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Titles, Source of

Titles, Source of

Q: How do all of the titles for Mary come about?

A: Many of Mary's titles are the fruit of pious tradition linked to geography, human activities, human needs, events of salvation history, theological titles, botany, etc. Few of these titles have been officialized by ecclesiastical decree. They represent a hodgepodge of everything. the following could be considered as official categories listed here according to their decreasing official character and importance.

1) Titles that refer to biblical designations of Mary (e.g. servant of the Lord, daughter of Zion)

2) Titles which refer to dogmatic definitions such as virgin, Mother of God (Theotokos)

3) Titles which reflect long-standing theological topics, (e.g. New Eve or mediatrix)

4) Titles which are part of the liturgical patrimony of the Church, (e.g. the Feast of the Annunciation)

5) Titles originally proper to religious congregations and as such object of special votive masses, (e.g. Feast of Our Lady of Mercy),

6) Titles related to devotional practices approved and promoted by the Church. One of the best examples in this category is the Litany of Loreto which is specifically a series on invocations or titles.

7) Titles connected with miraculous images, shrines and apparitions and recognized directly or indirectly by the Church, (e.g. Our Lady of Lourdes)

8) Finally, titles that are the result of a long and well established tradition but have not been the object of a special attention or decision by the Church (e.g. the designation Our Lady)

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