As the Sacred Triduum approaches, the Church reflects upon Christ’s love for Her. Christian marriage is a sacramental reflection of this love of the Bridegroom for His Spouse. In today’s cultural uncertainty about the nature of man and woman such imagery has been obscured. A functional perspective of the person, within a free market of sex, has so come to dominate contemporary thinking that even local churches have fallen prey to capitalist modes of organization and presentation to the world.

On his trip back from World Youth Day in Brazil, Pope Francis made a plea for a profound theology of woman since, “A Church without women is like the Apostolic College without Mary. … But think that Our Lady is more important than the Apostles! She is more important! von Balthasar gives us some idea how this can be so: “Christ is entrusted to the hands of Mary at birth and at his death: this is more central than his being given into the hands of the Church in her official, public aspect.” Peter is the point of external unity but the Apostles regroup around Mary as the more fundamental internal point of unity. Just made bishops the Apostles’ first collegial decision is to abandon Our Lord in the garden. Mary is always faithful, even present at the foot of the Cross. The Apostles gather once more in the upper room around Mary as their rallying point.

In discussing the ecclesiology of Vatican 2 Cardinal Ratzinger built upon von Balthasar’s insights: “The Church is not an apparatus; she is not simply an institution; neither is she only one of the usual sociological entities – she is a person. She is a Woman. She is a Mother. She is alive. The Marian understanding of the Church is the most decisive antithesis to a merely organizational and bureaucratic concept of Church. We cannot make the Church; we have to be the Church.”

In this Volume of Solidarity, Isabell Naumann elaborates on the above observations about the role of the Ministerial Priesthood and the Blessed Virgin Mary. From a paper delivered at the Scholarship in the Cathedral series at St Mary’s Crypt, Tracey Rowland tackles the logos of Christ’s Love with that of the machine in Church bureaucracies. Local theologians, Robert Tilley and Matthew Tan both make a case for the vision of abortion as central to the ethics-free capitalism Pope Francis has been warning us about in his magisterium. Jim Wishloff points to the profound continuity that exists between Francis and Benedict with an outline of Caritas in Veritate and Vocation of the Business Leader. To the more basic point about what it means to be a man or woman, from a Colloquium held last year at Notre Dame, Sister Prudence Allen traces the ideology of gender and excoriates it for making general rules on the basis of particular exceptions. Michelle Schumacher writes on attunement to the metaphysical reality about men and women as promoted by Veritatis Splendor, which Pope Emeritus Benedict holds to be one of newly sainted John Paul 2’s most important encyclicals. We also once again include a student submission by Deborah Civardi that looks at the role of mysticism as a path to the recognition of women’s capacity for wisdom in the Church.



Gender Reality
Sr. Mary Prudence Allen


Priestly Ministry
Isabell Naumann