And what about Mary?

And what about Mary?


(Italics in the text by John Wijngaards)

Arms of John Paul II

12. . . . Even his Mother, who was so closely associated with the mystery of her Son, and whose incomparable role is emphasized by the Gospels of Luke and John, was not invested with the apostolic ministry. This fact was to lead the Fathers to present her as the example of Christ’s will in this domain; as Pope Innocent III repeated later, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, ‘Although the Blessed Virgin Mary surpassed in dignity and in excellence all the Apostles, nevertheless it was not to her but to them that the Lord entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. (11)

Note 11. Pope Innocent III, Epist. (I t December 1210) to the Bishops of Palencia and Burgos, included in Corpus Iuris, Decret. Lib. 5, tit. 38, De Paenit., ch. 10 Nova: ed. A. Friedberg vol. 2, colt 886-887; cf. Glossa in Decretal. Lib. 1, tit. 33, ch. 12 Dilecta, v° lurisdictioni. Cf. Saint Thomas, Summa Theologiae, 111, q. 27, a. 5 ad. ; Pseudo-Albert the Great, Mariale, quaest. 42, ed. Borgnet 37, 81.

For the full text, see: INTER INSIGNIORES.

From the Commentary by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the Declaration Inter Insigniores:

Sacred Congregation for Doctrine

49. . . . . It has been described above how Pope Innocent III saw a witness to Christ’s intentions in the fact that Christ did not communicate to his mother, in spite of her eminent dignity, the powers which he gave to the apostles.

50. This is one of the arguments most frequently repeated by tradition: from as early as the third century the fathers present Mary as the example of the will of Jesus in this matter.(40) It is an argument still particularly dear to Eastern Christians today. Nevertheless it is vigorously reflected by all those who plead in favour of the ordination of women.

51. Mary’s divine motherhood, the manner in which she was associated with the redeeming work of the Son they say put her in an altogether exceptional and unique position; and it would not even be fair to her to compare her with the apostles and to argue from the fact that she was not ranked among them.

52. In point of fact these assertions do have the advantage of making us understand that there are different functions within the Church: the equality of Christians is in harmony with the complementary nature of their tasks, and the sacramental ministry is not the only rank of greatness, nor is it necessarily the highest: it is a form of service of the kingdom. The Virgin Mary does not need the increase in ‘dignity’ that was once attributed to her by the authors of those speculations on the priesthood of Mary that formed a deviant tendency which was soon discredited.

Note 26. Chap. 15: ed. R. H. Connolly, pp.133 and 142.

Note 27. Lib.3, c.6,nn. 1-2;c.9,3-4;ed. F.X. Funk, p.191.

Note 28. Can. 24-28;-Greek text in F. X. Funk, Doctrina Duodecim Apostolorum, Tubingen, 1887, p.71; T. Schermann, Die allegemeine Kirchenordnung. . ., t.1, Paderborn, 1914, pp.31-33;-Syriac text in Octateuque de Clement, Lib. 3, c. 19-20, Latin text in the Verona ms., Bibl., capit, LV, ed. E. Tidner, Didascaliae Apostolorum, Canonum Ecclesiasticorum. Traditionis Apostolicae Versiones Latinae, Berlin, 1965 (TU 75), pp.111-113. The Coptic, Ethiopian and Arabic versions of the Synodos have been translated and published chiefly by G. Homer, The Statutes of the Apostles or Canones Ecclesiastici, Oxford University Press, 1915 (=1904).

Note 40. The documents cited in notes 26-28 above. Note also the curious Mariale falsely attributed to Albert the Great, quaest. 42, ed. Borgnet. t. 37, pp.80-81.

For the full text, see: Official Commentary on INTER INSIGNIORES.


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