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The Gospel of Life after Roe vs. Wade

 
 
 
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  Bioethics in Law & Culture                                                                                                                          Summer  2023      vol. 6  issue  3

Dr. Steven J. Meyer, S.T.D.
Assistant Professor of Theology
University of St. Thomas School of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary
Houston, TX

Each year we revisit the mystery of the Annunciation on March 25th.[i] This mystery can be found in the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38. Here an angel announces the coming of Jesus Christ to Mary and to the world. The power of the Holy Spirit will overshadow her, and she will conceive and bear a son. This date occurs nine months prior to December 25th or the Birth of Jesus with the Solemnity of Christmas. Over the centuries the Annunciation has often been represented in art. For example, see the above painting by Fra Angelico from a Dominican House in Florence, Italy.[ii]

 

The Annunciation is the mystery that St. John Paul II reflects upon to begin his encyclical Evangelium vitae or The Gospel of Life.  He published the work on March 25, 1995. It begins with a brief reflection on the Annunciation as a mystery that overlaps with the protection and sacredness of unborn human life. The Gospel is life. It is the source of hope for every period of human history. The Gospel is about God’s love for every human person. The Annunciation begins the Gospel. It is the mystery of how God united himself with all of us. It shows that every person has incomparable dignity. “…the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel.[iii]

 

In what follows, I would like to offer some theological reflections, through the lens of Evangelium vitae about two themes. The first concerns the mystery of the Annunciation as enlightening the dignity and respect for the unborn. Within these, I want to add an observation I have not seen elsewhere through the connection between fetal microchimerism and this mystery. The second overall theme concerns John Paul II’s thoughts on culture, the culture of death, the dialogue between them, and building a culture of life. Within this theme, I will give a few examples of the culture of death since the overturning of Roe vs. Wade.

 

The essence of the first theme is this: The Annunciation is the mystery that deals with the miraculous conception of Jesus Christ. It is really a mystery about the Incarnation, or that God took on a human nature. “Through the Incarnation one and the same subject unites the divine and the human in himself, in the unity of a person. This subject is the Word of God, who “was in the beginning with God”, through whom “all things were made” (Jn 1:2-3) and who in the fullness of time “became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14). It is a matter, then, of God, in the Person of the Word, united himself to a human nature so intimately that the sufferings and joys, all the actions of this nature, are sufferings and joys, actions of God.”[iv] Along with being created by God with dignity, this mystery shows the incomparable love of God for all human beings.

 

To summarize the second theme: a culture of life is built through giving witness to the goodness that God has done in our lives and proclaiming His work in the world. As 1 Peter 2:9 puts it, “You are God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” John Paul reminds us that we are a people of life and for life. There is a law that transcends the civil law, a law of love. This includes showing compassion and mercy. In resisting a culture of death, a culture that pervades the very air we breathe, we can have a certain confidence that with God nothing is impossible.[v]

 

The Mystery of the Annunciation and Unborn Human Life

The Gospel of Luke begins with an Infancy narrative depicting the angel Gabriel coming to the Virgin Mary with the words, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” (Lk 1:28) The message is that she shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. She asks in wonder how this is possible. The angel replies, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; hence, the holy offspring to be born will be called Son of God.” (Lk 1:35)[vi]

 

A major theme in all this concerns the entry of the Divine Word into time through taking on human nature. This is often referred to as the ‘fullness of time’ according to St. Paul. This is the beginning in time of the humanity of the Eternal Son, but this beginning is when time, all of history, reaches a center point for redemption or salvation. In his letter to the Galatians St. Paul writes, “…when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”. (Gal 4:4-5) In Redemptoris mater John Paul II comments on the phrase the fullness of time or pleroma tou chronou. He says it “…means not only the conclusion of a chronological process but also and especially the coming to maturity or completion of a particularly important period, one directed toward the fulfillment of an expectation, a coming to completion which thus takes on an eschatological dimension. According to Gal 4:4 and its context, it is the coming of the Son of God that reveals that time has, so to speak, reached its limit. That is to say, the period marked by the promise made to Abraham and by the Law mediated by Moses has now reached its climax, in the sense that Christ fulfills the divine promise and supersedes the Old Law.”[vii]

 

“Fullness” also “…indicates the moment fixed from all eternity when the Father sent his Son “that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). It denotes the blessed moment when the Word that “was with God…became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:1, 14), and made himself our brother. It marks the moment when the Holy Spirit, who had already infused the fullness of grace into Mary of Nazareth, formed in her virginal womb the human nature of Christ.”[viii] Fullness also indicates that “… with the entrance of the eternal into time, time itself is redeemed, and being filled with the mystery of Christ becomes definitely “salvation time.” Finally, this “fullness” designates the hidden beginning of the Church’s journey.”[ix] The Annunciation is, sort of speak, the beginning of the end. It is the fulcrum or pivot for all history. It is a mystery to which we look back to as a historical event. It is the mystery that we look forward to in hope, and why we have an unshakeable confidence that a culture of death cannot win in the end.

 

The date we celebrate the Annunciation, March 25th, is not entirely arbitrary. I would like to point out that “…it is not possible to establish an exact chronological point for identifying the date of Mary’s birth.”[x] Yet we can find ancient traditions evidenced by Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus of Rome, and Tertullian of Carthage, three writers from around the early 200s AD, indicating that the Annunciation took place during the Jewish feast of Passover, a spring feast. These three indicate that the Annunciation occurred on March 25. This does not mean that all early Church fathers agreed with this date. Eventually, the church would decide to celebrate the Annunciation on this date. A recent article in Biblical Archaeology Review focuses on Hippolytus of Rome, a somewhat mysterious early Christian. The point of the article is to show that he, and thus some Christian traditions, dated Christmas to December 25th much prior to the later invention (and modern trope) of the Roman pagan feast of Saturnalia and the feast of the unconquered Sol or sun being the reason for the Christian dating of Christmas. In short, Christianity did not ‘invent’ December 25th in order to adopt the Roman feast, but rather, celebrated this date prior to the invention of the Roman feast for the sun. Hippolytus, in his work Chronicon, indicates March 25, during the Passover, as marking the event of the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, exactly nine months prior to the winter solstice. Whether he believed this to be literally true or not is a different question, and one more difficult to answer. He also suggests some other dates for the birth of Christ. This idea is also in Clement of Alexandria who also held to a Passover conception for Christ, but his idea, based upon a lunar calendar, leads to differing specific dates for the birth of Christ.[xi] The church will eventually celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th.

 

For St. John Paul II, the Annunciation is the beginning of the Gospel of Life. It both represents and realizes the victory in the ongoing struggle in human history since the murder of Abel by Cain. Mary’s personal consent “…at the Annunciation and her motherhood stand at the very beginning of the mystery of life which Christ came to bestow on humanity (cf. Jn 10:10). Through her acceptance and loving care for the life of the Incarnate Word, human life has been rescued from condemnation to final and eternal death.”[xii] A culture of life can only be formed by shaping hearts and minds in love. In this, we have much work to do. And yet, “The angel’s Annunciation to Mary is framed by these reassuring words: “Do not be afraid, Mary” and “with God nothing will be impossible” (Lk 1:30, 37).”[xiii]

 

The Incarnation and Microchimerism

I want to conclude my first theme by stressing the uniqueness of the motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because of her role in salvation history, and her biological motherhood to Jesus Christ, Christian tradition has long venerated Mary as the most important intercessory saint and the ideal model for Christian discipleship. She is, as Lumen gentium of Vatican II echoed by John Paul II puts it, the model of faith, hope, and charity.[xiv] It is often speculated in theology that her physical traits must have contributed in some way to the human nature of Jesus Christ. Now, according to recent scientific studies, it turns out that his fetal stem cells most likely migrated into her where they remained with her for life. The concept I mention is called fetal microchimerism. Fetal because of the contribution of the fetal cells to the mother, and “… “micro,” because these are typically teeny numbers of cells, only a handful per millimeter of blood in pregnant women, and fewer in moms later in life. A “chimera” is a type of awkward mythological Greek monster remixed from various familiar creatures.”[xv]

 

Fetal microchimerism is being discussed for human health and disease in scientific literature.[xvi] It is well known that the mother provides nutrients and life for the growing fetus. Fetal microchimerism adds to this by showing the relationship is really a two-way street. While the mother builds the baby, the developing baby can offer protection to the mother. The fetus, rather than simply being perceived only as a growing dependent on the system of the mother, contributes to the overall health and healing of the mother by sending its own stem cells to repair damage. This Smithsonian article describes documented cases where fetal stem cells flowing into the mother have caused the healing of damaged cardio, lung, spleen, kidney, thyroid, and skin tissues. After the baby is born, or even if the baby is lost due to miscarriage or an abortion, some of these cells stay in the mother’s body, leaving a permanent imprint. They can be found in the autopsies of the cadavers of old women. [xvii] For me, this adds to the special dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That she, unique to any other human being, received not only her Son by grace but received his very cellular essence. It gives new insight into having Jesus Christ live in us, for Mary would be the preeminent model of this.

 

Culture and the Culture of Life  

We turn now to our second theme and draw from what Evangelium vitae famously depicts as a culture of life and a culture of death. I have written about the culture of death in previous Sebastian’s Point pieces, and will succinctly summarize the main ideas here. Rather than defining it, St. John Paul II describes a culture of death as having four “roots” leading to a pro-death mentality.[xviii] These are: a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of a human person;[xix] a false understanding of freedom or choice as action uncoupled from truth and responsibility.[xx] These two errors flow from: “The eclipse of the sense of God and of man inevitably leads to a practical materialism, which breeds individualism, utilitarianism, and hedonism.”[xxi] This lowering of the transcendent horizon gives rise to the blurring of right and wrong in moral conscience.[xxii]

 

St. John Paul II, while not specifying the United States, speaks of how a culture of death can contribute to the legal justification claims that the State can confer rights to which “…the life of an unborn child or a seriously disabled person is only a relative good…this good should be compared with and balanced against other goods….only someone present and personally involved in a concrete situation can correctly judge the goods at stake…to decide on the morality of his choice. The State, therefore, in the interest of civil coexistence and social harmony, should respect this choice, even to the point of permitting abortion and euthanasia.”[xxiii]

 

Our current culture has, for about fifty years been instructed by the law as expressed by Roe vs. Wade. Namely, it taught American consciences that a woman has a right to an abortion. After the overturning of Roe, and concerning the seemingly miraculous work of pro-life groups, Law Professor Helen Alvaré wrote: “Despite opposition from billionaire pro-choice funders, the leading media, academia, the entertainment industry and popular culture—they never gave up. May other human rights movements take heart from this day and persist unto their own victories.”[xxiv] However, she notes that the culture will not quickly change.

 

Evangelium vitae speaks of a war of the powerful against the weak. It is a war where the forces of the culture of death employ more resources and thus have a certain advantage.[xxv] This culture of death creates structures that make evil seem good.[xxvi] Mainstream sources argue from relativism, often in the form of proportionalism, on the morality of abortion. Since the overturning of Roe, it is obvious that cultural forces continue to be hard at work convincing the hearts and minds of our society that abortion is a basic human right now taken away. I will give four types of examples that are top returns for an internet search titled ‘abortion after Roe vs. Wade’. NPR reports about how difficult it is for a woman to receive in-person reproductive healthcare. Reproductive healthcare means to secure an abortion procedure. It positively reflects on how California is now a “sanctuary” state for people living in states with abortion restrictions. California has passed new laws designed “to strengthen civil and privacy rights for those who get an abortion and require insurance companies to cover the procedure, along with certain over-the-counter contraceptives.”[xxvii] Vox decries (it shows crying women) that now women are denied care affecting their mental and physical health. That women need more contraception. That women should now be concerned about IVF and the future of their embryos.[xxviii] PBS News writes that donations to abortion rights groups have increased. That opposition to Roe, usually on religious grounds, denies basic healthcare as a right for women. This thinly hides the false dichotomy of ‘trust the science as good’ vs. ‘religion as bad’ argument.[xxix] For CNBC many girls after Roe no longer want to go to college in a state with restrictive abortion laws.[xxx] I am not sure why this one implies girls associate college with provisions for the termination of pregnancy and not with acquiring a degree.

 

St. John Paul II sees the signs of the culture of death not for the sake of discouragement. Rather, he believes in the message of the Gospel as hoping in God who has already overcome. We like Mary, “…can rely on the help of God, for whom nothing is impossible (cf. Mt 19:26).”[xxxi] John Paul II reminds us that prayer and fasting can be efficacious ways for God to “…break down the walls of lies and deceit: the walls which conceal from the sight of so many of our brothers and sisters the evil of practices and laws which are hostile to life.”[xxxii] He stresses these dimensions of the transcendent because these elements are for him inseparable from a proper understanding of culture. “As a believer, John Paul II is convinced that culture, at its best, brings people into confrontation with the encompassing transcendent mystery. If culture seeks to bracket out the deepest dimensions of life, it becomes anemic and decays. Religion and culture grow together. Just as culture requires religion to rise to its full stature, so religion becomes sterile and withers unless it finds cultural self–expression.”[xxxiii]

 

In the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic universities, Ex corde Ecclesiae, St. John Paul II names specific criteria for the evaluation of a culture: a culture contributes to the meaning and freedom of the human person; a culture gives a sense of responsibility and an openness to the transcendent; a culture gives respect to the values of the family, which is the primary unit in every culture. “In the end, therefore, it should be asked: does a given cultural development enhance all the dimensions of human existence, perfecting all the capacities that are distinctively human?”[xxxiv]  In order to promote the transcendent and family values for culture, St. John Paul II like Paul VI before him, stresses the theme of dialogue between the Church and the world. “Such dialogue, John Paul II insists, must not be aimed at weak pragmatic compromises but at unity and fullness of truth.”[xxxv]

 

Proper understanding of ‘Dialogue’

Dialogue is the favored method for encounter by modern popes following Vatican II and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes. The problem with the term is that it is often used “carelessly, deceptively, and abusively to mean something else than what the Church understands by dialogue.”[xxxvi] Avery Cardinal Dulles writes, “In the context of relativistic pluralism, the word “dialogue” takes on a new meaning. The supposition is that in dialogue you are not trying to urge your own position, but to reach an accommodation in which both parties can live in peace.”[xxxvii] This is not what popes mean by the term “dialogue.” What they mean can be exemplified by the ‘dialogue’ of Jesus with the rich young man in the gospel. Jesus speaks the truth and at a certain point, the dialogue ends and the rich young man departs him.

 

A major erroneous notion of dialogue is that it leads to relativism in which both parties engaged seek a compromise solution. This error is expressed by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (in an article prior to being Pope Benedict XVI) in the following way. “In the relativist meaning, to dialogue means to put one’s own position, i.e., one’s faith, on the same level as the convictions of others without recognizing in principle more truth in it than that which is attributed to the opinion of the others. Only if I suppose in principle that the other can be as right, or more right than I, can an authentic dialogue take place. According to this concept, dialogue must be an exchange between positions which have fundamentally the same rank and therefore are mutually relative.”[xxxviii]

 

The true meaning of dialogue between a culture of life and a culture of death is analogous to the dialogue of Jesus with the rich young man in the Gospel. Jesus’ dialogues are presented as polemics, often speaking without being understood. Again, as Cardinal Ratzinger puts it, “the NT dialogue is not (as is the Platonic) a matter of raising to the consciousness the hidden presence of spirit. Rather it is a matter of announcing to man the unthinkable, novel, free Act of God, something which cannot be drawn up out of the mental depths of man because it announces God’s unreckonable, gracious decision. This divine resolve encounters resistance, indeed, from man, because it makes him feel disturbed, threatens his spiritual autonomy.”[xxxix] Peter Kreeft once remarked, “The purpose of the dialog format is to be human.  And divine: even God is a dialog, or rather a trialog, a family, a society, a conversation.  We are made in God's image; that is why we become ourselves only through dialog with others.  And that, at least unconsciously, is why we are drawn to it.”[xl]

 

Ways to Build a Culture of Life[xli]

In working to build a culture of life, St. John Paul II begins with a mediation on 1 Peter 2:9: “You are God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” In what follows I would like to give a succinct and dense summary of how John Paul II understands the building of a culture of life. First, a culture of life is built through evangelization. Evangelization is the all-embracing and perennial activity of Christianity in order to bring all people the Good News, the Gospel of Life.[xlii] This includes various forms of preaching, teaching, and education. A culture of life is the work of the whole Church and not simply of the pastors who lead it. To proclaim Christ is to proclaim life, and this includes making clear all the consequences of the Gospel including that all human life is sacred and inviolable.[xliii] A culture of life is also built through the family and selfless acts of love. He writes, “The meaning of life is found in giving and receiving love, and in this light human sexuality and procreation reach their true and full significance. Love also gives meaning to suffering and death; despite the mystery which surrounds them, they can become saving events.”[xliv]

 

To build a culture of life, one must radiate joy and celebrate all of life. It is to be built with both individual and communal prayer. This prayer is both that of gratitude, and it can be liturgically celebrated.[xlv] A culture of life is built through selfless acts of generosity, even if they are unseen.[xlvi] These are heroic actions and when one truly gives themselves for others, this is one of “the most solemn celebration of the Gospel of Life.”[xlvii] He particularly points out motherhood in this regard.[xlviii] “In our service of charity, we must be inspired and distinguished by a specific attitude: we must care for the other as a person for whom God has made us responsible.”[xlix]

 

No single person or group has a monopoly on the defense and promotion of life. These are everyone’s task and responsibility.”[l] That “We need to begin with the renewal of a culture of life within Christian communities.”[li] And that “The first and fundamental step toward this cultural transformation consists in forming consciences with regard to the incomparable and inviolable worth of every human life. It is of the greatest importance to re-establish the essential connection between life and freedom. These are inseparable goods: where one is violated, the other also ends up being violated.”[lii] “Closely connected with the formation of conscience is the work of education, which helps individuals to be ever more human…In particular, there is a need for education about the value of life from its very origins.”[liii]

 

In closing my brief reflections on the Annunciation and the culture of life in Evangelium vitae, we might make an analogy of Mary as like a personification of the culture of life. In what has been immediately sketched above, she certainly demonstrates these traits in Scripture. She lives in family life. She proclaims the goodness of God to Elizabeth and presents to us, Jesus. As a mother she selflessly loves. If the Gospel of Life is the Word made Flesh, then Mary prepares, protects, and presents life itself as her son. In Mary, we find value and dignity in motherhood. She shows humility before the almighty God. And taking this analogy a bit further, if I may, I agree with an observation by Carrie Gress[liv] that the culture of death carries a certain analogy to being an ‘anti-Mary.’

 

We conclude as St. John Paul II concludes Evangelium vitae with his words reflecting on the “woman clothed with the sun” who “was with child” according to the Book of Revelation 12:2. This image, usually interpreted in Christian tradition as Mary with Jesus, is opposed by the “great red dragon.” John Paul writes, “Mary thus helps the Church to realize that life is always at the centre of a great struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness. The dragon wishes to devour “the child brought forth” (cf. Rev 12:4), a figure of Christ, whom Mary brought forth “in the fullness of time” (Gal 4:4) and whom the Church must unceasingly offer to people in every age. But in a way that child is also a figure of every person, every child, especially every helpless baby whose life is threatened, because-as the Council reminds us-“by his Incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every person”.”[lv]

 

________________________

[i] Part of this article is reproduced from my March 2023 Sebastian’s Point. See:  SP/03/30/23/GospelofLife-after-Roe/Meyer | societyofstsebastian (last accessed July 18, 2023). Part of this article is from a paper given at the University Faculty for Life Conference June 2-3, 2023 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.

[ii] Picture credit: ANGELICO,_Fra_Annunciation,_1437-46_(2236990916).jpg (1008×700) (wikimedia.org) (last accessed March 20, 2023).

[iii] Evangelium vitae, 2.4. Henceforth, EV.

[iv] F. Ocariz, L.F. Mateo Seco, & J.A. Riestra, The Mystery of Jesus Christ: A Christological and Soteriological Textbook (Four Courts Press, 2001) p. 49.  (Reistra p. 49);

[v] cf Mt 19:26; EV 100.1

[vi] The Annunciation by Matthias Stomer, art credit: Matthias Stomer - Annunciazione - Google Art Project - Matthias Stom - Wikipedia  (last accessed July 18, 2023)

[vii] Redemptoris mater footnote 2.

[viii] Redemptoris mater 1.3

[ix] Redemptoris mater 1.3

[x] Redemptoris mater 3.2

[xi] See T.C. Schmidt, “Calculating Christmas” in Biblical Archaeology Review Volume 48 No 4 (Winter 2022): 50-54.

[xii] EV, 102.2.

[xiii] (EV 105.1)

[xiv] See Redemptoris mater 2.1.

[xv] The New Science of Motherhood | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

[xvi] (Pub med 2019 May-Aug;23(2):311. Microchimerism: A new concept - PubMed (nih.gov) (last accessed June 25, 2023)

[xvii] See The New Science of Motherhood | Science | Smithsonian Magazine  (last accessed June 28, 2023). A special thank you goes to Richard Doerflinger for pointing out this article to me.

[xviii] cf. EV 19-24.

[xix] See EV 19; For a succinct explanation of how John Paul II understands the error and a human person, see Richard A. Spinello, The Genius of John Paul II: the Great Pope’s Moral Wisdom (Lanham, MD: Sheed & Ward, 2007), 57-88.

[xx] See EV 19-20; 96; For an excellent synthesis of how John Paul II understands the connection between truth, freedom and responsibility, see Avery Cardinal Dulles, “John Paul II and the Truth about Freedom” First Things online edition (August 1995), https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/08/004-john-paul-ii-and-the-truth-about-freedom

[xxi] See EV 23; For a systematic survey of the effects of a secular mentality on understanding a human person and culture in John Paul II, see Steven J. Meyer, “A Theocentric Vision of Culture in John Paul II”, Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies: An International Journal of Interdisciplinary and Interfaith Dialogue XXIX No. ½ (2017): 71-90.

[xxii] See EV 4; 21; 24; To see how EV is part of evangelization, see Eduardo J. Echeverria, “A Great Springtime for Christianity,” in John Paul II and the New Evangelization: How You Can Bring the Good News to Others, eds., Ralph Martin and Peter Williamson (Cincinnati, OH: Servant Books, 2006), 288-95.

[xxiii] See EV 68.1; 68.2.

[xxiv] The Human Life Review Summer 2022, Vol. XLVIII, No. 3;  p. 88

[xxv] see EV 87.1.

[xxvi] see EV 12.

[xxvii] Since Dobbs, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan protect abortion rights : NPR (last accessed June 25, 2023)

[xxviii] On Roe v. Wade’s 50th anniversary, women reflect on the new meaning of “choice” - Vox; (last accessed March 20, 2023)

[xxix] In a post-Roe U.S., what’s next for the anti-abortion movement? | PBS NewsHour (last accessed March 20, 2023)

[xxx] Gen Z on new college and career plans in post-Roe America (cnbc.com) (last accessed March 20, 2023)

[xxxi] EV 100.

[xxxii] EV 100.2

[xxxiii] Avery Cardinal Dulles, The Splendor of Truth: The Theological Vision of Pope John Paul II (New York, 2003) p. 169.

[xxxiv] Dulles, The Splendor of Truth  (2003) p. 156.

[xxxv] Dulles, The Splendor of Truth (2003) p. 261.

[xxxvi] Avery Dulles, “The Travails of Dialogue” p. 223 (online edition at Crisis magazine) Travails of Dialogue - Crisis Magazine (last accessed July 18, 2023)

[xxxvii] Avery Dulles, “The Travails of Dialogue” p. 227; (online edition at Crisis magazine) Travails of Dialogue - Crisis Magazine (last accessed July 18, 2023)

[xxxviii] Joseph Ratzinger, “Relativism: The Central Problem for Faith Today,” Origins 26 (October 31, 1996): 309-17, at 312. Quoted by Avery Cardinal Dulles, “The Travails of Dialogue” p. 227. See also, Dulles’s article printed in Crisis online here: http://www.crisismagazine.com/1997/travails-of-dialogue 

[xxxix] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, NVG 283; Quoted by Aidan Nichols, The Thought of Pope Benedict XVI p. 107. 

[xl] Peter Kreeft, http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/vs_pkreeftintvw_nov05.asp  (last accessed March 15, 2022)

[xli] Mary, Undoer of Knots, Mary-Untier-of-Knots-1 - Mary, Untier of Knots - Wikipedia  (last accessed July 18, 2023)

[xlii] EV 78

[xliii] see EV 81.2

[xliv] EV 81.2

[xlv] EV 85

[xlvi] EV 86.1

[xlvii] EV 86.

[xlviii] EV 86.3

[xlix] EV 87.2

[l] EV 91.2

[li] EV 95.3

[lii] EV 96.1

[liii] EV 97.1; 97.2

[liv] See Carrie Gress, The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis (Tan Books, 2017).

[lv] EV 104; see Gaudium et spes 22.

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