Priests are called “Father” and the Church is called “Mother”. Our “Holy Mother the Church” is a traditional way of speaking among Catholics. But are these outdated, sentimental expressions? Or do they express a deep insight into the nature of the Church as a whole and of ordained ministry in relation to the Church? Is there a genuine theological meaning to the traditional reference to the Church as “she”?
Henri de Lubac addresses such questions with his usual profound erudition. He deeply mines the Christian tradition in examining the Motherhood of the Church. Focusing on the Church’s Motherhood allows this great theologian to unite two profound truths: the Church is the Bride of Christ and the Church is Christ’s Mystical Body. As de Lubac shows, the Church cannot be rightly considered apart from Christ and his saving work, both of which should be understood in light of the mystery of the Church’s maternity.
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