The Immaculate Conception is commonly and mistakenly taken to mean the conception of Mary’s son Jesus Christ in her own womb, and the Virgin Birth of Jesus. These are covered by the Doctrine of Incarnation, while the Immaculate Conception deals with the conception of Mary herself, not that of her son.
Although the belief that Mary was sinless and conceived immaculate has been widely held since Late Antiquity, the doctrine was not dogmatically defined until 1854, by Pope Pius IX in his papal bull Ineffabilis Deus. The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8; in many Catholic countries, it is a holy day of obligation or patronal feast, and in some a national public holiday.
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