The Annunciation, by Antonello da Messina (1477)
For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all. This was the testimony at the proper time. For this I was appointed preacher and apostle (I am speaking the truth, I am not lying), teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
-- 1 Timothy 2:5-7
I can be ecumenical, but I can also be quite partisan in my preference for, and defense of Catholicism. I'm not a relativist. I think the differences matter, and I do believe that the Church of Jesus Christ "subsists" in the Catholic Church... Read that as Cardinal Willebrands meant it or how Pope Benedict interprets it, if you prefer... However you like.
I revere the Blessed Mother and pray for her intercession, as she is the first and the finest example of the saints. A few posts ago I acknowledged her role in God's plan for our salvation and her unique importance in educating us on the Incarnational Principle:
- God’s plan for divine human cooperation (Doctrine of Mediation). God comes to us mediated throught the human. God works through the human.I accept the Marian dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. They make sense to me as to what is "fitting" and to what is held by the sense of the faithful even if they can't be explicity spelled out in scripture. I accept the place of Tradition as well as the role of Scripture (both having the same wellspring) - "Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit." (Dei Verbum)
- Christ is a divine person who has taken to himself a human nature. His purpose was to be the new mediator. God uses human nature to bring about our redemption.
- Mary is not divine. We venerate, but do not worship her. She was a human person with unique status. The key to this was Mary’s faith. Mary said yes freely, and brought God’s plan to fruition.
As put earlier by Bernard of Clairvaux - “Mary, we are all waiting to find out what you are going to say. Say ‘Yes ‘and move on, because we are all waiting for you.”
I have no problem with the titles that have been assigned to her; Mother of God, Mother of the Church, etc...
During the pontificate of John Paul II, there was some talk floated around the topic of declaring Mary as a Co-Redeemer, or "Co-Redemptrix", a proposed title that has been alive in some circles for quite some time. Even though JPII was considered to have been favorable to the idea, it never really went anywhere, but now in this climate that is friendly towards restorationist traditionalism, with no countervailing checks or balances, there is a movement underway to have a 5th Marian Dogma declared, assigning Mary with this title. I think this goes too far. Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of all Graces? This is too close to deification.
Not only would this be an ecumenical train wreck, which goes without saying, but I, speaking as a Catholic, am troubled by the assignation of a title that directly contradicts scripture. It is one thing to recognize Tradition and Sacred Scripture both coming from the same divine wellspring, but Tradition cannot flatly contradict Scripture, which in my view, these titles do. Why is a dogmatic declaration needed? If it is meant only as I have described above in the incarnational quote highlighted in blue, that is all very well and good, but this title in my mind puts Mary on a par with Christ, and in effect, becomes as sort of deification. Here is the complete text of the petition presented by the five cardinals to the Holy See. I faithfully pray that it not be adopted and proclaimed. I do not believe that Benedict will do so...
The letter was sent Jan. 1, solemnity of the Mother of God, and signed by Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India; Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez, retired archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, India; Cardinal Riccardo Vidal, archbishop of Cebu, Philippines; and Cardinal Ernesto Corripio y Ahumada, retired archbishop of Mexico City.
* * *
Dear Brother Eminences and Excellencies:
In May 2005, we, as cardinal co-patrons, sponsored a Mariological symposium convened on the subject of the cooperation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the work of human Redemption at the favored Fatima shrine in Portugal.
After extensive theological presentations delivered by a significant number of cardinals, bishops, and theologians, we concluded the symposium by enacting a votum to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. The votum reads as follows:
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 June 7, 2006, our brother, Telesphore Cardinal Toppo, presented the above votum in Latin to His Holiness on behalf of all the cardinal and bishop participants at the 2005 Fatima Symposium, together with the published acta from the symposium. The Holy Father received the votum and the acta with an accentuated gratitude and his expressed intention to study carefully the acta.
We now write to you, brother cardinals and bishops, to inform you of this votum for the solemn definition of Our Lady as the Spiritual Mother of humanity and its essential roles, and respectfully request your own prayerful consideration regarding the possibility of adding your own esteemed assent to this votum to Our Holy Father. We have enclosed a copy of the original Latin votum for your examination and, if you felt so inspired by Our Lady, you would be free to sign and to forward it on to His Holiness.
Certainly, if it so pleased the Holy Father to proceed with this request, any final formation of the definition would in no manner be bound to the formulation of the enclosed votum, but rather left entirely to his unique charism as the Successor of Peter. It is also noteworthy that over the course of the past fifteen years, over 500 bishops have sent their request for this solemn definition to the Holy See, along with approximately 7 million petitions from the Catholic faithful worldwide.
We thank you for your prayerful consideration of this request on behalf of Our Lady, Mother of the Church and Queen of the Apostles. May she guide you in your discernment of this matter to the wisdom of Jesus Christ, our divine Redeemer, through the counsel of the Holy Spirit, all leading to the fulfillment of the perfect will of our Heavenly Father.
With cordial best wishes in Jesus and Mary,
Telesphore Cardinal Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi, India; President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India; Luis Cardinal Aponte Martínez, Archbishop Emeritus of San Juan, Puerto RicoVarkey Cardinal Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, India Riccardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu, Philippines Ernesto Cardinal Corrippio Ahumada, Primate Emeritus of Mexico
Cardinal Co-sponsors of the Fatima Symposium on Marian Coredemption