Magisterial Documents: Mary and the Church

Below are direct quotes from Post-Vatican II Magisterial Documents concerning the following themes. These teachings of the Catholic Church may prove useful to include in talks, in homilies or for research.

General
Member of the Church

Figure and Model of the Church (Symbol, Mirror)
Mother of the Faithful (Spiritual Motherhood)
Mediation and Intercession
Assumption (Eschatological Image)
Mary and the World (Ecumenism)
Orthodox
Reformation Churches
Judaism
Islam


GENERAL

Lumen Gentium, 1964

intimately united to the Church [by reason of the gift and role of her divine motherhood...and with her unique graces and functions] 63

devoutly meditating on her [Mary] and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church reverently penetrates more deeply into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her spouse 65


Signum Magnum, 1967

was [accorded a special "role...in the mystery of the Incarnate Word] and the mystery of the Mystical Body," [LG 54] that is, "in the economy of salvation." [LG 55] 5

"Meditating devoutly on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made Man, the Church reverently penetrates more deeply into the supreme mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more closely patterned after its spouse." [LG 65] 15

ours is a "Marian age" 34

The Church benefits from the maternal presence of God's Mother, because she is tied by an enduring and indissoluble bond to the mystery of the Mystical Body. 34


Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973

special place of the Virgin Mary in the history of salvation and in the church 24

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

The primitive Church saw in Mary the fulfillment and personification of the Church, Mother of the messianic people. 20


Marialis Cultus, 1974

[liturgy, new themes] Mary and the Church, which has been inserted into the texts of the Missal in a variety of aspects ... that matches the many and varied relations that exist between the Mother of Christ and the Church. [several examples given, see new themes] 11

And since the liturgy is worship that requires a way of living consistent with it, it asks that devotion to the Blessed Virgin should become a concrete and deeply-felt love for the Church.... 11

Article 28 [understanding the nature of Church as defined by Vatican II]

The faithful will be able to appreciate more easily Mary's mission in the mystery of the Church and her preeminent place in the communion of saints.... Family of God, the People of God, the Kingdom of God and the Mystical Body of Christ. (LG 6-11) 28

Thus love for the Church will become love for Mary, and vice versa, since the one cannot exist without the other, as St. Chromatius of Aquileia observed with keen discernment: "The Church was united... in the Upper Room with Mary the Mother of Jesus and with His brethren. The Church therefore cannot be referred to as such unless it includes Mary the Mother of our Lord, together with His brethren." 28


Gaudete in Domino, 1975

With Christ, she sums up in herself all joys; she lives the perfect joy promised to the Church: Mater plena sanctae laetitiae.


Redemptoris Mater, 1987

[Vat II] by presenting Mary in the mystery of Christ, also finds the path to a deeper understanding of the mystery of the Church. Mary, as the Mother of Christ, is in a particular way united with the Church, "which the Lord established as his own body. (LG 52) 5

The reality of the Incarnation finds a sort of extension in the mystery of the Church - the Body of Christ. And one cannot think of the reality of the Incarnation without referring to Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word. 5

I wish to consider primarily that "pilgrimage of faith" in which "the Blessed Virgin advanced," faithfully preserving her union with Christ. (LG 52) In this way the "twofold bond" which unites the Mother of God with Christ and with the Church takes on historical significance. 5

Nor is it just a question of the Virgin Mother's life-story, of her personal journey of faith and "the better part" which is hers in the mystery of salvation; it is also a question of the history of the whole People of God, of all those who take part in the same "pilgrimage of faith." 5

When the Church "enters more intimately into the supreme mystery of the Incarnation," - she thinks of the Mother of Christ with profound reverence and devotion. (LG 65) Mary belongs indissolubly to the mystery of Christ, and she belongs also to the mystery of the Church from the beginning, from the day of the Church's birth. 27

It is precisely Mary's faith which marks the beginning of the new and eternal Covenant of God with man in Jesus Christ; this heroic faith of hers "precedes" the apostolic witness of the Church, and ever remains in the Church's heart, hidden like a special heritage of God's revelation. 27


The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

For Christ, and therefore also for the Church, God willed and predestined the Virgin from all eternity 9

the Virgin was actively present in the life of the Church
at its beginning (the mystery of the Incarnation),

 in its being set up (the mystery of Cana and of the Cross) and

in its manifestation (the mystery of Pentecost) 17

she is an "active presence" throughout the Church's history,

being "at the centre of the pilgrim Church," (Title of part II of the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater),

performing a multiple function: of cooperation in the birth of the faithful in the life of grace,

of exemplarity in the following of Christ,

of "maternal mediation" (Title of part III of the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater), 17

Everything about Mary - privileges, mission, destiny - is also intrinsically referable to the mystery of the Church. In the measure in which the mystery of the Church is understood the more distinctly does the mystery of Mary become apparent. Contemplating Mary, the Church recognizes its origins, its intimate nature, its mission of grace, its destiny to glory, and the pilgrimage of faith which it must follow. (Cf. RM 2). 20


To All Consecrated Persons, Marian Year, 1988

During the Marian Year all Christians are called to meditate, according to the mind of the church, upon the presence of the Virgin Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and of the Church (LG 52-69). The present letter is meant to be an encouragement to you to meditate upon this presence in your hearts, in the personal history of your soul and your vocation, and at the same time in your Religious Communities, Orders, congregations and Secular Institutes. 36


Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

[Marian Year], drew attention to the Council's teaching on the presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church 26


Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992


Church and Mary: 507, 766, 773, 813, 829, 867, 963, 964, 967, 968, 969, 972, 973, 974, 975, 1138, 1172, 1370, 1419, 1477, 1655, 1717, 2030, 2679, 2827 [BB]


Pastores Gregis, 2003
 

By preaching the word, the Bishop not only proclaims God's promises and opens up paths for the future, but he also encourages the People of God on their earthly pilgrimage; and in the celebration of the sacraments, the pledge of future glory, he gives them a foretaste of their final destiny in communion with the Virgin Mary and the saints, in the unwavering certainty of Christ's definitive victory over sin and death and of his coming in glory. 33


Spe Salvi, 2007


With a hymn composed in the eighth or ninth century, thus for over a thousand years, the Church has greeted Mary, the Mother of God, as “Star of the Sea”: Ave maris stella. 49

Top


MEMBER OF THE CHURCH

Lumen Gentium, 1964

pre-eminent and as a wholly unique member 53

occupies a place in the Church which is highest after Christ and also closest to us [cf. Paul VI, Allocution to the Council, Dec 4, 1963: AAS 56 (1964):37] 54

[prayer] in the fellowship of all the saints 69


General Catechetical Directory, 1971

the mystery of the Church, which is Christ's Mystical Body, in which the Virgin Mary holds the preeminent place [hierarchy of truths] 43

"occupies in the Holy Church the place which is highest after Christ and yet very close to us" [LG, 54; Paul VI, Address to the Council (Dec 4, 1965): AAS 56 (1964):37] 68


Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973

She is in the church in a place highest after Christ. 24


Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Mary stands out as uniquely virgin and mother within the Church, itself rightly called virgin and mother. (LG 63) 38

As a believing disciple of Jesus, Mary can be called daughter of the Church, and our sister as well. For, like us, she has been redeemed by Christ, although in an eminent and privileged way. (Paul VI, Feb 2, 1965) 114


Marialis Cultus, 1974

[liturgical expressions] in the primitive Church she is seen praying with the apostles; (Common in Paschal season) 11

In our own day she is actively present, and the Church desires to live the mystery of Christ with her: "Grant that your Church which with Mary shared Christ's passion may be worthy to share also in his resurrection." (Sept. 15, Collect) 11

She is also seen represented as a voice of praise in unison with which the Church wishes to give glory to God:". . . with her [Mary] may we always praise you." (May 31, Collect) 11

the place she occupies in the Church: "the highest place and the closest to us after Christ." (LG 54) 28

Byzantine rite...architectural structure...images...show clearly Mary's place in the Church ... 28

her mission and the special position she holds within the People of God, of which she is the preeminent member 56


Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

occupies a place in the Church second only to that of Christ 106


Dominum et Vivificantem, 1986

The Church perseveres in prayer with Mary. This union of the praying Church with the Mother of Christ has been part of the mystery of the Church from the beginning: we see her present in this mystery as she is present in the mystery of her Son. It is the Council that says to us "The Blessed Virgin ..., overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, ...brought forth...the Son..., [sic] he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren (cf. Rom 8:29), namely the faithful. In their birth and development she cooperates with a maternal love;" she is through "his singular graces and offices... intimately united with the Church... (she) is a model of the Church." [sic] (LG 63) 66

"The Church, moreover, contemplating Mary's mysterious sanctity, imitating her charity, ...becomes herself a mother" and "herself is a virgin, who keeps... the fidelity she has pledged to her Spouse. Imitating the Mother of the Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she preserves with virginal purity an integral faith, a firm hope, and a sincere charity." (LG 64) 66


Redemptoris Mater, 1987

At the first dawn of the Church, at the beginning of the long journey through faith which began at Pentecost in Jerusalem, Mary was with all those who were the seed of the "new Israel." She was present among them as an exceptional witness to the mystery of Christ. And the Church was assiduous in prayer together with her, and at the same time "contemplated her in the light of the Word made man." It was always to be so. 27


The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

"hailed as a pre-eminent and altogether singular member of the Church" (LG 53) because of the gifts of grace which adorn her and because of the place she occupies in the mystical Body 9


Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the firstborn among many brethren (cf. Rom 8:29), namely among the faithful. (LG 63) 22


Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

967 By her complete adherence to the Father's will, to his Son's redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church's model of faith and charity. Thus she is a "preeminent and...wholly unique member of the Church"; indeed, she is the "exemplary realization" (typus) (LG 53; 63) of the Church.


Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

In this process of being conformed to Christ in the Rosary, we entrust ourselves in a special way to the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin. She who is both the Mother of Christ and a member of the Church, indeed her "pre-eminent and altogether singular member," (LG 53) is at the same time the "Mother of the Church." As such, she continually brings to birth children for the mystical Body of her Son. She does so through her intercession, imploring upon them the inexhaustible outpouring of the Spirit. Mary is the perfect icon of the motherhood of the Church.

Top


FIGURE AND MODEL OF THE CHURCH (SYMBOL, MIRROR)

Lumen Gentium, 1964

its type and outstanding model in faith and charity 53

The Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ. [St. Ambrose, Expos. Lc. II. 7] 63

lofty type 65

the Virgin...a model of that motherly love...for the regeneration of mankind 65

model of virtues 65

in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother [cf. Pseudo Peter Damien, Serm. 63: PL 144...] 63

imitation of her virtues 67

the Church indeed contemplating her hidden sanctity and imitating her charity 64

Mary, in a way, unites in her person and re-echoes the most important doctrines of the faith. 65

image and beginning of the Church...to come 68

the Church...in her apostolic work...rightly looks to her... 65

the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory [of Mary] 52 [Canon of the Roman Mass]

a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God 68


Signum Magnum, 1967

Mary is the Mother of the Church - not only because she is the mother of Jesus Christ...but also because she "shines as the model of virtues for the whole community of the elect." [LG 65, see also 63] 6

[Mary] benefits redeemed individuals...by her example 14

The gentle attractiveness of Mary's outstanding virtues exerts a wondrous hold on souls, drawing them to imitate their divine model, Jesus Christ, whom she mirrored so closely. 15

fully perfected figure of the Church 21

She stands out among men as the shining and most appropriate example of the perfect obedience we should freely and lovingly give to the dictates of our eternal Father. 24

Christ's Church proposes Mary as a model to be imitated. Following her example, we shall be more worthy to receive the Word of God into our own hearts. 26

Following Mary's example, the faithful will also be able to fulfill their God-given role in this life.... 27

Jesus gave us Mary as our Mother, and proposed her as a model to be imitated. 31

May the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary shine forth to all Christians as the model for perfect love of God and neighbor. 36


General Catechetical Directory, 1971

"a model of the Church" (LG, 63) 68

the type of the virginity and motherhood of the total Church (cf. LG 63-65) 68

the sign of a secure hope and solace for the pilgrim People of God (cf. LG 69) 68

Mary "in a certain way unites and mirrors within herself the central truths of the faith," (LG 65) 68


Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973

Included in the article: MOTHER AND MODEL OF THE CHURCH 24


Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

We try to imitate her virtues of faith, purity, humility and conformity to the will of God... 8

For St. Luke, Mary is the perfect example of awaiting the Messiah with a pure and humble spirit. 17

The significance of Mary is also richly ecclesial. At first, Mary is the figure of the synagogue ... But when she says to the waiters, "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5), she becomes the figure of the new People of God.... Mary is present as figure of the Church, Bride of Christ. 36

Mary on Calvary symbolizes the "woman" who is mother Church 37

The Church saw herself symbolized in the Virgin Mary. The story of Mary, as the Church has come to see her, is at the same time the record of the Church's own self-discovery. 38 [See also 106 ]

The Second Vatican Council quoted St. Ambrose (d. 397): "The Mother of God is a model of the Church in the matter of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ." (LG 63) "As the Church's model and excellent exemplar in faith and charity," (LG 53) 38

As the Virgin Mary conceived and brought forth Jesus, so the Church, virgin in purity of faith, brings forth His brethren at the baptismal font. 38

Mary's virginal conception of Jesus, and her life-long virginal vocation, were taken as the model of the Church's virginal faith. 39

Mary's initial holiness, a totally unmerited gift of God, is a sign of the love of Christ for His Bride the Church, which, though composed of sinners, is still "holy Church." 56

a figure of the spotless bride of Christ, which is the Church 56

She shines forth "as a sign of sure hope and solace for the pilgrim People of God." (LG 68) 59

In her Assumption, Mary manifests the fullness of redemption, and appears as the "spotless image" of the Church. 59

Word of God-faith-birth of Christ: this is the pattern for the maternity of Mary and the maternity of the Church. 79

In imitation of the Mother of her Lord, by the power of His Spirit, the Church maintains an integral faith, a firm hope and a sincere charity. (LG 64) 80 [See also 81]

model of prayer 106

[why she may be called Mother of the Church] the Mother of Jesus "shines as the model of virtues for the whole community of the elect." (LG 65) As Pope Paul put it, "Jesus gave us Mary as our Mother, and proposed her as a model to be imitated." (SM 13 May 1967, 31) 117 [Also 146]

The Mother of Jesus exemplified in her own life the beatitudes preached by her Son, and so the Church, in and through the many activities of its various members and vocations, rightly regards Mary, Mother of the Church, as the perfect model of the imitation of Christ. (Paul VI Nov 21,1964) 117

[as woman of faith and faithfulness, Mary is model for priests] 122

Mary is Mother and model of religious men and women [model of prayer and apostolate, of poverty, chastity and obedience, of loving faith, and model of the various professions and callings of women religious] 123-128

model of all real feminine freedom 142

Mary is model also for women who live a single life in the world. 145

Mary and Family Life 129-142

The Mother of Jesus is the great exemplar to the whole Church; but she is model also to each individual in the Church, at every stage of human life and in every particular Christian vocation. No one ever followed Jesus so well as Mary His Mother. No one can help us more, by her example and by her intercession. 131

Parents and children will find renewed strength in the grace of Christ and in the example and assistance of the Blessed Virgin, model of perfect purity and of self-surrender to God and neighbor. 134

Mary is Queen of the home. 137

Family love builds on the fourth Commandment, and in Jesus, Mary and Joseph, parents and children have a powerful example of obedience to the will of God. 138


Marialis Cultus, 1974

The Church's reflection today on the mystery of Christ and on her own nature has led her to find at the root of the former and as a culmination of the latter the same figure of a woman: the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ and the Mother of the Church. (In)

placed within His family (the Church), as in every home, the figure of a Woman, who in a hidden manner and in a spirit of service watches over that family [the Church] "and carefully looks after it until the glorious day of the Lord." (Votive Mass of BVM, Preface) (In)

... Advent, by thinking about the inexpressible love with which the Virgin Mother awaited her Son, (Advent Preface) are invited to take her as a model and to prepare themselves to meet the Savior who is to come. 4

Presentation of the Lord (February 2), [BV] the model for the new People of God, which is ever being tested in its faith and hope by suffering and persecution (cf. Lk. 2:21-35) 7

... aspect of the relationship between Mary and the liturgy ... Mary as a model of the spiritual attitude with which the Church celebrates and lives the divine mysteries. That the Blessed Virgin is an exemplar in this field derives from the fact that she is recognized as a most excellent exemplar of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ, (LG 63) that is, of that interior disposition with which the Church, the beloved spouse, closely associated with her Lord, invokes Christ and through Him worships the eternal Father. (SC 7) 16

[the following are aspects of Mary's exemplarity]

the attentive Virgin, who receives the word of God with faith 17

the Virgin in prayer 18

the Virgin-Mother- she who "believing and obeying ... brought forth on earth the Father's Son. This she did, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit." (LG 63) 19

the Virgin presenting offerings [in the Temple-continuity of history of salvation, on Calvary] 20

[Mary's] was a miraculous motherhood, set up by God as the type and exemplar of the fruitfulness of the Virgin-Church, which "becomes herself a mother.... For by her preaching and by baptism she brings forth to a new and immortal life children who are conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of God." (LG 63) The ancient Fathers rightly taught that the Church prolongs in the sacrament of Baptism the virginal motherhood of Mary. [quotes from Leo the Great, Illatio - Mozarabic liturgy) 19

But Mary is above all the example of that worship that consists in making one's life an offering to God. This is an ancient and ever new doctrine that each individual can hear again by heeding the Church's teaching, but also by heeding the very voice of the Virgin as she, anticipating in herself the wonderful petition of the Lord's Prayer - "Your will be done" (Mt. 6:10) - replied to God's messenger: "I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done to me." (Lk. 1:38) 21

a faultless model, that which she herself wholly desires and hopes to be (SC 103) 22

... different generations of Christians, looking on her as the New Woman and perfect Christian, found in her as a virgin, wife and mother the outstanding type of womanhood and the pre-eminent exemplar of life lived in accordance with the Gospels and summing up the most characteristic situations in the life of a woman. 36

[but the Church] does not bind herself to any particular expression of an individual cultural epoch or to the particular, anthropological ideas underlying such expressions. The Church understands that certain outward religious expressions, while perfectly valid in themselves, may be less suitable to men and women of different ages and cultures. 36
a shining example 56


Gaudete in Domino, 1975

She is the perfect model of the Church both on earth and in glory.


Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

Included in title of article:

MOTHER AND MODEL OF THE CHURCH [title] 106

Singularly blessed, Mary speaks significantly to our lives and needs in the sinlessness of her total love 106

its "model and excellent exemplar in faith and charity" [ftn 47: cf. Church LG 53] 106

Catechesis calls particular attention to the role of self-control, self-discipline, prayer, the reception of the sacraments, and devotion to the Blessed Mother, model of chastity, as elements in developing a Christian approach to sexuality. 191


Redemptor Hominis, 1979

The Church, which looks to her with altogether special love and hope, wishes to make this mystery [the mystery of the closeness of Mary as mother to the Redemption] her own in an ever deeper manner. For in this the Church also recognizes the way for her daily life, which is each person.

Through her maternal presence the Church acquires certainty that she is truly living the life of her Master and Lord and that she is living the mystery of the Redemption in all its life-giving profundity and fullness. Likewise the Church, which has struck root in many varied fields of the life of the whole of present-day humanity, also acquires the certainty and, one could say, the experience of being close to man, to each person, of being each person's Church, the Church of the People of God. Final paragraph


Dives in Misericordia, 1980

May the Church which, following the example of Mary, also seeks to be the spiritual mother of mankind, express in this prayer her maternal solicitude and at the same time her confident love, that love from which is born the most burning need for prayer. 15


Redemptoris Mater, 1987

this "fullness" designates the hidden beginning of the Church's journey. ... in the Incarnation she encounters Christ and Mary, indissolubly joined: he who is the Church's Lord and Head and she who, uttering the first fiat of the New Covenant, prefigures the Church's condition as spouse and mother. 1

[Church follows Mary's pilgrimage of faith] 2

[Church] venerates [Mother of Christ] as her model of faith 2

Mary "has gone before," becoming "a model of the Church in the matter of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ." (LG 63) This "going before" as a figure or model is in reference to the intimate mystery of the Church, as she actuates and accomplishes her own saving mission by uniting in herself - as Mary did - the qualities of mother and virgin. 5 [See also 42 where "model" in the quote above is substituted with "figure"]

[understanding Church as virgin and mother, see 5, 42; Mary's role as virgin and mother in 39, (LG 63),42]

"Mary figured profoundly in the history of salvation and in a certain way unites and mirrors within herself the central truths of the faith." (LG 65) Among all believers she is like a "mirror" in which are reflected in the most profound and limpid way "the mighty works of God" (Acts 2:11). 25

The Church, which from the beginning has modeled her earthly joumey on that of the Mother of God, constantly repeats after her the words of the Magnificat. 37
[Articles discussing Mary as figure, model 42-47, summarized briefly here]

figure of the Church [See above "model"] (LG 63] 42

she is present in the midst of the pilgrim Church from generation to generation through faith and as the model of the hope which does not disappoint (cf. Rom. 5:5). 42

[mother] from Mary the Church also learns her own motherhood: she recognizes the maternal dimension of her vocation, which is essentially bound to her sacramental nature, in "contemplating Mary's mysterious sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father's will." (LG 64)... If the Church is the sign and instrument of intimate union with God, she is so by reason of her motherhood, because, receiving life from the Spirit, she "generates" sons and daughters of the human race to a new life in Christ. For, just as Mary is at the service of the mystery of the Incarnation, so the Church is always at the service of the mystery of adoption to sonship through grace. 43

[virgin] Likewise, following the example of Mary, the Church remains the virgin faithful to her spouse: "The Church herself is a virgin, who keeps whole and pure the fidelity she has pledged to her Spouse." (LG 64) ... Precisely such virginity, after the example of the Virgin of Nazareth, is the source of a special spiritual fruitfulness: it is the source of motherhood in the Holy Spirit. 43
[one who preserves the faith] Following the example of Mary, who kept and pondered in her heart everything relating to her divine Son (cf. Lk. 2:19, 51 ), the Church is committed to preserving the word of God and investigating its riches with discernment and prudence, in order to bear faithful witness to it before all mankind in every age. (DV 8) 43

Given Mary's relationship to the Church as an exemplar, the Church is close to her and seeks to become like her: "Imitating the Mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she preserves with virginal purity an integral faith, a firm hope, and a sincere charity." (LG 64) Mary is thus present in the mystery of the Church as a model. 43
[link to spiritual motherhood now drawn]

in her new motherhood in the Spirit,
Mary embraces each and every one in the Church,
and embraces each and every one through the Church.
In this sense Mary, Mother of the Church, is also the Church's model. Indeed, as Paul VI hopes and asks, the Church must draw "from the Virgin Mother of God the most authentic form of perfect imitation of Christ." (Nov. 21, 1964) 47


Ephesus, 1550th Anniversary, 1981

"a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ." [LG 63] 11


Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 1988

The Council sees the Church's motherhood, which is modeled on Mary's, in the fact that the Church "brings forth to a new and immortal life children who are conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God." Here we find echoed St. Paul's words about "the children with whom I am again in travail" (cf. Gal 4:19), in the same way as a mother gives birth. When, in the Letter to the Ephesians, we read about Christ as the Spouse who "nourishes and cherishes" the Church as his body (cf. 5:29), we cannot fail to link this spousal solicitude on the part of Christ above all with the gift of Eucharistic food, similar to the many maternal concerns associated with "nourishing and cherishing" a child. 4

It is worth recalling these scriptural references, so that the truth about the Church's motherhood, founded on the example of the Mother of God, may become more and more a part of our priestly consciousness. If each of us lives the equivalent of this spiritual motherhood in a manly way, namely, as a "spiritual fatherhood," then Mary, as a "figure" of the Church, has a part to play in this experience of ours. The passages quoted show how profoundly this role is inscribed at the very center of our priestly and pastoral service. 4

By reason of this model - yes, of the prototype which the Church finds in Mary - it is necessary that our priestly choice of celibacy for the whole of our lives should also be placed within her heart. We must have recourse to this Virgin Mother when we meet difficulties along our chosen path. 5

In the Book of Revelation we see her, on the one hand, as the exalted woman in the midst of visible creation, and on the other, as the one who continues to take part in the spiritual battle for the victory of good over evil. This is the combat waged by the Church in union with the Mother of God, her "model," "against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness," as we read in the Letter to the Ephesians (6:12). 7

...spiritual combat which, according to the Books of Genesis and Revelation, is linked with the "woman." In this battle she is entirely united with the Redeemer. And therefore our priestly ministry too unites us with her: with her who is the Mother of the Redeemer and the "model" of the Church. 7

Mary is the Virgin Mother, and when the Church turns to Mary, figure of the Church, she recognizes herself in Mary because the Church too is "called mother and virgin." The Church is virgin, because "she guards whole and pure the faith given to the Spouse." Christ, according to the teaching contained in the Letter to the Ephesians (cf. 5:32), is the Spouse of the Church. The nuptial meaning of redemption impels each of us to guard our fidelity to this vocation, by means of which we are made sharers of the saving mission of Christ, priest, prophet and king. The analogy between the Church and the Virgin Mother has a special eloquence for us, who link our priestly vocation to celibacy, that is, to "making ourselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven." 5

Meeting today, on Holy Thursday, at the birthplace of our priesthood, we desire to read its fullest meaning through the prism of the Council teaching about the Church and her mission. The figure of the Mother of God belongs to this teaching in its entirety, as do the reflections of the present meditation. 6

As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a 'type' of the Church in the matter of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ. For in the mystery of the Church, herself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar of both virginity and motherhood." (LG 63) 4


The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

figure of the Church, being virgin, spouse and mother, for the Church is virgin because its fidelity is whole and pure, spouse by its union with Christ, mother of the innumerable children of God (cf. LG 64) 9

virtuous model of the Church, which is inspired by her in the exercise of faith, hope and charity (cf. LG 53,63,65), and in apostolic work (cf. LG 65) 9

the Virgin was actively present in the life of the Church
... of exemplarity in the following of Christ 17

For the disciples of the Lord the Virgin is a great symbol: a person who achieves the most intimate aspirations of her intellect, of her will and of her heart, being open through Christ in the Spirit to the transcendence of God in filial dedication, taking root in history through hardworking service of others. 21

"Among all believers she is like a 'mirror' in which are reflected in the most profound and limpid way 'the mighty works of God'," (Acts 2:11) (RM 25), which theology has the task of illustrating. 22


To All Consecrated Persons, Marian Year, 1988

In this period, we are seeking to follow the teaching of the Second Vatican Council which, in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, designated the Mother of God as the one who "precedes" the People of God in the pilgrimage of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ. (LG 58, 63) Because of this fact, the whole Church finds a perfect "model" in Mary. 1

[what is affirmed] about the Church as the universal community of the People of God has to be mediated upon ... in the light of the vocation of each individual 1

many of you ... are trying during the Marian Year to renew your awareness of the link between the Mother of God and your own specific vocation in the Church. 2

Since the Mother of God is constantly present in the life of the Church by reason of the part that she has in the mystery of Christ, your vocation and service are like a reflection of her presence. So we have to ask ourselves what relationship exists between this "model" and the vocation of the consecrate persons who ... strive to live their gift of self to Christ. 2

Through an increased resolve on your part to live your consecration to the full, taking Mary the Mother of Jesus and of the Church as the sublime model of perfect consecration to God, your evangelical witness will grow in effectiveness and lead to a greater fruitfulness of pastoral work for vocations. 34


Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

the "woman" is the representative and the archetype of the whole human race .... 4

Mary is the "figure" of the Church [LG 63] "For in the mystery of the Church, herself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin came first as an eminent and singular exemplar of both virginity and motherhood .... (LG 63) 22

"The Church herself is a virgin, who keeps whole and pure the fidelity she has pledged to her Spouse." (LG 64) This is most perfectly fulfilled in Mary. The Church, therefore, "imitating the Mother of the Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, ... preserves with virginal purity an integral faith, a firm hope, and a sincere charity." (LG 64) 22
|
The Council has confirmed that, unless one looks to the Mother of God, it is impossible to understand the mystery of the Church, her reality, her essential vitality. Indirectly we find here a reference to the biblical exemplar of the "woman." 22

in the hierarchy of holiness it is precisely the "woman," Mary of Nazareth, who is the "figure" of the Church. 27

Meditating on the biblical mystery of the "woman," the Church prays that in this mystery all women may discover themselves and their "supreme vocation."
May Mary, who "is a model of the Church in the matter of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ," (LG 63) obtain for all of us this same "grace," in the Year which we have dedicated to her as we approach the third millennium of the coming of Christ. 31


Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989

the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model. 1


Veritatis Splendor, 1993

In particular, the life of holiness which is resplendent in so many members of the people of God, humble and often unseen, constitutes the simplest and most attractive way to perceive at once the beauty of truth, the liberating force of God's love, and the value of unconditional fidelity to all the demands of the Lord's law, even in the most difficult situations. For this reason, the church, as a wise teacher of morality, has always invited believers to seek and to find in the saints, and above all in the virgin mother of God "full of grace" and "all-holy," the model, the strength and the joy needed to live a life in accordance with God's commandments and the Beatitudes of the Gospel. 106

Mary is the radiant sign and inviting model of the moral life. As St. Ambrose put it, "The life of this one person can serve as a model for everyone," (De Virginibus) and while speaking specifically to virgins but within a context open to all, he affirmed: "The first stimulus to learning is the nobility of the teacher. Who can be more noble than the mother of God? Who can be more glorious than the one chosen by glory itself?" (Ibid.) 120

Mary experiences, in perfect docility to the Spirit, the richness and the universality of God's love, which opens her heart and enables it to embrace the entire human race. Thus Mary becomes mother of each and every one of us, the mother who obtains for us divine mercy. 120

By accepting and pondering in her heart events which she did not always understand (cf. Lk 2:19), she became the model of all those who hear the word of God and keep it (cf. Lk 11:28), and merited the title of seat of wisdom. This wisdom is Jesus Christ himself, the eternal Word of God, who perfectly reveals and accomplishes the will of the Father (cf. Heb 10:5-10). Mary invites everyone to accept this wisdom. 120


Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

Mary ... is a radiant model for those who entrust themselves with all theirs hearts to the promises of God. 48
Mary Most Holy, the highly favored daughter of the Father, will appear before the eyes of believers as the perfect model of love towards both God and neighbor. 54


Evangelium Vitae, 1995

Mary's experience as the incomparable model of how life should be welcomed and cared for. 102
[Theotokos] Thus Mary becomes the model of the Church, called to be the "new Eve," the mother of believers, the mother of the "living." (cf. Gen 3:20) 103


Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

507 At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: "the Church indeed...by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse." (LG 64; cf. 63)

773 In the Church this communion of men with God, in the "love [that] never ends," is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a sacramental means, tied to this passing world. (1 Cor 13:8; cf LG 48) [The Church's] "structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. And holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom." (John Paul II, MD 27) Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle." (Eph 5:27) This is why the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine." (Cf. John Paul II, MD 27)

829 "But while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle, the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. And so they turn their eyes to Mary": (LG 65; cf. Ehp 5:26-27) in her, the Church is already the "all-holy."

867 The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ, her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life. Since she still includes sinners, she is "the sinless one made up of sinners." Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy.

967 By her complete adherence to the Father's will, to his Son's redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church's model of faith and charity. Thus she is a "preeminent and...wholly unique member of the Church"; indeed, she is the "exemplary realization" (typus) (LG 53; 63) of the Church.

972 After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In her we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her own "pilgrimage of faith," and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey. There, "in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity," "in the communion of all the saints,"( LG 69) the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother.

In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God. (LG 68; cf. 2 Pet 3:10)
[Note: Image/Icon of Mary: prologue between pp. 12-13]
476, 972, 1161, 1172, 1192, 2502, 2674 [BB]

1717 The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of his Passion and Resurrection; they shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ's disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.

2030 It is in the Church, in communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation. From the Church he receives the Word of God containing the teachings of "the law of Christ." (Gal 6:2) From the Church he receives the grace of the sacraments that sustains him on the "way." From the Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary; he discerns it in the authentic witness of those who live it; he discovers it in the spiritual tradition and long history of the saints who have gone before him and whom the liturgy celebrates in the rhythms of the sanctoral cycle.


Orientale Lumen, 1995 Ut Unum Sint, 1995

Her figure is not only the mother who waits for us, but the most pure, who - the fulfillment of so many Old Testament prefigurations - is an icon of the church, the symbol and anticipation of humanity transfigured by grace, the model and the unfailing hope for all those who direct their steps toward the heavenly Jerusalem. OL 6


Letter to Women, Beijing Conference, 1995

The church sees in Mary the highest expression of the "feminine genius," and she finds in her a source of constant inspiration. 10

These role distinctions should not be viewed in accordance with the criteria of functionality typical in human societies. Rather they must be understood according to the particular criteria of the sacramental economy, i.e., the economy of "signs" which God freely chooses in order to become present in the midst of humanity. Furthermore, precisely in line with this economy of signs, even if apart from the sacramental sphere, there is great significance to that "womanhood" which was lived in such a sublime way by Mary. In fact, there is present in the "womanhood" of a woman who believes...a powerfully evocative symbolism, a highly significant "iconic character," which finds its full realization in Mary and which also aptly expresses the very essence of the church as a community consecrated with the integrity of a "virgin" heart to become the "bride" of Christ and "mother" of believers. When we consider the "iconic" complementarity of male and female roles, two of the church's essential dimensions are seen in a clearer light: the "Marian" principle and the apostolic Petrine principle. 11


Vita Consecrata, 1996

The practice of the evangelical counsels is also a particularly profound and fruitful way of sharing in Christ's mission, in imitation of the example of Mary of Nazareth. 18

Mary in fact is the sublime example of perfect consecration, since she belongs completely to God and is totally devoted to him. Chosen by the Lord, who wished to accomplish in her the mystery of the incarnation, she reminds consecrated persons of the primacy of God's initiative. At the same time, having given her assent to the divine Word made flesh in her, Mary is the model of the acceptance of grace by human creatures. 28

Consecrated life looks to her as the sublime model of consecration to the Father, union with the Son and openness to the Spirit, in the knowledge that acceptance of the "virginal and humble life" (LG 46) of Christ also means imitation of Mary's way of life. 28

Following in the footsteps of Mary, the new Eve, consecrated persons express their spiritual fruitfulness by becoming receptive to the word, in order to contribute to the growth of a new humanity by their unconditional dedication and their living witness. Thus the church fully reveals her motherhood both in the communication of divine grace entrusted to Peter and in the responsible acceptance of God's gift, exemplified by Mary. 34

Mary, image of the church 112


Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

"Just as two friends, frequently in each other's company, tend to develop similar habits, so too, by holding familiar converse with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary and by living the same life in Holy Communion, we can become, to the extent of our lowliness, similar to them and can learn from these supreme models a life of humility, poverty, hiddenness, patience and perfection." (Bartolo Longo) 15

Mary is the perfect icon of the motherhood of the Church. 15


Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003

If we wish to rediscover in all its richness the profound relationship between the Church and the Eucharist, we cannot neglect Mary, Mother and model of the Church 53

But in addition to her sharing in the Eucharistic banquet, an indirect picture of Mary's relationship with the Eucharist can be had, beginning with her interior disposition. Mary is a "woman of the Eucharist" in her whole life. The Church, which looks to Mary as a model, is also called to imitate her in her relationship with this most holy mystery. 53

Pastores Gregis, 2003

By preaching the word, the Bishop not only proclaims God's promises and opens up paths for the future, but he also encourages the People of God on their earthly pilgrimage; and in the celebration of the sacraments, the pledge of future glory, he gives them a foretaste of their final destiny in communion with the Virgin Mary and the saints, in the unwavering certainty of Christ's definitive victory over sin and death and of his coming in glory. 33


Lumen Fidei, 2013

In her own life Mary completed the pilgrimage of faith, following in the footsteps of her Son. 58

Top


MOTHER OF THE FAITHFUL (SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD)

Lumen Gentium, 1964

mother of the members of Christ 53

joined in bringing about the birth of believers [Augustine: De S. Virginitate, 6, PL 40, 399] 53

The Catholic Church taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and devotion as a most beloved mother 53

mother of men, and most of all those who believe 54

Mary's function as mother of men 60

supplications to the Mother of God and of men 68

mother to his disciple..."Woman, behold your son" (Jn 19:26-27) 58

mother to us in the order of grace 61

motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly [Mary's role of mediation] 62

By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth 62

She cooperates with a mother's love [in the generation and formation of the faithful]. 63

our mother [filial love for] 67


Mense Maio, 1965

Mother of the Church 7


Christi Matri Rosarii, 1968

During the Second Vatican Council we gave our confirmation to a point of traditional doctrine when we gave her the title of Mother of the Church, a title acclaimed by the council Fathers and the Catholic world. 13

"clearly the mother of his members," as St. Augustine teaches (De Sanct. Virg., 6: PL 41, 637) 14

St. Anselm...: "Can you ever have a greater dignity than to be the mother of those whose father and brother Christ deigns to be?" (Or. 47; PL 158, 945) 14

Leo XIII: "Truly the Mother of the Church" (epist. enc. Adiutricem Populi Christiani, Sept. 5, 1895, Acta Leon. 15, 1896, p. 302). 14

Hence, in our distress at this terrifying upheaval we do not hope in her in vain. 14

Mother of God and of the Church 19

Look upon all your sons with motherly love 21


Signum Magnum, 1967

the Blessed Virgin Mary who, by the grace of Christ the Redeemer, is the mother of all men 1

We then proclaimed the revered Mother of God to be the spiritual Mother of the Church - mother, that is, of all its faithful and of all its sacred pastors [ftn 3: See AAS 57 (1965):1-67 {TPS X, 359 - 402}] - cause for much rejoicing 2

We wish...to remind all members of the Church of the close and enduring connection between Mary's spiritual motherhood ...[LG 60-65] and the duties of all redeemed men toward her as Mother of the Church. 4

"Mother of the Church" [ftn 13: Paul VI, Address to the Council Fathers at the close of the third session, Nov 21, 1964: AAS 56 (1964):1016 {TPS X, 138}] 5

He [Christ] designated her the mother not only of John the Apostle but also - it seems legitimate to say this - of the human race, which he somehow represented. [LG 58; Leo XIII] 10

Now in heaven she carries on her motherly role, helping to nourish and foster the divine life in the souls of redeemed men. ...God in his wisdom has made it an integral part of the mystery of human salvation. Hence, all Christians must hold to it in faith. 10

For although the Virgin Mary enjoys the vision of the Blessed Trinity, she does not forget her children who now are engaged in the "pilgrimage of faith." 11

[after Ascension] acting as spiritual mother to the beloved disciple and the newborn Church 19

The divine Redeemer bequeathed His own Mother to him as a spiritual inheritance, along with the rich store of grace and virtue that she had accumulated. 32

Mary's spiritual motherhood transcends the boundaries of time and space. It is part of the Church's history for all times, because she never ceases to exercise her maternal office or to help us. 33

[Immaculate Heart] May it serve as the sign of unity and the spur to brotherhood among all Christians, in the one Church of Christ, which "taught by the Holy Spirit...shows filial devotion to her as a most loving mother." [LG 53] 36


Creed, Paul VI, 1968

Mother of the Church[20: LG 53, 56, 61, 63; Paul VI, Alloc in conclusione II Sessionis Concilii Vat. II, AAS, 56 (1964):1016; Exhort. Apost. Signum Magnum, AAS, 59 (1967):465+467] 15

continues, in Heaven her maternal role with regard to Christ's members, cooperating with the birth and growth of divine life in the souls of the redeemed.[21: cf. LG, 62; Paul VI, Exhort. Apost. Signum Magnum, AAS, 59 (1967):468] 15


General Catechetical Directory, 1971

"mother to us in the order of grace" (LG, 61) 68

The Church...venerates in a most special way Christ's Mother, who is also her mother. 68


Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973

and also is very close to us as our spiritual Mother 24

Mother of the Church, our spiritual Mother 24


Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

The full sense of Mary's role is summed up in the title Pope Paul gave her, "Mother of the Church." (Nov 21. 64) 5 [See also 70]

In their [the faithful] birth and development she cooperates with a maternal love. (LG 63) 5
Spiritual Mother 70-80

The Mother of Jesus "our Blessed Mother."... "Mother" belongs to the language of the transmission of life. The reference here is to our life in Christ. 70

From earliest Christian times the Church was regarded as "Mother Church." Gradually, Mary's relationship to the sons and daughters of the Church came to be regarded also as that of "spiritual mother." 70

Physically mother of Christ the Head, Mary is spiritually mother of the members of Christ. 70

She is mother of all men, for Christ died for all. 70

Mary is not spiritual mother of men solely because she was physical Mother of the Savior. Nonetheless, the full understanding of Mary's motherhood of Jesus contains also the secret of her spiritual motherhood of the brethren of Christ. 71

First came Mary's faith, then her motherhood. Faith is the key also to the spiritual motherhood of Mary. By her faith she became the perfect example of what the Gospels mean by "spiritual motherhood." In the preaching of the Savior, His "mother" is whoever hears God's word and keeps it. All who truly follow Christ become "mothers" of Christ, for by their faith they bring Him to birth in others. 71

It is our Catholic conviction that in her present union with the risen Christ, our Blessed Mother is still solicitous for our welfare, still desirous that we become more like Jesus, her firstborn. The Mother of Jesus wishes all ... to reach the maturity of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13; Col 1:28). 78

For both Mary and the Church, their motherhood is virginal, that is, entirely dependent on God, not on man. 79

More on Spiritual Motherhood 72-80

[includes Lk 11:28, Math 12:46-50, Mk 3:31-35, Lk 8:19-21, St. Augustine - the Father's will, keeping word of God, sower, seed and great harvest ]

Our Lady's relationship to Christ the eternal High Priest overflows into her spiritual motherhood of all priests in their call to holiness and ministry. ... 120


More on Spiritual Motherhood under title:

Chapter 5, Mary Mother of the Church 113-146 [emphasis on pastoral]

title, "Mother of the Church," ... Paul VI... Nov 21, 1964 ... a title "that expresses with wonderful brevity the exalted place in the Church which the Church recognizes as proper to the Mother of God." (John Macquarrie, Principles of Christian Theology, 1960) 113 [See also 116]

What is the special significance of the title "Mother of the Church"? It is based on Mary's being the Mother of God. [her call and free response, her association in Son's saving work, 114 [See also 117]

On Calvary, Jesus gave John into Mary's care and thus designated her Mother of the human race which the beloved disciple represented. 115

In calling Mary "Mother of the Church," we are reminded that she is also the Mother of unity, sharing her Son's desire and prayer that his body be truly one. 116

Mary, Mother of the Church, is universal mother. 123

Mother of the Holy Family at Nazareth, Mary is mother and queen of every Christian family. 131

because... Mother of all the living, ... guardian of the child in the womb, as well as the child that enters this earth alive. 135


Marialis Cultus, 1974

In the mystery of Mary's motherhood they confess that she is the Mother of the Head and of the members - the holy Mother of God and therefore the provident Mother of the Church (cf. Roman Missal, 1 January, Prayer after Communion) 11

the spiritual motherhood of Mary towards all members of the Mystical Body 22

[understanding the nature of the Church] will also bring the faithful to a deeper realization of the brotherhood which unites all of them as sons and daughters of the Virgin Mary, "who with a mother's love has cooperated in their rebirth and spiritual formation," (LG 63) 28

the Church and Mary collaborate to give birth to the Mystical Body of Christ since "both of them are the Mother of Christ, but neither brings forth the whole [body] independently of the other." (Isaac de Stella) Similarly the faithful will appreciate more clearly that the ac tion of the Church in the world can be likened to an extension of Mary's concern. [active love at Nazareth, Elizabeth's, Cana, Golgotha - all salvific episodes having vast ecclesial importance] 28
[regarding ecumenism]

Leo XIII, who wrote that the cause of Christian unity "properly pertains to the role of Mary's spiritual motherhood. For Mary did not and cannot engender those who belong to Christ, except in one faith and one love: for 'Is Christ divided?' (I Cor. 1:13) We must all live together the life of Christ, so that in one and the same body 'we may bear fruit for God' (Rom. 7:4)." (UR 20) 34

the loving Mother 56


Gaudete in Domino, 1975

in Christ, the Mother of all


Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

Mary is close to us as our spiritual mother. 106

The Church recognizes her as loving mother [ftn 46: cf. Church LG 52-59] 106

special love and veneration due her as mother of Christ, mother of the Church, and our spiritual mother 106


Redemptor Hominis, 1979

We owe a debt of special gratitude to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, who expressed this truth [that the Church is a mother and needs a mother] in the Constitution Lumen Gentium with the rich Mariological doctrine contained in it. Since Paul VI, inspired by that teaching, proclaimed the Mother of Christ "Mother of the Church," and that title has become known far and wide, may it be permitted ... to turn to Mary as Mother of the Church at the close of these reflections which it was opportune to make at the beginning of his papal service.

Mary is Mother of the Church because, on account of the Eternal Father's ineffable choice and due to the Spirit of Love's special action, she gave human life to the Son of God, "for whom and by whom all things exist" and from whom the whole of the People of God receives the grace and dignity of election.

Her Son explicitly extended his Mother's maternity in a way that could easily be understood by every soul and every heart by designating, when he was raised on the Cross, his beloved disciple as her son.

The Holy Spirit inspired her to remain in the Upper Room, after our Lord's Ascension, recollected in prayer and expectation, together with the Apostles, until the day of Pentecost, when the Church was to be born in visible form, coming forth from darkness.

Later, all the generations of disciples, of those who confess and love Christ, like the Apostle John, spiritually took this mother to their own homes, and she was thus included in the history of salvation and in the Church's mission from the very beginning, that is from the moment of the Annunciation.

Accordingly, we who form today's generation of disciples of Christ all wish to unite ourselves with her in a special way. We do so with all our attachment to our ancient tradition and also with full respect and love for the members of all the Christian communities.

The special characteristic of the motherly love that the Mother of God inserts in the mystery of the Redemption and the life of the Church finds expression in its exceptional closeness to man and all that happens to him. It is in this that the mystery of the Mother consists. Final paragraph


Catechesi Tradendae, 1979

"the mother and model of catechists" 73


Redemptoris Mater, 1987

[Church] venerates [Mother of Christ] as her beloved Mother 2

In that same faith she discovered and accepted the other dimension of motherhood [spiritual] revealed by Jesus during his messianic mission. 20

the Cana event outlines what is actually manifested as a new kind of motherhood according to the spirit and not just according to the flesh, that is to say Mary's solicitude for human beings, her coming to them in the wide variety of their wants and needs. 21

a symbolic value: this coming to the aid of human needs means, at the same time, bringing those needs within the radius of Christ's messianic mission and salvific power. Thus there is a mediation: Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings. She puts herself "in the middle," that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother. 21

And "this maternity of Mary in the order of grace ... will last without interruption until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect." (LG 62) 22 [See also 38, 40, 44 ]

(Jn. 19:25-27)... the "testament of Christ's Cross" says more. ... if Mary's motherhood of the human race had already been outlined, now it is clearly stated and established. 23 [See also material cooperation 39, 44]

In accordance with the eternal plan of Providence, Mary's divine motherhood is to be poured out upon the Church, as indicated by statements of Tradition, according to which Mary's "motherhood" of the Church is the reflection and extension of her motherhood of the Son of God. (Leo the Great) 24

Jesus Christ prepared her ever more completely to become for all people their "mother in the order of grace." [(cf. Lk. 11:28; 8:20-21; Mk. 3:32-35; Mt. 12:47-50), Gospel of John (cf. 2:1-12; 19:25-27)] 39

[generates new life, much more than model and figure] For, "with maternal love she cooperates in the birth and development" of the sons and daughters of Mother Church. The Church's motherhood is accomplished not only according to the model and figure of the Mother of God but also with her "cooperation." 44 - cooperated ... with a maternal love (LG 63)

"Woman, behold your son" .... (Jn 19:26-27) They are words which determine Mary's place in the life of Christ's disciples and they express - as I have already said - the new motherhood of the Mother of the Redeemer: a spiritual motherhood, born from the heart of the Paschal Mystery of the Redeemer of the world. 44

Her motherhood is particularly noted and experienced by the Christian people at the Sacred Banquet - the liturgical celebration of the mystery of the Redemption - at which Christ, his true body born of the Virgin Mary, becomes present. 44

Of the essence of motherhood is the fact that it concerns the person. Motherhood always establishes a unique and unrepeatable relationship between two people: between mother and child and between child and another ... in a unique and unrepeatable way.... [suggests explanation for singular in Behold your son] 45

Mary's motherhood, which becomes man's inheritance, is a gift: a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual. The Redeemer entrusts Mary to John because he entrusts John to Mary. At the foot of the Cross there begins that special entrusting of humanity to the Mother of Christ, which in the history of the Church has been practiced and expressed in different ways. 45

Paul VI ... Mary is the Mother of the Church, "that is, Mother of the entire Christian people, both faithful and pastors." (Nov 21, 1964) ...
"Credo of the People of God," he restated this truth in an even more forceful way in these words: "We believe that the Most Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, the Mother of the Church, carries on in heaven her maternal role with regard to the members of Christ, cooperating in the birth and development of divine life in the souls of the redeemed." (June 30,1968) 47

in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church. In this sense Mary, Mother of the Church, is also the Church's model. Indeed, as Paul VI hopes and asks, the Church must draw "from the Virgin Mother of God the most authentic form of perfect imitation of Christ." (Nov 21,1964) 47

Thus, throughout her life, the Church maintains with the Mother of God a link which embraces, in the saving mystery, the past, the present and the future, and venerates her as the spiritual mother of humanity and the advocate of grace. 47


Ephesus, 1550th Anniversary, 1981

She was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a Mother to his disciple, with these words: 'Woman, behold your son!'" [LG 58] 8


Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 1988

If John at the foot of the cross somehow represents every man and woman for whom the motherhood of the Mother of God is spiritually extended, how much more does this concern each of us, who are sacramentally called to the priestly ministry of the Eucharist in the Church! 3

It is worth recalling these scriptural references, so that the truth about the Church's motherhood, founded on the example of the Mother of God, may become more and more a part of our priestly consciousness. If each of us lives the equivalent of this spiritual motherhood in a manly way, namely, as a "spiritual fatherhood," then Mary, as a "figure" of the Church, has a part to play in this experience of ours. 4

Thus we are speaking of a characteristic of our priestly personality that expresses precisely apostolic maturity and spiritual "fruitfulness." If the whole Church "learns her own motherhood from Mary,"(RM 43) do we not need to do so as well? 4


The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

mother of the Church, since she is Mother of him who, from the first moment of the Incarnation in her virginal womb, unites to himself as Head his Mystical Body which is the Church (Paul VI, "Allocutio tertia SS. Concili periode exacta" ( Nov 21, 1964): AAS 56 (1964), 1014-1018) 9


To All Consecrated Persons, Marian Year, 1988

Mary brings to the Upper Room at Pentecost the "new motherhood" which became her "part" at the foot of the Cross. This motherhood is to remain in her, and at the same time it is to be transferred from her as a "model" to the whole Church, which will be revealed to the world on the day of the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. 21


Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

In their birth and development she cooperates with a maternal love. (LG 63) 22

"Moreover, contemplating Mary's mysterious sanctity, imitating her charity, and faithfully fulfilling the Father's will, the Church herself becomes a mother by accepting God's word in faith...." (LG 63) This is motherhood "according to the Spirit" with regard to the sons and daughters of the human race. And this motherhood - as already mentioned - becomes the woman's "role" also in virginity. 22


Veritatis Splendor, 1993

Mary is mother of mercy because her son, Jesus Christ, was sent by the Father as the revelation of God's mercy. [The article continues by describing Christ's revelation of the Father's mercy.] (cf. Jn 3:16-18) 118

Mary experiences, in perfect docility to the Spirit, the richness and the universality of God's love, which opens her heart and enables it to embrace the entire human race. Thus Mary becomes mother of each and every one of us, the mother who obtains for us divine mercy. 120

She understands sinful man and loves him with a mother's love. Precisely for this reason she is on the side of truth and shares the church's burden in recalling always and to everyone the demands of morality. Nor does she permit sinful man to be deceived by those who claim to love him by justifying his sin, for she knows that the sacrifice of Christ her son would thus be emptied of its power. No absolution offered by beguiling doctrines, even in the areas of philosophy and theology, can make man truly happy: Only the cross and the glory of the risen Christ can grant peace to his conscience an salvation to his life. 120


Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

Mary ... constantly points to her divine son and she is proposed to all believers as the model of faith which is put into practice. "Devotedly meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church with reverence enters more intimately into the supreme mystery of the Incarnation and becomes ever increasingly like her Spouse." (LG 65) 43

Her motherhood, which began in Nazareth and was lived most intensely in Jerusalem a the foot of the Cross, will be felt during this year as a loving and urgent invitation addressed to all the children of God, so that they will return to the house of the Father when they hear her maternal voice: "Do whatever Christ tells you." (cf. Jn 2:5) 54


Evangelium Vitae, 1995

Mary, "like the Church of which she is the type, is a mother of all who are reborn to life. She is in fact the mother of the Life by which everyone lives, and when she brought it forth from herself she in some way brought to rebirth all those who were to live by that Life". [Blessed Guerric of Igny, In "Assumptione B. Mariae," Sermo 1, 2: PL 185, 188.] 102

As the Church contemplates Mary's motherhood, she discovers the meaning of her own motherhood and the way in which she is called to express it. 102

At the same time, the Church's experience of motherhood leads to a most profound understanding of Mary's experience as the incomparable model of how life should be welcomed and cared for. 102

Spiritual Maternity of Mary: 501, 502 [BB]

501 Jesus is Mary's only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: "The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formulation she cooperates with a mother's love." (LG 63)

963 Since the Virgin Mary's role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. "The Virgin Mary...is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer....She is 'clearly the mother of the members of Christ'...since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head." (LG 53; cf. Augustine) "Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church." (Paul VI, Nov 21, 1964)

968 Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. "In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior's work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace." (LG 61)


Letter to Women, Beijing Conference, 1995

The maternal "reign" of Mary consists in this. She who was, in all her being, a gift for her son has also become a gift for the sons and daughters of the whole human race, awakening profound trust in those who seek her guidance along the difficult paths of life on the way to their definitive and transcendent destiny. 10

May Mary, queen of love, watch over women and their mission in service of humanity, of peace, of the spread of God's kingdom! 12


Vita Consecrata, 1996

In the Blessed Virgin Mary consecrated persons also find a mother who is altogether unique. Indeed, if the new motherhood conferred on Mary at Calvary is a gift for all Christians, it has specific value for those who have completely consecrated their lives to Christ. 28

"Behold your mother!" (Jn 19:27): Jesus' words to the disciple "whom he loved" (Jn 19:26) are particularly significant for the lives of consecrated persons. They, like John, are called to take the Blessed Virgin Mary to themselves (cf. Jn 19:27), loving her and imitating her in the radical manner which befits their vocation, and experiencing in return her special motherly love. 28

The Blessed Virgin shares with them the love which enables them to offer their lives every day for Christ and to cooperate with him in the salvation of the world. Hence, a filial relationship to Mary is the royal road to fidelity to one's vocation and a most effective help for advancing in that vocation and living it fully (cf. Proposition 55) 28

our Mother 112


Novo Millennio Ineunte, 2001

...I entrusted to her maternal care the lives of the men and women of the new millennium. 11

Now I point to Mary once again as the radiant dawn and sure guide for our steps. Once more, echoing the words of Jesus himself and giving voice to the filial affection of the whole Church, I say to her: "Woman, behold your children." (cf. Jn 19:26) 58


Ecclesia in Oceania, 2001

I invite you to join me in turning to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church, who is so revered throughout Oceania. 53

In churches, chapels and homes, the image of Mary reminds people of her loving presence and her maternal protection. 53

With gratitude for the grace of this Special Assembly, I commend all the peoples of Oceania to the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin, trusting absolutely that hers is an ear that always listens, hers a heart that always welcomes, and hers a prayer that never fails. 53

Mother of the Church, your sons and daughters thank you for your trusting word that echoes through the ages, rising from an empty soul made full of grace, prepared by God to welcome the Word to the world that the world itself might be reborn. 53


Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003

If we wish to rediscover in all its richness the profound relationship between the Church and the Eucharist, we cannot neglect Mary, Mother and model of the Church. 53

With the same maternal concern which she showed at the wedding feast of Cana, Mary seems to say to us: "Do not waver; trust in the words of my Son. If he was able to change water into wine, he can also turn bread and wine into his body and blood, and through this mystery bestow on believers the living memorial of his passover, thus becoming the 'bread of life'." 54

Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist. This is one reason why, since ancient times, the commemoration of Mary has always been part of the Eucharistic celebrations of the Churches of East and West. 57


Pastores Gregis, 2003

Only by the light and consolation born of the Gospel can a Bishop succeed in keeping his own hope alive (cf. Rom 15:4) and in nourishing the hope of those entrusted to his pastoral care. He must therefore model himself on the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Hope, who believed in the fulfillment of the Lord's words (cf. Lk 1:45). 3


Deus Caritas Est, 2005

Mary has truly become the Mother of all believers. Men and women of every time and place have recourse to her motherly kindness and her virginal purity and grace, in all their needs and aspirations, their joys and sorrows, their moments of loneliness and their common endeavours. They constantly experience the gift of her goodness and the unfailing love which she pours out from the depths of her heart. 42

To her we entrust the Church and her mission in the service of love:

Holy Mary, Mother of God, 
you have given the world its true light, 
Jesus, your Son – the Son of God. 
You abandoned yourself completely 
to God's call 
and thus became a wellspring 
of the goodness which flows forth from him. 
Show us Jesus. Lead us to him. 
Teach us to know and love him, 
so that we too can become 
capable of true love 
and be fountains of living water 
in the midst of a thirsting world. 42


Spe Salvi, 2007


At the foot of the Cross, on the strength of Jesus's own word, you became the mother of believers. In this faith, which even in the darkness of Holy Saturday bore the certitude of hope, you made your way towards Easter morning. 50

Thus you remain in the midst of the disciples as their Mother, as the Mother of hope. Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom! Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way! 50


Lumen Fidei, 2013

Mary would accompany Jesus to the cross (cf. Jn 19:25), whence her motherhood would extend to each of his disciples (cf. Jn 19:26-27). 59

Let us turn in prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of our faith.
Mother, help our faith! 

Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call. 

Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise. 
Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith. 

Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature. 

Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One. 

Remind us that those who believe are never alone. 

Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path. And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord! 60

Top


MEDIATION AND INTERCESSION

Lumen Gentium, 1964

imploring the gift of the Spirit ["with his brethren" Acts 1:14] 59

The Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper (auxiliartrix), Benefactress (adjutrix), and Mediatrix. 62

Cana...she brought about by her intercession 58

the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men originates...in the disposition of God 60

Mary's function as mother in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. 60

motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly [Mary's role of mediation] 62

by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation 62

The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary, which it constantly experiences and recommends to the heartfelt attention of the faithful so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more closely adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer [Christ]. 62

From earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs [Sub tuum praesidium] 66

urgent supplications to the Mother of God...who...may now...intercede before her Son 69


Mense Maio, 1965

Every encounter with her can only result in an encounter with Christ himself. 5

we continually turn to Mary...to seek...Christ she holds in her arms 6

The gifts of God's mercy come down to us from her throne. 5

[because it is May] our petitions find their way more easily to the compassionate heart of our Blessed Lady 6

to obtain God's light and blessings...we place our confidence in her...Mother of the Church 7

From the beginning of the Council she has been unstinting in her loving help and will certainly not fail to continue her assistance to the final stage of the work. 7

in a special way calling on the intercession and protection of the VM, who is the Queen of Peace 10

may she...bring help to the needs of the Church and the world, 11

may she...heed the appeals for peace rising to her from every part of the world 11

may she...enlighten those who rule the destinies of men 11

may she prevail on God...to still...tempests in...conflicting hearts 11

May she 'grant us peace in our time'. 11

may she...grant...love which prevents egoism...[to safeguard rights] 11


Mysterium Fidei, 1965

[Conclusion: pro forma] May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary from whom Christ our Lord took the flesh which under the species of bread and wine "is contained, offered and consumed" (CIC, 1917, Can. 801),... intercede before the Father of mercies so that from this same faith in, and devotion toward, the Eucharist may result and flourish a perfect unity of communion among all Christians. 75


Christi Matri Rosarii, 1968

As the Church in uncertain and troubled times used to turn for refuge to His Mother Mary, most ready intercessor, it is right for us to direct our attention, yours, venerable brothers, and that of all the to her who, as St. Irenaeus says, "was made the cause of salvation for the whole human race." (Adv. Haer. 3, 22; PG 7, 959) 12

We can see nothing more appropriate or efficacious than for the whole Christian family to raise its voice amid its many stresses and difficulties to pray the Mother of God, whom we also address as Queen of Peace, to be generous, as a good mother, with her gifts. 13

We are anxious for you, venerable brothers, to give a lead and urge by exhortation a more persevering prayer to the gracious Virgin Mary by the devout recitation of the Rosary during the month of October as we have already indicated. This prayer is well suited to God's people, acceptable to the Mother of God and [she is] powerful in obtaining gifts from heaven. 15

that through her intercession there may dawn for all men the light of true peace 18

the Virgin Mother of God, the protector of Christians and our intercessor for peace 20

Through your intercession may the demands of God's justice, which have been caused by sin, be turned into mercy.... 21

Encouraged by the firm hope that the most high Mother of God will in her kindness grant our humble prayer... 22


Signum Magnum, 1967

How does the Mother of God help to foster the life of grace in the Church's members? First and foremost, by her unceasing supplications, which are prompted by her deep love. 11

United with Jesus Christ, who "lives always to make intercession for them," [Heb 7:25] she sees them in God and understands their needs; so she offers herself as their "Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix and Mediatrix." [LG 62] 11

From its earliest days the Church has always been thoroughly convinced that Mary intercedes unceasingly before her Son for the sake of God's People [Sub tuum]. 12

Mary's maternal intercession takes nothing at all away from...Christ. 13

[St. Ambrose] "May we deserve to ascend to Jesus, your Son, through you, Blessed Lady, as he deigned to come down to us through us." 21

"To Jesus through Mary." ... For the help of Mary...does not demean our dignity... 24

She never ceases to exercise her maternal office or to help us. 33


Creed, Paul VI, 1968

[pro forma introduction] trusting in the aid of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of...for the profit and edification of the Church 7


Recurrens Mensis October, 1969

We exhort the clergy and faithful to beg earnestly from God, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, peace and reconciliation among all men and between all peoples. 3

It is through Christ, in whom all grace is given us, (See Rom 8:32) that we dispose ourselves to welcome the gift of peace. And in that undertaking, how can we do otherwise than to depend lovingly upon the incomparable intercession of Mary, his Mother, of whom the Gospel tells us that she "found favor with God"? (See Lk 1:30) 5

At Cana, she did not hesitate to intervene, to the joy of the villagers invited to a wedding feast (Jn 2:15) How, then, would she not intervene in favor of peace, that precious possession, if we only pray to her with a sincere heart? 7

The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council reminds us most opportunely that Mary continues to intercede with her Son in favor of her children on earth. (LG 62) 8

When she quite simply told Him, "They have no wine," Christ responded most generously. How, then, would He not show the same generosity to her when she says, "They have no place?" 8

May the frequent meditation upon the mysteries of our salvation make you peacemakers, in the image of Christ, after the example of Mary. 15


Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

The intercession of Mary extends not only to individuals but to the whole community of believers. 5

She has a place in the ongoing work of redemption.... 5

Her motherly intercession, the Council made clear, in no way diminishes the unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. 5

We believe in the power of Mary's intercession to bring us, as individuals and as a community, under the influence of Christ's redeeming mercy. 9

[Cana] her willingness to make compassionate intercession. "She was moved by pity, and her intercession brought about the beginning of miracles by Jesus the Messiah." (LG 58) 36

[Cana] On behalf of the Church she greets the messianic Bridegroom. At her request the new wine is supplied. 36

More on Mediatrix 65-70:

Although it used the word, mediatrix, only once, and altogether avoided the words "co-redemptrix" and "dispensatrix," the Council both retained and deepened Catholic understanding of our Lady's mediatorial role. 65

restricted use...ecumenical...pastoral [see these topics] 66

As mediatrix, Mary takes away nothing from Christ's all-sufficient mediatorship. 66

Pope Paul put it this way: "Since Mary is rightly to be regarded as the way by which we are led to Christ, the person who encounters Mary cannot help but encounter Christ likewise." (Mense Maio) 67

"Mary is not a bridge over the gap that separates us from a remote Christ....her mediation continues to create the spiritual climate for our immediate encounter with Christ." (Jelly) 67

Mary's mediatorial role, correctly understood, is in perfect accord with the centrality of Christ. 68

What is the positive value of Mary's role as mediatrix, and how does she exercise it? ... [by her] faith 69 [Additional, see 70]
More on intercession 80-90

[Chapter 4: Mary's Intercession. Her Place in the Communion of Saints]

We also believe that she remains inseparably joined to Him, associated with the intercession the glorified Jesus makes for us forever at the throne of His Father (Heb 7:25). 84 [See also 116: she shares in the everlasting intercession of our great High Priest]

In Eucharistic Prayer III, ... "on their constant intercession we rely for help." Intercession means that the blessed who are one with the risen Christ are still interested in us; they can and do pray for us.... 84

The emphasis on the heavenly intercession of the Mother of God strengthened the sense of community between the pilgrim Church on earth and the Church triumphant in heaven. [speaking in historical perspective of Middle Ages Church/Mary] 106

No one can help us more, by her example and by her intercession. 130

May her motherly intercession make us worthy of the promises of Christ. 146


Marialis Cultus, 1974

shines forth as Queen and intercedes as Mother. (August 22, collect) 6

[liturgy, doctrinal theme] merciful intercession 11

prayerful presence of Mary ... having been assumed into heaven, she has not abandoned her mission of intercession and salvation. (LG 62) 18

the intercession of her advocate and helper; (LG 62) 22

Above all [the Fathers] had recourse to the Virgin's intercession in order to obtain from the Spirit the capacity for engendering Christ in their own soul 26

[discussed in ecumenical context, see below] For Catholics, devotion to the Mother of Christ and Mother of Christians is also a natural and frequent opportunity for seeking her intercession with her Son in order to obtain the union of all the baptized within a single People of God. (LG 69) 32 [See also 33, Cana intercession as example]

her unceasing and efficacious intercession which, draws her close to those who ask her help, including those who do not realize that they are her children 56

The Virgin's maternal intercession, her exemplary holiness and the divine grace which is in her become for the human race a reason for divine hope. 57


Gaudete in Domino, 1975

And it is with good reason that her children on earth, turning to her who is the mother of hope and of grace, invoke her as the cause of their joy: Causa nostrae laetitiae.


Catechesi Tradendae, 1979

May the Virgin of Pentecost obtain this [renewal of catechetical dynamism of the Church through the Spirit of the Father and the Son 72] for us through her intercession. 73

May the presence of the Holy Spirit, through the prayers of Mary, grant the Church unprecedented enthusiasm in the catechetical work that is essential for her. 73


Dives in Misericordia, 1980

In her and through her, this love continues to be revealed in the history of the Church and of humanity. This revelation is especially fruitful because in the Mother of God it is based upon the unique fact of her maternal heart, on her particular sensitivity, on her particular fitness to reach all those who most easily accept the merciful love of a mother. This is one of the great life-giving mysteries of Christianity, a mystery intimately connected with the mystery of the Incarnation. 9

Let us have recourse to God through Christ, mindful of the words of Mary's Magnificat, which proclaim mercy "from generation to generation." Let us implore God's mercy for the present generation. 15


Ephesus, 1550th Anniversary, 1981

The Second Vatican Council summarizes in felicitous words Mary's unbreakable relationship with Christ and with the Church: "Since it had pleased God not to manifest solemnly the mystery of the salvation of the human race before he would pour forth the Spirit promised by Christ, we see the Apostles before the day of Pentecost 'with one accord devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren' (cf. Acts 1:14), and we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation." [LG 59] 8

With these words the Council text links the two moments in which Mary's motherhood is most closely united with the work of the Holy Spirit: firstly, the moment of the Incarnation, and secondly, that of the birth of the Church in the Upper Room in Jerusalem.8


Redemptoris Mater, 1987

She puts herself "in the middle," that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother. 21

She knows that as such she can point out to her Son the needs of mankind
in fact, she "has the right" to do so.
Her mediation is thus in the nature of intercession: Mary "intercedes" for mankind....
As a mother she also wishes the messianic power of her Son to be manifested, that salvific power of his which is meant to help man in his misfortunes, to free him from the evil which in various forms and degrees weighs heavily upon his life.
Another essential element of Mary's maternal task is found in her words to the servants: "Do whatever he tells you."
The Mother of Christ presents herself as the spokeswoman of her Son's will, pointing out those things which must be done so that the salvific power of the Messiah may be manifested. 21

At Cana, thanks to the intercession of Mary and the obedience of the servants, Jesus begins "his hour." At Cana Mary appears as believing in Jesus. Her faith evokes his first "sign" and helps to kindle the faith of the disciples. 21

[Vatican II] It is important to note how the Council illustrates Mary's maternal role as it relates to the mediation of Christ. Thus we read: "Mary's maternal function towards mankind in no way obscures or diminishes the unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its efficacy," because "there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (I Tim. 2:5) This maternal role of Mary flows, according to God's good pleasure, "from the superabundance of the merits of Christ; it is founded on his mediation, absolutely depends on it, and draws all its efficacy from it." (LG 60) 22 [This topic is discussed in detail in Part III, 38f.]

From the text of John it is evident that it is a mediation which is maternal. 22 [See also 39, 40]

Part II: Maternal Mediation, Articles 38-50

[Major thoughts:]
all Marian mediation from merits of Christ (LG 60)

The saving influences [LG 60] of Mary are constantly sustained by the Holy Spirit.
Her mediation is intimately linked with her motherhood distinguished from mediation of] other creatures who in various and always subordinate ways share in the one mediation of Christ, although her own mediation is also a shared mediation. 38, 40

[Christ's mediation] "... gives rise among creatures to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this unique source." (LG 62) [The same holds true for Mary.] 38

subordinate [LG 62] 38, 40

at the same time special and extraordinary 38

by submitting to the power of the Most High, as handmaid]... It can be said that this consent to motherhood is above all a result of her total self-giving to God in virginity. ... Mary's motherhood, completely pervaded by her spousal attitude as the "handmaid of the Lord," constitutes the first and fundamental dimension of that mediation which the Church confesses and proclaims in her regard (LG 62) and continually "commends to the hearts of the faithful," since the Church has great trust in her. 39

[her cooperation, collaboration] underwent a singular transformation, becoming ever more imbued with "burning charity" towards all those to whom Christ's mission was directed. Through this "burning charity," which sought to achieve, in union with Christ, the restoration of "supernatural life to souls," (LG 61) Mary entered, in a way all her own, into the one mediation "between God and men" which is the mediation of the man Christ Jesus. 39

She was also the "handmaid of the Lord," left by her Son as Mother in the midst of the infant Church: "Behold your mother." Thus there began to develop a special bond between this Mother and the Church. For the infant Church was the fruit of the Cross and Resurrection of her Son. Mary, who from the beginning had given herself without reserve to the person and work of her Son, could not but pour out upon the Church, from the very beginning, her maternal self-giving. 40

Mary's motherhood continues unceasingly in the Church as the mediation which intercedes, and the Church expresses her faith in this truth by invoking Mary "under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix and Mediatrix." (LG 62) 40

By the mystery of the Assumption into heaven there were definitively accomplished in Mary all the effects of the one mediation of Christ the Redeemer of the world and Risen Lord: "In Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ." (I Cor. 15:22-23) 41

singularly united with him in his first coming, so through her continued collaboration with him she will also be united with him in expectation of the second ... specifically maternal role of mediatrix of mercy at his final coming, when all those who belong to Christ "shall be made alive," when "the last enemy to be destroyed is death." (I Cor. 15:26) (ftn 110, Bernard) 41

Thus, throughout her life, the Church maintains with the Mother of God a link which embraces, in the saving mystery, the past, the present and the future, and venerates her as the spiritual mother of humanity and the advocate of grace. 47


The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

through her manifold acts of intercession, continuing to obtain the gifts of eternal salvation for the Church. By her maternal charity she cares for the brethren of her Son on their pilgrim way. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church with the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix and Mediatrix. (cf. LG 62) 9

post-conciliar debate to a more suitable illustration of dogmas brought about in: on grace and freedom (doctrine of the cooperation of Mary on the work of salvation) ... 12

the Virgin was actively present in the life of the Church ... performing a multiple function: of cooperation in the birth of the faithful in the life of grace ... of "maternal mediation", (Title of part III of the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater) 17


Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

Veneration of her, when properly understood, can in no way take away from "the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator." (LG 62) 43

I entrust this responsibility of the whole Church to the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. She, the Mother of Fairest Love, will be for Christians on the way to the Great Jubilee of the Third Millennium the Star which safely guides their steps to the Lord. May the unassuming Young Woman of Nazareth, who two thousand years ago offered to the world the Incarnate Word, lead the men and women of the new millennium towards the One who is "the true light that enlightens every man." (Jn 1:9) 59


Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation....Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix." (LG 62)

970 Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men...flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it." (LG 60) "No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source." (LG 62)

975 "We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ." (Paul VI, CPG ' 15)

[See especially section on Prayer: 2618, 2619]

Ecclesia in Oceania, 2001

With her prayer and presence, she will surely support the new evangelization just as she supported the first. In times of difficulty and pain, Mary has been an unfailing refuge for those seeking peace and healing. 53

I commend all the peoples of Oceania to the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin, trusting absolutely that hers is an ear that always listens, hers a heart that always welcomes, and hers a prayer that never fails. 53

O Stella Maris, light of every ocean and mistress of the deep, guide the peoples of Oceania across all dark and stormy seas, that they may reach the haven of peace and light prepared in him who calmed the sea. Keep all your children safe from harm for the waves are high and we are far from home. 53

As we set forth upon the oceans of the world, and cross the deserts of our time, show us, O Mary, the fruit of your womb, for without your Son we are lost. 53

Pray that we will never fail on life's journey, that in heart and mind, in word and deed, in days of turmoil and in days of calm, we will always look to Christ and say, "Who is this that even wind and sea obey him?" 53

Our Lady of Peace, in whom all storms grow still, pray at the dawn of the new millennium that the Church in Oceania will not cease to show forth the glorious face of your Son, full of grace and truth, so that God will reign in the hearts of the Pacific peoples and they will find peace in the world's true Saviour. 53

Plead for the Church in Oceania that she may have strength to follow faithfully the way of Jesus Christ, to tell courageously the truth of Jesus Christ, to live joyfully the life of Jesus Christ. 53


Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer. 1

...she continually brings to birth children for the mystical Body of her Son. She does so through her intercession, imploring upon them the inexhaustible outpouring of the Spirit. 15

The Rosary mystically transports us to Mary's side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Christ in the home of Nazareth. This enables her to train us and to mold us with the same care, until Christ is "fully formed" in us (cf. Gal 4:19). This role of Mary, totally grounded in that of Christ and radically subordinated to it, "in no way obscures or diminishes the unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power." (LG 60) 15

In support of the prayer which Christ and the Spirit cause to rise in our hearts, Mary intervenes with her maternal intercession. "The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary." (CCC 2679) If Jesus, the one Mediator, is the Way of our prayer, then Mary, his purest and most transparent reflection, shows us the Way. "Beginning with Mary's unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit, the Churches developed their prayer to the Holy Mother of God, centering it on the person of Christ manifested in his mysteries." (CCC 2675) At the wedding of Cana the Gospel clearly shows the power of Mary's intercession as she makes known to Jesus the needs of others: "They have no wine." (Jn 2:3) 16

The Rosary is both meditation and supplication. Insistent prayer to the Mother of God is based on confidence that her maternal intercession can obtain all things from the heart of her Son. She is "all-powerful by grace," to use the bold expression, which needs to be properly understood, of Blessed Bartolo Longo in his Supplication to Our Lady. This is a conviction which, beginning with the Gospel, has grown ever more firm in the experience of the Christian people. 16

The supreme poet Dante expresses it marvelously in the lines sung by Saint Bernard: "Lady, thou art so great and so powerful, that whoever desires grace yet does not turn to thee, would have his desire fly without wings." When in the Rosary we plead with Mary, the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1:35), she intercedes for us before the Father who filled her with grace and before the Son born of her womb, praying with us and for us. 16

From Mary's uniquely privileged relationship with Christ, which makes her the Mother of God, Theotokos, derives the forcefulness of the appeal we make to her in the second half of the prayer, as we entrust to her maternal intercession our lives and the hour of our death. 33

...the Rosary truly becomes a spiritual itinerary in which Mary acts as Mother, Teacher and Guide, sustaining the faithful by her powerful intercession. 37

The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary, to its choral recitation and to its constant practice, the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation.39

Top


ASSUMPTION (ESCHATOLOGICAL IMAGE)

Lumen Gentium, 1964

Munificentissimus59

62

65

68

68

69


Signum Magnum, 1967

19

38


Creed, Paul VI, 1968

Munificentissimus Deus15


General Catechetical Directory, 1971

68


Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973

24


Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

5

10

57

Munificentissimus57

58

59

59

59

61

102, 104, 111

Mary who is the "image and first-flowering of the Church as she is to be perfected in the world to come." (LG 68) 89


Marialis Cultus, 1974

[Aug 15, liturgical celebration of, one of four Marian solemnities in revised liturgy] 6

a feast that sets before the eyes of the Church and of all mankind the image and the consoling proof of the fulfillment of their final hope, namely, that this full glorification is the destiny of all those whom Christ has made His brothers, having "flesh and blood in common with them" (Heb. 2:14; cf. Gal. 4:4) 6

[liturgy, doctrinal theme] Assumption into heaven, maternal Queenship; the beginning that has already been made and the image of what, for the whole Church, must still come to pass. (Preface) 11

the Virgin in prayer ... We have here the prayerful presence of Mary in the early Church and in the Church throughout all ages, for, having been assumed into heaven, she has not abandoned her mission of intercession and salvation. (LG 62) 18

although she is assumed into heaven ... Mary's glory which ennobles the whole of mankind, as the outstanding phrase of Dante recalls: "You have so ennobled human nature that its very Creator did not disdain to share in it." 56

[for description of eschatological image see especially 57] Mary, the New Woman, stands at the side of Christ, the New Man, within whose mystery the mystery of man (GS 22) alone finds true light; she is given to us as a pledge and guarantee that God's plan in Christ for the salvation of the whole man has already achieved realization in a creature: in her. Contemplated in the episodes of the Gospels and in the reality which she already possesses in the City of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary offers a calm vision and a reassuring word to modern man, torn as he often is between anguish and hope, defeated by the sense of his own limitations and assailed by limitless aspirations, troubled in his mind and divided in his heart, uncertain before the riddle of death, oppressed by loneliness while yearning for fellowship, a prey to boredom and disgust. She shows forth the victory of hope over anguish, of fellowship over solitude, of peace over anxiety, of joy and beauty over boredom and disgust, of eternal visions over earthly ones, of life over death.


Gaudete in Domino, 1975

She is also taken up, body and soul, into the glory of heaven.


Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

her entry into Christ's resurrection in being assumed body and soul to heaven 106


Catechesi Tradendae, 1979

raised body and soul to the glory of heaven 30


Dives in Misericordia, 1980

[see "eschatological level" in the Magnificat section]
"The motherhood of Mary in the order of grace ... lasts without interruption from the consent which she faithfully gave at the annunciation and which she sustained without hesitation under the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. In fact, being assumed into heaven, she has not laid aside this office of salvation but by her manifold intercession she continues to obtain for us the graces of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she takes care of the brethern of her son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home." (LG 62) 9


Redemptoris Mater, 1987

[Vatican II] the Mother of God is already the eschatological fulfilment of the Church: "In the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle" (cf. Eph. 5:27); and at the same time the Council says that "the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin, and so they raise their eyes to Mary, who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as a model of the virtues." (LG 65) 6

In this eschatological fulfilment, Mary does not cease to be the "Star of the Sea" (Maris Stella) (Ftn 16: St. Bernard) for all those who are still on the journey of faith. 6

"taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside this saving role, but by her manifold acts of intercession continues to win for us gifts of eternal salvation." (LG 62) 40

Mary contributes in a special way to the union of the pilgrim Church on earth with the eschatological and heavenly reality of the Communion of Saints, since she has already been "assumed into heaven." (LG 62) The truth of the Assumption, defined by Pius XII, is reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which thus expresses the Church's faith: "Preserved free from all guilt of original sin, the Immaculate Virgin was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory upon the completion of her earthly sojourn. She was exalted by the Lord as Queen of the Universe, in order that she might be the more thoroughly conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf. Rev. 19:16) and the conqueror of sin and death." (LG 59) In this teaching Pius XII was in continuity with Tradition, which has found many different expressions in the history of the Church, both in the East and in the West. 41

Connected with this exaltation of the noble "Daughter of Sion" (LG 55) through her Assumption into heaven is the mystery of her eternal glory. For the Mother of Christ is glorified as "Queen of the Universe." (LG 59) 41

The glory of serving does not cease to be her royal exaltation: assumed into heaven, she does not cease her saving service, which expresses her maternal mediation "until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect." (LG 62) Thus, she who here on earth "loyally persevered in her union with her Son unto the Cross," continues to remain united with him, while now "all things are subjected to him, until he subjects to the Father himself and all things." 41

Thus in her Assumption into heaven, Mary is, as it were, clothed by the whole reality of the Communion of Saints, and her very union with the Son in glory is wholly oriented towards the definitive fullness of the Kingdom, when "God will be all in all." 41

[Assumption selected as end of Marian Year 1988] in order to emphasize the "great sign in heaven" spoken of by the Apocalypse. In this way we also wish to respond to the exhortation of the Council, which looks to Mary as "a sign of sure hope and solace for the pilgrim People of God." (LG 68) 50


The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

assumed body and soul into heaven, "the eschatological image and first flowering" of the Church (cf. LG 68) which sees and admires in her "that which she herself wholly desires and hopes to be" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 103] finding in Mary "a sign of sure hope and solace" (LG 68). 9

post-conciliar debate to a more suitable illustration of dogmas brought about in: ... on the ultimate destiny of man (dogma of the Assumption) ... 12

"Contemplated in the episodes of the gospels and in the reality which she already possesses in the City of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary offers a calm vision and a reassuring word to modern man, torn as he often is between anguish and hope, defeated by the sense of his own limitations and assailed by limitless aspirations, troubled in his mind and divided in his heart, uncertain before the riddle of death, oppressed by loneliness while yearning for fellowship, a prey to boredom and disgust. She shows forth the victory of hope over anguish, of fellowship over solitude, of peace over anxiety, of joy and beauty over boredom and disgust, of eternal vision over earthly ones, of life over death." (MC 57) 21


Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

In her person "the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle." (cf. Eph 5:27) (LG 65) In this sense, one can say that the Church is both "Marian" and "Apostolic-Petrine." (See more: ftn 55, H.U. von Balthasar, Dec. 22, 1987) 27


Evangelium Vitae, 1995

And as we, the pilgrim people, the people of life and for life, make our way in confidence towards "a new heaven and a new earth" (Rev 21:1), we look to her who is for us "a sign of sure hope and solace." (LG 68)

O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life: Look down, O Mother, upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life. 105


Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

Assumption (queenship): 966, 974, 2177, 2853 [BB]

966 "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." (LG 59; cf. Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus) The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:

In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death. (Byzantine Liturgy, Aug. 15)

972 ... In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God. (LG 68; cf. 2 Pet 3:10)

974 The most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of his Body.

1024 This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity -- this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed -- is called "heaven." Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness. [See also 1053: gathered around Jesus and Mary in Paradise forms the Church of heaven (Paul VI, CPG 29]


Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

Even now, amid the joyful songs of the heavenly Jerusalem, the reasons for her thanksgiving and praise remain unchanged. They inspire her maternal concern for the pilgrim Church, in which she continues to relate her personal account of the Gospel. Mary constantly sets before the faithful the "mysteries" of her Son, with the desire that the contemplation of those mysteries will release all their saving power. In the recitation of the Rosary, the Christian community enters into contact with the memories and the contemplative gaze of Mary. 11

In the Ascension, Christ was raised in glory to the right hand of the Father, while Mary herself would be raised to that same glory in the Assumption, enjoying beforehand, by a unique privilege, the destiny reserved for all the just at the resurrection of the dead. Crowned in glory – as she appears in the last glorious mystery - Mary shines forth as Queen of the Angels and Saints, the anticipation and the supreme realization of the eschatological state of the Church. 23

The glorious mysteries thus lead the faithful to greater hope for the eschatological goal towards which they journey as members of the pilgrim People of God in history. This can only impel them to bear courageous witness to that "good news" which gives meaning to their entire existence. 23

Finally, contemplating Christ and his Blessed Mother in glory, they see the goal towards which each of us is called, if we allow ourselves to be healed and transformed by the Holy Spirit. It could be said that each mystery of the Rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man. 25

Finally, how could one possibly gaze upon the glory of the Risen Christ or of Mary Queen of Heaven, without yearning to make this world more beautiful, more just, more closely conformed to God's plan? 40

Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003

Contemplating her, assumed body and soul into heaven, we see opening up before us those "new heavens" and that "new earth" which will appear at the second coming of Christ. Here below, the Eucharist represents their pledge, and in a certain way, their anticipation: "Veni, Domine Iesu!" (Rev 22:20) 62

Top


MARY AND THE WORLD (ECUMENISM)

Lumen Gentium, 1964

[theologians...] let them carefully refrain from whatever might by word or deed lead the separated brethren or any others whatsoever into error about the true doctrine of the Church 67

intercede...until all families of people, whether they are honored with the title of Christian or whether they still do not know the Saviour, may be happily gathered together in peace and harmony into one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity 68
Orthodox

...the Easterns, who with devout mind and fervent impulse give honor to the Mother of God, ever virgin 69


Christi Matri Rosarii, 1968

[ecumenical aspect lies in those addressed, inviting all Christians to pray the rosary]


Signum Magnum, 1967

[an invitation to accept exhortation wholeheartedly to] those who, though they do not enjoy full communion with the Catholic Church, do join with us in honoring and venerating Mary as the Mother of God's Son 35
Orthodox

teachings were interpreted and spelled out more clearly by Eastern and Western Church traditions 35


Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Ecumenically, "mediatrix" has seemed to many who are not Catholics to clash with the Biblical insistence on Jesus Christ as our one Mediator (I Tm 2:5). 66 [Also 102, 107] Some of the most beautiful and profound passages concerning the Mother of God were written by the Eastern Fathers of the Church. 90

Consistent treatment of the Blessed Virgin and Ecumenism 101-112:

Catholics have been spurred on by the Second Vatican Council to "return to the Bible" for a profounder understanding of the Mother of Jesus as woman of faith. 101

the Council's careful language ... "painstakingly guard against any word or deed which could lead separated brethren or anyone else into error regarding the true doctrine of the Church" (LG 67) 102

Of ecumenical import also are Catholic efforts to show that such beliefs about the Mother of the Lord as her initial freedom from original sin (the Immaculate Conception) and her final union with the risen Christ (the Assumption) are not isolated privileges, but mysteries filled with meaning for the whole Church. 102

No sound ecumenism can ignore the question of Mary. ... 109


Reformation Churches:

Reformation and Counter-Reformation [history, excesses and polemics] 103-104

We are convinced that all Christians share a basic reverence for the Mother of Jesus, a veneration deeper than doctrinal differences and theological disputes. We share a common past. Together we accept the Gospel respect for the Mother of Jesus, handmaid of the Lord, woman of faith, model of prayer, servant of the Spirit. 106


Orthodox:

reference in the Decree on Ecumenism to "the hierarchy of truths," which "vary in their relationship to the foundation of the Christian faith." (UR 11) 107

... with regard to the differences that still divide Western Christians ... and the role of Mary in the work of salvation." (UR 20) 108

[matters to commonly explore] our common patrimony, hierarchy of truths, Theotokos, relationship between Scripture, Tradition and the Church=s teaching role, effects of redemption in Mary, bond between Mary and the Holy Spirit. 107-112

May her loving desire that her Son's words be heeded hasten Christian unity. 146



Marialis Cultus, 1974

[Ecumenical: one of the four mandated guidelines for devotion to the BVM]
[liturgy]

March 25: With regard to Christ, the East and the West, in the inexhaustible riches of their liturgies, celebrate this solemnity as the commemoration of the salvific "fiat" of the Incarnate Word, who, entering the world, said: "God, here I am! I am coming to obey Your will." (cf. Heb. 10:7; Ps. 39:8-9) They commemorate it as the beginning of the redemption and of the in- dissoluble and wedded union of the divine nature with human nature in the one Person of the Word. With regard to Mary, these liturgies celebrate it as a feast of the new Eve, the obedient and faithful virgin, who with her generous "fiat" (cf. Lk. 1:38) became through the working of the Spirit, the Mother of God, but also the true Mother of the living, and, by receiving into her womb the one Mediator (cf. I Tm. 2:5), became the true Ark of the Covenant and true Temple of God. 6

[Eucharistic prayers 1 & 3] in admirable harmony with the Eastern liturgies [regarding commemoration of BVM; footnote 24 lists] 10

Both in the East and in the West the highest and purest expressions of devotion to the Blessed Virgin have sprung from the liturgy or have been incorporated into it. 15


Orthodox:

... in venerating with particular love the glorious Theotokos and in acclaiming her as the "Hope of Christians," (Orthodox Office) Catholics unite themselves with their brethren of the Orthodox Churches, in which devotion to the Blessed Virgin finds its expression in a beautiful lyricism and in solid doctrine. 32


Anglican:

Catholics are also united with Anglicans, whose classical theologians have already drawn attention to the sound scriptural basis for devotion to the Mother of our Lord, while those of the present day increasingly underline the importance of Mary's place in the Christian life. 32


Refomed Churches:

Praising God with the very words of the Virgin (cf. Lk. 1:46-55), they are united, too, with their brethren in the Churches of the Reform, where love for the Sacred Scriptures flourishes. 32
[guidelines for Catholics]

the ecumenical aspect of Marian devotion is shown in the Catholic Church's desire that, without in any way detracting from the unique character of this devotion [seeking M's intercession], (LG 66, SC 103) every care should be taken to avoid any exaggeration which could mislead other Christian brethren about the true doctrine of the Catholic Church." (LG 67) 32

Similarly, the Church desires that any manifestation of cult which is opposed to correct Catholic practice should be eliminated. 32

since it is natural that in true devotion to the Blessed Virgin "the Son should be duly known, loved and glorified ... when the Mother is honored," (LG 66) such devotion is an approach to Christ, the source and center of ecclesiastical communion, in which all who openly confess that He is God and Lord, Savior and sole Mediator (cf. 1 Tm. 2:5) are called to be one, with one another, with Christ and with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit. (Paul VI) 32

[differences of opinion but same power of the Most High which overshadowed the Virgin of Nazareth (cf. Lk 1:35), hence -- not an obstacle but a path and a rallying point for unity] 33
[See also: spiritual motherhood, 34, regarding ecumenism]


Redemptor Hominis, 1979

We do so [united ourselves with her in a special way] with all our attachment to our ancient tradition and also with full respect and love for the members of all the Christian communities. Final ¶



Redemptoris Mater, 1987

[Unity of all Christians, Articles 29-34]
[sign of hope and solace LG 68] "it gives great joy and comfort to this most holy Synod that among the divided brethren, too, there are those who give due honor to the Mother of our Lord and Savior. This is especially so among the Easterners." (LG 69) 29

[unity possible only if based on faith] must resolve considerable discrepancies of doctrine concerning the mystery and ministry of the Church, and sometimes also concerning the role of Mary in the work of salvation. (UR 20) 30

[study: Word made flesh/divine motherhood; Church/Mary] clarifying each in the light of the other ... -will be able to go forward together on this "pilgrimage of faith." Mary, who is still the model of this pilgrimage, is to lead them to the unity which is willed by their one Lord and so much desired by those who are attentively listening to what "the Spirit is saying to the Churches" today (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17). 30

[agreement] - recognize her as the Mother of the Lord and hold that this forms part of our faith in Christ, true God and true man.
- look to her who at the foot of the Cross accepts as her son the beloved disciple, the one who in his turn accepts her as his mother. 30

Why should we not all together look to her as our common Mother, who prays for the unity of God's family and who "precedes" us all at the head of the long line of witnesses of faith in the one Lord, the Son of God, who was conceived in her virginal womb by the power of the Holy Spirit? 30


Orthodox:

Theotokos - Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the ancient Churches of the East feel united by love and praise of the Theotokos. Not only "basic dogmas of the Christian faith concerning the Trinity and God's Word made flesh of the Virgin Mary were defined in Ecumenical Councils held in the East," (UR 14) but also in their liturgical worship "the Orientals pay high tribute, in very beautiful hymns, to Mary ever Virgin ... God's Most Holy Mother." (UR 15) 31 [See more detailed distinctions/unity in this article]

The Greek Fathers and the Byzantine tradition, contemplating the Virgin in the light of the Word made flesh, have sought to penetrate the depth of that bond which unites Mary, as the Mother of God, to Christ and the Church: the Virgin is a permanent presence in the whole reality of the salvific mystery. 31 [also Coptic and Ethiopian in this article]
[rich heritage in liturgy ...] incomparable abundance of feasts and hymns 31, 32

[icons, see more under marian devotion]
[Note:] I [John Paul II] also recall the Icon of the Virgin of the Cenacle, praying with the Apostles as they awaited the Holy Spirit: could she not become the sign of hope for all those who, in fraternal dialogue, wish to deepen their obedience of faith? 33
[Marian Year 1987 linked to ecumenism; see 49]

[May she intercede] until all the peoples of the human family, whether they are honored with the name of Christian or whether they still do not know their Savior, are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity." (LG 69) 50



The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

Mariology has also been especially considered in the field of ecumenism.


Orthodox:

John Paul II has underlined "how profoundly the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the ancient Churches of the East" feel united by love and praise of the "Theotokos" (Redemptoris Mater, 31)... - Dimitrios I, the Ecumenical Patriarch, has noted that "our two sister Churches have maintained throughout the centuries unextinguished the flame of devotion to the most venerated person of the all-holy Mother of God" (Dimitrios I, Homily given on Dec 7, 1987 during the celebration of Vespers at St. Mary Major (Rome): L'Osservatore Romano (Eng.ED.21-28 Dec. 1987), p.6), and he went on to say that "the subject of Mariology should occupy a central position in the theological dialogue between our Churches...for the full establishment of our ecclesial communion." (ibid., 6) 14


Reformation Churches:

The post-conciliar period has been characterized by dialogue and by the thrust towards mutual understanding. This has brought an end to the centuries-old mistrust, and has led to a better knowledge of respective doctrinal positions; it has also led to a number of common initiatives in research. Thus, at least in some cases, it has been possible to understand both the dangers in "obscuring" the person of Mary in ecclesial life, and also the necessity of holding to data of Revelation (The Ecumenical Directory provides guidelines for a Mariological formation which is attentive to ecumenical needs: Secretariatus ad Christianorum Unitatem Fovendam, Spiritus Domini (April 16, 1970): AAS 62 (1970), 705-724). 14


Judaism:

area of inter-religious discourse, Mariology has studied Judaism, source of the "Daughter of Sion." 14


Islam:

also studied Islam, in which Mary is venerated as holy Mother of Christ. 14



Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

[There are references to eastern art, prayer forms and hymnody, but CCC does not directly speak of ecumenical issues involving Mary]


Orientale Lumen, 1995 Ut Unum Sint, 1995


Orthodox:

Indeed, in comparison to any other culture, the Christian East has a unique and privileged role as the original setting where the church was born. ... The Christian tradition of the East implies a way of accepting, understanding and living faith in the Lord Jesus. OL 5

the Decree on Ecumenism mentions the way of formulating doctrine as one of the elements of a continuing reform. (UR 6) Here it is not a question of altering the deposit of faith, changing the meaning of dogmas, eliminating essential words from them, accommodating truth to the preferences of a particular age or suppressing certain articles of the Creed under the false pretext that they are no longer understood today. The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. UUS 18

Even so, doctrine needs to be presented in a way that makes it understandable to those for whom God himself intends it UUS 19

establishment in 1979, the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church has worked steadily, directing its study to areas decided upon by mutual agreement, with the purpose of re-establishing full communion between the two churches UUS 59

In the period following the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has also, in different ways and with greater or lesser rapidity, restored fraternal relations with the ancient churches of the East which rejected the dogmatic formulations of the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. ... And precisely in relation to Christology, we have been able to join the patriarchs of some of these churches in declaring our common faith in Jesus Christ, true God and true man. [various official statements are listed; then the pope concludes] I wish to express my joy at all this in the words of the Blessed Virgin: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord." (Lk 1:46) UUS 62

It is already possible to identify the areas in need of fuller study before a true consensus of faith can be achieved:
1) the relationship between sacred Scripture, as the highest authority in matters of faith, and sacred tradition, as indispensable to the interpretation of the word of God;
2) the eucharist, as the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, an offering of praise to the Father, the sacrificial memorial and real presence of Christ and the sanctifying outpouring of the Holy Spirit;
3) ordination, as a sacrament, to the threefold ministry of the episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate;
4) the Magisterium of the church, entrusted to the pope and the bishops in communion with him, understood as a responsibility and an authority exercised in the name of Christ for teaching and safeguarding the faith;
5) the Virgin Mary, as mother of God and icon of the church, the spiritual mother who intercedes for Christ=s disciples and for all humanity. UUS 79



Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

Perhaps too, there are some who fear that the Rosary is somehow unecumenical because of its distinctly Marian character. Yet the Rosary clearly belongs to the kind of veneration of the Mother of God described by the Council: a devotion directed to the Christological center of the Christian faith, in such a way that "when the Mother is honored, the Son ... is duly known, loved and glorified." (LG 66) If properly revitalized, the Rosary is an aid and certainly not a hindrance to ecumenism! 4

Top


ORTHODOX

Lumen Gentium, 1964

...the Easterns, who with devout mind and fervent impulse give honor to the Mother of God, ever virgin 69


Signum Magnum, 1967

teachings were interpreted and spelled out more clearly by Eastern and Western Church traditions 35


Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

reference in the Decree on Ecumenism to "the hierarchy of truths," which "vary in their relationship to the foundation of the Christian faith." (UR 11) 107

... with regard to the differences that still divide Western Christians ... and the role of Mary in the work of salvation." (UR 20) 108

[matters to commonly explore] our common patrimony, hierarchy of truths, Theotokos, relationship between Scripture, Tradition and the Church's teaching role, effects of redemption in Mary, bond between Mary and the Holy Spirit. 107-112

May her loving desire that her Son's words be heeded hasten Christian unity. 146


Marialis Cultus, 1974

... in venerating with particular love the glorious Theotokos and in acclaiming her as the "Hope of Christians," (Orthodox Office) Catholics unite themselves with their brethren of the Orthodox Churches, in which devotion to the Blessed Virgin finds its expression in a beautiful lyricism and in solid doctrine. 32


Redemptoris Mater, 1987


Theotokos:

Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the ancient Churches of the East feel united by love and praise of the Theotokos. Not only "basic dogmas of the Christian faith concerning the Trinity and God's Word made flesh of the Virgin Mary were defined in Ecumenical Councils held in the East," (UR 14) but also in their liturgical worship "the Orientals pay high tribute, in very beautiful hymns, to Mary ever Virgin ... God's Most Holy Mother." (UR 15) 31 [See more detailed distinctions/unity in this article]

The Greek Fathers and the Byzantine tradition, contemplating the Virgin in the light of the Word made flesh, have sought to penetrate the depth of that bond which unites Mary, as the Mother of God, to Christ and the Church: the Virgin is a permanent presence in the whole reality of the salvific mystery. 31 [also Coptic and Ethiopian in this article]
[rich heritage in liturgy ...] incomparable abundance of feasts and hymns 31, 32

[icons, see more under Marian devotion]
[Note:] I also recall the Icon of the Virgin of the Cenacle, praying with the Apostles as they awaited the Holy Spirit: could she not become the sign of hope for all those who, in fraternal dialogue, wish to deepen their obedience of faith? 33
[Marian Year 1987 linked to ecumenism; see 49]

[May she intercede] until all the peoples of the human family, whether they are honored with the name of Christian or whether they still do not know their Savior, are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity." (LG 69) 50


The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

John Paul II has underlined " how profoundly the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the ancient Churches of the East feel united by love and praise of the "Theotokos" (Redemptoris Mater, 31)... - Dimitrios I, the Ecumenical Patriarch, has noted that "our two sister Churches have maintained throughout the centuries unextinguished the flame of devotion to the most venerated person of the all-holy Mother of God" (Dimitrios I, Homily given on Dec 7, 1987 during the celebration of Vespers at St. Mary Major (Rome): L'Osservatore Romano (Eng.ED.Dec. 21-28, 1987), p.6), and he went on to say that " the subject of Mariology should occupy a central position in the theological dialogue between our Churches...for the full establishment of our ecclesial communion." (ibid., 6) 14


Orientale Lumen, 1995  Ut Unum Sint, 1995

Indeed, in comparison to any other culture, the Christian East has a unique and privileged role as the original setting where the church was born. ... The Christian tradition of the East implies a way of accepting, understanding and living faith in the Lord Jesus OL 5

the Decree on Ecumenism mentions the way of formulating doctrine as one of the elements of a continuing reform. (UR 6) Here it is not a question of altering the deposit of faith, changing the meaning of dogmas, eliminating essential words from them, accommodating truth to the preferences of a particular age or suppressing certain articles of the Creed under the false pretext that they are no longer understood today. The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. USS 18

Even so, doctrine needs to be presented in a way that makes it understandable to those for whom God himself intends it UUS 19

establishment in 1979, the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church has worked steadily, directing its study to areas decided upon by mutual agreement, with the purpose of re-establishing full communion between the two churches USS 59

In the period following the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has also, in different ways and with greater or lesser rapidity, restored fraternal relations with the ancient churches of the East which rejected the dogmatics formulations of the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. ... And precisely in relation to Christology, we have been able to join the patriarchs of some of these churches in declaring our common faith in Jesus Christ, true God and true man. [various official statements are listed; then the pope concludes] I wish to express my joy at all this in the words of the Blessed Virgin: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord" (Lk 1:46) UUS 62

It is already possible to identify the areas in need of fuller study before a true consensus of faith can be achieved:
1) the relationship between sacred Scripture, as the highest authority in matters of faith, and sacred tradition, as indispensable to the interpretation of the word of God;
2) the eucharist, as the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, an offering of praise to the Father, the sacrificial memorial and real presence of Christ and the sanctifying outpouring of the Holy Spirit;
3) ordination, as a sacrament, to the threefold ministry of the episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate;
4) the magisterium of the church, entrusted to the pope and the bishops in communion with him, understood as a responsibility and an authority exercised in the name of Christ for teaching and safeguarding the faith;
5) the Virgin Mary, as mother of God and icon of the church, the spiritual mother who intercedes for Christ's disciples and for all humanity. UUS 79

Top


REFORMATION CHURCHES

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Reformation and Counter-Reformation [history, excesses and polemics] 103-104

We are convinced that all Christians share a basic reverence for the Mother of Jesus, a veneration deeper than doctrinal differences and theological disputes. We share a common past. Together we accept the Gospel respect for the Mother of Jesus, handmaid of the Lord, woman of faith, model of prayer, servant of the Spirit. 106


Marialis Cultus, 1974

Praising God with the very words of the Virgin (cf. Lk. 1:46-55), they are united, too, with their brethren in the Churches of the Reform, where love for the Sacred Scriptures flourishes. 32
[guidelines for Catholics]

The ecumenical aspect of Marian devotion is shown in the Catholic Church's desire that, without in any way detracting from the unique character of this devotion [seeking M's intercession], (LG 66, SC 103) every care should be taken to avoid any exaggeration which could mislead other Christian brethren about the true doctrine of the Catholic Church." (LG 67) 32

Similarly, the Church desires that any manifestation of cult which is opposed to correct Catholic practice should be eliminated. 32

since it is natural that in true devotion to the Blessed Virgin "the Son should be duly known, loved and glorified ... when the Mother is honored," (LG 66) such devotion is an approach to Christ, the source and center of ecclesiastical communion, in which all who openly confess that He is God and Lord, Savior and sole Mediator (cf. 1 Tm. 2:5) are called to be one, with one another, with Christ and with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit. (Paul VI) 32

[differences of opinion but same power of the Most High which overshadowed the Virgin of Nazareth (cf. Lk 1:35), hence -- not an obstacle but a path and a rallying point for unity] 33


The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

The post-conciliar period has been characterized by dialogue and by the thrust towards mutual understanding. This has brought an end to the centuries-old mistrust and has led to a better knowledge of respective doctrinal positions; it has also led to a number of common initiatives in research. Thus, at least in some cases, it has been possible to understand both the dangers in "obscuring" the person of Mary in ecclesial life, and also the necessity of holding to data of Revelation (The Ecumenical Directory provides guidelines for a Mariological formation which is attentive to ecumenical needs: Secretariatus ad Christianorum Unitatem Fovendam, Spiritus Domini (April 16, 1970): AAS 62 (1970), 705-724). 14

Top


JUDAISM


The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

area of inter-religious discourse, Mariology has studied Judaism, source of the "Daughter of Sion." 14

Top


ISLAM

Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

The Catholic Church esteems the people of Islam. Catholics share with Moslems certain beliefs; ... in Mary as the virgin mother. 78


The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

also studied Islam, in which Mary is venerated as holy Mother of Christ. 14

Top




More Information

International Marian Research Institute

300 College Park 
Dayton, Ohio 45469 

Connect