This Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of Pope John Paul II’s landmark encyclical on Mary, Redemptoris Mater (“The Mother of the Redeemer”). It’s a fascinating document. Consider:
- it’s the longest papal document on Mary in the history of the Church
- it pays more attention to ecumenical concerns than any other Marian document (taking serious account of both the divisions between Catholicism and Protestantism on the topic, as well as the profound unity between Catholicism and the Orthodox world)
- it offers extensive scriptural exegesis on Bible passages that refer to Mary (in far more depth than the typical ‘proof texting’ of many other documents)
- it goes into greater depth on the topic of Mary’s role as mediator than any other papal statement
Like I said, fascinating.
My article marking the anniversary appears in this week’s Our Sunday Visitor. It explores the encyclical a bit and considers its importance and legacy with a perspective of 25 years. The article is available online here.