DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH
SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS
POPE PAUL VI
ON NOVEMBER 21, 1964
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
IN THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH
III. On the Blessed Virgin and the Church (60-65)
There is but one Mediator as we know from the words of the apostle, “for there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all”. (298) The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power. All the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ.
Predestined from eternity by that decree of divine providence which determined the incarnation of the Word to be the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin was on this earth the virgin Mother of the Redeemer, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ. She presented Him to the Father in the temple and was united with Him by compassion as He died on the Cross. In this singular way, she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace.
This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross and lasts until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.(15*) By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cultics, until they are led into the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix.(16*) This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator. (17*)
For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is really communicated in different ways to His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.
The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary. It knows it through unfailing experience of it and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more intimately adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer.
By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ. (18*) For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as an exemplar both of virgin and mother. (19*) By her belief and obedience, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, as the new Eve she brought forth on earth the very Son of the Father, showing an undefiled faith, not in the word of the ancient serpent, but in that of God’s messenger. The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, (299) namely the faithful, in whose birth and education she cooperates with maternal love.
The Church indeed, contemplating her hidden sanctity, imitating her charity, and faithfully fulfilling the Father’s will, by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By her preaching she brings forth to a new and immortal life the sons who are born to her in baptism, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God. She herself is a virgin, who keeps the faith that is given to her by her Spouse whole and entire. Imitating the mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she keeps with virginal purity an entire faith, a firm hope, and a sincere charity. (20*)
But while in the Most Holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she is without spot or wrinkle, the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin.(300) And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Piously meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church with reverence enters more intimately into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her Spouse. For Mary, who since her entry into salvation history unites in herself and re-echoes the greatest teachings of the faith as she is proclaimed and venerated, calls the faithful to her Son and His sacrifice and to the love of the Father. Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her exalted Type and continually progresses in faith, hope, and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things. Hence the Church, in her apostolic work also, justly looks to her, who, conceived of the Holy Spirit, brought forth Christ, who was born of the Virgin that through the Church He may be born and may increase in the hearts of the faithful also. The Virgin in her own life lived an example of that maternal love, by which it behooves that all should be animated who cooperate in the apostolic mission of the Church for the regeneration of men.
(298) 1 Tim. 2:5-6.
(15) Cfr. Kleutgen, textus reformstus De mysterio Verbi incarnati, cap. IV: Mansi 53, 290. cfr. S. Andreas Cret., In nat. Mariac, sermo 4: PG 97, 865 A. – S. Germanus Constantinop., In annunt. Deiparae: PG 98, 321 BC. In dorm. Deiparae, III: col. 361 D. S. Io. Damascenus, In dorm. B. V. Mariae, Hom. 1, 8: PG 96, 712 BC-713 A.
(16) Cfr. Leo XIII, Litt. Encycl. Adiutricem populi, 5 sept. 1895: ASS 15 (1895-96), p. 303. – S. Pius X, Litt. Encycl. Ad diem illum, 2 febr. 1904: Acta, I, p. 154- Denz. 1978 a (3370) . Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Miserentissimus, 8 maii 1928: AAS 20 (1928) p. 178. Pius XII, Nuntius Radioph., 13 maii 1946: AAS 38 (1946) p. 266.
(17) S. Ambrosius, Epist. 63: PL 16, 1218.
(18) S. Ambrosius, Expos. Lc. II, 7: PL 15, 1555.
(19) Cfr. Ps.-Petrus Dam. Serm. 63: PL 144, 861 AB. Godefridus a S. Victore. In nat. B. M., Ms. Paris, Mazarine, 1002, fol. 109 r. Gerhohus Reich., De gloria ct honore Filii hominis, 10: PL 194, 1105AB.
(299) Rom. 8:29.
(20) S. Ambrosius, l. c. et Expos. Lc. X, 24-25: PL 15, 1810. S.Augustinus, In lo. Tr. 13, 12: PL 35 1499. Cfr. Serm. 191, 2, 3: PL 38 1010; etc. Cfr. ctiam Ven. Beda, In Lc. Expos. I, cap. 2: PL 92, 330. Isaac de Stella, Serm. 51. PL 194, 1863 A.
(300) Cf. Eph 5:27.
“Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
Luke 1, 45
And thou shalt say in thy heart:
Who hath begotten these?
I was barren and brought not forth,
led away, and captive:
and who hath brought up these?
I was destitute and alone:
and these, where were they?
Isaiah 49, 21
GIVE praise, O thou barren, that bearest not:
sing forth praise, and make a joyful noise,
thou that didst not travail with child:
for many are the children of the desolate,
more than of her that hath a husband,
saith the Lord.
Isaiah 54, 1
For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor,
anguish as of one bringing forth her first child,
the cry of daughter Zion gasping for breath,
stretching out her hands,
“Woe is me! I am fainting before killers!”
Jeremiah 4, 31
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
Then all your people will be righteous
and they will possess the land forever.
They are the shoot I have planted,
the work of my hands,
for the display of my splendor.
Isaiah 60, 20-21
So, the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
When Jesus, therefore, had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved,
he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple:
Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.
John 19, 26-27
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth…
The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth,
so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth
to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”
And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.
Revelation 12, 1-5
And the dragon was angry with the woman: and went to make war
with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God,
and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 12, 1-5, 17