Q. We celebrate the memorial of the Queenship of Mary this Saturday, August 22. When my Christian friends who aren’t Catholic complain that we shouldn’t refer to Mary as “Queen of the Universe,” what’s a brief but sufficient response?
A. My usual approach is to point out that in the royal line of King David in ancient Israel, the queen of the realm was usually the king’s mother, not his wife, in part because kings often had multiple wives, and choosing one as queen over the others would have led to serious trouble! (We continue that custom today in nations such as the United Kingdom that have a designated “Queen Mother.”) The ancient Israelites even had a special name for her in Hebrew: Gebirah, “the Great Lady.” Bathsheba served as the Queen Mother when her son Solomon was king, and she sat at the king’s right hand and interceded with him for the people (see 1 Kings 2:19–20).
When the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would miraculously conceive and bear a Son, he declared that the Baby, Jesus, was the descendant of King David to whom God would give David’s royal throne (see Luke 1:31–33). Implicit in that declaration was the reality that Mary was to be the Queen Mother of her Son, who was Jesus the King.