Summary of Doctrine on Mary; Notes
About this section
A great deal of thought has been put into preparing the Marian section of EWTN's
presentation of "The Catholic Faith." This is because the Church's teaching
concerning Mary and great devotion to her is very often misunderstood and even attacked by
non-Catholic Christians, and is sometimes poorly understood even by Catholics. It may seem
to some that a disproportionate amount of space has been devoted to Marian doctrine.
However, in an attempt to give a clear exposition of Catholic teaching and to answer
common objections to it, it is essential that no confusion be left as to what the Catholic
Church teaches about the Mother of God, and what grounds there are for this teaching.
Summary of Marian Doctrine
The Catholic Church teaches that by a free decision of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary was
elevated to become the Mother of His Son Jesus Christ and Jesus' worthy associate in
redeeming mankind. She was prepared for this role by being preserved by God's grace from
all sin, original and personal, throughout her entire life, and was rewarded at the end of
her life for her cooperation with God's plan by being taken up, body and soul, into
Heaven, where she reigns with her Son as Queen of the Universe, and whence she distributes
to men all the graces which, with, through and under her Son, she helped to merit on
Mary and Her Son
However, Catholics do not at all make Mary equal to her Son, for He is true God, and
she, though the most exalted of all creatures, is still only that-a creature. Only Jesus
Christ, because he is both God and man, can be the perfect Mediator between God and men,
and could offer to the Father a sacrifice of infinite value on behalf of the human
race of which he was fully a member. The sacrifice which He offered was completely
sufficient to redeem mankind; Mary's cooperation was added not out of any necessity, but
completely out of the marvelous generosity of our heavenly Father, His great love for us
and for her. Finally, only Jesus Christ is Redeemer and Mediator by his own power. In all
things, Mary works with, through, and under to her Son, completely dependent on Him.
Mary's subordination to her Son, and her dependence upon Him, is expressed in various
places and in various ways in the files found in this section. If it is not repeated at
every step, this is because for Catholics, this subordination is so clear, so obvious,
that it does not need to be repeated at every turn. Catholics' great joy at the privileges
granted to Mary rests ultimately in wonder that God could, and did, raised a mere creature
to such heights.
In order to understand the grounds for the Church's teaching on Mary, it is necessary
to understand the Church's teaching on Sacred Tradition. Those who believe that the Bible
is the only source of divine revelation will certainly have trouble understanding where
Catholic teaching on Mary has come from. Eventually, "The Catholic Faith" will
add a section explaining what the Church believes about divine revelation, including
Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
Although files by Fr. William G. Most are used throughout "The Catholic
Faith," special thanks are due to Father Most for his writings on Mary. The present
section is largely, thought not entirely, the result of his years of tireless effort in
defending and elucidating Catholic truth concerning the Mother of God.
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