Magisterial Teachings On The Mother of God

Ad Jesum Per Mariam

©Lucio Joaõ Mascarenhas, May 8th., 2004.

  1. Pope St. Siricus, Letter to Anysius, Bishop of Thessalonica, 392: We surely cannot deny that you were right in correcting the doctrine about children of Mary, and Your Holiness was right in rejecting the idea that any other offspring should come from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would not have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had judged that she would be so incontinent as to taint the birthplace of the body of the Lord, the home of the eternal king, with the seed of human intercourse. Anyone who proposes this is merely proposing the unbelief of the Jews saying that Christ could not be born of a virgin. For if they accept the doctrine on the authority of priests that Mary had a number of children, then they will strive with greater effort to destroy the truths of the faith.

  2. Pope John II, Letter to the Senate at Constantinople, 534: Our son the Emperor Justinian has pointed out... that disputes have arisen over these... questions... Whether Mary ever Virgin, the mother of Christ our God and Lord, ought to be entitled properly and truly Mother of God and mother of the Word of God who took flesh from her...

    ... We teach that the glorious and holy ever-Virgin Mary is proclaimed, and rightly so, by Catholics to be properly and truly Mother of God and the mother of God the Word who received his human nature from her. For in the proper and true sense, he himself did become incarnate in this last age and condescend to be born of the holy and glorious Virgin as his mother. Therefore, because the Son of God in the proper and true sense received his body from her and was born of her, We profess that she is properly and truly the mother of God; for God received his body from her and was born of her. And we say properly to exclude the idea that the Lord Jesus was called God by title of honour or by favour, according to the absurd opinion of Nestorius; again, we say truly to exclude the idea that he did not receive a true body from the Virgin but did so only apparently or some other way, according to the blasphemous assertion of Eutyches.

  3. Pope St. Martin I, Council of the Lateran, 649: If anyone does not profess according to the holy Fathers that in the proper and true sense the holy, ever-Virgin, immaculate Mary is the Mother of God, since in this last age not with human seed but of the Holy Spirit she properly and fully conceived the divine Word, who was born of God the Father before all ages, and gave him birth without any detriment to her virginity, which remained inviolable even after his birth: let such a one be condemned.

  4. Pope Sixtus IV, Constitution Cum Præexcelsa, 1477: ...In His divine providence the almighty God looked from eternity on this humble Virgin. Having prepared her by the Holy Ghost, He made her the dwelling place of His only-begotten in order to reconcile to its author the human nature that had been subject to eternal death through the fall of the first man. From her He was to receive the flesh of our mortality for the redemption of His people, while she would remain an Immaculate Virgin also after His birth. All the faithful of Christ should give thanks and praise to almighty God for the wonderful Conception of the Immaculate Virgin and should celebrate the Mass and the other divine offices instituted to this end in the Church of God and assist at them. With indulgences for the forgiveness of sins We invite them to do so in order that through the merits and the intercession of the same Virgin they may become more capable of receiving divine grace.

  5. Pope Sixtus IV, Grave Nimis, 1483: Forbade anyone to censure those who celebrated the feast of and held the Immaculate Conception as a Doctrine of the Faith.

  6. Pope Innocent VIII (1484-92) approves the invocation of Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception

  7. The Council of Trent, Vth. Session; Decree on Original Sin, 1546: This same holy Synod declares that it is not its intention to include in this decree dealing with original sin the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, but that the Constitutions of Pope Sixtus IV of blessed memory are to be observed under the penalties contained in those Constitutions, which it renews.

  8. The Council of Trent, 1547: Canon # 23: If anyone says that a man once justified cannot sin again, and cannot lose grace, and that therefore the man who falls and sins was never truly justified; or, contrariwise, says that a man once justified can avoid all sins, even venial sins, throughout his entire live without a special privilege of God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin; let him be anathema.

  9. Pope Paul IV, Constitution Cum Quorundam, 1555: ... With Our apostolic authority we call to account and warn... on behalf of the omnipotent God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, all those who have asserted or who have believed: ... that [the Lord] was not conceived of the Holy Spirit according to the flesh in the womb of the most Blessed and ever-Virgin Mary, but that his conception in no way differed from the conception of other men, and that he was conceived of the seed of Joseph; or that the same Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, did not submit to the cruel death of the cross to save us from sin and from eternal death and to reconcile us to the Father for everlasting life; or that the same most Blessed Virgin Mary is not the true mother of God and that she did not remain a perfect virgin before, while, and forever after she gave birth.

  10. Pope St. Pius V, Bulla Ex Omnibus Afflictionibus, 1567:

    Condemnation of the Errors of Michel de Bay

    Condemned Error # 73: No one except Christ is without original sin. Therefore, the Blessed Virgin died because of sin contracted from Adam; and all the afflictions that she suffered in this life, like those of other just men, were the punishment of actual or original sin.

  11. Pope Paul V (1605-21) forbade anything contrary to the teaching of Mary's Immaculate Conception to be said in public.

  12. Pope Gregory XV (1621-23) forbade any statement contrary to the teaching of Mary's Immaculate Conception to be said in private.

  13. Pope Alexander VIII (1655-67) declared, in 1661, that the object of the devotion of the Immaculate Conception is the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  14. Pope Alexander VIII, Condemnation of Jansenist Errors, 1690:

    Condemned Error # 24: The offering of the two young doves which the Blessed Virgin made in the Temple on the day of her purification, the one dove as a holocaust and the other as a sin offering, is sufficient evidence that she was in need of purification, and that her Son (who was offered) was sullied by the defilement of his mother, according to the words of the Law.

  15. Pope Clement XI (1700-21) made the feast of the Immaculate Conception one of Precept in the universal Church.

  16. Pope Pius IX, Bulla Ineffabilis Deus, 1854:

    Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception

    For the honour of the holy and undivided Trinity, for the honour and renown of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian religion, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the authority of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by Our own authority, We declare, pronounce and define: the doctrine that maintains that the most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception, by a unique grace and privilege of the omnipotent God and in consideration of the merits of Christ Jesus the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore must be firmly and constantly held by all the faithful. If, therefore, any shall obstinately maintain a contrary opinion to that which We have defined (God forbid that they do so), let them fully realize that they stand condemned by their own judgement, that they have made shipwreck of their faith, that they have departed from union with the Church. Furthermore, if they dare to express in words or writing or any other way what they beieve at heart, by that very action they are subject to the punishments laid down by law.

  17. Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Octobri Mense, 1891: When the eternal Son of God willed to assume the nature of man for the redemption and honour of man, and willed thereby to enter into a sort of mystical marriage with the entire human race, he did not do so before his chosen mother had given her free consent. She was in some way impersonating the human race—as Aquinas truly and beautifully says, "In the Annunciation the consent of the Virgin was awaited in place of that of all human nature." Therefore, we may truly and fittingly affirm, that of the vast treasure of all grace which the Lord has won—since grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ (see John 1:17)—nothing at all is give to us, in accordance with God's will, except through Mary. And as no one may go to the great Father except through his mother.

  18. Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Magnæ Dei Matris, 1892: ... When we go in prayer to Mary we go to the mother of mercy who loves us so much that whatever our need may be, she, of her own accord, even before we ask her, is always immediately ready to help us, especially to gain eternal life. She gives us grace from the treasure that God has given in full measure right from the beginning to her who was worthy to be his mother. Because of this abundance of grace—which is the most wonderful of the praises of the Virgin—she far excels all men and all the orders of angels and she alone of all creatures is next to Christ: "It is a great thing when any saint has enough grace to save many others; but when a saint has grace sufficient for the salvation of all the men of the world, this is the greatest thing of all; this was the case with Christ and the Blessed Virgin."

  19. Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Fidentem, 1896: It is impossible to think of anyone who has ever done or ever will do as much as she has done in reconciling men with God. For it is she who brought a Saviour to men when they were rushing towards eternal ruin. She "in place of all human nature" with her wonderful consent received the message of the mystery of peace brought to earth by an angel. She is the one of whom Jesus is born (see Matt. 1:16), his true mother, and for that reason the worthy and most beloved mediatress with the Mediator.

  20. Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Ad Diem Illum, 1904: As a result of this union of suffering and willing between Mary and Christ, she "most deservedly merited to be the restorer of the lost world" and therefore the dispenser of all gifts that Jesus has won for us with his death and his blood... Seeing that she is holier than all and most closely united with Christ, and as he has chosen her as his associate for the work of human salvation, she merits for us congruously (de congruo), as they say, what Christ merited in strict justice (de condigno), and she is the principal agent in distributing graces.

  21. Pope Benedict XV, Apostolic Letter Inter Sodalicia, 1918: As she suffered and almost died together with her suffering and dying Son, so she surrendered her mother's rights over her Son for the salvation of the human race. And to satisfy the justice of God she sacrificed her Son, as well as she could, so that it may justly be said that she together with Christ has redeemed the human race.

  22. Pope Pius XI, Apostolic Letter Explorata Res, 1923: The sorrowful Virgin shared with Jesus Christ the work of the Redemption.

  23. Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, 1943:

    Mary, the mother of the mystical body
    Venerable Brethren, may the VIrgin Mother of God grant the prayer of Our paternal heart—and they are yours too—and obtain for all a true love of the Church. Her sinless soul was filled with the divine Spirit of Jesus Christ more than all other created souls together; and "in the name of the whole human race" she gave her consent for a "spiritual marriage between the Son of God and human nature." Within her virginal womb Christ our Lord already bore the exalted title of Head of the Church; in a marvelous birth she brought him forth as source of all supernatural life, and presented him, new born, as prophet, king, and priest to those who were the first of Jews and Gentiles to come to adore him. Her only Son, yielding to a mother's prayer in "Cana of Galilee," performed the miracle by which "his disciples believed in him" (John 2:2, 11).

    Free from all sin, original and personal, always most intimately united with her Son, as another Eve she offered him on Golgotha to the eternal Father for all the children of Adam, sin-stained in his fall; and her mother's rights and mother's love were included in the Holocaust. Thus she who corporally was the mother of our head, through the added title of pain and glory became spiritually the mother of all his members. She it was who through her powerful prayers obtained the grace that the Spirit of our divine Redeemer, already given to the Church on the cross, should be bestowed anew through miraculous gifts on the newly founded Church on Pentecost. Bearing with courage and confidence the tremendous burden of her sorrows and desolation, truly the Queen of Martyrs, she more than all the faithful filled up "what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ... for his body, which is the Church" (Col. 1:24), and she continued to show for the mystical body of Christ, born from the pierced heart of the Saviour, the same mother's care and ardent love with which she clasped the infant Jesus to her warm and nourishing breast.

  24. Pope Pius XII, Bulla Munificentissimus Deus, 1950:

    The universal Church, in which the Spirit of Truth dwells, and which he infallibly guides to perfect knowledge of revealed truths, has shown its faith many times in the course of the centuries. Bishops from all over the world with almost perfect unanimity have petitioned that the truth of the corporeal Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven be defined as a dogma of the divine, Catholic faith. The truth of this dogma is based on Sacred Scripture and is deeply rooted in the hearts of the faithful. It is sanctioned by the worship of the Church from the most ancient times. It is completely consonant with all other revealed truths. It has been explained and proclaimed by the study, the knowledge, and the wisdom of theologians. In consideration of all these reasons, We judge that in God's providence the time has come to proclaim solemnly this wonderful privilege of the Virgin Mary...

    We, therefore, after humbly and repeatedly praying to God, and calling upon the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of almighty God, who has shown great and particular love for the Virgin Mary, for the honour of his Son, the king of immortal ages and the conqueror of sin and death, for the increase of the glory of his great mother, for the joy and exultation of the whole Church, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by Our own authority, do pronounce, declare, and define as a divinely revealed dogma: The Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, after her life on earth, was assumed, body and soul, to the glory of heaven.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
©Lucio Joaõ Mascarenhas, May 8th., 2004.
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