Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Great Feminist Pius XII. . .

The Roman Catholic Church proclaims as dogma that the Virgin Mary "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory" This doctrine was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius XII on 1 November 1950, in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus by exercising papal infallibility.  Lutherans might complain about this and the East prefers the Dormition of Mary but from a modern day nun is a curious perspective, indeed, on this day and its appointed readings.

The feast of the Assumption means that Mary is just as good as the guys.  Or so says Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ.  She addresses the Assumption of Mary as a rather common occurrence -- both from within the salvation history of God's people and from secular history as well.  Apparently a lot of people have been raised up there somewhere, wherever that is, where God is.  Everyone from on the mythical twins who founded Rome to Roman emperors to, well, a lot of folks.  The moral of the story is that Jesus and Mary rate with the great ones.  However, don't get too comfortable with that image because being with the great ones is a struggle and not something wonderful or peaceful.  Revelation 11 & 12 are seen to identify Mary with the refugees and immigrants who fight for place.  Mary's song is not peaceful either but unsettling and even, well, violent.  There you have it.  A Roman Catholic nun's perspective on the Assumption of Mary.  I am not making this up.

Preaching and teaching on behalf of the Church is a solemn responsibility.  It is not exclusive to women or to religious to make up things and invent meanings to the texts before them.  But when it happens, those who add to or subtract from God's Word should be marked and avoided.  The faith deserves more than speculation or moralism or even heresy.  The faith and the faithful deserve preachers and teachers who will be faithful to Christ, the way, the truth, and the life.  They should not ever be subjected to the doubts or imaginings of the preacher or teacher in place of the truth that does not change.  But when it does happen, the faith expects the faithful not to sit politely but to rise and depart quickly from the places and peoples who substitute what I think for the moment for the truth that endures forever.

So another unique perspective on this is how prescient Pope Pius XII was in 1950, to imagine the feminist movement and to give them a little feast so that they might know that Mary was as good as the guys, that she gave as good as she got, and that Mary is a radical voice for everything, including immigration.


William Tighe said...

Benedict XII?

Anonymous said...

I do not see Mary at all in Rev. 11. Rev. 12 speaks of "a woman clothed with the sun,...." which we may identify as Mary. It speaks of the tribulations of the woman and her son (presumably Jesus), but I do not find anything about Mary as a radical, particularly with regard to immigration. This looks like simple distortion of the Bible text, the sort of thing today's radicals are fond of doing. Where does all this come from?

Fr. D+
Continuing Anglican Priest

James Kellerman said...

William Tighe: Those Avignon popes keep popping up when you least expect them. Even six centuries after their death!

Pastor Peters said...

Or perhaps my longing for Benedict XVI got into my post by accident -- something you will never have to fear about Francis! LOL

William Tighe said...

There are some theologians who hold that Benedict XII did promulgate an ex cathedra dogmatic definition in 1336, this: