IN MY FIRST VOLUME on the Trinitarian theology of Pope John Paul II, I analyzed his philosophy, his theology of creation and Redemption, his understanding of Christ (Christology), and his theology on the Holy Spirit (Pneumatology). 1 The present study explores his understanding of the Mother of God (Mariology) in relation to Lumen Gentium VIII, the document that treats the question of Mary in Vatican II, the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council held in 1962-1965.
The Swiss Marianist Johann G. Roten emphasizes that the Mariology of the Council underwent a structural renewal by focusing on three aspects: Mary's place in salvation history, her faith journey, and her being an archetype of the Church. 2Chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium is, as The Congregation for Catholic Education states, "the fullest and most authoritative synthesis of Catholic doctrine about the Mother of the Lord ever to have been compiled by an ecumenical council." 3 The Council's synthesis entailed both Marian spirituality and Marian doctrine. Sound devotion to Mary is necessarily based on true doctrine. A doctrine not lived in devotional life would be destined to wither and die. Pope John Paul II himself attests to the importance of Vatican II's teaching by saying: "The Second Vatican Council made great strides forward with regard to both Marian doctrine and devotion."4