I’m surprised that no one else has commented on the large and beautiful image of the Blessed Virgin Mary that appeared in St Peter’s for the closing Mass of the Amazonian synod.
It is pictured here in front of the left front pillar of the baldacchino. This statue is not usually there. In fact, curiously, I’m not aware of any major image of the Blessed Mother featured prominently in St Peter’s. For that matter, in many of the Roman churches you don’t see a prominent Mary statue. I’d be interested to study this fact further.
Either way, the image that appeared on Sunday is worth commenting on. Why did this wonderful image of the Blessed Mother make such a prominent appearance? I suspect it was an obvious and proper correction to all the Pachamama fuss. Whoever was responsible did the right thing. The indigenous image–whatever it was (and this is still disputed as per my article here.) was subjugated to the proper Catholic iconography.
UPDATE: I’ve since been informed that the image of the Blessed Mother in question is not usually at that location in the basilica, but that it is put in place for papal masses.
It’s Mary Mama, not Pachamama.
And that’s okay, and the Blessed Virgin does in fact supplant all pagan mother goddesses. As I commented in this post –which you really ought to read–
Interestingly, the Christian myth also tells the story of a great Mother. That Mother of All Things is called Eve. Did you know that was the meaning of her name? Eve is not the serpent, but she is tempted by the serpent. Because he and his cohort were cast down from heaven to earth, the earth became the realm of the fallen angel Lucifer, Satan, the Father of Lies. The “energies” of the earth became hostage to Satan and his demons. Earth became “the silent planet” cut off from the rest of God’s cosmos and alienated from the creator. This fallen spirit tempted the Mother of All Things Eve to disobey her creator and join Satan and his demons in disobedience and become a true inhabitant and child of the silent planet. She yielded to the Dragon’s Lure and thus she and her children all became hostages to the Dragon.
Mary is the “New Eve” and just as Eve was “Mother of All” so the Blessed Virgin becomes, by God’s grace, the Mediator of All Grace under the new covenant. More theological study needs to be done on this matter, but I believe the Blessed Virgin by virtue of her being a created being, but transformed by her unique relationship with God because she was theotokos the God bearer–institutes a new relationship between God and the created order. To put it differently, because of God’s relationship with Mary in the incarnation, she is the key factor in the redemption of the physical aspect of creation. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is the assumption of the physical realm into heaven.
I realize what I have written is speculative, and I’m happy for any real Marian expert and proper theologian to correct me, but I write this because of my first (and continued) experience in praying the rosary. As I began to pray the rosary for the first time while on a walk in the woods at Quarr Abbey, it was as if a new dimension of the created order was opening up to my vision. It is very difficult to explain, but others have told me they have experienced the same thing–as if the woods, the trees, the birds, air and sky were more real, clearer and crisper in my apprehension or their reality. I felt I was on the threshold of Narnia.
One can’t dogmatize based on subjective prayer experiences. I realize that. But nevertheless, I have always felt there was more to it, and certainly that there is nothing wrong with seeing the Blessed Virgin as Mother of All, and that, therefore, all the Mother Goddesses of all the pagan religions of the world are mere foretastes and foreshadowings of she who would become the great Virgin Mother.
This also illuminates the proper relationship between paganism and Christianity. I have written extensively about this, and it is the theme of my book The Romance of Religion. (Check out this long article on the subject too.)
Paganism is fulfilled by the Christian faith in the same way that the Hebrew religion is completed and fulfilled by Christ. This is not to say that the Hebrew religion is just another pagan religion on a par with the rest of them. No. It is unique in the ancient world because the myths are lived out by real people in history. God reveals himself to the Jews in a unique way which foreshadows the incarnation in a unique and powerful way.
So, thank the Lord that the beautiful image of the Blessed Virgin Mary was so present in the closing Mass of the Amazonian Synod.
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Here is a final image of the Holy Father leading proper veneration to her.