Mary's Pope: John Paul II, Mary, and the Church since Vatican II

By Antoine Nachef | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
Mary in the Mystery of the Church

THE "PRESENCE" OF MARY IN THE MYSTERY OF THE
CHURCH: MARY AS A THEOLOGICAL PERSONALITY
AND THE COMMUNITY OF THE CHURCH

THE MAIN LINE of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council's thought on Mary in its relationship with the Church is clear: the Church should look at Mary in order to learn about herself. 1 Such an approach was an obvious tendency to attribute to ecclesiology 2 a Marian dimension and to Mariology an ecclesiological dimension. In Redemptoris Mater, 47, Pope John Paul II relates this fact by saying:

The Council's teaching emphasized that the truth concerning the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Christ, is an effective aid in exploring more deeply the truth concerning the Church. 3

And again in his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, Dominum et Vivificantem, 66:

The Church perseveres in prayer.This union of the praying Church with the Mother of Christ has been part of the mystery of the Church from the beginning: we see her present in this mystery as she is present in the mystery of her Son. 4

The dependency the Church has on Mary for a better understanding of its own identity became a pattern of thought in the pontificate of Pope Paul VI. 5 His remark concerning that reality came at an important

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