29 September 2021

Exploring the Queenship of Mary

One minor correction. The 'Universal Church' does NOT keep this Feast on 22 August. The Eastern Churches don't keep it at all, and the Gregorian Rite keeps it on 31 May.

From Catholic Stand

By Briana Huddleston

n accord with the four Marian dogmas of the Catholic Church, Mary is celebrated as the Queen of Heaven. The universal Church celebrates the feast of her queenship on August the 22nd every year. In this article we will be examining the historical, biblical, and theological basis of Mary’s queenship and debunking objections to it.

The Biblical Basis

Despite the claim that there isn’t any biblical evidence to support the queenship of Mary, scripture is rich with vindication of her proper role. The key to finding out the truth on the matter is in examining the scriptures through the lens of Christ’s kingship. We know that Christ fulfilled the scriptures of being a Davidic king in every way (Luke 24:44), but one of the essential dimensions of the Davidic kingship was the role of the queen mother.

For ancient Israel, the wife of a king wasn’t the queen; rather, the queen was his mother. We know that Christ is the king of heaven and earth and of the whole created universe. Accordingly, Colossians 1:15-16 says that

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him.

The Queen Mother’s Role

Whenever kings are anointed in scripture, the queen mother is usually listed among them. In Jeremiah 13:18 the Lord mentions the role of a queen mother alongside the king while giving a prophecy. Throughout the books of Kings and Chronicles, the queen mothers are listed along with their sons. 2 Kings chapters 1213, and 14 offer a few examples of this.

What is even more interesting is the way in which the Gospel of Matthew is written. This Gospel particularly focuses on Christ’s kingship; for example, chapter 2 emphasizes not only Christ’s kingship in relation to the Magi and their title for him, King of the Jews, but Mary is also listed as his mother in reference to him being king.

The Queen’s Intercession

The queen mother’s role was also to look after those in her son’s kingdom. That is, the royal mothers of the Davidic kings took on the role of intercessor on behalf of the people. This practice is demonstrated frequently in regard to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, who brings requests to him on behalf of others (1 Kings 2:16-17). But the intercessory role of queen mother didn’t stop with Solomon. The examples of those who came before Jesus were a foreshadowing of the greatness that was to come.

Catholics believe that Mary intercedes for those in her Son’s kingdom in the same way that queen mothers always did before her. When we call Our Lady the Queen of Heaven, we are giving her the proper role as mother to the messianic king. She has been acknowledged as such since the birth of Christianity.

The Council of Ephesus 

The Council of Ephesus in 431 AD was the third ecumenical council of bishops that convened to ensure unity and consensus of doctrine in the Church. The council affirmed the Nicene Creed as well as Mary’s title of Theotokos (God-bearer). The Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, raised an objection to the term “Mother of God” and argued that she should be called instead “Mother of Christ”.

Nestorius’ line of reasoning attempted to distinguish Jesus’ natures – God and man – as two separate entities. In contrast, the Church confirmed the hypostatic union, which is the perfect union of divine and human in the one Person of Jesus. In the Nestorius scenario, Mary would simply be the mother of Christ’s human flesh; however, the council formally declared that teaching, called Nestorianism, a heresy. In affirming the hypostatic union, the council in turn confirmed Mary’s status as Theotokos.

Objections to Mary’s Queenship

Perhaps the biggest objection to Mary’s queenship is the reference to the pagan goddess Ishtar, who is referred to in scripture as the “queen of Heaven”. People often point to Jeremiah 7:18 as a proof text against Mary’s queenship, superficially assuming that referring to Mary as the queen of Heaven is just the worship of Ishtar dressed up in a different way.

However, the claim is baseless. The term for heaven in scripture is often used interchangeably with sky (Jeremiah 14:22). Ishtar was a sky goddess depicted with wings. She was called “queen of the sky” because of her association with other gods who were said to dominate the sun and the moon. The vastly different conceptions of Mary and Ishtar do not resemble each other.

In Conclusion 

When we say that Mary is the Queen of Heaven, we mean she is the queen of all that Christ inherited as King. We acknowledge that Christ as King would give His mother the same respect and honor that the other men of his lineage did for their mothers.  Mary, a humble servant completely submitted and trusted her life to God, and in return, God blessed her so much that all nations and people would refer to her as such (Luke 1:47-49).

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