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Question:

Did Mary experience bodily death?

Answer:

Yes, it is the common teaching in the ordinary Magisterium of the Church and in its liturgical worship that Our Lady underwent bodily death. This is the unanimous teaching of all the Fathers of the Church in the context of their teaching on her Assumption. The fact that the Venerable Pius XII did not define that Our Lady died when he defined her bodily Assumption has been taken by many to mean that she did not die; but in the very bull of definition itself he brings forth the teaching of the Fathers that she died, was resurrected, and then assumed into heaven.

St. Thomas Aquinas held that Our Lady died as did everyone else. Bl. Duns Scotus did not deny that she died, but in his theology his followers found a rationale for holding that she did not. This is a theological opinion that is licit to hold but that is not the opinion expressed in the ordinary teaching of the popes and the Fathers and Doctors. Rather, the doctrine that Our Lady is everywhere seen as sharing in her Son’s lot indicates that she would have chosen to die (she did not have to die, since she was sinless) in order to conform herself to him who chose to die for the salvation of the world. This is by far the better attested and traditional teaching.

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