Fetch Your Pooper-Scooper!

January 2001

You may remember the letter from Michael Murad and our editorial reply (Jul.-Aug. 2000) wherein Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s apparent difficulty in coming to terms with the physicality of the Real Presence and the Incarnation was discussed. In regard to the Incarnation, Msgr. Mannion had said in one of his regular Q&A columns for Our Sunday Visitor that depicting Jesus as a woman does “not bother me at all.”

Well, Mannion wasn’t deterred by that commentary in the NOR. In his Q&A column in the Visitor for October 1, 2000, Mannion tells us that it’s just fine to call Jesus “mother.” Mother? Mannion cites four “venerable medieval figures” to support his view, one of whom, Anselm of Canterbury, he quotes: “But You, Jesus…. are You not that mother who, like a hen, collects her children under her wings? Truly, master, You are a mother.” Mannion approves of this on the grounds that it’s “poetic.” No doubt Mannion would also approve if Anselm had written (to be consistent and even more poetic), “Truly, mistress, You are a mother.”

Yes, there’s such a thing as “poetic license,” but not everything that flies under that banner is good poetics, and even good poetry can make for lousy, indiscriminate theology.

Let’s be properly theological! It’s incongruous to call Jesus “mother,” not only because Jesus was male but because we already have our Blessed Mother. Besides, if it’s legit to call Jesus “mother,” then why wouldn’t it be kosher to call the Blessed Virgin Mary “son” if that strikes our poetic fancy? Alas, such absurdist sexual confusion produces a severe case of mental cramps.

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New Oxford Notes: January 2001

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