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Marialis Cultus





To All Bishops in Peace and Communion

with the Apostolic See

February 2, 1974


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Division of the Treatise improvement of divine worship,

Occasion and Purpose of the as is demonstrated by the fact
Document that we have promulgated in
Venerable Brothers: these recent years numerous
books of the Roman Rite,
Health and the Apostolic restored according to the
Blessing principles and norms of the same
From the moment when we were Council. For this we profoundly
called to the See of Peter, we thank the Lord, the giver of all
have constantly striven to good things, and we are grateful
enhance devotion to the Blessed to the episcopal conferences and
Virgin Mary, not only with the individual bishops who in various
intention of interpreting the ways have collaborated with us
sentiments of the Church and in the preparation of these
our own personal inclination but books.
also because, as is well known, We contemplate with joy and
this devotion forms a very noble gratitude the work so far
part of the whole sphere of that accomplished and the first
sacred worship in which there positive results of the liturgical
intermingle the highest renewal, destined as they are to
expressions of wisdom and of increase as this renewal comes
religion(1) and which is therefore to be understood in its basic
the primary task of the People of purposes and correctly applied.
God. At the same time we do not
Precisely with a view to this task, cease with vigilant solicitude to
we have always favored and concern ourself with whatever
encouraged the great work of can give orderly fulfillment to the
liturgical reform promoted by the renewal of the worship with
Second Vatican Ecumenical which the Church in spirit and
Council, and it has certainly truth (cf. Jn. 4:24) adores the
come about not without a Father and the Son and the Holy
particular design of divine Spirit, "venerates with special
Providence that the first conciliar love Mary the most holy Mother
document which together with of God"(3) and honors with
the venerable Fathers we religious devotion the memory of
approved and signed in Spiritu the martyrs and the other saints.
Sancto was the Constitution The development, desired by us,
Sacrosanctum concilium. The of devotion to the Blessed Virgin
purpose of this document was Mary is an indication of the
precisely to restore and enhance Church's genuine piety. This
the liturgy and to make more devotion fits-as we have
fruitful the participation of the indicated above-into the only
faithful in the sacred mysteries.(2) worship that is rightly called
From that time onwards, many "Christian," because it takes its
acts of our pontificate have been origin and effectiveness from
directed towards the Christ, finds its complete

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expression in Christ, and leads In our time, the changes that

through Christ in the Spirit to the have occurred in social behavior,
Father. In the sphere of worship people's sensibilities, manners of
this devotion necessarily reflects expression in art and letters and
God's redemptive plan, in which in the forms of social
a special form of veneration is communication have also
appropriate to the singular place influenced the manifestations of
which Mary occupies in that plan. religious sentiment. Certain
Indeed every authentic practices of piety that not long
development of Christian ago seemed suitable for
worship is necessarily followed expressing the religious
by a fitting increase of sentiment of individuals and of
veneration for the Mother of the Christian communities seem
Lord. Moreover, the history of today inadequate or unsuitable
piety shows how "the various because they are linked with
forms of devotion towards the social and cultural patterns of
Mother of God that the Church the past. On the other hand in
has approved within the limits of many places people are seeking
wholesome and orthodox new ways of expressing the
doctrine"(5) have developed in unchangeable relationship of
harmonious subordination to the creatures with their Creator, of
worship of Christ, and have children with their Father. In
gravitated towards this worship some people this may cause
as to their natural and necessary temporary confusion. But anyone
point of reference. The same is who, with trust in God reflects
happening in our own time. The upon these phenomena
Church's reflection today on the discovers that many tendencies
mystery of Christ and on her own of modern piety (for example,
nature has led her to find at the the interiorization of religious
root of the former and is a sentiment) are meant to play
culmination of the latter the their part in the development of
same figure of a woman: the Christian piety in general and
Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ devotion to the Blessed Virgin in
and the Mother of the Church. particular. Thus our own time,
And the increased knowledge of faithfully attentive to tradition
Mary's mission has become and to the progress of theology
joyful veneration of her and and the sciences, will make its
adoring respect for the wise plan contribution of praise to her
of God, who has placed within whom, according to her own
His family (the Church), as in prophetical words, all
every home, the figure of a generations will call blessed (cf.
Woman, who in a hidden manner Lk. 1:48).
and in a spirit of service watches We therefore judge it in keeping
over that family "and carefully with our apostolic service,
looks after it until the glorious venerable Brothers, to deal, in a
day of the Lord."(6) sort of dialogue, with a number

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of themes connected with the effectiveness and a recognized

place that the Blessed Virgin exemplary conduct for the other
occupies in the Church's forms of worship. We would have
worship. These themes have liked to take into consideration
already been partly touched the various liturgies of the East
upon by the Second Vatican and the West, but for the
Council(7) and also by ourself,(8) purpose of this document we
but it is useful to return to them shall dwell almost exclusively on
in order to remove doubts and, the books of the Roman Rite. In
especially, to help the fact, in accordance with the
development of that devotion to practical norms issued by the
the Blessed Virgin which in the Second Vatican Council,(9) it is
Church is motivated by the Word this Rite alone which has been
of God and practiced in the Spirit the object of profound renewal.
of Christ. This is true also in regard to
We therefore wish to dwell upon expressions of veneration for
a number of questions Mary. This Rite therefore
concerning the relationship deserves to be carefully
between the sacred liturgy and considered and evaluated.
devotion to the Blessed Virgin (I), Section One
to offer considerations and The Blessed Virgin in the
directives suitable for favoring Revised Roman Liturgy
the development of that
devotion (II) and finally to put 2. The reform of the Roman
forward a number of reflections liturgy presupposed a careful
intended to encourage the restoration of its General
restoration, in a dynamic and Calendar. This Calendar is
more informed manner, of the arranged in such a way as to
recitation of the Rosary, the give fitting prominence to the
practice of which was so strongly celebration on appropriate days
recommended by our of the work of salvation. It
predecessors and is so widely distributes throughout the year
diffused among the Christian the whole mastery of Christ,
people (III). from the Incarnation to the
expectation of His return in
PART ONE glory,(10) and thus makes it
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin possible in a more organic and
Mary in the Liturgy closely-knit fashion to include
1. As we prepare to discuss the the commemoration of Christ's
place which the Blessed Virgin Mother in the annual cycle of the
Mary occupies in Christian mysteries of her Son.
worship, we must first turn our 3. For example, during Advent
attention to the sacred liturgy. In there are many liturgical
addition to its rich doctrinal references to Mary besides the
content, the liturgy has an Solemnity of December 8, which
incomparable pastoral is a joint celebration of the

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Immaculate Conception of Mary, of the Lord. This is an orientation

of the basic preparation (cf. Is. that we confirm and which we
11:1, 10) for the coming of the hope to see accepted and
Savior and of the happy followed everywhere.
beginning of the Church without 5. The Christmas season is a
spot or wrinkle.(11) Such liturgical prolonged commemoration of
references are found especially the divine, virginal and salvific
on the days from December 17 motherhood of her whose
to 24, and more particularly on "inviolate virginity brought the
the Sunday before Christmas, Saviour into the world."(16) In fact,
which recalls the ancient on the Solemnity of the Birth of
prophecies concerning the Virgin Christ the Church both adores
Mother and the Messiah(12) and the Savior and venerates His
includes readings from the glorious Mother. On the
Gospel concerning the imminent Epiphany, when she celebrates
birth of Christ and His precursor. the universal call to salvation,
the Church contemplates the
4. In this way the faithful, living Blessed Virgin, the true Seat of
in the liturgy the spirit of Advent, Wisdom and true Mother of the
by thinking about the King, who presents to the Wise
inexpressible love with which the Men, for their adoration, the
Virgin Mother awaited her Son,(14) Redeemer of all peoples (cf. Mt.
are invited to take her as a 2:11). On the Feast of the Holy
model and to prepare Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
themselves to meet the Savior (the Sunday within the octave of
who is to come. They must be Christmas) the Church meditates
"vigilant in prayer and joyful with profound reverence upon
in...praise."(15) We would also the holy life led in the house at
remark that the Advent liturgy, Nazareth by Jesus, the Son of
by linking the awaiting of the God and Son of Man, Mary His
Messiah and the awaiting of the Mother, and Joseph the just man
glorious return of Christ with the (cf. Mt. 1:19).
admirable commemoration of His In the revised ordering of the
Mother, presents a happy Christmas period it seems to us
balance in worship. This balance that the attention of all should
can be taken as a norm for be directed towards the restored
preventing any tendency (as has Solemnity of Mary the holy
happened at times in certain Mother of God. This celebration,
forms of popular piety) to placed on January 1 in
separate devotion to the Blessed conformity with the ancient
Virgin from its necessary point of indication of the liturgy of the
reference-Christ. It also ensures City of Rome, is meant to
that this season, as liturgy commemorate the part played
experts have noted, should be by Mary in this mystery of
considered as a time particularly salvation. It is meant also to
suited to devotion to the Mother exalt the singular dignity which

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this mystery brings to the "holy Heb. 10:7; Ps. 39:8-9). They
Mother...through whom we were commemorate it as the
found worthy to receive the beginning of the redemption and
Author of life."(17) It is likewise a of the indissoluble and wedded
fitting occasion for renewing union of the divine nature with
adoration of the newborn Prince human nature in the one Person
of Peace, for listening once more of the Word. With regard to
to the glad tidings of the angels Mary, these liturgies celebrate it
(cf. Lk. 2:14), and for imploring as a feast of the new Eve, the
from God, through the Queen of obedient and faithful virgin, who
Peace, the supreme gift of with her generous "fiat" (cf. Lk.
peace. It is for this reason that, 1:38) became through the
in the happy concurrence of the working of the Spirit the Mother
Octave of Christmas and the first of God, but also the true Mother
day of the year, we have of the living, and, by receiving
instituted the World Day of into her womb the one Mediator
Peace, an occasion that is (cf. 1 Tm. 2:5), became the true
gaining increasing support and Ark of the Covenant and true
already bringing forth fruits of Temple of God. These liturgies
peace in the hearts of many. celebrate it as a culminating
6. To the two solemnities already moment in the salvific dialogue
mentioned (the Immaculate between God and man, and as a
Conception and the Divine commemoration of the Blessed
Motherhood) should be added Virgin's free consent and
the ancient and venerable cooperation in the plan of
celebrations of March 25 and redemption.
August 15. The solemnity of August 15
For the Solemnity of the celebrates the glorious
Incarnation of the Word, in the Assumption of Mary into heaven.
Roman Calendar the ancient It is a feast of her destiny of
title-the Annunciation of the fullness and blessedness, of the
Lord-has been deliberately glorification of her immaculate
restored, but the feast was and soul and of her virginal body, of
is a joint one of Christ and of the her perfect configuration to the
Blessed Virgin: of the Word, who Risen Christ; a feast that sets
becomes Son of Mary (Mk. 6:3), before the eyes of the Church
and of the Virgin, who becomes and of all mankind the image
Mother of God. With regard to and the consoling proof of the
Christ, the East and the West, in fulfillment of their final hope,
the inexhaustible riches of their namely, that this full glorification
liturgies, celebrate this solemnity is the destiny of all those whom
as the commemoration of the Christ has made His brothers,
salvific "fiat" of the Incarnate having "flesh and blood in
Word, who, entering the world, common with them" (Heb. 2:14;
said: "God, here I am! I am cf. Gal. 4:4). The Solemnity of
coming to obey Your will" (cf. the Assumption is prolonged in

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the celebration of the Queenship mystery of salvation

of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which accomplished by Christ, a
occurs seven days later. On this mystery with which the Blessed
occasion we contemplate her virgin was intimately associated
who, seated beside the King of as the Mother of the Suffering
ages, shines forth as Queen and Servant of Yahweh, as the one
intercedes as Mother.(18) These who performs a mission
four solemnities therefore, mark belonging to ancient Israel, and
with the highest liturgical rank as the model for the new People
the main dogmatic truths of God, which is ever being
concerning the handmaid of the tested in its faith and hope by
lord. suffering and persecution (cf. Lk.
7. After the solemnities just 2:21-35).
mentioned, particular 8. The restored Roman Calendar
consideration must be given to gives particular prominence to
those celebrations that the celebrations listed above,
commemorate salvific events in but it also includes other kinds of
which the Blessed Virgin was commemorations connected with
closely associated with her Son. local devotions and which have
Such are the feasts of the acquired a wider popularity and
Nativity of Our Lady (September interest (e.g., February 11, Our
8), "the hope of the entire world Lady of Lourdes August 5, the
and the dawn of salvation"(19); Dedication of the Basilica of St.
and the Visitation (May 31), in Mary Major). Then there are
which the liturgy recalls the others, originally celebrated by
"Blessed Virgin Mary carrying her particular religious families but
Son within her,"(20) and visiting which today, by reason of the
Elizabeth to offer charitable popularity they have gained, can
assistance and to proclaim the truly be considered ecclesial
mercy of God the Savior.(21) Then (e.g., July 16, Our Lady of Mount
there is the commemoration of Carmel; October 7, Our Lady of
Our Lady of Sorrows (September the Rosary). There are still
15), a fitting occasion for reliving others which, apart from their
a decisive moment in the history apocryphal content, present lofty
of salvation and for venerating, and exemplary values and carry
together with the Son "lifted up on venerable traditions having
on the cross, His suffering their origin especially in the East
Mother."(22) (e.g., the Immaculate Heart of
The feast of February 2, which the Blessed Virgin, celebrated on
has been given back its ancient the Saturday following the
name, the Presentation of the second Sunday after Pentecost).
Lord, should also be considered 9. Nor must one forget that the
as a joint commemoration of the General Roman Calendar does
Son and of the Mother, if we are not include all celebrations in
fully to appreciate its rich honor of the Blessed Virgin.
content. It is the celebration of a Rather, it is for individual

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Calendars to include, with fidelity make us an everlasting gift to

to liturgical norms but with you (the Father) and enable us
sincere endorsement, the Marian to share in the inheritance of
feasts proper to the different your saints, with Mary, the Virgin
local Churches. Lastly, it should Mother of God." This daily
be noted that frequent commemoration, by reason of its
commemorations of the Blessed place at the heart of the divine
Virgin are possible through the Sacrifice, should be considered a
use of the Saturday Masses of particularly expressive form of
our Lady. This is an ancient and the veneration that the Church
simple commemoration and one pays to the "Blessed of the Most
that is made very adaptable and High" (cf. Lk. 1:28).
varied by the flexibility of the 11. As we examine the texts of
modern Calendar and the the revised Missal we see how
number of formulas provided by the great Marian themes of the
the Missal. Roman prayerbook have been
10. In this Apostolic Exhortation accepted in perfect doctrinal
we do not intend to examine the continuity with the past. Thus,
whole content of the new Roman for example, we have the
Missal. But by reason of the work themes of Mary's Immaculate
of evaluation that we have Conception and fullness of grace,
undertaken to carry out in the divine motherhood, the
regard to the revised books of unblemished and fruitful
the Roman Rite,(23) we would like virginity, the Temple of the Holy
to mention some of the aspects Spirit, Mary's cooperation in the
and themes of the Missal. In the work of her Son, her exemplary
first place, we are pleased to sanctity, merciful intercession,
note how the Eucharistic Prayers Assumption into heaven,
of the Missal, in admirable maternal Queenship and many
harmony with the Eastern other themes. We also see how
liturgies, (24)
contain a significant other themes, in a certain sense
commemoration of the Blessed new ones, have been introduced
Virgin. For example, the ancient in equally perfect harmony with
Roman Canon, which the theological developments of
commemorates the Mother of the present day. Thus, for
the Lord in terms full of doctrine example, we have the theme of
and devotional inspiration: "In Mary and the Church, which has
union with the whole Church we been inserted into the texts of
honor Mary, the ever-virgin the Missal in a variety of aspects,
Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord a variety that matches the many
and God." In a similar way the and varied relations that exist
recent Eucharistic Prayer III between the Mother of Christ
expresses with intense and the Church. For example, in
supplication the desire of those the celebration of the
praying to share with the Mother Immaculate Conception which
the inheritance of sons: "May he texts recognize the beginning of

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the Church, the spotless Bride of 12. The Lectionary is one of the
Christ.(25) In the Assumption they books of the Roman Rite that has
recognize the beginning that has greatly benefited from the post-
already been made and the conciliar reform, by reason both
image of what, for the whole of its added texts and of the
Church, must still come to pass. intrinsic value of these texts,
In the mystery of Mary's which contain the ever-living and
motherhood they confess that efficacious word of God (cf. Heb.
she is the Mother of the Head 4:12). This rich collection of
and of the members-the holy biblical texts has made it
Mother of God and therefore the possible to arrange the whole
provident Mother of the Church. history of salvation in an orderly
three-year cycle and to set forth
When the liturgy turns its gaze more completely the mystery of
either to the primitive Church or Christ. The logical consequence
to the Church of our own days it has been that the Lectionary
always finds Mary. In the contains a larger number of Old
primitive Church she is seen and New Testament readings
praying with the apostles(28); in concerning the Blessed Virgin.
our own day she is actively This numerical increase has not
present, and the Church desires however been based on random
to live the mystery of Christ with choice: only those readings have
her: "Grant that your Church been accepted which in different
which with Mary shared Christ's ways and degrees can be
passion may be worthy to share considered Marian, either from
also in his resurrection."(29) She is the evidence of their content or
also seen represented as a voice from the results of careful
of praise in unison with which exegesis, supported by the
the Church wishes to give glory teachings of the magisterium or
to God: "...with her [Mary] may by solid Tradition. It is also right
we always praise you."(30) And to observe that these readings
since the liturgy is worship that occur not only on feasts of the
requires as way of living Blessed Virgin but are read on
consistent with it, it asks that many other occasions, for
devotion to the Blessed Virgin example on certain Sundays
should become a concrete and during the liturgical year, in the
deeply-felt love for the Church, celebration of rites that deeply
as is wonderfully expressed in concern the Christian's
the prayer after Communion in sacramental life and the choices
the Mass of September: "...that confronting him,(32) as also in the
as we recall the sufferings joyful or sad experiences of his
shared by the Blessed Virgin life on earth.(33)
Mary, we may with the Church 13. The Liturgy of the Hours, the
fulfill in ourselves what is lacking revised book of the Office, also
in the sufferings of Christ." contains outstanding examples
of devotion to the Mother of the

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Lord. These are to be found in the Church asks Mary's motherly

the hymns-which include several assistance.(39) The Church prays
masterpieces of universal fervently to Mary on behalf of
literature, such as Dante's her children who have come to
sublime prayer to the Blessed the hour of their death.(40) The
Virgin(34)-and in the antiphons Church asks Mary's intercession
that complete the daily Office. for those who have closed their
To these lyrical invocations there eyes to the light of this world
has been added the well-known and appeared before Christ, the
prayer Sub tuum praesidium, eternal Light";(41) and the Church,
venerable for its antiquity and through Mary's prayers, invokes
admirable for its content. Other comfort upon those who in
examples occur in the prayers of sorrow mourn with faith the
intercession at Lauds and departure of their loved ones.(42)
Vespers, prayers which 15. The examination of the
frequently express trusting revised liturgical books leads us
recourse to the Mother of mercy. to the comforting observation
Finally there are selections from that the postconciliar renewal
the vast treasury of writings on has, as was previously desired
our Lady composed by authors by the liturgical movement,
of the first Christian centuries, of properly considered the Blessed
the Middle Ages and of modern Virgin in the mystery of Christ,
times. and, in harmony with tradition,
14. The commemoration of the has recognized the singular
Blessed Virgin occurs often in place that belongs to her in
the Missal, the Lectionary and Christian worship as the holy
the Liturgy of the Hours-the Mother of God and the worthy
hinges of the liturgical prayer of Associate of the Redeemer.
the Roman Rite. In the other It could not have been otherwise.
revised liturgical books also If one studies the history of
expressions of love and suppliant Christian worship, in fact, one
veneration addressed to the notes that both in the East and
Theotokos are not lacking. Thus in the West the highest and
the Church invokes her, the purest expressions of devotion to
Mother of grace, before the Blessed Virgin have sprung
immersing candidates in the from the liturgy or have been
saving waters of baptism(35); the incorporated into it.
Church invokes her intercession
for mothers who, full of gratitude We wish to emphasize the fact
for the gift of motherhood, come that the veneration which the
to church to express their joy(36); universal Church today accords
the Church holds her up as a to blessed Mary is a derivation
model to those who follow Christ from and an extension and
by embracing the religious life(37) unceasing increase of the
or who receive the Consecration devotion that the Church of
of Virgins.(38) For these people every age has paid to her, with
careful attention to truth and

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with an ever watchful nobility of Saint Augustine realized,

expression. From perennial "Blessed Mary by believing
Tradition kept alive by reason of conceived Him (Jesus) whom
the uninterrupted presence of believing she brought forth."(45)
the Spirit and continual attention In fact, when she received from
to the Word, the Church of our the angel the answer to her
time draws motives, arguments doubt (cf. Lk. 1:34-37), "full of
and incentives for the veneration faith, and conceiving Christ in
that she pays to the Blessed her mind before conceiving Him
Virgin. And the liturgy, which in her womb, she said, 'I am the
receives approval and strength handmaid of the Lord, let what
from the magisterium, is a most you have said be done to me'
lofty expression and an evident (Lk. 1:38)."(46) It was faith that
proof of this living Tradition. was for her the cause of
Section Two blessedness and certainty in the
fulfillment of his promise:
The Blessed Virgin as the Model "Blessed is she who believed
of the Church in Divine Worship that the promise made her by
16. In accordance with some of the Lord would be fulfilled" (Lk.
the guidelines of the Council's 1:45). Similarly, it was faith with
teaching on Mary and the which she, who played a part in
Church, we now wish to examine the Incarnation and was a unique
more closely a particular aspect witness to it, thinking back on
of the relationship between Mary the events of the infancy of
and the liturgy-namely, Mary as Christ, meditated upon these
a model of the spiritual attitude events in her heart (cf. Lk.
with which the Church celebrates 2:19,51). The Church also acts in
and lives the divine mysteries. this way, especially in the
That the Blessed virgin is an liturgy, when with faith she
exemplar in this field derives listens, accepts, proclaims and
from the fact that she is venerates the word of God,
recognized as a most excellent distributes it to the faithful as
exemplar of the Church in the the bread of life(47) and in the
order of faith, charity and perfect light of that word examines the
union with Christ,(43) that is, of signs of the times and interprets
that interior disposition with and lives the events of history.
which the Church, the beloved 18. Mary is also the Virgin in
spouse, closely associated with prayer. She appears as such in
her Lord, invokes Christ and the visit to the mother of the
through Him worships the precursor, when she pours out
eternal Father. (44)
her soul in expressions glorifying
17. Mary is the attentive Virgin, God, and expressions of humility,
who receives the word of God faith and hope. This prayer is the
with faith, that faith which in her Magnificat (cf. Lk. 1:46-55),
case was the gateway and path Mary's prayer par excellence, the
to divine motherhood, for, as song of the messianic times in

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which there mingles the joy of 19. Mary is also the Virgin-
the ancient and the new Israel. Mother-she who "believing and
As St. Irenaeus seems to obeying...brought forth on earth
suggest, it is in Mary's canticle the Father's Son. This she did,
that there was heard once more not knowing man but
the rejoicing of Abraham who overshadowed by the Holy
foresaw the Messiah (cf. Jn. 8:56) Spirit."(52) This was a
and there rang out in miraculous motherhood, set up
prophetic anticipation the voice by God as the type and exemplar
of the Church: "In her exultation of the fruitfulness of the Virgin-
Mary prophetically declared in Church, which "becomes herself
the name of the Church: 'My soul a mother.... For by her preaching
proclaims the glory of the and by baptism she brings forth
Lord....'"(49) And in fact Mary's to a new and immortal life
hymn has spread far and wide children who are conceived by
and has become the prayer of the power of the Holy Spirit and
the whole Church in all ages. born of God."(53) The ancient
At Cana, Mary appears once Fathers rightly taught that the
more as the Virgin in prayer: Church prolongs in the
when she tactfully told her Son sacrament of Baptism the
of a temporal need she also virginal motherhood of Mary.
obtained an effect of grace, Among such references we like
namely, that Jesus, in working to recall that of our illustrious
the first of His "signs," confirmed predecessor, Saint Leo the
His disciples' faith in Him (cf. Jn. Great, who in a Christmas homily
2:1-12). says: "The origin which (Christ
took in the womb of the Virgin
Likewise, the last description of He has given to the baptismal
Mary's life presents her as font: He has given to water what
praying. The apostles "joined in He had given to His Mother-the
continuous prayer, together with power of the Most High and the
several women, including Mary overshadowing of the Holy Spirit
the mother of Jesus, and with his (cf Lk. 1:35), which was
brothers" (Acts 1:14). We have responsible for Mary's bringing
here the prayerful presence of forth the Savior, has the same
Mary in the early Church and in effect, so that water may
the Church throughout all ages, regenerate the believer."(54) If we
for, having been assumed into wished to go to liturgical
heaven, she has not abandoned sources, we could quote the
her mission of intercession and beautiful Illatio of the Mozarabic
salvation.(50) The title Virgin in liturgy: "The former [Mary]
prayer also fits the Church, carried Life in her womb; the
which day by day presents to the latter [the Church] bears Life in
Father the needs of her children, the waters of baptism. In Mary's
"praises the Lord unceasingly members Christ was formed; in
and intercedes for the salvation the waters of the Church Christ
of the world."(51) is put on."(55)

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20. Mary is, finally, the Virgin the rite. A witness to this
presenting offerings. In the intuition is found in the loving
episode of the Presentation of prayer of Saint Bernard "Offer
Jesus in the Temple (cf. Lk. 2:22- your Son, holy Virgin, and
35), the Church, guided by the present to the Lord the blessed
Spirit, has detected, over and fruit of your womb. Offer for the
above the fulfillment of the laws reconciliation of us all the holy
regarding the offering of the Victim which is pleasing to
firstborn (cf. Ex. 13:11-16) and God."(56)
the purification of the mother (cf. This union of the Mother and the
Lv. 12:6-8), a mystery of Son in the work of redemption(57)
salvation related to the history of reaches its climax on Calvary,
salvation. That is, she has noted where Christ "offered himself as
the continuity of the the perfect sacrifice to God"
fundamental offering that the (Heb. 9:14) and where Mary
Incarnate Word made to the stood by the cross (cf. Jn 19:25),
Father when He entered the "suffering grievously with her
world (cf. Heb. 15:5-7). The only-begotten Son. There she
Church has seen the universal united herself with a maternal
nature of salvation proclaimed, heart to His sacrifice, and
for Simeon, greeting in the Child lovingly consented to the
the light to enlighten the peoples immolation of this victim which
and the glory of the people Israel she herself had brought forth"(58)
(cf. Lk. 2:32), recognized in Him and also was offering to the
the Messiah, the Savior of all. eternal Father."(59) To perpetuate
The Church has understood the down the centuries the Sacrifice
prophetic reference to the of the Cross, the divine Savior
Passion of Christ: the fact that instituted the Eucharistic
Simeon's words, which linked in sacrifice, the memorial of His
one prophecy the Son as "the death and resurrection, and
sign of contradiction" (Lk. 2:34) entrusted it to His spouse the
and the Mother, whose soul Church,(60) which, especially on
would be pierced by a sword (cf Sundays, calls the faithful
Lk. 2:35), came true on Calvary. together to celebrate the
A mystery of salvation, Passover of the Lord until He
therefore, that in its various comes again.(61) This the Church
aspects orients the episode of does in union with the saints in
the Presentation in the Temple heaven and in particular with the
to the salvific event of the cross. Blessed Virgin,(62) whose burning
But the Church herself, in charity and unshakable faith she
particular from the Middle Ages imitates.
onwards, has detected In the
heart of the Virgin taking her Son 21. Mary is not only an example
to Jerusalem to present Him to for the whole Church in the
the Lord (cf. Lk. 2:22) a desire to exercise of divine worship but is
make an offering, a desire that also, clearly, a teacher of the
exceeds the ordinary meaning of spiritual life for individual

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Christians. The faithful at a very become Mother of the Incarnate

early date began to look to Mary Word; in burning love, when she
and to imitate her in making considers the spiritual
their lives an act of worship of motherhood of Mary towards all
God and making their worship a members of the Mystical Body;
commitment of their lives. As in trusting invocation; when she
early as the fourth century, St. experiences the intercession of
Ambrose, speaking to the her advocate and helper;(64) in
people, expressed the hope that loving service, when she sees in
each of them would have the the humble handmaid of the
spirit of Mary in order to glory Lord the queen of mercy and the
God May the heart of Mary be in mother of grace; in zealots
each Christian to proclaim the imitation, when she
greatness of the Lord; may her contemplates he holiness and
spirit be in everyone to exult in virtues of her who is "full of
God."(63) But Mary is above all the grace" (Lk. 1:28); in profound
example of that worship that wonder, when she sees in her,
consists in making one's life an "as in a faultless model, that
offering to God. This is an which she herself wholly desires
ancient and ever new doctrine and hopes to be"(65); in attentive
that each individual can hear study, when she recognizes in
again by heeding the Church's the associate of the Redeemer,
teaching, but also by heeding who already shares fully in the
the very voice of the Virgin as fruits of the Paschal Mystery, the
she, anticipating in herself the prophetic fulfillment of her own
wonderful petition of the Lord's future, until the day on which,
Prayer-"Your will be done" (Mt. when she has been purified of
6:10)-replied to God's every spot and wrinkle (cf. Eph.
messenger: "I am the handmaid 5:27), she will become like a
of the Lord. Let what you have bride arrayed for the
said be done to me" (Lk. 1:38). bridegroom, Jesus Christ (cf. Rev.
And Mary's "yes" is for all 21:2).
Christians a lesson and example 23. Therefore, venerable
of obedience to the will of the Brothers, as we consider the
Father, which is the, way and piety that the liturgical Tradition
means of one's own of the universal Church and the
sanctification. renewed Roman Rite expresses
22. It is also important to note towards the holy Mother of God,
how the Church expresses in and as we remember that the
various effective attitudes of liturgy through its pre-eminent
devotion the many relationships value as worship constitutes the
that bind her to Mary: in golden norm for Christian piety,
profound veneration, when she and finally as we observe how
reflects on the singular dignity of the Church when she celebrates
the Virgin who, through the the sacred mysteries assumes
action of the Holy Spirit has an attitude of faith and love

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similar to that of the Virgin, we expressions and exercises of

realize the rightness of the piety directed towards the
exhortation that the Second Blessed Virgin. We would like
Vatican Council addresses to all this revision to be respectful of
the children of the Church, wholesome tradition and open to
namely "that the cult, especially the legitimate requests of the
the liturgical cult, of the Blessed people of our time. It seems
Virgin be generously fostered."(66) fitting therefore, venerable
This is an exhortation that we Brothers, to put forward some
would like to see accepted principles for action in this field.
everywhere without reservation Section One
and put into zealous practice.
Trinitarian, Christological and
PART TWO Ecclesial Aspects of Devotion to
The Renewal of Devotion to Mary the Blessed Virgin
24. The Second Vatican Council 25. In the first place it is
also exhorts us to promote other supremely fitting that exercises
forms of piety side by side with of piety directed towards the
liturgical worship, especially Virgin Mary should clearly
those recommended by the express the Trinitarian and
magisterium.(67) However, as is Christological note that is
well known, the piety of the intrinsic and essential to them.
faithful and their veneration of Christian worship in fact is of
the Mother of God has taken on itself worship offered to the
many forms according to Father and to the Son and to the
circumstances of time and place, Holy Spirit, or, as the liturgy puts
the different sensibilities of it, to the Father through Christ in
peoples and their different the Spirit. From this point of view
cultural traditions. Hence it is worship is rightly extended,
that the forms in which this though in a substantially
devotion is expressed, being different way, first and foremost
subject to the ravages of time, and in a special manner, to the
show the need for a renewal that Mother of the Lord and then to
will permit them to substitute the saints, in whom the Church
elements that are transient, to proclaims the Paschal Mystery,
emphasize the elements that are for they have suffered with
ever new and to incorporate the Christ and have been glorified
doctrinal data obtained from with Him.(68) In the Virgin Mary
theological reflection and the everything is relative to Christ
proposals of the Church's and dependent upon Him. It was
magisterium. This shows the with a view to Christ that God
need for episcopal conferences, the Father from all eternity
local churches, religious families chose her to be the all-holy
and Community of the faithful to Mother and adorned her with
promote a genuine creative gifts of the Spirit granted to no
activity and at the same time to one else. Certainly genuine
proceed to a careful revision of Christian piety has never failed

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to highlight the indissoluble link facts of the Faith: the Person and
and essential relationship of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Virgin to the divine Savior.(69) Yet Theological reflection and the
it seems to us particularly in liturgy have in fact noted how
conformity with the spiritual the sanctifying intervention of
orientation of our time. which is the Spirit in the Virgin of
dominated and absorbed by the Nazareth was a culminating
"question of Christ,"(70) that in moment of the Spirit's action in
the expressions of devotion to the history of salvation. Thus, for
the Virgin the Christological example, some Fathers and
aspect should have particular writers of the Church attributed
prominence. It likewise seems to to the work of the Spirit the
us fitting that these expressions original holiness of Mary, who
of devotion should reflect God's was as it were "fashioned by the
plan, which laid down "with one Holy Spirit into a kind of new
single decree the origin of Mary substance and new creature."(74)
and the Incarnation of the divine Reflecting on the Gospel
Wisdom."(71) This will without texts-"The Holy Spirit will come
doubt contribute to making piety upon you and the power of the
towards the Mother of Jesus Most High will cover you with his
more solid, and to making it an shadow" (Lk. 1:35) and "[Mary]
effective instrument for attaining was found to be with child
to full "knowledge of the Son of through the Holy Spirit.... She
God, until we become the perfect has conceived what is in her by
man, fully mature with the the Holy Spirit" (Mt. 1:18, 20)-
fullness of Christ himself" (Eph. they saw in the Spirit's
4:13). It will also contribute to intervention an action that
increasing the worship due to consecrated and made fruitful
Christ Himself, since, according Mary's virginity(75) and
to the perennial mind of the transformed her into the "Abode
Church authoritatively repeated of the King" or "Bridal Chamber
in our own day,(72) "what is given of the Word,"(76) the "Temple" or
to the handmaid is referred to "Tabernacle of the Lord,"(77) the
the Lord; thus what is given to "Ark of the Covenant" or "the Ark
the Mother redounds to the of Holiness,"(78) titles rich in
Son; ...and thus what is given as biblical echoes. Examining more
humble tribute to the Queen deeply still the mystery of the
becomes honor rendered to the Incarnation, they saw in the
King."(73) mysterious relationship between
26. It seems to us useful to add the Spirit and Mary an aspect
to this mention of the redolent of marriage, poetically
Christological orientation of portrayed by Prudentius: "The
devotion to the Blessed Virgin a unwed Virgin espoused the
reminder of the fittingness of Spirit,"(79) and they called her the
giving prominence in this "Temple of the Holy Spirit,"– an
devotion to one of the essential expression that emphasizes the
sacred character of the Virgin,

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now the permanent dwelling of 27. It is sometimes said that

the Spirit of God. Delving deeply many spiritual writings today do
into the doctrine of the not sufficiently reflect the whole
Paraclete, they saw that from doctrine concerning the Holy
Him as from a spring there Spirit. It is the task of specialists
flowed forth the fullness of grace to verify and weigh the truth of
(cf. Lk. 1:28) and the abundance this assertion, but it is our task
of gifts that adorned her. Thus to exhort everyone, especially
they attributed to the Spirit the those in the pastoral ministry
faith, hope and charity that and also theologians, to
animated the Virgin's heart, the meditate more deeply on the
strength that sustained her working of the Holy Spirit in the
acceptance of the will of God, history of salvation, and to
and the vigor that upheld her in ensure that Christian spiritual
her suffering at the foot of the writings give due prominence to
cross.(81) In Mary's prophetic His life-giving action. Such a
canticle (cf. Lk. 1:46-55) they study will bring out in particular
saw a special working of the the hidden relationship between
Spirit who had spoken through the Spirit of God and the Virgin
the mouths of the prophets.(82) of Nazareth, and show the
Considering, finally, the influence they exert on the
presence of the Mother of Jesus Church. From a more profound
in the Upper Room, where the meditation on the truths of the
Spirit came down upon the infant Faith will flow a more vital piety.
Church (cf Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-4), 28. It is also necessary that
they enriched with new exercises of piety with which the
developments the ancient theme faithful honor the Mother of the
of Mary and the Church.(83) Above Lord should clearly show the
all they had recourse to the place she occupies in the
Virgin's intercession in order to Church: "the highest place and
obtain from the Spirit the the closest to us after Christ."(85)
capacity for engendering Christ The liturgical buildings of
in their own soul, as is attested Byzantine rite, both in the
to by Saint Ildephonsus in a architectural structure itself and
prayer of supplication, amazing in the use of images, show
in its doctrine and prayerful clearly Mary's place in the
power: "I beg you, holy Virgin, Church. On the central door of
that I may have Jesus from the the iconostasis there is a
Holy Spirit, by whom you representation of the
brought Jesus forth. May my soul Annunciation and in the apse an
receive Jesus through the Holy image of the glorious Theotokos.
Spirit by whom your flesh In this way one perceives how
conceived Jesus.... May I love through the assent of the
Jesus in the Holy Spirit in whom humble handmaid of the Lord
you adore Jesus as Lord and mankind begins its return to God
gaze upon Him as your Son."(84) and sees in the glory of the all-

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holy Virgin the goal towards can be likened to an extension of

which it is journeying. The Mary's concern. The active love
symbolism by which a church she showed at Nazareth, in the
building demonstrates Mary's house of Elizabeth, at Cana and
place in the mystery of the on Golgotha - all salvific
Church is full of significance and episodes having vast ecclesial
gives grounds for hoping that the importance - finds its extension
different forms of devotion to the in the Church's maternal concern
Blessed Virgin may everywhere that all men should come to
be open to ecclesial knowledge of the truth (cf. 1 Tm.
perspectives. 2:4), in the Church's concern for
The faithful will be able to people in lowly circumstances
appreciate more easily Mary's and for the poor and weak, and
mission in the mystery of the in her constant commitment to
Church and her preeminent peace and social harmony, as
place in the communion of saints well as in her untiring efforts to
if attention is drawn to the ensure that all men will share in
Second Vatican Council's the salvation which was merited
references to the fundamental for them by Christ's death. Thus
concepts of the nature of the love for the Church will become
Church as the Family of God, the love for Mary, and vice versa,
People of God, the Kingdom of since the one cannot exist
God and the Mystical Body of without the other, as St.
Christ.(86) This will also bring the Chromatius of Aquileia observed
faithful to a deeper realization of with keen discernment: "The
the brotherhood which unites all Church was united... in the
of them as sons and daughters Upper Room with Mary the
of the Virgin Mary, "who with a Mother of Jesus and with His
mother's love has cooperated in brethren. The Church therefore
their rebirth and spiritual cannot be referred to as such
formation," (87)
and as sons and unless it includes Mary the
daughters of the Church, since Mother of our Lord, together with
"we are born from the Church's His brethren."(90) In conclusion,
womb we are nurtured by the therefore, we repeat that
Church's milk, we are given life devotion to the Blessed Virgin
by the Church's Spirit."(88) They must explicitly show its intrinsic
will also realize that both the and ecclesiological content: thus
Church and Mary collaborate to it will be enabled to revise its
give birth to the Mystical Body of forms and texts in a fitting way.
Christ since "both of them are Section Two
the Mother of Christ, but neither Four Guidelines for Devotion to
brings forth the whole (body) the Blessed Virgin:
independently of the other."(89) Biblical, Liturgical, Ecumenical
Similarly the faithful will and Anthropological
appreciate more clearly that the
action of the Church in the world 29. The above considerations
spring from an examination of

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the Virgin Mary's relationship who was the Mother and

with God-the Father and the Son associate of the Savior. We
and the Holy Spirit-and with the would not, however, wish this
Church. Following the path biblical imprint to be merely a
traced by conciliar teaching,(91) diligent use of texts and symbols
we wish to add some further skillfully selected from the
guidelines from Scripture, Sacred Scriptures. More than this
liturgy, ecumenism and is necessary. What is needed is
anthropology. These are to be that texts of prayers and chants
borne in mind in any revision of should draw their inspiration and
exercises of piety or in the their wording from the Bible, and
creation of new ones, in order to above all that devotion to the
emphasize and accentuate the Virgin should be imbued with the
bond which unites us to her who great themes of the Christian
is the Mother of Christ and our message. This will ensure that,
Mother in the communion of as they venerate the Seat of
saints. Wisdom, the faithful in their turn
30. Today it is recognized as a will be enlightened by the divine
general need of Christian piety word, and be inspired to live
that every form of worship their lives in accordance with the
should have a biblical imprint. precepts of Incarnate Wisdom.
The progress made in biblical 31. We have already spoken of
studies, the increasing the veneration which the Church
dissemination of the Sacred gives to the Mother of God in the
Scriptures, and above all the celebration of the sacred liturgy.
example of Tradition and the However, speaking of the other
interior action of the Holy Spirit forms of devotion and of the
are tending to cause the modern criteria on which they should be
Christian to use the Bible ever based we wish to recall the norm
increasingly as the basic laid down in the Constitution
prayerbook, and to draw from it Sacrosanctum concilium. This
genuine inspiration and document, while wholeheartedly
unsurpassable examples. approving of the practices of
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin piety of the Christian people,
cannot be exempt from this goes on to say:" is necessary
general orientation of Christian however that such devotions
piety(92); indeed it should draw with consideration for the
inspiration in a special way from liturgical seasons should be so
this orientation in order to gain arranged as to be in harmony
new vigor and sure help. In its with the sacred liturgy. They
wonderful presentation of God's should somehow derive their
plan for man's salvation, the inspiration from it, and because
Bible is replete with the mystery of its pre-eminence they should
of the Savior, and from Genesis orient the Christian people
to the Book of Revelation, also towards it."(93) Although this is a
contains clear references to her wise and clear rule, its

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application is not an easy being the culmination of the

matter, especially in regard to meeting of the Christian
Marian devotions, which are so community, becomes the
varied in their formal occasion, as it were, for
expressions. What is needed on devotional practices. For those
the part of the leaders of the who act in this way we wish to
local communities is effort, recall the rule laid down by the
pastoral sensitivity and Council prescribing that
perseverance, while the faithful exercises of piety should be
on their part must show a harmonized with the liturgy not
willingness to accept guidelines merged into it. Wise pastoral
and ideas drawn from the true action should, on the one hand,
nature of Christian worship; this point out and emphasize the
sometimes makes it necessary proper nature of the liturgical
to change long-standing customs acts, while on the other hand it
wherein the real nature of this should enhance the value of
Christian worship has become practices of piety in order to
somewhat obscured. adapt them to the needs of
In this context we wish to individual communities in the
mention two attitudes which in Church and to make them
pastoral practice could nullify the valuable aids to the liturgy.
norm of the Second Vatican 32. Because of its ecclesial
Council. In the first place there character, devotion to the
are certain persons concerned Blessed Virgin reflects the
with the care of souls who scorn preoccupations of the Church
a priori, devotions of piety which, herself. Among these especially
in their correct forms have been in our day is her anxiety for the
recommended by the re-establishment of Christian
magisterium, who leave them unity. In this way devotion to the
aside and in this way create a Mother of the Lord is in accord
vacuum which they do not fill. with the deep desires and aims
They forget that the Council has of the ecumenical movement,
said that devotions of piety that is, it acquires an ecumenical
should harmonize with the aspect. This is so for a number of
liturgy, not be suppressed. reasons.
Secondly there are those who, In the first place, in venerating
without wholesome liturgical and with particular love the glorious
pastoral criteria, mix practices of Theotokos and in acclaiming her
piety and liturgical acts in hybrid as the 'Hope of Christians,"(94)
celebrations. It sometimes Catholics unite themselves with
happens that novenas or similar their brethren of the Orthodox
practices of piety are inserted Churches, in which devotion to
into the very celebration of the the Blessed Virgin finds its
Eucharistic Sacrifice. This expression in a beautiful lyricism
creates the danger that the and in solid doctrine. Catholics
Lord's Memorial Rite, instead of are also united with Anglicans,

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whose classical theologians have openly confess that He is God

already drawn attention to the and Lord, Savior and sole
sound scriptural basis for Mediator (cf. 1 Tm. 2:5) are
devotion to the Mother of our called to be one, with one
Lord, while those of the present another, with Christ and with the
day increasingly underline the Father in the unity of the Holy
importance of Mary's place in the Spirit.(99)
Christian life. Praising God with 33. We realize that there exist
the very words of the Virgin (cf. important differences between
Lk. 1:46-55), they are united, the thought of many of our
too, with their brethren in the brethren in other Churches and
Churches of the Reform, where ecclesial communities and the
love for the Sacred Scriptures Catholic doctrine on "Mary's role
flourishes. in the work of salvation."(100) In
For Catholics, devotion to the consequence there are likewise
Mother of Christ and Mother of differences of opinion on the
Christians is also a natural and devotion which should be shown
frequent opportunity for seeking to her. Nevertheless, since it is
her intercession with her Son in the same power of the Most High
order to obtain the union of all which overshadowed the Virgin
the baptized within a single of Nazareth (cf Lk. 1:35) and
People of God.(95) Yet again, the which today is at work within the
ecumenical aspect of Marian ecumenical movement and
devotion is shown in the Catholic making it fruitful, we wish to
Church's desire that, without in express our confidence that
any way detracting from the devotion to the humble
unique character of this handmaid of the Lord, in Whom
devotion,(96) every care should be the Almighty has done great
taken to avoid any exaggeration things (cf. Lk. 1:49), will become,
which could mislead other even if only slowly, not an
Christian brethren about the true obstacle but a path and a
doctrine of the Catholic Church. rallying point for the union of all
Similarly, the Church desires who believe in Christ. We are
that any manifestation of cult glad to see that, in fact, a better
which is opposed to correct understanding of Mary's place in
Catholic practice should be the mystery of Christ and of the
eliminated. Church on the part also of our
Finally, since it is natural that in separated brethren is smoothing
true devotion to the Blessed the path to union. Just as at Cana
Virgin "the Son should be duly the Blessed Virgin's intervention
known, loved and resulted in Christ's performing
glorified...when the Mother is His first miracle (cf. Jn. 2:1-12),
honored,"(98) such devotion is an so today her intercession can
approach to Christ, the source help to bring to realization the
and center of ecclesiastical time when the disciples of Christ
communion, in which all who will again find full communion in

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faith. This hope of ours is different employments, getting

strengthened by a remark of our further away every day from the
predecessor Leo XIII, who wrote restricted surroundings of the
that the cause of Christian unity home. In the cultural field new
"properly pertains to the role of possibilities are opening up for
Mary's spiritual motherhood. For women in scientific research and
Mary did not and cannot intellectual activities.
engender those who belong to In consequence of these
Christ, except in one faith and phenomena some people are
one love: for 'Is Christ divided?' becoming disenchanted with
(1 Cor. 1:13) We must all live devotion to the Blessed Virgin
together the life of Christ, so that and finding it difficult to take as
in one and the same body 'we an example Mary of Nazareth
may bear fruit for God' (Rom. because the horizons of her life,
7:4)."(101) so they say, seem rather
34. Devotion to the Blessed restricted in comparison with the
Virgin must also pay close vast spheres of activity open to
attention to certain findings of mankind today. In this regard we
the human sciences. This will exhort theologians, those
help to eliminate one of the responsible for the local
causes of the difficulties Christian communities and the
experienced in devotion to the faithful themselves to examine
Mother of the Lord, namely, the these difficulties with due care.
discrepancy existing between At the same time we wish to
some aspects of this devotion take the opportunity of offering
and modern anthropological our own contribution to their
discoveries and the profound solution by making a few
changes which have occurred in observations.
the psycho-sociological field in 35. First, the Virgin Mary has
which modern man lives and always been proposed to the
works. The picture of the Blessed faithful by the Church as an
Virgin presented in a certain example to be imitated, not
type of devotional literature precisely in the type of life she
cannot easily be reconciled with led, and much less for the socio-
today's life-style, especially the cultural background in which she
way women live today. In the lived and which today scarcely
home, woman's equality and exists anywhere. She is held up
corresponsibility with man in the as an example to the faithful
running of the family are being rather for the way in which, in
justly recognized by laws and the her own particular life, she fully
evolution of customs. In the and responsibly accepted the will
sphere of politics women have in of God (cf. Lk. 1:38), because
many countries gained a position she heard the word of God and
in public life equal to that of acted on it, and because charity
men. In the social field women and a spirit of service were the
are at work in a whole range of driving force of her actions. She

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is worthy of imitation because expressions. The Church

she was the first and the most understands that certain
perfect of Christ's disciples. All of outward religious expressions,
this has a permanent and while perfectly valid in
universal exemplary value. themselves, may be less suitable
36. Secondly, we would like to to men and women of different
point out that the difficulties ages and cultures.
alluded to above are closely 37. Finally, we wish to point out
related to certain aspects of the that our own time, no less than
image of Mary found in popular former times, is called upon to
writings. They are not connected verify its knowledge of reality
with the Gospel image of Mary with the word of God, and,
nor with the doctrinal data which keeping to the matter at present
have been made explicit through under consideration, to compare
a slow and conscientious process its anthropological ideas and the
of drawing from Revelation. It problems springing therefrom
should be considered quite with the figure of the Virgin Mary
normal for succeeding as presented by the Gospel. The
generations of Christians in reading of the divine Scriptures,
differing sociocultural contexts carried out under the guidance
to have expressed their of the Holy Spirit, and with the
sentiments about the Mother of discoveries of the human
Jesus in a way and manner which sciences and the different
reflected their own age. In situations in the world today
contemplating Mary and her being taken into account, will
mission these different help us to see how Mary can be
generations of Christians, considered a mirror of the
looking on her as the New expectations of the men and
Woman and perfect Christian, women of our time. Thus, the
found in her as a virgin, wife and modern woman, anxious to
mother the outstanding type of participate with decision-making
womanhood and the preeminent power in the affairs of the
exemplar of life lived in community, will contemplate
accordance with the Gospels and with intimate joy Mary who,
summing up the most taken into dialogue with God,
characteristic situations in the gives her active and responsible
life of a woman. When the consent,(102) not to the solution of
Church considers the long a contingent problem, but to that
history of Marian devotion she "event of world importance," as
rejoices at the continuity of the the Incarnation of the Word has
element of cult which it shows, been rightly called.(103) The
but she does not bind herself to modern woman will appreciate
any particular expression of an that Mary's choice of the state of
individual cultural epoch or to virginity, which in God's plan
the particular anthropological prepared her for the mystery of
ideas underlying such the Incarnation, was not a

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rejection of any of the values of disciple who builds up the

the married state but a earthly and temporal city while
courageous choice hich she being a diligent pilgrim towards
made in order to consecrate the heavenly and eternal city;
herself totally to the love of God. the disciple who works for that
The modern woman will note justice which sets free the
with pleasant surprise that Mary oppressed and for that charity
of Nazareth, while completely which assists the needy; but
devoted to the will of God, was above all, the disciple who is the
far from being a timidly active witness of that love which
submissive woman or one whose builds up Christ in people's
piety was repellent to others; on hearts.
the contrary, she was a woman 38. Having offered these
who did not hesitate to proclaim directives, which are intended to
that God vindicates the humble favor the harmonious
and the oppressed, and removes development of devotion to the
the powerful people of this world Mother of the Lord, we consider
from their privileged positions (cf it opportune to draw attention to
Lk. 1:51-53). The modern woman certain attitudes of piety which
will recognize in Mary, who are incorrect. The Second
"stands out among the poor and Vatican Council has already
humble of the Lord,"(104) a woman authoritatively denounced both
of strength, who experienced the exaggeration of content and
poverty and suffering, flight and form which even falsifies
exile (cf. Mt. 2:13-23). These are doctrine and likewise the small-
situations that cannot escape mindedness which obscures the
the attention of those who wish figure and mission of Mary. The
to support, with the Gospel spirit, Council has also denounced
the liberating energies of man certain devotional deviations,
and of society. And Mary will such as vain credulity, which
appear not as a Mother substitutes reliance on merely
exclusively concerned with her external practices for serious
own divine Son, but rather as a commitment. Another deviation
woman whose action helped to is sterile and ephemeral
strengthen the apostolic sentimentality, so alien to the
community's faith in Christ (cf. spirit of the Gospel that
Jn. 2:1-12), and whose maternal demands persevering and
role was extended and became practical action.(106) We
universal on Calvary.(105) These reaffirm the Council's
are but examples, but examples reprobation of such attitudes and
which show clearly that the practices. They are not in
figure of the Blessed Virgin does harmony with the Catholic Faith
not disillusion any of the and therefore they must have no
profound expectations of the place in Catholic worship. Careful
men and women of our time but defense against these errors and
offers them the perfect model of deviations will render devotion to
the disciple of the Lord: the

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the Blessed Virgin more vigorous it!" (Lk. 11:28) While it is true
and more authentic. It will make that this reply is in itself lively
this devotion solidly based, with praise of Mary, as various
the consequence that study of Fathers of the Church
the sources of Revelation and interpreted it and the Second
attention to the documents of Vatican Council has confirmed,
the magisterium will prevail over (108
) it is also an admonition to us
the exaggerated search for to live our lives in accordance
novelties or extraordinary with God's commandments. It is
phenomena. It will ensure that also an echo of other words of
this devotion is objective in its the Savior: "Not everyone who
historical seeing, and for this says to me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter
reason everything that is the kingdom of heaven, but he
obviously legendary or false who does the will of my Father
must be eliminated. It will ensure who is in heaven" (Mt. 7:21); and
that this devotion matches its again: "You are my friends if you
doctrinal content-hence the do what I command you" (Jn.
necessity of avoiding a one-sided 15:14).
presentation of the figure of
Mary, which by overstressing
one element compromises the Observations on Two Exercises
overall picture given by the of Piety:
Gospel. It will make this devotion The Angelus and the Rosary
clear in its motivation; hence 40. We have indicated a number
every unworthy self-interest is to of principles which can help to
be carefully banned from the give fresh vigor to devotion to
area of what is sacred. the Mother of the Lord. It is now
39. Finally, insofar as it may be up to episcopal conferences, to
necessary we would like to those in charge of local
repeat that the ultimate purpose communities and to the various
of devotion to the Blessed Virgin religious congregations
is to glorify God and to lead prudently to revise practices and
Christians to commit themselves exercises of piety in honor of the
to a life which is in absolute Blessed Virgin, and to encourage
conformity with His will. When the creative impulse of those
the children of the Church unite who through genuine religious
their voices with the voice of the inspiration or pastoral sensitivity
unknown woman in the Gospel wish to establish new forms of
and glorify the Mother of Jesus piety. For different reasons we
by saying to Him: "Blessed is the nevertheless feel it is opportune
womb that bore you and the to consider here two practices
breasts that you sucked" (Lk. which are widespread in the
11:27), they will be led to ponder West, and with which this
the Divine Master's serious reply: Apostolic See has concerned
"Blessed rather are those who itself on various occasions: the
hear the word of God and keep Angelus and the Rosary.

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The Angelus The Rosary

41. What we have to say about 42. We wish now, venerable
the Angelus is meant to be only Brothers, to dwell for a moment
a simple but earnest exhortation on the renewal of the pious
to continue its traditional practice which has been called
recitation wherever and "the compendium of the entire
whenever possible. The Angelus Gospel"(110): the Rosary. To this
does not need to be revised, our predecessors have devoted
because of its simple structure, close attention and care. On
its biblical character, its many occasions they have
historical origin which links it to recommended its frequent
the prayer for peace and safety, recitation, encouraged its
and its quasi-liturgical rhythm diffusion, explained its nature,
which sanctifies different recognized its suitability for
moments during the day, and fostering contemplative prayer-
because it reminds us of the prayer of both praise and
Paschal Mystery, in which petition-and recalled its intrinsic
recalling the Incarnation of the ffectiveness for promoting
Son of God we pray that we may Christian life and apostolic
be led "through his passion and commitment.
cross to the glory of his We, too, from the first general
resurrection."(109) These factors audience of our pontificate on
ensure that the Angelus despite July 13, 1963, have shown our
the passing of centuries retains great esteem for the pious
an unaltered value and an intact practice of the Rosary.(111) Since
freshness. It is true that certain that time we have underlined its
customs traditionally linked with value on many different
the recitation of the Angelus occasions, some ordinary, some
have disappeared or can grave. Thus, at a moment of
continue only with difficulty in anguish and uncertainty, we
modern life. But these are published the Letter Christi Matri
marginal elements. The value of (September 15, 1966), in order
contemplation on the mystery of to obtain prayers to Our Lady of
the Incarnation of the Word, of the Rosary and to implore from
the greeting to the Virgin, and of God the supreme benefit of
recourse to her merciful peace.(112) "We renewed this
intercession remains unchanged. appeal in our Apostolic
And despite the changed Exhortation Recurrens mensis
conditions of the times, for the October (October 7 1969), in
majority of people there remain which we also commemorated
unaltered the characteristic the fourth centenary of the
periods of the day-morning, noon Apostolic Letter Consueverunt
and evening-which mark the Romani pontifices of our
periods of their activity and predecessor Saint Pius V, who in
constitute an invitation to pause that document explained and in
in prayer.

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a certain sense established the inspiration from the Gospel to

traditional form of the Rosary.(113) suggest the attitude with which
43. Our assiduous and the faithful should recite it. In
affectionate interest in the the harmonious succession of
Rosary has led us to follow very Hail Mary's the Rosary puts
attentively the numerous before us once more a
meetings which in recent years fundamental mystery of the
have been devoted to the Gospel-the Incarnation of the
pastoral role of the Rosary in the Word, contemplated at the
modern world, meetings decisive moment of the
arranged by associations and Annunciation to Mary. The
individuals profoundly attached Rosary is thus a Gospel prayer,
to the Rosary and attended by as pastors and scholars like to
bishops, priests, religious and lay define it, more today perhaps
people of proven experience and than in the past.
recognized ecclesial awareness. 45. It has also been more easily
Among these people special seen how the orderly and
mention should be made of the gradual unfolding of the Rosary
sons of Saint Dominic, by reflects the very way in which
tradition the guardians and the Word of God, mercifully
promoters of this very salutary entering into human affairs,
practice. Parallel with such brought about the Redemption.
meetings has been the research The Rosary considers in
work of historians, work aimed harmonious succession the
not at defining in a sort of principal salvific events
archaeological fashion the accomplished in Christ, from His
primitive form of the Rosary but virginal conception and the
at uncovering the original mysteries of His childhood to the
inspiration and driving force culminating moments of the
behind it and its essential Passover-the blessed passion
structure. The fundamental and the glorious resurrection-and
characteristics of the Rosary, its to the effects of this on the
essential elements and their infant Church on the day of
mutual relationship have all Pentecost, and on the Virgin
emerged more clearly from Mary when at the end of her
these congresses and from the earthly life she was assumed
research carried out. body and soul into her heavenly
44. Thus, for instance, the home. It has also been observed
Gospel inspiration of the Rosary that the division of the mysteries
has appeared more clearly: the of the Rosary into three parts not
Rosary draws from the Gospel only adheres strictly to the
the presentation of the mysteries chronological order of the facts
and its main formulas. As it but above all reflects the plan of
moves from the angel's joyful the original proclamation of the
greeting and the Virgin's pious Faith and sets forth once more
assent, the Rosary takes its the mystery of Christ in the very

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way in which it is seen by Saint mystery being contemplated.

Paul in the celebrated "hymn" of And this was done precisely in
the Letter to the Philippians- order to help contemplation and
kenosis, death and exaltation (cf to make the mind and the voice
2:6-11). act in unison.
46. As a Gospel prayer, centered 47. There has also been felt with
on the mystery of the greater urgency the need to
redemptive Incarnation, the point out once more the
Rosary is therefore a prayer with importance of a further essential
a clearly Christological element in the Rosary, in
orientation. Its most addition to the value of the
characteristic element, in fact, elements of praise and petition,
the litany-like succession of Hail namely the element of
Mary's, becomes in itself an contemplation. Without this the
unceasing praise of Christ, who Rosary is a body without a soul,
is the ultimate object both of the and its recitation is in danger of
angel's announcement and of becoming a mechanical
the greeting of the mother of repetition of formulas and of
John the Baptist: "Blessed is the going counter to the warning of
fruit of your womb" (Lk. 1:42). Christ: "And in praying do not
We would go further and say heap up empty phrases as the
that the succession of Hail Gentiles do; for they think that
Mary's constitutes the warp on they will be heard for their many
which is woven the words" (Mt. 6:7). By its nature
contemplation of the mysteries. the recitation of the Rosary calls
The Jesus that each Hail Mary for a quiet rhythm and a
recalls is the same Jesus whom lingering pace, helping the
the succession of the mysteries individual to meditate on the
proposes to us-now as the Son of mysteries of the Lord's life as
God, now as the Son of the seen through the eyes of her
Virgin-at His birth in a stable at who was closest to the Lord. In
Bethlehem, at His presentation this way the unfathomable riches
by His Mother in the Temple, as of these mysteries are unfolded.
a youth full of zeal for His 48. Finally, as a result of modern
Father's affairs, as the Redeemer reflection the relationships
in agony in the garden, scourged between the liturgy and the
and crowned with thorns, Rosary have been more clearly
carrying the cross and dying on understood. On the one hand it
Calvary, risen from the dead and has been emphasized that the
ascended to the glory of the Rosary is, as it were, a branch
Father to send forth the gift of sprung from the ancient trunk of
the Spirit. As is well known, at the Christian liturgy, the Psalter
one time there was a custom, of the Blessed Virgin, whereby
still preserved in certain places, the humble were associated in
of adding to the name of Jesus in the Church's hymn of praise and
each Hail Mary reference to the universal intercession. On the

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other hand it has been noted reality, have as their object the
that this development occurred same salvific events wrought by
at a time-the last period of the Christ. The former presents new,
Middle Ages-when the liturgical under the veil of signs and
spirit was in decline and the operative in a hidden way, the
faithful were turning from the great mysteries of our
liturgy towards a devotion to Redemption. The latter, by
Christ's humanity and to the means of devout contemplation,
Blessed Virgin Mary, a devotion recalls these same mysteries to
favoring a certain external the mind of the person praying
sentiment of piety. Not many and stimulates the will to draw
years ago some people began to from them the norms of living.
express the desire to see the Once this substantial difference
Rosary included among the rites has been established, it is not
of the liturgy, while other people, difficult to understand that the
anxious to avoid repetition of Rosary is an exercise of piety
former pastoral mistakes, that draws its motivating force
unjustifiably disregarded the from the liturgy and leads
Rosary. Today the problem can naturally back to it, if practiced
easily be solved in the light of in conformity with its original
the principles of the Constitution inspiration.; It does not,
Sacrosanctum concilium. however, become part of the
Liturgical celebrations and the liturgy. In fact, meditation on the
pious practice of the Rosary mysteries of the Rosary, by
must be neither set in opposition familiaring the hearts and minds
to one another nor considered as of the faithful with the mysteries
being identical.(114) The more an of Christ, can be an excellent
expression of prayer preserves preparation for the creation of
its own true nature and those same mysteries in the
individual characteristics the liturgical action and an also
more fruitful it becomes. Once become a continuing echo
the pre-eminent value of thereof. However, it is a mistake
liturgical rites has been to recite the Rosary during the
reaffirmed it will not be difficult celebration of the liturgy, though
to appreciate the fact that the unfortunately this practice still
Rosary is a practice of piety persists here and there.
which easily harmonizes with the 49. The Rosary of the Blessed
liturgy. In fact, like the liturgy, it Virgin Mary, according to the
is of a community nature, draws tradition accepted by our
its inspiration from Sacred predecessor St. Pius V and
Scripture and is oriented towards authoritatively taught by him,
the mystery of Christ. The consists of various elements
commemoration in the liturgy disposed in an organic fashion:
and the contemplative
remembrance proper to the a) Contemplation in communion
Rosary, although existing on with Mary, of a series of
essentially different planes of mysteries of salvation, wisely

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distributed into three cycles. d) The doxology Glory be to the

These mysteries express the joy Father which, in conformity with
of the messianic times, the an orientation common to
salvific suffering of Christ and Christian piety concludes the
the glory of the Risen Lord which prayer with the glorifying of God
fills the Church. This who is one and three, from
contemplation by its very nature whom, through whom and in
encourages practical reflection whom all things have their being
and provides stimulating norms (cf. Rom. 11:36).
for living. 50. These are the elements of
b) The Lord's Prayer, or Our the Rosary. Each has its own
Father, which by reason of its particular character which,
immense value is at the basis of wisely understood and
Christian prayer and ennobles appreciated, should be reflected
that prayer in its various in the recitation in order that the
expressions. Rosary may express all its
c) The litany-like succession of richness and variety. Thus the
the Hail Mary, which is made up recitation will be grave and
of the angel's greeting to the suppliant during the Lord's
Virgin (cf. Lk. 1;28), and of Prayer, lyrical and full of praise
Elizabeth's greeting (cf. Lk. during the tranquil succession of
1:42), followed by the ecclesial Hail Mary's, contemplative in the
supplication, Holy Mary. The recollected meditation on the
continued series of Hail Mary's is mysteries and full of adoration
the special characteristic of the during the doxology. This applies
Rosary, and their number, in the to all the ways in which the
full and typical number of one Rosary is usually recited:
hundred and fifty, presents a privately, in intimate recollection
certain analogy with the Psalter with the Lord; in community, in
and is an element that goes back the family or in groups of the
to the very origin of the exercise faithful gathered together to
of piety. But this number, ensure the special presence of
divided, according to a well-tried the Lord (cf. Mt. 18:20); or
custom, into decades attached publicly, in assemblies to which
to the individual mysteries, is the ecclesial community is
distributed in the three cycles invited.
already mentioned, thus giving 51. In recent times certain
rise to the Rosary of fifty Hail exercises of piety have been
Mary's as we know it. This latter created which take their
has entered into use as the inspiration from the Rosary.
normal measure of the pious Among such exercises we wish
exercise and as such has been to draw attention to and
adopted by popular piety and recommend those which insert
approved by papal authority, into the ordinary celebration of
which also enriched it with the word of God some elements
numerous indulgences. of the Rosary, such as

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meditation on the mysteries and must logically follow a concrete

litany-like repetition of the effort to reinstate communal
angel's greeting to Mary. In this prayer in family life if there is to
way these elements gain in be a restoration of the
importance, since they are found theological concept of the family
in the context of Bible readings, as the domestic Church.
illustrated with a homily, 53. In accordance with the
accompanied by silent pauses directives of the Council the
and emphasized with song. We Institutio Generulis de Liturgia
are happy to know that such Horarum rightly numbers the
practices have helped to family among the groups in
promote a more complete which the Divine Office can
understanding of the spiritual suitably be celebrated in
riches of the Rosary itself and community: "It is fitting...that the
have served to restore esteem family, as a domestic sanctuary
for its recitation among youth of the Church, should not only
associations and movements. offer prayers to God in common,
52. We now desire, as a but also, according to
continuation of the thought of circumstances, should recite
our predecessors, to recommend parts of the Liturgy of the Hours,
strongly the recitation of the in order to be more intimately
family Rosary. The Second linked with the Church."(118) No
Vatican Council has pointed out avenue should be left
how the family, the primary and unexplored to ensure that this
vital cell of society, "shows itself clear and practical
to be the domestic sanctuary of recommendation finds within
the Church through the mutual Christian families growing and
affection of its members and the joyful acceptance.
common prayer they offer to 54. But there is no doubt that,
God."(115) The Christian family is after the celebration of the
thus seen to be a domestic Liturgy of the Hours, the high
Church"(116) if its members, each point which family prayer can
according to his proper place reach, the Rosary should be
and tasks, all together promote considered as one of the best
justice, practice works of mercy, and most efficacious prayers in
devote themselves to helping common that the Christian
their brethren, take part in the family is invited to recite. We like
apostolate of the wider local to think, and sincerely hope, that
community and play their part in when the family gathering
its liturgical worship.(117) This will becomes a time of prayer, the
be all the more true if together Rosary is a frequent and favored
they offer up rayers to God. If manner of praying. We are well
this element of common prayer aware that the changed
were missing, the family would conditions of life today do not
lack its very character as a make family gatherings easy,
domestic Church. Thus there and that even when such a

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gathering is possible many The Church's devotion to the

circumstances make it difficult to Blessed Virgin is an intrinsic
turn it into an occasion of prayer. element of Christian worship.
There is no doubt of the The honor which the Church has
difficulty. But it is characteristic always and everywhere shown to
of the Christian in his manner of the Mother of the Lord, from the
life not to give in to blessing with which Elizabeth
circumstances but to overcome greeted Mary (cf. Lk. 1:42-45)
them, not to succumb but to right up to the expressions of
make an effort. Families which praise and petition used today, is
want to live in full measure the a very strong witness to the
vocation and spirituality proper Church's norm of prayer and an
to the Christian family must invitation to become more
therefore devote all their deeply conscious of her norm of
energies to overcoming the faith. And the converse is
pressures that hinder family likewise true. The Church's norm
gatherings and prayer in of faith requires that her norm of
common. prayer should everywhere
55. In concluding these blossom forth with regard to the
observations, which give proof of Mother of Christ. Such devotion
the concern and esteem which to the Blessed Virgin is firmly
the Apostolic See has for the rooted in the revealed word and
Rosary of the Blessed Virgin, we has solid dogmatic foundations.
desire at the same time to It is based on the singular dignity
recommend that this very of Mary, "Mother of the Son of
worthy devotion should not be God, and therefore beloved
propagated in a way that is too daughter of the Father and
one-sided or exclusive. The Temple of the Holy Spirit-Mary,
Rosary is an excellent prayer, who, because of this
but the faithful should feel extraordinary grace, is far
serenely free in its regard. They greater than any other creature
should be drawn to its calm on earth or in heaven."(119) This
recitation by its intrinsic appeal. devotion takes into account the
part she played at decisive
CONCLUSION moments in the history of the
Theological and Pastoral Value of salvation which her Son
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin accomplished, and her holiness,
already full at her Immaculate
56. Venerable Brothers, as we
Conception yet increasing all the
come to the end of this our
time as she obeyed the will of
Apostolic Exhortation we wish to
the Father and accepted the
sum up and emphasize the
path of suffering (cf. Lk. 2:34-35,
theological value of devotion to
41-52; Jn. 19:25-27), growing
the Blessed Virgin and to recall
constantly in faith, hope and
briefly its pastoral effectiveness
charity. Devotion to Mary recalls
for renewing the Christian way of
too her mission and the special
position she holds within the

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People of God, of which she is and nothing in pastoral activity

the preeminent member, a should obscure this doctrine. But
shining example and the loving the Church, taught by the Holy
Mother; it recalls her unceasing Spirit and benefiting from
and efficacious intercession centuries of experience,
which, although she is assumed recognizes that devotion to the
into heaven, draws her close to Blessed Virgin, subordinated to
those who ask her help, worship of the divine Savior and
including those who do not in connection with it, also has a
realize that they are her great pastoral effectiveness and
children. It recalls Mary's glory constitutes a force for renewing
which ennobles the whole of Christian living. It is easy to see
mankind, as the outstanding the reason for this effectiveness
phrase of Dante recalls: "You Mary's many-sided mission to
have so ennobled human nature the People of God is a super
that its very Creator did not natural reality which operates
disdain to share in it."(120) Mary, and bears fruit within the body of
in fact, is one of our race, a true the Church. One finds cause for
daughter of Eve-though free of joy in considering the different
that mother's sin-and truly our aspects of this mission, and
sister, who as a poor and humble seeing how each of these
woman fully shared our lot. aspects with its individual
We would add further that effectiveness is directed towards
devotion to the Blessed Virgin the same end, namely,
finds its ultimate justification in producing in the children the
the unfathomable and free will of spiritual characteristics of the
God who, being eternal and first-born Son. The Virgin's
divine charity (cf. 1 Jn. 4:7-8, maternal intercession, her
16), accomplishes all things exemplary holiness and the
according to a loving design. He divine grace which is in her
loved her and did great things become for the human race a
for her (cf. Lk. 1:49). He loved reason for divine hope.
her for His own sake, and He The Blessed Virgin's role as
loved her for our sake, too; He Mother leads the People of God
gave her to Himself and He gave to turn with filial confidence to
her also to us. her who is ever ready to listen
57. Christ is the only way to the with a mother's affection and
Father (cf. Jn. 14:4-11), and the efficacious assistance.(121) Thus
ultimate example to whom the the People of God have learned
disciple must conform his own to call on her as the Consoler of
conduct (cf. Jn. 13:15), to the the afflicted, the Health of the
extent of sharing Christ's sick, and the Refuge of sinners,
sentiments (cf. Phil. 2:5), living that they may find comfort in
His life and possessing His Spirit tribulation, relief in sickness and
(cf. Gal. 2 20; Rom. 8:10-11). The liberating strength in guilt. For
Church has always taught this she, who is free from sin, leads

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her children to combat sin with lives. And this progress in virtue
energy and resoluteness.(122) This will appear as the consequence
liberation from sin and evil (cf. and the already mature fruit of
Mt. 6:13)-it must be repeated-is that pastoral zeal which springs
the necessary premise for any from devotion to the Blessed
renewal of Christian living. Virgin.
The Blessed Virgin's exemplary Devotion to the Mother of the
holiness encourages the faithful Lord becomes for the faithful an
to "raise their eyes to Mary who opportunity for growing in divine
shines forth before the whole grace, and this is the ultimate
community of the elect as a aim of all pastoral activity. For it
model f the virtues."(123) It is a is impossible to honor her who is
question of solid, evangelical "full of grace" (Lk. 1:28) without
virtues: faith and the docile thereby honoring in oneself the
acceptance of the Word of God state of grace, which is
(cf. Lk. 1:26-38, 1:45, 11:27-28; friendship with God, communion
Jn. 2:5); generous obedience (cf with Him and the indwelling of
Lk. 1:38); genuine humility (cf. the Holy Spirit. It is this divine
Lk. 1:48); solicitous charity (cf. grace which takes possession of
Lk. 1:39-56); profound wisdom the whole man and conforms
(cf. Lk. 1:29, 34; 2:19, 33:51); him to the image of the Son of
worship of God manifested in God (cf. Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18).
alacrity in the fulfillment of The Catholic Church, endowed
religious duties (cf. Lk. 2:21-41), with centuries of experience,
in gratitude for gifts received (cf recognizes in devotion to the
Lk. 1:46-49), in her offering in Blessed Virgin a powerful aid for
the Temple (cf. Lk. 2:22-24) and man as he strives for fulfillment.
in her prayer in the midst of the Mary, the New Woman, stands at
apostolic community (cf. Acts the side of Christ, the New Man,
1:12-14); her fortitude in exile within whose mystery the
(cf. Mt. 2:13-23) and in suffering mystery of man (124)
alone finds
(cf. Lk. 2:34-35, 49; Jn. 19 25); true light; she is given to its as a
her poverty reflecting dignity pledge and guarantee that God's
and trust in God (cf. Lk. 1:48, plan in Christ for the salvation of
2:24) her attentive care for her the whole man has already
Son, from His humble birth to the achieved realization in a
ignominy of the cross (cf. Lk. 2:1- creature: in her. Contemplated in
7; Jn. 19:25-27); her delicate the episodes of the Gospels and
forethought (cf. Jn. 2:1-11); her in the reality which she already
virginal purity (cf. Mt. 1:18-25; possesses in the City of God, the
Lk. 1:26-38); her strong and Blessed Virgin Mary offers a calm
chaste married love. These vision and a reassuring word to
virtues of the Mother will also modern man, torn as he often is
adorn her children who between anguish and hope,
steadfastly study her example in defeated by the sense of his own
order to reflect it in their own limitations and assailed by

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limitless aspirations, troubled in Lord. This has been called for by

his mind and divided in his heart, the nature of the subject, one
uncertain before the riddle of which in these recent years has
death, oppressed by loneliness been the object of study and
while yearning for fellowship, a revision and at times the cause
prey to boredom and disgust. of some perplexity. We are
She shows forth the victory of consoled to think that the work
hope over anguish, of fellowship done by this Apostolic See and
over solitude, of peace over by yourselves in order to carry
anxiety, of joy and beauty over out the norms of the Council-
boredom and disgust, of eternal particularly the liturgical reform-
visions over earthly ones, of life is a stepping-stone to an ever
over death. more lively and adoring worship
Let the very words that she of God, the Father and the Son
spoke to the servants at the and the Holy Spirit, and to an
marriage feast of Cana, "Do increase of the Christian life of
whatever he tells you" (Jn. 2:5), the faithful. We are filled with
be a seal on our Exhortation and confidence when we note that
a further reason in favor of the the renewed Raman liturgy, also
pastoral value of devotion to the taken as a whole, is a splendid
Blessed Virgin as a means of illustration of the Church's
leading men to Christ. Those devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
words, which at first sight were We are upheld by the hope that
limited to the desire to remedy the directives issued in order to
an embarrassment at the feast, render this devotion ever more
are seen in the context of Saint pure and vigorous will be applied
John's Gospel to re-echo the with sincerity. We rejoice that
words used by the people of the Lord has given us the
Israel to give approval to the opportunity of putting forward
Covenant at Sinai (cf. Ex. 19:8, some points for reflection in
24:3, 7; Dt. 5:27) and to renew order to renew and confirm
their commitments (cf. Jos. esteem for the practice of the
24:24; Ezr. 10:12; Neh. 5:12). rosary. Comfort, confidence,
And they are words which hope and joy are the sentiments
harmonize wonderfully with which we wish to transform into
those spoken by the Father at fervent praise and thanksgiving
the theophany on Mount Tabor: to the Lord as we unite our voice
"Listen to him" (Mt. 17:5). with that of the Blessed Virgin in
accordance with the prayer of
the Roman Liturgy.
Dear Brothers, while we express
Epilogue the hope that thanks to your
generous commitment, there will
58. Venerable Brothers, we have
be among the clergy and among
dealt at length with an integral
the people entrusted to your
element of Christian worship:
care a salutary increase of
devotion to the Mother of the

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devotion to Mary with undoubted FOOTNOTES

profit for the Church and for
1) Cf Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones
society, we cordially impart our IV,3, 6-10: CSEL 19 p. 279.
special apostolic blessing to 2) Cf II Vatican Council, Constitution on
yourselves and to all the faithful the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum
Concilium, 1-3, 11, 21, 48, AAS 56 (1964),
people to whom you devote your
pp 97-98, 102-103, 105-106, 113.
pastoral zeal. 3) II Vatican Council, Constitution on the
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium,
103: AAS 56 (1964), p. 125.
on the second day of February, 4) Cf II Vatican Council, Dogmatic
the Feast of the Presentation of Constitution on the Church, Lumen
the Lord, in the year 1974, the Gentium, 66: AAS 57 (1965), p. 65.
5) Ibid.
eleventh of our Pontificate. 6) Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
PAULUS PP. VI Mother of the Church. Preface.
7) Cf II Vatican Council, Dogmatic
Constitution on, the Church, Lumen
Gentium 66-67: AAS 57 (1965), pp 65-66,
Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,
Sacrosanctum Concilium, 103: AAS 56
(1964), p 125.
8) Apostolic Exhortation, Signum
Magnum: AAS 59 (1967) pp. 465-475
9) Cf II Vatican Council, Constitution on
the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum
Concilium, 3: AAS 56 (1964). p 98.
10) Cf II Vatican Council ibid, 102: AAS 56
( 1954), p 125.
11) Cf. Roman Missal restored by Decree
of the Sacred Ecumenical II Vatican
Council, promulgated by authority of
Pope Paul VI typical edition, MCMLXX, 8
December, Preface.
12) Roman Missal, restored by Decree of
the Sacred Ecumenical II Vatican Council
promulgated by authority of Pope Paul VI,
Orao Lectionum Missae, typical edition
MCMLXIX. p. 8, First Reading (Year A: 1:,
7:10-14: "Behold a Virgin shall conceive";
Year B: 2: Sam 7:1-15; 8b-11, 16: "The
throne of David shall be established for
ever before the face of the Lord"; Year C:
Mic 5:2a [Heb 1-4a]: "Out of you will be
born for me the one who is to rule over
13) Ibid., p. 8, Gospel (Year A: Mt 1:18-24:
"Jesus is born of Mary who was espoused
to Joseph, the son of David"; Year B: Lk
1:26-38: "You are to conceive and bear a
son; Year C: Lk 1:39-45: "Why should I be
honoured with a visit from the Mother of
my Lord?").
14) Cf. Roman Missal Advent Preface, II.
15) Roman Missal, Ibid.
16) Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer I,
Communicantes for Christmas and its

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17) Roman Missal, 1 January, Entry thanksgiving (First Reading 4 Zeph 3:14-
antiphon and Collect. 15).
18) Cf. Roman Missal, 22 August. Collect. 34) Cf. La Divina Commedia, Paradiso
19) Roman Missal, 8 September, Prayer XXXIII, 1-9 cf Liturgy of the Hours,
after Communion. remembrance of Our Lady on Saturdays,
20) Roman Missal, 31 May, Collect. Office of Reading Hymn.
21) Cf. ibid., Collect and Prayer over the 35) Ordo baptismi parvulorum 48: Ordo
gifts. initiationis christiana adultorum, 214.
22) Cf. Roman Missal, 15 September, 36) Cf.. Rituale Romanum, Tit. VII, cap. III,
Collect. De benedictione mulieris post partum.
23) Cf. 1, p. 15. 37) Cf. Ordo professionis religiosae, Pars
24) From among the many anaphoras cf. Prior, 57 and 67.
the following which are held In special 38) Cf. Ordo consecrationis virginum, 16.
honour by the Eastern rites: Anaphora 39) Cf. Ordo professionis religiosae, Pars
Marci Evangelistae: Prex Eucharistica, ed Prior, 62 and 142; Pars Altera, 67 and
A. Hanggi-I, Pahl. Fribourg Editions 158; Ordo consecrationis virginum, 18
Universitaires, 1968, p. 107; Anaphora and 20.
Iacobi fratris Domini graeca ibid. p. 257; 40) Cf. Ordo unctionis infirmorum
Anaphora Ioannis Chrysostomi, ibid., p. eorumque pastoralis curae,143, 146, 147.
229. 150.
25) Cf. Roman Missal, 8 December, 41) Cf. Roman Missal, Masses for the
Preface. Dead, For dead brothers and sisters,
26) Cf. Roman Missal, 15 August, Preface. relations and benefactors. Collect.
27) Cf. Roman Missal, 1 January, Prayer 42) Cf. Ordo exsequarum 226.
after Communion. 43) Cf. II Vatican Council Dogmatic
28) Cf. Roman Missal, Common of the Constitution on the Church, Lumen
Blessed Virgin Mary, 6, Tempore Paschali, Gentium, 63: AAS 57 (1965), p. 64.
Collect. 44) Cf. II Vatican Council, Constitution on
29) Roman Missal, 15 September, Collect. the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum
30) Roman Missal, 31 Mary Collect. On Concilium, 7: AAS 56 (1964), pp. 100-101.
the same lines is the Preface of the 45) Sermo 215, 4: PL 38, 1074.
Blessed Virgin Mar, 1; "We do well... in 46) Ibid.
celebrating the memory of the Virgin 47) Cf. II Vatican Council, Dogmatic
Mary... to glorify your love for us in the Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei
words of her song of thanksgiving." Verbum, 21: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 827-828.
31) Cf. Lectionary, III Sunday of Advent 48) Cf. Adversus Haereses IV. 7, 1: PG 7,
(Year C: Zeph 3:14-18a): IV Sunday of 1, 990-991: S Ch. 100, t. II, pp. 454-458.
Advent (cf. above footnote 12); Sunday 49) Cf. Adversus Haereses III, 10, 2: PG 7,
within the octave of Christmas (Year A; Mt 1, 873: S Ch. 34, p.164.
2:13-15 Year B; Lk 2:22-40; Year C; Lk 50) Cf. II Vatican Council, Dogmatic
2:41-52); II Sunday after Christmas (Jn Constitution on the Church, Lumen
1:1-18); VII Sunday after Easter (Year A: Gentium, 62: AAS 57 (1965), p. 63.
Acts 1:12-14): II Sunday of the Year C: Jn 51) II Vatican Council Constitution on the
1:1-12); X Sunday of the Year (Year B: Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium,
Gen 3:9-15); XIV Sunday of the Year (Year 83: AAS 56 (1964), p.121.
B: Mk 6:16) 52) II Vatican Council, Dogmatic
32) Cf Lectionary, the catechumenate Constitution on the Church, Lumen
and baptism of adults the Lord's Prayer Gentium 63: AAS 57 (1965) P. 64.
(Second Reading 2 Gal. 4:47); Christian 53) Ibid. 64: AAS 57 (1965), p. 64.
initiation outside the Easter Vigil (Gospel, 54) Tractatus XXV (In Nativitate Domini),
7, Jn 1:1-5; 9-16; 16-18); Nuptial Mass 5: CCL 138, p. 123; S. Ch. 22 p. 132; cf.
(Gospel, 7, Jn 2:1-11); consecration of also Tractatus XXIX In Nativitate Domini
Virgins and religious profession (First 1: CCL ibid., p. 147; S. Ch ibid, p. 178;
Reading 7, Is 61:9-11; Gospel, 6 Mk 3:31- Tractatus LXIII (De Passione Domini)
35; Lk 1:26-38 [cf. Ordo Consecrationis 6:CCL ibid p. 386: S. Ch. 74 p. 82.
Virginum 130; ordo professionis 55) M Ferotin, Le Liber Mozarabicus
religiosae, pars alter, 145]). Sacramentorum, col. 56.
33) Cf. Lectionary, For refugees and 56) In Purificatione, B. Mariae, Sermo III,
exiles (Gospel, 1 Mt 2:13-15; 19-23); In 2: PL 183, 370; Sancti Bernardi Opera, ed

37 | P a g e
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J. Leclercq-H. Rochais , vol IV, Rome 74) Cf. II Vatican Council Dogmatic
1966. p. 342. Constitution on the Church, Lumen
57) Cf. II Vatican Council Dogmatic Gentium 56: AAS 57 (1965), p. 60 and the
Constitution on the Church, Lumen authors mentioned in note 176 of the
Gentium 57: AAS 57 (1965), p. 61. document.
58) Ibid, 58: AAS 57 (1965), p. 61. 75) Cf. St Ambrose, De Spiritu Sancto II,
59) Cf. Pius XII Encyclical Letter Mystici 37-38; CSEL 79 pp. 100-101; Cassian, De
Corporis: AAS 35 (1943), P. 247. incarnatione Domini II chapter II: CSEL 17
60) Cf. II Vatican Council, Constitution on pp. 247-249. St. Bede, Homilia 1,3:CCL
the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum 122, p. 18 and p. 20.
Concilium, 47: AAS 56 (1964), pp. 113. 76) Cf. St Ambrose, De institutione
61) ibid. 102, 106: AAS 56 (1964), pp. virginis, chapter XII, 79: PL 16 (ed 1880),
125, 126. 339; Epistula 30, 3 and Epistula 42, 7:
62) "design to remember all who have ibid 1107 and 1175; Expositio evangelii
been pleasing to you throughout the ages secundum Lucam X 132. S Ch 52, p 200.
the holy Fathers, the Patriarchs, Prophets, S. Proclus of Constantinople, Oratio I, 1
Apostles... and the holy and glorious and Oratio V, 3: PG 65, 681 and 720; St.
Mother of God and all the saints... may Basil of Seleucia, Oratio XXXIX, 3: PG 85,
they remember our misery and poverty, 433; St. Andrew of Crete, Oratio IV: PG
and together with us may they offer you 97, 868: St Germanus of Constantinople,
this great and unbloody sacrifice": Oratio IIII, 15: PG 98, 305.
Anaphora Iacobi fratris Domini syriaca: 77) cf. St. Jerome, Adversus Iovinianum I,
Prex Eucharistica, ed. A. Hànggi-I. Pahl 33: PL 23, 267; St Ambrose, Epistula 63,
Fribourg, Editions Universitaires, 1968, p. 33: PL 16 (ed. 1880), 1249; De
274. institutione virginis, chapter XVII, 105:
63) Expositio Evangelii secundum Lucam ibid., 346; De Spiritu Sancto III, 79-80:
11 26: CSEL 32, IV, p. 55: S. Ch. 45, pp. CSEL 79, pp. 182-183; Sedulius, Hymn "A
83-84. solis ortus cardine", verses 13-14 CSEL
64) Cf. II Vatican Council, Dogmatic 10, p. 164; Hymnus Acathistos, Str 23; ed
Constitution on the Church, Lumen I. B. Pitra, Analecta Sacra, I, p. 261; St
Gentium, 62: AAS 57 (1965), p. 63. Proclue of Constantanople, Oratio I, 3: PG
65) Cf. II Vatican Council, Constitution on 65, 648; Oratio II, 6: Ibid., 700; St Basil of
the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Seleucia, Oratio IV, In Nativitatem B.
Concilium, 103: AAS 56 (1964), pp. 125. Mariae: PG 97, 868; St John Damascene,
66) Cf. II Vatican Council Dogmatic Oratio IV, 10: PG 96 677.
Constitution on the Church, Lumen 78) Cf. Severus of Antioch, Homilia 57: PO
Gentium 67: AAS 57 (1965), p. 65-66. 8, pp. 357-358; Hesychius of Jerusalem,
67) Cf. Ibid. Homilia de sancta Maria Deipara: PG 93,
68) Cf. II Vatican Council, Constitution on 1464; Chrysippus of Jerusalem, Oratio in
the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum sanctam Mariam Deiparam, 2 PO 19, p.
Concilium, 104: AAS 56 (1964), pp. 125- 338: St Andrew of Crete, Oratio V: PG 97,
126. 896: St John Damascene, Oratio VI, 6: PG
70) Cf. Paul VI, Talk of 24 April 1970, in 96, 972.
the church of Our Lady of Bonaria in 79) Liber Apotheosis, verses 571-572:
Cagliari: AAS 62 (1970) p. 300. CCL 126. p. 97.
71) Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Ineffabilis 80) Cf. S Isidore, De ortu et obitu Patrum,
Deus: Pii IX Pontificis Maximi Acta, I, 1, chapter LXVII III: PL 83, 148: St.
Rome 1854, p. 599. Cf. also V. Sardi. La Ildephonsus, De virginitate perpetua
solenne definizione del dogma sanctae Mariae, chapter X: PL 96, 95; St
dell'Immacolato concepimento di Maria Bernard, In Assumptione B. Virginis
Santissima, Atti e documenti..., Rome Mariae: Sermo IV, 4 PL 183, 428: In
1904-1905, vol. II, p. 302. Nativitate B. Virginis Mariae: ibid. 442 St
72) Cf. II Vatican Council, Dogmatic Peter Damien, Carmina sacra et preces II,
Constitution on the Church, Lumen Oratio ad Deum Filium: PL 145, 921;
Gentium 66: AAS 57 (1965), p. 65. Antiphonalium officii, ed. R.J. Hesbert,
73) S. Ildephonsus, De viginitate Rome 1970, vol IV, n. 6314, p. 80.
perpetua sanctae Mariae chapter XII: PL 81) Cf. Paulus Diaconus, Homilia I, In
96, 108. Assumptione B. Mariae Virginis: PL 95,
1567: De Assumptione sanctae Mariae

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Virginis: Paschasio Radherto trib, 31, 42, 95) Cf II Vatican Council, Dogmatic
57, 83: ed. A. Ripberger. in "Spicilegium Constitution on the Church, Lumen
Friburgense" 9, 1962, pp. 72, 76, 84, 96- Gentium, 69: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 66-67.
97; Eadmer of Canterbury, De excellentia 96) Cf ibid., 66: AAS 57 (1965), p. 65;
Virginis Mariae, chapters IV-V: PL 159 , Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,
562-567: St Bernard, In laudibus Virginis Sacrosanctum Concilium, 103: AAS 56
Matris. Homilia IV, 3: Sancti Bernardi (1964), p. 125.
Opera, ed. J Leclercq-H. Rochais, IV, Rome 97) II Vatican Council, Dogmatic
1966, pp. 49-50. Constitution on the Church, Lumen
82) Cf. Origen, In Lucam Homilia VII, 3: Gentium, 67: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 65-66.
PG 13 1817: S. Ch. 87, p. 156: St Cyril of 98) Ibid, 66: AAS 57 (1965), p. 65.
Alexandria, Commentarius in Aggacum 99)Cf. Paul VI, Address in the Vatican
prophetam, chapter XIX: PG 71, 1060: St Basilica to the Fathers of the Council, 21
Ambrose, De fide IV 9, 113-114: CSEL 78, November 1964: AAS 56 (1964), p. 1017.
pp. 197-198: Expositio evangelii 100) II Vatican Council Decree on
secundum Lucam I;, 23 and 27-28: CSEL Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, 20:
32, IV, pp. 53-54 and 55-56; Severianus AAS 57 (1965), p. 105.
Gabalensis, Antipater of Bostra Homilia in 101) Encyclical Letter, Adiutricem Populi:
Sanctissimae Deiparae Annuntiationem, AAS 28 (1895-1896), p. 135.
16; PG 85, 1785. 102) II Vatican Council Dogmatic
83) Cf. Eadmer of Canterbury, De Constitution on the Church, Lumen
excellentia Virginis Mariae chapter VII: P: Gentium, 56: AAS 57 (1965), p. 60.
159, 571: St Amedeus of Lausanne, De 103) Cf. St Peter Chrysologus, Sermo
Maria Virgini Matre, Homilia VII: PL 188, CXLIII: PL 52 583.
1337: S Ch 72, p. 184. 104) II Vatican Council Dogmatic
84) De virginitate perpetua sanctae Constitution on the Church, Lumen
Mariae, chapter XII: PL 96, 106. Gentium, 55: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 59-60.
85) II Vatican Council Dogmatic 105) Cf. Paul VI Apostolic Constitution,
Constitution on the Church, Lumen Signum Magnum I: AAS 59 (1967), pp.
Gentium, 54: AAS 57 (1965), p. 59. Cf. 467-468: Roman Missal, 15 September,
Paulus VI Allocutio ad Patres Conciliares Prayer over the gifts.
habua altera exacta Concilii Oecumenici 106) II Vatican Council Dogmatic
Vaticani Secundi Sessione, 4 December Constitution on the Church, Lumen
1963: AAS 56 (1964), p. 37. Gentium, 67: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 65-66.
86) II Vatican Council Dogmatic 107) St. Augustine, In Iohannis
Constitution on the Church, Lumen Evangelium, Tractatus X, 3; CCL 36, pp.
Gentium, 6, 7-8, 9-11: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 101-102; Epistula 243, Ad Laetum, 9:
8-9, 9-12, 12-21. CSEL 57, pp. 575-576; St Bede, In Lucae
87) Ibid., 63: AAS 57 (1965) p. 64. Evangelium expositio, IV, XI, 28: CCL 120,
88) St Cyprian, De Catholicae Ecclesiae p. 237: Homilia I, 4: CCL 122. pp. 26-27.
unitate, 5: CSEL 3, p. 214. 108) II Vatican Council Dogmatic
89) Isaac de Stella, Sermo LI, In Constitution on the Church, Lumen
Assumptione B. Mariae: PL 194, 1863. Gentium, 58: AAS 57 (1965), p. 61.
90) Sermo XXX, I: S. Ch. 164, p. 134. 109) Roman Missal, IV Sunday of Advent,
91) Cf II Vatican Council, Dogmatic Collect. Similarly the Collect of 25 March,
Constitution on the Church, Lumen which may be used in place of the
Gentium, 66-69: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 65- previous one in the recitation of the
67. Angelus.
92) Cf. II Vatican Council, Dogmatic 110) Pius XII, Letter to the Archbishop of
Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Manila "Philippinas Insulas": AAS 38
Verbum, 25: AAS 58 (1966), pp. 829-830. (1946), p. 419.
93) Or cit., 13: AAS 56 (1964), p. 103. 111) Discourse to the participants in the
94) Cf. Officium magni canonis III Dominican International Rosary
paracletici, Magnum Orologion Athens Congress: Insegnamenti di Paolo VI 1,
1963 p. 558: passim in liturgical canons (1963) pp. 463-464.
and prayers: cf. Sophronius Eustradiadou, 112) In AAS 58 (1966), pp. 745-749.
Theotokarion, Chennevieres-su Marne 113) In AAS 61 (1969), pp. 649-654.
1931, pp. 9, 19. 114) Cf. 13: AAS 56 (1964) pp. 103.

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115) Decree on the Lay Apostolate, 120) La Divina Commedia, Paradiso

Apostolicam Actuositatem, 11: AAS 58 XXXIII, 4-6.
(1966) p. 848. 121) Cf. II Vatican Council Dogmatic
116. II Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen
Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 60-63: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 62-
Gentium, 11: AAS 57 (1965), p. 16. 64.
117) Cf. II Vatican Council, Decree on the 122) Cf. ibid., 65: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 64-
Lay Apostolate, Apostolicam 65.
Actuositatem, 11: AAS 58 (1966) p. 848 123) Ibid., 65: AAS 57 (1965), p. 64.
118) Op cit., 27. 124) Cf. II Vatican Council, Pastoral
119) II Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution on the Church in the Modern
Constitution on the Church, Lumen World, Gaudium et Spes, 22: AAS 58
Gentium, 53: AAS 57 (1965), pp. 58-59. (1966), pp. 1042-1044.
125) Cf. Roman Missal 31 May Collect.

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