The following presentation was delivered by Dr. Mark Miravalle at the national Lady of All Nations Prayer Day in Amsterdam on May 23, 2010, Pentecost Sunday. – Asst. Ed.
On March 25th of this year, an international representation of members of Catholic hierarchy, the theological community, and laity gathered at the Vatican Forum in Rome to voice their favor for a solemn definition of Our Lady’s Spiritual Motherhood of humanity, both for truth’s sake and as a Marian remedy for the grave woes presently facing the Church. In the minds of a significant number of cardinals, bishops, theologians and laity, the best defense for the papacy of Benedict XVI in its present reception of ubiquitous attack is a Marian offense
Within the six months preceding the Roman Day of Dialogue, international Catholic press agencies had reported petition letters from collective groups of cardinals and bishops from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe which all respectively requested the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, make whatever he deemed appropriate as the next positive step towards the solemn papal definition of Our Lady as the Spiritual Mother of all humanity under its three essential aspects as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate. This international petitioning by world cardinals and bishops, combined with the previous January 1, 2008 request of five cardinals to all the world bishops to join their petition for this dogma, encouraged Inside the Vatican magazine to organize the Vatican Forum Symposium on the issue.
This Roman “Day of Dialogue” on a fifth Marian dogma (video presentations are available on www.insidethevatican.com ) highlighted bishops from four continents, Catholic and Protestant theologians, and even Vatican ambassadors.
“We believe the fifth Marian Dogma will help protect us from disasters.” So said Ambassador Mercedes Tuason, Philippines Ambassador to the Vatican. Ambassador Tuason read a letter from Philippines President, Gloria Arroyo, which was addressed and presented to Pope Benedict XVI on October 2, 2009, in which the President of the Philippines requested the papal definition of Mary as the Spiritual Mother of all humanity on behalf of the Filipino nation.
Asian bishops at the Vatican Forum Dialogue raised a strong voice in favor of the Marian dogma as a powerful aid in the Christian evangelization of Asia, and in particular, China. Issues which have dominated, and to a large degree paralyzed, ecumenical dialogues in the first world regarding Mary (for example, the communion of saints, sola gratia, sola fide, etc.), were discussed as fundamentally irrelevant to the myriad of still unbaptized peoples of Asia. “The Chinese symbol for love is a mother holding a child”, commented Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Philippines. He went on to explain that the concept of a mother bringing mercy and redemption to her children from a god is a standard and very acceptable idea in Asian culture. In fact, in some cases where an oriental belief system does not have a feminine intercessor between themselves and a god, they will invent one. “We already have one”, stated Archbishop Arguelles, “in the person of Mary, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate.”
Archbishop M. Chinnappa of Madras, India confirmed this same Asian appeal of a mother who brings God’s grace and mercy to humanity. He reported that the multi-religious peoples of India as the world’s second largest country flock to Marian shrines because of the comfort they receive from the concept and the actual intercession of a mother. Archbishop Chinnappa also referred to the enthusiastic reception he has received from Muslims, Hindus and Christians alike to his own repeated teachings of Our Lady’s role as the human race’s spiritual mother and of its solemn papal proclamation-an enthusiastically positive response which he has received not only in India, but in the other 10 countries in which he has preached and taught the need for a fifth Marian dogma.
Former Argentine Military Bishop, Bishop A. Baseotto, defended the Co-redemptrix title as a traditional and appropriate Catholic title to describe Mary’s historic sufferings with Jesus in the work of Redemption. The Argentine prelate, well-known for his courageous stand against the Argentine government’s use of contraception and abortion back in 2004, relayed the massive Latin American support for this potential papal Marian definition, which include hundreds of bishops, millions of faithful, and contemplative religious sisters and brothers in the thousands who daily pray that Pope Benedict will proclaim this Marian dogma.
The principal objection posed to the Marian definition over the last few years has been its alleged negative effect on ecumenism, under the protest that several Christian bodies outside of communion with Rome would oppose any expression of papal infallibility, let alone a Marian definition. In response, Anglican theologian, Dr. Judith Gentle, a member of Our Lady of Walsingham Mariological Society in England, referred to the potential Marian dogma by the Roman pope as that which would constitute the actual remedy for the ecumenical difficulties we presently face.
“Far from being the obstacle”, remarked Dr. Gentle, “the entrance of a mother into the efforts to unite the family of Christ is precisely what is needed at this point in the ecumenical journey.” The Anglican theologian stated that she and many other “households of Christian faith” look to the “bishop of Rome” as the only person and office to effect this ecumenical remedy, by proclaiming and thereby releasing the mother of Jesus to intercede for Christian unity, a unity in the Body of Christ which is simply beyond our own human abilities.
At one point in the dialogue, a member of the audience raised the objection: “Why impose a new dogma on the people, if this Marian doctrine is already something taught by Church?” Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of Nigeria responded that the question itself reflected a mistaken concept of Catholic dogma.
“Church dogmas are not imposed, but rather proposed,” the Nigerian bishop stated, in the sense that they reflect divinely revealed truths which call all members of the Church to accept and celebrate. The better a truth can be proposed in the form of a solemn definition, the more it leads to a proper understanding and free consent to the Gospel truth which the dogma embodies. One’s freedom comes in when accepting or refusing to be Catholic-not in what doctrines or dogmas, objectively true in themselves, one wishes to assent to as a Catholic.
A dogma is the “perfection of a doctrine”, as Blessed Pius IX noted in his solemn definition of the Immaculate Conception. If a doctrine is officially taught by the Magisterium, as is the doctrine of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood, it is already something obliging the faithful to a religious assent of mind and will to the manifest mind of the Pope (cf. Lumen Gentium, 25).
The apparitions and messages of the Lady of All Nations offer supernatural confirmation of the inspiration received by Church leaders such as Cardinal Mercier of Belgium and St. Maximilian Kolbe who had already followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit in initiating and supporting an ecclesial movement for the solemn papal definition of the universal mediation of Our Lady back in the 1920’s. In her profoundly supernatural calls, The Lady of All Nations directs all humanity to “pray the prayer” given by The Lady for the Dogma of Mary, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate, and to “petition the Holy Father for this dogma” (May 31, 1954).
The Lady also states that the Church itself will become stronger in direct proportion to the positive efforts which Rome will put forth in support of this Marian Dogma:
The new dogma will be the ‘dogma of the Co-redemptrix.’ Notice I lay special emphasis on the “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 become stronger and mightier in proportion to the resistance she puts up in the struggle (April 29, 1951).
Our Lady confirms not only the struggle with regards to the fifth Marian dogma, but also the prophetic guarantee and providential certainty of its positive fulfillment : ” 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.” (April 29, 1951).”
Hence, each one of us is called to respond generously to Our Mother’s direct request to daily pray the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations, and to petition the Holy Father for this solemn proclamation, as the Dogma is, in essence, the key to the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary prophesied at Fatima, and constitutes heaven’s ordained means by which to bring a true period of peace into the world through the Mother’s unique intercession: As the Lady teaches: “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).
In regards to Pope Benedict and his recent Fatima pilgrimage, I am happy to present to you some extremely encouraging news. During Pope Benedict’s Fatima visit of May 12-13, 2010, our Holy Father used expressions that led various international Catholic news agencies to contact me to ask whether these choice wordings were as significant for the fifth Marian Dogma as they themselves thought. My answer is “Yes.”
During Pope Benedict’s sublime Prayer of Marian Entrustment of Priests on May 12th, he refers to Our Lady as the “Advocate and Mediatrix of Grace.” Knowing of the recent international petitioning from cardinals and bishops from four continents, of the requests from Vatican national ambassadors, as well as the over 7 million petitions from the world’s faithful which continue to consistently pour in to the Vatican, several commentators has stated that Pope Benedict would not have used these terms together – terms which have direct association with the request for the fifth Dogma – if he did not wish to send an encouragement to so many of you who have been praying and offering for this dogmatic crown for many years, and to advance a theological preparation for something more.
On the following day, the great May 13 Fatima anniversary, Pope Benedict offered a succinct but profound teaching on Christian coredemption which climaxed with focusing on our universal Spiritual Mother at the foot of the cross. As the Holy Father was about to process with our Eucharistic Jesus amidst the sick and suffering, he identified those who would unite their sufferings to that of Christ as “redeemers with the Redeemer” and reminded them that at the cross stands the mother of Jesus, who is also our mother:
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…At the cross…stands the mother of Jesus, our mother. (May 13, 2010)
Here the Vicar of Christ illustrates not only that we are all called to be “redeemers” by uniting our sufferings with the sufferings of the one divine Redeemer, but also directs our gaze to the woman-mother who suffered with her crucified Son as a co-redeemer. As one Catholic journalist commented, “This can only support and set the stage for a deeper understanding of Mary as Co-redemptrix. What else could it mean, that we, as members of Christ’s faithful are all redeemers with the Redeemer in our sufferings, but Mary alone is not a co-redeemer? No, on the contrary, the Pope’s words are a theological preparation.”
During his plane flight en route to Fatima on May 11, the Holy Father made some extremely significant comments about a proper understanding of the Third Secret of Fatima: that it does include future events for the Church and the world, and that the Church must “relearn penance” as it undergoes its “passion.” Would it not be of untold spiritual benefit to have the full exercise of the roles of Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate through the proclamation of the Dogma to help sustain the Church through its present and ongoing passion, just as the Mother Co-redemptrix helped to sustain Christ, the Head of the Church, through his historic passion?
As Pope Benedict sought Our Lady’s intercession on his Fatima pilgrimage for our embattled Church and papacy, we are reminded of a previous pontiff’s turning to the Mother of the Lord during a historical time of grave challenge for the Church. Blessed Pius IX was forced to flee the Vatican under violent attack from socialist forces. While in exile and after consultation with some Marian prelates, the battered Pontiff concluded that the ultimate remedy for the papacy and the Church in crisis would be to solemnly define the Immaculate Conception, and by so doing, to bring Our Lady’s powerful intercession into that historical situation of ecclesiastical upheaval. Bl. Pius IX did define Our Lady’s dogma, and the papacy and the Church was soon restored to its previous respect, and significantly beyond.
Could we not be facing a parallel situation in our own day, when the world’s secular media and even some mistaken members of the Church are clamoring for the resignation of our beloved Holy Father amidst our present international ecclesiastical crisis? I believe we need the same Marian remedy, when all human efforts of diplomacy and justice seem to be far from sufficient for the present crises facing the Church and the Papacy-a Marian proclamation which recognizes Mary’s roles of intercession and in so doing, brings them powerfully and historically into full action for our Church and for our Pope today.
Some might argue that because of the existing attacks on the Holy Father, the last thing he should do is to spark more controversy with a Marian dogma on Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood. But Catholic history and faith combine to show that when the Church has faced its greatest battles, whether it be Roman persecutions in the early centuries, battles from foreign invaders at places like Lepanto and Vienna in later centuries, or secular and media assaults in the third millennium, going to Mary with conviction and fortitude effects a release of grace that empowers, protects, and sanctifies the Church in ways that only can only be described as supernatural. The Church today needs a supernatural remedy. The Church today needs its Mother.
Finally, in light of the extreme nature of attacks being leveled against the Church, the unprecedented natural disasters, Middle Eastern conflict, and the overall moral demise of contemporary society – degeneration, disasters, and war – could we please consider adding some form of fasting to our existing prayers for Our Lady’s Dogma? I ask especially the consecrated religious men and women to please lead the way by example through some form of consistent weekly fasting or sacrifice for the Holy Father and the proclamation of the Dogma – the supernatural Marian remedy for the global maladies of mind and spirit.
Let us respond with a re-doubled commitment to the daily praying of the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations and the petitioning of Pope Benedict for this dogmatic crown for the Mother (to send an online petition to the Holy Father, go to www.fifthmariandogma.com).
May the Holy Spirit, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, bless you abundantly and eternally for your love and generosity offered for the Lord’s Mother and her crowning dogma as Spiritual Mother of all humanity, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate. May the New Pentecost, which will come through the proclamation of the Dogma and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, bring historic graces upon the Church, leading it through its present passion to a new, resurrected, Springtime of peace marked through a renewed faith in the Eucharist. No heart will be more grateful for this eventual dogmatic crowning of the Immaculate and Coredemptive Heart of Mary than the Most Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of her Son, Our Lord, Our Savior, Our Greatest Friend: Our Eucharistic Jesus.
Let us close by praying, each in our different native languages, the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations:
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.