The Most Powerful Woman in the World…

4 Dogmas in 20 Centuries, and a 5th to be Defined?


It was more than 25 years ago when Dr. Mark Miravalle, Theologian, Mariologist, and president of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, invited me to participate in his Marian Apostolate, the goal of which is to work for the proclamation of a 5th Marian dogma. Honestly, I was both puzzled and surprised at the invitation. Surprised, because I work as a consultant on social and environmental issues, and am not accustomed to invitations of the religious nature.  Puzzled, because I was ignorant of Marian dogmas in general when I learned that the Catholic Church already had proclaimed four of them during the last twenty centuries! In light of these dogmas, “Mary, the Most Powerful Woman in the World” —the National Geographic piece that inspired my writing of this series of articles— presents a topic of even greater and lasting significance than I would have previously imagined. It concerns matters of great depth to be both explored and shared.


To begin with, I acknowledge my ignorance on the topic of Marian dogmas. I know that many Catholics, and even non-Catholics, are already well aware of them and their history. Therefore, I will present what I believe is most relevant with regard to the dogmas, since so much information can be obtained from the many books, articles, symposiums, and conferences, dedicated to the four Marian dogmas, simply by making use of the sources available on the Internet.


Before I go on, I would like to offer some reflections on the “Magnificat” (Lk. 1:46-55), which, as I mentioned in the previous article, is perhaps the most challenging self-prophetic statement declared by any human being at a given time. Twenty centuries later, it would have its perfect and verifiable fulfillment. It is my hope all would read and pray with it, striving to delve into the meaning of every word especially, “…from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (49-50).


  • I can say with certainty that in this very moment, all over the world, just as in generations past, there are hundreds of thousands of people greeting Our Lady, remembering her, and seeking her intercession through hundreds of different prayers and devotions, especially through the “Hail Mary” and the Rosary.


  • The words “all generations” and “generation to generation,” assure us that, as it has always been it will continue to be, despite whatever crises the world might face and even the Catholic Church herself.


  • What does Our Lady mean by the “great deeds” the Lord has done for her? The answer is itself related to the four Marian dogmas. No other woman in the history of mankind has received such great titles, proclaimed in such a solemn manner. Titles which have been confirmed in her apparitions, miracles, and extraordinary interventions, some of which are presented in Moureen Orth’s National Geographic


  • It is amazing to reflect on the fact that the words spoken by a simple young girl in a little town in Israel were remembered and passed on by her cousin, Elizabeth, so that 20 centuries later we are able to read them in Luke’s Gospel! This is a simple historic yet extraordinary fact naturally grabs our attention because it transcends the human and is only comprehensible through the eyes of faith. Indeed, Moureen, there cannot be an explanation under the light of the sole human reasoning. Faith is necessary to reach an understanding of the truth of so many facts that are extraordinary as well as inexplicable purely through science.


Synthesizing those “great deeds the Almighty has done for Her”, we can consider the following solemn proclamations:


  1. Mother of God –the Theotókos– Declared by Pope Celestine I in 431 at the Council of Ephesus…This dogma confirmed that Mary is truly the Mother of God, as she bore the flesh and body of Jesus Christ.


  1. Perpetual Virgin –before, during, and after the birth of Christ– Declared in 649 by Pope Saint Martin I at the Lateran Council, the dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity confirmed that as Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb without man, Our Lady’s kept her virginity before His birth. She also retained her virginity after His birth, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son” (Isaiah 7:14), pronounced seven centuries before this event.


  1. Immaculate Conception: Declared in December of 1854 by Pope Pio IX twelve years after the dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity by way of the papal bull Ineffabilis Deus. It affirmed “the blessed Virgin Mary was preserved immune of any stain from the original sin, right from the very instant of her conception by the unique grace and privilege of Almighty God, corresponding to the merits of Jesus Christ Savior of the humankind.”


  1. Assumption into Heaven: Declared in 1950 by Pope Pio XII, the dogma of the assumption affirms that, after her death –or the Virgin’s transit– Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God, perpetual Virgin, “once her earthly life was completed, she was taken to the celestial glory in body and soul,” sharing with her Son the glorification of her body that did not know corruption.


Nonetheless, one still might ask, “What is a dogma?” And, is there a need for a new solemn proclamation regarding the Holy Virgin Mary?


In order to move toward a deeper understanding, here are some points to consider:

  • The Church has defined some truths as dogmas of faith. That is not to say that before these dogmas were proclaimed, they were untrue. Raising a doctrine to the level of dogma makes belief has started to be mandatory upon their definition.
  • It is not the invention of a doctrine that defines it as such, but the authoritative Divine Revelation of God Himself.
  • Sometimes the emergence of new misunderstandings of the foundations of the faith has prompted the Church to define and declare again what has always been true because the circumstances at the time required clarification.
  • Dogmas are not arbitrarily declared by the Church. They are objective truths illuminated by the light of the Holy Spirit, given to the Church through Pentecost. They are not walls to limit our intelligence but rather to give clarity and to dissipate the darkness of error.
  • Just as there are immutable and absolute truths in the sciences, so it is in the realm of faith. In both instances, denying such truths would result in moving backwards and losing fundamental principles. What has been defined by the Church’s educational practice cannot and must not be changed since it would deny the objective truth. Hence, Mary is the Mother of God and Catholics worldwide accept this and believe it in communion with the pope.
  • Although it is not mandatory for non-Catholics to accept these dogmas, they still might wish to know what “wonders” God has done for her. The extraordinary power she has demonstrated throughout the centuries certainly gives us all reasons enough to learn about Mary, regardless of the obligatory nature of the dogmas.


…Still, one might pose the question of necessity regarding a 5th Marian dogma since four have already been defined.


As it was explained to me, the four existing dogmas are about Our Lady herself.  However, since the beginning of the last century, there has been an increase in research regarding the Mother’s relationship with us, ‘her spiritual children.’ From the cross, Jesus gave his Mother to us through John, His beloved disciple, a gift that synthesizes the relevance of a 5th dogma that will declare Mary as Spiritual Mother of Mankind.


  1. More than 100 years ago, Cardinal François-Joseph Mercier started a campaign to respectfully request the Pope to define the universal mediation of Mary.
  2. In the 1920’s Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe was already asking for Mary to be proclaimed as Co-redeemer and Mediator of all graces.
  3. Just five years after the dogma of the Assumption of Mary–in 1955– the Mexican Bishops sent a petition signed by all –a total of 42– to Pope Pio XII respectfully requesting him for the solemn proclamation of Her as “Our Mother in the Order of the Grace”.
  4. Four years later, the majority of those bishops, and some new ones, sent a second request with a total of 38 signatures, confirming their petition now addressed to Pope John XXIII, who was at the time, Cardinal José Garibi Rivera, the first Mexican Cardinal.
  5. From 1994 to date, 82 Mexican Pastors have contacted the Popes John Paul VI, Benedict XVI, and Francis to ask again for that dogmatic proclamation, promoted by Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici – being the only case in the history of the Church that in the last 60 years is requested in humbleness and obedience, in three occasions and by the majority at the time–.
  6. To date, this amounts to 576 Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops of 79 countries around the world that have petitioned. The movement has been supported by more than 4,200 Contemplative Sisters, and nearly 70 million of baptized believers that have asked verbally or in writing.
  7. It is furthermore stated that The Lady of All Nations asked for the dogma to be proclaimed on no less than 39 occasions in 56 messages through 15 years of apparitions. These messages have been deemed to be of divine nature on May 31st of 2002 by the Ordinary Bishop (local) José María Punt, in a new dogmatic proclamation under the title of Co-redeemer, Mediator, and Advocate.
  8. Since its approval, the image and the prayer dictated by Our Lady to Ida Peerdeman has already been translated into 70 languages, has been given official authorization (imprimatur) from more than 60 Bishops. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith confirmed it while Pope Emeritus Benedicto XVI acted as its Prefect, placing only the concept of Advocate in the prayer.


Without a doubt, all that has been stated above provides reason enough to regard Mary –that humble, young Nazarene girl, now glorified with 4 dogmas of faith solemnly proclaimed– as the Most Powerful Woman in the World. This goes well beyond the human phenomenon presented in the article of National Geographic. It is sustained through two millennia of active and constant presence, particularly during the last two centuries. The vast number of miracles, scientifically inexplicable, attributed to her extraordinary and verifiable interventions, gives us a glimpse with increasing clarity that this is a worldwide phenomenon that goes beyond the ‘breaking news’ scenarios. This takes us to another undeniable dimension: this is, indeed, about a human-spiritual reality that the faith requires, and it is supported for all men and women of good will and open spirit –believers and non-believers from all over the world. We are prompted to listen and to be moved by the Mother whose concern is for her children, when we see tears of blood flowing from her images and statues (101 verified events), because, if the world keeps on its current path, we will be facing the serious danger of an unprecedented punishment, as she herself has warned.


We all yearn for peace. We all seek happiness and prosperity in a more inhabitable world where we respect one another regardless of our differences. This is not a utopian ideal, for when truth, justice and peace reign again, acknowledging that we all have a common origin as passengers on this blue spacecraft that has been navigating for millennia, by an act of love of one God that is Love, and to Him we reach. Mary, the Mother of the One that was crucified, and from Whom radiates all the power she reveals to the favor of her spiritual children, by participating in the redemption in a unique manner, invites us to return to Him, God, as the safest way for universal coexistence and fraternity.


Her image and her prayer are the tools she gives us in order that we may participate in this mission of peace. We must also persist in petitioning Pope Francis to proclaim her as our Mother Co-redeemer, Mediator, and Advocate, so that her wish is fulfilled: “With this title She will save the world”. (20/3/53)