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Mary, Did You Know?
Question from Josie on 12/22/2011:

Is the Christmas song titled "Mary, Did You Know?" appropriate for Catholics? Some of the lyrics suggest that Mary needed to be delivered from sin.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 12/22/2011:

Josie--

The song "Mary, Did You Know?" can be understood in an orthodox manner. Catholics believe that Mary did indeed need to be delivered from sin. She was delivered from ever having any stain of sin on her soul from the very moment of her conception. That is the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. That deliverance was done in anticipation of her Son's sacrificial death on Calvary. If we think of Mary at the moment in history when she was cradling the Child Jesus, which is the moment at which the song describes her, then she had already been immaculately conceived but the sacrificial death that her deliverance anticipated was still in the future at that point in time. It was the sacrificial death that would fully accomplish her deliverance and the deliverance of all, and so it is technically correct from a historical perspective for the lyrics to say "soon deliver you."

That said, the lyrics are ambiguous and their authors probably did not have this theological explanation in mind. For that reason, although there is nothing wrong for Catholics to listen to the song on the radio or on a CD at home, the ambiguity of the song's lyrics makes it imprudent for the song to be presented during a Mass or any other public liturgy where those Catholics who do not understand the theological implications may be left confused on the matter of Mary's Immaculate Conception.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers


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