Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Good Economic News

We must take a number of issues into consideration before casting our vote. The economy is one of these important issues.

The Catholic Church is opposed to both communism and unrestricted capitalism. The Church recognizes that the economy is for people and not the other way around. In The United States we have many regulations that protect both workers and consumers. It can be argued that some of the regulations are too restrictive. Some would argue that more regulations are necessary.

When the Church condemns unrestricted capitalism, she is not condemning the American spirit of entrepreneurship. This spirit has helped many to rise out of poverty and live happy and successful lives.

Who has the best approach in fighting the war on poverty? There are many issues on which people of good will can come down on different sides, debate and disagree. People of good will can disagree about the best way to help the poor, but not whether or not we have an obligation to help the poor.

Democrats place their emphasis on higher taxes and increased government spending on programs that give direct aid to the poor. Republicans, while not neglecting government’s role to provide a safety net for the poor, tend to emphasize the role of the private sector; Churches, keeping families together, teaching personal responsibility and creating enterprise zones to fight poverty. Republicans tend to believe that families should be able to keep more of what they earn and that they are better able to decide how to spend it than the government.

This fits in very well with the Catholic principle of subsidiarity which was defined in Pope John Paul II’s 1991 encyclical Centisimus Annus in this way:

... the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.

Because the dominant mainstream media tend to have a bias against Republicans, they tend to downplay good news and emphasize the bad when a Republican Administration is in power. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is constantly predicting a recession. Some day there will be a recession and he no doubt will remind us if what a prophet he was. In the meantime, the United States is experiencing a booming economy thanks at least in part to the leadership of President Bush.

First let’s look at what President Bush inherited. At the end of the Clinton Administration there was a sharp decline in the stock market. This was due to corporate scandals at companies like Enron and Tyco. High technology stocks were found to be priced far above their real value. This was the Internet bubble-meltdown. Then the attacks of September 11 also took a huge toll on the economy.
But since then the economy has recovered remarkably, despite the Iraq War and the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. In mid-2003, President Bush slashed the high marginal tax rates on investment in mid-2003.

Since August of 2003, 5.5 million jobs have been created. The unemployment rate is at an historic low of 4.8%. An old Chinese proverb says that if you give a man a fish, you have fed him for the day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Isn't it better to create a strong economy that produces jobs, rather than strangle the economy with high taxes and increase government spending on anti-poverty programs which have proved to exacerbate the problem of poverty by creating dependency and breaking up families?

In Centisimus Annus Pope John Paul II, while acknowledging government's role to help the poor, strongly criticized the "Social Assistance State by saying:

...excesses and abuses, especially in recent years, have provoked very harsh criticisms of the Welfare State, dubbed the "Social Assistance State." Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State.

....By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbors to those in need.

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States. GDP is considered the best measure of the country's economic condition. GDP has grown 4 percent in the first half of 2006. In fact, there have been only 6 negative GDP quarters since President Reagan’s tax cuts of 1981. Top tax rates were at 70 percent before Reagan cut them. They were at 91 percent when Democrat President John F. Kennedy cut taxes. Kennedy’s tax cuts also helped to spur economic growth in the 1960’s.

How does cutting taxes help economic growth? When individuals are allowed to keep more of the money they earn, they spend it and invest it. Businesses use this money to grow their business and hire new workers who also spend and invest. In turn, this leads to even more revenues collected in taxes. Tax revenue has grown around 14.5 percent for the second year in a row. 11.4 percent was expected. This is the biggest gain in 25 years. Total tax receipts collected in 2006 are on target to be $2.4 trillion. This is about $400 billion the amount collected in the peak year of 2000. Income-tax collections have grown largely due to the success of owner-operated business entrepreneurs and other self-employed.

There are two measures of employment in the United States. One is called the household survey. The self-employed are not always taken into account in other surveys. They tend to prefer unincorporated Subchapter S or limited-liability company partnerships and are often not counted. They are counted in the household employment survey which is at a record high.

Rising tax revenue also means that federal budget deficit is shrinking. Deficits are 30% lower than expected. The Congressional Budget Office now acknowledges that deficit projections were $100 billion too high.

Among other signs of a thriving economy are that retail sales in July were far above Wall Street’s expectations. Industrial production is up 5%. Productivity rates are high. Mortgage rates are declining. The stock market is close a five year high. Inflation also remains low. The Federal Reserve decided at its August 8 meeting to hold interest rates at 5.25%. Long term bond rates are falling. Gold prices are also falling. This is another sign of low inflation.

Growing economies in China and India have increased demand and higher prices, but finally, gas prices are falling. Higher prices have led to less gas consumption. Gas companies have also used their profits to increase production. For the first time in fifteen years, over 1000 oil wells have been drilled in the United States. Total oil exploration and development is 30 percent higher than in 2005. Unleaded gasoline futures have been dropping. Thus we can expect relief at the pump soon. Obviously we need to focus on alternatives to fossil fuels, so that we are no longer dependent on foreign counties at enmity with us.

Larry Kudlow, a recent convert to the Catholic faith, says of the current economy ”With low tax-rates, strong economic growth, and shrinking budget deficits,— it’s still the greatest story never told.

Many of the issues discussed above are issues about which people of good will can debate and disagree. We can debate over the best way to help the poor, but not about whether we have an obligation to help the poor. We can debate and disagree about how to bring legal protection to unborn children, but not whether unborn children deserve such protection.

In debating various approaches to the economy and helping the poor, no policy proposed by either of the major political parties rises to the level of the protection of the unborn. Thus if all other things were equal, if one were to agree with a particular candidate’s approach to the economy over another candidate’s position, it would not be a sufficient reason to vote for the candidate if that candidate, if your favored candidate was “pro-choice” on the issue of abortion. Since the choice involves the taking of an innocent human life.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew

This picture and the article below is from the Web of Gallery Art.

TIEPOLO, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1696, Venezia, d. 1770, Madrid)

Tiepolo was the most exuberant and influential, and arguably the greatest, painter in eighteenth-century Europe before the rise of Neo-Classicism. He revived the full glories of the Venetian Renaissance enriched with references to Rubens, Rembrandt, and the Roman Baroque. Tiepolo helped create the style of large-scale decorative programs embarked on by courts across the continent. His fame rests chiefly on his huge frescos but he should also be remembered as an extremely versatile painter, able to move freely from one art form to another and to adapt to the most disparate subjects. He was a pupil of Gregorio Lazzarini but soon surpassed him, being just 21 when he became a member of the Venetian Painters' Guild. In 1719 he married Cecilia Guardi, sister of the two painters Francesco and Gianantonio. He was attracted by the experimental work being done by Piazzetta and Sebastiano Ricci (working alongside them on the paintings in S. Stae in 1722).

The subject of the painting is the martyrdom of St Bartholomew, whose tormentors are on the point of flaying him alive. The awfulness of the scene is matched by the extremely powerful composition which places the writhing body of the saint along the diagonal between the two henchmen. The eerie contrast between light and shade makes the scene all the more vivid. The expressive gesture with which the despairing saint stretches his arm heavenward transforms the picture into a wonderful depiction of divine grace, the existence of which is already signaled by the bright light emanating from above.

Iraq War: Vatican Has Called For More Troops to Stabilze Iraq

It is widely known that the Vatican opposed the Iraq War in 2003 and the Persian Gulf War before that in 1991. What is not as widely known is that the Vatican has called on more countries to send troops to Iraq to stabilize the nation

In an interview with La Stampa on September 22, 2004 Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State said of Iraq:

"The child has been born. "It may be illegitimate, but it's here, and it must reared and educated."

Some have also given the false impression that Christianity demands we be pacificists. The Church's teaching on just war, which neither Pope John Paul II nor Pope Benedict XVI contradicted, is also not well known. Here is a link to this teaching in the Catechism stated in the context of 5th Commandment:

Some try to give the impression that if a person disagrees with the Vatican's position against the Iraq war, it is the same as dissenting against Catholic teaching.

In his memo to Cardinal McCarrick which was made public in July 2004, Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger in his position as the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faiith, made it clear that the Vatican's position against the Iraq War was not equivalent to the Church's teaching against abortion.

In his memo, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the following:

"3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

See the complete memo at:

At the end of this post see the words of Cardinal Camillo Ruini invoking the memory of September 11, 2001 of a clash of civilizations and his strong call for the international community to oppose organized terror with the greatest energy and determination.

Here is more on the Vatican's view of the situation in Iraq from:

The follwing article was published September 29, 2004.

The Vatican Deploys its Divisions in Iraq – Under the Banner of NATO

An interview with Cardinal Sodano and an editorial in "Avvenire" invoke greater military support for Allawi's government and for the emerging Iraqi democracy, through a heavy deployment of troops from the Atlantic Alliance

by Sandro Magister

ROMA – The pope and the leaders of the Roman Church did not say it themselves, but they conveyed an unmistakable message. They are strongly in favor of a massive NATO commitment in Iraq, to support the government of Iyad Allawi and to guarantee free elections.

Speaking on their behalf, on the front page of its Sunday, September 26 edition, was the newspaper "Avvenire," which is headed by the Italian bishops' conference and by the organization's president, the pope's cardinal vicar, Camillo Ruini.

In an editorial by the newspaper's leading expert on international policy, Vittorio E. Parsi, a professor at the Catholic University of Milan, "Avvenire" reminded Europe and the West of its "duty" to assure free elections in Iraq, by reinforcing their military presence in the country through "the only body with the necessary resources: NATO."

An editorial so strongly exhortatory, printed on a Sunday on the front page of the bishops' newspaper, cannot be the result of chance. It is born from a decision made at the highest levels of the Church.

That such a decision was brewing could be guessed from a growing number of indications during the days immediately beforehand.

The first indication came on September 20. Cardinal Ruini spoke to the permanent council of the Italian bishops' conference, and repeated the duty of the Christian West to "oppose organized terror with the greatest energy and determination, without giving the slightest impression of considering their blackmail and their impositions," and at the same time, to transform into "our principal allies" the elements of the Muslim world that desire liberty and democracy.

Ruini is known to have been one of the protagonists of the apparent turnaround in Vatican policy on Iraq, in the fall of 2003: from the condemnation and rejection of war to determined support for the presence of western "peacekeeping" troops in the country.

The second indication came on Tuesday, September 21. An appeal was made in the newspaper "Il Foglio" for the Italian government to become a promoter within NATO and the European Union of a massive deployment of the troops of the Atlantic Alliance, "for the time necessary to secure the right of the Iraqis to vote and to select for the first time their parliament, their constitution, and their government."

The appeal was signed by Marta Dassù, the director of the magazine of the Aspen Institute in Italy; Giuliano Ferrara, the director of "Il Foglio"; Piero Ostellino, the former director of "Corriere della Sera," the leading Italian daily; and Vittorio E. Parsi, for "Avvenire." This last name is the most intriguing. Observers of Vatican affairs wondered to what extent, in taking this step, he was reflecting the orientation of pontifical diplomacy.

And the third indication gives an initial response to the question. On Wednesday, September 22, the New York correspondent of the newspaper "La Stampa," Paolo Mastrolilli, published an interview with the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano (in the photo).

Sodano was in New York at the time for an international conference on world hunger, as a guest of the Vatican observer at the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore. In the interview, he expressed admiration for the United States and biting criticism of an excessively anti-American and secularist Europe, and also against the "wearing down" of the UN.

He was silent on the theory of preventive war. But he asked that the UN Charter recognize the right to intervene militarily in countries that trample upon human rights.

Sodano was elusive about what Cardinal Ruini calls the "global threat" of Islamic origin – as is the practice in Vatican diplomacy, which is anxious not to worsen conditions for the Christian minorities in Muslim countries. Sodano limited himself to speaking of "criminal gangs."

But he clearly defined as a "duty" the international community's support for the government of Iyad Allawi, independently of judgments about the war:

"The child has been born. It may be illegitimate, but it's here, and it must be reared and educated."

But he didn't say how to help Iraq concretely, especially in terms of the crucial passage of the future elections.

It was Vittorio E. Parsi who explained this – or, better, explained it again – in his editorial in the bishops' newspaper on Sunday, September 26. How? With "tens of thousands of soldiers" sent by NATO to complete the forces of the troops already in the field, both American and others.

Parsi expresses harsh criticism of the "laziness" of countries like France and of those who dream of rights undefended by the force of arms. But his strongest polemics are reserved for those who wish to "isolate" and "abandon" Iraq.

Vatican policy – he writes – is opposed to this. It was opposed when it came out against sanctions, which brought hunger to the people instead of isolating and overthrowing the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. And it is still opposed, when it asks, not for the withdrawal, but for the reinforcement of peacekeeping troops:

"It is no coincidence that those who authoritatively opposed both sanctions and the war now ask that the Iraqi people not be left defenseless."

Here, in its entirety, is the front page editorial from the Sunday, September 26, 2004 edition of "Avvenire":

Scenarios for Iraq. At this point, only the NATO card is left

by Vittorio E. Parsi

The situation in Iraq worsens by the day, confirming the easy predictions that the months between the appointment of the interim government headed by Allawi and the first free elections would be terrible. It must be said that the terrorists and the followers of the old regime are doing their best to bring about a plan as simple as it is outrageous: to isolate Iraq from the world, to feed a xenophobic war that may then leave them free to settle accounts in the only way they know, a brutal butcher's way.

What they want is, in fact, not "Iraq for the Iraqis," but "Iraq for the assassins," assassins above all of the Iraqi people. When the last foreigner – whether soldier or volunteer – leaves the country, the terrorists will have won, and the Iraqi people will again have lost. Thus all of Iraq will become a colossal common area for fundamentalist terrorism, for the brigands of Baath, and for the most extremist Shiite mullahs.

The international community, and the West, which objectively holds within this community the greatest share of power, culture, and responsibility, have the duty of blocking the realization of this plan.

The first necessary step in that direction is that of guaranteeing that the January elections be carried out as freely as possible. To accomplish this, it seems indispensable to identify the objectively qualified political-military instrument capable of translating these principles into action.

As difficult as the prospect may seem, and as arduous as obtaining the pledge may be, there is today only one instrument that has the necessary prerequisites: NATO.

The Atlantic Alliance, with its attitudes and counterbalances, is the multilateral institution that can assume the onus of protecting the right of the Iraqis to express their political will by voting.

Even the European countries that opposed the American decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime with a unilateral war know well that an Iraq in the hands of the worst terrorists and criminals goes against the interests of all: of the West as of the Arab-Islamic world. Thinking that the withdrawal of American troops would of itself permit the improvement of the situation, or even the reduction of concern, is pure naiveté. Moreover, the only condition that can bring about a reduction in the American presence in Iraq is the multilateralization of the crisis: including, and especially, from the military point of view.

So the West is again facing the decision of whether to marginalize Iraq or to anchor it more stably within the international community.

During the time of Saddam Hussein, for more than ten years, the disastrous decision was that of isolating him through sanctions: this brought hunger to the people and left intact the power of tyranny, a power that only an extremely controversial war was able to overthrow.

Today, in order to avoid "Islamist contagion,” some delude themselves that it may be possible to abandon Iraq behind a security barrier made of laziness and pretended indifference.

It is no coincidence that those who authoritatively opposed both sanctions and the war now ask that the Iraqi people not be left defenseless. What is at stake here is no longer the ambitious plan to export democracy through the force of arms, but allowing the force of arms to be employed to defend the right of the Iraqis to vote for their own parliament, which is the first and indispensable step to bring the country toward true autonomy, and away from the ravages of systematized violence.

* * *

And these are the salient passages of the interview with the Vatican secretary of state in "La Stampa," September 22, 2004:

Cardinal Sodano: “Why we must support Allawi”

by Paolo Mastrolilli

Q: What is your opinion on Iraq?

A: "I realize that opinions on the present situation in Iraq vary greatly because of the differing political orientations of those who nevertheless seek to examine the whole in a comprehensive view. But we should all agree on one thing: now we must help those people who live between the Tigris and the Euphrates to live in peace and to be reconciled among themselves. They have already suffered too much. Now we must help the Allawi government. In Europe, there is a discussion about the legitimacy of the new executive [in charge in Baghdad], and perhaps history's judgment on the intervention in Iraq will be severe. But we must face facts: the child has been born. It may be illegitimate, but it's here, and it must be reared and educated. Soon the government will even appoint an ambassador to the Holy See. The Holy See already has an apostolic nunzio in Baghdad, Archbishop Filoni, who has remained in Iraq throughout this difficult time. The present challenge is that of reconciliation. This is also the challenge issued by the Christians of Iraq, who remember well that it was there, in Ur of the Chaldeans, that the great adventure of the three great monotheistic religions began, with Abraham: Jews, Christians, and Muslims, who must recognize each other as children of the same omnipotent and merciful God."

Q: But the kidnappings and violence continue.

A: "This is often a matter of criminal gangs that are taking advantage of the lack of authority. This also happened to us, in Italy, at the end of the Second World War. I remember when I was a young man in Asti, and one day I heard shouting in the street. I came out, and I saw one man beating another. I came over to separate them, and the man being beaten told me that he had been a fascist, but had never touched his aggressor. Another young man had worse luck, and was found dead beneath a tree. Let's be clear: the nazis committed terrible atrocities. But how many crimes were committed in Italy after the war, for example in the Emilia Romagna region, because of the lack of authority! And yet our country is a cradle of civilization. Something similar is now happening in Iraq, where there is also an important political factor."

Q: What would that be?

A: "The terrorists know that a foothold of democracy in Baghdad would cause difficulty for the neighboring countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, where one can still be imprisoned for the possession of a crucifix." [...]

Q: President Bush has spoken to the UN in a "glass palace" armored against the threat of terrorism.

A: "New York has seemed to me like a city under siege, but self-defense is a primary obligation. This anti-Americanism is easy in Europe, but someone who has been burned once has different priorities. Naturally, terrorism cannot be defeated solely through security measures and military instruments, but the people must be protected,"

Q: In the United States, faith and values play a central role.

A: "It's true. In the United States, religious values are deeply held. This is to the credit of this great country where a model of society has been created that other peoples should also reflect. Frequently, in Europe, the proper secularism of the state has degenerated into a militant secularism that erases the memory of the historical heritage of our continent." […]

Q: There is an intense debate in progress at the UN about reform. What is the position of the Holy See?

A: "Any human organization can be improved. The Holy See has always supported this institution, notwithstanding its exhaustion with the passage of time. John Paul II has often expressed hope that it will really become 'a family of nations', elevating itself from a purely administrative level. […] On the part of the Holy See, there is hope that a new principle that a new principle will be introduced into the Charter of the United Nations; that is, the possibility, even the duty, of 'humanitarian intervention' in extreme situations in which human rights are trampled upon within a country."

Links to the newspapers in which appeared Parsi's editorial, the interview with Sodano, and the appeal for sending NATO troops to Iraq:

> Avvenire

> La Stampa

> Il Foglio

The full text of the appeal from Parsi, Dassù, Ferrara, and Ostellino:

> “La proposta è questa: un solido contingente della NATO...”

The salient passages, on Iraq and the Islamist "global menace," from the relation by Cardinal Camillo Ruini to the permanent council of the Italian bishops' conference on September 20, 2004:

"Three years after September 11, 2001, we must unfortunately recognize the fact that the foreshadowings and intentions of destruction contained in that terrible event continue to be played out in the world. In recent months, they have found ever more frequent and radical expression. Iraq has been, for some time now, the principal hotbed of destabilization. […] But Iraq is certainly not the only area and the sole motive of conflict. […] Faced with this global menace, which was unforeseen until just a few years ago, we are all put to the test: as individual peoples, as an international community, and even specifically as Christians. […] In effect, the international community must oppose organized terror with the greatest energy and determination, without giving even the impression of considering their blackmail and impositions. At the same time, it is called to work, insofar as possible and on different levels, to remove the causes of terrorism – cultural, moral, economic, and political – and to reclaim its areas of cultivation, which does not mean in any way giving terrorism itself alibis or justifications. In this arduous but necessary effort, our principal allies must be all those persons and groups that belong to Islam but do not acknowledge the ideology of the clash of civilizations, much less the strategy of terror."


On this website, on the apparent turnaround of Vatican policy in the fall of 2003:

> Iraq: The Church Goes on a Mission of Peace (28.11.2003)

Also on this site, a selection of articles on Iraq and the Muslim world:

> Focus on ISLAM

English translation by Matthew Sherry: >

Go to the home page of >, to access the latest articles and links to other resources.

Sandro Magister’s e-mail address is

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

August 22 The Queenship of Mary

The following is from:

Ad caeli Reginam
Encyclical of Pope Pius XII on proclaiming the Queenship Of Mary, 11 October 1954.

Excerpts from sections 1-40.

From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother's solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.

From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He "will reign in the house of Jacob forever,"[5] "the Prince of Peace,"[6] the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."[7] And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God.

Hence it is not surprising that the early writers of the Church called Mary "the Mother of the King" and "the Mother of the Lord," basing their stand on the words of St. Gabriel the archangel, who foretold that the Son of Mary would reign forever,[8] and on the words of Elizabeth who greeted her with reverence and called her "the Mother of my Lord."[9] Thereby they clearly signified that she derived a certain eminence and exalted station from the royal dignity of her Son.

So it is that St. Ephrem, burning with poetic inspiration, represents her as speaking in this way: "Let Heaven sustain me in its embrace, because I am honored above it. For heaven was not Thy mother, but Thou hast made it Thy throne. How much more honorable and venerable than the throne of a king is his mother."[10] And in another place he thus prays to her: ". . . Majestic and Heavenly Maid, Lady, Queen, protect and keep me under your wing lest Satan the sower of destruction glory over me, lest my wicked foe be victorious against me."[11]

She is called by St. John Damascene: "Queen, ruler, and lady,"[23] and also "the Queen of every creature."[24] Another ancient writer of the Eastern Church calls her "favored Queen," "the perpetual Queen beside the King, her son," whose "snow-white brow is crowned with a golden diadem."[25]

As We have already mentioned, Venerable Brothers, according to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her Divine Motherhood.

But the Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation. "What more joyful, what sweeter thought can we have"--as Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI wrote --"than that Christ is our King not only by natural right, but also by an acquired right: that which He won by the redemption? Would that all men, now forgetful of how much we cost Our Savior, might recall to mind the words, 'You were redeemed, not with gold or silver which perishes, . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb spotless and undefiled.[43] We belong not to ourselves now, since Christ has bought us 'at a great price'."[44]/[45]

Now, in the accomplishing of this work of redemption, the Blessed Virgin Mary was most closely associated with Christ; and so it is fitting to sing in the sacred liturgy: "Near the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ there stood, sorrowful, the Blessed Mary, Queen of Heaven and Queen of the World."[46] Hence, as the devout disciple of St. Anselm (Eadmer, ed.) wrote in the Middle Ages: "just as . . . God, by making all through His power, is Father and Lord of all, so the blessed Mary, by repairing all through her merits, is Mother and Queen of all; for God is the Lord of all things, because by His command He establishes each of them in its own nature, and Mary is the Queen of all things, because she restores each to its original dignity through the grace which she merited.[47]

From these considerations, the proof develops on these lines: if Mary, in taking an active part in the work of salvation, was, by God's design, associated with Jesus Christ, the source of salvation itself, in a manner comparable to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the source of death, so that it may be stated that the work of our salvation was accomplished by a kind of "recapitulation,"[49] in which a virgin was instrumental in the salvation of the human race, just as a virgin had been closely associated with its death; if, moreover, it can likewise be stated that this glorious Lady had been chosen Mother of Christ "in order that she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race";[50] and if, in truth, "it was she who, free of the stain of actual and original sin, and ever most closely bound to her Son, on Golgotha offered that Son to the Eternal Father together with the complete sacrifice of her maternal rights and maternal love, like a new Eve, for all the sons of Adam, stained as they were by his lamentable fall,"[51] then it may be legitimately concluded that as Christ, the new Adam, must be called a King not merely because He is Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so, analogously, the Most Blessed Virgin is queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, as the new Eve, she was associated with the new Adam.

Certainly, in the full and strict meaning of the term, only Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is King; but Mary, too, as Mother of the divine Christ, as His associate in the redemption, in his struggle with His enemies and His final victory over them, has a share, though in a limited and analogous way, in His royal dignity. For from her union with Christ she attains a radiant eminence transcending that of any other creature; from her union with Christ she receives the royal right to dispose of the treasures of the Divine Redeemer's Kingdom; from her union with Christ finally is derived the inexhaustible efficacy of her maternal intercession before the Son and His Father.

Hence it cannot be doubted that Mary most Holy is far above all other creatures in dignity, and after her Son possesses primacy over all. "You have surpassed every creature," sings St. Sophronius. "What can be more sublime than your joy, O Virgin Mother? What more noble than this grace, which you alone have received from God"?[52] To this St. Germanus adds: "Your honor and dignity surpass the whole of creation; your greatness places you above the angels."[53] And St. John Damascene goes so far as to say: "Limitless is the difference between God's servants and His Mother."[54]


5. Luc. 1, 32.
6. Isai. IX, 6.
7. Apoc. XIX, 16.
8. Cf. Luc. 1, 32, 33.
9. Luc. 1, 43.
10. S. Ephraem, Hymni de B Maria, ed. Th. J. Lamy, t. II, Mechliniae, 1886, hymn. XIX, p. 624.
11. Idem, Oratio ad Ssmam Dei Matrem; Opera omnia, Ed. Assemani, t. III (graece), Romae, 1747, pag. 546.
23. S. Ioannes Damascenus, Homilia I in Dormitionem B.M.V. : P.G. XCVI, 719 A.
24. Id., De fide orthodoxa, I, IV, c. 14: PG XLIV, 1158 B.
25. De laudibus Mariae (inter opera Venantii Fortunati): PL LXXXVIII, 282 B et 283 A.
43. I Petr. 1, 18, 19.
44. I Cor. Vl, 20.
45. Pius XI, litt. enc. Quas primas: AAS XVII, 1925, p. 599.
46. Festum septem dolorum B. Mariae Virg., Tractus.
47. Eadmerus, De excellentia Virginis Mariae, c. 11: PL CLIX, 508 A B.
49. S. Irenaeus, Adv. haer. , V, 19, 1: PG VII, 1175 B.
50. Pius XI, epist. Auspicatus profecto: AAS XXV, 1933, p. 80.
51. Pius XII, litt. enc. Mystici Corporis: AAS XXXV, 1943, p. 247.
52. S. Sophronius, In annuntianone Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG LXXXVII, 3238 D; 3242 A.
53. S. Germanus, Hom. II in dormitione Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG XCVIII, 354 B.
54. S. Ioannes Damascenus, Hom. I in Dormitionem Beatae Mariae Virginis: PG XCVI, 715 A.


Excerpted from Pope Pius XII's encyclical letter on proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, Ad caeli Reginam, 11 October 1954

View the complete text of Ad caeli Reginam from the EWTN Online Services ftp site.
Electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1996. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

August 23 Memorial of St. Rose of Lima

The following article on the life of St. Rose of Lima (1586-1631) is drawn from articles on the following websites:

St. Rose of Lima was born on April 20, 1586 in Lima, Peru. Her name was Isabel Flores de Oliva. Her father, Gasper de Flores, was a soldier and her mother, Maria d'Oliva, was of Incan descent. At three months old, Isabella was in her cradle as her mother and several other women were sitting around. It is said there suddenly appeared in the air a beautiful rose, which gently touched the face of the baby and then vanished; from that day on Maria called her Rose.

St. Rose had a great love of God throughout her whole life. Even as a child, whenever she spoke of Him it was with great reverence and tender devotion. Her face would also light up as she spoke of God. This appeared most visibly as she prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament. She would often spend hours before the Blessed Sacrament and received Holy Communion daily, which was not customary at the time.

She was obedient to her parents and very hard working around the house. She was especially skilled at embroidery. The writings of the Dominican, St. Catherine of Siena, were a great inspiration to her and St. Rose began to model her life after her. She sought to overcome her excessive self love and pride through prayer, fasting and other mortifications. She began fasting three days a week. As a young woman, she hid her physical beauty so that she would not be a temptation to anyone. Once she rubbed her face with pepper until it was all red and blistered. She cut off her beautiful hair, wore coarse clothing, and roughened her hands with hard work. Her parents pressured her to marry, but she took a vow of virginity. Because of her way of life she suffered persecution from family, friends and others. After many years, through patience and prayer she eventually won her parents’ blessing to continue her mission.

St. Rose had a great devotion to the Infant Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. She would sometimes spend hours before her altar. She spent her days doing fine embroidery and in acts of charity. When her work permitted, she retired to a little grotto which she had built, with her brother's help, in their small garden, and there passed her nights in solitude and prayer. With the consent of her spiritual director, she was allowed later to become practically a recluse in this cell, except for her visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

At the age of 20, she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic. She agonized over violent temptations from against purity, faith and perseverance. To combat these temptations she redoubled penances and began to wear a metal spiked crown, concealed by roses, and an iron chain around her waist. Each day Jesus consoled her by making Himself known to her with proof of His Divine Love. She began to totally abstain from all meat and finally took whatever meager food that was necessary to support her life. She constructed a bed for herself of broken glass, stone, potsherds, and thorns. She admitted that the thought of lying down on it made her tremble with dread."

She continued these severe penances for fourteen years without relaxation. At these times she offered to Him all her mortifications and penances in expiation for offenses against His Divine Majesty, for the idolatry of her country, the conversion of sinners and for the souls in Purgatory. Throughout this time Jesus revealed Himself to her frequently, flooding her soul with such inexpressible peace and joy as to leave her in ecstasy four hours.

In her final illness she asked the Lord to increase her sufferings and with them the love in her heart. She died at the age of 31 on August 30, 1617. Many miracles were reported to be worked through her intercession after her death.

St. Rose of Lima was beatified by Pope Clement IX in 1667 and canonized in 1671 by Pope Clement X. She was the first saint of the New World of the Americas. She is the patroness of the South America, especially Peru, the Philippines, India, Santa Rosa, California, florists and gardeners, embroiderers and people ridiculed for their piety. She is represented wearing a crown of roses.

The following is from the Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours, August 23

It is found on the following website:

Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: "Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven."

When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: "Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep participation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul."

That same force strongly urged me to proclaim the beauty of divine grace. It pressed me so that my breath came slow and forced me to sweat and pant. I felt as if my soul could no longer be kept in the prison of the body, but that it had burst its chains and was free and alone and was going very swiftly through the whole world saying:

"If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! Without doubt they would devote all their care and concern to winning for themselves pains and afflictions. All men throughout the world would seek trouble, infirmities and torments, instead of good fortune, in order to attain the unfathomable treasure of grace. This is the reward and the final gain of patience. No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men."

The Arab/Muslim Nazi Connection

Are we involved in a religious war? Whether or not we believe it is, we must realize a religious war has been declared against us. The following article is instructive concerning the enemy we face. The article is from:

The Arab/Muslim Nazi Connection

Bosnian Moslems recruited the Nazi SS by Yasser Arafat's "Uncle" (1)
Left: A picture taken in 1943 of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin el-Husseini reviewing Bosnian-Muslim troops - a unit of the "Hanjar (Saber) Division" of the Waffen SS which he personally recruited for Hitler.

Arab leaders and media outlets have long been addicted to comparing Israel to the Nazi regime, while at the same time demeaning the extent of the Holocaust. This obsession with defaming and antagonizing the Jewish people and state was on full display in recent months and reached a crescendo – or rather nadir – the day before Pope John Paul II visited the Temple Mount during his Holy Land pilgrimage. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, just hours before hosting the Pope, gave a series of press interviews, first telling the AP: "The figure of 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust is exaggerated and is used by the Israelis to gain international support… It’s not my problem. Muslims didn’t do anything on this issue. It’s the doing of Hitler who hated the Jews," asserted the acid-tongued Mufti – a figure appointed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. "Six million? It was a lot less," Sabri repeated for an Italian newspaper. "It’s not my fault if Hitler hated the Jews. Anyway, they hate them ju

The Fuhrer’s Mufti: After World War I, the Great Powers of Europe jockeyed for influence in the Middle East’s oil fields and trade routes, with France and Britain holding mandates throughout most of the region. In the 1930s, the fascist regimes that arose in Italy and Germany sought greater stakes in the area, and began courting Arab leaders to revolt against their British and French custodians. Among their many willing accomplices was Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini, who fled Palestine after agitating against the British during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39. He found refuge in Iraq – another of Her Majesty’s mandates – where he again topped the British most wanted list after helping pull the strings behind the Iraqi coup of 1941. The revolt in Baghdad was orchestrated by Hitler as part of a strategy to squeeze the region between the pincers of Rommel’s troops in North Africa, German forces in the Caucuses and pro-Nazi forces in Iraq. However, in June 1941 British troops put down the rebellion and the Muft

Once in Berlin, the Mufti received an enthusiastic reception by the "Islamische Zentralinstitut" and the whole Islamic community of Germany, which welcomed him as the "Fuhrer of the Arabic world." In an introductory speech, he called the Jews the "most fierce enemies of the Muslims" and an "ever corruptive element" in the world. Husseini soon became an honored guest of the Nazi leadership and met on several occasions with Hitler. He personally lobbied the F?hrer against the plan to let Jews leave Hungary, fearing they would immigrate to Palestine. He also strongly intervened when Adolf Eichman tried to cut a deal with the British government to exchange German POWs for 5000 Jewish children who also could have fled to Palestine. The Mufti’s protests with the SS were successful, as the children were sent to death camps in Poland instead. One German officer noted in his journals that the Mufti would liked to have seen the Jews "preferably all killed." On a visit to Auschwitz, he reportedly admonished the guards

To show gratitude towards his hosts, in 1943 the Mufti travelled several times to Bosnia, where on orders of the SS he recruited the notorious "Hanjar troopers," a special Bosnian Waffen SS company which slaugh-tered 90% of Bosnia’s Jews and burned countless Serbian churches and villages. These Bosnian Muslim recruits rapidly found favor with SS chief Heinrich Himmler, who established a special Mullah Military school in Dresden.

The only condition the Mufti set for his help was that after Hitler won the war, the entire Jewish population in Palestine should be liquidated. After the war, Husseini fled to Switzerland and from there escaped via France to Cairo, were he was warmly received. The Mufti used funds received earlier from the Hilter regime to finance the Nazi-inspired Arab Liberation Army that terrorized Jews in Palestine.

The Arab Embrace of Nazism: Husseini represents the prevalent pro-Nazi posture among the Arab/Muslim world before, during and even after the Holocaust. The Nazi-Arab connection existed even when Adolf Hitler first seized power in Germany in 1933. News of the Nazi takeover was welcomed by the Arab masses with great enthusiasm, as the first congratulatory telegrams Hitler received upon being appointed Chancellor came from the German Consul in Jerusalem, followed by those from several Arab capitals. Soon afterwards, parties that imitated the National Socialists were founded in many Arab lands, like the "Hisb-el-qaumi-el-suri" (PPS) or Social Nationalist Party in Syria. Its leader, Anton Sa’ada, styled himself the F?hrer of the Syrian nation, and Hitler became known as "Abu Ali" (In Egypt his name was "Muhammed Haidar"). The banner of the PPS displayed the swastika on a black-white background. Later, a Lebanese branch of the PPS – which still receives its orders from Damascus – was involved in the assassination

The most influential party that emulated the Nazis was "Young Egypt," which was founded in October 1933. They had storm troopers, torch processions, and literal translations of Nazi slogans – like "One folk, One party, One leader." Nazi anti-Semitism was replicated, with calls to boycott Jewish businesses and physical attacks on Jews. Britain had a bitter experience with this pro-German mood in Egypt, when the official Egyptian government failed to declare war on the Wehrmacht as German troops were about to conquer Alexandria.

After the war, a member of Young Egypt named Gamal Abdul Nasser was among the officers who led the July 1952 revolution in Egypt. Their first act – following in Hitler’s footsteps – was to outlaw all other parties. Nasser’s Egypt became a safe haven for Nazi war criminals, among them the SS General in charge of the murder of Ukrainian Jewry; he became Nasser’s bodyguard and close comrade. Alois Brunner, another senior Nazi war criminal, found shelter in Damascus, where he served for many years as senior adviser to the Syrian general staff and still resides today.

Sami al-Joundi, one of the founders of the ruling Syrian Ba’ath Party, recalls: "We were racists. We admired the Nazis. We were immersed in reading Nazi literature and books... We were the first who thought of a translation of Mein Kampf. Anyone who lived in Damascus at that time was witness to the Arab inclination toward Nazism."

These leanings never completely ceased. Hitler’s Mein Kampf currently ranks sixth on the best-seller list among Palestinian Arabs. Luis Al-Haj, translator of the Arabic edition, writes glowingly in the preface about how Hitler’s "ideology" and his "theories of nationalism, dictatorship and race… are advancing especially within our Arabic States." When Palestinian police first greeted Arafat in the self-rule areas, they offered the infamous Nazi salute - the right arm raised straight and upward.

The PLO and notably Arafat himself do not make a secret of their source of inspiration. The Grand Mufti el-Husseini is venerated as a hero by the PLO. It should be noted, that the PLO’s top figure in east Jerusalem today, Faisal Husseini, is the grandson to the Fuhrer’s Mufti. Arafat also considers the Grand Mufti a respected educator and leader, and in 1985 declared it an honor to follow in his footsteps. Little wonder. In 1951, a close relative of the Mufti named Rahman Abdul Rauf el-Qudwa el-Husseini matriculated to the University of Cairo. The student decided to conceal his true identity and enlisted as "Yasser Arafat."

Writers: Paul Longgrear, Raymond McNemar

1 Some have contested that Haj Amin el-Husseini was not Rahman Abdul Rauf el-Qudwa el-Husseini (Yasser Arafat)'s father's brother, but it has been shown that Yasser Arafat was from the same family, for example see Howard M. Sachar, A HISTORY OF ISRAEL (New York: Knopf, 1976).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

St. Stephen of Hungary

The following article on the life of St. Stephen of Hungary (ca. 975- 1038 A.D.) was drawn from the following articles:

St. Stephen of Hungary was the first Christian King of Hungary. He was born around the year 975 A.D. in the town of Esztergom. He was named Vaik (Vojk) at his birth, which means hero. His father Géza was the ruling Magyar prince. His mother was Sarolt, the daughter of the Transylvanian chieftain Gyula.

During the 10th and 11th centuries, many areas of Europe were ruled by warring feifdoms, and leaders struggled to build nations. The Magyar House of Árpád was determined to create a country that would be known as Hungary.

During the late 900s, Duke Géza fought tirelessly to unite the Magyar tribes of Hungary and forge closer ties to Western Europe. He was convinced that Christianity would help to forge his people into a strong country.

The Duke and his whole family converted to Catholicism in 985. His son István Király (St. Stephen) was 10 years old at the time. The family was baptized by St. Adalbert of Prague. Stephen's Baptism was a precondition of being recognized by Rome as King. He was named Stephen at his Baptism in honor of the first Christian martyr and the protector of the church at Passau.

In 995, Stephen married Gizella of Barvaria. She was the daughter of the Duke of Bavaria, Henry II, the Wrangler or Quarrelsome, and Gisela of Burgundy. Her brother became Holy Roman Emperor Henry II. St. Stephen and Gizella had at least three children: sons Imre ("Henry" or "Emeric") and Ottó, and a daughter Hedvig. All of St. Stephen’s children died before him. Thus there were no direct descendants to claim the throne upon his death.

Between 995 and 997, Stephen (still known as "Vajk") was the ruling prince of Nitra present day Slovakia. He succeeded to the throne of Hungary in 997. St. Stephen sent Abbot Astricus to Rome to petition Pope Sylvester II for the royal dignity and the power to establish Episcopal sees. He did this in order to make Hungary a Christian nation and to solidify his temporal power. Stephen achieved supremacy over other Magyar nobles, most notably his pagan uncle, the powerful warlord Koppány. This victory over was achieved also thanks to Stephen's German retinue and the military assistance from the noble Poznan and Hunt families. Thus, Stephen became the Sovereign of Magyars in Transdanubia in 997 and managed to successfully unite virtually all Magyar clans by 1006.

St. Stephen became the first King of Hungary on Christmas Day in 1000 A.D.. Pope Silvester II sent a magnificent jeweled gold crown to Stephen along with an apostolic cross and a letter of blessing in January, 1001, officially recognizing Stephen as the Christian king of Hungary.

He founded a monastery in Jerusalem and hospices for pilgrims at Rome, Ravenna, and Constantinople. He was a personal friend of St. Bruno of Querfurt and corresponded with Abbot St. Odilo of Cluny.

Stephen established a system of tithes to support churches and pastors and to relieve the poor. Stephen divided Hungary into 40-50 counties. He continued the work of his father Géza by applying the decimal organizational system of his ancestors. He set up ten dioceses in Hungary. He ordered that out of every 10 towns, one had to build a church and support a priest.

He founded the cathedrals of Székesfehérvár and Esztergom, the Nunnery of Veszprém, the Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma, and the Monastery of Saint Peter and Paul in Óbuda. Inside the abbeys and monasteries, schools were established, and they became important centers of culture. Saint Astricus served as Stephen's advisor, and Stephen also had Saint Gerard Sagredo as the tutor for his son Saint Emeric (Imre).
Stephen discouraged pagan customs and strengthened Christianity with various laws, including ending the use of the old Hun-Magyar runic alphabet and making Latin the official language of the royal court. Stephen gave generously to the churches, personally visited them often, and supervised their construction. He often disguised himself as a peasant whenever he traveled and freely gave money to any poor people he met (in one account, Stephen was beaten and robbed by a group of beggars to whom he was giving alms, but he forgave them and spared their lives).

St. Stephen intended to retire to a life of holy contemplation and hand the kingdom over to his only surviving son Imre, but in 1031 his only surviving son, St. Emeric (Imre), was wounded while on a bear hunt and later died. Thus his hope was lost of transferring his power to a pious Christian prince was shattered.
This is an excerpt of a letter he sent to his son:

My beloved son, delight of my heart, hope of your posterity, I pray, I command, that at every time and in everything, strengthened by your devotion to me, you may show favor not only to relations and kin, or to the most eminent, be they leaders or rich men or neighbors or fellow countrymen, but also to foreigners and to all who come to you. By fulfilling your duty in this way you will reach the highest state of happiness. Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice." Be patient with everyone, not only with the powerful, but also with the weak.

Finally be strong lest prosperity lift you up too much or adversity cast you down. Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next. Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately. Be gentle so that you may never oppose justice. Be honorable so that you may never voluntarily bring disgrace upon anyone. Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust like the pangs of death.

All these virtues I have noted above make up the royal crown, and without them no one is fit to rule here on earth or attain to the heavenly kingdom.

After his son’s death he wrote:

By God's secret decision death took him, so that wickedness would not change his soul and false imaginations would not deceive his mind – as the Book of Wisdom teaches about early death.

Emeric became a popular name. The Italian form is Amerigo. The name America is derived from Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer. After St. Emeric’s death, a dispute arose among his nephews concerning the right of succession. Some even took part in a conspiracy against his life.

Stephen mourned a very long time over the loss of his son. The loss took a great toll on his health. He eventually recovered, but he never regained his original vitality.

Having no children left, he could not find anyone among his remaining relatives who was able to rule the country competently and willing to maintain the Christian faith of the nation. Unable to choose an heir, King Stephen died at Székesfehérvár (a city he built in central Hungary) on the Feast of the Assumption and was buried there in the year 1038 A.D.. Both his nobles and his subjects were said to have mourned for 3 straight years afterwards.

He was buried beside his son at Stuhlweissenburg, and both were canonized together in 1083. In Hungary his chief festival is observed on August 20, the day on which his relics were transferred to Buda. His incorrupt right hand is treasured as the most sacred relic in Hungary.

Stephen appointed his nephew Peter Urseolo to be his heir. Peter and Samuel Aba, Stephen’s brother-in-law contended fro the crown. Nine years of instability followed until Stephen's cousin Andrew I was crowned Hungarian King, re-establishing the Árpád dynasty in 1047. Though Hungarian historiography saw both Peter and Samuel as a member of the Árpád dinasty.

Still, by the time of his death, St. Stephen had created a stable nation -- one that would become a bulwark against the Ottoman Empire, an asylum for refugees, and rich in cultural achievements.

Shortly after Stephen's death, healing miracles were said to have occurred at his tomb. Stephen was canonized by Pope Gregory VII as Saint Stephen of Hungary in 1083. Catholics venerate him as the patron saint of "Hungary, kings, the death of children, masons, stonecutters, and bricklayers." His feast is August 16, but in Hungary his chief festival is observed on August 20, the day on which his sacred relics were transferred to the city of Buda. This day is a public holiday in Hungary.

Stephen was also canonized by the Eastern Orthodox Church in 2000.

The crown known as the Holy Crown of St. Stephen, has been enshrined in the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest since 2000.

The Solemnity of the Assumption

The following is from The Catholic Culture website:


Mary's Death and Bodily Assumption
On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of the Blessed Mother of God into heaven in the following words: "Wherefore, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God Who has lavished His special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by Our own authority, We pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory."1


1. We define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: In the definition of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother, Pope Pius IX used a somewhat different formula.2 The formula used by Pope Pius XII in the definition of the Assumption is, however, similar to that used by the Fathers of the Vatican Council in their definition of Papal Infallibility.3 By the terms revealed dogma is meant that the Assumption of Mary body and soul into heavenly glory is a fact contained within the deposit of revelation given to us by God and is now solemnly proposed by the Pope to be believed as such by all the faithful.

2. Having completed the course of her earthly life: Due to the dispute over the fact of Our Blessed Lady's death, the question of the precise scope of the doctrine of the Assumption was likewise a matter of dispute among theologians prior to November 1, 1950. Some maintained that the object of this privilege is the glorious resurrection of the Blessed Virgin, presupposing, therefore, the fact of her death.4 This opinion was based upon the reasoning that in theological investigation we must not separate those truths which are inseparable in Tradition, the Liturgy, and the pious belief of the faithful. This opinion took for granted that the death, glorious resurrection, and bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin were taught as inseparable truths in Tradition and were always believed to be such by the faithful. Other theologians, on the contrary, maintained that the doctrine of the Assumption has within its scope only the glorious Assumption of Mary, body and soul into heaven, whether she died or not.5

The fact of Mary's death and subsequent resurrection is uncertain. We cannot say, therefore, that they are included within the scope of the definition of Pope Pius XII.6 For a Pope defines only what is certain. And should it be established later beyond shadow of doubt that Mary actually died and subsequently rose again before her sacred body saw corruption, this new discovery would have no bearing whatever upon the scope of the definition in the Munificentissimus Deus. For that alone is within the scope of a definition which the Holy Father or an Ecumenical Council intends to define at the moment of definition. And, by the same reasoning, those who maintain that Mary did not die cannot say that Pope Pius XII defined that Mary was assumed into heavenly glory without having previously died and risen again. The fact alone of her Assumption, body and soul, into heaven is now of faith by virtue of this Constitution, and not her death, resurrection, or bodily immortality.

A brief glance at the history of the doctrine of the death and resurrection of Mary and at the theological arguments adduced in support of them should serve to justify the opinion just stated.

In the first three centuries there are absolutely no references in the authentic works of the Fathers or ecclesiastical writers to the death or bodily immortality of Mary. Nor is there any mention of a tomb of Mary in the first centuries of Christianity. The veneration of the tomb of the Blessed Virgin at Jerusalem began about the middle of the fifth century; and even here there is no agreement as to whether its locality was in the Garden of Olives or in the Valley of Josaphat. Nor is any mention made in the Acts of the Council of Ephesus (431) of the fact that the Council, convened to defend the Divine Maternity of the Mother of God, is being held in the very city selected by God for her final resting place. Only after the Council did the tradition begin which placed her tomb in that city.

The earliest known (non-Apocryphal) mention concerning the end of Mary's life appears in the writings of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia, the ancient Salamina, in the isle of Cyprus. Born in Palestine, we may assume that he was well aware of the traditions there. Yet we find these words in his Panarion or Medicine Chest (of remedies for all heresies), written in c. 377: "Whether she died or was buried we know not."7 Speaking of the cautious language used by St. Epiphanius, Father Roschini says: "To understand his words fully we must remember that he was conscious, when writing, of two heresies which were then living and dangerous: that of the Antidicomarianites, and that of the Collyridians. The former denied the perpetual virginity of Mary, the latter, erring in the opposite direction, maintained that divine worship should be given to her. To assert that Our Lady died was to give a handle to the one heresy (for it was to suggest that the body of Mary was subject to the corruption of the tomb, and thus minimize her prerogatives); to assert that she did not die was to encourage the other."8 And with the exception of a so-called contemporary of Epiphanius, Timothy of Jerusalem, who said: "Wherefore the Virgin is immortal up to now, because He who dwelt in her took her to the regions of the Ascension,"9 no early writer ever doubted the fact of her death. They did not, however, examine the question; they merely took the fact of her death for granted.

Apparently influenced by the apocryphal Transitus writings of the fifth to the seventh centuries, later Fathers and Church writers likewise spoke of the death of Mary as a fact taken for granted. For all men, including Christ, died: therefore, Mary, too. Like their predecessors, they did not consider ex professo the theological arguments for or against.

St. Isidore of Seville (d. 636) appears to be the first to cast some doubt upon the fact of Mary's death. Obviously ignoring the Apocrypha, he said of the death of Mary: ". . . nowhere does one read of her death. Although, as some say, her sepulchre may be found in the valley of Josaphat."10 Tusaredo, a Bishop in the Asturias province of Spain in the eighth century, wrote: "Of the glorious Mary, no history teaches that she suffered martyrdom or any other kind of death."11 Although St. Andrew of Crete (d. 720) generally introduced much theological argumentation into his writings, he states, with very little argumentation, that Mary died because her Son died.12 The same is true of a similar teaching of St. John Damascene (d. 749).13 And about one hundred years later, Theodore Abou-Kurra (d. c. 820) likened the death of Mary to the sleep of Adam in the Garden when God formed Eve from one of his ribs.14 This, obviously, was not a true death.

All the great Scholastics of the thirteenth century taught that Mary died. The principal reason for their so teaching was obviously the fact that they denied the Immaculate Conception in the sense in which it was defined by Pope Pius IX.15 Thus we read in the writings of St. Bonaventure: "If the Blessed Virgin was free from original sin, she was also exempt from the necessity of dying; therefore, either her death was an injustice or she died for the salvation of the human race. But the former supposition is blasphemous, implying that God is not just; and the latter, too, is a blasphemy against Christ for it implies that His Redemption is insufficient. Both are therefore erroneous and impossible. Therefore Our Blessed Lady was subject to original sin."16

After the definition of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854 the question of whether or not Our Blessed Lady died gradually became a subject of wide theological discussion and is today one of the most widely disputed Mariological questions. The impetus to further study out of which arose the present state of dispute was given by the writings of Dominic Arnaldi of Genoa who died in the year 1895. Arnaldi defended the thesis that Our Blessed Lady's complete freedom from sin demanded her freedom from the penalty of death.17

Today we have diametrically opposed views on the death of Mary supported by outstanding Mariologists. The most outspoken proponents of the thesis that Mary did not die are Roschini and Gallus.18 Father Freithoff, O.P., expressed the view that "the death of Mary is not certain, either historically or from revelation."19 On the other hand, Father C. Balic, O.F.M., maintains that "the terminus a quo of the Assumption is the death of Our Lady, the terminus ad quem is the glorification of her body in heaven. The object of the Assumption in recto is the glorification of the living body, and ex obliquo her death and resurrection."20 Father J. F. Bonnefoy, O.F.M., goes so far as to state that "the death of the Most Holy Virgin may be considered as historically proved and explicitly revealed: as such (explicitly revealed) it may be the subject of a dogmatic definition: there is no reason why it should not be."21 And the Mariological Week held at Salamanca (Spain) in 1949, which was devoted exclusively to the question of the death of Mary, sent a petition to the Holy See requesting the definition ". . . of the bodily Assumption of the B. V. Mary into heaven, after death. . . ."22 It is little wonder, then, that Cardinal Pizzardo, the Secretary of the Congregation of the Holy Office, in an address on the occasion of the First International Mariological Congress in Rome (1950) referred to the question of the end of the life of the Blessed Virgin as a very obscure problem, and one which demands further study and clarification by theologians.23

All theologians agree, of course, that Mary was not subject to death as a penalty for sin. However, God willed that "she die for higher reasons pertaining to her relationship with Christ and the part she was to play in the work of Redemption."24 The reasons brought forth by those who maintain that Our Blessed Mother actually died may be reduced to the following two:

a) Conformity to Christ: The condition of the Mother should not be better than that of her divine Son. The Verbum willingly assumed passible and mortal flesh and came into the world "in the likeness of sinful flesh,"25 in order that, through it, He might redeem us from our sins. As the Mother of the passible and mortal Redeemer from whom He took His mortal flesh, Mary, too, had to be passible and mortal. She did not, however, voluntarily assume mortal flesh as did her divine Son as something from which she was exempt. This was God's will for her although she died not as a penalty for sin but pro conditione carnis.

This argument, however, might justly be called a post factum argument, proposed to explain the fact of Mary's death after her death had been taken for granted. However, in its favor is the theological axiom: lex orandi statuit legem credendi. And until recently these words were in the Secret of the Mass for the Assumption. One may argue, however, that the Liturgy in this instance merely stated a popular belief, one which everyone took for granted in view of the fact of Christ's death. For, the Second Council of Orange is quite explicit in its teaching that those who hold that the penalty of death (reatus poenae) is transmitted to the body without the transmission of sin or the death of the soul (reatus culpae) to all the children of Adam, do an injustice to God.26 Hence, where there is no sin there can be no obligatory death of the body in a child of Adam. Hence, it would appear that if we are to defend the fact of Mary's death we must look to another reason, one wherein the acceptance of death by Mary would be a voluntary act. Theologians see this in Mary's role of Coredeemer of the human race.

b) Mary's role of Coredeemer: Due to the teaching of the Second Council of Orange, many theologians who maintain that Mary died claim that she had a right to immortality but, like her Son, freely accepted death in order that she might coredeem the human race together with Him. Yet the objection is raised against this opinion that Mary should then have died on Calvary with Christ. For, with the death and resurrection of Christ the Redemption was completed in actu primo and, consequently, the Coredemption. This, too, goes counter to the traditionally accepted belief that Mary coredeemed us by a spiritual compassion, suffering in her soul the agony Christ suffered for us in His Body. The Constitution Munificentissimus Deus leaves the question open. In the words of the definition death is not mentioned but only "having completed the course of her earthly life." The question of the death of Mary is not treated as a subject bearing upon the Assumption. True, the Holy Father frequently mentions the death of the Blessed Virgin in the body of the document, but in every instance he quotes someone else. He does not give his own views on the subject. Consequently, I believe we can say with Father Roschini that "the question of Mary's death is a matter for free discussion."27

Finally, we should note here that whether Mary died or not, she was not subject to the law of death, the corruption of the grave. If she died, then she was assumed into heaven before her sacred body saw corruption. For, so long as the bodies of the just remain in the dust of the earth, they are under the dominion of death, and they sigh for the ultimate redemption of their bodies.28

3. Was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory: The Assumption of Our Blessed Mother was a privilege granted not to her body alone nor to her soul alone but to the person, Mary. True, we speak of the bodily assumption of the Blessed Virgin but this is due to the fact that there never has been any dispute over the question of her soul enjoying the beatific vision once she completed the course of her earthly life. Thus, the Holy Father said: ". . . the ever Virgin Mary . . . was assumed."

The precise degree of glory to which Our Blessed Mother was assumed has never been defined by the Church. It is, however, certain theological teaching that her degree of grace at the first moment of her Immaculate Conception was greater than that possessed by any individual angel or man at the first moment of sanctification. This teaching is based on the law of filial piety whereby the Verbum loved His designated Mother more than any other creature. That the first influx of grace was greater than the consummated grace of any individual man is the common teaching of theologians and taught for the same reason as that given for the above opinion. And that Mary's first influx of grace was greater in degree than the consummated grace of all men and angels together is a solidly probable opinion.29

Add to this the fact that the degree of sanctifying grace received by Mary at the moment of her Immaculate Conception was increased ex opere operate through the great dignity of the divine maternity and her reception of some of the sacraments, as well as ex opere operantis during every moment of her life on earth, and we find that the degree of glory to which she was assumed is beyond human comprehension and second only to that of Christ as Man. For the degree of glory enjoyed in heaven is determined by the degree of sanctifying grace with which the soul is adorned at the moment of death.

We shall now outline and comment upon the reasons given in the Constitution Munificentissimus Deus which led the Holy Father to the definition of Mary's Assumption into heaven. The Constitution may be divided as follows:30

I. The Assumptionistic Movement (pp. 754-756);31

II. The teaching of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (pp. 756-757);

III. Indications of our present belief found in remote testimonies (pp. 757-767);

a) The faithful have professed this faith under the leadership of their shepherds (pp. 757-758);
b) This faith is shown in temples, images, various exercises of devotion to the Blessed Virgin assumed into heaven (p. 758);
c) This faith is shown in the Solemn Liturgies (pp. 758-760);
d) This faith is shown in the testimonies of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church (pp. 760-762);
e) This faith is shown in the writings of the theologians of Church (pp. 762-767).


Toward the beginning of the Munificentissimus Deus our Holy Father speaks of the Assumptionistic Movement within the Church in these words:

That privilege (the Assumption of Mary) has shone forth in new radiance since Our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, solemnly proclaimed the dogma of the loving Mother of God's Immaculate Conception. These two privileges are most closely bound to one another.32 Christ overcame sin and death by His own death, and one who through Baptism has been born again in a supernatural way has conquered sin and death through the same Christ. Yet, according to the general rule, God does not will to grant to the just the full effect of the victory over death until the end of time has come. And so it is that the bodies of even the just are corrupted after death, and only on the last day will they be joined, each to its own glorious soul.

Now God has willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary should be exempted from this general rule. She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.

Thus, when it was solemnly proclaimed that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, was from the very beginning free from the taint of original sin, the minds of the faithful were filled with a stronger hope that the day might soon come when the dogma of the Virgin Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven would also be defined by the Church's supreme teaching authority.

Actually, it was seen that not only individual Catholics, but also those who could speak for nations or ecclesiastical provinces, and even a considerable number of the Fathers of the Vatican Council, urgently petitioned the Apostolic See to this effect.33

The petitions of which the Holy Father speaks above were collected and evaluated at his command34 in two volumes edited by W Hentrich and R. de Moos and entitled: Petitiones de Assumptione corporea B. V. Mariae in coelum definienda ad Sanctam Sedem delata.35 From the year 1869 to the year 1941, resident bishops, ruling 820 sees or 73 per cent of all the Catholic sees of the world, submitted 1789 of these petitions.36 To these petitions were added 656 by titular bishops, 261 by vicars apostolic, 26 by abbots and prelates nullius, 61 by general superiors of clerical orders, 336 by minor prelates, 32,291 by priests and male religious, 50,975 by female religious, and 8,086,396 by the laity.37

The most significant petition was that submitted by nearly 200 bishops attending the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican in which they stated:

Since, according to apostolic teaching (Rom. 5, 8; I Cor. 15, 24, 26, 54, 57; Hebr. 2, 14-15 and other places), that triumph which Christ wrought over Satan, the serpent of antiquity, was constituted by the three-fold victory over sin and the fruits of sin, which are concupiscence and death, its integral parts; and since according to Genesis (3, 15) the Mother of God is shown as associated in a singular manner with her Son in this triumph; according to the unanimous vote of the Holy Fathers, we do not doubt that in the aforesaid oracle the same Blessed Virgin is shown as sharing in that threefold victory; and therefore in the same place it was foretold that she would be made victress over sin through her Immaculate Conception, over concupiscence through her virginal maternity, and also over death through her accelerated resurrection in the likeness of her Son.38


And, since we are dealing with a matter of such great moment and of such importance, we considered it opportune to ask all Our venerable brethren in the episcopate directly and authoritatively that each of them should make known to Us his mind in a formal statement.39

Urged on by the petitions submitted to the Holy See requesting the definition of the Assumption, Pope Pius XII issued on May 1, 1946, a letter to the bishops of the world entitled Deiparae Virginis Mariae. Following the method of Pope Pius IX before the definition of the Immaculate Conception,40 the Holy Father requested that the bishops answer the following questions: "Do you, Venerable Brethren, in your outstanding wisdom and prudence, judge that the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith? Do you, with your clergy and people, desire it?41 The following are the words of the Holy Father relative to the response of the bishops:42

. . . those whom "the Holy Ghost has placed as bishops to rule the Church of God"43 gave an almost unanimous affirmative response to both these questions. This "outstanding agreement of the Catholic prelates and the faithful,"44 affirming that the bodily Assumption of God's Mother into heaven can be defined as a dogma of faith, since it shows us the concordant faith of the Christian people which the same doctrinal authority sustains and directs, thus by itself and in an entirely certain and infallible way, manifests this privilege as a truth revealed by God and contained in that divine deposit which Christ has delivered to His Spouse to be guarded faithfully and to be taught infallibly.45 Certainly this teaching authority of the Church, not by any merely human effort but under the protection of the Spirit of Truth,46 and therefore absolutely without error, carried out the Commission entrusted to it, that of preserving the revealed truths pure and entire throughout every age, in such a way that it presents them undefiled, adding nothing to them and taking nothing away from them. For, as the Vatican Council teaches, "the Holy Ghost was not promised to the successors of Peter in such a way that, by His revelation, they might manifest new doctrine, but so that, by His assistance, they might guard as sacred and might faithfully propose the revelation delivered through the Apostles, or the deposit of faith."47 Thus, from the universal agreement of the Church's ordinary teaching authority we have a certain and firm proof, demonstrating that the Blessed Virgin Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven — which surely no faculty of the human mind could know by its own natural powers, as far as the heavenly glorification of the virginal body of the loving Mother of God is concerned — is a truth that has been revealed by God and consequently something that must be firmly and faithfully believed by all the children of the Church. For, as the Vatican Council asserts, "all those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written word of God or in tradition, and which are proposed by the Church, either in solemn judgment or in its ordinary and universal teaching office, as divinely revealed truths which must be believed."48

In the above statement of our Holy Father the following words are of the utmost importance: "This outstanding agreement of the Catholic prelates and the faithful . . . shows us the concordant teaching of the Church's ordinary doctrinal authority and the concordant faith of the Christian people which the same doctrinal authority sustains and directs, thus by itself in an entirely certain and infallible way, manifests this privilege as a truth revealed by God. . . ." There are two norms of Faith: the one proximate and the other remote. The proximate norm of Faith is the Magisterium of the Church and the remote norm is Sacred Scripture and the documents of Tradition. Thus, by itself, as the Holy Father says, that is, without the need of any investigation whatever into the pages of Sacred Scripture or the documents of Tradition, the almost unanimous affirmative response of the Catholic bishops of the world is certain proof that the Assumption of the Blessed Mother of God is a truth revealed to us. The living Magisterium, i.e., the bishops of the world together with the Pope, is the authentic, divinely appointed interpreter of Sacred Scripture, and only in dependence upon the Magisterium do the Fathers of the Church have any authority as witnesses to the deposit of Faith.49

In the passage quoted above the Holy Father very significantly pointed out the fact that the bishops of the world in communion with the Holy See arrived at their conclusion as to the definability of the Assumption not as do theologians or Scripture scholars, through mere human industry, but "under the protection of the Spirit of Truth." For the efficient cause of their infallibility, when they teach as a group a doctrine of faith or morals in union with the Pope, is the Holy Spirit of Truth dwelling within the Church. Consequently, even before Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption, it was, objectively speaking, a truth of Divine and Catholic Faith and one to be believed as such by all the faithful.

Finally, we should note in the above-quoted words of the Holy Father relative to the response of the bishops the parenthetical remark of the Holy Father that "the Blessed Virgin Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven — which surely no faculty of the human mind could know by its own natural powers, as far as the glorification of the virginal body of the Mother of God is concerned — is a truth that has been revealed by God. . . ." Quite obviously, the taking up of the body of the Blessed Virgin Mary is per se an object of sense cognition and could be known, therefore, through natural powers. But the heavenly glorification of the Blessed Virgin, included within the notion of the Assumption, embraces the supernatural beatification of her soul with its secondary effects flowing into her body together with the preternatural transformation of her body. These gifts, being super and preternatural, are not the objects of our natural senses.



Christ's faithful, through the teaching and the leadership of their pastors, have learned from the sacred books that the Virgin Mary . . . led a life troubled by cares, hardships, and sorrows, and that . . . a terribly sharp sword had pierced her heart as she stood under the cross of her divine Son, our Redeemer. In the same way, it was not difficult for them to admit that the great Mother of God, like her only begotten Son, bad actually passed from this life. But this in no way prevented them from believing and from professing openly that her sacred body had never been subject to the corruption of the tomb, and that the august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes. Actually, enlightened by divine grace and moved by affection for her, God's Mother and our own sweetest Mother, they have contemplated in an ever clearer light the wonderful harmony and order of those privileges which the most provident God has lavished upon this loving associate of our Redeemer, privileges which reach such an exalted plane that, except for her, nothing created by God other than the human nature of Jesus Christ has ever reached this level.50

Guided by the Spirit of Truth dwelling within her, the Church — the faithful, under the teaching and leadership of their bishops — has always seen the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother into heaven as her crowning privilege implicitly contained within the complete notion of the Divine Maternity. "The Church sees it there, not as the result of a logical deduction, still less as a mere convenientia, but as one element of that miracle of miracles which God willed His Mother to be. The Church sees it with a supernatural insight imparted by the Divine Spirit Who dwells within her. The Bishops of the Austrian Empire call it a simple intuition."51 And it was this intuition which gave birth to such Mariological axioms as "potuit, decuit, fecit" of Scotus,52 and the following of St. Alphonsus: ". . . when an opinion tends in any way to honor the most Blessed Virgin, when it has some foundation and is not repugnant to the faith, nor to the decrees of the Church, nor to truth, the refusal to hold it, or to oppose it because the reverse may be true, shows little devotion to the Mother of God."53

The complete notion of the Divine Maternity contains within its connotation much more than the fact that Mary gave birth to the Son of God. For the Son of God is our Redeemer. She is, therefore, and has always been believed to be the Mother of God, the Redeemer, as Redeemer, making her His associate in the work of the Redemption and the Coredeemer of the human race. From these two offices, the Divine Maternity and the Coredemption, flow all the unspeakable prerogatives of soul and body with which God adorned His Mother and ours. She is the one foretold by God in the Protoevangelium who, together with her Son would crush the head of the serpent beneath her immaculate foot.54 Immaculately pure from the first moment of her conception, she knew not the stings of concupiscence nor the slightest stain of personal moral imperfection. Virgin of Virgins, she was subject to no man nor to pain and the corruption of the flesh in conceiving and bringing forth Christ. Embellished with a degree of grace that far surpassed the combined holiness of all angels and saints together she was always believed to be the "Lily Among Thorns; Land Wholly Intact; Immaculate; Always Blessed; Free From All Contagion Of Sin; Unfading Tree; Fountain Ever Clear; The One And Only Daughter Not Of Death But Of Life; Offspring Not Of Wrath But Of Grace; Unimpaired And Ever Unimpaired; Holy And Stranger To All Stain Of Sin; More Comely Than Comeliness Itself; More Holy Than Sanctity; Alone Holy Who, Excepting God, Is Higher Than All; By Nature More Beautiful, More Graceful And More Holy Than The Cherubim And Seraphim Themselves And The Whole Hosts Of Angels."55

It is little wonder, then, that the faithful under the leadership of their bishops have always believed that this "august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes." For, associated with Her Son in His complete victory over Satan, she shared with Him in His victory over the empire of Satan and, therefore, death.56 Like Him, she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her sacred body as we do,57 but through her anticipated resurrection in the likeness of her Son "she received the blessings of the Redemption first and in the fullest measure."58


The innumerable temples which have been dedicated to the Virgin Mary assumed into heaven clearly attest this faith. So do those sacred images, exposed therein for the veneration of the faithful, which bring this unique triumph of the Blessed Virgin before the eyes of all men. Moreover, cities, dioceses, and individual regions have been placed under the special patronage and guardianship of the Virgin Mother of God assumed into heaven. In the same way, religious institutes, with the approval of the Church, have been founded and have taken their name from this privilege. Nor can We pass over in silence the fact that in the Rosary of Mary, the recitation of which this Apostolic See so urgently recommends, there is one mystery proposed for pious meditation which, as all know, deals with the Blessed Virgin's Assumption into heaven."59


This belief of the sacred Pastors and of Christ's faithful is universally manifested still more splendidly by the fact that, since ancient times, there have been both in the East and in the West solemn liturgical offices commemorating this privilege. The holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church have never failed to draw enlightenment from this fact since, as everyone knows, the sacred liturgy, "because it is the profession, subject to the supreme teaching authority within the Church, of heavenly truths, can supply proofs and testimonies of no small value for deciding a particular point of Christian doctrine."60

The first remote testimony to which Pope Pius XII turns in order to indicate the fact that our present belief in the Assumption of the Blessed Mother was likewise the belief of the Church from the earliest times is the Sacred Liturgy. Again, by this procedure, our Holy Father followed the example set by his predecessors and especially that of Pope Pius IX in his argumentation relative to the definition of the Immaculate Conception.61 For the Church prays according to her beliefs. And in the Sacred Liturgy we profess in a public and solemn manner the great truths of Faith contained within the deposit of revelation. Pope Pius XII very succinctly expressed this relationship between the Faith and the Sacred Liturgy in the words: "Lex credendi legem statuat supplicandi" — "Let the rule of belief determine the rule of prayer."62

The value of the existence of a feast in early times as an argument from Tradition is, therefore, obvious. The organ of divine Tradition is the living Magisterium of the Church, or the Pope and the Catholic bishops of the world in union with him. The principal means whereby that Tradition is preserved and handed down from generation to generation are the writings of the Fathers, the creeds, the practices of the Church, the monuments of Christian antiquity, and the Sacred Liturgy. And it is well to bear in mind with reference to the Liturgy that the institution of a feast in honor of one or the other prerogatives of the Blessed Mother does not mean that the belief of the Church began with its institution. The institution of the feast means that the belief of the Church has come to maturity. For the feast is but the solemn liturgical expression of a belief which has been explicit for many years, and implicitly contained in some other explicitly believed truth for centuries before that.

The feast of the Assumption began in the East as did many of the older Marian feasts. According to Father Martin Jugie, A.A., Our Blessed Mother was implicitly honored in her Assumption by the feast known as "The Memory of Mary," the celebration of which began in the East around the fourth century. Honor was given to Mary's Assumption through this feast, according to Jugie, because the Church intended thereby to celebrate the "birthday" of Mary, or her entrance into heaven, as was her custom in celebrating the birthday, i.e., the day of a martyr's death and entrance into heaven. However, due to the fact that neither Sacred Scripture nor early Tradition speaks explicitly of the last days of our Blessed Mother on earth and of her Assumption into heaven, the liturgy of this feast did not mention them either. Later, when the apocryphal Transitus Mariae — in which the death and Assumption of Mary are described in detail — became popular among the faithful, the facts of her death and Assumption were inserted into the feast and the Memoria S. Mariae liturgy was changed and became the feast of the Dormitio, or the "Falling to Sleep" of the Blessed Mother.63 Father Faller, S.J., maintains that the feast of the Assumption — or the feast of August 15 — was always the same feast as the Memoria B. Virginis and was celebrated in the East from the beginning of the fifth century.64

Whatever may be the merits of the opinions mentioned above, the dispute is relatively unimportant theologically. The feast of the Dormitio or Koimesis — the object of which was the death, resurrection, and Assumption of the Blessed Mother — was widely established in the East by the end of the fourth century. For Emperor Maurice (582-602) decreed that it be celebrated throughout the Byzantine Empire on August 15.65 And it is important to note that the Emperor did not establish the feast but merely fixed the date. The feast was well established before the date was fixed.

Theodore Petrensis wrote a life of the Palestinian Abbot St. Theodosius (d. 529) a little after the death of the Saint. In this biography we read that St. Theodosius performed a miracle of multiplying bread to feed the multitude that had gathered from afar for the feast celebrated in honor of Mary in die memoriae Deiparae. Theodore was an eyewitness to the miracle. His most important contribution to the history of the feast of the Assumption, however, is the fact that he refers to the Memoria Deiparae as an annual feast in the liturgical calendar of Palestine.66 And to this testimony should be added that of St. Gregory of Tours who states that the feast was celebrated in Jerusalem in the latter part of the sixth century.67

There is, moreover, testimony to prove that the feast existed at an even earlier date in Syria. James of Sarug (c. 490), inspired by the occasion of the feast of August 15, wrote a poem in which he expresses the fact of the Assumption of Mary into heaven and speaks of her sacred body going forth to paradise.68

The earliest testimony for the existence of the feast in the West is of a later date. The reason for this may be found in the following words of Father Wuenschel, C.Ss.R.: "In the West the doctrinal development of the Assumption was retarded by several factors. The infrequent and difficult contacts with the East and a general ignorance of Greek caused the writings of the Eastern Fathers to remain a closed book to the Latins till rather late in the scholastic age, when Jacobus de Voragine (c. 1230-1298) had access to the works of the Greek witnesses, especially the homilies of St. Germanus and St. John Damascene.69 Besides isolation from the East and ignorance of its literature, there was also a strong animus against the apocrypha in scholarly circles. These were about the only early literature on the subject known in the West, and their legendary character engendered doubts about the truth of the Assumption. The development of the doctrine in the West, therefore, was more or less independent of the East, so that the two trends of thought confirm each other."70 Consequently, since the rule of belief determines the rule of prayer, one could not expect to find the feast at a time when the belief in the Assumption was not explicit.

There are no certain references to the existence of the feast in the West earlier than the middle of the seventh century. The earliest witness appears to be the Gospel Lectionary of Wurzburg (c. 650) in which the feast for August 15 is found to be Natale Sanctae Mariae.71 And in this century Pope Sergius I (687-701) decreed that on the feast of the Dormition (as well as on the Annunciation and the Nativity of our Blessed Mother) there should be a procession from the church of St. Adrian to the church of St. Mary Major.72 Most probably it was this same Pope who introduced the feast of the Dormition into the Roman calendar since there are no traces of it there before 690. A Syrian by birth, Pope Sergius was well acquainted with the feast from his homeland. The name of the feast was changed from the Dormition to the Assumption of St. Mary at the beginning of the eighth century.73 And Pope Leo IV (847-855) introduced the solemn vigil and octave.74 From Rome the feast soon spread to England, France, and Spain.

In the Munificentissimus Deus the Holy Father cites the Gregorian Sacramentary which Pope Adrian I sent to the Emperor Charlemagne between the years 784-790. The following are the words quoted from the Sacramentary: "Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten Thy Son Our Lord incarnate from herself."75 Although the words "could not be kept down by the bonds of death" express the idea of Assumption only implicitly, they are commonly understood in the sense of Resurrection and Assumption of Mary and not only bodily incorruption.

The Holy Father then quotes the Gallican Sacramentary which designates this privilege of Mary as "an ineffable mystery all the more worthy of praise as the Virgin's Assumption is something unique among men." And of the Byzantine liturgy he says: ". . . in the Byzantine liturgy not only is the Virgin Mary's bodily Assumption connected, time and time again, with the dignity of the Mother of God, but also with the other privileges, and in particular with the virginal motherhood granted her by a singular decree of God's providence. 'God, the King of the universe, has granted thee favors that surpass nature. As He kept thee a virgin in childbirth, thus He kept thy body incorrupt in the tomb and has glorified it by His divine act of transferring it from the tomb.'"76


However, since the liturgy of the Church does not engender the Catholic faith, but rather springs from it, in such a way that the practices of the sacred worship proceed from the Faith as the fruit comes from the tree, it follows that the holy Fathers and the great Doctors, in the homilies and sermons they gave to the people on this feast day, did not draw their teaching from the feast itself as from a primary source, but rather they spoke of this doctrine as something already known and accepted by Christ's faithful.77

In the Munificentissimus Deus Pope Pius XII quotes but three Fathers of the Church, all Orientals. St. John Damascene (d. 749). in one of his homilies compared the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin with her other prerogatives and privileges: "It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to Himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to Him, should look upon Him as He sits with the Father. It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and the Handmaid of God."78

St. Germanus of Constantinople (d. 733) argued to the fact of the Assumption of Mary from the great dignity of the divine maternity and the holiness of her virginal body: "Thou art she who, as it is written, appearest in beauty, and thy virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from all dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life."79

Finally, in the homily attributed to St. Modestus of Jerusalem (d. 634); we find these words: "As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Saviour and our God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by Him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with Him Who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to Himself in a way known only to Him."80

These three witnesses, St. John Damascene, St. Germanus of Constantinople, and St. Modestus of Jerusalem, are seventh and eighth-century Patristic writers. The explicit belief in the Assumption of the Blessed Mother by the faithful is, of course, traceable to a much earlier date as the witness of the Sacred Liturgy shows. However, apart from the Apocrypha, there is no authentic witness to the Assumption among the Fathers of either the East or the West prior to the end of the fifth century.

Doubtless the Holy Father made no mention of the Apocrypha due to the fact that many non-Catholic critics maintain that the later tradition of the Church expressing belief in the Assumption is an outgrowth of them.81 Nothing could be further from the truth. The explicit belief of the Church in the Assumption is not based upon them, although the Apocrypha do have a positive value in that they witness a popular belief among the faithful in the Assumption of the Blessed Mother of God.

Failing to find in the sacred books of the Bible sufficient detail to satisfy their curiosity concerning certain phases of the lives of Christ and Mary, some of the faithful of the second and third centuries A.D. drew these details from other sources, frequently spurious, from their own imaginations, and from the popular beliefs of the time. And in the firm hope that their works would be accepted as canonical scripture, they attributed them to the Apostles and Evangelists. This apocryphal literature is divided into gospels, epistles, and apocalypses.82

Written originally in Latin, Greek, Syriac, and Coptic, the Apocrypha passed through many versions and the result is an overwhelming variety of subject matter and detail. In describing the death of Mary and its sequel, however, they all agree in stating that the death of Mary was an exception to that of the rest of mankind and, with but few exceptions, they state that her sacred body was preserved incorrupt and that it was assumed into heaven.

The absence of an uninterrupted chain of explicit testimonies linking our times with the Apostolic period was used by some Catholic theologians previous to the definition of Pope Pius XII as well as by non-Catholic critics as an argument against the doctrine of the Assumption or its definability. Against these we quote the words of the eminent Mariologist, Father Juniper Carol, O.F.M., written previous to the definition: "In order to establish the continuity of a given doctrine throughout the ages it is not necessary that we possess an uninterrupted chain of explicit testimonies linking our times with the apostolic period. The reason for this is quite obvious. Since the custody and infallible interpretation of the deposit of faith has been entrusted by God to a living organism which is the Church, and since the Church of today is the same moral person it was in the first or second century, it follows logically that whatever the Church of today holds and teaches as pertaining to the original deposit of revelation was also held and taught (at least implicitly) by the Church of the first centuries. Either we accept this as an incontrovertible principle or we will be confronted with very serious difficulties trying to reconcile the fact that the deposit of revelation was closed at the death of the last Apostle with the fact that the Church has defined as divinely revealed certain truths which were not always explicitly believed, such as the Immaculate Conception, to cite but one example."83 In our development of the doctrine of the Assumption according to the writings of the Doctors and theologians of the Church having their foundation in Sacred Scripture, we shall see in what manner the Assumption was implicitly taught and believed since Apostolic times.

Toward the end of the fourth century St. Epiphanius (d. 403), Bishop of Constantia, indicated, in his dispute with the Antidico-marianites and the Collyridians, his belief in the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin even though he was in doubt about the manner of her passing from this life. Proposing three possibilities concerning the manner in which the course of her earthly life came to an end, he definitely implies his belief in her glorious Assumption although he attempted no solution to the former mystery. Thus we read in his Adversus haereses: "Say she died a natural death. In that case she fell asleep in glory, and departed in purity, and received the crown of her virginity. Or say she was slain with the sword according to Simeon's prophecy. Then her glory is with the martyrs, and she through whom the divine light shone upon the world is in the place of bliss with her sacred body. Or say she left this world without dying, for God can do what He wills. Then she was simply transferred to eternal glory."84 And around the beginning of the fifth century we find another witness in the East, Timothy of Jerusalem, who wrote: "The Virgin is immortal up to now, because He Who dwelt in her took her to the regions of the Ascension."85

The earliest known Patristic witness to the belief in the Assumption in the West appears to be St. Gregory of Tours (d. 593). However, due to the detail with which he describes the death of our Blessed Mother with the Apostles in attendance, and her Assumption at the command of Christ, some scholars believe that he was greatly influenced by the Apocrypha.86 The Saint said: "When finally the Blessed Virgin had fulfilled the course of this life, and was now to be called out of this world, all the Apostles were gathered together from each region to her house . . . and behold the Lord Jesus came with His angels and, receiving her soul, entrusted it to the Archangel Michael and departed. At the break of day the Apostles lifted the body with the couch and laid it in the sepulchre, and they guarded it awaiting the coming of the Lord. And behold the Lord again stood by them, and commanded that the holy body be taken up and borne on a cloud into Paradise, where now, reunited with (her) soul and rejoicing with the elect, it enjoys the good things of eternity which shall never come to an end."87 Later on, in the same work, we read: "Mary, the glorious Mother of Christ, who, we believe, was a virgin before and after childbirth, was, as we have said before (c. 4), carried to Paradise preceded by the Lord amidst the singing of angelic choirs."88

Certainly, from the end of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century on, with but few exceptions, the entire Christian Tradition is in favor of the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother of God into heaven. And it was unanimously accepted by the great Scholastics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries many of whom either doubted or explicitly denied the Immaculate Conception.89


The above-mentioned arguments of the Fathers of the Church, as well as the reasons advanced by the Doctors and theologians, "are based upon the Sacred Writings as their ultimate foundation."91

"Often there are theologians and preachers who, following in the footsteps of the Holy Fathers, have been rather free in their use of events and expressions taken from Sacred Scripture to explain their belief in the Assumption."92 The Holy Father mentions a few of the texts usually cited in this fashion. They are the words of the Psalmist: "Arise, O Lord, into Thy resting place: Thou and the ark, which Thou hast sanctified."93 They also mention in this connection the Spouse in the Canticles "that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh and frankincense"94 to be crowned. And in the Woman clothed with the Sun, whom St. John contemplated on the Isle of Patmos, they likewise saw the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.95 Finally, in the words of the Angel Gabriel spoken at the moment of the Annunciation, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women,"96 they saw the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven as the "fulfillment of that most perfect grace granted to the Blessed Virgin and the special blessing that countered the curse of Eve."97

With the exception of the Angelic Salutation, which was also used by Pope Pius IX as a scriptural argument for the Immaculate Conception,"98 the other texts mentioned above are used in an accommodated sense only. The solid scriptural foundation upon which the proof of the Assumption of Mary into heaven rests, as advanced by the Fathers, Doctors, and theologians is threefold: (1) the most intimate union of the Blessed Virgin with her divine Son; (2) the Divine Maternity; and (3) the coredemptive role of Mary whereby she was the New Eve associated with Christ, the New Adam, in gaining a complete and perfect victory over Satan.

1. The Most Intimate Union of the Blessed Virgin With Her Divine Son

Of this union Pope Pius XII says: "These (the Sacred Scriptures) set the loving Mother of God as it were before our very eyes as most intimately joined to her Divine Son and as always sharing His lot. Consequently, it seems impossible to think of her, the one who conceived Christ, brought Him forth, nursed Him with her milk, held Him in her arms, and clasped Him to her breast, as being apart from Him in body, even though not in soul, after this earthly life."99 And so close does this union between Christ and Mary appear to be in the Sacred Scriptures that Pope Pius IX tells us that Christ and Mary, from all eternity, were contained in "one and the same decree" of predestination.100

2. The Divine Maternity

Since our Redeemer is the Son of Mary, He could not do otherwise, as the perfect observer of God's law, than to honor, not only His eternal Father, but also His most beloved Mother. And, since it was within His power to grant her this great honor, to preserve her from the corruption of the tomb, we must believe that He really acted in this way.101

In the revealed notion of Mary's divine Motherhood the Church has always (though at times implicitly) seen her glorious Assumption into heaven by a supernatural intuition, one result of the Spirit of Truth dwelling within her.102 Of this insight Father Wuenschel writes:

The expositions of the Fathers and theologians and the language of the Liturgy vary in viewpoint and emphasis, but they all involve this fundamental principle: the Assumption is implicit in the revealed notion of the Divine Maternity taken in its concrete historical reality. This includes immeasurably more than the hare relationship of motherhood to the Person of the Word. It is the living notion with which the Church was born, which she has been contemplating, expounding, defending, sounding even more deeply, for nineteen centuries. It is the notion of Mary as Mother of the Divine Redeemer precisely as Redeemer, with Whom she was predestined from all eternity, and through Whom she was to receive the blessings of the Redemption first and in fullest measure. It is the notion of Mary as Queen of the created universe, Queen of the Kingdom ransomed with the Blood of the immaculate Lamb. It is the notion of Mary, therefore, as possessing a dignity that exalts her above the Cherubim and Seraphim, endowed with a personal holiness that is unique and supreme among creatures, immune to the slightest shadow of sin, exempt from all penalty for sin. It is the notion of Mary as a virgin in the highest and most perfect sense, because her virginity was confirmed and consecrated by her espousals with the Holy Spirit and her miraculous motherhood of the God-Man. Her very body became inconceivably sacred as the caro deifera, the living tabernacle of the Word, Who took flesh of her flesh and made her womb the paradise of the Second Adam.

In this revealed notion of Mary's immaculate, virginal motherhood the Church sees her bodily Assumption as her crowning privilege. The Church sees it there, not as the result of a logical deduction, still less as a mere convenientia, but as one element of that miracle of miracles which God willed His Mother to be.103

3. The Coredemptive Role of Mary Whereby She Was the New Eve Associated With Christ, the New Adam, in Gaining a Complete and Perfect Victory Over Satan104

We must remember especially that, since the second century, the Virgin Mary has been designated by the holy Fathers as the New Eve, who, although subject to the New Adam, is most intimately associated with Him in the struggle against the infernal foe which, as foretold in the protoevangelium105 would finally result in the most complete victory over sin and death which are always mentioned together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles. Consequently, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part and the final sign of this victory, so that struggle which was common to the Blessed Virgin and her divine Son should be brought to a close by the glorification of her virginal body, for the same Apostle says: "when this mortal thing hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written; Death is swallowed up in victory."106

Without doubt this is the principal argument for the Assumption of Mary taken from the Sacred Scripture by our Holy Father. And although the Munificentissimus Deus does not in this passage use the term "Coredemptrix"107 the doctrine, nevertheless, is clearly put forth.

By the title "Coredemptrix" we do not mean that Mary cooperated in the Redemption of the human race only in the sense in which this title may be applied to all who pray and suffer for sinners and, thereby, share in the work of applying the fruits of the Redemption to the souls of men. Coredemption is here taken in the strict sense of a direct and formal co-operation of Mary with Christ in the very act whereby He redeemed the human race. Such a title is truly hers for she allowed the whole plan of Redemption to take place by her free consent to become the Mother of the Redeemer; by freely forfeiting her maternal rights over her divine Son in offering Him in death to atone for the sin of Adam and for the sins of the entire human race; and by uniting her sufferings with those of her Son. Thus did Mary co-operate with Christ in the very act of liberating the world from the power of Satan. She merited for herself the title "New Eve" and became in actuality the Woman foretold in the Protoevangelium who, with her Seed, would crush the head of the Serpent beneath her immaculate foot.

The work of Christ which effected the Redemption of the human race was accomplished through everlasting enmities with Satan culminating in a complete and perfect victory for Christ over the devil and his empire. Concerning the co-operation of Mary in gaining this complete and perfect victory over Satan, the teaching of the Church is quite explicit as is seen in the following quotation from the Bull Ineffabilis Deus of Pope Pius IX: "The Fathers and writers of the Church . . . when quoting the words by which at the beginning of the world the Almighty announced His merciful remedies prepared for the renewal of mankind, and by which He crushed the audacity of the deceitful Serpent and wonderfully raised up the hope of our race saying, I will put enmities between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed' — when quoting these words, they taught that in this divine oracle the merciful Redeemer of the human race, the Only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, was clearly and openly pointed out beforehand, and that His Most Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, was designated, and that at the same time the very same enmities of both towards the devil were signally expressed. Hence, just as Christ, the Mediator between God and man, having assumed human nature, blotted out the handwriting of the decree that stood against us, and fastened it triumphantly to the cross,108 so the Most Holy Virgin, united with Him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with Him and through Him, eternally at enmity with that poisonous Serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot."109

In this passage Pope Pius IX identifies the redemptive work of Christ with the crushing of the head of the Serpent."110 And, according to the text of the Holy Father, this complete overthrow of Satan's empire was effected by Christ and Mary acting as one principle; Mary's activity, however, being subordinate to that of Christ (with Him and through Him). This same interpretation was given to the Protoevangelium by the Fathers of the Vatican Council in their petition (signed by 113 Bishops and Archbishops) requesting of the Holy See the definition of Mary's Assumption into heaven.111

Now, St. Paul is very explicit in his teaching that death came into the world and rules over mankind as a result of sin. Thus, he says, "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world and through sin death, and thus death has passed on to all men because all have sinned. . . ."112 Satan rules over the empire of death to which all are subject who have contracted sin, inasmuch as sin came into the world through his instigation. As a result "we ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption of sons, the redemption of our body."113 This redemption shall take place only when "the trumpets shall sound, and the dead shall rise incorruptible and we shall be changed. For this incorruptible body must put on incorruption, and this mortal body must put on immortality. But when this mortal body puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the word that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory! O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?'"114

Christ freely subjected Himself to death because this was the will of His heavenly Father. Satan gained not even a slight partial victory over Him. For, far from being conquered by death, He died ". . . that through death He might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil."115 For the empire of death includes not just the separation of the soul from the body, but death with its consequent bodily corruption imposing thereby the obligation upon all, even the just, of waiting until the general resurrection for the liberation of the body and the full enjoyment, as a person, of the beatific vision. It was through Christ's anticipated resurrection that He destroyed the empire of death making His victory over Satan complete and perfect. Mary's association with Christ in gaining together with Him as one principle a complete and perfect victory over Satan demanded her anticipated resurrection and bodily glorification (if she died) or her anticipated bodily glorification (if she did not die). This anticipated resurrection or bodily glorification effected the union of her sacred body with her already glorified soul and "since a glorified body must be where the soul is, and Mary's soul is certainly in heaven, therefore Mary is in heaven with her glorified body and soul."116


1. Constitution, Munificentissimus Deus, in A.A.S., Vol. 42., 1950, p. 770.

2. Cf. Ineffabilis Deus, in Acta Pii IX, pars I. Vol. I, p. 616.

3. Cf. D.B., 1839.

4. Cf. Al. Janssens, De glorificatione corporali B. Mariae Virginis, in Ephemerides Theologicae Lovaniensis, Vol. 8, 1931, p. 437 ff.

5. Cf. F. S. Mueller, S.J., Origo divino-apostolica doctrinae evectionis Beatissimae Virginis ad. gloriam coelestem quoad corpus (Oeniponte, 1930). Cf. the critique of Father Mueller's work by J. Bittremieux in Ephemerides Theologicae Lovaniensis, Vol. 8, 1931, p. 465 ff., in which he attempts to harmonize the two opinions by distinguishing between the Assumption in the abstract and in the concrete. Abstractly considered, the essential object of the Assumption is the bodily glorification of the Blessed Virgin. Considered in the concrete, and as it actually took place, the object would include her death and subsequent resurrection. But, as Father Roschini points out, this opinion presupposes the fact of Mary's death and subsequent resurrection, as does that of Father Janssens. Cf. Summula Mariologiae (Romae, 1952), p. 174. Father C. Balic, O.F.M., distinguishes between the Assumption in recto and ex obliquo. Considering the Assumption in recto its object is the glorification of the living body; ex obliquo, it includes the death and resurrection. He designates the latter as the terminus a quo of the Assumption and the former the terminus ad. quem. Cf. De definibilitate Assumptionis B. V. Mariae (Romae, 1945), p. 42ff.

6. We do, however, find commentaries on the Constitution in which it is maintained that the death and subsequent resurrection of the body of Mary are included within the scope of the definition. Cf. for example, B. Garcia Rodriguez, C.M.F., La razon teologica en la constitucion 'Munificentissimus Deus,' in Ephemerides Mariologicae, Vol. I, 1951, p. 46 ff.

7. Haereses, 78, II, PG, 42., 716.

8. G. M. Roschini, Did Our Lady Die? in The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Vol. 80, 1953, pp. 75-76.

9. For a critique of the teaching of Timothy of Jerusalem and the various manuscripts in which his doctrine may be found, cf. M. Jugie, La mort et l'Assomption de la Sainte Vierge (Citta del Vaticano, 1944), p. 70ff. Cf. B. Capelle, Les homilies liturgiques du pretendu Timothee de Jerusalem, in Ephemerides Liturgicae, Vol. 63, 1949, pp. 5-26. After a very thorough and scholarly investigation the author concludes that Timothy is an unknown author who lived between the sixth and seventh centuries (p. 23).

10. De ortu et obitu Patrum, 67; PL, 83, 150.

11. Epistola ad Ascaricum, II; PL, 99, 1239-1240.

12. Oratio 12 in dormit. SS. Deiparae; PG, 97, 1051-1054.

13. Hom. 2 in dormit., n. 2; PG, 96, 726.

14. Opuscula, op. 37; PG, 97, 1594.

15. Cf. C. Piana, La morte e l'Assunzione della B. Vergine nella letteratura medio-evale, in Atti del Congresso Nazionale Mariano dei Frati Minori d'Italia (Roma, 1948), pp. 283-308.

16. In III Sent., d. 3, q. 2, ad 4; op. omnia, Vol. 3 (Ad Claras Aquas, 1888), p. 66. T. Gallus, Ad "immortalitatem" B. M. Virginis, in Marianum, Vol. 12, 1950, pp. 44-45, contends that the teaching of the Middle Ages concerning Mary's death was based on the false premise that Mary had contracted original sin. This is perhaps true of the thirteenth century, but Father Piana has shown that many subsequent theologians who believed in the Immaculate Conception taught also Mary's death. Cf. L'Assomption de la Vierge et l'ecole franciscaine du XV siecle, in Congres Marial du Puy-en-Velay, 1949 (Paris, 1950), esp. pp. 64, 72.

17. Cf. Super definibilitate dogmatica Asumptionis corporeae B. V. M. Deiparae Immaculatae (Augustae Taurinorum, 1884), p. 32.

18. Roschini, Il problema della morte di Maria SS. dopo la Costituzione Dogmatica "Munificentissimus Deus," in Marianum, Vol. 13, 1951, pp. 148-163; id., Il problema della morte di Maria SS. Risposta alle contestazioni del P. Sauras, in Ephemerides Mariologicae, Vol. 3, 1953, pp. 25-53. T. Gallus, art. cit., and also La Vergine Immortale (Roma, 1949).

19. De doctrina Assumptionis corporalis B. M. V. rationibus theologicis demonstrata, in Angelicum, Vol. 16, 1938, p. 12. In the same sense M. Jugie, op. cit., passim, esp. p. 539.

20. Cf. footnote 5.

21. Definibilite de l'Assomption, in Congres Marial du Puy-en-Velay (Paris, l950), p. 241. Cf. his more recent article La Bulle Dogmatique "Munificentissimus Deus" (I Nov. 1950), in Ephemerides Mariologicae, Vol. I, 1951, pp. 89-130, esp. 104-114.

22. Votum SS. Dno. Pio XII prolatum de corporea Asumptione B. M. Virginis in coelum, post mortem, definienda, in Estudios Marianos, Vol. 9, 1950, p. II ff.

23. Cf. Alma Socia Christi. Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani Romae anno sancto 1950 celebrati. Vol. I: Congressus ordo et summarium (Romae, 1951), p. 104.

24. E. A. Wuenschel, C.Ss.R., The Definability of the Assumption, in Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of The Catholic Theological Society of America, 1947. p. 99.

25. Rom. 8:3.

26. D.B., 175.

27. Art. cit., p. 87 ff.

28. Cf. Rom. 8:10, 23. On the question of Mary's death, cf. the recent study by J. B. Carol, O.F.M., The Immaculate Conception and Mary's Death, in Our Lady's Digest, Vol. 9, February, 1955, pp. 302-310, and also his Fundamentals of Mariology (New York, 1956), pp. 167-181.

29. St. Alphonsus bases this opinion (with relation to all men, not angels) on Mary's office of Coredeemer. Thus, he says: "If Mary, as the already destined Mother of our common Redeemer, received from the beginning the office of mediatress of all men, and consequently, even of the saints, it was also requisite that even from the beginning she should have a degree of grace exceeding that of all the saints for whom she was to intercede. . . . If, by means of Mary, all men were to render themselves dear to God, necessarily Mary was more holy and more dear to Him than all men together. Otherwise, how could she have interceded for all others?" The Glories of Mary (Brooklyn, 1931), p. 158.

30. This division is based on that of Father I. Filograssi, S.J., from Constitutio Apostolica "Munificentissimus Deus" de Assumptione Beatae Marias Virginis, in Gregorianum, Vol. 31, 1950, pp. 483-484.

31. The numbers in parentheses refer to the official text of the Munificentissimus Deus, in A.A.S., Vol. 42., 1950, pp. 754-771.

32. Although the Holy Father uses the expression "these two privileges are most closely bound to one another," he does not settle the disputed question of the manner in which they are so hound. Some theologians maintain that the Assumption does not follow necessarily from the Immaculate Conception but only as a fitting consequence (as, for example, P. Renaudin, O.S.B., Assumptio B. Mariae Virginis Matris Dei [Taurini-Romae, 1933], Ch. 10, 170). Others hold that these two truths are so connected that the Assumption is formally implicitly revealed in the Immaculate Conception. This opinion is held by Father Gabriel Roschini, Compendium Mariologiae (Romae, 1946), p. 469, and in The Assumption and the Immaculate Conception, in The Thomist, Vol. 14, 1931, p. 59ff. Father Juniper Carol, O.F.M., raises the following objection against this opinion; "The Sacred Scriptures (e.g., Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12) do establish a positive nexus between sin and death. However, in order to show that our doctrine (the Assumption) is formally implicitly revealed in the revelation of Mary's absolute exemption from sin, it would have to be proved that death, whether permanent or transitory, is always and necessarily a punishment due to sin, even after Christ paid our debt on the cross. And this is what some grave theologians will not admit. Besides, we have a decision of the Council of Trent according to which the sacrament of Baptism completely remits not only the guilt of original sin but also all punishment due to it (DB, 807). And yet many Christians, even while in possession of baptismal grace, not only die but are also subject to corruption until the day of the general resurrection. The Angelic Doctor . . . gives us a cue to the possible solution of this difficulty by distinguishing between punishments due to the person and punishments due to the nature (Summ. theol. III, q. 69, a. 3, ad 3). According to this, the decision of the Council may well refer to the former, not to the latter. We say that this is a possible solution, for the Council speaks of all punishment without making any distinction. Hence the difficulty seems to remain. At any rate, we believe that the doctrine of Mary's Assumption may be drawn from her Immaculate Conception by a somewhat different process which would give us a 'theological conclusion,'" The Definability of Mary's Assumption, in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 118, March, 1948, pp. 168-169, In the original article submitted to The American Ecclesiastical Review, Father Carol had written: "And yet many Christians, even while in possession of baptismal grace, not only die but. . . ." He now informs us that, for some unexplained reason, whoever prepared the manuscript for the printer took the liberty to substitute the word "most" for "many," thus rendering his statement utterly false.

33. Op. cit., pp. 754-755.

34. Cf. op. cit., p. 755.

35. Typis polyglottis Vaticanis, 1942.

36. Cf. Petitiones, Vol. 2, pp. 832-842.

37. Op. cit., pp. 842-854.

38. Acta et decreta sacrorum conciliorum recentiorum. Collectio Lacensis, Vol. 7 (Friburgi Brisgoviae, 1882), p. 869 ff.

39. Op. cit., p. 756.

40. Cf. Ubi primum, in Acta Pii IX, pars I. Vol. I, p. 162 ff.

41. Op. cit., p. 756.

42. Op. cit., pp. 756-757.

43. Acts 20:28.

44. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, in Acta Pii IX, pars I, Vol. I, p. 615.

45. Cf. Vatican Council, De fide catholica, cap. 4.

46. Cf. Jn. 14:26.

47. De Ecclesia Christi, cap. 4. D.B., 1836.

48. De fide catholica, cap. 3. D.B., 1792.

49. Cf. St. Thomas, Summ. Theol., II-II, q. 10, a. 12, c.

50. Munificentissimus, pp. 757-758.

51. E. A. Wuenschel, art. cit., p. 91.

52. According to Angel Luis, C.Ss.R., Principio fundamental o primario, Como enunciarlo si se da ese unico principio?, in Estudios Marianos, Vol. 3, 1944, p. 190, this famous axiom was not formulated by Scotus but by one of his disciples, namely, F. Mayron, In III Sent., d. 3, q. 2. The words which are the basis of this interpretation of his thought are: "Deus potuit facere quod ipsa numquam fuisset in peccato originali. . . Si auctoritati Ecclesiae, vel auctoritati Scripturae non repugnet, videtur probabile quod est excellentius attribuere Mariae" (Op. Oxon., Ill Sent., d. 3, q. 1, n. 4).

53. Glories of Mary (ed. Brooklyn, 1931), p. 158.

54. Gen. 3:15.

55. Pope Pius XII, Fulgens Corona, in A.A.S., Vol. 45, 1953. pp. 579, 580.

56. Rom. 5:12; Hebr. 2:14; Rom. 8:10.

57. Rom. 8:23; I Cor. 15:52-56.

58. E. A. Wuenschel, loc. cit.

59. Munificentissimus, p. 758.

60. Ibid.

61. Ineffabilis Deus, in Acta Pii IX, pars I, Vol. I, p. 600 ff.

62. Mediator Dei, in A.A.S., Vol. 39, 1947, p. 541.

63. Cf. La mort et l'Assomption de la Sainte Vierge (Citta del Vaticano, 1944), p. 174 ff.

64. Cf. De priorum saeculorum silentio circa Assumptionem B. Mariae Virginis (Romae, 1946), pp. 18-26.

65. Nicephorus Callistus, Hist. Eccles., 18, 18, in PG, 147, 292.

66. Cf. H. Usener, Der heilige Theodosius (Leipzig, 1890), pp. 38, 144; Acta Sanctorum, 11 Januarii, p. 690. n. 31; E. A. Wuenschel, art. cit., p. 77.

67. De Gloria Martyrum, lib. I, cap. 4, 9. PL, 71, 708, 713.

68. De transitu Dei Genitricis Mariae, ed. A. Baumstark, in Oriens Christianus, Vol. 5, 1905, pp. 91-99. On this testimony, cf. Faller, op. cit., p. 20.

69. In dormitionem B. V. Mariae; PG, 96, 700-761; Canon in dormitionem Dei Genetricis; PG, 96, 1364-1368; Valentine A. Mitchel, The Mariology of Saint John Damascene (Kirkwood, Mo. 1931), pp. 138-169.

70. Art. cit., p. 87.

71. Cf. Christopher Lee, The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Vol. 54, 1939, p. 177.

72. Cf. Liber Pontificalis, Vol. I, p. 376.

73. We know this from the Sacramentary sent by Pope Adrian I to Charles the Great between the years 784 and 791. Cf. Roschini, Mariologia, ed. 2, Vol. 2, pars 2 (Romae, 1948), p. 154.

74. Cf. Liber Pontificalis, Vol. 2, p. 112.

75. Munificentissimus, p. 759.

76. Ibid. For further details cf. the well-documented paper by B. Capelle, L'Assunzione e la liturgia, in Marianum, Vol. 15, 1953, pp. 241-276, and the select literature mentioned in it. Cf. likewise J. B. Carol, O.F.M., Fundamentals of Mariology (New York, 1956), pp. 170-172, 190-193.

77. Munificentissimus, p. 760.

78. Encomium in dormitionem Dei Genitricis semperque Virginis Mariae, hom. 2, n. 14; PG, 96, 741.

79. In Sanctae Dei Genitricis dormitionem sermo I; PG, 98, 346.

80. Encomium in dormitionem Sanctissimae Dominae nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae, n. 14; PG, 86-II, 3306. Concerning the attributing of this testimony to St. Modestus of Jerusalem Father Faller says: "Concerning S. Modestus of Jerusalem (d. 17 December, 634) they (scholars) rightly doubt whether or not the homilies on the Assumption (PG, 86, 3277-3312) ascribed to him can be attributed to him with certitude. This is especially true since the Christological formula of the two wills in Christ (par. 10, col, 3304 B-C) was called into doubt only in the year of the death of Modestus through a letter of the Patriarch Sergius to Pope Honorius, so that it is very likely that Modestus of Jerusalem had no knowledge of this controversy before his death. Hence this testimony should be transferred to the end of the seventh or the beginning of the eighth century. But, even so, it very probably precedes the testimonies of St. Andrew of Crete, St. Germanus, and St. John Chrysostom" (op. cit., p. 9).

81. As, for example, E. Renan, L'Eglise Chretienne, in Histoire des origines du Christianisme, Vol. 6 (Paris, 1879) p. 513; C. Tischendorf, Apocalypses Apocryphae (Leipzig, 1866), p. 34; H. Zoeckler, "Maria," in Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie und Kirche, Vol. 13, p. 300; the article entitled: Assumption in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th ed., Vol. 2, 1939, p. 567. Father T. Livius, C.Ss.R., in his work The Blessed Virgin in the Fathers of the First Six Centuries (London, 1839), p. 365, quotes the objective view of the Anglican Mozley on this question. Mozley writes: "The belief was never founded on that story (the apocryphal). The story was founded on the belief. The belief, which was universal, required a definite shape, and that shape at length it found" (Reminiscences of Oriel College and the Oxford Movement, Vol. 2, p. 368).

82. For a complete treatment of the Assumption in the Apocrypha cf. A. C. Rush, C.Ss.R., The Assumption in the Apocrypha, in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 116, 1947, pp. 5-31; A Vitti, S.J., Libri apocryphi de Assumptione, in Verbum Domini, Vol. 6, 1926, pp. 225-234; M. Jugie, op. cit., pp. 103-171; E. A. Wuenschel, art. cit., p. 73 ff.

83. The Definability of Mary's Assumption, in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 118, 1948, pp. 164-165.

84. Adversus haereses, 78:23; PG, 42, 737. Translation of E. A. Wuenschel, art. cit., p. 79.

85. Cf. note no. 9.

86. For example, Father Michael Quinlan, S.J., The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Vol. 68, 1946, p. 82.

87. De gloria beatorum martyrum 4; PL, 71, 708.

88. Op. cit., 9; PL, 71, 713.

89. An exhaustive collection of references to the Scholastic exponents of the doctrine of the Assumption may be found in the article entitled Marie in the Dictionnaire Apologetique de la Foi Catholique, Vol. 3, coll. 277— 280. Cf. likewise the monumental work of C. Balic, Testimonia de Assumptione Beatae Virginis Marine ex omnibus saeculis, Vol. I (Romae, 1948), Vol. a (Romae, 1950).

90. A complete treatment of the theological argumentation contained in the Munificentissimus Deus may be found in the excellent article by Father B. Garcia Rodriguez, C.M.F., La teologia de la "Munificentissimus Deus," in Ephemerides Mariologicae, Vol. I, 1951, p. 45 ff.

91. Munificentissimus, p. 768, For a scholarly treatment of the scriptural arguments of the Munificentissimus Deus see Father M. Peinador's article, De argumento scripturistico in Bulla dogmatica, in Ephemerides Mariologicae, Vol. I, 1951, p. 27 ff.

92. Munificentissimus, p. 762.

93. Ps. 138:8.

94. Cant. 3:6. Cf. also 4:8; 6:9.

95. Apoc. 12:1.

96. Lk. 1:28.

97. Munificentissimus, p. 763.

98. Ineffabilis Deus, in Acta Pit IX, pars I, Vol. I, p. 609.

99. Munificentissimus, p. 768.

100. Acta Pii IX, p. 599. Cf. also Munificentissimus, p. 769.

101. Munificentissimus, p. 768.

102. It is disputed among theologians whether the Assumption is formally implicitly contained within the notion of the Divine Maternity or not. Father Juniper Carol, O.F.M., maintains that it is not, for there is a nexus of fitness only between these two prerogatives. With this opinion we agree, Cf. The Definability of Mary's Assumption, in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 118, 1948, p. 167. Father Crisostomo de Pamplona holds the positive view in an article entitled, La Asuncion basada en los grandes privilegios marianos, in Estudios Marianos, Vol. 6, 1947, p. 270 ff.

103. Art. cit., p. 91.

104. It is not our purpose here to outline the theology of the Coredemption. We refer the reader to the exhaustive work by Father Juniper B. Carol, De Corredemptione Beatae Virginis Mariae disquisitio positiva (Civitas Vaticana, 1950). On the specific point being discussed here cf. also his commentary, The Apostolic Constitution "Munificentissimus Deus" and Our Lady's Coredemption, in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 125, October, 1951, pp. 255-273.

105. Gen. 3:15.

106. Munificentissimus, p. 768.

107. The Holy Father, however, does speak of Our Blessed Mother as "the noble Associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences" (ibid).

108. Col. 2:14.

109. Acta Pii IX, pars I, Vol. I, p. 607.

110. This is also the teaching of St. Paul in Col. 2:14; Hebr. 1:4.

111. Cf. Acta et decreta Sacrorum Conciliorum recentiorum. Collectio Lacensis Vol. 7 (Friburgi Brisgoviae, 1882), p. 869 f. For further literature on the Assumption in the Protoevangelium, cf. A. Bea, La Sacra Scrittura "ultimo fondamento" del domma dell'Assunzione, in La Civilta Cattolica, a. 101, Vol. 4, 1950, pp. 547-561; M. Peinador, Mas sobre el argumento escrituristico en la Bula "Munificentissimus Deus," in Ephemerides Mariologicae, Vol. I, 1951 pp. 395-404. Cf. likewise the excellent study (written before the definition) by L. Di Fonzo, De Immaculatae Deiparae Assumptione post praecipua recentiora studia critica disquisitio, in Miscellanea Francescana, Vol. 46, 1946, pp. 45-104 esp. pp. 72-74.

112. Rom. 5:12.

113. Rom. 8:23.

114. Cor. 15:52-55.

115. Hebr. 2:14.

116. J. B. Carol, The Definability of Mary's Assumption, in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 118, 1948, p. 176.

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