'The woman' in Revelation 12. Officially Mary?

I wanted to know if the Catholic Church has officially stated that the woman in Revelation 12 is Mary. Many believe so but I was curious if there was an official proclamation?

Here’s a link to an article that may help you with this. The Assumption of Mary

Since Rev 12:1 is an Entrance Antiphon and Rev 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab is the First Reading for the Mass during the day on the Solemnity of the Assumption (August 15), I think that qualifies as an official endorsement that the Bible text, in some sense, refers to the Virgin Mary.

She is primarily interpreted as the Virgin Mary by the Catholic Church not only officially but also dogmatically.
“Moreover, the scholastic Doctors have recognized the Assumption of the Virgin Mother of God as something signified, not only in various figures of the Old Testament, but also in that woman clothed with the sun whom John the Apostle contemplated on the Island of Patmos.” - Munificentissimus Deus - Defining the Dogma of the Assumption (November 1, 1950)

According to what I have read, Mary is the woman of Apocalypse 12 by accommodation. However, read to the end of chapter 12. That woman is also the mother of all who keep the faith in Christ. Thus, the Church also teaches that Mary is our mother, just as Jesus said to John at the crucifixion - and John’s birth mother was also there when Jesus said it!

The Haydock Commentary will shed some light on this: haydock1859.tripod.com/id298.html

St. Pius X, Ad diem illum. *** 36. 458 - 59: “No one of us does not know that that woman signifies the Virgin Mary, who brought forth our Head with her virginity intact. But the Apostle continues: 'And being with child, she cried out, laboring in birth, and was in pain to be delivered. ’ Therefore John saw the Most Holy Mother of God already enjoying eternal happiness, and yet laboring from some hidden birth. With what birth? Surely ours, we who, being yet detained in exile, are still to be brought forth to the perfect love of God and eternal happiness.”


I wonder a bit about the "laboring in birth’, when Mary gave birth to Jesus, I understand She did not have this.

So this is a theological matter I’d say.

It doesn’t mean literalistically, it indicates the spiritual sufferings/persecution borne by Mary as well as those borne in Christ through her. St. John was primarily addressing the churches under Roman persecution, but of course as Scripture it means more than that.

As to the orginal question, yes Rev. 12:1 refers to Mary but also to the Church and to Israel. The Church has made no dogmatic pronouncement about interpreting this verse (and those surrounding it) because it isn’t necessary. In the Catholic understanding of biblical interpretation a passage can have multiple interpretations/senses not just one. The Church has officially stated that a very few verses mean certain things, but not this passage. :slight_smile:

But it still appears to me that there is not a Church document calling Mary the woman of the Apocalypse even if it may be understood by many to be so even acknowledging the Assumption, the Assumption was still about Mary going to Heaven.

The 4 Marian Dogmas are:

The Perpetual Virginity of Mary
Mary the Mother of God
The Immaculate Conception of Mary
The Assumption of Mary

Assumption of Mary into heaven: That Mary’s body did not experience corruption but was assumed into heaven was defined as dogma by Pope Pius XII in 1950. See CCC# 966; 974. CCC# 974: The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son’s Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of his Body.


The Church has not and does not define every verse of the Bible, so you won’t find a document for this or for many other Bible verses. :slight_smile:

The Church uses this passage for Marian holy days, especially Assumption, in her liturgies. If the Church did not view this passage as referring to Mary (although not exclusively) she wouldn’t use it in her liturgies.

That’s fine but that’s not an official proclamation by the Church that Mary is the woman in Revelation.

In addition to what the others have said, note that the end of chapter 11 refers to the ark of the covenant seen in the heavens. This directly precedes the Woman in chapter 12.

Since the original manuscript did not have chapters, it is very likely that the Woman and the Ark are symbolically equivalent. And the early Church Fathers did compare Mary to the Ark. And there are comparisons to be made in Luke 2 to the Ark as well.


In the dogmatic constitution on the Assumption, the Church clearly sees the woman of Revelation 12 as the Virgin Mary. This doesn’t mean that the woman can’t also be interpreted as Israel or the Church. But it does mean that we should at least agree with the Church that the Virgin Mary is one of the interpretations of the woman. And I think it should be the primary interpretation since the verse was interpreted that way in a dogmatic declaration on the Virgin Mary.

Defining the Dogma of the Assumption: vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-xii_apc_19501101_munificentissimus-deus_en.html


Which part?

Sure, the Church may say this but I’m not sure if it is proclaimed officially. I’m not sure if I see it in this link from the Vatican.

You seem to be missing the point–no doubt my fault. :blush: The Church does not have an official proclamation about this passage. Why? Because it’s not necessary. Why isn’t it necessary? Because the Church does not use the Bible as a proof text, which is what you are trying to make it into, whether you know it or not. The Bible is one of the main witnesses to Christ, his Church, and Church teaching (which is Christ’s teaching) not proof of what the Church teaches. We don’t scour verses for proof for this or that teaching. Rather, this passage (like others) may be interpreted as Mary, which the Church recognizes, but it can (like other passages) also be interpreted other things, in this case as Israel or the Church. The Church doesn’t need to define every verse in the Bible as dogma, rather this passage (as does every verse in Scripture) supports Church teaching–not the other way around.

:thumbsup: Those who are reading/lurking/participating are well advised to read these wise words and ponder them. Much of today’s Christianity is bible-based, and so the bible must exist as a proof text. Yet, there is extreme disagreement regarding the content of that testimony. Clearly, something is lacking.

The Catholic (and Orthodox) Church is not bible-based. She is Christ-based, as there is no other foundation. Christ saw fit to found His Church on Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the authority (Magisterium) of His Church. Three witnesses.

As to “proof”, the demand for proof violates the first theological virtue of faith.

No, I’m not missing the point, if a Protestant brother or sister ask

Again, please link up to the official proclamation stating Mary is the woman of the Apocalypse, Revelations 12.

So you are saying there is a an official proclamation. Alright, please, I’d like to read it.


So you don’t have an official proclamation. Okay.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.