Pentecost Monday to be Consecrated to Mary, by Decree of Pope Francis

Source: FSSPX News

Pope Francis has decided that Pentecost Monday will be the day designated for venerating “Mary, Mother of the Church”.

The decree, signed on February 11, on the anniversary of Lady’s apparitions in Lourdes, was published on March 3, 2018.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, explained that the Holy Father decided to celebrate Mary Mother of the Church

in the light of the importance of the mystery of the spiritual maternity of Mary who, from the awaiting of the Spirit at Pentecost, has never ceased to take motherly care of the pilgrim church on earth.

For the Guinean prelate, if we wish to grow and be filled with the love of God, we have to ground our life on three great realities: the Cross, the Host, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are “three mysteries that God gave to the world in order to structure, fructify, and sanctify our interior life and to lead us to Jesus,” he wrote in his commentary on the publication of the decree. 

It is important to point out that Christ alone is the Head of the Church by virtue of His redemptive Incarnation. True God and true Man, He is the source of what we call capital grace. The expression “Mary Mother of the Church” is a consequence of the Blessed Virgin’s spiritual motherhood over the members of the Mystical Body, the Church.

Tradition calls Our Lady the “Mother of the members of Christ” and the “Mother of the mystical members of the Body of Christ”, in the words of St. Augustine and St. Leo the Great. These expressions are based on the Blessed Virgin Mary’s subordinate cooperation with Christ in the work of Redemption. This cooperation was particularly manifest, when Our Lady remained standing at the foot of the Cross, uniting herself to the Passion of her Son, and was made the mother of St. John (Jn. 19: 26-27).

The Post-Conciliar Title: Mary, Mother of the Church

Archbishop Lefebvre Hailed Pope Paul VI’s Decision

While still superior general of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre greatly rejoiced when Pope Paul VI proclaimed Mary Mother of the Church in the conciliar rooms, on November 21, 1964. He wanted to believe that

in the history of the Church, Vatican Council II [would] go down above all as the council that proclaimed Mary Mother of the Church.

Indeed, unlike other questionable doctrinal propositions, nothing met with “such enthusiastic agreement from the Fathers”, recalled the future founder of the Society of St. Pius X. He said

...it was under the tremor of the Holy Ghost and in a supernatural transport that the maternity of Mary over the Church was solemnly and conciliarly proclaimed.

For Archbishop Lefebvre,

[...] no truth affirmed during the Council was as important as this one. This new affirmation of a reality as old as the Gospel remarkably sheds light upon dogmas that some wish to minimize. Henceforth, the indissoluble bonds that unite Jesus – Mary – the Church and the Pope are clear. We cannot go to Jesus without Mary, we cannot go to Mary without the Church, that is none other than the Roman Catholic Church – so without being united to the Pope. Highlighting Mary’s maternity over the Church is a way of confirming that it is necessary to be a son of the Roman Catholic Church in order to be a son of Mary.

If Mary is the Mother of the Church, She Warns Us Against False Ecumenism

The consequences of this maternity over the Church seem obvious:

  • The dogma extra Ecclesiam nulla salus: there is no salvation outside of the Church. “Anyone who is saved can only be saved through the Church, Mystical Body of Our Lord.”
  • “As Mary is the mother of only one son, Jesus, she is mother of only one Church, one Mystical Body. And this Church can only be the Roman Church and all the Churches that are members of the Roman Church.”

Therefore,

ecumenism must remain within the limits of these fundamental truths. Such is the one and only charity that we can show towards those who are separated from the Church and those who do not know her; we must expose the truth clearly to them, bear witness to the truth so that they may believe and be saved. Such is the true means of converting Protestants to the unity of the Church.

Archbishop Lefebvre understood that this truth proclaimed by Pope Paul VI was a warning against false ecumenism.



Mary Also Warns Against False Religious Liberty

Archbishop Lefebvre saw other implications of Mary’s maternity over the Church as well:

  • It is exercised over persons who uphold hierarchical relations, not over an impersonal legal entity by means of false collegiality;
  • It is a warning against false religious liberty: “We are not free to be or not to be her sons if we wish to save our souls. That is why no one has the right to profess a belief that goes against Mary, Mother of the Church. For the only rights we have are the rights God gives us. How can we imagine that God would give a right that goes against the rights of Mary, the Mother of Jesus?”

As a good teacher, Archbishop Lefebvre explained: “It is one thing to tolerate men’s malice, their weakness, to tolerate a misuse of freedom, and another thing to make it a right. No freedom includes in its definition a right to misuse it. If it did, it would no longer be a perfection or a good; it would be a vice.”

The Superior of the Holy Ghost Fathers thus hoped that this proclamation of Mary’s maternity over the Church would shed light on the “doctrinal questions treated at the Council.” These questions were, of course, false ecumenism, false religious liberty, and false collegiality. Mary is truly “our beacon in the storm; she puts to flight error and heresy that are the daughters of Satan, the Father of Lies.”

Archbishop Lefebvre concluded his letter by echoing the Pope’s desires and inviting all to sing the praises of Mary Mother of the Church. Would to Heaven that Paul VI and the Council had limited themselves to such affirmations in keeping with the Tradition of the Church!

Note: All the quotes from Archbishop Lefebvre are taken from the Superior General’s letter to the members of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers, May-June 1965, published in Lettres pastorales et écrits, p. 211-215.