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Letter to Women

Jesus' Sacrificial Death

It is our Christian belief that Jesus died for our sins, that is: that his death was the highest expression of his love. The whole of Jesus’ life was a gift of love to the Father, and this ‘sacrifice’ would have fully redeemed us, even if Jesus had not shed a drop of blood.

In the early Middle Ages a more violent theology arose, the medieval ‘satisfaction theory’. This theory stated that the forgiveness of sins required a bloody sacrifice and that therefore God the Father himself demanded that his Son should die a bloody sacrificial death.

This view is not correct and is no longer accepted by the Church. To understand why it is not correct, read the following documents:

Understanding the medieval satisfaction theory has relevance to Mariology. Since some theologians believed God had decreed Jesus’ sacrificial death by an absolute decree, they were convinced that Jesus’ sacrificial death was God’s absolute will. Mary, being in total accord with God’s will, was therefore believed to have also wanted Jesus’ bloody death. This explains some strange expressions about Mary, e.g. that she would, if necessary, have nailed Jesus to the cross with her own hands, and-so-on. The same applied to priestly spirituality. Priests too were expected to interiorly agree with God's demand for Jesus’ suffering!

The point in our research about the ordination of women is that throughout the ages theologians and spiritual writers saw Mary actively involved in Jesus' sacrificial death, as an officiating priest.

Overview of documents in this section
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Mary - why a priest? Theologians and writers Picture gallery Mary and Holy Orders Mary as sacrificial priest Mary, the model of priests
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Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

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