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February 2, 2013

On this day in 1904 Pope St. Pius X issued an encyclical on the Immaculate Conception. The issuance was in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the dogma by Bl. Pius IX on December 8, 1854. The new encyclical was called Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum.

A century ago, most Catholics were less educated than they are today. Indeed, a good proportion of them were illiterate, and most of the rest, even in a country such as the U.S., could not hope to go beyond high...