Liturgical Season 6/11/02 World News
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Mary Page News items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the many ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.

Liturgical Season

In preparation for the Liturgical celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 8, 2002, Mary Page offers a variety of resources inviting study, reflection and meditation.

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New Resources

Fr. Thomas A. Thompson has provided reviews of the following Marian books:

Also, we have added New Marian Poetry to our Resources index,  a list of 2001 Donors to our Institute to our Outreach page, as well as the Summer 2002 issue of the Marian Library Newsletter to our Publications menu.

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  News from the Marian Library

International Marian Research Institute Summer Courses

Summer courses begin on June 11.  See the course offerings for the summer academic session of The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute at: Summer Schedule.

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Personal thoughts and reflections about Mary 
from our readers 

We've added a section to our Research and Publications section showing selected personal comments from our readers about the Virgin Mary.  Click here to see comments received within the past month.  From this page, feel free to submit your own personal thoughts on Mary.  

We also encourage our readers to submit their opinions on various styles of Marian Art through an on-line art survey.

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Marian Events

Click this link for a list of all of the current Marian Events by geographical position.

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Prayer Corner Requests

You are invited to help us pray for our Prayer Corner intentions.  Please take a look!  This site has been updated and enhanced and now allows users to directly submit prayer requests or to volunteer as a prayer partner for these intentions!

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News from Around the World


Papal Theologian Views Mary in Salvific History
The Sense in Which She is Co-redeemer

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2002 (Zenit.org)

Father Georges Cottier, theologian of the Papal Household, delivered this address during a world videoconference on "Mariology from Vatican Council II Until Today," held Wednesday by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy (www.clerus.org)

The Co-redemption
by Fr. Georges Cottier

In the beautiful final chapter of the dogmatic constitution of the Church "Lumen Gentium," dedicated to the Virgin Mary, we read, "After this manner the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, (see John 19:25) in keeping with the divine plan, grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart with his sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to his disciple with these words: 'Woman, behold thy son' (see John 19:26-27)" (No. 58).

These very intense lines are the echo of a long tradition authenticated by the magisterium. The Mother of the Son of God-made-man is consecrated, at the feet of the cross, the Mother of his Mystical Body.

She was then proclaimed Mother of the Church by Paul VI. This title enlightens the meaning of Mary's "intimate union" with the Church, where she occupies, "in an eminent and singular way" the "first place" (see No. 63). It is in her person that the Church has already achieved that perfection which makes her without stain or wrinkle (see Ephesians 5:27). She is the model of the Church (typus). One must perceive that Mary is not outside the Church, since she is its eminent and exemplary member, and that she exercises a maternal function for the Church. The Church's mystery and Mary's mystery include and enlighten each other reciprocally.

How can this be explained? The Council, after remembering the words of the apostle (1 Timothy 2:5-6): "Since there is only one God, there is only one mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ, who is a man, and gave himself as a ransom for them all," added that "The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no ways obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows his power" (No. 60).

A life of grace, participation in divine life, exists in principle and in fullness with Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, so as to be communicated to his Body, which is the Church. With this communication Christ attracts the Church and all its members to be assimilated in him, to conform to him and to participate in the gift of himself to the Father, through whom he saved mankind. The only Mediator: The gift of himself is totally and infinitely sufficient for the redemption of the world.

Allowing his Church to participate in this is the mark of his love and the depth of the union to which he introduces her. Like all lives, a life of grace is fruitful, it brings its fruits in abundance. There is a law here both for the Church and for Mary, in proportion to the singular privileges.

The Council's text, which we have quoted, strongly emphasizes this: Beneath the cross, Mary suffers deeply with her only born Son, she joins in his sacrifice with maternal love; lovingly consenting the immolation of the victim generated by her: What could these words mean if not that Mary plays an active role in the mystery of the Passion and the work of the Redemption?

The Council itself clarifies this: The divine Redemptor's mother was "above all others and in a singular way the generous associate. ... She ... was united with him by compassion as he died on the Cross. In this singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace" (No. 61). "Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation." For this reason "the Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix and Mediatrix" (No. 62).

Can we add to the title Mediatrix that of co-redemptrix? In the light of the above, the answer is affirmative. In fact the Council itself, so as to avoid any false interpretation, adds that the use of these titles is legitimate. But it must be understood "that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator" (ibid).

You will notice that this title of co-redemptrix does not appear in the Council's texts. One might envisage that this intentional absence was the answer to a ecumenical reason. The use of this term needed further development. It is true that, if the word co-redeemer was to evoke a juxtaposition and an addition to the Savior's redeeming work, it should have been strongly rejected.

It is as predestined, provoked, contained by Christ's redeeming sacrifice, in a subordinated manner, participated, totally dependent on him, that Mary's co-redemption beneath the cross is meant, just as it is fully permeated by the intercession of the Son in glory, his mediation in interceding with heaven. The Council enunciated the principle that, translating an intuition of faith, regulates theological meditation in this field: "For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ" (No. 60).

In the light of this principle, we understand in which sense Mary, and only her, is the co-redeemer, and how proportionally the Church is also the co-redeemer. We also understand in which sense, the vocation of all who are baptized for sanctity leads them to participate in the mystery of Redemption. Each of these participations is like an epiphany of the fruitfulness of the cross of Jesus.


The Blessed Virgin and Interreligious Dialogue
Koran Names Mary More Than New Testament Does, Says Scholar

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, JUNE 1, 2002 (Zenit.org)

Here is the text of an addressed given by Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father Stuart Bate in the world videoconference on "Mariology from Vatican Council II Until Today." The videoconference Wednesday was organized by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy.

Mary and Interreligious Dialogue
Mary in "Nostra Aetate"
By Father Stuart Bate

There are two references to Mary in "Nostra Aetate" [the 1965 declaration on the relation of the Church to Non-Christian religions].

The first notes that Muslims "also honor Mary, his virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion" (NA, 3). The second emphasizes the Jewish roots of Jesus and his mother quoting Paul "about his kinsmen: 'theirs is the sonship and the glory and the covenants and the law and the worship and the promises; theirs are the fathers and from them is the Christ according to the flesh' (Romans 9:4-5), the Son of the Virgin Mary" (NA, 4).

Since Vatican II, the main areas of Mariological research in other religions have been in Judaism where the symbol "Daughter of Zion" has been studied and on the place of Mary in Islam (see "The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation," [VMISF], Congregation for Catholic Education, March 25, 1988; No. 15).

Mary as "Daughter of Zion"

Covenant is the principal biblical teaching about the relationship between God and his people. Von Balthasar proposes that God's plan of salvation is originally formulated in terms of a symbolic couple (I. De la Potterie, "Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant," Paulist, New York 1992: Paulist; p. 26). This is expressed in the marriage relationship between Christ and the Church in New Testament teaching.

In the Jewish scriptures, the covenant between God and his people is often expressed in terms of a marriage bond. Israel is cast as the bride in the theme of "Daughter of Zion" a theme which is also expressed as "Mother Zion" and "Virgin Israel." Now these terms are applied to Mary in the New Testament especially by Luke and John (ibid., p. 36).

In this way, Mary provides a link between the two Testaments. She also links them within her person for it is from this Jewish maiden that Jesus is born and God's revelation of a new covenant begins. Mary symbolizes both continuity and discontinuity between the old and the new covenants. The application of these Old Testament symbols to her and the incarnation of the Word within her both maintain God's covenant with his people and renew it and bring it to completion in Jesus.

Mary in Islam

The Koran has 34 verses which name Mary. This is more than there are in the New Testament. While she is not venerated in the same way as in Christianity, where Mary is Mother of God, "Theotokos," Islam honors her as the mother of the prophet Jesus. This gives her a special place among Muslims for the Koran teaches that the angel said to Mary, "God has chosen you and made you pure and he has chosen you above the women of the universe" ("The Imrans" III:42).

Dialogue should not seek to minimize the differences between Christian and Muslim understandings about Mary. But it can help us to recognize and deepen the various places at which our traditions converge and bring us together. As in Christianity, Mary is held up in Islam as an example of faith in God: "to those who believe, God has set an example in Mary, who preserved her chastity ... who put her trust in the words of her Lord and his scriptures and was one of the truly devout" ("Prohibition" LXVI:12).

Mary and the feminine

Mary is a symbol of the feminine principle in God's plan for salvation. This same principle is found in all religions. Theological discourse is increasingly concerned with the integration of this dimension of faith in God (see "Mulieris Dignitatem"). This is one reason why the deepening of Mariological studies is one of the important areas of theological research at this time (VMISF, No. 15). The study of other religions can help in the illumination of this principle in Christian discourse. Hinduism, for example, is replete with such reflection and the feminine dimension is strongly expressed in the Hindu pantheon.


But beyond this, interreligious dialogue is expressed in cooperation. In a multicultural world faced with increasing moral confusion, good people from all religious traditions should work together to preserve religious values which militate against greed, violence and selfishness. In South Africa, people of different faith traditions are currently collaborating in a program for the moral reconstruction in our country. Mary is a model of these values for all of us and we can all call upon her prayers for a better world in which to bring up future generations.


Ecumenism Doesn´t Demand Silence About Our Lady

So Says a Rector in Sydney, Father Julian Porteous

SYDNEY, Australia, JUNE 1, 2002 (Zenit.org)

Here is an address by Father Julian Porteous, rector of seminary of the Good Shepherd of the Archdiocese of Sydney, in the videoconference on "Mariology from Vatican Council II Until Today," organized this week by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy.

* * *

Mary and Ecumenism

By Father Julian Porteous

The Blessed Virgin Mary has always had a special place in the hearts of Catholics of the Australian Church over its comparatively short history. The "mother church" of Australia, St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, first built in 1821, witnesses to the devotion of early Sydney Catholics, both clergy and laity, in being named in honor of the Blessed Virgin.

Our first bishop, John Bede Polding, had a particular devotion to the Virgin Mary, writing her initials atop all his writings. Two years after the establishment of the Australian hierarchy, Mary Help of Christians was proclaimed patroness of Australia. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, expressed in the 20th century particularly by a love of the rosary, is a strong element of Australian Catholicism.

In more recent times various devotional movements have brought about a renewed love of the Blessed Virgin Mary, following a dip in devotion in the latter quarter of the last century.

In the post Vatican II Church the challenge to ecumenism has been undertaken seriously in Australia, given that the country has been historically a mix of Anglican, Catholic and Protestant churches, and since the migration after World War II embraces Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches and is currently witnessing the an increased presence of Islam and Eastern religions like Buddhism.

While being a strong element in the traditions of the Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is more often than not a "sticking point" with many Christians of the evangelical persuasion.

The common accusation made against Catholics is that we are engaged in an unnecessary channel of mediation with God by invoking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or that devotional practices and use of images are a form of idolatry. More recently, Pentecostal churches have been particularly critical of Catholic devotion and challenge the perpetual virginity of Our Lady by asserting the existence of other children to Mary.

The Vatican Council sought to establish an ecumenical footing to ongoing dialogue with other churches, "our separated brethren," in many of its documents. Thus, the document on the Church, "Lumen Gentium," presented Mariology as an intrinsic part of ecclesiology. The opening words of this final section of the document on the Church reveal a clear ecumenical sensitivity: "In the words of the apostle there is but one mediator: 'for there is but one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a redemption for all' (1 Timothy 2:5-6)" (Art. 60).

The Council, though, was quick to point out that "Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ." The goal of authentic Catholic ecumenism, as Pope John Paul II reminds us in "Ut Unum Sint," No. 77, is to restore full visible unity among all Christians: "The greater mutual understanding and the doctrinal convergences already achieved between us, which have resulted in an affective and effective growth of communion, cannot suffice for the conscience of Christians who profess that the Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. The ultimate goal of the ecumenical movement is to re-establish full visible unity among all the baptized."

No sound ecumenical effort can ignore the place of the Virgin Mary. Biblical and patristic studies reveal Mary's place in ecclesiology and in the faith and spirituality of the Church from its earliest beginnings. Catholics cannot, in a false ecumenical sensitivity, adopt a silence about Mary. There was a tendency to do this in the early years of the grass-roots ecumenical movement.

Indeed our devotion to and honoring of Mary can become precisely a source for constructive and clarifying dialogue with, particularly, evangelical Christians. It can challenge the limits of a fundamentalist approach to faith based in a narrow interpretation of the biblical texts. It can open up the rich incarnational dimension of Catholicism. It can challenge a reluctance to explore the sacramental and ecclesial character of Christianity.

Reflection on the relationship between Mary and the Holy Spirit, and Mary and the Church, can provide a possible basis for ecumenical discussion. Catholic love of and devotion to Mary can become not an obstacle toward ecumenism, but a ground for serious ecumenical discussion.


From L’Osservatore Romano

Not posted this week.  Expect an update to this section next week.

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Mary in the Secular Press

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

Not posted this week.  Expect an update to this section next week.

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