Mediatrix of all graces

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Mediatrix of all graces is a Marian title that Roman Catholics give to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God; it includes the understanding that she mediates the Divine Grace. In a papal encyclical of Sept. 8, 1894 Pope Leo XIII states the following:

"The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace"[1]

— Pope Leo XIII, Iucunda Semper Expectatione

The Second Vatican Council referred in its document Lumen gentium to Mary as "Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix and Mediatrix".

Proposal for dogmatic definition[edit]

The formal definition of Mediatrix of all graces as a dogma was not considered opportune and faced significant opposition from the world's bishops during discussions held to prepare for the Second Vatican Council.[2] However this is of little importance for two reasons:

  1. The bishops did not oppose the definition of Mediatrix of all graces, only stated that the timing was not opportune for a formal definition of the dogma.
  2. Hypothethically, even if the bishops had opposed, it is important to understand that the beliefs held by the Catholic Church are not determined by consensus, or vote. Most major doctrines (such as the doctrine on the Divinity of Jesus) have been opposed by groups in the Catholic Church at one time or another (see Arianism). The teaching of the Catholic Church does not depend on how many believe it or not, or on how many oppose it or not, but rather on what the Pope and the Bishops in union with him teach. In this the Catholic Church is different from many other Christian ecclesial communities.

In 1896, French Jesuit priest René-Marie de la Broise interpreted Pope Leo XIII's papal encyclical Octobri mense[3] as teaching that all graces from Jesus Christ are imparted through Mary. Broise proposed that the pontiff should make a dogmatic definition about the role of Mary in the distribution of all graces, but did not require that it be in the form of declaring her to be the mediatrix of all graces.[4]

Celebration in Belgium[edit]

In Belgium, 8 years later, Redemptorist priest François Xavier Godts wrote a book, De definibilitate mediationis universalis Deiparae (On the definability of the universal mediation of the Mother of God), proposing precisely that it be defined that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces. Désiré-Joseph Mercier, Cardinal Archbishop of Mechelen, Belgium championed this cause.

In response to petitions from Belgium, including one signed by all its bishops, the Holy See approved in 1921 an annual celebration in that country of a feast day of Mary Mediatrix of All Graces.[5] In printings of the Roman Missal from that date until 1961, the Mass of Mary Mediatrix of All Graces was found in the appendix Missae pro aliquibus locis (Masses for Some Places), but not in the general calendar for use wherever the Roman Rite is celebrated.[6] Other Masses authorized for celebration in different places on the same day 31 May were those of the Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Belgian celebration has now been replaced by an optional memorial on 31 August of the Virgin Mary Mediatrix.[7]

Scholarly opposition to dogmatic definition[edit]

Despite requests for a new Marian dogma, the Fathers of Vatican II and the Popes who presided at the Council, John XXIII and Paul VI decided not to proceed with new dogmatic definitions. Lumen gentium, which does not contain a dogmatic definition of mediation, was approved by 2,151 votes out of 2,156.

In August 1996, a Mariological Congress was held in Czestochowa, Poland, where a commission was established in response to a request of the Holy See. The congress sought the opinion of scholars present there regarding the possibility of proposing a fifth Marian dogma on Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. The commission unanimously declared that it was not opportune to define a fifth Marian dogma on those titles. The Declaration of Czestochowa observed that while these titles can be given a content in conformity with the deposit of the faith, nevertheless such "titles, as proposed, are ambiguous, as they can be understood in very different ways".[2]

Devotion in the Philippines[edit]

Statue of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace from 1948 at the Carmelite convent in Lipa. The apparitions were approved by the local Catholic Church in September 2015.

Among Filipino Catholics, the term "Mediatrix" is associated with an alleged 1948 apparition of the Virgin Mary to Teresita Castillo, with title Mary Mediatrix of All Grace in the Carmelite monastery of Lipa, Batangas, Philippines. Ramón Argüelles, the current Archbishop of Lipa, declared his personal belief in the veracity of the 1948 apparitions, encouraging veneration of Mary under that title.[8]

The apparition is well-known in the Philippines and among the Filipino diaspora, most notably the preserved rose petals which fell from the sky and are claimed to be miraculous. Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Mercedes Arrastia Tuason is a known devotee of the apparitions, and displays a large statue in her consulate office in Rome.[9]

Stigmatist Emma de Guzman, foundress of the La Pieta association, which has received ecclesiastical approval,[10] said that Mary had declared herself to be "the Mediatrix standing in front of the Mediator".[11]

Continued campaigning[edit]

Groups of laity and clergy, what has been called "a small but growing movement",[12] continue to press for definition of a dogma of the universal mediation of Mary.[13] One such group calls itself Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici.[14] On 8 February 2008, five cardinals published a petition asking Pope Benedict XVI to declare the Blessed Virgin Mary both Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix, and over 500 bishops later added their signatures.[15] The magazine Inside the Vatican and Saint Thomas More College organized a one-day panel discussion on the question in Rome on 25 March 2010.[12]


  1. ^ Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Iucunda Semper Expectatione, 8 September 1894
  2. ^ a b L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English 25 June 1997, page 10
  3. ^ Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Octobri mense, 22 September 1891; cf. William G. Most, "Church Teaching on Mary as Mediatrix of (All) Graces"
  4. ^ [1] Gloria Falcão Dodd, The Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces: History and Theology of the Movement for a Dogmatic Definition from 1896 - 1964 (Academy of the Immaculate 2012 ISBN 978-1-60114061-6), pp. 51–52
  5. ^ Mark Miravilla (editor), 2008, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Queenship Publishing ISBN 1-57918-355-7 page 448
  6. ^ See, for instance, the 1957 printing and a late-1920s printing.
  7. ^ Calendrier liturgique francophone 2010-2011
  8. ^ Letter of Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, 17 April 2005
  9. ^ Office of the Ambassador of the Philippines to the Vatican, Pope Paul VI residence -
  10. ^ /Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, Endorsement of pilgrimage, 1 August 2007
  11. ^ June Keithley Castro, "Messages from Mama Mary" in Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 September 2012
  12. ^ a b Robert Moynihan, "Is the Time Ripe for a 5th Marian Dogma?" in ZENIT, 1 March 2010 Archived 3 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Mark Miravalle, 1993, Introduction to Mary, Queenship Publishing ISBN 978-1-882972-06-7 page 51
  14. ^ "Voice of the People for Mary Mediatrix". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  15. ^ "ZENIT - Cardinals' Letter Promoting Marian Dogma". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 

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