Magisterial Documents: Pastoral and Catechetical Aspects

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
Mary and Prayer in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church"

Mary and the Commandments in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church"
Adaptation/Inculturation
Right Measure/Correctness


GENERAL

Lumen Gentium, 1964

following...Ephesus...remarkable growth in the cult of the People of God towards Mary, in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation... "All generations shall call me blessed, because he that is mighty has done great things to me." (Lk 1:48) 66

[LG] not intend to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which the work of theologians has not fully clarified 54



Signum Magnum, 1967

We are certain, honored brothers, under your encouragement the clergy and faithful entrusted to your care will eagerly comply with the words of our exhortation, that henceforth they will evince greater trust and devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God. 38



Recurrens Mensis October, 1969

intention ... more serious and urgent than ever, is that of peace among men and between people 2



General Catechetical Directory, 1971

The Virgin Mary is mentioned for the first time in the directory under n. 43, "Hierarchy of Truths to be Observed in Catechesis:"

the mystery of Christ the Incarnate Word, who was born of the Virgin Mary...the mystery of the Church, which is Christ's Mystical Body, in which the Virgin Mary holds the preeminent place." 43
In part five under the title, "Infancy and Its Importance."

[the] child may also direct confident prayers to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our mother. 78



Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973

Religious instruction should lead students to see Mary as singularly blessed and relevant to their own lives and needs.

Following venerable Christian tradition as continued in the Second Vatican Council, the teacher should explain the special place of the Virgin Mary in the history of salvation and in the Church.
[The paragraph is footnoted : 105 cf. Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, 52-69. ]

In religious instruction there should be explanations of her special gifts from God ----

The special veneration due to Mary--Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church, our spiritual Mother ----
Should be taught by word and example



Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

Pastoral Concerns:

restricted use of the word "mediatrix" ... Pastorally, the bishops were anxious that Catholics understand even better Mary's true place under Christ. 66

We view with great sympathy the distress our people feel over the loss of devotion to our Lady and we share their concern that the young be taught a deep and true love for the Mother of God. 93

Mary and the Priesthood, 119-122

Mary and Religious Men and Women, 123-128

Mary and Family Life, 129-142

Mary and Dignity of Women, 141-142

Mary and Youth, 143-144

Mary and Single Life, 145-14

[Note: Many of the Marian examples were incorporated in the sections, Person of Mary, Life of Mary, Mary as model, and under Mother of the Church, the spiritual mother who intercedes.]

Catechetics:

Defenders of unborn life do well to appeal to the first part of the Hail Mary. Elizabeth's words, "Blessed is the fruit of your womb," are true in a real sense of every unborn child. 132

The Blessed Mother protects human life today from the moment of conception through birth (the beginning of our pilgrimage of faith), until all mankind realizes its goal in the Beatific Vision. 136

As a woman of faith, she inspires all mothers to transmit the Christian faith to their children. 137

As we conclude these pastoral reflections on the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church, we commend our efforts to her loving protection. ... We have contemplated our Lady with joy, pondering her holiness, her generosity, her hope, her burning love, her whole-hearted dedication in faith to the saving work of her Son. May her pilgrimage of faith strengthen us in our individual Christian vocations. May her loving desire that her Son's words be heeded hasten Christian unity. May her motherly intercession make us worthy of the promises of Christ. 146

Mary's Place in American Catholic History (Appendix, eight paragraphs)
[Note: This section was not graphed in detail.]



Marialis Cultus, 1974

Mary is not only an example for the whole Church in the exercise of divine worship but also, clearly, a teacher of the spiritual life for individual Christians. The faithful at a very early date began to look to Mary and to imitate her in making their lives an act of worship of God and making their worship a commitment of their lives. [quotes Ambrose] 21
[Pastoral Concerns]

What is needed on the part of the leaders of the local communities is effort, pastoral sensitivity and perseverance, while the faithful on their part must show a willingness to accept guidelines and ideas drawn from the true nature of Christian worship; this sometimes makes it necessary to change long-standing customs wherein the real nature of this Christian worship has become somewhat obscured. 31

two attitudes which in pastoral practice could nullify the norm of the Second Vatican Council.
In the first place there are certain persons concerned with the care of souls who scorn, a priori, devotions of piety which, in their correct forms, have been recommended by the magisterium, who leave them aside and in this way create a vacuum which they do not fill. They forget that the Council has said that devotions of piety should harmonize with the liturgy, not be suppressed. 31

Secondly there are those who, without wholesome liturgical and pastoral criteria, mix practices of piety and liturgical acts in hybrid celebrations. It sometimes happens that novenas or similar practices of piety are inserted into the very celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. This creates the danger that the Lord's Memorial Rite, instead of being the culmination of the meeting of the Christian community, becomes the occasion, as it were, for devotional practices. For those who act in this way we wish to recall the rule laid down by the Council prescribing that exercises of piety should be harmonized with the liturgy, not merged into it. 31

difficulties...related to certain aspects of the image of Mary found in popular writings. They are not connected with the Gospel image of Mary nor with the doctrinal data which have been made explicit through a slow and conscientious process of drawing from Revelation. It should be considered quite normal for succeeding generations of Christians in differing socio cultural contexts to have expressed their sentiments about the Mother of Jesus in a way and manner which reflected their own age. 36

The Church, taught by the Holy Spirit and benefiting from centuries of experience, recognizes that devotion to the Blessed Virgin, subordinated to worship of the divine Savior and in connection with it, also has a great pastoral effectiveness and constitutes a force for renewing Christian living. 57
[reasons]

Mary's many-sided mission to the People of God is a supernatural reality which operates and bears fruit within the body of the Church. ... producing in the children the spiritual characteristics of the first-born Son.

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.

[BV's] role as Mother leads the People of God to turn with filial confidence to her who is ever ready to listen with a mother's affection and efficacious assistance. ... Consoler of the afflicted, the Health of the sick, and the Refuge of sinners (LG 60-63)

[BV's] exemplary holiness encourages the faithful to "raise their eyes to Mary who shines forth before the whole community of the elect as a model of the virtues." (LG 65)

[faith, docile acceptance of God's will, generous obedience, genuine humility, profound wisdom, worship of God, gratitude, in her offering, her prayer, her fortitude, in suffering, through her poverty, her attentive care for her Son, her delicate forethought, virginal purity, strong and chaste married love ... (statements supported by Scripture quotes) ] 57

Devotion to the Mother of the Lord becomes for the faithful an opportunity for growing in divine grace, and this is the ultimate aim of all pastoral activity. [Mary is what we are to be.] 57



Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

The special love and veneration due her as mother of Christ, mother of the Church, and our spiritual mother should be taught by word and example.

[ftn 48: The bishops' pastoral letter, Behold Your Mother, Woman of Faith, published in 1973, can be very helpful in catechizing on this subject. Cf. also Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Marialis Cultus), an Apostolic Exhortation of His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, February 2, 1974. USCC, 1974. In 1859, at the request of the bishops of the United States, Pope Pius IX placed the nation under the protection of Mary's Immaculate Conception.] 106

formulations...certain elements of Catholic faith, tradition, and practice are learned for a lifetime and can contribute to the individual's continued growth in understanding and living the faith... Among these are the following: 1. Prayers such as the Sign of the Cross, Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, Apostles' Creed,... 2. Factual information...the major personalities of the Old and New Testaments... 3. Formulas providing factual information regarding worship...including...the mysteries of the rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary... 176

[birth to age 5] The child is also encouraged to pray to Mary, Jesus' mother and ours, and to the saints. [ftn 9: GCD 78] 177



Redemptor Hominis, 1979

The aim of any service in the church, whether the service is apostolic, pastoral, priestly or episcopal, is to keep up this dynamic link between the mystery of the Redemption and every man. Final paragraph



Catechesi Tradendae, 1979

catechesis ... give ... full place to the incarnation of the Son of God; to Mary, the Immaculate One, the Mother of God, ever Virgin, raised body and soul to the glory of heaven, and to her role in the mystery of salvation 30

Various occasions of special value which are exactly suitable for catechesis: for example, diocesan, regional or national pilgrimages, which gain from being centered on some judiciously chosen theme based on the life of Christ, of the Blessed Virgin or of the saints. 47

There are good grounds for the statement made in the synod hall that Mary is "a living catechism" and "the mother and model of catechists." 73



Redemptoris Mater, 1987

[The section, Mary in the life of the Church and of every Christian, articles 42f, give the pastoral perspective to be linked with Mary's believing and obeying. This is also pointed out under the concepts of Mary and the Church being both Mother and Virgin.]

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) 43



The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

The history of dogma and theology bears witness to the Church's faith about, and constant attention to, the Virgin Mary and to her mission in the history of salvation. 2
[Aspects of doctrinal importance, drawing on current period]
We recall the doctrinal importance of the

dogmatic Bull Ineffabilis Deus (December 8, 1854) of Pius IX,

the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus (November 1, 1950) of Pius XII,

and the dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium (November 21, 1964), chapter VIII of which is the fullest and most authoritative synthesis of Catholic doctrine about the Mother of the Lord ever to have been compiled by an ecumenical council.

Also ... for their theological and pastoral significance are other documents such as Professio Fidei (June 30, 1968),

the Apostolic Exhortation Signum Magnum (May 13, 1967) and - - Marialis Cultus (February 2, 1974) of Paul VI, ...

Encyclical Redemptoris Mater (March 25, 1987) of John Paul II. 3

The importance of chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium ...

its doctrinal synthesis ...

its formulation of doctrine about the Blessed Virgin in the context of the mystery of Christ and of the Church. 5

the Council:
allied itself to the patristic tradition which gives a privileged place to the history of salvation in every theological tract; 5

Stressed that the Mother of the Lord is not a peripheral figure in our faith and in the panorama of theology; rather, she, through her intimate participation in the history of salvation, "in a certain way unites and mirrors within herself the central truths of the faith." (LG 65) 5

formulated a common vision for the different positions about the way in which Marian matters are to be treated. 5

the discovery of the significance of Mary in relation to some urgent pastoral needs in our time (pro-life, the option for the poor, the proclamation of the Word...); the revaluation of the " Marian dimension of the life of a disciple of Christ." (Redemptoris Mater, 45) 16

The will of the Lord has been to assign a "Marian note" to the physiognomy of the Church, its pilgrimage, its pastoral activity; and in the spiritual life of each disciple, says the Holy Father, a "Marian dimension" is inherent, (cf. Redemptoris Mater, 45-46) 16

[See The teaching of Mariology, especially] "systematic treatment [that is] organic ... complete ... suited to the various types of institution ... and to the level of the students: future ... catechists ... ] 28

Mariology and Pastoral Service:

Like every other theological discipline, Mariology has a precious contribution to make to pastoral life. Marialis Cultus affirms that "devotion to the Blessed Virgin, subordinated to worship of the divine Saviour and in connection with it, also has great pastoral effectiveness and constitutes a force for renewing Christian living" (MC 57). Also, Mariology is called to make its contribution to the work of evangelization (cf. Sapientia Christiana, 3). 32
[regarding seminarians]

- necessity of promoting an authentic Marian piety among seminarians
- recommended that seminarians "should love and honour the most Blessed Virgin Mary, who was given as a mother to his disciple by Christ Jesus as he hung dying on the cross." (Optatam Totius, 8) 33

- in the Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis the Congregation requests the seminarian "to have a fervent love for the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, who was in a special way associated with the work of Redemption" (Congregatio Pro Institutione Catholica, Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis (Roma 1985) 54 e)

- in the circular letter concerning some of the more urgent aspects of spiritual formation on seminaries the Congregation noted that "there is nothing better than true devotion to Mary, conceived as an ever more completed following of her example, to introduce one to the joy of believing" (Id.,Circular letter concerning some of the more urgent aspects of spiritual formation in seminaries, II, 4), which is so important for anyone who will spend the rest of his life in the continual exercise of faith. 33

Conclusion:

The Code of Canon Law, treating of the formation of candidates for the priesthood, recommends devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary so that, nourished by the exercises of piety, the students may acquire the spirit of prayer and be strengthened in their vocation. (cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 246, par. 3) 33



To All Consecrated Persons, Marian Year, 1988

Introduction:

The encyclical Redemptoris Mater explains the meaning of the Marian Year which the whole Church has been celebrating since last Pentecost and which will continue until the coming Solemnity of the Assumption. 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) 1

The Marian Year may mark a reawakening of vocations through a more trusting recourse to Mary, as to a Mother who provides for her family's needs, and also through a deepened sense of responsibility among all members of the Church for the promotion of the consecrated life in the Church. 35



Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994

The Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, issued on that occasion [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: two thousand years ago the Son of God was made man by the power of the Holy Spirit and was born of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. 26



Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

At the conclusion of this document presenting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I beseech the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word and Mother of the Church, to support with her powerful intercession the catechetical work of the entire Church on every level, at this time when she is called to a new effort of evangelization. [Fidei Depositum]



Orientale Lumen, 1995 Ut Unum Sint, 1995

In my recent letter to the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Catholic Church indicating the path to be followed toward the celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Holy Year 200, I wrote that "the best preparation for the new millennium can only be expressed in a renewed commitment to apply, as faithfully as possible, the teachings of Vatican II to the life of every individual and of the whole church." (TMA 20) The Second Vatican Council is the great beginning - the advent as it were - of the journey leading us to the threshold of the third millennium UUS 100



Vita Consecrata, 1996

With respectful sensitivity and missionary boldness, consecrated men and women should show that faith in Jesus Christ enlightens the whole enterprise of education, never disparaging human values but rather confirming and elevating them. Thus do consecrated persons become witnesses and instruments of the power of the incarnation and the vitality of the Spirit. This task of theirs is one of the most significant manifestations of that motherhood which the church, in the image of Mary, exercises on behalf of all her children. (John Paul II, apostolic constitution Sapientia Christiana, April 15, 1979, II) 97



Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

As a way of highlighting this invitation, prompted by the forthcoming 120th anniversary of the aforementioned Encyclical of Leo XIII, I desire that during the course of this year the Rosary should be especially emphasized and promoted in the various Christian communities. I therefore proclaim the year from October 2002 to October 2003 the Year of the Rosary.

I leave this pastoral proposal to the initiative of each ecclesial community. It is not my intention to encumber but rather to complete and consolidate pastoral programmes of the Particular Churches. I am confident that the proposal will find a ready and generous reception. The Rosary, reclaimed in its full meaning, goes to the very heart of Christian life; it offers a familiar yet fruitful spiritual and educational opportunity for personal contemplation, the formation of the People of God, and the new evangelization. I am pleased to reaffirm this also in the joyful remembrance of another anniversary: the fortieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council on October 11, 1962, the "great grace" disposed by the Spirit of God for the Church in our time. (John XIII asked for prayer of the Rosary, Sept. 28, 60) 3

A number of historical circumstances also make a revival of the Rosary quite timely. First of all, the need to implore from God the gift of peace. The Rosary has many times been proposed by my predecessors and myself as a prayer for peace. 6

The revival of the Rosary in Christian families, within the context of a broader pastoral ministry to the family, will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age. 6

The Rosary is also a path of proclamation and increasing knowledge, in which the mystery of Christ is presented again and again at different levels of the Christian experience. Its form is that of a prayerful and contemplative presentation, capable of forming Christians according to the heart of Christ. When the recitation of the Rosary combines all the elements needed for an effective meditation, especially in its communal celebration in parishes and shrines, it can present a significant catechetical opportunity which pastors should use to advantage. In this way too Our Lady of the Rosary continues her work of proclaiming Christ. The history of the Rosary shows how this prayer was used in particular by the Dominicans at a difficult time for the Church due to the spread of heresy. Today we are facing new challenges. Why should we not once more have recourse to the Rosary, with the same faith as those who have gone before us? The Rosary retains all its power and continues to be a valuable pastoral resource for every good evangelizer. 17

In this way the Rosary can be better adapted to different spiritual traditions and different Christian communities. It is to be hoped, then, that appropriate formulas will be widely circulated, after due pastoral discernment and possibly after experimental use in centers and shrines particularly devoted to the Rosary, so that the People of God may benefit from an abundance of authentic spiritual riches and find nourishment for their personal contemplation. 35

[Assigning specific days for specific mysteries] This indication is not intended to limit a rightful freedom in personal and community prayer, where account needs to be taken of spiritual and pastoral needs and of the occurrence of particular liturgical celebrations which might call for suitable adaptations. What is really important is that the Rosary should always be seen and experienced as a path of contemplation. 38

I would therefore ask those who devote themselves to the pastoral care of families to recommend heartily the recitation of the Rosary. The family that prays together stays together. The Holy Rosary, by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together. Individual family members, in turning their eyes towards Jesus, also regain the ability to look one another in the eye, to communicate, to show solidarity, to forgive one another and to see their covenant of love renewed in the Spirit of God. Many of the problems facing contemporary families, especially in economically developed societies, result from their increasing difficulty in communicating. Families seldom manage to come together, and the rare occasions when they do are often taken up with watching television. To return to the recitation of the family Rosary means filling daily life with very different images, images of the mystery of salvation: the image of the Redeemer, the image of his most Blessed Mother. The family that recites the Rosary together reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth: its members place Jesus at the center, they share his joys and sorrows, they place their needs and their plans in his hands, they draw from him the hope and the strength to go on. 41

A prayer so easy and yet so rich truly deserves to be rediscovered by the Christian community. Let us do so, especially this year, as a means of confirming the direction outlined in my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, from which the pastoral plans of so many particular Churches have drawn inspiration as they look to the immediate future.

I turn particularly to you, my dear Brother Bishops, priests and deacons, and to you, pastoral agents in your different ministries: through your own personal experience of the beauty of the Rosary, may you come to promote it with conviction.

I also place my trust in you, theologians: by your sage and rigorous reflection, rooted in the word of God and sensitive to the lived experience of the Christian people, may you help them to discover the Biblical foundations, the spiritual riches and the pastoral value of this traditional prayer. 43


Pastores Gregis, 2003

To commend oneself to the word of God and to keep it, like the Virgin Mary, Virgo audiens, requires the practice of certain aids constantly proposed by the Church's tradition and spiritual experience. 15

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MARY AND PRAYER IN THE "CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH"

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

Prayer:
[Due to the extended special nature of this section in the CCC, it is being treated separately here.]

2599 The Son of God who became Son of the Virgin learned to pray in his human heart. He learns to pray from his mother, who kept all the great things the Almighty had done and treasured them in her heart. (Lk 1:49; 2:19; 2:51) He learns to pray in the words and rhythms of the prayer of his people, in the synagogue at Nazareth and the Temple at Jerusalem. But his prayer springs from an otherwise secret source, as he intimates at the age of twelve: "I must be in my Father's house." (Lk 2:49) Here the newness of prayer in the fullness of time begins to be revealed: his filial prayer, which the Father awaits from his children, is finally going to be lived out by the only Son in his humanity, with and for men.

2617 Mary's prayer is revealed to us at the dawning of the fullness of time. Before the incarnation of the Son of God, and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, her prayer cooperatesin a unique way with the Father's plan of loving kindness: at the Annunciation, for Christ's conception; at Pentecost, for the formation of the Church, his Body. (cf. Lk 1:38; Acts 1:14) In the faith of his humble handmaid, the Gift of God found the acceptance he had awaited from the beginning of time. She whom the Almighty made "full of grace" responds by offering her whole being: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word." "Fiat" this is Christian prayer: to be wholly God's, because he is wholly ours.

2618 The Gospel reveals to us how Mary prays and intercedes in faith. At Cana, (cf. Jn 2:1-12) the mother of Jesus asks her son for the needs of a wedding feast; this is the sign of another feast that of the wedding of the Lamb where he gives his body and blood at the request of the Church, his Bride. It is at the hour of the New Covenant, at the foot of the cross, (cf. Jn 19:25-27) that Mary is heard as the Woman, the new Eve, the true "Mother of all the living."

2619 That is why the Canticle of Mary, (cf. Lk 1:46-55) the Magnificat (Latin) or Megalynei (Byzantine) is the song both of the Mother of God and of the Church; the song of the Daughter of Zion and of the new People of God; the song of thanksgiving for the fullness of graces poured out in the economy of salvation and the song of the "poor" whose hope is met by the fulfillment of the promises made to our ancestors, "to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."

2622 The prayers of the Virgin Mary, in her Fiat and Magnificat, are characterized by the generous offering of her whole being in faith.

2665 The prayer of the Church, nourished by the Word of God and the celebration of the liturgy, teaches us to pray to the Lord Jesus. Even though her prayer is addressed above all to the Father, it includes in all the liturgical traditions forms of prayer addressed to Christ. Certain psalms, given their use in the Prayer of the Church, and the New Testament place on our lips and engrave in our hearts prayer to Christ in the form of invocations: Son of God, Word of God, Lord, Savior, Lamb of God, King, Beloved Son, Son of the Virgin, Good Shepherd, our Life, our Light, our Hope, our Resurrection, Friend of mankind.....

2673 In prayer the Holy Spirit unites us to the person of the only Son, in his glorified humanity, through which and in which our filial prayer unites us in the Church with the Mother of Jesus. (cf. Acts 1:14)

2674 Mary gave her consent in faith at the Annunciation and maintained it without hesitation at the foot of the Cross. Ever since, her motherhood has extended to the brothers and sisters of her Son "who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties." (LG 62) Jesus, the only mediator, is the way of our prayer; Mary, his mother and ours, is wholly transparent to him: she "shows the way" (hodigitria), and is herself "the Sign" of the way, according to the traditional iconography of East and West.

2675 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. In countless hymns and antiphons expressing this prayer, two movementsusually alternate with one another: the first "magnifies" the Lord for the "great things" he did for his lowly servant and through her for all human beings; (cf. Lk 1:46-55) the second entrusts the supplications and praises of the children of God to the Mother of Jesus, because she now knows the humanity which, in her, the Son of God espoused.

2676 This twofold movement of prayer to Mary has found a privileged expression in the Ave Maria:

Hail Mary [or Rejoice, Mary]: the greeting of the angel Gabriel opens this prayer.It is God himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greets Mary. Our prayer dares to take up this greeting to Mary with the regard God had for the lowliness of his humble servant and to exult in the joy he finds in her. (cf. Lk 1:48; Zeph 3-17b)
Full of grace, the Lord is with thee: These two phrases of the angel's greeting shed light on one another. Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her. The grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace. "Rejoice...O Daughter of Jerusalem...the Lord your God is in your midst." (Zeph 3:14, 17a) Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is "the dwelling of God...with men." (Rev 21:3) Full of grace, Mary is wholly given over to him who has come to dwell in her and whom she is about to give to the world.

Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. After the angel's greeting, we make Elizabeth's greeting our own. "Filled with the Holy Spirit," Elizabeth is the first in the long succession of generations who have called Mary "blessed." (Lk 1:41, 48) "Blessed is she who believed...." (Lk 1:45) Mary is "blessed among women" because she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord's word. Abraham, because of his faith, became a blessing for all the nations of the earth. cf. Gen 12:3) Mary, because of her faith, became the mother of believers, through whom all nations of the earth receive him who is God's own blessing: Jesus, the "fruit of thy womb."

2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, "And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Lk 1:43) Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: "Let it be to me according to your word." (Lk 1:38) By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: "Thy will be done."

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the "Mother of Mercy," the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender "the hour of our death" wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son's death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing (cf. Jn 19:27) to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.

2678 Medieval piety in the West developed the prayer of the rosary as a popular substitute for the Liturgy of the Hours. In the East, the litany called the Akathistos and the Paraclesis remained closer to the choral office in the Byzantine churches, while the Armenian, Coptic, and Syriac traditions preferred popular hymns and songs to the Mother of God. But in the Ave Maria, the theotokia, the hymns of St. Ephrem or St. Gregory of Narek, the tradition of prayer is basically the same.

2679 Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes, (cf. Jn 19:27) for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope. (cf. LG 68-69)

2682 Because of Mary's singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit the Church loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary, to magnify with her the great things the Lord has done for her, and to entrust supplications and praises to her.

2725 Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.

2827 "If any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him." (Jm 9:31; cf. 1 Jn 5:14) Such is the power of the Church's prayer in the name of her Lord, above all in the Eucharist. Her prayer is also a communion of intercession with the all-holy Mother of God (cf. Lk 1:38, 49) and all the saints who have been pleasing to the Lord because they willed his will alone:

It would not be inconsistent with the truth to understand the words, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," to mean: "in the Church as in our Lord Jesus Christ himself"; or "in the Bride who has been betrothed, just as in the Bridegroom who has accomplished the will of the Father." (Augustine)

[Our Father]
2837 "Daily (epiousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. ... The Eucharist is our daily bread. ... The Father in heaven urges us, as children of heaven, to ask for the bread of heaven. [Christ] himself is the bread who, sown in the Virgin, raised up in the flesh, kneaded in the Passion, baked in the oven of the tomb, reserved in churches, brought to altars, furnishes the faithful each day with food from heaven. (Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 67)

[But deliver us from evil]
2853 Victory over the "prince of this world" (Jn 14:30) was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is "cast out." (Jn 12:31; Rev 12:10) "He pursued the woman" (Rev 12:13-16) but had no hold on her: the new Eve, "full of grace" of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). "Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring." (Rev 12:17) Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: "Come, Lord Jesus," (Rev 22:17, 20) since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.

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MARY AND THE COMMANDMENTS IN THE "CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH"

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 Fidei Depositum, 1992

Commandments:

2146 The second commandment forbids the abuse of God's name, i.e., every improper use of the names of God, Jesus Christ, but also of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.

2162 The second commandment forbids every improper use of God's name. Blasphemy is the use of the name of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Virgin Mary, and of the saints in an offensive way.

2177 The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church." (CIC, can 1246'1)

"Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints." (CIC, can 1246 ' 2: "The conference of bishops can abolish certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval of the Apostolic See.")

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ADAPTATION/INCULTURATION

Lumen Gentium, 1964

various forms of piety...according to the dispositions and understanding of the faithful [correct understanding of cult] 66

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

[The document does not per se give indications of cultural adaptation regarding Marian devotion, etc. The appendix does show, however, that evangelization, especially the naming, consecrating, and patronage of the land was Marian, especially under the title Immaculate Conception.]

Marialis Cultus, 1974

local devotions and which have acquired a wider popularity and interest 8 [see same in liturgical expressions]
... many forms according to circumstances of time and place, the different sensibilities of peoples and their different cultural traditions 24

Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

[see: national patronage, Mary's Immaculate Conception]
with the multiplicity of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, devotions to the Lord, the virgin and the saints provide a rich tapestry on which is woven the many threads of our ancestry in the faith. 143

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

[post-conciliar: new themes, new treatments] the problem of inculturation of Marian doctrine and forms of Marian piety 16

Orientale Lumen, 1995 Ut Unum Sint, 1995

At a time when it is increasingly recognized that the right of every people to express themselves according to their own heritage of culture and thought is fundamental, the experience of the individual churches of the East is offered to us as an authoritative example of successful inculturation. OL 7

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

Such a final prayer could take on a legitimate variety of forms, as indeed it already does. In this way the Rosary can be better adapted to different spiritual traditions and different Christian communities. It is to be hoped, then, that appropriate formulas will be widely circulated, after due pastoral discernment and possibly after experimental use in centers and shrines particularly devoted to the Rosary, so that the People of God may benefit from an abundance of authentic spiritual riches and find nourishment for their personal contemplation. 35

This indication is not intended to limit a rightful freedom in personal and community prayer, where account needs to be taken of spiritual and pastoral needs and of the occurrence of particular liturgical celebrations which might call for suitable adaptations. What is really important is that the Rosary should always be seen and experienced as a path of contemplation. 38

Deus Caritas Est, 2005

The testimonials of gratitude, offered to her from every continent and culture, are a recognition of that pure love which is not self- seeking but simply benevolent. 42

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RIGHT MEASURE/CORRECTNESS

Lumen Gentium, 1964

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

Those opinions may be lawfully retained which are propounded in Catholic schools concerning her. 54

She is rightly honored by a special cult in the Church. 66

The sacred synod teaches this Catholic doctrine advisedly [Marian cult subordinate to honor paid Christ]. 67

that those decrees, which were given in the early days regarding the cult images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin...be religiously observed. 67

[the synod] strongly urges theologians and preachers...to be careful to refrain as much from all false exaggeration as from too summary an attitude in considering the special dignity of the Mother of God...let them rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always refer to Christ... 67

[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

Under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium, let them [theologians...] rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always refer to Christ. 67

Mense Maio, 1965

make provision for special prayers in each diocese and every parish during...May, devoting...the Feast of Our Lady Queen of Heaven to solemn public prayers 11
Do not fail to lay careful stress on the saying of the Rosary. 11

Christi Matri Rosarii, 1968

It is right for us to direct our attention, yours, venerable brothers, and that of all the faithful to her. 12
It will be your task, venerable brothers...to prescribe the observances [Oct 4,1966] through which [all]... may be joined together in generous prayer to her 19

Signum Magnum, 1967

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
Jesus gave us Mary as our Mother, and proposed her as a model to be imitated. Now it is quite fitting that children should think the same way as their mothers, and reflect their praiseworthy virtues in their own behavior 31

Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973

Religious instruction should lead
the teacher should explain
In religious instruction there should be veneration due ...should be taught 24

Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973

We urge the restoration and renewal of the ancient love of Christendom for the Mother of the Lord as a tribute to lay tenderly at her feet. 11 To venerate Mary correctly means to acknowledge her Son, for she is the Mother of God.... (LG 66) 82

[concerning cult/devotion] A middle way is recommended between the extremes of too much and too little. 91

With the Vatican Council we remind true lovers of our Lady of the danger of superficial sentiment and vain credulity. (LG 67) 100

Marialis Cultus, 1974

[Devotion to Mary must have these aspects:] Trinitarian, Christological, Ecclesial 24-25f.

This devotion fits - as we have indicated above - into the only worship that is rightly called "Christian," because it takes its origin and effectiveness from Christ, finds its complete expression in Christ, and leads through Christ in the Spirit to the Father. (In)

In the sphere of worship this devotion necessarily reflects God's redemptive plan, in which a special form of veneration is appropriate to the singular place which Mary occupies in that plan. (LG 66) (In)
Indeed every authentic development of Christian worship is necessarily followed by a fitting increase of veneration for the Mother of the Lord. (In)

Moreover, the history of piety shows how "the various forms of devotion towards the Mother of God that the Church has approved within the limits of wholesome and orthodox doctrine" (LG 66) have developed in harmonious subordination to the worship of Christ, and have gravitated towards this worship as to their natural and necessary point of reference. (In)

it is useful to return to [LG, SM themes] in order to remove doubts and, especially, to help the development of that devotion to the Blessed Virgin which in the Church is motivated by the Word of God and practiced in the Spirit of Christ. (In)

by linking the awaiting of the Messiah and the awaiting of the glorious return of Christ with the admirable commemoration of His Mother, presents a happy balance in worship. This balance can be taken as a norm for preventing any tendency (as has happened at times in certain forms of popular piety) to separate devotion to the Blessed Virgin from its necessary point of reference - Christ. It also ensures that this season, as liturgy experts have noted, should be considered as a time particularly suited to devotion to the Mother of the Lord. This is an orientation that we confirm and which we hope to see accepted and followed everywhere. 4

[Church regarding development of Marian devotion] with careful attention to truth and with an ever watchful nobility of expression 15

... the liturgy ... constitutes the golden norm for Christian piety ... the Church when she celebrates the sacred mysteries assumes an attitude of faith and love similar to that of the Virgin, we realize the rightness of the exhortation that the Second Vatican Council addresses to all the children of the Church, namely "that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin be generously fostered." (LG 67) This is an exhortation that we would like to see accepted everywhere without reservation and put into zealous practice. 23

... subject to the ravages of time, show the need for a renewal that will permit them to substitute elements that are transient, to emphasize the elements that are ever new and to incorporate the doctrinal data obtained from theological reflection and the proposals of the Church's Magisterium. This shows the need for episcopal conferences, local churches, religious families and communities of the faithful to promote a genuine creative activity and at the same time to proceed to a careful revision of expressions and exercises of piety directed towards the Blessed Virgin. We would like this revision to be respectful of wholesome tradition and open to the legitimate requests of the people of our time. It seems fitting therefore, venerable Brothers, to put forward some principles for action in this field. 24

Expressions of devotion should reflect God's plan 25
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin must explicitly show its intrinsic and ecclesiological content: thus it will be enabled to revise its forms and texts in a fitting way. 28

Biblical, Liturgical, Ecumenical and Anthropological [Articles 29-39]

These are to be borne in mind in any revision of exercises of piety or in the creation of new ones, in order to emphasize and accentuate the bond which unites us to her who is the Mother of Christ and our Mother in the communion of saints. 29

other forms of devotion ... the criteria on which they should be based... the norm laid down in the Constitution Sacrosanctum concilium. ... while wholeheartedly approving of the practices of piety of the Christian people ...: "...it is necessary however that such devotions with consideration for the liturgical seasons should be so arranged as to be in harmony with -.,the sacred liturgy. They should somehow derive their inspiration from it, and because of its pre-eminence they should orient the Christian people towards it." (DV 13) 31

recall the rule laid down by the Council prescribing that exercises of piety should be harmonized with the liturgy, not merged into it. 31

Wise pastoral action should, on the one hand, point out and emphasize the proper nature of the liturgical acts, while, on the other hand, it should enhance the value of practices of piety in order to adapt them to the needs of individual communities in the Church and to make them valuable aids to the liturgy. 31

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin must also pay close attention to certain findings of the human sciences. [Need to] help to eliminate one of the difficulties experienced in devotion ... the discrepancy existing between some aspects of this devotion and modern anthropological discoveries and the profound changes which have occurred in the psycho-sociological field in which modern man lives and works. 34

The picture of the Blessed Virgin presented in a certain type of devotional literature cannot easily be reconciled with today's life-style, especially the way women live today.

 In the home, woman's equality and coresponsibility with man in the running of the family are being justly recognized by laws and the evolution of customs.

 In the sphere of politics women have in many countries gained a position in public life equal to that of men.

 In the social field women are at work in a whole range of different employments, getting further away every day from the restricted surroundings of the home.

 In the cultural field new possibilities are opening up for women in scientific research and intellectual activities. 34

In consequence ... some people are becoming disenchanted with devotion to the Blessed Virgin and finding it difficult to take as an example Mary of Nazareth because the horizons of her life, so they say, seem rather restricted in comparison with the vast spheres of activity open to mankind today. In this regard we exhort theologians, those responsible for local Christian communities and the faithful themselves to examine these difficulties with due care. 34

It is now up to episcopal conferences, to those in charge of local communities and to the various religious congregations prudently to revise practices and exercises of piety in honor of the Blessed Virgin, and to encourage the creative impulse of those who through genuine religious inspiration or pastoral sensitivity wish to establish new forms of piety. [Nevertheless the Angelus and the Rosary are discussed here.] 40
[Note: Exhortation addressed to the bishops]

Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979

should be taught by word and example [see above] 106
the Hail Mary...should be known by all 143

Catechesi Tradendae, 1979

What kind of catechesis would it be that failed to give their full place? 301

Redemptoris Mater, 1987

[in context of discussion on Magnificat] there is a duty to safeguard carefully the importance of "the poor" and of "the option in favor of the poor" in the word of the living God. These are matters and questions intimately connected with the Christian meaning of freedom and liberation. 37

For every Christian, for every human being, Mary is the one who first "believed," and precisely with her faith as Spouse and Mother she wishes to act upon all those who entrust themselves to her as her children. And it is well known that the more her children persevere and progress in this attitude, the nearer Mary leads them to the "unsearchable riches of Christ." (Eph. 3:8) And to the same degree they recognize more and more clearly the dignity of man in all its fullness and the definitive meaning of his vocation, for "Christ ... fully reveals man to man himself." (GS 22) 46

Paul VI said: "Knowledge of the true Catholic doctrine regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary will always be a key to the exact understanding of the mystery of Christ and of the Church." (Nov 21,1964) 47

The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988

The dignity and importance of Mariology, therefore, derive from the dignity and importance of Christology, from the value of ecclesiology and pneumatology, from the meaning of supernatural anthropology and from eschatology: Mariology is closely connected with these tracts. 22

The data expounded in the first part of this Letter show that Mariology is alive and active in relevant questions in matters doctrinal and pastoral. However, it is necessary that the study of Mariology, together with attention to the pastoral problems which are emerging gradually, attend to rigorous research, conducted according to scientific criteria. 23

The study of the sacred Scriptures, therefore, must be the soul of Mariology (DV 24; OT 16). 24

Research into Scripture and Tradition ... must also integrate and be strengthened by the more secure fruits of learning in anthropology and the human sciences. 27

The Teaching of Mariology

Considering the importance of the Virgin in the history of salvation and in the life of the people of God, and after promptings of Vatican Council II and of the Popes, it would be unthinkable that the teaching of Mariology be obscured today: it is necessary therefore that it be given its just place in seminaries and theological faculties. 27

Such teaching, consisting of a "systematic treatment" will be:
a) organic, that is, inserted adequately in the program of studies of the theological curriculum;
b) complete, so that the person of the Virgin be considered in the whole history of salvation, that is in her relation to God; to Christ, the Word incarnate, Saviour and Mediator; to the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier and Giver of life; to the Church, sacrament of salvation; to man - in his origins and his development in the life of grace, and his destiny to glory;
c) suited
to the various types of institution (centres of religious culture, seminaries, theological faculties...) and
to the level of the students:
future priests and teachers of Mariology,
animators of Marian piety in the dioceses,
those who are responsible for formation in the religious life, catechists,
those who give conferences, and
the many who want to deepen their knowledge of Mary. 28

Teaching thus given will avoid one-sided presentations of the figure and mission of Mary, presentations which are detrimental to the whole vision of her mystery. Sound teaching will be a stimulus to deep research B in seminaries and through the writing of licence and doctoral theses B into the sources of Revelation and the documents. Mariological study can also profit from interdisciplinary teaching. 29

It is necessary, therefore, that every centre of theological study B according to its proper physiognomy B plan that in its Ratio studiorum the teaching of Mariology be included, having the characteristics listed above; and, consequently, with the teachers of Mariology being properly qualified. 30

With regard to this latter point, we would draw attention to the Norms of the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana which provide for licences and doctorates in theology, specializing in Mariology. 31

the Congregation for Catholic Education wishes to reaffirm the necessity of furnishing seminarians and students of all centres of ecclesiastical studies with Mariological formation which embraces study, devotion and life-style.
They must:
a) acquire a complete and exact knowledge of the doctrine of the Church about the Virgin Mary which enables them to distinguish between true and false devotion, and to distinguish authentic doctrine from its deformations arising from excess or neglect; and above all which discloses to them the way to understand and to contemplate the supreme beauty of the glorious Mother of Christ;
b) nourish an authentic love for the Mother of the Saviour and Mother of mankind, which expresses itself in genuine forms of devotion and is led to "the imitation of her virtues" (Lumen Gentium, 67), above all to a decisive commitment to live according to the commandments of God and to do his will (cf. Mt 7:21; Jn 15:14);
c) develop the capacity to communicate such love to the Christian people through speech, writing and example, so that their Marian piety may be promoted and cultivated. 34
There are numerous advantages to be derived form an adequate Mariological formation in which the ardour of faith and the commitment to study are harmoniously composed:
on the intellectual level, so that the truth about God, about Man, about Christ and about the Church are understood the more in understanding the "truth about Mary";
on the spiritual level, so that such information will help a Christian to welcome the Mother of Jesus and "bring her into everything that makes up his inner life" (RM 45);
on the pastoral level, so that the Mother of the Lord may be strongly felt as a presence of grace among the Christian people. 35 (Document is meant for educators and stresses the "doctrinal" in the first place.

To All Consecrated Persons, Marian Year, 1988

I exhort you to respond to this desire of Mary's with a community act of dedication, which is precisely "the response to the love of a Mother." (RM 45) 39

Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002

In effect, the Rosary is simply a method of contemplation. As a method, it serves as a means to an end and cannot become an end in itself. All the same, as the fruit of centuries of experience, this method should not be undervalued. In its favor one could cite the experience of countless Saints. This is not to say, however, that the method cannot be improved. ... Otherwise there is a risk that the Rosary would not only fail to produce the intended spiritual effects, but also that the beads, with which it is usually said, could come to be regarded as some kind of amulet or magic object, thereby radically distorting their meaning and function. 28

This need for concreteness finds further expression in the announcement of the various mysteries of the Rosary. Obviously these mysteries neither replace the Gospel nor exhaust its content. The Rosary, therefore, is no substitute for lectio divina; on the contrary, it presupposes and promotes it. Yet, even though the mysteries contemplated in the Rosary, even with the addition of the mysteria lucis, do no more than outline the fundamental elements of the life of Christ, they easily draw the mind to a more expansive reflection on the rest of the Gospel, especially when the Rosary is prayed in a setting of prolonged recollection. 2

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© This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.
Most recently updated in 2005.

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