18 December 2019
Pope Francis

Woman and mother

The message of the Pope on the Virgin of Guadalupe, motherhood, and the “feminine” Church

“Woman, mother, and mestiza.” So Pope Francis described the Virgin of Guadalupe in the Mass celebrated on the occasion of the feast of the Morenita, patroness of all Spanish-speaking peoples. In the Spanish portion of his homily, he dwelt on how, over the course of centuries, Christian piety has always sought to praise the Virgin of Guadalupe and to honor her with new titles, filial titles, dictated by the love of the People of God for her, but which did not touch at all upon her being a woman and a disciple.

But on the contrary, Mary is a woman and a lady, reiterated the Pope, “a woman with the mastery of being such,” and by virtue of this characteristic, she is also a disciple, faithful to her Master who is also her Son, the one Redeemer. “Never,” he stated, “did she want to take for herself something that belongs to her Son, never did she present herself as a co-redemptrix, but rather simply as a disciple.”

Pope Francis again emphasized the maternity of Our Lady who is our Mother, the Mother of all peoples, Mother of the Church, but even before this the Mother of our hearts and souls: “Some Holy Father said that what is said of Mary can also be said of the Church, and in its own way, of our soul. Because the Church is feminine, and our soul has the capacity to receive the grace of God, to welcome it. And in a certain sense the Fathers of the Church saw it as feminine. We cannot think about the Church without this Marian principle.”

Hence the warning not to reduce the role of women in the Church to a mere functionality: “The woman in the Church goes beyond this vision,” remarked the Pope, “and her being a Mother also transforms the whole Church, so that she becomes precisely Holy Mother Church.”