Q: Is Mary and the Pope without sin?

A: To be honest, I am not 100% sure about Mary. Some say that she was born without any sin, some say that she was born with only original sin and got it washed away by baptism and so left her totally sinless, and still others say that she was born in the same sinful state like everybody else, but was cleared of all sins at the time she was to be conceived. I personally think that she was born with original sin, but was cleared of it at baptism and any existing sins were cleared up when she was going to be conceived. (At least I think that was how I was taught way back in Sunday school.) Why - because when we read in the Gospel according to Luke - chapter 1, we see the way the Angel has greeted her. He said "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.(Lk 1:28)". In those days, you would use 'Hail' as a greeting when you highly respect someone. As we read on we see that Mary is "full of grace". When you're 'full' of God's grace, you don't have room for sin. Then as we continue, we find that Mary showed doubt - just like Zechariah when the Angel told him that Elizabeth was to have a child (see Lk 1:18). As a result of Zechariah's doubt, he wasn't able to talk until later after John was born. Mary questioned also by saying "...How shall this be done, because I know not man? (Lk 1:34)". But the Angel didn't punish her by making her dumb or anything. Instead he answers Mary by saying,"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Lk 1:35)". This means the Holy Spirit as well as God's holiness has come upon Mary - and because of this, the child that Mary will give birth to will be considered holy and the Son of God. If she had sin in her, the child that she gives birth to would also have sin (because of Adam and Eve) and would not have been 'holy' because holiness and sin do not mix. God didn't have to have Jesus born as a baby through a human; He could have just sent Jesus down the same way that we think Jesus will come back again. {Anyways, you can take that in if you like while I'll do some more reading on that later when I have the time.} Now regarding the Pope, Vatican teaches that the pope along with the Vatican Council is "infallible". Infallible means to be free from error and totally trustworthy. What they're saying is that the Holy Spirit is with the Pope and the Church and so any doctrines produced are free from error. Notice I said 'doctrine'. This means that it has been under theological study, discussion, prayer, and whatever else Vatican II does before making statements become official doctrines. So if there are any rumors about Catholicism that people like to spread around, these can be dismissed because they haven't been officially accepted as doctrines. When we look back in history, we find that there have been corrupt Popes as well as Popes that disagreed with each other on doctrine. But those have more to do with the personal opinions of the Popes. However, the resulting dogmas on truth would be official and considered completely trustworthy.