The Annunciation and Motherhood

The Feast of the Annunciation was moved from March 25th to April 8, 2024, due to Holy Week.

Dr. Robert Walley, Executive Director of MaterCare International (Canada) wrote this article for the Feast of the Annunciation in 2018.

The Feast of the Annunciation (of the Incarnation) has been transferred this Year to April 9th as the usual day of March 25th occurred on Palm Sunday. This commemorates the visit when “the Angel Gabriel declared unto Mary, and she conceived by the Holy Spirit” and became the mother of the Son of God. The Incarnation began when the divine nature of the Son was united but not mixed with human nature in one divine Person, Jesus Christ, Who was both “truly God and truly man”.  Thus began the most intimate relationship between God and a human being, when the Divine embryo was implanted into the womb of a young women and was nourished and nurtured through the zygotic and foetal stages of his first 266 days of earthly life. Pope St John Paul II in his millennium letter, reminded us that we were to celebrate the most important motherhood in human history, “The Father chose a woman for a unique mission in the history of salvation: that of being the Mother of the long awaited Saviour. The Virgin Mother responded with complete openness”.  His mother was with him through many early trials and tribulations, the flight into Egypt when the Holy Family became refugees, the finding in the Temple and was close to Him at their home for 30 years. His mother followed him during his public ministry from Canna, to be with him at His crucifixion and finally to hold His body in her arms.

God wonderfully decided that all human beings, should be conceived by the union of a woman and a man, and should also be nourished and nurtured in their mother’s wombs. Therefore, all our mothers surely have a special share in the mystery of the Incarnation, through their own intimate relationship with God and with all of us.  They also have a special understanding with Jesus Mother, when they too lose their baby, through complications of pregnancy, childbirth or die from disease or malnutrition or are killed during war.

Motherhood has special significance for all Christians but its value however in our modern world has been reduced to a matter of choice.  Each year on March 8th, organizations from around the world come together to celebrate, acknowledge and address issues affecting women. We hear words such as equality, inclusiveness and justice.  But mothers are the missing women from the women’s movement for they are women too. They are not trained, paid, nor pensioned for what they do. They are in many ways the heart and soul of their families and thus are the most important contributors in the support of healthy societies and therefore the environment.  Mothers who have special needs too are dismissed as failures are undervalued by the women’s movement and now it seems in the opinion of one senior Vatican cleric, they pose a threat to the environment.

Last Year the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences commented on an article in the New York Times about people using birth control to stop having children because of “climate change” fear. The Academy suggested that being “pro-life” includes environmentalism. ​ “You cannot call yourself [a] ‘pro-life advocate’ unless you take a stand against ALL threats to life – the catastrophe of climate change, war and the arms trade, an economic system with vast amounts of exclusion and inequality,” the tweet, written by an International Monetary Fund (IMF) employee, said. “You must stand with Pope Francis.”

Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the Chancellor for the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, at a recent Vatican conference titled “Biological Extinction,” which included world-famous, pro-abortion and pro-contraception population control advocates in attendance stated that the Church’s teaching on reproduction is unclear.  Seemingly wanting to be politically correct he went on to say the following “We know some part but not all of the doctrine of the Church” about fertility and procreation,” “Many times, we don’t know exactly what is the doctrine of the Church – we know some part but not all the doctrine of the Church about the question of the fecundity,” The Archbishop then added that “education” will help women have fewer children, “When you have education, we don’t have children ” “We don’t have seven children. Maybe we have one children. two children. No more.” (LifeSiteNews March 9th 2018)

It would seem that the Chancellor, who holds important offices of the Church needs to improve his knowledge of Church teaching starting with Blessed (Saint to be) Pope Paul VI, then Pope St John Paul II and Pope Benedict and indeed Pope Francis, before causing further offence and confusion among Catholic mothers.  Having offended mothers directly he indirectly insulted fathers as well, especially this writer whose wife had seven children, who nourished and nurtured them into adulthood and still does as they have their children.

We are told in the book of Genesis by God “Be fruitful and multiply”, and this is the responsibility of parents not population controllers, The Chancellor seems unaware that the population in the western world is falling rapidly e.g. Italy is dying and newborns are not replacing those who die. He should know that over 300,000 mothers die annually in the developing world, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa and 2.6 million children died in the first month of life in 2016 – approximately 7,000 newborn deaths every day as well all because they do not have necessary health care. Fortunately, many governments are trying very hard to reverse these trends, realizing the serious consequences.

On this Feast Day let us pray for all mothers to Our Great Mother, Mary Mother of God and Mary Mother of the Church.

Dr R. L Walley

Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology,

Founder and Executive Director of MaterCare International

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