This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect.

This, the first sentence of Lumen Gentium, Chapter VIII, article 62 is a statement from which we can extrapolate the progressive interrelation of the five Marian doctrines. We see that the Council is saying that her role as “Mother of God,” which began with her freely willed cooperation at the Annunciation, has led her to providentially and rightly be called the “mother in the order of grace,” or our “spiritual mother,” in the unceasing mediation of salvific grace for the people of God. Regardless of whether the position of this statement in the order and organization of the document  is viewed as positive or negative in its effect on clarity for the faithful and ecumenism with our separated brethren, it can be asserted that the efforts of the Council have opened up “new avenues of approach” in the continuing understanding of Mary’s role as Mediatrix. These are the thoughts of Pope Paul VI in a letter to the Fifth International Mariological Congress at Lisbon in August of 1967:

Although it refrained from establishing any new basis for Marian doctrine, the Council nevertheless made such excellent and clear statements concerning the most Blessed Virgin Mary that we can say that it has opened new avenues of approach both for a more profound theological study and for the promotion of a sounder and healthier Christian piety toward the Mother of God. (1)

An examination of the climate of Marian theology in the Church in the period leading up to and after the promulgation of this Chapter on the Blessed Virgin, the perceived and tangible effects of the teachings of the council on this development, the Church teaching that is a result of this Chapter on “Our Lady,” and the negative effects on Marian devotion that may have followed (and a consideration of the reasons why) is an important exercise for the comprehension and spiritual life of the faithful. Mary’s role as Mediatrix of grace, or her “maternal mediation,” is the result of her Immaculate Conception and cooperation in the plan of salvation. It is uniquely linked with the manifest action of the Holy Spirit. The Church was extensive in its explanation of this role at Vatican II, reflecting a development of this understanding and opening the door for further clarification.

The role of Mary in salvation history predates the nativity. Her explicit cooperation was predicted in the protoevangelium. Her subsequent role in the salvation of all generations continues, as Article 62 instructs. These are the providential actions of God, to include created mankind in His plan of redemption for them. The Gospel accounts of the Annunciation and Visitation undeniably show how Mary helps mediate the graces bestowed upon mankind from the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit. It is the unavoidable destiny of the Magisterium to reveal and interpret these eternal truths. This current period in the understanding of Mary’s role as Queen of Heaven and of her spiritual maternity as the Mediatrix of Grace contains a benchmark in the documents of Lumen Gentium and their rich description contained in the Church’s articulation regarding the Blessed Virgin’s interrelated titles.

As we examine the climate of Marian theology leading up to and following the Second Vatican Council, we discover that a decline in the theological recognition and devotional practices in the decade following the council—sometimes referred to as the “years without Mary”—was preceded, ironically, by a century which exhibited great momentum in the recognition of these truths and Marian piety. (2) This is evidenced dogmatically by the definition of the third and fourth Marian dogmas. The development of these doctrines and their infallible definition in 1854 and 1950 were accompanied by a widespread practice of public and private Marian devotion in the spiritual life of the faithful. Why did the Council choose to combine the original schema on Mary with the Church constitution and neglect to give her a document of her own, as idealized in the original schema? Was the Council’s intention in this closely debated decision misunderstood in the post conciliar interpretation of Mary’s role in the Church? What was the Council’s intention when it did choose to include Mary in Lumen Gentium? Does the description of Mary’s role within the Church more or less accurately illuminate the faithful as to the spiritual benefits mankind can prosper from along the narrow road of salvation? In these forty years since the Council have we seen a renewed sense of understanding and articulation? Where does, and why, does resistance to further Marian dogmas come from? How well do the Council documents defend and define the full revelation given to the Church regarding Mary’s role in a Christocentric theology and an ecclesial theology? By looking at what the Council does and does not say about Mary we can try to shed light on these questions.

Although not a dogmatic Council, in its pastoral mode the words the Second Vatican Council used give doctrinal support to the Church teaching regarding Mary’s spiritual motherhood. These doctrinal descriptions of the Mediatrix, Advocate and Co-Redemptrix aspects of spiritual motherhood are comprehensive. Even though the Council decided not to use the term Co- Redemptrix and mentioned the term Mediatrix, and Advocate in a limited sense, the doctrinal definitions are there. The Council supports these doctrines in its language, which is used as the heart of the Catechism’s extensive treatment of these aspects of maternal mediation. It is generally understood that the Council authors purposely avoid the use of the term “Co-Redemptrix in fear of a misunderstanding that may have resulted.” (3) Pope Paul compared Mary and Christ as names which will become a sign of contradiction but appealed to her and our separated brethren for Christian unity. (4) The doctrine of the mediative aspect had been fully developed by the time the Council preparatory commission convened. There existed among experts and Council Fathers two schools of thought, one of which was evidently marginally more popular, based on the result of the vote which determined the position these statements would have within the document.

In his article, “Vatican II and Mary,” J. Michael Miller explains:

Although generalizations are always risky and by nature imprecise, it is still safe to say that the Fathers and their periti, or “theological experts,” approached the mystery of Mary from at least two different perspectives: the “christotypical”: Mary in light of Christ; and the “ecclesiotypical”: Mary in light of the Church. (5)

The end result of the ecclesiotypical perspective making up the majority was that a separate schema that had existed on Mary ended up being absorbed in a lengthy chapter at the end of the Constitution on the Church.

Proponents of the position that the Council adopted included theologians and experts such as Edward Schillebeeckx, who typically articulated their defense of the adopted format and rejection of the use of the term Co-Redemptrix in this way:

In the face of the mariological tendencies which were dominant at that time, to give Mary a place in so-called “objective redemption,” I stressed that Mary must not be put on the side of Jesus Christ but on the side of reception by the community of faith. (6)

According to this school of thought, Mary’s primary theological and spiritual position belonged within the Church of the redeemed rather than as an active participant with her Son in salvation history. (7) The influence of this conciliar Mariology also led to a change in Marian piety in the aftermath of the Council, as Miller observes on the state of the Church in 1988:

Vatican II’s statement on Mary did coincide with the decline of the vigorous Mariology and Marian piety of the pre-conciliar years. … where Marian piety has not been totally eclipsed, it does have a different “feel.”… more sober, more biblical, more closely tied to the Church’s liturgy and especially more focused on Jesus… Behind this new devotional orientation is a conciliar Mariology, the fulfillment of the Father’s hopes. They willed this change in direction. (8)

Another defense of this shift in position is given in a 1988 interview conducted with Father Rene Laurentin, who served as an expert to the preparatory commission. It is also based on the position of the ecclesiotypical Mariologists who left their eternal imprint on the tone of the Council documents. (9)

I was nominated by Ottaviani to the doctrinal commission. This fact did not stop me from criticizing the schemas prepared for the Council. I must say that my criticism turned out to be fatal for the document that had been projected concerning Mary. The tendency of the Curia was to have a schema in itself; instead I preferred Mariology inserted into the document on the Church, which in fact became the case.

Question: Have you experienced any rethinking about that selection?

Answer: None. …it is a very good document, completely in line with Tradition. A decrease in Mariology and, what is more important, in devotion to Mary in the postconciliar period is the result not of the Council itself but of a combination of causes.

Question: What are some of those causes?

Answer: …those years of the fifties…doubtless represented a culmination of an excessive and at times sentimental polarization concerning Mary. The postconciliar neglect can also be explained as an exaggerated reaction to this fact, (also)… There was after the Council a misunderstood ecumenism…, (it) does not mean camouflaging. It does not mean agreement on a minimum. Truth must not be subordinated to opportunities for dialog. (10)

The content of the chapter actually transcends the theoretical limitations imposed by the wish for a strictly ecclesiological expression of Mary’s role. Since her Christological importance metaphysically precedes her ecclesiological importance, the Christological had to be discussed extensively as well. (11) This is only to be expected on any lengthy discussion of Mariology. (This is the lengthiest statement about Mary to emanate from any general Council. (12) ) The chapter includes a disclaimer of its limitations and encourages the continuation of clarification of “those opinions …propounded in Catholic schools.” (13) Certainly those opinions propounded would have included her maternal mediation and associated aspects of her spiritual motherhood. Therefore to construe that the resulting decline in Mariology and Marian piety was the wish of the Council Fathers is contradictory. (14) However, the ecclesiological dimension did come to the primary position in the period following the Council, as Miller observes, “Though in the years following the Council an ecclesiotypical Mariology overshadowed the Christotypical, the Fathers had not intended this one-sidedness. Perhaps the time has come to help the pendulum swing back to the center.” The reversal to a corrected order that holds that the Christological implications are primary would begin to come about some years after the Council. This would tangibly occur when John Paul II published his only Marian encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, in 1987. In truth the Council documents gave us both aspects of Mary in relation to Christ and the Church. (15) She is also mentioned in other documents of the Council which show us how the Holy Spirit works through her in the mission of the Church to save souls.

When examined in a broader perspective, despite the “years without Mary” after the Council, in the past 150 years there have been very dramatic advances in the development of Marian doctrine. From the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, to, more recently, the movement within the Church to dogmatically define the role of Mary as Spiritual Mother, which increased in earnestness on the heels of these dogmas, we have seen a steady momentum to assign the titles and roles of Mary that will allow her to assist the Holy Spirit to save souls through understanding and prayer. The first four Marian Dogmas likewise had a slow development and also met with resistance. Although the voice of the faithful also encouraged the proclamation of the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption, we have never before seen such unprecedented support (especially from clergy and Bishops) as the present movement has shown. Through the Eucharist, Mary stands patiently with her Son at the foot of the cross in the re-presentation of the sacrifice at Calvary. She waits for the Church to recognize her titles of Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. The better understanding that would result from a dogmatic definition of these titles, what they do and do not mean, would promote authentic ecumenism. This unity of the Church in communion that would result, under Mary’s motherly influence, would take her children nearer to fulfilling the wish of her Son that all would be one.

Within the pre-Vatican II period of the twentieth century there was a widespread devotion to Mary which served as an effective way for Catholics to develop their personal relationship with Jesus; true Marian devotion is Christocentric hence benedictions and Eucharistic Liturgy are always the ultimate focus of any Marian devotion and intercessory movement. After the Second Vatican Council the atmosphere of Marian devotion and theological development was somewhat hesitant, compared to its former pace, as the people of God pondered and applied the teachings of that sacred Synod. The Reverend Kenneth Baker comments on this situation:

One of the most remarkable changes in the Catholic Church after the Vatican council was the rapid decline in Marian devotions. It seems as if, almost overnight, the Rosary was neglected (and often ridiculed), May devotions ceased and Mary became something of a remote saint. The protestations of good Pope Paul VI did nothing to stem the tide, even though he wrote and spoke beautifully about Mary. (16)

When examining these so called “years without Mary” after the Council, feminist author Charlene Spretnak asserts that Vatican II and its desire “that henceforth Mary be seen as a member of the Church, not a force above it,” coincided with Marian devotion being “diminished” and that a “great silence descended concerning Mary.” She also traces the renewed resurgence of Mariology and Marian piety to the pontificate of John Paul II and his publication of Redemptoris Mater, his devotion to Our Lady of Czestochowa, his admiration of St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort and his petitions to the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Mercy, for world peace. (17)

In twentieth century pre-Conciliar Catholic theology the idea of Mary’s role as a conduit of grace was better understood due to the words and life of one who exhibited, through his own intercessory actions, how the effects of the graces received in God’s plan can transform humanity one life at a time. This proponent of doctrinal development was St. Maximilian Kolbe. The deeper understanding that he articulated is valuable today as a way for us to better comprehend Mary’s role in our sanctification through the Spirit. St. Maximilian’s own life and death are proof positive of how this grace and understanding raises a soul to live as Jesus did. This was shown by his ultimate example, that of giving his life for another. His writings can help to bring the Church to an even better insight into the reality of Mary, and help restore Marian theology to its proper prominence in the Church. He leads the Church along the path of the saints, who by their theological and spiritual expressions, and through their providential actions inspired by grace, give evidence of the people’s desire to exalt Mary, by proclaiming her rightful titles and prominent role within the Church, primarily understood in light of her role in salvation history. His descriptions of the Holy Spirit’s manifestation through Mary’s Immaculate Heart illuminate the Church’s understanding of Mary’s inseparable union with the Spirit in the distributive work of bestowing grace.  This inseparable union with the Holy Spirit is analogous in a sense to the hypostatic union in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and when closely examined, explains her resulting role of Mediatrix in the order of grace. St Maximilian’s theology explains how the predestiantion of Mary to the exalted position as Mother of God led to her Immaculate Conception, and in fact, how the five Marian doctrines are indivisible and inexorably tied to the Christocentric understanding of salvation and mediation. He explains:

Everyone knows how closely the various truths of Christian doctrine are intertwined with each other. The dogmas of Catholicism grow out of each other and constantly enrich each other…the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus proclaimed the dogma of Mary’s divine maternity. Once it had been realized what relationships united Jesus with Mary his mother, the Catholic faith was led to conclude that there could be no original sin in the mother of the Savior…when they considered…her unspeakably close union with the Holy Spirit (the Immaculate Conception), the faithful were led to place themselves with full confidence under the gentle protection of Mary. Up to the present our relationship…to Mary, the Co-Redemptrix and Dispentrix of all graces, has not been fully and completely understood. But in time faith in her mediation grows…Mary’s mediation is a consequence of the dogma of her Immaculate Conception….while their union is not of the same order as the hypostatic union…Mary’s action is the very action of the Holy Spirit…she accomplishes in everything the will of the Holy Spirit who dwelt in her from the first instant of her conception….as the spouse of the Holy Spirit she shares in the distribution of all graces. (18)

Fr. Kolbe was involved in developing, through his writings on Marian Mediation, the theology which was studied by the commission under Pope Pius XI,  when he was pondering a dogmatic proclamation of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood. He initiated a petition of prayer among the faithful to bring about “the moment of the solemn proclamation.” Although in his shortened lifetime this did not occur, with the aid of his inspiration the voice of the faithful continues to petition through prayer for the Holy See to allow her this privilege he so ardently desired. He wrote with certainty and used typology to give Scriptural foundations to the title of Co-Redemptrix by tying her obedience that allowed our salvation to the reversal of Eve’s disobedience.

He viewed the theology behind the explanation of the term “Maternal Mediation” or “Mediatrix” as “most in need of elaboration” rather than the argument for Co-Redemptrix, both of which he considered the providential and logical result of her association with Christ. He sees her mediation as a consequence of her Co-Redemption and linked to her “spousal relationship” with the Holy Spirit. In his advanced understanding he sees the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. The “ineffable union” between Mary and the Holy Spirit explains the necessity of the recognition of her role in the distribution of graces through the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, her son. (19)

Rather than recognize the development of understanding that was gathering speed in the mid-twentieth century towards the definition of a fifth doctrine, did the Church instead inadvertently reduce the Marian component of true Christocentric understanding of redemption by her organization of Church documents in this Council? Cardinal Santos Ruffini expressed this belief in the debate on this issue. His belief was not that the supporters of this position of Mary’s schema in the documents were opposed to proper Mariology, but that they failed to see that her ecclesiological role in the Church was predicated by her role in Christology. His position argued that Mary’s relation to the Trinity predates her relationship with the Church. He believes that this merging of teachings “restricted” the truth about Mary to her voyage with the Church “on its earthly pilgrimage.” (20) Did the Church, in its zeal to describe itself to the world, mistakenly reduce her role and position in the Church to one she certainly holds but only because of the preexisting position she has in Christology? “In a word, Mariology was not part of ecclesiology; to reduce Mariology to ecclesiology would be to do violence to the dogmatic presentation and do detriment to its pastoral aim.” (21)

John Paul II’s view on ecumenism always calls for a complete and undiluted exchange of teaching through dialogue. He urges ecumenism to embrace distinctively Catholic ideas and warns against a “reduction towards a common minimum.” (22) In response to concerns about whether future consideration of a definition of the fifth Marian dogma would have a negative influence on the unity of Christians one should instead consider the role Mary can (and will!) play as the Mother of the ecumenical movement and the hope of the Church for true unity. To resist this inevitable definition, and logical sequence in the history of Marian dogmas, which will make clear what she does and does not do, would instead have a negative effect on ecumenism.

In fact, based on the approved private revelations which occurred shortly before the Council under her title as “The Lady of All Nations,” Mary calls for the Church’s proclamation of the dogma and associated titles as imperative for enabling her to bring the grace that will allow peace and unity to flood the world. She predicts with certainty that, despite the theological misunderstandings and obstacles that present themselves to delay this divine process, Rome will eventually proclaim this fifth dogma which will complete the development of Marian doctrine in Church history. Let us consider her own words and actions as communicated to visionary Ida Peerdeman on May 31st, 1954, which was the feast of “Mary Mediatrix of All Graces”:

Once more I am here—The Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate is now standing before you. I have chosen this day: on this day the Lady will be crowned. Theologians and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, listen carefully: I have given you the explanation of the dogma. Work and ask for this dogma. You should petition the Holy Father for this dogma. The Lord Jesus Christ has wrought great things and will give even more to you all in these times, in this twentieth century. On this date ‘the Lady of All Nations’ will receive Her official title of ‘Lady of All Nations.’ Note well: these three concepts in one. These three (at this the Lady puts up three fingers and moves the other hand round about Her until She becomes as it were enveloped in a delicate mist). Now I have demonstrated these three concepts to your theologians. These three concepts as one whole. I am saying this twice because there are some who will accept only one concept. The Holy Father will agree to the former. But you will have to help him to achieve this. Make no mistake about it.” (23)

When we look at the document that ultimately resulted from Vatican II and examine its development, we see that there was a consensus at the Council concerning the understanding of the truth of the term mediatrix to describe Mary’s continued involvement in Christ’s work through the Church. Her relationship within the Church was not the emphasis of the original schema, De B. M. Virgine, Matre Dei et Matre Hominum, which was considered by the Fathers in 1962 and 1963. The focus of the original schema was instead on Mary’s Christological role, and how the Church understands it and practices it’s understanding. After the title of the schema was changed to Dei Maria, Matre Ecclesia, and it was re-presented to the Fathers in October 1963, we see the first mention of the initiative to integrate its content into Lumen Gentium and reorder its material. (24) This idea, to treat Mary as “type and image and exemplar of the faithful,” was first discussed in council by Cardinal Santos as an ecumenical consideration (although this “ecclesial” language did not yet exist in the schema). On the other hand he also argued for the recognition that Mary, while being the “first and principal” member of the Church,” is “somehow above the Church.” Integrating the schema, in his opinion, would indeed have the effect of “incorrectly reducing Mariology to ecclesiology” and away from its importance in “Christology and soteriology.” (25) The opposing view presented by Cardinal Frings was that Mary’s schema should be integrated:

Both the Church’s eschatological end and destiny, and the Virgin’s terrestrial life and saving function” must be treated together. The Church is not only “institute of salvation,” but also “People of God and community of saints,” wherein “the Blessed Virgin as eminent member” is to be placed. Consequently “these Marian privileges, though personal, contain at the same time an eschatological meaning, that is, in the Church and for the Church. In such a way is Mary type of the Church. (26)

The six sections which composed the schema had no explicit reference to the Church other than the final one which discussed her place as patroness of Christian unity. The primary theme of the schema, her role as Mother of God and of men, which is the subject of the first section of the schema, and the function that this led to, her association with Christ and salvation, gave way to the main theme that was actually promulgated in Chapter VIII, her union with the redeemed.

Can one view the council as a preparation for the Marian renewal that was to come under the direction of John Paul II’s Marian pontificate? Baker continues in his reflection as the Marian year of 1988 came to a close:

Since the advent of Pope John Paul II, however, there has been a dramatic turnaround in Catholic devotion to the Mother of God…there has been a “return to Mary” and I think that the start of that return coincides with the election to the Papacy of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. His pontificate is conducted under the patronage of the Virgin Mother of God whom he often refers to as “the Mother of the Church.” His coat of arms is now the most famous one in the world…..there are two things about it that are well known to the hundreds of millions who have seen it…a cross and a large letter “M”…This Pope from Poland is not ashamed of his devotion to Mary….he holds it up before the world. (27)

In truth what the council didn’t say about Mary, especially in light of the fact it was not a dogmatic Council, is very little. That the Sacred Synod did not go so far as to define the doctrinal aspects of her motherhood in the order of mediation is also not entirely without debate because we see that much of what was said about Mary in Lumen Gentium has been used by the Church extensively in the Catechism.

Put into the context of the CCC, the words of Lumen Gentium Chapter VIII stand both on their own, and in relationship with the rest of this Catechism, as a compelling Marian treatise. One does not have to search the pages of the CCC for long to find the evidence and explanation of her role as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. Just as a human mother is responsible for the different aspects of suffering, pleading, and interceding for her earthly children, Mary’s motherhood of her spiritual children includes suffering, pleading and interceding (28) for us from the Annunciation to Calvary and until today. (29) When we say Mary is Mediatrix of all grace we do not imply that Mary is the source of this grace but rather that she acts as a conduit of God’s grace passed from Father to the Son, brought to individual souls by the workings of the Spirit. “She is a Mother to us in the order of grace” or “Maternal Mediator” based on her cooperation in Jesus’ acquisition of these graces for mankind. (30) It is from her active participation in the acquisition of these graces at Calvary that the Church can invoke her under the title of Mediatrix and Advocate and recognize that her work continues actively after Calvary in the distribution of these graces. (31)

It is of primary importance to first understand the general concept of subordinate mediation as explained in the Catechism. This is the idea that although by his suffering the resulting merits earned by Christ for humanity are inexhaustible, God has, by providence and not necessity, willed that humankind participate and cooperate with Christ through offering up its own suffering and petitions to the Father in union with the Son. The church clearly proclaims one God and one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ true God and true man. (32) Some might misunderstand how created humanity’s role in cooperating with Christ could be of any significant consequence, with Him being the one true mediator between God and man. 1 Timothy 2:5 states that “there is… one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus.” However, in a very real sense we are all called to be mediators on each other’s behalf as Paul conveys to us just before this verse in 1 Timothy 2:1, “I ask that supplications, prayers, prayers, petitions be offered for everyone.” The Old Testament also gives us several examples of mediation on the part of created persons, including Abraham and Moses, the prophets and the angels. Mary answers this call par excellence. The mediation of Christ does not rule out the willful subordinate mediation of humanity and in fact calls for it to be fulfilled in an extraordinary way by Mary’s fiat. The Catechism, often quoting from Lumen Gentium,  gives us the Church’s explanation of Mary’s subordinate role in the Church’s mediation of graces. “Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power…..the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men…flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it.” (33)

It is not only important for the understanding of Marian doctrine to grasp this concept, but it is also important for the believer to understand that his own cooperation with God’s grace, which can be modeled after Mary’s ultimate example, is not superfluous, but that in a mysterious way all men are invited to be partners in the paschal mystery (34) …”the priesthood of Christ is shared….in different ways among His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but sharing in this one source.” (35) The doctrine of subordinate mediation and the Marian doctrine of spiritual motherhood are related to the doctrinal truth of divine providence and secondary cause as explained in paragraph 308 of the Catechism ….”The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures…God is at work in you, both to will and work for his own pleasure.” (36) It is from the Church that we can tangibly receive the grace of the Sacraments, it is Mary who as Mother of the Church, also gives birth to its capacity as an instrument of grace, a grace she mediates. Her role in the Church is a result of her union with Christ in the work of salvation. (37)

We can give examples from Scripture accounts of Mary’s mediation; at the Annunciation she mediates Jesus Christ the author of all graces to the world; (38) at the Visitation she brings Christ’s presence and sanctification to Elizabeth and John the Baptist; (39) and at the Cana miracle she willed to intercede as spiritual mother to her children, (40) a miracle that would begin the path to the immolation of her son that she consented to and participated in as a suffering mother at the foot of the cross. (41) In the early days of the Church we see Mary is the locus point for the Holy Spirit’s descent, as the people of God gathered around her at the Pentecost. (42) The Church, empowered by the Spirit, proceeded, with Mary in the forefront, to mediate grace on Jesus’ behalf from that day forward. Her role as Mediatrix of all grace allows her the spiritual capacity to receive us as children today and to unite us in the fulfillment of our baptismal promises.

Did the Council and Church hesitate during and immediately after the sacred Synod in its evolution towards this fifth dogma? Did this hesitancy have a repercussion in Marian piety among the faithful? Objectively we must say yes, but the theological momentum that culminated within this pause from what she did indeed say before, at, and after the Council rises nonetheless, and is felt today as a wave of Mary’s motherly love breaking on the shore of the Church’s understanding and prayer.

Martin LaMartina is a graduate student at Franciscan University of Steubenville.


(1) Titus Cranny, Is Mary Relevant?: A Commentary on Chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium, The Constitution on the Church from Vatican Council II (New York: Exposition Press, 1970), 10.

(2) J. Michael Miller, “Vatican II and Mary,” Homiletic & Pastoral Review LXXXVIII, Nos. 11-12 (1988), 11.

(3) Cranny, 35.

(4) Cranny, 10-11.

(5) Miller, 11.

(6) Edward Schillebeeckx and Catharina Halkes, Mary: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (New York: Crossroad, 1993), 18.

(7) Schillebeeckx, 19.

(8) Miller, 11.

(9) Miller, 13.

(10) Vittorio Messori, “A Modern Apologist for Mary: An interview with Father Rene Laurentin,” Homiletic & Pastoral Review LXXXVII, no. 8 (1988), 31.

(11) Miller, 13.

(12) Cranny, 17.

(13) Lumen Gentium, article 54.

(14) Mark Miravalle, “With Jesus”: The Story of Mary Co-Redemptrix, (Goleta: Queenship Publishing, 2003) 173.

(15) Miller, 13.

(16) Kenneth Baker, “Editorial: A Return to Mary,” Homiletic & Pastoral Review LXXXVII, no. 8 (1988), 80.

(17) Charlene Spretnak, Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-Emergence in the Modern Church, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), p 169-170.

(18) Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, Miles Immaculate, I, (1938), quoted in H. M. Manteau-Bonamy, Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, Marian Teachings of St. Maximilian Kolbe, trans. Richard Arnandez. (Libertyville: Marytown Press, 2001), 88-91.

(19) Stefano Manelli, “Marian Co-Redemption in the Hagiography of the Twentieth Century,” in Mary Co-Redemptrix, Doctrinal Issues Today, ed. Mark Miravalle (Goleta : Queenship, 2002), 207-212.

(20) Herbert Vorgrimler, ed. Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II. vol. 1, trans. Lalit Adolphus et al. (New York: Herder and Herder, 1969), 125.

(21) Vorgrimler, 125.

(22) John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation of Jon Paul II, Catechesis in Our Time, Catechesi Tradendae, (Boston: Pauline Books & Media, 1979), article 33.

(23) Josef Kunzli, ed. The Messages of The Lady of All Nations (Goleta: Queenship, 1996), 83-84.

(24) Charles W. Neumann, “Mary and the Church: Lumen Gentium, Arts. 60 to 65,” Marian Studies, XXXVII (1986): 98.

(25) Neuman, 99.

(26) Neuman, 99-100.

(27) Baker, 80.

(28) Mark Miravalle, Introduction to Mary: The Heart of Marian Doctrine and Devotion, (Goleta: Queenship, 2006), 118.

(29) Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 969.

(30) CCC, 968.

(31) CCC, 968-969.

(32) CCC, 2634.

(33) CCC, 970.

(34) CCC, 618.

(35) CCC, 970.

(36) CCC, 308.

(37) CCC, 964.

(38) Luke 1:38.

(39) Luke 1:40.

(40) John 2:1-12.

(41) John 19:25-27.

(42) Acts 1:14.