Fifth Marian Dogma  
To Declare Mary as Mother of Humanity ROME, 11 FEB. 2008 (Source: ZENIT)
Five cardinals have sent a letter inviting prelates worldwide to join them in petitioning Benedict XVI to declare a fifth Marian dogma they said would "proclaim the full Christian truth about Mary."
The text, released last week, includes the petition that asks the Pope to proclaim Mary 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."
The signatories of the letter are five of the six cardinal co-sponsors of the 2005 International Symposium on Marian Coredemption, held in Fatima: 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.
Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, who died last August, was the sixth cardinal co-sponsor of the 2005 conference. He was the president of the Pontifical Council of the Family from 1974 until he resigned in 1990.
The secretariat of the five cardinal co-patrons released the English translation of the letter, which includes a translation and the original Latin text of the "votum," or petition, that was formulated in 2005 and presented formally to the Pope by Cardinal Telesphore in 2006.
The petition states: "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 in the work of Redemption, as well as her subsequent roles in the distribution of grace and intercession for the human family."
Pointing to ecumenical concerns, the petition continues: "It is of great importance [...] that people 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."
The text adds that the move would be "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."
In a press statement released along with the letter, the cardinal co-sponsors reiterated the same ecumenical concern and said the proclamation of a fifth Marian dogma would be a "service of clarification to other religious traditions and to proclaim the full Christian truth about Mary."
The statement added, "This initiative also intends to start an in-depth worldwide dialogue on Mary's role in salvation for our time. [...] Should this effort prove successful, a proclamation would constitute a historical event for the Church as only the fifth Marian dogma defined in its 2,000-year history."
Cardinal Aponte Martínez, one of the cardinal co-patrons said: "I believe the time is now for the papal definition of the relationship of the Mother of Jesus to the each one of us, her earthly children, in her roles as co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces and advocate.
"To solemnly proclaim Mary as the spiritual mother of all peoples is to fully and officially recognize her titles, and consequently to activate, to bring to new life the spiritual, intercessory functions they offer the Church for the new evangelization, and for humanity in our serious present world situation."
5th Dogma a Marian Antidote: Interview With Syro-Malabar Cardinal Vithayathil
By Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil
KERALA, India, MAY 21, 2008 —An antidote to the challenges facing the Church and society today is the glorification of Mary through the proclamation of a fifth Marian dogma, says Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.
Cardinal Vithayathil, former major archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, is one of the five cardinals who sent a letter in January inviting prelates worldwide to join them in petitioning Benedict XVI to declare a fifth Marian dogma they said would “proclaim the full Christian truth about Mary.”
The text includes the petition that asks the Pope to proclaim Mary 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 this interview with ZENIT, Cardinal Vithayathil, who turned 81 on May 29, comments on the effect the proclamation of the dogma could have on interreligious and ecumenical dialogue, and the possible fruits he foresees could result.
The Syro-Malabar Church is made up of about 3.5 million of India’s 16 million Catholics.
Does the Syro-Malabar rite have a particularly generous devotion to Our Lady?
Cardinal Vithayathil: Yes, the Syro-Malabar Catholics have a great tradition of intense devotion to Our Lady. There is a belief among them that the apostle St. Thomas who first preached the Gospel to their ancestors had brought with him a replica of the picture of the Blessed Virgin supposedly painted by the Evangelist Luke. Centuries before the Portuguese missionaries arrived, there were many churches dedicated to Our Lady in Malabar.
It is true that some of the liturgical books brought down from Babylon by some of the Chaldean bishops contained certain Nestorian formulae, but these in no way lessened the Marian devotion of the Syro-Malabar Catholics who were never greatly concerned with the great theological and Christological disputes.
Pope John Paul II has asserted that the Syro-Malabar Catholics were never formally separated from the Sea of St. Peter during the 20 centuries of their existence. During the three centuries that the Latin Carmelite bishops from Europe ruled the Syro-Malabar Church, there was a deepening of devotion to Our Lady among the Syro-Malabars. Practically every member of the community wore the brown Carmelite scapular and recited the family rosary everyday.
In the apostolic constitution Romani Pontifices, which erected the Syro-Malabar hierarchy, Pope Pius XI gives as a reason for the flourishing of the community the singular devotion of the Syro-Malabar faithful toward the Blessed Virgin Mary (Singularem erga Beatissimam Virginem Mariam pietatem).
I believe that this Marian devotion is the reason why today 70 percent of all missionaries in India are children of the Syro-Malabar Church, and this Church with a population of only 3.8 million faithful can ordain 250 priests every year.
Why do you think that the time is opportune for the declaration of a fifth Marian dogma?
Cardinal Vithayathil: Mary has through private revelations like those at Lourdes, Fatima, etc., made known that in the sad situations of the world today God wishes as an antidote the glorification of his mother through the recitation of the holy Rosary, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, etc.
The fifth Marian dogma would certainly improve the world situation through the prayers of Mary to her divine Son. Many believe that the danger of Marxist communism was averted by the apparitions of Mary at Lourdes, Fatima, etc., and the consequent increase in devotion to Mary.
The greatest threat that the Catholic Church faces today is consumerist relativism that has greatly affected the Western Church and even the Churches in Asia. I believe that it can be overcome by honoring Our Lady with the proposed dogma.
The principal objection posed against the solemn definition of a fifth Marian dogma is the Church?s mission of ecumenism. Do you think this Marian declaration would hurt the ecumenical cause for the Church?
Cardinal Vithayathil: Not only will the solemn definition never hurt the ecumenical movement, but it will positively enhance it. I feel that it is God’s will that we should honor Our Lady in a special way at this juncture of world history. Only good can come out of doing God’s will. We should follow prudence born out of faith and not merely worldly prudence.
Almighty God is the Lord of history and he can always overcome the effects of disunity caused by human weakness. The Hindu communities in India are extremely open to the concept of “Mother,” and they enthusiastically participate in the Marian devotions of the Catholic Church. The Orthodox Churches with whom we live together, already believe in this doctrine.
As major archbishop of an Eastern Church, do you believe a new Marian dogma would hurt East-West relations, or distance our relationship with the Orthodox Church?
Cardinal Vithayathil: I can say that any honor given to Mary short of adoration given only to God will not cause any setback in Catholic-Orthodox relations because the contents of the proposed dogma is already part of the faith of the Orthodox Christians, though not dogmatically expressed. It may sour Catholic-Protestant relations, but Our Lady knows how to heal this.
The truth of the proposed definition is in a true sense derived from God’s choice of Mary as the mother of God and the mother of all human beings.
What fruits do you foresee for the Church and the world coming from a solemn definition of Mary?s spiritual motherhood in her roles as co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces and advocate?
Cardinal Vithayathil: I foresee many fruits for the Church and the world as a result of the solemn definition of this dogma. It will bring more peace built on justice in the world. It will give a new spurt to evangelization. It will bring about greater devotion to Mary and confidence in her intercessory power.
It will make Catholics realize that just as Mary, through the merits of Jesus Christ, has become Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate for the whole human race, we too share in Mary’s threefold roles for the salvation of humankind.
Even though the content of the proposed definition is clearly taught by the Fathers and doctors of the Church, such as St. Alphonsus Liguori in his work Glories of Mary, an infallible definition by the Pope will help deepen the confidence of the people of God in Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate.
Cardinal Toppo on a Proposed Marian Dogma
A Look at What It Could Mean for Dialogue
RANCHI, India, MAY 5, 2008 ( Proclaiming Mary as the Spiritual Mother of All Humanity would benefit ecumenical and interreligious dialogue because it would help non-Catholics to understand many things about the Mother of God, says Cardinal Telesphore Toppo. The archbishop of Ranchi and former president of the episcopal conference of India is one of the five cardinal co-sponsors of the 2005 International Symposium on Marian Co-redemption, held in Fatima, who are asking Benedict XVI to declare a fifth Marian dogma.
The petition urges the Pope to proclaim Mary "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 this interview with ZENIT, Cardinal Toppo discusses his views in favor of the proposed dogma.
Q: Previously this year, you and four other cardinals sent out a letter to the world's cardinals and bishops, inviting them to join in your petition for a new dogma of the spiritual motherhood of Mary. How did they respond?
Cardinal Toppo: Although the majority of cardinals and bishops sent their letters of support for the fifth Marian dogma directly to the Holy Father, we also received numerous copies of enthusiastic letters of support for this dogma from cardinals and bishops from all five continents. Many of the letters spoke of the need for the dogma and Our Lady's greatest possible intercession for the troubled situation for the world today, including the rampant war and terrorism, religious persecution, moral depravity, family breakdown and even natural disasters.
The general consensus of the letters from my brother cardinals and bishops is that now is the time for this fifth Marian dogma as a remedy for the unique difficulties facing the world. As she did in the Upper Room and in the early Church, Our Lady can intercede like no one else for a new release of the Holy Spirit to bring new grace, peace and protection for the Church and for the world.
Q: Have you spoken directly to Benedict XVI regarding the petition for the fifth Marian dogma?
Cardinal Toppo: On June 3, 2006, on the eve of Pentecost, I was privileged to have a private audience with His Holiness, during which I presented the Holy Father the "acta" of theological presentations from the 2005 Fatima symposium on Mary as the co-redemptrix. I also presented him with the Latin "votum" -- or petition -- for the solemn papal definition of Our Lady as the spiritual mother of all peoples, co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces and advocate, which already at that time was signed by a significant number of cardinals, archbishops and bishops.
During our 15-minute audience, the Holy Father received the acta and votum with keen interest. He was surprised that so many cardinals and bishops had already signed the votum. He then stated that he would read the acta of theological presentations on the co-redemptrix. In the last few months, he has received still many more petitions for this Marian dogma from the present College of Cardinals and bishops.
Q: A principal objection posed against the proclamation of a new Marian dogma is that it would be counterproductive to the Church's mission of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. And yet, in the presentations submitted to Benedict XVI, your own presentation was titled "Mary Co-redemptrix as a Help in the Pursuit of Interreligious Dialogue." Can you explain why you believe this dogma could actually help ecumenism and dialogue with other faiths?
Cardinal Toppo: In interreligious dialogue, it is of the utmost importance that both sides come to know each other's faith position as accurately as possible. Now it is my contention that a Catholic's presentation and explanation of Mary's title as co-redemptrix would greatly help his or her dialogue partner to understand correctly some basics of the Church's teaching.

The title co-redemptrix would naturally provide the occasion to present our doctrine concerning the redeemer and the mystery of redemption, the primacy of God's initiative, and the absolutely uncontestable role of the uniqueness of Jesus as the divine redeemer.
That being the true position, the question will surely be raised as to how then we can speak of Mary as co-redemptrix. This truth concerning Redemption is to be complemented with the indispensable need for the cooperation of the human beneficiary. Humans can sin by themselves, but they cannot save by themselves.

In other words, cooperation is required, for each one according to the freely designed and chosen plan of God. This being the case, we can help our partners in dialogue understand many things about Mary: her cooperation with and submission to the plan of God, leading her to become the Mother of Jesus; her closeness to Jesus at the crucifixion as co-redemptrix; her intercessory advocacy and influence with Jesus on our behalf; her being Mother of the Church, Queen of Heaven and Mediatrix of All Graces. Mary's cooperation helps all Christians and even non-Christians to understand our own required cooperation with Jesus and with his grace for our salvation.
Q: How do you think non-Catholic Christians would respond to a dogma of Mary's spiritual motherhood of all peoples, and what do you think would be the response of the large Hindu population within your region?
Cardinal Toppo: I have no doubt that non-Catholic Christians participating in ecumenical dialogue, either will find this position acceptable or at least will have no valid or convincing argument against it.

For example, this is what happened in the past to a Lutheran tribal girl of Ranchi in 1890 when she discovered that Catholics actually do not worship Mary as a goddess, though they honor her because of her being the mother of Jesus. She -- Ruth Kispotta -- joined the Catholic Church and founded our first indigenous congregation: the Daughters of St. Anne, Ranchi.

Adherents and followers of non-Christian faiths readily understand our position in this matter. This would also explain how it is that so many non-Christians flock to shrines of Our Lady all over the world, including within the vast continent of Asia. They felt drawn to Mary because of her proximity to Jesus
There is an Indian shrine in honor of "Dhori Ma," also known as the Lady of the Mines, based on a statue discovered by Hindu coal miners at Dhori. Today this statue of Our Lady is venerated by tens of thousands: Christians, Hindus, Muslims. All appreciate the Mother who takes care of her children and who is entirely at their service.
Q: How do you think a new Marian dogma would affect our present relationship with the Muslim community and our dialogue with them?
Cardinal Toppo: A presentation of Mary as co-redemptrix would be especially appreciated in dialogue with Muslims, for the simple reason that Mary is already well known to them from the Quran itself. Muslims revere Mary as the "greatest of women," sinless and ever virgin. She is a woman of great dignity and her role and significance is acknowledged in the Quran, in the Hadith and in the piety of daily Muslim life. One can say, without hesitation, that Mary has been, is and remains a true role model for both Muslims and Christians. She is a wonderful help in our interreligious dialogue. The correct presentation of Mary co-redemptrix provides a smooth path to the discovery of Catholic truth and encourages all sincere persons to cooperate with the initiatives of the loving and attractive God whose mercy is from age to age.