BY MELISSA SOLANO
“Mariology is important, but not always taught as frequently and as in-depth as it should be,” said Msgr. Florian Kolfhaus in a talk on Oct. 24 at Franciscan University of Steubenville. The talk, “Mary’s Role in the Redemption and the Contemporary Church,” spanned 90 minutes and was standing room only in the Gentile Gallery.
Kolfhaus is an author, member of the Vatican Secretariat of State, and member of the Pontifical Marian Academy.
Kolfhaus spoke about dissention that exists within the Church regarding Mary, specifically about her role as the Mediatrix and Redemptrix. He described that there is controversy over her role as co-operator with Christ and mediator to Christ in bringing redemption.
Kolfhaus described how Mary is our mediator with Christ because she is His mother and the closest to Him.
He spoke of Christ’s Passion and said that as Christ carried the cross, Mary carried Him. She was free from sin, and she did not have to experience death because Christ did. She is the victory over Satan and trophy of the Redeemer, and as such uses her graces to help us to reach closer to Christ and Eternal Salvation.
“Our Lady is a refuge for sinners,” Kolfhaus said to those who might doubt that Mary is a mediator between heaven and earth.
The words of the popes offer further insight into Mary’s role in modern culture, Kolfhaus said. Kolfhaus said that Blessed Pope John Paul II was very involved with promoting a stronger devotion to Mary during his papacy.
Also, the day before leaving the papacy, Pope Emeritus Benedict said in his homily that it is imperative for Catholics to “maintain the moment in Salvation when Mary combined in unity with her Son.”
Pope Francis has also expressed similar ideas about Mary in his homilies and previously stated that Christ and Mary are “two hearts united in the same sacrifice.” Christ “carried Mary with Him in all actions, and to Calvary. She felt His pain and knew the Father’s plan.”
The talk concluded with Kolfhaus encouraging Catholics to be maximalists in deepening their faith and to not shy away from Mariology or any controversial aspect of the Faith simply out of fear of an argument.
First we must research and understand the Faith as fully as possible, Kolfhaus said, as a scientist would do with any scientific theory. We cannot give the Church our minimum.
At the end of the talk, students asked Kolfhaus about the dogmatic nature of the Marian teachings he had described. He said that at the moment, the Marian teachings he discussed are not Catholic dogma, but they are doctrine, and this should not defer our beliefs.
Kolfhaus added that he found the writings and thoughts of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, St. Maximillian Kolbe and St. Louis de Monfort to be some of the best sources for learning more about the Blessed Mother Mary.