One of the questions I sometimes am asked by non-Catholics is, “Why does the Church have all these teachings about Mary?” And that is a reasonable question.
To one who is not Catholic, or to one who has never cultivated a devotion to our Lord’s Blessed Mother, Catholic teachings and practices can seem strange, even very strange. But they are anything but!
The Church proclaims four dogmas (teachings that require the assent of faith) directly concerning Mary. They are:
- Mary is the “Mother of God”
- The Virgin Birth of Jesus and Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
- The Immaculate Conception of Mary and Mary’s Personal Sinlessness
- The Assumption of Mary
Each of these teachings reveals more about her Son than they do about Mary. They are Christ-centered (Christocentric) teachings. In other words, as the late Archbishop Sheen would say, we don’t start with Mary, but with her Son. Jesus we adore and worship, Mary, we venerate because of who her son is and the example of faith she lived and what learning about her can teach us about her Son.
In the coming weeks, I will examine each of these teachings and write about them; how and what they tell us about Christ, their biblical foundation, the history behind their proclamation and how they can inform and inspire our life as Christians.
Subsequent article on Mary – Mother of God