Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Will There Be A 5th Marian Dogma?

There is an article on Zenit referring to the possibility of a proclaimed new Marian dogma relating to her mediation of all graces. This is a hotly debated topic by many Catholic theologians. Some feel that it is a proclamation that must be made, and others feel that it is either not the right time, or not necessary to do at all. What are the ramifications for making such a declaration by the Church? Will it really have an influence on how Catholics carry out their day to day devotions? Will it have an effect on our efforts to evangelize those outside the Church? Of course, if the Church determines to proclaim the dogma, then it really doesn't matter how those outside the Church view it. If the Church proclaims it, then it is truth, since the Church will not error in its dogmatic proclamations. It is however very fascinating to look at all of these different aspects concerning this possibility, and speculate on what effect it would have on the Church, as well as those outside the Church.

Some of the terms used in referring to Our Blessed Mother have been, Co-redemptrix, and Mediatrix of all graces. Pope John Paul II alludes to these terms in his Encyclical called Redemptoris Mater.

The teaching of the Second Vatican Council presents the truth of Mary's mediation as "a sharing in the one unique source that is the mediation of Christ himself." Thus we read: "The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary. She experiences it continuously and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that, encouraged by this maternal help, they may more closely adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer."98 This role is at the same time special and extraordinary. It flows from her divine motherhood and can be understood and lived in faith only on the basis of the full truth of this motherhood. Since by virtue of divine election Mary is the earthly Mother of the Father's consubstantial Son and his "generous companion" in the work of redemption "she is a mother to us in the order of grace."99 This role constitutes a real dimension of her presence in the saving mystery of Christ and the Church.
 Some people have questions as what this definition would actually mean. For instance, does this mean that "all" graces come through Mary directly? Does it meant that Jesus cannot, or chooses not to give grace to anyone outside of using Mary's co-mediation? How do we understand this meaning in its proper context? There is an article on EWTN by Cardinal Vithayathil, answering some questions on the subject pertaining to the benefits it would have on Catholics in their daily devotional practices. Below is a part of that article.

Q: What fruits do you foresee for the Church and the world coming from a solemn definition of Mary’s spiritual motherhood in her roles as co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces and advocate?

Cardinal Vithayathil: I foresee many fruits for the Church and the world as a result of the solemn definition of this dogma. It will bring more peace built on justice in the world. It will give a new spurt to evangelization. It will bring about greater devotion to Mary and confidence in her intercessory power.

It will make Catholics realize that just as Mary, through the merits of Jesus Christ, has become co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces and advocate for the whole human race, we too share in Mary’s threefold roles for the salvation of humankind.

Even though the content of the proposed definition is clearly taught by the Fathers and doctors of the Church, such as St. Alphonsus Liguori in his work “Glories of Mary,” an infallible definition by the Pope will help deepen the confidence of the people of God in Mary’s role as co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces and advocate.
There are many who have devoted a lot of time to developing an argument for the dogma like Mark Miravalle. You can visit his website here and explore some of his arguments.

I have looked to see if there are any bishops opposed to the doctrine, and I have found none so far. If you run across any, please post it on the comments section of this post. You are welcome to voice your thoughts on the proposed dogma. I think it would be a fun debate to engage in!

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