Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Eat, Drink, and See Mary

Recently, Catholic Light drew our attention to a devotion originating from the Netherlands, the result of alleged apparitions in the early 1950s, where Mother Mary appeared to someone, and wished to be known hereafter as "Our Lady of All Nations." Not one to miss a devotional bandwagon, the prayer commissioned by the apparition is viewable on the EWTN website:
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send now Your Spirit over the earth... May the Lady of All nations, who once was Mary, be our Advocate. Amen."
It seems she no longer wants to be known as "Mary."

In addition, the apparition requested that the Church officially declare her "Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate." This so-called "fifth Marian dogma" has been actively promoted by a professor from Franciscan University of Steubenville by the name of Mark Miravalle. There is also a website devoted to this cause entitled Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici.

Of course, the role of Mary as co-operator in our Redemption is already understood as part of Catholic teaching. But that's not good enough for some people. They want this teaching to be raised to the level of an officially declared dogma. While there is much to support this, the recent findings of a pontifical commission, has determined such a declaration to be premature.

There are two problems with such a declaration that Dr Miravalle consistently ignores. One is our relationship with the Orthodox Church, which is closer to reunion now than at any time since the Great Schism a millennia ago. This use of papal authority, for a teaching already understood to be Truth, would cause an unnecessary breach with our brethren in the East. The other problem is evident in this and other alleged apparitions in recent years. Every other little old lady in tennis shoes that has an apple fall on her head starts hearing voices telling her that "Mary wants this" or "Jesus wants this," oblivious to the declaration of Pope Benedict XIV (not to be confused with the current Benedict XVI) in his mid-18th century Decree on Private Revelations, where he warns that teachings of the Church are not to be declared on the basis of private revelations.

Having worked for a Marian magazine some years ago, I can tell you from experience that things like this are guaranteed to bring the nuts out of the woodwork. Some of them are harmless. Some of them are not. And some of the ones that are not... want your money.

This apparently hasn't been lost on the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CPDF), the Vatican dicastery once headed by the former Cardinal Ratzinger. "Your Excellency is requested to take into consideration the above mentioned advisory and inform the members of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines that the CPDF does not permit any Catholic community of Christ's Faithful to pray to the Mother of God under the title of 'Lady of All Nations' with the added expression 'who was once Mary'."

It is said that in the final days, the Evil One would appear as an angel of light, and would succeed in deceiving even the Elect.

Makes you wonder if it's really worth it... eh?


RC said...

Good post; and it's interesting to hear you worked for a Marian magazine. Do you have any stories to tell? Are there others besides Soul and Queen of All Hearts?

David L Alexander said...

Yes, there is. This one's local, and they have a reputation for suing anybody that says anything bad about them.

Mr. Nixter said...

Recently, I recall seeing a story in the news about some guy in NJ(?) who claims a statue of Jesus, apparently sculpted with closed eyes, popped one open and now peers out at passers-by. Crowds of "the faithful" gather to pray, meditate or simply wait until the other one opens so they'll be able to say they witnessed a miracle.

Yawn. Why does God, creator of the universe and everything in it, decide to makes his presence known in a stinking plaster statue, piece of pizza or under some obscure bridge in some nameless city? Hope I don't sound too naive, but if God's reading this post, how about sending a bolt of lightening that strikes an upper abuttment in Yankee Stadium while they're playing the Boston Red Sox, scorching something like "Peace, you idiots" or something to that effect?

Anonymous said...

i fully agree with the Vatican's stand on the "Our Lady of All Nations" as stated in the May 2005 letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. what i understand from it is that a devotion that promotes a faulty Mariology (reflected in its questionable prayer which says Our Blessed Mother "was once Mary") should be discouraged from being spread. this "who once was Mary" phrase smacks of reincarnation and therefore has no place in the Catholic Church. but the problem is, even some of the Philippine bishops to whom the Vatican letter is addressed think it is only the phrase that is objectionable, not the whole prayer nor the devotion itself. thus they continue to support the devotion and even celebrate Mass in honor of "Our Lady of all Nations" apparently unable to realize what confusion this is causing among the faithful. May the Vatican issue a clearer statement on the matter? Should the devotion be discouraged, or is it all right to propagate it as long as that phrase is removed from the prayer? as a serious Catholic i believe that the reported messages of the "Lady of All Nations" be deeply studied, because that "who once was Mary" phrase would not have come from thin air, nor is it a mere phrase. it must be the "fruit" of a whole system of beliefs that may be contradicting what the Church already teaches about Mary. as far as i know, bishops may support and spread only those Marian devotions that have been authenticated by the Church, not these (hundreds of) new ones being popularized by "visionaries". what is wrong with sticking to OUr Lady of Fatima? or Lourdes? Guadalupe? do we just want variety? novelty? are we bored with the "old" persona of Mary that we must entertain "new" Marys--as though Mary were just a rock star like Madonna or Britney Spears who must be reinvented in order to keep her top billboard rating? personally, i believe that instead of spreading more devotions of questionable origin like this one, our priests (and bishops especially)should just encourage the faithful to imitate Mary's virtues. we must grow up and mature in the faith. fine, we have to learn to ask the Blessed Mother for favors but should we get stuck there? what about devoting time to pray with her? enduring suffering with her? being humble and faithful in all situations we find ourselves in in life? being docile and obedient to God's will in spite of the world's allurements? Paging priests and bishops on whose enlightened guidance we lay people rely! thank you, and God bless us all! Mother Mary, we love you!

Anonymous said...

hi david!
discovered your blog through Catholic Light and posted a comment on Lady of All Nations a few minutes back. i like your blog articles and have saved your blogspot in my "favorites" option. God bless, and ... write on!