31 May 2017

Mediatrix et Regina

If you look in the good old English Missal, you can find our Lady as Mediatrix of all Graces in the Appendix of Masses Proper to England and Wales. This is because in Durham, Northumberland, the West Riding of Yorkshire, Herefordshire, and all Wales, this feast was on the Calendar of the corresponding RC dioceses. The date is May 31, except that in later editions of the English Missal, dating from after the institution in 1955 by Pius XII of the feast of the BVM, Queen, on May 31, the older feast of our Lady, Mediatrix, had to be shuffled onto June 1. The Mass can, of course, be said as a votive any day when votives are permitted.

Happily, one of the Office Hymns of this beautiful Feast appears in the Liturgia Horarum. In the Common of the BVM, it is the hymn at First Evensong; and it may be used at the Office of Readings as an alternative to Quem terra pontus aethera. Its first line is "Maria quae mortalium".

Sadly, for those who say the Office in English, it is not available; it is one of the many hymns for which ICEL decided not to bother to commission English translations. (Whereabouts did Sacrosanctum Concilium sanction this wholesale disparagement of the treasures of Christian Latin Hymnography?) It may be found, with an English version, in versions of the Monastic Diurnal for the Feast of our Blessed Mother of Perpetual Succour. Its (nineteenth century) author is not known.

The Mass and Office were authorised in 1921 by Pope Benedict XV, and among the countries for which it was authorised was, I believe, Belgium. It had been requested by that dear old friend and doughty supporter of the Anglican Patrimony, Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Malines. It is my belief, which I am unable to support with evidence, that Papa Pacelli in 1955 deliberately put Maria Regina onto May 31 because he was suspicious of the doctrine of her Universal Mediation and wished to repress the growing enthusiasm among dioceses and countries to petition for this feast.

So the whole Latin Church (EF) now has Maria Regina  today. I feel the Pius XII propers are a trifle unsophisticated; they emphasise the old literary topoi of Royalty. No harm in the that. But the older liturgical understanding of Mary's glorification, in both East and West, connected it with her role as Mediatrix for all the Church. The only element in the Pius XII office which relates to this is lectio ix, where S Bonaventure proclaims Mary as the New Esther and as the aquaeductus through which the Grace of God comes to us.


8 comments:

Unknown said...

Regina Caeli, Theotokos is, and should be, as God wish, called Mother, the Lady of all Nations. She is - Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate of all people. And this should and will be, better sooner than later proclaimed as a fifth, and last, and most important Marian dogma.
Ivan

Banshee said...

So how do we now have Feast of the Visitation today?

Anyway, here is a modern translation:

http://psallitesapienter.blogspot.com/2011/11/maria-qu-mortalium.html

Anita Moore said...

I'd be interested in seeing you expand on your suspicion about Pius XII's suspicion of the doctrine of Mary's universal mediation. I understood from Alden Hatch's biography, Crown of Glory, that Pius XII had a great devotion to Our Lady from childhood.

John Vasc said...

Is it possible, I wonder, that Pius XII discovered this liturgical change only too late, in the same way that Paul VI is said to have wept when he discovered that he had abolished the Octave of Pentecost without realizing it. One can fancifully imagine the scene: 'Here you are, Your Holiness, another bit of paper from Mgr Bugnini's committee for you to countersign, va bene, grazie tante!'

Grant Milburn said...

I have a 1957 Missal which indicates in its Kalendar for New Zealand that the feast of the B.V.M Mediatrix of All Graces is or was celebrated in the Diocese of Wellington on May 31st. As I was born on May 31st 1957 in the Diocese of Wellington, this interested me, and I hastened to look up the Mass that was being said on that Friday as I entered the world. I now have a sort of proprietary interest in this Feast.

Matthew Roth said...

As has been pointed out elsewhere, the feast of the Queenship best belongs on the octave day of the Assumption, and the feast of the Immaculate Heart is best placed after the Sacred Heart.

Patrick said...

The hymn appears on page 33** of the St. Michael's Abbey Press Monastic Diurnal, in the
Supplement.

Thomas said...

In my theological naïvety, I have always found the thought of Our Lady as Mediatrix of All Graces to be pretty much self-evident. As to the title "Co-Redemptress", there is a wonderful extract from Blessed Abbot Marmion on Rorate Caeili (https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/06/june-of-sacred-heart-ego-dilecto-meo-et.html#more) about how every soul intimately united to the Eternal Word becomes a channel of grace for others. In the middle of the piece he writes: "In fact, it is the Word who lives in her, and always living is never inactive, for His action is love, by which He enlightens, vivifies and saves souls. She is a true co-operator in the redemption." By "her" and "She" Blessed Colomba means the blessed soul which has become the Spouse of Christ. But everything he writes could also be said (and must surely have been in the author's mind too) par excellence of Our Lady, yet amplified and made uniquely universal in the same measure that her union with her divine Son and is supreme in degree.