The Vatican Secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, stated that the Church "always discovers and understands better" its "identity as mother, disciple, and teacher" in the Virgin Mary.
The Prelate made this affirmation in a message on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI to the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Paul Poupard, and to the participants of the 11th Public Assembly of the Pontifical Academies.
In the text, published on the eve of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Prelate emphasized that the theme of this event "The Immaculate Virgin, Mother of all men, icon of beauty and of divine charity," is intended "to emphasize the singular participation of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of all men, in the mystery of God, sublime mystery of beauty and charity."
"The One and Trine God, who spreads His beauty and His charity throughout the world He has created, communicates their qualities to humans in a particular way through the most perfect Mediator, His Son Jesus Christ, modeling them and sanctifying them with the power of the Holy Spirit, so that they may be saints and immaculate in the presence of His love,” continued Cardinal Bertone.
The cardinal reminded the participants that the objective of the Pontifical Academies is "to promote and to maintain, in the Church, in the cultural world, and in the world of the arts, a renewed and generous project of Christian humanism."
Bertone emphasized that "Mary of Nazareth excels among all creatures as a reflective mirror of the divine beauty because, having been preserved from original sin and filled with grace, is so animated and permeated by the love of the Holy Spirit, she is able to become the prototype of the human person that, in a fuller way and without reserve, receives the Son of God in the tragic hour of His passion and in the hour of the resurrection".
"Maintain a deep unity with Christ crucified and resurrected, Mary is revealed as the Mother of all humanity, particularly to the disciples of her Son," he added.
Cardinal Bertone recalled the words of Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” which says, "under the cross of her Son, 'Mary has been truly made the Mother of all believers" and that to her “maternal goodness” mankind of all times can direct their hopes and needs.
"The Church,” Bertone continued, “in imitation of the Virgin Mary, is called to receive the Son of God in history and in the events of all peoples and cultures, contemplating the singular and luminous figure of Mary, always discovers and understands its identity as mother, disciple, and teacher better."
"The Holy Father,” said Cardinal Bertone, “takes this opportunity to encourage all students of Mariology to ever greater commitment and more intense activity, both in study centers and in the field of academic publications, taking care to ensure that their methodology respects a fruitful interaction between the 'via veritatis' (the way of truth) and the 'via pulchritudinis,' (the way of beauty) which come together in the 'via caritatis.' (the way of love)”
Bertone’s message also announced the Holy Father’s awarding of the Pontifical Academies’ Prize, to the 'Section Africaine pour les Congres Mariologiques,' which is affiliated to the Pontifical International Marian Academy, “and is made up of young students and teachers of Mariology from various African countries."
The Marian Academy is, “distinguished for their significant academic initiatives, which seek to contextualize in African cultures the Maryological reflection," Bertone said.
He also announced, by the order of the Pope, the awarding of a Pontifical Medal to Fr. Fidel Stockl, O.R.C., of the Philippines, for his book, "Mary, Model and Mother of consecrated life: A Marian synthesis of theology of consecrated life based on the teachings of John Paul II."
"In conclusion, I express to all educators and especially to the members of the Pontifical Academy of the Immaculate and of the International Marian Pontifical Academy, the lively satisfaction of His Holiness for the activities being carried out, with a generous pledge to promote, in word and action, in your respective spheres of life and study, an authentic Christian humanism," said Cardinal Bertone.