Friday, August 10, 2007

Benedict on Mary

Excerpts from the Ratzinger Report on Mariology (this seemed appropriate in light of the upcoming Solemnity of the Assumption):

As a young theologian in the time before (and also during) the Council, I had, as many did then and still do today, some reservations in regard to certain ancient formulas, as, for example, that famous De Maria numquam satis, 'concerning Mary one can never say enough.' It seemed exaggerated to me. So it was difficult for me later to understand the true meaning of another famous expression (current in the Church since the first centuries when-after a memorable dispute-the Council of Ephesus, in 431, had proclaimed Mary Theotokos, Mother of God). The declaration, namely, that designated the Virgin as 'the conqueror of all heresies.' Now-in this confused period where truly every type of heretical aberration seems to be pressing upon the doors of the authentic faith-now I understand that it was not a matter of pious exaggerations, but of truths that today are more valid than ever.

Yes, it is necessary to go back to Mary if we want to return to that 'truth about Jesus Christ,' to 'truth about the Church' and the 'truth about man' that John Paul II proposed as a program to the whole of Christianity when, in 1979, he opened the Latin American Episcopal Conference in Puebla. The bishops responded to the Pope's propsal by including in the first documents...their unanimous wish and concern: 'Mary must be more than ever the pedagogy, in order to proclaim the Gospel to the men of today.' Precisely in that continent where the traditional Marian piety of the people is in decline, the resultant void is being filled by political ideologies. It is a phenomenon that can be noted almost everywhere to a certain degree, confirming the importance that piety which is nor mere piety" (Card. Joseph Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report, pp. 105-106).

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