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Theologies of Mary in encounter with popular religiosity and culture: All generations shall call me blessed / (?)

Catholic Theological Society of America
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  • Religious Science


THEOLOGIES OF MARY Topic: Theologies of Mary in encounter with popular religiosity and culture: All generations shall call me blessed / (?) Convener: Dorian Llywelyn, Loyola Marymount University Moderator: Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier, Loyola Marymount University Presenters: Elizabeth Johnson, Fordham University Wendy Wright, Creighton University Charlene Spretnak, California Institute of Integral Studies Dorian Llywelyn, Loyola Marymount University Current mariology reflects tensions both within academic theology and the life of the Church. Always something of a barometer of Catholicism, Mary has been a figure of particular interest to two generations of feminist theologians. More latterly she has become a focus of Latina/o theology, representing a shift from gender considerations towards cultural and ethnic perspectives. At the same time, a florescence of Marian devotion amongst younger American Catholics alerts us to the spiritual desires of a post-post-Vatican II generation. The ambiguities concerning the nature of Marian piety and Mariology ex- pressed in the title of this session were present both in the rich variety of presentations and the energies evoked in consequent discussion. In her com- ments, Johnson argued that under the influence of patriarchy, female images of the divine have migrated to the figure of Mary, a development which has ulti- mately disenfranchised women. A ‘feminist-liberationist-historical-hermeneuti- cal’ approach restores Mary as a person in her own right, understood primarily as one of the communion of saints. This revisioning necessarily moves mariology from a primarily doctrinal-devotional perspective to a historical one. The his- torical Miriam of first-century Galilee is a Jewish peasant, the ‘non-person’ for whom ‘God has done great things.’ Consequently women and men of our gen- eration can relate to her more easily as compañera rather than as patroness. Such a relationship can serve to inspire discipleship on behalf of the ‘non-persons’ of this world.

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