God as Mother - References/Documents

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CatholicGeek

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Can anyone point me to some good “official” sources of teaching about referencing God as “Mother”.

I found some good articles on it, but I want to find official church documents if I can.

One article (URL below) had a good quote from the “Ratzinger Report”, which I can’t seem to find the contents online. (Looks like I’ll need to purchase the book - $0.99 used a the big A site).

FYI - Link to article “Why God is Father and Not Mother”:
catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Faith/Jul-Aug99/God2.html

Thanks!
 
The Vatican’s website features the following private revelation of Saint Julian of Norwich:
It is a characteristic of God to overcome evil with good.
Jesus Christ therefore, who himself overcame evil with good, is our true Mother. We received our “Being” from Him * and this is where His Maternity starts * And with it comes the gentle Protection and Guard of Love which will never ceases to surround us.
Just as God is our Father, so God is also our Mother.
Our highest Father, God Almighty, who is “Being”, has always known us and loved us: because of this knowledge, through his marvellous and deep charity and with the unanimous consent of the Blessed Trinity, He wanted the Second Person to become our Mother, our Brother, our Saviour.
It is thus logical that God, being our Father, be also our Mother. Our Father desires, our Mother operates and our good Lord the Holy Ghost confirms; we are thus well advised to love our God through whom we have our being, to thank him reverently and to praise him for having created us and to pray fervently to our Mother, so as to obtain mercy and compassion, and to pray to our Lord, the Holy Ghost, to obtain help and grace.
For the complete text, see Juliana of Norwich: God is Our Mother
 
What in the world? is this one of those inclusive language mentality? (Father, Son, Holy Spirit = The Creator, The Redeemer, The Sanctifier)

God is the Father period.
 
What in the world? is this one of those inclusive language mentality?
No.

There is a certain sense in which God can be called “Mother,” even if a habitual usage of the word is not appropriate.

Saint Julian of Norwich was certainly not a Modernist.
 
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beng:
What in the world? is this one of those inclusive language mentality? (Father, Son, Holy Spirit = The Creator, The Redeemer, The Sanctifier)

God is the Father period.
Nope.

God the Father

God the Son

God the Holy Spirit.

3 Persons, 1 God.
 
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beng:
is this one of those inclusive language mentality? (Father, Son, Holy Spirit = The Creator, The Redeemer, The Sanctifier)
My reason for asking was seeing a prayer that begins “Father, Mother, Son and Holy Spirit, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier …”

I understand God is a-sexual, not male or female. I understand the trinity (to the extent that I can 🙂 ). God is in a sense both Father and Mother which was pointed out in
vatican.va/spirit/documents/spirit_20010807_giuliana-norwich_en.html (which is on the Vatican web site, thank you).

But God has also reveal himself as Father, and the doctrine of the trinity refers to the first person as “Father”.

I’m looking for church teaching on this. I have my opinion, but I feel my opinion is not good enough. I feel that I need to clearly understand the use of the term “Mother”, in this context, as the church teaches.

Thus the question …"**Can anyone point me to some good “official” sources of teaching about referencing God as “Mother”?" **
 
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Crusader:
Nope.

God the Father

God the Son

God the Holy Spirit.

3 Persons, 1 God.
This is true, but God does combine all the traits we call feminine and masculine. This is the point Blessed Julian was trying to make.
If you want to get technical we could call God simply “parent”…
 
“So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female …” Genesis 1:27

That is, he created them to be fathers and mothers, like himself?
 
I don’t believe the Church has anything official to say about this: at least, not explicitly.

We can look to her liturgical tradition for some precedent, however. The liturgy has never , ever referred to God as “Mother.” And yet, some saints have in their private mystical experiences.

From this, I gather that it is God’s wish that he publicly be referred to as “Father.” Privately, however, referring to God as “Mother” isn’t necessarily wrong, so long as we keep his Fatherhood in mind as well.

We can make other comparisons. Liturgically, the Church seldom prays to Jesus alone. This is because, even though such prayer is appropriate, since Jesus is fully God, it is God’s wish that the Son be publicly akcnowledges as the Mediator between God and Man, and so prayer 'through" Jesus, rather than “to” him, is more appropriate.

Prviately, however, we can pray to Jesus, His Sacred Heart, etc.

I could be wrong about this. Maybe someone else can put it more fluently than I can.
 
While God is “a-sexual” as someone mentioned above, it would be advisable to go around calling God - ‘Mother’.

This runs contrary to the revelation of Himself through Jesus Christ. Jesus thought us to call God, Father. The Holy Spirit helps us to cry out, ABBA, Father.

what ever kind of ‘motherhood’ might be found in God has NOT been be clarified so I would advise to refrain from such language until it has been understood and cleared up. :cool:

question: what did you type in the search to pull up that link to St. Julian at the Vatican web site?

Also, just because you find it on the site does not mean that it is something ‘held’ or taught by the church, just like many try to debunk Papal Infallability by quoting some popes from centuries that seem to contradict the deposit of Faith.
 
When Jesus taught us the Lord’s Prayer, he began “Our Father”. Nowhere in the Bible is God referred to as Mother. In fact, God revealed Himself in masculine terms. Sacred Tradition has always referred to the first person of the trinity as Father. It is not appropriate for anyone to arbitrarily change “Father” to “Mother”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “By calling God “Father,” the LANGUAGE of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.” (CCC 239)
 
Jim,

What do you make of Saint Julian of Norwhich’s prayers and revelations?
 
Julian (or Juliana) of Norwich’s writings are derived from private revelation. As such, they do not belong to the deposit of faith but may be used to help us (or at least those living in the 14th century) to better understand the faith. Julian may have recognized just what the catechism points out on this topic (see my previous post). Notice that her language (in the piece in question) maintains masculine terminology when discussing God’s motherhood (i.e. “His Maternity”).
 
👍

Still, do you think that, in priavte prayer, its wrong to refer to God as “Mother,” as long as the Fatherhood is kept in perspective?
 
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DominvsVobiscvm:
I don’t believe the Church has anything official to say about this: at least, not explicitly.
The church does have something explicit to say about this:
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CCC:
  1. “…The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.”
The language we use in terms of gender pronouns for liturgical texts and common prayers is also spelled out explicitly by the church. I quote at length from the document Liturgiam Authenticam in a post “Re: Some folks too hard on lit abuse issue” in the “Liturgy” section. Specifically, you might want to look at posts #'s 22, 25, & 26.

Hope this helps.
 
Jim Blackburn:
Julian (or Juliana) of Norwich’s writings are derived from private revelation. As such, they do not belong to the deposit of faith but may be used to help us (or at least those living in the 14th century) to better understand the faith. Julian may have recognized just what the catechism points out on this topic (see my previous post). Notice that her language (in the piece in question) maintains masculine terminology when discussing God’s motherhood (i.e. “His Maternity”).
Excellent explanation Jim. Thank you.

Gerry 🙂
 
Jim Blackburn:
When Jesus taught us the Lord’s Prayer, he began “Our Father”. Nowhere in the Bible is God referred to as Mother. In fact, God revealed Himself in masculine terms. Sacred Tradition has always referred to the first person of the trinity as Father. It is not appropriate for anyone to arbitrarily change “Father” to “Mother”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “By calling God “Father,” the LANGUAGE of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.” (CCC 239)
The use of the term Father thus has a theological significance about it, not that God is male or female, for He is spirit, but that He is the ultimate origin of all.

Gerry 🙂
 
What i don’t get is why this is even an issue.

Why can we not be content with who God says he is?
 
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