In the News: Posted May 28, 2015

By Michael Duricy

ML/IMRI Features

Marian Events

Mary in the Catholic Press

Mary in the Secular Press

Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute Features


The MSA is a Catholic theological association dedicated to studying and making known the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the mystery of Christ and in the Church and in the history of salvation. Through its annual publication, Marian Studies, the Society seeks to promote original research in Marian doctrine and devotion.

The 2015 annual conference of the Mariological Society of America was held at the Catholic Conference Center in Hickory, North Carolina from May 19-22 on the theme: Mary and Holy Families Living Today (see Conference Program) with several people from ML/IMRI in attendance. Click here to see a Slide Show with photos taken at the conference.


Mary in Books, Films, and Music

During a recent trip to France, I visited one of the oldest churches in Paris, Saint Peter's of Montmartre right across from the Sacred Heart Basilica. The parish is home to some Marian images, including a statue called Our Lady of Montmartre, Queen of Peace. She is also known under the title, Our Lady of Beauty, and by virtue of this title, is Patron of the world's artists. Click here to see a very good 3-minute Slide Show of the church created by Dr. Nastia Korbon. The music is very nice and well-chosen to create a contemplative mood.


From the Marian Treasure Chest

The following article was published on pages 6-7 in the May-June 2015 issue of Messenger of Mary Immaculate, a Franciscan periodical based in Limuru, Kenya.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

Do you remember this question from the song in the popular musical show The Sound of Music? Those lyrics also apply to the God-given role of Mary in salvation history. 

Many non-Catholics--and some Catholics--often misunderstand doctrines about the Blessed Virgin Mary and devotion to her. But these doctrines and devotions explain and highlight her unique role in Christ's redemptive mission. 


Recently a Catholic gentleman met a Protestant woman at a social event. The conversation turned to the topic of religious beliefs, and the Protestant asked why Catholics worship Mary. The Catholic explained that we do not worship the Virgin Mary, but that we venerate her as the most exalted of God's creatures.  He went on to show that Mary is totally unique because she gave Jesus, our Divine Savior, his human nature. The Protestant nearly choked on her drink. She didn't think that Jesus took his human flesh from Mary. Her idea was that Jesus somehow came through Mary as if she were a conduit for him to come from heaven into the world. 

While it sounds harsh to consider that lady a heretic, she simply did not understand the doctrine of the Incarnation. She believed a partial truth, and that is precisely what a heresy is--not a total lie but a half-truth. 

One of the marvelous treasures Catholics possess is their understanding of and devotion to Mary, Mother of the Lord. While other Christians also claim and share this treasure, how unfortunate that some believing, God-fearing people do not cherish and value the magnificent gift of Mary in their lives. To know and love the Blessed Virgin Mary and to give her prominence in our faith-life is a special gift of God. Jesus Christ himself has given us the example of how to cherish this gift of his mother and ours. And He invites our cooperation with her to present Him, our Redeemer, to all people.

What a waste that some believers carelessly overlook this great gift of God, or brush it aside. We should be reaching out to her to help put us in closer touch with her Son.

The Testimony of the New Testament

All Christians, not only Catholics, know and revere the Virgin Mary in the New Testament. How can she be overlooked in Scripture? Here we encounter the appearance of an angel to tell her she is to be the mother of Jesus, the Savior; the birth of Jesus in a stable; the fretful mother looking for her child during a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem; her intervention at the wedding feast at Cana; her deep sorrow at the foot of the cross; her calming presence awaiting Pentecost. Theologian Lawrence Cunningham has observed: "The New Testament portrait of Mary is, like everything in the Biblical text, artlessly simple, tantalizingly enigmatic, and religiously inexhaustible."

To appreciate how inexhaustible the New Testament verbal portrait is, simply trace the development of Marian theology and devotion since her earthly life.  From Christianity's origin, both its leaders and its followers have engaged in frequent, passionate, and thoughtful consideration of Mary's role in the mystery of Christ and of the Church. Professor Cunningham reminds us that the pursuit of deeper and more complete understanding of Mary "helps to explode the oft-repeated charge that Mariological beliefs are late accretions to Christianity."

The universal acclaim of Mary throughout history is nothing short of phenomenal. The greatest painters, sculptors, composers, poets, authors, and scholars repeatedly paid tribute to her, and did so rhapsodically. To name but a few, consider the inspiring poetry of Dante, the stirring music of Bach and Schubert, and the soulful art of Fra Angelico, Giotto, Murillo, Raphael, and Michelangelo. They and others have consistently sung Mary's praises in the media of their expertise.

Deviations in the History of the Faithful

Historically we may cite two reactions that adversely affected our appreciation of and devotion to Mary. The Protestant Reformation is the first. In the words of Lawrence Cunningham, "Despite a lingering devotionalism in the writings of Martin Luther, veneration of the Blessed Virgin was swept away with the same vigor and finality as monastic institutions, a celibate clergy, the Mass in Latin, and devotion to other saints. For the Reformation, devotion to Mary derogated from the worship of Christ."

The Catholic Counter-Reformation was the second reaction, and also proved unfortunate by swinging to the opposite extreme. In the effort to combat the Protestant errors, it "protested too much." Some made Marian devotion a litmus test of Catholic orthodoxy. They pushed devotion to Mary to the limit, almost seating her on a throne next to God, or promoting bizarre devotional practices. The consequent reaction was damaging. Some devout Catholics who mistook the extremism as authentic were turned off and turned away from the genuine devotion that is part and parcel of the glory and beauty of Catholicism.  Paradoxically some of the extremists were theologically educated.

Restoring the Proper Balance

Then came the Second Vatican Council to restore the balance and set Marian devotion in proper order. The Council fathers exhorted "theologians and preachers of the divine word to abstain from all gross exaggerations as well as petty narrow-mindedness in considering the singular dignity of the Mother of God." After rejecting "sterile or transitory affection," and "a certain vain credulity," Vatican II situated Mary and Marian devotion firmly in the total context of Catholic faith.  

We love Jesus, and we love His mother too. We appreciate that she is the greatest of God's created beings. And she always points us to her Son. Without Mary, Jesus would not have been born. If we could never have had Jesus without Mary, why would anyone want to have Jesus without Mary?

Recovering our Blessed Mother and maintaining her in correct and full perspective is an ongoing process in our faith formation. How are you doing with this challenge? How do you solve the problem of Maria?

Christian life without Mary is inconceivable!


Marian Events

A Symposium in Honor of Father Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, F.I., the 2015 Recipient of the Cardinal John J. Wright Mariological Award for Outstanding Contributions to Mariology will be held at Notre Dame University from June 8-9, 2015. Dr. Gloria Falcão Dodd, S.T.D., Lecturer and Researcher at The Marian
Library/International Marian Research Institute, will be among the presenters. Her talk is entitled, Fehlner on Marian Coredemption and Mediation. For details click into maryvictrix.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/fehlner_symposium_iv-20-15.pdf.


Mary in the Catholic Press

Philippines: ‘A Martyr for Peace’ Commemorated from Zenit (Philippines) May 18, 2015

... According to military officials, Father Gallardo was tortured and shot in the back of the head as he had his hands tied behind his back by the escaping rebels. Many hostages stated the priest was beaten regularly by rebels. Medical examiners had told the Bishop of Basilan at the time that the nails on both of Father Gallardo's big toes were pulled out.

Recalling the tragic moments of the abduction and murder, survivors of this seizure said Father Gallardo "encouraged them not to lose hope, asking them to always pray with the Holy Rosary."

While this martyrdom is being remembered, the Philippine Congress is considering approving the "Bangsamoro basic law," a law that if passed, will establish a new Muslim autonomous region. (D.C.L.)

Click here to see the complete article from Zenit.


Mary in the Secular Press

The director and editors of The Mary Page under the auspices of the International Marian Research Institute do not necessarily endorse or agree with the events and ideas expressed in this feature. Our sole purpose is to report on items about Mary gleaned from a myriad of papers representing the secular press.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts' surprise 'Madonna' is an art-world rock star (Star Tribune) May 15, 2015

The identity of Minneapolis Institute of Arts' new mystery picture was such a closely guarded secret that even the director's husband was in the dark until Friday.

Raphael's Madonna of the Pinks, a $50 million painting on loan from the National Gallery in London, drew applause and gasps of appreciation from museum staff and board members when it was unveiled.

"It's small but mighty," said director Kaywin Feldman as the crowd surged in to see the 500-year-old painting--a mere 8 inches wide and 11 inches tall.

Installed in a special gallery near the museum's entrance at 2400 3rd Ave. S., the picture will be on display until Aug. 9. Admission to see it is free....

Click here to read the entire article.


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