Thursday, February 14, 2008

"5th Marian Dogma"? Would this help?

I read in Zenit's 11th of Feb dispatch that five cardinals have opened a petition to the Holy Father "to declare a fifth Marian dogma they said would "proclaim the full Christian truth about Mary." (Their letter to the bishops of the world may be read here).

Here is the full text of the petition:
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.
I do not disagree that such a statement would be "to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all its fullness", but, knowing my protestant brothers and sisters as I do, I do wonder if a new papal definition of a Marian dogma would "enhance the ecumenical mission of the Church." In other words, I agree with the sentiment, but not the chosen means, of the five cardinals.

A Marian Encyclical (for example), with an eye deliberately focused upon addressing Protestant concerns, "regarding the constant teaching of the Church concerning the Mother of the Redeemer and her unique cooperation in the work of Redemption, as well as her subsequent roles in the distribution of grace and intercession for the human family" would be very useful. But is there really a need to "define" this doctrine which is well attested in the Magesterium as it stands?

Red rag to a bull, I reckon. Papal Marian definitions are not the way to advance ecumenism.

18 Comments:

At Thursday, February 14, 2008 3:57:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whilst I would agree with this sentiment as a prudential matter, we must be careful not to admit a tendency that Catholic policy and doctrine is determined by what others - Protestants or Jews - think about it. There's been far too much of that already.

Arguably, His Holiness' change to the Good Friday Prayer for the conversion of the Jews is a case in point, even if we agree that it reaffirms existing doctrine and theology.

 
At Thursday, February 14, 2008 5:01:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

On the contrary. The Church is universal, and offers her proclamation of the gospel to the whole world. Her teachings are not addressed just to Catholics, but to everyone. The response of Protestants and Jews and others to any expression of teaching is therefore just as relevant a consideration as the response of Catholics.

 
At Thursday, February 14, 2008 6:22:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the response of others is relevant (qua response), but not as a determinant of the teaching. If the teaching is right, it's right, regardless of what I think about it, or would respond to it. Anything else leads to the dictatorship of relativism

 
At Thursday, February 14, 2008 8:37:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

I'm not suggesting we hold back on teaching the truth--God forbid! But I am suggesting that we speak the truth in such a way that it might be heard. If it is couched in terms of "infallible Papal Marian dogma", they ain't gonna listen. If it is couched in the form of a letter of persuasion ("Come now, let us reason together"), which seems much more Benedict's style, then there is a chance that some might hear and listen who otherwise would have stopped their ears. That's my point.

 
At Friday, February 15, 2008 1:42:00 am , Blogger Oso Famoso said...

I am not going to lie...it really, really, really concerns me.

It just sounds bad. I know that it doesn't mean what it sounds like it means...but can't you see the fall out? I'd have to spend the rest of my natural life explaining that Jesus is the only Redeemer.

Why confuse things even more? Aren't there enough problems in the church right now that need attention? I mean, don't we have bigger fish to fry? Like liberal priests preaching heresy, lazy bishops and orthodox parishes being harder and harder to find in our cities?

I think my initial reaction to such a decree would be to take a serious long hard look at Orthodoxy.

 
At Friday, February 15, 2008 7:43:00 am , Blogger Rob said...

-I think my initial reaction to such a decree would be to take a serious long hard look at Orthodoxy.-

I hate to say it, but I agree with oso famoso. That lack of confidence may sound a tad heretical, but this would be wrong: pure and simple. Many things can be said about the Blessed Virgin our mother, but the only Redeemer is her son Jesus Christ, no matter how uniquely she cooperated. I pay her the highest compliment in speaking so of her only Son.

 
At Friday, February 15, 2008 9:00:00 am , Blogger eulogos said...

I think we can count on Benedict not to do this. I can see him writing an encyclical explaining the church's teachings about Mary, but define a new infallible dogma when there is no particular need for one, no. He is interested in rapprochement with the Orthodox so he is hardly going to do something like this.

All of these doctrines can be explained in a Catholic sense but they are all susceptible to misinterpretation by Orthodox as well as Protestants. And no matter how well explained, they will be misinterpreted.

As I said, I am pretty sure we can trust Benedict on this one.
Susan Peterson

 
At Friday, February 15, 2008 12:33:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Seems like the nays have it, then. I'll let the cardinals and His Holiness know.

 
At Friday, February 15, 2008 1:37:00 pm , Blogger Rob said...

-I'll let the cardinals and His Holiness know.-

Right. What will we change through legislation next? LOL

 
At Saturday, February 16, 2008 1:38:00 am , Anonymous frangelo said...

The doctrine of the Coredemption, or whatever you want to call it, is really not in dispute, only the opportuneness of the dogmatic declaration.

If you think about it, the difference between Protestants and Catholics is that Catholics accept subordinate mediation in Christ and Protestants don't. Whether you are talking about the Bible vs. Tradition, Faith vs. Works, or Christ vs. our own cooperation, it all comes down to the same thing.

To say that Mary is Coredemptrix is really not much more than saying She is Mother of God. And of course, most Protestants will not even go that far. Its subordinate mediation in both cases.

Consider the fact the Marian dogmas have always been opposed with the idea that it "will take away from Christ." In the coredemptive view, God created Mary so perfect that by His own intention and design She was capable with Him to merit our salvation. That does not take away from Christ it glorifies the perfection of His Redeeming power. This is the same line of argumentation that was used to explain the Immaculate Conception.

BTW, Scott Hahn is on board.

 
At Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:13:00 am , Blogger eulogos said...

Most Protestants won't give Mary her title of Theotokos? Are you sure?
Does our Blog host know the answer to this? What did Luther and Calvin think about this?

Calling Mary Mother of God is only to say that her son was God. Was she mother only of his human nature? Then was his divine nature joined to his human nature at some later time?

One cannot deny Mary her title of Theotokos, or God-bearer, or Mother of God, without falling into a Christological heresy.

I thought Protestantism was a soteriological heresy, not a Christological heresy.

Susan Peterson

 
At Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:13:00 am , Blogger eulogos said...

Forgot to check the follow up comments box.

 
At Saturday, February 23, 2008 7:41:00 am , Blogger Agnes Ainsworth said...

Having attended five out of eight symposia on Marian Co-Redemption, I have come to understand the development of Doctrine and the mechanism of how the Holy Spirit leads the Church into "All Truth". Previous Marian Dogmas have defined who Mary is, Her nature and now it is necessary to define Her role - a role She has played throughout the two thousand years of the Church's existence but now in dispute by some in the Church. Whether for eucumenical reasons or just unbelief Our Lady has been sideline since Vatican II. Faithful Catholics would expec heaven to intervene to counteract the prevailing unbelief, sometimes the purpose of dogmatic definitions. Pope John Paul's promotion of the Alliance of the Two Hearts is connected to this definition and it is this devotion together with the new proposed Dogma which will usher in the triumph of te Immaculate Heart of Mary as promised at Fatima bringing an era of peace.

 
At Tuesday, April 01, 2008 7:41:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not as educated in these matters as the others who’ve posted here. I am only a person of faith. I was seriously considering converting to the Catholic Church (I'm Lutheran), and almost ready to talk to a priest. Then I heard a Catholic radio station discussing this doctrine/dogma. I admit I was still struggling with Papal Infallibility. In my greatest ignorance I’ve never thought of the Pope as the anti-Christ and the Roman Catholic Church as the whore of Babylon; I still don’t. But the idea that I have any other redeemer than Jesus is so completely repugnant to me that I went home and donated all Catholic related items I had except my Catholic Bible. This was just a few days ago. The sting and disgust I feel is still so new that if Mary turned out to be truly the co-redemptrix, I feel (right now) that I would rather burn than be a Christian. It would mean that everything I’ve believed and held true these past 33 years was a lie. To say Christ is not my only Redeemer is to try to knock down all Protestants believe in. It is the base of all Protestant belief. Were this doctrine to go through it would create greater division between Catholics and Protestants. Trust me.

 
At Thursday, April 03, 2008 8:15:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Catholic Church goes to great lengths to explain that Jesus is the only mediator to God, but She has never understood the teaching that Paul gives in 1 Timothy 2:5 to exclude Mary as a co-operator with Her Son Jesus. That scripture is the proof that Christianity is the true religion and excludes all others. It does not mean that Mary is not a subsidiary in Her role in Salvation History.

Serious students should read Cardinal John Henry Newman in his Apologia pro Vita Sua to understand how doctrines develop. Mary is the daughter of the Father, the spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Mother of the Son and She has always played a pivotal role in Salvation. The Holy Spirit is guiding the Church into all Truth so if God deems it right to proclaim the Dogma finally ratifying Her role, so be it. The greater the opposition, the more important it is to proclaim it.

I understand Martin Luther didn't deny Her role, but his false doctrine of Sola Scriptura allows anyone to come along and deny the meaning of Scripure understood by the Catholic Church. Even Roman Catholics do the same if they don't agree with the traditional teachings based on Scripture; and appertaining to Our Lady, her prefiguring in the Old Testament.

It would be a good idea if everyone read up the websites dealing with the Fifth Marian Dogma, especially the documents of Monsignor Arthur Calkins, my favourite Marian Theologian, before rushing in to condemn what they clearly do not understand.

 
At Friday, April 04, 2008 1:21:00 am , Blogger Kevin M. Clarke said...

I would agree that perhaps this would not need to be defined if this sublime truth were being taught amongst Catholics. However, I have found that it has been altogether left out of catechesis itself, which seems to stop at the four dogmas in any treatment on the Blessed Virgin. So what may be at the heart of this is a lack of theological assent to the truth in the first place.

I assert that one would be hard-pressed to find many teachers of Catholicism who would say:

1.) I believe that this is a truth of the Catholic faith;
2.) I do not think this should be dogmatically defined;
and 3.) I teach this truth.

Because of this, and precisely because of this, I believe these Cardinals are exactly right. The time is right for this solemn definition, lest Catholics stop believing this truth altogether.

I would also echo the point about Calkins that the last poster made, particularly his "Special Note" in Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons (Queenship, 2008). In there he demonstrates the movement in many circles to stop teaching this truth altogether.

 
At Friday, August 01, 2008 10:24:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When one rejects a mother's love and care life becomes a lonely struggle. As Jesus struggled to ascend Calvary his Mother's love and care enabled his triumphant redemption of us all. Ave Maria Co-redemptrix!

 
At Friday, August 01, 2008 10:28:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ave Maria Co-redemptrix!

 

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