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A May Gift for Our Mother: A Letter to Our Holy Father

By Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Catholic Online

On June 3, 2006, His Eminence, Telesphore Cardinal Toppo of Ranchi, India was received in private audience by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. During the audience, Cardinal Toppo formally presented to His Holiness a petition on behalf of approximately forty cardinals and bishops for the solemn papal definition of Our Lady's doctrinal role as the Spiritual Mother of all Peoples under its three essential aspects as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate.

This monumental presentation to our Holy Father was the fruit of a 2005 international Marian symposium on Marian Coredemption which was conducted at Fatima and co-sponsored by six cardinals: their Eminences, Edouard Cardinal Gagnon of Canada; Telesphore Cardinal Toppo of India; Luis Cardinal Aponte Martínez of Puerto Rico; Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil of India; Ernesto Cardinal Corripio Ahumada of Mexico; and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of the Philippines. The participating cardinals and bishops from all parts of the world discussed Our Lady's privileges as the Co-redemptrix of humanity with and under Jesus Christ, our divine Redeemer, and her subsequent roles as Mediatrix of all graces and universal Advocate for humanity. The symposium led to the formulation and signing of a formal petition by the cardinals and bishops present to our Holy Father for the proposed fifth Marian dogma of Our Lady's role as Spiritual Mother of all humanity and its three unique maternal functions.

The formal petition presented to Pope Benedict XVI in the name of these cardinals and bishops also specified that the solemn papal definition of Our Lady's spiritual motherhood would constitute a significant contribution to the Church's mission of ecumenism. The proposed papal definition would clearly specify on the highest level of Church authority, and with the greatest theological precision, that the human participation of Mary Most Holy in the work of Redemption is completely subordinate and dependent upon the role of Jesus Christ, who alone as our divine and human Redeemer could satisfy God's infinite justice and remove the true burden of sin. This solemn declaration and clarification would end any mistaken notion that the title, "Co-redemptrix," which popes, saints, and Church writers have used for Our Lady for over 600 years, places Mary on a level of equality with Jesus Christ, but would rather explain that it denotes her unique cooperation with Jesus in the work of Redemption.

Most recently, our beloved Holy Father beautifully articulated the Church doctrine of Our Lady's Coredemption in his 2007 Post-Synodal Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis. Here Pope Benedict quotes the Second Vatican Council's principal teaching on Marian Coredemption (Lumen Gentium, 58), and confirms that Our Mother was "completely involved in the redemptive mission of Jesus": Mary is the great Believer who places herself confidently in God's hands, abandoning herself to his will. (102) This mystery deepens as she becomes completely involved in the redemptive mission of Jesus. In the words of the Second Vatican Council, "the blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son until she stood at the Cross, in keeping with the divine plan (cf. Jn 19:25), suffering deeply with her only-begotten Son, associating herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of the victim who was born of her.

Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus, dying on the Cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: 'Woman, behold your Son.'" (103) From the Annunciation to the Cross, Mary is the one who received the Word, made flesh within her and then silenced in death. It is she, lastly, who took into her arms the lifeless body of the one who truly loved his own "to the end" (Jn 13:1). ...She is the Immaculata, who receives God's gift unconditionally and is thus associated with his work of salvation (SC, 33).

Now, my friends in Jesus and Mary, it is our turn to manifest our love for our Mother and our desire to see her solemnly crowned on earth for what she is already crowned in heaven. Following the example of these heroic Marian cardinals and bishops, let us manifest our minds and hearts to our Holy Father for the solemn papal definition of Our Lady's spiritual motherhood as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate. Please send a brief personal note to Pope Benedict, expressing your own heartfelt desire for the fifth Marian Dogma of Mary as the Spiritual Mother of all peoples. Your personal petition can be in any form that you would like to express, from your heart, concerning your desire to have our Holy Father solemnly proclaim Our Lady as the world's Spiritual Mother. The Holy Father's postal address is:

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

For those who do not feel comfortable writing their own brief note to Pope Benedict, they may use a lay version of the petition that the Fatima symposium cardinals and bishops presented to the Holy Father (which can be found at the end of this article). You may also obtain this petition form by downloading it from the home page of either or

During this upcoming Marian month of May, please consider dedicating the month, out of love for our common Mother, to the spreading of this movement for petitioning our Holy Father for the fifth Marian dogma to your friends, parishes, your prayer groups, or at any appropriate Eucharistic or Marian celebration.

My friends, our Holy Father is truly the Vicar of Jesus on earth. Open your hearts to him as a spiritual child. Let him know that you continue to pray and long for the Dogma of Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. If you previously signed a petition to Pope John Paul II, you can tell him that, too, but that you also want him to know personally that your desire for our Mother's roles to be solemnly proclaimed remains present in your heart and in your prayers.

Without the papal definition of Mary as the Spiritual Mother of all Peoples, the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate, the historic and universal Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which was prophesied at Fatima, will not, we believe, take place. The Heavenly Father wills that his Immaculate Virgin Daughter be properly recognized by humanity for the role which she played with Jesus in the Redemption--then, and only then, will the full bountiful graces of an "era of peace" be granted to the world.

Moral degeneration, natural disaster, and regional war and terrorism increase in our world experience by the year. We need a new Pentecost. We need a new heavenly release of grace and peace. We need the peace that only God can provide for our world through our Lady. We need the Dogma.

Please take just a few minutes during the month of May which honors our Most Blessed Mother and send a petition, personal or form, to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and with the utmost filial respect and love ask him to prayerfully consider proclaiming the fifth Marian Dogma for the sublime benefit of the Church and of the world, which remains in a state of serious crisis.

Spread the word of this international petition effort for Our Lady as the Holy Spirit leads you. Thank you for your potential "fiat" to Our Mother, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. May She forever keep you and yours tightly wrapped in her Immaculate mantle of grace, redemption, and peace.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Dr. Mark Miravalle
Professor of Theology and Mariology
Franciscan University of Steubenville
April 25, 2007
Feast of St. Mark


To His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City State

Your Holiness:

In a spirit of filial love and obedience, we, as members of the People of God, wish to humbly bring before you our petition and prayer for the solemn papal definition of the revealed role of Mary most holy as the Spiritual Mother of all peoples under its three principal aspects as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate.

We firmly believe, Holy Father, that the solemn papal declaration of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Spiritual Mother of all humanity in her roles which God has given her as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate will bring great graces to the Church and the world by an explicit solemn recognition of her maternal role on the part of the Church, and thus allowing her to exercise fully the motherly gift which Jesus Christ gave to humanity from the cross: "Woman, behold, your son!... Behold, your mother!" (Jn. 19:26-27). We believe that this dogmatic proclamation will also further the authentic ecumenical mission of the Church by proclaiming the revealed truth about Mary, who collaborated in an altogether unique way in the work of our redemption in a manner that was completely subordinate to and dependent upon Jesus Christ, the one divine Redeemer of the human race.

In view of the many serious crises presently facing the entire human family, including war, terrorism, moral decline, and natural disaster, we humbly request that you solemnly declare the dogma of Mary as the Spiritual Mother all peoples, specifying that she is the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate, and thus to provide for the full actuality of her motherly roles of intercession for humanity, which we believe will effect a profound historic and continuing grace for the Church and for the world.


Franciscan University of Steubenville OH, US
Dr. Mark Miravalle - Professor of Theology and Mariology, 740 937-2277



dogma petition holy father benedict xvi

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