November 19, 2008
I just read a highly interesting article by José Granados, “Through Mary’s Memory to Jesus’ Mystery” (Communio 33:1, Spring 2006). Granados basically argues that the post-Resurrection apostolic memory of Christ must necessarily include that of Mary, the only witness to Christ’s divine origin in a virginal conception, a “memory” of necessity immaculate if the Church is to have a true comprehension of the Son’s full deity in the Father and full humanity from his mother — building off her faithful “pondering in her heart.” Okay, that little synopsis does little justice to Granados’ arguments, so you’ll have to read it.
It was interesting to read this after reading some of Matthias Scheeben’s Mariology (volume 1 and volume 2). While Scheeben’s work contains some fine moments, he is still working with traditional proof text arguments, so, e.g., Luke 1:34 “proves” that Mary took a vow of virginity. A lot is built off of this. Similarly, in volume 2, chapter 4 (“Proof of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception from Sacred Scripture”), Genesis 3:15 requires that Mary be immaculate from her conception (otherwise, there would have been enmity between her and Satan). I don’t think too many Catholic theologians today are quite as confident to utilize scripture in this way. Certainly such texts can be used more along the lines of corroborative evidence, but more fundamental and more systematic reasons must be given — and this is the sort of work that Granados is doing well, and similar to the marian work, little that I’ve read, of Joseph Ratzinger and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Granados’ presentation, while necessarily limited in scope, is far more plausible to a Protestant than that of Scheeben. It is rooted in history and the Church (and the Church’s gospel), as with von B’s ecclesially-centered marian arguments, and as such gives the Protestant reader a plausible path to the high mariology in the Church’s history.