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Mary - Mother of The Church

Mother of the Church (in Latin - Mater Ecclesiae) is a title, officially given to Mary during the Second Vatican Council by Pope Paul VI. The title was first used by Saint Ambrose of Milan and rediscovered by Hugo Rahner, the brother of Karl Rahner. Overall, the title indicates the Blessed Virgin Mary's maternity of Christ's faithful, as deriving from her maternity of Christ.

This title "Mother of the Church" was used by Pope Benedict XIV in 1748 and then by Pope Leo XIII in 1885. According to Pope John Paul II, following the title's usage by Leo XIII, "the title was later used many times in the teachings of John XXIII and Paul VI."

Mary is present in the Church as the Mother of Christ, and at the same time as that Mother whom Christ, in the mystery of the Redemption, gave to humanity in the person of the Apostle John . Thus, in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church.

Ambrose and Hugo Rahner

Pope Benedict XVI: Hugo Rahner's great achievement was his rediscovery within the Fathers the indivisibility of Mary and the Church.

Rahner's mariology following Ambrose of Milan, sees Mary in her role within the Church. His interpretation, based solely on Ambrose, whose view he rediscovered, and the early writers, greatly influenced Vatican II and Pope Paul VI, who, quoting Ambrose, declared Mary the "mother of the Church", a view continued by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who, prior to his election to the papacy, specifically gave credit to Rahner on this point.

Pope Paul VI

Pope Paul VI pronounced the title at the closing of the third phase of the council completely on his own. As former archbishop of Milan, he knew, that his famous predecessor, Saint Ambrose of Milan (338 - 397) had used identical language, calling Mary Model of the Church in light of her faith, love and complete unity with Christ and Mother of the Church because she gave birth to Christ.

Paul VI made the pronouncement of the title Mother of the Church during his speech upon the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council on September 21, 1964: "For the glory of the Virgin and our consolation, we proclaim Mary the Most Holy Mother of the Church, that is, the Mother of the whole People of God, both the faithful and the pastors."

Later, in 1968, in the Profession of faith known as the "Credo of the People of God," restated this truth in an even more forceful way in these words: "We believe that the Most Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, the Mother of the Church, carries on in heaven her maternal role with regard to the members of Christ, cooperating in the birth and development of divine life in the souls of the redeemed."

Pope John Paul II

In 1987, Pope John Paul II repeated this title Mother of the Church in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater and at a general audience on September 17, 1997.

With regard to the title "Mother of the Church", John Paul used Redemptoris Mater as an opportunity to explain how the Blessed Virgin Mary's maternity of Christ's faithful derives from her maternity of Christ, as well as how Mary serves as a "type", or model, of the Church as a whole.

Mary is present in the Church as the Mother of Christ, and at the same time as that Mother whom Christ, in the mystery of the Redemption, gave to humanity in the person of the Apostle John. Thus, in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church. In this sense Mary, Mother of the Church, is also the Church's model. Indeed, as Paul VI hopes and asks, the Church must draw "from the Virgin Mother of God the most authentic form of perfect imitation of Christ."

On September 17, 1997, Bl. Pope John Paul II devoted a Wednesday general audience to the title "Mother of the Church" with regard to its application to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This title was rather rarely used in the past, but has recently become more common in the pronouncements of the Church's Magisterium and in the devotion of the Christian people. The faithful first called upon Mary with the title "Mother of God", "Mother of the faithful" or "our Mother", to emphasize her personal relationship with each of her children. Later, because of the greater attention paid to the mystery of the Church and to Mary's relationship to her, the Blessed Virgin began more frequently to be invoked as "Mother of the Church"."

Although the title "Mother of the Church" was only recently attributed to Mary, it expresses the Blessed Virgin's maternal relationship with the Church as shown already in several New Testament texts. Since the Annunciation, Mary was called to give her consent to the coming of the messianic kingdom, which would take place with the formation of the Church. When at Cana Mary asked the Son to exercise his messianic power, she made a fundamental contribution to implanting the faith in the first community of disciples, and she co-operated in initiating God's kingdom, which has its "seed" and "beginning" in the Church (cf. Lumen gentium, n. 5).

On Calvary, Mary united herself to the sacrifice of her Son and made her own maternal contribution to the work of salvation, which took the form of labour pains, the birth of the new humanity. In addressing the words "Woman, behold your son" to Mary, the Crucified One proclaims her motherhood not only in relation to the Apostle John but also to every disciple. The Evangelist himself, by saying that Jesus had to die "to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad" (Jn 11:52), indicates the Church's birth as the fruit of the redemptive sacrifice with which Mary is maternally associated.

The Evangelist St Luke mentions the presence of Jesus' Mother in the first community of Jerusalem (Acts 1:14). In this way he stresses Mary's maternal role in the newborn Church, comparing it to her role in the Redeemer's birth. The maternal dimension thus becomes a fundamental element of Mary's relationship with the new People of the redeemed.

The title "Mother of the Church" thus reflects the deep conviction of the Christian faithful, who see in Mary not only the mother of the person of Christ, but also of the faithful. She who is recognized as mother of salvation, life and grace, mother of the saved and mother of the living, is rightly proclaimed Mother of the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI addresses the issue, why Roman Catholic Mariology is related to ecclesiology, the teaching about the Church. On first sight, he argues, it may seem accidental, that the Council moved Mariology into ecclesiology. This relation helps to understand what "Church" really is. The theologian Hugo Rahner showed that Mariology was originally ecclesiology. The Church is like Mary.

The Church is virgin and mother, she is immaculate and carries the burdens of history. She suffers and she is assumed into heaven. Slowly she learns, that Mary is her mirror, that she is a person in Mary. Mary on the other hand is not an isolated individual, who rests in herself. She is carrying the mystery of the Church.

The text in this box was generated from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the CC-BY-SA.

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Title: Hand Carved Wood Or Marble Mary-Mother Of The Church
Item Number: KRNM-A815
KRMUS-815: Hand carved statue of Mary-Mother Of The Church which can be sculpted in wood or marble. Finishes and colors to your specifications. Available in any size over...