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I. Mujer y Madre: Intercesora de vida y amor por la familia

¿Quién es una mujer y qué es lo más importante de la vocación materna?

San Juan Pablo II capta tanto la naturaleza como la vocación de las mujeres al escribir que una mujer está llamada a dar testimonio de la existencia y la
profundidad del amor “con el cual cada ser humano –hombre y mujer- es amado por Dios en Cristo.”1 La misión especial de cada mujer es “acoger y cuidar de la persona humana.” 2 Nuestro tiempo en particular “aguarda la manifestación de esa ‘genialidad’ que
pertenece a las mujeres y que asegura la sensibilidad para los seres humanos en cada circunstancia.” 3

La mujer, de una manera en particular, está orientada al amor concreto y a la crianza de las personas. 4 Santa Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta de la Cruz) articula la naturaleza esencial
y la vocación de la mujer: “…la mujer naturalmente busca abrazar aquello que está vivo, que es personal y está íntegro. El apreciar mucho, guardar,
proteger, alimentar y ayudar en el crecimiento es su anhelo maternal y natural.”5 Una mujer personifica de la manera más plena su carisma femenino en su maternidad. Ser una “madre” significa “proteger y salvaguardar
la verdadera humanidad y llevarla a su pleno desarrollo.”6 En una carta a la Cuarta Conferencia Mundial de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Mujer, la Beata Teresa de Calcuta escribió: “El poder especial de amar que pertenece a
una mujer se ve más claramente cuando se convierte en madre. La maternidad es un regalo de Dios a las mujeres.” 7

Una madre es una intercesora natural o “mediadora” de vida y amor dentro de la familia, como aquella que intercede o “actúa como medio” para llevar mayor
unidad entre los demás.8 ¿No es ésta la tarea esencial y perenne de una madre?
Una madre intercede física y moralmente entre el Creador y su familia en su papel único de dar vida al mundo. Después de recibir la semilla de vida del
padre humano, el cuerpo de la madre da forma y alimento al embrión que se está desarrollando y por ello trabaja íntimamente como “co-creadora” con el
Creador para intervenir en el precioso regalo de la vida humana a la familia y al mundo. El hijo es el regalo trascendente de la extensa y globalizada
intercesión física y moral de la madre que va aparejada con la necesaria contribución del padre. Las madres interceden de una forma singular, tanto física
como moralmente, para unir a Dios y a la familia a través del don de los hijos.

Una madre no sólo es la especial intercesora de vida para la familia, sino también una singular intercesora de amor para la
familia. A través de los dones particulares femeninos de receptividad, sensibilidad, calidez, comprensión, compasión, sufrimientos prolongados, intuición e
intuición personal, una madre se convierte en el medio principal de unión entre el padre y los hijos, así como entre los mismos hijos. Las intervenciones
de comunicación y empatía, comprensión y sabiduría, perdón y reconciliación, sacrificio y amor, son las constantes manifestaciones de la intercesión
maternal entre todos los demás miembros del núcleo familiar.

La auténtica maternidad exige al menos tres expresiones esenciales de intercesión maternal para sus hijos: la primera es que una madre sufre por su hijo.
El sufrimiento de una madre no está limitado al dolor físico experimentado durante la gestación y nacimiento, sino también al profundo “sufrimiento del
corazón” experimentado a través de la vida del hijo, ya que la madre comparte compasivamente las pruebas y tragedias que constituyen una parte de la vida
de cada hijo. La segunda es que una madre alimenta a su hijo. La adecuada nutrición del hijo va más allá del ámbito físico. Una madre no sólo provee comida
y nutrición a su bebé desde el momento de la concepción y a través de la gestación y el nacimiento, sino mucho más allá a través de los años de la niñez y
la adolescencia, ofreciendo al niño la formación fundamental emocional, psicológica, educacional y espiritual en la forma más completa y grandiosa posible
para el desarrollo personal del hijo. La tercera es la “súplica” o intercesión de la madre por el bienestar de su hijo. Estos actos maternales de abogacía,
en un principio comienzan dentro del hogar y luego se extienden a la sociedad conforme el niño gradualmente va entrando al ámbito mayor del mundo. Se
manifiestan en una variedad de formas a través de la vida del niño, que incluyen interceder para que el niño tenga todo lo necesario en la escuela y en los
diferentes ámbitos sociales y áreas de desarrollo como la música, los deportes y otras actividades culturales. La intercesión de una madre por su hijo
conlleva los aspectos de protección y defensa puesto que el proceso de entrada a la sociedad normalmente presenta peligros y dificultades.

Todas estas son expresiones de la amorosa y sacrificada intercesión de una madre. ¿Habría, pues, de sorprender que la maternidad sea la vocación universal
más apreciada en el orden natural, y que muchos niños sin importar la edad, hayan terminado su vida terrena con la palabra “mamá” en sus labios? Es por
éstas razones y muchas más que los documentos papales se han referido a la madre como el “corazón” de la familia, y como tal, “ella puede, y debería,
reclamar para sí el lugar de jefe en amor.”9



II. María, Madre de toda la familia

Es una verdadera maravilla de la naturaleza que “una criatura deba dar luz a su Creador.” 10 Esta antífona litúrgica refleja el misterio de María, quien a través de su libre
consentimiento a la sublime vocación de la maternidad, intercedió en vida y en amor con el objeto de dar a luz al niño más sublime, y por lo tanto a la
familia más sublime, en toda la historia de la humanidad.

Como sucede con todas las madres, María juega un rol irremplazable al dar su consentimiento para dar vida a lo que se convertiría en su familia. Concebida
“llena de gracia” mediante los méritos previstos del futuro Redentor y la in-habitación santificadora del Espíritu Santo. 11 la joven virgen de Nazaret providencialmente ha sido preparada para
convertirse en la Madre más importante de la raza humana. Con todo, la respuesta de María “que se haga” constituyó un “sí” absolutamente libre, activo y
femenino a la misión maternal del Padre celestial: “Hágase en mí según tu palabra” (Lc 1,38). 12 Con esta libre cooperación al plan de Dios “como madre,” María trae al mundo
a su Redentor y merece el título que está sobre cualquier otro título, “Madre de Dios,”13 que lleva en sí la esencia y vocación de su suprema maternidad.

Además de dar su consentimiento para convertirse en una intercesora maternal de vida al dar a luz a Jesús, María también lleva a cabo su deber como
intercesora de amor dentro de la Sagrada Familia. Es María quien intercederá entre José, su casto esposo virginal, y Jesús, su hijo, dentro del flujo
familiar natural y amoroso entre el padre y el hijo. María, como corazón de la Sagrada Familia, intercederá para desarrollar las actividades
normales de la maternidad. Vemos esto, por ejemplo, al encontrar a Jesús en el templo, cuando después de tres días de sufrimiento y búsqueda de
los padres (cf. Lc 2,46-51) es María quien intercede hablando al joven Jesús a nombre de sí misma y de José: “Hijo, por qué nos has tratado así? Tu padre y
yo te hemos estado buscando ansiosamente” (Lc 2,48).

María también llevó a cabo innumerables actos de pequeñas tareas de intercesión siendo fiel a su vocación de madre. A este respecto, el Papa Francisco
comenta:

“¿Cómo vivió María esta fe? La vivió en la simplicidad de las miles de tareas diarias y preocupaciones de cada madre, tales como proveer la comida, la
ropa, atendiendo la casa…Fue precisamente la vida normal de Nuestra Señora lo que sirvió como la base para la singular relación y diálogo profundo que se
desarrolló entre ella y Dios, entre ella y su hijo.”14

III. María, Madre espiritual en la Familia de Dios

De una manera tanto sublime como ordinaria, María lleva a cabo su rol providencial como la madre intercesora de vida y amor dentro de los designios
extraordinarios de la Sagrada Familia. Sin embargo, su maternidad dentro de la Sagrada Familia se extendería, debido a la misión redentora universal de su
Hijo, para incluir a toda la Familia de Dios, y sin lugar a dudas, a todos los pueblos. En Evangelii Gaudium, el Papa Francisco se refiere a la
maternidad de María -tanto doméstica como universalmente- como “madre de todos”:

“…María pudo hacer que un establo se convirtiera en el hogar de Jesús, envolviéndolo en pobres pañales y abundante amor. Ella es la sierva del Padre que
canta sus alabanzas. Ella es la amiga que se preocupa para que el vino no falte en nuestras vidas. Ella es la mujer cuyo corazón fue atravesado por una
lanza y quien comprende todo nuestro dolor. Como madre de todos, ella es un signo de esperanza para los pueblos que sufren los dolores de parto de la
justicia. Ella es la misionera que se acerca a nosotros y nos acompaña a través de la vida, abriendo nuestros corazones a la fe por su amor maternal. Como
verdadera madre, camina a nuestro lado compartiendo nuestras luchas y rodeándonos constantemente con el amor de Dios” (EG 286).

A veces se ha percibido que los títulos tradicionales atribuidos a la intercesión maternal de María han sido únicamente el resultado de la especulación
teológica más que estar fundamentados en la Palabra de Dios15, pero de hecho,
los títulos de intercesión maternal utilizados por el magisterio papal están sólidamente basados tanto en las Sagradas Escrituras como en la Tradición
Apostólica, como lo ha interpretado apropiadamente el Magisterio de la Iglesia. Dei Verbum nos recuerda que la Tradición en la Iglesia progresa
mediante el legítimo desarrollo de la doctrina bajo la guía del Espíritu Santo.16 Por lo tanto, examinemos la síntesis cronológica del Nuevo Testamento sobre la gradual revelación de la Madre de Jesús desde la Anunciación -ya
mencionada- hasta el establecimiento de María como “la Madre de todos nosotros”17 hecha por Jesús crucificado, así como los legítimos títulos y roles marianos que de manera natural se han ido desarrollando y saliendo a la luz
desde las semillas doctrinales de la Escritura y la Tradición apostólica, ya que, en la Anunciación, el consentimiento de María a la misión de la redención
permanecerá intacto hasta, e incluirá, su histórica participación en el sacrificio de Jesús en el Calvario. 18

La madre que físicamente dio a luz a Jesús, también dio a luz espiritualmente a su cuerpo, la Iglesia. Jesucristo es la “Cabeza del cuerpo, la Iglesia”
(Col 1,18). Por lo tanto, en la Anunciación, el ‘fiat’ de María no sólo llevó a la concepción física de Jesús, Cabeza del cuerpo, sino también a la concepción espiritual del cuerpo místico al cual pertenecen todos los seguidores de Cristo y, a través de la Iglesia, a todos los creyentes. San
Agustín nos dice: “Ella es realmente Madre de los miembros que somos nosotros porque cooperó con caridad para que nacieran en la Iglesia los creyentes cuya
Cabeza es Él.”19 San Juan Pablo II amplía la explicación:

“Ya que dio a luz a Cristo, la Cabeza del cuerpo místico, también tenía que haber dado a luz a todos los miembros de ese único cuerpo. Por lo tanto, “María
acoge a todos y cada uno en la Iglesia, y acoge a todos y cada uno a través de la Iglesia.” 20

Dentro del profundo misterio de la Palabra que se hizo carne a través de su maternidad divina, María dio a Jesús el “instrumento” humano de la redención,
el cual es su cuerpo, ya que hemos sido santificados por el ofrecimiento del cuerpo de Jesucristo de una vez y para siempre” (Hb. 10,10). La Virgen
Inmaculada cooperó de forma enteramente singular en el misterio de la Redención no sólo dando a luz al Redentor y proveyéndolo del instrumento corporal de
la Redención, sino también en virtud de su sufrimiento sin par con su Hijo a través de toda la misión de la Redención. 21 A tal grado que María, como Madre de Dios, dando a luz al “Redentor del
hombre”22 ya se le refiere legítimamente como la “Co-redentora” humana (“la
mujer con el Redentor”) ya que su consentimiento proveyó al Redentor de su cuerpo y, consecuentemente, de su naturaleza humana mediante la cual Él redime
al mundo; una contribución a la obra de la redención que es absolutamente incomparable con ninguna otra creatura. 23

Mediante su histórica intercesión en la Anunciación, María también intercede por el “único Mediador” (cf.1Tim 2,5) en la historia de la humanidad. Ella
actúa como “mediadora” humana.24 puesto que intercede de forma única como
Madre para llevar a Jesucristo a la raza humana. El rol de intercesión de María como Madre no sólo no obscurece ni compite con la única mediación de
Jesucristo, ya que la mediación secundaria de María está muy por debajo y enteramente subordinada y dependiente de la de Él 25, pero su cooperación maternal al plan de Encarnación de Dios es precisamente
lo que hizo que la misión de redención del único Mediador fuera posible. Una vez, es María, la Mediatrix, la Mediadora, la que intercede para que tengamos al único Mediador.

Por otra parte, ya que Jesús es la fuente y autor de todas las gracias, a María, en virtud de este primer gran acto de intercesión maternal, ya se le
invoca propiamente en la Iglesia -y al menos por diez papas modernos- como la Mediatrix de todas las gracias.26

Los Padres de la Iglesia tomaron la doctrina de la Maternidad Espiritual del concepto patrístico de la “Nueva Eva.” Así como la primera Eva o “Madre de los
Vivientes”27 fue instrumental con el primer Adán en la pérdida de la gracia
para la familia humana, así también María como la “Nueva Eva” o la “Nueva Madre de los Vivientes” fue instrumental con Jesús, el “Nuevo Adán,”28 en la restauración de la gracia para la humanidad. 29 Dentro del modelo de la Nueva Eva, los Padres adoptaron la verdad de la
maternidad espiritual de María en una fórmula simple aunque esencial, que incluye dimensiones de maternidad espiritual, mediación, y co-redención. Un
testimonio de su intercesión que se remonta a la Iglesia Primitiva, está ejemplificado en la enseñanza de San Ireneo, siglo II, en cuanto a que María es la
“causa de salvación para sí misma y para toda la raza humana”30, así como en la
famosa máxima de San Jerónimo: “Muerte a través de Eva, vida a través de María.”31

Cuando María visita a Isabel (Lc 1,39-56), ella es la madre encinta que físicamente “pone de por medio” al Cristo no nacido ante la presencia de Isabel y
el Bautista que tampoco había nacido; una mediación física que a su vez conduce a dos eventos de gracia: la pre-santificación de Juan en el vientre de su
madre, y la profecía de Isabel a través del Espíritu Santo (cf. Lc 1,41-42). En la Presentación del niño Jesús (Lc 2,21-38) Simeón identifica a Jesús como
el “signo de contradicción”, pero también da testimonio del papel co-redentivo de María –la mujer que sufrirá con el Redentor: “…y a ti misma una espada te
atravesará el alma” (Lc 2,35) a fin de que queden al descubierto “las intenciones” de muchos corazones.

Las bodas en Caná (Jn 2,1-10) revelan de una forma extraordinariamente dinámica el rol de la mediación maternal cuando María, con conocimiento y voluntad,
intercede para obtener la gracia del primer milagro público de Jesús. San Juan Pablo II hace el siguiente comentario sobre el evento de Caná: “Ella actúa
en su papel de mediatrix y no como una extraña, actúa en su posición de Madre.”32 El evento de Caná nos revela todavía más el papel maternal de María como “Abogada,” de aquella que habla a favor de la humanidad ante el trono
de su Hijo, Cristo el Rey. En la fiesta de la boda, María aboga por la pareja recién casada en lo que constituye un inequívoco ejemplo bíblico de
intercesión mariana; y el hecho de que no se tenga conocimiento de que los recién casados hayan sido discípulos de Jesús, es un claro indicio de la
universalidad de su papel como la abogada de la humanidad, y de que su intercesión maternal va más allá de los límites de la cristiandad extendiéndose a
las necesidades universales de toda la humanidad.33

Pero sólo en el Calvario, en la cima del evento histórico de la redención, la maternidad espiritual de María será plenamente establecida y declarada. El
Papa Francisco expone:

“En la cruz, cuando Jesús sufrió en su propia carne el dramático encuentro del pecado del mundo y la misericordia de Dios, pudo sentir a sus pies la
presencia consoladora de su Madre y su amigo. En ese momento crucial, antes de culminar la obra que su Padre le había encomendado, Jesús le dijo a María:
“Mujer, ahí tienes a tu hijo.” Luego le dijo al amigo amado: “He ahí a tu madre” (Jn 19,26-27). Estas palabras de Jesús a punto de morir no son
principalmente la expresión de su devoción y preocupación por su Madre; más bien, son una fórmula que revela y manifiesta el misterio de una misión
especial salvadora. Jesús nos dejó a su Madre para que también fuera nuestra Madre. Sólo después de haberlo hecho, Jesús supo que “ya todo estaba cumplido”
(Jn 19,28). Al pie de la cruz, en la hora suprema de la nueva creación, Cristo nos condujo hacia María; nos guió hacia ella porque no quería que viajáramos
sin una madre, y nuestro pueblo lee en esta imagen maternal todos los misterios del Evangelio” (EG 285).

En íntima unión con el Redentor en el Gólgota, María es la Madre que de manera totalmente singular participa en la obra de la Redención “coparticipando la
intensidad de su sufrimiento” en su corazón de madre. Lumen gentium expone:

“Así avanzó también la Santísima Virgen en la peregrinación de la fe, manteniendo fielmente la unión con su Hijo hasta la Cruz junto a la cual, no sin
designio divino, se mantuvo erguida, sufriendo profundamente con su Unigénito y asociándose con entrañas de madre a su sacrificio, consintiendo
amorosamente en la inmolación de la víctima que ella misma había engendrado” (LG 58).

Una vez más, el único término en la Tradición de la Iglesia que mejor resume el rol de María como Madre Espiritual en la obra de la Redención, es el título
de “Co-redentora.” Cabe aclarar que éste título mariano de Co-redentora, que explícitamente fue utilizado seis veces por San Juan Pablo II, tres veces por
Pío XI y tres veces por las Congregaciones vaticanas bajo el pontificado de San Pío X,34
jamás ubica a María a un nivel de igualdad con Jesucristo, el único Redentor divino de la humanidad. Se refiere, más bien, a la singular cooperación de
esta Mujer y Madre “con Jesús” en la misión redentora; a la dimensión de su maternidad espiritual en el orden del sufrimiento.

En el Gólgota, María –citando a San Juan Pablo II- “está espiritualmente crucificada con su hijo crucificado.” 35 Sin embargo, -continúa el Papa Totus Tuus- “su rol de Co-redentora
no terminó con la glorificación de su Hijo.”36

En virtud del rol incomparable de obtener las gracias de redención con Jesús, ella es consecuentemente proclamada por Jesús crucificado como la
Madre Espiritual de todos los pueblos, cuya tarea será ahora la de dispensar las gracias de la Redención como la Mediatrix -o Mediadora- de todas
las gracias.”37

La maternidad espiritual de María continúa activamente en la distribución de las gracias de la Redención precisamente porque es la Mediatrix de todas las
gracias y Abogada de la humanidad. El rol de María como Mediatrix de todas las gracias ha sido oficialmente enseñado por casi cada papa de los últimos
trescientos años, desde Benedicto XIV en el siglo 18 hasta el Papa Benedicto XVI.38 Su mediación de gracia es, nuevamente, una expresión externa y práctica de su maternidad espiritual. San Juan Pablo II explicita este punto
clave: “El reconocimiento de su rol como Mediatrix está todavía más implícito en la expresión ‘nuestra Madre’ que presenta la doctrina de la mediación
mariana poniendo el acento en su maternidad.”39 La expresión “Nuestra Madre,”
contiene en sí misma la verdad y el rol de María como Mediadora de todas las gracias obtenidas en el Calvario.

En los días previos a Pentecostés (cf. Hch 1,14), María está allí intercediendo como abogada maternal a nombre de la Iglesia naciente para que descienda el
Espíritu Santo. De la misma forma, para que una Nueva Evangelización sea plenamente efectiva, la Iglesia debe utilizar nuevamente a María como la Abogada
humana para implorar al Espíritu Santo, el divino Abogado, que descienda en nuestro tiempo con el objeto de guiar y santificar nuestros esfuerzos
de difundir el Evangelio de Jesús hoy en día. El Papa Francisco señala que la abogacía de María ante el Espíritu hizo posible la primera evangelización:
“Con el Espíritu Santo, María siempre está presente en medio del pueblo. Se unió a los discípulos para orar por la venida del Espíritu Santo ( Hch 1,14) y con ello hizo posible el despliegue misionero que tuvo lugar en Pentecostés (EG 284).”

Además, el Papa Francisco apunta que la continua intercesión de María por sus hijos terrenos está testimoniada en los Santuarios marianos que hay alrededor
del mundo, incluyendo el de su más tierna y maternal auto identificación: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe:

“A través de sus muchos títulos, con frecuencia ligados a sus santuarios, María comparte la historia de cada pueblo que ha recibido el Evangelio
convirtiéndose en parte de su identidad histórica. Muchos padres cristianos piden que sus hijos sean bautizados en un santuario mariano, como una señal de
la fe que profesan en su maternidad para engendrar nuevos hijos para Dios. Allí, en esos múltiples santuarios, podemos ver cómo María reúne a sus hijos
quienes con gran esfuerzo acuden en peregrinación sólo para verla y ser vistos por ella. Allí encuentran la fortaleza de Dios para soportar las
preocupaciones y el sufrimiento de sus vidas, y María, tal como lo hizo con Juan Diego, les ofrece su amor y consuelos maternales susurrándoles al oído:
‘Que tu corazón no se turbe…¿no estoy yo aquí, que soy tu Madre?’” (EG 286).

Finalmente, el testimonio del Nuevo Testamento sobre la Maternidad Espiritual expone su carácter protector espiritual como la Mujer-Madre en el
Libro del Apocalipsis (Ap 12,17). Aquí, la mujer “vestida de sol” y “coronada con doce estrellas” valientemente intercede por la Iglesia conformada por el
“resto de sus hijos” que están bajo el ataque del Dragón. Nuevamente, el Papa Francisco comenta: “El Señor no quiso dejar a la Iglesia sin este icono de
femineidad. María, que lo trajo al mundo con gran fe, también acompaña “al resto de sus hijos, aquellos que guardan los mandamientos de Dios y dan
testimonio de Jesús (Ap 12,17) (EG 285).”

Por lo tanto, a lo largo de todo el Nuevo Testamento, la maternidad espiritual de María es gradualmente develada y dinámicamente puesta en práctica a favor
del pueblo de Dios. La misma batalla espiritual por las almas que se describe en el Libro del Apocalipsis –la confrontación cósmica entre la Reina-Abogada
y el Dragón-Adversario- la vemos crecer inmensa y furiosamente en nuestros tiempos actuales. Es una batalla por las familias, por la sociedad y por la
Iglesia que al presente está necesitando la intercesión más fuerte posible por parte de la Madre Espiritual del mundo.

IV. Los signos de nuestro tiempo y la Madre del mundo

Gaudium et Spes
nos recuerda que “en todas las épocas la Iglesia ha tenido y tiene la responsabilidad de leer los signos de los tiempos interpretándolos a la luz del
Evangelio, si es que ha de llevar a cabo su tarea” (GS,4). ¿Qué es, pues, lo que constituye los signos de los tiempos y cuáles son sus ramificaciones para
la familia doméstica, la familia de la Iglesia y para toda la familia humana en su conjunto?

En el ámbito doméstico de la sociedad humana, la familia parecería estar enfrentando algunas de sus más severas amenazas, particularmente en las áreas de
la estabilidad matrimonial, la moralidad sexual y bioética y el adecuado cuidado de la mujer, los niños y los ancianos. 40 Incluso, aquel pontífice que constantemente exhortaba a la Iglesia a “no
tener miedo”, San Juan Pablo II, reconoció abiertamente su preocupación en relación al estado actual de la vida familiar:

“Una necesidad similar de compromiso y oración surge en relación a otro tema contemporáneo crítico: la familia, la célula principal de la
sociedad, cada vez más amenazada por fuerzas de desintegración tanto a niveles ideológicos como prácticos, al grado de hacernos temer por el futuro de esta
institución fundamental y, con ella, el futuro de la sociedad en su conjunto.”41

En el aspecto global, la actual capacidad nuclear de varios países y su exponencial poder de destruir regiones enteras, incluso naciones, representa un
desafío global sumamente grave y único en nuestros tiempos. Como lo afirmó el Cardenal Ratzinger: “Hoy en día la posibilidad de que el mundo pueda ser
reducido a cenizas por un mar de fuego ya no parece pura fantasía: el hombre mismo, con sus invenciones, ha forjado la llameante espada.” 42

Los violentos conflictos geopolíticos son constantes en Palestina, Israel, Rusia, Ukrania, Crimea, Siria, Iraq y Libia. El hambre a nivel mundial se
incrementa cada vez más y estadísticamente una de cada siete personas se va a la cama con hambre. 43 El “nuevo ateísmo”, el materialismo occidental y el humanismo secular van en
espiral ascendente. Además, el dramático incremento de persecuciones cristianas está también incrementándose en todo el mundo, especialmente en Iraq,
Siria, Sudan y Nigeria. De particular preocupación es el grupo terrorista recién formado “ISIS” (por sus siglas en inglés que significa Estado Islámico de
Iraq y Siria), el cual está iniciando formas extremas de persecución cristiana (así como a otras minorías étnicas) en impresionantes formas que manifiestan
claramente su origen diabólico.44


¿Qué puede hacer la Iglesia en medio de estos aparentes ataques globales sin parangón alguno tanto a la familia, a la sociedad y a la Iglesia misma?

A lo largo de su tradición e historia, la Iglesia como Familia de Dios ha mostrado sabiduría para acudir a María durante sus momentos más peligrosos y
críticos. En la Iglesia primitiva, los cristianos acudían presurosos a la Madre de Dios pidiendo liberación y protección durante los tiempos de la
persecución cristiana como se ve en la antigua oración, Sub Tuum Praesidium: “Acudimos a tu protección, Oh Santa Madre de Dios, no desprecies
nuestras peticiones y necesidades, antes bien, líbranos de todos los peligros, Oh Virgen gloriosa y bendita.” 45 En tiempos de crisis a finales de la edad media y a principios del periodo
moderno, la Iglesia nuevamente buscó la poderosa intercesión de la Madre, como lo atestigua la batalla de Lepanto (1571) a través de “Nuestra Señora del
Rosario,” y la Batalla de Viena a través del “Santo Nombre de María” (1683). Más recientemente, muchos han aceptado la caída relativamente incruenta del
Comunismo en la Europa del Este atribuyéndola a la consagración del mundo al Corazón Inmaculado de María que hizo el Papa San Juan Pablo II el 25 de Marzo
de 1984, cumpliendo con la petición de Nuestra Señora de Fátima.46

Y de nuevo, en los tiempos de sus mayores crisis históricas, la Iglesia siempre acude a María.

¿No sería, pues, ahora el tiempo para que una vez más, siguiendo la sabiduría perenne de la Iglesia, acudamos firme y definitivamente a
clamar la mayor intercesión posible por parte de la Madre Espiritual del mundo?

V.
La solemne definición de la Maternidad Espiritual de María

Hace cien años, el renombrado prelado belga, Desire-Joseph Cardenal Mercier, inició un movimiento al interior de la Iglesia para apoyar y pedir una
definición solemne de la Maternidad Espiritual de María.47 Las definiciones previas de: Madre de Dios (431), su Triple Virginidad (649), su Inmaculada Concepción (1854) y la Asunción (1950), han
proclamado solemnemente la relación de María con Jesús y sus singulares dones de gracia en alma y cuerpo. Una quinta definición mariana declararía
infaliblemente la relación de María con nosotros, sus hijos, tanto al interior de la familia de Dios perteneciente a la Iglesia, como a la
totalidad de la familia humana. Desde el principio, la motivación para este dogma mariano -además del adecuado reconocimiento del singular rol de la Madre
de Dios como Madre nuestra- fue la firme convicción de que esta definición papal traería consigo gracias históricas para la Iglesia y para el mundo.48

¿Cuál sería la razón por la que la proclamación del dogma de Maternidad Espiritual traería como resultado una nueva efusión de gracia para la humanidad?
Porque la declaración solemne del papa en relación a los roles de Nuestra Señora, es un ofrecimiento a Dios del mayor reconocimiento humano posible sobre
la verdad y aceptación de la Maternidad Espiritual de María por parte de la humanidad y, al mismo tiempo, una solicitud enteramente libre de la máxima
actuación posible de sus roles maternales de intercesión. Si bien se puede decir que cada uno de los anteriores dogmas marianos ha sido fuente de grandes
gracias para la Iglesia, la definición papal de la Maternidad Espiritual se presenta como particularmente predispuesta a tal efusión de gracias. Mientras
más se reconozca libremente el providencial designio de los roles de nuestra Madre Espiritual, ella será más “libre” y aceptada por nosotros –en
conformidad con el respeto de Dios a nuestra libre voluntad- de llevar a plena activación y poder sus roles de intercesión maternal en nuestro beneficio.
En su carta petitoria a San Juan Pablo II para la proclamación de este quinto dogma mariano, la Beata Teresa de Calcuta se refiere al histórico derroche de
gracia que daría como resultado la definición papal “…

La definición por parte del Papa de María como Co-redentora, Mediadora de todas las gracias y Abogada proporcionará enormes gracias a la Iglesia.” 49

En suma, la solemne definición papal de la Maternidad Espiritual de María permitirá el mayor grado posible de aprovechamiento del ejercicio de las funciones maternales de intercesión de María por el mundo. Desde 1915,
más de ocho millones de obispos50 y más de siete millones de fieles 51 han pedido a los papas de los últimos cien años esta corona dogmatica para María,
teniendo como precedente los dos últimos dogmas marianos de la Inmaculada Concepción y la Asunción de María. 52 Esto no debería pasarse por alto, especialmente a la luz de la legítima consideración
del sensus fidelium en el análisis de las condiciones apropiadas para una definición dogmática. 53

A la luz de lo anterior, ¿qué fruto espiritual razonable podríamos esperar de la definición de la Maternidad Espiritual como un dogma? Los siguientes
beneficios para la familia, la Iglesia y el mundo podrían ciertamente ser previstos:

  1. Una renovación de la vida familiar y del rol de la madre en la familia como el prototipo de su “corazón”. Una definición de Maternidad Espiritual
    no puede sino redundar en una renovada defensa del rol sublime de la maternidad en cada familia. Un nuevo reconocimiento solemne de maternidad en
    la persona de María, tendría como resultado inmediato la restauración de la reverencia que se debe dar al papel de una madre como el corazón de
    cada familia, lo cual, además, daría como resultado una transfusión de amor y gracia doméstica en la iglesia doméstica.

  1. Un nuevo respeto por la dignidad de la persona humana basado en el respeto radical que Dios puso en la libre cooperación de una persona humana,
    María, para participar en la obra de salvación de Cristo. Todas las personas humanas son elevadas en dignidad a través del rol victorioso otorgado
    a una mujer por Dios, lo que también influye en la restauración de la vida familiar como una comunión sagrada de personas instituidas por Dios.

  1. Una nueva celebración de la mujer en la Iglesia, y un modelo femenino concreto que impulse adecuadamente a la Iglesia a integrar a la mujer más
    profundamente en el trabajo de la Nueva Evangelización, así como a la vida de la Iglesia en su conjunto. Este nuevo reconocimiento de la mujer
    debería incluir legítimas posiciones de liderazgo en la Iglesia que no requieren ordenación ni conflicto con la responsabilidad principal de la
    maternidad cristiana, sino más bien hacer uso de ella para el mayor aprovechamiento de todos los hijos de Dios. Una definición de Maternidad
    Espiritual subrayaría que una mujer fue predestinada por Dios para acompañar al único Redentor divino y Mediador en su obra salvífica, y como tal,
    para proveer de un auténtico fundamento al verdadero feminismo cristiano. Una proclamación de María es al mismo tiempo una proclamación de la mujer. Como recalcó el Papa Francisco: “el Señor no quiso dejar a la
    Iglesia sin este icono de femineidad” (EG 285).

  1. Una infusión de gracias sobrenaturales para la Nueva Evangelización a instancias de su Madre y “Estrella.” La historia cristiana nos brinda fuertes
    testimonios en lugares tales como México con el evento “Guadalupano”, en donde vemos que cuando María dirige el camino en la difusión del Evangelio
    de Cristo, regiones enteras, o incluso continentes, se convierten rápidamente o se renuevan dentro de la Iglesia. El Papa Francisco nos recuerda:
    “Ella es la Madre de la Iglesia que evangeliza, y sin ella, jamás podríamos entender verdaderamente el espíritu de la Nueva Evangelización” (EG
    284).

A la luz de un nuevo “fiat” papal a sus títulos y funciones de intercesión, Nuestra Señora podría cumplir profundamente con la oración del Papa Francisco
de “obtener un nuevo ardor nacido de la resurrección, para que podamos llevar a todos el Evangelio de vida que triunfa sobre la muerte,” y de allí otorgar
a la Iglesia “una santa valentía para buscar nuevos caminos para que el don de la belleza imperecedera alcance a todo hombre y mujer.” (EG 288). En virtud
de que María, por encima de cualquier otra creatura, se entregó a sí misma y “completamente al Dios eterno,” es quien mejor “nos puede ayudar a
dar nuestro propio ‘si’ al urgente llamado, más apremiante que nunca antes, para proclamar la buena nueva de Jesús” (EG 288).

Para el proceso de la Nueva Evangelización, es todavía mucho más esencial que incorporemos plenamente un “estilo mariano” en nuestros métodos de difundir
el Evangelio. El Papa Francisco nos explica:

“Existe un “estilo” mariano para el trabajo de evangelización de la Iglesia. Siempre que vemos a María, llegamos a creer una vez más en la naturaleza
revolucionaria del amor y la ternura. En ella vemos que la humildad y la ternura no son virtudes de los débiles sino de los fuertes que no necesitan tratar
a los demás pobremente con el objeto de sentirse ellos mismos importantes (EG 288).

María es, por encima de todo, nuestro modelo de servicio y evangelización para los pobres y marginados, y la solemne importancia de su ejemplo maternal
sólo ayudará a la Iglesia a imitar de mejor manera su ejemplo evangelizador: “Ella es la mujer de oración y trabajo de Nazaret, y también es Nuestra Señora
del Socorro, quien sale de su pueblo “presurosa” (Lc 1,39) para servir a los demás. Esta interacción de justicia y ternura, de contemplación y preocupación
por los demás, es lo que hace que la comunidad eclesial vea a María como un modelo de evangelización” (EG 288). Una definición de maternidad ciertamente
subrayaría la urgencia de la Iglesia de ser más maternal en sus métodos de difundir el Evangelio.

Adicionalmente, el Papa Francisco ha ofrecido un nuevo modelo eclesiástico para la Iglesia: el “hogar” (cf EG 288). Si la Iglesia verdaderamente
se ha de convertir en “hogar” para todos los pueblos, tenemos con mayor razón la urgencia de que la Madre de la Iglesia se involucre más íntimamente; que
el “corazón” de la Familia de Dios pueda utilizar sus dones maternales únicos en transformar aún más a la Iglesia en una comunidad donde los nuevos
‘inquisidores’ y nuevos creyentes auténticamente vean y experimenten a la Iglesia como un hogar.

  1. La renovación y “marianización” de la Iglesia a través de un reconocimiento solemne de su miembro y modelo más perfecto. El Papa Francisco nos
    recuerda que “María es la mujer de fe que vive y camina en fe, y su “excepcional peregrinación de fe representa un constante punto de referencia
    para el Iglesia” (EG 287). La coronación dogmática de la Madre acentuaría el rol sagrado de la Iglesia como “madre” (LG 63,64) en la misión de
    llevar vida sobrenatural a las almas. La declaración de María como Madre de todos los pueblos también pondría de relieve a la Iglesia como “madre
    de todos los pueblos,” que está incorporada en esta oración del Papa Francisco a la Madre: “Imploramos su intercesión maternal para que la Iglesia
    se convierta en hogar para muchos pueblos, una madre para todos los pueblos, y que el camino pueda ser abierto para el nacimiento de un
    nuevo mundo.” (E.V. 288)54

La proclamación de su rol como Co-redentora, en el aspecto sufriente, inseparable y fundacional de su maternidad espiritual, le recuerda a la Iglesia de su
necesidad de también ser “co-redentores en Cristo”55 -utilizando la expresión de San Juan
Pablo II- para completar “lo que falta a las tribulaciones de Cristo a favor de su Cuerpo, que es la Iglesia” (Col 1,24). El Papa Benedicto también llamó a
la Iglesia a convertirse en “redentores en el Redentor.”56

  1. Una nueva efusión de gracia para los pobres, sufrientes, hambrientos, ancianos y marginados del mundo. El Magnificat revela el lugar
    especial en el corazón de Nuestra Señora por los “humildes” y los “hambrientos” (Lc 1,52,53). Esta definición llevará gracias generosas a los
    pueblos más necesitados del mundo, a los pobres y a aquellos que están “al margen” de la familia humana, y como tales tendrían un lugar
    preferencial en el Corazón Inmaculado de María. “Estrella de la nueva evangelización, ayúdanos a ser testigos radiantes de comunión, servicio, fe
    ardiente y generosa, justicia y amor por los pobres, que la alegría del Evangelio llegue a a todos los rincones de la tierra, iluminando hasta los
    confines de nuestro mundo” (EG 288).

  1. Una contribución al auténtico ecumenismo cristiano. La verdadera maternidad une a los hijos en vez de dividirlos. Así también lo hace la sublime
    maternidad espiritual de la Madre perfecta entre sus hijos cristianos. A pesar de los avances en la unidad cristiana a través de la oración y el
    diálogo, el ecumenismo aún necesita de renovadas y profundas gracias para alcanzar su meta de unión plena en el Cuerpo de Cristo. Un nuevo
    surgimiento de gracia en nuestros actuales esfuerzos ecuménicos podrían primero unir los corazones de sus hijos, lo que podría conducir
    subsecuentemente a una nueva unión de mentes dentro de la familia cristiana; un radical cambio ecuménico a través de la intercesión de la Madre de la unidad cristiana.57

Una definición de Maternidad Espiritual también articularía en los términos bíblicos y teológicos más claros posibles, que los cristianos católicos no
“adoramos” a María, sino que reconocemos apropiadamente su rol secundario y subordinado con Jesús en la salvación como “una Madre en el orden de la
gracia.”58 Ofrecería al diálogo ecuménico una herramienta invaluable como una
formulación bíblica y teológica de lo que la Iglesia cree sobre María. La verdad cristiana por sí misma unifica.

  1. Paz entre las naciones. La Madre de toda la humanidad también es la Reina de la Paz quien busca llevar al Príncipe de la Paz a todas las tierras,
    especialmente aquellas que sufren más los azotes de la guerra, el odio y la destrucción. La definición ofrecería una nueva liberación de gracia
    sobrenatural y sabiduría hacia la resolución de los conflictos geopolíticos más complejos a nivel regional, nacional e internacional, mismos que a
    este punto, podrían parecer lejanos a un remedio humano o diplomático. Tal es el carisma especial de la maternal “Desatadora de Nudos.” 59

Objeciones potenciales para una definición mariana

Algunos podrán objetar que el Dogma de la Maternidad Espiritual no sería apropiado a la luz de las enseñanzas bíblicas de 1Tim 2,5 que dice “hay un solo
mediador entre Dios y el hombre, el hombre Cristo Jesús.” Sn embargo, nuevamente se debe enfatizar que la Maternidad Espiritual de María es sólo una
participación subordinada a la única mediación de Cristo, como lo evidencian las oraciones e intercesión de cada cristiano.

Lumen gentium nos recuerda:

“Pero la misión maternal de María hacia los hombres, de ninguna manera obscurece ni disminuye esta única mediación de Cristo, sino más bien muestra su
eficacia….nace del Divino beneplácito y de la superabundancia de los méritos de Cristo, se apoya en su mediación, de ella depende totalmente y de la misma
saca toda su virtud; y lejos de impedirla, fomenta la unión inmediata de los creyentes con Cristo (LG 60).

María intercede, la Iglesia intercede, los santos interceden, los ángeles interceden, el sacerdote intercede, los fieles laicos interceden, cada uno en sus
diversos y proporcionados grados, sin embargo todos como participantes secundarios y subordinados de la única mediación de Jesucristo.60 María participa de la única mediación de Jesús como ninguna otra, 61 debido a su singular rol con Jesús en la obra de la redención, y a la luz de su rol
incomparable en la distribución de la gracia para la humanidad. Pero su mediación maternal ni es “paralela” ni tampoco “compite” con la única mediación de
Cristo.

San Juan Pablo II ofrece esta excepcionalmente clara enseñanza de 1Tm 2,5 y su auténtica interpretación católica:

“Al proclamar a Cristo como único mediador (cf. 1Tm 2,5-6) el texto de la Carta de San Pablo a Timoteo excluye alguna otra mediación paralela, pero no una
mediación subordinada. De hecho, antes de enfatizar la exclusiva y única mediación de Cristo, el autor urge a “que se hagan plegarias, oraciones, súplicas
y acciones de gracias por todos los hombres” (2,1). ¿No son las oraciones una forma de mediación? Al proclamar la singularidad de la mediación de Cristo,
el Apóstol intenta solamente excluir cualquier mediación autónoma o rival y no otras formas compatibles con el valor infinito de la obra del Salvador”. 62

Del mismo modo que la enseñanza paulina relativa a que “todos están privados de la gloria de Dios” (Rm 3,23) no fue contraria –a pesar de las primeras
impresiones- al dogma de la Inmaculada Concepción, así la enseñanza paulina de 1Tm 2,5 no va en contra de la presente doctrina y de la definición potencial
de María como Madre Espiritual y Mediadora de todas las gracias.

Y con todo, otros sostendrán que esta definición mariana impediría el progreso ecuménico con otros cuerpos eclesiales cristianos y por lo tanto
obstaculizar el llamado conciliar para la unidad cristiana. La actividad ecuménica auténtica dentro de la Iglesia identifica la oración como su alma y el
diálogo como su cuerpo en la verdadera búsqueda de la unidad dentro de la única Iglesia de Cristo santa, católica y apostólica. 63

Sin embargo, los verdaderos esfuerzos ecuménicos no pueden ni comprometer las auténticas enseñanzas doctrinales que incluyen a aquellas concernientes a la
Madre de Dios, ni tampoco deberían de ser un obstáculo para el legítimo desarrollo doctrinal, 64 y este dogma mariano propuesto debería, de hecho, constituir un desarrollo legítimo de
la perenne doctrina con respecto a la Maternidad Espiritual de María. La verdad mariana propiamente articulada no levanta muros, antes bien construye
puentes. Todos los cristianos necesitan saber con la misma claridad manifestada por el Redentor en el Calvario, que ellos también tienen a María comosu Madre (cf. Jn 19,26). El Papa ha comentado recientemente: “Un cristiano sin la Virgen es huérfano.” 65

Otra objeción importante es que los títulos marianos que comprenden las expresiones específicas y funciones de la Maternidad Espiritual como “Co-redentora”
y “Mediadora” no deberían utilizarse en una potencial definición, ya que su base etimológica está demasiado cerca a aquellas del divino “Redentor” y
“Mediador” que son propiamente atribuidas solamente a Jesús. Sin embargo, la Tradición cristiana frecuentemente utiliza los mismos títulos de raíz para
María que para Cristo, pero con el claro entendimiento de que María participa de manera inconfundible desde una dimensión humana en una realidad divina que
es completamente dependiente de Jesucristo. ¿No es esto plenamente consistente con la tradición teológica de la Iglesia y su constante uso del principio de
analogía? Títulos con raíces completamente diferentes no expresarían la intimidad, belleza y coherencia del singular plan de Salvación que Dios ha querido
de manera específica entre el Hijo y la Madre, y en última instancia entre Dios y la humanidad en la obra de la salvación humana, ya que todos los miembros
de la Iglesia están llamados a participar en las acciones divinas de redención y gracia. Así como las parejas casadas “co-crean” con el Padre en traer
hijos al mundo; y los sacerdotes “co-santifican” con el Espíritu administrando los sacramentos de la Iglesia, todos los cristianos están llamados a
“co-redimir” con Jesús en cumplimiento del llamado que hace San Pablo de “completar “lo que falta a las tribulaciones de Cristo a favor de su Cuerpo, que
es la Iglesia” (Col 1,24). El título de María como Co-redentora no sólo ilustra la unión de la humanidad con la divinidad que Dios desea en la obra de
salvación, sino que también invita a la Iglesia a seguir su ejemplo como “co-redentores en Cristo,”66 y también proclama en sí el mensaje cristiano prototípico de que el sufrimiento es redentivo.67

Y aún así, otros podrían objetar que la doctrina mariana en cuestión no está adecuadamente madura para una definición y que los elementos asociados con la
doctrina siguen siendo “ambiguos.” Sin embargo, la Maternidad Espiritual y sus tres expresiones maternales esenciales de co-redención, mediación y
abogacía, han sido consistentemente enseñadas por el magisterio ordinario de los papas por más de tres siglos. Con toda seguridad esto nos proporciona una
garantía magisterial de que todos los aspectos esenciales de la doctrina son intrínsecamente ciertos y libres de cualquier error.

En relación a cuestiones secundarias que podrán permanecer en relación a la Maternidad Espiritual, se debe hacer una distinción entre cuestiones esenciales intrínsecas a la doctrina y cuestiones secundarias asociadas con la doctrina. La Maternidad Espiritual es una verdad incuestionable que
forma parte del cuerpo de la doctrina Católica y cimentada en las Sagradas Escrituras, la Patrística, la Tradición y el Magisterio haciendo que en las
últimas centurias un papa tras otro haya enseñado oficial y confiadamente la doctrina. Los asuntos cercanamente relacionados y que, con todo son
secundarios a la doctrina en cuestión, no necesitan ser plenamente respondidos antes de su definición. Por ejemplo, el tema de la “muerte de María” que
está íntimamente relacionada con la Asunción, no fue incluída en la eventual definición de la Asunción por el Venerable Pío XII, ya que no constituía un
aspecto intrínseco esencial para la doctrina de la Asunción sin menoscabo de su cercana relación.

Si bien una definición solemne en verdad exige la verificación de la verdad revelada en su esencia, no requiere que todas las cuestiones secundarias
relacionadas con la doctrina deban ser explicadas antes de su solemne proclamación, ni tampoco que no se vaya a desarrollar una mayor comprensión después
de su promulgación. Esto se evidencia por los profundos pensamientos sobre una comprensión más profunda de la Inmaculada Concepción ofrecidos por San
Maximiliano Kolbe después de más de cincuenta años de la dogmatización de la doctrina.68

Además, la Maternidad Espiritual posee un apoyo bíblico más sólido e implícito que cualquiera de los dos dogmas marianos previos de la Inmaculada
Concepción y de la Asunción, particularmente a la luz de los testimonios de la Escritura encontrados en el presagio del Antiguo Testamento en Génesis 3,15;
en la Anunciación (Lc 1,38); la Visitación (Lc 1,39); la Profecía de Simeón (Lc 2,35); las Bodas de Caná (Jn 2,1-10); la Mujer de la Revelación 12,1; y,
por encima de todo, las palabras directas de Jesús en el Calvario (Jn 19,25-27).

En resumen, la clara doctrina de la Maternidad Espiritual, basada en su implícita presencia bíblica, el explícito desarrollo tradicional y la articulación
magisterial oficial, contiene un fundamento en las fuentes de la revelación divina y teología que positivamente sostienen y respaldan su inmediata
consideración para una solemne definición.

Conclusión

¿Podría ser ahora el tiempo apropiado para definir solemnemente la siguiente doctrina cristiana: que


María, la Inmaculada, siempre virgen Madre de Dios, gloriosamente asunta al cielo, es la Madre Espiritual de toda la humanidad como Co-redentora,
Mediadora de todas las gracias y Abogada?

¿Acaso no estamos obligados por la consciencia cristiana a utilizar todos los medios disponibles en la Iglesia para traer un remedio sobrenatural a los
excesivamente graves pecados de los tiempos actuales? Lejos de una especie de estéril y abstracto procedimiento teológico, la definición de un dogma
mariano permitiría la liberación del poder sobrenatural; una decisiva efusión de gracia espiritual, paz y sanación que el drama actual de nuestro mundo
urgentemente necesita. Así como fue María quien imploró al Espíritu que descendiera en el primer Pentecostés (cf. Hechos 1,14), así ahora, una vez más, debemos implorar que María sea la Abogada para un Nuevo Pentecostés -para que vuelva a descender el Espíritu Santo- con el objeto de impregnar los
esfuerzos de la Iglesia hacia la restauración de la familia y una nueva evangelización con la ayuda celestial que sólo puede venir del divino Santificador.

Por otro lado, ¿deberíamos nosotros dudar de definir los roles de la Madre y por ende inhibir todo el poder de su maternal intercesión debido a cuestiones
teológicas secundarias relacionadas a una doctrina que ya ha sido oficialmente enseñada por el magisterio de los papas durante siglos? ¿Deberíamos esperar
invocar definitivamente a la Madre debido a una falta de comprensión de 1 Timoteo 2,5? ¿Deberíamos resistir a la perenne práctica de la Iglesia de “acudir
a María” en el momento histórico tan grave que estamos viviendo al presente debido a la falta de apoyo de otros hermanos y hermanas pertenecientes a
diferentes cuerpos eclesiales cristianos, la mayoría de los cuales niegan a priori el oficio del papado desde donde necesariamente tendría que
venir la definición mariana?

El Beato Papa Pablo VI siguió las inspiraciones del Espíritu Santo en contra de la considerable oposición tanto por parte de los padres conciliares como de
los teólogos de que se concluyera la tercera sesión del Concilio Vaticano Segundo con la proclamación de que María es Madre de la Iglesia. ¿No
constituiría un paralelo adecuado, más idóneo todavía, y que el fruto climático del Sínodo de la Familia fuera la definición de la Maternidad Espiritual de
María por parte de nuestro amado Papa Francisco, y con ello fomentar una auténtica renovación de la familia, la Iglesia y la familia humana en su conjunto?

El Papa Francisco nos recuerda que no debemos temer la lucha mientras vamos de camino si recurrimos a la “ayuda de la Madre”:

“Jesús desde la Cruz le dice a María, refiriéndose a Juan: “Mujer, ¡ahí tienes a tu hijo!” y a Juan: “¡Ahí tienes a tu madre!” (cf. Jn 19,26-27). Todos
estamos representados en ese discípulo: el Señor nos confía a las manos amorosas y tiernas de la Madre para que nos apoye a enfrentar y superar las
dificultades de nuestro camino humano y cristiano; para que jamás tengamos miedo de la lucha, para que lo enfrentemos con la ayuda de la Madre. 69

Cuando Jesús desde la cruz proclamó por primera vez a María como “Madre” (Jn 19,27), sobrevino sobre el mundo la gracia, la evangelización y la paz. Que
una segunda y solemne proclamación de María como “Madre” por parte del Vicario de Jesús, conduzca a la Iglesia hacia una nueva era de gracia, una nueva
evangelización, y una renovada paz para la familia, la Iglesia y el mundo.

Dr. Mark Miravalle

Professor de Teología y Mariología

Universidad Franciscana de Steubenville

Septiembre 15, 2014

1

Sn. Juan Pablo II, Mulieres Dignitatem, n. 29.

2

Sn. Juan Pablo II, Audiencia General, Noviembre 24, 1999.

3

Sn. Juan Pablo II, Mulieres Dignitatem, n. 30.

4

Sta Edith Stein, Ensayos sobre Mujeres, p. 45.

5

Ibid.

6

Sta. Teresa Benedicta de la Cruz (Sta. Edith Stein), I. Guardini, “Sobre la educación de las mujeres”, L’Osservatore Romano, Marzo 6,
1969, Edición en inglés, p. 9.

7

Beata Teresa de Calcutta, Carta a la Cuarta Conferencia Mundia sobre la Mujer, Beijing, 1995.

8

Cf. Sto. Tomás de Aquino, Summa Theologica, III, Q. 26, a. 1.

9

Cf. por ejemplo, Pío XI, Casti Connubi, Deciembre 31, 1930, n. 27.

10

Cf. Antífona Litúrgica, Alma Redemptoris Mater.

11

Beato Pío IX, Ineffabilis Deus, Dec. 8, 1854; Lumen gentium 56.

12

Lumen gentium
, 56.

13

Consejo de Efeso, 431.

14

Papa Francisco, Audiencia General, Octubre 23, 2013.

15

Por ejemplo, títulos ya utilizados por el Magisterio papal refiriéndose a la intercesión de Nuestra Señora, incluyendo “Reina,” “Mediadora de todas las
gracias,” “Co-redentora,” y “Reparadora.”

16

Cf. Dei Verbum, 9,10.

17

Papa Francisco, “Oración de consagración a María,” Octubre 13, 2013.

18

Cf. Lumen gentium, 58

19

Sn. Agustín, De Sancta Virginitate, 6, 6; cf. Sn. Pío X, Ad Diem Ilum, 1904.

20

Sn. Juan Pablo II, Alocución en Fátima, Mayo 12, 1991; Redemptoris Mater, 47.

21

Cf. Lumen gentium, 58.

22

Cf. Sn. Juan Pablo II, Redemptor Hominis, n. 1.

23

Cf
. Heb. 10:10.

24

Lumen gentium,
62.

25

Cf. Lumen gentium, n. 60, 61.

26

Cf. Por ejemplo, el uso más reciente por un papa, cf. Papa Benedicto XVI, uso de “ Mediatrix omnium gratiarum,” Carta para el Día Mundial del Enfermo en el Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Altötting, Alemania, Feb. 11,
2013. Para documentación de los papas de los últimos trescientos años, cf. A. Apollonio,F.I., “Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces” (María Mediadora de todas
las Gracias) en “Mariology: A Guide For Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons” (Mariología: Una guía para sacerdotes,
diáconos, seminaristas y personas consagradas) pp. 444-464.

27

Genesis 3:20.

28

Cf. 1 Cor. 15,22, 45; Rom. 5:12, 21.

29

Cf. San Ireneneo, Ad Haer III, 22, 4, PG 7, 959; ; LG 56.

30

San Ireneo, Ad Haer III, 22, 4. PG 7, 959.

31

San Jerónimo, Epist. 22, 21; PL 22, 408. Cf. Lumen Gentium, 56.

32

San Juan Pablo II, Redemptoris Mater, n. 21

33

Cf. San Juan Pablo II, Redemptoris Mater, n. 21

34

Para el pontificado de San Pío X: Congregación de Ritos, AAS, 1, 1908, Santa Sede, p. 409; AAS 5, 1913, p. 364; Santa Sede, AAS, 6, 1914, p. 108. Para
Pío XI: L.R., p. 1; Audiencia, Dec. 1, 1933, L.R., p. 1; Audiencia, Marzo 25, 1934, L.R., p. 1; Audiencia, Abril 29, 1935.
Para San Juan Pablo II: Audiencia, Sept. 8, 1982; Audiencia, Nov. 4, 1984, L.R., p. 1; Audiencia, Marzo 11, 1985, L.R., p. 7; Homilía, Enero. 31, 1985; Audiencia, Abril 9, 1985, L.R., p. 12; Audiencia, Marzo 24, 1990.

35

San Juan Pablo II, Homilía en Guayaquil, Ecuador, Enero 31, 1985.

36

Ibid
.

37

Cf. San Pío X, Ad diem illum, 1904. Lumen gentium, 57; Lumen gentium, 62.

38

Para un listado de referencias papales de “Mediatrix o Mediadora de todas las gracias” desde el Papa Benedicto XIV al Papa Benedicto XVI, cf. , A.
Apollonio, “Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces (María, Mediadora de todas las Gracias) en Mariology: A Guide For Priests, Deacons, Seminarians and Consecrated Persons, (Mariología: Una guía para sacerdotes, diáconos, seminaristas y
personas consagradas) pp. 444-464.

39

San Juan Pablo II, “Mary, Mediatrix,” (María, Mediadora) Audiencia General, Octubre 1, 1997.

40

Por ejemplo, el aborto (actualmente con un aproximado de 42 millones al año); divorcio sin precedentes, anticoncepción, abuso de mujeres y niños,
tráfico humano de mujeres y menores; pérdida a gran escala de la fe cristiana, particularmente entre jóvenes; una disminución en el respeto por los
ancianos, y un incremento de la eutanasia. Para el rampante crecimiento de la Eutanasia, particularmente en los Países Bajos y Bélgica, cf.
Wwwlifesitenews.com, Junio 27, 2011, Septiembre 24, 2013; también para estadísticas actuales, cf. www.euthanasia.com

41

San Juan Pablo II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 6

42

Joseph Cardenal Ratzinger, “Commentary on the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima” (Comentario sobre el Tercer Secreto de Fátima) Junio 26,
2000.

43

Organización de Salud Mundial, Estadísticas de Hambre e Inanición, 2012.

44

ISIS (o ISIL) las formas de persecución incluyen asesinato, asalto sexual, crucifixión, decapitación y esclavitud, incluso de mujeres y niños.

45

Sub Tuum Praesidium
, siglo III.

46

Cf. Julio 13, 1917 Mensaje de Nuestra Señora de Fátima.

47

Iniciación del Moviemiento para la Solemne Definición de la Maternidad Espiritual de Nuestra Señora por el Cardenal Mercier en Abril, 1915, cf. M.
Hauke, “Mary, Mediatress of Grace: Mary’s Mediation of Grace in the Theological and Pastoral Works of Cardinal Mercier, Ch. I.
(María, Mediadora de Gracia: La mediación de gracia de María en los trabajos teológicos y pastorales del Cardenal Mercier)

48

Ibid
.

49

Carta de petición de la Beata Teresa de Calcuta para el quinto dogma mariano
, Agosto 14, 1993, cf. www.fifthmariandogma.com.

50

El Cardenal Mercier sometió cientos de peticiones de obispos dentro de los primeros años del movimiento desde 1915 hasta 1920. El movimiento más
reciente, Vox Populi Marie Mediatrici, registra 522 obispos y 57 cardenales de 1993 a 2010, cf. www.fifthmariandogma.com.

51

Desde 1995 se han sometido arriba de 7 millones de peticiones de más de 180 países para este quinto dogma mariano a la Congregación para la Doctrina de
la Fe, cf. www.fifthmariandogma.com

52

Tanto el Beato Pío IX como Pío XII agradecieron a los fieles cristianos el derroche de peticiones para estos respectivos dogmas marianos como una
manifestación legítima del sensus fidelium; cf. Ineffabilis Deus, Diciembre 8, 1854 y Munificentissimus Deus,
Noviembre 1, 1950.

53

Cf. John H. Newman, “The Rambler” (El vagabundo) 1859; Ian Ker, John Henry Newman. Una biografía, Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1988, 463-489.

54

Énfasis mío.

55

Cf. por ejemplo, San Juan Pablo II, Audiencia General, Enero 13, 1982.

56

Papa Benedicto XVI, Homilía durante la bendición eucarística en Fátima, Mayo 12, 2011.

57

Cf. San Juan Pablo II, Ut Unum Sint, 21, 28.

58

Lumen gentium
, 61.

59

Cf. Papa Francisco, Alocución en la Víspera de la Consagración a María, Octubre 12, 2013.

60

Cf. Sto. Tomás de Aquino, ST III, Q. 26, a. 1; Lumen gentium 60-61.

61

Cf. Sn. Juan Pablo II, Redemptoris Mater, 21, 39.

62

Sn. Juan Pablo II, Audiencia General, Octubre 1, 1997.

63

Cf. Sn. Juan Pablo II, Ut Unum Sint, 21, 28.

64

Cf. Unitatis Redintegratio,11; Ut Unum Sint, 36, 18.

65

Papa Francisco, Audiencia general, Septiembre 3, 2014.

66

Cf. Por ejemplo, Sn. Juan Pablo II, Audiencia General, Enero 13, 1982.

67

Cf. San Juan Pablo II, Carta Apostólica, Salvifici Doloris; Pío XII, Mystici Corporis.

68

Cf. Por ejemplo, Manteau-Bonamy, ed., “The Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit: The Marian Teachings of Fr. Kolbe (La Concepción
Imaculada y el Espíritu Santo: Las enseñanzas marianas del Padre Kolbe) Capítulos I, II, IV.

69

Papa Francisco, Alocución en la Basílica de Sta. María la Mayor, Mayo 4, 2013.

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In commemoration of the September 15 memorial of the Sorrowful Mother, the “feast day of Mary Co-redemptrix,”we are happy to send you the following article entitled, “Woman, Motherhood, Our Spiritual Mother, and the Synod on the Family.” It is written in preparation for the October 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family and in preparation for the 2015 Ordinary Synod on the Family. It is only through a proper understanding of the nature of woman and motherhood and its appropriate appreciation that we can properly experience a renewal and restoration of authentic family life. Moreover, the sublime example and the powerful intercession of Mary, the world’s Spiritual Mother, is quintessentially needed for the sanctification of the family, the New Evangelization, and for the peace and grace so urgently needed for the family, for the Church, and for the world. -Ed.

I. Woman and Mother: Intercessor of Life and Love for the Family

Who is woman, and what is at the heart of the vocation of motherhood?


St. John Paul II captures both the nature and the vocation of woman when he writes that a woman is called to testify to the existence and the depth of the
love “with which every human being—man and woman—is loved by God in Christ.”1 The special
mission of every woman is “to welcome and to care for the human person.”2 Our time in
particular “awaits the manifestation of that ‘genius’ which belongs to women, and which can ensure sensitivity for human beings in every
circumstance.”3

Woman, in a particular way, is orientated to the concrete love and nurturing of persons.4
St. Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) articulates the essential nature and vocation of woman: “…woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is
living, personal, and whole. To cherish, guard, protect, nourish and advance growth is her natural and maternal longing.” 5 A woman most fully embodies her feminine charism in her motherhood. To be a
“mother” means to “protect and safeguard true humanity and to bring it to full development.” 6 In a Letter to the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women, Blessed
Teresa of Calcutta writes: “The special power of loving that belongs to a woman is seen most clearly when she becomes a mother. Motherhood is the gift of
God to women.”7

A mother is a natural intercessor or “mediator” of life and love within the family, as one who intercedes or “acts as a means” of bringing greater unity
between others.8 Is this not the essential and perennial task of a mother? A mother
physically and morally intercedes between the Creator and her family in her unique role of bringing life to the world. After receiving the seed of life
from the human father, the body of the mother gives form and nourishment to the developing embryo, and thus works intimately as a “co-creator” with the
Creator to mediate the precious gift of human life to the family and to the world. The child is the transcendent gift that results from the extensive,
all-encompassing, moral and physical intercession of the mother, coupled with the necessary contribution of the father. Mothers uniquely intercede, both
physically and morally, to unite God and family through the gift of children.

A mother is not only the special intercessor of life for the family, but also a unique intercessor of love for the family.
Through the particularly feminine gifts of receptivity, sensitivity, warmth, understanding, compassion, long suffering, intuition and personal insight, a
mother becomes the principal means of unity between the father and the children, as well as between the children themselves. Interventions of communication
and empathy, understanding and wisdom, forgiveness and reconciliation, sacrifice and love, are constant manifestations of maternal intercession between all
other members of the family unit.

Authentic motherhood calls for at least three essential expressions of maternal intercession for her children. First, a mother suffers for her child. A
mother’s suffering is not limited to the physical pain experienced during gestation and birth, but also the profound “suffering of the heart” experienced
throughout her child’s life, as the mother compassionately shares in the trials and tragedies that constitute a part of the life of every child. Secondly,
a mother nourishes her child. The proper nourishing of a child extends far beyond the physical realm. A mother not only provides food and nutrition to her
offspring from the moment of conception through gestation and birth, but far beyond this throughout the years of childhood and adolescence—offering the
child the fundamental emotional, psychological, educational, and spiritual formation in the greatest and most complete manner of personal development
possible. Thirdly, a mother “pleads” or intercedes for the well-being of her child. These maternal acts of advocacy first begin within the home, and then
extend out into society as the child gradually enters the larger world. They are manifested in a variety of ways throughout the life of the child, which
include interceding for the best needs of the child at school, in social settings, in the areas of music, sports, and other cultural activities. A mother’s
advocacy for her child often includes aspects of protection and defense as the process of entrance into society can typically entail dangers and
difficulties.

All these are expressions of the loving and sacrificial intercession of a mother. Is it any wonder that motherhood may be the most universally cherished
vocation in the natural order, and that many a child, regardless of age, have ended their earthly life with the word, “mother” on their lips? It is for
these reasons and more that the papal documents have referred to the mother as the “heart” of the family, and as such “she may and ought to claim for
herself the chief place in love.”9

II. Mary, Mother of the Holy Family

It is a wonderment of nature that “a creature should give birth to her Creator.”10 This
liturgical antiphon reflects the mystery of Mary, who through her free consent to the sublime vocation of motherhood interceded in life and in love in
order to bring forth the most exalted child, and thus most exalted family, in human history.

As is the case with every mother, Mary plays an irreplaceable role by consenting to bring life into what will become her family. Conceived “full of grace”
through the foreseen merits of the future Redeemer and the sanctifying indwelling of the Holy Spirit, 11 the young virgin of Nazareth is providentially made ready to become the most important
mother of the human race. Still, Mary’s “let it be done” constituted an entirely free, active, and feminine “yes” to the heavenly Father’s mission of
motherhood: “Be it done to me according to your word”(Lk. 1:38).12 With this free
cooperation to the plan of God “as mother,” Mary brings the world its Redeemer and merits the title above all her other titles, “Mother of God,” 13 which contains within it the essence and vocation of her supreme motherhood.

As well as consenting to become a motherly intercessor of life in giving birth to Jesus, Mary also performs her duty as an intercessor of love within the
Holy Family. It is Mary that will intercede between Joseph, her chaste virginal husband, and Jesus, her child, within the natural familial flow of love
between father and child. Mary will mediate in the fulfilling of the usual motherly acts as heart of the Holy Family. We see this, for example, at
the finding of Jesus at the temple when, after three days of parental suffering and searching (cf. Lk. 2:46-51), it is Mary who intercedes by speaking to
the young Jesus on behalf of herself and Joseph: “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously”
(Lk. 2:48).

Mary also fulfilled the innumerable acts of small, intercessory tasks in fidelity to her vocation as mother. Pope Francis describes here:

How did Mary live this faith? She lived it out in the simplicity of the thousand daily tasks and worries of every mother, such as providing food, clothing,
caring for the house…. It was precisely Our Lady’s normal life which served as the basis for the unique relationship and profound dialogue which unfolded
between her and God, between her and her Son.14

III. Mary, Spiritual Mother in the Family of God

In ways both sublime and ordinary, Mary fulfills her providential role as the motherly intercessor of life and love within the extraordinary designs of the
Holy Family. Yet her motherhood within the Holy Family would extend, due to the universal redemptive mission of her Son, to include the entirety of God’s
Family, and indeed to all peoples. In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis refers to Mary’s motherhood both domestically and universally as a “mother
of all”:

…Mary was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love. She is the handmaid of the Father who sings
his praises. She is the friend who is ever concerned that wine not be lacking in our lives. She is the woman whose heart was pierced by a sword and who
understands all our pain. As mother of all, she is a sign of hope for peoples suffering the birth pangs of justice. She is the missionary who draws near to
us and accompanies us throughout life, opening our hearts to faith by her maternal love. As a true mother, she walks at our side, she
shares our struggles and she constantly surrounds us with God’s love (EG 286).

It is sometimes perceived that the traditional titles attributed to Mary’s motherly intercession came solely as a result of speculative theology, rather
than being founded in the Word of God.15 But in fact, the titles of maternal intercession
used by the papal magisterium have their solid basis in both Scripture and apostolic Tradition, as properly interpreted by the Church’s magisterium. Dei Verbum reminds us that Tradition makes progress in the Church through a legitimate development of doctrine under the guidance of
the Holy Spirit.16 Let us therefore examine a synthesized New Testament chronology of the
gradual revelation of the Mother of Jesus from the Annunciation just discussed, until the establishment of Mary by the crucified Jesus as “mother of us
all,”17 and the legitimate Marian titles and roles that organically develop and come to
light from their doctrinal seeds found in Scripture and apostolic Tradition. For Mary’s consent to the mission of redemption at the Annunciation will
remain unbroken, up to and including her historic participation in the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary. 18

The mother who gave physical birth to Jesus, also gave spiritual birth to his Body, the Church. Jesus Christ is the “head of the body, the Church” (Col.
1:18). Therefore at the Annunciation, Mary’s fiat led not only to the physical conception of Jesus, Head of the body, but also to the spiritual conception of his mystical body, to which belong all the followers of Christ, and through the Church, all believers. St. Augustine tells
us: “She is really Mother of the members who we are, because she cooperated by charity so that there might be born in the Church believers, of whom he is
the Head.”19 St. John Paul II further explains: “Since she gave birth to Christ, the Head
of the Mystical Body, she also had to have given birth to all the members of that one Body. Therefore, ‘Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and
embraces each and every one through the Church’.”20

Within the profound mystery of the Word becoming flesh through her divine motherhood, Mary gave to Jesus the human “instrument” of redemption, which is his
body, for “we have been sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all” (Heb. 10:10). The Immaculate Virgin uniquely cooperated in
the mystery of Redemption, not only by giving birth to the Redeemer and providing him with the bodily instrument of the redemption, but also in virtue of
her unparalleled suffering with her Son throughout the entire mission of redemption.21
Insofar as Mary, as Mother of God, gave birth to the “Redeemer of man”,22 she is already
legitimately referred to as the human “Co-redemptrix” (“the woman with the Redeemer”), as her consent gave the Redeemer his body and consequently his human
nature through which he redeems the world—a contribution to the work of redemption unparalleled by any other creature. 23

Through her historic intercession at the Annunciation, Mary also mediates the “one Mediator” (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5) into human history. She acts as a human
“mediatrix,”24 as she uniquely intercedes as a mother to bring Jesus Christ into the human
race. Not only does Mary’s intercessory role as mother neither obscure nor compete with the one mediation of Jesus Christ upon which Mary’s secondary
mediation is entirely subordinate and dependent, 25 but her maternal
cooperation with God’s plan of the Incarnation is precisely what made the redeeming mission of the one Mediator possible. Once again, it is Mary, the Mediatrix who mediated the one Mediator to us. Moreover, since Jesus is the source and author of all graces, Mary, in virtue of this
first great act of motherly intercession, is already properly invoked in the Church and by at least ten modern popes as the Mediatrix of all graces.26

The Fathers of the Church captured the doctrine of Spiritual Maternity in the patristic concept of the “New Eve.” As the first Eve or “Mother of the
Living”27 was instrumental with the first Adam in the loss of grace for the human family,
so too Mary as the “New Eve” or “New Mother of the Living” was instrumental with Jesus, the “New Adam,”28 in the restoration of grace for the humanity. 29 Within the New Eve model, the Fathers captured the truth of Mary’s spiritual maternity
in a simple though essential formulation, which include dimensions of spiritual motherhood, mediation, and coredemption. Early Church testimony to her
intercession is exemplified in St. Irenaeus’ the second century teaching that Mary is the “cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race;”30 as well as in the famous maxim of St. Jerome: “Death through Eve, Life through Mary.” 31

When Mary visits Elizabeth (Lk. 1:39-56), she is the pregnant mother who physically “mediates” the unborn Christ into the presence of Elizabeth and the
unborn Baptist—a physical intercession which in turn leads to two events of grace: the pre-sanctification of John in the womb and the prophesying of
Elizabeth by the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk. 1:41-42). At the Presentation of the infant Jesus (Lk. 2:21-38), Simeon identifies Jesus as the “sign of
contradiction,” but also testifies to the coredemptive role of Mary—the woman who will suffer with the Redeemer: “…and a sword shall pierce through your
own heart, too” (Lk. 2:35) so that the “secret thoughts” of the redemption may laid bare.

The Wedding at Cana (Jn. 2:1-10) dynamically reveals the role of the motherly Mediatrix as Mary knowingly and willingly intercedes for the grace of the
first public miracle. As St. John Paul II comments of the Cana event: “She acts as a mediatrix, not as an outsider, but in her position as mother.” 32 The Cana event further discloses Mary’s motherly role as “Advocate,” as one who speaks
on behalf of humanity before the throne of her Son, Christ the King. At the wedding feast, Mary advocates for the newly married couple in what constitutes
an unequivocal biblical example of Marian intercession. The fact that the wedding couple is not known to be disciples of Jesus indicates the universality
of her role as humanity’s advocate—that her maternal intercession reaches beyond the limits of Christianity, and extends to the universal needs of all
mankind.33

It is only at Calvary, at the summit of the historic event of redemption, that Mary’s Spiritual motherhood is fully established and declared. Pope Francis
expounds:

On the cross, when Jesus endured in his own flesh the dramatic encounter of the sin of the world and God’s mercy, he could feel at his feet the consoling
presence of his mother and his friend. At that crucial moment, before fully accomplishing the work which his Father had entrusted to him, Jesus said to
Mary: “Woman, here is your son”. Then he said to his beloved friend: “Here is your mother” (Jn. 19:26-27). These words of the dying Jesus are not
chiefly the expression of his devotion and concern for his mother; rather, they are a revelatory formula which manifests the mystery of a special saving
mission. Jesus left us his mother to be our mother. Only after doing so did Jesus know that “all was now finished” (Jn
19:28). At the foot of the cross, at the supreme hour of the new creation, Christ led us to Mary. He brought us to her because he did not want us to
journey without a mother, and our people read in this maternal image all the mysteries of the Gospel (EG 285).

In union with the Redeemer at Golgotha, it is the Mother who uniquely shares in the work of redemption by “sharing the intensity of his suffering” in her
mother’s heart. As Lumen Gentium expounds:

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping
with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifices in her mother’s heart, and
lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim born of her (LG 58).

Once again, the single term from the Church’s tradition that best encapsulates Mary’s role as Spiritual Mother within the work of redemption is the title,
“Co-redemptrix.” The Marian title of Co-redemptrix, which was explicitly used six times by St. John Paul II, three times by Pius XI, and three times by
Vatican congregations under the pontificate of St. Pius X,34 never places Mary on a level
of equality with Jesus Christ, the only divine Redeemer of humanity. It refers, rather, to the unique cooperation of this woman and mother “with Jesus” in
the redemptive mission—the dimension of her spiritual maternity in the order of suffering.

At Golgotha, Mary is, in words of St. John Paul II, “spiritually crucified with her crucified son.” 35 Yet, as the Totus Tuus Pope continues, “her roles as Co-redemptrix did not
cease with the glorification of her son.”36 In virtue of her unparalleled role in the obtaining of the graces of redemption with Jesus, she is consequently proclaimed by the crucified Jesus as the spiritual Mother of all peoples,
whose task it is now to dispense the graces of redemption as the Mediatrix of all graces.” 37

Mary’s spiritual maternity actively continues in the distribution of the graces of redemption, precisely as the Mediatrix of all graces and as Advocate for
humanity. Mary’s role as the Mediatrix of all graces has been officially taught by most every pope of the last three centuries, from Benedict XIV in the 18 th century to Pope Benedict XVI.38 Her mediation of grace is, again, an outward
expression and practice of her spiritual maternity, as St. John Paul II explicates this key point: “Recognition of her role as mediatrix is moreover
implicit in the expression, ‘our Mother,’ which presents the doctrine of Marian mediation by putting the accent on her motherhood.” 39 The expression “our Mother,” contains within itself the truth and the role
of Mary as Mediatrix of all graces obtained at Calvary.

In the days before Pentecost (Cf. Acts. 1:14), Mary is there, interceding as a motherly advocate on behalf of the infant church for the Holy Spirit to
descend. In the same way, for a New Evangelization to be fully effective, the Church must again utilize Mary as the human Advocate, to implore the Holy
Spirit, the divine Advocate, to descend in our time in order to guide and sanctify our efforts to spread the Gospel of Jesus today. Pope Francis
points out that Mary’s advocacy to the Spirit thus made possible the first evangelization: “With the Holy Spirit, Mary is always present in the midst of
the people. She joined the disciples in praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14) and thus made possible the missionary outburst which
took place at Pentecost (EG 284).”

Moreover, Pope Francis describes how Mary’s ongoing Advocacy for her earthly children is witnessed throughout the world’s Marian shrines, inclusive of her
most tender and maternal self-identification as Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Through her many titles, often linked to her shrines, Mary shares the history of each people which has received the Gospel and she becomes a part of their
historic identity.


Many Christian parents ask that their children be baptized in a Marian shrine,


as a sign of their faith in her motherhood which brings forth new children for


God. There, in these many shrines, we can see how Mary brings together her


children who with great effort come as pilgrims to see her and to be seen by


her. Here they find strength from God to bear the weariness and the suffering in


their lives. As she did with Juan Diego, Mary offers them maternal comfort and


love, and whispers in their ear: “Let your heart not be troubled… Am I not here,


who am your Mother?” (EG 286).

Finally, the New Testament testimony to Spiritual Maternity exposes its spiritually protective character as the Woman-Mother in the Book of
Revelation (Rev. 12:17). Here the Woman “clothed with the sun” and ‘crowned with twelve stars” courageously advocates for the Church, who makes up the
“rest of her offspring” under attack by the Dragon. Again, Pope Francis confirms: “The Lord did not want to leave the Church without this icon of
womanhood. Mary, who brought him into the world with great faith, also accompanies ‘the rest of her offspring,’ those who keep the commandments of God and
bear testimony to Jesus (Rev 12:17) (EG 285).”

Throughout the New Testament, therefore, the spiritual maternity of Mary is gradually unveiled and dynamically put into practice on behalf of God’s people.
We see the same spiritual battle for souls revealed in the Book of Revelation— the cosmic confrontation between the Queen-Advocate and the
Dragon-Adversary—raging in full intensity today. It is a battle for families, for society, and for the Church, and it presently calls for the strongest
possible advocacy by the world’s Spiritual Mother.

IV. The Signs of Our Time and the World’s Mother

Gaudium et Spes
reminds us that “at all times the Church carries the responsibility of reading the signs of the time and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel,
if it is to carry out its task” (GS, 4). What, then, constitute the contemporary signs of the times, and what are their ramifications for the domestic
family, the family of the Church, and the entire human family?

On the domestic spectrum of human society, the family seems to be facing some of its most severe threats, particularly in the areas of marriage stability;
sexual and bio-ethical morality; and proper care for women, children, and the elderly.40
Even from the pope who perennially exhorted the Church to “be not afraid,” St. John Paul II openly acknowledges his concern regarding the present state of
family life:

A similar need for commitment and prayer arises in relation to another critical contemporary issue: the family, the primary cell of society,
increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so to make us fear for the future of this fundamental
institution, and with it, the future of society as a whole.41

On the global front, the present nuclear capacity of several countries, along with its exponential power for the destructions of entire regions and even
nations, stands as a most serious global challenge unique to our times. As Cardinal Ratzinger remarked: “Today the prospect that the world might be reduced
to ashes by a sea of fire no longer seems pure fantasy: man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword.” 42

Violent geo-political conflicts are ongoing in Palestine, Israel, Russia, the Ukraine, Crimea, Syria, Iraq, and Libya. World hunger is increasing, with one
out of every seven persons going to bed hungry.43 The false ideologies of “new atheism,”
western materialism, and secular humanism, are all on the rise. A dramatic increase of Christian persecution is taking worldwide particularly in Iraq,
Syria, Sudan, and Nigeria. Singularly concerning is the newly assembled terrorist group “ISIS” (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) which is initiating
extreme forms of Christian persecution (as well as to other ethnic minorities) in shocking forms which manifest its clearly diabolical origin. 44

What can the Church do in the midst of these seemingly unprecedented global attacks upon the family, society, and the Church herself?

Throughout its tradition and history, the Church as the Family of God has shown the wisdom to turn to Mary during its most dangerous and critical moments.
In the early Church, Christians fled to the Mother of God for deliverance and protection during times of Christian persecution as seen in the ancient
prayer, Sub Tuum Praesidium: “We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from
all danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.”45 At times of crisis during the late middle
ages and early modern period, the Church again sought the powerful intercession of the Mother, as seen at the battle of Lepanto (1571) through “Our Lady of
the Rosary,” and the Battle of Vienna through the “Holy Name of Mary”(1683). More recently, many have acknowledged the relatively bloodless fall of the
Communism in Eastern Europe and connected it to the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Pope St. John Paul II on March 25, 1984,
in fulfillment of the request issued by Our Lady of Fatima.46

Again, at the times of its greatest historical crises, the Church turns to Mary.

Is it not, once again time now, to follow the perennial wisdom of the Church and to definitively call upon the greatest possible intercession of
the world’s Spiritual Mother?

V. The Solemn Definition of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood

One hundred years ago, the renowned Belgian prelate, Desire-Joseph Cardinal Mercier, initiated a movement within the Church to support and petition for a
solemn definition of Mary’s Spiritual Maternity.47 The previous Marian definitions of Mother of God (431), Threefold Virginity (649), Immaculate Conception (1854), and Assumption (1950), have solemnly
proclaimed Mary’s relationship with Jesus and her unique gifts of grace in soul and body. A fifth Marian definition would infallibly declare Mary’s relationship with us, her children—both within God’s family of the Church, and to the entire human family. From its outset, the
motivation for this Marian dogma, beyond the appropriate recognition of the unparalleled role of the Mother of God as our Mother, was the firm conviction
that this papal definition would bring with it historic graces for the Church and for the world.48

Why would a dogma proclamation of Spiritual Maternity result in a new abundance of grace for humanity? For the pope to solemnly declare our Lady’s roles is
to offer God the greatest possible human acknowledgement of the truth and acceptance of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood on the part of humanity, and at the
same time, to request in full freedom for the maximum possible actuation of her maternal roles of intercession. While it can be said that every previous
Maria dogma has led to great graces for the Church, the papal definition of Spiritual Motherhood appears particularly disposed to such an outpouring of
grace. The more we freely acknowledge the providentially designed roles of our Spiritual Mother, the more she is “free” and welcomed by us – in conformity with God’s respect for our free will—to bring to full activation and power her roles of motherly intercession on our behalf.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta refers to this historic outpouring of grace as a result of this papal definition in her letter of petition for this fifth Marian
dogma: “…The papal definition of Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate will bring great graces to the Church.” 49

In sum, the solemn papal definition of Mary’s spiritual maternity will permit and utilizethe fullest possible exercise of Mary’s motherly functions of intercession for the world. Since 1915, over eight million bishops50 and over seven million faithful 51 have petitioned the popes of the last hundred years for this dogmatic crown for Mary,
as was the Catholic precedence for the last two Marian dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. 52 This should not be overlooked, especially in light of the legitimate consideration of
the sensus fidelium in the examination of appropriate conditions for a dogmatic definition. 53

In light of the foregoing, what reasonable spiritual fruit could we expect from the definition of Spiritual Maternity as a dogma? The following benefits
for the family, the Church, and the world benefits could certainly be foreseen:

  1. A renewal of family life and the mother’s role in the family as its quintessential “heart.” A definition of Spiritual Motherhood cannot but redound
    into a new championing of the sublime role of the motherhood in every family. A new solemn recognition of motherhood in the person of Mary would
    immediately result in restoring the proper reverence for the role of mother as the heart of every family, which would further result in a domestic
    transfusion of love and grace into the domestic church.

  2. A new respect for the dignity of the human person based on the radical respect that God placed on the free cooperation of one human person, Mary,
    to participate in the saving work of Christ. All human persons are raised in dignity through the victorious role given by God to one woman, which
    likewise effects the restoration of family life as a sacred communion of persons instituted by God.

  3. A new celebration of women in the Church, and a concrete feminine model that properly encourages the Church to integrate women more profoundly into
    the work of the New Evangelization, as well as into the overall life of the Church. This new recognition of women should include legitimate
    leadership positions in the Church which do not require ordination, nor conflict with the primary responsibility of Christian motherhood, but
    rather make use of it for the fullest extent for all God’s children. A definition of spiritual maternity would underscore that it was a woman who
    was predestined by God to accompany the one divine Redeemer and Mediator in his salvific work, and as such provide the authentic foundation for a
    true Christian feminism. A proclamation of Mary is at the same time a proclamation of woman. As Pope Francis underscored: “the Lord did
    not want to leave the Church without this icon of womanhood” (EG 285).

  4. A supernatural infusion of grace into the New Evangelization by its Mother and “Star.” As Christian history testifies at places like Guadalupe,
    when Mary leads the way in spreading the Gospel of Christ, whole regions or even continents can quickly be converted to or renewed in the Church.
    As Pope Francis reminds us: “She is the Mother of the Church which evangelizes, and without her we could never truly understand the spirit of the
    new evangelization” (EG 284).

In light of a new papal “fiat” to her titles and functions of intercession, Our Lady could profoundly fulfill the prayer of Pope Francis to “obtain a new
ardor born of the resurrection, that we may bring to all the Gospel of life, which triumphs over death,” and thereby grant the Church “a holy courage to
seek new paths, that the gift of unfading beauty may reach every man and woman) (EG 288). It is because Mary, beyond all other
creatures, gave herself “completely to the Eternal One” that she can besthelp us to say our own ‘yes’ to the urgent call, as pressing
as ever, to proclaim the good news of Jesus”(EG 288).

It is moreover essential to the process of the New Evangelization that we fully incorporate a “Marian style” to our methods of spreading the Gospel. Pope
Francis expounds:

There is a Marian “style” to the Church’s work of evangelization. Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of
love and tenderness. In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong who need not treat others poorly in order to
feel important themselves (EG 288).

Mary is, moreover, our model of service and evangelization for the poor and marginalized, and the solemn highlighting of her motherly example will only aid
the Church to better imitate its evangelizing exemplar: “She is the woman of prayer and work in Nazareth, and she is also Our Lady of Help, who sets out
from her town “with haste” (Lk 1:39) to be of service to others. This interplay of justice and tenderness, of contemplation and concern for
others, is what makes the ecclesial community look to Mary as a model of evangelization” (EG 288). A definition of maternity would certainly highlight the
Church’s imperative to become more maternal in its methods of spreading the Gospel.

Additionally, Pope Francis has offered a new ecclesiological model of the Church as “home” (cf. EG 288). If the Church is truly to become “home’
for all peoples, we have all the more the imperative for the Mother of the Church to be more intimately involved— that the “heart” of the Family of God may
utilize her unique maternal gifts in transforming the Church evermore into a community where new inquirers and new believers will authentically see and
experience the Church as home.

  1. The renewal and “marianization” of the Church through the solemn recognition of its perfect model and member. Pope Francis reminds us that “Mary is
    the woman of faith, who lives and advances in faith, and “her exceptional pilgrimage of faith represents a constant point of reference for the
    Church” (EG 287). The dogmatic crowning of the Mother would accentuate the sacred role of the Church as “mother” (LG 63, 64), in the mission of
    bringing supernatural life to souls. The declaration of Mary as Mother of all peoples would underscore the Church also as a “mother for all
    peoples,” which is incorporated into this prayer of Pope Francis to the Mother: “We implore her maternal intercession that the Church may become a
    home for many peoples, a mother for all peoples, and that the way may be opened to the birth of a new world (E.V 288).” 54

The proclamation of her role as Co-redemptrix as the foundational and inseparable suffering aspect of her spiritual maternity reminds the Church of its
need to likewise be “co-redeemers in Christ”55, to use the expression of St. John Paul II,
in making up “what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, which is the Church” (Col.1:24). Pope Benedict likewise called the
Church to become “redeemers in the Redeemer.”56

  1. A new outpouring of grace for the world’s poor, suffering, hungry, elderly, and marginalized. The Magnificat reveals the special place in
    Our Lady’s heart for “the lowly” and the “hungry” (Lk. 1:52, 53). This definition would bring generous graces to the world’s most needy peoples,
    the poor and those on the “fringes” of the human family, and as such hold a preferential place in the Immaculate Heart of Mary:Star of
    the new evangelization, help us to bear radiant witness to communion, service, ardent and generous faith, justice and love of the poor, that the
    joy of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the earth, illuminating even the fringes of our world” (EG 288).

  1. A contribution to authentic Christian ecumenism. True motherhood unites rather than divides children. So too, does the sublime spiritual maternity
    of the perfect Mother among her Christian children. Despite advancements in Christian unity through prayer and dialogue, ecumenism is still in need
    of new and profound graces to reach its goal of full unity in Christ’s Body. A new surge of grace into our present ecumenical efforts could first unite the hearts of her children, which could then subsequently lead to a new unity of minds amidst the Christian family—an
    ecumenical breakthrough through the intercession of the Mother of Christian unity. 57

A definition of Spiritual Maternity would also articulate in the clearest possible biblical and theological terms that Catholic Christians do not “adore”
Mary, but properly acknowledge her secondary and subordinate role with Jesus in salvation as “a mother in the order of grace.” 58 It would offer the ecumenical dialogue an invaluable tool as an accurate biblical and
theological formulation of what the Church believes about Mary. Christian truth in itself unites.







  1. Peace among nations. The Mother of all humanity is also the Queen of Peace, who seeks to bring the Prince of Peace to all lands, especially those
    most torn by war, hatred, and destruction. The definition would offer a new release of supernatural grace and wisdom towards the resolving of the
    most complex regional, national, and international geo-political conflicts, which at this point might appear beyond human or diplomatic remedy.
    Such is the special charism of the maternal “Undoer of Knots.”59

Potential Objections to a Marian Definition

Some might object that a dogma of Spiritual Maternity would not be appropriate in light of the scriptural teachings of 1Tim 2:5 that “there is only one
mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Yet it must again be emphasized that Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood is only a subordinate sharing in the
one mediation of Christ, as are the prayers and intercession of every Christian. Lumen Gentium reminds us:

But Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power…it 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. It does not hinder in any way the
immediate union of the faithful with Christ but on the contrary fosters it (LG 60).

Mary intercedes, the Church intercedes, the saint intercedes, the angel intercedes, the priest intercedes, the lay faithful intercedes, each in their
diverse and proportionate degrees, yet all as secondary and subordinate participants in the one mediation of Jesus Christ.60 Mary shares in the one mediation of Jesus like no other, 61 due to her unique role with Jesus in the work of redemption, and in light of her
unparalleled role in the distribution of grace to humanity. But her motherly mediation is neither “parallel” nor does it “compete” with the one mediation
of Christ. St. John Paul II offers this exceptionally clear teaching on 1Tim. 2:5 and its authentic Catholic interpretation:

In proclaiming Christ the one mediator (cf. 1Tim 2:5-6), the text of St. Paul’s letter to Timothy excludes any other parallel mediation, but not
subordinate mediation. In fact, before emphasizing the one exclusive mediation of Christ, the author urges “that supplications, prayers, intercession, and
thanksgivings be made for all men” (2:1). Are not prayers a form of mediation? By proclaiming the uniqueness of Christ’s mediation, the Apostle intends
only to exclude any autonomous or rival mediation, and not other forms compatible the infinite value of the Savior’s work. 62

Just as the Pauline teaching that “all have fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) did not, despite first impressions, run contrary to the dogma of
the Immaculate Conception, so too the Pauline teaching of 1Tim 2:5 does not run contrary to the present doctrine and the potential definition of Mary as
Spiritual Mother and Mediatrix of all graces.

Still others might contend this Marian definition would impede ecumenical progress with other Christian ecclesial bodies, and thereby run counter to the
conciliar call for Christian unity. Authentic ecumenical activity within the Church identifies prayer as its soul and dialogue as its body in the true
seeking of unity within the one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ.63 True
ecumenical efforts, however, can neither compromise authentic doctrinal teachings which include those concerning the Mother of God, nor should they be an
obstacle to legitimate doctrinal development,64 and this proposed Marian dogma would, in
fact, constitute a legitimate development of the perennial doctrine regarding Mary’s Spiritual Maternity. Marian truth properly articulated does not put up
walls, but rather builds bridges. All Christians need to know, with the same clarity of profession made by the Redeemer on Calvary, that they too have Mary
as their mother (cf. Jn. 19:26). Pope Francis has recently commented: “A Christian without the Virgin is an orphan.” 65

Another potential objection is that the Marian titles which comprise the specific expressions and functions of Spiritual Maternity such as “Co-redemptrix”
and “Mediatrix” should not be used in a potential definition since their etymological base is too close to those of the divine “Redeemer” and “Mediator,”
which are properly attributed to Jesus alone. Yet, Christian Tradition often uses the same root titles for Mary as for Christ, but with the clear
understanding that Mary is participating on a distinctly human dimension in a divine reality completely dependent upon Jesus Christ. Is this not fully
consistent with the Church’s theological tradition and its perennial use of the principle of analogy? Entirely different root titles would not fully
express the intimacy, beauty and coherency of the one plan of Salvation which God has specifically willed between the Son and the Mother, and ultimately
between God and humanity in the work of human salvation, as all members of the Church are called to participate in the divine actions of redemption and
grace. As married couples “co-create” with the Father in bringing children into the world; and priests “co-sanctify” with the Spirit in ministering the
sacraments of the Church, all Christians are called to “co-redeem” with Jesus in fulfillment of St. Paul’s call to “make up what is lacking in the
sufferings of Christ, for the sake of his body, which is the Church” (Col. 1:24). Mary’s title as Co-redemptrix not only illustrates the union of humanity
with divinity that God desires in the work of salvation, but also beckons the Church to follow her example as “co-redeemers in Christ,”66 and as well proclaims in itself the quintessential Christian message that suffering is redemptive.67

Still others may object that the Marian doctrine in question is not properly mature for a definition, and that elements associated with the doctrine remain
“ambiguous.” Yet, Spiritual Maternity, as well as its three essential maternal expressions in coredemption, mediation and advocacy, has been consistently
taught by the ordinary papal magisterium for over three centuries. Surely, this provides us a magisterial guarantee that all essential aspects of the
doctrine are intrinsically true and free from error.

In regards to ancillary questions that may remain in relation to Spiritual Maternity, a distinction must be made between essential questions intrinsic to the doctrine and secondary questions associated with the doctrine. Spiritual Motherhood is unquestionably a truth contained
within the body of Catholic doctrine, with a biblical, patristic, traditional and magisterial foundation that has led pope after pope in the last several
centuries to officially and confidently teach the doctrine. Questions closely related but nonetheless secondary to the doctrine in question need not be
fully answered before its definition. For example, the “death of Mary” issue which is closely related to the Assumption was not included in the eventual
definition of the Assumption by Ven. Pius XII, as it did not constitute an essential aspect intrinsic to the Assumption doctrine, not matter how closely
related.

While a solemn definition indeed demands the verification of revealed truth at its essence, it does not require that all secondary questions related to the
doctrine must be explained prior to its solemn proclamation, nor that further understanding will not develop after its promulgation. This is evidenced by
the profound insights on the deeper meanings of the Immaculate Conception offered by St. Maximilian Kolbe over fifty years after the doctrine’s
dogmatization.68

Spiritual Maternity, furthermore, possesses stronger implicit biblical support than either the previous two Marian dogmas of the Immaculate Conception or
the Assumption, particularly in light of the scriptural testimonies found its Old Testament foreshadowing in Genesis 3:15; at the Annunciation (Lk. 1:38);
the Visitation, (Lk. 1:39), the Prophecy of Simeon (Lk. 2:35); the Wedding of Cana (Jn. 2:1-10); the Woman of Revelation 12:1; and, most of all, the direct
words of Jesus at Calvary (Jn. 19:25-27).

In sum, the clear doctrine of Spiritual Maternity, based on its implicit scriptural presence, explicit traditional development, and official magisterial
articulation, contains a foundation in the sources of divine revelation and theology that positively sustains its supports its immediate consideration for
a solemn definition.

Conclusion

Could now be the appropriate time to define solemnly the following Christian doctrine: that


Mary, the Immaculate, ever-virgin Mother of God, gloriously assumed into heaven, is the Spiritual Mother of all humanity as Co-redemptrix,
Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate?

Are we not bound by Christian conscience to utilize all the means at the Church’s disposal to bring a supernatural remedy into today’s exceedingly grave
signs of the times? Far from some type of sterile, abstract theological procedure, the defining of a Marian dogma would allow for the release of
supernatural power—a momentous spiritual outpouring of grace, peace, and healing that our present world drama urgently needs. As it was Mary who implored
the Spirit to descent at the first Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14), so now, once again, we must implore Mary as Advocate for a New Pentecost—for a new
descent of the Holy Spirit—in order to infuse the Church’s efforts towards family restoration and a new evangelization with heavenly aid that can only come
from the divine Sanctifier.

Should we, on the other hand, hesitate to define the Mother’s roles and thereby inhibit the full power of her motherly intercession, due to secondary
theological questions regarding a doctrine which has already been officially taught by the papal magisterium for centuries? Should we wait to definitively
invoke the Mother due to an incomplete understanding of 1Timothy 2:5? Should we resist the perennial practice of the Church to “turn to Mary” in our
presently grave historical moment due to the lack of support from other brother and sister Christian ecclesial bodies, the majority of whom deny a priori the office of the papacy from which a Marian definition would necessarily come?

Blessed Pope Paul VI followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit, against considerable opposition from both council fathers and theologians, to conclude the
third session of the second Vatican Council with the proclamation that Mary is Mother of the Church. Would it not constitute a fitting parallel,
with even greater appropriateness and result as a climactic fruit of the Synod on the Family, that our beloved Pope Francis would define Mary’s Spiritual
Motherhood—and thus to foster an authentic renewal of family, the Church, and the human family as a whole?

Pope Francis reminds us that we need not be afraid of the struggle of our contemporary journey when we do so with the “help of the Mother”:

Jesus from the Cross says to Mary, indicating John: “Woman, behold your son!” and to John: “Here is your mother!” (cf. Jn. 19:26-27). In that disciple, we
are all represented: the Lord entrusts us to the loving and tender hands of the Mother, that we might feel her support in facing and overcoming the
difficulties of our human and Christian journey; to never be afraid of the struggle, to face it with the help of the mother. 69

When Jesus first proclaimed Mary “Mother,” from the cross (Jn. 19:27), grace, evangelization, and peace was brought into the world. May a second solemn
proclamation of Mary as “Mother” by the Vicar of Jesus advance the Church into a new grace, a new evangelization, and a new peace for the family, for the Church, and for the world.

Dr. Mark Miravalle

Professor of Theology and Mariology

Franciscan University of Steubenville

September 15, 2014

1

St. John Paul II, Mulieres Dignitatem, n. 29.

2

St. John Paul II, General Audience, November 24, 1999.

3

St. John Paul II, Mulieres Dignitatem, n. 30.

4

St. Edith Stein, Essays on Woman, p. 45.

5

Ibid.

6

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein), I. Guardini, “On the Education of Women”, L’Osservatore Romano, March 6, 1969,
English Edition, p. 9.

7

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Letter to Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995.

8

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, Q. 26, a. 1.

9

Cf. for example, Pius XI, Casti Connubi, December 31, 1930, n. 27.

10

Cf. Liturgical Antiphon, Alma Redemptoris Mater.

11

Bl. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, Dec. 8, 1854; Lumen Gentium 56.

12

Lumen Gentium
, 56.

13

Council of Ephesus, 431.

14

Pope Francis, General Audience, October 23, 2013.

15

For example, titles already used by the papal magisterium for Our Lady’s intercession, including “Queen,” “Mediatrix of all graces,” “Co-redemptrix,”
and “Reparatrix.”

16

Cf. Dei Verbum, 9, 10.

17

Pope Francis, “Prayer of Consecration to Mary,” October 13, 2013.

18

Cf. Lumen Gentium, 58.

19

St. Augustine, De Sancta Virginitate, 6, 6; cf. St. Pius X, Ad Diem Ilum, 1904.

20

St. John Paul II, Allocution at Fatima, May 12, 1991; Redemptoris Mater, 47.

21

Cf. Lumen Gentium, 58.

22

Cf. St. John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis, n. 1.

23

Cf. Heb. 10:10.

24

Lumen Gentium,
62.

25

Cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 60, 61.

26

Cf. For example of most recent usage by a pope, cf. Pope Benedict XVI, use of “Mediatrix omnium gratiarum,” Letter for World Day of the Sick at the Shrine of Our Lady of Altötting, Germany, Feb. 11, 2013.For documentation of the popes of the last
three centuries, cf. A. Apollonio,F.I., “Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces” in Mariology: A Guide For Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, pp. 444-464.

27

Genesis 3:20.

28

Cf. 1 Cor. 15:22, 45; Rom. 5:12, 21.

29

Cf. St. Irenaeus, Ad Haer III, 22, 4, PG 7, 959; ; LG 56.

30

St. Irenaeus, Ad Haer III, 22, 4. PG 7, 959.

31

St. Jerome, Epist. 22, 21; PL 22, 408. Cf. Lumen Gentium, 56.

32

St. John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, n. 21

33

Cf. St. John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, n. 21.

34

For the pontificate of St. Pius X: Congregation of Rites, AAS, 1, 1908, Holy Office, p. 409; AAS 5, 1913, p. 364; Holy Office, AAS, 6, 1914, p. 108.
For Pius XI: L.R., p. 1; Audience, Dec. 1, 1933, L.R., p. 1; Audience, March 25, 1934, L.R., p. 1; Audience, April 29, 1935.
For St. John Paul II: Audience, Sept. 8, 1982; Audience, Nov. 4, 1984, L.R., p. 1; Audience, March 11, 1985, L.R., p. 7; Homily, Jan. 31, 1985; Audience, April 9, 1985, L.R., p. 12; Audience, March 24, 1990.

35

St. John Paul II, Homily at Guayaquil, Ecuador, Jan. 31, 1985.

36

Ibid
.

37

Cf. St. Pius X, Ad Diem Illum, 1904. Lumen Gentium, 57; Lumen Gentium, 62.

38

For a listing of papal references of “Mediatrix of all graces” from Pope Benedict XIV to Pope Benedict XVI, cf. , A. Apollonio, “Mary, Mediatrix of all
Graces in Mariology: A Guide For Priests, Deacons, Seminarians and Consecrated Persons, pp. 444-464.

39

St. John Paul II, “Mary, Mediatrix,” General Audience, October 1, 1997.

40

For example, abortion (presently approximated at 42 million annually); unprecedented divorce, contraception, abuse of women and children, human
trafficking of women and minors; large scale loss of Christian faith, particularly among youth; a decrease in respect for the elderly, and an increase
in euthanasia. For the soaring increase of Euthanasia, particularly in the Netherlands and Belgium, cf.www.lifesitenews.com, June 27, 2011, September 24, 2013; also for current statistics, cf. www.euthanasia.com.

41

St. John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 6.

42

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Commentary on the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima, June 26, 2000.

43

World Health Organization Statistics on Hunger and Starvation,
2012.

44

ISIS (or ISIL) forms of persecution include murder, sexual assault, crucifixion, beheading, and slavery—inclusive of women and children.

45

Sub Tuum Praesidium
, 3rd century.

46

Cf. July 13, 1917 Message of Our Lady of Fatima.

47

Initiation of the Movement for the Solemn Definition of Our Lady’s Spiritual Maternity by Cardinal Mercier in April, 1915, cf. M. Hauke, Mary, Mediatress of Grace: Mary’s Mediation of Grace in the Theological and Pastoral Works of Cardinal Mercier, Ch. I.

48

Ibid
.

49

Petition Letter of Bl. Teresa of Calcutta for the Fifth Marian Dogma
, August 14, 1993, cf. www.fifthmariandogma.com.

50

Cardinal Mercier submitted several hundreds of bishop petitions within the first few years of the movement from 1915 to 1920. The more recent Vox Populi Marie Mediatrici movement records 522 bishops and 57 cardinals from 1993 to 2010, cf. www.fifthmariandogma.com.

51

Over 7 million petitions from over 180 countries for this fifth Marian dogma have been submitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, since
1995, cf. www.fifthmariandogma.com.

52

Both B. Pius IX and Pius XII thanked the Christian faithful for the outpouring of the petitions for these respective Marian dogmas as a legitimate
manifestation of the sensus fidelium; cf. Ineffabilis Deus,Dec. 8, 1854 and Munificentissimus Deus, November 1, 1950.

53

Cf. John H. Newman, The Rambler, 1859; Ian Ker, John Henry Newman. A Biography, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988, 463-489.

54

Emphasis mine.

55

Cf. for example, St. John Paul II, General Audience, Jan 13, 1982.

56

Pope Benedict XVI, Homily during Eucharistic Benediction at Fatima, May 12, 2011.

57

Cf. St. John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint, 21, 28.

58

Lumen Gentium
, 61.

59

Cf. Pope Francis, Allocution on the Eve of Consecration to Mary, October 12, 2013.

60

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, ST III, Q. 26, a. 1; Lumen Gentium 60-61.

61

Cf. St. John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, 21, 39.

62

St. John Paul II, General Audience, October 1, 1997.

63

Cf. St. John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint, 21, 28.

64

Cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 11; Ut Unum Sint, 36, 18.

65

Pope Francis, General Audience, September 3, 2014.

66

Cf. for example, St. John Paul II, General Audience, Jan 13, 1982.

67

Cf. St. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter, Salvifici Doloris; Pius XII, Mystici Corporis.

68

Cf. For example, Manteau-Bonamy, ed., The Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit: The Marian Teachings of Fr. Kolbe, Chapters I, II, IV.

69

Pope Francis, Allocution at St. Mary Major’s Basilica, May 4, 2013.

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How truly blessed we are to have a man of such Christian faith and Marian love to be chosen by the Holy Spirit through the cardinals to become our Vicar of Christ.

From the very outset of his pontificate, Pope Francis has witnessed powerfully to Mary.  His first utterance as pope on March 13, 2013 was to state his intention to go to St. Mary Major’s Basilica to pray to the “Madonna” before the revered Marian image of the  Salus Populi Romani.

On the first Saturday of May, 2013, Pope Francis returned to the ancient Marian basilica to call the Catholic world to “pray the Rosary” and, leading by example, prayed five decades publicly. It has been also reported that Pope Francis typically prays the 15-decade Rosary daily, inspired by the example of Blessed John Paul II.

On September 7, 2013 for the “World Day of Prayer and Fasting For Peace,” Pope Francis had the Salus Populi Romani icon brought to St. Peter’s Basilica, where he directed much of his prayer for world peace directly to Our Lady, “Queen of Peace.”

On October 13, 2013, Pope Francis consecrated the entire world to Our Lady, and had the celebrated Fatima statue brought to Rome, before which he entrusted the world to its Mother.

On January 1, 2014, this profoundly Marian pontiff added to his ubiquitous Marian teachings, homilies, and references by connecting Our Lady’s role as Mother of God to her coredemptive role beneath the cross:
 

Our pilgrimage of faith has been inseparably linked to Mary ever since Jesus, dying on the Cross, gave her to us as our Mother, saying: "Behold your Mother!" (Jn 19:27). These words serve as a testament, bequeathing to the world a Mother. From that moment on, the Mother of God also became our Mother! When the faith of the disciples was most tested by difficulties and uncertainties, Jesus entrusted them to Mary, who was the first to believe, and whose faith would never fail. The "woman" became our Mother when she lost her divine Son. Her sorrowing heart was enlarged to make room for all men and women, all, whether good or bad, and she loves them as she loved Jesus. The woman who at the wedding at Cana in Galilee gave her faith-filled cooperation so that the wonders of God could be displayed in the world, at Calvary kept alive the flame of faith in the resurrection of her Son, and she communicates this with maternal affection to each and every person. Mary becomes in this way a source of hope and true joy!

My friends, the extraordinary Marian witness of Pope Francis should be a source of true hope and encouragement for the millions of Catholic faithful worldwide who have been praying and petitioning for the solemn papal definition of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate.

Who better possesses the characteristics necessary for proclaiming this fifth Marian dogma than our present pontiff? Pope Francis is uncompromisingly Marian.  He is also not afraid to step out in faith, even without the full support of others, when he is convinced something must be done for the good of the Church. These two exceptional qualities make him perhaps the most likely pope in recent history to fulfill heaven’s request to proclaim the dogma of the Spiritual Mother of all Peoples!

Ultimately, what should encourage and console us is that the heart of Pope Francis is profoundly united to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  She will convey to him, Heart to heart, Her desire for this historic Marian proclamation, as She most likely has already done.

But this consoling truth should in no way remove from our hearts the individual responsibility and historic imperative to persevere in praying and petitioning for the Fifth Marian Dogma!

Sixty three years ago today, on February 11, 1951, Our Lady revealed the “Prayer of the Lady of All Nations,” during the now Church-approved apparitions of “The Lady of All Nations” in Amsterdam. Here, the Mother of God asked all humanity to pray this prayer every day for the Fifth Marian Dogma and for world peace.

On May 31, 1954, Our Lady told us “Work and ask for this dogma. You should petition the Holy Father for this dogma.” 

Today, on the great feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I invite you to continue to say “yes” to Our Lady’s two action steps for the Fifth Marian Dogma. It is not novelty, my friends, but faithful perseverance which will bring forth this historic crown for our Mother.

Action step #1: pray the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations every day and spread it to family and friends (free prayer cards are available from us in both English and Spanish). 

Action step#2: write a personal letter to Pope Francis, expressing your support for the papal definition of Mary’s Spiritual motherhood (address: Pope Francis, Vatican City, 00120).

Most of all, pray for the Pope without ceasing.  The Adversary is busy spreading many lies about this holy and humble pontiff.  Don’t listen to them, but rather pray unceasingly for Our Lady’s Pope to fulfill heaven’s desires for his papacy, including the soon as possible proclamation of the Fifth Marian Dogma.

Be one with Peter.  Be one with Pope Francis.  Be one with the Mother of All Peoples. And the world will have peace. 

Sincerely in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,


Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville
President, Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici
February 11, 2014 Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

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Obedience to the Church is the quintessential ingredient of authentic Catholic Marian devotion.

On October 21, 2013, Archbishop Carlo Viganò, Papal Nuncio to the United States, sent a letter to the Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding a Medjugorje visionary and his upcoming conferences in the United States. This letter was sent at the request of Archbishop Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (the Vatican Congregation which oversees the evaluation of reports of Marian apparitions).

The letter immediately addresses scheduled speaking engagements of Medjugorje visionary, Ivan Dragicevic, but then proceeds to enunciate the policy that “clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such ‘apparitions’ would be taken for granted.” In support of this restriction, the letter of the Nuncio quotes the major portion of a sentence from the Apri 10, 1991 statement of the Ex-Yugoslav (now Bosnian) Conference of Bishops at Zadar: “On the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations.”

Although this restriction could potentially elicit elements of surprise and even confusion on the part of some, there is no true need for anxiety or loss of peace. Let us examine this restriction in light of the Church’s own precedence in dealing with reported apparitions which are still undergoing investigation.

Classically within the Church’s Tradition, there are three possible classifications concerning the ecclesiastical evaluation of an alleged Marian apparition: 1) constat de supernaturalitate, which indicates that the reported apparition “consists of a supernatural origin”; 2) non constat de supernaturalitate, which designates that the supernatural character of the reported apparition cannot be established at the time of examination, but leaves open the possibility for later ongoing evaluation (which could include later positive approval); and 3) constat de non supernaturalitate, which establishes that the alleged apparitions are not of a supernatural origin, and therefore devotees should in no way participate in or promulgate devotion to the alleged apparitions.

While the letter of the Papal Nuncio does refer to the 1991 statement of the Bosnian bishops regarding Medjugorje, there are further elements contained in the 1991 declaration that are helpful for a more complete understanding of the official Bosnian Bishops declaration.

In point of fact, the full sentence taken from the 1991 Bosnian Bishops statement reads: “On the basis of the investigations so far, it cannot be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations.” From the perspective of theology and Church precedence, the “so far” is critically important, as it clearly establishes the Bosnian Bishop statement regarding Medjugorje to fall within the second classification of “non constat de
supernaturalitate” as opposed to “constat de non supernaturalitate.” In short, the Bosnian statement makes clear that Medjugorje is not a “prohibited” apparition, but a reported apparition which merits ongoing investigation.

Back to Church precedent. While a reported apparition is still under investigation, it is normally the case that personal devotion by the clergy or faithful, whether individually or in public gathering, is permitted by the Church, as long as there is not “official” parish or diocesan status given to the conference or pilgrimage, as such could lead to the erroneous conclusion that the reported apparition was already been officially approved by
legitimate Church authority.

Moreover, the clergy and faithful are free, on a personal basis, to accept a reported apparition as authentic, as long as there is the willingness to submit faithfully and obediently to the Church’s final and definitive judgment regarding the reported apparition’s authenticity. This, once again, typically includes permission to pilgrimage to the reported site, to gather privately or collectively to pray or to discuss the reported apparition, albeit
without any official ecclesiastical endorsement implied.

Further, the 1991 Bosnian Bishops Statement goes on to state that even for pilgrims motivated by belief in the apparitions, pastoral care should be provided for these pilgrims, and hence the local bishop and other Bosnian bishops should in fact provide for such care:

However, the numerous gatherings of the faithful from different parts of the world, who come to Medjugorje, prompted both by motives of belief and various other motives, require the attention and pastoral care in the first place of the diocesan bishop and with him of the other bishops also, so that in Medjugorje and in everything connected with it a healthy devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary may be promoted in accordance with the teaching of the Church.

Here we see the Bosnian statement seeks to provide pilgrims who are motivated to visit Medjugorje based on belief in the apparitions the appropriate pastoral care, without in any way discouraging, let alone prohibiting, private pilgrimages fostered by personal belief in the authenticity of the reported apparitions.

Another Church directive which grants permission for “non official” pilgrimages to Medjugorje appears in the May 26, 1998 instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith itself. Archbishop Tarsisio Bertone, at that time Secretary to Cardinal Ratzinger in the CDF, states in a May 26, 1998 letter to French bishop, Most. Rev. Gilbert Aubry:

As regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje, which are conducted privately, this Congregation points out that they are permitted on the condition that they are not regarded as an authentication of the events still taking place and which still call for an examination by the Church.

Here again we see the approval of private pilgrimages, without any prohibition based on personal belief in the apparitions, but only with the qualification that the pilgrimage not be misconstrued as “authenticating” the apparitions while still under investigation. It is also important to note here that the recent letter of the U.S. Papal Nuncio does not prohibit the continuation of private pilgrimages to Medjugorje which were approved under the specified conditions both by the 1991 Bosnian declaration and in the 1998 CDF clarification.

Still, in this light, we can see why the new restrictions concerning conferences or public gatherings which presuppose Medjugorje’s credibility, as contained in the October 21 letter of the Papal Nuncio, could cause surprise and even confusion for those who have faithfully followed the Church’s disciplinary directives regarding Medjugorje up to this point.

But surprise or confusion does not justify disobedience.

To Medjugorje followers worldwide, I would say: obey and pray. As specified by the Nuncio at the directive of CDF, any Medjugorje “meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such ‘apparitions’ would be taken for granted” should be cancelled until further notice or change of policy by rightful Church authority.

Medjugorje devotees must follow the stellar example of St. Pio during his some ten year prohibition by the Church from saying Mass publicly in light of the temporary Vatican and diocesan rejection of his reported mystical phenomena. During his time of prohibition, Padre Pio never denied the authenticity of his stigmata, bilocation, or other authentically supernatural wonders (how could he?—they were true!).

He simply obeyed.

Recall as well the Church prohibition, both from the local diocese and from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, of the apparitions of Jesus to St. Faustina, which now constitutes the universally-approved and celebrated Divine Mercy devotion. Such is the sometimes imperfect process of the Church in the difficult task of evaluating what Blessed John XXIII called “those supernatural lights.” This prohibition was finally lifted in 1978 by the intercession of Bl. John Paul II, but only after many years during which Divine Mercy devotees had to obediently cease public celebration or distribution of the heavenly message of God’s infinite mercy.

They too obeyed.

This new restriction (which is nothing like a formal prohibition) can, in fact, become a providential opportunity to show the world that the great majority of Medjugorje followers live and breathe at the heart of the Church, in full obedience to the Church, and are not “fringe fanatics” whose faith hinges only on an alleged apparition, as some critics may at times assert.

The proof is obedience.

To the larger public, I would say: be clear and beware not to take the new restriction for what it is not: a definitive Church statement against Medjugorje’s authenticity. The CDF has a right, for whatever reason, to implement further restrictions while the ongoing Vatican Commission completes its study, which will ultimately go before Pope Francis for final judgment.

But the fact remains, the Church process is not over. Medjugorje has not been declared “constat de non” by the U.S. Nuncio letter, and any conclusion or promulgation at this time that Medjugorje has been officially condemned would be its own form of disobedience to proper Church authority. To do so would be to usurp the role of the CDF and ultimately of Pope Francis himself to make the final discernment of the authenticity of Medjugorje—a critical and historic discernment which belongs to the Church’s Magisterium alone.

Gamaliel had it right: “…If this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be opposing God” (Acts 5:38-39).

Dr. Mark Miravalle

Dr. Mark Miravalle is a professor of Theology and Mariology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is a prolific writer on topics regarding the Blessed Mother and is frequently consulted on reported Marian apparitions. To read more on this topic, visit www.motherofallpeoples.com/store and www.markmiravalle.com

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Almost one hundred years ago, the prominent Belgian prelate Cardinal Desire Mercier began an international petition drive for the papal definition of Our Lady as the Universal Mediatrix of all graces. By 1918, the renowned pioneer of both Marian and ecumenical realms had collected over 300 cardinal and bishop petitions directed to the reigning pontiff, Pope Benedict XV, for this requested fifth Marian Dogma. By the early 1920’s, Fr. Maximilian Kolbe and his nascent “Militia Immaculatae” (“Army of the Immaculate”) joined in the movement to proclaim the Mother of Jesus as the Spiritual Mother of all peoples.

What inspired Mercier and St. Maximilian to initiate a global call of support to the Holy Father to make an infallible statement regarding Mary’s relationship with you and me?

Grace and Precedence.

Of the four existing Marian dogmas, Mary’s Motherhood of God, her Perpetual Virginity, her Immaculate Conception, and her Assumption, the last two dogmas have been solemnly proclaimed only after a lengthy petition drive from the People of God to the Roman Pontiff.

Before the papal definition of the Immaculate Conception by Bl. Pius IX in 1854, millions of petitions from the Catholic world came into the Vatican, with particular perseverance coming from Spain and its Catholic government. In the case of the Assumption, infallibly declared by Pius XII in 1950, over 8 million petitions spanning 95 years were documented by the Holy Office in support of this Marian dogmatic crown.

Petition drives for Marian dogmas are simply Catholic precedence. It’s not a democratic power play seeking to force the Pope’s hand. It is rather a manifestation of the sensus fidelium (the “common consensus of the faithful”) in encouraging the Holy Father to a particular course of action which the faithful discern to be for the good of the Church. An authentic Catholic petition drive must always be founded and sustained on two pillars: 1) the request is something that conforms to the faith and morals teachings of the Church; 2) that the object of petition be submitted with an unconditional obedience to the ultimate discernment and decision of the Vicar of Christ.

On December 1, 1950, an international association of mariologists gathered in Rome to petition Pius XII for the solemn definition of Mary’s universal mediation, and this just one month after he declared the dogma of the Assumption. Why did they ask for so much more so soon?

Their reasoning was simple: now that the four earthly perogatives of Mary have been solemnly defined as dogmas, the last remaining Marian doctrine, her relationship as our spiritual mother from heaven, should also be defined as a dogma. In a certain sense, the existing four dogmas which articulate her relationship with Jesus and her special personal gifts lose some of their immediate relevance for us if she is not also our spiritual mother.

How precisely is Mary our Spiritual Mother? In three ways.

First, Mary uniquely shared in the work of Jesus to redeem the human family, both by giving Jesus his body, the very instrument of Redemption (cf. Lk. 1:38; Heb. 10:10), and by suffering with Him at Calvary in a way unparalleled by another other creature (cf. Jn. 19:25-27). For this extraordinary role with Jesus in saving souls, Mary has been called the “Co-redemptrix” in the Church since the 14th century. Fear not—“co” means “with” not “equal.” Mary’s not a goddess on a level or equality with Jesus. She is the unique immaculate human co-redeemer with Jesus, just as every Christian is called to be a “co-redeemer in Christ,” to use the expression of Bl. John Paul II.

Secondly, Mary nurtures us in the order of grace by distributing the graces obtained at Calvary to the human family through her role as the Mediatrix of all graces. The papal Magisterium of the last two centuries has consistently taught this Marian role, and Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus published this same title on the day he announced his resignation (Feb. 11, 2013). The Wedding of Cana (Jn. 2:5) reveals to us what the Second Vatican Council teaches us: that the Mother of Jesus “intercedes for the gifts of eternal life” (LG 62).

Thirdly, Mary, as Spiritual Mother, pleads for us before the throne of Christ the King as our Advocate. Her most ancient title (from the second century), Our Lady’s role as Advocate simply confirms that this Mother intercedes for our wants and needs with a maternal perseverance and power beyond that of any of the other saints.

By why a dogma? If Mary’s role as our Spiritual Mother is already a doctrine of the Catholic Church, what’s the benefit of a papal definition of the same truth?

Because history verifies that with every Marian dogma declared, historic graces have been poured forth upon the Church.

Take, for example, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The historic situation of the papacy and the Church during the time immediately preceding this Marian definition was bleak. Pope Pius IX had been chased out of the Vatican by Masonic forces from the South. While in exile in Gaeta, two cardinals approached the beleaguered Holy Father with the remedy to this dire situation: proclaim the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Bring Our Lady’s powerful intercession into this situation, and the papacy and the Church will be fully restored. Acquiescing to their request, Pius IX from exile, wrote to the world’s bishops, stating his intention to proclaim this new Marian Dogma.

The result? The dogma was proclaimed. The papacy was restored. The Vatican and Church secured. Ultimately, this Marian dogma led to the later declaration of Papal infallibility, which then cemented the unity and vitality of the Church under the authority of Jesus’ Vicar on earth.

When Marian dogmas happen, graces happen.

Could we—our contemporary Church and world situation—not benefit from a historic outpouring of grace right now?

Since Mary’s motherly titles are also her motherly functions of grace for the Church, the more solemnly we acknowledge these motherly roles, the more powerfully she can exercise these motherly roles. When these roles are infallibly proclaimed by the Petrine keeper of the keys as the highest authority on the planet, this proclamation will lead to the fullest possible release of heavenly graces by the Mediatrix of all graces.

Pope Francis has been on a blessed tirade of Marian teaching and witness. Starting with his very first papal act of going to St. Mary Major’s Basilica to thank and honor Our Lady; to his request to have his papacy consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13; to his return visit to St. Mary Major’s Basilica on May 4, where Pope Francis prayed the Rosary and presented a lengthy and inspiring homily on our very subject: Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood.

During this month of May 2013, an international letter writing campaign to Pope Francis for the solemn definition of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood is happening on all the continents of the world. Cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, and laity are writing to this extremely Marian pope in support of Pope Francis to proclaim this fifth Marian Dogma.

If you feel called to join in with Catholic faithful the world over in writing a brief, respectful few lines to our beloved Holy Father in support of Pope Francis to proclaim this fifth Marian Dogma, you can easily do so by mailing your note to: Pope Francis, Vatican City, 00120 (3 postage stamps gets your letter from the US to the Vatican).

The precedence is clear: with Marian dogmas come historic graces.

Our ecclesial and global situation is clear: we need historic graces from above to remedy the unprecedented challenges facing both the Church and in the world today—graces which call for the most powerful intercession possible by the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all peoples.

Prayerfully consider participating by your prayers and your own personal letter to Pope Francis to contribute in bringing about this fifth Marian definition of Our Lady’s Spiritual Motherhood, and thus to bring to full completion Mary’s own scriptural self-prophecy:“ All generations shall call me blessed” (Lk.1:48).

 

Dr. Mark Miravalle

Professor Theology and Mariology

Franciscan University of Steubenville

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May God be praised for the pontificate of Pope Francis! Truly the Holy Spirit was at work in the choosing of this man to guide the People of God at this pivotal moment in history of the Church and of the world.  During the first weeks of his pontificate, Pope Francis has already manifested his extraordinary love and devotion to the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all peoples.
As you know, his very first papal act was to pray before Our Lady’s altar at Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. During his first few Angelus addresses, Pope Francis has already referred to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the “Suffering Virgin” (March 24) and further instructed: “Let us invoke the intercession of Mary who is the woman who said “yes.” Mary said “yes,” all her life! …Mary, Our Mother, help us to know better the voice of Jesus and follow it, to walk the path of life! (April 21, 2013).”

Pope Francis prays the fifteen decades of the Rosary daily.  He previously played an instrumental role in bringing the powerful “Mary, Undoer of Knots” Devotion from Germany to Argentina and beyond. Our new Holy Father has also requested that Cardinal Policarpo, Patriarch of Lisbon, Portugal consecrate his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima, which he will do on this upcoming May 13!

These generous witnesses of Marian love by Pope Francis give every reason for hope as to his openness for the solemn of Our Lady’s Spiritual Motherhood under its three aspects of Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate.

Dear friend in Jesus and Mary, during the beautiful month of May dedicated to our Spiritual Mother, would you prayerfully consider participating in an international letter campaign to Pope Francis by sending a brief personal letter of support to our Holy Father for the proclamation of the Dogma of Mary, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate? You would be joined by Marian cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and faithful worldwide who, during this special May letter campaign to the Holy Father, will likewise be sending a short note of encouragement for the solemn definition of Our Lady’s Spiritual Motherhood.

Perhaps you have done so in the past (for which, surely, Our Lady is most grateful). But Pope Francis presents a new and exciting possibility that the fifth Marian dogma could indeed be accomplished during his papacy. Please consider sending him a brief personal letter of encouragement to proclaim this dogma, which remains a necessary condition for the Triumph of her most Immaculate Heart and for world peace.

Send your personal note to: Pope Francis, Vatican City 00120. He is a “Pope of the people.”  Let him hear your support for the dogma of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood. Consider writing a quick note to the Holy Father during this Marian month of May as an expression of your love and gratitude for all Our Lady has done for you.

The time for the fifth Marian dogma and its heavenly remedy of world peace is now!

Gratefully in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Dr. Mark Miravalle

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The following is a preliminary application of the norms for evaluating reported private revelations (established by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, November, 1974) to the reported messages of the woman who refers to herself as “Maria Divine Mercy.” Having previously served on several theological commissions of investigation internationally for appropriate Church authorities, I will follow, in a succinct form, the same method of analysis and evaluation that is standard for an official Church investigation.

Let us therefore briefly examine the reported messages and relevant actions of “Maria Divine Mercy” in light of the Church’s foundational criteria for authenticity.

As the renowned French Mariologist, Fr. Rene Laurentin has aptly summarized, the norms for Church evaluation of a reported private revelation can be synthesized into the following three fundamental criteria: 1) Is the alleged message in conformity with the official faith and morals teaching of the Catholic Church? 2) Is the reported phenomena (state of ecstasy, manner of transmission of the message, etc.) consistent with the mystical tradition of the Church? 3) Does the reported message bring the Christian spiritual fruits that always accompany an authentically supernatural message, as indicated in the words of Jesus: “the tree is known by its fruits” (Mt. 12:33): greater conversion; spiritual peace; spiritual joy; new or renewed faith, trust, and charity; and greater fidelity to and union with the Church?

Unfortunately, the messages of Maria Divine Mercy, as well as the actions of the alleged seer, contain numerous and grave theological, historical and factual errors throughout the over 650 alleged messages—errors which contradict the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church, the mystical tradition of authentic Catholic private revelation, its own self-contained predictions, and the typical spiritual fruits of peace, charity, and joy that comes with a true heavenly message.

Just a few samples of these widespread and serious errors are as follows:

1. The assertion that Pope Benedict XVI was the “last true Pope on earth” and “the next Pope” will be the “False Prophet”: “My beloved Pope Benedict XVI is the last true Pope on earth…. The next Pope may be elected by members within the Catholic Church, but he will be the False Prophet” (April 12, 2012).

The message directly contradicts Catholic teaching as to the legitimacy of a validly elected Pope.  The message implies that an “anti-pope” can come from a valid conclave, which constitutes a false or “heretical” position.  The alleged message goes on to claim, by deduction, that Pope Francis is in fact the “False Prophet.” All of this is a reprehensible rejection of Catholic councils, catechisms, and canon law on the legitimacy of a validly elected Pope and the proper response of a “religious assent of mind and heart to the manifest mind of the pope, even when he is not speaking infallibly” (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 25), which every member of the Catholic faithful is obliged to offer to the present Holy Father.

This erroneous message is extremely dangerous for any member of the Catholic Church, as it runs the risk of leading to formal “schism” or separation with the Catholic Church, which is the “refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him” (Code of Canon Law [CIC] n. 751).  A choice of schism for any Catholic tragically results in excommunication and the inability to receive the sacraments (see CIC 1364.1).

Not only does this erroneous message reject the true pontificate of Pope Francis, but it also rejects a proper respect of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI as well, as Pope Benedict vowed his submission to the next pontiff on the day of his voluntary resignation (not forced “ousting” as purported by the alleged message) on February 28, 2013, and also again vowed his unreserved obedience to Pope Francis before his very presence during their historic joint meeting on March 23, 2013.

2. A form of the heresy known as Millenarianism is present in several instances of the alleged messages, which asserts that there will be a literal “1000 year” reign of Jesus on the earth (April 9, 2012 Message), during which time there would be no pope on earth, but rather a type spiritual papacy by which St. Peter will rule the Church from heaven over a type of “paradise on earth” (see Messages, 89, 124, 141; 88, 109, 111, 251, 258).

The Catholic Church has rightly condemned Millenarianism and the concept of a literal 1000 year period during which Jesus would reign over an earthly paradise (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 676).  The concept of a 1000 years of earthly existence without a visible pope on earth is in practical violation of the Petrine promise of Jesus (cf. Mt. 16:15-20), as well as being absolutely unsustainable from the sources of Divine Revelation. This alleged prophecy appears to be an extremist interpretation of various papal prophecies, rather than anything acceptable by a faithful Catholic.

3. Denial of importance of Church evaluation of  alleged message

The alleged messages reject the importance of the Church’s investigation and subsequent judgment of the authenticity of the alleged message, stating that the Church’s approval of the message is “not important”:  “It is not important whether the Church authenticates these messages because time is not on their side” (July 9. 2011 message).
This perspective cannot be considered consistent with authentic Catholic private revelation, which always directs the true seer to submit their messages to the proper Church authority, even when Heaven knew that the messages would not be immediately accepted by the relevant Church authority on the first occasion of submission (as seen, for example, at Guadalupe with St. Juan Diego, and at Lourdes with St. Bernadette).

4. Alleged seer’s refusal to identify and present herself to local Church authority for appropriate Church theological, psychological and scientific evaluation, while at the same time internationally distributing alleged messages via the internet and printed texts.

Similar though distinct from the above category, the seer, while publicly distributing these alleged messages as true supernatural messages from heaven, refuses to submit herself and respond in obedience to her local Church authority for proper discernment of authenticity.  The seer operates from the region of Dublin, Ireland, and therefore should have submitted her messages, as well as her person, for proper ecclesiastical examination by the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The refusal to the seer to submit herself obediently to legitimate Church authority for proper discernment eliminates the possibility to incorporate the second criteria for evaluating authenticity, i.e., the concurring phenomena that typically accompanies a true supernatural communication. Jesus is the Light of the world and calls those in his service into the light.  His Adversary, conversely, operates from the darkness.

5. Theological errors, for example, in stating that the Heavenly Father “comes in the name of Jesus” rather than Jesus, who comes in the name of the Father, or the Father coming in his own name.  These assertions lead to confusion and are contrary to classic Trinitarian formulation. Moreover, statements which defend the “confusion” present in the messages by claiming, for example, that “love is confusing” (Message 45) are also antithetical to the character of authentic prophecy.  Jesus speaks with a profound simplicity and clarity; Satan fosters confusion.

6. Unfulfilled dated prediction of the “Warning” to have happened within “a few months” after May 31, 2011.

The message of May 31, 2011 calls people to prepare for the “Warning” ( a  God-granted “illumination of conscience,”  the prediction of which is found in other Marian messages) which would take place “within a few months” from the May 31, 2011 date: “Prepare now for this event [the Warning] for you have only a few months left to prepare your souls” (May 31,2011). The predicted event did not take place within a few months, or even a year, after the May 31, 2011 prediction.

7. Absence of the authentic Christian fruits of spiritual peace, joy, and trust, and charity; and, in their place, manifestations of greater fear, anxiety, and dominant negativity.

Fear producing tones of divine retribution, anger, justice, and, disaster are the principal themes placed into the alleged words of God the Father and Jesus. The alleged messages are replete with negative exhortatory rants of condemnation and judgment in words and expressions which gravely misrepresent the infinite mercy and love of the Father and of the Son.   For example, alleged messages from Jesus stating “Those of you who say that you follow My Teachings, but who want laws changed to condone acts, which are sinful in My Eyes, get out of My Church now”; or the Heavenly Father alleging speaking about sending souls to Hell where they “will rip their eyes out” are not in a continuity with other authentic messages of Jesus and of God the Father.

Even when Jesus, God the Father, and Mary have had to convey messages which include strong statements of conditional upcoming chastisement and purification (which are present, for example,  in the authentic messages of Divine Mercy and Fatima) these messages are always conveyed in the overall tone and  context of peace, love, encouragement, and even joy. These appropriate spiritual characteristics and their corresponding fruits spiritual are substantially absent from the alleged messages, and also seemingly absent from a significant number of the proponents of the alleged message.

With such blatant theological and factual errors present in the alleged messages of “Maria Divine Mercy,” how and why can these alleged messages continue to have such an extended readership among many Catholics of good will, the majority of whom maintain a commitment of obedience to the Church’s Magisterium, as well as  possessing a particular and true Marian devotion?

It is precisely because the alleged messages contain some elements which many readers can recognize to be true in evaluating the contemporary “signs of the times” (an evaluation called for by the Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, n.4): widespread crises of faith and morals within the Catholic Church and throughout global society; unprecedented global economic and social crises; ubiquitous geo-political conflicts in the Middle East and beyond; unprecedented natural disasters; proximate possibilities of nuclear weapon use in North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, etc.

To recognize and acknowledge the historic and challenging times in which we live is absolutely acceptable, and in my opinion, an honest and accurate assessment of the contemporary “signs of the times.”  To accept an alleged message immersed in theological error and Church disobedience is a grave and dangerous error.
There is a substantial moral difference between acknowledging the serious global indicators which call the world to urgent conversion, and thereby to accept God’s infinite mercy by faithfully responding to the legitimate supernatural messages of Jesus and Mary to contemporary humanity, which understandably include divine “warnings,” both universal and  individual; and, on the other hand, to accept and cooperate with a false message which usurps  the authentic contemporary messages of Jesus and Mary, and consequently contaminates them with false directives towards disobedience to Pope Francis and legitimate Church authority, rejection of classic Catholic dogma and the precedence of the Church’s true mystical tradition, and encourages a fear and anxiety based response to the world’s present global situation.

The single greatest danger present in this false message, in my opinion, is the alleged justification for Catholics to place an individual false revelation over the God-given authority of the present Pope as the Vicar of Christ on earth.

Ironically, the alleged message predicts an upcoming schism in the Church. This could well become a self-fulfilling prophecy, a Satanic goal and strategy,  which could result, in some part, from the following of  extremely dangerous and materially schismatic messages such as those promulgated by “Maria Divine Mercy.”

It is realistic, in my opinion, during our contemporary experience of challenge and change presently being experienced in the Church and in the world, to expect even more false messages in the times to come—false messages intermixed with true content–which serve the diabolical goal to distract us from authentic Church authority and doctrine, and from Heaven’s authentic message for our age.  This can only be countered and remedied by a renewed commitment of obedience to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and to all legitimate Church authority.

Let us jointly and fervently pray for our beloved Holy Father, Pope Francis; for our holy Catholic Church; for the Triumph of Divine Mercy and the Immaculate Heart of Mary as found in authentic contemporary messages of Jesus and Mary; and for the peaceful conversion and reconciliation of the alleged seer and all her present supporters into the heart, obedience, and unity of the Church.

Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology

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My friends in Jesus and Mary,

Thank God for Pope Francis! A man of such humility, such, faith, such courage! What a blessing from the Almighty Father to be given such a Pope for our day.

Pope Francis is a champion of doctrinal orthodoxy; of the poor, of personal humble witness, and–of Our Lady! How beautiful and encouraging it is that his first act as Vicar of Christ on earth was to go to St. Mary Major’s Basilica to invoke Our Lady’s intercession for his papacy and for his flock. This is, indeed, a great Marian sign!

My friends,

it is now time to pray for our new beloved Holy Father and for the proclamation of the Dogma of Mary as Spiritual Mother of all humanity in her three maternal roles as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all Graces and Advocate
.

So soon? Can’t we give Pope Francis a little adjustment time before praying for him to perform such a historic act?

Let’s look at that question from Our Lady’s perspective.

Until the Fifth Marian Dogma is proclaimed, Our Lady will not be “freed” to bring peace to our troubled world. She awaits our “yes”—our free consent to fully exercise her intercessory powers for the Church and the world right now. The Heavenly Father will not permit any forcing of grace upon us, even the grace for world peace. We must consent.

That’s what the Fifth Marian Dogma is, and what it will do. When the Holy Father proclaims that Mary is Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate, then her titles will fully become her spiritual functions for humanity. By this proclamation, the Pope will be saying “yes” to God—“yes” we want the full power of Mary’s motherly intercession for our world. Then, and only then, will peace enter our human situation on a global basis.

And so, my friends, we must begin today, to pray for our new beloved Holy Father, Pope Francis, to make the Marian proclamation that will bring world peace to a troubled world—a global peace which can only truly come from the spiritual peace of Jesus Christ in human hearts. That takes conversion. That takes grace. That takes the full action of the Mediatrix of all graces!

Please begin praying today that our beloved Pope Francis will proclaim the Foifth Marian Dogma. Please pray daily the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations, the Prayer Our Lady specifically revealed to us and asked each of us to pray daily, for this solemn Marian declaration. Please let each of us do our part in bringing about the spiritual peace of Jesus into our hearts, our homes, our nations, and throughout the world—the peace we are desire and the world desperately needs.


Starting today, pray for Pope Francis, with hearts fervent with faith and hope– in your Mass intentions, Rosaries, and daily sacrifices and offerings– for the papal definition of Mary as the Spiritual Mother of All Peoples, the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate
and thus to definitively initiate the Triumph of her most Immaculate Heart.

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As the conclave for the next Holy Father soon approaches, it is the joyful responsibility of every Catholic to pray for the election process, to ensure the choice of the best possible successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

We must be on guard against all complacency which concludes, “The Holy Spirit elects the pope.  I don’t need to pray for the conclave.”
When Pope Benedict was asked, “Does the Holy Spirit elect the next pope?”  He responded:

“I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote.”

The Pope’s response underscores the imperative for the Catholic faithful to pray fervently with committed hearts to the Holy Spirit, that the conclave of cardinals elect the candidate most pleasing to God to become the next Vicar of Christ on earth.  We, the faithful, must enter this historical papal election process by praying to the Holy Spirit that He will descend upon the conclave for the choice most pleasing to Jesus and most beneficial for the Church and for the world today.

Beginning March 1, 2013, the first day when the Chair of Peter will be vacant, I encourage you to join in this Worldwide Novena for the Election of the Next Holy Father. Please join Catholic brothers and sisters the world over in the daily praying the Novena Prayer below (or any other prayer to the Holy Spirit that you may prefer) that the Holy Spirit may truly inspire the hearts of the cardinals of the conclave to choose the man that Jesus wants to guide the Church at this precise moment of human history.  This Conclave Novena will end on the day the Church and the world hears the words, “Habemus Papam!” (“We have a Pope!”).

Conclave Novena Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send down your Spirit over the conclave.  Let the Holy Spirit inspire the hearts of the cardinals, that they may choose the man most pleasing to You, as Successor of Peter and Your Vicar on Earth.  May Mary, Your Mother and Mother of the Church, be our Advocate.  Amen.

Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville

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On that historic day of February 11, 2013 when Pope Benedict announced his resignation, the Vatican gave public release to an official letter written by the Holy Father in which he made another historic contribution: this time in honor of his Mother.

In a Latin letter dated January 10, 2013, in which the Pope designates Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski (President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care) as his representative for the February 11 2013 World Day of the Sick Celebration, Benedict XVI invokes Mary as the “Mediatrix of all graces” (Mediatricis omnium gratiarum). In doing so, the Holy Father continues a consistent line of explicit papal teaching of this Marian doctrine which goes back for over two centuries.

It is significant that Pope Benedict’s reference to Mary as the Mediatrix of all graces would be released on the very day that he would shock the world with his historic resignation announcement. Although it was the Holy Father’s first use of the Mediatrix of all graces term, it was not his first time to teach the Mediatrix of all graces doctrine.

On May 11, 2007 at the canonization of the Brazilian Franciscan, Fr. Antonio de Sant’ana Galvao, O.F.M., Pope Benedict used a formulation regarding the “necessary” role of Mary’s mediating of all graces that reminds one great Marian authors such as St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, or St. Maximilian Kolbe: “There is no fruit of grace in the history of salvation that does not have as its necessary instrument the mediation of Our Lady.” The Pontiff reiterates this Marian doctrine when he continues: “Let us give thanks to God the Father, to God the Son, to God the Holy Spirit from whom, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, we receive all the blessings from heaven.” (Benedict XVI, Homily of Canonization, May 11, 2007, n. 5).

Some news commentary on Pope Benedict’s momentous Marian reference may have given the impression that the doctrine and title of Mediatrix of all graces had not been taught by any pope since the time before the Second Vatican Council. While it is true that the Marian doctrine had been officially and consistently taught by the popes from the late 18th century up to the time of Vatican II, it is also true that Blessed John Paul II repeatedly referred to the Mother of Jesus as the “Mediatrix of all graces” and has prolifically taught the doctrine of Our Lady’s “Maternal Mediation” throughout his extraordinary Marian pontificate.

Here are a few examples (among numerous others) of the popes before Vatican II who officially taught the doctrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mediatrix of all graces:

Benedict XIV: Mary is like “a celestial stream through which the flow of all graces and gifts reach [us]” (1750)

Pius VII: “Dispensatrix of all graces” (1806)

Pius IX: “For God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation.” (Ineffabilis Deus, 1854).

Leo XIII: “It is right to say that nothing of all of the immense treasury of every grace which the Lord accumulate –nothing is imparted to us except through Mary…(Encyclical, Octobri mense, 1891).

Saint Pius X: “Fromthis union of will and suffering between Christ and Mary‘she merited to become most worthily the reparatrix of the lost world’ and dispensatrix of all the gifts that our Savior purchased for us by his death and by his blood (Ad Diem Illum, February 2, 1904).

Pius XII: He, the Son of God, gave His heavenly Mother a share in His glory, His majesty, His kingship; because, associated as Mother and Minister to the King of martyrs in the ineffable work of man’s Redemption, she is likewise associated with Him forever, with power so to speak infinite, in the distribution of the graces which flow from the Redemption (Radio Message of 13 May 1946 on the occasion of the crowning of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima).

This consistent papal teaching and precedent before the Council provides us with the proper context in which to interpret and understand the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on Mary’s role as Mediatrix:

Thus in a wholly singular way, she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and buring charity in the work of the savior in restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace…

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. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. This, however, is so understood that it neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator (Lumen Gentium,61, 62).

Now let us briefly look at Blessed John Paul II’s seven usages of the Mediatrix of all graces title1:

1. Papal Address to the General Council, Superiors, and Directors of the Italian Institutes of St. Joseph, December 1, 1978:

We cannot conclude without addressing the Blessed Virgin, so loved and venerated by Murialdo, who had recourse to her as the Universal Mediatrix of all grace (Inseg I (1978) 250.

2. Papal exhortation to seminarians at the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Brescia, September 27, 1982:

Entrust yourselves always with great confidence to Mary Immaculate, dispenser of every grace, to whom this fine seminary of yours is dedicated (ORE 755:8).

3. Angelus Address of 17 January 1988:

Another center of Marian devotion worthy of mention is the Church dedicated to Our Lady in Meadi, on the outskirts of Cairo, on the banks of the Nile…It is entrusted to the Coptic-Orthodox Christians, and many pilgrims continuously come to this sanctuary to entrust their intentions to the Mediatrix of all graces (Inseg XI/1 (1988) 119 (ORE 1023:5).

4. Papal homily for the Octave of Easter, 10 April 1988, in the Roman parish of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer:

In this Marian Year, your parish, which is placed under the patronage of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, Redemptoris Mater, has an extra reason for renewing and strengthening its own devotion towards her, the Mediatrix of all graces, our Advocatewith her Son Jesus and the Help of Christians (ORE 1036:11).

5. Papal Address at the Shrine of Our Lady of Graces in Benevento on 2 July 1990:

With loving intuition from ancient times you have been able to grasp the mystery of Mary, as Mediatrix of all graces, because she is the Mother of the very Author of Grace, Jesus Christ (ORE 1148:2)..

6. Papal address to the General Chapter of the Mercedarian Sisters of Charity, June 28, 1996,

May she, true Ark of the New Covenant and Mediatrix of all graces, teach you to love him as she loved him (ORE 1451:5).

7. Papal Mass celebrated for Polish pilgrims, 25 August 2001:

When we celebrate the Holy Mass, the Mother of the Son of God is in our midst and introduces us to the mystery of His redemptive sacrifice. Thus, she is the mediatrix of all the grace flowing from this sacrifice to the Church and to all the faithful(ORE 1707:1

The Totus Tuus Pontiff repeatedly used the Mediatrix of all graces title and taught the doctrine, in echo of the popes of the preconcilar Papal Magisterium, and in proper interpretation and development of the teachings of Vatican II.

Why was Pope Benedict’s letter invoking the Mediatrix of all graces released on the same day of the announcement of his resignation? Perhaps only the Pope himself could answer this question. Nonetheless, Pope Benedict’s invocation does set the stage for his successor to continue this inspired Papal Tradition, and perhaps to bring it to its proper crowning development in a solemn definition. The Church movement for the fifth Marian Dogma of Mary’s universal mediation was initiated almost 100 years ago in 1915 by the great Belgian prelate, Cardinal Desire Mercier. The time seems ripe.

Every Marian Dogma has brought with it extraordinary graces for the Church and, thereby, for the entire world. May the dogmatic crowning of Mary, Mediatrix of all graces come soon, with its accompanying Marian roles of Co-redemptrix and Advocate), for the proper honor of the Mother, and for the historic graces of redemption and peace that the Church and the world will receive and—presently–so desperately need.

1  See the outstanding study regarding the Mediatrix of all graces doctrine in the Papal Magisterium of Blessed John Paul II by Msgr. Arthur Calkins, Mary, Mediatrix of all graces in the Papal Magisterium of Pope John Paul II, Mary at the Foot of the Cross, Vol. VII, Academy of the Immaculate, 2006.

 

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February 11, 2013, will be remembered as the day on which Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would resign from the papacy. The day was also the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 21st World Day of the Sick.

In his Latin-language letter naming Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, as his special envoy to the solemn celebration of the World Day of the Sick at the Shrine of Our Lady of Altötting (Germany), Pope Benedict entrusted the prelate’s mission “to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix of all graces” [intercessioni Beatae Virginis Mariae Immaculatae, Mediatricis omnium gratiarum].

Although the Second Vatican Council and numerous popes have invoked the Blessed Virgin as “Mediatrix,” the papal use of the title “Mediatrix of all graces” is far rarer. The phrase occurs most authoritatively in Caritate Christi Compulsi, Pope Pius XI’s 1932 encyclical on the Sacred Heart, and has appeared on a handful of other occasions in documents issued by Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI, Venerable Pius XII, and Blessed John XXIII.

In documents issued in 1979, 1980, and 1987, Blessed John Paul II raised churches dedicated under this title to cathedral or basilica status and referred to the Blessed Virgin in one of the documents (the 1987 apostolic constitution Frequentissimae) as the “most chaste Mediatrix of all graces.”

The late Father William Most has shown that Pope Leo XIII and subsequent popes have also used similar terminology to describe the Blessed Virgin’s maternal mediation.

This article originally appeared on CatholicCulture.org.
http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=17049

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Dear Friends,

Today, February 11, 2013, our beloved Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation. We thank God for the great gift his courageous and faithful leadership has been to our Church and to the world. May Jesus eternally reward him for his extraordinary service of Christian sacrifice and love to Him and to us as our Vicar of Christ on earth.

Today, 52 years ago, on February 11, 1951, the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of “The Lady of All Nations” revealed to the world a prayer, which she said holds great power before the throne of God—a prayer which she asked all of humanity to pray daily for a new descent of the Holy Spirit.

My friends, we have absolutely nothing to fear at this moment of transition in the Church. The promise and institution of Jesus to Peter, the first pontiff, remains until the end of time: “You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church…the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (cf. Mt. 16:15-18). We must proceed in peace and in faith, knowing that the Holy Spirit will act in choosing the best successor to Pope Benedict, especially when it comes as an answer to the prayers of the Catholic faithful the world over.

Our task as the People of God, beginning today, is simple. We must immediately begin to pray to the Holy Spirit for the election of the successor to our beloved Pope Benedict.

I would encourage each one of you, starting today on the Feast of Lady of Lourdes, to begin a novena to the Holy Spirit for the selection of the next Holy Father– a novena that will end on the day when we hear the announcement of the election of the next Vicar on Christ on earth. I would particularly recommend for this novena to the Holy Spirit the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations, which was revealed by Our Lady herself precisely for the powerful descent of the Holy Spirit.

In peace and in hope, let us fulfill our duty, as members of the Catholic Church, to pray daily to the Holy Spirit for the election of the next Holy Father, particularly through the powerful intercession of the Lady of all Nations, our Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father,

send now Your Spirit over the earth.

Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations,

that they may be preserved from degeneration, disasters, and war.

May the Lady of All Nations, the Blessed Virgin Mary, be our Advocate. Amen.

Please find below the February 11, 1951 Message from the Lady of All Nations in which she reveals and explains the power of this prayer for a new descent of the Holy Spirit in its entirety.

Dr. Mark Miravalle – Editor, Mother of All Peoples E-zine

 

Message of The Lady of All Nations, February 11, 1951

The Lady, Mary, Mother of All Nations (1)

I see a bright light and then I see the Lady standing before me. She says,

I am the Lady, Mary, Mother of All Nations. You may say: The Lady of All Nations or Mother of All Nations, who once was Mary. I come on this very day to tell you that this is who I wish to be. The people of all countries shall truly be one.

Then, without saying anything, the Lady remains standing in her usual posture and is looking at me continuously. Then she says, “The entire world is undergoing upheaval, but the worst thing is that the people of this world are being brought into upheaval.” Then it is as if the Lady is walking along the globe and I see that the whole world is in confusion and entering into upheaval.

The Second Vatican Council

“I am bringing you here,” says the Lady, and suddenly I am with her above Italy. I see the Vatican and then I enter St. Peter’s together with the Lady. We walk through the central passage and halt near the middle of St. Peter’s. On either side I see scaffolding, benches mounting up in tiers. Upon those benches I see many cardinals and bishops wearing white miters. (2) The Lady says, “Watch closely; these are the bishops of all countries.”

Now I see the Pope seated, wearing the tiara. He is sitting at the far end of the central passage. I see some clergy standing about him. In one hand he is holding a scepter, and from the other he is raising two fingers in the well-known position. He has a large, thick book before of him. The Lady says,

Listen carefully, child. Changes have already been made, and others are in progress. I, however, want to bring the Son’s message. The doctrine is right, but the laws can and must be changed. I want to tell you this on this very day, for the world is undergoing great upheaval—nobody knows in which direction. That is why the Son wants me to bring this message.

The Pains of the Cross

And now suddenly I am standing before a large Cross. While looking at it, I am seized with terrible pains. I get muscle cramps from head to foot. It is as if all the muscles in both of my arms are contracting, causing me to clench my fingers. It is as if my head is split asunder, and I get a feverish feeling as if my head would burst. All this together causes me to weep. I can bear it no longer and ask the Lady whether it might pass. Then she smiles. It lasts for another moment and then everything is gone. Then the Lady says to me, “Let everyone come back to the Cross; only then can there be peace and tranquility.”

The Prayer Is Given

While I am still standing with the Lady before the Cross, she says, “Repeat after me.”

To me this is a little bit strange. I think to myself, “But I already repeat everything she says!” But suddenly I see the Lady become even more beautiful than she already was. The light which always surrounds her becomes much brighter and brilliant, such that I can hardly bear to look into it. She now raises and joins her hands, which she otherwise always holds down. Her face becomes so heavenly, so sublime; one simply cannot express it in words. Her figure grows even more translucent and so beautiful that I look at it in rapture. Then the Lady says, “Pray before the Cross”:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father,
send now Your Spirit over the earth.
Let the Holy Spirit live
in the hearts of all nations,
that they may be preserved
from degeneration, disaster and war.
May the Lady of All Nations,
who once was Mary,
be our Advocate.
Amen.

The Lady says this prayer so beautifully and impressively—no one in the world could do it as she did. She stresses the word “now” in “send now Your Spirit” and “all” in “Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations.” She also pronounces the word “Amen” so beautifully and solemnly. While still standing in front of the Cross, I pray it, repeating the words the Lady recited to me. It is as if the words are imprinted in my mind. I now see them written in large letters.

The First and Greatest Commandment

The Lady continues,

Child, this is so simple and short that everyone can say it in one’s own language, before one’s own crucifix; and those who have no crucifix say it to themselves. This is the message which I want to give this very day, for I am now coming to say that I want to save souls. All of you, cooperate in this great work for the world. If only every child of man would try to live up to this for oneself.

And then the Lady raises a finger and says, “Especially in the first and greatest commandment, Love.”

I now see this word written in large letters. “Let them begin with that,” the Lady says. Then I see a certain group of people; the Lady looks at them very compassionately and says, “And then the little ones of this world will say: how can we begin with that? For it is the great ones who do this to us.”

The Lady says this very lovingly, as if she had great pity on the people around her. But then the Lady’s face changes, and she says very emphatically, “And then I say to the little ones: if you practice Love among yourselves in all its refinement, even the great ones will not have a chance. Go to your crucifix and say what I recited to you, and the Son will answer it.”

The Fight Concerning the Spirit

Then the Lady says to me,

A great natural disaster will again take place.

The great ones of this world will always disagree with one another. People will seek here and there. Watch out for the false prophets. Seek and ask only for the true Holy Spirit. For it is now a war of ideas. The fight no longer concerns races and peoples; the fight concerns the spirit. Understand this well.

The Laws Can Be Changed

Then the Lady folds her hands. I now see the Pope with cardinals and bishops. Then the Lady says, as if speaking to the Pope,

You can save this world. I have said more than once: Rome has its chance. Seize the present moment. No church in the world is built up like yours. But move with the times and insist upon your modern changes concerning religious, priests, seminarians, and so on and so forth. Keep an eye on that. Carry through with it to the smallest detail! The doctrine remains, but the laws can be changed. Let the people of this world benefit more from the Remembrance of my Son.

Then the Lady says to me, “I showed you in the dream how the practice of frequent communion can be carried through. This I tell you for the Netherlands and for all countries in which it is not so.”

Countries of Europe America

“For Germany I want to say: they shall work hard, hard in this country to bring the people, who have strayed far, far away, back to this center, the Cross. Priests are too few, but lay people are many. Conduct a great campaign among the laity to call them forward for this goal. Work here above all with great love and charity. The great ones of Germany shall help and not turn away from the Church. Deutschland jedoch liegt mir sehr am Herzen. Die Mutter Gottes weint über die Kinder Deutschlands. (3)

For France, Belgium, the Balkans and Austria, I say the following: do not let yourselves be brought to the wrong spirit.

For Italy I say: great ones of Italy, do you know your task?

To England I say: I will come back, England.

To America I say: do not push your politics too far; and seek the True Spirit. I am glad that America is better disposed to the faith at the moment.”

Africa—Asia—We Are Taking Care of Them

“For Africa I say: say that I would like to have a seminary there. I will help the Dominicans. Tell this to your spiritual director. Tell him also that the Son is content with his work and guidance. Tell him that he should be more courageous in carrying through with these matters. I only want to make use of you to carry through with the will of the Son in this time. Indeed, I want to ask you, child of man, to help people as much as possible. I shall give you strength and support for this. Your spiritual director is chosen for helping you in this work only. Everything else can stay as it is. He will understand me.

Further, I would like to say to all Eastern and Asian peoples, whether they know the Son or not: We are taking care of them.”

This Time Is Our Time

Then the Lady points at the globe again and says, “This time is Our time.”

“You, child, are only the instrument for passing these things on. You shall do this. Yes, there are enough proofs—in what I said today, too. Say that I wish to be: The Lady of All Nations.”

 

The preceding message was taken from The Messages of the Lady of All Nations, The Lady of All Nations Foundation, 1999.

 

Notes

(1) The visionary received this message in Germany.

(2) Later, when the visionary saw pictures of the Second Vatican Council on television (1962-1965), she recognized them to be the images described here.

(3) “My heart is greatly concerned for Germany. The Mother of God weeps for the people of Germany.” Our Lady said these two sentences in German, rather than in Dutch.

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On February 17, 1941, the “Property” of the Immaculata, Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, was arrested by the Nazi Gestapo, eventually leading to his martyrdom in Auschwitz. During the few hours before his arrest, Fr. Maximilian was inspired to write the heart of his unparalleled mariological ponderings regarding the “Immaculate Conception.”

The following are excerpts from this last written testimony:

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: These words fell from the lips of the Immaculata herself. Hence, they must tell us in the most precise and essential manner who she really is.

Since human words are incapable of expressing divine realities, it follows that these words: “Immaculate,” and “Conception” must be understood in a much more beautiful and sublime meaning than usual: a meaning beyond that which human reason at its most penetrating, commonly gives to them . . . Who then are you, O Immaculate Conception?

Not God, of course, because he has no beginning. Not an angel, created directly out of nothing. Not Adam, formed out of the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7). Not Eve, molded from Adam’s rib (Gen. 2:21). Not the Incarnate Word, who exists before all ages, and of whom we should use the word “conceived” rather than “conception.” Humans do not exist before their conception, so we might call them created “conception.” But you, O Mary, are different from all other children of Eve. They are conceptions stained by original sin; whereas you are the unique Immaculate Conception.

. . . Creatures, by following the natural law implanted in them by God, reach their perfection, become like him, and go back to him. Intelligent creatures love him in a conscious manner; through this love they unite themselves more and more closely with him, and so find their way back to him. The creature most completely filled with this love, with God himself, was the Immaculata, who never contracted the slightest stain of sin, who never departed in the least from God’s will. United to the Holy Spirit as his spouse, she is one with God in an incomparably more perfect way than can be predicated of any other creature.

What sort of union is this? It is above all an interior union, a union of her essence with the “essence” of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in her, lives in her. This was true from the first instance of her existence. It is always true; it will always be true.

In what does this life of the Spirit in Mary consist? He himself is uncreated Love in her; the Love of the Father and of the Son, the Love by which God loves himself, the very love of the Most Holy Trinity. He is a fruitful Love, a “Conception.” Among creatures made in God’s image the union brought about by married love is the most intimate of all (cf. Mt. 19:6). In a much more precise, more interior, more essential manner, the Holy Spirit lives in the soul of the Immaculata, in the depths of her very being. He makes her fruitful, from the very instance of her existence, all during her life, and for all eternity.

This eternal “Immaculate Conception” (which is the Holy Spirit) produces in an immaculate manner divine life itself in the womb (or depths) of Mary’s soul, making her the Immaculate Conception, the human Immaculate Conception. And the virginal womb of Mary’s body is kept sacred for him; there he conceives in time—because everything that is material occurs in time—the human life of the Man-God. (1)

In a 1933 Letter from Nagasaki, St. Maximilian explains further that in the name, “Immaculate Conception,” the Mother also gives us the secret of her very nature:

In her apparition at Lourdes she does not say: “I was conceived immaculately,” but “I am the Immaculate Conception.” This points out not only the fact that she was conceived without original sin, but also the manner in which this privilege belongs to her. It is not something accidental; it is something that belongs to her very nature. For she is Immaculate Conception in (her very) person. (2)

The uncreated Immaculate Conception and the created Immaculate Conception. The Divine Spirit and the human spouse perfected in His grace are united by an interior, essential union. Uncreated love conceives and dwells within the depths of her soul, and she becomes His quasi-incarnation. (3) For this reason, as St. Maximilian tells us, Mary is also the Mediatrix of all graces and gifts of the Spirit:

The union between the Immaculata and the Holy Spirit is so inexpressible, yet so perfect, that the Holy Spirit acts only by the Most Blessed Virgin, his Spouse. This is why she is Mediatrix of all grace given by the Holy Spirit. And since every grace is a gift of God the Father through the Son and by the Holy Spirit, it follows that there is no grace which Mary cannot dispose of as her own, which is not given to her for this purpose. (4)

Does St. Maximilian go too far in speaking in this manner of the wonders of the Immaculate Conception? Or does he say too little? The Mariology disclosed by the saint of the Immaculata, generous and profound as it is, in no way exhausts the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. His unrivaled pneumatological discoveries prepare the way for a new comprehension of the inseparability of the Uncreated Immaculate Conception with the created Immaculate Conception. But the mystery continues. The brilliance of St. Maximilian’s methodology in his return to Trinitarian Mariology specific to the Holy Spirit also propels us to ponder more deeply the other relationships of the Immaculata with her Triune God.

Perhaps least developed of these, from a Trinitarian perspective, is the relationship between the Immaculate Conception and the Heavenly Father. The Father-daughter relationship is one of the most precious of human relationships, and no other relationship captures more the love of the Creator for creation, and the appropriate reciprocal love of creation for the Creator than the relationship between the Eternal Father and Mary Immaculate. At the heart of this union of Perfect Daughter to Perfect Father, which represents and exemplifies how every creature should be united to its Creator, is the stainlessness and fullness of grace possessed by the Immaculate Daughter. This “stainless-fullness” is given to her by the Eternal Father through the Spirit and in view of the foreseen merits of the Son, which is the foundation of her perfect response of fiat-love to everything given to her and asked of her by her “Abba,” God the Father of all mankind.

As the example of St. Maximilian makes clear, the dogmatic proclamation of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 does not end its doctrinal development, but rather encourages more unveiling and more appreciation of its sacred mystery. Certainly Contemporary Mariology would do well to follow the example of St. Maximilian in striving to incorporate a more Trinitarian perspective and methodology in relation to the Blessed Virgin if we seek to be true to the full glory of Mary Immaculate.

We must seek to view Mary from the perspective of the Father, as the Virgin Daughter Immaculate, his greatest masterpiece. We must view Mary afresh from the perspective of the Son, as perfect Mother in the order of love, and most intimate partner and co-redeemer in the historic sufferings of Redemption. We must view Mary from the perspective of the Spirit, as his entirely pure and eternally faithful spouse, in a certain sense his “quasi-incarnation,” and the Mediatrix of all of the Sanctifier’s gifts to humanity. Only by seeking to comprehend the Immaculate One with the mind of the Trinity, and striving to love her through the heart of the Trinity, can we hope to do even partial justice to her.

Western Mariology must be on guard against the subtle tendency (even unconscious at times), to think first in terms of apologetics, rather than in terms of mystery. If the first question of our mariological methodology is, “how can I explain this to someone who does not believe it?,” rather than, “what is the depth and fullness of this revealed Marian mystery?,” the resulting product will be a Marian minimalism, a “too summary an attitude” as the Council prohibits, (5) which will always fall short of what the human mind and heart should truly grasp with the help of grace about the Mother of the Word, who is God’s climax of creation.

Here we see light from the East. The Eastern Church looks first to the transcendence of the all pure Theotokos, the “God-bearer,” which it liturgically praises as the “ever holy, ever pure, ever blessed and glorious Lady.” (6) In his 1998 Marian Lenten letter to the Orthodox world, the present Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, writes:

The Lady, the Virgin Mother, shines as the one who conceived joy for the world. She shines as the meaning of history; the goal of creation; She who made our composition heavenly . . . . She deliberately followed her Son, Himself God, from His Birth to His Passion and Cross. And the God-man from high on the Cross, sent forth His Most Holy Mother to all of us as our Mother in the order of grace.

She supports our life and sanctifies our time . . . . We are purified through her tears; through the divine beauty we are saved; and we keep holy silence in the presence of the overwhelming awe. (7)

The inestimable magnitude of the Immaculata in her overflowing plentitude of divine grace (cf. Lk. 1:28) and her absolute freedom from all sin (cf. Gen. 3:15), is described by Bl. Pius IX in Ineffabilis Deus:

Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.

“The Co-redemptrix” Because “The Immaculate Conception”

The Immaculate Conception, the unparalleled prodigy of grace granted by the Eternal Father, is (along with her Divine Maternity), the foundation for all of the subsequent roles assigned her by the Trinity for the benefit of humanity.

Indeed, the humble Virgin of Nazareth is the Co-redemptrix not only because she is Mother of God, but also because she is the Immaculate Conception. Stainless, full of grace, and in total enmity with Satan and his seed of evil and sin, the Immaculate One is created by the Father, in view of the merits of the Son, precisely to be the perfect human cooperator “with Jesus” in the historic work of human salvation.

Any sin on Mary’s part, original or personal, would establish a bond or union between herself and Satan, the historic foe of the Redeemer. Mary, then, would become a type of “double-agent”—working with Jesus, but also having an association with his Adversary, the very person and power from which Jesus seeks to buy back humanity.

No, the woman chosen to be humanity’s representative, to participate intimately and proximately with God himself in restoring supernatural life to souls, must be without any union through sin with the Enslaver and Defiler of humanity. Thus was she created immaculate by God the Father of all mankind, crafted from incorruptible “wood” so as to be the New Ark of the New Covenant, carrying the Redeemer of the world in her immaculate womb and dying with Him in her immaculate heart for the Redemption of the world (cf. Lumen Gentium 58, 61).

Pope John Paul II teaches the essential relationship between the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady’s coredemptive role with Jesus in salvation, and explains that her complete immunity from all sin allowed for the perfect fulfillment of this co-working role in Redemption:

We must above all note that Mary was created immaculate in order to be better able to act on our behalf. The fullness of grace allowed her to fulfill perfectly her mission of collaboration with the work of salvation; it gave the maximum value to her cooperation in the sacrifice. When Mary presented to the Father her Son nailed to the cross, her painful offering was entirely pure. (8)

We do not seek mediation from one who is himself at odds with the person with whom we desire to be reconciled. We do not seek relief from a debt by asking assistance from someone who is himself in a state of debt to the person we owe.

This is why the Father in his infinite wisdom, in assigning to the Virgin Daughter the providential role of Co-redemptrix and its consequential roles as Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate for all humanity, created her in full union with the Redeemer, with no association in any dimension with the Enemy, and in absolute segregation from sin. In this way, Mary Immaculate becomes the Co-redemptrix with Jesus the Divine Redeemer in the historic work of Redemption, which indeed “buys us back” (redimere—to buy back). She becomes the Immaculate Mediatrix of all grace, who with the one Mediator “brings us the gifts of eternal salvation.” (9) She becomes the all pure Advocate who presents our petitions to our Divine Judge and King.

There is yet another sense in which the Immaculate Conception brings clarity to Mary’s coredemptive mission. The objection is sometimes raised, “How can Mary be Co-redemptrix if she herself was in need of Redemption?” (10) The answer is found in a proper understanding of her Immaculate Conception.

Indeed, it is true that Mary needed to be “redeemed” for her own salvation, and in order to actively participate in the process of human Redemption for the rest of humanity.

In the papal definition of the Immaculate Conception, Bl. Pope Pius IX states that Mary, from the first instant of her conception was freed from original sin and all its effects “in view of the merits of Jesus Christ.” (11) This refers to the higher or more sublime manner in which Mary was redeemed, beyond all other children of Adam and Eve. In Mary’s redemption, she did not have to suffer the experience of original sin and its effects and later be cleansed through sacramental baptism, but rather by an application of the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Preserved from any experience or effect of original sin, she is redeemed in a more sublime manner than the rest of humanity. For this reason, the immaculately conceived Mother owes more to her saving Son’s redemption than any other redeemed creature.

How, then, is Mary’s redemption enacted so as to allow her to participate in the historic accomplishment of Redemption at Calvary? This higher form of redemption is effected at Calvary in the first intention of the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is precisely to redeem Mary. (12) The graces of the first intention are applied to Mary at the moment of her conception, which in turn allows her to become the sinless Co-redemptrix in union with the universal Redeemer in the Redemption of the rest of the human family—both in intention and accomplishment—at Calvary. There is no contradiction in the historic role of the Co-redemptrix in the participation of the Redemption and Mary’s own personal need and reception of the graces of Redemption. God, who is outside of time, indeed who is the creator of the temporal order, is not limited by historical necessities, still less is he restrained by our limited understanding of his purposes. He can do as he wills. And in the absolutely unique gift of the Immaculate Conception, he has done so. As Vatican theological consultor, Fr. Jean Galot summarizes:

The first intention of the redemptive sacrifice was concerned, according to the divine plan, with the ransom of Mary, accomplished in view of our ransom . . . Thus, while she was associated in the sacrifice of Calvary, Mary already benefited, in advance, from the fruits of the sacrifice and acted in the capacity of a ransomed creature. But she truly cooperated in the objective redemption, in the acquisition of the graces of salvation for all of mankind. Her redemption was purchased before that of other human beings. Mary was ransomed only by Christ, so that mankind could be ransomed with the collaboration of his mother . . . .

Hence there is no contradiction: Marian co-redemption implies the foreseen redemption of Mary, but not the foreseen fulfillment of the redemption of mankind; it expresses the unique situation of the mother who, while having received a singular grace from her own Son, cooperates with Him in the attainment of salvation for all. (13)

Does this primordial intention of Jesus Christ to redeem his mother and then, as subsequent intention, the rest of humanity violate the “one sacrifice” of Jesus Christ offered for all as discussed in Hebrews (cf. Heb. 10:10)? It does not, as the Redemption remains one, although its intentions and efficacious applications are twofold. The one redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary does not constitute “two redemptions,” but one sublime Redemption with two saving applications: the first application effecting the Immaculate Conception of Mary and thus preparing her to be the Co-redemptrix in her cooperation in objective Redemption; the second application effecting the Redemption of the human family accomplished with the Co-redemptrix. (14)

We can see then how foundational was the grace of the Immaculate Conception. Indeed, Mary is “The Co-redemptrix” because she was first “The Immaculate Conception.”

Development and Controversy

The crowning of Our Lady with the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 was preceded by a history of intense theological controversy. It was, in fact, one of the fiercest and lengthiest theological debates in the history of Catholic doctrinal development. (15) Much light can be obtained by examining the controversy leading to this Marian dogma, in terms of the process of general doctrinal development (which encompasses the guidance of the Spirit of Truth working through the instrumentality of frail and fallen human nature), and in evaluating contemporary mariological doctrinal development, specifically the present discussion concerning the doctrine of Mary Co-redemptrix.

We can summarize the extensive history of the development of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which spans numerous centuries and hundreds of theologians, by examining the major pronouncements and teachings, as well as censures and penalties, promulgated by the Papal Magisterium in the course of the second Christian millennium. The teachings and disciplines of the Holy See offer an example of the ebb and flow, the agonies and ecstasies relative to the Immaculate Conception doctrine which preceded the ex cathedra victory of Bl. Pius IX in 1854, when, guided and protected by the Holy Spirit, he proclaimed it as a Marian dogma.

Founded upon the inspired Word, which implicitly reveals the Mother of the Redeemer as being in “enmity” with sin (Gen. 3:15) and “full of grace” (Lk. 1:28), the Fathers of the Church attributed numerous titles to Our Lady, which bespeaks their gradual awareness of her immunity from original sin and her plenitude of grace. Bl. Pius IX provides examples of this Patristic witness in the defining constitution:

This doctrine so filled the minds and souls of our ancestors in the faith that a singular and truly marvelous style of speech came into vogue among them. They have frequently addressed the Mother of God as immaculate, as immaculate in every respect; innocent, and verily most innocent; spotless, and entirely spotless; holy and removed from every stain of sin; all pure, all stainless, the very model of purity and innocence; more beautiful than beauty, more lovely than loveliness; more holy than holiness, singularly holy and most pure in soul and body; the one who surpassed all integrity and virginity; the only one who has become the dwelling place of all the graces of the most Holy Spirit. God alone excepted, Mary is more excellent than all, and by nature fair and beautiful, and more holy than the Cherubim and Seraphim. To praise her all the tongues of heaven and earth do not suffice. (16)

The Patristic testimonies, particularly from the East, were generous and numerous. In the fourth century, St. Ephraem incorporates the venerated New Eve model in comparing Mary’s stainlessness to Eve before Eve’s fall: “Those two innocent . . . women, Mary and Eve, had been created utterly equal, but afterwards one became the cause of our death, the other the cause of our life.” (17) The Syrian “Harp of the Holy Spirit” then sings of her in an address to Jesus: “Thou and Thy Mother are the only ones immune from all stain; for there is no spot in Thee, O Lord, nor any taint in thy Mother.” (18)

From the West, St. Ambrose testifies that the Mother of Jesus was “free from all stain of sin.” (19) Severus, bishop of Antioch declares that “She . . . formed part of the human race, and was of the same essence as we, although she was pure from all taint and immaculate.” (20) St. Sophronious, the seventh century patriarch of Jerusalem, refers to a pre-purification of grace in the case of Mary: “You have found the grace that no one has received . . . no one has been pre-purified besides you.” (21) St. Andrew of Crete calls her the “pure and entirely Immaculate Virgin,” (22) and the ninth century monk, Theognostes of Constantinople directly mentions Our Lady’s immaculate origin from conception: ” . . . she who from the beginning had been conceived by sanctifying action . . . .” (23)

It is against this background of Tradition’s positive laud of the Immaculate Conception during the first Christian millennium, that St. Bernard of Clairvaux writes his historic letter to the Church of Lyons (c.1140), adversely affecting the doctrine’s acceptance for the next several centuries. The great Doctor of Marian Mediation, who rightly proclaimed “de Maria numquam satis,” (24) nonetheless felt compelled to reject this prerogative of his Queen due to a mistaken notion of the transmission of original sin.

In his letter to the canons of Lyons who had begun to celebrate the Feast of the Conception of Mary, St. Bernard rejects the feast and the doctrine behind it on the basis of the Augustinian notion that conception was directly connected with concupiscence. According to St. Augustine, (25) original sin infected the human body, which then automatically infected the soul at its infusion into the body. Mary, therefore, could not have been sanctified at her conception, but only in the womb after conception, and this act “rendered her birth holy, not her conception.” (26)

Almost two centuries later, the Church is gifted with the theological breakthrough of the Subtle Doctor, Bl. John Duns Scotus (†1308) and the proper understanding that original sin is not passed on through infected body to infected soul upon the soul’s creation and infusion, but rather through a privation of grace in the soul at the moment of conception due to the sin of Adam and Eve. (27) The rejection of the doctrine by St. Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas, (28) St. Albert the Great, (29) St. Bonaventure, (30) and other scholastics, many of whom are significantly influenced by St. Bernard, is the dominant historical setting during the early part of the second millennium, a situation which eventually calls for the intervention of the Papal Magisterium.

The Feast of the Conception of Mary continues to spread, in spite of the theological opposition, to become an almost general celebration in the West. By the mid-fourteenth century, the feast is solemnly celebrated in Rome, (31) and later in the century by the “Sovereign Pontiff and by the Cardinals” in unison. (32) It must be kept in mind that the nature of the feast at this time constituted a celebration of the general sanctification of Mary in the womb of St. Ann, without the clear delineation of the exact nature and time of the actual sanctification.

At about the same time, Pope Gregory XI approves the well-known Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden, with his two immediate papal successors, Urban VI and Boniface IX, confirming the approbation. (33) The Revelations record Our Lady’s words that: “It is the truth that I was conceived without original sin,” (34) and explains further:

Believe, my daughter, seeing that they think rightly who believe and profess that I was preserved from the original stain; wrongly, however, those who think the contrary, especially if they do so with temerity. (35)

. . . . Know that I was conceived without original sin, and not in sin . . . . Know that my Conception was not known to all because God willed it that way . . . thus it was pleasing to God that his friends would piously doubt of my Conception, and each would manifest his zeal, until the truth would be clarified at its foreordained time. (36)

As the Revelations were widely promulgated and respected throughout medieval Christendom, its influence was significant upon theologians and bishops alike in growth of support for the Immaculate Conception. We see here one example of the direct influence of authentic private revelation in the historical development of doctrine, not as a legitimate foundation for the doctrine, but rather as a supernatural spark to stimulate development at an appropriate historical time in the Church’s life and thought.

The Council of Basle which convenes in the mid-fifteenth century (Sept. 17, 1439) attempts to define the Immaculate Conception doctrine in their declaration from the 37th session, which states:

. . . We define and declare that the doctrine according to which the glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God, by a special effect of divine preventing and operating grace, was never stained with original sin, but has always been holy and immaculate, is a pious doctrine, conformable to the cult of the Church, to Catholic Faith, to right reason, and Sacred Scripture; it must be approved, held and professed by all Catholics; furthermore, it is no longer allowed to preach or teach anything contrary to it. (37)

Even though the Council had been placed under an anathema by Pope Eugene IV (due to its papal stance, something not immediately relevant to the issue of the Immaculate Conception), the declaration nevertheless illustrates the depth of theological and hierarchical commitment to the doctrine at this time.

But new attacks on the doctrine are soon to surface in the latter part of the fifteenth century. History bears out the fact that Marian dogmatic development is typically juxtaposed with fierce and repeated theological conflict, and oftentimes between bishops and theologians in full fidelity to the Holy See.

Sixtus IV and Papal Approval of the Feast

The Franciscan Pope, Sixtus IV (1471-1484) is the first pontiff to make an official magisterial pronouncement relative to the Immaculate Conception. Pope Sixtus issues sixteen constitutions with reference to Mary’s Conception, (38) but the first major bull is issued in 1477 and entitled, Cum praecelsa. In this Bull, the pontiff officially approves the prayers of the Office of the Conception, and grants indulgences for those who recite the Office or attend Mass in its honor. (39)

The atmosphere at the time the bull is promulgated involves an intense theological battle over the issue, essentially between the Dominican and the Franciscan orders. Dominican theologian Vincent Bandelli had written a book two years prior in which he strongly attacked the Immaculate Conception doctrine as impious, heretical, contrary to the teaching of the Church, and to sound reason. (40) This leads Sixtus IV to order a public disputation on the issue in his presence in Rome in early 1477. Fr. Bandelli defends his Maculist position, and the Minister General of the Franciscans, Francis Insuber of Brescia articulates the Immaculist stance. The Immaculist position proves victorious, which leads Sixtus IV to immediately grant official approval to the Mass and Office of the Conception of Mary. (41)

The papally approved feast is clearly and specifically Immaculist, with Our Lady being referred to as “Immaculate” ten times, and with some thirty references to her having been conceived without original sin, (42) using phrases such as:

You are all beautiful, O Mary, and the stain of original sin is not in thee (2nd antiphon of 1st Vesp.). (43)

And:

Today is the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary. God who, by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, did prepare a worthy dwelling . . . grant, we beseech thee, who by his foreseen death did preserve her from all stain of sin . . . (Collect of the Mass and Oration of the Office). (44)

But the papal sanction does not end the controversy. Bandelli authors another book in 1481, in which he seeks to interpret the Pope’s document as referring to Mary’s sanctification after the instance of animation, thus inferring that it teaches her “spiritual conception” and not her natural immaculate conception. Moreover, opponents do not celebrate the papally approved feast, but rather return to the more generic feast of “Mary’s Sanctification.” (45)

This leads Sixtus IV to respond with the bull Grave nimis in 1482, in which he threatens to excommunicate the objectors and also those who charge their opponents with heresy. He also condemns any who claim that the Holy See was referring only to the spiritual conception of Mary or the general sanctification of Mary. But in the second issue of the bull, Grave nimis (posterior) in 1484, the Pontiff also forbids the Immaculists to accuse their opponents of being guilty of the “crime of heresy or of mortal sin, since the matter has not been decided as yet by the Roman Church and the Apostolic See.” (46) Because the Church has not yet formally decided the doctrinal question, proponents and opponents of the feast alike can not be declared heretical or in grave sin per se. (47)

Considering the clarity and firmness of Sixtus IV’s intervention, one can imagine that the “pious belief” of the Immaculate Conception (as it was termed) would be essentially free from any accusation of heresy, and that doctrinal development leading to the definition in 1854 would proceed in a fundamentally peaceful process. Moreover, in a promising move Sixtus’ successor, Innocent VIII, immediately follows his predecessor’s initiatives by approving a religious congregation from Spain with the title, “Religious of the Immaculate Conception of Mary” in the Bull, Inter innumera (1489). (48) However, the next three centuries would witness ubiquitous theological standoffs, strong papal interventions, and serious ecclesiastical censures, all of which would constitute the tumultuous journey of this doctrine to the nineteenth century solemn definition.

The Council of Trent in the sixteenth century sought in general to restrict its doctrinal treatments to the specific areas brought into question by Protestant objections. Nonetheless, when the subject of the universality of original sin is brought up during the fifth session in 1546, the issue is raised as to whether or not the Mother of Jesus was subject to the universal law. Immediately, a number of theological debates ensue. After much intense discussion, the Council concludes with the following declaration:

This same holy Synod declares that it is not its intention to include in this decree, where there is question of original sin, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Rather, the constitutions of Sixtus of happy memory are to be followed. (49)

Trent therefore, refers to the Mother of Jesus as “Immaculate”; does not include her within the universal law of original sin; and refers to Pope Sixtus and his defense of the Immaculist position. As Bl. Pius IX comments in Ineffabilis Deus, the Council of Trent “sufficiently insinuated by this declaration that the Blessed Virgin Mary was free from the original stain.” (50)

And yet controversy continues. In 1567, the great Marian pontiff, St. Pius V condemns one of the propositions of Baius, which reads: “No one but Christ was without original sin, and therefore the Blessed Virgin died in consequence of the sin contracted through Adam . . . .” (51) The Dominican pontiff also issues a bull, Super speculam, in 1570, in which he speaks of the evil effects of the controversy which continues to rage over the Immaculate Conception. In an effort to prevent the present scandal from infecting the faithful, St. Pius V renews the teachings and censures of Sixtus IV, the Council of Trent, and adds the following new restrictions: “. . . no one is allowed to discuss either of the opinions in sermons given before the people . . . or to write or dictate anything in the vernacular on the question.” (52)

Note the paternal character of Pius V’s actions. He acts as a good father of the family who enters into a heated family conflict, and intervenes by first reiterating the truth and then by calling a halt to any further discussion until emotions settle. The specific concern of Pius was the scandal being caused amidst the common faithful. We will repeatedly see the importance of the sensus fidelium in this historical drama.

Despite this, the theological battle rages on, and seventeenth century popes once again come to the defense of the doctrine. In 1616 Pope Paul V issues the Bull, Regis pacifici, in which he recalls the pronouncement of Sixtus IV, Trent, and Pius V, but notes that these did not suffice to stop the conflict. Paul V therefore reiterates with “Apostolic power” his predecessors’ teachings, but with additional punishments for offenders. (53) A year later, the ecclesial storm still continues, and Paul V issues a decree, Sanctissimus (Sept. 12, 1617) whereby the Roman pontiff for the first time officially forbids anyone from denying the Immaculate Conception in public. (54) The expressed reason for the papal action is the scandal, quarrels, and dissensions caused among the common faithful whenever public sermons or teachings deny the Immaculate Conception or positively teach that she was conceived with original sin. In short, the denial of the Immaculate Conception is rejected by the sensus fidelium, and the Vicar of Christ respects and protects the Spirit acting through them. (55)

A few years later, Pope Gregory XV extends the prohibitions of Paul V against the public denial of the Immaculate Conception to the realm of private conversations and writings as well, until such time as the Holy See would resolve the issue. (56) Once again, this papal directive requiring absolute silence for those denying the Immaculate Conception is prompted by the reaction of the common consensus of the faithful. (57) It is also noteworthy at this time that heads of state begin requesting the Holy See for a papal definition of the Immaculate Conception, with repeated petitions coming from the Kings of Spain. (58)

Under the pontificate of Urban VIII, a pontiff who also advances the cause of the Immaculate Conception through the granting of generous indulgences relative to the doctrine, (59) we have an interesting historical case of a decree contrary to the doctrine being drawn up by the Holy Office a few months before Urban’s death and published three years after his death. The decree from the Holy Office states: “It is not permitted to attribute the title of ‘Immaculate’ to the Conception of the Blessed Virgin; one must say the Conception of the Immaculate Mary.” (60) It is generally agreed upon by historians that the Holy Office decree did not have the approval of the Holy Father. (61) We see here an instance of how a doctrinal Congregation can err on a disciplinary matter relative to a doctrine when it does not have direct pontifical approval.

With the papal election of Alexander VII in 1661, the doctrine gains one of its greatest papal champions. In the Bull, Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum, Alexander exacts the nature of the feast of the Immaculate Conception as the belief of Mary’s immunity from original sin at conception, refers to the doctrine as a “pia sententia,” or “pious belief,” (a theological category of certainty that had been proposed but not approved at Trent (62)), and confirms and broadens the canonical penalties of his papal predecessors for those rejecting the doctrine. (63)

In 1708, Pope Clement XI provides further magisterial foundation for an eventual definition in the Bull, Commissi Nobis, by establishing the feast of the Immaculate Conception as a holy day of obligation for the entire Catholic Church. (64) Little more than a century later, Pope Gregory XVI, the immediate predecessor of Bl. Pius IX, grants permission for an additional petition to the Litany of Loreto to read: “Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.” (65)

By the nineteenth century, the Holy See has received and continues to receive numerous petitions for the solemn definition, both from the hierarchy and from the common faithful. (66) So significant is the factor of petitions from the People of God to the pontiff in the development of this Marian doctrine that Bl. Pius IX refers to the positive role of petitions as one of the legitimate criterion for its solemn definition in Ineffabilis Deus. (67) Far from the mistaken notion that petitions directed to Rome are merely a contemporary invention for democratized pressure within the Church, petitions from the hierarchy and the common faithful comprise a substantial element in the true papal discernment for solemn definitions. (68)

Another positive influence for Bl. Pius IX in his discernment for the infallible declaration is the Church-approved apparitions of Our Lady of Grace received by St. Catherine Labouré in 1830, in which the “Medal of the Immaculate Conception” is revealed by Our Lady and swiftly spreads throughout Europe and beyond. The petition surrounding the “Miraculous Medal,” as it was spontaneously referred to by the faithful, reads “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” The immediate and universal acceptance of this medal so essentially linked to the Immaculate Conception doctrine and the plethora of miracles associated with it, make a strong positive impression on Pius IX. (69)

In summation, centuries of fierce theological battles moderated by papal interventions, juxtaposed with a persevering liturgical, theological and devotional development, serve as the historical platform upon which Bl. Pius IX courageously crowns the Virgin Mother of God with the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854. The historical tempest which precedes the definition seems to symbolically manifest itself on the actual day of the definition by a violent storm outside of St. Peter’s Basilica. As Sardi, the respected documenter of the history and acts concerning the definition, then describes:

At the precise moment His Holiness was going to define the dogma, a light breeze lifted the drape in front of the great window above the altar of the Chapel of Most Holy Mary of the Pillar, and a sunbeam lit up the person of the Holy Father and his pontifical throne. Many marveled at this event because of the solemn moment when it occurred . . . . (70)

Immaculate Conception and Mary Co-redemptrix:
Parallels in Doctrinal Development

The Holy Spirit guides and nurtures a seed of revelation found in the Word of God, written or handed down, so that it takes root and grows gradually to full blossom and beauty within the garden of the Church in the form of a defined dogma. As the Spirit is one, so are his ways similar and detectable within the process of this development of doctrine. While there is always some dimension of the beauty of diversity within the movements of the Spirit, so too is there a certain uniformity and pattern.

In this light, we find at least seven similarities, true parallels of doctrinal maturation, as we juxtapose the development of the Immaculate Conception with that of Mary Co-redemptrix. In the case of the Immaculate Conception doctrine, these stages or levels of maturity eventually led to its solemn definition. So, too, the presence of these same seven characteristics in the development of the Co-redemptrix doctrine offers significant evidence for its own doctrinal maturity.

1. Longstanding Liturgical Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Of great significance is the papal approval of the Feast of The Conception of Mary by Sixtus IV in 1477 and its critical role in the Immaculate Conception’s doctrinal progression. In the case of Mary Co-redemptrix, we also have a liturgical feast celebrated in Rome which likewise dates back to the fifteenth century, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

In fact, until 1960, the role of Mary Co-redemptrix was liturgically celebrated twice a year. The first feast focused upon the “compassion” or co-suffering of Mary at Calvary and was celebrated on the Friday before our present Palm Sunday. The second feast, historically promoted by the Servites of Mary and celebrated on September 15, accentuates the entire coredemptive life of the Virgin as highlighted in seven scriptural and traditional events or “sorrows”: 1. Simeon’s prophecy in the Temple; 2. the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt; 3. the loss of the Christ child in the Temple; 4. the encounter of Mary with Jesus on the way of the cross; 5. her suffering during the crucifixion and death of Jesus; 6. the taking down of Jesus from the Cross; and 7. the burial of Jesus in the tomb.

Moreover, the first official use of the Co-redemptrix title by the Holy See comes on May 13, 1908, in a document by the Congregation of Rites in reference to the Feast of the Seven Sorrows. In positive response to a petition seeking to raise the rank of the feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary to a double rite of second class for the universal Church, the Congregation of Rites expresses its hope that “the devotion of the Sorrowful Mother may increase and the piety of the faithful and their gratitude toward the merciful Co-redemptrix of the human race may intensify.” (71)

These liturgical celebrations of the Co-redemptrix doctrine makes clear that the role has been believed and venerated for over a half millennium in the liturgical life of the Church.

2. Conciliar Teaching on Marian Coredemption

The conciliar teaching of Trent on the Immaculate Conception doctrine, however implicit, nonetheless clearly established the doctrinal integrity of the position. In addition, there were those at Trent who desired a solemn definition of the Immaculate Conception, (72) but the Council saw it sufficient for that time to reflect the legitimacy of the doctrine in its other teachings.

The Second Vatican Council in its preparatory stage similarly received over 450 petitions for the solemn definition of Mary Co-redemptrix and her subsequent role as Mediatrix of all graces (73) and deemed it sufficient for the purposes of a non-defining pastoral council to present a certain teaching on Marian Coredemption. The Council did so in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. In the eighth chapter, which is dedicated to Our Lady, the Fathers clearly teach her coredemptive role:

Committing herself whole-heartedly and impeded by no sin to God’s saving will, she devoted herself totally, as a handmaid of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son, under and with him, serving the mystery of redemption . . . (LG, 56).

And:

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim which was born of her. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to his disciple, with these words: “Woman, behold thy son” (Jn. 19:26-27), (LG, 58).

And further:

She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ, she presented him to the Father in the temple, shared her Son’s sufferings as he died on the cross. Thus, in a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace (LG, 61).

The fact that the Second Vatican Council, which was pastoral by nature (as determined at its outset by Bl. John XXIII), did not define the Coredemption doctrine cannot be used as a valid argument against its definability. Trent did not define the Immaculate Conception, nor did Vatican I define the Assumption, although it had received from participating Fathers numerous petitions to do so. (74) Rather, the solid conciliar teaching on the truth of the Co-redemptrix role reflects an unquestionable theological basis in the sources of Revelation for a potential definition.

3. Petitions from the Faithful, Hierarchy, and Heads of State

Bl. Pius IX’s acknowledgement of the numerous petitions from the hierarchy, common faithful, and even heads of states received by the Holy See for the Immaculate Conception’s definition illustrates the papal respect given to the sensus fidelium in the process of discerning the timeliness and appropriateness of infallible declarations. Pius XII made the same acknowledgement for the vast number of petitions received in favor of the Dogma of the Assumption. (75)

The largest number of per annum petitions received by the Holy See for any single cause in the history of the Church has been for the solemn definition of Mary Co-redemptrix. In the last ten years, over seven million petitions have been received by the Holy See from over one hundred and fifty countries in support of this infallible declaration. (76) More than five hundred and fifty bishops, including forty six cardinals, have also joined in the petition during the past ten years. (77)

As Spain was foremost in national support for the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the Philippines and Mexico are leaders in the national calls for the definition of Mary Co-redemptrix. Over seventy percent of the Mexican hierarchy has petitioned the Holy Father for the definition. (78) The Philippines have produced the largest number of lay petitions. Former Philippines President, Mrs. Corazon Aquino, petitioned the Holy See for the dogmatic proclamation while in office.

4. Indulgenced Prayers in Relation to Mary Co-redemptrix

Lex orandi, lex credendi—as the Church prays, so she believes. The indulgences approved by the Holy See for prayers associated with the Immaculate Conception also finds its parallel with the Co-redemptrix doctrine.

On June 26, 1913, the Holy Office issued a document expressing the Congregation’s satisfaction in adding the name of Mary to the name of Jesus in the indulgenced greeting, “Praised be Jesus and Mary” which is then responded to, “Now and forever.” The document then states: “There are those Christians whose devotion to the most favored among virgins is so tender as to be unable to recall the name of Jesus without the accompanying name of the Mother, our Co-redemptrix, the Blessed Virgin Mary.” (79)

Six months later, the same Holy Office granted a partial indulgence for the recitation of a prayer of reparation to the Blessed Virgin (Vergine benedetta). The prayer ends with the words: “I bless thy holy Name, I praise thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever Virgin, conceived without stain of sin, Co-redemptrix of the human race.” (80)

5. Religious Congregations Bearing the Co-redemptrix Name

As was the case with Innocent VIII and the approval of the “Religious of the Immaculate Conception of Mary,” congregations with the Co-redemptrix title have received Church approval. The North Vietnamese religious congregation, “The Congregation of the Mother Co-redemptrix,” which was approved by the local bishop in 1941 and approved by the Holy See in 1953, was forced to relocate to South Vietnam due to Communist persecution, and later expanded to the United States. (81) Presently, a religious congregation of priests and religious found in Italy, Slovakia, Russia, the Netherlands, and several other countries, with the name of “The Family of Mary Co-redemptrix” is rapidly growing in vocations, particularly in Eastern Europe.

6. Private Revelation Stimulating and Confirming the Co-redemptrix Doctrine

As the Revelations of St. Bridget and the apparitions of the Miraculous Medal to St. Catherine Labouré offer stimulation and growth to the Immaculate Conception doctrine, confirmed in the life of the Church, so too has ecclesiastically approved private revelation served to confirm the truth of Mary Co-redemptrix and, specifically, its eventual solemn definition.

From the same Revelations given to St. Bridget of Sweden, Our Lady offers a direct testimony to her role as Co-redemptrix: “My Son and I redeemed the world as with one heart.” (82) Our Lord re-iterates the same truth of the Co-redemptrix doctrine in his own words: “My Mother and I saved man as with one Heart only, I by suffering in my Heart and my Flesh, She by the sorrow and love of Her Heart.” (83) These revelations positively influenced theologians and popes alike for the next three hundred years and were repeatedly referenced by theologians and bishops during the seventeenth century “Golden Age” of Marian Coredemption. (84)

More recently, a number of contemporary Marian apparitions approved by the Church have spoken of the Co-redemptrix role. The apparitions of Our Lady of Akita in Japan (1973), manifest Our Lady’s ongoing coredemptive role in the form of messages and scientifically verified lacrimations. (85) The apparitions received ecclesiastical approbation from the local ordinary, Bishop John Ito (1984). The related apparitions of the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam (1945-1959), which have been declared of supernatural origin by Bishop Josef Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam (May 31, 2002), contains numerous messages from Our Lady which speak of the roles of Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, and the eventual solemn definition of these roles. For example, in the message of April 29, 1951:

I stand here as the Co-Redemptrix and Advocate. Everything should be concentrated on that. Repeat this after me; The new Dogma will be the “dogma of the Co-Redemptrix.” Notice I lay special emphasis on “Co.” I have said that it will arouse much controversy. Once again I tell you that the Church, “Rome,” will carry it through and silence all objections. The Church, “Rome,” will incur opposition and overcome it. The Church “Rome,” will become stronger and mightier in proportion to the resistance she puts up in the struggle. My purpose and my commission to you is none other than to urge the Church, the theologians, to wage this battle. For the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit wills to send the Lady, chosen to bear the Redeemer, into this world, as Co-Redemptrix and Advocate.

. . . In the sufferings, both spiritual and bodily, the Lady, the Mother has shared. She has always gone before. As soon as the Father had elected her, she was the Co-Redemptrix with the Redeemer, who came into the world as the Man-God. Tell that to your theologians. I know well, the struggle will be hard and bitter (and then the Lady smiles to herself and seems to gaze into the far distance), but the outcome is already assured. (86)

To be sure, private revelation, even that which is approved by the Church, can never serve as the theological foundation for a Church doctrine or its potential definition. Nevertheless, the history of dogmatic development bears out the fact that “certain supernatural lights which it pleases God to distribute to certain privileged souls,” to use the words of Bl. John XXIII, (87) have sparked and assisted the development of certain doctrines at key historical periods of the Church. Perhaps our best contemporary example is the new ecclesial emphasis on Divine Mercy, which has been directly stimulated through the revelations to St. Faustina Kowalska, and has inspired the Church to the liturgical development of a universal feast of Divine Mercy on the Sunday following Easter Sunday, as well as the doctrinal development on Mercy for our present troubled age as manifested in the 1982 papal encyclical, Dives in Misericordia.

7. Theological Controversy and Mary Co-redemptrix

If history tells us anything about the journey of Marian dogmas, it is that theological controversy and emotionally charged debate will be their constant companions. This is visible in a dramatic way in the seven centuries of battle over the Immaculate Conception, with some of history’s greatest theologians, such as St. Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Albert the Great, and St. Bonaventure, finding themselves on the opposing side of the eventual dogma. This is also evident in the prior dogmatic proclamation of Mary as the “God-bearer” at Ephesus (431), with the historic confrontations between St. Cyril of Alexandria, Nestorius and their respective followers.

Theological controversy in itself, therefore, should never be used as a legitimate argument for the inappropriateness of a doctrine or its definition, as oftentimes the controversy becomes the very reason why the Bishop of Rome is called to speak definitively and bring peace to the family of the Church upon the necessary foundation of the truth.

The fact that the Papal Magisterium has never deemed it necessary to call for a public prohibition of the discussion of Mary Co-redemptrix due to controversy and its subsequent scandal for the faithful, (88) let alone prohibiting even private discussion as it did for the Immaculate Conception debate, (89) should give a better historical context in which to understand the arguably lesser degree of theological disagreement over Marian Coredemption. This, of course, is due in our own time to the authoritative presentation of the doctrine by the twentieth and twenty-first century Papal Magisterium and the Second Vatican Council. (90)

In light of the clear Church teaching on the doctrine, the hub of debate in the case of Mary Co-redemptrix focuses more upon the question of its potential definition as a dogma of the Faith. This would historically parallel where the Immaculate Conception development was in the first half of the nineteenth century. Now, as then, the Magisterium has settled the question of doctrinal integrity, and the theological discussion is centered around questions of the appropriateness and timeliness of a solemn definition. (91)

What makes a Marian doctrine definable? It is the establishing of its foundation in divine revelation and its organic maturity in that faith, worship, and life dimension of the Church which we call “Tradition.” (92) Both Magisterial and conciliar teachings confirm the foundations of Mary Co-redemptrix in the sources of Revelation. Certainly the other criteria which, at the time, had indicated doctrinal maturity for the Immaculate Conception are likewise present for the doctrine of Mary Co-redemptrix (i.e., the liturgical celebration of the role, the unprecedented petitions from the sensus fidelium and hierarchy, the private revelational confirmation, etc.), and do in fact offer evidence for its maturity within the Church’s contemporary living Tradition.

Conclusion

May the Holy Spirit, through the Immaculate Conception, enlighten the Vicar of Christ to receive and act upon Heaven’s perspective of timing and appropriateness, for the solemn definition of the truth of Mary Co-redemptrix, and her subsequent roles as Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate for humanity. May this year-long celebration of the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Immaculate Conception lead to a greater acknowledgement and praise of her sublime fullness of grace and her historic and continuous coredemption in the hearts of the People of God, and for the salvation of all humanity.

John Paul II has taught us that “Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son.” (93) And he has recently re-iterated the truths of the Immaculate Conception and Marian Coredemption in his February 11, 2004 message for the World Day of the Sick:

The keystone of history lies here: with the Immaculate Conception of Mary began the great work of Redemption that was brought to fulfillment in the precious blood of Christ . . . At the foot of the Cross Mary, made Mother of humanity, suffers in silence, participating in her Son’s suffering, ready to intercede so that every person may obtain salvation. (94)

The above presentation was given at the Mariological Symposium held at Washington, D.C., on February 21, 2004, entitled “The Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church: A Theological Symposium in Honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.” The article is available in a printed booklet version from Queenship Publications, 1-800-647-9882 or www.queenship.org.

Notes

(1) H. M. Manteau-Bonamy, O.P., Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit: The Teachings of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Marytown Press, 1977, pp. 1, 2, 4.

(2) St. Maximilian Kolbe, Letter from Nagasaki to the Youth of the Franciscan Order, February 28, 1933.

(3) Manteau-Bonamy, Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, pp. 63-64.

(4) St. Maximilian, Letter to Father Mikolajczyk, July 28, 1935.

(5) Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, November 21, 1964, 67.

(6) The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

(7) Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Universal Lenten Encyclical on the Mother of God and Mother of us All in the Order of Grace, March, 1998.

(8) John Paul II, December 7, 1983 Address, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, December 12, 1983, p. 1.

(9) Cf. Lumen Gentium, 62.

(10) A more technical version of the objection is posed as follows: It appears that Mary cannot participate in the obtaining of the graces of Redemption (commonly deemed objective Redemption) as the Co-redemptrix when she herself needed to be redeemed. If she did participate as Co-redemptrix in the obtaining of the graces of Redemption, it is because without her the obtaining of graces has not been accomplished. But if objective Redemption has not been accomplished, then she cannot personally benefit from it. This would be to accept that objective Redemption is at the same time being accomplished by her, and at the same time has already been accomplished, which would be a contradiction. For extended responses, cf. J. B. Carol, “Our Lady’s Coredemption,” Mariology, vol. 2, Bruce, 1957; Friethoff, A Complete Mariology, Blackfriars, London, 1985, p. 182; J. Galot, S.J., “Maria: Mediatrice o Madre Universale?,” Civilta Cattolica, 1996, I, pp. 232-244.

(11) Bl. Pius IX, Dogmatic Bull, Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854.

(12) For an extended treatment, cf. Carol, “Our Lady’s Coredemption”; Friethoff, A Complete Mariology, p. 182; Galot, “Maria: Mediatrice o Madre Universale?,” pp. 232-244.

(13) Galot, “Maria Corredentrice: Controversie e problemi dottrinali,” Civilta Cattolica, 1994, III, p. 218.

(14) Cf. Carol, “Our Lady’s Coredemption,” p. 418.

(15) For a more comprehensive treatment of the history of the doctrinal development of the Immaculate Conception, cf. G. Roschini, O.S.M., Maria Sanctissima Nella Storia Della Salvezza, vol. 3, pp. 37-219; A. Carr, O.F.M.Conv., G. Williams, O.F.M.Conv., “Mary’s Immaculate Conception,” Mariology, vol. 1, Bruce, 1955, pp. 344-370; A. Robichaud, S.M., “Immaculate Conception in the Magisterium of the Church,” Marian Studies 5, 1954. A majority of citations presented here were located from these extended works.

(16) Bl. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus.

(17) St. Ephraem, Sermones exegetici; opere omnia syriace et latine, 2.

(18) St. Ephraem, Carmina nisibena, 27.

(19) St. Ambrose, Expositio in ps. 118, serm. 22, n. 30; PL 15, 1599.

(20) St. Severus, Hom. Cathedralis, 67; PO 8, 350.

(21) St. Sophronius, Orat. in Deiparae Annunt., 25; PG 87, 3246-3247.

(22) St. Andrew of Crete, Hom. 1 in nativ. Deiparae; PG 97, 813-814.

(23) Theognostes, Hom. in dormit. Deiparae; PO 16, 457.

(24) “About Mary, never enough.”

(25) Cf. St. Augustine, Contra Julianum, ch. 15, n. 54; PL 44, 814.

(26) St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Epist. 174, ad canonicos lugdunenses; PL 182, 332-336.

(27) Bl. John Duns Scotus, Opus Oxoniense, lib. 3, dist. 3, p. 1.

(28) St. Thomas Aquinas, In 3 Sent., dist. 3, p. 1, art. 2; id., Summa Theologica, III, 27, 2, ad. 2.

(29) St. Albert the Great, In 3 Sent., dist. 3, art. 5.

(30) St. Bonaventure, In 3 Sent., dist. 3, pars 1, art. 1, q. 2.

(31) J. B. Malou, L’Immaculée Conception de la bienheureuse Vierge Marie considérée comme dogme de foi, vol. 1, Brussels, 1857, p. 131; Cherubinus Sericoli, O.F.M., Immaculata B.M. Virginis Conceptio iuxta Xysti IV Constitutiones, Rome, 1945, pp. 12-13; cf. Robichaud, “Immaculate Conception,” p. 88.

(32) P. Doncoeur, S.J., “Les premières interventions du St. Siège relatives à l’Immaculée Conception, XII-XIV siècles,” Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique, vol. 8, 1907, p. 700; Le Bachelet, S.J., “Immaculée Conception,” Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, Paris, 1903, vol. 7, col. 1101; cf. Robichaud, “Immaculate Conception,” p. 90.

(33) Cf. Pourrat, “Brigitte,” Catholicisme, Paris, vol. 2, 1949, col. 271-272; cf. Robichaud, “Immaculate Conception,” p. 92.

(34) St. Bridget of Sweden, Revelations, bk. 6, ch. 49.

(35) Ibid.

(36) St. Bridget, Revelations, bk. 6, ch. 55; cf. D. Cerri., “Enchiridion auctoritatum super duodecim. . . triumphos B. Mariae Virginis Matris Dei in originale peccatum,” Pareri dell’Episcopato Cattolico . . . sulla definizione dogmatica dell’Immacolato Concepimento della Beata Virgine Maria, Rome, 1852, part 3, vol. 6, 1852, p. 174; cf. Robichaud, “Immaculate Conception,” p. 92.

(37) Le Bachelet, “Immaculée Conception,” col. 1113; Sericoli, Immaculata B.M. Virginis, p. 21; Malou, L’Immaculée Conception, p. 60; cf. Robichaud, “Immaculate Conception,” p. 94.

(38) Sericoli, Immaculata B.M. Virginis, pp. 26, 29.

(39) J. D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio, 32, Paris-Leipzig, 1901, 373-374. For information on Sixtus IV, cf. Sericoli, ibid.

(40) V. Bandelli, Libellus recolectorius auctoritatum de veritate conceptionis B.V. Mariae, Milan, 1475.

(41) Sericoli, Immaculata B.M. Virginis, pp. 31-33.

(42) Sericoli, ibid., p. 80.

(43) Sericoli, ibid.; cf. Robichaud, “Immaculate Conception,” p. 98.

(44) Ibid.

(45) Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum, 374-375.

(46) Sericoli, Immaculata B.M. Virginis, appendix.

(47) Ibid.

(48) Malou, L’Immaculée Conception, pp. 148, 156; C. Passaglia, S.J., De Immaculato Deiparae semper Virginis conceptu, Rome, 1855, vol. 3, pp. 1782-1783; Letter of the Bishop of Málaga, Spain, Pareri, part 1, vol. 3, p. 12; Letter of the Bishop of Toledo, Spain, Pareri, part 1, vol. 3, p. 121; Cerri, “Enchiridion,” pp. 111, 112.

(49) Concilium Trident, sess. 5; DB 792.

(50) Bl. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus.

(51) Bullarium Privilegiorum ac Diplomatum Romanorum Pontificium, vol. 4, part 3, p. 429; DB 1073.

(52) St. Pius V, Bull Super speculam, 1570; Bullarium Romanorum, ibid., p. 138.

(53) Bullarium Romanorum, vol. 5, part 4, pp. 209-211.

(54) Paul V, Decree Sanctissimus, September 12, 1617; Bullarium Romanorum, ibid., pp. 234-235.

(55) Cf. Robichaud, “Immaculate Conception,” p. 113.

(56) Gregory XV, Decree Sanctissimus, June 2, 1622: “Hoc suo praesente decreto. . . extendit et ampliavit etiam ad privata colloquia et scripta, mandans et praecipiens omnibus et singulis supradictis, ne de cetero. . . neque etiam in sermonibus et scriptis privates audeant asserere, quod eadem Beatissima Virgo fuerit concepta cum peccato originali, nec de hac opinione affirmativa aliquo modo agere, seu tractare, exceptis tamen quibus a Sancta Sede Apostolica fuerit super hoc specialiter indultum.” Cf. Bullarium Romanorum, vol. 5, part 5, p. 45.

(57) Ibid. Note: Special exception was made for the private discussion of the issue among the Dominicans in a decree issued one month after Sanctissimus. Cf. Bullarium Romanorum, ibid., p. 46.

(58) For example, in 1627 Pope Urban VIII received a formal request from Philip IV of Spain for its definition; cf. P. Guéranger, “Mémoire sur la question de l’Immaculée Conception . . .” Pareri, part 3, vol. 7, p. 28; Le Bachelet, “Immaculée Conception,” col. 1174; J. Mansella, Il Domma dell’Immacolata Concezione della Beata Virgine Maria, Rome, 1866, vol. 1, p. 218.

(59) Cf. Urban VIII, Cum sicut accepimus, 1639.

(60) Archangelus a Roc, O.F.M.Cap., “Joannes Maria Zamoro ab Udine, O.F.M.Cap., praeclarus mariologus,” Collectanea Franciscana, Rome, 1945-1949, vols. 15-19, p. 117; Le Bachelet, “Immaculée Conception,” col. 1174; cf. Robichaud, “Immaculate Conception,” p. 118.

(61) Ibid.

(62) Cf. Robichaud, “Immaculate Conception,” p. 120.

(63) Cf. Bullarium Romanorum, vol. 6, part 5, pp. 182-184.

(64) Ibid., vol. 11, part 1, p. 206.

(65) J. Bourassé, Summa aurea de laudibus B.M.V., Paris, 1862, vol. 7, col. 608-612; Pareri, part 3, vol. 6, pp. 574-579.

(66) Cf. Bl. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus; Malou, L’Immaculée Conception, p. 216.

(67) Cf. Bl. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, middle section of the document.

(68) This is confirmed by both Bl. Pius IX and Pius XII in relation to their respective Marian ex cathedra definitions. Cf. Bl. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus; Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution of the Solemn Definition of the Assumption, Munificentissimus Deus, November 1, 1950; AAS 42, 1950, p. 754.

(69) J. Dirbin, C.M., St. Catherine Labouré of the Miraculous Medal, Tan, 1958, p. 178; cf. R. Laurentin, Catherine Labouré et la Médaille Miraculeuse, Paris, 1976.

(70) V. Sardi, La solenne definizione del dogma dell’Immacolato Concepimento di Maria SS., Atti e documenti, vol. 2, p. 428.

(71) AAS 1, 1908, p. 409.

(72) Cf. Carol, Fundamentals of Mariology, Benzinger, 1956, p. 107.

(73) Cf. G. M. Besutti, O.S.M., Lo Schema Mariano al Concilio Vaticano II, Edizioni Marianum, 1966, p. 17; cf. M. Miravalle, “With Jesus”: The Story of Mary Co-redemptrix, Queenship, 2003, p. 167.

(74) Cf. Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, p. 754-755.

(75) Cf. Ibid.

(76) Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici petition center archives, PO Box 220, Goleta, CA 93116, May, 2003.

(77) Note: These numbers reflect only the last ten years, without including the great number of hierarchical petitions for the dogma prior to 1993; cf. Vox Populi petition archives.

(78) Cf. Vox Populi petition archives.

(79) AAS 5, 1913, p. 364.

(80) AAS 6, 1914, p. 108.

(81) Cf. The Official Catholic Directory, P. J. Kenedy and Sons, 2003, p. 1305.

(82) St. Bridget, Revelations, bk. 1, ch. 35.

(83) St. Bridget, Revelations, bk. 9, ch. 3.

(84) Cf. Miravalle, “With Jesus,” pp. 113-124.

(85) Cf. T. Yasuda, S.V.D., “The Message of Mary Coredemptrix at Akita and Its Complementarity with the Dogma Movement,” Contemporary Insights on a Fifth Marian Dogma, Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate: Theological Foundations III, Queenship, 2000, pp. 235-249; F. Fukushima, Akita: Mother of God as Coredemptrix, Modern Miracles of Holy Eucharist, Queenship, 1997.

(86) The Messages of the Lady of All Nations, Queenship, 1996, April 29, 1951 message, pp. 49-51.

(87) Bl. John XXIII, Close of the Marian Year, Feb. 18, 1959.

(88) St. Pius V, Super speculam; cf. Bullarium Romanorum, vol. 4, part 3, p. 138.

(89) Gregory XV, Sanctissimus; cf. Bullarium Romanorum, vol. 5, part 5, p. 45.

(90) Cf. Miravalle, “With Jesus,” chs. 11-13, pp. 149-208.

(91) Note: Although a lack of knowledge of contemporary papal and conciliar teachings on Marian Coredemption has caused unnecessary debate as to even its doctrinal legitimacy.

(92) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, November 18, 1965, ch. 2.

(93) John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, March 11, 1985, p. 7.

(94) John Paul II, “Mary Gives the Answer to Suffering: Jesus,” for the Twelfth World Day of the Sick, February 11, 2004, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, January 21, 2004, p. 7.

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Peace Through A Woman

Published on November 14, 2012 by in Mariology, MaryCast Video

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I. Human Co-redeeming with the Divine Redeemer?
“The Redeemer of man, Jesus Christ, is the center of the universe and of history.” 1 There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5).” “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 Jn 2.1).

Jesus is our divine Redeemer, our divine Mediator, our divine Advocate.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us of the fundamental Christian mystery of Redemption: “God’s saving plan was accomplished “once for all” (Heb. 9:26) by the redemptive death of his son, Jesus Christ” 2…The redemption won by Christ consists in this, that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28), that is, he [loved] his own to the end” (Jn. 13:1), so that they might be “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [their] fathers” (1 Pet 1:18). 3

But what of humanity? Is the human person, created, finite, and fallen, in any way able to share, to participate, to co-operate in the sublime mystery of Redemption accomplished by the divine Redeemer? Has the divine Redeemer, in yet a further manifestation of his infinite mercy and generosity, beyond the Redemption itself, granted to the human individual the capacity to actually participate in the divine activity of saving other human beings?
The answer found in Christian revelation to this question is “yes.”  The human person can actually play a significant role in the salvation of other human persons, but only through a free and active cooperation with the Divine Redeemer himself.

St. Paul speaks of the Christian imperative to “make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his Body, which is the Church” (Col 1:24). The First Letter to the Corinthians identifies Christians as “co-workers with God” (1 Cor. 3:9). When Christians participate in the divine life of Jesus by becoming “partakers in the divine nature” through baptism (2 Pet. 1:4), and “co-heirs” with Christ in grace (Rom. 8:17), they become capable of participating in the divine activity of the Redeemer, as “co-redeemers of humanity together with Christ” (to quote the repeated expression of Bl. John Paul II). 4 The more a human person shares in the divine life of Jesus, the more he or she can fruitfully participate in the redemptive work of Jesus.

St. Augustine tells us that “God created us without us, but he did not will to save us without us.” 5  Not only must we freely cooperate with Jesus for our own salvation, but he has willed to dignify human freedom even further by allowing us the capacity to cooperate in the salvation of others.  Such is the generosity of the Heart of Christ, who seeks to include his beloved disciples in the greatest of his divine acts, which is precisely human redemption.

Blessed John Paul II provides a commentary on St. Paul’s classic text of Col. 1:24 which continues the papal teaching 6that man indeed is called to participate with and under Jesus in the work of Redemption:

For, whoever suffers in union with Christ…not only receives from Christ that strength already referred to, but also “completes” by his suffering “what is lacking” in Christ’s afflictions. This evangelical outlook especially highlights the truth concerning the creative character of suffering. The sufferings of Christ created the good of the world’s redemption.  This good is in itself inexhaustible and infinite. No man can add anything to it.  But at the same time in the mystery of the Church as his Body, Christ has in a sense opened his own redemptive suffering to all human suffering.  Insofar as man becomes a sharer in Christ’s sufferings –in any part of the world and at any time in history – to that extent he in his own way completes the suffering through which Christ accomplished the Redemption of the world. Does this mean Redemption accomplished by Christ is not complete? No. It only means that the Redemption, accomplished through satisfactory love, remains always open to all love expressed in human suffering. 7

The redemptive graces obtained by Jesus Christ on Calvary are infinite and exhaustible, and are in no way intrinsically “lacking.”  Yet, the Redeemer has given humankind, particularly through membership in his Mystical Body (cf. 1 Cor. 12, 27; Rom. 12:4), the ability to participate in the release of a portion of those infinite graces.  Thereby we as creatures who “live in Christ” (cf. Gal, 2:20) perform a true, though entirely dependent role with Jesus, in the distribution and consequent reception of the saving graces of Christ for the personal, subjective redemption of others. 8

Lumen Gentium instructs that the secondary and subordinate participation in the one mediation of Christ in no way diminishes the glory of Christ the one mediator, but, on the contrary manifests the glory of the one Mediator himself (cf. LG 60, 61, 62). As Redemption is a dimension of the one mediation of Christ, the same principle applies to secondary and subordinate participation in the one Redemption of Jesus Christ.  Human co-redeemers in Christ, far from competing with or obscuring the dignity of the one divine Redeemer, manifest his glory as it mysteriously leads to a new distribution of the fruits of Redemption merited by Christ at Calvary.  The more humans participate in the one Redemption of Jesus, the more his infinite sacrifice becomes manifested and supernaturally fruitful as it is received by human hearts.

Pope Benedict XVI furthers the teaching on  “Christian coredemption 9” or humanity’s secondary and subordinate participation in the redeeming work of Christ. On May 13, 2011 during his papal pilgrimage to Fatima, the Holy Father instructed the sick present to become “redeemers in the Redeemer” and through this means to participate in the “redemption of the whole world”:

Dear friends who are sick…entrust to [Jesus] every setback and pain that you face, so that they may become – according to his design – a means of redemption for the whole world.  You will be redeemers with the Redeemer… 10
When married couples bring children into the world, they “co-create” with the Father.  When bishops and priests administer the sacraments to the faithful, they “co-sanctify” with the Holy Spirit.  We co-create with the Father.  We co-sanctify with the Spirit.  We are likewise called to “co-redeem” with the Son.
While confirming the truth of Christian participation in the one sacrifice of Christ and its consequent mission of Redemption, the Catechism goes on to make clear that one human person participated in this mystery of Redemption like no other:

The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, “the one mediator between God and man.” But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to take up [their] cross and follow [him], for “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example so we should follow his steps.” In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be his first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering. 11

II. If We, Then Mary

If all Christians can rightly be called “co-redeemers” 12 with Christ then clearly Mary, Mother of Jesus and his greatest disciple, can also be referred to as a “co-redeemer” with Jesus. But can this title, or its more Latinized and feminized version as “Co-redemptrix” (etymologically, “woman with the redeemer” or “she who redeems with”) pertain to the Mother of Jesus in a special, unique manner among the People of God?

The Papal Magisterium and the Second Vatican Council answer “yes.”  In virtue of her Immaculate Conception (cf. Gen. 3:15, Lk. 1:28), her unequalled participation in the redemptive Incarnation as Mother of God (Lk. 1:38, Lk. 2:7), and her intimate and immaculate co-suffering with Jesus throughout his life (cf. Lk. 2:35), leading up to and culminating at Calvary (cf. Jn. 19:25-27), Mary cooperated in the historic act of Christ’s Redemption like no other.  Bl. John Paul explains:

Mary’s co-operation is unique and unrepeatable…The cooperation of Christians in salvation takes place after the Calvary event, whose fruits they endeavor to spread through prayer and sacrifice.  Mary, instead, co-operated during the event itself and in the role of mother, thus her cooperation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity. 13

The instruction of the Totus Tuus pontiff is in complete harmony with the Second Vatican Council, where the Fathers isolate and accentuate Mary’s participation in the Redemption as a co-working with Christ which is “above all others” and “in a wholly singular way”:

…She was the gracious mother of the divine Redeemer here on earth, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord.  She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ, she presented him to the Father in the temple, and shared her Son’s sufferings as he died on the cross. Thus, in a wholly singular way she cooperatd by her faith, hope, and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls.  For this reason, she is a mother to us in the order of grace (LG 61).

In order to appreciate this, Mary’s crucial role in Redemption, we must return to the intense unity between the Son and his Mother. From her and from her alone, He took his flesh in the mystery of the Incarnation. Christ could then redeem humanity and transform it into a higher state of being, because Mary offered Him a humanity in its most pure, immaculate form.
The creation of Mary as the Immaculate Conception and her subsequent ‘yes’ to God, by grace and her own free will, which sustained her fullness of grace, preceded and made possible the redemptive work of Christ. Therefore, the work of Mary is also redemptive, even in anticipation of the Redeemer, but in a distinctly human way.

But her cooperation did not end with the Incarnation. She endured the entire life mission-vocation of Redemption with her Son, from before his birth until after his agonizing death, with each suffering of her Son in heart and body having been experienced within her own maternal heart (cf. LG 58).

The Council speaks of this life-long participation of the Mother in the work of the Son: “The work of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception until his death” (LG 57). The Council Fathers further testify in powerful expressions the co-suffering of the Mother with the Son; their union of heart and purpose, her sharing in the intensity of his suffering, and her coredemptive consent to the immolation of the Victim to whom she gave flesh for our Redemption:

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood in keeping with the divine command, enduring with her only begotten son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consented to the immolation of this victim born of her (LG 58).

Thus, the Council’s unquestionable teaching on Mary’s Coredemption would likewise become conciliar grounding for Bl. John Paul’s specific use of the “Co-redemptrix” title for Mary on six occasions during his pontificate, 14 including in this 1985 papal address:

Crucified spiritually with her Crucified Son (cf. Gal. 2:20), she contemplated with heroic love the death of her God, she lovingly consented to the immolation of this victim which she herself had brought forth (LG 58). She fulfills the will of the Father on our behalf and accepts all of us as her children, in virtue of the testament of Christ: Woman, this is your son…Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son. 15

The nineteenth century English apologist, Fredrick Faber, claimed “there is no other single word”, for Mary’s unique participation in the Redemption other than the term, “Co-redemptrix”:

She has a right to it, first of all, because of her cooperation with our Lord in the same sense as the saints, but in a singular and superlative degree. She has a second right to it, which is particular to herself, because of the indispensable cooperation of her maternity. She has a third right to it because of her sufferings…there is no other single word [than Co-redemptrix] in which the truth can be expressed. 16

Faber’s contemporary, Bl. John Henry Newman, defended the theological legitimacy of the Co-redemptrix title to Pusey, particularly in light of the great richness of Patristic Marian teaching already accepted by his Anglican colleague:

When they found you with the Fathers calling her Mother of God, Second Eve, Mother of All Living, Mother of Life, the Morning Star, the Mystical New Heaven, the Scepter of Orthodoxy, the All-undefiled Mother of Holiness and the like, they would have deemed it a poor compensation for such language that you protested against her being called a Co-redemptrix. 17

But what of the concern that the co-redemptrix title is neither biblical nor patristic?  The same must likewise be said about numerous other classical and contemporary ecclesiastical terms, such as “Transubstantiation” and “Papal Infallibility.” In avoidance of any form of theological primitivism, the development of doctrine allows for new theological terms within the Tradition which capture a particular doctrine or mystery in a single word. Mary Co-redemptrix is a development of Mary, the New Eve, as taught by the Fathers of the Church, with the additional understanding of a Christian soteriololgy more proximate to Calvary which developed by the tenth century. 18 The Co-redemptrix term has been in the Tradition since the 14th century, with the “Redemptrix” term for Mary dating back to the 10th century. 19

The Council further provides us with a succinct statement as to the patristic testimony to Mary’s unique and active cooperation in human salvation:

The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined Mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the bringing about death, so a woman should contribute to life…Thus the daughter of Adam, Mary, consenting to the word of God became the Mother of Jesus. Committing herself wholeheartedly and impeded by no sin to God’s saving will, she devoted herself totally, as a handmaid of the Lord, to the person and the work of her Son, under and with him, serving the mystery of Redemption…Rightfully, therefore, the Fathers see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man’s salvation…Comparing Mary with Eve, they called her “Mother of the Living” and frequently claim: death through Eve, Life through Mary.”(LG 56).

Tradition often uses the same root titles for Mary as for Christ, for example, “Co-redemptrix” with “Redeemer”, “Mediatrix” with “Mediator”, etc. but clearly understands them in a distinctly human dimension when applied to the Mother of Christ. Entirely different root titles would not fully express the intimacy, beauty and coherency of the one plan of Salvation shared between the Son and the Mother, between God and humanity, and consequently between Jesus and us as co-redeemers.

Mary is Co-redemptrix with Jesus in the historical obtaining of the graces of salvation. For this reason, Mary becomes a “mother to us in the order of grace” (LG 61), that is, she becomes the Mediatrix of all graces in the distribution of those redemptive graces 20, and principal Advocate 21 to Jesus for the needs of humanity (cf. Jn. 2:5). The titles “Mediatrix” and “Advocate” ontologically pre-suppose the “Co-redemptrix” title and role and are inseparable from it.
These three titles manifest the three aspects of her one role as humanity’s Spiritual Mother: the Mother suffering (Co-redemptrix), the Mother nourishing (Mediatrix), the Mother pleading (Advocate).

Mary is rightfully invoked in the Church as the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate, because only these three motherly titles combined express her whole mission with the Redeemer: to suffer and redeem with Christ, to dispense all graces of salvation from Christ, to invoke the coming of the Holy Spirit of Christ.

Pope Benedict refers to Mary as the Aqueductus 22. All the graces of Redemption flow through her heart and hands into the world, because more than anyone else, she is uniquely and totally united with the Divine Spring, her Son, Jesus Christ and his Cross.

III. Co-redemptrix Now

Now, as we celebrate the fiftieth year after the initiation of the Second Vatican Council, we can see the prophetic wisdom of Gaudium et Spes in voicing the imperative for the Church to be in constant examination of the “signs of the time” for a proper guidance of the People of God: “At all times the Church carries the responsibility of reading the signs of the time and of interpreting them in light of the Gospel, if it is to carry out its task” (GS 4).

What, then, are the signs of our time?  These signs can be found simultaneously in the headlines of contemporary media, as well as discussed in the private chambers of political, academic, and religious world leaders.  While there are some legitimate signs of light and hope, there are also dominant signs of present darkness and potential destruction. Apart from significant differences on causes and moral implications of such signs, there seems to be a general global consensus that these grave present conditions could portend frightening historic consequences for humanity.  To mention some of the most prominent:

1) The killing of 42 million unborn children worldwide each year through induced abortion 23, which does not include millions of contraceptive abortifacient-effected abortions annually.

2) Unprecedented global economic crises and uncertainty, particularly with the instability of the euro and the dollar, and its immediate effect on global economic markets.

3) Wars, rumors of war, and terrorism, inclusive of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, civil war in Syria and the Congo; terrorism in Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and Lebanon;  several Middle Eastern nations such as Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and others having experienced political upheaval and revolution; growing tensions between Iran (with the general allegiance of China and Russia)and Israel (with the general allegiance of the United States), hence the potential for a multi-national conflict and even conceivable nuclear involvement.

4) An unprecedented quantity and gravity of natural disasters, i.e., earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, fires, draughts, floods, etc. within a comparable historical time period.

5) Growing world hunger, with over 1 billion people (1 out of 7 individuals) without proper food. 24

6) Growing world poverty, with an ever-increasing gap between rich and poor.

7) Worldwide moral decline, with increasing numbers in divorce, family breakdown, loss of religious commitment ortraditional Judeo-Christian moral values, drug use, pornography, euthanasia, contraception, abuse of women and children, human trafficking; and Church related scandals of abuse.

The present worldview, particularly in the West, appears dominated by elements of rationalism, skepticism, materialism, consumerism, nationalism, hedonism, atheism, and secular humanism, all of which, it could be argued, to an unprecedented historic degree.

What, then, is the remedy?

Historic grace is the remedy.  God’s help is the remedy.   Man cannot, on his own, solve the exponentially complex and world threatening moral, geo-political, economic, and social issues  of today, which are, in root, the ramifications of his own contemporary rejection of God’s existence, God’s revelation, God’s assistance.  A historic outpouring of grace is the remedy, and it is the only true remedy.

At times of historic crises in the early Church, when the first centuries of Christians faced the great secular persecutions, the Church turned to Mary: “We fly to your patronage, o Holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver from all dangers, o ever glorious and blessed Virgin.” 25

At times of historic crises in the Church of the middle ages, against, for example, external threats of Islamic domination at instances like Lepanto in 1571 and Vienna in 1683, the Church turned to Mary, “our Lady of the Rosary, and to the “Holy Name of Mary.” 26

In the mid-nineteenth century, when Bl. Pope Pius IX, was forced into exile by secular attacks on the papacy and the Church, he turned to Mary through the solemn definition of the Immaculate Conception, and his papacy was restored and the Church profoundly strengthened. 27

Now, in light of the present ubiquitous crises which have the potential of threatening the very core of human life and Christian faith, the Church must again turn to Mary.

Her titles of Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate are her functions.  Within the mysterious domain of the providence of God and the freedom of man, the more we freely acknowledge these supernaturally powerful roles of our Spiritual Mother, the more she is permitted by the heavenly Father to exercise them on our behalf.

This is why many contemporaries within the hierarchy, clergy, and laity among the
People of God sense it deep within their hearts and souls that, precisely now is most urgently the time for the solemn definition of the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary and her roles by the supreme pontiff.  Only the infallible acknowledgement of these roles can bring into full action the supernaturally powerful intercession of the Mother of God which is providentially contained within these roles.

The proclamation of Marian dogmas has, historically, always resulted in historic graces for the Church and for the world.  It is precisely and exclusively a historic grace, mediated by the Mother and Queen of the Church, that will bring forth a Marian and ecclesial Triumph from this contemporary moment of potential human defeat.

The world needs a New Pentecost.  The first descent of the Holy Spirit was brought forth through the intercession of Mary (cf. Acts 1:14). As the Spirit is the Divine Sanctifier, he will come again in power once his Immaculate Spouse is rightfully honored as the Mediatrix of all of his graces of sanctification, the human Advocate through whom the divine Advocate works to bring sanctification and protection to the world.

It has been almost a century since the great Belgian prelate and ecumenist, Cardinal Desiree Mercier initiated the ecclesial movement for the solemn definition of Mary’s universal mediation in 1915 28, with the simultaneous support of St. Maximilian Kolbe. 29 The world situation now underscores the critical appropriateness of this definition, as humanity faces new and fresh dangers by the year.

The objection could be raised that a solemn Marian definition now, in the midst of the multi-form crises facing the Church today, would simply be too destabilizing. In response, let us return to the historic example of Bl. Pius IX.

In 1848, hostile secular forces attacked the Vatican causing Bl. Pius IX to flee to Gaeta.  Common word on the streets of Rome was that the “Church was now over” and the papacy “finished.” Two Franciscan cardinals, Cardinal Antonio Orioli and Cardinal Luigi Lambruschini (former Secretary of State under Gregory XVI), approached the Holy Father in exile with the following argument: that everything possible which the “Church human” could try had been tried for the protection of the Church and respect for papacy. It was now time to turn to Mary through the solemn definition of her Immaculate Conception. She, in turn, would then lead a new renewal for the Church and the papacy through her powerful intercession.

Bl. Pius IX therefore made the decision, while in exile in Gaeta, to define the Immaculate Conception. In 1849, while still in exile, he issued Ubi Primum in papal communications to the world’s bishops which expressed his consideration to define the Immaculate Conception. Soon after in 1851, the secular forces hostile to the pope were defeated in Rome and Pius IX returned to the Vatican. On December 8, 1854, the Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined, which led soon after to the decision to call the First Vatican Council and make the declaration on papal infallibility. Both Vatican I and the definition on papal infallibility led to a great reunification of the Church under the newly strengthened papacy, and a spiritual renewal of various means throughout Italy and beyond. 30

The parallels between the mid-nineteenth century Church and our present twenty-first century Church in crisis are significant. A papal definition of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood today, in the midst of our present state of ecclesial crisis would have the same effect as the one experienced in the mid-nineteenth century: a renewed Church, fortified and united under a strengthened papacy through the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church. The Church of today will grow in strength, unity and purification to the degree that she fights for and subsequently proclaims this Marian truth.

Our contemporary Church in crisis needs the full activation of the roles of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood through a public proclamation of its truth more than ever.

Grant the Mother the full ability, through our fiat, to bring grace, redemption, and peace to her earthly children, who are presently, in various manners, on the path of potential self-destruction. Let us solemnly acknowledge Mary on earth for that which she is already greatly venerated in Heaven: our Immaculate Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate.

IV. Mary’s Role in the New Evangelization

It is precisely Mary’s role in coredemption and its subsequent mediation for humanity that becomes the foundation for her crucial role in Christian evangelization.

With the commencement of the Year of Faith and Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization, it is quintessential that the roles of Mary be placed and recognized at the heart of the Eew Evangelization.

Let us incorporate the historic lesson of Guadalupe. When God the Father sent the Virgin of Guadalupe to initiate the Christian evangelization of Mexico and beyond, this resulted in the second greatest evangelization victory in Christian history after the first apostolic evangelization. The result of the Marian evangelization of Guadalupe was the Christian conversion of Latin America, the most populous Catholic continent in the world.

Mary’s “yes” brought Jesus to us. Our “yes” to Mary will allow her to bring Jesus to the world’s peoples and nations today in ways just as supernatural as she did at Guadalupe. But this time, the heavenly Father awaits our “yes” to Mary’s rightful acknowledgement and place in the New Evangelization. This “yes,” once again, is the solemn papal proclamation of her motherly roles of intercession which will in turn effect a worldwide release of the Holy Spirit in sustaining the preaching and acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ the world over. In short, the proclamation of this Marian dogma will bring forth a new Pentecost which will consequently result in a new Christian evangelization of historic proportions.

Let us, therefore, ardently pray and humbly petition our beloved and providentially chosen Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, for this Marian dogmatic proclamation that will bring the world both a supernatural evangelization of the human family, and the true and lasting peace of Jesus that the Church and the world so desperately need.

Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville

Notes:

  1. Bl. John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis, 1.
  2. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 571.
  3. CCC, 622
  4. Cf. for example,Bl. John Paul II, General Audience, Jan. 13, 1982, Inseg. V1, 1982, 91.
  5. St. Augustine, Sermo 169; CCC 1847.
  6. Cf also Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 1943.
  7. Bl. John Paul II, Salvific Doloris, 24.
  8. Cf. also theological explanation provided by Ven. Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 1943
  9. Expression of Bl. John Paul II, Address to Bishops of Uruguay, May 8, 1988, O.R., May 30, 1988, p. 4.
  10. Pope Benedict XVI, Papal Visit to Fatima, Locution During Eucharistic Benediction, May 13, 2010.
  11. CCC, 618.
  12. Bl. John Paul II, Address to the Sick at Hospital of St. John of God, April 13, 1981, O.R., p. 6; General Audience, Jan. 13, 1982, Inseg. V 1, 1982, p. 91;Address to Bishops of Uruguay, May 8, 1988, O.R., May 30, 1988, p. 4.
  13. Bl. John Paul II, Wednesday Audience, April 9, 1997.
  14. Cf. Bl. John Paul II, Papal Address to the Sick, Sept. 8, 1982;Papal address of Nov. 4, 1984, Papal Address at Quayaquil, January 31, 1985; L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, April 9, 1985, p. 12,Papal Address on St. Brigid of Sweden, October 6, 1991; Allocution to the Sick at Lourdes, March 24, 1990 Inseg., XIII/1, 1990.
  15. Bl. John Paul II, Papal Address at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Alborada, Guayaquil, Ecuador, Jan. 31, 1985, O.R. March 11, 1985.
  16. F. Faber, The Foot of the Cross or the Sorrows of Mary, 1858.
  17. Bl. John H. Newman, Certain Difficulties Felt By Anglicans, Vol. 2, p. 78.
  18. Cf. John the Geometer, S. on the Annunciation, PG 106, 846; Life of Mary; Litanies des saintes, Tenth Century.
  19. #
  20. Cf. St. Pius X, Ad Diem Illum, 1904, ASS 36, p. 453; Lumen Gentium, 61.
  21. Cf. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, De Aqueductu 7; Piux XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor,; Lumen Gentium 62.
  22. Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, April 26, 2009.
  23. World Health Organization and Gutten Institute Statistics for 2011.
  24. 2012 World Hunger Statistics.
  25. Sub Tuum Praesiduum, 3rd century.
  26. Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571; Battle of Vienna, Sept. 10-11, 1683.
  27. Cf. Ubi Primum, 1849, the decree of Bl. Pius IX while in exile for consultation from the bishops of the world regarding the potential definition of the Immaculate Conception.
  28. May 15, 1915 Pastoral Letter of Desire Mercier for the Solemn Definition of Mary’s Universal Mediation, cf Hauke, Mary Mediatrix of Grace, Academy of the Immaculate, 2006.
  29. St. Maximilian Kolbe, “The Mediation of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,” Rycerz Niepokalanej, 1923, vol. 3, pp. 45-46.
  30. Father Peter Damien Fehlner, Franciscan historian, cf. “Cardinal Orioli”, New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967; “Cardinal Orioli”, Catholic Encyclopedia; “Cardinal Lambruschini”, Catholic Encyclopedia.

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It is the day before the election.

If we choose the candidate that is pro-life, pro-traditional family, and pro-religious freedom to be the next President of the United States, then a window of God’s Mercy will be granted to America.

If not, then we will have chosen to receive a new manifestation of God’s Justice for our nation. God will not violate his greatest gift to each of us: our free will, and its true and just consequences for us and for our country.

After a national experience of unprecedented political advertising and media bombardment, it could subconsciously convey the message that one or other of these candidates is, in fact, our national “messiah”, our country’s “savior.”
   
For the Christian American, neither candidate is our savior.

As massively significant as this U.S. election is, and it truly is, the road ahead for our nation in any case will be difficult to historical proportions.

If our favored candidate wins, we may allot for ourselves little time for rejoicing, because the battle wages on – -the battle for our nation’s soul and for the souls of its citizens.

If our favored candidate loses, we may allot ourselves little time for mourning, because the battle wages on – the battle for our nation’s soul and for the souls of its citizens.

The Christian in America must become, more than ever before, a sign of Jesus Christ for our nation.  This sign must be something more than a Christian slogan on the car bumper, or Rosary beads hanging from the rear view mirror. 

This Christian American sign must be something interior, that then manifests and pervades the public forum.

The Christian American sign must be Joy.

Joy? This may sound superficial, idealistic, or even harsh if the election tomorrow does not go  as we have hoped and prayed. But the Christian American’s duty to manifest Joy is ever-present, regardless of external circumstance.  It is especially our duty at times of external trial or even national calamity that Joy must be the external witness of the Christian American.

Why Joy?

Because as things become increasingly difficult, the propensity for national hopelessness will likewise increase. This is where the Christian American must witness to his country a hope that is not politically based, but supernaturally infused.

If there are ten people in a public line, nine of which reveal on their faces the burdens of grave family crises, heavy financial debts, and overwhelming relationship issues, the tenth person in line, through the joy in his eyes, through the smile on her lips, through the gestures of understanding and empathy in their actions, convey real living and breathing hope. Christian Joy becomes the ultimate witness of Jesus and means of authentic Christian evangelization for a country that is losing its faith in God and the hope that can only exist based on that faith.

Where does our peace lie?

The darker the national situation becomes, the greater is the responsibility for the Christian American to reflect Light.  To obtain the inner joy and hope which then organically becomes external, American Christians need to pray more.  The Christian must keep always in mind and meditation that Jesus dwells in your soul and never leaves you, regardless of what’s happening in the world. The Catholic Christian must return to Sunday Mass, daily Rosary, and weekly Eucharistic Adoration where, in his very presence, Jesus will bathe you in his peace, fill you with his joy, and guide you in his light.

Christian Americans, it is always the right time to be joyful.  Now, it is imperative for our country. Regardless of tomorrow’s political results, our mission is clear: reflect the joy and peace of Jesus which tells our American brothers and sisters in a witness infinitely louder than words that true peace does not come from politics. Peace comes from Christ.

Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology
Franciscan University of Steubenville
November 5, 2012

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Peace Does Not Come Through Politics from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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Pray to Open the Heart of the Holy Father from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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Mary’s Concern for the US Election from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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How Should A Catholic Vote? from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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Unfortunately, there has been some recent confusion about the dogmatic teaching of Mary’s Virginity during the birth of Jesus, one of the three essential aspects of Our Lady’s Virginity, which was defined by Pope St. Martin I in 649 at the First Lateran Council. This second Marian Dogma, Our Lady’s Virginity before, during , and after the birth of Jesus, has always included the traditional patristic and magisterial understanding that Mary gave “miraculous birth” to Jesus (in the words of Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 1943), without any violation to her physical, external virginity. As the Fathers of the Church explained, as “light passes through glass without harming the glass”, so Jesus was born with Mary’s Virginity “in tact”, that is with the preservation of her physical virginity, so that the Perfect Virgin would be an example of Christian virginity, in heart and in body, for all later Christians called to the special vocation of Christian virginity.

As a recent discussion against the traditional and magisterial teaching of Mary’s Virginity during the Birth has recently surfaced in the Catholic Answers publication (cf. June, 2012, Sept/October 2012), we are publishing the following article by Msgr. Arthur Calkins, for over 20 years an official of the Vatican’s Ecclesia Dei, which, although originally written in response to previous erroneous statements against the Virginitas in Partu Traditional teaching, responds to many of the same objections raised by the more recent rejection of the Traditional teaching in the Catholic Answers articles (see article below).

The author, Fr. Ryland, (a truly wonderful and gifted priest as well as a cherished personal friend), seems to suggest that if Mary did not give natural birth to Jesus, that somehow this would violate an essential part of the Incarnation. Not only does this private position run contrary to the consensus Catholic patristic and magisterial tradition, which has the ultimate respect and illumination about the Incarnation and its redemptive qualities and parameters, but the author also fails to refer to the overriding Patristic Tradition and specific papal and magisterial references to the contrary, for example: the statement of Pope Pius XII as to the “Miraculous birth” (MC); the Tome of Pope St. Leo to Flavian: “Mary brought him forth with her virginity untouched…”; The Catechism of the Council of Trent, that Mary gave birth “without experiencing…any sense of pain” (RC 50); and the Church’s Liturgy, which states, “She who had given him birth without the pains of childbirth…”(BVM Collection of Masses, p. 117).

If the second part of defined doctrine does not refer to Mary’s physical virginity, why else would Pope St. Martin I specify her virginity during the birth? Surely it was not to guarantee that Mary was not experiencing any form of intercourse during the birth itself, a totally absurd, disrespectful, and absolutely unnecessary specification within the dogma. No, it was precisely to specify what Bl. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body makes clear: “the body expresses the person”. Mary’s Physical Virginity is a bodily expression of her perfect, interior virginity, in complete respect of the mystery of the Incarnation, and with the awareness that when one woman is to be both perfect Virgin and perfect Mother in relation to the one time historical event and mystery of the Word becoming Flesh, we have to expect exceptions. – Dr. Mark Miravalle, Editor


In her interesting article “Reproductive Science and the Incarnation” (Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly Vol. 25, No. 4, Fall 2002, 11-25) Dr. Catherine Brown Tkacz offers a number of interesting correlations between the discoveries of reproductive science and the Church’s belief in the mystery of the Incarnation. Just as the Holy Spirit has continued to bring forth deeper insights into the meaning of this mystery (cf. Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, #8), so also the data of biological science, evaluated in the light of Scripture and Tradition, can help us to marvel at the inexhaustible richness of the mystery. The point is, of course, that the mystery can never be simply explained either by theology or by modern science. At the end of her essay Dr. Tkacz appropriately comments that “the mystery of Jesus’ Incarnation remains ineluctable and eternal” (p. 22).

Without taking away from the valuable insights which her article provides, I would nonetheless take issue with Dr. Tkacz’s treatment of Mary’s virginity in giving birth to Christ (commonly referred to as the virginitas in partu) on p. 21 and in endnotes #76 and #78 on p. 25. It must be admitted that the datum of the faith that Mary gave birth as a virgin, unfortunately, receives virtually no attention in contemporary catechesis or preaching.

Indeed, who can remember having heard of the “virgin birth” of Jesus, and not of his “virginal conception” or of his Mother’s “life-long virginity,” in a homily in the last forty years?

[...]

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The following presentation by Dr. Mark Miravalle  entitled, “Mary’s Role in the New Evangelization” was recently given in Rome on October 5, 2012 during the “Mary, Sign of Faith” Symposium,  a special Marian inauguration of the Year of Faith and in the context of the Synod of Bishops on Faith and the New Evangelization which is now taking place  from October 7 to 28.  Let us learn the lesson of Guadalupe: Our Lady’s role must indeed be placed and recognized at the heart of the Church’s vital  effort for a New Christian Evangelization – Ed.

Human Co-redeeming with the Divine Redeemer?

“The Redeemer of man, Jesus Christ, is the center of the universe and of history.”1 There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5).” “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 Jn 2.1).

Jesus is our divine Redeemer, our divine Mediator, our divine Advocate. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us of the fundamental Christian mystery of Redemption: “God’s saving plan was accomplished “once for all” (Heb. 9:26) by the redemptive death of his son, Jesus Christ” 2…The redemption won by Christ consists in this, that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28), that is, he [loved] his own to the end” (Jn. 13:1), so that they might be “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [their] fathers” (1 Pet 1:18).3

But what of humanity? Is the human person, created, finite, and fallen, in any way able to share, to participate, to co-operate in the sublime mystery of Redemption accomplished by the divine Redeemer? Has the divine Redeemer, in yet a further manifestation of his infinite mercy and generosity, beyond the Redemption itself, granted to the human individual the capacity to actually participate in the divine activity of saving other human beings?

The answer found in Christian revelation to this question is “yes.” The human person can actually play a significant role in the salvation of other human persons, but only through a free and active cooperation with the Divine Redeemer himself.

St. Paul speaks of the Christian imperative to “make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his Body, which is the Church” (Col 1:24). The First Letter to the Corinthians identifies Christians as “co-workers with God” (1 Cor. 3:9). When Christians participate in the divine life of Jesus by becoming “partakers in the divine nature” through baptism (2 Pet. 1:4), and “co-heirs” with Christ in grace (Rom. 8:17), they become capable of participating in the divine activity of the Redeemer, as “co-redeemers of humanity together with Christ” (to quote the repeated expression of Bl. John Paul II).4 The more a human person shares in the divine life of Jesus, the more he or she can fruitfully participate in the redemptive work of Jesus.

St. Augustine tells us that “God created us without us, but he did not will to save us without us.” 5 Not only must we freely cooperate with Jesus for our own salvation, but he has willed to dignify human freedom even further by allowing us the capacity to cooperate in the salvation of others. Such is the generosity of the Heart of Christ, who seeks to include his beloved disciples in the greatest of his divine acts, which is precisely human redemption.

Blessed John Paul II provides a commentary on St. Paul’s classic text of Col. 1:24 which continues the papal teaching 6 that man indeed is called to participate with and under Jesus in the work of Redemption:

For, whoever suffers in union with Christ…not only receives from Christ that strength already referred to, but also “completes” by his suffering “what is lacking” in Christ’s afflictions. This evangelical outlook especially highlights the truth concerning the creative character of suffering. The sufferings of Christ created the good of the world’s redemption. This good is in itself inexhaustible and infinite. No man can add anything to it. But at the same time in the mystery of the Church as his Body, Christ has in a sense opened his own redemptive suffering to all human suffering. Insofar as man becomes a sharer in Christ’s sufferings –in any part of the world and at any time in history – to that extent he in his own way completes the suffering through which Christ accomplished the Redemption of the world. Does this mean Redemption accomplished by Christ is not complete? No. It only means that the Redemption, accomplished through satisfactory love, remains always open to all love expressed in human suffering. 7

The redemptive graces obtained by Jesus Christ on Calvary are infinite and exhaustible, and are in no way intrinsically “lacking.” Yet, the Redeemer has given humankind, particularly through membership in his Mystical Body (cf. 1 Cor. 12, 27; Rom. 12:4), the ability to participate in the release of a portion of those infinite graces. Thereby we as creatures who “live in Christ” (cf. Gal, 2:20) perform a true, though entirely dependent role with Jesus,
in the distribution and consequent reception of the saving graces of Christ for the personal, subjective redemption of others. 8

Lumen Gentium
instructs that the secondary and subordinate participation in the one mediation of Christ in no way diminishes the glory of Christ the one mediator, but, on the contrary manifests the glory of the one Mediator himself (cf. LG 60, 61, 62). As Redemption is a dimension of the one mediation of Christ, the same principle applies to secondary and subordinate participation in the one Redemption of Jesus Christ. Human co-redeemers in Christ, far from competing with or obscuring the dignity of the one divine Redeemer, manifest his glory as it mysteriously leads to a new distribution of the fruits of Redemption merited by Christ at Calvary. The more humans participate in the one Redemption of Jesus, the more his infinite sacrifice becomes manifested and supernaturally fruitful as it is received by human hearts.

Pope Benedict XVI furthers the teaching on “Christian coredemption9” or humanity’s secondary and subordinate participation in the redeeming work of Christ. On May 13, 2011 during his papal pilgrimage to Fatima, the Holy Father instructed the sick present to become “redeemers in the Redeemer” and through this means to participate in the “redemption of the whole world”:

Dear friends who are sick…entrust to [Jesus] every setback and pain that you face, so that they may become – according to his design – a means of redemption for the whole world. You will be redeemers with the Redeemer…10

When married couples bring children into the world, they “co-create” with the Father. When bishops and priests administer the sacraments to the faithful, they “co-sanctify” with the Holy Spirit. We co-create with the Father. We co-sanctify with the Spirit. We are likewise called to “co-redeem” with the Son.

While confirming the truth of Christian participation in the one sacrifice of Christ and its consequent mission of Redemption, the Catechism goes on to make clear that one human person participated in this mystery of Redemption like no other:

The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, “the one mediator between God and man.” But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to take up [their] cross and follow [him], for “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example so we should follow his steps.” In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be his first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering. 11

  1. If We, Then Mary

If all Christians can rightly be called “co-redeemers”12 with Christ then clearly Mary, Mother of Jesus and his greatest disciple, can also be referred to as a “co-redeemer” with Jesus. But can this title, or its more Latinized and feminized version as “Co-redemptrix” (etymologically, “woman with the redeemer” or “she who redeems with”) pertain to the Mother of Jesus in a special, unique manner among the People of God?

The Papal Magisterium and the Second Vatican Council answer “yes.” In virtue of her Immaculate Conception (cf. Gen. 3:15, Lk. 1:28), her unequalled participation in the redemptive Incarnation as Mother of God (Lk. 1:38, Lk. 2:7), and her intimate and immaculate co-suffering with Jesus throughout his life (cf. Lk. 2:35), leading up to and culminating at Calvary (cf. Jn. 19:25-27), Mary cooperated in the historic act of Christ’s Redemption like no other. Bl. John Paul explains:

Mary’s co-operation is unique and unrepeatable…The cooperation of Christians in salvation takes place after the Calvary event, whose fruits they endeavor to spread through prayer and sacrifice. Mary, instead, co-operated during the event itself and in the role of mother, thus her cooperation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity. 13

The instruction of the Totus Tuus pontiff is in complete harmony with the Second Vatican Council, where the Fathers isolate and accentuate Mary’s participation in the Redemption as a co-working with Christ which is “above all others” and “in a wholly singular way”:

…She was the gracious mother of the divine Redeemer here on earth, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ, she presented him to the Father in the temple, and shared her Son’s sufferings as he died on the cross. Thus, in a wholly singular way she cooperatd by her faith, hope, and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason, she is a mother to us in the order of grace (LG 61).

In order to appreciate this, Mary’s crucial role in Redemption, we must return to the intense unity between the Son and his Mother. From her and from her alone, He took his flesh in the mystery of the Incarnation. Christ could then redeem humanity and transform it into a higher state of being, because Mary offered Him a humanity in its most pure, immaculate form.

The creation of Mary as the Immaculate Conception and her subsequent ‘yes’ to God, by grace and her own free will, which sustained her fullness of grace, preceded and made possible the redemptive work of Christ. Therefore, the work of Mary is also redemptive, even in anticipation of the Redeemer, but in a distinctly human way.

But her cooperation did not end with the Incarnation. She endured the entire life mission-vocation of Redemption with her Son, from before his birth until after his agonizing death, with each suffering of her Son in heart and body having been experienced within her own maternal heart (cf. LG 58).

The Council speaks of this life-long participation of the Mother in the work of the Son: “The work of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception until his death” (LG 57). The Council Fathers further testify in powerful expressions the co-suffering of the Mother with the Son; their union of heart and purpose, her sharing in the intensity of his suffering, and her coredemptive consent to the immolation of the Victim to whom she gave flesh for our Redemption:

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood in keeping with the divine command, enduring with her only begotten son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consented to the immolation of this victim born of her (LG 58).

Thus, the Council’s unquestionable teaching on Mary’s Coredemption would likewise become conciliar grounding for Bl. John Paul’s specific use of the “Co-redemptrix” title for Mary on six occasions during his pontificate, 14 including in this 1985 papal address:

Crucified spiritually with her Crucified Son (cf. Gal. 2:20), she contemplated with heroic love the death of her God, she lovingly consented to the immolation of this victim which she herself had brought forth (LG 58). She fulfills the will of the Father on our behalf and accepts all of us as her children, in virtue of the testament of Christ: Woman, this is your son…Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son. 15

The nineteenth century English apologist, Fredrick Faber, claimed “there is no other single word”, for Mary’s unique participation in the Redemption other than the term, “Co-redemptrix”:

She has a right to it, first of all, because of her cooperation with our Lord in the same sense as the saints, but in a singular and superlative degree.
She has a second right to it, which is particular to herself, because of the indispensable cooperation of her maternity. She has a third right to it because of her sufferings…there is no other single word [than Co-redemptrix] in which the truth can be expressed. 16

Faber’s contemporary, Bl. John Henry Newman, defended the theological legitimacy of the Co-redemptrix title to Pusey, particularly in light of the great richness of Patristic Marian teaching already accepted by his Anglican colleague:

When they found you with the Fathers calling her Mother of God, Second Eve, Mother of All Living, Mother of Life, the Morning Star, the Mystical New Heaven, the Scepter of Orthodoxy, the All-undefiled Mother of Holiness and the like, they would have deemed it a poor compensation for such language that you protested against her being called a Co-redemptrix.17

But what of the concern that the co-redemptrix title is neither biblical nor patristic? The same must likewise be said about numerous other classical and contemporary ecclesiastical terms, such as “Transubstantiation” and “Papal Infallibility.” In avoidance of any form of theological primitivism, the development of doctrine allows for new theological terms within the Tradition which capture a particular doctrine or mystery in a single word. Mary
Co-redemptrix is a development of Mary, the New Eve, as taught by the Fathers of the Church, with the additional understanding of a Christian soteriololgy more proximate to Calvary which developed by the tenth century.18 The Co-redemptrix term has been in the Tradition since the 14th century, with the “Redemptrix” term for Mary dating back to the 10th century. 19

The Council further provides us with a succinct statement as to the patristic testimony to Mary’s unique and active cooperation in human salvation:

The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined Mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the bringing about death, so a woman should contribute to life…Thus the daughter of Adam, Mary, consenting to the word of God became the Mother of Jesus. Committing herself wholeheartedly and impeded by no sin to God’s saving will, she devoted herself totally, as a handmaid of the Lord, to the person and the work of her Son, under and with him, serving the mystery of Redemption…Rightfully, therefore, the Fathers see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man’s salvation…Comparing Mary with Eve, they called her “Mother of the Living” and frequently claim: death through Eve, Life through Mary.”(LG 56).

Tradition often uses the same root titles for Mary as for Christ, for example, “Co-redemptrix” with “Redeemer”, “Mediatrix” with “Mediator”, etc. but clearly understands them in a distinctly human dimension when applied to the Mother of Christ. Entirely different root titles would not fully express the intimacy, beauty and coherency of the one plan of Salvation shared between the Son and the Mother, between God and humanity, and consequently between Jesus and us as co-redeemers.

Mary is Co-redemptrix with Jesus in the historical obtaining of the graces of salvation. For this reason, Mary becomes a “mother to us in the order of grace” (LG 61), that is, she becomes the Mediatrix of all graces in the distribution of those redemptive graces20, and principal Advocate21 to Jesus for the needs of humanity (cf. Jn. 2:5). The titles “ Mediatrix” and “Advocate” ontologically pre-suppose theCo-redemptrix” title and role and are inseparable from it.

These three titles manifest the three aspects of her one role as humanity’s Spiritual Mother: the Mother suffering (Co-redemptrix), the Mother nourishing (Mediatrix), the Mother pleading (Advocate).

Mary is rightfully invoked in the Church as the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate, because only these three motherly titles combined express her whole mission with the Redeemer: to suffer and redeem with Christ, to dispense all graces of salvation from Christ, to invoke the coming of the Holy Spirit of Christ.

Pope Benedict refers to Mary as the Aqueductus22. All the graces of Redemption flow through her heart and hands into the world, because more than anyone else, she is uniquely and totally united with the Divine Spring, her Son, Jesus Christ and his Cross.

  1. Co-redemptrix Now

Now, as we celebrate the fiftieth year after the initiation of the Second Vatican Council, we can see the prophetic wisdom of Gaudium et Spes in voicing the imperative for the Church to be in constant examination of the “signs of the time” for a proper guidance of the People of God: “At all times the Church carries the responsibility of reading the signs of the time and of interpreting them in light of the Gospel, if it is to carry out its task” (GS
4).

What, then, are the signs of our time? These signs can be found simultaneously in the headlines of contemporary media, as well as discussed in the private chambers of political, academic, and religious world leaders. While there are some legitimate signs of light and hope, there are also dominant signs of present darkness and potential destruction. Apart from significant differences on causes and moral implications of such signs, there seems to be a general global consensus that these grave present conditions could portend frightening historic consequences for humanity. To mention some of the most prominent:

1) The killing of 42 million unborn children worldwide each year through induced abortion 23, which does not include millions of contraceptive abortifacient-effected abortions
annually.

2) Unprecedented global economic crises and uncertainty, particularly with the instability of the euro and the dollar, and its immediate effect on global
economic markets.

3) Wars, rumors of war, and terrorism, inclusive of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, civil war in Syria and the Congo; terrorism in Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, and Lebanon; several Middle Eastern nations such as Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and others having experienced political upheaval and revolution; growing tensions between Iran (with the general allegiance of China and Russia)and Israel (with the general allegiance of the United States), hence the potential for a multi-national conflict and even conceivable nuclear involvement.

4) An unprecedented quantity and gravity of natural disasters, i.e., earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, fires, draughts, floods, etc. within a comparable historical time period.

5) Growing world hunger, with over 1 billion people (1 out of 7 individuals) without proper food. 24

6) Growing world poverty, with an ever-increasing gap between rich and poor.

7) Worldwide moral decline, with increasing numbers in divorce, family breakdown, loss of religious commitment or traditional Judeo-Christian moral values, drug use, pornography, euthanasia, contraception, abuse of women and children, human trafficking; and Church related scandals of abuse.

The present worldview, particularly in the West, appears dominated by elements of rationalism, skepticism, materialism, consumerism, nationalism, hedonism, atheism, and secular humanism, all of which, it could be argued, to an unprecedented historic degree.

What, then, is the remedy?

Historic grace is the remedy. God’s help is the remedy. Man cannot, on his own, solve the exponentially complex and world threatening moral, geo-political, economic, and social issues of today, which are, in root, the ramifications of his own contemporary rejection of God’s existence, God’s revelation, God’s assistance. A historic outpouring of grace is the remedy, and it is the only true remedy.

At times of historic crises in the early Church, when the first centuries of Christians faced the great secular persecutions, the Church turned to Mary: “We fly to your patronage, o Holy Mother of God, despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver from all dangers, o ever glorious and blessed Virgin.”25

At times of historic crises in the Church of the middle ages, against, for example, external threats of Islamic domination at instances like Lepanto in 1571 and Vienna in 1683, the Church turned to Mary, “our Lady of the Rosary, and to the “Holy Name of Mary.” 26

In the mid-nineteenth century, when Bl. Pope Pius IX, was forced into exile by secular attacks on the papacy and the Church, he turned to Mary through the solemn definition of the Immaculate Conception, and his papacy was restored and the Church profoundly strengthened. 27

Now, in light of the present ubiquitous crises which have the potential of threatening the very core of human life and Christian faith, the Church must again turn to Mary.

Her titles of Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate are her functions. Within the mysterious domain of the providence of God and the freedom of man, the more we freely acknowledge these supernaturally powerful roles of our Spiritual Mother, the more she is permitted by the heavenly Father to exercise them on our behalf.

This is why many contemporaries within the hierarchy, clergy, and laity among the

People of God sense it deep within their hearts and souls that, precisely now is most urgently the time for the solemn definition of the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary and her roles by the supreme pontiff. Only the infallible acknowledgement of these roles can bring into full action the supernaturally powerful intercession of the Mother of God which is providentially contained within these roles.

The proclamation of Marian dogmas has, historically, always resulted in historic graces for the Church and for the world. It is precisely and exclusively a historic grace, mediated by the Mother and Queen of the Church, that will bring forth a Marian and ecclesial Triumph from this contemporary moment of potential human defeat.

The world needs a New Pentecost. The first descent of the Holy Spirit was brought forth through the intercession of Mary (cf. Acts 1:14). As the Spirit is the Divine Sanctifier, he will come again in power once his Immaculate Spouse is rightfully honored as the Mediatrix of all of his graces of sanctification, the human Advocate through whom the divine Advocate works to bring sanctification and protection to the world.

It has been almost a century since the great Belgian prelate and ecumenist, Cardinal Desiree Mercier initiated the ecclesial movement for the solemn definition of Mary’s universal mediation in 191528, with the simultaneous support of St. Maximilian Kolbe.29 The world situation now underscores the critical appropriateness of this definition, as humanity faces new and fresh dangers by the year.

The objection could be raised that a solemn Marian definition now, in the midst of the multi-form crises facing the Church today, would simply be too destabilizing. In response, let us return to the historic example of Bl. Pius IX.

In 1848, hostile secular forces attacked the Vatican causing Bl. Pius IX to flee to Gaeta. Common word on the streets of Rome was that the “Church was now over” and the papacy “finished.” Two Franciscan cardinals, Cardinal Antonio Orioli and Cardinal Luigi Lambruschini (former Secretary of State under Gregory XVI), approached the Holy Father in exile with the following argument: that everything possible which the “Church human” could try had been tried for the protection of the Church and respect for papacy. It was now time to turn to Mary through the solemn definition of her Immaculate Conception. She, in turn, would then lead a new renewal for the Church and the papacy through her powerful intercession.

Bl. Pius IX therefore made the decision, while in exile in Gaeta, to define the Immaculate Conception. In 1849, while still in exile, he issued Ubi Primum in papal communications to the world’s bishops which expressed his consideration to define the Immaculate Conception. Soon after in 1851, the secular forces hostile to the pope were defeated in Rome and Pius IX returned to the Vatican. On December 8, 1854, the Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined, which led soon after to the decision to call the First Vatican Council and make the declaration on papal infallibility. Both Vatican I and the definition on papal infallibility led to a great reunification of the Church under the newly strengthened papacy, and a spiritual renewal of various means throughout Italy and beyond.30

The parallels between the mid-nineteenth century Church and our present twenty-first century Church in crisis are significant. A papal definition of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood today, in the midst of our present state of ecclesial crisis would have the same effect as the one experienced in the mid-nineteenth century: a renewed Church, fortified and united under a strengthened papacy through the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church. The Church of today will grow in strength, unity and purification to the degree that she fights for and subsequently proclaims this Marian truth. Our contemporary Church in crisis needs the full activation of the roles of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood through a public proclamation of its truth more than ever.

Grant the Mother the full ability, through our fiat, to bring grace, redemption, and peace to her earthly children, who are presently, in various manners, on the path of potential self-destruction. Let us solemnly acknowledge Mary on earth for that which she is already greatly venerated in Heaven: our
Immaculate Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate.

  1. Mary’s Role in the New Evangelization

It is precisely Mary’s role in coredemption and its subsequent mediation for humanity that becomes the foundation for her crucial role in Christian evangelization.

With the commencement of the Year of Faith and Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization, it is quintessential that the roles of Mary be placed and recognized at the heart of the Eew Evangelization.

Let us incorporate the historic lesson of Guadalupe. When God the Father sent the Virgin of Guadalupe to initiate the Christian evangelization of Mexico and beyond, this resulted in the second greatest evangelization victory in Christian history after the first apostolic evangelization. The result of the Marian evangelization of Guadalupe was the Christian conversion of Latin America, the most populous Catholic continent in the world.

Mary’s “yes” brought Jesus to us. Our “yes” to Mary will allow her to bring Jesus to the world’s peoples and nations today in ways just as supernatural as she did at Guadalupe. But this time, the heavenly Father awaits our “yes” to Mary’s rightful acknowledgement and place in the New Evangelization. This “yes,” once again, is the solemn papal proclamation of her motherly roles of intercession which will in turn effect a worldwide release of the Holy Spirit in sustaining the preaching and acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ the world over. In short, the proclamation of this Marian dogma will bring forth a new Pentecost which will consequently result in a new Christian evangelization of historic proportions.

Let us, therefore, ardently pray and humbly petition our beloved and providentially chosen Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, for this Marian dogmatic proclamation that will bring the world both a supernatural evangelization of the human family, and the true and lasting peace of Jesus that the Church and the world so desperately need.

Dr. Mark Miravalle

Professor of Theology and Mariology

Franciscan University of Steubenville

mmiravalle@francsican.edu

October 7, 2012

1

Bl. John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis, 1.

2

Catechism of the Catholic Church
, 571.

3

CCC, 622

4

Cf. for example,Bl. John Paul II, General Audience, Jan. 13, 1982, Inseg. V1, 1982, 91.

5

St. Augustine, Sermo 169; CCC 1847.

6

Cf also Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 1943.

7

Bl. John Paul II, Salvific Doloris, 24.

8

Cf. also theological explanation provided by Ven. Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, 1943.

9

Expression of Bl. John Paul II, Address to Bishops of Uruguay, May 8, 1988, O.R., May 30, 1988, p. 4.

10

Pope Benedict XVI, Papal Visit to Fatima, Locution During Eucharistic Benediction, May 13, 2010.

11

CCC, 618.

12

Bl. John Paul II, Address to the Sick at Hospital of St. John of God, April 13, 1981, O.R., p. 6; General Audience, Jan. 13, 1982,
Inseg. V 1, 1982, p. 91;Address to Bishops of Uruguay, May 8, 1988, O.R., May 30, 1988, p. 4.

13

Bl. John Paul II, Wednesday Audience, April 9, 1997.

14

Cf. Bl. John Paul II, Papal Address to the Sick, Sept. 8, 1982;Papal address of Nov. 4, 1984, Papal Address at Quayaquil, January 31, 1985; L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, April 9, 1985, p. 12,Papal Address on St. Brigid of Sweden, October 6, 1991 ; Allocution to the Sick at Lourdes, March 24, 1990 Inseg., XIII/1, 1990.

15

Bl. John Paul II, Papal Address at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Alborada, Guayaquil, Ecuador, Jan. 31, 1985, O.R. March 11, 1985.

16

F. Faber, The Foot of the Cross or the Sorrows of Mary, 1858.

17

Bl. John H. Newman, Certain Difficulties Felt By Anglicans, Vol. 2, p. 78.

18

Cf. John the Geometer, S. on the Annunciation, PG 106, 846; Life of Mary; Litanies des saintes, Tenth Century.

19

20

Cf. St. Pius X, Ad Diem Illum, 1904, ASS 36, p. 453; Lumen Gentium, 61.

21

Cf. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, De Aqueductu 7; Piux XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor,; Lumen Gentium 62.

22

Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, April 26, 2009.

23

World Health Organization and Gutten Institute Statistics for 2011.

24

2012 World Hunger Statistics.

25

Sub Tuum Praesiduum
, 3rd century.

26

Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571; Battle of Vienna, Sept. 10-11, 1683.

27

Cf. Ubi Primum, 1849, the decree of Bl. Pius IX while in exile for consultation from the bishops of the world regarding the potential definition of the Immaculate Conception.

28

May 15, 1915 Pastoral Letter of Desire Mercier for the Solemn Definition of Mary’s Universal Mediation, cf Hauke, Mary Mediatrix of Grace, Academy of the Immaculate, 2006.

29

St. Maximilian Kolbe, “The Mediation of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,” Rycerz Niepokalanej, 1923, vol. 3, pp. 45-46.

30

Father Peter Damien Fehlner, Franciscan historian, cf. “Cardinal Orioli”, New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967; “Cardinal Orioli”, Catholic Encyclopedia; “Cardinal Lambruschini”, Catholic Encyclopedia.

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El tercero en una serie, Bases Teológicas III, Discernimientos Contemporáneos sobre un Quinto Dogma Mariano, busca extender la discusión desde el dominio de la teología especulativa y revelacional, hasta el domino de los temas contemporáneos alrededor de la propuesta solemne papal para la definición de los roles doctrinales de Nuestra Señora como Corredentora, Mediadora de todas las Gracias y Abogada.

Discernimientos Contemporáneos es mucho más entendible para el lector no teológico, y responde a preguntas modernas teológicas y pastorales relacionadas a las ramificaciones ecuménicas en el contexto del Jubileo, de las objeciones y respuestas de las Comisiones Teológicas, hasta el cumplimiento de las profecías marianas entre otras. Los participantes en el volumen varían desde el mariólogo clásico al médico científico, del obispo católico al pastor luterano y del embajador del Vaticano al novelista Cristiano.

Se da especial agradecimiento a los Cardenales y Obispos que prácticamente representaron cada Continente y contribuyeron con sus prólogos y prefacios, manifestando la auténtica universalidad de este movimiento y su amor fundamental por Ella, quien es la verdadera Madre de todos los pueblos.

Que este humilde volumen sea una asistencia para todos aquellos que buscan con sinceridad de mente y de corazón la “verdad total sobre María”, y ponderan la validez de las preguntas sobre la definición papal solemne de sus títulos y sus obras maternales por el Pueblo de Dios como Corredentora, Mediadora de todas las gracias y Abogada.

Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D.
Enero 1, 2000
Solemnidad de la Madre de Dios

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Por el Dr. Mark Miravalle (Luis Gerardo: va en recuadrito)

¿Cuál es tu primera respuesta cuando oyes a alguien referirse a la madre de Jesucristo como la “Corredentora”? ¿Extrema? ¿Excesiva piedad, aunque si fuera bien intencionada? ¿Herejía? Sólo Jesús es el Redentor. Si no directamente una herejía, entonces ¿extremadamente peligrosa?, al menos ¿anti-ecuménica? o a la mejor ¿confusa?

Testimonio de los Santos

Ahora veamos algunas personas que de hecho han llamado a María la Corredentora: Juan Pablo II (en 6 diferentes ocasiones); Beata Madre Teresa de Calcuta; San Padre Pío, fraile extraordinario, estigmatizado del siglo XX; Sor Lucía, vidente de Fátima; Sta. Francisca Cabrini, la primera ciudadana Americana en ser canonizada; San José Ma. Escrivá, fundador del Opus Dei; Sta. Edith Stein; co-patrona de Europa; los Cardenales teólogos papales Ciappi y Cottier; líderes contemporáneos de la Iglesia como el Cardenal Schönborn, Secretario General del Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica; la Madre Angélica, fundadora de la cadena de radio y televisión mundial EWTN; y una multitud de otros santos, papas, místicos, prelados, teólogos, doctores de la Iglesia y líderes laicos, con una línea eclesiástica de sucesión desde el siglo XIV.

¿Vemos extremismo peligroso, herejía o un espíritu antiecuménico en gente como Juan Pablo II y la Madre Teresa? ¿Acaso participarían santos como el Padre Pío y la Madre Cabrini en excesos Marianos en detrimento de Jesús y su Iglesia? ¿O el Cardenal Cristoph Schörborn, usaría y defendería el título de Corredentora si de alguna forma éste, fuera no-ortodoxo o teológicamente cuestionable? ¿Usaría, explicaría y defendería 6 veces el título de Corredentora la vidente en su escrito: Anuncios del Mensaje de Fátima, cuando haciendo esto sería ofensivo a la Santa Sede, que otorgó el imprimatur a su libro? O aun más, ¿a Nuestra Señora misma con quien Sor Lucía experimentó comunicación mística directa por décadas?

¿Porqué, entonces, deberíamos temer el llamar a María la Corredentora con Jesús, el divino Redentor de la humanidad, cuando estos pontífices, santos, teólogos y místicos de los pasados 700 años así lo han hecho?

¿Qué es precisamente lo que quieren decir personas como Juan Pablo II, la Madre Teresa, el Padre Pío y la multitud de santos, místicos y papas, cuando dicen que María es la Corredentora? Antes que nada, seamos claros en lo que ellos no dicen: 1) No dicen que María es igual a Jesús; 2) No dicen que María tenga igual participación en la redención de la familia humana. Esto sería en verdad una herejía.

Lo que ellos dicen cuando se refieren a la Madre de Cristo como Corredentora, es que María cooperó de manera única con Jesús y totalmente subordinada y dependiente de Jesús, en la obra histórica de la Redención humana.

¿Qué es Redención?

Definamos nuestros términos. ¿Qué es Redención? Redención es el acto salvífico de Jesucristo, a través de su vida, Pasión, Muerte y Resurrección, reparando nuestra relación con el Padre por el ofrecimiento de la justa compensación por los pecados de la humanidad, y por tanto restituyendo la posibilidad de la gracia santificante, que resulta en la herencia del cielo.

El término “redención” deriva del Latín redimere, que literalmente significa “recomprar”. Jesús, a través de los méritos de su pasión, muerte y resurrección nos rescató de las cadenas de Satanás y de la deuda del pecado original.

¿Puede una Creatura Participar en la Redención de Cristo?

Ahora, la pregunta permanece: ¿Puede una creatura humana participar en esta obra histórico divina de Jesucristo?

Es importante recordar que la Redención de Jesucristo en un acto de reestablecer lo que se había perdido por dos seres humanos: Adán y Eva. Aunque Adán, como padre de la raza humana fue el principal responsable del pecado original transmitido a sus descendientes (cf. Rom 5:12), Eva también fue un instrumento, aunque secundario, en la pérdida de la gracia (cf. Gen 3:6). Esto es el porqué los Padres de la Iglesia se refieren a María como la “Nueva Eva” o “Segunda Eva”, puesto que a través de su obediencia con Jesucristo el “Nuevo Adán” (cf. 1Cor 15.45), Ella se convirtió –en palabras del Padre de la Iglesia del Siglo II Sn. Irineo- la “causa de salvación para sí misma y para toda la raza humana” (Adv. Haer. III, 22,4: PG t, 989 A).

Pero, ¿Puede una creatura humana participar en un acto divino, tal como divino es el acto de la Redención?

Empecemos por nosotros mismos. ¿Puedes tú o yo, como creaturas, participar realmente en la salvación de alguien por nuestra cooperación? ¿Por nuestras oraciones, buenas obras, sacrificios, por nuestro testimonio Cristiano, hemos hecho algo que asista la “redención” de otra persona de las cadenas de Satanás a través de la gracia de Jesucristo?

Si tú eres un padre o una madre y has criado a tus hijos en la fe Cristiana y los has incrustado en la vida divina de Jesús, ¿no cooperaste en su Redención? Y ¿qué pasa si eres sacerdote que tiene un rol en la distribución de los otros sacramentos de Jesús? ¿No participas en la redención de otra gente, aunque, lo repitamos una vez más, que es completamente dependiente de Jesucristo, el único y del todo necesario Redentor divino?
Siempre que reces por alguien para decir si a Cristo; cada vez que evangelizas a Cristo de palabra o ejemplo; cada vez que rezas por perfectos extraños que morirán este día para que acepten a su Redentor con su último suspiro en esta vida terrena –en todas estas oraciones y obras de intercesión Cristiana, estás cooperando en la Redención de otro ser humano. Estás participando en la aplicación de la obra redentora de Jesucristo en “re-comprar” de Satanás y del pecado, a miembros de la familia humana.

Mientras que el cierto que ninguno de nosotros participa en la obtención de las gracias de la Redención merecidas por Jesús en el Calvario; no obstante, cada Cristiano está llamado a participar en la distribución de Sus gracias redentoras a través de oración, sacrificios y obras de fe, esperanza y amor (cf. Col 1:24). Es precisamente nuestra responsabilidad y obligación Cristiana participar en la obra redentora de Jesucristo. Esto es porqué el Papa Juan Pablo II llamó a todos los Cristianos a volverse “corredentores en Cristo” (13 de Enero de 1982).

Si por tanto, nosotros, podemos y deberíamos cooperar en la redención de otros, siempre y cuando quede absolutamente claro –una vez más- que es primero y de cualquier manera dependiente de la redención traída por Cristo el único mediador entre Dios y el hombre (cf. 1 Tim 2:5), entonces, ¿porqué debería haber problema con la Madre de Jesús, cooperando también en la Redención Cristiana de otros?

Testimonio Bíblico para María Corredentora

De hecho, la Biblia revela que la Madre de Jesús cooperó en la obra histórica de la Redención de Jesús, como ninguna otra creatura.
En la Anunciación (Lc 1:38), cuando María dice “hágase en mí según tu palabra” al ángel Gabriel para convertirse en la Madre de Jesús, ¿No podemos decir que ella contribuye de forma única en la misión de la Redención al darle al Redentor el mismo instrumento de Redención –su cuerpo humano? La carta a los Hebreos nos dice que “hemos sido santificados a través del ofrecimiento del cuerpo de Jesucristo una vez por todas” (Heb 10:10). El instrumento de Redención fue dado personal e íntimamente a Jesús por María. ¿Qué otra creatura, en virtud de la sola Encarnación, pudiera afirmar tener una mayor y próxima cooperación con Jesús en su misión redentora? Pero no termina ahí.

Cuando Jesús infante es presentado por María y José en el Templo y el profeta Simeón identifica a Jesús como un “signo de contradicción” que realizaría su misión redentora (Lc 2:34), Simeón entonces se refiere, por el poder del Espíritu Santo al sufrimiento sin par de María con Jesús en la obra de la Redención: “…y una espada de dolor traspasará tu alma” (Lc 2:35).

Las Escrituras explícitamente revelan que María tendrá un rol único de sufrimiento con Jesús –el atravesamiento de su corazón- porque ella es tan cercana y excepcionalmente cooperadora con su Hijo, el Redentor. ¿Qué madre no sufre al ver a su amado hijo muriendo horriblemente en la cruz, especialmente si su hijo era divino e inocente, ofreciéndose sacrificado por la redención del mundo?

Finalmente, la hora suprema de la Redención humana se da en el Calvario (Jn 19:25-27). ¿Qué sucede en el Calvario? Jesús es crucificado, muere y ofrece su vida en justa compensación por los pecados de la humanidad. María –lo testifica la Escritura- está presente, para el cumplimiento de la misma misión de Redención. ¿Qué está pasando en el corazón de María? Ella está fielmente ofreciendo el sufrimiento de su Hijo, uniendo los suyos propios, en obediencia al plan de Redención del Padre. Como un resultado de su sufrimiento sin paralelo con el Redentor, Cristo agonizante entrega, como un don póstumo a Juan y a todos los que busquen ser discípulos amados de Cristo, el don de su madre corredentiva para que sea su propia Madre: “Mujer, he ahí a tu hijo… He ahí a tu madre” (Jn 19: 26-27).

Con respecto a la Encarnación y la Redención, la Biblia revela que María cooperó de manera única con Jesús en la obra histórica de la Redención. No es de extrañarse que como resultado de su participación sin paralelo en la obtención de las gracias de la Redención, Dios viera adecuado el darle a la Madre del Redentor el rol privilegiado de la distribución de las gracias de la Redención como la madre espiritual de todos los pueblos (cf. Lc 1:38; Jn 1-10; Jn 19:25-27; Apo 12:1).

¿Intercedemos nosotros con nuestras oraciones para obtener para otros las gracias santificantes de Jesucristo? Entonces, ¿Porqué no y especialmente, la Madre de Cristo?

“Crucificada espiritualmente con su Hijo crucificado…el rol de María como Corredentora no cesa con la glorificación de su Hijo”.
Papa Juan Paulo II (31 de Enero de 1985)

“María es nuestra Corredentora con Jesús. Ella le dio a Jesús su cuerpo y sufrió con Él al pie de la cruz”.
Beata Madre Teresa (14 de Agosto de 1993).

¿Tienes miedo de llamar a María Corredentora? No deberías estarlo. Juan Pablo II, la Madre Teresa, el Padre Pío, Sor Lucía, y una lista sin fin de otros santos, místicos, papas, teólogos y fieles Cristianos que se refieren a ella como Corredentora, lo hacen con la seguridad de la Escritura, del Magisterio Papal y la consolación del Espíritu Santo.

Es seguro, es verdadero y es un título que Ella arrolladoramente se merece en virtud del más grande sufrimiento humano en la historia del hombre que después del de su Hijo, sufrimiento ofrecido en unión con Jesús por ti y por mí.

¡No temas de María Corredentora!

Dr. Mark Miravalle
Profesor de Teología y Mariología
Universidad Franciscana de Steubenville
Presidente
Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici

Para más información sobre María Corredentora, o para unirte a los millones que han enviado su petición al Papa Benedicto XVI por el quinto dogma Mariano de María Corredentora, Mediadora y Abogada, visita

FIFTHMARIANDOMGA.COM

¡A D E L A N T E ¡

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Por Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D.

El siguiente discurso fue dado en el Simposium Internacional de la Divina Misericordia Juan Pablo II, en Washington, D.C., el 25 de Enero de 1999.

El Papa Juan Pablo II usó un nuevo título para la Santísima Virgen María, en su encíclica Mariana Redemptoris Mater de 1987, el cual ha sido fundamental y desafortunadamente ignorado. El Santo Padre declaró que nuestra Santísima Virgen María “también tiene el rol específicamente materno de Mediadora de Misericordia para la venida de Nuestro Señor Jesús”.

En este sólo título están contenidos los dos más grandes movimientos espirituales iniciados por el cielo para el siglo veinte: el Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado de María y el Triunfo de la Divina Misericordia. ¿Qué no podemos ver en este título la referencia de ambas cosas, la intercesión decisiva de la Madre de Dios en nuestros propios tiempos, y al mismo tiempo, una profunda complementariedad con los mensajes de la Beata Faustina y la Divina Misericordia?

Me gustaría discutir este título, “Mediadora de Misericordia” bajo dos aspectos: primero, sus fundamentos teológicos, y segundo, su contexto profético. En relación a sus fundamentos teológicos, ¿cómo podemos llamar a Nuestra Señora “Mediadora de Misericordia”? ¿Sobre qué bases la podemos llamar “Mediadora si, aparentemente, las Escrituras hablan de un solo Mediador? Referente a la dimensión profética de este título, ¿de qué manera la Madre de Jesús y Madre Nuestra ejercita este título y rol por la humanidad en este momento presente histórico? ¿Encaja con el Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado en el año que nos encontramos, en el último del Siglo Veinte? ¿Cuál es el llamado especial y cual es la fuente especial e instrumento de gracia es este para nosotros en este momento crítico para la Iglesia y para el mundo de hoy?

Examinemos primero los fundamentos teológicos para el título de Mediadora de Misericordia. Es importante establecer desde el principio que el rol de María como Mediadora es el resultado de su participación excepcional en la adquisición de las gracias del Calvario, por el que recibe de la Iglesia el título de “Corredentora”. Es la Iglesia la que le ha dado a Nuestra Señora este título, y nuestro actual Santo Padre, siguiendo el precedente del Magisterio Papal de sus antecesores, se ha referido a este rol de Nuestra Señora como “Corredentora” en cuando menos seis ocasiones documentadas. El prefijo “co” de la raíz Latina “cum”, desde luego nunca significa “igual”, sino siempre significa “con”. El título significa “La mujer con el Redentor, no igual al Redentor”.

Nuestra Señora es Mediadora porque primero participa en la adquisición de la gracias de la redención como la Corredentora. El Magisterio Papal ha puesto bien claro que cada gracia y don dado por Cristo a la humanidad, viene a través de la mediación de la Santísima Virgen María. Ella es la omnium gratiarum, la Mediadora de todas las gracias y dones, que vienen de nuestro Señor Jesús y del Espíritu Santo, porque primero participó con nuestro Señor como Corredentora en la adquisición de esas gracias.

Las Sagradas Escrituras revelan profundamente el rol de nuestra Santísima Madre como Corredentora. En la Anunciación, cuando María dice “si” al ángel y por tanto da su fíat (cf Lc 1:38), le da al Redentor el instrumento de la redención, su cuerpo humano. En una plática que tuve con la extinta Madre Teresa de Calcuta referente a la definición papal solemne del rol corredentivo de Nuestra Señora, en los primeros dos minutos de hablar la Madre dijo: “Ciertamente es Corredentora. Le dio a Jesús su cuerpo y el cuerpo de Jesús es lo que nos salvó”. Le contesté, “Madre, esta es la diferencia entre santidad y teología. Ud. puede decir en dos minutos lo que le toma a los teólogos el escribir tres volúmenes”.

También podemos ver la Presentación en Lucas 2:25ff, donde en la profecía de Simón también identifica a la Madre de Jesús como un signo de contradicción. Y cualquier madre de un signo de contradicción con toda seguridad tendrá la vocación al sufrimiento. Simeón nos dice que el niño que nacerá de María, será la causa de caída y elevación de muchos. Luego miró fijamente a la madre y dijo, “y a tí misma una espada atravesará tu alma” (Lc 2:35). Así, por treinta y tres años la Madre con el Redentor examinan las palabras de Simeón de que su niño había nacido para morir, el niño que ella sola había dado carne. Sólo una mujer dio carne a la Encarnación, dio carne a la Palabra hecha carne, y la finalidad de esta Encarnación era la redención y la corredención. Si tratáramos de sintetizar la única misión que el Padre le dio al Hijo y a la Mujer, es, como Gálatas nos dice, una misión de redención y corredención (Ga 4:4). Ese fue el propósito de la unión de los Dos Corazones, el Sagrado Corazón de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo y el Inmaculado Corazón de nuestra Madre María.

Las gracias inestimables adquiridas por Jesús, el Nuevo Adán, y secundariamente por María, la Nueva Eva, deben entonces ser distribuidas a los corazones humanos a través de la mediación de Nuestra Señora como Mediadora. Esta es la continuación del rol corredentivo de Nuestra Madre, como Mediadora de Todas las Gracias.

El Magisterio Papal ha enseñado repetidamente que, puesto que María participó excepcionalmente con el Redentor en la adquisición de cada gracia de la redención como Corredentora, por esta razón, le ha sido justamente concedido por el Eterno Padre el rol de Mediadora, para participar excepcionalmente con el Mediador en la distribución de toda gracia que fluya de la Redención.

Examinemos un breve ejemplo de la enseñanzas papales sobre el rol de Nuestra Señora como Mediadora de todas las gracias:

  1. León XIII:- “A través de cual [Cristo] ha escogido ser el dispensador de todas las gracias celestiales” (Jucunda semper, 1883); “es correcto decir que absolutamente nada del inmenso tesoro de gracias que el Señor acumuló –porque ‘la gracia y la verdad nos han llegado por Jesucristo’(Jn 1:17)—nada nos es impartido excepto a través de María…” (Octobri Mense, 1891).
  2. Sn. Pío X:- “dispensadora de todos los dones” adquiridos por la muerte del Redentor (Ad diem illum, AAS 36, 1904, p.453); “…se convirtió más dignamente en la reparadora del mundo perdido y dispensadora de todos los dones que nuestro Salvador compró para nosotros por medio de su muerte y su sangre” (Ad diem illum,1904; cf., Eadmer, De Eccellentia Virginis Mariae, c.9); “Porque ella es el cuello de nuestra Cabeza a través del cual El comunica todos los dones espirituales a su Cuerpo Místico” (Ad diem illum,1904).
  3. Papa Benedicto XV:- “A causa de su hijo sufriente y agonizante, María soportó el sufrimiento y casi la muerte…Uno puede con toda certeza afirmar que junto con Cristo, ella redimió a la raza humana… por esta razón, cualquier tipo de gracia que recibimos del tesoro de la redención, es administrado como si fuera a través de las manos de la misma Virgen dolorosa…(Carta Apostólica, Inter Sodalicia, AAS 10, 1918, p. 182); Misa y Oficio de la Mediadora de todas las Gracias, aprobada en 1921).
  4. Papa Pío XI:- “la virgen que es tesorera de todas las gracias con Dios…(Carta Apostólica, Cognitum sane, AAS 18, p.213); “…Sabemos que todas las cosas nos son impartidas por Dios, entre más grandes y mejores, a través de las manos de la Madre de Dios” (Carta Encíclica, Ingravescentibus malis, AAS 29, 1937, p.380).
  5. Papa Pío XII:- ¨Es la voluntad de Dios que obtengamos todos los favores a través de María, ´que todos se apresuren a recurrir a María¨ (Superiore Anno, AAS 32 1940, P. 145. La misma expresión por él mismo, cf., AAS 45, 1953, p.382); ¨Ella nos enseña todas las virtudes; nos da su Hijo y con él toda la ayuda que necesitamos, porque ´Dios quizo que todo lo tuviéramos a través de María¨ (Mediator Dei, 1947).

Encontramos una particularmente rica contribución a las enseñanzas doctrinales sobre el rol de Nuestra Señora como Corredentora y Mediadora, en los escritos contemporáneos de Juan Pablo II. De hecho, la Mediación Maternal de María es la materia de toda una tercera parte de la encíclica de Su Santidad, Redemptoris Mater (Madre del Redentor) de 1987.

El Pontífice declara, en la Parte I, n. 21:

¨De modo que hay mediación: María se coloca a sí misma entre su Hijo y la humanidad en la realidad de sus deseos, necesidades y sufrimientos. Ella se pone a sí misma ´en medio´, es decir, actúa como una mediadora no como una intrusa, sino en su posición como madre. Ella sabe que, como tal, puede señalar a su Hijo las necesidades de la humanidad, y de hecho, ´tiene el derecho´ de hacerlo. Su mediación, es por eso, en la naturaleza de la intercesión: María intercede por la humanidad¨ (R. Mater, n. 21).

En la Audiencia del Miércoles 1 de Octubre de 1997, el Santo Padre nos recuerda:

¨Recordamos que la mediación de María es esencialmente definida por su Divina Maternidad. El reconocimiento de su rol de Mediadora es más aún implícito en la expresión ´nuestra Madre´, la que presenta la doctrina de la mediación Maternal al poner el acento en su Maternidad¨.

Por lo tanto, por deducción teológica uno puede correctamente decir que el título de ¨Mediadora de Misericordia¨, está implícitamente contenido en el título clásico Mariano de ¨Madre de Misericordia¨.

Refiriéndose al rol corredentivo de la Santísima Virgen, en que María es quien ¨encarna¨ la misión de la redención del mundo a través de su libre y activa cooperación, su co-trabajo, Juan Pablo II recientemente ponderó una vez más, esta dimensión en su Audiencia del 18 de Septiembre de 1996:

¨Para María, la dedicación a la persona y el trabajo de Jesús significa…co-operación en su obra de salvación. María lleva este último aspecto de su dedicación a Jesús ‘supeditada a El’; esto es, en una condición de subordinación, que es el fruto de la gracia. Sin embargo, esta es verdadera co-operación, porque se da ‘con El’ y, empezando con la Anunciación, implica participación activa en la obra de la redención. ‘Por tanto, correctamente’, el Concilio Vaticano Segundo observa que ‘los Padres ven a María no meramente como contratada pasivamente por Dios, sino como co-operando libremente en la obra de la salvación del hombre por medio de su fe y obediencia. Porque ‘siendo obediente –como dice Sn. Irineo- se convirtió en la causa de salvación para ella misma y para toda la raza humana¨ (Adv. Haer. III, 22, 4).

Un año después, en la Audiencia del Miércoles 9 de Abril de 1997, el Santo Padre explicó como esta co-operación de la Santísima Virgen en la redención es ¨única e irrepetible¨:

¨No obstante, aplicado el término de ¨co-operadora¨ a María, adquiere un significado específico. La colaboración de los Cristianos en la salvación se da después del evento del Calvario, cuyos frutos ellos deben esforzarse en distribuir por medio de oraciones y sacrificios. En cambio, María, co-operó durante el evento mismo y en el rol de madre; por tanto su co-operación abarca la totalidad de la obra de salvación de Cristo. Ella sola fue asociada de esta manera con el sacrificio redentor que mereció la salvación del género humano. En unión con Cristo y en sumisión a El, colaboró en la obtención de la salvación para toda la humanidad.

El rol de la Santísima Virgen como co-operadora tiene su origen en su maternidad divina. Al haber dado a luz al que estaba destinado a lograr la redención del hombre, al haberlo alimentado, presentándolo en el templo y sufriendo con El mientras moría en la Cruz, ‘de una manera completamente singular co-operó…en la obra del Salvador’ (Lumen Gentium, n. 61). A pesar de que el llamado de Dios a co-operar en la obra de la salvación concierne a cada ser humano, la participación de la Madre del Salvador en la Redención humana es un hecho único e irrepetible.

En otra Audiencia de los Miércoles, después de explicar la ¨íntima participación de la Santísima Virgen en la vida entera de Jesús¨, el Santo Padre hizo una pausa para reflexionar en la participación de la Virgen en el Calvario:

No obstante, la asociación de la Santísima Virgen con la misión de Cristo llega a su culminación en Jerusalén, en el momento de la Pasión y Muerte del Redentor…El Concilio remarca la profunda dimensión de la presencia de la Santísima Virgen en el Calvario, recordando que ella, ‘perseveró fielmente en su unión con su Hijo hasta la Cruz’ (Lumen Gentium, n. 58), y señala que esta unión ‘en la obra de la redención se pone de manifiesto desde el momento de la concepción virginal de Cristo hasta su muerte’ (ibid., n. 57).

Con nuestra contemplación iluminada por el resplandor de la Resurrección, hacemos una pausa para reflexionar en el involucramiento de la Madre en la Pasión redentora de su Hijo, la que fue completada por su compartir en sus sufrimientos.

Por tanto, debe ser subrayado que la Mediación Maternal de María no es una ¨nueva doctrina¨, sino una verdad revelada firmemente establecida, y consistentemente enseñada por el Magisterio Papal.

También debe ser anotado que el título de ¨Mediadora de Misericordia¨, es un aspecto dentro de su rol como ¨Mediadora de todas las Gracias¨, así como uno de los más grandes dones de Dios en el orden de la gracia, es no otra cosa, que Su misericordia.

Tornemos ahora a una objeción sobre la mediación Mariana que ha resurgido particularmente en varias áreas ecuménicas, concerniente al clásico texto Paulino de 1 Tim 2:5: ¨Porque hay un sólo Dios, y hay un sólo Mediador entre Dios y el hombre, el hombre Jesucristo¨. A pesar de que el contexto general del pasaje remarca en el verso en cuestión, el valor de las ¨súplicas, oraciones, intercesiones¨ humanas de los fieles (cf. V. 1-4), sin embargo, la referencia al ¨único Mediador¨ es interpretado por algunos en el sentido de ‘exclusividad’, como un mandato prohibiendo cualquier otra mediación subordinada dentro y al servicio de la única mediación de Jesucristo.

De inestimable valor es la observación de John Macquarrie, teólogo Anglicano, en referencia a la objeción levantada por muchos cuerpos eclesiales Protestantes, en oposición a la Mediación Mariana subordinada:

El asunto no puede ser resuelto señalando los peligros de exageración o abuso, o apelando el separar textos de la escritura tal como 1 Timoteo 2:5, o cambiando modas en teología y espiritualidad, o por el deseo de no decir nada que pudiera ofender a la contraparte en el diálogo ecuménico. Quizá algunos entusiastas exagerados hayan elevado a María a una posición de igualdad virtual con Jesús, pero esta aberración no es necesariamente consecuencia del reconocimiento de que hay una verdadera lucha por las expresiones en palabras, tales como Mediadora y Corredentora. Todos los teólogos responsables estarían de acuerdo que el rol corredentivo de María es subsidiario y auxiliar al rol central de Cristo. Pero si tiene tal rol, entre más claro lo entendamos, mejor.

El entendimiento adecuado de ¨Cristo el único Mediador¨, del texto de 1 Tm 2:5, presupone una distinción crítica y fundamental: que la única y perfecta mediación de Jesucristo no previene o prohibe, sino más bien provee y llama a otros a compartir y participar de una manera secundaria y subordinada en esta perfecta mediación del Señor. Las Sagradas Escrituras revelan, en el contexto de varios paralelismos, no sólo la posibilidad sino de hecho la obligación de los Cristianos, de participar de aquello que es –en primer lugar- exclusivamente verdadero de Jesucristo. Tenemos, por ejemplo, la única Filiación de Jesucristo. Hay un sólo verdadero Hijo nacido del Padre, aquel que es el Logos, la Palabra que se hizo carne. Al mismo tiempo, se nos dice que nos hemos convertido en hijos adoptivos de Dios (cf. 2: Co 5:17; 1 Jn 3:1; Jn 1:12; Ga 2:20; 2 Pe 1:4). ). El ser hijos adoptivos es una participación de la única Filiación de Jesucristo. Otro ejemplo escriturístico es el del único Sacerdocio de Jesucristo. La carta a los Hebreos hace referencia a la unicidad y singularidad de Jesucristo, el ¨sumo sacerdote¨ (cf. Heb 3:1; 4:14; 5:10), quien sólo es ofrecido como Sacerdote y Víctima ¨por la santificación de todos nosotros¨ (cf. Hb 10:10). Al mismo tiempo, todos los Cristianos somos llamados en participar en diferentes niveles y grados del único Sacerdocio de Jesucristo, ya sea por medio de la ordenación sacerdotal ministerial o por el sacerdocio real del laicado, tal y como fue discutido en el Concilio.

Más aún, el Concilio Vaticano II establece la legitimidad de la mediación subordinada, como una participación en la perfecta mediación de Jesucristo, al confirmar el fruto de la mediación subordinada como una manifestación de aquella que es verdaderamente única y dependiente del ¨único mediador entre Dios y el hombre, el hombre Cristo Jesús¨ (cf. 1 Tm 2:5):

Ninguna criatura pudo nunca haber sido contada junto con la Palabra Encarnada y Redentor; pero así como el sacerdocio de Cristo es compartido en varias formas por sus ministros y sus fieles, y así como la bondad de Dios es radiada en diferentes maneras entre sus criaturas, así también la única mediación del Redentor no excluye, sino más bien fomenta una cooperación multifacética , la cual es una forma de compartir de esta sola fuente (Lumen Gentium, n. 62).

¿Entonces qué con la Mediación Maternal? ¿Cómo es que la Madre de Jesús participa excepcionalmente de la única Mediación del Señor? En relación a María Mediadora y de su participación excepcional en la mediación de Jesús, El Papa Juan Pablo II nos lo dice en su audiencia del Miércoles 1 de Octubre de 1997:

¨La mediación materna de María no hace sombra a la única y perfecta mediación de Cristo. En efecto, el Concilio, después de haberse referido ‘Mediadora’ precisa a renglón seguido: Lo cual sin embargo, se entiende de tal manera que no quite ni añada nada a la dignidad y a la eficacia de Cristo único Mediador (Lumen Gentium, n.62)…El Concilio afirma, además que ‘la misión maternal de María para con los hombres de ninguna manera disminuye o hace sombra a la única mediación de Cristo, sino que manifiesta su eficacia’ (ibid, n.60).

¨Así pues, lejos de ser un obstáculo al ejercicio de la única mediación de Cristo, María pone de relieve su fecundidad y su eficacia…Al proclamar a Cristo único Mediador (cf. 1 Tm 2, 5-6), el texto de la carta de Sn. Pablo a Timoteo excluye cualquier otra mediación paralela, pero no una mediación subordinada. En efecto, antes de subrayar la única y exclusiva mediación de Cristo, el autor recomienda ‘que se hagan plegarias, oraciones, súplicas y acciones de gracias por todos los hombres’ (2:1). ¿No son, acaso, las oraciones una forma de mediación? Más aún, según Sn. Pablo, la única mediación de Cristo está destinada a promover otras mediaciones dependientes y ministeriales. Proclamando la unicidad de la de Cristo, el Apóstol tiende a excluir sólo cualquier mediación autónoma o en competencia, pero no otras formas compatibles con el valor infinito de la obra del Salvador.

“En efecto, ‘así como en el sacerdocio de Cristo participan de cierta manera tanto los ministros como el pueblo creyente, y así como la única bondad de Dios se difunde realmente en las criaturas de distintas maneras, así también la única mediación del Redentor no excluye sino que suscita en las criaturas una colaboración diversa que participa de la única fuente’ (Lumen Gentium, n.62)…¿Qué es, en verdad, la mediación materna de María sino un don del Padre a la humanidad?¨

Por tanto, podemos correctamente decir que la Santísima Virgen María participa, como ninguna otra criatura, ángel o santo, en la única mediación de Jesucristo, y por tanto correcta y excepcionalmente referida como la ¨Mediadora¨ (Lumen Gentium, n.62). María de manera única –más allá de todas las criaturas- participa en Tm 1, 2:5, debido a su participación excepcional corredentiva en la adquisición de las gracias con y supeditada a Jesús, como la Nueva Eva, lo que consecuentemente resulta en su tarea única mediatorial en la distribución de las gracias del Calvario. Juan Pablo II explica en la Redemptoris Mater:

María entró, de una manera exclusiva, dentro de la mediación ‘entre Dios y el hombre’, a la que es la mediación de Cristo Jesús hombre (cf. Tm 1, 2:5)…debemos decir que a través de esta plenitud de gracia y vida sobrenatural, fue especialmente pre-dispuesta a cooperar con Cristo, el único Mediador de la salvación humana. Y tal cooperación es, precisamente, esta mediación subordinada a la mediación de Cristo…En el caso de María tenemos una mediación especial y excepcional…

Resumiendo, es perfectamente claro por las enseñanzas del Magisterio de la Iglesia que Nuestra Señora es Corredentora, quien comparte de una manera excepcional en la mediación de Cristo en la adquisición de los frutos de la Redención, y como resultado, participa de una manera única de esa misma perfecta mediación de Cristo como Mediadora de las gracias de la Redención; y que esto constituye teológicamente la base para su rol universal como ¨Mediadora de Misericordia¨, y como ¨Abogada¨ (o Intercesora principal) para todo el pueblo de Dios. (cf. Lumen Gentium, n.62).

¿Y ahora qué con la dimensión profética del título ¨Mediadora de Misericordia¨? ¿De qué manera la revelación privada de la Divina Misericordia y del Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado de María, profetizado en Fátima, se unen en este sólo título de ¨Mediadora de Misericordia¨? ¿Qué nos dice este título en este momento de la historia humana?

Sugeriría que estos dos grandes movimientos, el Triunfo de la Divina Misericordia y el Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado, que no son hechura de hombre pero de origen celestial, tienen una complementariedad sobrenatural. Examinemos algunos ejemplos. Primeramente, examinemos la teología de la oración que encontramos en ambos movimientos. Notemos la similitud teológica entre ambas oraciones dadas en Fátima y a la Beata Faustina.

Durante las apariciones preparatorias del ángel en 1916 a los tres niños en Portugal, les fue revelada la siguiente oración:

¨Santísima Trinidad, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo, yo os ofrezco el preciosísimo Cuerpo, Sangre, Alma y Divinidad de Jesucristo, presente en todos los tabernáculos del mundo, en reparación por las ultrajes, sacrilegios e indiferencia con los que El mismo es ofendido. Y, a través de los méritos infinitos de Su Sacratísimo Corazón y los del Inmaculado Corazón de María, os pido la conversión de los pobres pecadores¨.

Y de nuestro Señor de la Misericordia a la Beata Sor Faustina, tomamos lo revelado en la Corona de la Misericordia:

¨Padre Eterno, Yo te ofrezco el Cuerpo y Sangre, Alma y Divinidad de tu amadísimo Hijo, Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, en expiación de nuestro pecados y de los del mundo entero¨.

¿Cuál es el fundamento teológico común de estas dos oraciones celestiales reveladas? Primeramente, hay un fundamento de reparación Eucarística, que viene en varias formas. La reparación Eucarística es primero y antes que nada en la forma del Santo Sacrificio de la Misa, ofrecido por un sacerdote ordenado, una Adoración Eucarística. Pero habrá que notar que en estos dos movimientos celestiales para este siglo, que existe una dimensión adicional de reparación Eucarística, una dimensión que también se extiende al laicado. En el ejercicio de su sacerdocio real, el laicado ofrece hostias ya consagradas, el Cuerpo, Sangre, Alma y Divinidad de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, para aplacar la justicia del Padre Eterno.

El Padre mira hacia abajo y ve los pecados de la humanidad. Primero ve al sacerdote, el que está precediendo para ofrecer el Sacrificio, el que ofrece la Eucaristía en continuación del sacrificio del Calvario. El Padre mira hacia abajo y ve, en medio de la obscuridad del pecado generalizado del mundo, estos brotes de luz, el Sacrificio de la Misa ofrecido por nuestros sacerdotes. Y debido a estas luces místicas rompiendo el obscuridad del pecado, el Padre no responde en justicia -lo que es también parte de Su naturaleza- sino más bien responde en misericordia. Es por esto que Fulton Sheen con frecuencia decía en tono de puya que si un sacerdote no entendía –antes que nada- que el era el que precedía para ofrecer el Sacrificio por el pueblo, tendría para siempre una crisis de identidad. Esta es la tarea preeminente del sacerdote, el ofrecer el Sacrificio de tal manera que la misericordia en lugar de la justicia, sea la respuesta del Padre.

Segundo, y muy especialmente en el siglo veinte, es también el laicado quien es llamado –no a consagrar, lo que está fuera de su poder- para ofrecer a Jesús Eucarístico ya consagrado al Padre en reparación por el pecado. Lo hacemos por su Pasión dolorosa, su Pasión en forma Eucarística, puesto que existe consagrado en los tabernáculos del mundo. El ofrecimiento del laicado (de una manera similar al Sacrificio del Redentor que es ganado por el sacrificio laical y maternal de la Corredentora en el Calvario), no va a tener la misma eficacia espiritual que la del Sacrificio sacerdotal, pero será un corolario, una asociación del sacerdote y el laicado ofreciendo a Jesús Eucarístico al Padre, para que la respuesta sea –como ya se dijo- misericordia en lugar de justicia.

Resumiendo, es un llamado celestial para el ofrecimiento del Señor Eucarístico en expiación y reparación de los pecados del mundo, y un ejercicio de los sacerdotes y del laicado en presentar al Padre la Pasión y la presencia Eucarística de su Hijo, por todos los fieles de Cristo.

Encontramos otra complementariedad entre el Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado y el Triunfo de la Divina Misericordia, en muchas referencias en el Diario inspirado de la Beata Faustina, con la Mediación Maternal de María en el orden de la gracia. Manifestado claramente al abrir el Diario, tenemos numerosos ejemplos del rol salvífico de la Mediadora de Misericordia.

En la Libreta I, n. 11, p. 7, es la Madre de Dios como Abogada quien guía a la Hermana Faustina a encontar protección:

¨Cuando bajé del tren y vi que todos iban por caminos separados, me dominó el miedo. ¿Qué voy hacer? ¿A quién debo de ir, si no conozco a nadie? Entonces le dije a la Madre de Dios, ‘María, condúceme, guíame’. Inmediatamente escuché estas palabras dentro de mí, diciéndome que dejara el pueblo y que me fuera a cierta villa cercana donde encontraría un alojamiento seguro para la noche. Así lo hice y encontré de hecho que todo estaba tal y como me lo había dicho la Madre de Dios¨.

En la Libreta I, n. 20, p. 11, se refiere a la Mediación de gracias de Nuestra Señora por las almas del Purgatorio:

¨Vi a Nuestra Señora visitando las almas en el Purgatorio. Las almas la llaman ‘La Estrella del Mar’. Ella les lleva refrigerio¨.

La unión del sufrimiento humano con el sufrimiento del Corazón de la Corredentora, puede ser encontrada en la Libreta I, n. 25, p. 14:

¨Durante la noche, me visitó la Madre de Dios, llevando a Jesús Infante en Sus brazos. Mi alma estaba llena de gozo y le dije: ¨María, Madre mía, ¿Tu sabes que terriblemente sufro?¨ Y la Madre de Dios me respondió: ¨Se cuanto sufres, pero no temas. Comparto contigo tus sufrimientos y siempre lo haré así¨.

También encontramos la mediación de gracia y abogacía de nuestra Señora por las naciones en la misma Libreta, n. 33, p. 18:

¨Estaba haciendo esta novena por la intención de la Patria. En el séptimo día de la novena vi, entre el cielo y la tierra a la Madre de Dios, vestida con una túnica brillante. Estaba orando con Sus manos recogidas sobre Su pecho, Sus ojos fijos al Cielo. De su Corazón brotaron rayos ardientes, algunos de los cuales fueron dirigidos hacia el Cielo mientras que los otros estaban cubriendo nuestro país.

La mediación de Nuestra Señora por la gracia especial de la pureza para la Hermana Faustina, se encuentra en la Libreta I, n. 40, p. 21:

¨…Y [Jesús] me dijo, te doy amor eterno tal que tu pureza nunca sea empañada y como un signo de que nunca serás sujeta a la tentación contra la pureza, Jesús se quitó su cinto de oro y me lo puso en la cintura. Desde entonces nunca he experimentado ningún ataque contra esta virtud, ni en mi corazón ni en mi mente. Entendí más tarde que esta era una de las más grandes gracias que la Santísima Virgen María había obtenido para mí, puesto que yo le había estado pidiendo a Ella por muchos años esta gracia. Desde ese momento he experimentado una creciente devoción por la Madre de Dios. Me ha enseñado como amar a Dios interiormente, y también el como cumplir su Santa voluntad en todas las cosas. Oh María, Tu eres mi alegría, porque a través de Tí, Dios desciende a la tierra [y] a mi corazón¨.

En la Libreta I, n. 315, p. 144, se encuentra más referencia de la mediación de gracias de Nuestra Señora a la Beata Faustina: ¨Madre de gracia, enséñame a vivir por [el poder de] Dios¨.

En la Libreta I, n. 330, “Escuché unas pocas palabras que la Madre de Dios decía a él [vgr. Mi confesor] pero no todo. Las palabras eran: No soy sólo Reina del Cielo, sino también la Madre de Misericordia y tu Madre.”

En la Libreta I, n. 564, p. 238: ¨[María] me dijo, ‘Me das gran alegría cuando adoras a la Santísima Trinidad por las gracias y privilegios que Me fueron concedidos’. Y más delante…¨fui a la capilla a compartir la hostia, en espíritu con mis seres queridos, y le pedí a la Madre de Dios gracias para ellos¨. (n.182, p. 101).

Finalmente, la Beata Faustina confió toda su vida a Nuestra Señora, tal y como se lee en la misma libreta, n. 79, p. 41:

¨Oh María, Madre y Señora mía, te ofrezco mi alma, mi cuerpo, mi vida y mi muerte, y todo lo que le siga. Pongo todo en Tus manos. Oh Madre mía, cubre mi alma con Tu manto virginal y otórgame la gracia de pureza de corazón, de alma y cuerpo. Defiéndeme con Tu poder contra todos mis enemigos, y especialmente contra aquellos que ocultan su malicia detrás de la máscara de la virtud. ¡Oh amadísima azucena! ¡Eres para mí un espejo, Oh Madre mía!”

Otra complementariedad dinámica adicional entre el Triunfo de la Divina Misericordia y el Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado de María, es la urgencia innegable de ambos llamados celestiales. Sería un grave error ¨desmitologizar la realidad histórica y la transmisión de urgencia contenida en ambos movimientos sobrenaturales¨. Sin lugar a duda, entonces, el Diario da un testimonio vívido y consistente de la misión de la Mediadora de Misericordia. Ambos mensajes manifiestan una auténtica urgencia histórica y celestial, una urgencia de paz y una urgencia de misericordia, no obstante, todo ello con urgencia. El siguiente es un mensaje fundamental de Nuestra Señora del Rosario en Fátima, con una promesa profética de que ¨al final mi Corazón Inmaculado triunfará¨:

¨Continúen rezando el rosario todos los días en honor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, para obtener la paz del mundo y que se termine la guerra; porque sólo ella lo puede salvar…Sacrifíquense por los pecadores; y digan con frecuencia, especialmente cuando hagan un sacrificio: ‘Oh Jesús mío, es por tu amor, por la conversión de los pecadores y en reparación por los pecados cometidos contra el Corazón Inmaculado de María.’ Uds. han visto el infierno –a donde van las almas de los pobres pecadores. Para salvarlos Dios quiere establecer en el mundo la devoción a mi Inmaculado Corazón. Si la gente hace lo que voy a decir, muchas almas serán salvadas y habrá paz porque se va a terminar la guerra. Pero si no dejan de ofender a Dios, otra guerra peor se desatará durante el reinado de Pío XI. Cuando vean una noche iluminada por una luz desconocida, sepan que es el gran signo que Dios les da de que va a castigar al mundo por sus crímenes por medio de la guerra, hambre y persecución de la Iglesia y del Santo Padre. Para prevenir esto, vendré a pedir la consagración de Rusia a mi Inmaculado Corazón y la Comunión de Reparación en los Sábados Primeros. Si escuchan mi petición, Rusia se convertirá y habrá paz. Pero si no, desparramará sus errores en todo el mundo, promoviendo guerras y persecuciones a la Iglesia; los buenos serán martirizados, el Santo Padre tendrá mucho que sufrir, varias naciones serán aniquiladas; pero al final mi Corazón Inmaculado tiunfará¨

(13 de Julio de 1917).

Muchos de nosotros estamos conscientes del hecho de que cuando el Santo Padre fue herido el 13 de Mayo de 1981, en el aniversario del primer mensaje de Fátima, después de que la bala fue retirada de su abdomen, el Santo Padre pidió que la bala fuese traída y moldeada como una parte dentro de la corona de Nuestra Señora de Fátima. ¡De una manera tan clara él testimonia su vida a la intercesión de Nuestra Señora de Fátima! Por tanto, vemos en Fátima un mensaje de urgencia, de conversión y de reparación Eucarística, todo condicionado a la respuesta del hombre.

La urgencia del mensaje de la Divina Misericordia se manifiesta no sólo en las expresiones obvias de las revelaciones privadas de la Beata Faustina, sino también en la encíclica sobre la Divina Misericordia de nuestro Santo Padre emitida en 1982, Dives in Misericordia. En esta encíclica, también poco notada, el Santo Padre advierte de un diluvio potencial por los pecados contemporáneos de la humanidad:

¨No obstante, en ningún tiempo ni período histórico –especialmente en el momento crítico como el nuestro- puede la Iglesia olvidar las oraciones que es un llamado por la misericordia de Dios en medio de tantas formas de maldad que pesan y amenazan a la humanidad…Como los profetas, hagamos una súplica a ese amor que tiene características maternales y el cual, como una madre, sigue a cada uno de sus hijos, cada oveja perdida, aún si se contaran por millones, aún si sobre el mundo prevaleciera la maldad sobre la bondad, aún si la humanidad mereciera un ‘nuevo diluvio’ a causa de sus pecados…Y si ninguno de nuestros contemporáneos comparte la fe y la esperanza que me guía, como un siervo de Cristo y administrador de los misterios de Dios, para implorar la misericordia de Dios para la humanidad en esta hora de la humanidad, permítanle al menos tratar de entender la razón de mi preocupación. Está dictado por amor al hombre, por todo lo que es humano y el cual, de acuerdo a las intuiciones de muchos de nuestros contemporáneos, que está amenazado de un inmenso peligro…El misterio de Cristo…también me obliga a proclamar misericordia como el amor misericordioso de Dios…de igual manera me obliga el tener que acudir a esa misericordia y a pedir por ella en esta fase difícil y crítica de la historia de la Iglesia y del mundo, al acercarnos al final del segundo milenio¨ (Dives in Misericordia, n. 15).

Esto es, por cierto, donde nos encontramos en el último año del segundo milenio.

¿Qué es lo que entonces constituye la relación entre el Triunfo de la Divina Misericordia y el Triunfo del Inmaculado Corazón de María? El Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado de María tiene como su primer objetivo la misión de abrir los corazones al don de la Divina Misericordia, y por tanto, el Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado de María, correctamente entendido , coincide con el de la Divina Misericordia. El Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado de María esencialmente sirve al Triunfo de la Divina Misericordia, al igual que sirve para abrir y sostener los corazones humanos para y con el don de la Divina Misericordia que viene del Sagrado y Misericordioso Corazón de Nuestro Señor. Esto nos llevará a la “Era de paz”, al Reino Eucarístico del Sagrado Corazón, un tiempo cuando la misericordia del Corazón de Jesús es de hecho aceptada por el corazón humano, la tan esperada y prometida “Nueva Primavera para la Iglesia”. Es María, la Mediadora de Misericordia, la que, a través del Triunfo de su Corazón Inmaculado, mediará para el mundo las gracias de la Divina Misericordia y el Reino del Sagrado Corazón sobre la tierra. Ambos Triunfos buscan este mismo objetivo. ¿Cuál es entonces la llave para abrir las gracias inestimables del Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado de María, que conducirá al Triunfo de la Divina Misericordia en los corazones de la humanidad? Muchos cardenales, obispos, sacerdotes y líderes laicos Marianos del mundo creen, como yo creo, que será la proclamación papal de la verdad total sobre Nuestra Señora en su rol de la Madre de todos los Pueblos, Corredentora, Mediadora de Gracia y Misericordia, y Abogada.

Para poder entender la necesidad de la definición Papal de la Mediación maternal de Nuestra Señora, es críticamente necesario el entender el principio básico de la providencia de Dios en relación al respecto de la libertad humana. ¿Porqué es necesaria una proclamación dogmática para que se liberen totalmente las gracias y misericordia del Corazón Inmaculado de María?

Dios, el Abba Padre, no fuerza sus gracias sobre nosotros. Dios tiene un tremendo respeto por la libertad humana y por la libertad del corazón humano, y su gracia es dada sólo cuando es pedida, y es sólo recibida cuando el corazón se ha abierto a ella. Esto también es verdad referente al rol de la Madre de Misericordia. Sus títulos son sus obras. Cuando llamamos a la Santísima Madre la Mediadora de Misericordia, no es sólo un título honorario; es una función que realiza por el Cuerpo Místico, y hasta que demos completo reconocimiento a ese título, Ella no podrá ejercer completamente dicha función por su familia.

Por tanto, existe una verdadera fundamentacion teológica, que mientras el Santo Padre no haga libremente la proclamación a su más alto nivel de verdad, la Santísima Madre no tendrá la libertad para ejercer plenamente sus títulos y sus funciones como la Corredentora, Mediadora de todas las gracias y abogada por toda la familia humana, interceder por el tan esperado Triunfo de su Corazón Inmaculado, el que llevará al Triunfo de la Divina Misericordia. Como un autor lo indicó, Dios esperó el si, el fíat de una mujer para enviar a su Hijo al mundo, y ahora la Mujer espera el fíat de un hombre, el Vicario de Cristo, para enviar al mundo las gracias inestimables del Triunfo de Su Corazón Inmaculado.

En síntesis, por tanto, podemos ver que el Padre Eterno, que es rico en misericordia no fuerza Su gracia sobre nosotros, sino que más bien requiere nuestro fíat para recibirlas. Y, por tanto, hasta que la Iglesia libre y totalmente reconozca los roles de Nuestra Señora como la Madre de Todos los Pueblos, la “Madre sufriente” (la Corredentora), la “Madre nutriente” (la Mediadora de todas las Gracias y Misericordia), y la “Madre suplicante” (la Abogada), hasta entonces Nuestra Madre no podrá ejercer plenamente estos roles mediatorios por la Iglesia y por el mundo que está en necesidad desesperada de un Nuevo Pentecostés del Espíritu a través de la Esposa.

La necesidad por este gran Dogma Mariano para que inicie el Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado, ha sido manifestada por más de 530 obispos, incluyendo a 44 cardenales, y a cerca de 5 millones de fieles Católicos quienes están orando y pidiendo por esta proclamación papal. Desde luego, que respecto al tiempo y lo apropiado de esta proclamación papal, nos sometemos completamente a la decisión de nuestro Papa Totus Tuus y de la Divina Misericordia, Juan Pablo II.

Por tanto, dirijámonos hacia el Cielo pidiendo el Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado de María, el que conducirá al Triunfo de la Divina Misericordia. Usemos los instrumentos sobrenaturales del Rosario, la Corona de la Misericordia, la Adoración Eucarística y los ofrecimientos reparadores para expiar por los pecados presentes en toda la humanidad. Oremos por la proclamación de la verdad total de la Madre de Todos los Pueblos, liberándola para que medíe completamente como Corredentora, Mediadora de Gracia y Misericordia,y Abogada, por la Iglesia y el mundo de hoy. Y seamos imágenes de la Divina Misericordia y del Inmaculado Corazón, haciendo nuestra parte individual, lo que conducirá al Triunfo de la Divina Misericordia, al Reino Eucarístico de Nuestro Señor Jesús, a la Nueva Primavera para la Iglesia.

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Por Dr. Mark I. Miravalle, STD

El día 4 de Junio de 1997, fue publicada en el L’Osservatore Romano la declaración de una Comisión Teológica de la Academia Pontifica Internacional Mariana A esta comisión “Se le pidió por medio de la Santa Sede, estudiar la posibilidad y la oportunidad de la definición de los títulos marianos de Mediadora, Corredentora y Abogada”. La Comisión estuvo compuesta por 15 teólogos Católicos, además de teólogos no Católicos, incluyendo un Anglicano, un Luterano y 3 Ortodoxos.

Aunque deseo expresar mi gran apreciación por los avances del diálogo teológico en relación a la solemne definición de la Mediación Maternal de la Santísima Virgen María, como está presentado por la declaración de esta Comisión Teológica Internacional, debo al mismo tiempo declarar que hay varios elementos teológicos fundamentales a este asunto, que aparentemente resultan inexistentes dentro de las consideraciones y conclusiones de la comisión. Resumiré solamente los elementos críticos teológicos más importantes ausentes de tal declaración y de las conclusiones de la comisión, mismos que están contenidos en el trabajo de otra asociación internacional de teólogos y mariólogos que ha contribuido a dos de los volúmenes teológicos dedicados a la Mediación Maternal de María: María Corredentora, Mediadora, Abogada: Fundamentos Teológicos, Hacia Una Definición Papal?, y María Corredentora, Mediadora y Abogada: Fundamentos Teológicos II, Papales, Pneumatológicos y Ecuménicos, (Queenship Publishing, Santa Bárbara, CA). Los internacionalmente reconocidos mariólogos que participaron en esta serie de estudios teológicos referentes a la cuestión de la solemne definición de la Mediación Maternal de María, como están contenidos en estos volúmenes teológicos, cubre varios continentes, varios países y tres comunidades de la Cristiandad.

1. El Título, “Corredentora” y las Enseñanzas Papales del Papa Juan Pablo II.

Una primera advertencia de la comisión parece estar en contra del uso del título de “Corredentora”, al discutir la excepcional cooperación de la Sma. Virgen María con y supeditamente a Jesucristo en la Redención de la humanidad. Debe ser fuertemente subrayado que nuestro Santo Padre actual, el Papa Juan Pablo II, ha usado explícitamente el título de “Corredentora” en al menos 5 ocasiones de sus Enseñanzas Papales durante su presente Pontificado. Esto queda perfectamente ilustrado por su discurso papal de 1985 en Guayaquil, Ecuador, en donde el título de “Corredentora” fue usado en una explicación del rol que le está dando:

“María va antes que nosotros y nos acompaña. El viaje silencioso que empieza con su Inmaculada Concepción y pasa a través de su ‘sí’ de Nazareth, que la hace la Madre de Dios, encuentra en el Calvario un momento particularmente importante. Ahí también, aceptando y asistiendo en el sacrificio de su Hijo, María es el amanecer de la Redención; …Crucificada espiritualmente con su hijo crucificado (cf: Gal. 2:20), contempló con su heroico amor la muerte de su Dios, ella “amorosamente consintió en la inmolación de su Víctima que ella misma había traído al mundo” (Lumen Gentium 59) …

De hecho, en el Calvario se une a sí misma con el sacrificio de su Hijo, lo cual la lleva a la fundación de la Iglesia; su corazón maternal compartió hasta lo más profundo la voluntad de Cristo ‘para unir en uno todos los hijos dispersos de Dios’ (jn. 11:52). Habiendo sufrido por la Iglesia, María merece ser la Madre de todos los discípulos de su Hijo, la Madre de su unidad… De hecho, el rol de María como Corredentora no cesa con la glorificación de su Hijo”

Más recientemente, en su discurso de la audiencia general del 9 de Abril de 1997 (a la fecha, Juan Pablo II ha dado una serie de más de 50 catequesis Marianas), el Santo Padre usa el ejemplo del llamado de San Pablo a todos los Cristianos para ser “colaboradores de Dios” (1 Cr. 3:9), o en algunas traducciones “co-trabajadores”, y también específica la cooperación excepcional de María en el trabajo de la Redención (sin inferir ninguna igualdad entre los Cristianos, la Sma. Virgen María y el acto excepcional único de redención logrado por Jesucristo sólo):

“Más aún, cuando el Apóstol Pablo dice: “Ya que somos colaboradores de Dios” (1 Cor. 3:9), él sostiene la posibilidad real del hombre de cooperar con Dios. La colaboración de los creyentes que excluye obviamente cualquier igualdad con él, está expresada en la proclamación del Evangelio y en su contribución personal al tomar raíces en los corazones humanos.

Sin embargo, aplicado a María, el término ‘co-operador’ adquiere un significado específico. La colaboración de los Cristianos en la salvación toma lugar después del evento del Calvario, cuyos frutos ellos se esfuerzan en derramar por medio de oración y sacrificio. María, en cambio co-operó durante el evento mismo en el rol de Madre; por tanto su co-operación abarca la totalidad del trabajo de la salvación de Cristo. Ella sola fue asociada de esta manera con el sacrificio redentor que mereció la salvación de toda la humanidad. En unión con Cristo y en sumisión a el, ella colaboró en obtener la gracia de la salvación para toda la humanidad”

En todos los casos del uso Magisterial del término “Corredentora”, el prefijo “co” no significa igual a, pero viene de la palabra del Latín, “cum” que significa “con”. El título de “Corredentora” aplicado a la Madre de Jesús nunca pone a María en el mismo nivel de igualdad con Jesucristo, el divino Señor de todos, en el proceso de la redención de la humanidad. Más bien, denota el singular y único compartir de María con su Hijo en el trabajo de la redención y salvación de la familia humana. La Madre de Jesús participa en el trabajo redentor de su Hijo Salvador, que el solo puede reconciliar a la humanidad con el Padre en su gloriosa divinidad y humanidad”.

Por tanto el título y el rol de María como Corredentora revela la particpación única de María, su “co-laboración” y “co-operación” con y supeditada a Jesucristo el único Redentor de la humindad, mientras que al mismo tiempo llama a todos los Cristianos a cooperar en el trabajo salvador de la redención (cf. Col. 1:24). La enseñanza de nuestro Santo Padre que dice “la colaboración de los creyentes… obviamente excluye cualquier igualdad con él…”, corrige la declaración un tanto cuanto engañosa hecha por un comentario de la declaración de la comisión teológica de que el título de “Corredentora”, o la doctrina de la corredención Mariana, inapropiadamente “llama” a María a estar “al mismo nivel con la Palabra de Dios en su particular función redentiva”. Más aún, Lumen Gentium, n. 62 clarifica la verdadera participación de las criaturas en la única mediación de Jesucristo, sin ninguna confusión de ser inapropiadamente percibida como siendo “a nivel con la Palabra de Dios”:

“Porque ninguna criatura puede compararse jamás con el Verbo Encarnado nuestro Redentor; pero así como el sacerdocio de Cristo es participado de varias maneras, tanto por los ministros como por el pueblo fiel, y así como la única bondad de Dios se difunde realmente en formas distintas en las criaturas, así también la única mediación del Redentor no excluye, sino que suscita en sus Criaturas una múltiple cooperación que participa de la fuente única” (Lumen Gentium, n. 62).

Aquí no se está afirmando que los documentos del actual Santo Padre, donde el emplea el título de “Corredentora”, son los más definitivos de su pontificado como ha sido aludido por los comentarios de la comisión. Al mismo tiempo, constituiría aún un error más grave el declarar injustificadamente que las enseñanzas papales de Juan Pablo II y el uso explícito del título de “Corredentora” no tiene ninguna importancia ni significado teológico. Estas son claras y repetidas indicaciones de cómo el Santo Padre entiende y definiría lo que hace de la cooperación de la Sma. Virgen María en la obra de la Redención bajo la Cruz, algo singular y no-repetible por ningún otro de los creyentes. El decir que su cooperación es excepcional, no es que se esté diciendo que se iguala a la obra de Cristo. Y para designar específicamente la participación única de María, la “Nueva Eva”, con y supeditada a Cristo, el “Nuevo Adán”, como “Corredención Mariana,” de manera que se defina la singularidad de esa cooperación, difícilmente se ve impreciso y ambiguo –no más impreciso o ambiguo lo que sería para la divina primacía de Jesucristo, el definir la singular o excepcional cooperación de la Sma. Virgen María en la encarnación de Jesucristo como la Madre de Dios.

La objeción siguiente de que “los títulos como están propuestos son ambiguos” debe ser vista, nuevamente, a la luz de las ricas Enseñanzas Magisteriales Papales de los Siglos XIX y XX. No solamente fue el término de “Corredentora” usado bajo los pontificados de Pío X y Pío XI al igual que con el uso contemporáneo del presente Santo Padre, pero los subsecuentes términos de “Mediadora” y “Abogada” y sus roles, han estado aún con mayor frecuencia en el uso de las enseñanzas de ambos siglos en el Magisterio Papal. No solamente fue el término de “Mediadora” y “Abogada” están contenidos en las enseñanzas del Concilio Vaticano II (cf. Lumen Gentium n. 62), pero también han sido desarrollados en gran medida en la Encíclica Papal de 1987, Redemptoris Mater (La Madre del Redentor), con una completa tercera sección de la misma titulada y dedicada a la doctrina de la Iglesia sobre la “Mediación Maternal.” Quizá la “ambigüedad” mencionada por la comisión, proviene de una falta de comprensión de que el objetivo es la petición de la solemne definición de la Mediación Maternal de María, bajo sus tres aspectos esenciales de: Corredentora (“la Madre Sufriente”), Mediadora (“la Madre Alimentante”) y Abogada (“la Madre Intercesoara”), y no una petición para un “triple dogma” o de “tres términos no-homogéneos” como los miembros de la comisión anteriormente lo mencionaron. Los roles de una madre, como el corazón de una familia, son multiformes; la verdad de su maternidad es singular. Lo mismo tiene validez para la “Madre de la Iglesia” (cf. Concilio Vaticano II, 21 de Nov. 1964).

2. La Definición Solemne de la Mediación Maternal y el Concilio Vaticano II

También debe ser recordado que el Concilio Vaticano II fue por su propia definición no un “concilio dogmático” sino un “concilio pastoral”, y como tal no pudo haber sido el lugar más apropiado para una definición dogmática. Y aún así, los Padres Conciliares hicieron claro que ellos no intentaron presentar una “doctrina completa sobre María” y estimularon a un desarrollo futuro mariológico doctrinal: “Este Sacrosanto Sínodo… no tiene la intensión de proponer una doctrina completa de María, ni tampoco dirimir las cuestiones no llevadas a una plena luz por el trabajo de los teólogods”. (Lumen Gentium, n. 52). La historia de la Iglesia y sus antecedentes nos enseñan que la decisión de un concilio ecuménico dado, que no haya hecho una definición solemne, no necesariamente impide que venga una definición solemne en forma de ex cathedra en el futuro. Por ejemplo, la petición para la definición solemne de la Asunción de María fue elevada y rechazada en el Concilio Vaticano I, pero esto no necesariamente impidió que después viniera una definición solemne de la Asunción, hecha por Pío XII, en una expresión ex cathedra. No existen razones suficientes como para concluir que debido a que el Vaticano II se abstuvo de usar el término de “Corredentora”, entonces por tanto el Concilio intentaba que la Iglesia abandonara el uso de este título para siempre. La doctrina mariológica, el lenguaje y el uso del título por el Papa Juan Pablo II, claramente hace que tal decisión sea imposible.

Por esta y muchas otras razones, por tanto, la rica doctrina mariológica desarrollada en la materia de la Mediación Maternal de María, proveída por las enseñanzas Papales de Juan Pablo II, como un desarrollo fructífero de las enseñanzas del Concilio Vaticano II simplemente no puede ser ignorada. Debemos ser cuidadosos de cualquier forma de estancamiento teológico que rechace el desarrollo auténtico de la doctrina mariológica, como está manifiesta por el presente Pontífice en los diferentes niveles de su Magisterio Papal, en expresiones a base de encíclicas, cartas apostólicas, audiencias generales y enseñanzas.

3. La Definición Solemne de la Mediación Maternal y el Ecumenismo

En relación a la sensibilidad a “dificultades ecuménicas” expresadas por la comisión, regresemos de nuevo a las claras enseñanzas del Papa Juan Pablo II, un reconocido profeta contemporáneo del crítico llamado al ecumenismo, como se encuentra en su reciente encíclica, Ut unum Sint. Dentro de esta instrucción papal en el mandato eclesiástico por una actividad ecuménica, Juan Pablo II específica que en nuestro esfuerzo por un auténtico Ecumenismo Católico, el cuerpo completo de la doctrina como debe ser enseñado por la Iglesia debe ser presentada; la unión completa en el cuerpo de Cristo puede darse únicamente a través de la aceptación de la verdad total, como está enseñada por la Iglesia, y que las “demandas de la verdad revelada” no previenen de la actividad ecuménica sino más bien, proveen los fundamentos necesarios para la unidad Cristiana definitiva. Ut Unum Sint declara.

“En relación al estudio de áreas de desacuerdo, el Concilio requiere que el cuerpo completo de la doctrina sea claramente presentado… la comunión total de seguro va a venir a través de la aceptación de la verdad total, dentro de la cual el Espíritu Santo guía a los discípulos de Cristo. De aquí que todas las formas de reduccionismo o de fácil “acuerdo” deben ser absolutamente evitadas… la unidad querida por Dios puede ser solamente alcanzada por la total adherencia a todo el contenido de la fe revelada en su totalidad. En materia de fe, el transigir está en contradicción contra Dios que es Verdad. En el Cuerpo de Cristo, “el camino, la verdad y la vida” (Jn 14:6), ¿Quién puede considerar legítima una reconciliación obtenida a expensas de la verdad?… El mantener una visión de unidad que tome en cuenta todas las demandas de la verdad revelada, no necesariamente significa poner un freno en el movimiento ecuménico. Por el contrario, significa prevenirlo de llegar a establecer soluciones aparentes que lleven a resultados no firmes y sólidos. La obligación de respetar la verdad es absoluta. ¿No es esta la ley del Evangelio?”.

En ese mismo documento sobre Ecumenismo, el Santo Padre defiende el ejercicio del carisma de la infalibilidad papal como un “testigo de la verdad”, que de hecho sirve como un valor y un fundamento para la unidad cristiana definitiva:

“Cuando las circunstancias así lo requieran, [el Papa] habla en el nombre de todos los Pastores en comunión con él. El puede también –bajo condiciones muy específicas claramente señaladas en el Concilio Vaticano I- declarar ex cathedra que una cierta doctrina pertenece al depósito de la fe (Concilio Ecuménico Vaticano I, Pastor Aeternus: DS 3074). De esta manera, al ser el testigo de la verdad, él sirve a la unidad.”

Las solemnes definiciones de dogmas Marianos, y específicamente el de definición solemne de la Mediación Maternal, no va en contra del mandato crítico de la Iglesia sobre la actividad ecuménica; más bien tales definiciones pueden servir a esta unidad, por la búsqueda de una perfección y claridad doctrinal, tal como la encontramos en las palabras del Cardenal John O’Connor de Nueva York: “Claramente, una definición formal sería formulada en una terminología tan precisa, que otros Cristianos perderían su preocupación de que nosotros no distingamos adecuadamente entre la asociación única de María con la redención y el poder redentor ejercitado por Cristo solo.”

Al mismo tiempo no deberíamos de estar sorprendidos cuando los hermanos y hermanas Cristianas de otras comuniones, que no aceptan el oficio y el carisma del papado, no estén a favor del ejercicio de este oficio específico que ellos mismo no lo aceptan como auténtico. Por tanto, el requerir un apoyo convincente venido de otras comuniones Cristianas y otros cuerpos eclesiásticos, como una condición requisito para ejercer la infalibilidad papal, sería como eliminar –prácticamente hablando- el carisma dado por el Espíritu Santo a la Iglesia de Cristo en la búsqueda de una claridad y perfección doctrinal.

La Santísima Virgen María no debe ser vista como un obstáculo, sino más bien como un instrumento y una madre del movimiento ecuménico (cf. Redemptoris Mater, n. 30), recordando que nadie une a los hijos de una familia más que como lo hace la madre de la familia. Dejemos confiadamente tales decisiones de la temporalidad y oportunidad de una definición solemne de la Mediación Maternal a nuestro Vicario de Cristo, el Papa Juan Pablo II, quien es al mismo tiempo las dos cosas totalmente Mariano y totalmente ecuménico.

4. Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici

La organización internacional Católica, Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici (la voz del Pueblo por María Mediadora), es el movimiento principal entre otras, que pide al Santo padre el Papa Juan Pablo II, que defina solemnemente la Mediación Maternal de la Santísima Virgen María. Esta organización internacional Católica lleva consigo el apoyo episcopal de más de 500 Obispos, incluyendo a 42 Cardenales y 4.5 millones de peticiones de fieles representantes de 155 países, todos unidos en pedir la solemne definición de la Mediación Maternal de Nuestra Señora. Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici trabaja en completa obediencia y solidaridad con el magisterio papal del Papa Juan Pablo II al ejercer su derecho y deber canónico como está manifestado en el Canon 212,d2,3:

“Los fieles Cristianos tiene la libertad de dar a conocer sus necesidades–especialmente la sespirituales- y sus deseos a los pastores de la Iglesia”; “De acuerdo con el conocimiento, competencia y preeminencia que ellos poseen, tienen el derecho y en algunas ocasiones el deber de manifestar a los pastores sagrados su opinión en materia que pertenece al bien de la Iglesia, y tienen el derecho de hacer conocer su opinión a los otros fieles Cristianos, con el debido respeto a la integridad de la fe y de la moral revelada, dirigido a sus pastores, y con la consideración del bien común y de la dignidad de las personas.”

En el estricto espíritu y letra de este Canon, Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici continúa haciendo todo lo posible a nivel de oración, investigación teológica, catequesis Mariana y educación de los fieles, para asistir en la obtención de la madurez teológica y eclesiástica adecuada, a la causa de una definición solemne de la Mediación Maternal de la Santísima Virgen María.

A la luz de la objeción de la comisión de que la doctrina mariológica en cuestión aún necesita de “más estudio” y mayor “madurez teológica”, recordemos de nuestros recientes antecedentes de la Iglesia, que tal madurez puede darse en un período más bien corto de tiempo, basado en las mentes y en los corazones, autoridades, teólogos y laicos, dedicados al desarrollo de una doctrina dada en un tiempo dado de la iglesia. Por ejemplo en 1957, el Papa Pío XII declaró que la causa de la restauración del diaconado permanente en este tiempo, carecía de “madurez teológica”. Sin embargo pocos años después, en el Concilio vaticano II (1961-1965) fue cuando se consideró que el diaconado permanente “había llegado a su propia madurez teológica” y por tanto fue reinstalado por el Papa Pablo VI en 1967, un poco después del Concilio en 1967.

Resumiendo entonces, la declaración de la comisión, mientras provee una contribución valiosa al dialogo teológico concerniente a la Mediación Maternal y su probable definición solemne, no contiene una prohibición autorizada ni oficial de las actividades de Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, que continuará trabajando en obediencia y solidaridad con el Magisterio Papal del Papa Juan Pablo II, en la búsqueda por obtener la requerida madurez teológica y eclesial para la definición solemne de la Mediación Maternal, sea que esto se dé en el distante o “no tan distante” futuro. Sin duda, el juicio final permanece en el presente Pontífice. Y con toda la apreciación y el respeto que se merece la contribución de la comisión teológica en la materia de la Mediación Maternal y su definición, también sabemos por los antecedentes históricos de la Iglesia que muchas comisiones teológicas asesoras requeridas por la Santa Sede, han llegado a conclusiones que en última instancia no fueron adoptadas por la Santa Sede; el ejemplo más radical dentro de los antecedentes recientes de la Iglesia, fue la comisión teológica a la que pidió la Santa Sede examinará la cuestión del control natal artificial, la conclusión de la misma fue ignorada por el Papa Pablo VI, cuando reafirmó en su Encíclica de 1968, la enseñanza constante de la Iglesia en contra del control artificial de la natalidad, Humanae Vitae.

En Conclusión, se Expresan las Siguientes Declaraciones Sintetizadas:

  1. El Pontífice actual, el Papa Juan Pablo II, ha usado el título de “Corredentora” aplicado a la Santísima Virgen María en al menos 5 ocasiones de sus declaraciones Papales, acompañadas por tratados teológicos profundos sobre la participación excepcional de la Santísima Virgen María en la Redención de la humanidad, llevada a cabo por Jesucristo. Los títulos y roles de “Mediadora” y “Abogada”, están contenidos en las enseñanzas del Concilio Vaticano II (Lumen Gentium, nn. 61, 62) y han sido una rica tradición en el uso de las enseñanzas del Magisterio Papal de los siglos XIX y XX (con especial contribución del Magisterio Papal del Papa Juan Pablo II).
  2. Las enseñanzas del Concilio Vaticano II de ninguna manera prohiben una definición solemne de la Mediación Maternal, y de hecho hacen un llamado para un adecuado y completo desarrollo teológico sobre la auténtica doctrina Mariana (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 54).
  3. La contribución específica encontrada en las Enseñanzas Papales del Papa Juan Pablo II en materia de la mediación maternal de María como Corredentora, Mediadora y Abogada, debe ser incluida y apreciada en el desarrollo de la doctrina mariológica contemporánea, llevando potencialmente hacia una definición solemne de la Mediación Maternal.
  4. La petición de una solemne definición de la Mediación Maternal de María, de ninguna manera está en contra del mandato crítico eclesial para una actividad ecuménica auténtica. La “verdad total sobre María” como parte de la “verdad total del Evangelio”, servirá como fundamento para la deseada unidad Cristiana, como está enseñada por Cristo y entregada a la Iglesia (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 9, 10). En las palabras del Papa Juan Pablo II: “El sostener una visión de unidad que tome en cuenta todas las demandas de la verdad revelada, no necesariamente significa poner un freno al movimiento ecuménico”14 La Santísima Virgen María no debe ser vista como un obstáculo, sino como un instrumento maternal de unidad para todos los cristianos en el único rebaño de Jesucristo.
  5. El movimiento Internacional Católico Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, conformado por más de 500 Obispos, 42 Cardenales y la petición de 4.5 millones de fieles pertenecientes a 155 países, continuarán rezando y trabajando en obediencia al Magisterio Papal del Papa Juan Pablo II, procurando conseguir la madurez teológica y eclesial requerida para la definición solemne de la Mediación Maternal de María como Corredentora, Mediadora y Abogada, tal como lo es su derecho y deber canónico expresado en el Canon 212,d2,3.
  6. Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici deja a Su Santidad Juan Pablo II el discernimiento y la decisión póstuma de la “posibilidad y oportunidad” de la solemne definición de la Mediación Maternal de la Santísima Virgen María, y ofrece obediencia y sumisión total a su juicio final y definitivo.

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Por Dr. Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D.

El Dr. Miravalle es Profesor de Teología y Mariología en la Universidad Franciscana de Steubenville y Presidente del movimiento Católico internacional, Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici. Lo siguiente está tomado de su alocución dada en la Conferencia Internacional Vox Populi en Roma, Mayo de 1998.

Uno de los pasajes en la Sagrada Escritura más misteriosos, profundo y no obstante, fecundo mariológicamente, es el Capítulo 12 del Apocalipsis, Versos 1-6:

“Una gran señal apareció en el cielo, una Mujer vestida del sol con la luna bajo sus pies, y una corona de doce estrellas sobre su cabeza; está en cinta y grita con los dolores del parto y con el tormento de dar a luz. Y apareció otra señal en el cielo: un gran dragón rojo con siete cabezas y diez cuernos, y sobre sus cabezas siete diademas. Su cola arrastró la tercera parte de las estrellas del cielo y las precipitó sobre la tierra. El Dragón se detuvo delante de la Mujer que iba a dar a luz, para devorar a su Hijo en cuando diera a luz. La Mujer dio a luz a un hijo varón, el que ha de regir todas las naciones con cetro de hierro; y su hijo fue arrebatado hasta Dios y hasta su trono. Y la mujer huyó al desierto, donde tiene un lugar preparado por Dios para ser ahí alimentada mil doscientos sesenta días.”

Después de la victoria celestial de San Miguel Arcángel arrojando al dragón de la tierra, el drama continúa en el Verso 13:

“Y cuando el dragón vio que había sido arrojado a la tierra, persiguió a la mujer que había dado a luz al hijo varón. Pero se le dieron a la mujer las dos alas del águila grande para volar al desierto, a su lugar, lejos del dragón, donde tiene que ser alimentada un tiempo y tiempo y medio tiempo. Entonces el dragón vomitó de sus de sus fauces como un río de agua, detrás de la mujer, para arrastrarla con su corriente. Pero la tierra vino en auxilio de la mujer: abrió la tierra su boca y se tragó el río vomitado de las fauces del dragón. Entonces despechado contra la mujer, se fue hacer la guerra al resto de sus hijos, los que guardan los mandamientos de Dios y mantienen el testimonio de Jesús.”

Este pasaje de la Sagrada Escritura se refiere preminente e indudablemente a nuestra Madre María. Esta enseñanza es repetida por el gran teólogo del siglo diecinueve Matthius Scheeben (quien el Cardenal Ratzinger dice fue uno de los más grandes teólogos Alemanes de todos los tiempos), en el documento Mariano de 1967 Signum Magnum (“Un Gran Signo”) por el Papa Pablo VI, y en las enseñanzas magisteriales de nuestro Santo Padre Juan Pablo II. Es una revelación de la mujer que ha sido preparada por el Abba Padre para dar la batalla al gran adversario. La Sagrada Escritura empieza y termina con la batalla entre la Mujer y la antigua serpiente (Gén. 3:15 y Apocalipsis 12). Nuestra Madre es la “Inmaculada,” como San Maximiliano Kolbe la llama. Ella es la mujer sine mácula, creada por el Padre “sin pecado,” precisamente para que fuese capaz de dar la batalla con el Dragón antiguo.

El Canto de Salomón 6:10 nos dice: ¿“Quién es esta que surge cual aurora, bella como la luna, refulgente como el sol, imponente como batallones”? Es precisamente Nuestra Señora, la Corredentora, por que en el libre y justo plan de Dios, la más grande de las criaturas lucha contra la criatura más nefanda. Verdaderamente es la pieza maestra del Padre.

Además, la Escritura dice que la Mujer del Apocalipsis está sufriendo los “dolores de parto”. Ella grita en tormento. Recordemos, como el santo Padre nos enseña, que la Santísima Virgen María no tuvo dolores de parto al dar a luz a Jesucristo a la luz de su Inmaculada Concepción. Pero ella tiene grandes dolores de parto en dar a luz mística y espiritualmente a cada uno de nosotros, en dar a luz a ti y a mí al pie de la Cruz. Por que ahí como la Nueva Eva, sufre y se ofrece a sí misma en completa conformidad con nuestro Señor Jesús para que así podamos ser sus hijos e hijas. Los eruditos en Escrituras nos dicen que la Mujer del Apocalipsis es la Mujer al pie de la Cruz. El Padre Stefano Minelli, el eminente erudito Italiano en Escrituras anota:

“Como ‘Madre de los redimidos.’ María es la ‘Mujer… que grita en sus dolores de parto, en tormento por dar a luz’ (Apo. 12:2). Este texto se refiere precisamente al Calvario, o a la Mujer ‘permaneciendo al pie de la Cruz de Jesús’ (Juan 19:25), para ella que en el Gólgota fue constituida ‘verdadera Madre de los miembros de Jesucristo,’ para usar la expresión de San Agustín también citado por la Lumen Gentium (53)… ‘Mujer, he ahí a tu hijo’ y ‘la Mujer que grita sus dolores de parto, en tormento de dar a luz’ están mutuamente relacionados los textos y cuando son leídos forman una unidad revelando el misterio de María Corredentora. ‘Juan 19 y Apocalipsis 12,’ escribe René Laurentin, ‘checan precisamente el uno con el otro. En los dos textos la maternidad de María en relación con los discípulos está penetrada por el contexto del sufrimiento’” (Fundamentos II, página 101).

La Mujer del Apocalipsis es la Corredentora. Es la Mujer vestida con traje de batalla por el Padre y el Hijo para dar la batalla por las almas. Esto nos llama a cada uno de nosotros a una pregunta critica y personal. ¿Estamos listos y dispuestos, en todas las esferas de la vida, a unirnos a la Mujer Corredentora en la gran batalla espiritual de estos días? Así como nos dicen San Ignacio de Antioquía, San Antonio del Desierto y San Ignacio de Loyola, estamos en medio de una batalla espiritual, ya sea que la reconozcamos o no. Y quizá el lugar más peligroso de todos es estar en medio de una batalla espiritual y no saberlo. En cualquier batalla hay la pérdida de vida, pero en esta batalla la pérdida es más que de la vida; es la pérdida de la gracia, la pérdida de almas.

Esta es la batalla que sostiene por nosotros Nuestra Señora Corredentora, no sólo históricamente en el Calvario, pero ahora. La pregunta permanece para cada uno de nosotros: ¿Estamos dispuestos a entrar en orden de batalla por Ella? Un “fiat” a esta invitación demandará sacrificio. Demandará la horadación de nuestros corazones como su Corazón Inmaculado fue horadado; en algunos casos demandará el ofrecimiento de nuestra reputación mientras permanecemos al pie de la Cruz con la Corredentora. ¿Estamos dispuestos a permanecer con Ella? Esta es una pregunta que cada uno de nosotros debe responder de manera individual.

Apocalipsis 12:15 continúa revelando: “El dragón vomitó de sus fauces como un río de agua detrás de la mujer, para arrastrarla con su corriente.” ¿Qué es esta agua? ¿Qué es el agua que amenaza ahogar el Corazón Inmaculado? ¿No será en gran medida, como Su Eminencia Alfonso Cardenal Stickler aludió, las nuevas teorías teológicas que buscan minimizar y socavar el rol de la Santísima Virgen María en la Redención? ¿Aquello de negarle el rol de Madre de la humanidad? ¿Aquello de llamarla solamente “discípulo” o “hermana”, pero no “Madre”? ¿Hay acaso un intento generalizado de reducir el rol de la Santísima Virgen María en la Redención a un lugar menor a aquel que la Santísima Trinidad le ha dado, poniéndola como un observador pasivo o físico y no un canal moral? Aún otros parecen negarle su rol corredentivo Inmaculado, con Jesús como nada más allá de lo que cualquiera de las experiencias del resto de la Iglesia, negándole la singularidad de su Inmaculada Concepción y cooperación en comparación a la nuestra; negando la legitimidad y primacía de una mariología Cristológica, como el fundamento esencial de una auténtica mariología eclesiológica.

Como la Corredentora, Mediadora y Abogada, está en el corazón de la acción Trinitaria de la Santificación, siempre y por siempre como criatura, pero aún así, en el corazón por que coopera, de una manera tan singular e íntimamente unida en la obra Trinitaria de la Redención y de la Santificación.

Es interesante anotar que en 1930 nuestra Santísima Madre reveló a la visionaria de Fátima, Hermana Lucía, las cinco más grandes ofensas contra su Corazón Inmaculado. Tres de las cinco ofensas versan sobre la negación de la verdad dogmática y doctrinal sobre Ella. El negar los dogmas y doctrinas de Nuestra Señora es negar su misma persona, su mismo Corazón.

La primera ofensa contra el Corazón Inmaculado es el negar su Concepción Inmaculada. La segunda, constituye blasfemias contra su virginidad perpetua. La tercera, es negar a Nuestra Señora como la Madre de Dios y Madre espiritual de toda la humanidad. Considerar las heridas que esto causa en el Corazón Inmaculado de esta mujer que sufre y continúa sufriendo místicamente, para mediar las gracias al corazón humano, mientras que muchos de sus hijos rechazan el don de su corazón maternal dado por Su Hijo en el Calvario. Y aún así en su amor maternal, Nuestra Madre medía las gracias por estos Cristianos que la rechazan, por que los ama sin condición. Este es el amor del Corazón de una madre.

La cuarta ofensa que una vez más quebranta el corazón maternal: aquellos que públicamente atentan inculcar en los corazones de los niños indiferencia, desprecio, o aún odio, a su Corazón Inmaculado. Siempre que le negamos a un niño su madre, causamos un gran detrimento al niño y horadamos el corazón de la madre. La quinta ofensa contra el Corazón Inmaculado, es la profanación de sus estatuas e imágenes, por que en un sentido estricto, especialmente en el Oriente, donde sus iconos santos son tan reverenciados, son una manifestación de su presencia real.

El extinto Arzobispo Fulton Sheen, quien fue un participante en el Concilio Vaticano II, recordaba lo que pasó en el Concilio cuando el Papa Pablo VI quiso otorgar a la Santísima Virgen María el título de “Madre de la Iglesia.” Inmediatamente surgieron objeciones de los teólogos.

Los teólogos objetaron por tres razones básicas. En primer lugar, objetaron, el título de María Madre de la Iglesia es contra la Tradición. Segundo, es contra la misión ecuménica de la Iglesia. Tercero, es una mala teología, por que Ella es solamente la hija de la Iglesia, no la Madre de la Iglesia.

Esencialmente el Papa Pablo VI respondió como sigue: primero, el título de Madre de la Iglesia está inmerso en la Tradición. Se encuentra en la imagen original de la Nueva Eva. Segundo, no es contra el movimiento ecuménico porque nada que estimule nuestro amor a Jesucristo puede ser contra el movimiento ecuménico, el amor a María fomenta el amor a Jesucristo. Por tanto, el amor a María solamente promueve el movimiento ecuménico. Tercero, Pablo VI dijo que el título, “Madre de la Iglesia” es buena teología, y para esto se refirió a la teología de San Agustín. San Agustín nos dice que puesto que María dio nacimiento físico a la cabeza del Cuerpo, Jesucristo, también dio nacimiento místico a los miembros del Cuerpo. Por tanto, Ella es ciertamente la Madre de la Iglesia. Con esta defensa, Pablo VI anunció y proclamó a Nuestra Señora como Madre de la Iglesia que llevó a los Padres del Concilio en palabras de Sheen, al aplauso más estruendoso durante casi diez minutos, que jamás se haya escuchado en la Basílica de San Pedro.

La historia siempre se repite a sí misma. Sabemos que ahora las mismas tres objeciones han sido levantadas por ciertos grupos teológicos, contra Nuestra Señora Corredentora y su definición.

Tratemos ahora brevemente con estas tres objeciones. Objeción número uno, que el rol de Corredentora no es una Tradición. Tal como Pablo VI respondió, podemos decir con absoluta confianza que el rol de Corredentora está inmerso en la Tradición. Se encuentra en la profunda imagen mariológica de la Nueva Eva, por que desde luego, la Nueva Eva es la Nueva Madre de los vivientes quien, con y bajo Cristo, el Nuevo Adán, participa en la adquisición de las gracias redentoras para la familia humana. Adicionalmente, el título “Corredentora” está registrado desde el siglo catorce. Ha sido defendido una y otra vez, no solamente por los teólogos, sino por las enseñanzas magisteriales de la Iglesia del siglo veinte. Nuestro actual Santo Padre ha usado el título seis veces, y también ha desarrollado una teología sobre la corredención Mariana más rica, más detallada y más profunda que ningún otro Vicario de Cristo.

Segundo, a la objeción teológica del dogma que no está en la línea de la misión ecuménica de la Iglesia. Vayamos otra vez a las palabras del Santo Padre. En su documento, Ut Unum Sint, claramente declara que la misión ecuménica de la Iglesia nunca lleva a la determinación de un desarrollo doctrinal propio. En esencia, nunca podemos diluir la plenitud de nuestra santa fe Católica en aras del ecumenismo.

De hecho, la vida misma del Papa, su propia misión como pontífice supremo, es un testimonio para nosotros por que es ambas cosas, enteramente Mariano y enteramente ecuménico. Estos no son términos contradictorios. En honestidad, debemos evitar la presunción que publica la opinión de que nosotros solos, basados en teología o dialogo podemos, sobre la base de nuestro poder y juicio, resolver aquello que constituye mil años de separación. Debemos ir a la Madre. Debemos, en humildad, darnos cuenta que sin la Madre que es el último instrumento de unidad, no tendremos unidad Cristiana. Con la advocación de la Madre los Cristianos tendremos unidad, porque una Madre une los corazones de sus hijos como ningún otro puede, y aún más de lo que los hijos se pueden unir a sí mismos.

Quiero anotar aquí un muy importante desarrollo mariológico y ecuménico, la reciente Encíclica Mariana de Su Santidad, el Patriarca Ortodoxo Ecuménico, Batolomeo I. En Marzo de 1998, el Patriarca Bartolomeo publicó una Encíclica Mariana intitulada “Sobre la Madre de Dios y Madre de Todos Nosotros en el Orden de la Gracia.” Irónicamente, esta carta responde de varias maneras muchas de las objeciones teológicas de Occidente que sugieren que no podemos tener un dogma sobre la base que sería “muy Mariano y por tanto anti-ecuménico.” En esta encíclica vemos a alguien que no está en total comunión con Roma hablando de la “verdad total sobre María.” ¿No es está una respuesta fuerte para aquellos que han dicho que Nuestra Señora no es la Madre del movimiento ecuménico?

Tercero, existe la objeción de que el rol doctrinal de Nuestra Señora Corredentora es mala teología. Una vez más debo anotar hacia el Santo Padre quien por si mismo ha respondido a esta objeción. Quiero leerles, tomado de la Audiencia del Miércoles del Santo Papa dado el 9 de Abril de 1997, cuando declaró específicamente que la Santísima Virgen María, participa singularmente en la Redención de Jesucristo:

“La colaboración de los Cristianos en la salvación se da después del evento del Calvario, cuyos frutos se esfuerzan por difundir con oración y sacrificio. María, por el contrario cooperó durante el evento mismo en el rol de Madre; por tanto, su cooperación cubre la totalidad de la obra salvífica de Cristo. Sólo Ella fue asociada de esta manera con el sacrificio redentivo que mereció la salvación de toda la humanidad. En unión con Cristo y en sumisión a El, colaboró en la obtención de la gracia para la salvación para toda la humanidad… A pesar de que el llamado de Dios para cooperar en la obra de la salvación concierne a cada ser humano, la participación de la Madre del Salvador en la Redención de la humanidad es singular y un hecho irrepetible.”

Solamente la Santísima Virgen María participó en la adquisición de las gracias de la Redención, y es por eso que, singularmente, lleva el título de “Corredentora.” Creo que otra razón para la oposición al título Mariano, Corredentora, es debido a nuestra misma falta de apreciación y entendimiento de nuestro propio rol en la Iglesia, nuestros roles como “corredentores en Cristo.” Juan Pablo II en dos ocasiones ha usado el término “corredentor” para todos los cristianos. Cada uno de nosotros está llamado a ser un corredentor como un ejemplo viviente al llamado de

San Pablo que llama a “completar lo que falta a las tribulaciones de Cristo, en favor de Su cuerpo, que es la Iglesia” (Col. 1:24).
Permítanme citar un famoso diálogo entre le gran y ahora venerable Cardenal Newman, y el Anglicano Pusey. En estos diálogos, Pusey rechazó el título Corredentora. Dijo que era ir demasiado lejos. El Cardenal Newman respondió: “¿Porqué usted protesta que nuestra Señora sea llamada Corredentora cuando Ud. está dispuesto aceptar el inmensurablemente más glorioso título adscrito a Ella por los Padres: Madre de Dios, Segunda Eva, Madre de todos los Vivientes, Madre de la Vida, Estrella de la Mañana, Nuevo Cielo Místico, el Centro de la Ortodoxia, la Toda Inmaculada Madre de la Santidad, y otros semejantes?” (cf. Carta Pusey, p. 78). Newman agregó, “Nestorio hubiese fácilmente llamado a la Santísima Virgen Corredentora, pero debido a que rechazó confesar que Ella es la Teotokos, falló en darle su gloria debida.”

Imaginen que una criatura da a luz a su propio Creador, que es lo que nosotros debemos atribuir a la Madre de Dios. ¿Entonces, el título de Corredentora realmente va más allá que eso? No, es simplemente decir que la más grande de todas las criaturas, también tiene el más grande llamado a participar con y al servicio del Redentor. Corredentora significa “con el Redentor,” no igual al Redentor, no en un nivel de mediación paralelo o rival con el Redentor. ¿Pudo nuestro Santo Padre usar un título que tuviese problemas intrínsecos doctrinales, como algunos críticos teológicos han acusado? Es nuestro Santo Padre quien salvaguarda y protege de depositum fidei, la plenitud de nuestra fe Católica.

En las apariciones Marianas en Fátima, nuestra Santísima Madre dijo “Dios quiere establecer en el mundo la devoción a mi Inmaculado Corazón.” Esta es una misión Trinitaria la cual nuestra Madre se le ha pedido participar. Dios desea establecer la devoción a su Corazón. En Akita, la “Fátima del Este,” las apariciones aprobadas que acontecieron en los 70’s, nuestra Santísima Madre dijo, “Yo solo soy capaz de salvarlos de las calamidades que se acercan. Aquellos que pongan su confianza en mi serán salvados.” Esto muestra qué central es el rol de nuestra Santísima Madre en la salvación del mundo y en la mitigación de las cosas por venir.

Tal como lo mencionó Su Eminencia Cardenal Stickler en términos de Nuestra Señora de Todas las Naciones, otra devoción aprobada, el llamado de Nuestra Señora es un llamado a la mitigación, un llamado a la intercesión en esta hora crítica en la historia de la humanidad. Para entender la urgencia de este llamado, lo único que necesitamos es leer las narraciones de los periódicos sobre las pruebas nucleares, la caída de los mercados, la conquista de la pornografía de la mayor parte del mundo Occidental, el trastorno familiar, la trágica matanza de las imágenes de Dios, por el aborto, en las entrañas de la mujer. Por esto la Nueva Eva, la Corredentora, está pidiéndonos hoy continuar con los trabajos en favor de la definición papal solemne de sus roles salvíficos para la Iglesia y el mundo. Porque entre más la reconozcamos, más podrá Ella mediar la gracia de la redención, paz y mitigación para nuestro mundo emproblematizado.

Otra objeción potencial al dogma es, “¿Porqué debe el Santo Padre proclamarlo, si ya está en las enseñanzas doctrinales del Magisterio?” Aquí entramos en uno de los más profundos misterios de nuestra fe. Es la interacción misteriosa entre la divina providencia y el libre albedrío. Dios mismo ha querido que la libertad humana siempre sea respetada, aún hasta la muerte y trágicamente en algunos casos, aún hasta la condenación.

Aplicando este principio de la Providencia y el libre albedrío a nuestro deseo por la solemne declaración del Dogma, debemos entender que solamente cuando nuestro Santo Padre, en su libertad como Vicario de Cristo proclame esta verdad Mariana al más alto nivel de la verdad dogmática revelada, entonces nuestra Señora será liberada para mediar las gracias especiales necesarias para la situación humana presente. En esencia, sus manos están atadas por nuestra libertad. Ella no fuerza a sí misma sobre nuestros corazones. Debe ser libremente invitada. Y por esto, hasta que nuestro amado Santo Padre haga la proclamación que yace en su corazón, no podrá mediar completamente el poder que Dios desea que tenga y la gracia que desea para nosotros en esta etapa critica de la historia humana.

¿Qué entonces debe ser proclamado? Específicamente, ¿qué debe ser definido? Estas simples verdades: En primer lugar, que María la Madre de todos los pueblos es la Corredentora, la Nueva Eva quien con y supeditada a su Hijo, redime a todas las gentes. Segundo, que es Mediadora de todas las gracias. Ella es la compasión maternal personificada. Ella es el don del Abba Padre para la humanidad, y medía, como el Concilio Vaticano Segundo nos lo dice, los dones de la vida eterna (Lumen Gentium, n. 62). Esto fue hermosamente confirmado en la carta del Patriarca Bartolomeo, cuando dijo: “Ella [la Madre de Dios] deliberadamente siguió a su Hijo siendo el mismo Dios, desde Su Nacimiento hasta Su Pasión y Cruz. Y el hombre Dios desde lo alto de la Cruz envió a su más santa madre a todos nosotros como nuestra Madre en el orden de la gracia.” Tercero, ella es Abogada, es la dulce portadora de todas nuestra oraciones al corazón de su más precioso Hijo.

El Dogma será una realidad, como yo lo creo, es el primero y el más importante de los dones de la Trinidad a María, antes de que sea nuestro don a Ella. Y cuando esto suceda, se iniciará el Triunfo del Corazón Inmaculado de nuestra Madre como fue profetizado en Fátima. Será un medio de gracia más allá del entendimiento humano, conduciendo a “una nueva primavera para la Iglesia,” una primavera espiritual y global de paz, la cual todos deseamos.

El Capítulo 12 del Apocalipsis, revela además: “la mujer huyó al desierto, donde tiene un lugar preparado por Dios… “ (v. 6), y “Pero la tierra vino en auxilio de la mujer…” (v. 16). ¿Dónde está el desierto preparado por el Padre para esta mujer? ¿Adónde va huir la mujer de las aguas vomitadas por la serpiente? ¿Dónde está su refugio? Irónica y paradójicamente su refugio está en nuestros corazones. Su lugar de seguridad está en los corazones de sus hijos e hijas que se han consagrado a sí mismos sin condición, a su Corazón Inmaculado. Y la puerta a este refugio es nuestra libertad, nuestro fiat. Debemos decir “si” abriéndole nuestros corazones. Si rechazamos, si no permitimos a nuestra Madre que entre a nuestros corazones, no somos mejores que los guardianes en el mesón en Belén, no teniendo lugar para el Niño y Su Madre en los más íntimos santuarios de nuestros corazones.

Quiero leerles, tomado de un manuscrito inédito, las palabras de San Maximiliano Kolbe dadas en Japón en principio de los 40’s:

“En la Iglesia Católica aún no han declarado oficialmente en público como cierto la creencia de que la Inmaculada es la Mediadora de Todas las Gracias. Pero es una verdad cierta. Ha sido muy bien conocida desde el tiempo de la venida de los Cristianos… Pero cuando los fieles expresan un deseo requiriendo que se admita como una creencia pública, la Iglesia debe verificar esta verdad y declararla… La fuente de todas las gracias es Dios. Todo empieza con Dios. Pero las gracias dadas a los seres humanos no son dadas directamente por Dios sino a través de María. Si usted tiene tiempo de discutir o debatir el tema, debería emplearlo más bien para rezar más. Santa María estaría muy complacida si rezáramos por la proclamación anticipada de que es la Mediadora de Todas las Gracias.”

Obedezcamos el llamado de San Maximiliano. Más que una excesiva discusión o debate con relación al Quinto Dogma Mariano “recemos más.” Recemos por los dones del Espíritu Santo, siempre a través de la Inmaculada, y por la gracia para cada uno de nosotros, nuestros propios caminos, para unirnos en el orden de batalla con la Corredentora, por la proclamación papal de sus títulos, sus acciones maternales de santificación, tan desesperadamente necesitadas por la Iglesia y el mundo de hoy. Hagamos de nuevo nuestra parte en lograr el cumplimiento de la gran profecía Mariana que “todas las generaciones me llamarán bienaventurada” (Lc 1:48), y la gran profecía de Fátima que, “Al final, mi Corazón Inmaculado triunfará.”

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The Holy Spirit Petition from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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The Sacred Heart and a New Pentecost from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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From the cross, the dying Christ gave his mother to John, his “beloved disciple and, ultimately, to all humanity: When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said this mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother” (Jn. 19:26-27).
Blessed John Paul II explains how the gift of Mary as the world’s Spiritual Mother is a gift which Jesus makes personally to each individual and to all humanity:

The Mother of Christ, who stands at the very center of this mystery – a mystery which embraces each individual and all humanity – is given as mother to every single individual and all humanity. The man at the foot of the cross is John, “the disciple whom he loved. But it is not he alone. Following Tradition, the Council does not hesitate to call Mary the “Mother of Christ and the Mother of mankind” …Indeed, she is Mother of the members of Christ …since she cooperated out of love so that there might be born in the Church the faithful… (Redemptoris Mater, M 23)
…Mary’s motherhood which became man’s inheritance is a gift: a gift which Christ himself makes personally to each individual” (Redemptoris Mater, 45).

In his prayer consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984, Bl. John Paul calls Mary the “Mother of individuals and peoples” who knows our sufferings and embraces our human world:

O Mother of individuals and peoples, you who know all their sufferings and their hopes, you who have a mother’s awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, which afflict the modern world, accept the cry which we, moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to your Heart. Embrace, with the love of the Mother and the Handmaid of the Lord, this human world of ours, which we entrust and consecrate to you, for we are full of concern for the earthly and eternal destiny of individuals and peoples…(March 25, 2004, L’O R, p.8).

The Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council refers to the Mother of Jesus as a “mother to us in the order of grace,” (Lumen Gentium, 61) meaning that Mary is not a mother to humanity in any physical sense, but rather a mother in the spiritual and mystical order, precisely as a result of her unique role with Jesus (and completely dependent upon Jesus) in fulfilling the mission of human redemption:

She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ, she presented him to the Father in the temple, shared her Son’s sufferings as he died on the cross. Thus in a wholly singular way, shed cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason, she is a mother to us in the order of grace (LG, 61).…Taken up into heaven, she did not lay aside this saving office, but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal life (LG 62).

In essence, Mary is our spiritual mother because she participated with Jesus in obtaining the graces of redemption, and as a result, was given the privileged role of distributing the graces of redemption to her earthly children. Thus the Mother of Jesus participates in the mothering actions of interceding, of birthing, of nourishing, and of protecting humanity in the supernatural order through sanctifying grace.

How specifically does Mary act as a spiritual mother to us? She does so in the spiritual order in the same three basic ways that a good earthly mother does so in the natural order.

First, a good mother suffers for her child. This oftentimes happens shortly after conception, but certainly continues through gestation, at the labor of birth, and throughout the lifelong sacrificial vocation of motherhood for her child.

Secondly, a good mother nourishes her child. It is not enough to bring her child into existence through conception and birth, but she must also feed her child and nurture her child in love and formation.

Thirdly, a good mother intercedes for her child. A good mother pleads for the best for her child, whether it be in the areas of education, moral direction, social activity, recreation, in most all aspects of the child’s life. A mother’s intercession is especially powerful whenever her child is in risk of any danger or difficulty.

These are precisely the three foundational ways, that of 1)suffering; 2) nourishing; and 3) interceding, by which the Mother of Jesus exercises her spiritual and maternal functions on behalf of the entire human family.
Mary uniquely suffered with Jesus throughout her earthly life, but climatically at Calvary, in order to obtain of the graces of redemption for us all, like a New Eve alongside of the New Adam (cf. St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. II, 2nd Century). For this first role of spiritual motherhood, she has been referred to in the Church since the 14th century as the “Co-redemptrix.” Bl. John Paul II had specifically called Mary the “Co-redemptrix on at least six separate occasions for her role of historic suffering with Jesus.

Mary then distributes the graces of Jesus to humanity which were obtained by the Divine Redeemer and the immaculate human Co-redemptrix at Calvary. For this role of motherly “nourishing” in the spiritual order, she is referred to by the popes of the last two centuries as the “Mediatrix of all graces.”

Mary also intercedes for all humanity in the spiritual order, especially at historic times of great danger and difficulty, bringing the needs of humanity to the throne of Christ he Son. She also intercedes for and announces the coming of the Holy Spirit, which she did so effectively in the Upper Room gathered with the first disciples before the First Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:14). For this role of maternal intercession, Mary has been referred to as the “Advocate” for the human family since the second century of the Church.

Ultimately then, how is Mary the world’s Spiritual Mother? She is Spiritual Mother of humanity precisely through the exercise of her three principal spiritual roles of service to the human family as the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate. Her general role as Spiritual Mother of humanity is realized through these specific motherly functions as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. Mary’s overall role as Spiritual Mother is inseparable and put into practice only through these three specific maternal roles and actions in the order of grace.

Mary perpetually shared in the ongoing sufferings of Jesus throughout his life mission of salvation, and at Calvary she was “spiritually crucified with her crucified Son, as Bl. John Paul II taught (Jan. 31, 1985 Address, Quayaquil, Ecuador). In all his teachings, Bl. John Paul II made clear, once again, that as Spiritual Mother of all Humanity and as Mediatrix, Mary may dispense the graces of Redemption, only because as Co-redemptrix with Christ she cooperated in the obtaining of the graces of Redemption. The titles Mediatrix and Co-redemptrix presuppose each other and are absolutely inseparable.

Only these three titles and roles of Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate combined accurately express her entire mission as Spiritual Mother of humanity: to suffer and redeem with Christ, to dispense all graces of salvation from Christ, to intercede for us and to invoke the coming of the Holy Spirit of Christ, on behalf of all humanity.

Note here that we speak not of “three mothers”, but of one mother with three aspects of maternal service for her children. We therefore are not speaking of three separate truths about Mary, but one central truth, her spiritual motherhood, which is manifested in three profound and inseparable expressions of her spiritual maternity as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate.

In the messages of the Lady of All Nations, the Church approved messages from Amsterdam (local Church approval, May 31, 2002), the Mother of Jesus calls for the proclamation of the Dogma of Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate as the heavenly pre-condition for Our Lady to intercede for a new descent of the Holy Spirit, and thus to usher in a time of global peace, true peace, for the world:

The Lady of All Nations desires unity in the Spirit of Truth. The world is encompassed by a false spirit—Satan. When the dogma, the last dogma in Marian history, has been proclaimed, the Lady of All Nations will give peace, true peace to the world” (May 31, 1954 Message).

To join the movement in favor of a “New Pentecost” initiated by the papal proclamation of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood by Pope Francis, go to www.peacethroughawoman.com.

The world right now could use some help from heaven, like a new, historic, dynamic outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the Spiritual Mother of All Peoples. Join the petition and forward it on to the friends and family members whom you know will understand. The time is now for a New Pentecost through Mary, the world’s Spiritual Mother.

Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville
May 31, 2012 Feast of the Visitation of Mary

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Frente Del Folleto

En El Interior Del Folleto

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“Mediadora Porque Primero es Correndentora” (Opens as a PDF form.)

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Carta por el Dr. Mark Miravalle (Opens as a PDF form.)

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We find ourselves in a world scenario that is in several ways unprecedented.  Moral degeneration has never been worse.  Abortions, family breakdown, human trafficking, pornography, child abuse, rape and disrespect for women, homelessness and starvation – all of these moral crises are presently in record proportions.

Our global economic instability is, like never before, a grave financial danger for the entire world. Geo-political conflicts, particularly but not exclusively in the Middle East, and increasing international terrorism are also reaching new proportions.  Even natural disasters in the last few years have cost humanity in life and in economic recovery more than in any other comparable time period. [...]

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Peace Through A Woman

Published on April 26, 2012 by in Mariology

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A Message From Our Lady To Pope Benedict from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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You Can’t Separate Mediatrix from Co-Redemptrix from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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Introduction

Published on March 26, 2012 by in Mariology, News Commentary

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“Be it done unto me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38). Mary says “yes” to the Archangel Gabriel, and thus mediates to us the Redeemer to the world.

The role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the “Mediatrix” cannot be separated from her prior role as the “Co-redemptrix.”  When the Church teaches that Mary is the “Mediatrix of all graces” it refers to her spiritual role of distributing the graces of the Redemption to humanity.  But this motherly role of dispensing the graces of the Redemption pre-supposes her role with Jesus in the obtaining of the graces of Redemption.

“Co-redemptrix” is a Marian title dating back to the 14th Century.  Pope Pius XI called Mary the Co-redemptrix on three occasions, and Blessed John Paul II did so on at least six occasions. Co-redemptrix refers to Mary’s unique participation with Jesus in obtaining the graces of redemption for humanity’s salvation.

Mary helped Jesus save souls like no other creature.  She did so by freely consenting at the Annunciation to bring the Redeemer into the world, and hence giving the Redeemer his body, the human instrument of Redemption (cf. Lk 1:38; Heb. 10:10).  Mary also shared in the ongoing sufferings of Jesus throughout his life mission of salvation (cf. Lk. 2:35), and, most of all by being “spiritually crucified with her crucified son” at Calvary, to use Blessed John Paul II’s expression, (cf. Jn. 19:25-27; O.R., 31 Jan, 1985). Mary’s role with Jesus in obtaining the graces of Redemption precedes and makes possible her subsequent role in dispensing the graces of redemption with Jesus.  Mary is Mediatrix of all graces only because she is first Co-redemptrix in the meritorious obtaining of all redemptive graces with and under Jesus, the divine Redeemer.
Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix provides the historical, theological, and causal foundation for her consequential role as Mediatrix. As the Second Vatican Council teaches:

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and faithfully persevered in union with her son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim born of her.  Finally she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to his disciple, with these words“ Woman, behold thy son” (Jn. 19:26-27). (Lumen Gentium, 58)

Because of Mary’s coredemption or “suffering with” Jesus at the Cross, the Council points out that she uniquely cooperated in the Redemption accomplished by the Savior and, “for this reason”, becomes a mother to us in the order of grace:

Thus, in a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls.  For this reason, she is a mother to us in the order of grace. (Lumen Gentium, 61).

After her Assumption into heaven, the Second Vatican Council further instructs that Mary continues her role of motherly intercession to bring us the “gifts of eternal life” and thereby she is rightly invoked under titles which include “Mediatrix”:

Taken up into heaven, she did not lay aside her saving office, but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation…Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. (Lumen Gentium, 62).

Mary is first the Co-redemptrix, and then, for this reason, the Mediatrix.

In a recent March 18, 2012 message from the reported Medjugorje apparitions, Mary herself proclaims her role as the Mediatrix: “I wish to be the bond between you and the Heavenly Father – your Mediatrix.” Since Mary’s role as Mediatrix is inseparably united and dependent upon her role as Co-redemptrix, Our Lady’s words serve to confirm both titles, and most importantly, her desire that the world know and understand these titles. Yes, her words at Medjugorje do support and encourage the solemn proclamation or “dogma” of her united roles as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. Let the proclamation of this fifth Marian Dogma come soon, as the world right now desperately needs the full exercise of Our Lady’s powerful intercessory roles, motherly roles which can only be brought into full spiritual action through the solemn recognition and definition of these roles by Pope Benedict XVI, humanity’s highest authority and greatest representative.

Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville

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“Incarnatio redemptiva redemptio inchoativa” (“the redemptive Incarnation is the Redemption begun”). This patristic concept of the miracle of miracles in which the Second person of the Most Holy Trinity deigned to become flesh for us correctly conveys that the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is truly the “Redemption begun.” And yet, it was the Father’s perfect plan that such redemptive Incarnation take place only through the consent of a human, a woman, a virgin.

“Yes” to the Annunciation: Lk. 1: 26-38

“Let it be done to me according to your word”

Perhaps St. Bernard describes it best when he states that the whole world waited to hear the response of the Virgin, upon whom salvation was dependent: “The angel awaits an answer; . . . We too are waiting O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us . . . We shall be set free at once if you consent . . . This is what the whole earth waits for . . . .” St. Luke records the commencement of Redemption:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

He will be great and will be called

the Son of the Most High;

and the Lord God will give to him

the throne of his father David,

and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever;

and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I know not man?”

And the angel said to her,

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High

will overshadow you;

therefore the child to be born will be called holy,

the Son of God.

And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing is impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

“Be it done unto me according to your word.” With these words, words of a free and immaculate virgin, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. “The Eternal Father entrusted himself to the Virgin of Nazareth,” and the Virgin gave her “yes” to the Father’s plan to redeem the world through the incarnate Son.

For those tempted to dismiss the “fiat of history” as bereft of any real active participation on the part of the Virgin (as if her consent was only a type of passive recognition or simple submission), Mary’s “fiat” in the Greek is expressed in the optative mood (ghenòito moi . . . ), a mood which expresses her active and joyful desire, not merely a passive acceptance, to participate in the divine plan.

Redemption Begun  – Co-redemption Begun

As the Incarnation is the Redemption begun, so too is Mary’s fiat the Co-redemption begun. In the words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, “Of course, Mary is the Co-redemptrix. She gave Jesus his body, and the body of Jesus is what saved us.” The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that we have been “sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all” (Heb. 10:10). But Jesus receives the precious instrument of Redemption, his sacred body, through Mary. In virtue of the intimate and sublime salvific gift, body to Body, heart to Heart, Mother to Son, the Immaculate Virgin begins her role as Co-redemptrix in the donation of human nature – from the Co-redemptrix to the Redeemer.

But within the gift of body from Mary to Jesus, is the gift of heart bespoken in that gift of body. It is the gift of free will, of soul and spirit, unconditionally offered back to the Eternal Father, in the “yes” of the Immaculate One to His redemptive plan, regardless of the price.

With this “let it be done to me,” the humble Virgin of Nazareth becomes “cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race” as St. Irenaeus teaches; the “price of the redemption of captives” as St. Ephraem proclaims; she “conceived redemption for all”  as St. Ambrose explains; and is rightly greeted, “Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve” by the eastern Akathist Hymn. St. Augustine tells us that the faithful Virgin first bore Christ in her heart and then in her flesh; and St. Thomas Aquinas explains that the Blessed Virgin’s free consent to receive the Word represented in a true sense the consent of the entire human race to receive the Eternal Son as the Redeemer.

The Immaculate One’s “yes,” soft-spoken to the Archangel Gabriel, is amplified and resounds throughout creation and time. It is humanity’s yes by humanity’s best, for she speaks not only for herself but in the name of mankind, when she gives her assent to the Father’s design for a Redeemer. The Triune God so respects human free will, typically fragile and fickle, that he awaits human consent for a mission upon which literally every human soul’s eternal destiny depends. Yet, above all human creatures, the sinless Mary is most free to choose, most able to offer herself to the Father for the accomplishment of his will. And when her consent is given, he generously responds.

Theologians have long examined the precise nature of Mary’s fiat in relation to her role in Redemption, and have sought to categorize it. Some have argued that her fiat is only a “remote,” “indirect” or “mediate” participation in the plan of Redemption, too distant from Calvary to be considered an intimate sharing in the accomplishment of Redemption. But in this we must remember the wisdom of the early Church Fathers, who teach that the Incarnation is the Redemption anticipated and begun.

If we examine the question from the perspective of God the Father of all mankind, further light is to be found: The Father sends an angelic invitation to his Immaculate Virgin Daughter, requesting of her a free assent to become the greatest human cooperator in the plan of Redemption by becoming the Mother of the Redeemer, including everything that is mysteriously part of that redemptive plan and role.

There are not two invitations. There is not one for bearing the Redeemer and another for suffering with the Redeemer – not one invitation sent to Nazareth and another sent to Calvary. Mary is invited by the Almighty to a vocation of the greatest conceivable union with the Redeemer and with His prophesied mission. The redemptive mission begins with the Immaculate One giving the Logos flesh, but it certainly does not end there. The Virgin knows that hers is a historical and lifetime vocation, that she is to become the Mother of the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah – the messianic mission, of which the Virgin, educated in the Temple, is well knowledgeable. Her vocation is a celestial call for an extraordinary lifelong suffering. It is an invitation to a vocation of being “with Jesus,” beginning at the Annunciation and continuing in heart wherever the Redeemer goes and whatever the Redeemer does. Always she will be his constant companion in suffering. At Calvary, the Virgin Daughter of the Father understands clearly that her consent to co-suffer in the great immolation of her Victim-Son was given thirty-three years earlier at Nazareth.

(Page 2)

Is this not the same with the “yes” that one utters to the various Christian vocations? The priest, the religious, the married person say “yes” on the day of ordination, profession, or marriage, accepting a lifetime of service and love in that vocation, without the knowledge of everything the vocation will entail in the future. Is the priest on the day of ordination given divine illumination regarding each and every specific joy and sorrow that awaits him in the life of priesthood? Rather his “yes” on the day of ordination is a “yes” to the entire plan of the Eternal Father for his vocation. The Father need not issue a second invitation before the most climactic aspects of his priestly sacrifice numerous years later, for the first “yes” of the priest is a lifetime “yes” to the entire life vocation.

The vocational “yes” of the Virgin of Nazareth is a lifetime “yes” to suffering “with Jesus,” from the Annunciation to Calvary and beyond. Seen in this light, Mary’s fiat not only begins her providential vocation as Co-redemptrix with Jesus, but it also begins an intimately willed and consented participation in the Father’s redemptive plan with the Son in its entirety, in whatever manner the mission of Redemption with Jesus is to unfold historically in act and circumstance.

Mary, with the fullest consent of her heart and spirit, cooperates “with Jesus” in the redemptive plan of the Father from that Annunciation “fiat.” There is never a time when she is not intimately, morally and directly cooperating with Jesus in the developing redemptive plan of the Father, which only reaches full maturity and mystical birth at Calvary. “Principium huius maternitatis est munus Corredemptricis”  (“the beginning of this maternity is the office of Co-redemptrix”). For this reason, it is best to describe the singular role of Mary in the plan of Redemption initiated at the Annunciation as the “Co-redemptrix begun,” and her climactic participation “with Jesus” at Calvary as the “Co-redemptrix fulfilled.”

Joseph’s Ordeal and Mary’s Heart

Soon after the fiat, an intensity of suffering begins for her. The Immaculate One becomes physically recognizable as pregnant. She is the Tabernacle of the Redeemer, but this is not yet known or understood by others. The Virgin’s suffering is multiplied by the suffering of one so close, so dear, so just, that it increases the sacrificial offering of her young heart. It is the ordeal of Joseph.

“When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly” (Mt. 1:18-19). After the Virgin’s return from Ain-Karim, during which for three months the Icon of Charity exercised her virtues at the service of Elizabeth, Joseph witnessed the early external signs of pregnancy, the sight of which brings him a great darkness of understanding regarding his betrothed and the Child she is carrying.

The deep interior anguish of Joseph is seen by Mary and she suffers with him. Within the illogic of external appearances, she is the very cause of his suffering. Even in this first of ordeals, the Mother and the Son are united as the objects of human confusion and seeming contradiction because of their united fiat to the plan of the Heavenly Father’s mission of Redemption. The Mother “with Jesus in the womb” suffers silently and offers this intensely, while her just and chaste spouse shares in an early passion of heart caused by God’s mysterious designs for human salvation. It is a test of Joseph’s faith, a measure of his love. Mary, Woman of Silent Suffering, does not defend herself. She awaits in the pain of silence and potential misjudgment for the Heavenly Father to defend his redemptive plan and his virgin daughter.

The Father does indeed defend her: “But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins . . .’ When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus” (Mt. 1:20- 21,23-24).

All those who are proximate to the Redeemer will have their share in suffering, including the Guardian of the Redeemer. Through his fruitful, exceptional sharing (albeit external), in the redemptive Incarnation and its hidden development during the private years of Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph becomes the spiritual Guardian of all the redeemed. He becomes Patriarch of Patriarchs, spiritual father to Jesus, spiritual father to us all.

Lk. 2:22-38 – Simeon’s Prophecy of the Co-redemptrix

The role of the Co-redemptrix is soon after confirmed in prophecy by the power of the Spirit of Truth.

The Virgin Mother, though not truly bound under a law given for an expiation of sin, nevertheless obediently subjected herself to the Mosaic Law. In the Temple she fulfills the duties of ritual purification, offering the “poor offering” of one young pigeon for a holocaust and another for a sin offering. There, too, she offers her male-child to the Lord.

In this great paradox, the Mother and Son, who will offer themselves as the “sin offering” for all humanity at Calvary, enter the Temple humbly and offer a sacrifice for the son who is the redemptive Sacrifice itself. In truth the Mother is offering the “rich offering” of the Lamb, the Paschal Lamb whom the Eternal Father will accept when his “hour” has come; the Lamb who is both Victim and High Priest.

Simeon is most likely not a priest, but rather one of the “anawim,” a blessed poor one, faithful to Yahweh and His covenant. Simeon is an old man of prayer and expectation, a simple member of the faithful, a humble voice of the vox populi, awaiting the Messiah in order that he may journey to his eternal home in peace.

The Temple is first and foremost a place of sacrifice. All that takes place during the event of the Presentation is a real and mysterious foreshadowing of Calvary, with the same two public persons, Jesus and Mary. Mary offers the child in perfect obedience to the redemptive decrees of God – at the Temple and at Golgotha – effecting a historical sharing in humanity’s liberation. She performs the offering of the Child to the Eternal Father, joined by the co-offering of herself for the unified goal of Redemption.

Simeon recognizes the child as the “salvation” (Lk. 2:30) prepared in the presence of all peoples, as “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for the glory to thy people Israel” (v. 32). But then the holy Simeon turns his gaze to the Mother of salvation, and prophesies that she too, in virtue of her motherly relation to the sign of contradiction, will experience a life and mission of suffering “with Jesus”: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is rejected – and a sword shall pierce through your own soul, too – that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk. 2:34-35).

If the Sign is rejected, then the Mother of the Sign will be rejected. What mother does not share in the suffering of her son when her son is contradicted? But if her son is the prophesied sign of contradiction, (in relation to which all hearts will be “revealed,” either for or against the true Redeemer), then she experiences not merely a moment of pain at the Temple, but a lifetime of pain as the Mother united to the Sign, a mother suffering “with Salvation.” No greater sacrifice will ever be asked by the Father of all mankind than the one asked of this Son and Mother, with its defining moment at the tree of Calvary. Yet this sacrifice begins long before. Indeed, the sufferings of the Mother begin before the sufferings of the Son.

From the moment of the Presentation, for a period of over thirty years, the Immaculate Heart painfully ponders the prophecy of Simeon, back and forth on different levels of consciousness and concurrent sorrow. From this moment on, her heart is pierced in anticipation due to the knowledge of the suffering awaiting her innocent Child. She will ultimately share the piercing of his Heart, to which hers is indissolubly united. “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (Jn. 19:37), and the pierced Heart of Mary will “suffer with” the Pierced Heart of Jesus, from which the blood and water of Redemption is destined to flow.

 

Footnotes, Page 1

1. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Hom. 4, 8-9; Opera Omnia, ed. Cisterc. 4, 1966, 53-54.
2. John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, 39.
3. I. de La Potterie, Maria nel mistero dell’Alleanza, Genoa, 1988, p. 195 (Eng. trans., Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant, 1992).
4. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Personal Interview, Calcutta, August 14, 1993.
5. St. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, vol. 3, ch. 22, n. 4; PG 7, 959.
6. St. Ephraem, Opera Omnia, ed. Assemani, Rome, 1832,  vol. 3, p. 546.
7. St. Ambrose, Ep. 49, n. 2; PL 16, 1154 A.
8. St. Augustine, De Sancta Virgin. iii.
9. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, Q. 30, a. 1.

Footnotes, Page 2

1. The patristic tradition which maintains that the original date of the Annunciation and the original date of Good Friday is the same March 25, seems to confirm the inseparability of the Incarnation from the Redemption. Cf. Tertullian, Adversus Judaeos, 8; PL, 2, 656 in J. Saward, The Mysteries of March, Catholic University of America Press, 1990, p. xv.
2. F. Ceuppens, De Mariologia Biblica, Rome, 1951, p. 201; cf. Manelli, “Mary Coredemptrix In Sacred Scripture,” Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate: Theological Foundations II, Queenship, 1996, p. 86.
3. Cf. Lev. 12:2, 8
4. Cf. Rt. Rev. Aloys Schaefer, The Mother of Jesus in Holy Scripture (trans. from the German by Rt. Rev. Ferdinand Brossart), Frederick Pustet, 1913, p. 186.

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When Bad Things Happen

Published on February 29, 2012 by in Mariology

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On Monday, March 26, the great Solemnity of the Annunciation, we are happy to announce the first public online viewing of “www.AmsterdamApparitions.com”, the official English website of the Lady of All Nations Apparitions.  This website carries the approval of His Excellency, Josef Maria Punt, Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam, who granted local Church approval of the Amsterdam Apparitions on May 31, 2002.  AmsterdamApparitions.com will provide you with an accurate translation of the Lady of All Nations Messages, the  “Eucharistic Experiences” of visionary, Ida Peerdeman, the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations for immediate download, petitions for the Fifth Marian Dogma in six languages, and numerous articles on the Lady of All Nations, the Fifth Marian Dogma movement, along with the official ecclesiastical statements from the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam.

AmsterdamApparitions.com is also the home site of the new dynamic documentary, “Peace Through A Woman”, a documented study of the predictions given by the Lady of All Nations, many of which are being fulfilled in our headlines today.  Narrated by Hollywood star, Martin Sheen, “Peace Through A Woman” has been aired in over a dozen countries worldwide, and is available for your own personal viewing by visiting AmsterdamApparitions.com.

Visit www.AmsterdamApparitons.com.  

Download the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations.

Download and mail a petition to Pope Benedict XVI for the fifth Marian Dogma.

Let us all do our part in bringing true peace to the world by responding to the call of the Lady of All Nations.

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Intro

Published on February 26, 2012 by in News Commentary

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A Marian Lent

Published on February 22, 2012 by in Audio - Mariology, MOAP Radio

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A Marian Lent

Published on February 22, 2012 by in Mariology

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Our Lady of Lourdes and The Lady of All Nations from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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The Comings of Christ and the Fifth Marian Dogma from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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VATICAN CITY, April 11, 2008 (Vatican Information Services) – The Holy Father sent a telegram to Cardinal Norbero Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico, Mexico, for the April 10 death at the age of 88 of Cardinal Ernesto Corripio Ahumada, archbishop emeritus of the same archdiocese.

“Deeply saddened by the death of the beloved Cardinal Ernesto Corripio Ahumada, archbishop emeritus of Mexico, following a lengthy illness borne with great serenity,” the Pope wrote, “I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to you, to the relatives of the late cardinal and to all the beloved Mexican people. I join you in commending this zealous pastor who served his people with such charity to the mercy of the heavenly Father.

The Holy Father continued: “His generous and intense episcopal ministry in Tampico and later as archbishop of Antequera, Puebla de los Angeles and Mexico, as well as his service as president of his country’s episcopal conference for a number of years, all testify to his immense love for God and for the Church, and his great dedication to the cause of the Gospel.”

From the Editor

His Eminence Cardinal Ernesto Corripio Ahumada, spiritual father of the Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici movement, was the first Latin American cardinal or bishop from whom we received a petition letter to Pope John Paul II for the fifth Marian dogma.

For the past 15 years, he has been an authentic champion and in one sense the greatest champion from the greatest Catholic contingent in the world—Latin America—for the fifth Marian dogma.

His loss will be greatly mourned and missed and yet we know that he will continue all the more powerfully for Our Lady’s final dogmatic crowning.

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Abomination of Desolation, Part 1 from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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“Do You Want to Save Time?” from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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Abomination of Desolation, Part 2 from Mother of All Peoples on Vimeo.

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