Magisterial Documents: Marialis Cultus

Apostolic Exhortation for the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary Pope Paul VI
2 February 1974

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Brief History

right ordering and development of the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Marycounsel, persuade, entreat, admonish, urge

Marialis CultusMarialis CultusConstitutionSacred LiturgyMarialisCultusLumen Gentium's


Johann G. Roten, S.M. writes that Lumen Gentium and Marialis Cultus have differing points of departure. Roten states, "The Council's theology of Mary is based primarily on the biblical narrative of her relation to Christ and his Church, whereas Marialis Cultus uses more personalist language to rekindle and deepen the memory of Mary." [John G. Roten, S.M., "Memory and Mission: A Theological Reflection on Mary in the Paschal Mysteries," Marian Studies 42 (1991): 86.]

Marialis Cultus was a response to 'the Marian crisis' of the time, the question whether Marian devotion would be compatible with the orientations of Vatican II. In Roten's perspective, "Lumen Gentium and Marialis Cultus are significantly the same: they both attempt to retrieve the living memory of Mary." Lumen Gentium concentrates on knowing the memoria; [whereas] Marialis Cultus "concentrates on the memoria itself, that is, on how it can be reached in and through her." [Roten, 86]

Marialis Cultus' introduction situates the initial Vatican II reforms in a positive light. At the same time, the Pope speaks of his "vigilant solicitude" to see that the renewal continues in an orderly way "in spirit and truth." (cf. Jn 4:24) [MC Introduction]

There are two major divisions of the document:

1) what has taken place in Marian devotion and why
2) what should/will take place in future, including two examples of devotion that bridge the past and are valid in the future, the Angelus and the Rosary.

Part one discusses the Blessed Virgin in the Revised Roman Liturgy. In the first section of part one, the new elements in the liturgical reform of Vatican II are listed. The liturgical changes increase the number of Marian options compared to before the reform. In the second section of part one, the Blessed Virgin is presented as the model of the Church in divine worship, "namely, Mary as a model of the spiritual attitude with which the Church celebrates and lives the divine mysteries." [MC 16] Mary is the attentive Virgin, the Virgin in prayer, the believing and obeying Virgin-Mother, and the Virgin presenting offerings.

Part two is titled "The Renewal of Devotion to Mary." In regard to Marian devotion, the principles and guidelines set down for renewal also affect the catechetical process. Section one treats the trinitarian, Christological and ecclesial aspects of devotion to Mary. Section two gives four guidelines for devotion to Mary which have since become the key orientation in the teaching process about Mary. These are the biblical, liturgical, ecumenical and anthropological elements to be taken into consideration when teaching Marian doctrine.

A third part of the document explains the Angelus and the Rosary. [MC 40- 55] After encouraging the recitation of the Angelus prayer, fourteen articles are devoted to discussion on the Rosary devotion. The conclusion to Marialis Cultus discusses the value, theologically and pastorally, of devotion to the Blessed Virgin. [MC 56-57] The exhortation sought to integrate devotion to Mary into the pastoral catechetical process, especially in liturgical catechesis, in a manner harmonious with the reforms of Vatican II. The document's norms and guidelines, provide an enduring framework for Marian catechesis.

Outline

Introduction pp. 3-6
I. Devotion to the BVM in the Liturgy 1
I.1. The BVM in the Revised Roman Liturgy 2-15
I.2. The BV as the Model of the Church in Divine Worship 16-23
II. The Renewal of Devotion to Mary 24
II.1. Trinitarian, Christological and Ecclesial Aspect of Devotion to the BV 25-28
II.2. Four Guidelines for Devotion to the BV: Biblical, Liturgical, Ecumenical and Anthropological 29-39
[Note: Though these four guidelines are essential, some of the material, especially the liturgical, will have already been graphed in detail. Therefore, the context will be indicated only by the initials B, L, E, A to indicate the framework of the teaching.]
III. Observations on Two Exercises of Piety: The Angelus and the Rosary 40
The Angelus 41
The Rosary 42-55
Conclusion Theological and Pastoral Value of Devotion to the BV 56-57
Epilogue 58

Source

AAS 66 (1974):113-168; St Paul Editions, 1974
This official Vatican translation taken from L'Osservatore Romano, English Weekly Edition, 4-4-74


© This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.
Most recently updated in 2005.

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