Cardinal Offers Update on Marian Petition

Seeks to Define Mary as Spiritual Mother of Humanity

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, DEC. 8, 2009 ( Defining the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Spiritual Mother of Humanity could be a “historic” moment of grace for the world, and a “remedy” to the current global crises, says Cardinal Luis Aponte-Martinez.

The retired archbishop of San Juan said this today, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, in a letter sent to the cardinals and bishops of Latin America on the petition to define the “Blessed Virgin Mary as the Spiritual Mother of All Humanity, under its threefold aspects of Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces, and Advocate.”

The retired archbishop of San Juan is one of the five cardinal co-sponsors of the 2005 International Symposium on Marian Co-redemption, held in Fatima, that are asking Benedict XVI to declare a fifth Marian dogma.

The letter served to update the prelates on the request, and to encourage them to offer more support. He affirmed that the declaration of the fifth dogma “could constitute a historic benefit of grace and blessing for all humanity.”

Cardinal Aponte-Martinez noted that 13 bishops from the Philippines, including Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the archbishop of Cebu and president of the Philippine episcopal conference, sent a letter to Benedict XVI in which they expressed support for the Marian petition.

“We understand that there are some challenges that surround such a definition,” the bishops stated, “but please know, Your Holiness, that there are many bishops and faithful who will support You in love and unconditional loyalty.”

“That is why we dare to pledge to Your Holiness our most fervent prayers for your discernment to make one positive step in this direction,” the note added.

The letter, sent Oct. 2, was accompanied by a personal note from the country’s president, Gloria Arroyo, in which she added her strong support for the request of the bishops.

“It is our desire,” the president said, “that the whole world foster a greater love for ‘Mama Mary’ through the solemn acknowledgement of her titles and motherly role for the human family to intercede in behalf of her children at this very important time in human history.”

“Sensus fidelium”

Cardinal Aponte-Martinez noted as well that letters supporting the petition were sent from the episcopal conferences of India, signed by Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly and president of the conference, and Nigeria, signed by the conference’s president, Archbishop Felix Job of Ibadan.

Other letters of support, he reported, came from Eastern Europe, including Archbishop Franc Kramberger of Maribor, Slovenia, and from various countries of Latin America.

“All over the world,” the cardinal continued, “lay faithful have joined their bishops. Numerous prayer days, conferences, individual prayers and petitions to the Holy Father from the laity constitute a positive manifestation for this potential Marian dogma from the ‘sensus fidelium’.”

Cardinal Aponte-Martinez reflected on the “worldwide urgency for the greatest possible intercession of our heavenly Mother for the unprecedented crises of faith, family, society, and peace, which marks the present human condition.”

“We see the papal definition of Holy Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood of all peoples as an extraordinary remedy to these global crises which today threaten a great part of humanity,” he added. “The more we freely acknowledge Mary’s intercessory power, the more she is able to exercise this power for the peoples of the world entrusted to her care at Calvary.”

The cardinal urged prelates from around the world to join their support to the petition, and to write Benedict XVI “for his prayerful discernment of what might constitute a next positive step for the solemn proclamation of the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary.”

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