Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and the Re-Emergence in the Modern Church

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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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spretnak, a feminist Catholic and religion professor, argues forcefully that while the "progressive" (rational, modern) wing of Catholicism that initiated reforms in Vatican II made some very good changes, it was utterly wrong to "disappear" Mary. Spretnak purposely uses this verb in the same manner as with unexplained kidnappings and murder by a Latin American junta: the Catholic Church, she says, took the Salve Regina out of the mass and removed her statues from the churches. But just as the families of los desaparecidos keep their loved ones' images alive through private memories and tributes, so too have millions of Catholics kept Mary in her former place as Queen of Heaven. Spretnak is not convinced that it is a more feminist position to reduce Mary to her biblical role as a simple woman from Nazareth; she claims instead that it would be much more empowering to women to return Mary to her cosmological office as a mediatrix and co-redeemer. The book is a nice blend of theological argument and reportage of popular piety, outlining a fissure within the Catholic Church between those who miss the old Mary and those who support her more limited status. Spretnak highlights the resurgence of Marian devotions and veneration, which have been privatized to the home (home shrines, the revival of the rosary) and even the garden (the resurgence of medieval Mary Gardens). Spretnak's writing is engaging but occasionally overly strident, as when she follows a factual statement with the gratuitous italicized comment, "I'm not making this up." (Jan. 15) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403963987
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 1/15/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet 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.

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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

• Revisiting the Church's "Goddess Problem"

• Reflections on Her Mystical Body of Grace

• Epilogue: Being Mary

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