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The proposal that the Holy Father may declare Mary Coredemptrix with Jesus has evoked many voices expressing concern. This is especially noticeable among those on both sides of the Tiber who are interested in furthering the Ecumenical impulse released by the Second Vatican Council.

The mildest, and most common, reaction is that such a declaration of Marian dogma would be “inopportune,” suggesting that damage would be done to the fragile ties that have been knitted with great effort during the last thirty years.

Far from being “inopportune,” such a declaration is precisely what the ecumenical movement needs at this time to bring it to completion.

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By special request we are re-publishing the following article on the Rosa Mystica International Pilgrimage for Priests scheduled for April 13-19, 2005, as the article contains an official letter from His Excellency, Msgr. Giulio Sanguineti, Bishop of the Diocese of Brescia, which gives permission for a private priestly pilgrimage to the Rosa Mystica apparition site – Ed.

Recently, I was contacted by a group of priests who desired to organize an international private (non-diocesan sponsored) pilgrimage for priests in April of 2005 to the Rosa Mystica Shrine in Montichiari, Italy. Years ago, Our Lady had reportedly appeared several times in Montichiari (in the northern region of Lombardy) as the “Rosa Mystica” (Mystical Rose) and conveyed a powerful message of promised graces for the renewal of priesthood and religious life, particularly for those in crisis. The question raised to me by the priests seeking to organize the pilgrimage was: “Can we privately pilgrimage to Rosa Mystica in obedience to the Church?”

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My Marian journey began in 1960 when the Catholic world was waiting for Pope John XXIII to reveal the third secret of Fatima. Now, as we start the third millennium, there is again an eager anticipation among God’s people of an imminent theophany when God will manifest His presence to save His people. John Paul II, in his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, expressed this sentiment when he said that Our Lady’s words to the children of Fatima seem close to their fulfillment. The victory, he said, when it comes, shall be brought by Mary.

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The first foundation and the primary source of the devotion to the most holy Heart of Mary is the adorable Heart of the Eternal Father and His unfathomable love for the Blessed Mother of His Only-begotten Son. This infinite love induced our Heavenly Father to give us many beautiful images and figures of the most worthy Heart of His holy Mother.

God the Father, to whom we assign by appropriation the creation of the world, together with the establishment and fulfillment of the Old Law, was pleased to foreshadow, in every part of the universe and in all the mysteries, sacrifices and ceremonies of the Old Testament, His only Son through whom He created and willed to renew all things. Likewise, the Eternal Father lovingly prefigured, both in the visible world and in the rites of the Mosaic Law, Mary, the woman chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the adorable Redeemer. “It was she whom the Prophets foretold long before her birth,” says St. Jerome. “It was she whom the Patriarchs described in many figures; it was she who was announced by the Evangelists.” (1) “Toward her converge all the predictions of the Prophets, all the mysteries of Scripture,” says St. Ildephonsus. (2) Elsewhere he writes: “The Holy Spirit foretold her through the Prophets, announced her by the divine oracles, manifested her in figures, promised her by means of the things which preceded her birth, and fulfilled in her the things which followed it.” (3)



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When Our Lady revealed to Sr. Lucia the five greatest offenses against her Immaculate Heart, I have to believe she was being a typical mother to us by not drawing attention to the countless other sufferings she endures. Even within each of the five offenses are hundreds of distinct ways in which the world turns their hearts and minds from her.

In order to make some reparation for these little swords, and in honor of her Immaculate Heart, I thought it only appropriate to reply to an argument against her sinless nature:

If Mary was without sin, why did she make a sin offering at the temple in Luke 2:22-24? (1)

Mary made a sin offering at the temple because she, like Christ, was born under the law (Gal 4:4). In his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas explained that Christ submitted to the burdens of the law, like circumcision, even though he had no need of it. By doing so, he gave an example of humility and obedience, while approving the law and avoiding undue criticism, as he did elsewhere (Mt 17:27). Aquinas adds that these were […]

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In the storm of confusion and misinformation which has greeted the question of a papal definition of the dogma of Mary Coredemptix, Mediatrix, and Advocate, St. Maximilian Kolbe’s well known question regarding the Mother of God, “Who are you, O Immaculata?” takes on new poignancy and urgency.

Who is she? Who is she really, and what is God doing through this unique woman?

Mary is both Mary of Nazareth and “the Woman” of Revelation. But how can this be? Is she two persons? Alternatively, is she perhaps one person in two religious “costumes”? Is she only a model of fidelity, an exemplary disciple, a saint (albeit the greatest of saints)? Is she no more than a sign? […]

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The following article by the late John Haffert, co-founder of the World Apostolate of Fatima, the “Blue Army,” refers to two important interviews with Sr. Lucia of Fatima (in 1993 to Cardinal Ricardo Vidal of the Philippines and with Haffert himself on May 31, 1999) where the last Fatima seer explicitly states that we are presently in the “Third Day” of the “Seven Day Week” of Fatima.

On July 13, 1917, Our Lady of the Rosary stated: “In the end my Immaculate Heart will Triumph and a Period of Peace will be granted to the world.” The “Period of Peace” prophesied at Fatima which will follow the completion of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is, according to Sr. Lucia, still very much in the process of unfolding at our present historical time. We therefore publish, with permission, the statement of Sr. Lucia, which has been recorded on both audio and video tape, and documented, that the world is presently in the Third Day (the post-Consecration period) of the Week of Fatima, the Week which continues to have four more time periods or events before the completion of the universal Triumph of her Immaculate Heart and the consequent Era of Peace.

As Sr. Lucia directly articulates, “People expect things to happen immediately within their own time frame. But Fatima is still in its Third Day. The Triumph is an ongoing process.” – Ed. […]

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Introduction

The great sign which the Apostle John saw in heaven, “a woman clothed with the sun,” (1) is interpreted by the sacred Liturgy, (2) not without foundation, as referring to the most blessed Mary, the mother of all men by the grace of Christ the Redeemer.

The memory, venerable brothers, is still vivid in our mind of the great emotion we felt in proclaiming the august Mother of God as the spiritual Mother of the Church, that is to say, of all the faithful and of the sacred pastors, as the crowning of the third session of the Second Vatican Council, after having solemnly promulgated the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. (3) Great also was the happiness of numerous Council Fathers, as well as of the faithful, who were present at the sacred rite in St. Peter’s basilica and of the entire Christian people scattered throughout the world. […]

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Mother of Mercy

Published on February 26, 2005 by in February 2005, Papal Excerpts

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These words of the Church at Easter re-echo in the fullness of their prophetic content the words that Mary uttered during her visit to Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah: “His mercy is…from generation to generation.” (1) At the very moment of the Incarnation, these words open up a new perspective of salvation history. After the resurrection of Christ, this perspective is new on both the historical and the eschatological level. From that time onwards there is a succession of new generations of individuals in the immense human family, in ever-increasing dimensions; there is also a succession of new generations of the People of God, marked with the Sign of the Cross and of the resurrection and “sealed” (2) with the sign of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, the absolute revelation of the mercy that Mary proclaimed on the threshold of her kinswoman’s house: “His mercy is…from generation to generation.” (3) […]

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All of his life St. Lawrence’s preaching exhibited a penetrating use of Scripture, a point which comes to light notably in his sermons on Mary. In this excerpt he expounds the implications of calling the Blessed Virgin a heavenly portent.

Amazed by the glory of the image of the Blessed Virgin as a woman clothed with the sun, St. Lawrence notes the preeminence of the manifestation of her glory in the book of Revelation:

Often we read that God himself appeared to the Saints and to worthy Patriarchs and Prophets in order to manifest his glory, but he never appeared in such great majesty and glory as in the image of the Blessed Virgin in Revelation. He appeared to Abraham in heaven in the middle of the stars. He appeared to Jacob on the top of the heavenly ladder where angels were ascending and descending. (Gen 28:12-13). He appeared to Moses in a burning bush (Ex 3:2). He appeared to Isaiah upon an exalted and elevated seat with seraphim singing the divine “Sanctus” (Is 6:1-3). Nowhere, however, do we read of Him clothed with the sun. […]

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Was it the sun that danced at Fatima on October 13, 1917? In three phases the sun appeared to leave its central position in space and zig-zag towards the earth like a giant Catherine-wheel. Tens of thousands of witnesses thought the end of the world had come. People called out for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Multiple colors alternatively transformed the landscape and the people. Multiple colors for multiple graces. This was a miracle that had been foretold months in advance, even to the exact day and hour, by Our Lady, “so that all may believe.”

If the miracle of the sun that happened on October 13 was but a natural occurrence, a true physical disturbance in the sun, then it should have registered on astronomical equipment. None was reported by scientists any place in the world. People present felt they could reach up and touch the ball of fire before it reversed itself and ascended back into the sky.

Atheists who came to scoff were instead awestruck at the miracle. This testifies that what seemed to be the sun hurling itself to the earth was not due to mass hallucination. People who were expecting no miracle joined as one with the multitude of witnesses to attest to the existence and power of the triune God. Fatima is for faith, and this miracle was a visible supernatural occurrence to bring people to faith and conversion. It marked the beginning of an “explosion of the supernatural.”

If it was not the sun that danced in the sky, that luminous celestial body around which the earth and planets revolve, from which they receive heat and light, and which has a mean distance from the earth of 93,000,000 miles—what was it? I submit that it was a foreshadowing of a new Pentecost, a sign of the future outpouring of the Holy Spirit which was to be ever more manifested as the twentieth century drew to a close and the twenty-first century began. It foreshadowed the new Pentecost that will accompany the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pope Leo XIII had dedicated the twentieth century to the Holy Spirit, and heaven had taken the Pope seriously.

Members of the Church, especially as we begin the third millennium, are ever more conscious of the Holy Spirit in their lives. In fact, Pope John Paul II has said: “The Church cannot prepare for the new millennium ‘in any other way than in the Holy Spirit.'” (1)

The apostles were so powerfully regenerated at the first Pentecost with the visible signs of tongues of fire that it is known as the birthday of the Church. St. Augustine, early in the fifth century, said: “What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church.”

We are living during the time of the greatest changes ever witnessed in the world or in the Church. The last fifty years has seen more change in scientific technology and the acquiring of natural knowledge than any era since the beginning of the creation of man. The problem is that mankind’s morality has not kept up with man’s technology. Only by openness to the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the souls of individuals can our faith keep pace with the changing world. True faith does not change. It is immutable. But our understanding of the faith must develop ever deeper. For this and for increased divine life we need the Holy Spirit.

Pope John XXIII, soon after being elected to the Chair of Peter, suddenly announced in January 1959 that he, who was already seventy-seven years in age, would convene an ecumenical council for the entire Church. He was moved by the Holy Spirit to do this with the certainty that the Holy Spirit was about to bring a new springtime to the Church. Shortly before his death Pope Pius XII also foresaw this new springtime, and Pope John Paul II at Fatima in 1991 spoke of the Church being at the dawn of a new springtime.

The problems the Church faces today are not the result of the Second Vatican Council (1963-65). If this Council had not been called the problems in the Church of today would be much greater.

The Second Vatican Council was a Marian Council guided by the Holy Spirit. Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. The Council opened on the feast of the Divine Motherhood of Mary (October 11, 1962). It closed on the feast of the Immaculate Conception (1965). There is no outpouring of the Holy Spirit except in communion with the intercessory prayer of Mary, Mother of the Church.

Ten days after Vatican II opened it issued a message to the world. It said: “Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we intend to renew ourselves and to become better witnesses of the Gospel. We strive to offer the people of this age the truth of God in a pure form, so they can understand it and accept it freely.”

Each Pope since 1930 has said in some way, “Fatima is a reaffirmation of the Gospels.” Our Lady was a catechist at Fatima, trying to help us since she saw the lack of knowledge and love for Jesus Christ and His Church’s teachings engulfing the world. Heaven foresaw the godlessness of the twentieth century getting underway. Diabolic hatred and the spirit of atheism and materialism became the signs of the time, and brought the greatest persecution to Christianity in its 2000 year history. But Fatima gave a supernatural sign that the Holy Spirit would overcome the forces of evil in the world and in the mystical body of Christ.

Our Lady, after showing the three children the terrible vision of hell, said: “But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” That triumph of the Spouse of the Holy Spirit can come only with a new and special outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the life of the Church and the lives of us all. Her Heart, the Heart of Her Son, and the Soul of the Church are inseparable.

Our Lady started the charismatic movement of the Holy Spirit during this present age at Fatima. No less than Fr. Joachim Alonso, official historian of Fatima, said to me: “The Holy Spirit is working in the Church today through Fatima.”

On May 18, 1986, Pope John Paul II, looking forward to the third millennium, issued the encyclical letter, Dominum et Vivificantem, On the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World.

In the Holy Spirit encyclical the Pope said: “Thus one can understand the profound reason why the Church, united with the Virgin Mother, prays unceasingly as the Bride to her divine Spouse, … ‘The Spirit and the bride say to the Lord Jesus Christ: Come.'”

As individuals we must ask the Father to give us the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spirit is the Soul of the Church. Thus we can know that when we pray, think and act with the Church, the spirit acting in us is Holy.

Fr. Robert J. Fox is the founder and director of the Fatima Family Apostolate International, the editor of the Immaculate Heart Messenger magazine, and author of over 50 books. He assists daily at Mother Angelica’s Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama.

Endnotes

(1) Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994, 44.

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This extraordinary Marian encyclical, Ad Diem Illum, composed by St. Pius X, remains one of the greatest Marian encyclicals of all time. – Ed.

An interval of a few months will again bring round that most happy day on which, fifty years ago, Our Predecessor Pius IX, Pontiff of holy memory, surrounded by a noble crown of Cardinals and Bishops, pronounced and promulgated with the authority of the infallible magisterium as a truth revealed by God that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception was free from all stain of original sin. All the world knows the feelings with which the faithful of all the nations of the earth received this proclamation and the manifestations of public satisfaction and joy which greeted it, for truly there has not been in the memory of man any more universal or more harmonious expression of sentiment shown towards the august Mother of God or the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

2. And, Venerable Brethren, why should we not hope today after the lapse of half a century, when we renew the memory of the Immaculate Virgin, that an echo of that holy joy will be awakened in our minds, and that those magnificent scenes of a distant day, of faith and of love towards the august Mother of God, will be repeated? Of all this We are, indeed, rendered ardently desirous by the devotion, united with supreme gratitude for benefits received, which We have always cherished towards the Blessed Virgin; and We have a sure pledge of the fulfillment of Our desires in the fervor of all Catholics, ready and willing as they are to multiply their testimonies of love and reverence for the great Mother of God. But We must not omit to say that this desire of Ours is especially stimulated by a sort of secret instinct which leads Us to regard as not far distant the fulfillment of those great hopes to which, certainly not rashly, the solemn promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception opened the minds of Pius, Our predecessor, and of all the Bishops of the universe. […]

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In the long stretches of pagan night—before, that is, Christ suffered to illumine and redeem the dark—only the most illusory sphere of light existed on the far side of death. Infinitely remote, it remained that unreachable vault of sky to which the vast number of the unredeemed vainly sought entry. Because the time had not yet come for God, in the form of the Suffering Servant, his Son, to enter and set right the broken world, the soul of man was not free to soar heavenward. Pagan man might aspire to, but he could never attain the true abode of God, in whose blessed company the baptized alone were free to bask. As a result, the whole of pagan antiquity remained steeped in sadness.

We see this so plainly on the faces of those good and upright pagans whom Dante has placed in the First Circle of Hell, their appearance betraying neither joy nor grief. “They have committed no sin,” explains Virgil, who is among their number, “and if they have merits, / That is not enough, because they are not baptized, / Which all must be, to enter the faith which is yours/.” Consigned thus to Limbo, the souls of the unbaptized languish there forever, where, save for the sound of sighing, they do not suffer. Nor do they hope. […]

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The witnesses of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ have handed on to the Church and to mankind a specific Gospel of suffering. The Redeemer himself wrote this Gospel, above all by his own suffering accepted in love, so that man “should not perish but have eternal life.” (1) This suffering, together with the living word of his teaching, became a rich source for all those who shared in Jesus’ sufferings among the first generation of his disciples and confessors and among those who have come after them down the centuries. […]

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The first Christian pastors and theologians, who were so close to the apex of Christian Revelation when the Word became flesh and died for us, were certainly granted special light by the Spirit of Truth in their preaching and teaching of the Gospel for the early Church. Although none of these on his own can claim an “office” of authority or inspiration, nevertheless taken as a whole and confirmed by the papal office which is led by the Spirit, these early Christian authors (and martyrs in many cases) are rightfully revered in the Church with the titles of “Apostolic Fathers” and “Fathers of the Church.”

When the early Fathers turn their gaze to the redemptive Incarnation, they naturally recognize and reverence the role of the Virgin Mother of Jesus in the design of salvation. For failure to recognize the role of the Virgin of Nazareth as part of the salvific plan of the Heavenly Father to bring us our Redeemer would be to reject the obvious—to insinuate that the Son had no mother; that the angel sent by the Father did not come to ask for her free consent; and that she did not morally and physically co-operate to give to the Savior the instrument of salvation, his human nature. […]

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Mary, My Mother

Published on February 12, 2005 by in February 2005, Marian Devotion

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I suppose it is like a child who is raised up by his mother only to discover when he is grown up that she is not his real mother. Then his search begins to know his real mother.

Mary, my Mother. I was born in 1952 but for thirty-three years of my life I never spoke or thought about these words. They meant nothing to me. Yes, I knew Mary as the Mother of Jesus but not as my Mother.

For thirty-three years of my life I also knew absolutely nothing about the Catholic Church. I was born in Northern Ireland of a Protestant family. I was brought up as a Baptist in a town predominantly Protestant. Schools were segregated and I never mixed with Catholics. It was only in my early teens that I started to have Catholic friends. I remember when I visited them I had an underlying feeling that they were different because they were Catholic, and there was a sense of suspicion and fear, created subconsciously, I felt, by this segregation. […]

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St. Lawrence of Brindisi has written about the Most Holy Mother of God as profoundly as any of the great doctors and saints of the Church. Most of these reflections were written as sermons, among which are a series on the Marian visions of St. John in the Book of Revelation. St. Lawrence preached these sermons on the Saturdays of Lent in Naples in the year 1605. The initial sermon in this series takes up what one could call the first Marian apparitions. After her assumption into heaven, our Blessed Lady appeared frequently to her beloved adopted son, and St. John chose to recount one of the most magnificent of these apparitions in his description of the “woman clothed with the sun” (Rev 12:1).

In His divine plan for the salvation of the human race, our Lord wished for St. John to remain on this earth longer than any of the other Apostles for the good of the Church. The Blessed Savior did not, however, leave his beloved disciple without consolation, and one of the most precious of these favors were the visitations of His Holy Mother. St. Lawrence develops this idea in the following excerpt: […]

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The following is a letter by Michael O’Brien in response to a mother who wrote to him regarding fantasy literature and its influence on her children. Though she is a person of strong faith, she is finding it increasingly difficult to resist the continuous influx of disordered fantasy and other corrupt cultural influences in her children’s lives. She notes two significant factors in her situation, ones which are probably shared by most families.

The first: despite all efforts to keep questionable material out of her home, her children are constantly exposed to it through their friends, extended family, neighbors, in libraries and at school.

The second: they are too young to fully understand why their parents object to this material, especially since it is in the forefront of young people’s interests at this time, including all the families with whom they are acquainted.

This woman’s family is strong in the practice of their faith, and she strives to provide good cultural material, especially reading, in the home. However, the children constantly pressure her to allow them access to objectionable books, films, and videos.

Mrs. Smith’s reply follows at the end of this article. […]

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The subject of this theme is of such profound importance that it behooves us all to redouble our efforts to remove any and all obstacles to the action of the Holy Spirit that persist in ourselves and in the whole community of the Church. By the grace of God we have received from the Second Vatican Council some enlightenment and clarification on the Blessed Virgin Mary, on her function in the Plan of Salvation and on her relationship with the Church. These teachings are to be found at the end of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) following upon the teachings on the mystical and hierarchical nature of the Church and teachings on the Laity and Religious. The Holy Spirit obviously influenced many theologians and especially the Fathers of the Council to promulgate these teachings on Our Lady to the People of God. I have continued to express my thanks to the Blessed Trinity for the gift of this teaching.

However, while I deeply respect the very valuable work and effort that the Fathers put into the Council, with all due deference to them, I must confess that I found it difficult to repress feelings of dissatisfaction and a sense of something seriously lacking in the procedures and circumstances leading up to the final document. […]

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Jesus Christ, the Heart of the Eternal Father, is the Heart of His Holy Mother. Is not the heart the principle of life? And what is the Son of God to His dear Mother? He always was and will be forever the heart of her heart, the soul of her soul, the spirit of her spirit, and the sole principle of all the movements, uses and functions of her most holy life. St. Paul tells us that it is not himself who lives but Jesus Christ who lives in him. (1) Our Lord is the life of all Christians: (2) so who could doubt that He abides in His holy Mother, and that He is the life of her life, the heart of her heart, in a union incomparably more excellent even than with St. Paul and the other faithful saints?

Let us listen to what Our Lady revealed to St. Brigid: […]

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