Response to a Statement of an International Theological Commission
of the Pontifical International Marian Academy
June 13, 1997
4. Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici
The international Catholic organization,
Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici (Voice of the People for Mary
Mediatrix), is a principal movement amidst others petitioning our
Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, to solemnly define the Maternal Mediation
of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This international Catholic organization
carries with it the episcopal endorsements of over 550 bishops, inclusive
of 43 Cardinals and nearly 7 million petitions from the faithful spanning
over 155 countries, all united in the requesting of the solemn definition
of Our Ladys Maternal Mediation. Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici
works in complete obedience and solidarity to the Papal Magisterium
of Pope John Paul II in exercising the canonical right and duty
encoded in Canon 212, §2,3:
"The Christian faithful are free to make known
their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires to the
pastors of the Church"; "In accord with the knowledge,
competence and preeminence which they possess, they have the right
and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their
opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and
they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian
faithful, with due regard for the integrity of faith and morals
and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the
common good and the dignity of persons."
In the proper letter
and spirit of this Canon, Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici continues
to do all possible on the level of prayer, theological research, Marian
catechesis, and education of the faithful to assist in bringing to
proper theological and ecclesial maturity the cause for the solemn
definition of the Maternal Mediation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In light of the opinion
of the commission that the mariological doctrine in question still
needs "further study" and "theological maturity,"
let us recall from our recent past Church precedence that such maturity
can come about in a rather brief span of time, based on the given
minds and hearts, authoritative, theological, and lay, dedicated to
the development of a given doctrine at a given time of the Church.
For example in 1957, Pius XII stated that the cause of restoration
of the permanent diaconate at that time lacked "theological maturity."
It was only a very few years later at the Second Vatican Council (1961-1965)
that the permanent diaconate was seen as "having reached"
its proper theological maturity, and hence was reinstated by Pope
Paul VI shortly after the Council in 1967.
In sum then, this
statement of the commission, while providing a valuable contribution
to the theological dialogue concerning Maternal Mediation and it potential
solemn definition, contains no authoritative or official prohibition
of the activities of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, which will
continue to work in obedience and solidarity to the Papal Magisterium
of Pope John Paul II in seeking to bring about the necessary theological
and ecclesial maturity for the solemn definition of Maternal Mediation,
whether that be in the distant or "not too distant" future.
The final and definitive judgment of which, of course, remains with
the present Pontiff.
With all proper appreciation
and respect for the contribution of the theological commission on
the subject of Maternal Mediation and its definition, we know also
from the historical precedence of the Church that several advisory
theological commissions requested by the Holy See have come to conclusions
which ultimately were not adopted by the Holy See; the most radical
example within recent Church precedence was the theological commission
requested by the Holy See to examine the question of artificial birth
control, the conclusion of which was overridden by Pope Paul VI when
he reaffirmed the constant Church teaching against artificial birth
control in his 1968 Encyclical, Humanae Vitae.13