The MOST Theological Collection: The Holy Spirit and the Church
"Chapter 8:The Blessed Virgin Mary"
Introduction: Before the Council opened, a schema had been prepared on the Blessed Virgin. The drafters hoped to promote further teaching about her and would have liked definition of her as Mediatrix of all Graces. (On the comparison of that early schema and the final text of Lumen gentium, cf. C. Balic, "El Capitulo VIII de la Constitución 'Lumen gentium' comparado con el Primer Esquema de La B. Virgen Madre de la Iglesia" in: Estudios Marianos, 127, 1966). Trouble developed early. George Tavard in a feature article from NCWC News Service reported that in the second session, 1962: "As several speakers have pointed out the term 'Mediatrix,' as applied to May, is incompatible with the teaching of St. Paul." Now to contradict St. :Paul amounts to heresy. But, several popes had already taught, with some variation in wording, that she is Mediatrix of all graces: Leo XIII (ASS 27, 1894, 179 and ASS 28, 1895, 130), St. Pius X ( ASS 34, 1904, 453-54), Benedict XV (AAS 13, 1921, 334), Pius XI (AAS 29, 1927, 380), Pius XII (AAS 38, 1946, 266), and even John XXIII )AAS 51, 1959, 88 and Discorsi II, 66). So the floor speakers in effect had charged all these Popes with heresy! Really the speeches were equivalent to heresy, for if a doctrine is taught repeatedly on the Ordinary Magisterium level (below a definition) it is considered infallible - we have just listed the teachings from 6 Popes - the repetition shows the intention to make a teaching definitive! We must remember that floor speeches in a Council are not providentially protected - only the final texts are. At the very first General Council, Nicea, in 325, about 15 Bishops denied the divinity of Christ.
The text of St. Paul to which the speakers referred was 1 Timothy 2. 5: "There is one mediator of God and men." It is shocking to think any Bishop wold not understand that text of St. Paul - they were really quoting a standard Protestant objection - it merely means that there is only one Mediator who is (a) both God and man, (2) whose work depends on no other, but secondary mediators depend on Him.
In October of the second session, in 1963, there was a bitter debate leading to probably the closest vote at the Council. The council voted 1114 to 1074 to put the Marian teaching in the Constitution on the Church rather than in a separate document.
Because feelings were so strong, it was agreed to have just one speaker for each side. First, Cardinal Santos of the Philippines arose, and among other things said, speaking of her on Calvary: "She stood, suffering with Him as He died for us, meriting Redemption with Him... . The saving function of Mary who, as a result of the grace of the Redeemer, was associated with Him in the objective redemption itself, is essentially different from the function of other members, [of Christ]".
Before reporting the remarks of the opposite speaker, Cardinal Koenig, we should explain terms. The objective redemption is the work of once-for-all earning all forgiveness and grace on Calvary. The subjective redemption is the work of giving out that forgiveness and grace throughout all subsequent ages. It is clear that no other human cooperated in the objective redemption - though many Saints and ordinary people do cooperate in the subjective redemption. Her cooperation in the objective redemption was both remote and immediate. Remote cooperation was furnishing the flesh and blood by which the Second Person of the Holy Trinity could become Man and die for us. Immediate cooperation was some role in the great sacrifice itself. We stressed some because although not long before Vatican II all theologians had been forced - by numerous papal teachings - to admit some cooperation on Calvary by her, just what it was, and how it worked was the subject of much debate.
The word Coredemptrix is sometimes applied to her role in the immediate objective redemption; the term Mediatrix to her role in the subjective redemption, in dispensing all graces.
Some object to the term Coredemptrix, saying the co- prefix implies equality. We reply: It could, but need not. We speak of ourselves as cooperating with grace - which does not mean we are equal to God or His grace. Pius XI once used the term in speaking to Catholic Action youth, saying they were "coredeemers"-- in the subjective redemption of course. John Paul II, in an address at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guayaquil (Osservatore Romano, March 11, 1985, p. 7): "In fact, Mary's role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son."
German Mariologists, chiefly Koester, Semmelroth, and Mueller, held her cooperation was only what they called "active receptivity." Their comparison was this: I stretch out my hand:that is active; I then receive what I had no share in producing: that is receptivity. Some lines from O. Semmelroth (Urbild der Kirche. Organischer Aufbau des Mariengeheimnisses, Wùrzburg, 1950). On p. 60 he wrote: "Rather, she cooperated in her own subjective redemption, which means at the same time the reception of the fruits of the redemption for the whole Church." And on p. 56: "In order that it [the offering of Christ] would be the offering of mankind, there is needed the subjective appropriation by mankind." This surely reminds us of classic Lutheran theology in which humans contribute nothing at all to their own redemption, they merely appropriate what Christ alone did, by taking Christ as one's personal Savior. Further, to say some other human besides Christ must appropriate His redemption in order for it to count for mankind is very wrong: Christ Himself was the New Adam, the new Head of our race.
Not strangely, Semmelroth also said, on p. 54: "Mary, since she is substantially the Type of the Church, did absolutely nothing other in the Redemption than the Church herself [does]."
We can surmise why the debate was so bitter: the Germans probably wanted to speak of her as type of the Church -- in the Constitution on the Church - and then conclude as Semmelroth did that she could do nothing other than what the Church does in the immediate objective Redemption: only active receptivity, which would mean no contribution at all to meriting redemption.
In contrast, Cardinal Santos, cited above, in expressing the position of those who wanted a separate schema, said she was meriting Redemption with her Son. That would mean making a contribution to producing the claim or title to all forgiveness and grace - for merit is a claim to a reward.
So now it is really strange to read the opening words of Cardinal Koenig of Vienna, speaking for putting Marian doctrine within the Constitution on the Church: "I do not contradict the things that are explained by the other eminent Father in this matter. I contradict neither as to the doctrine, nor as to the devotion that flows therefrom. In fact, I very gladly and with my heart agree with all these things." Did he fail to understand what Cardinal Santos had really said? or was he deliberately deceiving?
We will explain more fully later, but for now, let us say that LG did call her a type of the Church in §§ 63-65 - but there was not one word about saying she was a type of the Church in redeeming. So the German Mariologists completely failed.
The presiding Cardinal on the day of the vote announced that no matter which way they voted, it would not be downgrading her. So our utterly irresponsible media reported that the Council had voted to downgrade her! That false report caused great damage to Marian devotion. Actually, as we are going to see, Vatican II wrote more extensively about her, went farther theologically than all previous Councils combined. It could rightly be called the Marian Council.
§52. God sent His Son through her in the fulness of time. This mystery of salvation is revealed and continued in the Church in which the faithful, adhering to Christ the Head, in communion with all His Saints, should also venerate her in the first place.
§53. She is recognized as the true Mother of God and of the Redeemer. In anticipation of the merits of her Son, she was redeemed in a more sublime way - the Immaculate Conception. If we recall that the Father had intended that all should have an immaculate conception - for He gave to Adam and Eve the life of grace to pass on to us, then it is not a bit strange that in just this one case He allowed Himself to have what He had wanted to give to all. [ Further, since there is no time in God so we may ask: does He also in other cases allow for anticipated merits, so that we could pray for the salvation of someone already deceased? Probably yes] She is joined to Him by a close and indissoluble bond. For all the decrees of God are eternal, unchangeable. So from eternity He decreed to send His Son. But that same decree would necessarily include the provision of a Mother for that Son: Our Lady.
By this excelling gift of grace she by far surpasses all creatures in heaven and on earth. Pius XII wrote in the Mystical Body Encyclical (AAS 35, 1943, 247): "... the Virgin Mother of God whose most holy soul, more than all other creatures of God combined, was filled with the divine Spirit of Jesus Christ."
She is the Mother of the members of Christ, "because she cooperated by love that the faithful who are members of this Head, might be born in the Church."[Augustine, De virginitate 6]. Cf. also Pius XII to the Marian Congress of Ottawa, Canada, on June 19, 1947: "When the little maid of Nazareth uttered her fiat to the message of the angel... she became not only the Mother of God in the physical order of nature, but also in the supernatural order of grace she became the Mother of all, who... would be made one under the Headship of her divine Son. The Mother of the Head would be the Mother of the members. The Mother of the Vine would be the Mother of the branches" (AAS 39. 271) ]. Of course, this really means the same as saying she is the Mother of the Church. Paul VI at the end of the third Session, on November 18, 1964, solemnly proclaimed that she is that: "We shall close this session of the Ecumenical Council... by joyfully bestowing on Our Lady the title due to her, Mother of the Church." Sad to say, many Bishops were unhappy at this (Cf. Wiltgen, op. cit. , p. 241).
§54. This Council intends to diligently cast light on the function of the Blessed Virgin in the mystery of the Incarnate Word and the Mystical Body, and the duty of redeemed people toward the Mother of God, the Mother of Christ and of humans, especially of the faithful, without however intending to present a complete doctrine about Mary. We notice LG speaks of her as Mother of humans, especially the faithful - implying her Motherhood extends even to those not members of the Church.
Nor does it intend to decide questions still debated among theologians. Of course, the question of her cooperation in the objective redemption would be a prime example especially in view of the great debate we have spoken of. But we add that it is quite possible that the Council said more than it realized. We shall see the reasons for this statement bit by bit as we go along. In the next section, part of the reasons for saying such a thing is possible will appear. Later we will try to show concretely precisely what teachings LG gave on this subject.
§55. The Old and New Testament gradually make clear her role. The OT describes the history of salvation, by which the coming of Christ into the world is slowly prepared. The words "history of salvation" do not mean that no one could be saved before the coming of Christ. Grace was given in anticipation of the work of Christ. So the words refer to the external working out and development in stages of the process which earned all forgiveness and grace.
In DV 12 the Council had deliberately passed by an opportunity to take a stand on whether or not there is a "fuller sense", sensus plenior of Scripture, that is, whether the Holy Spirit at times had in mind more than the human writer saw. (For the statement of the Theological Commission of the council on this, cf. H. Vorgrimler, ed. , Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, Herder & Herder, 1969, section by Grillmeier, p. 220). In spite of that passing by of an opportunity, here the Council actually uses or takes for granted that there is such a process. For it is saying that, especially in two texts - Gen. 3:5 and Is. 7:14 - the Church now sees much more than what the human author may have seen: "These ancient documents, as they are read in the Church, and are understood under the light of later and full revelation, gradually bring more clearly into the light the figure of the woman, the Mother of the Redeemer. She, in this light, is already prophetically foreshadowed in the promise, given our first parents when they fell into sin, about the victory over the serpent (cf. Gen 3. 15). Similarly, she is the Virgin who will conceive and bear a Son, whose name will be called Immanuel (cf. Is 7. 14; Mich 5. 2-3;Mt 1. 22-23)."
We notice the careful language. It says that the picture of her role is understood more clearly in the light of later and clearer revelation. Therefore, it may well be that the original inspired writer of Genesis, and Isaiah, did not fully understand what they had written. So: did the inspired writer see that the woman in Gen 3. 15 would be Mary? Not too likely. Some scholars today say that there is not even a victory mentioned in Gen 3:15, since the same Hebrew verb shuf is used of both the serpent and the seed of the woman. However we should not be more blind than the stiff-necked Jews (the OT repeatedly calls them that). The ancient Targums Neofiti, Pseudo-Jonathan, and Fragmentary Targum all see this line as Messianic. Further, in an allegorical way, they say that the sons of the woman will observe the Torah, and so will conquer the sons of the serpent. The Targum Neofiti definitely sees a victory: "There will be a remedy [for his wound] for the son of the woman, but for you, serpent, no remedy." [The other two Targums speak in the plural, the sons of the woman]. Now if the verse is Messianic, then of course the woman is the Mother of the Messiah = Mary. We notice the Council added cf. before Gen 3:15 and again before Is 7:14. The Modi [proposed changes] for this passage report that 12 Bishops wanted the cf. added to avoid saying that the literal sense of Gen 3. 15 and of Is 7. 14 was Marian . This is the only place in chapter 8 where such care was taken. In spite of that care, we still have the explicit statement of the Council that when these texts are read in the light of later and fuller revelation, the Church can see Mary foreshadowed there - even if the original writers did not see her.
About the word "foreshadowed" (adumbratur): There is a typical sense of Scripture, sometimes called a foreshadowing, in which an ancient person or event amounts to a prophecy by action or by its being of something to come later. So LG may mean that Eve was a foreshadowing of Our Lady. But we must not stress the word shadow wrongly: In one sense, it was obscure, since at least as far as we can see, the human writer of Genesis is not very likely to have seen the full import. Yet the English shadow must not be taken to mean the type is not real: it is very real, it is just that it is not seen clearly at first. Yet LG says that these two documents, Gen 3:15 and Is 7:14, "gradually bring more clearly into the light the figure of the woman, the Mother of the Redeemer." So her lines come to light, are no longer in shadow, even if we suppose the author of Genesis saw only the shadow, not what was to emerge. Even the type may be quite clear as we see when LG 63 calls Our Lady the type of the Church. She is clearer than the Church!
Some years before Vatican II, Pius XII, in the Munificentissimus Deus, in which he defined the Assumption, wrote: "We must remember especially that since the second century, the Virgin Mary has been presented by the holy Fathers as the New Eve, who, although subject to the New Adam, was most closely associated with Him in that struggle against the infernal enemy, which as foretold in the Protoevangelium [Gen 3:15] was to result in that most complete victory over sin and death, which are always tied together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles." So Pius XII unhesitatingly said she was foretold in the Protoevangelium. And in his Encyclical Fulgens corona, 1953, he added: "... the foundation of this doctrine [Immaculate Conception] is seen in the very Sacred Scripture in which God... after the wretched fall of Adam, addressed the serpent in thee words... 'I will put enmity... . '" So if the foundation of the Immaculate Conception is in Gen 3:15, then Our Lady is there too.
On Is 7. 14 the Targum gives us no direct help - though indirectly it does. St. Augustine long ago, in City of God (17. 3) noted that some OT prophecies refer partly to OT people, partly to the Church and Christ. Inasmuch as Isaiah intended to give a sign to King Ahaz, it can be argued that the sign should be something in his own time, not centuries in the future. So the sign would be the birth of a son Hezekiah, to continue the line of David, at a time when that continuation was doubtful. And yet, that would hardly be a striking sign. And still further, scholars today agree that the child of Is 9:5-6 is the same child as that of 7:14 - but the Targums do see 9:5-6 as Messianic. So by implication, they knew that 7:14 was Messianic too. Why then did they not say so? At one time the Jews did say that. Rabbi Hillel, one of the greatest at the time of Christ, said Hezekiah had been the Messiah. Cf. Jacob Neusner, Messiah in Context, p. 174, citing Talmud, Sanhedrin 99a. But Neusner adds, on p. 190, that they gave up saying it had been Hezekiah, when they found Christians using Is 7:14. So they did know that Is 7. 14 was Messianic.
Now the child in 9:5-6 is called: "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace - much too strong for Hezekiah. - So this is a case like those Augustine spoke of - where a prophecy fits partly OT, partly Christ. And this is what LG means when it says that these prophecies, read in the light of later and fuller revelation, tell of Mary - the original writers may not have seen it, but the Church can see it now.
We have here a clear case in which an inspired writer may not have seen all the implications of his words - so, a Council may write more than it sees at the time. - More on this soon.
We conclude it is best to take Is 7:14 as an example of multiple fulfillment of prophecy: it can go through more than once. So the child is both Hezekiah and Jesus (On multiple fulfillment, cf. W. Most, Free From All Error, cap. 5).
Does Is 7:14 speak of a virgin birth? The Hebrew word for the woman here is almah - a young unmarried woman, presumably a virgin. But there was a word betulah - which was more specific. However the Septuagint, knowing Jewish traditions, did use Greek parthenos for almah, and the Greek definitely does mean virgin, in spite of some loose statements today by R. Laurentin (Les Evangiles de l'Enfance du Christ, 2d edition, Paris, 1982 p. 486), who argues that the LXX was loose in its usage of parthenos, because in Gen 34:4 the word is used for Dinah who has just been raped. But Laurentin slipped badly, for the LXX does not have parthenos in verse 4. So in the English translation he backed up to verse 3, which does use the word. But he did not explain that v. 3 is likely to be part of a concentric ring narrative style, well established in the OT. So at least he has no proof against the LXX. I have personally checked every case of the Septuagint's use of the word parthenos , and find it even more precise than the Hebrew in all other cases - so why not here too?
As to the date of the Targums we have used - it is much debated. Yet it is clear that they have messianic prophecies without hindsight, i.e., without seeing them fulfilled in Christ, whom they hated. Further, Neusner, in the book just cited, makes an exhaustive study of the Jewish writings from after the fall of Jerusalem until the Talmud (completed 500-600 A. D). He finds that up to the Talmud, there is no interest in the Messiah, and that in the Talmud, the only OT prophecy about him they notice is that he would be of the line of David. So if the Messianic prophecy parts of the Targums were written during the period before the Talmud, they would hardly find so many references to the Messiah in the OT. (The Targums probably underwent some development. But the Messianic lines are likely to be among the oldest parts, for the reason just given).
We translated el gibbor as "Mighty God". The NAB makes it "God-hero" with no justification. Even modern Jewish versions know it is Mighty God. The Jews today have various way of getting around it. E. g. , Samson Levey (The Messiah: An Aramaic Interpretation, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, 1974, p. 45 and note 31 on p. 153) twists the sentence structure so that the wonderful counsellor etc. call him prince of peace." this is really arbitrary: how would one know for sure which titles belong to which person? Then Levey translates the Targum to mean his name has been called Messiah by the one who gives wonderful counsel... . The Aramaic will stand this, since min qedem can mean either by, or from ancient times. But the Hebrew does not easily stand it. As Levey takes it is not easy to see in the Hebrew who calls and what he is called.
LG also says that Mary is the greatest of the anawim, the poor and humble who had confidence in the coming of the Lord. And she is the daughter of [meaning: who is] Sion - the OT often uses that expression to refer to Jerusalem. But LG refers it to Mary.
§56. The Father of Mercies wanted the acceptance of the planned-for Mother, Our Lady, to come before the incarnation. Leo XIII, in Fidentem piumque, Sept 20, 1896, had said that she "consented in the name of the whole human race." He was citing ST 3. 30. 1. LG continues "so that just as a woman had contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life." This is the New Eve theme so common in the Fathers, , chiefly: St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and also: St. Theophilus of Antioch, Origen, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Amphilocius, St. Ephrem, St. Epiphanius, St. Maximus, St. John Chrysostom, St. Peter Chrysologus, St. Proclus, St. Eleutherius Tornacensis, and the Epistle to Diognetus. References and still more texts, in Latin, are found in G. M. Roschini, Mariologia, 2d ed. Rome, 1947, II, 300-01, 304-09. We note that the first Eve really contributed to the fall, she did not just "actively receive" a sin from Adam - as the German Mariologists- Koester, Semmelroth and Mueller - logically should say when they speak of her role in the redemption.
She, whom the Fathers were accustomed to speak of as all holy and immune from every stain of sin, was made a new creation (therefore with nothing of the old left over) by the Holy Spirit. So the angel greets her as full of grace. We notice LG does use this translation. So did John Paul II in Redemptoris Mater. The Greek here is kecharitomene. It is the perfect participle of the verb charitoo - we notice the ending, omicron omega. This class of verbs means to put the person or thing in the state expressed by the root. E. g. , leukos = white, so leukoo is to make white. Delos is clear, so deloo is to make clear. The root charis has two meanings - favor and grace (cf. my article in NCE). So it means to put her into the state indicated by the root, favor or grace. But favor basically means just that God smiles on someone, does not say He gives anything. If for people in general we say only that He has favor for them - then it could imply they do good by their own power - which is Pelagianism. So even if we use the translation favor, we must understand it means also to give something, the something is grace. So kecharitomene means graced.
But we have here a perfect passive participle which is specially strong, and even more, the Angel uses it in place of her name - hence the version "highly favored daughter" is wrong, for it does not bring out that it is used in place of her name. If we say someone is Mr. Tennis, we mean he is the ultimate in tennis. So then kecharitomene should mean Miss Grace - the ultimate in the category of grace - and that is really much the same as full of grace.
Further, the providentially protected Magisterium helps us. Pius IX, in Ineffabilis Deus, in 1854, taught: "He so wonderfully filled her, far above all angelic spirits and all saints, with an abundance of all graces taken from the treasury of the divinity, that she, ever free from absolutely every stain of sin, and totally beautiful and perfect, showed forth such a fullness of innocence and holiness that none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it." So her holiness was so great even at the start of her existence [and she grew of course, for her fullness meant that she had all the grace that, as it were, she could contain. But her capacity continued to grow] that only God Himself can comprehend it - not even the highest Archangels, Cherubim, and Seraphim can do that! Pius XII in Mystici Corporis added: "Her most holy soul was filled by the Divine Spirit of Jesus Christ, more than all other creatures of God taken together."
LG adds that in this, "embracing the salvific plan of God with a full heart, held back by no sin, she totally dedicated herself, as the handmaid of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son." If she totally dedicated herself to the person and to the work - she must have known much about Jesus, else she could not "totally dedicate herself" to the person and work of her Son.
How much could she know? Neusner ( op. cit, p. 12) says that at the time there was "intense, vivid, prevailing expectation that the Messiah was coming soon." Reason: Genesis 49. 10 foretold there would always be some kind of ruler from Judah until that age. Now since 41 BC they had had instead Herod, not from tribe of Judah, but half Arab, half Idumean, even though in a way he practiced Jewish religion. The Targums do know - in spite of some poor modern versions of Gen 49:10 - what Gen 49:10 meant. Jacob Neusner (op. cit. , p. 242) comments: "It is difficult to imagine how Gen 49:10 can have been read as other than a messianic prediction." Yet many Catholic scholars do not see what a good Jew does see!
Then the angel tells her that her Son will reign forever over the house of Jacob. Jews then mostly believed the Messiah would live and rule forever - so this would clearly tell even an ordinary Jew the son would be Messiah. At that point everything in the OT prophecies about the Messiah would at least begin to come into her mind - increased as she was pondering in her heart. The Targums show that even ordinary Jews understood so many texts (chiefly: Gen 3:15, Gen 49:10, Num. 24:17, Is. 9:5-6 [and indirectly, as we saw above, also Is 7:14], and Is 11:1 and Is 53 and Micah 5). She who was full of grace would see all the more easily and fully.
But then she hears that He is to be called Son of the Most High, not in the way ordinary Jews could be so called, but precisely because she would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. The word overshadow recalls the Divine Presence filling the tabernacle in the desert (Ex 40. 34-35). So if that is the reason for calling Him Son of God, it must be a singular sense, actually, divinity. Further, Is 9. 5-6, as we saw, spoke of the child as Mighty God, and the Targum knew he was the Messiah. (We discussed the translation of the Targum and of Is 9. 5-6 above). - but what of her who as full of grace? Then too she would see Is 7. 14 fulfilled in herself, and then would know it did speak of virginal conception.
Even Herod's theologians saw Micah 5:2 as foretelling the birth of the Messiah at Bethlehem. A modern Jewish scholar, Samson Levey, comments that the Hebrew of Micah here ("His goings forth are from of old, from ancient days") would tend to imply the preexistence of the Messiah - even though the rabbis in general seem not to have grasped it.
The Targums too knew that Is 53 spoke of the Messiah. But they, thinking the Messiah would live forever, twisted the text so that the meek lamb became an arrogant conqueror. But she who was full of grace would see - and so even before Simeon's prophecy of the sword, she would know much, too much for comfort. She accepted all this in her fiat, even as her Son, on entering into the world, said, (Heb. 10. 5ff): "Sacrifices and oblations you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me... . Then I said, Lo, I come to do your will O God." He could do that since His human soul had the vision of God from the first instant - and it showed him with painful vividness all He would have to suffer. (Cf. W. Most, The Consciousness of Christ). Her fiat and His were simultaneous. (On her knowledge cf. W. Most in Faith & Reason, XI, l985, pp. 51-76). The prophecy of Isaiah was supplemented by Psalm 22 and Zech. 12:10.
LG adds: "Rightly then do the Holy Fathers see Mary as not just passively employed by God, but as cooperating in free faith and obedience for human salvation. For she, as St. Irenaeus said 'being obedient, became a cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. ' Hence not a few ancient Fathers gladly assert in their preaching with him [St. Irenaeus]: 'The knot of the disobedience of Eve was loosed through the obedience of Mary. '"
To catch the implications of these words, we need to recall that there are two great phases to the redemption: objective, the once- for all- acquiring of a title to forgiveness and grace, and subjective, the distribution of what was won in the objective redemption. Again, objective redemption is further divided into remote and proximate or immediate. In being the Mother of the Redeemer, she furnished the very means by which He could die - this was a remote cooperation in the great sacrifice.
Now St. Irenaeus, in the complete context from which Vatican II quoted, had compared all sin, original and personal, to a tangled knot. To untie it, St. Irenaeus said, we take the end of the rope back through every turn that was taken in tying it. Then and only then is the knot untied. In this context he said what LG just quoted: "the knot of the disobedience of Eve was untied through the obedience of Mary". - Was that done with the incarnation, the conception of the Savior? No, it was not done until the great sacrifice was complete. Therefore, St. Irenaeus, a Father of the Church , an instrument in the hands of Divine Providence, was used by the Holy Spirit to write more than he understood - just as did the inspired writers of Gen 3:15 and Is 7:14, as we have seen. And just as Jeremiah 31. 31 ff in foretelling the new covenant. Jeremiah hardly foresaw that the great obedience of that covenant would be the obedience of Jesus even unto death. So we see an instrument used by Divine Providence can say more than that instrument sees or understands. So Vatican II, also an instrument of Providence, could say more about Our Lady than it realized. (More later).
Paul VI, in Marialis cultus (Feb. 2, 1974. § 36) spoke of her as "taken into dialogue with God" at this occasion.
§57. "This conjunction of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is manifested from the time of the virginal conception of Christ even to His death." LG says it was manifested, since it had existed for eternity, but only with the incarnation did it begin to appear to us. Then the Council begins to go through every one of the mysteries of the life and death of Jesus, so as to show her cooperation at each point in detail. In §60 it will start all over again, so as to show her as type of the Church.
We notice especially the comment on the virgin birth "which did not diminish her virginal integrity, but consecrated it." Some today have tried to say her virginity was only a symbol, a theologoumenon, and that physically she was not virginal. But the Council uses the word integrity here, which cannot refer to a mere symbol, it must be physical. John Paul II, in General Audience of Jan. 28, 1988 said: "Mary was therefore a virgin before the birth of Jesus, and she remained a virgin in giving birth and after the birth. That is the truth presented by the New Testament text, and which was expressed both by the Fifth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 553, which speaks of Mary as 'ever virgin' and also by the Lateran Council in 649, which teaches that 'the Mother of God... Mary... conceived (her Son) through the power of the Holy Spirit, without human intervention and in giving birth to him her virginity remained incorrupted, and even after the birth her virginity remained intact. '" (DS 503)
We note too the matter of fact way in which LG refers to the shepherds and the Magi. In § 55 it had shown extreme care in using cf. with Gen 3:15 and Is 7:14 to avoid pronouncing on the literal original sense of those texts. But here it speaks without reservation, seeming to accept them at face value. On Dec. 28, 1966 (Insegnamenti di Paolo VI IV, pp. 678-79, Vatican Press, 1966), Paul VI complained that some "try to diminish the historical value of the Gospels themselves, especially those that refer to the birth of Jesus and His infancy. We mention this devaluation briefly so that you may know how to defend with study and faith the consoling certainty that these pages are not inventions of people's fancy, but that they speak the truth." He goes on, citing Cardinal Bea, a prominent liberal Scripture scholar of the day, who also defended these. John Paul II, in the Audience of Jan 28, 1988 added: "To identify the source of the infancy narrative one must go back to St. Luke's remark: 'Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart' (Lk 2:19). Luke states this twice: after the departure of the shepherds of Bethlehem and after the finding of Jesus in the temple (cf. Lk 2:51). The evangelist himself provides us with the elements to identify in the Mother of Jesus one of the sources of the information used by him in writing 'the infancy Gospel'. Mary, who 'kept these things in her heart' (cf. Lk 2:19), could bear witness, after Christ's death and resurrection, in regard to what concerned herself and her role as Mother, precisely in the apostolic period when the New Testament texts were being written and when the early Christian tradition had its origin."
LG 57 mentions that in the finding in the temple, His parents did not understand. This does not mean they had been ignorant of the fact He was Messiah and divine - what they did not understand was the strange departure from His normal considerate behavior on this occasion. He allowed them to feel real distress, because that would be an occasion for growth in faith. (On her knowledge, cf. W. Most, "The Knowledge of Our Lady" in Faith & Reason XI, 1-2, 1985, pp. 51-76).
§58. The same occasion of faith was provided again at Cana, where He seemed to refuse - (other places in OT where we have the words 'what is it to me and to you' mostly carry the note of rejection. But the outcome showed He was not rejecting). Similarly with the time when He "extolled the Kingdom beyond reasons and bonds of flesh and blood" and said blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it. He was showing that of two forms of greatness - being physically Mother of God, and one who lived in faith - the second is greater. Of course, she was at the peak in both categories. So LG adds: "as she was faithfully doing".
This and similar texts really are cases in which her faith had to as it were hold on in the dark. God often puts souls into such positions, to provide an occasion of great growth. On this cf. OFP, 129-31.
LG continues: "So to the Blessed Virgin went forward in the pilgrimage of faith, and in faith bore with (sustinuit) her union with her Son even to the Cross, where, not without divine plan, she stood, vehemently grieved together with her Son and joined herself to His sacrifice with a motherly heart, lovingly consenting to the immolation of the Victim born of her." LG says she went forward, advanced, in faith. She was full of grace at the start, but it was a relative fullness, i.e., her capacity could and did grow, and so her capacity for grace advanced.
We recall too that St. Paul presents faith as including four things:1)If God speaks a truth, we believe it in our mind; 2)If He makes a promise, we are confident He will keep it; 3) If He tells us to do something, we do it in the "obedience of faith"(Rom 1:5); 4)all of this to be done in love. - Of course, she was doing all this to the full.
It says she stood in accord with the divine plan (LG §61 will repeat this point): she was not there as a private person, but as the one appointed by the Father to cooperate, as the New Eve. Further, she was asked to consent to the immolation of her Son. To understand this, we recall that spiritual perfection consists in the alignment of our will with the will of the Father. But at the Cross, it was His will that His Son should die, die then, die so horribly. It was the will of Her Son to do this. Therefore she was asked not just to refrain from screaming against it - she was asked to positively will that He die, die then, die so horribly.
This cost of this to her was beyond our ability to understand. The grief of any Mother at the death of her Son is in proportion to two things: (1) the pain she sees in him, (2) her love for him. The pain she saw was beyond our imagination. Our crucifixes give no impression of the scourges, the blood, the dirt. She saw it all before her eyes. As to her love: love and holiness are interchangeable terms in practice. But at the start, as we saw from Pius IX (Ineffabilis Deus), she had such holiness/love that "none greater under God can be thought of, and no one but God can comprehend it." So her suffering was in proportion to a love that is beyond the power of any actual creature to comprehend - only God Himself can understand it. So her suffering was multiplied by this love, which is beyond our ability to grasp - so therefore it is strictly true to say her suffering was beyond anything any creature can grasp - only God Himself can do so (cf. W. Most, "Pope deepens Conciliar theology", in Miles Immaculatae, Rome XXVI, 4. 1990, pp. 329-45).
The redemption was in the form of a new covenant. In a covenant, the essential condition is obedience. At Sinai God had said (Ex 19. 5): "If you really hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you will be my special people." That is, you will get favor on condition of obedience. In the new covenant, the essential obedience was that of her Son. LG 3 had said, "by His obedience He brought about redemption." Cf. also Rom 5. 19, and the text we cited from Paul VI on obedience as the central feature of redemption.
Without obedience, His death would have been only a tragedy, not a redemption. But it was obedient, obedience was the covenant condition.
But now we recall that LG 56 had said "by being obedient she became a cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race." LG 61 will say that she "cooperated by obedience, faith, hope and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls." So she shared in that which gave His death all its value, in obedience. That obedience took the form of aligning her will with that of the Father and her Son, i.e., she had to consent, to positively will His death, as we explained above.
Let us recall again that she was there not as a private person, but as one appointed to cooperate, as the New Eve. The Father had made her intrinsically suited for this role by the Immaculate conception. Now - would He do that, make her apt, and call on her to do so difficult a thing as to will the death of her Son, in a covenant framework in which the essential condition was obedience, and then not accept her obedience, her cooperation as part of the covenant condition? Of course not! Therefore, her cooperation formed part of the covenant condition - which is the same as saying, part of the price of redemption!. Of course, this was in dependence totally on Him: her very ability to do anything came from Him.
Now it is fully clear that her role could not be merely receiving actively that which Christ alone earned, to which she contributed nothing? The German Mariologists, as we saw, wanted to say that. But the Council has said she shared in the covenant condition, as we just saw. That was not just receiving from Christ, it was cooperating with Him, sharing in the obedience that alone gave value to His sacrifice. So the Council, without realizing it, has: (1) rejected the German theory and, (2) taught she shared even in the covenant condition, which is the price of redemption. All this in spite of its words, early in LG Chapter 8 that it did not intend to settle controversies. But we have shown that someone who is an instrument in the hands of Providence can teach more than he realizes - we saw it with Gen 3. 15 and Is 7. 14 as explained by LG 55 itself. We saw it in Jer 3. 31 ff. We saw it in St. Irenaeus. Now we see the same pattern in the Council itself.
This conclusion is reinforced by noting that Msgr. G. Philips of Louvain, a chief drafter of this chapter, in his commentary on it, shows he did not fully understand the chapter he had drafted. (G. Philips, L'Eglise et son mystère aux Deuxième concil du Vatican. Desclée, Paris, 1968 II. 157-68 - reprinted in Ephemerides Mariologicae XXIV, 1974. pp. 87-97. Here we cite this reprint). In his commentary on §§ 61-62 on p. 92 he thinks that only "a mental distinction... between the acquisition and the distribution of grace is possible", that is, between the work of Calvary, the objective redemption, and the subsequent work of distribution of grace, the subjective redemption. But on p. 90 of this commentary he says that her cooperation was "concretized in her unconditional obedience," while on p. 92 he said her present role (subjective redemption) is one of intercession. But: obedience and intercession are not the same thing. They are not merely mentally distinct. In obedience, she does the will of the Father; in intercession she asks the Father to do her will in granting graces to her children. So the two motions go in opposite directions, and are by no means identified, as they would be if there were only a mental distinction. Rather, obedience, as we just saw, was part of the covenant condition, joining with the obedience of her Son, which was the essential covenant condition. So Philips did not fully understand the text he had so large apart in framing. Cf. also W. Most."Mary's Cooperation in the Redemption, in Faith & Reason XIII. 1. pp. 28 - 61.
At the Cross, LG explains that she was given as a Mother to John. This means she is our Spiritual Mother. We will see more of it in LG 61-62.
§59. At Pentecost we see the Apostles with Mary, all imploring the gift of the Spirit. The Council does not say so, but when we recall the flabbiness of the Apostles, we can well think they were tempted to give up hope by the end of the 9 days. She would have encouraged them.
At the end of her earthly course, she was taken up, assumed into Heaven. We note the wording, borrowed from Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus - he was not absolutely certain she had died. A few Fathers assert she did not. More probably she did, in likeness to her Son.
Then she was crowned as Queen with the King, forever.
Pius XII had given 4 titles for Queenship (Bendito seia, May 13, 1946. AAS 38-266): "He, the Son of God, reflects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty and the dominion of His kingship. For, having been associated to the King of Martyrs in the ineffable work of human redemption as Mother and cooperatrix, she remains forever associated with Him, with a practically unlimited power, in the distribution of the graces which flow from the Redemption. - Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father]. And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion."
The four titles are: (1) by grace - we call one a queen for being the highest in a category: She is full of grace.
(2) by divine relationship: He is King by nature, being God, she is Mother of God.
(3) by right of conquest - in Him this means redemption- so it means same in her - the text gives three qualifications, "through, with and subordinate to Him" - these are obvious, spelled out in 3 ways. So there must be no understood restriction beyond these. Therefore except for subordination, by right of conquest means same with her as with Him. - Contrast the German active receptivity theory.
(4) by singular choice - one can be King or Queen by choice of the people. Here it is by choice of the Father.
Her dominion extends as far as that of Jesus. We do not think of two powers, one infinite, one finite - no, they act as a unit - per modum unius. Benedict XV calls her "omnipotentia supplex" - suppliant omnipotence (April 19, 1915. AAS 7. 201). She shared in earning all graces - logically, she should share in giving out all.
Even though she is finite, she can, in the light of the vision of God, know even our individual needs. We are very numerous, but not infinite in number- not too much for an intellect illumined by a light of glory proportioned to fullness of grace so great that only God can comprehend it (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854).
To sum up: We see then that from eternity before time began, to eternity after time has ended, and in every one of the mysteries of His life and death in between, she is "always sharing His lot (Pius XII said this in Munificentissimus Deus (AAS 42. 768, Nov. 1, 1950). This chapter of Vatican II spelled this out in detail. Now since we can do no better than to imitate the ways of the Father, and since He has freely chosen to put her everywhere in His approach to us, the logical - but not mandatory - thing would be for us to give her a similarly all-pervading place in our response to Him, in our own spiritual lives. We say not mandatory - for the objectively best is not required of everyone, and, considering individual differences, might not even be best for each one. To do so would be to live out most fully a complete consecration to her. LG 67 will say that everything the Church has recommended in devotion to her in the past is still of great importance. Of course, that includes consecration. So Vatican II built a splendid theological base for living out a complete consecration.
§60. Here we begin a new section, partly repeating what is said before - on the relation of Mary to the Church. There had been a hot debate in the second session, as we saw: where to put the teaching on her: in this document, or a separate document. This document won, in a very close vote. The reason for the fuss over where to put it is likely to be that the German Mariologists were also behind it - Cardinal Koenig of Vienna, as we saw, spoke for using this document. They argued that since the Church only receives from Christ in the redemption - does not produce anything - then since she is a type of the Church, she cannot do any more. - Really, this is a Protestant theology of redemption: people contribute nothing, they just appropriate, make their own what Christ has done. They take Christ as their personal Savior. (Cf. Otto Semelroth, cited in the introduction to this chapter.
We note the apologetic tone in this section. Protestants like to appeal to the text of 1 Tim 2. 5-6,"One Mediator" to rule out Mary. Sadly, as we saw, some floor speakers at the Council tried the same. Cf. G. Tavard, Council Daybook 2. 52: "It would be inconsistent for the Council to approve... the use of a term which contradicts the New Testament. As several speakers have pointed out, the term Mediatrix as applied to Mary is incompatible with the teaching of St. Paul... ." This implied a charge of heresy against several Popes, who had used that title for her - cf. the listing in note 16, on §61 (note by the Council). Cf. also a more complete listing of texts in our introduction to this chapter 8.
LG 60 insists that the Father's use of Mary was not by necessity, but by free choice - obviously true. It is helpful to relate this to the principle of St. Thomas in I. 19. 5. c which says that in His love of good order, God is pleased to have one thing in place to serve as a title, or reason, for giving a second thing, even though that title does not move Him. Briefly, He did not need her in the objective redemption. But it pleased Him to observe good order, and to make all things as rich as possible for our race. Similarly, He did not need her, or the other Saints, in the subjective redemption. He really needed no titles in the subjective redemption at all, to give out what had been so richly earned in the objective redemption; yet He does provide those titles, especially the Mass, which presents again His obedient offering.
It helps to consider what we might call the alternatives of redemption. After the fall of Adam and Eve, and after looking ahead to all future sins, the Father did mean to restore our race. He had several options before Him: 1) Forgive without any reparation. But this would not satisfy His love of good order, nor be so rich for us; 2) He could have appointed any mere human to do any religious act and count it as the whole of redemption, even though it would be merely finite; 3) He could have sent His Son to be born in a palace, equipped with every possible luxury. He would not have to do any more than be born -or He might add a prayer: "Father forgive them." Then He would ascend in a blaze of glory forever, without dying at all (This would be infinite merit, since done by an Infinite Person; it would also be infinite satisfaction, which is had when something difficult is done: it was a great come-down for a Divine Person to become incarnate); 4) He went beyond the palace to the stable, beyond a prayer to the cross. This was literally infinity beyond infinity, for option 3 would have been infinite. In mathematics, infinity plus a finite number does not grow. But this is not the low ground of mathematics, but the high realm of divine generosity. 5) It is evident. His policy is this: If there is any way to make it even richer, it will be done. He saw in option 2 He could have used a mere creature for the whole of redemption: why not then add Our Lady's cooperation? So He did, as we have seen.
§61. "The Blessed Virgin, predestined from eternity along with the incarnation of the Divine Word as the Mother of God, by plan of Divine Providence, was on this earth the kindly Mother of the Divine Redeemer, His associate singularly, more than others, and the humble handmaid of the Lord. In conceiving Christ, in bringing Him forth, in nourishing Him, in presenting Him to the Father in the Temple, in suffering with her Son as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith hope and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls. As a result she is our Mother in the order of grace."
We note again her eternal union, in the decree for the incarnation. All God's decrees are eternal as is His Being. In decreeing the incarnation, He necessarily also provided for the Mother. Hence the eternal union. That union, as we saw, extends through every mystery of His life and death which the Council reviews in detail, and continues on into eternity after the end of time, where she is eternally Queen with Him the Divine King.
LG shows that she cooperated in the redemption all through His life - for He merited for us through all His life. It was only by positive decree of the Father that the Cross was required. Any small thing He did would be enough to redeem countless worlds.
She cooperated in the work of the Savior, in restoring supernatural life to souls - that is, in redeeming us. She did it in an altogether singular way - no one else was appointed to officially cooperate, not even St. John. Pius XI once spoke of workers in Catholic Action as "coredeemers" - true, but only in the subjective, not in the objective redemption.
She cooperated by obedience, faith, hope and burning love. The three theological virtues are obvious. But we notice again the obedience, and recall that that is what gave all the value to His sacrifice, it is that which was the covenant condition. So she did share in that condition, which is the same as saying she shared in the price of redemption.
In a covenant there are two levels. If we ask why the Father gives favors under it, there are two answers: On basic level, no creature can generate a claim on Him by its own power. So whatever He gives is the result of unmerited, unmeritable generosity. But on a secondary plane, given the fact that He has freely entered into a covenant, saying as it were: "If you do this I will do that", then if humans fulfill their part, He owes it to Himself to give favor. So even the redemption by Christ was on this secondary level. It was not that the Father, because Christ came, dropped anger, became willing to love us. No, it was because the Father always loved us that Christ came. Since we see the redemption is on this secondary level - we can easily see that there is no problem in saying she could cooperate in it.
We see this too if we think of the alternatives of redemption, which we have already reviewed.
We note that a covenant is like a contract. In a contract, each one gives something of at least about equal value. The price of redemption He paid was of course infinite. So that to which the Father obligated Himself was also infinite: an inexhaustible treasury of forgiveness and grace. Still further, this title or claim is not merely for the human race in a block -it is- but it is also for each individual person , because of Gal 2:20: "He loved me, and gave Himself for me." Vatican II in Church in Modern World §22 said: "Each one of us can say with the Apostle: The Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me."
Could someone then think: With such a title going for me, I could go on a long spree of sin, and then pull up in time? No, for two reasons: 1) The repentance at the end would not he a real repentance, for there would be no change of heart: it would be all preplanned; 2)A long spree of sin produces hardening, with the result that even if God is willing to forgive, the sinner is not open to receive.
G. Philips, in the commentary from which we cited above, objected that graces are not like jewels that could be stored in a box. Correct: We do not mean that. We mean a claim under covenant has been generated, as a result of which the Father obliges Himself to make available forgiveness and grace without end at the times at which it is needed.
That price then generates the claim. Some have worried: To speak of a price uses the imagery that our race was in captivity: the price was paid to the captor for our freedom. But, the captor was satan. We would not say that the blood of Christ was paid to satan. Neither was it paid to the Father, for He was not the captor. What then? It was paid to rebalance the objective order, which the Holiness of God so intensely wishes. (This was explained in our commentary on §3 above).
As a result of this cooperation "she is our Mother in the order of grace." In the natural order, a Mother must first share in bringing new life to being - then take care of it, so long as she is willing, able, and needed. She shared in bringing new life, the life of the soul, by her role in the objective redemption, the great Sacrifice. By her role in distributing all graces, she fulfills the second requirement. Natural mothers after a while are not much needed - but we will always need grace. Natural mothers may be unable or unwilling to help - never so with Mary.
§62. Her motherhood extends from the consent she gave at the annunciation, which she unhesitatingly continued under the cross - even willing His death, as we saw - even to the final consummation of all the elect. For after being assumed into Heaven, she has not put aside this role, but she continues to care for the brothers of her Son until they arrive in the house of the Father. For this reason, "She is invoked in the Church with the titles of Advocate, Auxilatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix."
Some say the Council buried the title of Mediatrix. Protestant observers at the Council had said in advance that if the Council called her Mediatrix, there would be no more dialogue, at least on her. (Cf. Estudios Marianos 27, 1966. p. 174 by Fr. Balic, one of the drafters of this Chapter).
Why did not the Council add "of all graces"? First, not needed - since it taught she shared in earning all graces, it follows she shares in dispensing all. Second, it did refer us in note 16 to several Popes who did teach she is Mediatrix of all graces: Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Pius XII. And besides these, given in the note, we could add John XXIII. For a complete list of references to 12 papal texts saying she is Mediatrix of all graces. cf. W. Most. Catholic Beliefs: The Bottom Line (Marytown, l988, #49).
In deference to the Protestant observers, LG now adds that her role does not detract from Christ, and that no creature can be put on the same plane with Him. - Of course not, nor do we do that even when we say she shared in paying the price of redemption - for her very ability to cooperate came entirely from Him. So she is not on the same plane.
§63-65. Here LG speaks of her as a type of the Church - a point dear to the German Mariologists. However, thanks to Divine Providence, the Council did not speak of the parallel of which the German Mariologists spoke. It mentions her as a type of the Church only in a very limited way - in the order of faith, love, and perfect union with Christ. The Church too is both virgin and mother. The Church hopes to imitate Mary's perfection. Thinking of her and raising its eyes to her, the Church and contemplating her in the mystery of the Word made flesh, is reverently led more deeply into the supreme mystery of the Incarnation. For Our Lady unites and echoes the greatest points of the faith in herself, and while she is preached and honored, leads us to her Son and to His Sacrifice. The Church thus is made more like her Type or model in Our Lady. Also, in her apostolic work, the Church rightly looks to her who begot Christ. She is the exemplar of the motherly affection by which all working in the apostolic mission of the Church should be animated.
But all this includes no mention of her as a parallel to the Church in the work of redemption.
One suspects it was the German Mariologists, led by Cardinal Koenig, who got this section into LG. It quotes only a very few Fathers - cf. the notes given by the Council. Everything in these 3 sections is true, but not of major moment.
§66. She is exalted after her Son, more than angels and men. Her cult however differs not only in degree, but also in kind from that due to God - who receives worship in the strict sense.
§67. The Council deliberately teaches this Marian doctrine, and admonishes all the sons of the Church, that they should generously promote devotion to her, and "should consider the practices and exercises of piety, recommended by the Magisterium in the course of past centuries, as still of great importance." All this in site of updating! So everything the Church has ever recommended in the line of devotion to her is still very important. The Council did not enumerate these things - it is clear they include the Rosary - Paul VI mentioned that specially in an Encyclical Christi Matri Rosarii of Sept 15, l966. It also renews the decrees on the veneration of statues - decried by the ancient Iconoclasts, and now by newer ones. The Constitution on Liturgy calls for the use of images in § 125, adding that they should be moderate in number.
John XXIII in Journal of a Soul, p. 315, wrote: "... since the beginning of 1953 I have pledged myself to recite it devoutly in its entirety" [all 15 decades of the Rosary]. Paul VI in Signum magnum of May 13, 1967: "We exhort all the sons of the Church to renew personally their consecration to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of the Church."
LG 67 also advises to avoid false exaltation of her - this means devotions that are not solidly based on doctrine. But if one follows the doctrine of LG chapter 8 - and notes that the Father has given her an all-pervading role, she is everywhere in His approach to us - it is practically impossible to have too much. It warns also against narrow restrictions on devotion, and against whatever could mislead those outside the Church.
True devotion depends, it says, on true faith - that is, on solid doctrine.
§68. She now is the image and beginning of what the Church hopes to be. She is a sign of definite hope and consolation to the Church on her pilgrimage.
§69. The Council is pleased to note that some separated brethren also have devotion to her, especially the Eastern Orthodox.
Given at Rome, Nov 21, 1964.
Closing Address of Paul VI at end of Third Session, Nov. 21, 1964
Many of the Fathers of the Council have made this wish their own, asking for an explicit declaration during the Council of her role as Mother which the Virgin exercises over the Christian people. To accomplish this aim, we have considered it opportune... to consecrate a title in honor of the Virgin which has been suggested by various parts of the Catholic world... . Therefore, for the glory of the Virgin Mary and for our own consolation, we proclaim the Most Holy Mary as Mother of the Church, that is to say, of all the People of God, of the faithful as well as the pastors, who call her their most loving Mother."
There was a standing ovation for this announcement. Applause interrupted the Pope seven times during the entire address.
He also said that his thoughts turned to the whole world "which our venerated predecessor, Pius XII, not without inspiration from on high, solemnly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary... we have decided to send a special mission to Fatima... in order to carry the Golden Rose to... Fatima... . In this way we intend to entrust to the care of this heavenly Mother the whole human family... . O Virgin Mary, Mother of the Council, to you we recommend the entire Church."