Vignettes and Cameos
Vignette 25

Recent writings of theologians and popes have stressed the universal role of Mary in the life of the Church. An increasing awareness of the universality of Mary's relation to all persons, to all Christians, to the apostolate of the Church is plainly evident in the teaching of the ordinary magisterium, especially in the documents of recent popes.

Although Mary's Apostolic Mission has not been solemnly defined, it has certainly been stressed implicitly by recent papal pronouncements on Mary's Spiritual Motherhood, Co-redemption, Distribution of grace, and Queenship. For, it is contained and implied in these other doctrines.

Father Chaminade taught explicitly the apostolic role of Mary. Later Marianist writers, notably Father Emil Neubert, expanded this teaching. Theologians and popes have frequently alluded to it in modern times and taught it implicitly. Most of the non-Marianist writers who have treated the topic do not state clearly that Mary's maternal responsibility is a continuous mission and not a single act which ended on Calvary. But the apostolic responsibility of her Spiritual Maternity is part of her vocation. It is a participation and sharing in the apostolate of Christ our Redeemer.

The social and apostolic dimensions of Marian doctrine and cult are being developed only in modern times. The dynamic relations of Mary to us are both personal and communitarian; that is, she concerns herself with the welfare of individuals and also of social institutions. Mary's place in Christian spirituality and in the Christian apostolate regarding all members of the Mystical Body – clergy, religious, laity – is coming more plainly to the fore.

Cameo 25

In pulling together Father Chaminade's position and couching it in theological terms, Father Emil Neubert formulated this cogent conclusion, treating Mary's Apostolic Mission as an integral aspect of Mary's other functions.

These comparisons between Mary's Apostolic Mission and her role of Mother, Coredemptrix, and Distributrix of all graces permit us to affirm that this Mission is revealed. It does not follow as a simple logical consequence of these three functions of Mary which are revealed, but as a particular aspect, as an integral part of them, to the point of being identified with them. Under another name it is simply her role of Cordemptrix and above all of Mother and Distributrix of graces. It shares, consequently, in the certitude of these three functions, and we can say that it is revealed as truly as these three are, even if Tradition had never spoken explicitly of an Apostolic Mission of Mary. Provided the idea has been revealed, the name need not be.

While correct in its view, Father Neubert's conclusion is not the explicit teaching of the magisterium. The Apostolic Mission of Mary needs ecclesial identification to be a part of the deposit of faith strictly speaking.

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