaborated on this special privilege and Mary’s perfect redemption by Christ, in the encyclicals Ad diem illum and Fulgens Corona. These two encyclicals are therefore vital for an understanding of Ubi Primum and Ineffabilis Deus.


See also


  1. see History of Roman Catholic Mariology
  2. Josef Schmidlin, Papstegeschichte der neuesten Zeit, München 1934
  3. Deiparae Virginis Mariae 4
  4. Fulgens Corona 8-15
cs:Ubi primumid:Ubi Primum

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