XI. MARY and the SAINTS
42. Devotion to Mary and the Saints
- Devotion to Mary and the Saints must be retained and fostered, though devotion should be authentic and internal.
A. Veneration of the Saints.
a. Devotion to the Saints. The faithful are called to “love” the Saints, and to venerate them by “render[ing] due thanks to God for them and . . . invok[ing] them” (LG50) as well as “imitat[ing]” them (LG51).
b. Authentic and Internal Devotion. However, all the faithful must “remove and correct . . . any abuses, excesses or defects [that] have crept in here or there” (LG51). The faithful must likewise be taught that “the authentic cult of the saints consists not so much in the multiplying of external acts, but rather in the greater intensity of our love” (LG51).
c. Revision of the Calendar. In relation to this, in order that the feasts of saints do not “take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation”, only the saints who are of “truly of universal importance” should be celebrated by all (SC111), while most saints should only be celebrated by “a particular Church or nation” or community.
B. Marian Devotion.
a. Veneration and Devotion. “All should devoutly venerate [the Blessed Virgin Mary] and commend their life and apostolate to her maternal care” (AA4), for she is “the perfect example [of] spiritual and apostolic life . . . who while leading the life common to all here on earth, was always intimately united with her Son and . . . cooperated in [His] work” (AA4). Thus “imitation” is the highest form of devotion. Thus, “the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin [should] be generously fostered [as well as] the practices and exercises of piety” (LG67).
b. Internal Devotion. However, it must be taught and understood that “true [Marian] devotion consists neither in [“fleeting” feelings], nor in [“head knowledge”], but [consists in true] filial love toward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues” (LG67).
c. Marian Excess and Defect. Furthermore, “theologians and preachers” must avoid “gross exaggerations” and “narrow-mindedness” (or Marian “excess” and “defect”) with regards to Mary and her role (LG67), and seek to “rightly illustrate [her] duties” with the help of the sources of Catholic tradition [Scripture, Church Fathers, etc.], with an ecumenical awareness [adjusting language to Protestant sensitivities]” (LG67).