- How many Saints are there?
Strictly speaking, we don't know how many Saints there are. A "Saint" is defined as someone who is in Heaven, so there is no way for us to know how many people are there. However, looking at http://www.catholic.org/saints/faq.php, it looks like there are about 10,000 named Saints.
- Regarding Immaculate Conception, can you explain why it God didn't just remove Original Sin from himself?
In class, when I (Kaelen) spoke about the Immaculate Conception, I made the argument that the reason that Mary was conceived without sin was to prepare for the conception of Jesus, who needed a "clean vessel" in which to be born into the world. The question is: why was Mary immaculately conceived, couldn't God have just "skipped a step" and conceived Jesus without sin? The answer that I gave in class is that for someone to be forgiven of Original Sin (for it to be "wiped away" or to "disappear"), God needs to do that himself. So, if we say that Mary had Original Sin and bore Jesus, God would have had to remove Jesus's Original Sin, right?
The problem with this is that Jesus is both God and Man, and He would thereby be required to "save himself" from Original Sin, which isn't theologically possible - Jesus came to save, not to be saved. When thinking about how all of this applies to Mary's conception, we can see that her Original Sin must have been forgiven at her conception to make way for Jesus. Think about it this way: Jesus came to save us all, he just saved Mary a little earlier than the rest of us by forgiving her Original Sin at conception.
If you have any other questions regarding the dogma of Immaculate Conception, this is a really great resource: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm. They have detailed explainations with proof from Scripture and other great resources.