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Pope Leo XIII

The Mariology of Pope Leo XIII continued the work of Pope Pius IX in emphasizing the importance of Marian devotions in Catholic teaching and practice and promoted the rosary and the scapular.


Influence of his predecessor Pius IX

His predecessor, Pope Pius IX, became known as the Pope of the Immaculate Conception because of the dogmatization in 1854. In his encyclical on the fiftieth anniversary of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, he stresses her role in the redemption of humanity, mentioning Mary as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix. His emphasis on the path through Mary to Christ has been a key direction in Roman Catholic Mariology, with Mariology being viewed as inherent in Christology, and the rosary paving that path.[1][2]


Leo XIII was devoted to Our Lady of Good Counsel, and included its invocation in the Litany of Loreto. This image is by Pasquale Sarullo, the original being in Genazzano, near Rome.

Leo XIII is the first Pope to fully embrace the concept of Mary as mediatrix. In his rosary encyclicals, he described the Virgin Mary as mediating all graces. In 1883 he wrote that nothing is as salvific and powerful as asking for the support of the Virgin, the mediator of peace with God and of heavenly graces.[3] In his rosary encyclical Octobri Mense, he stated, that Mary is administrator of graces on earth, part of a new salvation order.[4]

In Dei Matris he noted, that Mary is mediator because Christ the Lord is also our brother[5] And, in Jucunda Semper, he stated, that the deepest reason, why Roman Catholics look for the protection of Mary through prayer, is most certainly her office as mediator of divine grace.[6] In Augustissimae Virginis, he wrote that calling on Mary is the best way to be heard by God, and to find his grace.[7]


The views of Pope Leo XIII regarding Mary as Co-Redemptrix rely on Thomas Aquinas. From him he borrows the notion that Mary, in the hour of Annunciation, assumed the role of a helper in the mystery of redemption. Thus all Christians are born through Mary. With Jesus, Mary carried all in her womb. Therefore all Christians are her children.[8]

Leo is considered to be one of the most intelligent popes and his teachings are a possible reflection of that: The style is crisp, short but very clear. A centennial after his death, he is often quoted, most recently by Pope Benedict XVI and John Paul II, both of whom, however, did not display "the Marian courage and confidence" of Leo XIII in the areas of Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix.

Impact of Louis de Montfort

Leo XIII recalled Louis de Montfort, whom he beatified on the very day of his own golden jubilee as a priest.[9] He (as did later Pius X) applied the Marian analysis of Montfort to the analysis of the Church as a whole.[10] His mariology was greatly influenced by Thomas Aquinas, especially his view of Mary's role in the Annunciation.[11]

Leo actively employed his papal authority to support the veneration of Mary in places of her apparitions.[12] In 1879, he crowned Our Lady of La Salettereference needed. Upon the blessing and opening of the Church of our Lady in Lourdes, he issued an apostolic writing, Parte humanae generi, supporting pilgrimages to Lourdes and other Marian shrines.

He declared the Madonna of Monserat to be the patron of Catalonia, and instituted the Feast of the Miraculous Medal in 1894. He condemned heresies about the Immaculate Conception[13] and discussed the relation of Saint Joseph to Mary in an 1889 encyclical.[14]

Rosary Pope

Roman Catholic Mariology
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Rosary Pope is a title given to Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) because he issued a record eleven encyclicals on the rosary, instituted the Catholic custom of daily rosary prayer during the month of October, and created in 1883 the Feast of Queen of the Holy Rosary.[15] Leo XIII explained the importance of the rosary as the one road to God, from the father to the Son, to his Mother, and from her to the human race. No human creature can change this. Therefore there exists only one road for the faithful, to the mother and from her to Christ and through Christ to the father. The rosary is a vital means to participate in the life of Mary and to find the way to Christ.[16]


Rosary encyclicals

No. Title (Latin) Title (English translation) Subject Date
1. Supremi Apostolatus Officio The Supreme Apostolic Office On Devotion to the Rosary 1 September 1883
2. Superiore Anno Last year On the Recitation of the Rosary 30 August 1884
3. Vi E Ben Noto On the Rosary and Public Life 20 September 1887
4. Octobri Mense The Month of October On the Rosary 22 September 1891
5. Magnae Dei Matris Of the great Mother of God On the Rosary 8 September 1892
6. Laetitiae Sanctae Of holy praise Commending Devotion to the Rosary 8 September 1893
7. Iucunda Semper Expectatione On the Rosary 8 September 1894
8. Adiutricem Adjutrix On the Rosary 5 September 1895
9. Fidentem Piumque Animum On the Rosary 20 September 1896
10. Augustissimae Virginis Mariae Of the Most August Virgin Mary On the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary 12 September 1897
11. Diuturni Temporis On the Rosary 5 September 1898


More than any other pope, Leo XIII, who was himself a member of the Pious Union of Our Lady of Good Counsel, was deeply attached to Our Lady of Good Counsel.[17] The small Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel (the White Scapular) was presented by the Hermits of St. Augustine to Leo XIII who, in December 1893, approved it and endowed it with indulgences. On April 22, 1903, Leo XIII included the invocation "Mater boni consilii" in the Litany of Loreto.

During Leo's reign, the Scapular of Our Lady of Ransom was also approved in 1868.

See also


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Overview of Mariology
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  1. ^ At the center of this mystery, in the midst of this wonderment of faith, stands Mary. As the loving Mother of the Redeemer, she was the first to experience it: "To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator"! Pope John Paul II, in Redemptoris Mater, 51
  2. ^ See Pius XII Mystici corporis Christi; John Henry Newman: Mariology is always christocentric, in Michael Testa, Mary: The Virgin Mary in the Life and Writings of John Henry Newman 2001; Mariology Is Christology in Vittorio Messori, "The Mary Hypothesis" Rome, 2005
  3. ^ Suprimi apostolatus Rudolf Graber, Die marianischen Weltrundschreiben der Päpste der letzten 100 Jahre, Würzburg; 1954 , p 30.
  4. ^ Encyclical Octobri Mense Graber 48
  5. ^ Graber 62
  6. ^ Graber, 83
  7. ^ Graber 115
  8. ^ Bäumer, 96
  9. ^ J M Höcht, Fatima und Pius XII, 1956
  10. ^ Köster 54
  11. ^ Bäumer, IV, 97
  12. ^ Bäumer, IV 97
  13. ^ Rosmini
  14. ^ Bäumer, IV 97
  15. ^ in Lauretanische Litanei, Marienlexikon, Eos, St. Ottilien, 1988, p.41
  16. ^ Encyclical Jucunda Semper 8.9.1894 quoted in Marienlexikon,Eos St. Ottilien, 1988 42
  17. ^ Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 087973910X page 515


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