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Mariology: Getting Started

Roman Catholic Mariology deals with the life and role of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, as well as her veneration, throughout the ages, in theology, prayer, hymns, art, music, and architecture.

Mariology - What is it?

Mariology is a topic that covers two thousand years.  Each historical epoch has its own particular way of seeing Mary and Marian devotional practices...

To Catholics, the Virgin Mary holds extreme importance as the mother of God, the vessel through which God became man.

The Christological-Trinitarian foundation of Mary's role in salvation history and in the Church is developed in two areas: 1) the foundations from Vatican II, Scripture, Church Fathers, and the four Marian Dogmas; 2) the celebration of Mary in liturgy, popular piety, and spirituality. Finally, Mary is studied in light of ecumenism, and in the work of contemporary theologians regarding her profound significance for today's world.

Quotations about Mary

"Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, is born for us, born in Bethlehem of a Virgin, fulfilling the ancient prophecies. The Virgin’s name is Mary, the wife of Joseph." Pope Francis "Urbi et Orbi Message" (December 26, 2014)

"It is necessary to go back to Mary, if we want to return to the truth about Jesus Christ." Pope Benedict XVI.

"Mary is ‘Queen of the Apostles’ without any claim to apostolic powers: she has other and greater powers." Hans urs Von Balthasar

“The Marian principle is that subjective spirit found in Mary and lived out dynamically in all that leads to the Church’s sanctity.” Chiara Lubich.

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” Saint Maximilian Kolbe.

"There is no more direct road than by Mary for uniting all mankind in Christ." Pope St. Pius X "Ad Diem Illum."

"O sweetest Star of Heaven! O Virgin, spotless, blest, shining with Jesus’ light, guiding to Him my way! Mother! beneath your veil let my tired spirit rest, for this brief passing day!"  St. Therese of Lisieux

"Mary's fidelity to the grace of her conception makes her the most perfect model, after Jesus Christ, of fidelity to grace." Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

"About Mary, one can never say enough." St. Bernard of Clairvaux

 “Let us call the Church by the name of Mary; for she is worthy of the double name.” St. Ephrem, Second Century.

No, Catholics do not worship Mary.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, writing in his Summa Theologiae (II-II, q. 103, a. 4; III, q. 25, a. 5), explained: “In more technical terms used by the Tradition to draw this important distinction, devotion to Mary belongs to the veneration of dulia, or the homage and honor owed to the saints, both angelic and human in heaven, and not to latria, or the adoration and worship that can be given only to the Triune God and the Son incarnate. Because of her unique relationship to Christ in salvation history, however, the special degree of devotion due to Mary has traditionally been called hyperdulia. While latria is owed to her Son by reason of unity of his divine and human natures in the Person of the Word made flesh, hyperdulia is due to Mary as truly his Mother.”

Why does Mary have so many different titles?

The Hail Mary prayer comes from

scripture...from the greeting in Luke 1:28, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.

And from Luke 1:42, the words spoken by Mary’s cousin Elizabeth:

Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb…


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Kathryn Burke
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Mary in her aspect of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States, and Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared Empress of all the Americas by Pope Pius X. With Lumen Gentium (1964), Pope Paul VI proclaimed Mary as Mother of the Church. In the 1980s, while it was still a part of the USSR, Pope John Paul II dedicated Russia to her.

[From "Mary, the Mother of Jesus". In The Columbia Encyclopedia, Columbia University and Paul Lagasse. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.]


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