|It is high time heaven's
glass ceiling was shattered. I am speaking of the drive - supported by 6 million Catholics
- to have the Pope declare the Virgin Mary co-redeemer with Christ.
Such a dogma would involve three new spiritual truths: that Mary is co-redemptrix
and participates, with her son, in humanity's redemption; that she is a
mediatrix of all graces; an that she is an advocate for believer-sand influences
In other words, Mary would receive what The New York Times has called "the ultimate
promotion". Mark Miravalle, a professor of Mariology at the obscure Franciscan
University in Ohio, has made the elevation of the Blessed Virgin his life's work.
In 1993 he began his mission to have her pronounced co-redeemer. By June last year, his
petition urging this had attracted 6 million signatures from 148 countries.
This is not simply idolatry by the poorly educated: the petition has been signed by 42
cardinals, more than 500 bishops and Mother Teresa.
But the Catholic establishment is concerned that promoting Mary would threaten the
ecumenical dialogue it has been conducting with the Anglican Church. Many Protestants
would see such a move as heretical, as giving Mary equal status with Christ.
That she was a lifelong virgin despite bearing a
son speaks of an inherent mistrust of female sexuality
Miravalle stressed in an interview with The New
York Times last year mat co-redeemer status would mean Mary would be working with Christ
rather than his equal. But Protestants also protest that an infallible proclamation by
the Pope would only reemphasise his dogmatic authority, an authority they flatly
reject. So it seems that Mary - like most women involved in organised religion - will be
kept in her place, at least for the time being.
Yet in terms of public following, she is
Catholicism's answer to the contemporary cult of the megastar. Every year, millions of
pilgrims flock to the sites of her apparitions, from Lourdes and Fatima to
Medjugorje. Mary sightings are more common than Elvis sightings, despite the latter's
marketing muscle. (There were about 400 reported Mary sightings during the 20th century.)
The rosary is arguably the most recited Catholic
prayer. For centuries Mary has played a leading role in hymns, holy cards, sculpture,
painting, poetry and classical music. During Christ's life she was there when it mattered
- at his birth, death and first public miracle (the turning of water into wine).
All this demands that, sooner rather than later, she be given a career upgrade.
In an aggressively secular age, the Catholic Church cannot afford to overlook her growing
and ardent fan club. Moreover, her credentials prove that this is not a case of tokenistic
|Giving Mary more power
would send a signal that the Catholic Church is at last overcoming its hang-ups about
women - from its banning of female priests to telling married women who are on the pill
that they are sinners.
Admittedly, at first
glance Mary was hardly a feminist role model; that she was a lifelong virgin despite
bearing a son speaks of an inherent mistrust of female sexuality. Much of her life was
about duty and pain - the essence of maternal self-denial.
Yet Newsweek has reported that although feminists
20 years ago dismissed Mary as an oppressive influence, some now celebrate her as a strong
woman who freely said yes to God at the Annunciation and made salvation history possible.
Thus, she is a counter- balance to the unfairly maligned Eve.
Some argue that if Christianity is to have a
feminine symbol for God, it should be, created by women rather than an old man in a dress
whose word is seen as gospel. But a sacred woman being imagined by women for women risks
being instantly ghettoised, whereas Mary is perhaps the best- known woman in history.
I will no doubt be accused of confusing truths
that are divinely revealed with earthbound notions of social justice. Yet two of the
Marian dogmas were surprisingly recent and are still hotly disputed. The Assumption was
declared in 1950 and held that Mary ascended to heaven body and soul after she died. The
dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary was born free from original sin,
was established in 1854.
Non-Catholics say there is no evidence in the
scriptures to justify these dogmas. They also argue that the scriptures make clear that
Jesus had siblings, meaning Mary was not a virgin all her life.
Given the fierce opposition to existing dogma,
what's to lose in going one step further and admit- ting the Blessed Virgin into the holy
The exclusive domination of Christianity by male deities - a sort of heavenly Melbourne
Club - stands in marked contrast to the central role of female gods in ancient mythology
and some Eastern faiths. The fact that the Holy Trinity comprises two males (God the
father, God the son) and a sexless spirit suggests that Western theologians have long had
a horror of equating godliness with femaleness.
This is short-sighted. The Catholic Church would
win over more people than it would alienate by enhancing Mary's status. Who knows? If the
cult of Mary continues to grow, the Holy Trinity may well evolve into the Holy Quartet.
COMMENT BY PAUL SHEEHAN ... 241201,
Just the heading of Rosemary Neill's article is suffice to calculate the wisdom and
knowledge of the content, that would have to be very little if at all. On a scale of one
to ten I would personally give the woman a definite one and that one would be for her use
of the English language.
The article itself is cheap, blasphemous and one of the greatest shows of jezebelism
this preacher has ever encountered.
This woman would have to be a man hater and a God hater all in one, her bitterness and
resentment toward God given authority is even more clear.
I suppose that the whole of her message is one that men and God will no doubt have to get
use to as we draw near to the coming of the Christ upon the clouds. It will be but a down
hill run from this day forth in all areas of life and all church structures that have not
and will not to pick up their cross, deny themselves of sin and follow the Christ.
Let me bring to your attention that R.N.. made mention of Mother Teresa in her article and
she numbered mother Teresa with the entire lot of rubbish she rambled on about. Many
millions thought of Mother Teresa as a woman of God/Jesus the Christ but I can only say
she was a .. humanist full stop.
Humanism will not save your soul from the eternal torment and fire of eternal hell
....... the second death .................... Revelation 21:8.
As Rosemary Neill said in her article .. the objective is to win people over*. .. and you
ain't going to do that by adhering to the holy bible but if you would promote Mary as a
co-redeemer and lie through your teeth all shall be sweet. Mind you, this is what the
large majority of churches will finally do in the end anyway .. lie through their
teeth .. to keep up appearances and to .. quote!. get the people in!.
2 Timothy 4:3,4 ... Revelation chapter 17 .. 2 John 1:1-13 Revelation 22:18,19..