First Things, Alexei Sargeant: hen I was learning about Catholicism, as an Anglican in the process of converting, Mary was a sticking point. Yes, of course Jesus’s mother was “full of grace,” as the angel had said, and therefore worthy of admiration. But why did the Church teach that she was conceived without original sin and received bodily into heaven? These teachings seemed to owe more to popular piety than to the Scriptures, or even the Church Fathers. Mary’s Assumption was defined as an article of faith in 1950 by Pope Pius XII, who made clear that he was speaking infallibly. Coming from a tradition that taught neither Mary’s Assumption nor the infallibility of the pope, I found this fact a tough pill to swallow. What was it about Mary that made Catholics claim she had received so many unique gifts from God, beyond even the high honor of being Christ’s mother? Read more here.