|Written by Bishop Peter M. Chenaparampil|
Every true Catholic has devotion to Our Lady. Our Lady is not only honored as Mother of God, admired as im maculately conceived, appreciated as perpetual virgin and sought after as Queen assumed to heaven, but she is consid ered as our own Spiritual Mother.
In India, Marian devotion is quite strong. Mary is the Chief Patron of India, especially since independence was granted to the country on the Feast of her Assumption on the Fifthteenth of August. Culturally in India, women are held in high esteem, although in practice there may be cases of ill treatments. Ac cording to the Hindu mentality women are loved and revered. The Godhead is conceived as having a female counterpart. God Vishnu has Goddess Lakhmi and God Siva has Parvathi. The Hindus think that by placating these female deities, they can get favors from the powerful male deities. Because of such concept, Mary, Mother of God, gets easily a place in the Hindu mind and heart. It is a fact that many Hindus venerate Mary. Mary also has a pride of place in Islam. Indian Catholics have naturally a great devotion to Our Lady since they also are trained in Marian devotion from a tender age.
But it is to be remembered that devotion remains in the periphery of one’s life and does not enter into one’s soul, one’s thinking, and one’s way of life, unless one is convinced of its necessity. As regards Our Lady, devotion to her should not just be merely based on her exalted dignity nor on her eminent virtues and qualities. In the devotion to Our Lady there is something beyond personal distinctions. That is, that Mary is very close to us and has something to do with our salvation. The earlier four dogmas portray Our Lady as a person of emi nence and intimately connected with Our Lord as the Im maculately conceived, Virgin Mother of God. But it is the three-fold maternal doctrinal roles as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate, that bring into relief her dominant position in our life.
If Mary’s role is shown as Co-redemptrix, then naturally people will realize her importance in the work of redemption and will be impelled to venerate her and love her as a person very much needed in their life and in their salvation. If Our Lady is proclaimed to the peoples as Mediatrix, then people will be drawn to her to get the graces from Our Lord through her. It is the title of Our Lady as Advocate that inspires confi dence in the people. So it will be of great advantage to the people at large, if these three prerogatives of Our Lady are declared as a Marian dogma of faith.
Why certain theologians find it difficult to understand the position of Our Lady as Coredemptrix, I think, is be cause they are caught up in the meshes of syllogisms and mis understandings. It is true that Our Lord is the only Redeemer but we see that in the act of redemption Our Lord deigned to involve others with Him. That He chose to be born from the humble Virgin of Nazareth while He could have accomplished redemption in a different way, makes us understand that Re demption is not exclusive of co-operation from others. Our Lord made use of Mary in His redemptive work to such an extent that she became the Mother of the Redeemer. What St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 3:9 is quite revealing: We are God’s "co-workers."
Our Lord is the sole redeemer of mankind; however, in His divine disposition He made use of humanity in His act of redemption and Mary is the most prominent person. When we say that Our Lady is Coredemptrix, we do not mean that she is independent of Our Lord, nor that She is on par with Him. We only mean to say that Our Lord made use of Mary in His redemptive work. That Our Lady is Mediatrix follows as a corollary from her role as Coredemptrix. So too, with the prerogative of Our Lady as Advocate.
By imploring the Holy Father to define these three ma ternal roles of Our Lady as a dogma, the supporters of the Vox Populi Movement are only desiring to get Our Lady placed more centrally in Marian devotion. It is a matter of consola tion that many eminent personalities in the upper echelons of the clergy and many distinguished theologians are now com ing to realize the necessity of getting this Fifth Dogma pro claimed by the Holy Father. May Mary our Advocate obtain this favor from the Triune God by illuminating the mind and strengthening the heart of the Holy Father towards the declaration of the dogma.
Most Rev. Peter M. Chenaparampil Bishop of Alleppey, India