Cardinals Lead – Time for Us to Follow

>> Monday, March 31, 2008

Mark Miravalle

Cardinals Lead – Time for Us to Follow

March 30, 2008

Over the course of the last few weeks, several events have taken place which one could rightly interpret as significant steps leading towards a potential definition of a fifth Marian Dogma of the Spiritual Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On January 11, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI released his 2008 World Day of the Sick Address for February 11, in which he presented his strongest teaching to date on Our Lady's coredemptive role with Jesus at Calvary. The Holy Father states:

For this reason, Mary is a model of total self-abandonment to God's will: she received in her heart the eternal Word and she conceived it in her virginal womb; she trusted in God and, with her soul pierced by a sword (cf. Lk 2:35), she did not hesitate to share the Passion of her Son, renewing on Calvary at the foot of the Cross her "yes" of the Annunciation. ... Associated with the Sacrifice of Christ, Mary, Mater Dolorosa, who at the foot of the Cross suffers with her divine Son, is felt to be especially near by the Christian community, which gathers around its suffering members who bear the signs of the passion of the Lord. Mary suffers with those who are in affliction, with them she hopes, and she is their comfort, supporting them with her maternal help. And is it not perhaps true that the spiritual experience of very many sick people leads us to understand increasingly that "the Divine Redeemer wishes to penetrate the soul of every sufferer through the heart of his holy Mother, the first and the most exalted of all the redeemed"? (John Paul II, Salvifici Doloris, n. 26)

On February 8, 2008, five cardinals release a press statement regarding their January 1, 2008 letter to every cardinal and bishop of the world, in which they invite the world's prelates to join them in their petition to Pope Benedict XVI to solemnly define as dogma the role of the blessed Virgin Mary as the Spiritual Mother of humanity under its three essential roles as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate. These five cardinals — their Eminences Telesphore Cardinal Toppo, Luis Cardinal Aponte Martínez, Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, and Ernesto Cardinal Corripio Ahumada — enclosed the following votum (or petition) and invited each cardinal and bishop to sign and to forward to the Holy Father:

Your Holiness, Benedict XVI,

In an effort to enhance the ecumenical mission of the Church, and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all its fullness, we, the undersigned cardinals and bishops who have convened in the favored Marian Shrine of Fatima (May 3-7, 2005), wish to express to you, Most Holy Father, our united hope and desire for the solemn papal definition of the doctrine of the Church regarding Mary Most Holy as the Spiritual Mother of all humanity, the Co-redemptrix with Jesus the Redeemer, Mediatrix of all graces with Jesus the one Mediator, and Advocate with Jesus Christ on behalf of the human race.

In a time of significant confusion amidst the many diverse ecclesial bodies of Christianity, and as well among non-Christian peoples concerning this Marian doctrine, we believe the time opportune for a solemn definition of clarification regarding the constant teaching of the Church concerning the Mother of the Redeemer and her unique cooperation (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 61) in the work of Redemption, as well as her subsequent roles in the distribution of grace and intercession for the human family.

It is of great importance, Holy Father, that peoples of other religious traditions receive the clarification on the highest level of authentic doctrinal certainty that we can provide, that the Catholic Church essentially distinguishes between the sole role of Jesus Christ, divine and human Redeemer of the world, and the unique though secondary and dependent human participation of the Mother of Christ in the great work of Redemption.

Therefore, Your Holiness, with filial obedience and respect, we wish to present you with this votum of our solidarity of hope for the papal definition of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God as the spiritual Mother of all peoples in her three maternal roles as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate, as the ultimate expression of doctrinal clarity at the service of our Christian and non-Christian brothers and sisters who are not in communion with Rome, and as well as for the greater understanding and appreciation of this revealed doctrine concerning the Mother of the Redeemer by the People of God at the outset of this third millennium of Christianity.

We thereby submit this votum accompanied by one possible formulation of the Marian doctrine which we, please God, pray may be solemnly defined by your Holiness:

Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of man, gave to humanity from the Cross his mother Mary to be the spiritual Mother of all peoples, the Co-redemptrix, who under and with her Son cooperated in the Redemption of all people; the Mediatrix of all graces, who as Mother brings us the gifts of eternal life; and the Advocate, who presents our prayers to her Son.

On February 11, 2008, His Eminence, Javier Cardinal Lozano Barragán, President of the Pontifical Council on Health Care Ministry presided over the official World Day of the Sick Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. During his homily and in commenting on the Holy Father's World Day of the Sick statement released earlier, Cardinal Lozano Barragán offered a profound teaching on Mary's role as Co-redemptrix with Jesus at Calvary, referring to Our Lady as the "Co-redemptrix" with the Savior of humanity. Excerpts from the cardinal's homily were published in the Vatican Information Service Web site:

"In order to respond to the full love of the cross," said Cardinal Lozano, we must pronounce "an unreserved 'yes' to the mysterious plan of the Redeemer, a 'yes' that means fullness of Love. This complete 'yes' of love is the Immaculate Conception of our dear Mother, Mary," who participated "on Calvary as the co-redemptrix (corredentrice) with the Savior. ... Christ on the cross suffered all the pains that his Most Holy Mother suffered. And she in Christ suffers all our pains, she assumes them and knows how to commiserate with us. Out suffering is also her suffering."

In the week of February 11 to 18 and continuing through the entire month of February and to the present, a great number of Catholic and secular media sources throughout the world, from Zenit News Agency in Rome, to EIN News in Belgium, to the Catholic Bishops Conference Web site in the Philippines, to Catholic World News in the United States, to the thousands of national, regional, and local media sites and Web logs the world over, are promulgating and commenting upon the cardinals' initiative for the fifth Marian Dogma.

What does this mean for those who have been praying and hoping for the proclamation of the fifth Marian Dogma for years? What does this mean for those who believe that with the papal proclamation of this Marian truth will come a historic release of grace from the Holy Spirit through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, something like the "New Pentecost" prayed for by Bl. Pope John XXIII at the Second Vatican Council; or the "New Springtime" prayed for by Pope John Paul II; or the eventual "Era of Peace" promised by Our Lady of Fatima?

For those who have been hoping for the solemn definition, it means this: Pray.

Pray for Pope Benedict and the fifth Marian Dogma in your daily Rosary intentions, your Mass intentions, and in your daily offerings and sacrifices.

For those previously unfamiliar with the movement or the importance of a solemn definition of Our Lady's roles as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate, I would like to offer here just one rationale for its present opportuneness.

Mary's titles are her functions. Her roles as the Co-redemptrix (or the "Mother suffering," cf. Second Vatican Council; Lumen Gentium, 58), the Mediatrix of all graces (or the "Mother nourishing" in the order of grace, cf. LG 61,62) and the Advocate (or the "Mother interceding," cf. LG 62) are titles which refer to Mary's motherly spiritual functions of grace which she performs for humanity. If these roles are solemnly proclaimed by the Holy Father, the greatest spiritual authority on earth in the name of all humanity, then the Immaculate Virgin will be able to fully exercise these functions for the human family in a greater and more dynamic way than ever. Many believe that the papal proclamation of this present Marian doctrine will effect a historic release of grace for this present moment of human history — a troubled moment for the world which we can all agree is in need of an unprecedented heavenly release of grace.

Why is the dogma necessary for the Mother of Jesus to most fully intercede for the world today? Jesus will not force his grace, nor his Mother, upon us. We must freely acknowledge her and her God-given roles for humanity, and this by Peter, the possessor of the keys of the kingdom (cf. Mt 16:15-20). Then and only then she will be freed by his "fiat" to her to exercise powerfully a new degree of her intercession of grace for the world. God the Father awaited the "yes" of a young virgin to bring us the grace of the Savior. Now, Mary awaits the "yes" of the Roman Pontiff to bring us a new era of peace and grace through the free and active recognition of her titles, which are her saving functions for humanity.

This is why we desire, we seek, we need the proclamation of a fifth Marian Dogma.

Today, the Feast of the Annunciation, we ask each of you to consider praying the Rosary in your families, your prayer groups, and in your parishes for the fulfillment of the request of these five cardinals to Pope Benedict for the papal definition of Mary as the Spiritual Mother of Humanity, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate.

Beyond prayer, consider teaching and spreading the existing Church doctrine about Our Lady's Spiritual Motherhood as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate in your homes, your schools, your workplaces when appropriate, and from the pulpit. Defend it as children should defend a truth about their true Mother — always with charity, but also with a holy boldness.

The Cardinals are leading the way. I believe it is time for us to follow, to support, to do our share to bring forth the great historic fruit of the fifth Marian Dogma and its consequent paramount graces of peace and redemption for the Church and for the world, especially in our present situation of global crises: moral collapse; natural disaster; war and terrorism.

I believe we each have a part to play in bringing to reality this dogmatic crown for our Immaculate Mother, the Co-redemptrix with the Savior. One prayer, one conversation, one defense of this Marian truth continues the momentum which I believe eventually will lead to the coronation day for Our Lady through a papal proclamation of infallible truth.

Out of love for our common Mother, consider participating by doing your part to fulfill these words of scripture like never before: "All generations will called me blessed" (Lk. 1:48). Pray for Pope Benedict and the Fifth Marian Dogma.



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