<msonormal$3>All four images are in play in the Church all the time. But because Mary is the pattern orprototype of all discipleship in the Church, and because discipleship is what the Church is for, what Balthasar called the “Marian Profile” has a certain priority over the others. John Paul II agrees. In December 1987, he told the Roman Curia that Mary made sense, so to speak, out of Peter: what the Church of authority and jurisdiction did in the Vatican made sense only if it served the cause of discipleship.
<msonormal$3>Suppose the ecumenical dialogue were refocused, away from questions of power and authority and onto questions of discipleship? Would an ecumenical dialogue refocused on Mary’s lifelong openness to the will of God help move us beyond today’s plateau, by forcing all of us to ask how we are open to the Risen Lord in his presence to the Church today? Would an ecumenism that took Mary’s holiness as a pattern for all Christian holiness help us to become holier together: Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox? Would an ecumenical reflection on Mary’s last words in the New Testament, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2.5), give us a renewed sense of urgency about Christ’s call to unity?
<msonormal$3>Mary: ecumenical third rail? Or breakthrough to a new understanding? The latter just might be the ecumenical future.
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and holds EPPC’s William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.
This article was originally published on The Catholic Difference