08 MARY: Fortitude of Faith - Bp Thomas J. Tobin

posted Apr 30, 2019, 6:24 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 30, 2019, 6:24 AM ]
To the crisis in the understanding of the Church, to the crisis of morality, to the crisis of woman, the then Cardinal Ratzinger has a remedy, among others, to propose "that has concretely shown its effectiveness throughout the centuries." "A remedy whose reputation seems to be clouded today with some Catholics, but one that is more than ever relevant." It is the remedy that he designates with a short name: Mary.

"If the place occupied by Mary has been essential to the equilibrium of the Faith, today it is urgent, as in few other epochs of the Church, to rediscover that place."

Ratzinger's testimony is also humanly important, having been arrived at along a personal path of rediscovery, of gradual deepening, almost in the sense of a full "conversion," of the Marian mystery. In fact, he confides to me: "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 nunquamsatis, '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," he continues, "it is necessary to go back to Mary, if we want to return to that 'truth about Jesus Christ,' truth about the Church' and the 'truth about man' that John Paul II proposed as a programme to the whole of Christianity when, in 1979, he opened the Latin American episcopal conference in Puebla. The bishops responded to the Pope's proposal by including in the first documents (the very ones that have been read only incompletely by some) 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 of that piety which is no mere piety."

Six Reasons for Not Forgetting

The Cardinal lists six points in which—albeit in a very concise, and therefore necessarily incomplete, way—he sees the importance of Mary with regard to the equilibrium and completeness of the Catholic Faith.

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