Mary the terror of Heresies

June 05, 2021

“Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, for thou alone hast vanquished all heresies throughout the world”, the Church sings in the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And this has proved true a thousand times over the course of the centuries.

The famous Mariologist Fr. Emile Neubert writes: “The Docetists of the first century denied the truth of Christ’s humanity. The Church Fathers replied, ‘Your teaching is wrong, for Christ was born of Mary, who was a human creature like us.’

“Other heretics rejected Jesus’ divinity, and once again the Fathers replied: ‘You are in error, for Christ was born of a virgin, and only God can be born of a virgin.’

“Nestorius claimed that there was only a moral union between the two natures in Christ, and consequently he denied the title ‘Mother of God’, since Mary was only the mother of Christ’s humanity. The Fathers of the Council of Ephesus proved that the title is correct and in so doing confirmed the teaching that Christ is one person with two natures.

“Eutyches taught that after the Incarnation the human nature [of Christ] was absorbed into the divine nature and that only the divine nature remained. To this the defenders of the true faith answered that Christ is of the same nature as God the Father, but also of the same nature as His mother, who has a purely human nature.

“Cardinal Newman summarizes this by saying that ‘Mary is the guardian of the truth of Christ’s Incarnation.’ The saints who fought against the erroneous teachings of Protestantism and Jansenism countered the new heresies with these Marian truths (e.g. Francis de Sales, Peter Canisius, Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort), and the peoples who cherished devotion to Mary kept the faith.

“Cardinal Newman remarks that the nations that remained faithful to Mary have also preserved the purity of their faith in the divinity of Christ, whereas those who rejected Marian devotion see Christ as little more than a very good man.

“It is remarkable, too, that the denial of Mary’s virginity in a Modernist periodical precipitated the condemnation of this perfidious heresy the Church hierarchy. Finally, Pope Pius XII views the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven as an effective means of counteracting materialism and the corruption of morals, besides being a triumph of faith in the supernatural world.”

It should not be forgotten either, that all religious orders and missionary congregations quite explicitly place themselves under Mary’s patronage, because they see in her a guarantee that their religious communities will flourish and expect through her intercession heaven’s blessing upon their work of spreading the faith and sanctifying souls. Thus, for example, the founder of the Marists, Fr. Chaminade, says:

“Today the great, prevalent heresy is religious indifferentism, which allows souls to become paralyzed in the stupor of egotism and to be swallowed up by passions. This description of our age, which is sad but true, does not discourage us: far from it!

“Mary’s power has not diminished. We firmly believe that she will vanquish this heresy like all the others, because today as before she is the promised Woman who crushes the head of the serpent, and Jesus Christ teaches us that she is the hope, the joy, the life of the Church and the terror of hell. To her is reserved the great victory for our days.

“To her belongs the honor of saving the faith from the shipwreck that threatens us today.”