Thursday, March 29, 2012

(Real ?) Presence of Mary - So Saith Benedict XVI

As reported by the Vatican Information Service, on March 28, 2012, in a farewell address in Cuba, Benedict XVI stated:
As I bid you a heartfelt adios, I ask our Lady of Charity of El Cobre to protect all Cubans under her mantle, to sustain them in the midst of their trials and to obtain from Almighty God the grace that they most desire. Hasta siempre, Cuba, a land made beautiful by the maternal presence of Mary. 
This is not simply a request for Mary to pray for the people of Cuba.  It is specifically asking Mary to
  • protect the Cubans under her mantle, 
  • sustain them in the midst of their trials, and
  • obtain from Almighty God the grace that they most desire.
Perhaps the third item could be viewed simply as asking Mary to pray, but the other two are asking for Mary to provide sustainance and the specific protection of Mary.  But how can Mary protect?

Here we have the most interesting part of Benedict XVI's comment.  He alleges that Mary's "maternal presence" is in Cuba, and that this "maternal presence" makes Cuba beautiful.

But where is the historical Mary?  Her body is an unknown grave and her soul is in heaven.  She is not present, body or soul, in Cuba.

Lady of Charity of El Cobre is an idol, it's not the historical Mary.  That idol has no power to bring the spirit of Mary down from heaven.  In fact, it has no power of its own at all.  It had to be rescued from the waters of Nipe Bay in 1606 by three fishermen.  It is the Cubans who are the hope of the idol (if it even had a spirit to hope!), not the idol that is the hope of the Cubans.  They rescued it, but it can never rescue them.

And neither is Mary, either real or imagined, a hope for the Cubans.  She is a spirit who has entered into glory, awaiting the resurrection of the body.  She does not have a mantle of protection to offer.  The only hope for the Cubans - as for all mankind - is the son of the real Mary, namely Jesus Christ the righteous.  He alone is the rock of our salvation, for he is not merely man but Emmanuel, God with us.

Cuba is a land made beautiful by God's mercy and kindness.  It is wrong for Benedict XVI to attribute this to Mary or her imagined presence.



RDuran said...

Turretinfan have you come across this little gem yet?

Churchmouse said...

Hello -- I previously commented for the first time on .

I have read the thread which R Duran cited and was amazed to find that Catholics now believe that Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Words fail me.

I am an ex-Catholic and have been an Anglican for many years. Yet, as a Roman Catholic I was never taught that Mary is the Holy Spirit's beloved/wife -- whatever. (How would that have happened, anyway? I ask in all seriousness.)

It would seem that John Paul II and his advisors came up with much of this. It was during his tenure that I left the Catholic Church, by the way, but before this was devised. Surely, if this notion is being reported or repeated accurately in the forum, it is a heresy? (Please note that I am asking, not stating.)

And the notion that every sanctifying grace from the Catholic sacrament of Confession comes through Mary is equally wrong. This is all post 1980-something and has not been part of authorised Catholic catechesis through the ages.

I feel very sorry for today's Catholics and will pray for them.

turretinfan said...

That is an interesting point. I do not recall where, but I seem to recall some patristic writer or other explicitly pointing out that Jesus is not the Son of the Holy Spirit but only the Son of the Father.

Churchmouse said...

In doing a brief search, I ran across two links -- one leads to another. Maybe you can clarify or elaborate on the theology at work here (if so, many thanks):

This is from a Catholic in an online 'conversation' with an Evangelical:

'As for Mary being the spouse of the Holy Spirit, this is a poetic (but true) expression referring to her total self-commitment to God ("Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Your Word" -- Luke 1:38). So, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is to be seen as Jesus' earthly or temporal "father," as if the Holy Spirit and Mary had normal marital relations, and so produced a son from them, etc. Rather, Mary acts as an image of both Creation, Israel, and the Church; and the Holy Spirit "weds" himself to her in a creative act, just as the "Spirit of God moves over the waters" of the new and unformed **earth** (Creation) in Genesis 1:2, and just as He came upon the people of Israel at the base of Sinai and upon the Church at Pentecost, thereby "creating" them into a people. In the same way, the Spirit comes upon Mary so as to form the human nature of Jesus from her.'

His link at the bottom of the page leads to the Council of Ephesus (431 AD). One of the letters cited was one from Nestorius (second letter to Cyril), which the Council condemned, part of which reads:

'Consider a further piece of evidence: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, she was found to be with child of the holy Spirit." But who would ever consider that the godhead of the only begotten was a creature of the Spirit?'

turretinfan said...