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Denison Journal of Religion

Abstract

The Virgin Mary has had several titles in her long history, and these titles correlate with how she is understood by Catholics. During the Second Vatican Council, there were some who wanted to add the title of co-redemptrix to the long list of names associated with her, but the effort did not succeed. The Council explained its decision by claiming that there was biblical evidence of Mary being within the Church, but not above it. Egan asks how one can base this decision on iblical evidence when the stories and opinions associated with Mary differ so greatly. In the Gospel of John, Mary appears to have an important role in Jesus's life and service, while in Luke and Matthew's Gospels, she appears as an "afterthought" and her role is only to make a "Christological point." Despite this contrast, and the refusal of Second Vatican Council to show new respect to Mary with the title co-redemptrix, many, including Pope John Paul II, seem to give Mary great credit. Nonetheless, in Vatican II, the view of Mary as the "sister" to the people of the Church prevailed over the notion of Mary as "mother" to the Church. Mary becomes a symbol of all women of the Church, and because she remains in an inferior position, this article argues, so too are the women of the Church. If Mary were granted a bigger role in the Church it would be a large step to better the lives of Catholic women who attempt to follow the model set by Mary.

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