Don’t make Mary the feminine face of God

This rather long but well-written article by Sr. Elizabeth Johnson is from 1994 but recently re-run in US Catholic.  If you have never read any of  Elizabeth Johnson’s books, they are wonderful.  Recall that she is the theologian…she teaches at Fordham…that the US bishops decided to take to task for one her books, used widely already for several years in college beginning level theology classes and in seminaries, entitled Quest for the Living God.  She had no idea she was under investigation, was not told who objected to her text, and was never allowed to offer her rebuttal….probably because she would have out-argued them.  This article is particularly relevant today because Pope Francis is very “Marian” and is advocating Marian devotion almost more than JP2!.  It is in his Italian and Argentine DNA.  Not particularly “Marian” myself….too many Rosaries in the middle of the night when Mom got us all up in the middle of thunderstorms….I don’t understand this aspect of PF but what I appreciate is the level of devotion he doesn’t hesitate to put on full display.  It is particularly touching to watch him take flowers to his favorite icon of Mary, Salus Populi Romano, in the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome. He sometimes looks like a besotted young man taking flowers to his favorite lady friend.  He visits her before every trip to bring her flowers and visits her first thing when he returns from his trips usually bringing something from the trip which he places on the altar below the icon.  When he returned from World Youth Day in Rio in 2013, he brought her a soccer ball in the WYD colors…..reyanna

By Elizabeth Johnson     May 11, 2016    US Catholic on-line

In recent years a number of religious thinkers have begun to speak of Mary as the feminine face of God. Whether they appeal to the history of religions, to psychology, to the Christian history of Marian piety and theology, or to current Latin American and Hispanic devotional practices, these thinkers seek to remedy one of the problems of male-dominated religion by stating that god has a feminine dimension, which is made known through Mary.

The basic argument goes like this. God has both a masculine and a feminine side. In the incarnation, the divine masculine side is revealed in Jesus Christ, in his preaching and mighty deeds and his love even unto death. Being male, however, Jesus could not fully express through his human life the divine feminine side. Thus divine feminine characteristics, such as mothering and nurturing and being intuitive and sensitive, become clear in Mary, his mother. She functions as the maternal face of God turned toward the world. The honor that people give to her allows the feminine to enter into their religious consciousness. Since the source of this femininity is in God, a balance is introduced into what would otherwise be an overly masculinized view of the divine.

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