MANILA, June 2, 2013—In light of the nearing Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a bishop on Saturday settled controversies on how Marian devotion should be expressed by the Catholic laity.
In the fourth Marian conference held at the San Carlos Seminary, Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani stressed that devotion to the Virgin Mother must always be rooted to Christ.
“Anumang katangian, anumang glory ni Mary, we should connect them with Christ. Mary without Jesus means nothing,” he said.
“Never speak of Mary separate from Jesus. It should always be connected to Jesus. Never pray to Mary separate from Jesus. Pray to Mary always in relation to Jesus,” Bacani added.
He discussed the important role played by Mary in the mystery of salvation and of the Catholic Church, emphasizing that she is a vital part of the totality of Christianity and not a separate entity of holiness.
“Mary is neither above the church nor outside the church. She belongs to the church and her glory is in belonging to God within the context of the history of salvation and the mystery of the church,” Bacani said.
According to him, the role she plays is all in accordance with the divine plan. Placing Mary to a place of appreciation is properly knowing and understanding the context to which she must be known.
“When the Lord created Mary, he wanted her to be in context. She wanted her to be the mother of the Savior. That cause inserted her in the mystery of salvation,” Bacani said.
“Because the Church is the sacrament of Christ, the body of Christ, then therefore, she, as the mother of the Savior also has a very important role in that plan. She is put in the context of the mystery of salvation and of the whole church,” he added.
Veneration, not adoration
Dealing with one of the core issues of Mariology, the theological study of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bacani stressed that love for her is properly expressed not through adoration, but through a special form of veneration.
“Veneration essentially differs from adoration. Veneration is what we give to the saints. But it is altogether singular that what we give to Mary is not simply veneration but hyperdulia or super veneration,” he said.
Bacani also noted the different acts of glorification to the Blessed Mother, as practiced by the laity over the years.
“Before, we glorify Mary as if she is there by herself. Now, we glorify her within the proper context—where she truly belongs. And she is more beautiful and more highly glorified when we see her in context,” he said.
In order to properly venerate the Holy Mother, Bacani advised the faithful to resort to the teachings coming from the bible, Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church, Liturgy, and Magisterium.
“Do not exaggerate Mary. Mary is not glorified by our exaggeration, but do not minimize her dignity by petty narrow-mindedness. Tao lamang siya pero espesyal siyang tao. Do not be stingy and do not exaggerate,” Bacani said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)