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Priest, Mary as

Priest, Mary as

Mary, Sacrificer of Her Son

I am not aware of any consecrated title regarding Mary sacrificing her Son. 'Consecrated' here meaning specific formulation of some serious traditional weight and official recognition. There are certainly number of spiritual writers who used the idea of Mary "sacrificing" her Son. The idea was thematized by F. C. de Salazar(+1646). Renouncing her rights as mother, and in conformity with the Father, Mary "sacrifices" her Son with priestly piety for the salvation of the world. Speaking of titles: the title which emerges here is that of Mary-Priest. This idea is received and developed in J. J. Olier and J. Eudes. The designation "Virgo Sacerdos" is used for the first time in 1709 in the St. Sulpice liturgy (Vesper of Mary's Presentation, Nov.21).

According to these authors, Mary does not exercise a sacramental priesthood, but they draw a parallel between the ministerial priesthood and Mary's presentation (i.e. offering or sacrificing) of Jesus in the temple. During the nineteenth and at the beginning of the twentieth century the title Virgin-Priest achieves some popularity thanks to the writings of O. Van den Berghe (Marie et le Sacerdoce, 1872), the spirituality of M. Deluil-Martiny (foundress of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart) promoting the mystical priesthood of the nuns based on that of Mary, and the idea of the metaphorical priesthood of Mary suggested by E. Hugon(La Vierge-Pretre, 1911). In 1909 the Daughters of the Sacred Heart even received papal approval for their invocation "Maria Sacerdos, ora pro nobis." Eventually, the image of Mary-Priest and the corresponding devotion were banned by the Vatican authorities (1927).

Mary-Priest is thus probably the title which comes closest to the 'Sacrificer of her Son'. The title is ambiguous, and this is the reason why it was proscribed. As can easily be seen, the spiritual motive of Mary-Priest has strong affinities with the French School of spirituality, known for its emphasis on oblation and self-sacrifice.

For more information, please refer to "Mary's Priestly Role. Mother and Associate of Christ the Priest" written by John Samaha. The article was published in Ephemerides Mariologicae, January-March, 2005. It is available at the Marian Library in Roesch Library on the campus of the University of Dayton.

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