The Lady of All Nations, the CDF, and "Who Once Was Mary"
Dr. Mark Miravalle
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father,
send now Your Spirit over the earth.
Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations,
that they may be preserved
from degeneration, disaster, and war.
May the Lady of All Nations, [who once was Mary]
be our advocate. Amen.
In response to a letter of inquiry from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines Doctrinal Commission, Archbishop Angelo Amato, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated the following in a letter of 20 May, 2005 in reference to Devotion to the Lady of All Nations and the brief clause "who once was Mary" (which is contained in the "Prayer of the Lady of All Nations"):
With regard to the devotion known as "Lady of All Nations" and the Marian apparitions experienced by the late visionary Ida Peerdeman, I wish to advise Your Excellency that although the said apparitions have received approval from His Excellency, the Most Rev. Joseph Maria Punt, Bishop of Haarlem (Holland), in his Communications of 31 May 2002, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has expressed concern regarding one particular aspect of that devotion whereby official prayers invoke the Blessed Virgin as Lady of All Nations "who was once Mary."
In fact, this Dicastery, in a letter to His Excellency, The Most Rev. Francois Bacque, Apostolic Nuncio to the Netherlands, has indicated that Marian devotion must be nourished and developed in accordance with the indications given by the Holy Father in "Redemptoris Mater" and "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" and not according to private apparitions nor according to a "new" name of Mary, such as Lady of All Nations "who was once Mary."
...Therefore, 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 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 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."
The following points of fact must be kept in mind for a proper understanding of Archbishop Amato's letter.
1. The letter begins with the direct acknowledgement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) that the Lady of All Nations apparitions have received local ecclesiastical approval from the local bishop, Bishop Josef Maria Punt. The CDF consistently instructs that the responsibility of discernment and judgement concerning the supernatural quality of any reported private revelation lies with the authority of the local bishop.
2. The CDF has concern only with "one particular aspect of the devotion" where the Blessed Virgin is invoked with the clause "who once was Mary." The devotion to the Lady of All Nations remains approved by the local bishop, and the overall prayer, excepting this clause, which petitions the Lord Jesus Christ to send the Holy Spirit down upon the earth in prevention of "degeneration, disaster, and war" likewise remains approved.
3. The CDF specifically prohibits any "Catholic Community of Christ's faithful" from praying to the Mother of God under the title of "Lady of All Nations" with the added title "who once was Mary." This refers to public or community prayer by a body of Christ's faithful. The CDF does not specifically refer to the private praying of the prayer.
4. The CDF Secretary's apparent doctrinal concern regarding the brief clause "who once was Mary" lies in contrast to the fact that the Lady of All Nations prayer has been granted the official "Imprimatur" (which testifies to Catholic doctrinal orthodoxy) by approximately seventy cardinals and bishops throughout the world. No specific rationale, theological nor pastoral, was given in the letter for the prohibition of the clause.
5. The clause "who once was Mary" is understandable in a simple and straightforward manner. "The Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary" refers to the historical beginnings of the spiritual Mother of all nations and peoples, who was first the humble Virgin of Nazareth. Mary's "yes" at Nazareth led to her eventual role with Jesus at Calvary, where she was given by her Crucified Son as spiritual mother to all nations and peoples as conveyed in the words, "Woman, behold your son ...behold, your Mother" (Jn. 19:25-27). The phrase, therefore, refers to the new dignity that Mary now deserves in light of her role of coredemption with and under Jesus Christ, the divine Redeemer, as conveyed in the title, "Lady of All Nations," but is also mindful of her humble historical beginnings as Mary of Nazareth, who was called to daily cooperate with the saving work of her Son.
We could use the simple analogies, "Pope John Paul II, who once was Karol" or ...
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