Bodily acceptance of Mary into heaven

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The bodily assumption of Mary into heaven is on November 1, 1950 by Pope Pius XII. proclaimed dogma of the Roman Catholic Church . The dogmatization was announced in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus . This pronouncement was the only claim to the infallibility conferred on the papacy in 1870 . The core message of the dogma is that Mary , the mother of Jesus , takes part in the resurrection form of Christ as the "first redeemed" because of her unique connection with the act of redemption of Jesus Christ .

Mateo Cerezo the Elder J .: Assumption of Mary, around 1650


The definition of dogma in Munificentissimus Deus is:

"We proclaim, declare and define it as a dogma revealed by God that the Immaculate, always virgin Mother of God Mary was absorbed body and soul into heavenly glory after the end of her earthly life."

Pope Paul VI summarized the dogma of the bodily acceptance of Mary into heaven in the Credo of the People of God of June 30, 1968:

“Connected in a very intimate and indissoluble way with the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption, the most blessed virgin, the Immaculate Received, was absorbed body and soul into the glory of heaven at the end of her earthly life and - in anticipation of the future lot of all righteous - adjusted to their risen son in the transfiguration. "

The dogma can be seen as a logical consequence of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, in which it is stated that Mary was conceived without original sin : Since Mary , the mother of Jesus , was saved from every stain of original sin even before birth, she had Already during his lifetime on earth he fully corresponded to the divine image of the human being, so that it no longer needs purification at the transition to eternal life . May Mary anticipate what awaits all righteous people at the resurrection on the last day . The completion of earthly life was followed by acceptance into the kingdom of heaven with body and soul.


The feast of Mary's Dormition ( Koimesis or Dormition ) has been known in the Eastern Church since the 6th and in the West since the 7th and 8th centuries . As a doctrinal expression in the Latin Church , those of Pope Alexander III. emphasized in his letter Ex litteris tuis from 1169, in which it says: "Maria [...] migravit sine corruptione"; also the inclusion of corresponding texts in the Breviary reform by Pope Pius V (1568).

Pope Pius XII turned to all bishops on May 1, 1946 with a request for a vote as to whether the physical acceptance of Mary should be proclaimed as a dogma. The inquiry was first published as a letter and later printed in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis as the encyclical Deiparae Virginis Mariae . The result (22 votes against with 1181 bishops) encouraged him to dogmatically proclaim the doctrine of the physical reception of Mary.

Orthodoxy shares the beliefs recorded in dogma, but is "above all from the formal point of view of claiming papal authority and infallibility at a distance" from this doctrinal statement.


Historical evidence

Gerhard Ludwig Müller writes with reference to the church father Epiphanios (around 375) that historically reliable information about the place, time and type of Mary's death is not known.

Biblical justification

"There is no direct biblical testimony" for Mary's bodily acceptance into heaven.

In theology it is controversial to what extent the dogma "has to be regarded as explicitly or implicitly revealed, whether it is formally or merely virtually contained in the Holy Scriptures".

Catholic dogmatics leads u. a. the following references as echoes:

  • “Rise up, Lord, come to the place of your rest, you and your mighty ark!” ( Ps 132 :EU ). The ark of the covenant mentioned here, made of incorruptible wood, as God's dwelling place on earth, is an image of the incorruptible body of Mary.
  • "The temple of God in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was visible in his temple." ( Rev 11:19  EU )
  • "Who is she who rises from the steppe, leaning on her beloved?" ( Hld 8,5  EU )

The sun-clad woman from the Apocalypse of John ( Rev 12,1  EU ) and the fullness of grace of Mary ( Lk 1,28  EU ) are interpreted as references to the bodily acceptance and glorification of Mary.


Positive salary

The acceptance of Mary into heaven means "that after the end of her earthly life she has reached the state in which the other believers will only come after the resurrection on the last day" or into the state in which those living on the last day will come People are transformed.

The core message of the dogma is that Mary, because of her unique connection with Christ's act of redemption, “also takes part in the resurrection figure of Christ as the first redeemed and fully redeemed. So it is the type of the holistic order of man to God [...] [and] the prototypical and exemplary redeemed ”.

Questions left open

  • The dogma leaves open the theologically controversial question of whether Mary died and the reception is an anticipation of the general resurrection, or whether "the reception is to be understood as a preliminary event of the transformation of those still living at the return of Christ."
  • The dogma also leaves open the question of how the identity of the transfigured and the earthly body of Mary is to be seen. Mary should "simply be marked as [...] pre-glorified". In this respect there is “no direct parallel to the question of the unity of the earthly and the transfigured body of Jesus”, which is “manifested through the pneumatic corporeality of Jesus in the Easter apparitions”.
  • It also remains open whether other saints also enjoy the privilege of pre-glorification.


The Roman Catholic Church celebrates this mystery of faith on the solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady (also known as the Assumption of Mary) on August 15th .


Web links

Commons : Assumption of Mary in Heaven  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Müller: Katholische Dogmatik , p. 507.
  2. Denzinger-Hünermann: Enchiridion Symbolorum , No. 3903.
  3. a b Müller: Catholic dogmatics ; P. 506.
  4. Denzinger-Hünermann: Enchiridion Symbolorum , No. 748.
  5. Deiparae Virginis Mariae ., accessed August 19, 2014.
  6. Müller: Catholic Dogmatics ; P. 508.
  7. Müller: Catholic Dogmatics ; P. 505 f. (with reference to Epiphanios ' Adversus haereses 78:11:24).
  8. German Bishops' Conference (ed.): Catholic adult catechism. Volume 1: The Church's Creed. Bonn 1985, p. 180 [1]
  9. ^ Courth: Assumption of Mary into heaven ; Sp. 1216.
  10. a b Anton Ziegenaus : Mary in the history of salvation. Mariology. MM Verlag, Aachen 1998 (Scheffczyk / Ziegenaus: Katholische Dogmatik. Vol. V), p. 309.
  11. a b c d Johann Auer : Jesus Christ - Savior of the World; Mary - Christ's mother in God's plan of salvation. Pustet: Regensburg 1988 (Auer / Ratzinger: Kleine Katholische Dogmatik. Vol. IV / 2), p. 455.