On Friday, December 1st, Saint Patrick’s Seminary and University had the privilege of hosting the eminent Ratzinger Scholar Fr. Emery de Gaál. Fr. de Gaál, a priest of the diocese of Eichstätt, Bavaria, Germany, is Chairperson and Professor in the Departments of Dogmatic Theology and Pre-Theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.

Fr. de Gaál offered a colloquium in which he shared a discovery he had made in the course of his research into the thought of Cardinal Ratzinger: tucked away on a library shelf, he uncovered the unpublished and handwritten script of the then young Fr. Ratzinger’s course notes for the only Mariology course he would ever teach. These notes for the course, entitled “Mariology as Christology and Ecclesiology,” offer precious insights into Ratzinger’s nuanced and profound understanding of Mary and the deep connections between Christology, Mariology, and Ecclesiology. 

Fr. de Gaál highlighted the fact that a proper understanding of Mary’s role in salvation is dependent on a proper understanding of her Son, the Word Incarnate—a sound Mariology must begin with the sound Christology. In turn, an understanding of Mary as the one who receptively hears God’s word and call though the angel Gabriel has vast implications for a proper Ecclesiology. Each member of the Church is called to imitate the receptive faith of Mary. We too must be open and receptive to God’s word, treasure it, and ponder it fruitfully within our hearts.