My dear people and friends of the Newman Fellowship,
Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Having completed our many months study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with the Compendium as our guide, we now shift gears for four weeks before we enter into the summer hiatus from classes.
As we studied the Catechism and its many areas of concentration, we dealt with the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Catechism states (among many things concerning the Mother of our Lord):
“What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines its faith in Christ” (CCC, 487).
Blessed John Henry Newman in a letter he wrote to the Rev. E.B. Pusey in 1866 wrote:
“I recollect one saying among others of my confessor, a Jesuit father, one of the holiest, most prudent men I ever knew. He said that we could not love the Blessed Virgin too much, if we loved our Lord a great deal more.”
And then there’s Dr. Peter Kreeft who states in his book, Catholic Christianity:
“In the fundamental formula for Mary – ‘Mother of God’ – is contained the fundamental formula for Christ: true God and true man, that is, God truly born from this human mother” (p. 405).
For the next four weeks, Dr. Patrick Burke will conduct classes after Coffee Hour on the Blessed Virgin Mary, beginning with what is said about her in the scriptures. He will go on from there in many areas of history and asceticism, and will help us to understand the Doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, which often are problematic and/or uncomfortable for many. There are deep theological reasons for both of these doctrines which, I have found, are enlightening when understood.
I often thought while at Good Shepherd, when we would raise the roof with hymns extolling the Blessed Virgin Mary, if those who were belting out the hymns on the Feasts dedicated to Mary truly realized what they were singing, and what the theology was contained in those hymns. I know that I and my predecessors there would strive to teach what Anglo-Catholics stood on, which was in sync with Catholic faith and practice.
We are blessed to have such a scholar as Patrick Burke in the Fellowship, and I urge you to avail yourselves of this opportunity to grow in your knowledge of the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Catholic faith.
The idea for this series originally came from some women in the Fellowship, but please know that these classes are for both sexes!
As one who was raised in what was known as the “broad church” tradition of the Episcopal Church, Mary was not a person or subject of much attention and teaching, and certainly no devotion. It wasn’t until I went to seminary and attended different Anglo-Catholic parishes in Chicago that I began to understand her place and importance. It would be an understatement to say that there is much misunderstanding about her and the doctrines of the Catholic Church pertaining to her.
I remember in seminary when a classmate stated, “I see no place for Mary in modern Christianity,” Dr. Casserley replied, “Well, we live in modern times, and she certainly had a place in my prayers this morning!”
Again, I urge you to be present for these classes on a very important person and subject for us. God bless you.
+David L. Moyer
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