Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Profession of Faith 125 As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” 141 Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert . . . : “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied byMary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.” 142 Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary.” 143 Mary’s divine motherhood 495 Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus,” Mary is ac- claimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord.” 144 In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” ( Theo­ tokos ). 145 Mary’s virginity 496 From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit without human seed.” 146 The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century says: You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin, . . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius Pilate . . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen. 147 141 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A. 142 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A. 143 LG 56; Epiphanius, Haer. 78, 18: PG 42, 728CD-729AB; St. Jerome, Ep. 22, 21: PL 22, 408. 144 Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al. 145 Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251. 146 Council of the Lateran (649): DS 503; cf. DS 10-64. 147 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 1-2: Apostolic Fathers, ed. J. B. Lightfoot (London: Macmillan, 1889) II/2, 289-293; SCh 10, 154-156; cf. Rom 1:3; Jn 1:13. 726 466, 2677