The Two Mouths Of Rome

In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates and doorways, custodian of the universe and god of beginnings. He is represented with two bearded heads set back to back. There are times, when reading Roman Catholic doctrinal statements and such, that I am convinced that Janus would much better represent the RCC than any other symbol. Like Janus, the Magisterium seems to have at least two faces, holding to polar positions on doctrinal matters and just about everything else having to do with the Roman Church.

Take the issue of Mary's anticipated official promotion to a position on a par with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I imagine that most who read here are aware of the growing movement within the Catholic Church to declare a fifth Marian dogma. The incredibly patient Magisterium has been laying the groundwork for Mary's deification for centuries, but I do not doubt that eventually it will come to pass.

The RCC equivalent to a court digest, L'Osservatore Romano, in its June 25, 1997 edition, informed the world that:

From whatever perspective it is considered, the movement that is petitioning for a dogmatic definition of the Marian titles of Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate is not in line with the direction of the great Mariological text of the Second Vatican Council, chapter eight of Lumen Gentium, which, in the judgment of Paul VI, constitutes the most extensive synthesis "of the Catholic doctrine on the place that the Blessed Virgin Mary occupies in the mystery of Christ and the Church," ever traced by an Ecumenical Council (Closing Allocution of the Third Session of the Council, 21 November 1964, n. 7)

Taken at face value, it would appear that Rome is not prepared to declare, de fide, that Mary is "Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate." Further, it would appeaer that Lumen Gentium supports that position. This is Rome speaking out of the conservative face. If one goes to the referenced section of Lumen Gentium, he might read these words:

62. This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. This, however, is so understood that it neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator.

The liberal face speaks. You just gotta love the boldness of the Magisterium. I mean, in the same paragraph, we are told that the Church invokes Mary as, among other things, Mediatrix. In the very next sentence, Christ is described as the "one Mediator." Do you reckon those ole boys who make up the Magisterium are funnin' with us country folks?

Naah! I reckon they are serious, for in paragraph 969 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, much of the above Lumen Gentium paragraph is quoted.

Well, it could be that Vatican II was an aberration, as are the words of Lumen Gentium and the CCC. Let's take a look at what some recent popes have had to say concerning Mary's 'divine roles:'

In 1894, Leo XIII promulgated Jucunda Semper, in which we find this statement:

When Mary offered herself completely to God with her Son in the temple, she was already sharing with him the painful atonement on behalf of the human race…(at the foot of the cross) she willingly offered him up to the divine justice, dying with him in her heart, pierced by the sword of sorrow.

Boy! Talk about lousy hermeneutics!

One would think that a religious organization claiming to have been founded by Christ Himself and whose first leader was a Jew would have at least a cursory familiarity with the Old Testament and Jewish religious practice at the time of Christ's birth and earthly ministry. This seems not to be the case, however, for Rome really blows it in her need to justify the claim that Mary is a co-Redeemer with Christ. For those who blindly follow the Magisterium, it may seem that Mary did something extraordinary when she went up to the Temple with Jesus as recounted in Scripture:

And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. - Luke 2:22-24

Actually, she did nothing that any observant Jewish mother would not do on the occasion of giving birth to her first male child. There were three ordinances to be observed.

1) On the eighth day of its life, the child was to be circumcized. This represented voluntary submission to the conditions of the Law, and acceptance of the obligations and privileges of the covenant between God and Abraham and his seed. It was at this time that the holy Baby received His angel-given name, Yeshua.

2) According to the Law, the firstborn son of every household was, to be redeemed of a priest for five shekels of the Sanctuary. (Numbers 18:16) The earliest this could be done, under rabbinic law, was 31 days following the child's birth. This redemption could be made of any priest, and it was not a requirement to go to the Temple.

3) No less than 41 days following the birth of a son and 81 days after that of a daughter, the mother was required to undergo ritual purification. It was not necessary that the mother be present when her purification sacrifices were offered, but the general custom appears to have been for those who lived near Jerusalem to be present in the Temple when her purification sacrifice was presented. Other women might wait until one of the great Jewish feasts held in Jerusalem to offer up their sin offerings. (Interesting, don't you think? That while Roman dogma declares Mary to have been conceived without sin and to have lived a sinless life, she went to the Temple and offered a sin-offering?)

The Scriptures tell us that Christ died for our sins, but I have read nothing in the Bible that even suggests Mary shared in that vicarious atoning sacrifice:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

L'Osservatore Romano appears to assure us that the RCC is not ready to dogmatically define Mary as Co-Redemptrix or any such thing, yet in 1918, Benedict XV wrote, in Inter Sodalicia:

... the fact that she was with Him crucified and dying, was in accord with the divine plan. For with her suffering and dying Son, Mary endured suffering and almost death. She gave up her Mother's rights over her Son to procure the salvation of mankind, and to appease the divine justice, she, as much as she could, immolated her Son, so that one can truly affirm that together with Christ she has redeemed the human race. But if for this reason, every kind of grace we receive from the treasury of the redemption is ministered as it were through the hands of the same Sorrowful Virgin, everyone can see that a holy death should be expected from her, since it is precisely by this gift that the work of the Redemption is effectively and permanently completed in each one ... further, there is a most constant belief among the faithful, proved by long experience, that as many as employ the same Virgin as Patron, will not at all perish forever. - Benedict XV, Litterae Apostolicae, Inter Sodalicia, March 22, 1918, AAS 10, 1918, 182. - Father William G. Most in Church Teaching on Mary as Mediatrix of (All) Graces, Electronic text (c) EWTN 1996


How big a gun does Mary carry in the RCC scheme of things? In 1849, Pius IX promulgated Ubi Primum, in which he declared:

The foundation of all Our confidence, as you know well, Venerable Brethren, is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For, God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is His will, that we obtain everything through Mary

Gasp! Unless Pius XI lied, why Mary has put God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit on the unemployment rolls, handling all their former duties herself.

The Scriptures are clear:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. - John 4:23-24

IN TRUTH! God's truth is found in the Scriptures, not the self-serving distortions offered by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic church.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. - 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Pray to God, as Jesus taught, not to Mary as Rome teaches.

Home | Mariology | Catholic Stuff | PTG Forum