Video – Dr Mark Miravalle – MaryCast Specials #2: MaryCast Update

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Marycast Specials #2 ( 08min) Play - Dr Mark Miravalle gives us an update on current events concerning Our Lady and reponds to a question on The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. This March 31st, The Feast of the Annunciation (Easter is so early this year that the Easter week has moved the proper liturgical celebration to March 31st) the World Rosary Crusade for the 5th Marian Dogma will be taking place. Listen to other exciting news on this episode of MaryCast Specials!

Ave Maria!

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  • Peter Spotswood Dillard says:

    Dear Dr. Miravalle,

    Thank you for addressing my question in the latest episode of MaryCast. I agree that it is important to continue the dialogue on a proposed fifth Marian dogma.

    In my response, I begin by observing that something taught by the ordinary magisterium (e.g., in papal encylicals, in documents issued by individual bishops or by groups of bishops, by an ecumenical council when it is not officially defining doctrine, or by the ordinary and universal magisterium when it is not setting forth a doctrine as something to be held definitively) is not automatically a dogma of faith. Hence from the fact that the ordinary magisterium has spoken of Mary as Mediatrix of all graces even in a distributive sense after her Assumption into Heaven, it does not follow that this is an infallible dogma of faith or should be declared as such. As you say, like other teachings of the ordinary magisterium, these statements merely demand obsequium religiosum, or religious submission of will and intellect. They do not demand an assent of divine faith (de fide).

    But that brings us right back to the question of whether the doctrine that Mary is Mediatrix of all graces in a distributive sense is really an infallible dogma of faith, something implicit in the deposit of faith that should be made explicit by a papal declaration ex cathedra and that demands an assent of faith, as opposed to a non-infallible teaching of the ordinary magisterium demanding only religious submission of will and intellect.

    It seems to me that there are two crucial questions which cannot be resolved merely by reflecting on previous statements of the ordinary magisterium:

    (1) What is the theological rationale for claiming that Mary is distributive Mediatrix?

    (2) After her Assumption, how does Mary act as distributive Mediatrix?

    Regarding (1), it may help to reflect on Mary’s designation as Queen of Heaven. This title has been bestowed on her by centuries of the faithful who are members of the indefectible Church. In other words, perhaps the sensum fidei includes the recognition that after her Assumption Mary occupies a level in Heaven higher than that of any other intelligent creature except her son. What then explains her exalted status in the heavenly hierarchy, according to which she is a Queen? The answer might be that, unlike any other saint or angel, she is endowed with the power to distribute ALL graces. Since this power is superior to that of any other intelligent creature in Heaven, ontologically it elevates Mary to the exalted status of Queen of Heaven.

    If this is correct, one might argue that the doctrine of Mary as distributive Mediatrix can be defined as a secondary object of infallibility–i.e., a doctrine which, though not itself formally revealed, is required to defend and explain something that is formally revealed. In the present case, the formally revealed explanadum is that portion of the sensum fidei according to which Mary is Queen of Heaven.

    These are merely speculations…a lot more work needs to be done here.

    Regarding (2), many people are perplexed about how Mary’s distributive mediation is supposed to work. Consider the following quote from an internet site:

    “It would also seem reasonable to question how she is present at each Mass. Since Mary is not omnipresent, as admitted by RCC, how then can one be sure that she is there to mediate the graces that flow through the Mass?”

    Even in Heaven, Mary isn’t a supernatural being but a human being. Since the ability to distribute ALL graces to persons at disparate places and times seems like a supernatural power, how can a human being possess it, even a blessed human in Heaven?

    Of course, here one may appeal to the notion of Mary in Heaven as omnipotentia supplex, the “all-powerful suppliant” possessing an adventitious supernatural power whereby she distributes all graces to the spatiotemporally scattered recipients of these graces. But exactly how should we understand this adventitious supernatural power?

    Certainly Mary doesn’t become a being whose essence it is to be omnipotentia supplex. For then Mary would no longer be human; instead, she would be cease to exist and be replaced by a supernatural being who evolves out of her.

    Instead, we might think of Mary’s adventitious power to distribute all graces as something she possesses only via her relation to the Word united to flesh in the person of Jesus Christ seated in majesty in Heaven. Nevertheless, we still need a viable model of this relation.

    In the Litany of Loreto Mary is addressed as “Mirror of Justice,” suggesting that whatever Mary does in Heaven she does as a reflection of her son.

    Scotus taught that God has a complete divine idea of every possible and actual creature. He knows an actual creature by knowing His formally distinct divine idea of it and by knowing His formally distinct act of ordained will whereby He created this creature. The totality of divine ideas is included in the Word as Second Person of the Trinity, the Word that now in Heaven is united to flesh in the form of Jesus Christ in majesty.

    We might use Scotus’s teaching as a model for understanding how Mary in Heaven distributes all graces. To do so, she must know all creatures who have been, are, and will be recipients of the distributed graces. She knows these creatures, not by virtue of her own human ability, but by having revealed to her (by her “reflecting”) the divine ideas of these creatures contained in the eternal Word. Once these recipients of grace are revealed to Mary as “Mirror of Justice,” by an act of her own will she consents to the act of divine will whereby the graces are applied to their recipients.

    These are merely more speculations; they do not yet constitute a full-blown defense.

    My point is that there is need for MUCH more theological development here, development that isn’t supplied by merely reflecting on statements of the ordinary magisterium. I worry declaring a fifth Marian dogma right now will result in a lot of people being required to believe things they don’t really understand. Of course, we will never fully understand what are essentially mysteries. However, I believe we should strive for whatever degree of positive understanding we can attain, given our limited capabilities.

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    Dr. Dillard

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