GENERAL AUDIENCES: TEACHING OF POPE JOHN PAUL II ON THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
1. Mary Is Pattern of Church's Holiness
"The Blessed Virgin is the perfect realization of the Church's holiness and its model", the Holy
Father said in the first of a series of reflections on Mary's role in the Church at the General
Audience of Wednesday, 6 September 1995.
2. Mary Is the Virgin Mother of God
At the General Audience of 13 September 1995, the Holy Father continued the catechesis he
had begun the previous week on the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this talk he discussed the mystery of Mary's virginal motherhood and the title officially attributed to her by the Council of Ephesus in 431.
3. Mary Was United to Jesus on the Cross
At the General Audience of 25 October 1995, the Holy Father returned to his catechesis on the Blessed Virgin Mary and her participation in her Son's saving work. Down the centuries the Church’s tradition has appreciated ever more profoundly Mary’s role in her Son’s redemptive mission.
4. Church Grew In Understanding of Mary's Role
"The sparse information on Mary's earthly life is compensated by its quality and theological
richness, which contemporary exegesis has carefully brought to light", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 8 November 1995.
5. To Honour Mary Is to Go to Jesus
"It can be clearly seen ... how the Marian dimension pervades the Church's whole life. The
proclamation of the Word, the liturgy, the various charitable and cultural expressions find in
Mary an occasion for enrichment and renewal", the Holy Father said at his General Audience on 15 November 1995.
6. Mary Is Model of Persevering Silence
At the General Audience on 22 November 1995, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on
the Virgin Mary with a reflection on significant aspects of her personality, in particular, her quiet humility and loving obedience.
7. Mary Shows Us God's Respect for Women
"The figure of Mary shows that God has such esteem for woman that any form of discrimination lacks a theoretical basis", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 29 November 1995.
8. Mary Sheds Light on Role of Women
At the General Audience of 6 December 1995, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the Blessed Mother, calling attention in light of the equality of the sexes to the distinctiveness of femininity, as exemplified in the Virgin Mary.
9. Council's Teaching on Mary
The treatment of Mary as type and exemplar of the Church by the Fathers of the Second
Vatican Council was the subject of the Holy Father's weekly address at the General Audience
of Wednesday, 13 December 1995.
10. Mary's Place Is Highest After Christ
The proper way to explain Marian doctrine was the topic of the Holy Father's weekly catechesis at the General Audience of 3 January 1995. Mariology is not a product of sentimentality, but of the same rigorous method used in all theology.
11. Mary's Relationship With the Trinity
Citing Lumen Gentium, n. 53, the Holy Father gave a concise explanation of the Trinitarian
dimension of Marian doctrine at the General Audience of 10 January 1996.
12. Victory Over Sin Comes Through a Woman
"Mary's unique vocation is inseparable from humanity's vocation and, in particular, from that of
every woman, on which light has been shed by the mission of Mary, proclaimed God's first ally against Satan and evil", the Holy Father said at the General Audience on 24 January 1996.
13. Isaiah's Prophecy Fulfilled in Incarnation
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and shall call his name Emmanuel" (Is 7:13-14). These well-known words from the prophet
Isaiah were the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis at the General Audience of 31 January
14. Motherhood Is God's Special Gift
The Holy Father spoke on the gratuitousness of motherhood at the General Audience of 6
March 1996. "The Bible's message regarding motherhood reveals ... God's particular covenant
with woman and the special bond between the destiny of the mother and that of the son."
15. Women's Indispensable Role in Salvation History
The role of certain Old Testament women in the salvation of Israel was the theme of the Holy
Father's catechesis at the General Audience of 27 March 1996. The Pope considered their
indispensable role as prefiguring Mary's mission in salvation history.
16. The Ideal Woman Is a Precious Treasure
The Bible gives examples of women who led others astray, but the predominant image is of
strong individuals who work with and for God. So said the Holy Father at his General Audience of 10 April 1996. "In these figures of woman ... we glimpse the one who will be greatest: Mary, Mother of the Lord."
17. God Is Ever Faithful to His Covenant
In the General Audience of 24 April 1996, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the
Blessed Virgin by focusing on the the spousal imagery of husband and wife used in the Old
Testament to portray the Covenant relationship between God and Israel.
18. Mary Responds to God With Spousal Love
At the General Audience of Wednesday, 1 May 1996, the Holy Father reflected on the Angel's
greeting to Mary at the Annunciation and Mary's role as the new "daughter of Zion" . She
represents all humanity, called to the marriage banquet which celebrates God's Covenant with
19. Blessed Virgin Was Filled With God's Grace
"Everything in Mary derives from a sovereign grace. All that is granted to her is not due to any
claim of merit, but only to God's free and gratuitous choice", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 8 May 1996, as he examined the meaning of the title "full of grace" given to Mary by the Angel at the Annunciation.
20. Mary Was Conceived Without Original Sin
The perfection of holiness that Mary enjoyed from the first moment of her conception, defined
by the Church only after a long period of doctrinal reflection, was the subject of the Holy
Father's catechesis at the General Audience of 15 May 1996.
21. Mary's Enmity Towards Satan Was Absolute
The scriptural texts on which the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is based were the
subject of the Holy Father's catechesis at the General Audience of 29 May 1996.
22. Christ's Grace Preserved Mary From Sin
The explanation of how Mary's Immaculate Conception came to be accepted and explained by
theologians was the topic of the Holy Father's catechesis at the General Audience of 5 June
1996. The Immaculate Conception also shows how Christ not only frees us from sin but also
preserves us from its power.
23. Immaculate Conception Defined by Pius IX
At the General Audience of 12 June 1996, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the
Immaculate Conception, this time discussing the dogmatic definition of the doctrine by Pope Pius IX.
24. Mary Was Free From All Personal Sin
The doctrine of Mary's perfect holiness was the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis at the
General Audience of 19 June 1996. This truth asserts "that Mary, free from original sin, was also preserved from all actual sin and that this initial holiness was granted to her in order to fill her entire life."
25. Mary Freely Co-operated in God's Plan
At the General Audience of 3 July 1996, the Holy Father spoke of Our Lady's response to the
angel's announcement that she would be the mother of the Messiah. The Pope said: "Mary is
asked to assent to a truth never expressed before. She accepts it with a simple yet daring heart."
26. Virginal Conception Is Biological Fact
The virginity of Mary and Jesus' virginal conception were the subject of the Holy Father's
catechesis at the General Audience of 10 July 1996. This truth of faith is set forth in the Gospels and confirmed by subsequent tradition.
27. Our Lady Intended to Remain a Virgin
"The extraordinary case of the Virgin of Nazareth must not let us fall into the error of tying her
inner dispositions completely to the mentality of her surroundings, thereby eliminating the
uniqueness of the mystery that came to pass in her", the Holy Father said at the General
Audience of 24 July 1996, as he reflected on Mary's intention to remain a virgin.
28. Eternal Son of God Is Also Born of Mary
The profound relationship between Mary's virginity and the mystery of the Incarnation was the
subject of the Holy Father's catechesis at the General Audience of 31 July 1996. Through the
Redemption accomplished by her Son, Mary becomes the spiritual mother of all those who
receive new birth to eternal life.
29. Mary's Choice Inspires Consecrated Virginity
"Mary's virginal life inspires in the entire Christian people esteem for the gift of virginity and the
desire that it should increase in the Church as a sign of God's primacy over all reality", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 7 August 1996, as he continued his reflection on Mary's choice of virginity, the fruit of the Holy Spirit's grace.
30. Mary and Joseph Lived Gift of Virginity
The grace to live both the charism of virginity and the gift of marriage, which was given to Mary
and Joseph, was the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis at the General Audience of 21
August 1996. Although Joseph did not physically generate the Lord, his was a very real
31. The Church Presents Mary as Ever Virgin
Mary's perpetual virginity was the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis at the General
Audience of 28 August 1996. The most ancient texts and the early Christians, the Pope said,
confirm that the Church has always professed the belief that Mary never ceased to be a virgin.
This was the 31st in the series on the Blessed Mother.
32. Mary Offers Sublime Model of Service
"Mary makes the Father's will the inspiring principle of her whole life, seeking in it the necessary strength to fulfil the mission entrusted to her", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 4 September 1996, as he reflected on Mary's response to the angel at the Annunciation.
33. Mary, the New Eve, Freely Obeyed God
At the General Audience of 18 September 1996, the Holy Father examined the significance of
Mary as the New Eve. "In stating her total 'yes' to the divine plan, Mary is completely free
before God. At the same time, she feels personally responsible for humanity, whose future was linked with her reply."
34. Visitation Is Prelude to Jesus' Mission
At the General Audience of 2 October 1996, the Holy Father spoke on the Visitation. He said:
"Mary's visit to Elizabeth, in fact, is a prelude to Jesus' mission and, in co-operating from the
beginning of her motherhood in the Son's redeeming work, she becomes the model for those in the Church who set out to bring Christ's light and joy to the people of every time and place".
35. Mary Sings the Praises of God's Mercy
At the General Audience of 6 November 1996, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the Virgin Mary with a reflection on her song known as the Magnificat. "With her wise reading of history, Mary leads us to discover the criteria of God's mysterious action. Overturning the
judgements of the world, he comes to the aid of the poor and lowly."
36. Nativity Shows Mary's Closeness to Jesus
At the General Audience of 20 November 1996, the Holy Father speaking on the Nativity,
observed the Blessed Mother's association in rejection with her Son. He said, "Mary
experiences childbirth in a condition of extreme poverty ... she has to lay him 'in a manger', an
improvised cradle which contrasts with the dignity of the 'Son of the Most High'".
37. Church Proclaims Mary Mother of God
The Church "contemplates with wonder and celebrates with veneration the immense greatness conferred on Mary by the One who wanted to be her Son", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 27 November 1996, as he discussed the Blessed Virgin's title "Mother of God".
38. Blessed Virgin Is Model of Perfect Love
At the General Audience of 4 December 1996, the Holy Father focused on Mary's role in
raising her Son Jesus. "Looking at the results, we can certainly conclude that Mary's teaching
was deep and effective, and found very fertile soil in Jesus' human psychology", the Holy Father said.
39. Simeon Is Open to the Lord's Action
At the General Audience of 11 December 1996, the Holy Father reflected on the mystery of
Jesus' Presentation in the temple and the significance of Simeon's prophetic words. "In the
episode of the Presentation we can glimpse the meeting of Israel's hope with the Messiah. We can also see in it a prophetic sign of man's encounter with Christ."
40. Mary Has Role in Jesus' Saving Mission
"Beginning with Simeon's prophecy, Mary intensely and mysteriously unites her life with Christ's sorrowful mission: she was to become her Son's faithful co-worker for the salvation of the human race", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 18 December 1996, reflecting on the significance of Simeon's predictions at the Presentation in the temple.
41. Christ Calls Women to Share His Mission
At the General Audience of 8 January 1997, reflecting on the Presentation of Christ in the
Temple, the Holy Father cited the the words of Simeon on Mary's part in the sufferings of
Christ, and the zeal of Anna the prophetess. He said, "The primacy of Christ does not rule out
but supports and demands the proper, irreplaceable role of woman."
42. Mary Co-operates by Personal Obedience
At the General Audience of 15 January 1997, the Holy Father reflected on the finding of Jesus
in the temple and its meaning for His Mother. "At the temple in Jerusalem, in this prelude to his saving mission, Jesus associates his Mother with himself; no longer is she merely the one who gave him birth, but the Woman who through her own obedience to the Father's plan, can
co-operate in the mystery of Redemption."
43. Mary's Hidden Life Is Example to Mothers
At the General Audience of 29 January 1997, the Holy Father reflected on Mary's role in the
hidden life of Christ. He said, "We can conclude that the atmosphere of tranquility and peace in the house of Nazareth and their constant seeking to fulfil God's plan gave an extraordinary and unique depth to the union of mother and son."
44. Jesus Works Miracle at Mary's Request
"Mary's request: 'Do whatever he tells you', keeps its ever timely value for Christians of every
age.... It is an exhortation to trust without hesitation, especially when one does not understand the meaning or benefit of what Christ asks", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 26 February 1997, as he spoke of Mary's role at the wedding in Cana.
45. Mary Is Active in Her Son's Mission
"By emphasizing Mary's initiative in the first miracle and then recalling her presence on Calvary at the foot of the Cross, the Evangelist helps us understand how Mary's co-operation is extended to the whole of Christ's work", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 5
March 1997, as he reflected on Mary's role at Cana and her co-operation in her Son's
46. Mary Had Role in Jesus' Public Ministry
At the General Audience of 12 March 1997, the Holy Father reflected on Mary's role in Jesus'
public ministry. He said, "Separation did not mean distance of heart, nor did it prevent the
Mother from spiritually following her Son ... as she had done during Jesus' hidden life in
47. Mary United Herself to Jesus' Offering
"With our gaze illumined by the radiance of the Resurrection, we pause to reflect on the
Mother's involvement in her Son's redeeming Passion, which was completed by her sharing in
his suffering", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 2 April 1997, as he reflected on
Mary's participation in the mystery of Redemption and her presence at the foot of the Cross.
48. Mary's Co-operation Is Totally Unique
At the General Audience of 9 April 1997, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the role
of the Blessed Mother, calling attention to her unique "role of co-operator in the Redemption,
which she exercised throughout her life and in a special way at the foot of the Cross."
49. To the Disciple He Said, Behold Your Mother
"The universal motherhood of Mary, the 'Woman' of the wedding at Cana and of Calvary,
recalls Eve, 'mother of all living' (Gn 3:20). However, while the latter helped to bring sin into the
world, the new Eve, Mary, co-operates in the saving event of Redemption." So said the Holy
Father at the General Audience of 23 April 1997.
50. Devotion to Mary Is Based on Jesus' Will
"The words, 'Behold, your mother!', express Jesus' intention to inspire in his disciples an attitude of love for and trust in Mary, leading them to recognize her as their mother, the mother of every believer", the Holy Father said at the General Audience on 7 May 1997.
51. Mary Was Witness to Whole Paschal Mystery
At the General Audience of 21 May 1997, the Holy Father reflected on the question of whether
the Lord appeared to Mary after his Resurrection, concluding that "the unique and special
character of the Blessed Virgin's presence at Calvary and her perfect union with the Son in his
suffering on the Cross seem to postulate a very particular sharing on her part in the mystery of
52. Mary Prays for Outpouring of the Spirit
At the General Audience of 28 May 1997, the Holy Father reflected on Mary's presence in the
Upper Room at Pentecost. He said, "In contemplating Mary's powerful intercession as she waits for the Holy Spirit, Christians of every age have frequently had recourse to her intercession ... to receive the gifts of the Paraclete in greater abundance."
53. Mary and the Human Drama of Death
Reflecting on the Dormition of the Mother of God, at the General Audience of 25 June 1997,
the Holy Father said, "The experience of death personally enriched the Blessed Virgin: by
undergoing mankind's common destiny, she can more effectively exercise her spiritual
motherhood towards those approaching the last moment of their life."
54. Church Believes in Mary's Assumption
"The Assumption is the culmination of the struggle which involved Mary's generous love in the
redemption of humanity and is the fruit of her unique sharing in the victory of the Cross", the
Holy Father said at the General Audience of 2 July 1997, as he reflected on the Assumption of Mary as a truth of faith.
55. Mary Is First Creature to Enjoy Eternal Life
Reflecting on Mary's Assumption in the Tradition of the Church, at the General Audience of 9
July 1997, the Holy Father drew implications for our own resurrection. He said, "By looking at
her, the Christian learns to discover the value of his own body and to guard it as a temple of
God, in expectation of the resurrection."
56. Christians Look to Mary Queen
"Mary is Queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, associated as the
new Eve with the new Adam, she co-operated in the work of the redemption of the human
race", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 23 July 1997, as he reflected on Mary's universal queenship.
57. Mary Is Pre-eminent Member of Church
At the General Audience of 30 July 1997, the Holy Father reflected on Mary as a pre-eminent
member of the Church from its origins. He said, "Mother of the only begotten Son of God, Mary is Mother of the community which constitutes Christ's mystical Body and guides its first steps."
58. Mary Is Outstanding Figure of Church
As he reflected on Mary as "the Church's type and outstanding model in faith and charity," at the General Audience of 6 August 1997, the Holy Father said, "The plan of salvation which orders the prefigurations of the Old Testament to fulfilment in the New Covenant likewise determines that Mary would live in a perfect way what was later to be fulfilled in the Church."
59. Mary Is Model for Church's Motherhood
"In contemplating Mary, the Church imitates her charity, her faithful acceptance of the Word of
God and her docility in fulfilling the Father's will. By following the Blessed Virgin's example, she achieves a fruitful spiritual motherhood", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 13 August 1997.
60. Mary Fully Adhered to Revealed Truth
At the General Audience of 20 August 1997, as he reflected on Mary's virginity as a model for
the Church, the Holy Father said, "Having fully adhered to the Word of the Lord, Mary
represents for the Church an unsurpassable model of 'virginally integral’ faith, for with docility
and perseverance she accepts the revealed Truth whole and entire."
61. Mary: Model of Faith, Hope, and Charity
Mary as the Church's model of faith, hope and charity was the subject of the Holy Father's
weekly catechesis at the General Audience of 3 September 1997. He said that, on their way to holiness, the faithful are encouraged by the example of their Mother who is the "model of
62. Mary: Model of the Church at Prayer
Mary's role as a model of the Church at worship was the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis at the General Audience of 10 September 1997. Her example encourages Christians to "offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pt 2:5).
63. Blessed Virgin Is Mother of the Church
Mary as Mother of the Church was the topic of the Holy Father's catechesis at the General
Audience of 17 September 1997. "The title 'Mother of the Church' reflects the deep conviction
of the Christian faithful, who see in Mary not only the mother of the person of Christ, but also of the faithful."
64. Mary Has Universal Spiritual Motherhood
The Blessed Virgin, "having entered the Father's eternal kingdom, closer to her divine Son and
thus closer to us all, can more effectively exercise in the Spirit the role of maternal intercession entrusted to her by divine Providence", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 24 September 1997, as he discussed Mary's motherhood in the order of grace.
65. Mary's Mediation Derives From Christ's
At the General Audience of 1 October 1997, the Pope focused on Mary's role as Mediatrix.
"Far from being an obstacle to the exercise of Christ's unique mediation, Mary instead highlights its fruitfulness and efficacy," the Holy Father said.
66. Mary Has Always Been Specially Venerated
At the General Audience of 15 October 1997, the Holy Father reflected on the development of
Marian devotion in the history of the Church. "The Second Vatican Council, in stressing the
particular character of Marian devotion, says: 'Mary has by grace been exalted above all angels and men to a place second only to her Son, as the most holy Mother of God who was involved in the mysteries of Christ: she is rightly honoured by a special cult in the Church.'"
67. Faithful Have Filial Devotion to Mary
"When the faithful call upon Mary as 'Mother of God' and contemplate in her the highest dignity conferred upon a creature, they are still not offering her a veneration equal to that of the divine Persons. There is an infinite distance between Marian veneration and worship of the Trinity and the Incarnate Word", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 22 October 1997, as he spoke about the nature of the Church's devotion to Mary.
68. Church Urges Faithful to Venerate Mary
The veneration of the Virgin Mary was the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis at the General Audience of 29 October 1997. Quoting the Second Vatican Council, the Pope urged that "the cult ... of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and that the practices and exercises of devotion towards her, recommended by the teaching authority of the Church in the course of centuries, be highly esteemed".
69. We Can Count on Mary's Intercession
By highlighting the human dimension of the Incarnation, devotion to Mary helps the faithful "to
discern the face of a God who shares the joys and sufferings of humanity", the Holy Father said at the General Audience of 5 November 1997. The Pope spoke of various Marian prayers.
70. Separated Brethren Also Honour Mary
It is a source of great joy "that among the separated brethren too there are those who give due
honour to the Mother of our Lord and Saviour", the Holy Father said at the General Audience
of 12 November 1997. This was the 70th and last of the series on Our Lady.