Book Critique of MARY, The Church at the Source by Ratzinger and Balthasar

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

The Place of Mariology in the Whole of Theology

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 Place of Mariology in the Whole of Theology

Pages 27-28: In light of what has been said, the place of Mariology in theology also becomes clear. In his massive tome on the history of Marian doctrine, G. Soll, summing up his historical analysis, defends the correlation of Mariology with Christology and soteriology against ecclesiological approaches to Marian doctrine. Without diminishing the extraordinary achievement of this work or the import of its historical findings, I take an opposite view. In my opinion, the Council Fathers’ option for a different approach was correct – correct from the point of view of dogmatic theology and of larger historical considerations. Soll’s conclusions about the history of dogma are, of course, beyond dispute: Propositions about Mary first became necessary in function of Christology and developed as part of the structure of Christology. We must add, however, that none of the affirmations made in this context did or could constitute an independent Mariology; rather, they remained an explication of Christology. By contrast, the patristic period foreshadowed the whole of Mariology in the guise of ecclesiology, albeit without any mention of the name of the Mother of the Lord: The virgo ecclesia (virgin Church), the ecclesia assumpta (assumed Church) – the whole content of what would later become Mariology was first conceived as ecclesiology. To be sure, ecclesiology itself cannot be isolated from Christology. Nevertheless, the Church has a relative subsistence (Selbstandigkeit) vis--vis Christ, as we saw just now: the subsistence of the bride who, even when she becomes one flesh with Christ in love, nonetheless remains an other before him (Gegentiber).
Note: Mariology was introduced during the dark ages when illiteracy and superstition was high.
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Peter 1-3.

Page 28-29: It was not until this initially anonymous, though personally shaped, ecclesiology fused with the dogmatic propositions about Mary prepared in Christology that a Mariology having an integrity of its own first emerged within theology (with Bernard of Clairvaux). Thus, we cannot assign Mariology to Christology alone (much less dissolve it into ecclesiology as a more or less superfluous exemplification of the Church).
Note: Bernard of Clairvaux lived and taught during the dark ages.
Bernard reportedly received milk from the breast of the Virgin Mary at Speyer Cathedral in Germany during 1146. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Page 29: Rather, Mariology underscores the nexus mysteriorum – the intrinsic interwoveness of the mysteries in their irreducible mutual otherness (Gegenuber) and their unity. While the conceptual pairs bride-bridegroom and head-body allow us to perceive the connection between Christ and the Church, Mary represents a further step, inasmuch as she is first related to Christ, not as bride, but as mother. Here we can see the function of the title “Mother of the Church”; it expresses the fact that Mariology goes beyond the framework of ecclesiology and at the same time is correlative to it.
Note: The Apostles never taught the “Mother of the Church” heresy.
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. Acts 1:12-14.
Note: Did you know that Mary had other children contrary to Roman Catholic dogma?

Page 29-30: Nor, if this is the case, can we simply argue, in discussing these correlations, that, because Mary was the first the Mother of the Lord, she is only an image of the Church. Such an argument would be an unjustifiable simplification of the relationship between the orders of being and knowledge. In response, one could, in fact, rightly point to passages like Mark 3:33-35 or Luke 11:27f. and ask whether, assuming this point of departure, Mary’s physical maternity still had any theological significance at all. We must avoid relegating Mary’s maternity to the sphere of mere biology. But we can do so only if our reading of Scripture can legitimately presuppose a hermeneutics that rules out just this kind of division and allows us instead to recognize the correlation of Christ and his Mother as a theological reality. This hermeneutics was developed in the Fathers’ personal, albeit anonymous, ecclesiology that we mentioned just now. Its basis was Scripture itself and the Church’s intimate experience of faith. Briefly put, it says that the salvation brought about by the triune God, the true center of all history, is “Christ and the Church” – Church here meaning the creature’s fusion with its Lord in spousal love, in which its hope for divinization is fulfilled by way of faith.
Note: Mary’s physical maternity was the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14.
Note: Eternal salvation is through Jesus Christ alone and does not involve Mary or the Church.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17.

Page 30: If, therefore, Christ and ecclesia are the hermeneutical center of the scriptural narration of the history of God’s saving dealings with man, then and only then is the place fixed where Mary’s motherhood becomes theologically significant as the ultimate personal concretization of Church.
Note: Eternal salvation is through Jesus Christ alone and does not involve Mary or the Church.
I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior. Isaiah 43:11.

Page 30: At the moment when she pronounces her Yes, Mary is Israel in person; she is the Church in person and as a person. She is the personal concretization of the Church because her Fiat makes her the bodily Mother of the Lord. But this biological fact is a theological reality, because it realizes the deepest spiritual content of the covenant that God intended to make with Israel. Luke suggests this beautifully in harmonizing 1:45 (“blessed is she who believed”) and 11:28 (“blessed … are those who hear the word of God and keep it”).
Note: Israel will always be a group of people that God has a plan to be fulfilled through prophecy.
I say then, has God cast away His people (plural)? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people (plural) whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant (plural) according to the election of grace. Romans 11:1-5.
Note: Saint Paul would have condemned Mariology as damnable heresy.

Page 30: We can therefore say that the affirmation of Mary’s motherhood and the affirmation of her representation of the Church are related as factum and mysterium facti, as the fact and the sense that gives the fact its meaning. The two things are inseparable: the fact without its sense would be blind; the sense without the fact would be empty. Mariology cannot be developed from the naked fact, but only from the fact as it is understood in the hermeneutics of faith. In consequence, Mariology can never be purely mariological. Rather, it stands within the totality of the basic Christ-Church structure and is the most concrete expression of its inner coherence.
Note: Mariology is senseless as it contradicts the Scriptures and facts.
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their (plural) sins.” Romans 11:25-27
Note: Saint Paul would have condemned Mariology as damnable heresy.