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“Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”
–Mary, Luke 1:48

There are several Marys in the Bible, but by far the most important is Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She is known by many titles, including the Blessed Virgin Mary(sometimes abbreviated BVM), Queen of HeavenTheotokos (Mother of God) andOur Lady (Notre-Dame in French; Madonna in Italian).

Because of her humility, piety and role as the mother of the Savior of humanity, Mary has been accorded great respect in all branches of Christianity and is a favorite subject in art, music and literature. In Catholic and Orthodox Churches, Mary is the pre-eminent saint and the focus of much popular devotion.

This article explores historical and modern Christian beliefs about Mary (known as “Mariology”), which includes such doctrines as the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Virgin Birth of Christ, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the Assumption of Mary, Mary as “Theotokos,” and Mary as Coredemptrix and Mediatrix.

Visions, shrines, feast days, the “Hail Mary” and other devotional practices related to Mary, which are important aspects of Mariology, will be treated in the Christian Practices section.

Mary in the New Testament

The Annunciation by El Greco (1575)The Virgin Mary plays a prominent role in the Gospels, especially in the birth stories of Mark (1-2) and Luke (1-2). According to Luke, Mary was of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (1:32).

When Mary was a young woman engaged to Joseph, the Angel Gabriele announced to her that she would give birth to a son that would be born of the Holy Spirit. Mary humbly accepted her divinely-appointed role, saying, “May it be unto me as you have said.” She then conceived and gave birth to Jesus while remaining a virgin (Lk 1:31f; Mt 1:20, 23).

Mary appears periodically throughout Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection. She was present at Jesus’ first miracle, which he performed reluctantly at her suggestion (John 2:1f).

Michaelangelo's PietaAt the crucifixion, Mary and a small group of women were present (Jn 19:25). Speaking from the cross, Jesus entrusted her care to his disciple John (Jn 19:26). One of Michaelangelo’s most famous sculptures (right) depicts Mary mourning her son’s death.

According to traditional interpretation, the Virgin Mary was not the “other Mary” who visited the tomb after Jesus’ death (Matthew 28:1) – it is said she did not visit the tomb because she already knew he would not be there.

In addition, there is no biblical record of the resurrected Jesus appearing to Mary. In 1997, the Pope speculates that it is highly likely Jesus did appear to his mother (Vatican Information Services, May 21, 1997). After the resurrection, Mary was present in the Upper Room at Jerusalem with the disciples (Acts 1:14), but this is the last biblical mention of her.

Mary in Apocryphal Texts

The Gospel of James contains biographical material about Mary considered plausible by some Orthodox and Catholic Christians. It states she was the daughter of Joachim and Anna, who were quite old when she was conceived. They took her to live in the Temple in Jerusalem when she was three years old, as Hannah took Samuel to the Tabernacle in the Old Testament. The Gospel of James also teaches Mary’s perpetual virginity

Mary in Early Christian Theology

In the writings of the early church fathers, Mary is mentioned only occasionally and primarily in contrast to Eve. Justin Martyr (d. c.165) and Irenaeus (d. c.202) contrasted Mary’s obedience with Eve’s disobedience.

The apocryphal Gospel of James (as seen above), Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and especially Athanasius affirmed Mary’s perpetual virginity. This doctrine was accepted by both Western and Eastern Churches from the fifth century onwards.

The doctrine of Mary as Theotokos (God-bearer) arose in Alexandria and was probably first used by Origen. It became common in the fourth century, was opposed by Nestorius, and accepted at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Mary played a lesser role in the West than in the East at this time. Western theologians like St. Ambrose primarily spoke of Mary as a “type” or symbol of the Church.

The doctrine of the bodily Assumption of Mary was formally developed by St. Gregory of Tours (d. 594), although it had been present in apocryphal tests since the late fourth century. The Feast of the Assumption became widespread in the sixth century, and sermons on that occasion tended to emphasize Mary’s power in heaven. 

Mary in the Reformation and Protestantism

Despite the Reformer’s rejection of the veneration of Mary and other saints, most Protestants have shown a great deal of honor and respect for Mary. Martin Luther said Mary is “the highest woman,” that “we can never honour her enough,” that “the veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart” and that we should “wish that everyone know and respect her.” John Calvin said, “It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor.” Zwingli said, “I esteem immensely the Mother of God,” and, “The more the honor and love of Christ increases among men, so much the esteem and honor given to Mary should grow.”

Most Reformers rejected the Immaculate Conception, and the Assumption of Mary, but some affirmed the perpetual virginity of Mary and all accepted the Virgin Birth.

Since the Reformation, Protestants have tended to pay little attention to Mary, primarily in reaction against the excessive level of adoration they believe is relegated to her in Catholic and Orthodox Christianity. But this may be beginning to change. In the summer of 2004, Christian History & Biography magazine (affiliated with the Protestant Christianity Today) dedicated an entire issue to Mary. Included were articles suggesting the value of making a larger place for her in Protestantism. {6} In December 2004, the Southern Baptist dean of an evangelical school in Alabama said:

I would like Protestants today, evangelicals today, to go back to the reformers. I don’t think we have to become Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox believers to recover a truly Protestant, reformational, scriptural understanding of Mary.

Professor Beverley Roberts Gaventa of Princeton Theological Seminary, whose writings have called for more Protestant emphasis of Mary agrees, pointing out:

What happens in the story is that Mary is chosen entirely by God’s own initiative. This is a primary example of what Protestants emphasize as God’s divine grace, God’s initiative.

The Immaculate Conception

The Most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.– Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854)

According to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, Mary was born without the stain of original sin. Both Catholics and Orthodox accept this doctrine, but only the Roman Catholic Church has solemnly defined the teaching, and the title “Immaculate Conception” is generally used only by Catholics. Most Protestants reject the idea as having no foundation in Scripture.

In Eastern Orthodox Churches, the matter is seen somewhat differently. Orthodox Christians reject the western doctrine of original sin, preferring instead to speak of a tendency towards sin. Thus they believe Mary was born without sin, but so is everyone else. However, Orthodox still affirm Mary was “immaculate” (i.e., sinless) in that the grace of God preserved her from any actual sin during her lifetime.

Unlike the Virgin Birth and the Assumption of Mary, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has not gone uncontested within the Catholic Church. It was the source of great controversy among medieval theologians, primarily because it was believed original sin was passed on to one’s offspring through the sexual act and no one denied Mary was born in the natural way. Those opposing the doctrine included St. Anselm of Canterbury and the Dominicans; it was defended and explained by Anselm’s student Eadmer, Duns Scotus, the Franciscans and the Jesuits. The Assumption of Mary was formally affirmed and defined for Roman Catholics in 1854. 

Mary as Virgin Mother

The notion that Mary gave birth to Jesus while remaining a virgin is taught explicitly in the birth narratives of Matthew (1:18 ff.) and Luke (1:34 ff.), but these seem to be the only references to the Virgin Birth in the New Testament. The Gospel of Mark begins with Jesus as an adult, and the Gospel of John, while beginning with Jesus’ pre-birth existence, does not mention any miraculous aspects of Jesus’ birth. Galatians 4:4, the earliest allusion to Mary in Christian literature, states only that Jesus was “born of woman.” Most scholars do not attach special significance to this phrase on the basis that “as parallels such as Job 14:1 and Matthew 11:11 suggest, the phrase is a Hebraic way of speaking about the essential humanity of a person.”

After the New Testament, the doctrine of the Virgin Birth became prominent. It appeared frequently in early Christian literature, it was formalized in the ecumenical creeds, and it was accepted by the Reformers, who rejected most other Catholic doctrines regarding Mary. Today, the Virgin Birth continues to be accepted by Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants alike. 

Mary as Theotokos or the Mother of God

Icon of the TheotokosThe doctrine of Mary to attract the most controversy within Christianity is her title of Theotokos (Greek for “God-bearer” or “Mother of God”). This term first arose in Alexandria, Egypt, around the fourth century and quickly gained popularity. Despite centering on a title for Mary, the issue actually has much more to do with Christology. The notion of Mary as God-bearer was intended to reflect the then-established belief that Jesus was fully divine. However, for some (most notably Nestorius), it did so at the expense of Jesus’ full humanity. In 431, the Council of Ephesus affirmed the use of Theotokos as acceptable and condemned Nestorius. Today, Theotokos is used often by Orthodox Christians as a synonym for Mary, and Catholics regularly refer to Mary as Mother of God. 

Mary as Perpetual Virgin

Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy teach that Mary was not only a virgin before she gave birth to Jesus, but she remained a virgin her entire life. Some Protestants also hold this view, including Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, but most modern Protestants believe she later had other children with Joseph since the Bible speaks of Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Catholics and Orthodox explain references to Jesus’ brothers as either cousins, or as step brothers who were Joseph’s children by a prior marriage. 

The Assumption of Mary

According to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition, between three and fifteen years after Christ’s Ascension, in either Jerusalem or Ephesus, Mary died while surrounded by the apostles. Later when the apostles opened her tomb, they found it empty and concluded that she had been bodily assumed into Heaven.

This doctrine was present in apocryphal works since the end of the fourth century, and was formally taught by St. Gregory of Tours in the sixth century. The bodily Assumption of Mary seems to have been accepted in both Western and Eastern Churches from the sixth century onwards, and went virtually uncontested until the Reformation.

In 1950, speaking ex cathedra (infallibly) in his encyclical Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Dogma of the Assumption, in which he stated that “at the end of her earthly course, Mary was assumed into heavenly glory, body and soul.” 

Mary as Coredemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces

An additional doctrine of Mary believed by many Catholics, but not yet formalized by the Pope, is that of Mary as Coredemptrix. This title indicates that Mary participated in some way in Christ’s redemption of mankind. At its simplest, this doctrine is based on Mary’s free acceptance of her opportunity to give birth to the Savior, as indicated by her reply, “May it be unto me as you have said” (Lk 1:38). This event is sometimes referred to as the “guarantee of the Incarnation.”

Over the years, however, the term Coredemptrix has come to denote a more active role for Mary than her assent. The Second Vatican Council declared, “in suffering with Him as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope, and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls” (Lumen gentium 61-62). However, Catholic theologians differ as to the precise nature of Mary’s participation in the redemption, and, as aforementioned, the Pope has yet to speak ex cathedra on the subject.

Closely related to this doctrine is that of Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces, which affirms that all graces Christ obtains for humanity are dispensed by and through Mary. The Second Vatican Council also touched on this subject when it stated that “the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men… flows from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it” (Lumen gentium 60). This also has not been formally affirmed by the pope, but it is popular among many Catholics.

A lay Catholic organization, the Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici (Voice of the People for Mary Mediatrix), has been founded with the goal of winning formal recognition of the “fifth doctrine of Mary,” which includes Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces, and Advocate for the People of God. The organization is currently collecting signatures that will be included with a letter to the Pope asking that he “define and proclaim the Blessed Virgin Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of all grace and Advocate for the People of God.”  

Mary in Other Faiths

Islamic theology accepts that Jesus was the result of a virgin birth. The Quran tells the story of Maryam (Mary) in two places, 3:35-47 and 19:16-34, but provides much less detail than the New Testament. It says Maryam was dedicated to God’s service by her mother while still in the womb (Quran 3:35), that she was cared for by Zakariya (Zecharias) (3:36), and that in her childhood God provided for her to help her grow strong and pious (3:37). God then sent an angel to announce that she could shortly expect to bear a son, specifying that “O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee – chosen thee above the women of all nations.” (Qur’an 3:42). It specifies that she conceived Jesus despite being a virgin: “She said: “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?” He said: “Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, ‘Be,’ and it is!” (3:47).

 

Surat Maryam (Mary) – سورة مريم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحي
19:1
Sahih International

Kaf, Ha, Ya, ‘Ayn, Sad.

19:2
Sahih International

[This is] a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zechariah

19:3
Sahih International

When he called to his Lord a private supplication.

19:4
Sahih International

He said, “My Lord, indeed my bones have weakened, and my head has filled with white, and never have I been in my supplication to You, my Lord, unhappy.

19:5
Sahih International

And indeed, I fear the successors after me, and my wife has been barren, so give me from Yourself an heir

19:6
Sahih International

Who will inherit me and inherit from the family of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, pleasing [to You].”

19:7
Sahih International

[He was told], “O Zechariah, indeed We give you good tidings of a boy whose name will be John. We have not assigned to any before [this] name.”

19:8
Sahih International

He said, “My Lord, how will I have a boy when my wife has been barren and I have reached extreme old age?”

19:9
Sahih International

[An angel] said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, for I created you before, while you were nothing.’ ”

19:10
Sahih International

[Zechariah] said, “My Lord, make for me a sign.” He said, “Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three nights, [being] sound.”

19:11
Sahih International

So he came out to his people from the prayer chamber and signaled to them to exalt [ Allah ] in the morning and afternoon.

19:12
Sahih International

[ Allah ] said, “O John, take the Scripture with determination.” And We gave him judgement [while yet] a boy

19:13
Sahih International

And affection from Us and purity, and he was fearing of Allah

19:14
Sahih International

And dutiful to his parents, and he was not a disobedient tyrant.

19:15
Sahih International

And peace be upon him the day he was born and the day he dies and the day he is raised alive.

19:16
Sahih International

And mention, [O Muhammad], in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east.

19:17
Sahih International

And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man.

19:18
Sahih International

She said, “Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, [so leave me], if you should be fearing of Allah .”

19:19
Sahih International

He said, “I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy.”

19:20
Sahih International

She said, “How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?”

19:21
Sahih International

He said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.’ ”

19:22
Sahih International

So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a remote place.

19:23
Sahih International

And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, “Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.”

19:24
Sahih International

But he called her from below her, “Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream.

19:25
Sahih International

And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates.

19:26
Sahih International

So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, ‘Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to [any] man.’ ”

19:27
Sahih International

Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, “O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented.

19:28
Sahih International

O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste.”

19:29
Sahih International

So she pointed to him. They said, “How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?”

19:30
Sahih International

[Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah . He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.

19:31
Sahih International

And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive

19:32
Sahih International

And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant.

19:33
Sahih International

And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.”

19:34
Sahih International

That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute.

19:35
Sahih International

It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is.

19:36
Sahih International

[Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.”

19:37
Sahih International

Then the factions differed [concerning Jesus] from among them, so woe to those who disbelieved – from the scene of a tremendous Day.

19:38
Sahih International

How [clearly] they will hear and see the Day they come to Us, but the wrongdoers today are in clear error.

19:39
Sahih International

And warn them, [O Muhammad], of the Day of Regret, when the matter will be concluded; and [yet], they are in [a state of] heedlessness, and they do not believe.

19:40
Sahih International

Indeed, it is We who will inherit the earth and whoever is on it, and to Us they will be returned.

19:41
Sahih International

And mention in the Book [the story of] Abraham. Indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet.

19:42
Sahih International

[Mention] when he said to his father, “O my father, why do you worship that which does not hear and does not see and will not benefit you at all?

19:43
Sahih International

O my father, indeed there has come to me of knowledge that which has not come to you, so follow me; I will guide you to an even path.

19:44
Sahih International

O my father, do not worship Satan. Indeed Satan has ever been, to the Most Merciful, disobedient.

19:45
Sahih International

O my father, indeed I fear that there will touch you a punishment from the Most Merciful so you would be to Satan a companion [in Hellfire].”

19:46
Sahih International

[His father] said, “Have you no desire for my gods, O Abraham? If you do not desist, I will surely stone you, so avoid me a prolonged time.”

19:47
Sahih International

[Abraham] said, “Peace will be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Indeed, He is ever gracious to me.

19:48
Sahih International

And I will leave you and those you invoke other than Allah and will invoke my Lord. I expect that I will not be in invocation to my Lord unhappy.”

19:49
Sahih International

So when he had left them and those they worshipped other than Allah , We gave him Isaac and Jacob, and each [of them] We made a prophet.

19:50
Sahih International

And We gave them of Our mercy, and we made for them a reputation of high honor.

19:51
Sahih International

And mention in the Book, Moses. Indeed, he was chosen, and he was a messenger and a prophet.

19:52
Sahih International

And We called him from the side of the mount at [his] right and brought him near, confiding [to him].

19:53
Sahih International

And We gave him out of Our mercy his brother Aaron as a prophet.

19:54
Sahih International

And mention in the Book, Ishmael. Indeed, he was true to his promise, and he was a messenger and a prophet.

19:55
Sahih International

And he used to enjoin on his people prayer and zakah and was to his Lord pleasing.

19:56
Sahih International

And mention in the Book, Idrees. Indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet.

19:57
Sahih International

And We raised him to a high station.

19:58
Sahih International

Those were the ones upon whom Allah bestowed favor from among the prophets of the descendants of Adam and of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah, and of the descendants of Abraham and Israel, and of those whom We guided and chose. When the verses of the Most Merciful were recited to them, they fell in prostration and weeping.

19:59
Sahih International

But there came after them successors who neglected prayer and pursued desires; so they are going to meet evil –

19:60
Sahih International

Except those who repent, believe and do righteousness; for those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged at all.

19:61
Sahih International

[Therein are] gardens of perpetual residence which the Most Merciful has promised His servants in the unseen. Indeed, His promise has ever been coming.

19:62
Sahih International

They will not hear therein any ill speech – only [greetings of] peace – and they will have their provision therein, morning and afternoon.

19:63
Sahih International

That is Paradise, which We give as inheritance to those of Our servants who were fearing of Allah .

19:64
Sahih International

[Gabriel said], “And we [angels] descend not except by the order of your Lord. To Him belongs that before us and that behind us and what is in between. And never is your Lord forgetful –

19:65
Sahih International

Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them – so worship Him and have patience for His worship. Do you know of any similarity to Him?”

19:66
Sahih International

And the disbeliever says, “When I have died, am I going to be brought forth alive?”

19:67
Sahih International

Does man not remember that We created him before, while he was nothing?

19:68
Sahih International

So by your Lord, We will surely gather them and the devils; then We will bring them to be present around Hell upon their knees.

19:69
Sahih International

Then We will surely extract from every sect those of them who were worst against the Most Merciful in insolence.

19:70
Sahih International

Then, surely it is We who are most knowing of those most worthy of burning therein.

19:71
Sahih International

And there is none of you except he will come to it. This is upon your Lord an inevitability decreed.

19:72
Sahih International

Then We will save those who feared Allah and leave the wrongdoers within it, on their knees.

19:73
Sahih International

And when Our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, those who disbelieve say to those who believe, “Which of [our] two parties is best in position and best in association?”

19:74
Sahih International

And how many a generation have We destroyed before them who were better in possessions and [outward] appearance?

19:75
Sahih International

Say, “Whoever is in error – let the Most Merciful extend for him an extension [in wealth and time] until, when they see that which they were promised – either punishment [in this world] or the Hour [of resurrection] – they will come to know who is worst in position and weaker in soldiers.”

19:76
Sahih International

And Allah increases those who were guided, in guidance, and the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for recourse.

19:77
Sahih International

Then, have you seen he who disbelieved in Our verses and said, “I will surely be given wealth and children [in the next life]?”

19:78
Sahih International

Has he looked into the unseen, or has he taken from the Most Merciful a promise?

19:79
Sahih International

No! We will record what he says and extend for him from the punishment extensively.

19:80
Sahih International

And We will inherit him [in] what he mentions, and he will come to Us alone.

19:81
Sahih International

And they have taken besides Allah [false] deities that they would be for them [a source of] honor.

19:82
Sahih International

No! Those “gods” will deny their worship of them and will be against them opponents [on the Day of Judgement].

19:83
Sahih International

Do you not see that We have sent the devils upon the disbelievers, inciting them to [evil] with [constant] incitement?

19:84
Sahih International

So be not impatient over them. We only count out to them a [limited] number.

19:85
Sahih International

On the Day We will gather the righteous to the Most Merciful as a delegation

19:86
Sahih International

And will drive the criminals to Hell in thirst

19:87
Sahih International

None will have [power of] intercession except he who had taken from the Most Merciful a covenant.

19:88
Sahih International

And they say, “The Most Merciful has taken [for Himself] a son.”

19:89
Sahih International

You have done an atrocious thing.

19:90
Sahih International

The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation

19:91
Sahih International

That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son.

19:92
Sahih International

And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son.

19:93
Sahih International

There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.

19:94
Sahih International

He has enumerated them and counted them a [full] counting.

19:95
Sahih International

And all of them are coming to Him on the Day of Resurrection alone.

19:96
Sahih International

Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.

19:97
Sahih International

So, [O Muhammad], We have only made Qur’an easy in the Arabic language that you may give good tidings thereby to the righteous and warn thereby a hostile people.

19:98
Sahih International

And how many have We destroyed before them of generations? Do you perceive of them anyone or hear from them a sound?

Many followers of Wicca associate Mary with the Earth Mother of various Neo-pagan traditions. Some Buddhists have linked Mary to Kuan-Yin, a Bodhisattva of compassion venerated by various Chinese Buddhist faiths. Followers of the New Age movement or those interested in general spirituality have also found inspiration in Mary (see Books on the Doctrine of Mary, below).

References

  1. F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, eds., “Mary, the Blessed Virgin.” Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church(Oxford UP, 1997), pp. 1047-48.
  2. “Mary, Mother of Jesus.” Wikipedia. January 4, 2005.
  3. “Mary.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. January 4, 2005.
  4. Munificentissimus Deus – Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII issued November 1, 1950.
  5. Petition for the Papal definition of Mary, Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate.
  6. Mary in the Imagination of the Church – Christian History and Biography Magazine, Summer Issue 2004.
  7. Protestant Mary – PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, December 17, 2004

External Links on Mary

  • Blessed Virgin Mary – Internet Encyclopedia of Religion
  • Blessed Virgin Mary – Catholic Pages. Various articles on Catholic doctrines and practices related to Mary.
  • Official Site of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici
  • The Mary Page – Catholic.net
  • The Mediatrix of All Graces – Catholic.net
  • Mary the Blessed Virgin – Catholic Online Saints
  • Immaculate Conception and Assumption – Catholic Answers
  • Mary: Ever Virgin – Catholic Answers
  • The Ever-Virginity of the Mother of God – AGAIN Magazine (Orthodox)
  • Mary Mother of God – Catholic Answers
  • The Blessed Evangelical Mary: Why we shouldn’t ignore her any longer – Christianity Today
  • Mariology.com 

General Resources

  • Jaroslav Pelikan, Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture (Yale UP, 1998).

Catholic Perspectives

  • Lesley Hazleton, Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the Virgin Mother (2004).
  • Elizabeth A. Johnson, Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints (2003).
  • Scott Hahn, Hail, Holy Queen (2001). “Melds autobiographical reflections, scriptural interpretation, and historical anecdotes in an accessible style to clarify some sophisticated points of Catholic theology.”
  • Peter M. J. Stravinskas, The Catholic Answer Book of Mary (Our Sunday Visitor, 1999).
  • Luigi Gambero, Thomas Buffer, Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought (Ignatius Press, 1999).
  • Father Mateo, Refuting the Attack on Mary: A Defense of Marian Doctrines (Catholic Answers, 1999).
  • Stefano M Manelli, All generations shall call me Blessed: Biblical mariology (Academy of the Immaculate, 1995).
  • Judith A. Bauer, The Essential Mary Handbook: A Summary of Beliefs, Practices, and Prayers (Liguori Publications, 1999).
  • Philip Boyce, Mary: The Virgin Mary in the Life and Writings of John Henry Newman (Gracewing, 2002).
  • Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Mary and the Fundamentalist Challenge (Our Sunday Visitor, 1997).
  • Beth Hart, Catholic for a Reason II: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God – not available at Amazon.
  • Margaret Bunson, ed., John Paul II’s Book of Mary (Our Sunday Visitor, 1996).
  • Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda, The Seeker’s Guide to Mary (Loyola Press, 2002).
  • John Martin, Roses, Fountains, and Gold: The Virgin Mary in History, Art, and Apparition (Ignatius Press, 1998).
  • Charlene Spretnak, Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-Emergence in the Modern Church(Palgrave Macmillan, 1997).

Divine Feminine/General Spirituality Perspectives

  • G. Scott Sparrow, Blessed Among Women: Encounters with Mary and Her Message. “Recounts first-person, dramatic, true stories of people’s encounters with Mary and discusses their significance in ways that will inspire people of all spiritual backgrounds.” (Three Rivers Press, 1998).
  • Geoffrey Ashe, The Virgin: Mary’s Cult and the Re-Emergence of the Goddess (Arkana, 1991 (reprint)). Out of print.
  • Beverly Donofrio, Looking for Mary: Or, the Blessed Mother and Me. (Compass Books, reissue 2001). By the author of Riding in Cars with Boys. “Entering her fortieth year, Beverly Donofrio, a “lapsed Catholic,” inexplicably begins collecting Virgin Mary memorabilia at yard sales. Her search for kitsch, however, soon becomes a spiritual quest, leading her to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Medjugorje. There, she learns that Mary comes into your life only when pride steps out and receives a bonus: hope.”
  • Stephen Benko, The Virgin Goddess: Studies in the Pagan and Christian Roots of Mariology (Studies in the History of Religions).” Stephen Benko approaches this study as both an historian and a Christian believer. Inquiring into extra-biblical sources of Marian piety, belief and doctrine, he proposes ‘that there is a direct line, unbroken and clearly discernible, from the goddess-cults of the ancients to the reverence paid and eventually the cult accorded to the Virgin Mary.'” (Brill Academic, 1997).
  • James F. Twyman, Secret of the Beloved Disciple (Findhorn Press, 2000). “James Twyman finally learns the mysterious identity of the Emissaries of Light, and meets an amazing woman named Maria during a peace demonstration on the streets of Belgrade. He later learns that Maria is a physical manifestation of Mary, the Blessed Mother, and she leads him on a journey that changes his life forever.”