Why is the Church referred to as 'Mother'


#1

???


#2

The term "Mother Church" in the Oxford English Dictionary is defined as: "The Church, esp. the Roman Catholic Church, considered as a mother in its functions of nourishing and protecting the believer."

I believe that is a good reason as to why the Roman Catholic Church is called "Mother Church." However, another reason as to why the term is used may be because that we were the Christian Church from which came all other Christian denominations today - the "mother" of Christianity.


#3

Well, just off the cuff i'd say, She is a living, breathing, institution that Jesus gave us for a purpose, our salvation, and to further His kingdom. She raises us up from ignorant children into Spirit filled Christians, who know & love God. She has accumulated the wisdom of thousands of years, and offers to teach it to each new generation. She brings us salvation through the Sacrament of Baptism where we are born again! She restores our relationship to God through Confession. Prepares us to be Soldiers of Jesus Christ through Confirmation. And blesses in our calling to be married or religious. She prepares us to die well or be healed through Last Rites. Like a mother She protects us from evil, lies, and ourselves. She defends people, their personal dignity, and right to life!


#4

Following St. Paul the Church is the mystical Body and Bride of Christ bearing forth spiritual children (Eph 5:31-32). As God is called Father by analogy His Church can be called a Mother and the Latin word signifying Her is feminine "Ecclesia". The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2040) calls motherly the way the Church cares and nurtures us through the Sacraments and Her liturgy while also (CCC 169) the Church is called Mother because we receive our new birth and life of faith from God through Her. Additionally the title is found in Tradition for St. Cyprian of Carthage (3rd c. AD) declares: "No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother" (CCC 181).


#5

[quote="Glacies, post:4, topic:309810"]
Following St. Paul the Church is the mystical Body and Bride of Christ bearing forth spiritual children (Eph 5:31-32). As God is called Father by analogy His Church can be called a Mother and the Latin word signifying Her is feminine "Ecclesia". The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2040) calls motherly the way the Church cares and nurtures us through the Sacraments and Her liturgy while also (CCC 169) the Church is called Mother because we receive our new birth and life of faith from God through Her. Additionally the title is found in Tradition for St. Cyprian of Carthage (3rd c. AD) declares: "No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother" (CCC 181).

[/quote]

Is Holy Mother Church in any way connected to the Virgin Mary? If not, how about in mysticism?


#6

The Blessed Virgin Mary is a member of the Mystical Body of Christ through the Church Triumphant in Heaven by the virtue of Her dogmatized Assumption and is the most venerated Saint of the Church. One may see mystical connections between the two Mothers especially in the last two Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary for the Church too will be taken to Heaven and crowned there when the time comes. The title "Mother of the Church" was added to the Litany of Loreto by John Paul II who also has made several comparisons between the Blessed Virgin and the Church in his 17.9.1997 General Audience and the encyclical Redemptoris Mater. He mentions the Annunciation, Marriage of Cana, Calvary and Pentecost as connecting points between the two.

And above all, in the Incarnation she encounters Christ and Mary indissolubly joined: he who is the Church's Lord and Head and she who, uttering the first fiat of the New Covenant, prefigures the Church's condition as spouse and mother. (Redemptoris Mater, Introduction, 1.)


#7

=Robert Sock;10186521]???

Hi Robert,

YEA! A new question:)

I don't recall ever hearing a teaching on this precise issue; but here's my opinion.

It has [IMO] two biblical references:

In the Old Testament:

Gen. 3: 11-15** "And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And Adam said: The woman, whom thou gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel"

In the New Testament

John 19:25-28 **" When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, **he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst"

A Third reason is the high esteem that the "Kings Mother" held in their Jewish Tradition of kings.

So Mary then represents thee church; in perfection; charity and humility; therefore it is called "Mother Church" and "She", Mary being the most perfect of all humanity becomes the one we are to emulate in order to attain heaven. She also is charged with protecting THEE Church, and because Christ in an outpouring of Love actually gave Mary to us as "Our Adopted Mother" from the Cross. John represents all humanity in the above passage. each of these have their part in the Church being called 'Mother Church."

So that my friend sums up my opinion.:)

God Bless,
Pat/PJM


#8

[quote="Robert_Sock, post:1, topic:309810"]
???

[/quote]

Simple answer: because the word ekklēsia in Greek, and its Latin deritative ecclesia, are both feminine nouns. It's like personifying Wisdom as female because the word ḥāḵəmâ in Hebrew and sophia in Greek are both feminine. (Note that Hebrew, Greek and Latin are among those languages where nouns have genders.)


#9

[quote="Robert_Sock, post:5, topic:309810"]
Is Holy Mother Church in any way connected to the Virgin Mary? If not, how about in mysticism?

[/quote]

This may help.

Lumen gentium

Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 21 November 1964.

Mary, type or figure of the Church

By reason of the gift and role of her divine motherhood, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with her unique graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united to the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ.[18] For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother.[19] Through her faith and obedience she gave birth on earth to the very Son of the Father, not through the knowledge of man but by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, in the manner of a new Eve who placed her faith, not in the serpent of old but in God's messenger without waivering in doubt. The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first born among many brethren (Rom. 8:29), that is, the faithful, in whose generation and formation she cooperates with a mother's love.

The Church indeed contemplating her hidden sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father's will, by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse. Imitating the mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she keeps intact faith, firm hope and sincere charity.[20]

But while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph. 5:27), the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Devoutly meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church reverently penetrates more deeply into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her spouse. Having entered deeply into the history of salvation, Mary, in a way, unites in her person and re-echoes the most important doctrines of the faith: and when she is the subject of preaching and veneration she prompts the faithful to come to her Son, to his sacrifice and to the love of the Father. Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her lofty type, and continually progresses in faith, hope and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things. The Church, therefore, in her apostolic work too, rightly looks to her who gave birth to Christ, who was thus conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, in order that through the Church he could be born and increase in the hearts of the faithful. In her life the Virgin has been a model of that motherly love with which all who join in the Church's apostolic mission for the regeneration of mankind should be animated.


closed #10

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