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Daily Catholic Question

How can Mary be the "Mother of God"?

God as Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) cannot have a mother. Catholics have never understood the title “Mother of God” in that sense.

If we deny this title to Mary, however, are we also denying that Jesus Christ was divine? We may not make that link, but many people in the fifth century did. This title became official then as a way of settling that issue.

“Mother of God” is the popular translation of the title Theotokos (literally, "God-bearer"). A Concise Dictionary of Theology, by Gerald O’Collins, S.J., and Edward Farrugia, S.J., says that this title was used as early as the third century. The authors add, “When Nestorius of Constantinople called into question this popular title, the Council of Ephesus (431) condemned him and, in upholding the unity of Christ’s person, proclaimed the legitimacy of the title Theotokos.”

What is at stake here is not so much honoring Mary as acknowledging the uniqueness of Jesus—one person, who is fully God and fully human. Nestorius denied that Jesus was, in fact, one person and said that Mary should be called the Christotokos (Christ-bearer) but not Theotokos.

Click here for the rest of today's answer

Sunday, June 16, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 6/15/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 6/17/2013


Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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