ROME, FEB. 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- 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.”