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Theology of the Body and Marian Dogmas, Part II

Mariology is the study of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As a field of study it seeks to understand her role in salvation history through examining her privileges and titles. Yet, that is not all it is. From the very beginning of reflections on the Virgin Mary, especially in the Fathers of the Church, there has been an understanding, a theological tool, called the Mary-Church analogy. What this theological tool seeks to emphasize is the notion that whatever statements we make concerning the Virgin Mary have some bearing and significance for the Church, the Church understood as both a collective whole and the individual Christian. In short, as Adrienne von Speyr noted: “Whatever the Lord did to his Mother he did with his Church in mind.” (28) Thus, the study of Mariology has always taught something about man and his relationship with God through faith, as Lumen Gentium states: “Having entered deeply into the history of salvation, Mary, in a way, unites in her person and re-echoes the most important doctrines of the faith.” (29)

In a rather lengthy quote, Fr. Donald Keefe gets to the core of why Mariology needs to be an essential dimension in all theological fields of study:

The Marian doctrines are . . . not only not negotiable, not dispensable to the Christian faith: their exploration is an essential task of theology, and any systematic theology which would ignore these doctrines, or fail to integrate them . . . is doomed to lapse into that kind of “identity system” which von Balthasar properly condemned in Barth’s dogmatics, which is latent in Tillich’s systematic theology, and which is all too easy to extrapolate from any theology which would prefer, for its principle of exploration, some immanent dynamism, human or cosmic, whose relation to the grace of the New Creation is at best and finally uninteresting. The Marian doctrines enter theology at the level of method, for the conversion process which the Christian faith demands of any prior anthropology, cosmology, sociology, politics or other human discipline in order that it become a theology is that by which such a discipline loses its immanent necessity, to become Christocentric. (30)

What this profound statement basically posits is that in order to fully understand the world from God’s perspective, the masterpiece of God, the Virgin Mary, must be incorporated into the study. Even more specifically, since we are here dealing with the field of theological anthropology (especially human embodiedness), the late Orthodox theologian, Alexander Schmemann was absolutely correct when he laconically noted: “Mariology is . . . the “locus theologicus” par excellence of Christian anthropology.” (31) In other words, the study of man must not have abnormality as its starting point—a common error among many of the modern methods used in the social and psychological sciences—but, rather, start with normality, the blueprint for what it means to be an embodied human person. This is why in order to move beyond what modern ideological thinkers state about the human body, John Paul II began his study of man from a protological perspective, that is, “in the beginning.” The implications for what this means for a relationship between Mariology and the study of anthropology is that we have to look to what divine revelation (God’s knowledge) tells us about Mary, the model and prototype of all human embodiedness. (32)

To further illustrate the necessary place of Marian studies in Christianity, one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Hans Urs von Balthasar, noted:

“Without Mariology Christianity threatens imperceptibly to become inhuman.” (33)

Without Mariology the age-old tendency to construct a dualistic cosmology and anthropology is never far away. However, as the late John Cardinal Wright aptly noted: “By the teachings of the faith on the Madonna, the flesh is made the twin of the spirit—no longer its rival.” (34) In Mary all the glories of Christ’s saving work are made clear and perfectly evident, they are made real and concrete. Even Karl Barth, though somewhat erroneous in his classification of terminology, noted the importance of Marian dogmas for allCatholic theology when he stated: “Marian dogma is neither more nor less than the critical, central dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, the dogma from the standpoint of which all their important positions are to be regarded and by which they stand or fall.” (35) Regardless of the fact that he is mistaken in stating that Marian dogma(s) are the central dogma of Catholicism, he is absolutely right to note that the Church’s teaching on Mary makes all Catholic teaching stand or fall!

The Virgin Mary is the greatest among creatures because she responded to God with her pure fiat, a total cooperation that intimately involved all of her being. Everything that Mary did she did with her body. For this reason, Sr. Mary Timothy Prokes is correct to point out that “the privileges celebrated in Mary are grounded in her body.” (36) Without Mary the teaching of the Church on the human body remains abstract and theoretical. Interestingly, during the 13th International Marian Congress at Zagreb on August 13, 1971, Cardinal Suenens asked Karl Rahner what he thought was the reason for the decline in Marian devotion. The answer Rahner gave is a theological affirmation that the Virgin Mary, especially her divine maternity, makes Christianity real and concrete: “Too many Christians, whatever their religious obedience may be, tend to make Christianity an ideology, an abstraction. And abstractions do not need a mother.” (37) Without Mary, Christianity is easily reduced to the realm of philosophical theory. For this reason, the statement made by Cardinal Christopher Schönborn could not be more accurate: “Mary is the guarantor of Christian realism.” (38)

In light of all the above quotes on the essential part that Mariology needs to play in theology as a whole, it is surprising that so few (hardly any) theologians have explored the interconnectedness between what John Paul II taught in his theology of the body and what the Church teaches about the Virgin Mary. (39) Without a doubt, this is an area of theology that stands in need of serious investigation. (40) Therefore, while in no way positing that the following section of the article offers a comprehensive treatment of the subject, it will seek to highlight the intimate connection that can be made between the four selected key points of John Paul II’s theology of the body and the four Marian dogmas of the Catholic Church. (41)

I. The Immaculate Conception: The Body Is a Gift

The dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception was proclaimed in 1854 by Bl. Pius IX in the Bull Ineffabilis Deus.The mystery of the Immaculate Conception, that is, Mary’s having been created free from the stain of original sin in all the dimensions of her being, is a free gift of God’s superabundant mercy; Mary did not earn or merit the unique privilege of being immaculately conceived. What is often overlooked regarding the teaching of the Church on the Immaculate Conception, however, is the fact that Mary was preserved from original sin in both soul and body. The gift of the Immaculate Conception is an embodied gift. Thus, Mary’s femininity, her God-given gift of being a woman, is also part of the goodness of God’s creation in the Immaculate Conception.

This fundamental act of mercy, The Immaculate Conception, serves as sign and hope indicating the superabundant goodness of God’s love for creation. For as John Paul II stated: “The Immaculate Conception is . . . the promising dawn of the radiant day of Christ.” (42)

Mary’s body, due to the theological truth that it serves as the “promising dawn” of the new creation in which all things are made new, represents the prototypical model of each individual human being in their creaturely embodiedness. What Mary has at the beginning, namely, sinlessness, all will have at the end of life if they cooperate with the gift of their embodiedness. Mary shows us how to accept the gift of our embodiedness, and this includes the God-given sex of the body. In this it is important to note that Mary’s exemplarity of what it means to accept the gift of one’s body means that the body is not an obstacle to be overcome but, rather, a gift to be lived.

Mary delights in her body, especially in its God-given sex: femininity. It is precisely in her gift of being a woman, that Mary was fashioned and called by God to be the Theotókos. The gift of her body is exactly what helps her to become the Theotókos. Just think of what would have happened if Mary rebelled against the gift of her feminine body! We would be in a very different situation today.

Mary’s gift of the Immaculate Conception, in contrast to much of the feminist thought of today, does not separate her from us. On the contrary, the gift of the Immaculate Conception serves as our model of how to accept the free, gratuitous gift of our embodiedness and cooperate with God in our salvation and the salvation of others. Salvation, the new creation, is an embodied reality. In a certain sense, the Immaculate Conception serves as a blueprint for how humanity is to respond to God’s love. For this reason, Benedict Ashley states that “the Catholic understanding of the role of Mary in the plan of salvation is, as it were, a summary of the theology of the body and its historic development in the Church shows how the guidance of the Holy Spirit has overcome the dualistic influences of Platonism on Christian thought.” (43)

In short, what the Immaculate Conception teaches us concerning a theology of the body is that if a person accepts and cooperates with their God-given body and sex, they will bear fruit for eternal life. On the other hand, if they choose to rebel and reject the gift of their body, they are on the road to self-destruction and anthropological frustration, that is, hell.

II. Perpetual Virginity: The Body Is Nuptial

The Church’s teaching on Mary’s perpetual virginity was defined in 649 at the Lateran Synod by Pope St. Martin I. While this dogma declares that Mary was a virgin before the birth of Christ (virginitas ante partu), during the birth of Christ (virginitas in partu), and after the birth of Christ (virginitas post partum), it also teaches us something essential for understanding what it means to be a virgin, namely, virginity is essentially nuptial because it is the servant of love. “The perpetual virginity of Mary,” notes Jutta Burggraf, “signifies her bridal state as well as the overshadowing by the Holy Spirit.” (44)

As was stated earlier, an essential dimension of John Paul II’s theology of the body is that the human body is nuptial, that is, meant to be a sacrament of the person and an expression of the communion of persons existing between individuals. In essence, the body is meant to be given away to an other in spousal love, either through sacramental marriage or through the choice to respond to God’s call of consecrating one’s body to the Lord through the vow of chastity. (45) Yet, in order to be able to fully give oneself away, one must have, as Cardinal Angelo Scola calls it, “possession in detachment,” (46) that is, the mature self-possession needed to make a mutual exchange based upon the mystery of otherness as gift. For Mary, this self-possession is her acceptance and cooperation with the gift of both her Immaculate Conception and her call to be a perpetual virgin in her body as a response to God’s gift of himself to her. Having self-possession gives one the freedom to give oneself away; one cannot give what one does not possess (nemo dat quod non habet). This is why Mary’s embodied virginity serves as the model of freedom for the Church. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith summed this point up well:

Mary is totally dependent upon God and completely directed towards him, and, at the side of her Son, she is the most perfect image of freedom and of the liberation of humanity and of the universe. It is to her as Mother and Model that the Church must look in order to understand in its completeness the meaning of her own mission. (47)

John Paul II so emphasized the fact that the virginal body is nuptial that he dedicated seven audiences to this theme. (48) Contrary to what modern society believes about virginity, namely, that it is a sign of isolation and seclusion, John Paul II presented virginity within a context of deep nuptial love. This is why he affirmed that the virgin Mary is the bride/spouse of God. (49)

John Paul II also noted that part of what it means to be in the image of God is being able to be a gift to an other: “To say that man is created in the image and likeness of God means that man is called to exist ‘for’ others, to become a gift.” (50) This is simply a reiteration of the teaching of Vatican Council II in its document Gaudium et Spes, where it states that “man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself.” (51) This notion of giving oneself away in self-possession is exactly what the dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity teaches us about the human body. This is why Mary can be both espoused to God and espoused to St. Joseph. Her body is a sacrament through which she expresses her nuptial person to those whom she loves.

III. Theotókos: The Body Is Fruitful

The dogmatic teaching of Mary’s Divine Motherhood was the first dogma proclaimed by the Church about the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was declared in 431 at the Council of Ephesus. While the main theological focus of this particular dogma is to emphasize the dual nature of Jesus Christ, divine and human, it also teachings us something essential about what it means to be a person, namely, we are called to be fruitful, some physically, but all spiritually. In this sense Mary’s fruitfulness serves as the model for both because she is not only the physical Theotókos, but, also, the universal spiritual mother of the redeemed.

Since the body is a “sacrament” meant to be given away to an other in nuptial love, a nuptial love that expresses an existing communion of persons, each human body has within it the capacity for bearing fruit. The vocation to bear fruit applies to all, those whose call is to sacramental marriage, consecrated life, and the single state. How can this be? Basically, since a constitutive element of what it means to be human is that we are to make of our bodies a gift to an other, whether this “other” be strictly God or another human being, all are called to fruitfulness. It should be mentioned that not everyone in a sacramental marriage may be able to bear fruit physically due to physiological impairments, but all are definitely called to bear spiritual fruit. For this reason, some of the early Church Fathers, in order to show that Mary’s spiritual model of fruitfulness is a universal model, noted that she first heard and conceived in her ear (heart), then, afterwards, in her womb. (52)

It is the Church’s teaching that for those who offer their bodies to their spouses in nuptial love, they must remain open to life, to bearing fruit through childbearing. Any sexual act that goes against openness to life is anti-Trinitarian, and against their God-given gift of embodiedness. The same principle also applies to those consecrated to a life of virginity; they too must offer up their bodies to their spouse (God) in order to allow him to fructify their lives and make them fruitful—only the fruitfulness involved here occurs in the spiritual realm instead of the physical, though the body still remains an essential element in serving as the “sacrament” expressing the communion of persons between God and the creature. Thus, for the consecrated person, the body becomes a sacrifice unto God, allowing him to dispose of as he wills for the good of others—that others might have life.

On the part of Mary, her divine motherhood shows us that she fully gives her body away in virginity in order to allow God to fructify her. Her complete nuptial surrender to God in her human person, body and soul, is what brings about the Incarnation. She is a woman deeply in love with God, so much so that certain Mariologists have posited her bridal-motherhood to be the fundamental Marian principle. (53) The late Dominican Mariologist Frederick Jelly summed up the core of the bridal element in the dogma of the divine motherhood, especially its universal nuptial significance for all body-persons:

At the “nuptials” which transpired during her religious experience of the joyful mystery of the Annunciation, Mary was fully free to give her graced consent to the wedding between divinity and humanity through the Word made flesh in her virginal womb. The Holy Spirit, who unites the Persons within the bosom of the triune God from all eternity, in time transformed the body-person Mary by over-shadowing her in the unitive action of the Incarnation. The most intimate relationship between a divine Body-Person and a human body-person ensued between this mother and her Son who is also God’s own Son. Such is what appears to be meant by those in our Christian Tradition who favor enriching Mary’s concrete motherhood of Christ with bridal symbolism and imagery. Not to be interpreted literally in its sexual connotations, still it does emphasize the intimate union between the divine and the human which took place within Mary’s body . . . And the unique gift of her calling to be the immaculate and virginal Theotokos would become the Archetype for the Trinitarian transformation of all redeemed body-persons who are called to receive Christ into their lives and to become “spiritual mothers” in helping bring him forth in the lives of others. (54)

IV. Assumption: The Body Is Essential

The dogma of Mary’s bodily assumption into heaven was proclaimed in 1950 by Pius XII in the Encyclical Munificentissimus Deus. Along with the fact that this dogma declares that Mary is with God in heaven in both her body and soul, it also essentially teachings that after our earthy life is over, we will continue to be body-persons, either in heaven or in hell, that is, we do not shed our bodies, as though they were a shell to be discarded. All of this has profound theological and eschatological significance for anthropology, especially in light of many of the dualistic tendencies of today.

What is interesting from an historical perspective, concerning the time in which the dogma of Mary’s Assumption into heaven was proclaimed, is the fact that it was declared when the dignity of the human body was under serious attack. (55) Sr. Mary Prokes makes the following points concerning the timeliness of the dogma in human history:

The definition of Mary’s Assumption into glory as a total embodied human person came at a particularly apt moment. The first half of the twentieth century had opened the secrets of matter in a dramatic manner—but these secrets had been exploited through unparalleled devastation of bodies and the material universe. (56)

And the definition was promulgated nine years after atomic bombs devastated Japan. It followed close upon the exposé of pogroms, concentration camps and death by radiation, the legacy of World War II. Despite attempts at genocide and devastation of millions of bodies, the dogma affirmed that Mary was taken up into glory as a whole person. (57)

In essence, Mary’s Assumption teaches us that no matter what ideological definitions of the body are at work in a particular era, God made the body good and desires it to be with him in heaven. Contrary to many of the modern ideological definitions concerning the body, and its treatment as a non-essential and “extrinsic” appendage to our “real” self, the Assumption of Mary into heaven teaches us something about the goodness of our body, breaking down the dualistic tendency in modern thought that pits the spiritual life over and against material existence. John Paul II made this point in the following way:

. . . Mary’s assumption reveals the nobility and dignity of the human body. In the face of the profanation and debasement to which modern society frequently subjects the female body, the mystery of the assumption proclaims the supernatural destiny and dignity of every human body, called by the Lord to become an instrument of holiness and to share in his glory.

Mary entered into glory because she welcomed the Son of God in her virginal womb and in her heart. By looking at her, the Christian learns to discover the value of his own body and to guard it as a temple of God, in expectation of the resurrection. The assumption, a privilege granted to the Mother of God, thus has immense value for the life and destiny of humanity. (58)


The relationship between what John Paul II taught in the theology of the body and what the Church teaches about the body through her Marian dogmas should, at this point, be clear: namely, the dogmatic formulations about the Virgin Mary both affirm and complement what John Paul II taught about the human body. As a matter of fact, it can be stated with certainty that if these two areas—John Paul II’s theology of the body and the Church’s Marian dogmas—were in theological discord, there would exist a serious problem due to the fact that “to speak of Mary,” as Cardinal Ratzinger states, “is to touch on the nexus mysteriorum—the inner interwovenness of the (Christian) mysteries, which are manifold, in relation, and yet one.” (59) Mary is at the heart of all the teachings of the Church because she is at the heart of Christianity. Every teaching about Mary will affirm, must affirm, a teaching about Christ and his Church.

Mary does not stand on her own. Rather, as image, model and prototype of the Church, her role is always to point to Christ and his saving mission being carried out in and through the Church. Thus, all of Mary’s privileges are meant to be a hermeneutical tool, a theological method, teaching us something about what God has planned for us. In this sense, Fr. Paul Haffner is correct to note that Mariology serves as a “theological synthesis” and the “crossroads of theology, where all the various strands meet.” (60) Archbishop Fulton Sheen, employing his uncanny ability to convey Catholic truths through simple analogies, once put it this way:

She (Mary) holds all the great Truths of Christianity together, as a piece of wood holds a kite. Children wrap the string of a kite around a stick and release the string as the kite climbs to the heavens. Mary is like that piece of wood. Around her we wrap all the precious strings of the great Truths of our holy Faith—for example, the Incarnation, the Eucharist, the Church. No matter how far we get above the earth, as the kite may, we always have need of Mary to hold the doctrines of the Creed together. If we threw away the stick, we would no longer have the kite; if we threw away Mary, we would never have Our Lord. He would be lost in the Heavens, like our runaway kite, and that would be terrible, indeed, for us on earth. (61)

Christianity is an embodied religion, and without a proper understanding of the body, Christianity cannot be fully understood. This is precisely why John Paul II desired to give to the world a theological anthropology that presents to the world an objective teaching on the human body. The Virgin Mary, both in her ongoing maternal mediation and in what the Church teaches about her, plays a crucial role in theology in helping us to better understand that Christian teachings concerning the body are not abstract philosophical ideas, but real, concrete embodied realities. Adrienne von Speyr put it this way:

Mary’s flesh was absolutely necessary for the forming of the Son; and the Son, in order to become flesh and not just to be the product of an idea, allowed himself to sink into flesh through the Spirit. This being so, it follows that having a body is, for the whole of Christianity, not merely something concrete, but rather something absolutely necessary for explaining, grasping, and apprehending Christianity. (62)

All in all, the purpose of this article is to generate and stimulate thought on how John Paul II’s revolutionary teaching on the human body can be further understood and exemplified in the Marian dogmas of the Catholic Church. While in no way claiming to be a comprehensive treatment of the subject, it is my hope that the richness of the Church’s teaching on Mary will begin to be incorporated into the growing body of knowledge being written on the theology of the body. By way of conclusion, I present the closing remarks made by Archbishop John Myers in a pastoral letter to the people of his diocese concerning the Catholic teaching on the human body: “Let us ask Mary, who bore the deity in diapers, who was and is Theotokos, Mother of God, and who exemplified the meaning and dignity of the human body for her son, to be our model and patroness in the work that lies ahead.” (63)

Fr. Donald H. Calloway, M.I.C., a member of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, is the editor of two Mariological books: The Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church (Marian Press, 2004) and The Virgin Mary and Theology of the Body (Marian Press, 2005). Both of these books can be purchased at


(28) Adrienne von Speyr, Handmaid of the Lord, E.A. Nelson. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1985), 139.

(29) Lumen Gentium, 65.

(30) Donald J. Keefe, S.J., “Mary as Created Wisdom, the Splendor of the New Creation,” The Thomist 47 (1983), 419.

(31) Alexander Schmemann, “Mary: The Archetype of Mankind,” The University of Dayton Review 11 (Spring, 1975), 83. In a different article, Schmemann made the following profound statement regarding the place of Mary in understanding creation: “She—Mary—is the ultimate ‘doxa’ of creation, its response to God. She is the climax, the personification, the affirmation of the ultimate destiny of all creation: that God may be finally all in all, may fill all things with himself. The world is the ‘receptacle’ of his glory, and in this it is ‘feminine.’ And in the present ‘era,’ Mary is the sign, the guarantee that this is so, that in its mystical depth the world is already achieving this destiny.” See “On Mariology in Orthodoxy,” Marian Library Studies (New Series) 2 (1970), 31.

(32) It must be remembered that Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, is ultimately the one who provides meaning for the human body. Yet, since God has seen fit to create an immaculate representative from humanity, a non-divine creature, means that that same immaculate creature serves as the model of what it means to be human, and respond perfectly to God, in the strictly creaturely state, body and soul.

(33) Hans Urs von Balthasar, Elucidations. Trans. John Riches (San Francisco : Ignatius Press, 1975), 112.

(34) Cardinal John J. Wright, Mary, Our Hope: A Selection from the Sermons, Addresses, and Papers of Cardinal John J. Wright. (ed.) R. Stephen Almagno, O.F.M. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1984), 127.

(35) Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, Volume 1.2: The Doctrine of the Word of God, Trans. G.T. Thomson & Harold Knight. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1980), 143.

(36) Mary Timothy Prokes, F.S.E., Toward a Theology of the Body. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), 172.

(37) Cardinal Leo Jozef Suenens, “Mary and the World of Today,” L’Osservatore Romano (English Edition) June 15, 1972. p.4. The original article by Suenens appeared as “Marie et le monde d’aujourd’hui,” in La Documentation Catholique (3 Octobre 1971), 878-880.

(38) Christopher Schönborn, O.P., “Mary—Heart of Theology—Theology of the Heart,” in The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, (ed.) Mary Alexis Montelibano-Salinas (Philippines: Salesiano Publishers, Inc., 1988), 271.

(39) The only systematic treatment I have been able to find that deals explicitly with this topic is a Master’s thesis done by Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, F.S.P., The Gift of the Woman—Virgin, Mother, Spouse: The Marian Teaching of John Paul II in Light of the Theology of the Body (M.T.S. thesis: University of Dayton, 2000).

(40) Approaching Mariology from an anthropological perspective was stressed by both Paul VI in the Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus (1974) and by the Congregation for Catholic Education’s Letter The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation (1988). Unfortunately, many of the anthropological studies in Mariology undertaken in recent years have neglected the doctrinal and dogmatic underpinnings of the Church’s teachings on the Virgin Mary.

(41) Another very important element in seeking to understand the many facets of human bodiliness would be through the theological truth of Mary’s participation in redemption as Co-Redemptrix. This doctrine of the Church emphasizes that mankind, as seen in a unique way through the Virgin Mary, can indeed participate in redemption through the uniting of one’s suffering with that of the God-man. Currently there are many studies being done on Mary’s unique participation in redemption and on her role as Co-Redemptrix. In a very profound way, a dogmatic definition of Mary as Co-Redemptrix would offer to mankind a concrete example of how bodily suffering, when done in union with Christ and for the love of God and neighbor, can be redemptive.

(42) John Paul II, “For the 12th World Day of the Sick, 11 February 2004—Message to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care,” December 1, 2003. L’Osservatore Romano, English Edition, January 21, 2004.

(43) Theologies of the Body: Humanist and Christian, 536.

(44) Jutta Burggraf, “The Mother of the Church and the Woman in the Church: A Correction of Feminist Theology Gone Astray,” trans. Maria Shrady in The Church and Women: A Compendium. (ed.) Helmut Moll (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988), 253.

(45) Within the context of consecrated life, John Paul II developed this theme: “One cannot correctly understand virginity—a woman’s consecration in virginity—without referring to spousal love. It is through this kind of love that a person becomes a gift for the other. Moreover, a man’s consecration in priestly celibacy or in the religious state is to be understood analogously.” See Mulieris Dignitatem, 20. Cf. Fidelis Stöckl, O.R.C., Mary, Model and Mother of Consecrated Life: A Marian Synthesis of the Theology of Consecrated Life Based on the Teachings of John Paul II. (Quezon City, Philippines: ICLA Publications, 2003); Thomas Philippe, O.P., Mystical Rose: Mary, Paradigm of the Religious Life. (ed.) Edward D. O’Connor, C.S.C. (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1995).

(46) See Angelo Scola, “The Nuptial Mystery at the Heart of the Church,” Communio: International Catholic Review 25 (Winter, 1998), 658.

(47) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation (22 March 1986), 97.

(48) The dates of these general audiences were: July 3, 1996; July 10, 1996; July 24, 1996; July 31, 1996; August 7, 1996; August 21, 1996 and August 28, 1996. The texts for these audiences can be found in John Paul II, Theotókos, 108-132.

(49) See, e.g., John Paul II, “Mary, Eschatological Icon of the Church,” General Audience, March 14, 2001, L’Osservatore Romano, English Edition, 12-21 March 2001, p.11; “Mary, Bride of Divine Love,” Angelus Message, July 4, 1999, L’Osservatore Romano, English Edition, 7 July 1999, p.1; “Hail, Bride of the Holy Spirit!,” Address of June 7, 1999 in Lichen, Poland, L’Osservatore Romano, English Edition, 16 June 1999, p.6; “To Women Religious in Jasna Gora (June 5, 1979),” in John Paul II Speaks to Religious: Principal Allocutions from November 1978 to December 1980, (Chicago: Little Sisters of the Poor, 1981), 72-75; “Mary Responds to God with Spousal Love,” General Audience of May 1, 1996 in John Paul II, Theotókos, 83-86;

(50) John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem, 7.

(51) Gaudium et Spes, 24.

(52) See St. Augustine, De sancta virginitate 3: PL 40.

(53) Without a doubt, Matthias J. Scheeben is the theologian who most developed the bridal-motherhood principle. See Matthias J. Scheeben, Mariology Vol. I & II, Trans. T.L.M.J. Geukers, (St. Louis: Herder Book Co., 1946 & 1947). Adhering closely to the thought of Scheeben, the following works also bring out the bridal-maternal dimension within the Marian Tradition: Charles Feckes, The Mystery of the Divine Motherhood, (New York: Spiritual Book Associates, 1941); Donal Flanagan, “The Image of the Bride in the Earlier Marian Tradition,” Irish Theological Quarterly 27 (1960): 111-124; idem, “Mary, Bride of Christ,” Irish Theological Quarterly 28 (1961): 233-237.

(54) Frederick M. Jelly, O.P., “Towards a Theology of the Body Through Mariology,” Marian Studies 34 (1983), 81.

(55) See Fulton J. Sheen, “The Assumption and the Modern World,” The Thomist 14 (January, 1951): 31-40.

(56) Mary Timothy Prokes, Toward a Theology of the Body, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 168. Cf. Paul Haffner, The Mystery of Mary, (England: Gracewing, 2004), 227.

(57) Mary Timothy Prokes, “The Nuptial Meaning of Body in Light of Mary’s Assumption,” Communio: International Catholic Review 11 (Summer, 1984), 165.

(58) John Paul II, Theotókos, 208.

(59) Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “On the Position of Mariology and Marian Spirituality Within the Totality of Faith and Theology,” in The Church and Women: A Compendium. (ed.) Helmut Moll. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988), 74.

(60) The Mystery of Mary, 20.

(61) Fulton J. Sheen, The World’s First Love. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996), 75-76.

(62) Adrienne von Speyr, Mary in the Redemption, Trans. Helena M. Tomko. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003), 68.

(63) Archbishop Myers, “Catholic Teaching on the Human Body,” (December 8, 2002) Origins (January 9, 2003), 503.

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