Q: In Romans 3:23, St. Paul writes, “For… all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.” The New Revised Standard Version reads, “have fallen short of the glory of God.” Does this include Mary, the Mother of Jesus?
A: No, it does not. The doctrine of her Immaculate Conception was not officially proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church for another 1,800 years, but St. Paul was not making an absolute statement here. If so, how could we recognize anyone as a saint?
Your question shows why it is necessary to read the Scriptures as the Church reads them—in light of the rest of Scripture. One passage can help us understand another passage. Also, we often bring questions that a Scripture writer was not addressing in a certain passage. The faith community helps us sort out these issues.