Mary Page News

June 2, 1998

Mary Page is a link to a variety of information. The items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the myriad ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.

The Holy Spirit and Mary
Mariological Society of America Conference on Mary in Contemporary Art Well Received
Marian Pilgrimages
The Hail Mary in Various Languages
Summary of Reports of Concerning a Possible New Dogma

The Holy Spirit and Mary

Mary Page presents an article on The Holy Spirit and Mary. The following topics are covered in the article:

Introduction: The Year of the Holy Spirit, 1998
Sacred Scripture on the Holy Spirit and Mary
Mary as Image of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit and Mary in Iconography

You will find the article at: Summary of Reports of Concerning a Possible New Dogma

During the summer of 1997, both the secular and religious press reported that the papal definition of a new Marian dogma was imminent. The reports first appeared in the May and June 1997 issues of Inside the Vatican (New Hope, Kentucky). The glossy cover of the May issue stated, "Evidence is accumulating that Pope John Paul II may exercise the charism of papal infallibility, perhaps May 31 next year, to declare the third Marian dogma." and in the June issue, Patrick Coffin (media relations coordinator at the Franciscan University of Steubenville) wrote on the "new Marian doctrine." Both Inside the Vatican articles were centered on Dr. Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D., on his books and the movement he founded (Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici). The purpose of the movement is to petition the Holy Father "to define and proclaim the Blessed Virgin Mary as Cordemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate for the People of God."

Perhaps in response to these reports about a papal definition, Osservatore Romano published, June 4, 1997, the results of a consultation on the topic which had occurred ten months earlier at the International Mariological Congress, at Czestochowa, Poland, in August, 1996. There, some thirty theologians were unanimous in recommending that the titles not be defined. The titles, they stated, were in need of further theological clarification, and a definition would not be consistent with the directions established by Vatican Council II.

In August, Newsweek's cover and feature story was on the new Marian dogma, "The Meaning of Mary: A Struggle Over Her Role Grows within the Church." National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor also featured the reports. The story from the Catholic News Service ran in Catholic newspapers in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Seattle, Miami, Dallas, Orland, Phoenix, Boston, and many other cities. The number of these reports was the occasion for the reply of the Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, "This [a new Marian dogma] is not under study by the Holy Father nor by any Vatican congregation or commission. This is crystal clear" (CNS, August 18, 1997.

In June, Osservatore Romano carried two articles which explained the Czestochowa declaration; one of the articles was signed by Salvatore M. Perrella (consultant on the encyclical Redemptoris Mater as well as the pope's ongoing weekly conferences on Mary).

The following is a summary of the comments from Osservatore Romano, 25-26 June, 1997:

The response of the International Mariological Commission at Czestochowa, 18-24, 1996, about the proposed declaration of a papal definition of Mary as "Corredemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate" was unanimous, precise, and deliberately brief: 1) the terms are in need of theological clarification; 2) it is not opportune to abandon the path marked out by the Vatican Council II and proceed to the definition of new dogma.

1) The current movement for a definition is not in line with the direction of Vatican II, neither in respect to the request for a new Marian dogma, nor for the content that is proposed for such a dogma. The Marian teaching of Vatican II is contained in chapter 8 of Lumen gentium, which, in the mind of Paul VI, constituted the most extensive synthesis of the Catholic doctrine on the Blessed Virgin Mary ever proposed by an ecumenical council.

Before the opening of Vatican II, 313 bishops had asked for that Mary's universal mediation be defined. The Constitution Lumen gentium, which by deliberate choice does not contain a dogmatic definition of mediation, was approved by 2,151 votes out of 2,156--a morally unanimous approbation. Presumably, the 313 bishops were persuaded at the council to take a different course. On such an important issue as a doctrinal definition, the position taken at Vatican II on the issue must be considered.

2) The Declaration of Czestochowa said that "the titles as proposed are ambiguous, as they can be understood in very different ways."

a) The title Mediatrix has been understood through the centuries and is presently understood in notably different ways. It is enough to check recent books on Mariology--from 1987 to the present some 20 manuals have been published--to note that the mediation of the Blessed Virgin is treated in contrasting ways--in terms of its doctrinal evaluation, the determination of the area in which it is exercised, and in comparison with the mediation of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

b) The title Coredemptirx, the Declaration of Czestochowa notes, has not been used by the papal magisterium in its significant documents from the time of Pope Pius XII (1939-1958). This is another significant fact that cannot be overlooked: the request is for a dogmatic definition of a title about which the magisterium has reservations and which it systematically avoids.

c) Vatican II used many titles to describe Mary's relation to Christ's saving work--New Eve, Helper, Associate of the Redeemer. However, the three titles--Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate--have been avoided or little used by the magisterium over the last 50 years. It is probably because these titles are no longer suitable for expressing the content to which they refer. What is needed is "further study" of all the titles, "in a renewed Trinitarian, ecclesiological and anthropolgical perspective."

The principal points of Vatican II's teaching on Mary's relation to Christ's saving redemption are the following:

1) Vatican II repeatedly affirmed Mary's cooperation in the work of salvation (LG 53, 56, 61, 63). Cooperation, the word used by St. Augustine, is the term without negative reactions in theological circles.

2) Mary's cooperation which is "unique and utterly singular" (LG 61) has two facets: it is maternal and salvific. It extends to all the disciples of Christ and all people (LG 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 61, 63, 65, 69). Paul VI held that Mary's cooperation continued in her spiritual maternity and was a truth of faith: the Blessed Virgin "continues now from heaven to exercise her motherly function of cooperation in the birth and development of divine life in the individual souls of the redeemed."

John Paul II has deepened the conciliar teaching by speaking of Mary's cooperation which is "intimately linked with her motherhood" (RM 38). John Paul II also uses from time to time the word mediation to which he adds "maternal" and "participated." This re-appreciation does not signify a regression but a reclassification of different participated mediations which "acquire meaning and value only from Christ's own mediation and cannot be understood as parallel or complementary" (RM 38).

Vox Populi Mediatricis Mariae

In 1993, Dr. Miravalle wrote a booklet Mary, Corredemptix, Advocate, and Mediatrix (Queenship Publishing Co., Santa Barbara, CA). The book contained four postcards to be signed and forwarded to the pope by those favoring a papal definition of the Blessed Virgin Mary as "Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces, and Advocate for the People of God. Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, which identifies itself as a lay organization, claims to have 4,000,000 adherents, including 500 bishops, 55 cardinals from 150 countries.

In 1995, Dr. Miravalle edited Mary: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate: Theological Foundations; I: Towards a Papal Definition, containing essays by Bertrand de Margerie, Arthur Calkins, Michael O'Carroll, Ignace de la Potterie and John Schug. In 1996, he edited a second book, Mary: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate: Theological Foundations; II: Papal, Pneumatological, Ecumenical, with essays by Stefano Manelli, Bertrand de Margerie, Arthur Calkins, Joseph Siefert, Vladimir Zelinsky, John MacQuarrie, Peter Damian Fehlner, with a forward by Edward Cardinal Gagnon.

The key words in the Vox Populi petition appear to have been taken from an Ida Peerdman, who died June 17, 1995 in Amsterdam. Peerdman claimed to have received communications (beginning in 1951) requesting that three Marian titles be defined: Advocate, Coredemptrix, and Mediatrix. Miravalle's work changes the order to Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate.

The complete reply of Dr. Miravalle to the Declaration of Czestochowa is contained in the web page Two points are emphasized in Miravalle's reply:

1) Although Vatican II did not define any Marian doctrines, it did not rule out the possibility of further definitions. Church history and precedence teach us that the decision of a given ecumenical council not to make a solemn definition does not preclude a solemn definition coming in an ex cathedra fashion in the future.

2) "It must be strongly underscored that our present Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has used explicitly the title 'Coredemptrix' on at least five occasions in papal teachings during his present pontificate." [One example is given: the 1985 address of Pope John Paul in Guayquil, Ecuador.]

Mariological Society of America Conference on Mary in Contemporary Art Well Received

THE VIRGIN MARY IN ART was the theme for the annual conference of The Mariological Society of America, which was held this year from May 27-29 in Waukesha, Wisconsin at the International Schoenstatt Center.

Over fifty members of the society gathered to listen to papers prepared on various forms and time periods of Marian art in the United States. In preparation for its 49th annual program, the society sponsored an exhibition of Marian art entitled, Images of Mary - Contemporary Variations. Well over fifty artists responded to the call for original works on Mary. Forty-one artists were selected and exhibited a wide range of art forms, which included iconography, sculpture, paintings, and various types of devotional forms.

The unique approach to the exhibit allowed the general public to participate in providing commentary concerning the works on display. The speakers and members of the Mariological Society of America were equally asked to give their opinions. This dialogue approach will continue in the next months for those who have the opportunity to visit the exhibit at various locations to be announced in future. The results produce an interesting interplay between artist, art critic and the general audience.

During the conference, the opening presentation was devoted to the topic: "Traditional and Contemporary Images of Nuestra Senora in New Mexico". Paul Rhetts and Barbe Awalt of Los Ranchos, New Mexico presented slides of historical and contemporary variations of Santos from their collection and research involving 5000 New Mexican Santos.

The following morning, Fr. George F. Kirwin, O.M.I. of Buffalo, New York, gave the Presidential Address O.M.I. Fr. Kirwin challenged both artists and theologians in their dialogue with one another, to search for the true beauty that is God alone as God manifests beauty in Mary. Each of the following presenters enriched the society with great numbers of slides of Marian art. Fr. Terence Dempsey, S.J. of St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, presented a paper on "The Virgin Mary in Contemporary Art". He showed slides of professional artists who currently study the Marian theme. Fr. Nicholas Glisson of Oakland, California studied five particular devotions of the past, which have had an influence on Marian devotion. His paper was entitled, "Marian Popular Devotional Art of the 19th and 20th Century". His choice of major devotions dealt, for example, with images of the Miraculous Medal, Fatima, Lourdes, LaSalette, and Medjugorje. Fr. Michael T. Morris, O.P. of the Dominican School of Theology in Berkeley, California discussed "Images of Mary in Twentieth-century Art" from a variety of perspectives, including Mary in film.

The major theological presentation was given by Fr. Johann Roten, S.M., Director of The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute at Dayton, Ohio. Fr. Roten centered his work on "Mary and the Way of Beauty". His introduction presented the focus of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with regard to sacred beauty. From there, he expanded the meaning and the practice of the Church's understanding of the Way of Beauty. Fr. Roten and the presenters concluded the conference theme with a round table discussion on Mary and art.

This year's conference also included an evening program of Marian music, poetry, and ballet. Performers from Milwaukee and Chicago shared Marian forms of beauty. A young artist, Andrea Harris provided pre-program ambience on the dulcimer. Ann Astell, professor of English at Purdue University, presented fourteen Marian sonnets. The sonnets were accompanied by slides of Marian illustrations by Faith Astell Albert. Pianist, Zoya Makhlima of Russia and ballet interpreter, Nancy Marcheschi of Chicago provided Marian themes in dance. Various Marian hymns were presented by the choir of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. Among them was the award-winning hymn, "Faithful Mary", by Sister Marie LeClerc, SSND of Milwaukee.

The final note of the conference was by Fr. Eamon R. Carroll, O.Carm. of Loyola University, Chicago, "Survey of Recent Mariology, 1998". After the business meeting, the conference was brought to a close by the newly elected president, Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM. Other newly elected officers include Fr. Sam Maranto, C.Ss.R. as vice-president and Fr. Johann G. Roten, S.M. as treasurer.

Marian Pilgrimages


On your summer travels, would you like to stop in at a Marian Shrine?
See our list at:

Marian Shrines in the United States

England and Ireland

Are you looking for a pilgrimage this summer to Our Lady of Walsingham in England and Our Lady of Knock in Ireland? We received the following information from Benedictine Mission House, Christ the King Priory:

In preparation for the new millennium, the Holy Father, together with many of our bishops, encourages the faithful to participate in special pilgrimages that are being offered to shrines that are highly esteemed in the life of the Church.

While on pilgrimage we are encouraged to focus on the heritage that has enriched generations, to deepen our faith, to be spiritually nourished by celebrating the Sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist.

For years we monks at the Benedictine Mission House have received requests from friends--many of whom can trace their ancestry to European countries--to consider a tour and pilgrimage to Ireland and England.

We have designed such a tour, heeding the exhortation of Pope John Paul II, and are offering a pilgrimage that will commemorate our Benedictine heritage, culminating in the celebration of the Eucharist on the Solemnity of Mary's Assumption into Heaven at the Shrine of Walsingham, and one week later, on the Feast of Mary's Queenship at her Shrine in Knock, August 10-27, 1998.

For more information about this pilgrimage, contact:

Benedictine Heritage Tour
PO Box 528
Schuyler, NE 68661-0528
Phone: (402) 352-2177 Ext. 303 or 320

For Mary Page's information on Knock and Walsingham, see:

Knock, Ireland

Our Lady of Walsingham

The Hail Mary in Various Languages

This feature shows how international and widespread Mary's name and devotion have become over time. There are more than 150 known language versions of the Hail Mary. Thanks to the efforts of David G. Landsnes, M.D., indefatigable researcher of the angel's salutation, the Marian Library is able to offer many examples of the languages in which this most popular of all Marian prayers is said.

At the heart of Christian prayer is the name of Jesus. There is no liturgical prayer that does not conclude with a reference to Our Lord. The Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words "blessed is the fruit of your/thy womb, Jesus." We detect two movements in this prayer which alternate with one another. The first part magnifies in fact the Lord for the great things he did for his "lowly servant," whereas the second part entrusts the supplications and praises of the children of God to the Mother of Jesus. The new Catechism of the Catholic Church has a wonderful page on the meaning of the Hail Mary (see CCC 2676-2677). Mary is the perfect figure of prayer (Orans). "When we pray to her--says the Catechism--we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men" (CCC 2679).

You will find the various language forms of the Hail Mail at: Hail Mary in Various Languages

Return to 1998 Mary Page News


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