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This morning I read a lovely quotation from Pope Benedict; speaking in December 2005 at the fortieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, he had said –

“Mary is so interwoven in the great mystery of the Church that She and the Church are inseparable, just as She and Christ are inseparable. Mary mirrors the Church, anticipates the Church in Her person, and in all the turbulence that affects the suffering, struggling Church She always remains the Star of salvation. In Her lies the true centre in which we trust, even if its peripheries very often weigh on our soul.”

What he said was not new, certainly – Mary has often been called the ‘typus’ or ‘model’ of the Church, in such a way that what can be said of one, can generally be said of the other. However, the Holy Father expressed his thoughts very beautifully – as always – and he truly captured the sense of what the Church has so often said.

As the Lord and His Mother are so intrinsically united, it should come as no surprise that She is similarly united to His Mystical Body, the Church. And, by extension, She is also deeply united ot the person of the Holy Father, who is the Shepherd of that Church, and into whose hands is place the care of souls.

I can’t help thinking that this reflects an historic reality – that in life, Mary and Peter were the best of friends. The Lord had placed His Church in the hands of Peter, giving him authority over that Church; and in the same way She loved Her Son, there can really be no doubt that the same love extended to the Church itself – and to the one tasked to safeguard her.

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