Sunday, 24 January 2016
Our Lady and the New Evangelisation, by Donal Anthony Foley
Donal Anthony Foley, Our Lady and the New Evangelisation, 2015 Catholic Truth Society
This is one of the best booklets I have read from the Catholic Truth Society. It outlines the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the evangelisation of the world.
The author begins with a little history, explaining the emergence of Marian devotion in the early church, before pointing out the importance of Marian devotion in the conversion of Europe after the fall of the western Roman Empire. In particular, he cites St. Bernard of Clairvaux as a pioneer of Marian devotion. This Medieval Marian veneration became particularly important in England which regarded herself as the 'dowry' of Mary.
Foley goes on to talk about the major apparitions of Mary, such as Guadalupe, Lourdes and Fatima, showing how they all have had an evangelistic role in calling people to Christ, as well as fostering devotions such as the Rosary.
The author also talks about how recent Popes have encouraged interest in Fatima and other apparitions and have seen the Blessed Virgin as central to the project of the New Evangelisation. He acknowledges a perceived 'Marian crisis' after Vatican II, yet argues that the decision to treat Mary as a side-topic of the Church rather than as a separate topic demonstrates that Mariology is not an optional extra. He also explains how Mariology can contribute to ecumenical dialogue. Our author concludes by encouraging readers to make devotion to Mary a part of their lives. A selection of short Marian prayers are included at the back of the booklet.