Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Mariology in Latin America

From Cardinal Ratzinger's conversation with Peter Seewald in "God and the World" (Seewald's text is italicized and in green- Ratzinger's text in blue):

"Non-Catholics are accustomed to regard devotion to Mary as encroaching upon the position of Jesus", wrote the great English cardinal John Henry Newman. And even today, skeptical persons believe that an overflowing Marian devotion will supplant the true essence of Christianity, the gospel of Christ Himself.

There is one thing we must not forget: it has always been the Mother who reached people in a missionary situation and made Christ accessible to them. That is especially true of Latin America. Here, to some extent, Christianity arrived by way of Spanish swords, with deadly heralds. In Mexico, at first, absolutely nothing could be done about missionary work - until the occurrence of that phenomenon at Guadalupe, and then the Son was suddenly near by way of His Mother.

This was the remarkable discovery of an image of the Madonna. You can say that it turned things around completely, and without it the Christianizing of the continent would have been unthinkable.

Yes, and suddenly the Christian religion no longer wears the terrible face of the conqueror but the kindly face of the Mother. In Latin America, even today, these two foci of popular piety are influential: first, a love for the Mother of God; second, identifying oneself with the suffering Christ. In these two figures, in which faith is able to express itself, people have been able to grasp that this is not a God of conquerors, but the true God, who is also their Redeemer. That is why Mary is so dear to Catholics in Latin America especially. And we ought not to accuse them, from our rational perspective, of having thereby distorted Christianity. On that point in particular, that have understood it aright.
Thought it was interesting... Passing it along for what it's worth.


Thos said...


I appreciated you taking the time to share this. Thanks!

Peace in Christ,

Tim A. Troutman said...

Glad it was useful. I have at least one more in the pipeline from this book.