The first part of this article appeared in the previous Mother of All Peoples bi-monthly edition.

Ecumenical Aspects

The Council of Ephesus, at least in a general sense, contributes to a global consensus between the great Christian denominations. This is evident for the Catholic Church, but also for the Orthodox Churches, which count Ephesus as the third ecumenical council. Ephesus is also accepted by the Coptic churches (Egypt, Ethiopia), which very much honor the tradition of St. Cyril of Alexandria, even if they have been separated from the universal Church since the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

The title Theotókos, on the other hand, is not used by the spiritual heirs of the Antiochene tradition, who did not accept the Council of Ephesus and today constitute the Assyrian Church of the Orient, a group that has become very small (about 400,000 members). They call Mary "Mother of the Lord" and "Mother of Christ" (92). On November 11, 1994, the Assyrian Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV and Pope John Paul II signed a Joint Christological Declaration which affirms that Catholic and Assyrians "today are united in the profession of the same faith in the Son of God." The document uses the Christological formulations of Chalcedon: "his divinity and his humanity are united in one person, without mixture and without separation." The Assyrians venerate Mary as "Mother of Christ, our God and Savior." "In the light of the same faith, the Catholic Tradition is calling the Virgin Mary ‘Mother of God’ and ‘Mother of Christ’. We both recognize the justification and correctness of these manifestations of the same faith" (93). In other words: the "ex-Nestorians" now also recognize the Catholic doctrine concerning the Mother of God, even if their liturgical tradition does not use the title Theotókos.

In Protestantism (especially among traditional Lutherans), we encounter the reference to the "consensus of the first five centuries" (consensus quinquesaecularis), which recognizes the Trinitarian and Christological councils of the Ancient Church. The theologians of the Reformation accepted the title Theotókos because it manifests the Christological dogma of the hypostatic union (and of the communication of idioms). Luther, for instance, insisted on the importance of Mary’s divine maternity:

The great thing is none other than that she became the Mother of God; in which process so many and such great gifts are bestowed upon her that no one is able to comprehend them. Thereupon follows all honor, all blessedness, and the fact that in the whole race of men only one person is above the rest, one to whom no one else is equal. For that reason her dignity is summed up in one phrase when we call her Mother of God; no one can say greater things of her or to her, even if he had as many tongues as leaves and blades of grass, as stars in heaven and sands on the seashore. It should also be meditated in the heart what that means: to be the Mother of God (94).

Nevertheless, the principles of the Reformation lead to a depreciation of Mary’s maternal role. Luther, in the same Exposition of the Magnificat text just cited above, criticizes the Marian antiphon Regina Caeli which contains the expression quem meruisti portare ("whom you merited to bear"). Luther compares the dignity of Mary with the dignity of the Cross whose wood "merited" to carry our Lord: everything is grace, and for this reason we cannot attribute to Mary any merit (95). For Catholic doctrine, the primary factor of divine grace does not exclude human cooperation, whereas the Protestant principle, sola gratia ("grace alone"), establishes a justification without any human merit sustained by grace (96).

The general acceptance of the Council of Ephesus, on the one hand, and the depreciation of Mary’s active contribution in redemption, on the other hand, constitutes a profound ambiguity in Protestant doctrine. This problem is visible in recent Protestant theology, especially in that of Karl Barth, the most renowned Calvinist theologian of the twentieth century. According to Barth, the title "Mother of God" is only "an assistant sentence for Christology" (97), which has a biblical basis (Gal 4:4; Lk 1:43) and shows the true unity between the two natures in the unique subject of Christ. Whereas Barth accepts the title Theotókos, many other Protestant theologians abandon this dogmatic attribute. Their attitude is influenced by the liberal branch of Protestantism: He who refutes the true divinity of Christ cannot accept that Mary is called "Mother of God." Sometimes we even find a certain sympathy with Nestorius, such as in an official document of "mainstream" Lutherans in Germany which attests: "we can no longer recognize the condemnation of Nestorius who fought against the misunderstanding that God himself was born by Mary" (98).

The situation is somewhat better in Evangelical theology, which refuses the liberal negation of Christ’s divinity:

Evangelicals affirm Jesus Christ to be true God and true man. For that reason, Evangelical objections to Theotókos and "Mother of God" usually soften after a short discussion. … Certainly it was God whom Mary bore, so we gladly affirm that Mary was indeed the "God-bearer" (99).

But even in Evangelicals we find a strong uneasiness about the terminology of the Fathers because the special honor given to Mary does not fit into their conception of the unique mediation of Christ, which excludes any cooperation of redeemed creatures (100). According to Luther, not even Christ in his humanity had an active part in redemption (his human nature was only passive, suffering on the Cross as bait for the Devil, who encounters Christ’s divinity by which he is defeated) (101).

Modern Protestant theology, in any case, is divided on the title Theotókos. Normally, the word is refuted with the argument that it suggests a natural power of Mary to produce the divine nature of her Son. Some authors maintain that the title "Mother of God" is derived from mythology.

In contrast to the orthodox desire to maintain the Creed of the Ancient Church [that is, of "orthodox" Protestantism, which likes to maintain the tradition of the first ecumenical councils] and also the doctrine of Ephesus about the Mother of God, in Protestant theology [today] we find a manifold and often contradictory evaluation of the Marian doctrine [about divine maternity] (102).

In Anglicanism we find a greater acceptance of the Marian doctrine formulated in the Ancient Church. This fact is evident in the Agreed Statement about "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ," formulated by the 2004 Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). According to this joint statement, the Council of Ephesus

used Theotókos … to affirm the oneness of Christ’s person by identifying Mary as the Mother of God the Word incarnate. The rule of faith on this matter takes more precise expression in the definition of Chalcedon: "One and the same Son … was begotten from the Father before the ages as to the divinity and in the latter days for us and our salvation was born as to the humanity from Mary the Virgin Theotókos." In receiving the Council of Ephesus and the definition of Chalcedon, Anglicans and Roman Catholics together confess Mary as Theotókos (103).


Systematic Assessment

The Title "Mother of God" is Important for the Correct Comprehension of the Divine Person of Jesus Christ

The first intention of the Council of Ephesus was not Marian devotion, but the defense of the faith in Jesus Christ against Nestorius. The title Theotókos clearly showed the unity of the personal subject in the Word incarnate. The Nestorian danger is also present in modern theology, when some theologians speak of Jesus as a human person (104) (and not as a divine person, the eternal Son, who assumed human nature from the Virgin Mary).


The Holiness of Mary Prepares Her for the Divine Maternity

For her task to be the Mother of Christ, Mary was prepared according to the eternal plan of God. She was "predestined from eternity as Mother of God together with the Incarnation of the Word" (105). Her preservation from original sin happened in view of the Incarnation. The consent asked of Mary was formed by the theological virtue of faith, which can be compared in some way with divine maternity itself. Augustine explains this relation in a sermon, when he comments on the encounter between Jesus and his relatives: his brother, sister and mother is anyone who obeys the Father in heaven (Mt 12:48-50):

Did the Virgin Mary not do the will of the Father? She who believed by faith, conceived by faith and had been elected because our salvation should be born from her in the midst of mankind? She who had been created by Christ before Christ was created in her? Holy Mary plainly did the will of the Father: and for this reason it was more important for Mary to have been a disciple of Christ than to have been the Mother of Christ (106).

In an analogically wider sense, every virgin consecrated to the Lord and every soul devoted to God is "mother" of Christ, favoring the growth of grace in this world:

There is … no reason why the virgins of God should be sad, because they themselves also cannot, keeping their virginity, be mothers of the flesh. For him alone could virginity give birth to with fitting propriety, who in his birth could have no peer. However, that birth of the Holy Virgin is the ornament of all holy virgins; and themselves together with Mary are mothers of Christ, if they do the will of his Father … his mother is the whole Church, because she herself assuredly gives birth to his members, that is, his faithful ones. Also his mother is every pious soul, doing the will of his Father with most fruitful charity, in them of whom it travailed, until he himself be formed in them. Mary, therefore, doing the will of God, after the flesh, is only the mother of Christ, but after the Spirit she is both his sister and mother (107).

The Fathers of the Church describe the spiritual "maternity" of any disciple as a "conception" of the Word.

Such as conception, faith is, on the spiritual level, the fecund reception of a semen of life. Every Christian, … receiving the word, is conceiving God in his heart. In this perspective, faith implies a kind of spiritual motherhood; the physical divine motherhood of Mary appears as a radiation of her faith to the flesh (108).

The holiness of Mary is a gratis gift of God, as is the grace of divine maternity. Could Mary also merit to become the Mother of God? The idea of a certain merit is present, for instance, in the Marian antiphon Regina Caeli, laetare alleluia. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia, resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia. As to the kind of merit, we find a classical explanation in Thomas Aquinas, which was later developed by Francis Suarez:

The Blessed Virgin did not merit the Incarnation, but, assuming that it would take place, she merited that it would be through her, not with condign merit, but with the merit of suitability, in so far as it was fitting that the Mother of God should be a most pure and perfect Virgin (109).

Mary could not "merit," in a strict sense, becoming the Mother of God. There is no merit of strict justice (meritum de condigno) in this case. Nevertheless, we can speak here of a merit of fittingness (meritum de congruo): with her sanctity, sustained by the grace of God, Mary responded generously to the intentions of the divine plan. Mary "by the grace bestowed upon her she merited that grade of purity and holiness, which fitted (congrue) her to be the Mother of God" (110).

The merit of Mary depended on her free will, sustained by the divine gift of grace. The importance of her "yes," her free consent, is described in an impressive manner by St. Bernard:

The angel waits for the answer: it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too, O Lady, are waiting for the word of salvation, we who walk so miserably bent under the sentence of condemnation. Behold the price of our redemption is offered to you; if you agree, we shall be instantly set free. We were all made by the eternal Word of God, and behold, we are dying. By one single word from you we shall be revived and called back to life. Adam with all his grief, Adam with all his wretched offspring implores you to say that word, O gracious Virgin. Abraham, David and all the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors who dwell in the shadows of death, beg you to say that word. The whole world is waiting for it, prostrate at your feet. And they are right, since there depend on your lips the consolation of the wretched, the redemption of prisoners, the freedom of the condemned, and finally the salvation of all Adam’s children, of your whole race! Hasten, then! Give the answer that earth and the underworld and even the heavens are expecting from you (111).


The Divine Maternity Implies a Transforming Relation

The descent of the Holy Spirit on Mary in the narration of Luke, evokes the act of creation (Gen 1:2) and the presence of God in the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 40:34) (112). Through the Incarnation of the Son of God at the Annunciation, Mary arrives at "a higher grade of purity and assimilation to God, something like the last passage to the melting-pot of a metal already pure which finds now its grade of hardness and its splendor" (113).

The divine maternity, as a basic relation of Mary to Christ, can be compared with the character of a sacrament which is distinct from grace, but given in view of grace (114). The indelible sacramental character constitutes the consecration of the Christian to the Holy Trinity and a conformation with Christ. Similarly, the divine motherhood, prepared in the grace of the Immaculate Conception at the very beginning of Mary’s being, consecrates Our Lady to God because of her definite relation to her Son, who takes human nature from her through the power of the Holy Spirit. According to Scheeben, the grace of divine maternity is already present in Mary at the beginning of her life. The most renowned German theologian of the nineteenth century describes the maternal relation of the Holy Virgin to Christ with the expression "personal character," identifying it also as spiritual marriage with the Word. This "personal character" implies, at the same time, her characteristics as mother and as companion or "bride" of Christ, who asked her consent before becoming her Son. Scheeben thus speaks of "bridal motherhood:"

Mary is as much anointed and made the Mother of God as the flesh taken from her is made the flesh of God, for the Logos is so taken up in her that she herself is taken up in him in an analogous way as the flesh taken from her. Consequently the relation of the Mother to her divine Son appears as a marriage with this divine Person. Here now the Bridegroom gives himself to the Bride as her Son and dwells in her in virtue of this gift (115).

The systematic reflection of Scheeben confirms the Catholic conviction that divine motherhood cannot be separated from Mary’s mediation, which is not restricted to the physical birth of Jesus. Her whole being is consecrated in its motherhood to Christ forever and this motherhood goes together with her cooperation in redemption. For this concept, we can cite a statement of Thomas Aquinas, finding its foundation in the Fathers and repeated in the teaching of the popes: the event of the Annunciation was suitable

to manifest that there is a kind of spiritual marriage between the Son of God and human nature. And hence through the Annunciation the consent of the Virgin was sought in the place of the whole human nature (116).

Christ also represents all of human nature, but he does so as a divine Person and as head of the Church. Mary represents the whole human race as a created person and in some way as "heart" of the mystical body of Christ. She does so as a woman in her specific "bridal" receptivity, which includes an active response to the initiative of God.


Through Her Vocation as Mother of God, Mary Takes an Active Part in the Work of Redemption

The Incarnation is not only a premise to the work of salvation, but already a basic part of it. For this reason, the consent of Mary has a saving quality made possible by the grace of Christ received after the Immaculate Conception. The cooperation of Mary is orientated towards the redemptive work of Christ, which begins immediately at the Incarnation, as we can conclude from the Letter to the Hebrews: "Christ said, as he came into the world: ‘O God, the blood of bulls and goats cannot satisfy you, so you have made ready this body of mine for me to lay as a sacrifice upon your altar’" (Heb 10:5). Whereas Christ is appearing as the "New Adam," Mary is acting as the "New Eve," who together will renew humanity fallen into sin (117).


The Divine Motherhood Constitutes the Beginning of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood for the Church

The divine maternity is also related to the person of the Word incarnate as the head of the mystical body of the Church.

Through the grace of divine motherhood, Mary has become an excellent member of the ecclesiastical body of Christ, and so her motherhood refers not only to the historical Christ, but also to Christ as head of the Church, and as such to the Church itself, which takes her origin from the operation of Christ, as the new people of God, as temple of the Holy Spirit and body of Christ (118).

An important step for the development of the doctrine about the spiritual motherhood of Mary can be found in a famous text of St. Augustine, cited by the Second Vatican Council (119):

According to the body, Mary is Mother only of Christ. But insofar as she does the will of God, she is spiritually sister and mother. And thus this unique woman is mother and virgin, not only in spirit but bodily—mother in spirit, not of the Savior, our Head, of whom rather she is born spiritually, for all who believe in him—and she is one of them—are rightly called sons of the Spouse, but she is really (120) Mother of the members who we are, because she cooperated by charity so that there might be born in the Church believers, of whom he is the Head (121).

The cooperation of Mary in the spiritual birth of the members of the Church points to a universal dimension. The spiritual maternity, based on the Incarnation, is confirmed and fully constituted at the foot of the Cross, when Jesus Christ reveals Mary’s vocation to become the "mother" of St. John, type of every faithful disciple (122).

Pope Benedict XVI, during his visit to Ephesus, underlined this relation between Mary’s divine maternity and her motherhood for the Church. Mary, "united to her Son in the offering of his sacrifice, extended her motherhood under the Cross to all men and women, and in particular to the disciples of Jesus" (123).


The Divine Motherhood Exalts Mary Over All Other Creatures

The New Testament already alludes to the highest dignity of Mary as Mother of the Lord. This is evident from the salutation by the angel (Lk 1:26: "Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you"), but also from the praise of Elizabeth (Lk 1:42: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb") and from the Magnificat (Lk 1:48: "For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed").

In the third century it is not yet universally clear that Mary’s grace is superior to that of the apostles, as we can deduce from a reflection of Origen who interprets the "sword" in the prophecy of Simeon (Lk 2:35) as incredulity and doubt under the Cross. The Alexandrian theologian held this because he wanted to assert that Mary also needed to be redeemed. If even the apostles had some defects, Origen sought a sin also in the Mother of the Lord (124). In the fourth century, we find a continual maturation of the Church’s understanding of the dignity of the Mother of God, which leads to explicit testimonies about the superiority of Mary’s dignity over that of all other creatures. Through the Council of Ephesus, this conviction becomes universal. We find an echo of this faith in the Second Vatican Council: through the gift of divine maternity, Mary "far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth" (125).

The personal relationship to God that comes from divine maternity is the most perfect that can exist between a created person and the Creator. This relation is certainly less profound than the one between the humanity of Jesus Christ and the divine Word: It constitutes the subsistence of the human nature of our Lord in the divine person of the Son of God, according to the explanation of Thomas Aquinas. Nevertheless, Mary has born her own Creator in his humanity, thus receiving a kind of quasi-infinite dignity: "The Blessed Virgin from the fact that she is the Mother of God has a kind of infinite dignity from the infinite good which is God; and for this reason nothing can be better than her, such as nothing can be better than God" (126).

From the time of Suarez (sixteenth century), many theologians express the dignity of the Mother of God with the idea that Mary’s divine maternity contributes to the "hypostatic order," that is she cannot be separated from the Word incarnate: "This dignity of the Mother belongs to a higher order and belongs in some way to the order of hypostatic union, because she has an intrinsic relation to it and a necessary bond" (127).


The Divine Maternity Constitutes a Special Relation with the Most Holy Trinity (128)

A theological work from the seventeenth century calls Mary "mirror and revelation of the Trinity," when reflecting on the event of Annunciation: The Father sends the Son, whereas the Son is made flesh by the power and operation of the Holy Spirit (129). The Second Vatican Council delivers a precise summary of Mary’s relation to the Holy Trinity:

Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit (130).

Mary was the "beloved" or "favorite" "daughter of the Father" (praedilecta filia Patris) and "temple of the Holy Spirit" even before becoming the Mother of God. Nevertheless, her relations with the Father and with the Holy Spirit have a strict link with divine maternity, which is the systematic starting point for describing its connection with the Most Holy Trinity.

The title "daughter" is the most frequent one used to describe Mary’s relation to God the Father. We find it prefigured in the Old Testament theme, "Daughter of Zion" (131): it seems that the Lucan infancy narrative alludes to it, especially in the salutation of the angel (chaire, "Rejoice"), which prompts comparison with the explicit Daughter of Zion texts (132). Mary as "daughter" of the divine Father is similar to the adoptive sonship of all baptized Christians, who can pray "Abbà, Father" (cf. Gal 3:26; 4:4-7). The purpose of our life is to "receive the adoption of sons" (Gal 4:5). In this context, the Apostle Paul speaks of the divine maternity of Mary: "God sent his Son, born of a woman" (Gal 4:4).

Certainly Mary is also the "favorite" daughter of the Father. This exclusive relation is reflected by the Fathers of Church, who describe Christ as the common Son of God the Father and the Virgin Mary. This distinction was also formulated by the Council of Chalcedon: "Begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer, as regards his humanity" (133).

In the Ancient Church one also begins to see an awareness of a "bridal" relation of Mary to God the Father, such as in this passage from St. John of Damascus, cited in the Encyclical Munificentissimus Deus (1950), in which Pope Pius XII defined the bodily Assumption of Mary to heavenly glory: "It was fitting that the spouse whom the Father had taken to himself should live in the divine mansions" (134). The title becomes more current in the Middle Ages, for instance in Rupert of Deutz, and in the French school of spirituality, notably Bérulle and Olier (135). According to Olier, the Father chose Mary as his spouse in order that she would become, together with him, the principle of the temporal generation of the Word, his helper in the Incarnation. Nonetheless, the title "spouse of the Father" is not very common, because of the possible misunderstanding that it meant Mary had eternally generated the Son of God, in contradiction to the fact that her contribution stayed in the temporal realm.

The title "daughter" implies some similarity to the Father. For this reason we also find the comparison of divine maternity with the active generation of the Father. The eternal source of the Son from the Father is reflected in the temporal origin of the same Son from Mary as Mother. According to St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort,

God the Father communicated to Mary his own fecundity in the greatest measure possible for a creature in order to give her the power to generate his Son and all the members of his Mystical Body (136).

Contemplating the assimilation of divine maternity to the eternal paternity of God, we can better understand the virginity of Mary:

If one maintains that the divine motherhood is the most perfect possible created assimilation to the divine Paternity, it would seem to indicate that Mary’s divine motherhood is necessarily a virginal motherhood (137).

Mary, in some way, can be called the "female face" of the Father, revealing in particular his mercy and tenderness. This observation is very much emphasized by feminist theologians nowadays, but it should not be exaggerated. "It must be noted … that Mary does not directly represent the ‘maternity’ of God but is the Mother of God and thus embodies creaturely worth at its supreme level" (138).

The basic word to describe Mary’s relation with her Son is certainly the title "Mother." Nevertheless, by the time of the Fathers, and still more in the Middle Ages, we already find the description of Mary as "spouse" of Christ. Among the bridal designations that are used for Mary, "Bride of Christ" becomes increasingly prominent, especially as Mary is recognized more clearly and distinctly as Christ’s helper in his redemptive work, as a mediatrix of grace (139). The title "Bride of Christ" becomes more important for the Church when it is seen as already present in Biblical sources (Eph 5:21-33 etc.) (140). This description was already prefigured in the Old Testament, which compared the Covenant between God and his people with the union between the husband and his wife in marriage. The Song of Songs, which sings of the love between man and woman, has been accepted in the canon of holy Scripture because of this profound religious significance. The commentaries on the Song of Songs, prepared by the Fathers and fully developed in the Middle Ages, present the "spouse" in various ways which cannot be separated from one another: the people of God (Israel, which becomes the Church in the New Covenant), the soul of every believer, and the Holy Virgin Mary. The Church, the human soul and Mary are invited to open themselves to the love of the divine "bridegroom."

Nowadays the most frequent use of the title "spouse" does not makes reference to the relation of the Blessed Virgin to Christ, but to the Holy Spirit. The first clear testimony of this custom is St. Francis, who exalts Mary as "daughter and handmaid of the highest kind, the Father in heaven," as "Mother of our Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ" and "spouse of the Holy Spirit" (141).

This attribution is justified in so far as it accentuates Mary’s role as "cooperator" with the Third Person of the Trinity. Some of contemporary Mariology is more reticent to use the title, in order to avoid the misunderstanding that there was a common generational act between the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin (142). In fact, the Holy Spirit is not called "bridegroom" of Mary. He is not the Father of Jesus (143), and his action in the Incarnation is compared in Luke with the first creation, not with generation. Probably for this reason, the Second Vatican Council did not use the title "spouse of the Holy Spirit," but preferred the designation "temple" (144).

On the other hand, the description "temple of the Holy Spirit" does not describe the specific relation of Mary to the Holy Spirit, but only reflects that which is a characteristic of every Christian. The expression "spouse of the Holy Spirit" has the advantage of manifesting a specific trait of the Holy Virgin. As mentioned before, in the works of St. Francis, the title sponsa Spiritus Sancti is used exclusively for the Mother of God. (145) John Paul II presents this expression omitted by the Second Vatican Council with a new vigor, especially in his Encyclical Redemptoris Mater (146) and in his Marian catecheses. In one of the catecheses he writes:

And again: every Christian is a "temple of the Holy Spirit." … But this assertion takes on an extraordinary meaning in Mary: in her the relationship with the Holy Spirit is enriched with a spousal dimension. I recalled this in the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater: "The Holy Spirit had already come down upon her, and she became his faithful spouse at the Annunciation, welcoming the Word of the true God." (147)

Pope Paul VI, in his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus (1974), has underlined the Trinitarian character of Marian devotion. Mary helps us to orient ourselves to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit (148). Pope John Paul II records that the Annunciation brings us a revelation of the Trinity in its relations to Mary (149). In the Blessed Virgin is thus realized the supreme vocation of the creature. All the members of the Church participate in this vocation, but Mary has a specific role. The title "Mother of God" can be attributed in its full sense only to her. For this reason the expressions "spouse of the Holy Spirit" and "favored daughter of the Father" are appropriate. "Here we see the authentic meaning of Mary’s privileges and of her extraordinary relationship with the Trinity: Their purpose is to enable her to co-operate in the salvation of the human race" (150).

The preceding article was excerpted from a chapter in the recently published Marian anthology, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Seat of Wisdom Books, A Division of Queenship, 2008. Fifteen international Mariology experts contributed to the text. The book features a foreword by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke and has 17 chapters divided into four parts: 1. Mary in Scripture and the Early Church; 2. Marian Dogma; 3. Marian Doctrine; and 4. Marian Liturgy and Devotion. The book is now available from Queenship Publications. Visit and search on "Mariology: A Guide" to view the book in its entirety. To obtain a copy, visit


(92) Cf. R. Roberson, Assira, Chiesa, d’Oriente, in E.G. Farrugia (ed.), Dizionario enciclopedico dell’Oriente cristiano, Roma 2000, 82f.

(93) Joint Christological Declaration of the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, Rome, November 11, 1994, Nr. 1-4, cited here from a German translation in Una Sancta 50 (1995) 164-165; the English original is published in Sobornost 17 (1/1995) 52-54.

(94) Luther, Exposition on the Magnificat (1521) (WA 7, 546); English translation in P. Haffner (note 66) 122f.

(95) See Luther, Exposition on the Magnificat (1521) (WA 7, 573); Achim Dittrich, Protestantische Mariologiekritik. Historische Entwicklung bis 1997 und dogmatische Analyse (Mariologische Studien 11), Regensburg 1998, 29-37.

(96) Cf. C.J. Malloy, Engrafted into Christ. A Critique of the Joint Declaration, New York 2005.

(97) Karl Barth, Kirchliche Dogmatik I/2, Zürich, 1983, 1938; cf. A. Dittrich (note 95) 305f.

(98) Lutherisches Kirchenamt des VELKD (Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands), Maria – Evangelische Fragen und Gesichtspunkte. Eine Einladung zum Gespräch, in Una Sancta 37 (1982) 184-201 (189); cf. A. Dittrich (note 95) 306.

(99) David Gustafson, in: Dwight Longenecker – David Gustafson, Mary. A Catholic-Evangelical Debate, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2003, 37.

(100) Cf. D. Longenecker – D. Gustafson (note 99) 43. 189-207.

(101) Cf. Michael Kreuzer, "Und das Wort ist Fleisch geworden". Zur Bedeutung des Menschseins Jesu bei Johannes Driedo und Martin Luther, Paderborn 1998.

(102) A. Dittrich (note 95) 305.

(103) ARCIC, Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ, nr. 34, cited in

(104) Such as Piet Schoonenberg: see Jean Galot, Maria. La donna nell’opera della salvezza, Roma 1991, 98; M. Ponce Cuéllar (note 14) 316-318; J.L. Bastero de Eleizalde (note 90) 17-57.

(105) Lumen Gentium 61.

(106) Augustine, Sermo 72/A, 7 (MA 1, 162; cf. PL 46, 935) (our translation).

(107) Augustine, De sancta virginitate (PL 40, 399) (English translation on

(108) René Laurentin, Breve trattato sulla Vergine Maria, Cinisello Balsamo 1990, 192 (English translation: A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary, Washington, New Jersey 1991).

(109) Thomas Aquinas, III Sent. d. 4 a. 1 ad 5; cf. M. O’Carroll (note 2) 258.

(110) Thomas Aquinas, STh III q. 2 art. 11 ad 3. About the merit of Mary, see also M. O’Carroll (note 2) 246f.

(111) Bernard of Clairvaux, Super missus est 1,7 (PL 183, 59 D); English translation according to C.X.J.M. Friethoff, A Complete Mariology, London 1958, 23.

(112) Cf. Heinz Schürmann, Das Lukasevangelium I, Freiburg i. Br. 1969, 52f; S.M. Manelli, Biblical Mariology (note 15) 173.

(113) R. Laurentin, Breve trattato (note 108), 203, with reference to the Byzantine theologian Nicholas Cabasilas (fourteenth century). In this way the idea of purification (kátharsis) can be interpreted in various oriental authors: see op. cit., 225f; Manfred Hauke, Heilsverlust in Adam, Paderborn 1993, 560; Idem, Die Unbefleckte Empfängnis Mariens bei den griechischen Vätern. Die Hinweise Johannes Pauls II. im ökumenischen Dialog, in Sedes Sapientiae. Mariologisches Jahrbuch 8 (2/2004) 13-54 (52f).

(114) Cf. R. Laurentin, Breve trattato (note 108), 206.

(115) M.J. Scheeben, Mariology I, London – St. Louis 1946, 162f; cf. Manfred Hauke, Die Mariologie Scheebens – ein zukunftsträchtiges Vermächtnis, in Idem – Michael Stickelbroeck (eds.), Donum veritatis, Regensburg 2006, 255-274 (261f).

(116) Thomas Aquinas, STh III q. 30 a. 1. The text is cited especially by Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Octobri mense (1891) (DS 3274); Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici corporis (1943) (AAS 35 [1943] 247); John Paul II, Marian Catechesis 33 (18.9.1996), nr. 2, in Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, vol. XIX/2, Città del Vaticano 1998, 373 (= CCC, nr. 511).

(117) Cf. Stefano M. Manelli, Maria Corredentrice nella Sacra Scrittura, in Autori vari, Maria Corredentrice. Storia e teologia I, Frigento 1998, 37-114 (73-82).

(118) G.M. Müller (note 24) 690.

(119) Lumen Gentium 53.

(120) Extended quote by St. Augustine added by author.

(121) Augustine, De sancta virginitate 6 (PL 40, 399); cf. M. O’Carroll (note 2) 254.

(122) The explication of spiritual motherhood comes forth more fully in the twelfth century. As to this topic, see the treatments of Mary’s mediation, for instance the introducing notes in M. O’Carroll (note 2) 238-245. 253-256.

(123) Homily from November 29, 2006.

(124) Cf. Origen, In Lucam hom. XVII, 6-7 (SC 87, 256-258).

(125) Lumen Gentium 53.

(126) Thomas Aquinas, STh I q. 25 a. 6 ad 4.

(127) Francis Suarez, De mysteriis vitae Christi, sect. 2,4 (Opera omnia 19, Paris 1856, 8). As to this topic, see also S.M. Ragazzini, La Divina Maternità di Maria nel suo concetto teologico integrale, Frigento 1986, 214-238. For a wider treatment of Mary’s dignity, see G. Alastruey (note 79) 102-138.

(128) For a more explicit treatment, see Manfred Hauke, Maria und die Trinität. Die trinitarischen Beziehungen Mariens als Urbild der Kirche auf dem Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil, in Sedes Sapientiae. Mariologisches Jahrbuch 4 (2/2000) 78-114; Angelo Amato, Maria e la Trinità, Cinisello Balsamo 2000; Rosa Lombardi, Maria Icona della Trinità, Roma 2003.

(129) Cf. Josephus de la Cerda, Maria effigies revelatioque trinitatis, Almeria 1640.

(130) Lumen Gentium 53.

(131) Cf. Lumen Gentium 55.

(132) Cf. M. O’Carroll (note 2) 116f; S.M. Manelli, Biblical Mariology (note 15), 162.

(133) DS 301.

(134) John of Damascus, Hom. II in Dormit., 14 (PG 96, 741).

(135) Cf. M. O’Carroll (note 2) 333f; K. Wittkemper, Braut IV. Dogmatik, in Marienlexikon 1 (1988) 564-571 (568f).

(136) Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, Traité de la vrai dévotion …, nr. 17.

(137) P. Haffner (note 66) 128.

(138) M. Hauke, God or Goddess? (note 42) 194. Cf. idem, Women in the Priesthood? San Francisco 1988, 309-312.

(139) Cf. K. Wittkemper (note 135) 564-568.

(140) Cf. M. Hauke, Women in the Priesthood? (note 138) 252-256.

(141) Antiphon Sancta Maria Virgo, verse 2. Cf. Johannes Schneider, Virgo Ecclesia facta, Assisi 2003, 223-272 (the first explicit use: 259). Earlier allusions are given in K. Wittkemper (note 135) 569.

(142) Cf. K. Wittkemper (note 135) 569f.

(143) Cf. 11th Synod of Toledo (DS 533).

(144) Cf. M. Hauke, Die trinitarischen Beziehungen Mariens (note 128) 87-90.

(145) Cf. L.M. Ago, La "Salutatio Beatae Mariae Virginis" di san Francesco di Assisi, Roma 1998, 228.

(146) Redemptoris Mater 9, 26.

(147) Marian Catechesis 11 (January 10, 1996), nr. 4, Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, vol. XIX/1, Città del Vaticano 1998, 48 (cf. Redemptoris Mater 26). The theological background in John Paul II (the influence of St. Grignion and St. Maximilian Kolbe, but also – for the Marian Catecheses – of Jean Galot) is evidenced by Arthur B. Calkins, Totus tuus (note 88) 282-286; Manfred Hauke, La mediazione materna di Maria secondo Papa Giovanni Paolo II, in AA. VV., Maria Corredentrice VII, Frigento 2005, 35-91 (47-49. 70f).

(148) Cf. Paul VI, Marialis cultus, nr. 25.

(149) Cf. John Paul II, Mulieris dignitatem (1988), nr. 3.

(150) Marian Catechesis 11 (January 10, 1996), nr. 5, in Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, vol. XIX/1, Città del Vaticano 1998, 48f.