Book Critique of MARY, The Church at the Source by Ratzinger and Balthasar
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
MARY, The Church at the Source
Thoughts on the place of Marian Doctrine and piety in faith and theology as a whole
By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
THE SIGN OF THE WOMAN – Four Focal Points of the Text
4) Interpretation of the Marian Year
Page 59: Out of all the foregoing building blocks, the Pope now fits
together his interpretation of the new Marian year. While the Marian
year proclaimed by Pius XII was correlated with Mary’s Immaculate
Conception and bodily Assumption into heaven, this Marian year focuses
on the special presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ
and his Church (no. 48). It aims, not just to remember, but to prepare
(no. 49). It has a dynamic, forward-pointing character. The Pope
recalls the celebration of the millennium of the baptism of Saint
Vladimir, which may be regarded as the celebration of the millennium of
the conversion of Russia to the Christian faith, and he connects it
with the birth of Christ. Such dates call, not only for remembrance,
but, even more, for a turning back to our true historical and human
identity, which comes to expression in them. This sort of redirection
of our history to its foundation is the deepest meaning of the Jubilee,
and who could dispute that we urgently need such an orientation of our
existence in the present moment of history, with its tumultuous
progress of knowledge and, at the same time, its crisis of all
Note: The mystery of salvation of all peoples who have faith in Jesus Christ should be celebrated.
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was
given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches
of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery,
which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created
all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold
wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities
and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose
which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have
boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Ephesians
Note: Should not the Roman Catholic church redirect their attention from Mary to Jesus Christ?
Pages 59-60: The framework that the Pope has given the Marian year very
pointedly underscores its intrinsic meaning. It begins with Pentecost.
The icon of Pentecost is, as was said above, to become the icon of our
identity and, therein, of our true hope. The Church must relearn her
ecclesial being from Mary. Only a conversion to the sign of the woman,
to the feminine dimension of the Church, rightly understood, will bring
about the new opening to the creative power of the Spirit, and so to
Christ’s taking form in us, whose presence alone can give history a
center and a hope. The Marian year closes with the bodily Assumption of
Mary into heaven and thus points to the great sign of hope – to the
humanity already ransomed in Mary, which, at the same time, appears as
the locus of ransom, of the ransom of all.
Note: Christians are saved by God and have their hope in Jesus Christ not Mary.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior
and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, to Timothy, a true son in the
faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our
Lord. 1 Timothy 1:1-2.
Note: Will you rely on the Word of God or of dark age Roman Catholic heresies?
Page 60: In the encyclical’s closing words, the Pope makes dramatically
concrete his intention to give the present an orientation and, hence,
his aim in declaring the Marian year. In accord with his understanding
of our time in Advent terms, he interprets the ancient Advent hymn
“Alma Redemptoris Mater”, laying special emphasis on the words “come,
help your people, which struggles to rise from its fall.” The Marian
year is located at, so to speak, the neuralgic point between falling
and rising, in the twilight between the crushing of the serpent’s head
and the striking of man’s vulnerable heel. It is here that we continue,
and always will continue, to find ourselves.
Note: Christians will find themselves in Jesus Christ who will determine the fall and rising of individuals.
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of
Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold,
this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and
for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce
through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be
revealed.” Luke 2:33-35.
Note: Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ for the rising of your body, soul, and spirit into heaven?
Page 60: The Marian year aims to challenge every conscience to follow
the path that leads away from falling – to learn from Mary what this
path that leads away from falling – to learn from Mary what this path
is. It intends to be something like a single loud cry: “Help, help your
people that falls” (no. 52). The Marian year, as the encyclical
interprets it, is far removed from mere sentimental devotion. It is an
appeal to our generation, urging it to recognize the task of this hour
of history and, in the midst of all perils, to embark upon the way of
Note: Christians will go to Jesus Christ for comfort and be instructed by Him.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you
rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and
lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is
easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 1:28-30.
Note: Will you go to Jesus Christ in prayer for comfort and rest?
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