Synopses & Reviews
What ever happened to the Virgin Mary in the modern Catholic Church? For the past forty years her presence has been radically minimized. In a groundbreaking work, Charlene Spretnak cuts across the battle lines delineated by the left and the right within the Church to champion the recovery of the full spiritual presence of Mary. Spretnak, a liberal Catholic, sheds new light on the dethroning of the Queen of Heaven at Vatican II, and she traces the rise of a grassroots resurgence of Marian spirituality in recent years. She offers fresh reflections on the meaning of Mary, situating the Marian renewal in the larger context of contemporary efforts to correct the barrenness and sterility of modernity. Spretnak also notes that much of the cosmological symbolism traditionally associated with Mary as the Queen of Heaven and the maternal matrix is simpatico
with recent discoveries in scientific cosmology about the profoundly relational nature of the Creation. Moreover, Spretnak asserts that a deep loss ensues for women in particular when Mary's female embodiment of grace and mystical presence is denied and replaced with a strictly text-bound version of her as a Nazarene housewife. Complete with a striking insert of contemporary Marian art, Missing Mary
is a deeply insightful reflection on Mary in the modern age.
A groundbreaking new work on the spirituality of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a call to the Roman Catholic Church to recognize her full spiritual presence again.
Mary: Nazarene housewife or the Blessed Queen of Heaven? Quiet mother figure or source of power sighted in visions throughout the world? In the 1960s, Vatican II largely abandoned the traditional meaning of Mary. Once the mystical bridge between humans and the Divine, Mary and her spiritual significance is largely obscured. Today the Church is split over whether the decision to reduce Mary to a biblical role was a modernizing advance or a profound error. Cutting across the ideological battle lines, Charlene Spretnak, a life-long Marian Catholic, reflects on what was lost when Mary's presence and power was denied, and argues for a resurgence of Marian spirituality. "Missing Mary is "the book on the cosmological Queen of Heaven and is sure to provoke debate about Her role for the 21st century.
An insightful and controversial exploration of Mary's role in the modern Catholic Church
Was Vatican II right to downgrade the Virgin Mary? This fall marks the fortieth anniversary of the final session of Vatican II (1962-65) at which the Roman Catholic Church brought itself "up to date"--and, asserts Spretnak, fired the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven, demoting her to being "just like us," merely the first Christian. Spretnak, a liberal Catholic who agrees with 95% of Vatican II's decisions, cuts across the battle lines of a polarized American Catholic Church, challenging Catholic progressives not to acquiesce to the Catholic Right's claiming of the Virgin Mary as emblematic of their political positions. This is a book about religion and modernity that has reframed the thinking about Mary in our times.
About the Author
Charlene Spretnak is the author of several books including States of Grace and The Resurgence of the Real. She is a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She lives in Half Moon Bay, California.
Table of Contents
Preface: Being Marian * The Virgin and the Dynamo * The Quiet Rebellion Against the Suppression of Mary * Premodern Mary Meets Postmodern Cosmology * Where Mary Still Reigns * Why the Church Deposed the Queen of Heaven * Mary's Biblical and Syncretic Roots * Reflections on Her Mystical Body of Grace * Epilogue: Being Mary