Vatican II Put Spotlight on Mary’s Human Side, Says Mariologist

Says Focus Reveals Humanity of the «Woman of Nazareth»

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ROME, JUNE 3, 2011 ( The Second Vatican Council’s «anthropological turn» brought a spotlight to the «woman of Nazareth,» enabling the faithful to discover Our Lady in her full humanity, says the secretary of the Pontifical Marian International Academy.

Franciscan Father Stefano Cecchin made this reflection as he spoke with ZENIT about the academy’s 23rd international Marian conference, which will consider Mariology since Vatican II. A study seminar this Saturday is part of the preparation for the 2012 conference.

ZENIT asked Father Cecchin about the change in Mariology that came about with the council.

«Past devotion clothed the Virgin in very precious mantles, crowns and gifts, forgetting little by little her humanity,» he suggested. «The anthropological turn of Vatican II has made us discover ‘the woman of Nazareth’ in her full humanity. In her we find, next to Jesus, a totally fulfilled woman, but only after having accepted the will of God, which revealed itself to her in her constant journey of faith which points her out as a true disciple of Christ.

«In Mary we find all the expressions of humanity: She welcomes a child that entrusts her with responsibility, sees him grow, educates him. She became a widow, saw her Son leave home, [saw him] loved but misunderstood to the point of the cross. What is more terrible for a mother than to see an innocent child die?»

Father Cecchin said that this «rediscovery of Mary’s humanity,» and her mission to educate Jesus in his human nature «makes us trust in her not only as a friend who understands our human situation, but also as a model who shows us that it is possible to live the Gospel in fullness.»

«Holiness is linked to closeness with God,» the Franciscan reflected. «Who besides Mary has been close to God? For nine months she carried in her womb he who lived in the bosom of the Father!»

At the same time, Father Cecchin recommended finding Mary in the «ordinary» places.

«Every gift that comes from God is grace. But it cannot be an addition to the gift of Revelation, which sacred Scriptures already contain and which is correctly interpreted by the Church,» he said. «Personally, I find God, Mary and the saints in the liturgy of the Church — which many should discover as the ordinary place where God manifests himself!»

[Reporting by Antonio Gaspari]
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