Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Thin Man and Another Popular Misconception

Recently, I watched one of my favorite movies:  1934's "The Thin Man" starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.  Few people know, and I just recently learned, that the "thin man" is *not* William Powell's Nick Charles.  The "thin man" is the man whose murder Nick solves in the first movie.  It was so popular a movie that they kept the "thin man" in the title of all five sequels.
Why do I bring this up?  It was and is a popular misconception that the "thin man" was Nick Charles.  It reminds me of the myriad of misconceptions about Catholicism.  One of the biggest, even among Catholics, is that the Immaculate Conception refers to Our Lord Jesus' conception.  This is not true.  The immaculate conception refers to St. Mary's conception, always has. 

"We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful." [Ineffabilis Deus (The Immaculate Conception) Pope Pius IX]

St. Ann and the Immaculate Conception

A dogma "...according to a long-standing now understood to be a truth appertaining to faith or morals, revealed by God, transmitted from the Apostles in the Scriptures or by tradition, and proposed by the Church for the acceptance of the faithful. It might be described briefly as a revealed truth defined by the Church..." []  In other words, in order to call yourself a Catholic, you must believe a dogma.  If you don't even know what that dogma is, how can you believe it?  How do you know you believe it?  The Immaculate Conception is an official dogma of the Church.  You must believe it.  If you don't, call yourself a protestant because that is what you are--you are protesting the teaching of the Church.

St. Mary & Our Lord Jesus
 So, next time someone asks you, 'What is the Immaculate Conception?" simply answer, 'It is the belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved of all stain of original sin from the moment of her conception in her mother's womb.'  St. Ann conceived St. Mary in the usual way with her loving husband.  But, St. Mary's Son, God the Son, gave her a special gift; She was to be the new Eve and received the same gift, no original sin on the soul.  The difference between St. Mary and Eve is that St. Mary always obeyed God, and said "Yes!" to Him when He sent the angel to her.  She thus became the spotless vessel into which Our Lord Jesus Christ, Immanuel (God with us), was born.  What a wonderful miracle to remember at this time of year.  The spotless Ark bearing the Word of God. 

So, now you know.  Don't mistake the "Thin Man" for Nick Charles.  And, don't mistake the Immaculate Conception for the Virgin Birth.

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