Immaculate Clarification

My piece Virgin Birth that we ran on Christmas inspired Robert B. Tapp, Professor Emeritus of Humanities, Religious Studies, and South Asian Studies at University of Minnesota and  Dean & Faculty Chair Emeritus at The Humanist Institute in NYC to write:

Thanks for your sensitive piece on surrogacy. Having lived for a year in Pune long ago, your mentions of food made me hungry!

May I correct one small item? The Catholic doctrine of <immaculate conception> (made a dogma only in 1854) refers to Mary’s own conception, not her virgin birthing of Jesus. At the moment of HER conception, her mother Anne was miraculously freed of the taint of original sin. Sort of an extra miracling that non-Catholics don’t share.

Thanks again for your style and substance.

And thank you, Robert, for the clarification and the absolutely wonderful creation of the word miracling. We love hearing from readers. Want to add your two cents? Comment below.

Meera Subramanian is an editor of Killing the Buddha and writes about the environment and culture for Nature, InsideClimate News, Virginia Quarterly Review, Orion, and others. Her first book is A River Runs Again: A Natural History of India from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka (PublicAffairs, 2015). Visit her at