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The Valiant WomanThe Virgin Mary in Nineteenth-Century American Culture$
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Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627410

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627410.001.0001

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The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Conflict and Conversation, 1854–1855

(p.17) Chapter One The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Valiant Woman

Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter treats the 1854 declaration of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary as Catholic dogma. The process leading up to and culminating in the declaration received detailed (and often biased) coverage in the United States’ press. The proclamation, Ineffabilis Deus, intensified and publicized an intractable theological disagreement between Protestants and Catholics. Its culmination surprised many American Protestants: with its strong affirmation of Catholic theological distinctiveness, it was a step away from conciliation. The debate that followed the proclamation offers a unique window onto popular understandings of Mary’s role. The chapter examines the broad outlines of Protestant anti-Catholic attacks and on Catholic apologetics for the doctrine, the reception of the doctrine by both communities, and the role that Mary played in signifying religious identity.

Keywords:   American Catholics, American newspapers, American Protestants, anti-Catholicism, Catholic apologetics, Immaculate Conception, Immaculate Conception declaration, Ineffabilis Deus, nineteenth-century, Virgin Mary

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