Over the centuries much has been written about every aspect of Our Lady's life and work, and their theological implications. So much, that for many of us a systematic study of Our Lady in the Church's teaching seems a daunting task; we need help so that we may share in the joy of study and reflection on Mary's being and action in the economy of Salvation.
In this book Dr Paul Haffner offers a clear and structured overview of theology and doctrine concerning Mary, set in an historical perspective. He outlines the basic scheme of what constitutes Mariology, set in the context of other forms of theological enquiry, and, working through the contribution of Holy Scripture — in the Old Testament forms of prefigurement and the New Testament witness — he proceeds to examine each of the fundamental doctrines that the Church teaches about Our Lady. From the Immaculate Conception to Mary's continuing Motherhood in the Church as Mediatrix of all graces, the reader will find here a sure and steady guide, faithful to tradition and offering a realist perspective, not reducing the concrete aspects of Mary's gifts and privileges to mere symbols on the one hand, and not confusing doctrine and devotionalism on the other.
The Mystery of Mary, with a foreword by Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganca, is published to celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the definition by Pope Blessed Pius IX of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
Paul Haffner, a priest of the diocese of Portsmouth (England), obtained his first degree in physics at Oxford University. He went on to philosophical and theological studies in Rome, and received his doctorate from the Pontifical Gregorian University. At present, he is lecturer in systematic and dogmatic theology in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Lateran University and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum. His publications with Gracewing include A Methodology for Term Papers and Theses and, in this series, The Mystery of Creation, The Sacramental Mystery and The Mystery of Reason (all now also published in Italian by Vatican Press).
Cover image © The Crosiers Gene / Plaisted,osc
The Mystery of
Published in the USA and Canada by Liturgy Training Publications under the imprint Hillenbrand Books. The imprint is focused on contemporary and classical theological thought concerning the liturgy of the Catholic Church. Further information available from the University of St Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, 1000 East Maple Avenue, Mundelein IL firstname.lastname@example.org
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© Paul Haffner 2004
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Chapter 1: A THEOLOGY FOR MARY....................1
A brief history of Mariology..................4 Relation of Mariology to other theological themes1..........................13 Mariology and Protology......................13 Mariology and Christology....................17 Mariology and Soteriology....................17 Mariology and Pneumatology...................18 Mariology and Ecclesiology...................18 Mariology and Eschatology....................19 Mariology offers a theological synthesis.....20
Chapter 2: DAUGHTER OF SION.......................25
Chapter 3:HANDMAID OF THE LORD....................48
Mary fulfils the Old Testament...............48 Mary in the Synoptic Gospels.................51The Gospel of Mark.......................51 The Gospel according to Matthew..........52 The Gospel according to Luke and Acts....55The Magnificat...............................59 The Presentation of the Lord.................62 The Finding in the Temple....................62 Mary and the early Christian Community.......63 Mary in the writings of St John..............64 The writings of St Paul......................68 Conclusions..................................69
Chapter 4: FULL OF GRACE...........................73
The early centuries..........................73 The Immaculate Conception....................81 Mary was free from actual sin................89 The holiness of Mary.........................95 The Holy Name of Mary........................99
Chapter 5: MOTHER OF GOD..........................107
Development of the doctrine.................107 The physical maternity of Our Lady..........108 The metaphysical maternity of Our Lady......110 Consequences of the divine Motherhood.......121
Chapter 6: EVER A VIRGIN..........................134
Virginity before the Birth of Christ........136 The Virginal Conception of Christ...........139 Virginity during the Birth of Christ........150 Virginity after the Birth of Christ......159 The perpetual Virginity of Mary..........164
Chapter 7: DISCIPLE OF HER SON....................175
Mary, the First Disciple..................175 Mary as Exemplar of faith...................179 Mary as Associate of Christ.................182 Mary as Coredemptrix.......................87
Chapter 8: ASSUMED INTO HEAVEN....................208
The close of Mary's earthly Life............209 The Assumption of Our Blessed Lad...........217 The Queenship of Mary.......................229
Chapter 9: MOTHER OF THE CHURCH......................238
Mary, Member of the Church..................238 Mary, Type of the Church....................240 Mary, Mother of the Church..................243 Mary and the Eucharist..................249 Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces...............254
Select Bibliography.............................273 Index...........................................277
This book offers an overall view of the theology of Mary, known as Mariology. With several texts available, one may ask why another one should be offered. First, concerning Mary one can never say enough, de Maria numquam satis, as St Louis Grignon de Montfort wrote, quoting an earlier tradition, going back maybe as far as St Bernard of Clairvaux. Then it is a joy for every theologian to reflect and shed light upon Mary's being and action in the economy of salvation. Next, the present work offers a realist perspective, not reducing the concrete aspects of Mary's gifts and privileges to mere symbols on the one hand, and not confusing doctrine and devotionalism on the other. Above all, this book represents a little shrine of the mind and heart for Our Lady, to celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the definition of the dogma of her Immaculate Conception by Pope Blessed Pius IX.
This text is primarily concerned with giving a theologi cal and doctrinal panorama concerning Mary, in a historical perspective. Therefore questions concerning spirituality, devotion and pastoral practice are not dealt with directly. Nevertheless, it is the author's conviction that the foundation for fruitful devotion to the Mother of God starts from sound doctrine based in Scripture and Tradition, and is nurtured by good theology. The book proceeds in thematic order. The first chapter outlines the basic scheme of what constitutes Mariology; not in isolation but in relation to other branches of theology. The second chapter deals with the Old Testament preparation for, and prefiguration of, the mystery of Marv. Next, the New testament sources for a Marian theology are proposed in chapter three. Chapter four examines the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and other truths about Our Lady being full of grace. The fifth chapter looks at Mary as Mother of God, the central dogma of Mariology. Then the various dimensions of the perpetual Virginity of Mary are elaborated in the sixth chapter. Mary's discipleship, a relatively recent theological acquisition, is examined in the seventh chapter, and this forms the basis for a discussion of her special and active participation in the Redemption. Chapter eight illustrates the end of Mary's earthly life and her glorious Assumption body and soul into the glory of heaven. The ninth and final chapter traces Mary's continuing Motherhood in the Church, in which she is the Mediatrix of all graces.
This book owes much to many, and it is impossible here to offer individual thanks to all who helped me in some way with its preparation. My gratitude above all goes to HRH the Duke of Braganca who kindly wrote the Foreword for this text. Thanks are due to Fr Thomas Williams, LC, who gave me helpful encouragement when I discussed this book with him. Fr Ken Martin made some very valuable suggestions, for which I am grateful. Once again at the publishers, Tom Longford and Jo Ashworth deserve my gratitude for their constant help and encouragement in the various stages of production. In this work, I would like also to commemorate Fr Redemptus Valabek, O. Carm., who died last year, and was a great inspiration as a lecturer in theology especially in this field of Mariology.
Rome, 25th March 2004 Solemnity of the Annunciation
I warmly commend this book, The Mystery of Mary, written by Revd Dr Paul Haffner, on the auspicious occasion of the 150th anniversary of the definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Portugal was the first place in the world to accept this Dogma.
During the reign of King Dom Joao IV (which began in 1640), in thanksgiving for the miracle of Portugal's reacquisition of its liberty after sixty years of Spanish occupation, the King consulted Parliament, the University of Coimbra and all of the Bishops concerning this question and all of these institutions approved the initiative of offering the Kingdom of Portugal to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the Title of the Immaculate Conception. Following this act, the successive Kings of Portugal never again wore a crown, since Our Lady had been proclaimed the Reigning Sovereign of Portugal.
This devotion has its headquarters in the Shrine of the Castle of Vila Vicosa, where King Dom Joao IV had lived and where the image he had crowned still exists. There also exists at Vila Vicosa a Confraternity of Our Lady of Conception and I have the honour of being the Grand Master of the Order of Our Lady of Conception. A stone plaque, proclaiming this act of consecration of Portugal to the Immaculate Conception, was placed in all castles in Portugal and at the gates of all Portuguese cities. This decision of the Portuguese nation which crowned Mary Immaculate as Queen of Portugal has never been revoked by any legislative act of Parliament, and thus continues to this day to be legally in force.
Curiously, the date which the republic proclaimed as the day of Portugal, lU June, the birthday of the epic sixteenth-century poet Luis de Cambes, is also the day which is dedicated to the Guardian Angel of Portugal. Certainly these two heavenly protectors, Our Lady Immaculate and the Guardian Angel, are the ones who have enabled our country to survive with its faith intact, despite political upheaval, frequent anti-Christian political views and less intelligent decisions taken by our leaders. The last great sign of Divine Protection consisted in the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Angel of Portugal at Fatima in 1917.
I hope we are all able to correspond to those very special Divine favours in order to continue to deserve the protection of Our Queen and Mother!
1 July 2004
The mystery of Mary lies at the very heart of Christian theology. This theme highlights God's relation with His creatures in clear relief, and reveals the human response to God at its most perfect. In the Incarnation of the Son of God, the enduring and definitive synthesis is forged, a synthesis which the human mind of itself could not even have imagined: the Eternal enters time, the Whole lies hidden in the part, God takes on a human face. The truth communicated in Christ's Revelation is offered to every man and woman who would welcome it as the word which is the absolutely valid source of meaning for human life. In Christ, all have access to the Father, since by His Death and Resurrection Christ has bestowed the divine life which the first Adam had refused.1 God comes to us in the realities we know best and can verify most easily, the people and events of our everyday life, in which we understand ourselves. And so, God's coming into the world is inseparably bound with the reality of His Mother Mary. Thus, in Christ's coming, we see most particularly and clearly what God does for humanity, in the marvels He has worked in and for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Therefore a study of Mary, Mother of God is like a microcosm or synthesis of the whole of theology, because of her intimate link with Christ in His act of creation, His Incarnation, the Redemption wrought by Him, and eschatology, which is still to be completed. The words of Mary the Mother of God, 'the Almighty has done great things for me, Holy is His name' are echoed by the Church and humanity.
In arriving at an understanding of Mary, Mother of God, just as in other areas of theology, a realist perspective is required. Realism is the philosophical bridge which guarantees the true relation between the knower and reality and is thus the right currency in which to frame theological discourse, to link reason with Christian belief in God.2 Interestingly, even theologians who write about Mariology from the perspective of liberation theology insist on the importance of realism: 'Realist anthropology provides Marian theology with a concrete support that can fit the changing reality of human existence ... It is today's life that gives life to Mary's life in the past.'3 Thus the realist fabric of God's action in time and space guarantees the perennial value of a discourse on Mariology as well as about other theological topics. Pope Paul VI echoed this when he affirmed:
Realism requires a serious grasp of the various events in Mary's existence, like her Immaculate Conception, her perpetual Virginity, her divine Motherhood and her bodily Assumption. These Marian mysteries have a bearing on the material world, and this physical aspect must be taken seriously as well. Thus realism defends Marian truths against a mythological perspective, or an excessively symbolic view of their nature, which often, in modernist and rationalist circles, tends to water them down. At the same time, a realist perspective defends Mariology from dissolving into pious sentimentalism, and instead grounds it solidly in the Word of God and right reason. Furthermore, Mariology guarantees a realist basis for the whole of theology, since Mary is the guarantee of the reality of the Incarnation, which is itself the base for all realism. The mystery of God the Son coming at a fixed point in time and assuming what He had created adds to a realist appreciation of time and matter. It is no longer possible to escape up the blind alleys of cyclic notions of time, of pantheistic notions of matter, of ideal- istic notions of reality. All time, all history, all matter, all space, radiate from the moment when God the Son took human flesh.
In Mariology, as in Christology, both the horizontal and vertical aspects need to be kept in view.5 This means that the figure of Mary as the humble Virgin of Nazareth and the Glorious Mary filled with grace are one and the same person. Similarly, as with the mystery of Christ so with the Marian mystery, there is no dichotomy or tension between the kenotic and the theophanic aspects. By the kenotic aspect, we understand the self-abasement of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity (Ph 2:5-11, 2 Co 8:9). This does not mean, and cannot signify in any way, the abandoning of the divine nature, but rather involves the acceptance by Christ of the limits of human existence, reaching a climax in the humiliation of the Cross. The theophanic aspect involves the visible manifestation of God, as prepared in the Old Testament and as realized in the New. While it was affirmed in the Old Testament that it was not possible to see God and live (Ex 19:21; 33, 20; Jg 13:22), Moses and others experienced theophanies (Ex 3:1-6; 33:17-23; 34:5-9; Is 6:1-5). The Gospels depict the theophanies of the Baptism of the Lord in the Jordan (Mt 4:16-17; Mk 1:9-11; Lk 3:21-22; Jn 1:29-34), the Wedding at Cana (Jn 2:1-12) and His Transfiguration on Mount Tabor (Mt 17:1-13; Mk 9:2-8; Lk 9:28-36), and above all in the appearances of Christ after His Resurrection from the dead.
A brief history of Mariology
In the history of Christianity, the periods in which Marian doctrine and devotion have flourished are also the periods when the worship and adoration of her Son were most prominent.6 The first major period ranges from the second to the ninth centuries, essentially the Patristic era. During this time, the Church reflected on Mary's role as the New Eve and acclaimed her divine maternity and perpetual virginity in patristic writings and various Councils. This was also the period when the great Trinitarian and Christological dogmas were debated and defined. During these first few centuries of the Church, there arose three Christological heresies which bear on the issue of the divine maternity. Docetism, while acknowledging the divinity of Christ, rejected the reality of His human nature, reducing it to a mere appearance. Arianism, on the other hand, accepted Jesus' humanity but denied that He was the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity. Both of these heresies rejected the dual nature of Christ and the mystery of the Incarnation. If Docetism were correct, Mary could not be called the Mother of God, since she would not be the Mother of God the Son incarnate. If Arianism were true, Jesus was not divine, and Mary could not be considered the Mother of God. At the First Council of Nicaea (AD 325), the first ecumenical council convened by the Church, both of these positions were condemned, and the reality of Jesus as true God and true man was infallibly defined.
After Nicaea, a third Christological heresy arose, called Nestorianism, which proposed two persons in Christ, rather than two natures in one Person. Mary would then be the mother of the human person of Christ only, and therefore not the Mother of God. Nestorianism was condemned by the third ecumenical council, held in Ephesus (AD 431). After the council, the Formula of Union declared that Jesus was 'begotten of the Father before all ages, as to his divinity and the same in the latter days born of the Virgin Mary as to his humanity for us and for our salvation ... A union of the two natures has taken place ... In accordance with this union without confusion, we profess the Holy Virgin to be Mother of God (Theotokos), for God the Word became flesh and was made man and from the moment of conception united to Himself the temple He had taken from her.'7
The parallel between Eve and Mary was well developed in the writings of the Fathers of both East and West, for example in St Justin Martyr, St Irenaeus, St Ephraem and Tertullian.8 From the New Testament Pauline and Johannine typology there developed the idea of Mary as type of the Church: 'symbol, central idea, and as it were, the summary of all that is meant by the Church in her nature and vocation.'9 St Ambrose was the first to provide the classic formula that Mary is a type of the Church.10 Augustine further developed this idea placing Mary before the Church as her ideal image and as perfect member of the body of Christ.11 During the eight and ninth centuries when the Second Council of Nicaea (AD 787) defined the veneration of images, Christians pondered more closely Mary's relationship to her Son, her sharing in His resurrection, her freedom from sin and the importance of her intercession.
The second period comprised the Scholastic era, when, among others notably St Anselm, St Thomas Aquinas, St Bonaventure and Blessed John Duns Scotus provided a systematic framework for Christology and a clearer understanding of Mary's role in the mystery of salvation. In particular, Scotus paved the way for an understanding of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
The third period stretched from 1400 to 1800, from the end of the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and Reformation until the Enlightenment. This was a period during which many of the great truths of Christianity increasingly came under attack. On the one hand, Luther maintained throughout his life the historic Christian affirmation that Mary was the Mother of God: 'She is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God ... It is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.'12 Again, all his life, Luther held that Mary's perpetual virginity was an article of faith for all Christians, and interpreted Galatians 4:4 in the sense that Christ was 'born of a woman' alone: 'It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a Virgin.'13 However, on the other hand, Luther was very critical of the traditional doctrines of Marian mediation and intercession. He accepted however that Mary should be honoured: 'The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart.'14 In his last sermon at Wittenberg in January 1546, Luther affirmed: 'Is Christ only to be adored? Or is the holy Mother of God rather not to be honoured? This is the woman who crushed the Serpent's head. Hear us. For your Son denies you nothing.'15 Calvin and Zwingli, while not so faithful to Marian doctrine as Luther, still venerated the Mother of God. The question is then why the Marian affirmations of the Reformers did not survive in the teaching of their heirs. The real reason for the break with the past must be attributed to the iconoclastic frenzy of the followers of the Reformation and the consequences of some Reformation principles. Although the Protestant Reformers had initially tried to hold to some Christological and Mariological truths, many of their heirs gradually fell under the sceptical influence of the Enlightenment.
Even more influential therefore in the break with the traditional doctrine concerning Mary was the influence of the Enlightenment era which essentially questioned or denied all the mysteries of faith. The Enlightenment was partly stimulated by the obvious success of reason in the natural sciences and mathematics. The dominant concept of the cosmos as a mechanism governed by a few simple and discoverable laws led to a desire to establish a purely rational religion. The product of a search for a natural and purely rational religion was deism, the false notion according to which, having created the world, God leaves it to its own devices, or at best allows it not to be destroyed. Deism was related to the Masonic concept of the Supreme Being as the Architect of the cosmos. Beyond the natural religion of the deists lay the more radical products of enlightenment exaggeration of reason in the religious sphere: scepticism, atheism, and materialism.16
The lowest point was reached when atheism was on the ascendant and Christian doctrine was emptied of substance even within various Christian communities. Marian doctrines were lost by later Protestants because of 'the spirit of the Enlightenment with its lack of understanding of mystery, and especially of the mystery of the Incarnation, which in the eighteenth century began the work of destruction.'17 The majority of Protestants have drifted away from the proper attitude towards Mary, which Martin Luther had indicated on the basis of Holy Scripture. This loss of devotion to Mary is partially due to the rise of Rationalism which discarded the sense of the sacred. In Rationalism man sought to understand everything, and that which he could not comprehend he rejected. Because Rationalism accepted only that which could be explained rationally, Church festivals in honour of Mary and everything else reminiscent of her were done away with in the Protestant Church. All biblical relationship to the Mother Mary was lost, and we are still suffering from this heritage.18 Despite the clouds of darkness hanging over Christendom, this period nevertheless saw the production of a number of devotional Marian masterpieces. After a longstanding liturgical and doctrinal interest in the role of the Mother of God in relation to Christ and His economy of salvation, the first systematic treatises were written in the sixteenth century. F. Suarez (1548-1617) treated Mariological questions in a systematic way, and P. Nigido first coined the term Mariology when he wrote the systematic treatise Summae sacrae mariologiae in 1602.19
The fourth and final period ranges from AD 1800 to the present day. It may be said that God launched a Marian counter-attack on the Enlightenment and the French Revolution in its nerve centre, through a series of Marian apparitions in France. These were the great nineteenth-century apparitions of the Miraculous Medal, La Salette and Lourdes which continue to exert a tremendous influence as tangible manifestations of the supernatural world denied by the Enlightenment.20 Such influential apparitions have continued into the twentieth century, the most notable example being Fatima in Portuga1.21 Accompanying these reminders of the Marian heritage, there has been a revival of interest in Marian doctrine and devotion that continues even today. However, many of the Christian communities who have rejected Marian doctrine and devotion have gradually departed from Christological doctrine as wel1.22
At the beginning of the twentieth century, many treatises were written, but then, later, Mariology fell into disfavour among those theologians who criticized it for being too isolated and autonomous, over-emphasizing Mary's close link with Christ and ignoring her condition as creature. The biblical, patristic, kerygmatic and liturgical movements called for a reintegration of Mariology within the framework of the history of salvation and with the rest of theology. The importance given to Mary by the Church is not simply based on her appearance in the Bible or upon her privileges but derives from her particular and unique role in the history of salvation. The foundation for this is the theological conception of the human person, who is called to play an active part in the work of salvation. Everyone has a particular role, but Mary's is unique because only she is Mother of the Saviour and Mother of the Church. Mariology studies her participation in the mystery of salvation, but it also studies her special privileges because these are related to her mission.
Classically, the Reformers rejected the possibility of a Mariology and Mary's unique participation in the history of salvation because of their anthropology. They reject the very possibility of an active collaboration of man in his salvation. In Reformed theology, traditionally the human person receives salvation, faith and grace passively. Some theologians suggest that ecumenical studies should start with the particular and concrete case of Mary and not the theory of justification. The question arises as to whether Mary responded actively or passively to her vocation. If we conclude that she participated actively, this clearly would also radically challenge the Protestant theory of man's incapacity to collaborate in his salvation.
Within Eastern Christendom, Mariology is not a separate theological discipline. Eastern Christians have never developed a separate Mariological 'theology', but always treat it as an inseparable part of Christology, Pneumatology and ecclesiology.23 Indeed, 'there is no Christian theology without permanent relation to the person and role of the Holy Virgin in the history of salvation.'24 Eastern Christendom lays the emphasis on the being of Mary, in the economy of salvation, while Western theology has often, since St Augustine, focused on Mary as an example and as a disciple. The Eastern tradition speaks about the relationship of the Theotokos and the Holy Trinity in the context of the history of salvation. According to St John Damascene, the 'name of the Mother of God contains all the history of the divine economy in this world.'25 The work of salvation and renewal of the world is made by God the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. The Theotokos is at the centre of the history of salvation, as St Gregory Palamas teaches: 'She is the cause of what came before Her, the champion of what came after Her and the agent of things eternal. She is the substance of the prophets, the principles of the apostles, the firm foundation of the martyrs and the premise of the teachers of the Church. She is the glory of those upon earth, the joy of celestial beings, the adornment of all creation. She is the beginning and the source and the root of unutterable good things; she is the summit and the consummation of everything holy.'26 This special role of the Theotokos flows from the fact that she alone is found between God and humanity.27 She was placed in a unique and exceptional relationship to the Holy Trinity, even before the Incarnation, as the prospective Mother of the Incarnate Lord to carry out the final consummation of God's eternal plan. 28
In recent years, Western theology has focused on two main emphases concerning Mary's role in the work of salvation, namely the Christological and the ecclesiological tendencies. The Christological tendency stressed Mary's relationship with her Son as Mother of God. Her privileges derive from this relationship and are parallel to Christ's because she is intimately associated with Him. For example, her virginity is a consequence of her divine Maternity. Her Immaculate Conception derives logically from her dignity as the Mother of God and is a preparation for the Incarnation. Her Assumption is also a consequence of her motherhood and places her in a category by herself. Because of her active role she is also the 'Mother of the Church', 'Coredemptrix' and 'Mediatrix'.29
The ecclesiological tendency emphasized Mary as figure or type of the Church. Due to this parallelism between Mary and the Church, her privileges must be understood in light of the properties of the Church. For example, her divine Motherhood is a prototype for the Church and constitutes the moment of the Church's formation. Mary is not above the Church but is a part of the Church. She is the Church's first and pre-eminent member, but like all members is redeemed by Christ. One of the problems with this tendency is that it undervalued Mary's active participation in the history of salvation. These two tendencies, the Christological and the ecclesiological, are not opposed to one another but rather are mutually complementary.
In recent years, it has also been necessary to counter feminist claims concerning Mariology. A small group of feminists maintains that 'the Church has failed to understand or promote women in general, while venerating Mary in particular.'30 Feminists proposed that Mary must be freed from the projections of a male-dominated hierarchy, and at the same time women must be freed from those images of Our Lady which they claim dominate them. The picture of Mary must take account of women's experience. Feminists often take account only of a kenotic approach to Christ and Mary, a horizontal approach, without sufficient awareness of the other more divine and transcendental aspects.
The present work also rejects a type of Modernist approach to Mariology. The Modernists based their thought on Kantian subjectivism and upon an evolutionary concept of truth. With their liberal approach to biblical criticism, they attempted to undermine the doctrine of the divine inspiration of Scripture. They tended to deny the divine and supernatural aspects of the revelation and its transmission in the Church. Instead, since one of the fundamental principles of Modernism was historical development, they often regarded Christian doctrine as having developed from pagan ideas according to purely human and social factors. Thus a kind of neo-Modernist idea would propose that the figure of Mary is somehow connected with pagan as well as Christian roots, for example in ancient cults of pagan goddesses.31 A further error which this work rejects is the mistaken idea, following the psychology of Jung, that Mary is simply an expression of a need for the feminine within theology, or even an attempt to project or recover the dimension of the divine femaleness.32 Alongside this false notion lies also that of considering Mary simply as an expression of the eternal feminine principle within the cosmos, in the line of Teilhard de Chardin.33
Charles Dickson, a Lutheran scholar, pointed out that
Recent ecumenical dialogue with Reformed Christians has yielded a greater openness on the part of Protestants to accept that the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption do enjoy a place in the Gospel of salvation.36
Relation of Mariology to other theological themes
Mariology is a central theme within theology and is organically related to other areas of this sacred science. The Mother of God is involved in the central mysteries of salvation. She is intimately linked with the Incarnation of the Word (Lk 1:26-28; Mt 1: 18-25), with the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the shepherds (Lk 2:8-14) and His epiphany to the Magi (Mt 2:9-10), who represent respectively the Jews and the Gentiles. Mary is actively present in the Messianic revelation of Jesus in the temple to Simeon and Anna (Lk 2: 22-38), and at the beginning of the public life and ministry of the Lord (Gn 2:1-12). She accompanied her Son even to His death on the Cross (Gn 19:25-27), and participated in the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Ac 1:12-14; 2:1-4).
Mariology and Protology
Protology is the theological study of beginnings, the beginning of the cosmos, of man and woman, human salvation, and Christian anthropology. Mary is the Mother of the Creator. In Mary, the Mother of God, who was preserved from the stain of Original Sin, it is revealed that the new creation is even more marvellous than the old:
In Mary the Mother of the Creator the mystery of grace and nature reaches its apex. She is the flower of all creation, the thornless rose who bore her Creator. In her is focused all the goodness of creation, all the perfection of nature. At the same time, she is the one filled with grace and in her response to God, grace and nature find a perfect partnership, a true marriage. She is the Seat of Wisdom and held in her womb Him who the world cannot hold within its bounds. She gave birth to Him Who bestows truth, goodness, oneness and beauty to all created things. Christ was both 'the Creator of Mary and created from Mary.'38 Mary is the new Eve, the Mother of the New Creation, and the hope of creation on its earthly pilgrimage. Through her glorious Assumption, she is also the hope of the new heavens and the new earth where Christ will 'be all in all' (Col 3:11). She helps all humanity to be constantly renewed in the image of Him Who is the Creator of man (cf. Col 3:10).
Mary was predestined from all eternity to be Mother of God, and this predestination was associated with the Incarnation of the Divine Word.39 Theological tradition has seen the divine choice of Mary as somehow connected with the act of creation; liturgical tradition has illustrated this idea in its choice of the following passage from the Old Testament Wisdom literature for Masses in honour of Our Lady:
The key to interpreting this passage is to realize that it refers both to the eternal predestination of Christ and of Our Lady in such a way that the Our Lady's role is clearly subordinate to that of Christ. Thus, within the mystery of Christ, Mary is present even before the creation of the world, as the one whom the Father has chosen as Mother of His Son in the Incarnation.40
The bridegroom in the Song of Songs calls his bride an 'enclosed garden' and a 'sealed fountain' (Sg 4:12). Tradition has applied these expressions to Mary, the Mother of God. Our Lady is an 'enclosed garden' and 'sealed fountain' because of her perpetual virginity and at the same time her fruitful maternity. Mary welcomed into her womb the God who created her and thus, in a sense, she became a new garden of paradise, in which was planted Christ, the true Tree of Life: 'O blessed and more than blessed Virgin, through your blessing all creation is blessed ... God Himself, who made all things, made Himself from Mary. In this way, He remade all that He had made.' 41 Not only is Our Lady truly the Model of the New Creation, but she also exercises an active and dynamic role in the restoration of creation. The Mother of God was associated in a special way with her Son's life and ministry, for example in the Wedding Feast at Cana (Jn 2:1-12), where Christ's miraculous powers over the Creation were expressed when He changed water into wine. This miracle prefigures the still greater wonder of the Holy Eucharist. The intimate link between Christ and His Mother persevered unto the moment of the Crucifixion and continued thereafter (Jn 19:26-27). Mary is, in a manner totally subordinate to Christ and completely dependent on Him, the Mediatrix of all graces.42 Thus all graces which the Spirit bestows to restore and recreate the cosmos come to us through the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This manifold work of Mary is well-expressed by the Acathist hymn of the Byzantine tradition:
It is significant how this hymn uses images from created reality to illustrate Our Lady's part in the restoration of creation by her Son. The role of Mary in the creation is intimately linked with her role in the economy of salvation:
Mary is God's garden of Paradise, His own unspeakable world, into which His Son entered to do wonderful things, to tend it and to take his delight in it. He created a world for the wayfarer, that is, the one we are living in. He created a second world — Paradise — for the Blessed. He created a third for Himself, which He named Mary. She is a world unknown to most mortals here on earth. Even the angels and saints in heaven find her incomprehensible, and are lost in admiration of a God who is so exalted and so far above them, so distant from them, and so enclosed in Mary, His chosen world, that they exclaim: 'Holy, holy, holy' unceasingly.44
The Father's plan for mankind was carried out in an eminent manner in the Sacred Humanity of Christ, the New Man. Mary as the New Woman also enjoys a special place in the divine economy of salvation. Mary was filled with grace from the beginning of her existence at the Immaculate Conception, while at the end of her earthly existence she was completely transfigured to Christ in the glory of her Assumption. Therefore, in her first of all and most perfectly of all, was brought about the process of predestination, election, justification and glorification in Christ (Rm 8: 29-30), in Whom every man and woman is called (Ep 3:1-14). Mary is presented as the creature in whom full freedom and complete obedience to God are combined; the aspirations of the soul are perfectly harmonized with the values of the body, human action was completely married with divine grace.
Mariology and Christology
Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man was born of Mary, is flesh of her flesh, because she conceived Him by the power of the Holy Spirit, gave birth to Him, suckled Him at her virginal breast, and along with St Joseph, brought Him up and educated Him. Mary is therefore truly the Mother of Jesus, and therefore between her and the incarnate Word there exists an indissoluble bond. The Person and the mission of the Son cast a clear light upon the profile of His Mother. Thus Christology exercises an impact upon Mariology; however, at the same time, Mariology contributes to Christology because knowledge of the true Catholic doctrine regarding Mary furnishes a key for the .true understanding of the Mystery of Christ and of His Church. An example of this is how the expression Mother of God (Theotokos) is a guarantee of Christian orthodoxy.45 Through Mary who is the unique witness of the mystery of Christ, the Church has more fully understood what the kenosis of the Son of God has involved, the Son who became in her a 'Son of Adam'. The Church has thus become aware of the historical roots of the 'Son of David' and His belonging to the Jewish people.
Mariology and Soteriology
Mary was redeemed in a more sublime manner than all other men and women, in view of the merits of her Son, and therefore she is the first fruits and the greatest fruit of the Redemption. She is the icon and model of redeemed humanity. As Mother of the Redeemer and as His generous Disciple, she cooperated in a most special manner in His work of salvation. As a result of her personal consent to the redemptive Incarnation of her Son, and her loving service to the Person and the work of her Son, as well as with her constant heavenly intercession, and her maternal presence in the life of the Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary has cooperated and continues to cooperate, according to God's good pleasure, in the salvation of humankind.
Mariology and Pneumatology
Mary the All-Holy (Panaghia) is the first creature completely formed by the Holy Spirit, and at the same time is the first bearer of the same Holy Spirit. Her life was motivated and guided by the Holy Spirit, so that she can truly be regarded as the icon of the Spirit. According to the contemplative tradition of the Church, the Holy Spirit enabled Mary to utter her 'Yes' or salvific 'fiat' (Lk 1:38) and to proclaim her song of thanksgiving, the Magnificat (Lk 1: 46-55). The same Spirit suggested to Christ's Mother a cultic attitude which transformed the rite of redemption for the firstborn into a prefiguration of and a prelude to the offering of the Sacrificial Lamb of God (Lc 2:22-24). The Spirit inspired the maternal request to her Son to help the bridal pair at Cana in Galilee (Jn 2:3) and the exhorta tion to the servants to carry out His commands (Jn 2:5). The Consoler sustained the Blessed Virgin Mary under the immense weight of suffering which she underwent at the foot of Christ's Cross, and expanded her immaculate heart so as to accept the testament of her dying Son, who made her Mother of His disciples (Jn 19:26). The Paraclete kept alive in Mary the faith in the Risen Christ, and aroused in her the prayer of the Upper Room in preparation for Pentecost (Ac 1:12-14).
Mariology and Ecclesiology
Mary is present in a key and active manner during the essential steps in the formation of the Church. First, at Nazareth and Bethlehem in the Conception and Birth of Christ, because these moments involve the members as well as the Head of the Mystical Body. Already at the Wedding Feast of Cana His disciples believed in Him and with His Mother formed a communion of faith with their Lord and Master (Jn 2:11). In Jerusalem, the sacrament of the whole Church was born in Blood and water from the wounded side of Christ as He hung upon the Cross in the presence of Mary. Then finally, the community of all the followers of Jesus was formed at Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, open to her universal mission (Ac 1: 1-40). The relationship between Mary and the Church is highlighted by the fact that she is the privileged member of the Church, the most loving Mother of the Church, the fulfilled Image of the Church, the prophetic Type and Figure of the Church, and also the eschatological Icon of the same. The Church possesses an intrinsic 'Marian dimension' in her ontological makeup; her features are anticipated in the face of the Blessed Virgin of Nazareth.46
Mariology arid Eschatology
The Byzantine liturgy in the Kontakion for the solemnity of the Dormition, greets Mary as 'our steady hope and protection.'47 Just as the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, 'is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected is the world to come, so too does she shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth.'48 Therefore the Church contemplates in Mary the image of that purity which she desires to attain and to be. In Mary, time past present and future condense and mutually enlighten each other: The yesterday of Israel and of the Church becomes present through liturgical memorial; today is marked by constant and active presence of Our Lady in the pilgrimage of the Church towards its goal; tomorrow is a reality which is already imperfectly anticipated, and this offers confidence and hope. In Mary assumed into the glory of heaven, the fear of the future has been overcome, the enigma of death has been defeated, and the true destiny of man and woman has been unveiled in the Risen Christ.
Mariology offers a theological synthesis
The examples we have offered above are only a selection which clearly illustrate that Mariology is very closely tied in with the other areas of theology, and is therefore not an isolated topic, but supremely a part of theology. Fundamental Theology which examines the bases of the faith in relation to reason and the relation between Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium as well as the development of dogmas cannot fail to take account of the many and varied instances of Mariological discourse. In Dogmatic Theology, Mariology represents a meeting point for the other theological disciplines as well as being an area of synthesis. Mariology is a point of encounter, since in Mary all is oriented to God the Father for Whom she is the servant and beloved daughter, to God the Son for Whom she is true Mother, generous and devoted disciple, and finally to the Holy Spirit who filled her with grace from the moment of her conception and evershadowed her that she might bear the Saviour, and accompanied her until she was assumed into heaven. Mary is related to her own people of Israel for which she is the personification, the apex and the most pure expression, and also to the Church of which she is the first fruits and the eschatological fulfilment. Humanity of all times and in all places is to be seen in her light as she is the finest and most perfect realization of all peoples. She is also to be seen as the peak and most beautiful ornament of the cosmos.
Mariology thus presents a rich opportunity for theological synthesis. The economy and history of salvation, from the eternal predestination of the Incarnate Word, to the Second Coming of the Lord, from Genesis to the Apocalypse, is summarized in the Mother of God. Mary is in a sense the Crossroads of theology, where all the various strands meet, she is the microcosm of the economy of creation and salvation. Mary, 'since her entry into salvation history unites in herself and re-echoes the greatest teachings of the faith as she is proclaimed and venerated, calls the faithful to her Son and His sacrifice and to the love of the Father.'49
From this, it can be concluded that the study of the Blessed Virgin Mary is central to the faith and to theology. It is a road which leads directly to the heart of .the Christian mystery and herein lies the sign of its fruitfulness.50 Thus the position of those who wish to relegate this study to the fringe of theology is not acceptable. It is not possible for the Christian to consider marginal the Incarnation of the Word, which changed human history, to which Mary consented and in which she actively collaborated, neither are the words of Christ addressed to His Mother at the foot of the Cross to be considered peripheral, nor yet is the event of Pentecost, in which Our Lady was actively involved, to be put on the sidelines of Christian faith. It is thus necessary that all theological reflection take due account of the presence of Mary, and of the relationship of the whole of theology with the Marian mystery. Conversely, it will also be seen as each chapter of this book unfolds that the various aspects of Mariology are linked with and rooted in the Christian mystery as a whole.
8. For Patristic references to the Mary-Eve-parallel, see for example, St Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 100 in PG 6, 710-711; St Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, Book 3, chapter 22, n. 4 in PG 7, 959; ibid., Book 5, chapter 19, n. 1 in PG 7, 1175-1176; St Ephraem, Sermo in Genesi III, 6 in EM 309-310; Sermo I de Nativitate Domini in EM 311; Hymnus de Beata Maria, 10 in EM 364; Tertullian, The Flesh of Christ 17,4 in PL 2, 782.
22. This phenomenon can be seen in the denial of the essential truths concerning Christ within the Anglican Communion in the series of essays edited by J. Hick, The Myth of God Incarnate (London: SCM, 1977). Other Anglicans replied with the work edited by M. Green, The Truth of God Incarnate (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1977).
29. For more on the theme of Mary Mother of the Church, see chapter 9 below. For further elaboration (including Scriptural, Patristic and Magisterial references) of the doctrines of Mary as Coredemptrix and Mediatrix see chapter 8, pp. 187-201, and chapter 9, pp. 254-266 below respectively.
45. St Gregory Nazianzen in his Epistle 101 made the title Theotokos the touchstone of orthodoxy. His argument runs as follows: If there were two persons in Christ, Mary would be the Mother of only the human person. If there were only one nature in Christ, and that human, she would not be the Mother of God. If there were only one nature in Christ, divine nature, she would not be the Mother of Christ. Hence the doctrine of Theotokos implies one person, a divine person, and two natures, divine and human. Similarly, St Cyril of Alexandria, in his Homily 15 on the Incarnation, also makes Theotokos the test of orthodoxy. Cyril's writings give clear and unequivocal statements about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the position of Mary, the Theotokos, within the doctrine of her Son's Incarnation. See also chapter 5, pp. 110-116 below.