Today’s general audience catechesis on prayer and Mary was very beautiful in many respects and interesting in one particular way.
Media accredited to the Holy See Press Office receive the language texts of the Wednesday general audience catechesis just before or at the audience start time and they are under embargo until the Pope speaks the entire text.
I read the entire English catechesis, but heard that something quite different had been said by the Pope in the Italian catechesis. None of the language versions we received had his new remarks, but they have now been added and the definitive language texts can be found at vatican.va I went to the video of the general audience to make sure that what I heard were indeed off the cuff remarks.
Pope Francis’ extemporaneous remarks were on “Christ being the only Redeemer, there are no co-Redeemers.” Why is this significant? You might want to read this: Could Mary be getting a new title this year? (catholicnewsagency.com)
Below is the papal catechesis text in English. I have put the papal off the cuff remarks that were later translated into other languages in italics.
POPE: MARY IS MOTHER OF GOD, OUR MOTHER, NOT CO-REDEEMER
Dear brothers and sister, good morning!
Today the catechesis is dedicated to prayer in communion with Mary. It occurs precisely on the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Annunciation. We know that the main pathway of Christian prayer is the humanity of Jesus. In fact, the confidence typical of Christian prayer would be meaningless if the Word had not become incarnate, giving us in the Spirit His filial relationship with the Father.
Christ is the Mediator, the bridge that we cross to turn to the Father (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2674). Each prayer we raise to God is through Christ, with Christ and in Christ and is fulfilled thanks to his intercession. The Holy Spirit extends Christ’s mediation through every time and every place: there is no other name by which we can be saved (see Acts 4:12). (From Italian catechesis, off the cuff) Christ is the Mediator, the bridge we cross to turn to the Father (cf.Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2674). He is the only Redeemer: there are no co-redeemers with Christ. He is the Mediator par excellence, he is the Mediator. Every prayer we raise to God is for Christ, with Christ and in Christ and is fulfilled thanks to his intercession. The Holy Spirit extends Christ’s mediation to every time and place: there is no other name in which we can be saved (cf. Acts 4:12). Jesus Christ: the only Mediator between God and men.
Due to Christ’s mediation, other references Christians find for their prayer and devotion take on meaning, first among them being the Virgin Mary.
She occupies a privileged place in the lives of Christians, and therefore, in their prayer as well, because she is the Mother of Jesus. The Eastern Churches have often depicted her as the Odigitria, she who “shows the way”, that is, her Son, Jesus Christ. Her presence is everywhere in Christian iconography, sometimes very prominently, but always in relation to her Son and in connection with Him. Her hands, her eyes, her behavior are a living “catechism”, always indicating the hinge, the center: Jesus. Mary is completely directed toward Him (see CCC, 2674).
This is the role Mary fulfilled throughout her entire earthly life and which she forever retains: to be the humble handmaid of the Lord. At a certain point in the Gospels she almost seems to disappear; but then she reappears in the more crucial moments, such as at Cana, when her Son, thanks to her caring intervention, performs his first “sign” (see Jn 2:1-12), and then on Golgotha at the foot of the cross.
Jesus extended Mary’s maternity to the entire Church when He entrusted her to his beloved disciple shortly before dying on the cross. From that moment on, we have all been gathered under her mantle, as depicted in certain medieval frescoes or paintings.
(Italian catechesis, off the cuff) Jesus extended Mary’s motherhood to the whole Church when he entrusted his beloved disciple to her, shortly before dying on the cross. From that moment on, we are all placed under his mantle, as can be seen in certain medieval frescoes or paintings. Also the first Latin antiphon – Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix: the Madonna who, as the Mother to whom Jesus has entrusted us, envelops us all; but as Mother, not as goddess, not as co-redemptrix: as Mother. It is true that Christian piety always gives her beautiful titles, like a son to his mother: how many beautiful things a son says to his mother he loves! But let’s be careful: the beautiful things that the Church and the Saints say about Mary take nothing away from the redemptive uniqueness of Christ. He is the only Redeemer. They are expressions of love like a son to his mother – sometimes exaggerated. But love, we know, always makes us do exaggerated things, but with love.
And so, we began to pray to her using several expressions present in the Gospels directed to her: “full of grace”, “blessed are you among women” (cfr CCC, 2676f.). Sanctioned by the Council of Ephesus, the title “Theotokos”, “Mother of God”, was soon added to the Hail Mary. And, analogously as with the Our Father, after the praise we add the supplication: we ask that Mary pray for us sinners, that she might intercede with her tenderness, “now and at the hour of our death”. Now, in the concrete situations of life, and in the final moment, so that she might accompany us in our passage to eternal life.
Mary is always present at the bedside of her children when they depart this world. If someone is alone and abandoned, she is there, near, as she was next to her Son when everyone else abandoned him.
Mary was and is present in these days of the pandemic, near to the people who, unfortunately, concluded their earthly journey all alone, without the comfort of or the closeness of their loved ones. Mary is always there, with her maternal tenderness.
Prayers said to her are not in vain. The Woman who said “yes”, who promptly welcomed the Angel’s invitation, also responds to our supplications, she hears our voices, even those that remain closed in our hearts that haven’t the strength to be uttered but which God knows better that we ourselves do. Just like, and more than, every good mother, Mary defends us from danger, she is concerned about us even when we are concentrated on our own things and lose a sense of the way, and when we put not only our health in danger, but also our salvation. Mary is there, praying for us, praying for those who do not pray. Because she is our Mother.
VATICAN: SALARIES OF CARDINALS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS CUT DUE TO COVID CRISIS
The salaries of Cardinals will be reduced by 10%, department heads and secretaries by 8%, clergy and religious by 3%. A two-year freeze in automatic seniority increases will affect all employees from pay grade level 4 on up.
By Vatican News
“A sustainable economic future requires today, among other decisions, adopting measures that also concern employee salaries.”
These words open the motu proprio in which Pope Francis has decided to cut proportionally and indefinitely the salaries of Cardinals (10%), department heads and secretaries (8%), and all priests and religious in service at the Holy See (3%). All employees will have automatic seniority pay increases frozen until 2023, except for lay employees with pay grade levels one to three.
The Pope wants to ensure that employees not be laid off. However, as costs must be contained, he has decided to act “according to criteria of proportionality and progressivity” with some adjustments regarding especially clergy, religious, and those with higher pay grade levels. According to the motu proprio, the pope’s decision is motivated by “the deficit over the years affecting the financial management of the Holy See”, and above all the situation caused by the pandemic, “that has negatively influenced all sources of income for the Holy See and Vatican City State.” The provisions are intended to contribute, along with other measures, to assuring a sustainable financial future for the mission of the central offices of the Church.
Given this situation, beginning on 1 April 2021, the remuneration “given by the Holy See to Cardinals is reduced” by 10%. Salaries regulated by law with pay grade levels C and C1 – that is, department heads and secretaries of dicasteries – will be reduced by 8% and affect employees of the Holy See, Vatican City, and other associated institutions. The reduction of 3% applies to clergy and religious employees – that is all non-lay personnel – with pay grade level C2 up to first level. The reductions noted here will not be applied in exceptional cases where health expenses are involved.
Another measure touches all employees in service at the Holy See, Vatican City, and other associated institutions, as well as the superiors noted previously. Automatic biennial pay raises associated with seniority will be frozen from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2023. However, this will only affect lay employees with pay grade level four and above, and not those with the lowest salaries.
These measures will be applied also by the Vicariate of Rome; the Chapters of the Papal Basilicas of Saint Peter, Saint John Lateran and Saint Mary Major; the Fabbrica di San Pietro; and the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.
The full text of the Motu proprio, in the original Italian, can be found in the Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office.
LENTEN STATION CHURCHES, WEEK FIVE, WEDNESDAY: SAN MARCELLO
(www.pnac.org) – As he lay dying in the stables to which he had been condemned to labor, the aged Pope Marcellus I would hardly have imagined that this church in his name would one day stand on this site. Elected in 308, he was faced almost immediately with the issue of the re-admittance to communion of those who had denied the faith in the persecutions, to which issue he responded by upholding the traditional period of penance.
Arrested some months later, he was made to work in the imperial stables just off of the main road that is now the Via del Corso. Some traditions say that this had been the location of an oratory consecrated by him, turned into stables by the Romans to humiliate him and the Church. After suffering in the difficult labor, he would die shortly thereafter.
Another tradition relates that he was sent into exile after his arrest, dying there sometime later, although his relics were returned to Rome. In the late fourth and early fifth century, the first church was built here in his honor as part of a program to replace house churches with larger structures. This would soon enter into history for the dubious honor of being the seat of the antipope Boniface in 418, a role it would again serve in the early twelfth century when another antipope occupied the church.
A baptismal font, built sometime soon after the fifth century, was present here, whose remains were discovered in 1912. This marks the church as being of some significance, since the ordinary place of baptism was still the Lateran. Adrian I undertook repairs here in the late eighth century, and sometime in the early twelfth century the church was completely demolished and replaced with a new one.
However, a fire on May 23, 1519 would cut the life of this church short, with the most significant survivor of the disaster being a crucifix, now venerated in a side chapel.** Beginning in 1525 and continuing for the next 70 years, the work of reconstruction took place, with the orientation of the church being reversed to that the façade faced the Via del Corso. The later years of the seventeenth century would see some final modifications to the site, as the Romanesque campanile was demolished and the current façade, designed by Carlo Fontana, was constructed. The interior was restored in the 1860s, and it is in this form that the building comes down to us today. (Address: Piazza San Marcello (via del Corso), 5)
**The celebrated crucifix is one you saw many times last year, especially in Holy Week and at Easter, for ceremonies and liturgies by Pope Francis.