December 9, 2011. (Romereports.com)
On December 8th, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception. That same day, back in 1854, the Church declared, as a dogma, that the Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin. As a way to celebrate, the pope visited Rome's Spanish Steps, where a famous statue of the Virgin stands tall.
The city's mayor Gianni Alemanno was there, along with Spain's ambassador Maria Jesus Figa. Spanish cardinals Antonio Cañizares and Julian Herranz were also present.
During the ceremony, the pope prayed for those who are unemployed and for those who are suffering because of the world economic crisis. Benedict XVI“Mary helps us see that there is a light in the fog that seems to envelop reality. So, we too, especially on this day, continue to ask for her help, as children of faith.”
The pope also honored persecuted Christians. Afterward, he said the Church itself should only fear its own sins. Benedict XVI“The only malice the Church should be afraid of, is the sin of those who are part of it. While Mary is Immaculate, free from any sin, the Church is holy, but at the same time, marked by our sins.”
Visiting the image of the Virgin Mary is not only a tradition for the pope, but also for the city of Rome, where every year, thousands came together to personally honor the Virgin on her day.