Aspects of Mary and the Church Through the Centuries

It is in history, [1] where the actualisation of the Church becomes apparent in a twofold way: the respective visible manifestation of her inner portrait as perceived by her own representatives in the different epochs of time and her actual concrete configuration in her members. The history of the Church shows the different shifts in emphasis and the close correlation between both aspects, idea and reality. [2]

Early Patristic Period

The first centuries are characterized by the image of the Church as mystery. [3] The strong symbolical representation of this mystery is shown by the writers in images deriving from Sacred scripture, mythology, typology, and allegory. [4] Augustine’s notion of the body of the Church as the Eucharistic Body of Christ is particularly influential for the whole of this ecclesiology. [5]

The Marian dimension of the patristic ecclesiology must be seen in particular against the New Testament background with the implications of the Pauline and Johannine typology: Adam-Eve-Church-Mary. [6] From this typological basis developed the Church-Mary parallel, with Mary as the typos 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.” [7] Augustine develops this further in that he places Mary before the Church as her ideal image [8] and as member of the body of Christ as part of the Church. [9]

Late Patristic Period and Middle Ages

From the time of Constantine until the Reformation the notion of the Christian realm or imperium was in the foreground; the populus Dei became the populus Christianus, which became a sociological, political and cultural term. [10] The corpus Christi mysticum, so far reserved for the 'Eucharist' , became the corpus ecclesiae mysticum [11] ; similar changes occurred in the application of the term laoV, now known as laity the term for those who are not part of the clergy and the hierarchy. Although the Church was in the fore as imperatrix et domina, her mystery character was present in the renewal movements and in the great theological treatises of that time. [12]

While the Church-Mary parallel continued into the medieval period, the Marian reflection of the earlier part of this epoch, strongly influenced by the Carolingian era, was characterized by the change from the patristic’s predominantly salvation-historical perspective of Mary to a more individualized, privilege-oriented understanding of her. [13] It was no longer the knowledge about Mary’s importance in the history of salvation that stood in the foreground, but Mary’s effectiveness in the here and now. Here we have a development from the truth of Mary’s position in the objective work of salvation to her influence on the subjective course of salvation: the Mother of God became the Mother of the faithful, the ancilla domini, the domina and regina nostra who in the present time fulfills an essential task in distributing the fruits of salvation. The typology Mary-Church is no longer seen as purely metaphorical, but, rather, Mary is the model for the virginal-fruitful Church and the reason for the Church’s salvific efficacy toward its members. [14] This development remained prevalent throughout the medieval period. [15]

The Catholic Reformation and Counter-Reformation

The image of the Church as it became prevalent after the Reformation [16] was counter-reformation, apologetic-oriented. [17] Influential here in particular was Robert Bellarmine with an ecclesiological concept, which emphasized the visible, institutional structure of the Church. [18] Thus, in the foreground stood the Church, united in the papacy, with a strong apologetic impetus. [19]

The division of Christendom brought about through the Reformation in the sixteenth century caused a setback to Marian devotion. Against Luther’s and the other reformers’ increased distance from Catholic Marian doctrine, the Catholic representatives pointed out the significance of Mary in the work of 'Redemption' . [20] The Council of Trent and the post-Tridentine period, marked by the mentioned apologetic impetus, gave rise to a new Catholic self-confidence and a marked Marian piety; the latter was central to the Counter-Reformation and particularly influential in strengthening the faith. This new springtime of Mariology was vitally carried by the Marian Congregations [established in 1563]. [21] In the ecclesiological perspective, Mary’s position remained that of being the Mother of God and the most excellent member of Christ’s body. All gifts, graces and divine influence proceed from Christ, the head of the Church, through Mary, the neck, into the body of the Church. [22]

The Age of the Enlightenment

In the following epoch the image of the Church was affected by the impact of Deism and Enlightenment with Rationalism, which brought about a new interpretation of Christian teaching aimed at effacing all creedal differences. [23] The Church was to be reduced to a moral institution through demythologising and desecrating efforts. On the one hand, this resulted in the endeavours of a more people-oriented liturgical emphasis, and on the other hand a stronger clericalism emerged. The strong apologetic orientation remained and was to be seen against the background of the above-mentioned influences and political changes. [24]

The effects of the Enlightenment on the Church were particularly felt in the area of Marian devotion and teaching. In contrast to the more demonstrative and effusive Catholic representation of Marian truth and devotion of the Baroque, [25] the time of Enlightenment presented a reduction of Marian doctrine to a purely moral level of values and virtues associated with a milieu of bourgeoisie. There is a marked descent from the praise of Mary’s glories as Queen of Heaven to her being a model character of a mother’s love and concern for home duties. This Marian content, rationalized and reduced to mere morality and ethics by many Church authorities, was kept alive to a significant degree in popular piety. [26]

From the Period of Romanticism to the Nineteenth Century

The influence of the Romantic affected the concept of the Church in a way which brought again to the fore the inner reality of the Church and its 'organic' unity. [27] Through the impact of 'Modernism' and the counter 'Orientation' on neo-scholasticism, the Church increasingly closed itself off to the spirit of the time and became defensive. [28]

Within this atmosphere of Catholicism the nineteenth century inaugurated again a re-awakening of Marian piety marked by Marian pilgrimages and apparitions, [29] and inspired by the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which commenced the so-called Marian century. [30] In spite of this renewal of Marian devotion, essentially influenced through the dogmatic definition in 1854, there was considerably less development in Marian theology; [31] however, two eminent theologians and contemporaries need to be mentioned: John Henry Newman, who brought again to the fore the Eve-Mary parallel in support of Mary’s original state of grace [Immaculate Conception], her part in 'Redemption', her 'Eschatological' fulfilment and her intercession, [32] and J. M. Scheeben.

The latter gives a fairly detailed Mariological-ecclesiological exposition. Mary, as the grace-filled person [per se] in her relationship with the Trinity and in her divine motherhood, is typologically significant for the Church. [33] From this perspective, Scheeben speaks of a fundamental principle which is constitutive and serves as vantage point for all Mariological statements and the understanding of Mary’s person and task in the order of salvation and the history of salvation: Mary’s divine-spousal motherhood [Gottesbräutliche Mutterschaft ] as her personal character–a term unique to Scheeben’s Mariology. [34] He speaks of the fundamental principle within the framework of the supernatural personal character of Mary. [35] This character distinguishes Mary from all other people: “At the same time, of its very nature and according to the idea of the Church, it is used also in the sense that, compared with all other qualities of Mary, the distinguishing mark of ‘mother of Jesus’ forms the capital, fundamental, and central quality to which, as subordinate attributes, all others are joined.” [36] Further, Scheeben underlines:

All the privileges belonging to the Mother of God are of a super-natural character and thus find their principle in a supernatural gift of grace, so this applies particularly to the motherhood itself. This motherhood must therefore be defined as a supernatural distinguishing mark of Mary’s person, to which, in addition to her nature, she is raised through divine grace and which thus has its root in a divine gift of grace through which it is constituted. [37]

The formative element of Mary’s personal character is the “supernatural, spiritual 'union' of the person of Mary with that of her Son”; it is the highest, most intimate and perfect union between God and a human creature. [38] “Mary, as united with the Logos, is taken into complete possession by him; the Logos, as infused and implanted in her, gives himself to her and takes her to himself as partner and helper, in the closest, strictest, and most lasting 'Community' of life.” [39] Scheeben considers Mary in the role of her divine-bridal motherhood as the mother and 'Heart' of the Mystical Body of Christ. Within the inner organic unity of the Church he highlights this heart function:

Mary is . . . the 'Prototype' of the Church, as the idea of the Church is originally realized in her person and in the most perfect manner. Since she herself belongs to the Church and at the same time forms the head-member as root and heart, the idea of the Church as a supernatural principle assisting Christ also obtains its full, concrete and living figure. [40]

Scheeben’s perception of a fundamental principle, and the uniqueness of his concept of Mary’s personal character has found a resonance in the years preceding Vatican II [from ca. 1940 on], for example in the works of H. M. Köster, Kurl Rahner and Semmelroth. [41] The aspects and the orientations that Scheeben gives in this concept have generated negative and positive critiques. [42] According to G. Philips, it is not possible to combine the two terms “mother” and “bride” in the concept of “bridal motherhood” without creating a misconception in the understanding of the concept. [43] C. Feckes takes the divine-bridal motherhood as the fundamental principal of Mariology: Mary is mother, because she is bride and co-worker of the Redeemer. Her first service as co-worker in the redemptive 'Work' of her Son is her maternal action. She is bride, because she is mother, since her motherly action includes in her Fiat a bridal dimension. [44] A pertinent modification and application of Scheeben’s idea of the Mariological fundamental principle is given by Fr. Kentenich [45] in his Marian 'Paradigm'. [46] In accordance with a long tradition acknowledging the essential 'Unity' between Christ and Mary, [47] and in affiliation with Scheeben’s concept, he defines, as a fundamental Marian principle, the personal character of Mary: [48] as “the unique bridal, permanent helpmate and associate of Christ, who is the Head of the whole Church and world, in the entire work of redemption,” [49] or expressed in the shorter version from 1950: Mary is “the official companion and helpmate of Christ in the entire work of redemption.” [50] Although all of Mary’s unique gifts–like her immaculate conception, perpetual virginity, the intemerata and her divine motherhood–are included and are to be interpreted from the above paradigm, yet Kentenich’s choice of this definition as he stated in 1941 points beyond traditional Mariological interpretations toward Mary’s active involvement in salvation 'History' . She is, through her educative task toward humanity, the free cooperative permanent helpmate and associate of Christ in the entire work of redemption. [51] The Christologically founded and oriented unity between Christ and Mary is constitutive for Mary’s place in God’s divine plan, in the order of salvation and at the centre of salvation history, and gives her an official character. [52] For Kentenich, Mary’s position in God’s plan of salvation is the starting point for everything that can be said about her person and her mission.

From Vatican I to Vatican II

The First Vatican Council, compelled through exterior circumstances, could deal only with the position and task of the pope and could not go into the question of the Church’s self-concept, a concept which should have found expression as the corpus Christi mysticum and as the true, perfect, spiritual and supernatural 'community'. [53]

At the beginning of the present century a new understanding of the Church was emerging: a move from a scholastic, institutional concept to a biblical and patristic image. “The Church is awakening in souls,” wrote Romano Guardini in 1922. [54] His writing and those of Henri De Lubac and Yves Congar address this new awakening. [55] It is well presented in De Lubac’s work:

The only real Church, the Church which is the Body of Christ, is not merely that strongly hierarchical and disciplined society whose divine origin has to be maintained, whose organization has to be upheld against all denial and revolt. That is an incomplete notion and but a partial cure for the separatist, individualist tendency of the notion to which it is opposed; a partial cure because it works only from without by way of authority, instead of effective 'union' . If Christ is the 'Sacrament' of God, the Church is for us the sacrament of Christ; she represents him, in the full and ancient meaning of the term; she really makes him present. [56]

This notion of the inner reality of the Church was given a strong impetus by Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, [57] in which he brought together the Body of Christ and the 'People of God' united to Christ, and Mediator Dei. [58] The different streams of this newly-inspired reflection upon the Church’s inner reality, its mystery, flowed into the discussions of Vatican II, and placed the Church at the center of attention. [59]

The awareness of returning the image of the Church to patristic notions also brought into the ecclesiological foreground the patristic image of Mary and the Church intertwined. The task of Mary is also the task of the Church: “As it is the mother role of Mary to give to the 'World' the God-man, so it is the mother role of the Church, culminating in the celebration of the 'Eucharist' , to give us also Christ as the head, sacrifice and nourishment for the members of his mystical body.” [60] Finally, the 'Eschatological' significance of the close association of Mary and the Church finds expression in the dogmatic definition of Mary’s Assumption. [61]

During the decades just prior to Vatican II, a particular representative of Scheeben’s Mariological thinking was C. Feckes. Known as the interpreter of Scheeben’ Mariology, he follows him in his understanding of the basic Marian principle: the divine-bridal motherhood; Mary is mother because she is bride and helpmate of Christ. [62] In his ecclesiology Feckes attempts to present the Church as the Christ-founded institution of salvation and places a strong emphasis on the ministerial priesthood, the mystical body of Christ. [63] Analogous to Augustine, [64] Feckes speaks of the Holy Spirit as the soul of the Church, as its animating and unifying power. [65] In unison with Scheeben he refers to the relatedness between Mary’s motherhood and that of the Church as a perichorese. [66] Above all, Mary’s place in the Church is characterized as that of the heart . [67] Mary is typos of the Church. Under the Cross she “becomes the mother of all the redeemed” and the mediatrix of graces. [68] The most perfect and original way in which the idea of the Church is realized is in Mary. [69] She is “the first of the redeemed, she is the ideal image of all the redeemed,” [70] and as the pre-redeemed she is model and archetype of the Church as the sum of all the after-redeemed. [71] The latter statement closely resembles the Marian teaching of Vatican II: Mary’s model character for all people of God.

O. Cohausz is also strongly influenced by Scheeben, [72] and his argumentation is highly inspired by the Mary-Eve parallel with the primacy of the masculine gender. Mary is the model of creation and the representative of creation in the salvific event of Christ’s 'Incarnation' . [73] She is mother and bride of Christ. She is also our mother because she gave birth to us when she gave birth to Christ. Her motherhood toward us continues in her task as mediatrix of graces. [74]

K. Adam and E. Przywara speak of Mary as “the inner form of the Church,” [75] and A. Müller comes to the conclusion, after investigating the patristic sources, that “Mary is the perfect realization of the Church–the essential mystery of the Church is the mystery of Mary.” [76]

De Lubac also refers to the patristic tradition in which “the same biblical symbols are applied, either in turn or simultaneously, with one and the same ever-increasing profusion, to the Church and Our Lady.” [77] All the sources of the Church’s tradition point to the fact that everywhere the Church finds in Mary “its type and model, its point of origin and perfection: ‘The form of our mother the Church is according to the form of his [Christ’s] mother'.” [78]

H. Rahner, too, speaks of the 'Unity' between Mary and the Church in his studies of the Church Fathers: “The early Church saw Mary and the Church as a single figure: type and antitype form one print as seal and wax.” [79]

C. Dillenschneider depicts Mary in her role as the mother of the Messiah; he shows her place next to Christ and within the Church as the archetype [Urbild ] and inner portrait [Inbild] of the Church. [80] Mary stands with Christ at the center of salvation history, [81] and as his helpmate she also cooperates as the representative of humanity and the Church in the 'Incarnation', as well as on Golgotha in the Redemption. [82] Dillenschneider perceives Mary’s mediating role to be a consequence of her “yes” at the Incarnation as well as her “yes” under the Cross. Her “yes” has an ecclesiological perspective since “her general intercession in heaven is nothing else but the highest form of the ‘interceding’ 'Community' of saints.” [83]

Prior to Vatican II, the French Mariological Society made its particular contribution to the Mary-Church theme through its three-year series of Marian studies, [84] whereby special mention needs to be made of Canon Philips, one of its members, who repeatedly wrote on this theme and who later became one of the main draftsmen of Chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium. [85] In 1958, the International Mariological Congress in Lourdes too had Maria et Ecclesia as its theme. [86]

Among the German-speaking theologians it was in particular Semmelroth who discussed Mariology in its relatedness to ecclesiology under the aspect of 'Archetype' [Urbild ]. He sees in Ambrose’s expression, Mary as the type of the Church, the sum of the Church’s tradition, “concerning the Church’s knowledge of its own nature.” [87] It is within ecclesiology, where Mary’s place in God’s plan of salvation should be viewed. [88] Semmelroth sees an essential element in the relationship of Mary to the Church in the primitive etymological meaning of type, which in the fullest sense is threefold. It can signify [1] a personification or representation of a spiritual entity through some sort of image; [2] “the similarity between Mary and the Church is the consequence of a very real, inner connection. The features that make the archetype similar to the image have somehow grown from the archetype into the image” [89] ; [3] it can be a moral example as a result of this relationship. [90] “When it has been established that Mary’s relation to the Church and her members is factual and ontological,” then there will be moral consequences, resulting in “a new relationship in the moral and exemplary order.” Our lives will have to be ordered “according to the life led by the Archetype before us.” [91] Subsequently, in search of a basic Mariological principle, he claims:

Because Mary was to be the type of the Church, she was given existence as the virginal Mother of God. There is no other Marian mystery which, as the intentional principle, could precede and give root to the position that Mary holds as type of the Church . . . all other Marian mysteries draw their inner meaning and connection from this basic mystery. [92]

At the center of the economy of salvation and its very essence is the total Christ, that is, Christ with the members of his mystical body. The Church is so intimately bound to Christ that she becomes his mystical body, united to him as to her head without any lessening of her bridal attitude toward him. [93] It follows that

the basic mystery of Mariology will be that which brings Mary closer to the center of the economy of salvation, which is the Church. This coming-together takes place through the bridal aspect of the divine motherhood, because here Mary shows herself as the completed bridal fiat for the advent and work of the Saviour. [94]

In this context Semmelroth addresses also the question of co-redemption and speaks of Mary as “the type of the truly co redeeming Church which gives salvation.” [95] The task of the Church as the community of the redeemed in Christ [96] in God’s salvific plan casts light on Mary’s role within the history of salvation. “Mary cooperated with her own redemptio objectiva, which redemption, however, simultaneously signifies the reception of the fruits of salvation for the entire Church and which is therefore objective with regard to the individual.” [97]

Thus, Semmelroth concludes that Mary, like the Church whose archetype she is, also mediates all graces [98] and affirms as type and pinnacle of the Church “Christ’s work and thereby disposed both herself and the Church within her for the pleroma of salvation.” [99] “In the divine motherhood, Mary was given the most perfect opportunity to prefigure the Church in a co-redemptive way,” [100] and in her Immaculate Conception “the Church emerges as the one essentially redeemed, the one that could never exist tainted with original sin and therefore, in the womb of humanity.” [101] Mary “personifies the Church as a symbol . . . personifies the Church as the primordial cell from which the Church extends in time and space . . . and is gathered into a juridically representative oneness.” However, writes Semmelroth, “There is no question of a Marian-Mystical Body. Rather, it is a Marian-bridal element within the Mystical Body of Christ.” [102] The redeemed state of the physical cosmos at the end of time shines forth in her body in which she partook in Christ’s death. As archetype, Mary’s body shows [in her Assumption] the Church’s fully redeemed body, and it lights the way for the body of the Church and shows that the transfiguration dwells like a seed within her corporeality. [103] Mary, the archetype, represents also the ideal type, the model and moral example “against whom the Church as a whole and all her members can examine their own attitude toward their redemption and fullness of grace as they work out their own lives. . . The Church living in her individual members needs Mary for her growth toward what she is and toward her hidden potential. Mary causes the essence of the Church to shine before individual human beings to appeal to their own moral efforts.” [104]

Although Semmelroth emphasizes Mary's archetypal function in “the Church insofar as she is the bride of Christ and mother of the individual faithful,” [105] in actual terms it refers to the community of the lay faithful. Christ as the bridegroom is, so to speak, the archetype of the ministerial priesthood, while Mary is archetype of the Church in so far as she is laoV, as the community of the lay faithful, receiving and co-sacrificing, encounters Christ, who through the office of the ministerial priesthood stands before the lay faithful. [106]

In his early work, Schillebeeckx presents a more integral thinking when referring to Mary’s position in the Church: Mary lives in communion

with her Son’s redemptive activity, joined to him in motherly love. Even though she is certainly outside the hierarchical Church and is fully a member of the community of the Church, she is nonetheless in the Church, the mother both of the ordinary believer and of the hierarchy. She is the mother in the Church both in the Church’s teaching authority and in her governing authority and pastoral office, because she occupies an eminent position in the work of redemption which the hierarchical Church must draw on. [107]

It was the task of Vatican II [Lumen Gentium as well as the proclamation Mary, Mother of the Church ] to balance the somewhat prevailing perspective of contemplating Mary’s relationship with the Church and her place in the Church in vertical/horizontal categories [in terms of being placed “against”]. Mary, in her uniqueness as mother, helpmate, and associate of Christ in the entire work of redemption, [108] transcends such categories: as the pre-redeemed person, the immaculate original personification of the Church, she is the most excellent member and model of the Church, and at the same time the Mother of the Church, who is active as the educator of all the members. [109]

Chapter Eight of Lumen Gentium

It is significant that at the Council the Marian chapter became the final chapter of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. [110] The first chapter of the Constitution gives an exposition of the mystery of the Church, how this mystery is then unfolded in the People of God , in the hierarchical framework, and in the laity. The pondering of the mystery of the Church in the first chapter is presented in the final chapter in a personalized manner in the figure of Mary and her place in the mystery of Christ and of the Church. The developmental stages of the Marian schema during the Council from an independent schema until its insertion into the Constitution on the Church, reflects the Council's emphasis on integration, unity and on a reorientation of the sources of Christianity. The Council integrated the mysteries of our Faith into the one unifying mystery of salvation, Jesus Christ, who extends the saving efficacy of his resurrection to all people through the Church, his sacrament on earth. [111] By integrating Mariology into ecclesiology, Mary as an icon represents, in her person and the pertinent teaching about her, the mystery of Christ in the Church and its immeasurable effect on humankind in salvation history. Thus, Mariology has been approached not deductively, [112] but from the center of the mystery of salvation [113] and in this approach the traditional Mariological statements have been christologically and ecclesiologically integrated and rearranged. [114] This salvation-historical perspective is seen as a truly new theological perspective. [115] “The person, the mission, the privileges of Mary, and also the devotion offered to her, are not considered in themselves or in relation to her dignity as Mother of God. Rather, the whole treatment is developed and expanded in the broader framework of the history of salvation.” [116] This new perspective, presenting the Mother of God at her rightful place in salvation history, shows her as the example of the human person cooperating with grace in the work of salvation and also as the example of the Church, the sign and effective instrument of salvation. [117] She portrays the acting person and the acting ecclesial community and hence, evidences dimensions of anthropological and ecclesiological dynamics, which are important elements in the ecumenical dialogue.


The Council did not intend to present a complete doctrine on Mary but to give a carefully compiled treatise on the role of Mary in the mystery of the Incarnate Word and the Mystical Body. [118] As such, there is in this chapter the first unified and most extensive presentation of a Mariology given by a Council. The text shows a powerful coherence of the mystery of Christ with the mystery of the Church; Mary is drawn into this mystery through the grace of Christ, [119] because an authentic theology of Mary must lead to a deeper understanding of the essence of the Church. [120] The Marian teaching of Vatican II is well summarized in the magisterial document The Virgin Mary in intellectual and spiritual formation:

“The importance of Chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium lies in the value of its doctrinal synthesis and in its formulation of doctrine about the Blessed Virgin in the context of the mystery of Christ and of the Church. In this way the Council allied itself to the patristic tradition which gives a privileged place to the history of salvation in every theological tract; 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” [121] ; [and] formulated a common vision for the different positions about the way in which Marian matters are to be treated.” [122]

Pope Paul VI not only confirmed Mary's place as type and model [123] of the Church, as expressed in Chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium, but also promulgated her place as “our mother in the order of grace” [124] through the solemn proclamation of Mary as Mother of the Church at the closing of the Third Session of the Council. [125]

Aspects of the Mary and the Church in Postconciliar Magisterial Documents

From the post-conciliar documents the following shall be considered here: Marialis Cultus, Signum Magnum, and Redemptoris Mater. [126]

The dimensions of Mary's relatedness to the Church, flowing from her union with Christ, as presented in Chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium, and Pope Paul VI's proclamation of Mary's title Mother of the Church, are reiterated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. [127] In the Catechism the mystery of Mary is related primarily to the Trinitarian mystery. [128] Her relationship with the Church is within the section devoted to the Holy Spirit, which immediately links the establishment of the Church at Pentecost with the Incarnation of the word through Mary's cooperation. [129] As the spotless Bride, Mary is the example of the Church's holiness, and in this the Marian dimension of the Church precedes the petrine. [130]

The Catechism further presents Mary as the exemplary realization of the Church, and her eschatological icon and preeminent sign of hope. [131] Mary's undivided unity with Christ marks her pilgrimage of faith and perseverance in faith [132] and her motherhood of the Church. [133]

Pope Paul VI re-emphasises Mary's role as model and mother of the Church in Signum Magnum and in Marialis Cultus. [134] In Signum Magnum the Pope writes:

Mary is the Mother of the Church–not only because she is the mother of Jesus Christ and his closest associate in ‘the new economy . . .’ but also because she ‘shines as the model of virtues for the whole community of the elect’. . . . She participated in the Son's sacrifice for our redemption in such intimate fashion that he designated her the mother not only of John the Apostle but also–it seems legitimate to say this–of the human race, which he somehow represented. [135] Now in heaven she carries on her motherly role, helping to nourish and foster the divine life in the souls of redeemed men. This truth is a most consoling one, and God in his wisdom has made it an integral part of the mystery of human salvation. [136]

Again, in Marialis Cultus, which places emphasis on the integration of Marian devotion into Christian worship, the central understanding of Mary is given in her being the pre-eminent member of the Church, a shining example and the loving mother. The introduction points already to the centrality of Mary in the mystery of the Church:

The Church's reflection today on the mystery of Christ and on her own nature has led her to find at the root of the former and as a culmination of the latter the same figure of a woman: the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ and the Mother of the Church. And the increased knowledge of Mary's mission has become joyful veneration of her and adoring respect for the wise plan of God, who has placed within his family [the Church], as in every home, the figure of a woman, who in a hidden manner and in a spirit of service watches over that family. [137]

The interrelatedness between the Church and Mary is expressed in the following text:

The faithful will be able to appreciate more easily Mary's mission in the mystery of the Church and her preeminent place in the communion of saints if attention is drawn to the Second Vatican Council's reference to the fundamental concepts of the nature of the Church as the Family of God, the People of God, the Kingdom of God and the Mystical Body of Christ. This will also bring the faithful to a deeper realization of the brotherhood which unites all of them as sons and daughters of the Virgin Mary, ‘who with a mother's love has cooperated in their rebirth and spiritual formation,’ and as sons and daughters of the Church. . . . They will also realize that both the Church and Mary collaborate to give birth to the Mystical Body of Christ since ‘both of them are the Mother of Christ, but neither brings forth the whole [body] independently of the other.’ [138] Similarly the faithful will appreciate more clearly that the action of the Church in the world can be likened to an extension of Mary's concern. [139]

In Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II gives an original synthesis of essential elements of chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium, Marialis Cultus, Signum Magnum, Christi Matri [140] and his personal reflections regarding Mary and the Church. Primarily the consideration is Mary's exceptional pilgrimage of faith in which she “advanced, faithfully preserving her union with Christ." [141] In this way the 'twofold bond' which unites the Mother of God with Christ and with the Church takes on historical significance.” [142] Ecclesiologically the Pope speaks within “the redemptive economy of grace” of

a unique correspondence between the moment of the Incarnation of the Word and the moment of the birth of the Church. The person who links these two moments is Mary: Mary at Nazareth and Mary in the Upper Room at Jerusalem. In both cases her discreet yet essential presence indicates the path of ‘birth from the Holy Spirit'. Thus she who is present in the mystery of Christ as Mother becomes–by the will of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit–present in the mystery of the Church. In the Church too she continues to be a maternal presence.… [143]

Mary as the believer par excellence is present in the “ecclesial journey or pilgrimage through space and time, and even more through the history of souls” [144] ; she is present when that journey–”the Church's pilgrimage through the history of individuals and peoples”–begins at Pentecost, yet Mary's journey of faith began already at the Annunciation. [145] The triad of Annunciation-Golgotha-Pentecost comes into perspective, as Mary, who is united in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room “'goes before them,' 'leads the way' for them. The moment of Pentecost in Jerusalem had been prepared for by the moment of the Annunciation in Nazareth, as well as by the Cross. In the Upper Room, Mary's journey meets the Church's journey of faith.” [146] The indissoluble unity of Mary with the mystery of Christ is constitutive of her indissoluble unity with the Church, therefore at “the basis of what the Church has been from the beginning, and of what she must continually become from generation to generation, in the midst of all the nations on earth” is Mary, the believer [Lk 1:45]. [147] It is precisely her “faith which marks the beginning of the new and eternal Covenant of God with man in Jesus Christ” [1] ; and

this heroic faith of hers ‘precedes’ the apostolic witness of the Church, and ever remains in the Church's heart, hidden like a special heritage of God's revelation. All those who from generation to generation accept the apostolic witness of the Church share in that mysterious inheritance and in a sense share in Mary's faith. [148]

Thus “she offers hope to those . . . who are still on the journey.” She is at the same time “an icon of fidelity for the Church as a whole, a concrete symbol of hope that the Church as a whole may not stray from the path of truth and faithful action in response to the Gospel.” [149] Mary's presence in the mystery of the Church is more than that of a model and figure, because “the Church's mystery also consists in generating people to a new and immortal life: this is her motherhood in the Holy Spirit. And here Mary is … much more. For, “with maternal love she cooperates in the birth and development” of the sons and daughters of Mother Church.” [150] Christ's word from the cross [Jn 19: 26-27], which determines Mary's place in the life of the faithful, expresses

the new motherhood of Mother of the Redeemer: a spiritual motherhood, born from the heart of the Paschal Mystery of the Redeemer of the world. It is a motherhood in the order of grace, for it implores the gift of the Spirit who raises up the new children of God, redeemed through the sacrifice of Christ: that Spirit who together with the Church Mary too received on the day of Pentecost. . . . Her motherhood is particularly noted and experienced by the Christian people . . . at the liturgical celebration of the mystery of the redemption. . . . Mary guides the faithful to the Eucharist. [151]

In this context the Pope speaks of a “Marian dimension of the life of Christ's disciple,” that is, Mary's motherhood is “a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual. . . . At the foot of the Cross there begins that special entrusting of humanity to the Mother of Christ. . . .” [152] Like the apostle John, the Christian who responds to this gift “’welcomes’ the Mother of Christ ‘into his own home’ and brings her into everything that makes up his inner life, that is to say into his human and Christian ‘I’. . . . This filial relationship, this self-entrusting of a child to its mother, not only has its beginning in Christ but also can be said to be definitively directed toward him.” [153] The Church always maintains a close link with Mary “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.” [154]

In conclusion it can be said: just as in pre-conciliar writings the relationship between Mary and the Church seems to have been restricted to Mary’s model character and this pre-dominantly for the lay faithful, e.g., Semmelroth, so in post-conciliar Mariological-ecclesiological writings there seems to be a danger of limiting Mary's relationship with the Church in metaphorical, symbolical terms. [155] Here, the writings of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II propose significant perspectives for a more balanced view. What emerged from the conciliar discussion and from post-conciliar magisterial documents regarding Mary and the Church suggests a balanced approach to this complex issue. The Council indeed marked a turning point in the Church's approach to her own identity and mission which consequently affected Marian theology and spirituality.

[1] Redemptoris Mater

 

 


[1] History in this context is not taken etymologically as knowledge of events (istoria), but as the concrete place of the human person in time and space, comprising the human experience in the Augustinian modes of time: memoria, contuitus and expectatio. Augustine, Confessions, XI, in particular 20, 26. Theologically, history is the place of God's salvific action and interaction with humanity in time.

[2] Regarding the following, I am indebted to the work of: H. Fries, “Wandel des Kirchenbildes und dogmengeschichtliche Entfaltung,” in Mysterium Salutis IV/1, Grundriß heilsgeschichtlicher Dogmatik, eds. J. Feiner, M. Löhrer, 5 Vols. & suppl. Vol. (Einsiedeln-Zürich- Köln: Benziger Verlag, 1965-1976), 223-279. See further W. Scott, “The Phenomenon of Change in the Church,” in The Role of Theology in the University (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1967); A. Mayer-Pfannholz, “Der Wandel des Kirchenbildes in der Geschichte,” ThG 33 (1941): 22-34.

[3] For the Church in the NT see J. Roloff, Die Kirche im Neuen Testament, Grundrisse zum Neuen Testament, Das Neue Testament Deutsch-Ergänzungsreihe, ed. J. Roloff, Vol. 10 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1993); G. Delling, “Merkmale der Kirche im Neuen Testament,” NTS 13 (1966/67): 297-316; E. Jüngel, “Die Kirche als Sakrament?” ZThK 80 (1983): 432-457.

[4] G. L. Müller, Katholische Dogmatik: Für Studium und Praxis der Theologie (Freiburg: Herder2, 1995/1996), 598-602.

[5] Augustine, Epis. 187, 20, PL 33, 839. See also G. L. Müller, Katholische Dogmatik: Für Studium und Praxis der Theologie, 603. See further: H. De Lubac, The Splendour of the Church, trans. by M. Mason (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1956); J. A. Möhler, Die Einheit in der Kirche oder das Prinzip des Katholizismus: Dargestellt im Geist der Kirchenväter der drei ersten Jahrhunderte, ed. J. R. Geiselmann (Köln: Jakob Hegner, 1956); H. Rahner, Symbole der Kirche: Die Ekklesiologie der Väter (Salzburg: Otto Müller Verlag, 1964); E. Mersch, The Theology of the Mystical Body (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1963); F. Hofmann, Der Kirchenbegriff des heiligen Augustinus in seinen Grundlagen und in seiner Entwicklung (München: Kösel, 1933).

[6] B. Buby, Mary of Galilee, 3 Vols. (New York: Alba House, 1994), Vol. I; J. Zmijewski, Die Mutter des Messias, Maria in der Chris-tusverkündigung: Eine exegetische Studie (Kevelaer: Verlag Butzon & Becker, 1989).

[7] H. Rahner, Our Lady and the Church, trans. by S. Bullough (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1961), 5. This reflects Ambrose's classical formula: Maria est typos ecclesiae in Expositio evangelii secundum Lucam II, 7, CSEL XXXII, 4, 45. See also Segundo Folgado, “María y la Iglesia en San Ambrosio,” Est Mar XXXIX (1974): 59-77. For patristic references to the Mary-Eve-parallel, see for example Justin Martyr, PG 6: 709-712; Irenaeus, PG 7: 1175-1176; Cyril of Alexandria, PG 77: 996.

[8] Augustine, De sancta virginitate 6, PL 40, 399; CPL 368.

[9] Augustine, Sermo XXV, 7, PL 46, 938 (G. Morin 162, 19-163,8); CPL 368. For the patristic understanding of the Mary-Church parallel, see L. Gambero, Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, trans. by T. Buffer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999); H. Rahner, Our Lady and the Church; A. Müller, Ecclesia–Maria: Die Einheit Marias und der Kirche, Paradosis: Beiträge zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur und Theologie, ed. O. Perler, (Freiburg/Switzerland: Universitätsverlag, 1953); J. C. Plumpe, Mater Ecclesia: An inquiry into the concept of the Church as Mother in early Christianity (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1943).

[10] H. Fries, “Wandel des Kirchenbildes und dogmengeschichtliche Entfaltung,” 236.

[11] Y. Congar, “Le Corps mystique du Christ,” in Esquisses du Mystère de L'Église. Unam Sanctam 8 (Paris: Cerf, 1953), 93-115.

[12] H. Fries, “Wandel des Kirchenbildes und dogmengeschichtliche Entfaltung,” 235-249; Y. Congar, Etudes d'ecclésiologie médiévale (London: Variorum Reprints, 1983); D. J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1991/1993), 214-238. See for the early period of the Middle Ages: F. Gavin, Seven Centuries of the Problem of Church and State (New York: Princeton University Press, 1938/Howard Fertig, 1971), 31-67.

[13] L. Scheffczyk, Das Mariengeheimnis in Frömmigkeit und Lehre der Karolingerzeit. Erfurter Theologische Studien im Auftrag des Philosophisch-Theologischen Studiums Erfurt, eds. E. Kleineidam und H. Schürmann, Vol. 5 (Leipzig: St. Benno-Verlag, 1959): 10-11.

[14] L. Scheffczyk, Das Mariengeheimnis in Frömmigkeit und Lehre der Karolingerzeit, 390-511. Scheffczyk provides in this study an understanding of the Franco–Germanic religiosity which denoted a favourable disposition for the development of the Marian teaching.

[15] E. g.: Rupert of Deutz, In Isaiam 11, 31, PL 167, 1361; In Evangelium Joannis Commentariorum 19, 26, PL 169, 789-790.

[16] For the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, see in particular E. J. Gratsch, Where Peter Is: A Survey of Ecclesiology (New York: Alba House, 1975), 109-139.

[17] DS 1500; H. Jedin, Geschichte des Konzils von Trient, 4 Vols., (Freiburg-Basel-Wien: Herder, 1975), Vol. 4.

[18] R. Bellarmine: “The one true Church is the community of the faithful who profess the same Christian faith and participate in the same sacraments under the government of legitimate pastors above all, the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the bishop of Rome.” R. Bellarmine, Disputationes de controversiis Christianae fidei adversus nostri temporis haereticos, II, lib. 3, cap. 2 (Neapoli: Josephum Giuliano, 1858).

[19] E. J. Gratsch, Where Peter Is: A Survey of Ecclesiology, 126-137; P. McPartlan, Sacrament of Salvation: An Introduction to Eucharistic Ecclesiology (Edinburgh:T&T Clark, 1995), 38-40; D. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, 239-61.

[20] R. Bäumer, “Neuzeit,” MLexikon IV, 606-607.

[21] R. Bäumer, “Katholische Reform,” MLexikon III, 537-539.

[22] E. g.: R. Bellarmine, Contio 42, De Nativitate B. Mariae Virginis. Opera omnia, 7 (Neapoli: Josephum Giuliano, 1872), 298; F. Suarez, De verbo Incarnato, Q. 38, 4, disp. I-XXIII, Opera Omnia, ed. Vivès (Paris: Cerf, 1860), 1-337; and P. Canisius in O. Braunsberger, “Der selige Petrus Canisius, seine Arbeiten für die Verbreitung des Cultus der seligen Jungfrau im 16. Jahrhundert,” Internationaler Marianischer Kongreß zu Freiburg/Schweiz 1902 (Fribourg 1903), 355-383.

[23] G. Schwaiger, “Die Aufklärung in katholischer Sicht,” Con 3 (1967): 559-566.

[24] J. A. Jungmann, “Liturgische Erneuerung zwischen Barock und Gegenwart,” LJB 12 (1962): 1-15.

[25] F. Zoepfl, W. Pötzl, “Barock,” MLexikon Vol. 1, 373-376.

[26] F. Zoepfl, B. Möckershoff-Goy, G. V. Gemert, “Aufklärung,” MLexikon Vol. 1, 270-276.

[27] E. J. Gratsch, Where Peter Is: A Survey of Ecclesiology, 157-171; J. A. Möhler, Die Einheit in der Kirche oder das Prinzip des Katholizismus: Dargestellt im Geist der Kirchenväter der drei ersten Jahrhunderte; J. R. Geiselmann,” J. A. Möhler und die Entwicklung seines Kirchenbegriffs,” 1-91.

[28] For a study of the ecclesiological and theological panorama of that time, see G. Daly, Transcendence and Immanence: A Study in Catholic Modernism and Integralism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), 7-25, 165-231; T. F. O'Meara, Romantic Idealism and Roman Catholicism: Schelling and the Theologians (Notre Dame/London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), 58-160. See also E. J. Gratsch, Where Peter Is: A Survey of Ecclesiology, 157-190.

[29] 1830–Apparition to Catherine Labouré (Miraculous Medal); 1846–Apparition at La Salette; 1858–Apparition at Lourdes; 1871–Apparition at Pont Main; 1879–Apparition at Knock.

[30] 1854–Definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Pius IX, Litterae Apostolicae “De dog-matica definitione immacolatae conceptionis virginis Deiparae,” December 8, 1854, Acta 1/I, 597-619.

[31] In the 19th century particularly German theologians were considering the relationship between Mary and the Church, as for example J. Th. Laurent, the first German theologian, who discussed more comprehensively the Mary–Church relationship and saw in Mary the model of the Church. H. J. Brosch, “Maria als Bild und Glied der Kirche nach der Lehre der deutschen Theologen des 19. Jahrhunderts,” in Academia Mariana Internationalis, Maria et Ecclesia, Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani in Civitate Lourdes anno 1958 Celebrati (Romae: Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, 1959), Vol. VIII, 493-494; and “Deutsche Theologen des 19. Jahrhunderts in der Frage der heilsgeschichtlichen Stellvertretung der Menscheit durch Maria,” in ed. C. Feckes, Die Heilsgeschichtliche Stellvertretung der Menschheit durch Maria, Ehrengabe an die Unbefleckt Empfangene von der Mariologischen Arbeitsgemein-schaft deutscher Theologen (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1954), 281-307.

[32] J. H. Newman, The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, ed. C. S. Dessain, Birmingham Oratory, 31 vols. (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1972), Vol. XII: “Letter to Lady Chatterton, October 2, 1865,” 65-66; “Letter to J. Keble, October 8, 1865,” 67-69; “To E. B. Pusey, October 31, 1865,” 89-91.

[33] The organic view of God's revelation and of the divine order of salvation are foundational to Scheeben's theological and mariological thinking. See in this regard the studies of: L. Scheffczyk, “Die 'organische' und die 'transzendentale' Verbindung zwischen Natur und Gnade,” Forum Katholische Theologie 4, 3 (1988): 161-179, here 162-169; H. Gasper, “Die Vermählung von Natur und Gnade als Modell für die Theologie Scheebens,” in Geist und Kirche: Studien zur Theologie im Umfeld der beiden Vatikanischen Konzilien. Gedenkschrift für Heribert Schauf, eds. H. Hammans et al. (Paderborn, Ferdinand Schöningh: 1990): 213-246.

[34] See I. Muser, Das mariologische Prinzip “gottesbräutliche Mutterschaft” und das Verständnis der Kirche bei M. J. Scheeben. Analecta Gregoriana (Roma: Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 1995), 79; H. Mühlen, “Der 'Personal-charakter' Mariens nach M. J. Scheeben: Zur Frage nach dem Grundprinzip der Mariologie,” Wissenschaft und Weisheit 17 (1954): 191-214.

[35] Scheeben, Handbuch III, 489-504; Mariology, Vol. I, 187-218.

[36] Scheeben, Mariology, Vol. I, 187.

[37] Scheeben, Mariology, Vol. I, 187-189.

[38] Scheeben, Mariology, Vol. I., 219-220 [Scheeben, Handbuch, VI/2, 1614]. See in this context also the reference in Lumen Gentium 54.

[39] Scheeben, Mariology, Vol. I, 189. Mühlen, discussing Scheeben's “distingishing mark of Mary,” comes to the following conclusion: “The person of Mary is characterized by a substantial relation with the person of the Logos, which is inseparably united with her concrete existence. Through this she becomes a person of a supernatural manner.” (German text: “Die Person Mariens ist durch eine substantielle [=transzendale] Relation zur Person des Logos charakterisiert, die mit ihrem konkreten Dasein unab-trennbar verbunden ist. Dadurch wird sie zu einer Person übernatürlicher Art.”). H. Mühlen, “Der 'Personalcharakter' Mariens nach M. J. Scheeben: Zur Frage nach dem Grundprinzip der Mariologie”, 197. N. Hoffmann: “Dieser sponsale Logosbezug Mariens ist von solch ontologischem Durchgriff auf ihre eigene Person, daß sie von ihm zwar nicht den Subsistenz-Kern ihres Person-Selbst, wohl aber dessen relational-personale Geprägtheit, ihren 'Personalcharakter,' empfängt,” N. Hoffmann, “Zur 'Perichorese' von Maria und Kirche in der Sicht M. J. Scheebens,” in Geist und Kirche: Studien zur Theologie im Umfeld der beiden Vatikanischen Konzilien. Gedenkschrift für Heribert Schauf, eds. H. Hammans et al. (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1990): 247-275, here 265. See also Ziegenhaus: “Beim Personalcharakter der Gottesmutter handelt es sich um eine Relation, die in dem Maß zu ihrem Dasein gehört, daß es zusammenbrechen müßte, würde die Relation aufgelöst. Da Maria in ihrer personalen Prägung durch die Gottesmutterschaft konstituiert ist, kann sie nicht irgendwann in ihrem Leben, etwa bei der Empfängnis Jesu, zur Gottesmutter bestimmt worden sein,” in A. Ziegenhaus, “Charakter Marias,” MLexikon, Vol. II, 19-24, here 22.

[40] M. J. Scheeben, Mariology, trans. by T. L. M. J. Geukers, 2 Vols. (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1947), 216-217.

[41] H. M. Köster, Die Magd des Herrn. Theologische Versuche und Überlegungen; K. Rahner, “Die Unbefleckte Empfängnis” and “Zum Sinn des Assumpta-Dogma,” Schriften zur Theologie I (Einsiedeln: Johannes Verlag, 1967): 223-237, 239-252; O. Semmelroth, Mary, Archetype of the Church, trans. by Maria v. Eroes and J. Devlin (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1963) [Engl. trans. of Maria, Urbild der Kirche: Organischer Aufbau des Mariengeheimnisses (Würzburg: Echter-Verlag, 1950] [hereafter: Semmelroth, Archetype ].

[42] Nicolas emphasizes the uniqueness of Mary's divine motherhood and her predestination in view of her calling. The initiative is with the Son, who chose Mary as his mother and with whom he unites himself in a spiritual, mystical union. If the incarnation is a matrimonium between the Logos and humankind, then it is Mary who represents humankind in her yes to God's plan of salvation. It is in her that humankind is the bride. M. J. Nicolas, “La nouvelle Éve dans la synthèse mariale” Bulletin de la Société Française d‘ Études Mariales (1957):11-120, here 115-116; and Théotokos: Le Mystère de Marie (Tournai/Belgium: Desclée, 1965), 81-101. See also the positive response to Scheeben's concept and its ecclesiological implications from a Protestant theologian. U. Wickert, “Freiheit von Sünde–Erhöhung zu Gott. Die Koinzidenz von Schöpfung und Erlösung in Mariens Erwählung und ihre heilsgeschichtliche Wirkung,” in Maria im Glauben der Kirche, ed. M. Seybold, Vol. 3 (Eichstätt-Wien: Franz-Sales-Verlag, 1985), 59-85, here esp. 77-78. Muser gives a detailed account of these reactions. See I. Muser, Das mariologische Prinzip “gottesbräutliche Mutterschaft” und das Verständnis der Kirche bei M. J. Scheeben, 187-194.

[43] G. Philips, “Perspectives mariologiques: Marie et l'Église” Mm 15 (1953): 436-511, here 443.

[44] C. Feckes, “Das Fundamentalprinzip der Mariologie: Ein Beitrag zu ihrem Aufbau,” in Scientia Sacra: Theologische Festgabe an Kardinal Schulte, Erzbischof v. Köln zum 25. Jahrestag der Bischofweihe, 19. März 1935 (Köln-Düsseldorf: J. P. Bachem/L. Schwann, 1935): 252-276, here 269

[45] The Founder of the International Schoenstatt Movement.

[46] For term and definition of Marian paradigm, see here chapter I, n. III, 2, footnote 202.

[47] See here in particular the study of K. Schwerdt, “Die heilsgeschichtliche Stellvertretung der Menschheit durch Maria nach der päpstlichen Lehrverkündigung in den letzten hundert Jahren,” in ed. C. Feckes, Die Heilsgeschichtliche Stellvertretung der Menschheit durch Maria, Ehrengabe an die Unbefleckt Empfangene von der Mariologischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft deutscher Theologen, 1-25.

[48] In 1954 Fr. Kentenich explains: “In the course of the years our religious experiences and observations were enhanced through deeper and more comprehensive insights into Mary’s position in the plan of salvation. It may be compared to tree rings which almost effortlessly formed around the original core–the idea of the official Christ bearer. Thus it was not difficult for us–long before the public did–to emphasize Mary’s personal character, that is, to formulate the fundamental core or central thought that determines Mary’s person and role in the plan of God–to which her endowment, her characteristics and tasks can be traced back like a stream to its source. We only needed to think through to its conclusion the idea of the official Christ bearer. So it was that from that time on we spoke of Mary as the official companion and helpmate of the Lord in the entire work of redemption, or–in short form–as the sponsa et consors Christi or–which means the same as–by office, the co-protagonist with Christ and the official antagonist against Lucifer. This in turn shed bright light on Mary’s cooperative activity at the hour of the Annunciation … on Golgotha … and from heaven.” J. Kentenich, “Die heilsgeschichtliche Stellung Mariens und die Früh-zeit Schönstatts [St (1954)],” Regnum 6, 4 (1971): 147-154, here 152. Vautier gives a detailed account of the development of the term and content of the personal character of Mary as perceived by Fr. Kentenich, Vautier, P., Maria, die Erzieherin. Darstellung und Untersuchung der marianischen Lehre P. Joseph Kentenichs (1885-1968), Schönstatt-Studien 3 (Vallendar-Schönstatt: Patris Verlag, 1981), 67-68, 242-269.

[49] J. Kentenich, Der Marianische Priester (1941), 38.

[50] J. Kentenich, Octoberwoche (1950), 249. Scheeben too speaks of “Genossin und Gehilfin.” Scheeben, Handbuch V/2, 1588.

[51] J. Kentenich, Der Marianische Priester (1941), 38, 56.

[52] Fr. Kentenich emphasizes with the word official the fact that Mary has a task in the ongoing work of redemptionSee J. Kentenich, “Die heilsgeschichtliche Stellung Mariens und die Frühzeit Schönstatts [St (1954)],” 151.

[53] E. g., K. Schatz, Vaticanum I, 1869-1870, 3 Vols. (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1994), Vol. 3; H. Fries, “Wandel des Kirchenbildes und dogmengeschichtliche Entfaltung,” 269-272; F. Malmberg, Ein Leib-Ein Geist: Vom Mysterium der Kirche (Freiburg: Herder, 1960), 16-54.

[54] R. Guardini, ”Vom Erwachen der Kirche in den Seelen,“ Hochland 19 (1922): 257-267.

[55] E.g., H. De Lubac, Corpus Mysticum (Paris: Aubier, 1949) and The Splendor of the Church (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986); Y. Congar, Divided Christendom: A Catholic Study of the Problem of Reunion (London: G. Bles/The Centenary Press, 1939).

[56] H. De Lubac, Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988), 76. De Lubac cites here J. A. Möhler, Lettre à la Comtesse Stohlberg (1834).

[57] Pope Pius XII, Litterae encyclicae Mystici corporis: De mustico Iesu Christi Corpore deque nostra in eo cum Christo coniunctione, June 29, 1943, AAS 35 (1943), 193-248.

[58] Pope Pius XII, Litterae encyclicae de sacra liturgia Mediator Dei,” November 20, 1947, AAS 39 (1947), 521-595.

[59] P. McPartlan, Sacrament of Salvation: An Introduction to Eucharistic Ecclesiology, 41-42; M. D. Koster, Ekklesiologie im Werden (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1941); E. Klinger, Ekklesiologie der Neuzeit (Würzburg: Echter Verlag, 1978); Y. Congar, Die Lehre von der Kirche: Vom Abendländischen Schisma bis zur Gegenwart, Handbuch der Dogmengeschichte III/3c (Freiburg-Basel-Wien: Herder, 1971).

[60] H. de Lubac, Méditation sur l'Eglise (Paris: Cerf, 1953), 251.

[61] Pope Pius XII, Apostolic Constituion Munificentissimus Deus, Fidei Dogma Definitur Deiparam Virginem Mariam corpore et anima fuisse ad coelestem gloriam Assumptam, November 4, 1950, AAS 42 (1950), 753-773.

[62] Feckes, C., “Das Fundamentalprinzip der Mariologie: Ein Beitrag zu ihrem Aufbau,” in Scientia Sacra, Theologische Festgabe an Kardinal Schulte, Erzbischof von Köln zum 25. Jahrestag der Bischofweihe, 19. März 1935 (Köln-Düsseldorf: J. P. Bachem/L. Schwann, 1935): 252-276. For this and the following see also J. Radkiewicz, Auf der Suche nach einem Mariologischen Grundprinzip: Eine historisch-systematische Untersuchung über die letzten hundert Jahre (Konstanz: Hartung-Gorre Verlag, 1989).

[63] C. Feckes, Das Mysterium der heiligen Kirche: Dogmatische Untersuchungen zum Wesen der Kirche (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1934), 121-91 [hereafter: Feckes, Das Mysterium der heiligen Kirche].

[64] Augustine, Sermo 267, 4 [“In die Pentecostes”], PL 38: 1229-1231.

[65] Feckes, Das Mysterium der heiligen Kirche, 172-184.

[66] Scheeben, Die Bräutliche Gottesmutter, 189; F. Holböck, “Der Heilige Geist als Seele des Mystischen Leibes Christi bei Matthias Joseph Scheeben,” Div 32 (1988): 297-311.

[67] See M. J. Scheeben, Handbuch der katholischen Dogmatik, 6 Vols. (Freiburg: Herder, 1948-61), Vol. III, 87, n. 765 [hereafter: Scheeben, Handbuch], referred to in Feckes, Das Mysterium der heiligen Kirche, 190-201.

[68] Feckes, Das Mysterium der heiligen Kirche, 184, 187-188.

[69] Scheeben, Handbuch, III, 504, n. 1612; Feckes, Das Mysterium der heiligen Kirche, 188.

[70] Feckes, Das Mysterium der heiligen Kirche, 188.

[71] Feckes, Das Mysterium der heiligen Kirche, 188-189.

[72] O. Cohausz, Maria in ihrer Uridee und Wirklichkeit (Limburg: Verlag Gebr. Steffen, 1938), 102-113.

[73] O. Cohausz, Maria in ihrer Uridee und Wirklichkeit, 64-69.

[74] O. Cohausz, Maria in ihrer Uridee und Wirklichkeit, 83, 90-95, 128-149.

[75] K. Adam, Das Wesen des Katholizismus (Düsseldorf: Patmos Verlag, 1924), 32, 153; E. Przywara, “Mutter aller Lebenden,” in Religionsphilosophische Schriften, Vol. II (Einsiedeln: Johannes Verlag, 1962), 112-120.

[76] A. Müller, Ecclesia-Maria: Die Einheit Marias und der Kirche, 239.

[77] H. de Lubac, The Splendour of the Church, 240.

[78] Ps.-Ildephonsus, PL 96, 269d, cited in H. De Lubac, The Splendour of the Church, 242, also 257.

[79] H. Rahner, Our Lady and the Church, 7.

[80] C. Dillenschneider, Maria im Heilsplan der Neuschöpfung, trans. by E. Kretz (Colmar-Freiburg: Alsatia-Verlag, 1960),191-203. See also C. Dillenschneider, Le principe premier d'une théologie mariale organique (Paris: Alsatis, 1955), 135-144.

[81] C. Dillenschneider, Maria im Heilsplan der Neuschöpfung, 176.

[82] C. Dillenschneider, Maria im Heilsplan der Neuschöpfung, 240-257.

[83] C. Dillenschneider, Maria im Heilsplan der Neuschöpfung, 256f.

[84] See “Marie et l’Eglise,” ÉtMar 9-11 (1951-53), 3 Vols. See further the studies of the following years: “La Nouvelle Eve,” ÉtMar 12-15 (1954-57), “La maternié spirituelle de Marie,” Ét Mar 15-17 (1959-61) and “Mariologie et Oecuménisme,” ÉtMar 18-20 (1962-64). Indeed, the work of the French Mariological Society is a good example of how Vatican II was prepared by various theologians.

[85] G. Philips, “L’orientation de la mariologie contemporaine: Essai bibliographique 1955-1959,” Mm 23 (1960): 209-253 and “Marie et l’Eglise: Un thème théologique renouvelé,” in Maria, ed. H. du Manoir, 8 Vols. (Paris: Beauchesne, 1949-71), Vol. 7 (1964), 363-419. Philips acknowledged that many years of research prepared chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium. Particular influential was for Philips the article by Henri Barré, “Du vénérable Bède à saint Albert le Grand,” ÉtMar 9 (1951): 56-143. See also C. W. Neumann, “Mary and the Church: Lumen gentium, Arts. 60 to 65,” MSt 37 (1986): 96-142.

[86] Academia Mariana Internationalis, Maria et Ecclesia, Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani in Civitate Lourdes anno MCMLVIII Celebrati, 16 Vols. (Romea: Academia Mariana Internationalis, 1959).

[87] Semmelroth, Archetype, 26.

[88] Semmelroth, Archetype, 26-27 and “Die Stellvertretungsrolle Mariens im Lichte der Ekklesiologie,” in ed. C. Feckes, Die Heilsgeschichtliche Stellvertretung der Menschheit durch Maria, 360-367.

[89] Semmelroth, Archetype, 30.

[90] Semmelroth, Archetype, 28-32.

[91] Semmelroth, Archetype, 32.

[92] Semmelroth, Archetype, 52.

[93] Semmelroth, Archetype, 54. In reference to the encyclical Mystici Corporis [No 12], he sees the Church as the community of men united in a mystical-realistic and supernatural way, joined to the Mystical Christ for and through the reception of the fruits of salvation. . . . Semmelroth, Archetype, 81-82.

[94] Semmelroth, Archetype, 54.

[95] Semmelroth, Archetype, 78-79.

[96] Semmelroth, Archetype, 153-154.

[97] Semmelroth, Archetype, 89. See also Semmelroth' references to: Th. Aquinas, ST III, 30, a.I; Leo XIII, Litterae encyclicae Supremi apostolatus officio, September 1, 1883, AAS 16 (1883), 113-118; Pius X, Litterae encyclicae Ad diem illum laetissimum, February 2, 1904, ASS 36 (1903-04), 449-462. Semmelroth, Archetype, 85, 89.

[98] Mary does so [1] as co-redeemer, she received the fruits of Christ's salvation and assumed them for herself and the Church; [2] through her “intercession” she permits these fruits to flow into the Church; [3] and mediates by exemplifying that man must cooperate with his own redemption the way Mary cooperated with the redemption of the entire Church. Semmelroth, Archetype, 102-103.

[99] Semmelroth, Archetype, 103.

[100] Semmelroth, Archetype, 117.

[101] Semmelroth, Archetype, 148.

[102] Semmelroth, Archetype, 99-100.

[103] Semmelroth, Archetype, 169.

[104] Semmelroth, Archetype, 157-58.

[105] O. Semmelroth, Maria oder Christus? Christus als Ziel der Marienverehrung, Meditationen (Frankfurt a. M.: Verlag J. Knecht, 1954), 129.

[106] O. Semmelroth, Maria oder Christus? 131; O. Semmelroth, “Die Stellvertretungsrolle Mariens im Lichte der Ekklesiologie”, in ed. C. Feckes, Die Heilsgeschichtliche Stellvertretung der Menschheit durch Maria, 360-367. A similar perspective is expressed by Köster in Die Frau, die Christi Mutter war, 2 Vols. (Aschaffenburg: Paul Pattloch Verlag, 1961), Vol. 2, 68.

[107] E. Schillebeeckx, Mary, Mother of the Redemption, trans. by N. D. Smith (London and New York: Sheed and Ward, 1964), 164.

[108] J. Kentenich, Oktoberwoche (Vallendar-Schönstatt,1950), 278.

[109] See in this context Beinert, “Maria im Geheimnis Christi und der Kirche,” in Communio Sanctorum. Einheit der Christen–Einheit der Kirche. Festschrift für Bischof Paul-Werner Scheele, eds. J. Schreiner, K. Wittstadt (Würzburg: Echter Verlag, 1988), 284-309.

[110] Concerning LG chapter eight see in particular F. M. Jelly et al., “The Theological Context of and Introduction to Chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium,” MSt, XXXVII, 1986, 43-265.

[111] Lumen Gentium 1-8.

[112] S. De Fiores, “Mary in Postconciliar Theology,” 471; S. Napiorkowski, “The Present Position in Mariology,” Con 9, 3 (1967): 52-62, 59. See also F. Courth, “Maria–heute neu gefragt?,” TThZ 96 (1984): 40-50; H. Muehlen, “Neuorientiering und Krise der Mariologie in den Ausssagen des Vaticanums II,” Cathol 20 (1966): 19-53.

[113] S. Meo, “Councilio Vaticano II,” in Nuovo Dizionario di Mariologia, eds. S. De Fiores, S. Meo (Cimicello Balsamo: 1985), 387. See also F. Courth, “Maria–heute neu gefragt?” and “Marienglaube–Marienverehrung: Dogmatische Überlegungen zu aktuellen Fragen,” MThZ 31, 2 (1980): 137-147.

[114] S. Napiorkowski, “The Present Position in Mariology,” 52-62; E. del SDO Corazón, “Los Principíos Mariologicos en el Capitulo Mariano del Concilio Vaticano II,” EstMar 27, I (1966): 279-333, here 291-308.

[115] S. Meo, “Councilio Vaticano II,” 387. Compariing the first with the last text of the schema, the “main draftsmen” G. Philips and C. Balîc acknowledged that the first was more orientated on the magisterial teaching while the last one [actual Chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium] was placed in the framework of salvation history. G. Philips: “Pourtant, nous pouvons affirmer avec le Père Balic, que la différence entre la première redaction et le texte final revient au fait que ce dernier situé la mariologie dans l'histoire du salut, tandis que IIe premier project partait du Magistère de l'Église,” G. Philips, L'Eglise et son Mystere au le Concile du Vatican: Histoire texte et commontaire de la constitution “Lumen gentium, 2 Vols. (Paris: Cerf, 1967/68), Vol. II, 210.

[116] S. Meo, “Councilio Vaticano II”, 386-387.

[117] See in particular Lumen Gentium 65.

[118] Lumen Gentium

[119] Lumen Gentium 53, 60.

[120] J. Macquarie, Mary for All Christians (Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1990), 113.

[121] Lumen Gentium 65.

[122] Letter from the Congregation for Catholic Education, The Virgin Mary in intellectual and spiritual formation (Rome, March 25, 1988), 5. Also De Fiores, “Mary in Postconciliar Theology,” 471; S. Napiorkowski, “The present position in Mariology,” Concilium 9, 3 (1967): 52-62.

[123] Lumen Gentium 63, 65.

[124] Lumen Gentium 61.

[125] Acta Synodalia III, VIII (Sessio Publica V), 915.

[126] For the purpose of this overview it shall suffice to consider these major magisterial Marian documents. From the wealth of other studies concerning the Mary-Church relationship, see for example, G. F. Kirwin, “Mary's salvific role compared with that of the Church,” MSt XXV (1974): 29-43; H. de Lubac, The Church: Paradox and Mystery, trans. by J. R. Dunne (New York: Alba House, 1969), 54-67; J. Thornhill, Sign and Promise: A Theology of the Church for a Changing World (London: Collins Liturgical Publications, 1988), 220-234; A. Carr, “Mary in the Mystery of the Church: Vatican Council II,” in Mary According to Women, ed. C. F. Jegen (Kansas City, MO: Leaven Press, 1985), 5-32; B. Forte, Maria, Mutter und Schwester des Glaubens, trans. from the Italian by M. Huber (Zürich: Benziger Verlag, 1990), 201-209; A. L. Strada, María y nosotros, Manual de teólogia y espiritualidad Marianas (Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana, 19895), 125-172; J. Esquerda Bifet, P., “María, Tipo de la Iglesia,” EstMar XXXI (1968): 187-239 and “Sentido escatologico de la Tipologia Mariana,” EstMar XXXIX (1974): 103-115; F. Courth, “Marienglaube-Marienverehrung: Dogmatische Überlegungen zu aktuellen Entwürfen,” 136-147; J. Neuner, “Maria, Urbild der Kirche,” Geist und Leben 69, 6 (1996): 442-450, also in The Month, November (1995): 434-438. See also Th. A. Koehler, “Mary's spiritual Maternity after the Second Vatican Council,” MSt (1972): 39-68.

[127] Catechism of the Catholic Church (Homebush, NSW/Australia: St. Pauls, 1994), ns. 963-975; also B. Buby, Mary of Galilee, Vol. II, 216-222.

[128] See the following references of Mary's relationship with the Father 144, 273 and 411; with the Son 484-507 and 618; with the Holy Spirit 721-728, 733, 829, 963-975.

[129] Catechism of the Catholic Church, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” 683-1065.

[130] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 773.

[131] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 967 [tupoV], 972. The Catechism brings out the unity between the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary, 965 and 966.

[132] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 964.

[133] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 963 and 967-969.

[134] Pope Paul VI, Adhortatio apostolica Signum Magnum, May 13, 1967, AAS 59 (1967), 465-475 [hereafter: Signum Magnum], and Adhortatio apostolica Marialis Cultus. For the right ordering and development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” February 2, 1974 (Boston: St. Paul Books & Media, 1974) [hereafter: Marialis Cultus].

[135] Lumen Gentium 58.

[136] Signum Magnum 1.

[137] Marialis Cultus, Introduction.

[138] Isaac of Stella, Sermo LI, “In Assumptione B. Mariae,” PL 194, 1863, cited in Marialis Cultus, 28.

[139] Marialis Cultus 28.

[140] Pope Paul VI, Litterae encyclicae Christi Matri, September 15, 1966, AAS 58 (1966): 745-749.

[141] Lumen gentium 58. See in this context also Petri's comments to aspects of Redemptoris Mater. H. Petri, “Die Stellung Marias in der Kirche,” in ed. A. Ziegenaus, Maria und der Heilige Geist: Beiträge zur pneumatologischen Prägung der Mariologie (Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 1991): 39-49.

[142] Redemptoris Mater 5. The frequency of the phrase “pilgrimage of faith” provides a certain dynamic dimension to the encyclical letter, e.g., ns: 2, 6, 17, 18, 28, 39, 40, 49.

[143] Redemptoris Mater 24.

[144] Redemptoris Mater 25.

[145] Redemptoris Mater 26.

[146] Redemptoris Mater 26.

[147] Redemptoris Mater 27.

[148] Redemptoris Mater 27. It is perhaps in this perspective where Mary's significance is shown in ecumenical-ecclesiological dialogue; but here too holds true what Jelly writes: “Not only do we Catholics have to present our Madonna in the clearest light possible, reflecting the best in our Tradition, but we too must learn from our fellow Christians not only their problems with our Marian doctrines and devotions, but also their own traditions about her place in the Church.” F. M. Jelly, Madonna: Mary in the Catholic Tradition (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 1986), I14.

[149] M. E. Hines, “Mary and the prophetic mission of the Church,” JES 28, 2 (1991): 281-299, here 287-88.

[150] Redemptoris Mater 44.

[151] Redemptoris Mater 44.

[152] Redemptoris Mater 45.

[153] Redemptoris Mater 45-46.

[154] Redemptoris Mater 47. See also J. Roten, “Memory and Mission: A theological reflection on Mary in the paschal mysteries,” 126.

[154] For a different “perspective” see K. Coyle, “Marian Theology Today: Reinterpreting the Symbols,” East Asian Pastoral Review 26, 2 (1989): 134-149; M. Hauke, “Freiheit und Gehorsam im Marienbild feministischer Theologien,” in Maria: Gehorsam und Freiheit im Urbild der Kirche, ed. G. Rovira, Eine Veröffentlichung des Internationlen Mariologischen Arbeitskreises Kevelaer (Aschaffenburg: Verlag Ursula Zöller, 1994), 85-104. Although “the language about Mary is always immediately transferable to language about the Church within that threefold dialectic of archaeology, teleology, and eschatology” so Chapman, “the person of Mary is never lost; the two are simply transcended by the power of a uniting metaphor that discovers that the two are in fact one in Being.” M. E. Chapman, “Mary as metaphor: A linguistic proposal for the recovery of ecclesiology,” Currents in Theology and Mission 20, February (1993): 29-39, here 39.



Written By: Sr. Isabell Naumann