The Cult of the Virgin Mary

Cunningham, Lawrence S.

MYSTERIES OF THE MADONNA TIE COLT OF THE VIHSIM MART PSYCHOLOGICAL ORIGINS Michael P. Carroll Princeton, $25, 253 pp. Lawrence S. Cunningham There has been a spate of recent books on the...

...parish priests), and the role of familiar religious art in giving shape to what was "seen...
...For conservative theologians, nariotQgy is a way of establishing...
...The greatest weakness of this sfydyis that it attempt...
...For the social critic, the interest in popular marian devotions Is a form of resistance.to the secularizing tendencies of the world...
...as a onetime iwaajet 14ah Attest that their greatest liability wm that they smelled in the summer abd did not enhance beach romances...
...Carroll, then, gives hypotheses about the recipient of Marian apparitions in modem time...
...The second half of Carroll's book is more interesting and less tendentious, He closely analyzes the reports of Marian apparitions like those at Lourdes, LaSallette, Fatima, Knock, and the Rue de Bac in Paris...
...For feminists, n)irto)o«jy is an exampleof how the church sltwapfa to domesticate female power and seiuaSty...
...Mariology and the cult of Mary, in short, is polyvalent and ft is K» very poly valence that Carroll seem* incapable of recognizing...
...That on balance, tends to be the scorecard on roost psychoanalytic studies on almost iMiy topic oae could imagine...
...Such devotionalism does not really emerge until the Middle Ages...
...By a close analysis of the sources he is able to show the role of suggestion in these visions, the interpolations added by those who were authority figures (e.g...
...Thirdly, his emphasis on the emergence of devotion to the passion of Christ (an example of religious masochism according to Carroll) in the fifth century is very much overstated...
...Even if one were to grant legitimacy to the Freudian argument (something I am not prepared to do) such an explanation seems to me to be both reductionist and resting on an uncontextualized understanding of religious history...
...In fact, I would note that Virginia Leukens, the Bayside seer ip New York, began to receive her visions shortly after her young son died...
...If the researches of scholars like Raymond .Brown (never cited in this book) have taught its anything it is that the Mary of the New Testament is less a historical personage than a highly theologized portrait of a person who is understood symbolically in the economy of salvation...
...With that Hypothesis in mind Carroll Unks together the emergence of the Mary cult (transferred from the older Cybtle eult),the increased interest in the of Christ, and other signs of masochism such as the emergence of clerical celibacy as a general obligation What, is one to make of this hypothesis...
...1 think it was George Carlin who once said that speaking to God is prayer but God speaking to us is schizophreniaCarroll is at pains to show that a goodly number of the Marian seers were people who had experienced severe family deprivations or other forms of psychological trauma...
...an orthodox christology...
...For many Catholics devotion to Mary is quite simply, a link back to the piety of an earlierCatholicism...
...Professor Carroll is not interested in the theological, historical, or cultural origins of the Marian cult of Christianity...
...ThereiiiltoteU mixed bag...
...Such strong but repressed sexual attraction to their mothers and a compensatory Jesire to inflict, pain on themselves...
...To which I would say: read a bit about Mount Athos where, in order to preserve "Mary's Garden" not even female animals were allowed...
...For some Uberatfon theologians, mariok^ ptwrfde^ejjoy into the world of popular it^jfeftf^ fact emphasized by Harvey Cox u&s more recent,work...
...For such social understanding we need torely on such exemplary analyses as Alto June's The Happening at Lourders:the socialiogy of the Grotto (1967) and Bdift and Victor Turner's brilliant anth study: Image and Pilgrimage in tian Culture (1978...
...Finally, in order to localize these "father ineffective" folks in Italy and Southern Spam Carroll must deny that Marian devotionalism is less intense in Orthodox circles...
...As such this adds to our wtderstttdifl&of the apparitions themselves and nificant contribution of modern popular Catholician what Carroir does not provide (and;in fairness, does not attempt to provide) is a fuller appreciation of Why tions should receive the atten and why they shcmld contuto attact large numbers of people...
...970...
...The really interesting things about mariology today 4s that UpWvj^an arena for quite differem cwistitAaiaW in modern CathoUcism...
...to wrestle th^^re Matian phenomenon onto & procrat|tiB^twd of Freudian-orthodoxy...
...In one sense, Pope John Paul's interest in Mary not only reflects his own spiritual formation but his particular response to the challenges of feminism...
...Furthermore, while it is true that devotion to Mary develops slowly in the preConstantinian church it is therein a form more fully realized than Carroll, relying mainly on the old work of Hilda Graef, would allow...
...In short, it seems reasonable to look for some psychological predisposition in seers;*uch a search is almost connatural in our postFreudian age and is one that church authorities themselves are not loath to employ as church reactions to alleged visionaries and stigmatics attest...
...This interest occurs at a time when the present pope not only exhibits a keen devotion to Mary but has formalized that devotion with wellpublicized visits to the various shrines dedicated to Mary...
...It hardly needs to be added that the papal and scholarly agendas with respect to Mary are hot always mutually supportive...
...Pant one of Carroll's study can be briefly stated: The explosion of the MalianMCEiilt in the fifth century occurred because of large numbers of converts to the came from the lower classes who-" were "father ineffective...
...Lawrence S. Cunningham There has been a spate of recent books on the cult of the Virgin Mary in the Christian tradition inspired by an interest in feminism and a genuine concern for a better understanding of popular religion...
...In the first place, Carroll is not quite correct to see the Marian cult as emerging full-blown only in the fifth century...
...He addresses the issue of the psychological impulses that led to the emergence of the Marian cult in the fifth century (this issue takes up the first half of his book) 569 psychological background of were the recipients of Marian the nineteenth and early twenIndeed, one could say that in this volume there are two quite deferent issues being dealt with tuat despite efforts of the author never quite, link into a coherent whole...
...With that mere would be little quarrel...
...distinguishes between illusions (something was seen and then confused with a vision) and hallucinations (where something is thought to be seen and/or heard...
...Carroll come to some genuine insights and to som sily conclusions (scapulars are wool in order provide pain...

Vol. 114 • October 1987 • No. 17


 
Developed by
Kanda Sofware
  Kanda Software, Inc.