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St. Antoninus of Florence OP. Archbishop of Florence, 1389 - 1459 AD

St. Antoninus of Florence OP

Archbishop of Florence, 1389 - 1459 AD

St. Antoninus

Note. Antoninus was a man of great standing in the Church. As a theologian he took part in the Council of Florence (1439 AD) and gave hospitality in St. Mark's Covent to the Dominican theologians called to the council by Eugene IV. He was frequently consulted by Nicholas V on questions of Church and State,and was charged by Pius II to undertake, with several cardinals, the reform of the Roman Court. When his death occurred, 2 May, 1459 AD, Pius II gave instructions for the funeral, and presided at it eight days later. He was canonized by Adrian VI, 31 May, 1523.

Antoninus' most important work was the 1000-page, 4 volume, Summa Theologica Moralis, completed in 1458 AD, published in Venice in 1477, and reprinted in 15 editions throughout Europe within 50 years. Antoninus had imbibed the anti-feminine prejudices of the Decree of Gratian (he is said to have known its text by heart), but his true Catholic sense showed in his respect for Mary's womanhood.

Texts quoted in French by Réné Laurentin (in Maria, Ecclesia, Sacerdotium, Nouvelles Éditions Latines, Paris 1952, pp. 162-164) and translated into English by John Wijngaards.

Mary is full of grace

“The first fullness of grace is in God who gives grace but receives it from no one...No creature, not even Christ in his humanity, can give grace . . . The second fullness is in Christ in his humanity for as Isaiah says 11:2, "The Spirit will rest on him" with every grace with which he was filled . . . The third fullness, which is only received, according to measure and as an overflow from the source, is a certain habit of soul given by God to make the creature acceptable to Him, and the works of the creature proceeding from that grace meritorious and worthy of eternal life...It was this third fullness which was in Mary, in Stephen, and in Tabitha whom the Acts of the Apostles says was "full of good works". (9:36)”The first fullness of grace is in God who gives grace but receives it from no one...No creature, not even Christ in his humanity, can give grace . . . The second fullness is in Christ in his humanity for as Isaiah says 11:2, "The Spirit will rest on him" with every grace with which he was filled . . . The third fullness, which is only received, according to measure and as an overflow from the source, is a certain habit of soul given by God to make the creature acceptable to Him, and the works of the creature proceeding from that grace meritorious and worthy of eternal life...It was this third fullness which was in Mary, in Stephen, and in Tabitha whom the Acts of the Apostles says was "full of good works". (9:36)” Summa Theologica Moralis IV, Tit. 25, c.5, col l009f.

Mary exercised priestly functions

“The exterior act of worship consists in sacrifice and the building of temples and their consecration. All this Mary acieved in the extreme, for from her own heart and body she built a temple for the Holy Spirit, in which, after it had been consecrated, the Son of God lived . . . . Not only did she offer herself to God as a sacrifice through her vow of virginity, but she also offered up to God, of her own accord, her own Son, who had been formed out of her own flesh and blood, in his passion as a sacrifice for all of us, [a sacrifice] pleasing to God.” Summa Theologica Moralis, IV, Tit. 15, c. 17, § 4.

“Mary communicated to us her greatest good when offering Jesus in the Temple”. Summa Theologica Moralis, IV, Tit. 15, c. 26, § 1.

“Mary was associated with the Father of mercies in his greatest work of mercy, when she shared in the passion of her Son . . . and thus became the helper of our redemption and the Mother of our spiritual generation”. Summa Theologica Moralis, IV, Tit. 15, c.14, § 2.

“Mary was also very worthy in essence, that is: in her person, for she is the queen of heaven; she is the ‘queen who stands at the right hand of God in golden apparel’ (Ps 45,14); she is also the priestess [sacerdotissa] of justice because she did not spare her own Son, but stood by the Cross, not, as blessed Ambrose says, to just see the death of her Son, not to witness the suffering of her Son, but to look forward to the salvation of the human race, prepared herself to offer the Son of God for the salvation of the world”. Summa Theologica Moralis, IV, Tit. 15, c. 3, § 3.

“Through her Son Mary has absolved us from our guilt and punishment”. Summa Theologica Moralis, IV, Tit. 15, c.16, § 2.

Mary sacrificed Jesus on the cross

“Oh our Lady, how can I describe the flow of tears which fell from your chaste eyes when you saw your son before you, scourged, tied, innocently immolated, your only son: flesh from your flesh, cruelly wounded by these criminals; and you were then so conformed to the divine will and so anxious at this point for the salvation of the world that, will I dare to say it, if no one else could have been found to crucify your son in order to obtain the salvation of the world and to fulfil the very holy and reasonable will of God, you yourself, if it had been necessary, would have put him on the cross. Therefore let no one believe that Mary was less perfect or less obedient than Abraham who, with his own hands, offered his own son to God in sacrifice whom he was told to kill and consume in the fire; for Mary kept herself firm within the will of God.” Summa Theologica Moralis, IV, Tit. 15, c.41, §1, 3.

Mary is the model for priests

“This [to have an image of Mary suspended behind the altar] is a profitable arrangement so that the priest, while celebrating the sacred mysteries, can look at Mary and measure the quality of this woman to whom it was entrusted to make the Word, through her own word. The priest should reflect on what the priest should be like who on his word, or rather on the word of Christ spoken through him, makes from the substance of bread and wine the body and blood of Christ. Through the example of her humility and her chastity, let him learn to maintain a humble and chaste spirit, and let him make her mediate for himself, that she may intercede in his favour to be a worthy and faithful minister of such a sacrament.” Summa Theologica Moralis, IV, Tit. 15, c. 24, § 3.

Pagan and secular authors should be read

"[The pagan authors are scandalous in their lives, it is true,] “but this should not blind us to the truth of much that they have written, for truth wheresoever found is ever the truth of God”. (Summa Theologica Moralis I, Tit. 1, c. iv. p. 37 c).

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