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Response to a Statement of an International Theological Commission
of the Pontifical International Marian Academy

June 13, 1997

2. The Solemn Definition of Maternal Mediation and the Second Vatican Council

       It must also be remembered that the Second Vatican Council was by its own self-definition not a "dogmatic council" but a "pastoral council," and as such may not have been the most   appropriate setting for a dogmatic definition. And yet, the Council Fathers made it clear that they did not intend to present a "complete doctrine on Mary" and encouraged future mariological doctrinal development: "This sacred synod...does not, however, intend to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which the work of theologians has not yet fully clarified" (Lumen Gentium, n. 52).

     Church history and precedence teaches us that the decision of a given ecumenical council not to make a solemn definition does not preclude a solemn definition coming in an ex cathedra fashion in the future. For example, a petition for the solemn definition of the Assumption of Mary was raised and rejected at Vatican Council I, but this did not prevent the later solemn definition of the Assumption by Pius XII in an ex cathedra expression.

     Moreover, there are no grounds for concluding that because Vatican II abstained from using the title "Coredemptrix," that therefore the Council intended the Church to abandon the use of this title forever. The mariological doctrine, language, and usage of the title by Pope John Paul II clearly make any such conclusion impossible.

     For this and for many other reasons, therefore, the rich mariological doctrinal development on the subject of Mary’s Maternal Mediation provided by the Papal Teachings of John Paul II as a fruitful development of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council simply cannot be ignored. We must beware of any mode of theological stagnancy that would reject authentic mariological doctrinal development as manifested by the present Pontiff on different levels of his Papal Magisterium, in expressions of encyclicals, apostolic letters, and general papal addresses and teachings.

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