Dear Parishioners,Happy Memorial Day weekend! As we memorialize those who gave up their lives so that we could have a better life this week, we should make it a point to keep them our prayers not only today but daily.
Regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary, a title that has been proposed and speculated about but never formally adopted by the Church is that she is the “Mediatrix of all grace”. The following is an article explaining what this means and the status of this title.
The formal definition of Mediatrix of all graces as a dogma was not considered opportune during discussions held to prepare for the Second Vatican Council. In 1896, French Jesuit priest René-Marie de la Broise interpreted Pope Leo XIII’s papal encyclical Octobri mense as teaching that all graces from Jesus Christ are imparted through Mary. Broise proposed that the Pope should make a dogmatic definition about the role of Mary in the distribution of all graces, but did not require that it be in the form of declaring her to be the Mediatrix of all graces.In Belgium, 8 years later, Redemptorist priest François Xavier Godts wrote a book, De definibilitate mediationis universalis Deiparae (On the definability of the universal mediation of the Mother of God), proposing precisely that it be defined that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces. Désiré-Joseph Mercier, Cardinal Archbishop of Mechelen, Belgium championed this cause. In response to petitions from Belgium, including one signed by all its bishops, the Holy See approved in 1921 an annual celebration in that country of a feast day of Mary Mediatrix of All Graces. In printings of the Roman Missal from that date until 1961, the Mass of Mary Mediatrix of All Graces was found in the appendix Missae pro aliquibus locis (Masses for Some Places), but not in the general calendar for use wherever the Roman Rite is celebrated. Other Masses authorized for celebration in different places on the same day May 31 were those of the Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Belgian celebration has now been replaced by an optional memorial on August 31 of the Virgin Mary Mediatrix.
Despite requests for a new Marian dogma, the Fathers of Vatican II and the Popes who presided at the Council, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI decided not to proceed with new dogmatic definitions. The decree Lumen Gentium of Vatican II would caution of the title of “Mediatrix” that: “This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator”. Lumen gentium had 2,151 bishops voting for it and only five against.In August 1996, a Mariological Congress was held in Czestochowa, Poland, where a commission was established in response to a request of the Holy See. The congress sought the opinion of scholars present there regarding the possibility of proposing a fifth Marian dogma on Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. The commission unanimously declared that it was not opportune to define a fifth Marian dogma on those titles. The Declaration of Czestochowa observed that while these titles can be given a content in conformity with the deposit of the faith, nevertheless such “titles, as proposed, are ambiguous, as they can be understood in very different ways”.
Groups of laity and clergy, what has been called “a small but growing movement”, continue to operate for proclaiming the dogma of the universal mediation of Mary. One such group calls itself Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici. On February 8 2008, five cardinals published a petition asking Pope Benedict XVI to declare the Blessed Virgin Mary both Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix, and over 500 bishops later added their signatures. The magazine Inside the Vatican and Saint Thomas More College organized a one-day panel discussion on the question in Rome on 25 March 2010, but the status of the Blessed Mother having this title has not yet changed.
What will happen in the future? We’re not exactly sure. But one truth about our faith is certain-regardless of whether the title “Mediatrix of all grace” is conferred upon the Blessed Mother or not, she is still the most powerful intercessor we have with Jesus Christ, the one and only Mediator between us and God the Father.
In Him, Fr. D