WHO IS THE VIRGIN?
Just as the question of who Jesus was cannot be answered without reference to the Old Testament, the purported appearances and messages of the Virgin will make no sense if we know nothing about her depiction in the Bible and the primordial Christian community of faith. As the Church Fathers saw it, Scripture portrayed Mary as the New Eve whose obedience to God's command as delivered by the angel Gabriel opened the door to the coming of the New Adam in contrast to the Old Eve whose disobedience to God's command under the influence of a fallen angel led the Old Adam to his fatal choice. For her oblation of herself she became a model for Christians who was universally venerated. Second, both in Scripture and in the Fathers, Mary is closely associated with the Holy Spirit. It was her overshadowing by the Holy Spirit that preceded the Virgin Birth. It is the Holy Spirit who is recorded as directly speaking through Elizabeth and Simeon in praising Mary. And it is surely significant that Scripture refers to Mary's presence at the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Finally, it was Mary's compassionate request that led to her Son's first miracle at the beginning of His ministry, and so Mary's intercession especially as it relates to miracles was widely accepted.
The significance of Mary is above all as a link to her Son. The fundamental driving force of all Marian doctrine and devotion is the perception that it is only through her we can fully accept and appreciate both His divinity and His humanity. Her divine maternity—human motherof God the Son ~ is the most telling testimony to His true humanity. Her special status m immaculately conceived, perpetually virgin, assumed into Heaven, New Eve- presupposes and confirms His divinity. We know too that in the entire Bible, only two human persons beheld God in His supernatural splendor: Moses on Mount Sinai and Mary who was "overshadowed" by the Holy Spirit.
But the key to understanding Mary's apparitions is one obscure yet powerful verse in the Book of Revelation: "Then the dragon was enraged with the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, that is, all who obey God's commandments and bear witness for Jesus" (12:17). All those who "bear witness for Jesus," then, are children of the Woman. And who is the Woman? On the face of it, there can be little doubt that the Woman Clothed with the Sun in Revelation 12 is the Virgin Mary. For the text says earlier that she is the mother of "the son who was to rule all the nations with an iron scepter" (12:5). By reference to Psalm 2 and to the account of His ascension to Heaven (Rev. 12:6), it is apparent that the son is Jesus. Also the dragon is referenced (12:9) to "the primeval serpent known as the devil or Satan" of Genesis 3. Revelation 12 is thus linked to Genesis 3, which refers to the future conflict between the serpent and the Woman and her Son. Historically, Christians (including Martin Luther) have seen Genesis 3 as a prophecy of the coming of Christ and His Mother and their war with Satan. This dovetails with the Revelation 12 account of the war between Christ and His Mother on the one side and Satan on the other (the recently released International Bible Commentary notes that Rev. 12:17 is a clear reference to the messianic text of Gen. 3:15).
Some have tried to say that the Woman here is merely allegorical, perhaps she symbolizes Israel or the Church. But this is at best a second layer of meaning since consistency (as some scholars point out) demands that the Son be treated like His Mother. Either both are mere symbols or they are both real individuals (not one a symbol and the other real). It is unlikely too that Christ would be seen here as an offspring of either Israel or the Church. First, He had been rejected by Israel and so Israel would not be the mother of those who witness to Him, and, second, the Church springs from Him, not vice versa. The Woman is not a spirit because spirits do not give birth to children or need physical nourishment (Rev. 12:6). Thus the Woman Clothed with the Sun is Mary, and Revelation 12 is an account of the first Marian apparition (after the death of the Virgin)!
Revelation 12:17 is doubly important because here we see that the Woman is the mother of all who "bear witness for Jesus." Thus, she is the mother of all Christians (again acknowledged by Luther) and like any other mother comes to the aid of her children when they are in need, as we see in the great Marian apparitions in history. Moreover, she who is the mother of all those who witness to Jesus hams historically been the greatest of the witnesses!
The great apparition scholar René Laurentin suggests that Revelation 12 seems to foretell apparitions because the Mother of the Messiah appears in the heavens but also shows herself present on earth and in the struggles of her children (Rev. 12:17). He notes too that in many of her famous apparitions — from Guadalupe to the Miraculous Medal to Medjugorje — the Virgin appears clothed with the sun and crowned with stars as in Revelation 12.
In a nutshell, to grasp the nature and significance of Marian apparitions we must first understand that Mary is the New Eve who is united with her Son the New Adam in the war with the dragon, second, that she is the human vehicle most closely associated with the Holy Spirit, and, third, that she is the Mother of all Christians who comes to their aid at all times and places. This is the underlying rationale and dynamic behind the appearances of the Virgin in history.
Moreover, human beings are creatures of flesh and blood. We have to touch, see, and feel. We are not angels. That is why God became man, and why He came to us in His Risen Body. That is why He manifests the means of salvation through the material: in baptism, for instance, a salvific event acceptable to all Christians. Marian apparitions are simply an extension of the divine response to the human need to touch and feel and see the Holy.
THE WORDS OF THE VIRGIN IN SCRIPTURE
One astounding but little noticed feature of the biblical narratives is the fact that every word uttered by Mary — and these were numerically few in number — had momentous consequences in the divine plan of salvation.
When she said to the angel Gabriel, "Let what you have said be done to me," the Holy Spirit "came upon" her and she became the Mother of the Redeemer of humanity.
When she greeted her cousin Elizabeth, the Holy Spirit Himself spoke to her through Elizabeth saying that at the sound of Mary's voice, "the child in my womb leaped for joy"--an event that has historically been regarded as the sanctification of John the Baptist in the womb.
When the inspired Elizabeth praised her for the act of faith and obedience that caused her to be "blessed," Mary responded with the proclamation of praise we call the Magnificat. Two things should be noted about this byron: first, Mary attributes her glorification to God and, second, she says "all generations will call her blessed" because of what God has done for her (and God bestowed this blessing, we find from Elizabeth's statement just before, because Mary "believed"). Those who believe that Scripture is inspired by God will acknowledge that, in proclaiming the divine decree that she is to be called blessed, Mary is not showing a lack of humility. In praising Mary, we are implicitly praising God's infinite generosity and love in working through the humble and the lowly and in richly blessing those who obey Him. Jesus Himself has told us not to hide our light under a bushel for, in bearing testimony to the blessing we have received, we bear testimony to God.
Finally, in the most famous wedding in history, her Son changes His own timeline for His ministry in response to her words, "They have no wine." Mary already knows He will do what she requests and tells the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." The miracle that follows not only begins the public ministry of Jesus but also causes His disciples "to believe in him."
Once our minds and hearts focus on these words of Mary, the Mary we see in the apparitions will be seen as a mirror-image of the "blessed" handmaid of Scripture and the messages of the apparitions will be heard as an echo of the voice that resonates so momentously in Scripture. In the apparitions, Mary speaks of three things: we are reminded of the importance of doing God's will ("Let what you have said be done to me, .... Do whatever he tells you"); we are told about her own key role in the divine plan, and, in telling us this, she simply restates what she proclaimed in the divinely inspired Magnificat; we see her referring to her own vocation of intercession, a ministry she began at Cana.¶¶ The importance that Mary's words have in Scripture is matched by the importance attributed to her at key events in the biblical narrative: at the presentation in the Temple the Holy Spirit inspires Simeon to say to Mary that, when her Son is rejected, "a sword will pierce your own soul too"; at Calvary her Son establishes her as mother of all believers, "This is your mother"; at the birth of the Church the author of Acts notes that "the mother of Jesus" is present when the Holy Spirit descends on all the believers gathered in prayer; and in Revelation 12 we are given the glorious vision of her as the mother of all those "who obey God's commandments and bear witness for Jesus."
When you couple the impact of her words in the biblical narratives with her presence at key salvation events, it should be apparent that none of her accredited apparitions are in any sense inconsistent or incompatible with the Mary who appears and speaks in Scripture. Marian apparitions make Scripture come alive in history.
THE VENERATION OF THE VIRGIN
One consistent characteristic of Marian apparitions is the impetus they lend to veneration of the Virgin. This aspect of apparitions is objectionable to those critics who consider such veneration "unbiblical."
But whether a practice is biblical or not is decided not by one's own historically isolated interpretation of the biblical narratives but by a study of how the Christian Church interpreted these narratives throughout history and across the world. On the question of the veneration of the Virgin (as opposed to the adoration which one owes to God alone), the historical record is unmistakably clear: Christians from the beginning and across the Christian world interpreted Scripture as not only permitting but demanding veneration of the one whom all generations are to call blessed.
We know, from five different sources, that Christians have historically thought and felt that Marian veneration is warranted:
1. The catacombs of the Christian martyrs of the second and third centuries not only show images representing the scriptural stories but also images of the Virgin in which her mediation is invoked for protection and defense. The Sub Tuum Praesidium prayer — "We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin"—is certainly at least as old as the third century (this is known from the discovery of a papyrus from that period).
2. The second-century apocryphal gospels and the fifth-century transitus mariae narratives are obviously fantasies with no basis in fact. They do, however, show us something important: the idea that the Virgin was the most important participant in salvation history after her Son was so rooted in the minds and hearts of the faithful that some of them felt compelled to invent stories about Jesus and Mary that paid homage to their exalted status. What is important here is not the story but the state of mind that led to the invention of the story: these stories were written by and for people who already took the adoration of Jesus and the veneration of Mary for granted.
3. The writings of all of the Church Fathers, the teachers of the earliest Christian communities who interpreted Scripture for the faithful, bear eloquent testimony to Marian veneration. In their scripturally derived understanding of Mary as the New Eve and the New Ark of the Covenant (see the next two chapters), the Fathers established an unassailable basis for Marian veneration that was accepted for centuries by the Christians of East and West.
4. Perhaps the truest witness to the faith of the believing community is the language of their prayer and liturgical celebration. All of the ancient liturgies, even those before the Council of Ephesus, testify to the firm belief of the Christian faithful in the veneration of Mary and the invocation of her intercession. The Eastern liturgies, the most ancient of them all since Christianity originated in the East, resonate with hymns, odes, and to the Virgin. Thousands of the canons in the Byzantine liturgy are written in honor of the Virgin: "While we sing the glories of thy Son, thee, too, O Mother of God, living Temple of the Godhead. O purest One, do not despise the petitions of the sinner." "Hail, Mother of God full of grace, Refuge and Protection of the human race." The Alexandrian liturgy is also replete with Marian veneration and invocation: "Hail to three, O Virgin, the very and true Queen; hail glory of our race." "Hail Mary beseech thee, holy one, full of glory, ever Mother of God, Mother lift up our prayers to thy beloved Son, that He may forgive us our sins. The Antiochene liturgy, perhaps the oldest of the ancient liturgies the liturgy of St. James. The Marian invocations in this latter liturgy are profoundly moving, for example, the following recited during the of the Host, "My blessed Lady Mary, beseech with thine only begotten that he be appeased through thy prayers and perform mercy on us all." In the Western liturgies, Marian veneration and invocation appears in the liturgy of the Mass and also forms a prominent part of regular prayers and feasts. These liturgies celebrate all of the privileges of the Virgin Ranging from her Divine Maternity to her Virginity, Sanctity, Assumption Mediation.
5. Finally, the great Councils of the undivided Church proclaim the convictions held in common by all Christians for the first ten centuries about the role of Mary in salvation history. No Christian can reject these Councils since to reject them would ipso facto mean rejecting the teachings of the Councils about such articles of faith as the Holy Trinity and the two natures and one person in Christ. The Trinity is not a word used in the Bible, but it is an interpretation of certain biblical passages ratified by the Councils of the Church. To believe in the Trinity is implicitly to accept the authority of the Councils that taught the doctrine of the Trinity. If one accepts the doctrine of the Trinity, then one has also to accept the Marian doctrines taught by the Councils- since both doctrines are ultimately accepted on the authority of the bodies that taught them. Among the Councils, the Third Ecumenical Council at Ephesus (431), which taught that Mary was Theotokos, Mother of God, gave a new doctrinal momentum to the great wave of Marian veneration and invocation that had been building up in previous centuries. After this Council, more churches were named after her, new prayers were addressed to her, and great feasts in her honor were introduced into the Church's calendar. The language of the first seven Ecumenical Councils, accepted as authoritative by Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox alike, gives some idea of the reverence that Christians had for their Mother: the Fifth Ecumenical Council (Second Council of Constantinople, 553) describes her as "the holy, glorious and ever-Virgin Mary." "The Virgin Mary" was "really and truly the Mother of God" says the Third Council of Constantinople (680). Finally, and most significantly, the Seventh Ecumenical Council (the Second Council of Nicaea, 787) proclaims, "The Lord, the apostles, and the prophets have taught us that we must venerate in the first place the Holy Mother of God, who is above all the heavenly powers. If any one does not confess that the holy, ever virgin Mary, really and truly the Mother of God, is higher than all creatures visible and invisible, and does not implore with a sincere faith, her intercession, given her powerful access to our God born of her, let him be anathema."
The ancient veneration of the Virgin has been lost in modern times. Did this loss come about from a rediscovery of what the Bible teaches? The answer is no since the ancient authors were familiar not just with the New Testament narratives but with the authors of these narratives. Moreover, if the Christian community had been wrong for all these centuries in its fundamental beliefs about Mary, then there is no reason to believe it was right on any other doctrine, including the doctrine of the Trinity.
The veneration of the Virgin extends to veneration of her images for, as the Seventh Ecumenical Council taught, [We] define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross, so also the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God, and on the sacred vessels and on the vestments and on hangings and in pictures both in houses and by the wayside, to wit, the figure of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, of our spotless Lady, the Mother of God, of the honorable angels, of all saints and of all pious people.... For the honor which is paid to the image passes on to that which the image represents, and he who reveres the image reveres in it the subject represented. The Old Testament condemns idolatry, the worship of graven images and the attribution of deity to any man-made object, but the very book that condemns such idolatry also has Yahweh commanding the construction of images of angels (as do other books of the Bible). Martin Luther's interpretation of Old Testament passages on idolatry is helpful, "Nothing else can be drawn from the words: `Thou shalt have no strange gods before me' except what relates to idolatry. But where pictures or sculptures are made without idolatry, the making of such things is not forbidden." Luther also said, "If I have a painted picture on the wall and I took upon it without idolatry, that is not forbidden to me and should not be taken away from me." Also relevant here is that curious incident in Numbers 21:7-9: "`Intercede for us with Yahweh to save us from these serpents.' Moses interceded for the people, and Yahweh answered him, `Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.' So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.'" This event was important enough for Jesus to refer to it in the context of His own mission ("as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert," John 3:14).
In her apparitions, the Virgin is taking us back to the ancient teachings and practices of the undivided Church. As she said in Amsterdam, "I am not bringing a new doctrine. I am merely restating old themes."
THE RETURN OF THE NEW EVE
The messages of the Marian apparitions revolve around a theme that was fundamental to the first pastors and teachers of Christianity, namely, the parallels between Mary and Eve and the paths to damnation and salvation. This theme sounds foreign to many Christian ears only because so few know the "faith of the Fathers" and the text of the ancient liturgies. If nothing else, the apparitions of the Virgin herald the return of a precious memory.
The first, unanimous, and single most important teaching of the Fathers of the Christian Church about Mary, starting with St. Justin the Martyr, 100-165 A.D., is that Mary is the New Eve. The contrast between Eve and Mary, Adam and Christ, the evil angel in Eden and the good angel at the Annunciation, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of the Cross, lies at the heart of the history of salvation. This is the hidden and yet obvious truth in Scripture that became foundational to the theology and worship of the first Christians. Scholars today point out that Justin's understanding of the Virgin Mary is taken exclusively from Scripture (which is not to say that tradition has no value). The distinguished Lutheran church historian Jaroslav Pelikan notes that Fathers like Irenaeus, when writing about Mary as the New Eve, do not even try to argue for this interpretation since it was already considered a part of the basic body of Christian belief.
The history of salvation in the Judeo-Christian revelation is built around covenants between God and humanity. The idea of a covenant entails an agreement freely entered into by two parties, on the one side God and on the other humanity. Pelikan tells us that, in the Christian vision, two of the key players on the human side were Eve and Mary. This is the message of the Fathers as illustrated in the citations below from Bernard Buby's The Marian Heritage of the Early Church.
He became man by the Virgin in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin. For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived by the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, wherefore also the Holy One begotten of her is the Son of God, and she replied, "Be it done unto me according to your word." (Dialogue with Trypho)
Irenaeus of Lyons (140-202):
[Eve] having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, become the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race. (Against Heresies III)
And just as it was through a virgin who disobeyed that man was stricken and fell and died, so too it was through the Virgin, who obeyed the word of God, that man resuscitated by life received life.... Adam was necessarily to be restored in Christ, that mortality be absorbed in immortality, and Eve in Mary, that a virgin, become the advocate of a virgin, should undo and destroy virginal disobedience by virginal obedience. (Proof of the Apostolic Teaching)
God recovered His image and likeness in a procedure similar to that in which He had been robbed of it by the devil. For it was while Eve was still a virgin that the word of the devil crept in to erect an edifice of death. Likewise, through a Virgin, the Word of God was introduced to set up a structure of life.
As Eve had believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel. The delinquency which the one occasioned by believing, the other by believing effaced. (The Flesh of Christ)
Athanasius of Alexandria (295-373):
Eve listened to the suggestion of the serpent and tribulation descended upon all. And you have inclined your ears to the supplications of Gabriel, and penitence flourished. (De Virginitate)
Ephraem of Syria (306-73):
Eve brought on the sin, and the debt was reserved for the Virgin Mary, that she might pay the debts of her mother, and tear up the handwriting under which were groaning all generations. (On the Annunciation of the Mother of God) Cyril of Jerusalem (315-86): Through Eve yet virgin came death, through a virgin, or rather from a virgin, must Life appear; that as the serpent beguiled the one, so to the other Gabriel might bring good tidings. (De Christo Incarnato)
Ambrose of Milan (339-97):
It was through a man and a woman that flesh was cast from paradise; it was through a virgin that flesh was linked to God. (Epistle 63)
Eve is called mother of the human race, but Mary mother of salvation. (Sermon 45)
Augustine of Hippo (354-430):
The first man, by persuasion of a virgin, fell; the Second Man, with consent of a Virgin, triumphed. By a woman the devil brought in death; by a woman the Lord brought in life. An evil angel of old seduced Eve, a good angel likewise encouraged Mary.... What Eve did by her ill-believing, Mary by her good-believing blotted out. From a woman was the beginning of sin, and on her account we all die, from a woman was the beginning of faith, and on her account are we repaired unto everlasting life. (Sermon 28)
Peter Chrysologus (400-450):
Why Christ wanted to be born is this: that just as death came to all Eve, so through Mary life might return to all. (Sermon 99)
Hesychius of Jerusalem (d. circa 451):
See how great and of what kind is the dignity of the Virgin Mother of God? For the Only begotten Son of God the world's Creator was born as an infant of her, re-formed Adam, sanctified Eve, drove out the dragon, and opened Paradise, keeping sure the seal of her womb. (Oratio de Deiparae Laudibu)
Amphilochilis of Iconium (circa 340-94):
Woman was defended by woman, the first opened the way to sin, the one served to open the way to justice. The former followed the a the serpent, the latter brought forth the slayer of the serpent and to light the author of light. The former introduced sin through the latter brings in grace through the tree. (Patrologia Graeca, vol. 46)
The Mary-Eve typology was not just a theological metaphor but entered into the liturgical celebrations and devotion of the early Christians and became a part of all the ancient liturgies. It was in effect a fundamental teaching of the Church and underlies all the doctrines that we call Marian; for instance, she who would begin the process of reversing the consequences of original sin could not be subject to these consequences (conception in sin, corruption of the grave). Moreover, the importance of the Annunciation - of Mary's yes - for human salvation was not highlighted simply by theologians and pastors. It served as one of the central and persistent themes of artistic creation inspired by the Christian story. Almost all the greatest artists of Christendom have made their own contributions to the depiction of the Annunciation.
But Mary's role in salvation history did not end with the Annunciation. On the one hand, she is permanently the New Eve just as her Son will always be the New Adam. On the other, we see that she is mysteriously present with the New Adam at precisely the times most crucial to the accomplishment of redemption. When the "cause of salvation" offers up her infant Son at the Temple, it is prophesied that a sword will pierce her soul. This prophecy was fulfilled, said the Fathers and the faithful, when her offering came to a climax on Calvary and she became for all time the Sorrowful Mother. The consent given at the Annunciation extended through the Presentation at the Temple to the Sacrifice on Calvary.
As Eve was associated with Adam at all stages of the Fall, so also the New Eve was associated with the New Adam at every step of the road to redemption. The Fathers recognized that the Incarnation cannot be separated from the Cross and redemption, and in calling Mary the New Eve they drew our attention to the singular role she played in the redemptive mission of God Incarnate. Referring to the ancient Church's understanding of Mary as the New Eve, the Anglican theologian Eric Mascall wrote in 1963 (in The Blessed Virgin Mary: Essays by Anglican Writers) that Mary can be "described as coredemptrix in order to bring out the fact that, while Mary has a real part in the redemptive process, because she is morally and physically associated in it with her Son, yet her part is, and must be, essentially subordinate and ancillary to his." "Co" is taken from the Latin term cum meaning "with." "The force of the prefix co is to indicate not equality but subordination, as when St. Paul tells his Corinthian disciples that `we are God's fellow-workers,' his synergoi, his co-operators." More recently (in his Mary for All Christians), another great Anglican thinker, John Macquarrie, noted that Mary symbolizes the "perfect harmony between the divine will and the human response, so that it is she who gives meaning to the expression `coredemptrix.'" To the extent that any Christian shares in the redeeming work of Christ, he or she is a coredeemer; the classic statement of this truth comes from St. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians: "It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church" (Col. 1:24). Macquarrie notes that Mary's coredemptive "contribution was unique" because through her willing acceptance she became the Mother of the Redeemer. (Also, Mary's role as coredemptrix does not eliminate the fact that she herself had to be redeemed; it is believed that her redemption took place at conception through the redemptive effects of her Son's death, which could go backward and forward in time, so that she was not affected by original sin; no other satisfactory explanation can be given of the term kecharitomene used of her, by the angel Gabriel, which meant that she had already been transformed by grace before the birth of her Son.)
To be the New Eve is inevitably to be the partner of the New Adam. It is this truth taught by Scripture as the Fathers understood it and celebrated in the great liturgies of East and West that is also a key theme in the apparitions of the last two hundred years: the Immaculate Heart of Mary lays the groundwork for the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Coredemptrix prepares the way for the Second Coming of the Redeemer. The sorrowing mother at Calvary revealed in one apparition that "from my Son's birth until His death, I was filled with grief."
In so many of the modern apparitions, she and her images are seen in tears: her tears are shed for the eternal loss of her spiritual children and for the pain that human sin continues to cause her Son. "Why do you persecute me?" asks the Lord of Saul, the killer of Christians. And Christians who fall away "have willfully crucified the Son of God and openly mocked him" (Heb. 6:6). Although the Virgin enjoys the essential beatitude of Heaven, as a human Mother her happiness is not complete without the happiness of her children, and hence this latter secondary joy will not be complete until the end of time.
The Virgin's identity as the New Eve, with its attendant and ancillary implications, was accepted by all Christians for the first fifteen hundred Christianity. Although it has been in eclipse in certain parts of the Cristhian world for the last five hundred years, one cannot reject this truth without into question a whole host of other such truths. For instance, the doctrine of the Trinity is an interpretation of Scripture that is accepted because it emerged over centuries in the writings of the Fathers (the first major treatise on the divinity of the Holy Spirit was written in the fourth century when Athanasius Epistolae ad Serapionem in 360), the teaching of the Councils, and the worship of the liturgy. If one rejects the authority of these three pillars, then one cannot teach the doctrine of the Trinity as an authoritative Christian doctrine. But if one one accepts their authority, then one cannot reject the doctrine of the New Eve.
Precisely because it is a true Christian doctrine that is of continuing significance in salvation history, this doctrine has been brought back to humanity in the modern Marian apparitions. The now-forgotten teaching of the Fathers, the Councils, and the liturgies is being handed down again but from another source: the New Eve herself.