Marian Devotion: ©

The charts below are direct quotes from Post-Vatican II Magisterial Documents concerning the theme, Marian Devotion. These teachings of the Catholic Church may prove useful to include in talks, in homilies or for research. For the full title and document data, click on the abbreviation code (for example, BYM leads you to the document, Behold Your Mother). This will also lead you to the complete document on this website or assist you in locating it elsewhere.

For an index of the documents used in the study see: List of Magisterial Documents
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Documents VII. Marian Devotion
Lumen Gentium, 1964
  • This cult, as it has always existed in the Church, for all its uniqueness, differs essentially from the cult of adoration, which is offered equally to the Incarnate Word and to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and it is most favorable to it. 66
  • She is rightly honored by a special cult in the Church. 66
  • True devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to recognize the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love toward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues. 67
Signum Magnum, 1967
  • Mary as Theotokos [Ephesus 431] 2
  • first duty...must unite more closely with her in thanking God, who worked great things in her for the benefit of the whole human race 21
  • second...must venerate this most faithful handmaid of the Lord with prayers of praise, thanks and love 21
  • We must all imitate the example of goodness which our heavenly Mother bequeathed to us "...let the faithful remember that true devotion does not consist in sterile and superficial sentiment or in empty credulity; that, on the contrary, it proceeds from true faith which leads us to recognize the excellence of God's Mother and prompts us to show filial love for our Mother and to imitate her imitate her virtues." [LG 67] 22
  • [imitation of Mary] far from turning us away from the imitation of Christ, makes it easier and more pleasant 23
  • [venerate] Mary as the Mother of God's Son 35
Recurrens Mensis October, 1969
    All must pray
  • Adults ...  by knowing Mary they will the better know and love Jesus. Many of our ancestors in the faith have had this life-giving experience. 10
  • Consecrated souls, whose life, like Mary's, must always be closely bound to the life of Christ so as to irradiate His message of love and peace. 10
  • Bishops and their priestly assistants ... In the depths of their prayer, they will surely unite themselves with the supplication of Mary. 10
  • In this ardent desire for peace, which is the "fruit of the Spirit," (Gal 5:22) we shall all devote ourselves, like the Apostles in the upper room, "to prayer together with ... Mary the mother of Jesus." (Acts 1:14) 10
General Catechetical Directory, 1971
  • Therefore, the Church who honors the faithful and the saints who are already with the Lord and are interceding for us (LG, 49, 50), venerates in a most special way Christ's Mother, who is also her mother. 68
Basic Teaching for Catholic Education (USA), 1973
  • - Special veneration due her 24
Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973
  • "Devotion to the Virgin Mother of God does not stop with her, but has to be regarded as a help which of its very nature leads men to Christ." (Paul VI, Nov. 21, 64) 6
  • We acknowledge that devotion to Mary, the joyful duty of all of us, has a special function in exalting the dignity of woman and fostering respect for her person. 9
  • "Mary is not a bridge over the gap that separates us from a remote Christ. . . . Such an approach to Marian devotion and doctrine would minimize the deepest meaning of the Incarnation..." (Jelly) 67
  • Since early times, but especially after the Council of Ephesus, devotion to Mary in the Church has grown wondrously. (LG 66) 82
  • We are passing through a period marked by a lack of interest in the saints. Much more is involved here than devotion to the saints, even St. Mary. What is at stake is the reality of the humanity of the risen Jesus. There is danger of so spiritualizing the risen Christ that we diminish awareness of His humanity. 85 [On decline of Marian devotion: Rahner: temptation--'abstractions, and abstractions have no need of mothers' (Suenens at Zagreb, Aug 1971) ] 85
  • The founders and other holy members of religious congregations, past and present, have shown by example that true devotion to the Mother of Jesus is an indispensable element in maturing in the life of Christ. 128
Marialis Cultus, 1974 [For Paul VI, liturgical reform and Marian devotion go hand-in-hand.]
[Devotion to Mary must have these aspects:] Trinitarian, Christological, Ecclesial 24-25f.
  • This devotion forms a very noble part of the whole sphere of that sacred worship in which there intermingle the highest expressions of wisdom and of religion (Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones IV) and which is therefore the primary task of the People of God. (In)
  • The development, desired by us, of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is an indication of the Church's genuine piety. (In)
  • And the increased knowledge of Mary's mission has become joyful veneration of her and adoring respect for the wise plan of God ... (In)
  • The veneration which the universal Church today accords to blessed Mary is a derivation from, and an extension and unceasing increase of, the devotion that the Church of every age has paid to her, with careful attention to truth and with an ever watchful nobility of expression. From perennial Tradition kept alive by reason of the uninterrupted presence of the Spirit and continual attention to the Word, the Church of our time draws motives, arguments and incentives for the veneration that she pays to the Blessed Virgin. And the liturgy, which receives approval and strength from the Magisterium, is a most lofty expression and an evident proof of this living Tradition. 15
  • note how the Church expresses in various effective attitudes of devotion the many relationships that bind her to Mary: in profound veneration ... [reflecting on: dignity of the Virgin responding to Holy Spirit, spiritual motherhood of Mary, humble handmaid as queen of mercy and mother of grace, holiness and virtues, faultless model, fulfillment on own future (Assumption)] 22
  • Expressions of devotion should reflect God's plan, which laid down "with one single decree the origin of Mary and the Incarnation of the divine Wisdom." (Ineffabilis Deus) This will ... contribute to making piety towards the Mother of Jesus more solid, and to making it an effective instrument for attaining to full "knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself." (Eph. 4:13) 25

Section Two: Four Guidelines for Devotion to the Blessed Virgin: Biblical, Liturgical, Ecumenical and Anthropological Articles 29-39

[Note: Though these four guidelines are essential, some of the material, especially the liturgical, will have already been graphed in detail. Therefore, the context will be indicated only by the initials, B=Biblical, L=Liturgical, E=Ecumenical, A=Anthropological, to indicate the framework of the teaching.]
  • 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
  • The ultimate purpose of devotion to the Blessed Virgin is to glorify God and to lead Christians to commit themselves to a life which is in absolute conformity with His will. When the children of the Church unite their voices with the voice of the unknown woman in the Gospel and glorify the Mother of Jesus by saying to Him: "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you sucked," (Lk. 11:27) they will be led to ponder the Divine Master's serious reply: "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" (Lk. 11:28) While it is true that this reply is in itself lively praise of Mary, as various Fathers of the Church interpreted it (107) and the Second Vatican Council has confirmed, (108) it is also an admonition to us to live our lives in accordance with God's commandments. 39
  • [conclusion elements] sum up and emphasize the theological value of devotion to the Blessed Virgin and to recall briefly its pastoral effectiveness for renewing the Christian way of life. 56
    - an intrinsic element of Christian worship
    - a very strong witness to the Church's norm of prayer
    - an invitation to become more deeply conscious of her norm of faith
  • And the converse is likewise true. The Church's norm of faith requires that her norm of prayer should everywhere blossom forth with regard to the Mother of Christ. Such devotion ... 56
    - is firmly rooted in the revealed word
    - has solid dogmatic foundations
    - is based on the singular dignity of Mary, "Mother of the Son of God, and therefore beloved daughter of the Father and Temple of the Holy Spirit - Mary, who, because of this extraordinary grace, is far greater than any other creature on earth or in heaven." (LG 53) 56
  • [in conclusion] we have dealt at length with an integral element of Christian worship: devotion to the Mother of the Lord. This has been called for by the nature of the subject, one which in these recent years has been the object of study and revision and at times the cause of some perplexity. 58
  • Sharing the Light of Faith (USA), 1979
    • special love and veneration due her 106
    Ephesus, 1550th Anniversary, 1981
    • Faith in the Most Holy Trinity: Faith in the Father... Faith in Christ...Faith in the Holy Spirit. And, in this light, veneration of the Blessed Virgin, who "by thus consenting to the divine utterance..." became the Mother of Jesus 4
    Dominum et Vivificantem, 1986
    • The Church perseveres in prayer with Mary. 66
    Redemptoris Mater, 1987
    • Those who from generation to generation among the different peoples and nations of the earth accept with faith the mystery of Christ, the Incarnate Word and Redeemer of the world, not only turn with veneration to Mary and confidently have recourse to her as his Mother, but also seek in her faith support for their own. And it is precisely this lively sharing in Mary's faith that determines her special place in the Church's pilgrimage as the new People of God throughout the earth. 28
    • This cult is altogether special: it bears in itself and expresses the profound link which exists between the Mother of Christ and the Church. (Ambrose, etc) 42
    • Thus, throughout her life, the Church maintains with the Mother of God a link which embraces, in the saving mystery, the past, the present and the future, and venerates her as the spiritual mother of humanity and the advocate of grace. 47
    Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 1988
    • The Council's teaching demonstrates how much the whole Church has taken Mary into "the Church's own home," how profoundly the mystery of this Virgin Mother belongs to the mystery of the Church, to the Church's intimate reality. 3
    The VM in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988
      Movements
    • [which] raised interest in the person of the Virgin and considerably influenced the composition of the Constitution Lumen Gentium: 4
    • the biblical movement, which underlined the primary importance of the Sacred Scriptures for a presentation of the role of the Mother of the Lord, truly consonant with the revealed Word
    • the patristic movement, which put Mariology in contact with the thought of the Fathers of the Church so that its roots in Tradition could be more deeply appreciated [See history of salvation 5]
    • the ecclesiological movement, which contributed abundantly to the reconsideration and deepening appreciation of the relationship between Mary and the Church
    • the missionary movement, which progressively discovered the value of Mary of Nazareth, the first to be evangelized (cf. LK 1:26-38) and the first evangelizer (cf. LK 1:39-45), fount of inspiration in her commitment to the spreading of the Good News
    • the liturgical movement, which initiated a rich and rigorous study of the various liturgies and was able to document the way the rites of the Church testified to a heartfelt veneration towards Mary, the "ever-Virgin, Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God" [Missale Romanum, Prex Eucharistica I,Communicantes.]
    • the ecumenical movement, which called for a more exact understanding of the person of the Virgin in the sources of Revelation, identifying more exactly the theological basis of Marian piety. 4
    • [post-conciliar] great interest in the problems connected with devotion to the Blessed Virgin. There has been research into the historical roots of the devotion, (Sixth International Marian Congresses, organized by the Pontificia Accademia Mariana Internazionale, held between 1967 and 1987, systematically studied manifestations of Marian piety from the first to the twentieth centuries), study of its doctrinal foundation, of its place in the "one Christian devotion," (Paul VI, Adh. Ap.Marialis Cultus, [February 2, 1974] Intr.: AAS 66 [1974],114) 13
    • 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) 17
    Veritatis Splendor, 1993
    • At the end of these considerations, let us entrust ourselves, the sufferings and the joys of our life, the moral life of believers and people of good will, and the research of moralists, to Mary, mother of God and mother of mercy. 118
    Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994
    • The Marian Year 1986-87 perhaps struck a more resounding chord; it was eagerly awaited and profoundly experienced in the individual local Churches, especially at the Marian Shrines around the world. 26
    • The Marian Year was as it were an anticipation of the Jubilee, and contained much of what will find fuller expression in the Year 2000. 26
    • In the wake of the Marian Year, we are now observing the Year of the Family, a celebration which is closely connected with the mystery of the Incarnation and with the very history of humanity. Thus there is good cause to hope that the Year of the Family, inaugurated at Nazareth, will become, like the Marian Year, another significant stage in preparation for the Great Jubilee. 28
    Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994
    Fidei Depositum, 1992
    Prayer and Mary:

    Fidei Depositum, p. 6; 3 paragraphs
    435, 534, 965, 969, 971, 1014, 1020, 1053, 1106, 1172, 1187, 1195, 1477, 1613, 1676, 2599, 2605, 2617, 2618, 2619, 2622, 2665, 2673, 2674, 2675, 2676, 2677, 2678, 2679, 2682, 2725, 2827, 2837 [BB]

    [See specially inserted section on prayer below]

    971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." (Lk 1:48; Paul VI, MC 56) The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs....This very special devotion...differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." (LG 66) The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," expresses this devotion to the Virgin Mary. (Cf.. Paul VI, MC 42; SC 103)

    Orientale Lumen, 1995
    Ut Unum Sint, 1995
    • [LG lists] "elements of sanctification and truth" which in various ways are present and operative beyond the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church ... "Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the holy eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God. They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits." (UR 15) UUS 12
    Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002
    • Yet the Rosary clearly belongs to the kind of veneration of the Mother of God described by the Council: a devotion directed to the Christological center of the Christian faith, in such a way that "when the Mother is honoured, the Son ... is duly known, loved and glorified." (LG 66) 4
    • ...inspired by the teaching of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, who explained in the following words Mary's role in the process of our configuration to Christ: "Our entire perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ. Hence the most perfect of all devotions is undoubtedly that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ. Now, since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her the more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ." (True Devotion) Never as in the Rosary do the life of Jesus and that of Mary appear so deeply joined. Mary lives only in Christ and for Christ! 15
    • [The Rosary] is also the way of a Marian devotion inspired by knowledge of the inseparable bond between Christ and his Blessed Mother: the mysteries of Christ are also in some sense the mysteries of his Mother, even when they do not involve her directly, for she lives from him and through him. 24


    © This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
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