Lumen Gentium




I. Introduction

52. Wishing in His supreme goodness and wisdom to effect the redemption of the world, "when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, ..that we might receive the adoption of sons".(283) "He for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary."(1*) This divine mystery of salvation is revealed to us and continued in the Church, which the Lord established as His body. Joined to Christ the Head and in the unity of fellowship with all His saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory "of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ".(2*)

53. The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer. Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved. She is "the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head."(3*) Wherefore she is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member of the Church, and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity. The Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother.

54. Wherefore this Holy Synod, in expounding the doctrine on the Church, in which the divine Redeemer works salvation, intends to describe with diligence both the role of the Blessed Virgin in the mystery of the Incarnate Word and the Mystical Body, and the duties of redeemed mankind toward the Mother of God, who is mother of Christ and mother of men, particularly of the faithful. It does not, however, have it in mind to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which the work of theologians has not yet fully clarified. Those opinions therefore may be lawfully retained which are propounded in Catholic schools concerning her, who occupies a place in the Church which is the highest after Christ and yet very close to us.(4*)

II. The Role of the Blessed Mother in the Economy of Salvation

55. The Sacred Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament, as well as ancient Tradition show the role of the Mother of the Saviour in the economy of salvation in an ever clearer light and draw attention to it. The books of the Old Testament describe the history of salvation, by which the coming of Christ into the world was slowly prepared. These earliest documents, as they are read in the Church and are understood in the light of a further and full revelation, bring the figure of the woman, Mother of the Redeemer, into a gradually clearer light. When it is looked at in this way, she is already prophetically foreshadowed in the promise of victory over the serpent which was given to our first parents after their fall into sin.(284) Likewise she is the Virgin who shall conceive and bear a son, whose name will be called Emmanuel.(285) She stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from Him. With her the exalted Daughter of Sion, and after a long expectation of the promise, the times are fulfilled and the new Economy established, when the Son of God took a human nature from her, that He might in the mysteries of His flesh free man from sin.

56. The Father of mercies willed that the incarnation should be preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life. That is true in outstanding fashion of the mother of Jesus, who gave to the world Him who is Life itself and who renews all things, and who was enriched by God with the gifts which befit such a role. It is no wonder therefore that the usage prevailed among the Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.(5*) Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the radiance of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is greeted, on God's command, by an angel messenger as "full of grace",(286) and to the heavenly messenger she replies: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word".(287) Thus Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. Embracing God's salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she "being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race."(6*) Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith."(7*) Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her "the Mother of the living,"(8*) and still more often they say: "death through Eve, life through Mary."(9*)

57. This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death it is shown first of all when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the precursor leaped with joy in the womb of his mother.(288) This union is manifest also at the birth of Our Lord, who did not diminish His mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it,(10*) when the Mother of God joyfully showed her firstborn Son to the shepherds and Magi. When she presented Him to the Lord in the temple, making the offering of the poor, she heard Simeon foretelling at the same time that her Son would be a sign of contradiction and that a sword would pierce the mother's soul, that out of many hearts thoughts might be revealed.(289) When the Child Jesus was lost and they had sought Him sorrowing, His parents found Him in the temple, taken up with the things that were His Father's business; and they did not understand the word of their Son. His Mother indeed kept these things to be pondered over in her heart.(290)

58. In the public life of Jesus, Mary makes significant appearances. This is so even at the very beginning, when at the marriage feast of Cana, moved with pity, she brought about by her intercession the beginning of miracles of Jesus the Messiah.(291) In the course of her Son's preaching she received the words whereby in extolling a kingdom beyond the calculations and bonds of flesh and blood, He declared blessed(292) those who heard and kept the word of God, as she was faithfully doing.(293) After this manner the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan,(294) grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart with His sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to His disciple with these words: "Woman, behold thy son".(295) (11*)

59. But since it has pleased God not to manifest solemnly the mystery cf the salvation of the human race before He would pour forth the Spirit promised by Christ, we see the apostles before the day of Pentecost "persevering with one mind in prayer with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with His brethren",(296) and Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation. Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin,(12*) on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory,(13*) and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully confimed to her Son, the Lord of lords(297) and the conqueror of sin and death.(l4*)

III. On the Blessed Virgin and the Church

60. There is but one Mediator as we know from the words of the apostle, "for there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all".(298) The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power. For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ.

61. Predestined from eternity by that decree of divine providence which determined the incarnation of the Word to be the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin was in this earth the virgin Mother of the Redeemer, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth and nourished Christ. she presented Him to the Father in the temple, and was united with Him by compassion as He died on the Cross. In this singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace.

62. This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, and lasts until The eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.(15*) By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix.(16*) This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator.(17*)

For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is really communicated in different ways to His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.

The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary. It knows it through unfailing experience of it and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more intimately adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer.

63. By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ.(18*) For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother. (19*) By her belief and obedience, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, as the new Eve she brought forth on earth the very Son of the Father, showing an undefiled faith, not in the word of the ancient serpent, but in that of God's messenger. The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren,(299) namely the faithful, in whose birth and education she cooperates with a maternal love.

64. The Church indeed, contemplating her hidden sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father's will, by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By her preaching she brings forth to a new and immortal life the sons who are born to her in baptism, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God. She herself is a virgin, who keeps the faith given to her by her Spouse whole and entire. Imitating the mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she keeps with virginal purity an entire faith, a firm hope and a sincere charity.(20*)

65. But while in the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she is without spot or wrinkle, the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin.(300) And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Piously meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church with reverence enters more intimately into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her Spouse. For Mary, who since her entry into salvation history unites in herself and re-echoes the greatest teachings of the faith as she is proclaimed and venerated, calls the faithful to her Son and His sacrifice and to the love of the Father. Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her exalted Type, and continually progresses in faith, hope and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things. Hence the Church, in her apostolic work also, justly looks to her, who, conceived of the Holy Spirit, brought forth Christ, who was born of the Virgin that through the Church He may be born and may increase in the hearts of the faithful also. The Virgin in her own life lived an example of that maternal love, by which it behooves that all should be animated who cooperate in the apostolic mission of the Church for the regeneration of men.

IV. The Cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church

66. Placed by the grace of God, as God's Mother, next to her Son, and exalted above all angels and men, Mary intervened in the mysteries of Christ and is justly honored by a special cult in the Church. Clearly from earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful took refuge in all their dangers and necessities.(21*) Hence after the Synod of Ephesus the cult of the people of God toward Mary wonderfully increased in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: "All generations shall call me blessed, because He that is mighty hath done great things to me".(301) This cult, as it always existed, although it is altogether singular, differs essentially from the cult of adoration which is offered to the Incarnate Word, as well to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and it is most favorable to it. The various forms of piety toward the Mother of God, which the Church within the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine, according to the conditions of time and place, and the nature and ingenuity of the faithful has approved, bring it about that while the Mother is honored, the Son, through whom all things have their being (302) and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell,(303) is rightly known, loved and glorified and that all His commands are observed.

67. This most Holy Synod deliberately teaches this Catholic doctrine and at the same time admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and the practices and exercises of piety, recommended by the magisterium of the Church toward her in the course of centuries be made of great moment, and those decrees, which have been given in the early days regarding the cult of images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints, be religiously observed.(22*) But it exhorts theologians and preachers of the divine word to abstain zealously both from all gross exaggerations as well as from petty narrow-mindedness in considering the singular dignity of the Mother of God.(23*) Following the study of Sacred Scripture, the Holy Fathers, the doctors and liturgy of the Church, and under the guidance of the Church's magisterium, let them rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always look to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity and piety. Let them assiduously keep away from whatever, either by word or deed, could lead separated brethren or any other into error regarding the true doctrine of the Church. Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to know the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love toward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues.

V. Mary the sign of created hope and solace to the wandering people of God

68. In the interim just as the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected is the world to come, so too does she shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come,(304) as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth.

69. It gives great joy and comfort to this holy and general Synod that even among the separated brethren there are some who give due honor to the Mother of our Lord and Saviour, especially among the Orientals, who with devout mind and fervent impulse give honor to the Mother of God, ever virgin.(24*) The entire body of the faithful pours forth instant supplications to the Mother of God and Mother of men that she, who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers, may now, exalted as she is above all the angels and saints, intercede before her Son in the fellowship of all the saints, until all families of people, whether they are honored with the title of Christian or whether they still do not know the Saviour, may be happily gathered together in peace and harmony into one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.

Each and all these items which are set forth in this dogmatic Constitution have met with the approval of the Council Fathers. And We by the apostolic power given Us by Christ together with the Venerable Fathers in the Holy Spirit, approve, decree and establish it and command that what has thus been decided in the Council be promulgated for the glory of God.

Given in Rome at St. Peter's on November 21, 1964.

Lumen Gentium



De Beata Maria Virgine Deipara mysterio Christi et Ecclesiae

I. Prooemium

52. Benignissimus et sapientissimus Deus, mundi redemptionem complere volens, «ubi venit plenitudo temporis, misit Filium suum factum ex muliere, ... ut adoptionem filiorum reciperemus» (Gal. 4, 4-5). «Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de coelis, et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine».[172] Quod salutis divinum mysterium nobis revelatur et continuatur in Ecclesia, quam Dominus ut corpus suum constituit, et in qua fideles Christo Capiti adhaerentes atque cum omnibus sanctis Eius communicantes, memoriam etiam venerentur oportet «in primis gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Iesu Christi».[173]

53. Virgo enim Maria, quae Angelo nuntiante Verbum Dei corde et corpore suscepit et Vitam mundo protulit, ut vera Mater Dei ac Redemptoris agnoscitur et honoratur. Intuitu meritorum Filii sui sublimiore modo redempta Eique arcto et indissolubili vinculo unita, hoc summo munere ac dignitate ditatur ut sit Genitrix Dei Filii, ideoque [59] praedilecta filia Patris necnon sacrarium Spiritus Sancti quo eximiae gratiae dono omnibus aliis creaturis, coelestibus et terrestribus, longe antecellit. Simul autem cum omnibus hominibus salvandis in stirpe Adam invenitur coniuncta, immo «plane mater membrorum (Christi), ... quia cooperata est caritate ut fideles in Ecclesia nascerentur, quae illius Capitis membra sunt».[174] Quapropter etiam ut supereminens prorsusque singulare membrum Ecclesiae necnon eius in fide et caritate typus et exemplar spectatissimum salutatur eamque Catholica Ecclesia, a Spiritu Sancto edocta, filialis pietatis affectu tamquam matrem amantissimam prosequitur.

54. Ideo Sacrosancta Synodus, doctrinam de Ecclesia, in qua divinus Redemptor salutem operatur, exponens, illustrare sedulo intendit tum munus Beatae Virginis in mysterio Incarnati Verbi et Corporis Mystici, tum hominum redemptorum officia erga Deiparam, matrem Christi et matrem hominum, maxime fidelium, quin tamen in animo habeat completam de Maria proponere doctrinam, atque quaestiones labore theologorum nondum ad plenam lucem perductas dirimere. Servantur itaque in suo iure sententiae, quae in scholis catholicis libere proponuntur de Illa, quae in Sancta Ecclesia locum occupat post Christum altissimum nobisque maxime propinquum.[175]

II. De munere B. Virginis in oeconomia salutis

55. Sacrae Litterae Veteris Novique Testamenti et veneranda Traditio munus Matris Salvatoris in salutis oeconomia modo magis magisque dilucido ostendunt et veluti conspiciendum proponunt. Libri quidem Veteris Testamenti historiam salutis, qua Christi in mundum adventus lento gradu praeparatur, describunt. Quae primaeva documenta, qualiter in Ecclesia leguntur et sub luce ulterioris et plenae revelationis intelliguntur, clarius pedetentim in lucem proferunt figuram mulieris, Matris Redemptoris. Ipsa, sub hac luce, iam prophetice adumbratur in promissione, lapsis in peccatum primis parentibus data, de victoria super serpentem (cf. Gen. 3, 15). Similiter haec est Virgo quae concipiet et pariet Filium, cuius nomen vocabitur Emmanuel (cf. Is. 7, 14; coll. Mi., 5, 2-3; Mt. 1, 22-23). Ipsa praecellit inter humiles ac pauperes [60] Domini, qui salutem cum fiducia ab Eo sperant et accipiunt. Cum Ipsa tandem praecelsa Filia Sion, post diuturnam exspectationem promissionis, complentur tempora et nova instauratur Oeconomia, quando Filius Dei humanam naturam ex ea assumpsit, ut mysteriis carnis suae hominem a peccato liberaret.

56. Voluit autem misericordiarum Pater, ut acceptatio praedestinatae matris incarnationem praecederet, ut sic, quemadmodum femina contulit ad mortem, ita etiam femina conferret ad vitam. Quod praecellentissime valet de Matre Iesu, quae ipsam Vitam, omnia renovantem, mundo effudit, et a Deo donis tanto munere dignis praedita est. Unde nil mirum apud Sanctos Patres usum invaluisse quo Deiparam appellarunt totam sanctam et ab omni peccati labe immunem, quasi a Spiritu Sancto plasmatam novamque creaturam formatam.[176] Singularis prorsus sanctitatis splendoribus a primo instante suae conceptionis ditata, Nazarethana Virgo ab Angelo nuntiante, Dei mandato, ut «gratia plena» salutatur (cf. Lc. 1, 28), et coelesti nuntio ipsa respondet: «Ecce Ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum» (Lc. 1, 38). Ita Maria filia Adam, verbo divino consentiens, facta est Mater Iesu, ac salvificam voluntatem Dei, pleno corde et nullo retardata peccato, complectens, semetipsam ut Domini ancillam personae et operi Filii sui totaliter devovit, sub Ipso et cum Ipso, omnipotentis Dei gratia, mysterio redemptionis inserviens. Merito igitur SS. Patres Mariam non mere passive a Deo adhibitam, sed libera fide et oboedientia humanae saluti cooperantem censent. Ipsa enim, ut ait S. Irenaeus, «oboediens et sibi et universo generi humano causa facta est salutis».[177] Unde non pauci Patres antiqui in praedicatione sua cum eo libenter asserunt: «Hevae inoboedientiae nodum solutionem accepisse per oboedientiam Mariae; quod alligavit virgo Heva per incredulitatem, hoc virginem Mariam solvisse per fidem»;[178] et comparatione cum Heva instituta, Mariam [61] «matrem viventium» appellant,[179] saepiusque affirmant: «mors per Hevam, vita per Mariam».[180]

57. Haec autem Matris cum Filio in opere salutari coniunctio a tempore virginalis conceptionis Christi ad Eius usque mortem manifestatur; in primis quidem cum Maria, exsurgens cum festinatione ad visitandam Elisabeth, ab ea ob fidem suam in salutem promissam beata salutatur et praecursor in sinu matris exsultavit (cf. Lc. 1, 41-45); in nativitate vero, cum Deipara Filium suum primogenitum, qui virginalem eius integritatem non minuit sed sacravit,[181] pastoribus et Magis laetabunda ostendit. Cum autem Eum in templo, dono pauperum oblato, Domino praesentavit, audivit Simeonem simul praenuntiantem Filium futurum contradictionis signum et matris animam gladium pertransiturum, ut revelarentur ex multis cordibus cogitationes (cf. Lc. 2, 34-35). Puerum Iesum deperditum ac cum dolore quaesitum, parentes eius in templo invenerunt in his quae Patris Eius erant occupatum; verbumque Filii non intellexerunt. Mater vero Eius omnia haec in corde suo meditabunda conservabat (cf. Lc. 2, 41-51).

58. In vita publica Iesu, Mater Eius signanter apparet, in initio quidem, cum ad nuptias in Cana Galilaeae, misericordia permota, initium signorum Iesu Messiae intercessione sua induxit (cf. Io. 2, 1, 11). In decursu praedicationis Eius suscepit verba, quibus Filius, Regnum ultra rationes et vincula carnis et sanguinis extollens, audientes et custodientes verbum Dei, sicut ipsa fideliter faciebat (cf. Lc. 2, 19 et 51), beatos proclamavit (cf. Mc. 3, 35; Lc. 11, 27-28). Ita etiam B. Virgo in peregrinatione fidei processit, suamque unionem cum Filio fideliter sustinuit usque ad crucem, ubi non sine divino consilio stetit (cf. Io. 19, 25), vehementer cum Unigenito suo condoluit et sacrificio Eius se materno animo sociavit, victimae de se genitae immolationi amanter consentiens; ac demum ab eodem Christo Iesu in cruce moriente [62] uti mater discipulo, hisce verbis data est: Mulier, ecce filius tuus (cf. Io. 19, 26-27).[182]

59. Cum vero Deo placuerit humanae salutis sacramentum non ante solemniter manifestare quam promissum a Christo Spiritum effunderet, Apostolos videmus ante diem Pentecostes «perseverantes unanimiter in oratione cum mulieribus et Maria Matre Iesu et fratribus Eius» (Act. 1, 14), Mariam quoque precibus suis implorantem donum Spiritus, qui in Annuntiatione ipsam iam obumbraverat. Denique Immaculata Virgo, ab omni originalis culpae labe praeservata immunis,[183] expleto terrestris vitae cursu, corpore et anima ad coelestem gloriam assumpta est,[184] ac tamquam universorum Regina a Domino exaltata, ut plenius conformaretur Filio suo, Domino dominantium (cf. Apoc. 19, 16) ac peccati mortisque victori.[185]

III. De Beata Virgine et Ecclesia

60. Unicus est Mediator noster secundum verba Apostoli: «Unus enim Deus, unus et mediator Dei et hominum homo Christus Iesus, qui dedit redemptionem semetipsum pro omnibus» (1 Tim. 2, 5-6). Mariae autem maternum munus erga homines hanc Christi unicam mediationem nullo modo obscurat nec minuit, sed virtutem eius ostendit. Omnis enim salutaris Beatae Virginis influxus in homines non ex aliqua rei necessitate, sed ex beneplacito divino exoritur et ex superabundantia meritorum Christi profluit, Eius mediationi innititur, ab illa omnino dependet, ex eademque totam virtutem haurit; unionem autem immediatam credentium cum Christo nullo modo impedit sed fovet. [63]

61. Beata Virgo, ab aeterno una cum divini Verbi incarnatione tamquam Mater Dei praedestinata, divinae Providentiae consilio, his in terris exstitit alma divini Redemptoris Mater, singulariter prae aliis generosa socia, et humilis ancilla Domini. Christum concipiens, generans, alens, in templo Patri sistens, Filioque suo in cruce morienti compatiens, operi Salvatoris singulari prorsus modo cooperata est, oboedientia, fide, spe et flagrante caritate, ad vitam animarum supernaturalem restaurandam. Quam ob causam mater nobis in ordine gratiae exstitit.

62. Haec autem in gratiae oeconomia maternitas Mariae indesinenter perdurat, inde a consensu quem in Annuntiatione fideliter praebuit, quemque sub cruce incunctanter sustinuit, usque ad perpetuam omnium electorum consummationem. In coelis enim assumpta salutiferum hoc munus non deposuit, sed multiplici intercessione sua pergit in aeternae salutis donis nobis conciliandis.[186] Materna sua caritate de fratribus Filii sui adhuc peregrinantibus necnon in periculis et angustiis versantibus curat, donec ad felicem patriam perducantur. Propterea B. Virgo in Ecclesia titulis Advocatae, Auxiliatricis, Adiutricis, Mediatricis invocatur.[187] Quod tamen ita intelligitur, ut dignitati et efficacitati Christi unius Mediatoris nihil deroget, nihil superaddat.[188] Nulla enim creatura cum Verbo incarnato ac Redemptore connumerari umquam potest; sed sicut sacerdotium Christi variis modis tum a ministris tum a fideli populo participatur, et sicut una bonitas Dei in creaturis modis diversis realiter diffunditur, ita etiam unica mediatio Redemptoris non excludit, sed suscitat variam apud creaturas participatam ex unico fonte cooperationem.

Tale autem munus subordinatum Mariae Ecclesia profiteri non dubitat, iugiter experitur et fidelium cordi commendat, ut hoc materno fulti praesidio Mediatori ac Salvatori intimius adhaereant. [64]

63. Beata autem Virgo divinae maternitatis dono et munere, quo cum Filio Redemptore unitur, suisque singularibus gratiis et muneribus, etiam cum Ecclesia intime coniungitur: Deipara est Ecclesiae typus, ut iam docebat S. Ambrosius, in ordine scilicet fidei, caritatis et perfectae cum Christo unionis.[189] In mysterio enim Ecclesiae, quae et ipsa iure mater vocatur et virgo, Beata Virgo Maria praecessit, eminenter et singulariter tum virginis tum matris exemplar praebens.[190] Credens enim et oboediens, ipsum Filium Patris in terris genuit, et quidem viri nescia, Spiritu Sancto obumbrata, tamquam nova Heva, non serpenti antiquo, sed Dei nuntio praestans fidem, nullo dubio adulteratam. Filium autem peperit, quem Deus posuit primogenitum in multis fratribus (cf. Rom. 8, 29), fidelibus nempe, ad quos gignendos et educandos materno amore cooperatur.

64. Iamvero Ecclesia, eius arcanam sanctitatem contemplans et caritatem imitans, voluntatemque Patris fideliter adimplens, per verbum Dei fideliter susceptum et ipsa fit mater: praedicatione enim ac baptismo filios, de Spiritu Sancto conceptos et ex Deo natos, ad vitam novam et immortalem generat. Et ipsa est virgo, quae fidem Sponso datam integre et pure custodit, et imitans Domini sui Matrem, virtute Spiritus Sancti, virginaliter servat integram fidem, solidam spem, sinceram caritatem.[191]

65. Dum autem Ecclesia in Beatissima Virgine ad perfectionem iam pertingit, qua sine macula et ruga existit (cf. Eph. 5, 27), christifideles adhuc nituntur, ut devincentes peccatum in sanctitate crescant; ideoque oculos suos ad Mariam attollunt, quae toti electorum communitati tamquam exemplar virtutum praefulget. Ecclesia de Ea pie recogitans Eamque in lumine Verbi hominis facti contemplans, in summum incarnationis mysterium venerabunda penitius intrat, Sponsoque suo magis magisque conformatur. Maria enim, quae, in historiam salutis intime ingressa, maxima fidei placita in se quodammodo unit et reverberat, dum praedicatur et colitur, ad Filium suum Eiusque sacrificium atque [65] ad amorem Patris credentes advocat.

Ecclesia vero, gloriam Christi prosequens, praecelso suo Typo similior efficitur, continuo progrediens in fide, spe et caritate, ac divinam voluntatem in omnibus quaerens et obsequens. Unde etiam in opere suo apostolico Ecclesia ad Eam merito respicit, quae genuit Christum, ideo de Spiritu Sancto conceptum et de Virgine natum, ut per Ecclesiam in cordibus quoque fidelium nascatur et crescat. Quae Virgo in sua vita exemplum exstitit materni illius affectus, quo cuncti in missione apostolica Ecclesiae cooperantes ad regenerandos homines animentur oportet.

IV. De cultu Beatae Virginis in Ecclesia

66. Maria, per gratiam Dei post Filium prae omnibus angelis et hominibus exaltata, utpote sanctissima Dei Mater, quae mysteriis Christi interfuit, speciali cultu ab Ecclesia merito honoratur. Et sane ab antiquissimis temporibus Beata Virgo sub titulo «Deiparae» colitur, sub cuius praesidium fideles in cunctis periculis et necessitatibus suis deprecantes confugiunt.[192] Inde praesertim ab Ephesina Synodo cultus Populi Dei erga Mariam mirabiliter crevit in veneratione et dilectione, in invocatione et imitatione, secundum ipsius verba prophetica: «Beatam me dicent omnes generationes, quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est» (Lc. 1, 48-49). Qui cultus, prout in Ecclesia semper exstitit, singularis omnino quamquam est, essentialiter differt a cultu adorationis, qui Verbo incarnato aeque ac Patri et Spiritui Sancto exhibetur, eidemque potissimum favet. Variae enim formae pietatis erga Dei Genitricem, quas Ecclesia intra limites sanae et orthodoxae doctrinae, pro temporum et locorum conditionibus et pro indole ingenioque fidelium approbavit, id efficiunt ut dum Mater honoratur, Filius, propter quem omnia (cf. Col. 1, 15-16) et in quo aeterno Patri «complacuit omnem plenitudinem inhabitare» (Col. 1, 19), rite noscatur, ametur, glorificetur, Eiusque mandata serventur.

67. Hanc catholicam doctrinam Sacrosancta Synodus consulto docet, simulque omnes Ecclesiae filios admonet, ut cultum, praesertim liturgicum, erga Beatam Virginem generose foveant, praxes autem et exercitia pietatis erga Eam saeculorum cursu a Magisterio commendata magni [66] faciant et ea quae anteactis temporibus de cultu imaginum Christi, Beatae Virginis et Sanctorum decreta fuere, religiose servent.[193] Theologos autem verbique divini praecones enixe exhortatur, ut aeque ab omni falsa superlatione, quemadmodum et a nimia mentis angustia, in singulari Deiparae dignitate consideranda sedulo abstineant.[194] Studium Sacrae Scripturae, Sanctorum Patrum et Doctorum Ecclesiaeque liturgiarum sub ductu Magisterii excolentes, recte illustrent munera et privilegia Beatae Virginis, quae semper Christum spectant, totius veritatis, sanctitatis et pietatis originem. Sedulo arceant quaecumque sive in dictis sive in factis fratres seiunctos vel alios quoscumque in errorem circa veram Ecclesiae doctrinam inducere possent. Meminerint porro fideles veram devotionem neque in sterili et transitorio affectu, neque in vana quadam credulitate consistere, sed a vera fide procedere, qua ad Dei Genitricis excellentiam agnoscendam adducimur, et ad filialem erga Matrem nostram amorem eiusque virtutum imitationem excitamur.

V. Maria, signum certae spei et solatii peregrinanti Populo Dei

68. Interim autem Mater Iesu, quemadmodum in coelis corpore et anima iam glorificata, imago et initium est Ecclesiae in futuro saeculo consummandae, ita his in terris, quoadusque advenerit dies Domini (cf. 2 Pt. 3, 10), tamquam signum certae spei et solatii peregrinanti Populo Dei praelucet.

69. Sacrosanctae huic Synodo magnum affert gaudium et solatium, etiam inter fratres seiunctos non deesse, qui Matri Domini ac Salvatoris debitum afferunt honorem, speciatim apud Orientales, qui ad cultum Deiparae semper Virginis fervido impulsu ac devoto animo concurrunt.[195] Universi christifideles supplicationes instantes ad Matrem Dei et Matrem hominum effundant, ut Ipsa, quae primitiis Ecclesiae precibus suis adstitit, nunc quoque in coelo super omnes Beatos et Angelos exaltata, in omnium Sanctorum Communione apud Filium suum intercedat, donec cunctae familiae populorum, sive quae christiano [67] nomine decorantur, sive quae Salvatorem suum adhuc ignorant, cum pace et concordia in unum Populum Dei feliciter congregentur, ad gloriam Sanctissimae et individuae Trinitatis.

Haec omnia et singula quae in hac Constitutione dogmatica edicta sunt placuerunt Sacrosancti Concilii Patribus. Et Nos, Apostolica a Christo Nobis tradita potestate, illa una cum Venerabilibus Patribus, in Spiritu Sancto approbamus, decernimus ac statuimus et quae ita synodaliter statuta sunt ad Dei gloriam promulgari iubemus.

Romae, apud S. Petrum die XXI mensis Novembris anno MCMLXIV.

Ego PAULUS Catholicae Ecclesiae Episcopus

Subsequuntur Patrum subsignationes. [67-71]