Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Pope Benedict's/Ratzinger's Mariology

In an earlier post, I noted some aspects of Benedicts Mariology so far, as evident in his public acts as Pope. It seems that there is something secondary about Mary in his scheme, which is fine, if that is his style.

I bring this up because I stumbled across this blog that has a quote from Ratzinger on Mary:

In Mary’s Yes to the birth of God’s Son from her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary places her body, her whole self, at God’s disposal to do with as he pleases. Her Yes puts her will in perfect conformity with the will of the Son. Her Yes makes possible the Incarnation of Jesus. If God is to have entry into our world and be borne there, Mary’s Yes, this conformity of our will with God’s will, must be repeated again and again. On the Cross, this conformity of wills finds its definitive expression... On the Cross, this readiness is put to the proof and precisely the darkness in which Mary stands engulfed reflects the fullness of the identity of her will with that of Jesus. Faith is a community formed by the Cross, and it is only on the Cross that it achieves its full perfection.

This is the passive and conforming Mary. Again, nothing wrong. But for someone like me, the incarnation is a different animal. There are two ways to see Mary's role. One is as a passive receptor. So God says, you are to have this child. She says, okay. And God places child in her womb. I'm not a fan of that strand.

Then there is the active and aggressive Mary. When God says, you are to have my child. She says yes. Now, God can only go so far, believe it or not. So as God leaps out to her she leaps towards divinty and it is her faith that actually creates Christ in her. So she is not shoot, a tube, through which Christ entered the world. She created Jesus in her womb that is what makes her his Mother.

Think about it as a translation. God spoke the word and she translated it with nothing lost in translation. Think about that. Mary translated the divine word, the uncreated, into a created human being. That's the active Mary.

There are vital lessons in the passive Mary, so I'm not knocking that, but after years of JP2, it is interesting getting a different Mariology from the top.


Blogger Talmida said...

I love that! She translated the word!!

Your post reminds me of Eve and what she says to God after Cain is born (she is the first human to say God's name): I have created a man with God (Gen 4:1).

The church needs to either accept that it worships Mary as the female face of God or get rid of the perpetual virginity shtick and let her be human. You can't have it both ways. If she's God, great (and I suspect she is -- look at how instinctively people turn to her). If not, then she was human, had sex with her husband, had other children, died, etc. etc.

IMHO of course. *lol*

4:17 PM  
Blogger Ono said...

Talmida, you are going to get me in trouble. Oh . . . too late!

That is interesting about Eve. The KJV says, "I have gotten a man from the Lord." The RSV says "with the help of the Lord." The NAB agrees with the RSV.

I like the way you phrased that, is that the sense of the Hebrew, "I have created a man with God"? (hint: a post on this would be welcome.)

I have my theories on Mary which push the envelope, but they'll come later. I should say that the option is not virginity or Mother of God. Mary's status (virgin or not) wouldn't affect who she is. i go with perpetual virginity, but if somehow we got raw footage of Joseph giving a affidavit that they were married in the fullest sense, it wouldn't change much.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Ambrose said...

I doubt that Mary just stood by and watched her son die, resigned to darkness. This is something you go beserk over.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Talmida said...

yeah, don't you love the way I do that? take all controversy off my blog and then come and make risqué comments on yours!

*hee hee hee*

Seriously though.

Virgin or not makes a huge difference for women. It means that men are still using the madonna/whore paradigm. There's more to us than that. It's not all about sex. We're not the gateway to evil. We're not the reason (altho we may be the excuse) that men sin.

Mary has to be virgin in the Church's eyes, because sex is inherently bad. Otherwise, celibacy would not be the higher state of the ruling class. It's all tied together -- sex is bad, women only exist for reproduction (see Augustine for more on THAT subject), so women are a necessary evil....but if they're virginal! Well if we can have babies WITHOUT SEX! that is the ideal, and that is why the male celibate church created a virginal Mary.

Although a lot of lovely theology has been written about her, the idea of Mary as virgin is BASED on a false belief about reproduction.

Okay, sorry for rambling on about this, but the idea bugs me.

***The opinions stated in this comment are those of their author and NOT of the blog owner, who is, I am sure, a faithful and obedient son of the Church.***


7:56 PM  
Blogger Ono said...

Your comments make sense. I have to admit that I never thought twice about it and whenever I heard these concerns I dismissed them. But a couple of years ago, I began to pay attention to them and I know I can't internalize a women's perspective but I think I'm seeing where its coming from.

BTW, I heard the gist of what you say from conservatives too.

The Mary at the cross image, like most things, has been purged, just like the nice looking cut Jesus on the cross. (Images of Jesus with his bowel movements dripping after his death are not exactly attractive.) I think the verse in Lamentations captures her grief well, "Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow."

But I think like Christ, she understood what was going on. And that had to have made something about that awful day bearable, hope.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Talmida said...

Oh, don't get me wrong, as a human being, Mary is a fabulous example and role model -- how to take what God and life send you with grace and perseverence!! I never thought of her as someone who saw the big picture, but you're probably right about that. I expect she did.

Personally, I don't find that all the madonna/whore stuff affects my relationship with God, or even my local experience of Church. I've been a egalitarian (and an obedient catholic) from the cradle -- I'm not particularly strident about either belief.

But when there are questions of changing the church or of policy, I think it is important to go back to our roots and examine why women and men have particular roles or images or whatever. I truly do not believe that the present situation is God's will. I really don't. And since you're going to be a theologian.... might as well tell you.


8:16 AM  

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