Catholics are often accused of inventing theology, of making things up that have no basis in Scripture. And few Biblical people draw as much non-Catholic ire as Mary and her place in Christian theology.
There are four dogmas relating to Our Lady: her Immaculate Conception, her perpetual Virginity, that she was the Mother of God, and that she was Assumed bodily into heaven. In addition to those four dogmas, there are a number of doctrines which have not been elevated to dogmatic status, but nevertheless are understood to be part of divine revelation. One of them is the focus of today’s feast — the Queenship of Mary.
The accusation that Catholics “make up” theology is easily dismissed. One simply has to look at the path Salvation history in the Old Testament to see that it took time — sometimes many, many generations, for aspects of the unchangeable Will of God to be understood by humanity. Look at the protoevangelium. Look at the understanding of the Passover as a prefigure of the Last Supper (and, to us Catholics, of the Eucharist). Marian dogmas are no exception. Consider the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, that, through a singular grace, Mary was preserved from the stain of Original Sin. While the dogma was declared in 1854, the Church had been slowly perceiving its existence since at least the 400s. The intervening 1400 years were filled with a slow understanding of the nature of Original Sin, its transmission, and the cleansing thereof. Far from some piece of novelty theology, created out of air on the whim of a pope, the truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception existed from all time, and is Biblically based.
The Queenship of Mary is even more clearly spelled out in Scripture. The angelic greeting at the Annunciation clearly refers to Christ’s Kingship, as the Catechism states, “Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it” (CCC 964). Throughout space and time mothers of monarchs have themselves been known as queens. There are a number of places in the Old Testament, for example, where the mother of the king is referred to not only as a queen, but is honored as a valued councilor of the ruler. Our Lady’s behavior at the wedding in Cana, particularly in light of her Son’s response to it, echoes the Old Testament relationship between kings and their queen mothers.
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