Pope Francis said Saturday that the times we live in are the “times of Mary.”
The pope made the remark at an Oct. 24 event marking the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Theological Faculty “Marianum” in Rome.
Speaking to an estimated 200 students and professors from the theological faculty in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the pope said that we are living in the time of the Second Vatican Council.
“No other Council in history has given Mariology as much space as that dedicated to it by Chapter VIII of ‘Lumen gentium,’ which concludes and in a certain sense summarizes the entire Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.” he said.
“This tells us that the times we live in are times of Mary. But we need to rediscover Our Lady from the perspective of the Council,” he urged. “Just as the Council brought to light the beauty of the Church by returning to the sources and removing the dust that had settled on it over the centuries, so Mary’s wonders can be rediscovered best by going to the heart of her mystery.”
In his address, the pope highlighted the importance of Mariology, the theological study of Mary.
“We could ask ourselves: does Mariology serve the Church and the world today? Obviously the answer is yes. To go to Mary’s school is to go to the school of faith and life. She, teacher because disciple, teaches well the basics of human and Christian life,” he said.
The Marianum was founded in 1950 under the direction of Pope Pius XII and entrusted to the Servite Order. The institution publishes “Marianum,” a prestigious journal of Marian theology.
In his address, the pope focused on Mary’s role as a mother and a woman. He said that the Church also possessed these two characteristics.
“Our Lady rendered God our brother, and as a mother she can render the Church and the world more fraternal,” he said.
“The Church needs to rediscover her maternal heart, which beats for unity; but our Earth also needs to rediscover it, to return to being the home of all her children.”
He said a world without mothers, which focused on profits alone, would have no future.
“The Marianum is then called to be a fraternal institution, not only through the beautiful family atmosphere that distinguishes you, but also by opening new possibilities for collaboration with other institutions, which will help to broaden horizons and keep up with the times,” he said.
Reflecting on the womanhood of Mary, the pope said that “as the mother makes the Church a family, so the woman makes us a people.”
He said it was no coincidence that popular piety was centered on Mary.
“It is important that Mariology follows it with care, promotes it, sometimes purifies it, always paying attention to the ‘signs of the Marian times’ that run through our age,” he commented.
The pope observed that women played an essential role in salvation history and that therefore they were essential for both the Church and the world.
“But how many women do not receive the dignity due to them,” he lamented. “Woman, who brought God into the world, must be able to bring her gifts in history. Her ingenuity and style are needed. Theology needs it, so that it is not abstract and conceptual, but sensitive, narrative, alive.”
“Mariology, in particular, can help bring to culture, also through art and poetry, the beauty that humanizes and instills hope. And it is called to seek more worthy spaces for women in the Church, starting from the common baptismal dignity. Because the Church, as I said, is woman. Like Mary, [the Church] is a mother, like Mary.”