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June 30, 1998

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New ! Marian Library Studies -- Volume 25
New ! Marian Library Newsletter -- Summer 1998
Three Thousand Priests to Meet in Guadalupe Shrine
The Pilgrimage in the Great Jubilee: "a way to enter the tent of meeting with Mary"
Summary of Reports of Concerning a Possible New Dogma

Marian Library Studies -- Volume 25

Volume 25 of Marian Library Studies (New Series) contains the following articles:

The image to the right contains the caption:

"Humble and excellent Virgin most worthy of all praise, I humbly present myself before you even though I am unworthy so to do." This volume of Marian Library Studies can be obtained by emailing us below for more information.

[Coronation of
the Humble and Excellent Virgin]

The Marian Library Newsletter -- Summer 1998

The new edition of The Marian Library Newsletter was recently mailed to Marian Library patrons. It contains:

Three Thousand Priests to Meet in Guadalupe Shrine

Catholic World News service recently published an article on the upcoming Third International Meeting of Priests which will take place at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, July 7-12, 1998. You will find more at: Catholic World News

The Pilgrimage in the Great Jubilee: "a way to enter the tent of meeting with Mary"

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People published a document on April 25, 1998, entitled, The Pilgrimage in the great Jubilee. The document consists of an introduction and five subtitles: I. The Pilgrimage of Israel, II. Christ's Pilgrimage, III. The Pilgrimage of the Church, IV. Pilgrimage towards the Third Millennium, V. The Pilgrimage of Humankind, and VI. The Pilgrimage of the Christian Today.

In the sixth section, all Christians are invited "to join and take part in the great pilgrimage that Christ, the Church and humankind have accomplished and must continue accomplishing in history. The shrine towards which they must be directed is to become the tent of meeting', as the Bible calls the tabernacle of the alliance." The document then lists several tents of meeting:

The Marian paragraph follows:

42. Finally, pilgrimages are very often the way to enter the tent of meeting with Mary; the Mother of the Lord. Mary, in whom the pilgrimage of the Word towards humankind converges with humankind's pilgrimage of faith, is "the one who advanced on the pilgrimage of faith", (RM 25) thus becoming the "star of evangelization" (EN 82) for the journey of the whole Church. The great Marian shrines (like Lourdes, Fátima or Loreto; Czestochowa, Altötting or Mariazell, Guadalupe, Aparecida or Luján), and the small shrines, which popular devotion constructed in countless numbers in thousands and thousands of localities, can be privileged places for a meeting with her Son whom she gives us. Her womb was the first shrine, the tent of meeting between divinity and humanity on which the Holy Spirit descended and which "the power of the Most High [covered] with its shadow". (Lk 1:35)

Christians travel with Mary along the roads of love and join Elizabeth, who typifies the sisters and the brothers in the world with whom a bond of faith and praise is to be established. The Magnificat then becomes the song par excellence, not only of the peregrinatio Mariae but also of our pilgrimage in hope. Christians travel with Mary along the roads of the world to ascend right up to Calvary and be beside her like the beloved disciple, so that Christ may hand her over to them as their Mother. Christians travel with Mary along the roads of faith so as to reach the Cenacle in the end and there, together with her, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit from her risen Son.

Liturgy and Christian piety offer to pilgrims numerous examples of the way by which they can turn to Mary as a pilgrimage companion. They are to refer to these examples, first of all considering that the acts of piety regarding the Virgin Mary must clearly express the Trinitarian and Christological dimension, intrinsically and essentially. By cultivating a genuine Marian devotion, pilgrims enrich their profound devotion to the Mother of God with new forms and manifestations of their innermost sentiment.

[This information was obtained from L'Osservatore Romano, N. 20, May 20, 1998.]

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.]

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