THE WORSHIP OF THE VIRGIN MARY
THE most popular form of idolatry that ever captivated the human heart is the worship of Mary. To the unwedded priest of contemplative mind, Mary has every beauty, every charm, every divine grace. Pure enough to be the chosen mother of that human body in which Deity dwelt, unapproached in her unparalleled honors, chaste as the unspotted snow; she is the queen of his imagination, the ravishing idol of his heart. And as the mistress of his affections, he sings her praises, proclaims her glories, and gives her glowing homage. Those who fail to worship Mary, in his sight, are destitute of moral taste and perception; they are blind to beauty; they are governed by heartless ingratitude; they have no ear for the sweetest voice that ever fell on the ears of angels, or sent its thrilling melodies through the wounds of a bleeding heart.
To the masses of the Catholic world, Jehovah does not appear as a pitying Father, governed by a compassion too vast for finite conception, a love which led him to give up his only Son to the nails, the crucifix, the spear, the burning wrath of indignant justice, the ghastly arms of the universal destroyer, and to the loathsome grave, that "he might redeem us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." He is the awful God who breathes thunders; whose eyes flash forth lightnings; whose feet, as they touch our world, start the jarring earthquakes; whose voice is like the roarings of many cataracts; who is holy, terribly just, sparing neither age nor sex, and never appalled by the numbers who fall before his avenging righteousness. Jesus is not the God-man. He is simply Jehovah, without anything to make him our brother, to proclaim his intense and eternal human sympathies. The only conception the Catholic masses have of Christ's humanity is a
little child sitting in helpless and unconscious innocence on the knees of a loving mother; to them Jesus is the infinite God, moving through the universe as its master, to inflict punishment; and to be coaxed into acts of mercy by a mother whom he loves.
They view Mary as the personification of maidenly modesty, of motherly love, of all beauty, goodness, and gentleness. There is not a pure and loving quality known to the human imagination which is not attributed to Mary. She has pity in ocean fullness; she is ever ready to intercede for her penitent petitioners; she has unlimited sway over the heart of her Son. She is the queen of love, of goodness, and of heaven. She is the most venerated divinity in the Catholic Church. Little wonder that Mohammed should say: * "Believe therefore, in God and his apostles, and say not there are three Gods, forbear this; it will be better for you." His commentator tells us the three Gods of whom he spoke were the Father, the Son and the Virgin Mary.
The Worship of Mary began in Arabia. †
About the end of the fourth century certain women in Arabia, once in twelve months, dressed a car[t] or square throne; spread a linen cloth over it; and on a clear day placed a loaf of bread or cakes called collyrides upon it, which they offered to the Virgin Mary. It would seem that this was a transfer of the services of the Lord's Supper to Mary from her Son. These first worshippers of Mary were called Collyridianians. This service, though offensive to the churches at first, under another and milder form spread rapidly over the East and West. ‡
* Koran, p. 80 Philada., 1868.
† Mosheim, iv. cen. chap. v. sec. XXV.
‡ Neander, ii. 339.
Litany of the Blessed Virgin.
This Litany was composed in Loretto, and sung in the processions in that city; and on that account it is often called, "The Litany of Loretto." Sixtus V., June 11th, 1587, granted to all Christians an indulgence of two hundred days for each time this Litany was piously repeated. This indulgence was confirmed by Benedict XIII., January 20th, 1728. †
The portion of it about Mary is blasphemous in the highest degree; it is the most idolatrous prayer ever presented to a dead woman.
"Holy Mary, ‡ pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of Virgins, pray for us.
Mother of Christ, pray for us.
Mother of Divine Grace, pray for us.
Mother most pure, pray for us.
Mother most chaste, pray for us.
Mother most inviolate, pray for us.
Mother undefiled, pray for us.
Mother most amiable, pray for us.
Mother most admirable, pray for us.
Mother of our Creator, pray for us.
Mother of our Redeemer, pray for us.
Virgin most prudent, pray for us.
Virgin most venerable, pray for us.
Virgin most renowned, pray for us.
Virgin most powerful, pray for us.
Virgin most merciful, pray for us.
Virgin most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of Justice, pray for us.
Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
Cause of our Joy, pray for us.
Spiritual Vessel, pray for us.
‡ "The Garden of the Soul," p. 297-8. London.
Vessel of Honor, pray for us.
Vessel of singular Devotion, pray for us.
Mystical Rose, pray for us.
Tower of David, pray for us.
Tower of Ivory, pray for us.
House of Gold, pray for us.
Ark of the Covenant, pray for us.
Gate of Heaven, pray for us.
Morning Star, pray for us.
Health of the Weak, pray for us.
Refuge of the Sinners, pray for us.
Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for us.
Help of Christians, pray for us.
Queen of Angels, pray for us.
Queen of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Queen of Prophets, pray for us.
Queen of Apostles, pray for us.
Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.
Queen of Confessors, pray for us.
Queen of Virgins, pray for us.
Queen of All Saints, pray for us.
Language is exhausted in applying titles to Mary, pilfered from her divine Son. Not in any tongue used by mortals has such a list of impious compliments been given to a woman living or dead. Nor has any religion or superstition ever showered such praises upon a female divinity. Every sentence is but the prayer:
"Come, then, our advocate,
O turn on us those pitying eyes of thine;
And our long exile past,
Show us at last
Jesus, of thy pure womb the fruit divine;
O Virgin Mary, mother blest!
O sweetest, gentlest, holiest!"
Mary and Eve, the Authors of Sin and Salvation
The Rev. M. Hobart Seymour, an Episcopal clergyman, spent some time in Rome at the period when Puseyism [Edward Bouverie Pusey, (1800 - 1882)] threatened to
carry the Church of England into the arms of the "Scarlet Lady;" and as it was assumed in Rome that he was there to join the Church of the Dark Ages, provided some difficulties were explained, certain Professors of the Collegio Romano, of the order of Jesuits, visited him repeatedly to remove his objections. One of these Jesuits declared to him, * "That as it was a woman brought in sin, so a woman was to bring in holiness; that as a woman brought in death, so a woman was to bring in life; that as Eve brought in dissolution, so Mary was to bring in salvation; that as we regard Eve as the first sinner, so we are to regard Mary as the first Saviour; the one as the author of sin, the other as the author of its remedy."
The Virgin More Merciful than her Son.
One of these professors declared that the "feeling was universal among Romanists that the Virgin Mary was more merciful, more gentle, and more ready to hear than Christ." † On another page the same doctrine is taught by one of these Jesuits: "It is the opinion of many of the fathers that God hears our prayers more quickly when they are offered through the blessed Virgin than when they are offered through anyone else." And again: "Many of the fathers were of the opinion that even Christ himself was not so willing to hear our prayers, and did not hear them so quickly, when offered simply to himself, as when they were offered through the blessed Virgin." And again, the professor says: "The Romanists feel Mary is altogether of their own nature, and that this insures a more perfect sympathy, so as to make Mary more accessible than Christ; and this feeling leads them to pray with more frequency, as well as with more confidence to Mary than to Christ."
The Two Ladders to Heaven.
St. Bernard had a vision once, in which he beheld two ladders extending from earth to heaven. ‡ At the top of one ladder the Saviour appeared; and Mary at the top of the other; those try-
* [Rev. M. Hobart] Seymour's "Mornings among the Jesuits [at Rome]," p. 44. N. Y., 1849.
† Id., pp 48, 49, 102, 106.
‡ Id., p. 56.
ing to enter heaven by Christ's ladder were constantly tumbling down, and meeting with perpetual failures; those who attempted to reach the skies by Mary's always succeeded, for she put forth her hands to assist them. Seymour says: * "I saw this as an altar-piece (a picture of it) in a church at Milan—none succeeding by the Saviour's ladder, none failing by the Virgin's."
The Triangular Trinity.
In the Baptistery of Parma [Italy] there is a representation of the Trinity. At the top of a triangle is the Father; at the two angles of the base are the Son and Mary; the two arms of the Father resting on the heads of the Son and Mary, form the legs of the triangle; while the arms of the Son, extended to the head of Mary, form the base. The Sacristan called it the Trinity of the Father, Son and Virgin. †
Four Persons in the Godhead.
Seymour quotes from Meyrick's "Working of the Church in Spain," the form of doxology admired in that country: ‡
"Glory be to the Father,
Glory be to the Son,
Glory be to the Holy Ghost,
Glory be to the Holy Virgin,
Throughout all ages, forever and ever. Amen."
The Chief Source of St. Mary's Merits.
To have had such a Son as Jesus is the common basis of Mary's claim to the peculiar respect of our race; but the Jesuits of the Collegio Romano have discovered another foundation for these merits. "Assuredly," says one of them, "there was merit in the sufferings undergone by the blessed Virgin in giving birth to the child Jesus. There was no necessity whatever; no reason whatever why she should have subjected herself to them; and therefore her having
* "Mornings among the Jesuits," p. 56. N. Y., 1849.
† [Rev. M. Hobart] Seymour's "Evenings with the Romanists," [Robert Carter and Bros.] p. 258. N.Y., 1856.
‡ Id., p. 256.
actually undergone such sufferings, was meritorious. * She had some claim upon God for it." Here the doctrine is that maternity inflicted on Mary without her consent gave merit to her enforced sufferings. If so, then every case of compelled maternity has overflowing merit to blot out the sins of others, even when the mother is a heathen.
The Religion of Italy, the Gospel of Mary, not the Dispensation
The intelligent observer already quoted confirms the universal testimony of travellers who have visited Italy about the extent of Mary worship. He says: † "The whole devotional system of the Church of Rome, the prayers of the Virgin, the countless images of the Virgin, the many churches dedicated to the Virgin, the universal devotion rendered to the Virgin, the manner in which all the services and prayers of the church and people are impregnated with thoughts of the Virgin, the extent to which, in conversation, all classes went, in speaking of the Virgin, all had impressed me with the feeling that the religion of Italy ought to be called: The religion of the Virgin Mary, and not the religion of Jesus Christ."
"If I enter the church of the Augustines, I see there an image of the Virgin Mary as large as life. Some are decking her with jewels as votive offerings; some are suspending pictures around as memorials of thankfulness; some are placing money in a box at her feet; some are devoutly kissing her feet and touching them with their foreheads; some are prostrate in profound devotion before her; some are repeating the rosary before her; all are turning their backs upon the consecrated host; upon that which the priest is elevating upon the high altar, and which he and they devoutly believe to be Jesus Christ Himself bodily and visibly among them; turning their backs upon Christ and their faces upon Mary, practically forsaking Christ for Mary, with a prostration the most profound before her image—a prostration that was never surpassed in the days of heathen Rome, and can never be justified in Christian Rome." ‡
* "Mornings among the Jesuits," p. 192. N. Y., 1849.
† Id., p. 107.
‡ Id., p. 55-6.
And one of these Jesuits told Mr. and Mrs. Seymour, * "That the devotion to the Virgin was very popular; that latterly it had become increasingly so, and that he knew many facts that proved it a growing devotion among all classes. He mentioned the frequency with which he hears the poor and simple people praying to the Virgin, singing hymns to her pictures, at the corners of the streets early in the morning, appealing to her for protection in times of danger; and he narrated an instance of a little child appealing to the Virgin whose piety so touched his heart that a tear glistened in his eye as the told the incident."
This Devotion rests upon the highest Authority.
The Council of Trent gave birth to modern Romanism; its decisions have greater weight in the Papal Church than passages of Scripture. The fathers of Trent had two classes of decrees to which they gave their sanction, the first originated with themselves, the second was made up of bulls, and commandments of other and commonly inferior synods. The Council of Trent in its fifth session, in its articles on "Original Sin," adopted the following from a decree of Sixtus IV.: † "When we investigate with the scrutiny of devout consideration the exalted insignia of the merits with which the Queen of the heavens, the glorious Virgin mother of God, advanced to the celestial dwellings, shining amidst the constellations as the morning star, and revolve beneath the secrets of our breast, that she herself as the path of mercy, the mother of grace, and the friend of piety, the consoler of the human race, the sedulous and vigilant advocate of the salvation of the faithful, who are opposed by the load of their offenses, intercedes with the King whom she has brought forth . . . . that thereby they may
* "Mornings among the Jesuits," p. 55-6. N. Y., 1849.
† Canones et Decrete Conc. Trid., p. 260. Lipsiae, 1863.
become more fit for divine grace by the merits and intercession of the same Virgin." Here Mary is the path of mercy, the mother of grace, the consoler of the human race, with merits and intercession to qualify men for divine grace; and that, by the decree of the authoritative Council of Trent.
The Catechism of the Council of Trent,
Speaks with equal significance: * "Therefore, we, exiled sons of Eve, who inhabit this vale of tears, ought assiduously to invoke the Mother of Mercy, and the advocate of the faithful people, that she might pray for us sinners, and that from her, in prayer, we might implore aid and assistance; for no one, unless impiously and wickedly, can doubt but that she has the most surpassing merits with God, and the highest desire to assist the human race."
Gregory XVI., in 1832,
Says, in his Encyclical Letter [MIRARI VOS], published August 15th of that year: † "But that all things may have a prosperous and happy issue, let us raise our eyes and hands to the most holy Virgin Mary, who only destroys all heresies, who is our greatest hope; yea, the entire ground of our hope."
Such is the position occupied by that modest, unassuming woman, who gave birth to Jesus, in the Church of Rome. She is adored with a worship of the loftiest order; she is venerated by many millions who neglect her Son and his Father. She is at this moment the great divinity of the papal world. Nor is there a doubt by that she would denounce this impious idolatry if she were on earth, and drive her images and worshippers from every Christian temple.
* Catechismus Conc. Trid., pars iv. cap. vi. quest. 8, p. 405. Lipsiae, 1865. [link]
† [Charles] Elliott's [On Romanism:] Delineations of Roman [Catholic]ism. p. 754. London, 1851.
Not one Prayer was ever addressed to Mary when living, nor was
any Worship ever offered her.
While her Son lived on earth, she was respected by his followers, simply as the mother of the Baptist, or any other godly woman was esteemed. After his death, there is nothing in the sacred records about her; nor is there one single instance, in the New Testament, of reverence, veneration, dulia, hyperdulia, or latria given to Mary. Romish prayer-books are full of petitions to the Virgin; the Scriptures are absolutely silent about any supplications to and worship of the Saviour's mother.
The Lord rebukes his Mother for interfering with his Business.
At the marriage of Cana, when the wine failed, Mary, concerned for the honor of the family, told Jesus, and undoubtedly hinted to him the propriety of performing a miracle. According to the Vulgate, the only Bible recognized by the Council of Trent, the Saviour answered: * What is it to me and thee, woman? my hour is not yet come." The use of the word "woman" by the Saviour, does not lead one to think that he regarded her as "queen of heaven." His answer to her is a refusal, coupled with an intimation that she was ignorant of the time when he should assume his divine authority before men.
The Saviour decides that every one who does his Father's Will is the
equal of his Mother.
On one occasion, it was announced to Jesus, that his mother and brethren were without, and wished to speak to him: the Saviour's reply, according to the Vulgate, was: † "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? and, extending his hand to his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brothers; for whosoever shall do
* John ii. 4, Vulg., edita et recognita jussu Sixt. V. et Clem. VIII. London, 1846.
† Matt. xii. 48, 49, 50, Vulg., edita et recognita jussu Sixt. V. et Clem. VIII. London, 1846.
the will of my Father, who is in heavens, he is my brother and sister and mother." He refuses to go and speak with the "refuge of sinners, the comfortress of the afflicted," and he makes the declinature publicly, as if to show that even his mother must not interfere with him in discharging the duties he owes his Father. And he immediately rebukes the idea that his mother was any more to him, as the Great Teacher, than any other disciple; whosoever does his Father's will is dear to him, and powerful with him, as "brother, sister and mother."
The Saviour declares that there is a greater Distinction on earth
than that of being his Mother.
On one occasion, while he was speaking, a delighted woman, most probably a mother, exclaimed, according to the Vulgate: * "Blessed is the womb which bare thee, and the breasts which thou hast sucked; and he said: Nay, rather, they are blessed who hear the word of God, and keep it." This woman properly pronounced Mary blessed for giving birth to the Redeemer. But the Saviour, while admitting that Mary had a blessing in being his mother, declares that the hearing and keeping of the word of God was a greater honor—a happier distinction. And if the inferior honor justifies the worship of Mary, on the same principle higher worship should be given to all who hear God's word and keep it. But we very much fear that if this rule was observed, most of the present Catholic saints would be discarded, and millions of godly persons, who were never inside a Romish Church, would have their images put in Catholic shrines, and prayers and devotions presented to them—because they heard GOD'S WORD AND KEPT IT, instead of observing the traditions of men.
A woman so deaf that she can hear nothing, has a powerful son, persons are ignorant of her deafness, and anxious for the favor of the mighty son; they seek the intercession of his deaf mother. But though they plead earnestly, they appeal to her in vain; she cannot hear them. In regard to all earthly prayers and devotions, Mary is a deaf woman; she cannot hear. She knows nothing of all the words addressed to her.
* Luke xi. 27, 28, Vulgate. London. 1846.
The Franciscan Chronicles relate that a certain Brother Leo saw in a vision two ladders, the one red, the other white. On the upper end of the red ladder stood Jesus and on the other stood His holy Mother. The Brother saw that some tried to climb the red ladder; but scarcely had they mounted some rungs when they fell back, they tried again but with no better success. Then they were advised to try the white ladder and to their surprise they succeeded, for the Blessed Virgin stretched out Her hand and with Her aid they reached Heaven.44
NOTE: This apparition is by no means incredible; nor is it right to say that it makes the power of Mary superior to that of Christ. The symbolic significance of the vision must be borne in mind. The idea has been expressed repeatedly in the words of St. Bernard, and more recently by Popes Leo XIII and Benedict XV: "As we have no access to the Father except through the Son, so no one can come to the Son except by the Mother. As the Son is all-powerful by nature, the Mother is all-powerful in so far that by the merciful disposition of God She is our mediatrix of graces with Christ. Therefore says Eadmer: "Frequently our petitions are heeded sooner when we address ourselves to Mary the Queen of Mercy and Compassion than when we go directly to Jesus who as King of Justice is our Judge." 45
(44.) Wadding, Ann. 1232 n. 28. [See also The Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus Liguori, translated from the Italian, Second Edition, Chapter VIII, Section III. Mary leads her Servants to Heaven, published by Burns, Oates & Washbourne LTD, London, 1868, pgs. 213-214.]
(45.) De Excell. V. c. 6.
Source: Fatima Network website
The White Ladder
Devotion to Mary is that white ladder seen in a celebrated vision by Brother Leo of the early Franciscans. In this vision the holy friar saw an immense field, and in it there were so many friars of the Order that to get them all within view the throng had to extend upward. Two ladders so appeared, rising into the sky, one of them red and one of them white. At the top of the red one St. Francis was seen alongside Jesus, and he invited the friars to mount up. The friars faithfully undertook the climb, but afterwards fell back, some from the first rung, others from the second rung, and others from the third. Even the few who seemed to reach the top rung with great labor fell back down. Then the Seraphic Father encouraged his sons, "Hasten over there to the white ladder." And there, in all Her beauty, the Immaculate Virgin was inviting Her protégés to climb up to Her. Then - how wonderful to see it! - they all nimbly climbed the white ladder the whole way to the top! It is all-important to realize then that true devotion to the Madonna is the most perfect way to Jesus - the most beautiful way.
Source: Fatima Network website
Our Lady assures us of our salvation with our own cooperation in using the means given to us: prayer, the sacraments, mortifications, good works, and particularly Marian devotion. Even St. Francis of Assisi in the famous vision of Friar Leo on the white ladder and the red ladder assures us that devotion to Our Lady is a guarantee for salvation. Thus, those who were saved on the white ladder at whose peak was the Blessed Virgin entered heaven; those on the red ladder --what a loss!
Source: Fatima Network website
VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE
SEVENTH YEAR - N.82
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 1997
- GENERAL AUDIENCE: MARY, MOTHER OF ALL THE REDEEMED
- POPE TALKS OF CONVENTION ON BANNING CHEMICAL WEAPONS
- STATISTICS ON THE CHURCH IN LEBANON
- OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
GENERAL AUDIENCE: MARY, MOTHER OF ALL THE REDEEMED
VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 1997 (VIS) - The Holy Father dedicated today's general audience to the Virgin Mary, and commented on the words that Jesus spoke from the Cross to St. John: "'Behold your mother', ... with which he reveals to the Blessed Virgin the pinnacle of her motherhood."
John Paul II expressed his wish that all might discover in these words of Jesus "the invitation to accept Mary as their mother, responding as true children to her motherly love."
At the moment that Jesus entrusts his mother to St. John, "it is possible to understand the authentic meaning of Marian worship in the ecclesial community ... which furthermore is based on the will of Christ."
"The words 'Behold your mother'," continued the Holy Father, "express Jesus's intention to awaken in his disciples an attitude of love and trust toward Mary, leading them to recognize in her their mother, the mother of all believers. In the Blessed Virgin's school, the disciples learn, as John does, to know the Lord deeply" and to love him.
John Paul II underlined that "the history of Christian piety teaches that Mary is the path that leads to Christ, and that filial devotion to her does not at all diminish intimacy with Jesus, but rather, it increases it and leads it to very high levels of perfection."
The Pope remarked that when the Gospel says that St. John welcomed Mary into his house, this "seems to show his initiative, full of respect and love, ... to live the spiritual life in communion with her."
He concluded by asking all Christians "to make room (for Mary) in their daily lives, acknowledging her providential role in the path of salvation."
In his greetings in different languages at the end of the audience, the Holy Father reminded the Slovak pilgrims that tomorrow is the liturgical solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord: "The eternal Son of God, who lived for 33 years on Earth to be our Master and Redeemer, went up to heaven to prepare a place for us."
AG/MARY/... VIS 970507 (350)
Source: Catholic Information Network
Prayer to the Blessed Virgin
Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin! O my Mother! Thou who art the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the world, the advocate, hope, and refuge of sinners! I, the most wretched among them, now come to thee. I worship thee, great Queen, and give thee thanks for the many favors thou hast bestowed on my in the past; most of all do I thank thee for having saved me from hell, which I had so often deserved. I love thee, Lady most worthy of all love, and, by the love which I bear thee, I promise ever in the future to serve thee, and to do what in me lies to win others to thy love. In thee I put all my trust, all my hope of salvation. Receive me as thy servant, and cover me with the mantle of thy protection, thou who art the Mother of mercy! And since thou hast so much power with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the grace ever to overcome them. From thee I ask a true love of Jesus Christ, and the grace of a happy death. O my Mother! By thy love for God I beseech thee to be at all times my helper, but above all at the last moment of my life. Leave me not until thou seest me safe in heaven, there for endless ages to bless thee and sing thy praises. Such is my hope. Amen.― (Prayer of St. Alphonse Liguori, 3 yrs indulgence, Raccolta, 342)
Source: With Mary to Jesus: a collection of Marian prayers, by Fr. Theodore Anthony Zaremba. O.F.M., Franciscan Printery, Pulaski, Wis.,1954. The introduction says: "The indulgenced prayers contained herein are from the latest official edition of the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum (Raccolta), a compilation of prayers and devotions enriched with indulgences by the authority of the Holy See."
18. It is therefore, a pleasure for us, a full century having passed since the Pontiff of immortal memory, Pius IX, solemnly proclaimed this singular privilege of the Virgin Mother of God, to summarize the whole doctrinal position and conclude in these words of the same Pontiff, asserting that this doctrine "vouched for in Sacred Scripture according to the interpretation of the Fathers, is handed down by them in so many of their important writings, is expressed and celebrated in so many illustrious monuments of renowned antiquity, and proposed and confirmed by the greatest and highest decision of the Church" (Bull Ineffabilis Deus), so that to pastors and faithful there is nothing "more sweet, nothing dearer than to worship, venerate, invoke and praise with ardent affection the Mother of God conceived without stain of original sin. (Ibidem.)
33. But where - as is the case in almost all dioceses, there exists a church in which the Virgin Mother of God is worshipped with more intense devotion, thither on stated days let pilgrims flock together in great numbers and publicly and in the open give glorious expression to their common Faith and their common love toward the Virgin Most Holy. ...
34. But let this holy city of Rome be the first to give the example, this city which from the earliest Christian era worshipped the heavenly mother, its patroness, with a special devotion. As all know, there are many sacred edifices here, in which she is proposed for the devotion of the Roman people; but the greatest without doubt is the Liberian Basilica [St. Mary Major], in which the mosaics of Our predecessor of pious memory, Sixtus III, still glisten, an outstanding monument to the Divine maternity of the Virgin Mary, and in which the "salvation of the Roman people" (Salus Populi Romani) benignly smiles.
Source: FULGENS CORONA,Encyclical Of Pope PIUS XII, September 8th, 1953.