Introduction to The Lady of All Nations

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, appeared to the Dutch visionary, Ida Peerdeman in Amsterdam, Holland under the title of the “Lady of All Nations” in 56 apparitions from March 25, 1945 to May 31, 1959. These apparitions were followed by a series of “Eucharistic Experiences” received by the visionary from July 1958 to May 1970.

The first years of these messages called for a return of the Cross of Jesus Christ into the center of human life and spirituality, along with a new coming of the Holy Spirit for the sanctification of the world. These messages also contained a great number of prophecies concerning the Church and the world, including numerous social, economic and geo-political predictions, for example: an upcoming worldwide economic crisis; conflicts in the Middle East, specifically in Jerusalem and Cairo; a great increase in natural disasters; a global decline in morals, family life, and religious practice. Many of these prophecies have clearly already taken place. The fulfillment of these social, economic, and geo-political prophecies provides the credibility of supernatural authenticity for the two specific spiritual remedies offered by the Lady of All Nations for today’s unprecedented global crises.

On February 11, 1951, The Lady of All Nations revealed a prayer that should be prayed by all peoples for a new coming of the Holy Spirit through the intercession of Mary as Advocate:

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father,
send now your Spirit over the earth.
Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations,
that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster, and war.
May the Lady of All Nations, the Blessed Virgin Mary*, be our Advocate. Amen.

The Lady gave these instructions regarding the prayer: “My child, this prayer is so short and simple, that each one can say it in his own tongue, before his own crucifix…Let all men cooperate in this great work for the world.”

This prayer is to prepare for the main spiritual remedy offered by the Lady of All Nations for the world’s many contemporary crises: the solemn proclamation by the Pope of the Catholic Church of the “dogma” of Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. In many of her messages, the Lady explains that through the papal declaration of this dogma of Mary, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate, Mary will then be able to intercede for a new coming of the Holy Spirit, which will bring a historic outpouring of grace, redemption, and peace for the entire world. As the Lady of All Nations revealed in her May 31, 1954 Message: “Work and ask for this dogma. You should petition the Holy Father for this dogma…When the dogma, the last dogma in Marian history has been proclaimed, the Lady of All Nations will give peace, true peace, to the world. The nations, however, must say my prayer in union with the Church.”

On May 31, 1996, Bishop Bomers of Haarlem gave local Church approval for acceptance and public devotion to the Lady of All Nations according to individual conscience. On May 31, 2002, Bishop Punt of Haarlem-Amsterdam gave local Church approval to the authenticity of the messages and apparitions of the Lady of All Nations, stating that they “consist essentially of a supernatural origin.”

*Original clause read, “who once was Mary” but was changed to “the Blessed Virgin Mary” to avoid any pastoral misunderstandings, and was approved by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 2006.

Interview with His Excellency, Amsterdam Bishop Jozef Punt

Monsignor, you have received a letter from a group of cardinals to all the bishops of the world to give their opinion regarding Mary and her place in God’s plan of salvation. They plead for the official proclamation of Mary as ‘the spiritual Mother of all Nations, Co-redemptrix… Mediatrix of all graces… and Advocate…’ Do you support this action?

Bishop Punt: I am certainly positive about it. Their appeal though is not new, as it builds on a long-standing conviction within the Church. All these Marian titles, including that of Co-redemptrix, own a solid place in the Tradition of the Church. We find them back with popes, saints and mystics. The current action, however, goes one step further, because its main issue is a fifth Marian dogma. By some this call has caused surprise. Yet, this form of dialogue is a very normal and legitimate one in the Church. Important teachings of the Church have never been brought about otherwise. The pope alone has the final competence to judge about the significance and expediency of such a proclamation.

This dialogue, however, is not a matter of theological hairsplitting, but concentrates on the timely question who Mary may be for our time and our world. Together with the cardinals and the hundreds of bishops who in the past have declared themselves in favor of this issue, I share the inspiration that the Lord has entrusted our age in a special way to His Mother and that it is His will that the Church gathers round Mary even more in this time, as once the apostles did in the cenacle, to plead for a new Pentecost for our wounded world.

But why do we need a dogma for that, and why this dogma in particular?

Bishop Punt: Let me first say something on the second part, the substance. I realize that especially fellow Christians from the Reformation consider all these Marian titles as an obscuring of the primacy and magnitude of Christ. I understand their concern very well. Yet I think the opposite is true. It is precisely the greatness of Mary and the many titles tradition has attributed to her – already Cardinal Newman writes – that refer to the absolute uniqueness of the Child that is born of her: “He is the divine Wisdom, she therefore the Seat of Wisdom… He is the infinite Mercy, she therefore the Mother of Mercy…” If you have no problem to call her with the Church Fathers “Mother of God, new Eve, Morningstar…”, he argues in dialogue with an Anglican minister, “then what objection can you make to her being called ‘Co-redemptrix’ as well?” Obviously, the “co” here does not mean “equal to” but “united with.”

Don’t you think this title nevertheless creates some confusion and by that unintentionally diminishes the universal Mediatorship of Christ?

Bishop Punt: It of course calls for explanation, as practically all formulations of faith do, but at the same time something else is made more clear. Christ, I too testify with great emphasis, is the only Mediator between God and man. He alone unites both in his own Person. He alone redeems man, yet not without man. He lets us share in our own redemption. It is a realization we already find with St. Paul, and later on with St. Augustine. The universality of the Redemption through Christ “does not exclude cooperation of human beings, but on the contrary makes room for it”, the Second Vatican Council therefore concludes (LG 60, 62). Indeed, also our sufferings, prayers and works become redemptive for ourselves and for others to the extent in which we are united with Christ by our faith and by our lives. This is a notion, I consider also essential for our time.

Obviously, in an outstanding way this applies to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who went all the way with Him, from the time before His birth until the time after His death. Inseparable then, inseparable now. With soul and body living in heaven, like He is. Glorified, like He is. She is “the Immaculate Conception”, created by God’s grace in the original purity and freedom. This renders an absolutely unique quality and dimension to her human cooperation to Redemption, through which she surpasses by far all other human beings, as the Council fathers write. This in fact requires its own final theological formulation. Up to the present day this is not available.

But even though the meaning is in line with Catholic theological Tradition, the question remains: Why should this be formulated as a dogma? What does it add?

Bishop Punt: This is a very proper question. As a good priest once said to me: the fact that it is not officially formulated as a fixed truth, does not make it less true, does it? He is right, of course, but still I think he overlooks something which is essential. To God it is not a matter of indifference, whether man does or does not acknowledge explicitly the full reality of His plan of salvation. It is not only truth what matters here, but primarily faith. In the Holy Scriptures Christ is continually searching for the faith of people, responding to it with miracles of healing and salvation. On the public testimony of faith of St. Peter He builds His Church. The Holy Scriptures show again and again to what high degree God makes his salvific action dependent on the faith and free cooperation of people. He asked Mary’s fiat to start his work of salvation. He asks the fiat of the Church in order to fulfill this work and to accomplish great things in our times.

A “yes” to God is in this time more than ever also a “yes” to Mary, so believe the cardinals and so do I. The “totus tuus” pope, John Paul II, lived this idea. Responding to the call of Fatima he entrusts the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And then, shortly before his death, he made a last and moving appeal to our heavenly Mother: “Obtain for us once more peace and salvation for all of humanity. The eternal Father has chosen you to be the Mother of the Redeemer. Renew our time through your mediation, wonder of his merciful love.” Heaven listens in a special way to the plea of a pastor on behalf of his people – certainly when it is the Supreme Pastor – and again extended the time of mercy.

You see a new Marian dogma as an act of faith in God and in His plan of salvation, that will not remain without response. Can you more specifically mention the fruits, you expect from it?

Bishop Punt: * First of all, in my opinion, it would put Jesus Christ, “the forgotten Redeemer,” the only Mediator between God and man, back in the centre of humanity’s spiritual development. Mary’s role, after all, can only be understood in and through Jesus Christ.

* It would shed new light, so relevant to our times, on the biblical concept of the cooperation asked from us regarding our own redemption, as well as on the unique role of woman in creation and redemption, offering women the so very indispensable new identification of their singular place in God’s plan of salvation.

* But, above all, it would give to Mary, the Immaculata, “the spiritual Mother of all humanity” as John Paul II and Benedict XVI called her, rightful place which God has meant for her and thus open the floodgates of grace. The first four Marian dogmas concern the life and departure of Mary. This new dogma is about us. About her motherly, co-redemptive, mediating and advocating mission for our time and our world now.

And yet, even if a dogma is possible from a theological point of view, and possibly spiritually fruitful, there still remains the question of expediency: why now? Is time actually ripe for this?

Bishop Punt: Essentially, for me this is a question of faith. It implies much more than weighing up the possible pros and cons. In the deepest sense it is about understanding what God’s plan is for our times. He alone knows the future. He alone knows how urgent our age needs the mediation of the heavenly Mother. We can only see the great threats that besiege our world. We can understand the fragility of our own human solutions. We can feel the moral and spiritual decay and we become convinced that we cannot make it without God and his Holy Spirit. It is on that level the question of expediency should be dealt with.

Personally, it is my deepest conviction that it is the will of the Father and the Son that Mary should be the anchor of hope for these times, where the Redeemer has no longer a place in the heads and hearts of so many. That she alone can bring Christ and His Cross back into the hearts. That she alone is the way to a renewed coming of the Holy Spirit. After all, it is her mission, and that of the Church, to bring to completion to creation in time and history, the redemption Christ has obtained for us on the Cross. Pope Benedict uses for this particular role of Mary the beautiful image of the “aquaductus” (aqueduct): through her heart and hands flow into the world the grace, redemption and peace of Christ.

After all, Mary is not a theological concept: she is really our spiritual Mother. “Totally mother of the limbs”, already St. Augustine wrote, “as she is also the mother of the Head.” This she became under the cross. Her word has power, the Church believes. A mother will overcome any obstacle whenever her children are suffering or are in danger of perishing. How many threats besiege this world! How abundant the sufferings are! How abundant the sins! “But where sin abounds”, Holy Scripture says, “grace becomes boundless ever more.”

Mary opens this gate of grace for us, the love, salvation and forgiveness of God. But always respecting our free will. The full recognition of her magnificent role in God’s plan of salvation, will pave the way for her to fulfill this motherly mission. That is in the deepest sense the inspiration I read in the appeal of the cardinals.

The call of the Cardinals also seems to reflect the devotion of Amsterdam. What is the role of private revelations in all this? Isn’t it problematic?

Bishop Punt: Private revelations are a consistent phenomenon in the Church. In the Holy Scriptures and throughout the whole church history we find them in abundance. Although the Church tests them with great precaution, it does not ignore them. Heaven can speak in this way, too, deepening our faith and making us sensible for the signs of time. Sometimes they contain the call for a special dedication, or for an ecclesiastical feast. In the past two hundred years the apparitions of Mary have shown an increasingly prophetic character. As once the prophet Jonah brought about a change of heart and a spirit of repentance and mortification in the great city of Nineveh with all its sins and indifference, Mary makes, with increasing urgency, a similar appeal in many places throughout the world. In Amsterdam she points to the grave situation of our times. A time marked by “degeneration, disaster and war” and threatened by a “world catastrophe.” To prevent this she asks here for special prayer and conversion, but also for the official recognition of her co-redemptive role in God’s plan of salvation. But in this matter it is not essential that people share my beliefs regarding this specific apparition.

The call of the cardinals has its origins chiefly in theological and historical sources.

Can you explain this somewhat more concretely?

Bishop Punt: A dogma is never based on a private revelation. It is based on a long-standing and constant conviction of the Church, with its roots in Scripture and Tradition. This conviction is obviously present here. In fact the complete theology of the “Co-redemptrix” has already been written. Theologians and saints have used and defended this title. In the 20th century, for example, these included Edith Stein, Maximilian Kolbe, Padre Pio, José Maria Escrivà, Mother Teresa, Sister Lucia, and many others. In 1913 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confirmed the theological accuracy of this title. In the tradition of doctrinal authority this thought is present in abundance. Popes Benedict XV and Pius XII focused strongly on its meaning, whereas Pius XI and John Paul II used the title explicitly. Actually, the latter’s encyclical letter, Redemptoris Mater, lays the theological foundations for it. In the middle of the Second World War, in 1943, the Dutch bishops consecrated their land and people to Mary Co-redemptrix. The Second Vatican Council produced beautiful writings about Mary’s cooperation to Redemption, but indicated that it did not want to present “a complete doctrine about Mary”, thus explicitly leaving room for further development (LG 54).

Besides, the request for this Marian dogma is longstanding, too. As early as 1923 the Belgian Cardinal Mercier, supported by Maximilian Kolbe and many others, pleaded for the dogmatic definition of Mary’s role in the Redemption. Pope Benedict XV was open to their plea and installed three committees in order to study this topic. The movement remained strong until the 60s, then it decreased due to the beginning crisis of faith. Now, once again, the time seems ripe. Discussion and differences of opinion will remain. It has never been any different. As for that, it would be interesting to read the papers and magazines dating from around the time of the proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in 1950. The discussion that was held then with regard to issues of theology, expediency and ecumenism, was practically the same as it is now.

However, as the cardinals rightly emphasize, the pope alone has the inalienable responsibility to weigh these matters. It is our responsibility to follow him in this. The person of Mary is a mystery of love, which the Church has learned to understand ever deeper through the centuries. A mystery about which the final words have not yet been said.

 

Between Condemned Army of Mary and Authentic Lady of All Nations: An Ocean of Separation

Recently, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued its official declaration of excommunication for various members of the “Army of Mary,” a schismatic movement in Canada. The Congregation declaration comes in confirmation of the previous rulings concerning the schismatic declaration of Cardinal Marc Ouelett, Archbishop of Quebec and Pontifical Commissioner, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., of Ottawa. It is precisely at times such as these that we must renew our appreciation for the Church’s hierarchy and its God-given charism of authority in service.

The Army of Mary, tragically, had accepted a number of heretical positions introduced by its foundress, Marie-Paule Giguère, as if they were allegedly supernatural messages from Our Lady. The obvious nature of these gravely erroneous teachings make clear the absence of any conceivable supernatural origin of these messages, for example, that the foundress is the reincarnation of Our Lady, and that the alleged seer and Our Lady make up the fourth person of the Trinity.

As is often the case in the history and precedence of private revelation, this false seer attempted to gain credibility by associating herself with an authentic private revelation, in this case, the apparitions of the Lady of All Nations to Ida Peerdeman in Amsterdam (1945-1958). In 1996, Bishop Bomers of Amsterdam gave permission for the personal acceptance of the devotion to the Lady of All Nation). In 2002, Bishop Punt of Amsterdam gave official recognition to the apparitions and its devotion. There are many bishops throughout the world who publicly support devotion to the Lady of All Nations.

At one point, Marie-Paule Giguère of Canada traveled to Amsterdam to meet Ida Peerdeman before knowledge and the ill-fruits of Mme. Giguère’s erroneous messages were known or promulgated. As Ida did not understand French, two translators were present for the one-time encounter. Primacy source testimonies from these two translators make clear that Ida sought to distance herself completely from the false seer from the event of this one meeting.

There is no evidence of any correspondence from the Dutch visionary Peerdeman to Giguère or concerning Giguère in the archives of the Diocese of Harlaam, the Foundation of the Lady of All Nations, nor in any of her own personal memoirs or correspondence. Any alleged reference to any correspondence from Ida Peerdeman to or concerning the false seer Giguère must be considered false.

Bishop Punt of Amsterdam, who rightly applauds the recent Vatican Congregation’s and Canadian bishops’ identification of the severe errors of the Army of Mary Association, has recently released an official statement from the Diocese of Harlaam/Amsterdam that reaffirms the following:

1. There is no connection between the Lady of All Nations apparitions and devotions of Amsterdam and the false movement of the Army of Mary in Canada;

2. There was no evidence of any correspondence in any form from Ida Peerdeman to the false seer, Marie-Paule Giguère. On the contrary, first-hand testimonies confirm Ida’s distancing of herself from Giguère after their single encounter.

3. In 2004, three years before the recent excommunication of Army of Mary members, Bishop Punt had communicated the complete separation of the Lady of All Nations devotions from the problematic Army of Mary movement in his correspondence to Cardinal Ouelett of Quebec.

Please find in the link below the official text of the letter of Bishop Punt of Amsterdam, in his authoritative clarification of the complete separation of the Lady of All Nations apparitions and devotion from the erroneous Army of Mary movement.

Official Letter of Bishop Punt

Let us pray for the conversion and final reconciliation of all those involved in this schismatic movement; in thanksgiving for the inspired clarity that only the Church’s hierarchy can authoritatively bring to these cases; and for the fulfillment of the authentic message of the Lady of all Nations and the fifth Marian dogma, from which true peace and the definitive triumph of our Mother’s Immaculate Heart will come.

The Theological Relevance of the Lady of All Nations Apparitions

The theme of Mary as Coredemptrix and Mediatrix, that is, of the Mother of God as the most intimate human collaborator in the work of our redemption and as the chief dispenser of the grace of the redemption after Jesus himself, has occupied theologians from the very dawn of the twentieth century. Indeed, it seems that the first English writer to use and defend the term Coredemptrix was Father Frederick William Faber in the last chapter of his classic work The Foot of the Cross, first published in 1858. Further, prior to the Second Vatican Council not a few Bishops expressed a desire for the Council to make a declaration—some even wished a definition—about Our Lady as Coredemptrix and/or Mediatrix. In his general audience address of 13 December 1995, Pope John Paul II made a graceful reference to the Council Fathers who “wished further to enrich Marian doctrine with other statements on Mary’s role in the work of salvation” without criticizing them in any way. He simply commented that “The particular context in which Vatican II’s Mariological debate took place did not allow these wishes, although substantial and widespread, to be accepted.”

The present campaign which continues to generate worldwide attention, adherence and much theological debate has added another term to those interrelated titles of Coredemptrix and Mediatrix: that of Advocate. This title has profound roots in the Catholic tradition going all the way back to Saint Irenaeus in the second century. It occurs in the Hail, Holy Queen where we pray: “turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us.” Indeed, the great Marian document of the Second Vatican Council readily recognized that Mary is rightly invoked as Advocate.

Linking together the titles Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate enables us to grasp Mary’s role in our salvation in a logical and coherent way: It is precisely because of Our Lady’s unique and intimate participation in the work of the redemption (as Coredemptrix) that she is able be the distributor (Mediatrix) of all graces and the great intercessor (Advocate) for her children after Jesus himself (cf. Heb. 7:25; 1 Jn. 2:1) and the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn. 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).

When was the call first issued for a definition of Mary’s role in our salvation as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate? As far as I am able to determine, this appeal comes from a series of revelations made in Amsterdam to a humble and simple Dutch woman, Ida Peerdeman (1906-1996), from 25 March 1945 to 31 May 1959. In the course of these, Our Lady disclosed that she wished to be known as “The Lady of All Nations.” She asked that a picture should be painted according to her indications (somewhat similar to the popular image on the miraculous medal) and that this should be diffused along with a prayer which she dictated to the seeress. After the dogmatic definition of the Assumption by Pope Pius XII on 1 November 1950, Our Lady told Ida that this definition had to precede “the last and greatest dogma”: that of Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate, for which the picture and prayer were meant to prepare the way.

What is particularly interesting is that in the course of the apparitions to Ida Peerdeman not only did Our Lady elaborate on and illustrate the meaning of these titles in various ways, but she repeatedly asserted that they could be corroborated by theologians. At Amsterdam on 4 April of the Marian Year 1954, she said:

Listen well! From the outset the Handmaid of the Lord was chosen to be Coredemptrix. Tell your theologians that they can find it all in their books! … I am not bringing a new doctrine. I am now bringing the old ideas.

Repeatedly in these revelations Our Lady addressed herself to the theologians through Ida and told them to work for this doctrine. Several points should be noted in this regard.

1. In those days and up until the time of the Second Vatican Council, the doctrine of Mary’s role in the work of our redemption was commonly treated under the general title of “mediation” in all the standard textbooks in Mariology. Some Mariologists restricted the title of “Mediatrix” to the second phase of mediation (to the cooperation of Mary in the distribution of grace), reserving the title “Coredemptrix” to the first phase (collaboration in the work of our redemption). But even this first phase, it may be argued, is a true and proper mediation since it is a participation in the mediatorial work of Christ. This topic was the object of a great deal of discussion and debate among theologians.

2. It was only after the four major dogmas about Mary’s person (that she is (1) Mother of God and (2) Ever Virgin; that she was (3) Immaculately Conceived and (4) Assumed into Heaven) were solemnly proposed by the teaching authority of the Church that the scene would be set for a dogma about Mary’s function or role in the work of salvation under the threefold designation of Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate.

3. According to these revelations received by Ida Peerdeman, the Virgin herself effectively asserted that “the last and greatest Marian dogma” is already a part of the Church’s doctrinal patrimony. It needs to be drawn out and further clarified by the work of theologians and appropriated by the entire Church. Our Lady further indicated that there would be a struggle in this regard, but she never suggested that the dogma should be defined on the basis of a private revelation, however worthy of credence. This is entirely in keeping with the Church’s millennial wisdom. For example, in his masterly encyclical on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Haurietis Aquas, Pope Pius XII was at pains to point out that the Church’s doctrine on the Heart of Jesus does not originate from the revelations to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, even if these provided the greatest impetus for the devotion in modern times. Rather, he firmly maintained that the Church’s doctrine and devotion are based on the fundamental founts of revelation: Scripture and Tradition.

Now an important question must be asked: What is the Church’s judgment on the revelations received by Ida Peerdeman? On 31 May 1996 Bishop Hendrik Bomers, C.M. of Haarlem (the Diocese which includes Amsterdam) and his Auxiliary, Bishop Joseph Maria Punt, issued a notification which made a distinction between the apparitions/messages received by Ida Peerdeman on the one hand and the title “The Lady of All Nations” on the other. They further specified:

At the moment the Church cannot make a pronouncement about the supernatural character of the apparitions and the content of the messages. One is free to make a personal judgment according to his or her own conscience.

The prayer “Lord Jesus Christ…” which includes the title ‘The Lady of All Nations” had, since 1951, enjoyed Church approval by Msgr. Huibers, who was Bishop of Haarlem at the time.

What is of further interest is that less than a month after this declaration, on 17 June 1996, the seeress died at the age of ninety. Her funeral Mass was celebrated by Bishop Bomers who began his homily on that occasion by stating that “We are gathered here as people who have loved, admired and esteemed Ida Peerdeman.” When the first International Day of Prayer in honor of The Lady of All Nations was held in Amsterdam on 31 May 1997, even with minimum publicity it attracted 5,000 persons and filled the auditorium where it was presided over by Bishop Bomers. The second such Day of Prayer was held in Amsterdam on 31 May 1998 with 12,000 people representing 60 different nations in attendance. On that occasion Bishop Bomers announced that he had recently constituted a theological commission to study the revelations received by Ida Peerdeman. (Very significantly, after having officially permitted devotion to the Lady of All Nations and after having opened the way to a theological investigation of the message, on the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, 12 September 1998, Bishop Bomers was called to his eternal reward).

Most importantly, on 31 May, 2002, Bishop Punt, who had succeeded Bishop Bomers as Bishop of Haarlem, released an official letter which established the supernatural authenticity of the apparitions and messages received by Ida. In it he declared: “I have come to the conclusion that the apparitions of the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam consist of a supernatural origin.”

In such a relatively short sketch it is impossible to discuss in detail the many features of the messages received by Ida Peerdeman. We can say that they deal with a period of great crisis in the Church and in the world. It would seem that many elements of these prophetic words, which at times are illustrated in an apocalyptic way, have already been verified. Here I must confine myself to the two most important elements of these revelations which are given as particular means to bring about the proclamation of the dogma: the prayer and the picture.

The prayer was given on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11 February 1951:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send now Your Spirit over the earth. Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations, that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster and war. May the Lady of all Nations, who once was Mary, be our Advocate. Amen.

Like the prayer composed by Pope John XXIII for the Council, it is a prayer for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. One need hardly comment upon the appropriateness of begging to be “preserved from degeneration, disaster and war.” These characterize our modern world torn from its divine moorings in so many ways.

What is almost always initially jarring to Catholic sensitivities is the seemingly strange reference to “the Lady of all Nations, who once was Mary.” The visionary herself found the words strange and the Church authorities to whom she had to go to obtain approval of the prayer initially gave permission only with the words “who once was Mary” omitted. This led Our Lady to insist on 28 March and 2 July 1951, and again on 17 February and 6 April 1952, that permission should be given for the publication of the prayer in its entirety. This was finally conceded and on 5 October 1952 Our Lady told Ida to tell the Bishop that she was satisfied.

But why this insistence? On 2 July 1951 (then observed as the Feast of the Visitation) Our Lady said:

The words “who once was Mary” mean: many people have known Mary just as Mary. Now, however, in this new era which is beginning I want to be the Lady of All Nations. Everybody will understand this.

On 6 April of the following year she further explained that she became the Lady of All Nations at the foot of the cross when Jesus asked her to accept John as her son (cf. Jn. 19:26), that “it was at the Sacrifice of the Cross that the change came about.” The wording of the prayer in no way denies that Mary is always Mary, but appropriately underscores the universal motherhood conferred on her by Jesus.

The persistence of Our Lady with regard to the wording of the prayer seems particularly significant to me in the light of the tendency of many Mariologists since the Council to place great emphasis on the historical “Mary of Nazareth” while effectively downplaying the exalted position to which God raised her. This so-called “low Mariology” is to be found in many revisionist approaches to Mary such as those proposed by radical feminists and liberation theologians.

Shortly after giving the prayer, on 4 March 1951 Our Lady called attention to the way in which she appeared to the seeress and asked that a picture be painted which should be diffused with the prayer. She stands on the globe surrounded by sheep and before a cross with her hands extended (as on the miraculous medal) and emitting the three rays of Grace, Redemption and Peace. On the palms of each hand there is the scar of a wound, a mute testimony to her intimate collaboration in the work of our redemption. It is a graphic illustration of the Coredemptrix as Pope John Paul II described her on 31 January, 1985, at Guayaquil, Ecuador, “crucified spiritually with her crucified son.” The sash is also meant to be a reminder of the loincloth of Jesus on the Cross. On 31 May 1951 the Lady said:

Through the grace of My Lord and Master, and for the love of mankind, the Father sent His only-begotten Son as Redeemer of the world. Together they now want to send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, Who alone can bring Peace. Hence: “Grace, Redemption and Peace.” In this era the Father and the Son want to send Mary, “the Lady of All Nations” as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. Now I have given you a clear and lucid explanation of the image.

The daily praying of a prayer for the descent of the Holy Spirit to prevent degeneration, disaster, and war, and a request for the papal definition of Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate in order to bring peace to the world constitute the two fundamental calls of the Lady of All Nations. It is time to take it to heart and to respond to these two calls from Our Lady in light of our contemporary world scenario.

 

Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins is an official of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” in Rome, a contributing member of the Pontifical International Marian Academy and the author of Totus Tuus. He is internationally known for his numerous articles on Our Lady and for his scholarly work in the fields of dogmatic and spiritual theology. This article was originally published in Contemporary Insights on a Fifth Marian Dogma, Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate: Theological Foundations III, Queenship, 2000.

Further information on the Lady of All Nations may be obtained from The Lady of All Nations Action Center, P.O. Box 31481, St. Louis, MO 63131, U.S.A.; phone: (314) 965-2863; fax: (314) 965-3806 or The Lady of All Nations, Diepenbrockstraat 3, 1077 VX Amsterdam, Netherlands; phone: (0031) 20-662-0504; fax: (0031) 20-471-1333.

Church Approves Apparitions of the Lady of All Nations

May 31,2002

In Response to Inquiries Concerning the Lady of All Nations Apparitions

As Bishop of Haarlem/Amsterdam, I have been requested to make a statement regarding the authenticity of the apparitions of Mary as the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam during the years of 1945-1959. Many members of the faithful and bishops have emphasized the urgency for clarification. I also have been personally aware that this development of devotion, which has spanned over 50 years, call for this.

As it is known, my predecessor, Msgr. H. Bomers and myself had previously given permission for public veneration in 1996. As to the supernatural character of the apparitions and contents of the messages, we did not give our judgment, but declared that “everyone is free to make a judgment for himself or herself according to their conscience.” Having had a generally positive attitude towards authenticity, we decided to await further development and to “discern the spirit” further (cf. 1 Thes 5:19-21).

Over the period of six subsequent years, I observed that the devotion had taken its place in the spiritual life of millions all over the world, and that it possesses the support of many bishops. Many experiences of conversion and reconciliation, as well as healings and special protection also have been reported to me. In full recognition of the responsibility of the Holy See, it is primarily the task of the local bishop to speak out in conscience regarding the authenticity of private revelations that take place or have taken place within his diocese.

Therefore I have asked once again for the advice of theologians and psychologists concerning outcomes of previous investigations, and the questions and objections deriving from them. Their recommendations state that no theological or psychological impediments for a declaration of supernatural authenticity can be found therein. I have also requested the judgment of a number of brother bishops concerning the fruits and development of the devotion, who within their own dioceses have experienced a strong devotion of Mary as the Mother and Lady of All Nations. In light and virtue of all these recommendations, testimonies, and developments, and in pondering all this in prayer and theological reflection, I have come to the conclusion that the apparitions of the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam consist of a supernatural origin.

Naturally, the influence of the human element still exists. Authentic images and visions are always transmitted to us, in the words of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, “through the filter of our senses, which carry out a work of translation…” and “…are influenced by the potentialities and limitations of the perceiving subject” (Cardinal Ratzinger, Theological Commentary In Preparation for the Release of the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima, L ‘Osservatore Romano, June 28, 2000).

Unlike Holy Scripture, private revelations are never binding upon the conscience of the faithful. They are a help in understanding the signs of the times and to help live more fully the Gospel (cf. Lk 12:56, Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 67). And the signs of our times are dramatic. The devotion to the Lady of All Nations can help us, in my sincere conviction, in guiding us on the right path during the present serious drama of our times, the path to a new and special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Who alone can heal the great wounds of our times.

To follow the further development of this devotion and to come to an even deeper insight into its meaning, I have installed a commission whose task it will be to continue to document all initiatives, experiences, and testimonies stemming from the devotion in order to help insure and preserve a correct ecclesial and theological progress of devotion

I hope this has provided sufficient information and clarification.

Bisdom van Haarlem Nieuwe Gracht 80, Postbus 1053, 2001 BB Haarlem, Tel. 023 – 511 26 00, Fax 023 – 511 26 29 Militair Ordinariaat

The Lady of All Nations…Who Once Was Mary? Position of the Bishop of Haarlem

The Lady of all NationsWho once was Mary?
Position of the Bishop of Haarlem, Msgr. Dr. Jozef Marianus Punt

 

At the moment a discussion is taking place concerning a clause in the prayer of “The Lady of all Nations”. The occasion for the discussion was a concern expressed by the Secretary of the Congregation of Faith, Archbishop A. Amato, regarding “one particular aspect” of this devotion, that is the clause “who once was Mary“. This concern was communicated to certain Bishops of the Philippines, to the religious community, “Family of Mary”, as well as to the Bishop of Haarlem, Mgr. Dr. J. Punt.

The concern of the Congregation is part of a long tradition. Initially the first local Bishop, Msgr. J. Huibers, who dealt with this devotion sixty years ago, struggled with this clause.

At first he considered the removal of the clause, but upon later reflection he accepted it and granted permission for the ‘Imprimatur’. Up to this day, the prayer has as well received the Imprimatur of approximately seventy Bishops and Cardinals worldwide. This indicates that they saw no contradiction with any teaching of the Church. In 1996, the Prefect of the Congregation permitted the public release of the devotion. In 2002, the local Bishop recognised in its essence the authenticity of the apparitions.

Naturally, the Bishop contacted the Congregation and expressed his opinion on this matter. In the meantime, he has asked the authorities of the devotion to respect the pastoral concern of the Congregation by leaving out or praying silently the clause during public prayer until further notice. The Bishop realizes that for many people this may cause a tension between conviction and obedience, but he refers to the example offered by the visionary herself. Once she experienced a similar type of dilemma and then heard the following words from ‘the Lady’: “obedience comes first”. Of course, obedience does not exclude ongoing and open dialogue on this issue, he states. Also the great and actual importance of this prayer, that asks the “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father” to send “now” the Holy Spirit over our wounded world, completely remains.

In all this, the Bishop also sees a positive side. With this discussion a deeper dialogue is launched. Behind this clause, given after the proclamation of the Dogma of Our Lady’s Assumption, lies a fundamental question: Who truly is Mary in God’s plan of Salvation? What is Her role in the coming of the Holy Spirit? Who is She to be for this time and this world? It was to this dialogue that Pope John Paul II in 2002 explicitly encouraged theologians.

R. Soffner
Coordinator of the Advisory Commission
regarding Devotion of the Lady of all Nations
Diocese of Haarlem / Amsterdam , Netherlands
August 8, 2005

The Lady of All Nations, the CDF, and “Who Once Was Mary”

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father,
send now Your Spirit over the earth.
Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations,
that they may be preserved
from degeneration, disaster, and war.
May the Lady of All Nations, (who once was Mary)
be our Advocate. Amen.

In response to a letter of inquiry from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Doctrinal Commission, Archbishop Angelo Amato, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated the following in a letter of 20 May, 2005 in reference to Devotion to the Lady of All Nations and the brief clause “who once was Mary,” which is contained in the “Prayer of the Lady of All Nations”:

With regard to the devotion known as “Lady of All Nations” and the Marian apparitions experienced by the late visionary Ida Peerdeman, I wish to advise Your Excellency that although the said apparitions have received approval from His Excellency, the Most Rev. Joseph Maria Punt, Bishop of Haarlem (Holland), in his Communications of 31 May 2002, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has expressed concern regarding one particular aspect of that devotion whereby official prayers invoke the Blessed Virgin as Lady of All Nations “who was once Mary.”

In fact, this Dicastery, in a letter to His Excellency, The Most Rev. Francois Bacque, Apostolic Nuncio to the Netherlands, has indicated that Marian devotion must be nourished and developed in accordance with the indications given by the Holy Father in “Redemptoris Mater” and “Rosarium Virginis Mariae” and not according to private apparitions nor according to a “new” name of Mary, such as Lady of All Nations “who was once Mary.”

…Therefore, Your Excellency is requested to take into consideration the above mentioned advisory and inform the members of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith does not permit any Catholic community of Christ’s Faithful to pray to the Mother of God under the title of “Lady of All Nations” with the added expression “who was once Mary.”

The following points of fact must be kept in mind for a proper understanding of Archbishop Amato’s letter.

1. The letter begins with the direct acknowledgement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) that the Lady of All Nations apparitions have received local ecclesiastical approval from the local bishop, Bishop Josef Maria Punt. The CDF consistently instructs that the responsibility of discernment and judgement concerning the supernatural quality of any reported private revelation lies with the authority of the local bishop.

2. The CDF has concern only with “one particular aspect of the devotion” where the Blessed Virgin is invoked with the clause “who once was Mary.” The devotion to the Lady of All Nations remains approved by the local bishop, and the overall prayer, excepting this clause, which petitions the Lord Jesus Christ to send the Holy Spirit down upon the earth in prevention of “degeneration, disaster, and war” likewise remains approved.

3. The CDF specifically prohibits any “Catholic Community of Christ’s faithful” from praying to the Mother of God under the title of “Lady of All Nations” with the added title “who once was Mary.” This refers to public or community prayer by a body of Christ’s faithful. The CDF does not specifically refer to the private praying of the prayer.

4. The CDF Secretary’s apparent doctrinal concern regarding the brief clause “who once was Mary” lies in contrast to the fact that the Lady of All Nations prayer has been granted the official “Imprimatur” (which testifies to Catholic doctrinal orthodoxy) by approximately seventy cardinals and bishops throughout the world. No specific rationale, theological nor pastoral, was given in the letter for the prohibition of the clause.

5. The clause “who once was Mary” is understandable in a simple and straightforward manner. “The Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary” refers to the historical beginnings of the spiritual Mother of all nations and peoples, who was first the humble Virgin of Nazareth. Mary’s “yes” at Nazareth led to her eventual role with Jesus at Calvary, where she was given by her Crucified Son as spiritual mother to all nations and peoples, as conveyed in the words, “Woman, behold your son…behold, your Mother” (Jn. 19:25-27). The phrase, therefore, refers to the new dignity that Mary now deserves in light of her role of coredemption with and under Jesus Christ, the divine Redeemer, as conveyed in the title, “Lady of All Nations,” but is also mindful of her humble historical beginnings as Mary of Nazareth, who was called to daily cooperate with the saving work of her Son.

We could use the simple analogies, “Pope John Paul II, who once was Karol” or “Pope Benedict XVI, who once was Joseph,” or even the scriptural examples, “St. Peter, who once was Simon,” or “St. Paul who once was Saul.” Another analogous example would be the following. Ann, a young woman, marries John Smith, and becomes a wife and mother of many children with the new title of “Mrs. Smith.” In this case, you would have a new title with a new role of wife and mother of many, but the same woman. So it is with the “Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary”—new title, new role, same woman.

The reference to the earlier name identifies the historical beginnings of the individual, but the second name properly acknowledges the new respect and dignity that the person now deserves in light of their cooperation with God’s grace. The clause’s meaning can also be clarified with the insertion of the word, “Lady of All Nations, who once was (known) as Mary” (for an extended explanation of the clause, see article, Clarification of Topics Relating to the Apparitions of the Lady of All Nations, Amsterdam, 2004, n. 2).

Nonetheless, obedience must be our response, as obedience to legitimate Church authority is always most pleasing to Our Lord and to the Lady of All Nations herself, even at times of confusion and conviction. The call to obedience is also the message of Bishop Punt of Haarlem/Amsterdam, who originally granted ecclesiastical approval to the apparitions. Through his Advisory Commission Regarding the Lady of All Nations, Bishop Punt has requested “the authorities of this devotion to respect the pastoral concern of the Congregation by leaving out or praying silently the clause during public prayer until further notice” (see article below, The Lady of All Nations … Who Once Was Mary? Position of the Bishop of Haarlem, August 8, 2005). Along with the call for obedience, the Bishop also encourages legitimate dialogue, which can provide positive and fruitful input concerning the devotion in specific and the overall ongoing Marian dialogue in general. This Marian dialogue launched by this issue should also include the valuable contributions of bishops, clergy, theologians and the “sensus fidelium,” the common consensus of the faithful, which should be offered to the CDF in their ongoing evaluation.

As stated in the Advisory Commission Statement from the Diocese of Haarlem/Amsterdam, Bishop Punt has contacted Archbishop Amato and requested further clarification from the Holy See on this issue. Until further clarification from the Holy See is given, let us proceed in peace and in obedience, united in prayer for a positive outcome for this God-given devotion to the Lady of All Nations, its supernaturally revealed prayer, and the fulfillment of its petition for the descent of the Holy Spirit to prevent the ever-increasing “degeneration, disaster, and war” that has come to identify our present times. As the statement from the Advisory Commission of Amsterdam concludes: “In all this, the Bishop also sees a positive side. With this discussion, a deeper dialogue is launched. Behind this clause, given after the proclamation of the Dogma of Our Lady’s Assumption, lies a fundamental question: Who truly is Mary in God’s plan of salvation? What is Her role in the coming of the Holy Spirit? Who is She to be for this time and for this world?…”

Clarification of Topics Relating to the Apparitions of the Lady of All Nations, Amsterdam, 2004

On May 31, 2002, Bishop Joseph Punt of the Diocese of Haarlem/Amsterdam, gave official recognition to the Apparitions of Our Lady of All Nations, declaring it to “consist of a supernatural origin” (Statement of Approval, May 31, 2002). Since the approval of supernatural authenticity by Bishop Punt, various questions have resurfaced regarding aspects of the apparitions and their messages. In the following article, the Foundation of the Lady of All Nations has identified and responded to twelve topics around which various questions have arisen in an effort for greater clarification in light of the Bishop’s statement of authenticity.

The Apparitions of the Lady of All Nations, which occurred in Amsterdam from 1945 to 1959, have enjoyed international devotion for many years since their origin. Indeed, there appears to be a special relevance to the message and mission of the Lady of All Nations Apparitions for our contemporary times.

The crucial need for unity in the Holy Spirit between all nations and the prevention of “degeneration, disaster, and war” through the advocacy of Our Lady, as prayed for in the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations, seems to be a growing imperative for today’s world under present threat of war, famine, and moral crisis. As explained by Bishop Josef Maria Punt in his Declaration of May 31, 2002: “Unlike Holy Scripture, private revelations are never binding upon the conscience of the faithful. They are a help in understanding the signs of the times and to help live more fully the Gospel (cf. Lk. 12:56, Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 67). And the signs of our times are dramatic. The devotion of the Lady of All Nations can help us, in my sincere conviction, in guiding us on the right path during the present serious drama of our times, the path to a new and special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who alone can heal the great wounds of our times” (In Response to Inquiries Concerning the Lady of All Nations Apparitions, May 31, 2002).

It is to be expected that due to the very nature of private revelation, certain questions regarding various topics pertaining to the apparitions would naturally arise.

We distinguish two categories regarding questions pertaining to the apparitions.

On the one hand, there have been questions fostered by mistranslation, misinterpretation, erroneous information, and even incidental falsification. This category of questions has already been documented and submitted for the evaluation and judgment of the Advisory Commission, other experts, and finally the Bishop himself. Up to this time, there have been no new questions beyond those already documented, evaluated, and judged.

On the other hand, there are questions regarding this devotion that indeed call for a greater insight into its meaning. Therefore for the purpose of greater clarification, we here provide some of the principal themes concerning the Apparitions of the Lady of All Nations which belong to the latter category. These themes have evoked questions concerning the historical and theological aspects of the apparitions themselves, and also concerning the proper Church criteria and process for their evaluation.

1. Apparitions of the Lady of All Nations: Meaning and Purpose

Why does the Blessed Virgin Mary appear as the “Lady of All Nations?” Why is there a need for a new title in light of the rich Marian Tradition which the Church already possesses? Is this apparition detrimental to other Marian apparitions, such as Rue de Bac, Lourdes and Fatima?

The apparitions commence within the historical context of the post-world war years when optimism was predominant, particularly in Europe. The Church in general was experiencing strength and confidence, and optimism in Holland during this period was depicted in the expression, “the Rich Roman Life.” Yet the Mother of God envisions upcoming dangers that threatened the Church and world, and warns in urgent language: “Do you realize the gravity of the times? Join your hands in prayer. Go and plant the Cross in the midst of the world. You are all responsible for the task that falls to you in this present time. Resist the influence of the wrong spirit. Pray every day that the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, may send the Holy Spirit over the earth and the Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary, will be your Advocate” (April 6, 1952 message); “You do not know the great danger threatening you…There is a spirit out to undermine you….” (August 15, 1950 message).

Our Lady shows herself standing before the cross, clothed with the sun. Her feet are planted on the globe. Three rays flow from her hands, which symbolize “Grace, Redemption, and Peace,” which God grants her to be distributed to humanity. She addresses herself to the Church and to the world with admonitions and warnings, and yet her words are also full of hope and bring the promise of salvation (cf. Lumen Gentium, 62).

The Mother of humanity enters this serious historical time in order to assist humanity and to point out the way to her Son and to salvation (cf. Jn. 2:5). This historical moment is when Mary, humble handmaid of the Lord (cf. Lk. 1:38) wishes to be known as the universal Mother of all nations and all peoples: “Prepare yourself for the fight – the spiritual fight. The Lady of All Nations wishes to be brought among everyone, no matter who or what they are. This is why she received this title from her Lord and Master” (December 31, 1951 message). Her maternal mission is to unify all peoples “in the true Holy Spirit” (March 20, 1953 message), and time after time she directs the world to her Son: “through the Lady of All Nations to the Lord of All Nations. . .” (May 31, 1958 message).

This spiritual remedy for contemporary humanity as developed in the messages highlights three central themes:

1. A new prayer: In addition to the repeated references by the Lady to the great value of the Rosary, on February 11, 1951, she gives a new prayer, addressed to the Lord Jesus:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father,
send now Your Spirit over the earth.
Let the Holy Spirit live
in the hearts of all nations,
that they may be preserved
from degeneration, disaster, and war.
May the Lady of All Nations,
who once was Mary,
be our Advocate.
Amen.

Our Lady says regarding this prayer that “you cannot estimate the great value this will have” (April 15, 1951 message), and promises that “all who pray before the picture and ask the help of Mary, the ‘Lady of All Nations,’ will be given grace for the soul and body, in the measure that the Son wishes” (May 31, 1951 message).

2. A new Marian dogma: She asks for the dogma of “Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate” to be papally defined so that her mediating role for the Church and world can be exercised fully in order to obtain a “true peace for humanity” (May 31, 1954 message). The messages speak in great depth and explanation about the new dogma, its meaning and origin. Mary, the messages emphasize, is the “Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate” because she is the “Immaculate Conception” (April 4, 1954 message).

3. Renewed devotion to the Holy Eucharist: Repeatedly, the Lady emphasizes the great importance of the Holy Eucharist for this time. Here we find the deepest meaning of Eucharistic devotion through the Lady: She wants to gather the Church and the nations around Christ in the Holy Eucharist and around Mary, the Lady of All Nations, to prepare the way for a renewed presence of the Holy Spirit in our time, leading to renewed Christian life for the Church and the world.

The title of “The Lady of All Nations” does not conflict with or duplicate other Marian titles, but rather emphasizes the universality of the Mother of all nations and peoples under a single title, which also points to the unity of all peoples as one single family under her whom John Paul II calls, “our Common Mother” (Redemptoris Mater, 30). At the present time when the world is experiencing a globalization, Mary wants to be the mother of all peoples, which also includes non-Christians.

As all authentic apparitions show a slightly different “face” of the Mother of all peoples, the appearances of the Lady of All Nations are not detrimental to other authentic apparitions, but instead serve as further development of the messages of Rue de Bac, Lourdes and Fatima. In fact, the Amsterdam apparitions can rightly be seen as a continuation of the Marian message to the modern world, which eventually will reach its fulfillment in the “Triumph” of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as prophesied at Fatima (July 13, 1917).

2. The Prayer of the Lady of All Nations: “Who Once Was Mary”

The Prayer ends with the expression, “May the Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary, be our Advocate.” Does this infer that Our Lady is “no longer” Mary? Are we no longer to invoke her as Mary, for example in the praying of the Rosary?

The expression “who once was Mary,” which can appear somewhat awkward to the first-time observer, refers to the historical grounding of Our Lady’s universal spiritual motherhood in the historical Mary of Nazareth. The phrase further expresses a proper appreciation and veneration to the ongoing human cooperation of the humble Virgin to God’s continual invitation of faith and suffering that ultimately led to her coredemptive participation with Jesus at Calvary, where she is given as spiritual mother to all peoples (cf. Jn. 19:25-27).

The visionary herself found the words strange, and the first local Church authorities to whom she had to go to obtain approval of the prayer initially gave permission only with the words “who once was Mary” omitted. This led Our Lady to insist on March 28 and July 2, 1951, and again on February 17 and April 6, 1952, that permission should be given for the publication of the prayer in its entirety. This was finally conceded and on October 5, 1952, Our Lady told the visionary, Ida Peerdeman, to tell the Bishop that she was satisfied.

On July 2, 1951 (then observed as the Feast of the Visitation), Our Lady herself explained:

The words “who once was Mary” mean: many people have known Mary just as Mary. Now, however, in this new era which is beginning I want to be the Lady of All Nations. Everybody will understand this.

On April 6 of the following year she further explained that she became the Lady of All Nations at the foot of the cross when Jesus asked her to accept John as her son (cf. Jn. 19:26): “At the departure of the Lord Jesus Christ, He gave Miriam, or Mary, to the nations in one act, giving her as ‘The Lady of All Nations.’ For he spoke those words, ‘Woman, behold your son; son, behold your mother.’ One act, and by this Miriam, or Mary, received this new title” (October 5, 1952 message); it is “at the Sacrifice of the Cross that the change came about” (March 19, 1952 message). The wording of the prayer in no way denies that Mary is always Mary, but appropriately underscores the universal motherhood conferred on her by Jesus.

The expression does not infer that the Lady of All Nations is not still the historical Mary, nor does it eliminate the legitimate use of invoking the Mother of Jesus as “Mary,” as in the case of the praying of the Rosary. The name of Mary is repeatedly used for Our Lady in the messages themselves (cf. October 5, 1952; December 8, 1952; May 10, 1953 messages, etc.). But it does give proper dignity and honor to Our Lady’s unique human cooperation with the Redeemer and to the salvific roles granted her by God (cf. Lumen Gentium, 57-62). In light of her unique cooperation in the work of Redemption (Lumen Gentium, 57, 58, 61) the Church rightly invokes the Mother of Jesus as “Mediatrix,” “Advocate,” and “mother to us in the order of grace,” who as spiritual mother of all peoples “intercedes for the gifts of eternal life” (Lumen Gentium, 61, 62).

As an example to illustrate the meaning of “The Lady of all nations, who once was Mary” we can use the case of the present pope. We could appropriately say, “Pope John Paul II who once was Karol Wojtyla.” The sentence identifies both the original historical identity of John Paul II as Karol Wojtyla, and at the same time refers to the higher honor and dignity due to him in light of his eventual papal office and title as Vicar of Christ on earth. So too, the expression, “The Lady of all nations, who once was Mary” identifies the original historical identity of Mary of Nazareth, but also honors the new office and title of the “Lady of All Nations,” which is granted to her by the Divine Redeemer at Calvary.

Thus the general meaning of the expression, “The Lady of all nations, who once was Mary” is: The woman who first was known as Mary (and still is), is now to be universally recognized and venerated as the Lady of All Nations.

3. The Image of The Lady of All Nations: Mary before the Cross

The picture of the Lady of All Nations depicts the Blessed Virgin in front of the cross. Does this not suggest that she is taking the place of Our Lord Jesus on the Cross? Does this infer that Mary is somehow “parallel” with Jesus in our Redemption?

The depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary in front of the cross does not place her on a level of equality with Jesus Christ in the Redemption of humanity. Mary is not “on the cross,” but before the cross, which symbolizes her unique suffering with and under Jesus at Calvary for the world’s Redemption. She is the Mother of the Son and therefore is also the Advocate and bearer of this message to humanity: “I stand as the Lady before the Cross, as the Mother before my Son, who through the Father entered into me. And this is why I stand before my Son, as the Advocate and bearer of this message to this modern world” (March 28, 1951 message).

The Second Vatican Council teaches Mary’s unique sharing in the Redemption accomplished by Christ when it states: “She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ, she presented him to the Father in the temple, shared her son’s sufferings as he died on the cross. Thus, in a wholly singular way she cooperated by her faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls” (Lumen Gentium, 61).

But the Council adds that this subordinate sharing of Mary in the Redemption accomplished by Christ does not place her on a parallel or competitive level with the one divine Redeemer:

No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.

The Church does not hesitate to profess the subordinate role of Mary, which it constantly experiences and recommends to the heartfelt attention of the faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more closely adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer (Lumen Gentium, 62).

Jesus does not hesitate to call all his followers to “take up his cross and follow me” (Mk. 8:34). Here Our Lady becomes a model for the People of God (Lumen Gentium, 63-65), who are all called to become “co-workers with God” (1 Cor. 3:9) or co-redeemers with Christ in carrying our daily crosses in patient endurance in order to release the redemptive graces of Christ for others. St. Paul calls all Christians to “make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of his body, which is the Church” (Col. 1:24). No one exemplifies this Pauline summons to redemptive suffering better than the Immaculate Mother of Sorrows, who was “standing by the cross of Jesus” (Jn. 19:25) and who “enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consented to the immolation of this victim which was born of her” (Lumen Gentium, 58). The image is a visual rendering of her co-suffering role, and can be properly understood when we see the Church’s doctrinal teachings of Mary’s coredemptive role with and under Jesus.

It is noteworthy that the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations, which constitutes a cornerstone of the entire message, does not place the predominant focus on Mary herself, but rather on a Christocentric and Trinitarian process of divine intercession. It is formally directed to Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, who in turn sends down the Holy Spirit for a renewal of all nations through the human intercessory role of the Virgin Mary as Advocate (her ancient Church title first used by St. Irenaeus in the second century).

4. The Prophecy of the Fifth Marian Dogma: Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate

How can a private revelation call for a Dogma when dogmas are not based on private revelations, but rather on Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium? Can we legitimately call Mary a “Co-redemptrix”? Did the message not predict that Pope Pius XII would declare this dogma when in fact he did not? Doesn’t a petition for a Marian Dogma infringe upon the proper authority of the Church in such matters?

We must distinguish between a prophetic call for a Marian dogma of Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate from Marian private revelation, and the theological foundations for a Marian dogma itself. The Church has experienced several prophetic calls stemming from private revelation for the accomplishment of certain ecclesiastical actions, such as the Fatima call for the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, or the prophetic call for the institution of a Feast of Divine Mercy through the visions of Jesus to St. Faustina Kowalska, both of which were ecclesiastically enacted by Pope John Paul II. But the theological foundation for any ecclesiastical act associated with Christian faith must have its basis in the sources of divine revelation: Scripture and Tradition, as safeguarded by the Church’s Magisterium (cf. Dei Verbum, 9, 10).

In matter of fact, the contemporary theological discussion on a potential solemn definition of Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate is not only a legitimate dialogue among theologians, but constitutes one of the most significant international Mariological studies within the Church. Its theological and historical foundations trace back to scriptural and apostolic times, with documented development throughout every principal phrase of the Church’s rich Mariological tradition.

The Marian roles and titles of Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate already constitute the official teachings of the papal Magisterium. Pope John Paul II, for example, has repeatedly used all three titles in official addresses of the papal Magisterium, and has called Our Lady the “Co-redemptrix” on numerous occasions. The doctrines of Marian Coredemption, Mediation, and Advocacy are also the expressed teachings of the Second Vatican Council (cf. Lumen Gentium, 56, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62). It is also noteworthy that all three Mariological titles, “Co-redemptrix,” Mediatrix,” and “Advocate,” appear in the Consecration of the Netherlands to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Dutch Hierarchy (October 3, 1943) which occurred two years before the beginning of the Our Lady of All Nations Apparitions.

Our Lady has been called the “Co-redemptrix” by Popes Pius XI (three occasions) and John Paul II (six occasions), as well as by a long list of saints, doctors, and theologians of the Church. The Co-redemptrix title, which refers to Mary’s unique participation with Jesus Christ in the Redemption of humanity, has been used for over six hundred years in the Church’s tradition. The title was first used in the fourteenth to fifteenth century as a medieval development of the New Eve patristic tradition, and gradually matured into more widespread theological and popular usage by the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Numerous contemporary saints and blesseds including St. Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Jose Maria Escrivà, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Blessed Bartolo Longo, and Bl. Teresa of Calcutta have invoked the Mother of Jesus under the title of Co-redemptrix. The Fatima visionary, Sr. Lucia, used and explained the title of Co-redemptrix on six occasions in her recent book, “Calls” from the Message of Fatima. In sum, the Co-redemptrix title has been an authentic part of Catholic tradition for over half a millennium.

A deeper study into the messages regarding the proclamation of the Dogma makes it clear that we must distinguish between the wish of Our Lady that the Dogma be proclaimed by Pius XII from the actual prediction that the Dogma will in fact be proclaimed. On the one hand, the messages express the wish of the Lady that the Dogma should be proclaimed during the pontificate of Pius XII. On the other hand, it becomes more and more clear during his pontificate that the Dogma will not be pronounced by Pius XII, but by another Pope. In other words, when Our Lady does wish to specify a pope, then she mentions Pope Pius XII by name (for example, in the message prophesying the death of Pius XII, February 19, 1958) or indeed the visionary recognizes Pius XII. And when she does not wish to specify, she uses the more general reference of “the Holy Father” or “the Pope,” and often the visionary then sees a Pope who is unknown to her. In prophetic language where free human cooperation could determine the specific fulfillment of certain prophesied events or the lack thereof, general references to the “Holy Father” leaves possibility for its fulfillment by either present or later Holy Fathers.

The repeated petition for the papal proclamation of the Dogma does not usurp the proper authority of the Church. Our Lady presents the call to pray and petition for the Dogma and even provides astute scriptural and theological explanations for the Marian titles of Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. But she always does so with an explicit respect for the Church’s hierarchy and its decisions.

The ecclesiastical right of the faithful to petition the pastors of the Church for something the Christian faithful believe is for the good of the Church is protected under canonical law (cf. Canon 212:2, 3). Petition movements by the Christian faithful to encourage the papal proclamations of Marian dogmas were successfully conducted prior to the solemn definitions of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 and the Assumption of Our Lady in 1950. Both petition campaigns received papal praise and gratitude from Pius IX and XII respectively in the documents which defined the Marian dogmas.

5. Theological Expressions in the Messages: Conformity with the Church

Certain theological expressions found in the messages appear doctrinally questionable. For example, Our Lady says: “For the same… Father… is the same Son…The same…Father and Son…is the same… Holy Spirit (May 31, 1955 message).” And another example: “Through the Lord to the Lady; through the Lady of All Nations, to the Lord of All Nations” (May 31, 1958 message). Can these theological expressions be reconciled with Catholic teaching?

Catholic doctrine on the mystery of the Trinity confesses one God in three divine persons. The persons of the Trinity are distinct from each other, and at the same time each person is God in full possession of a divine nature. The Father shares in common everything that is his except his uniqueness as Father. The Son shares with the Father everything except what is uniquely his as Son. The Holy Spirit shares with the Father and the Son everything except what is uniquely his as Spirit of the Father and the Son.

The words of Our Lady indicate this Trinitarian mystery when she says that “the same Father is the same Son” and “the same Father and Son is the same Holy Spirit.” While distinguishing their persons identified by name, the message speaks of the unity in divine nature and substance between the persons of the Trinity. The Eleventh Council of Toledo uses a similar formulation: “The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, that is, by nature one God” (Council of Toledo XI, (675), DS 530:26).

The Fourth Lateran Council confirms: “Each of the persons is that supreme reality, namely, the divine substance, essence, or nature” (Lateran Council IV (1215), DS 804).

The expression, “Through the Lord to the Lady; through the Lady of All Nations, to the Lord of All Nations” can refer to the scriptural revelation that it is Jesus who first gives us his mother. As our crucified Lord on Calvary, he gives to the world his own mother as the Lady of all nations, the spiritual mother of all peoples: “Behold, your mother” (Jn. 19:26). Then, as a result, the Lady of all Nations exercises her intercessory role to bring all humanity back to her Son in recognition of Jesus as the Lord of all nations.

Moreover, the phrase reflects the traditional Catholic maxim articulated in different ways by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. John Eudes, St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort and St. Maximilian Kolbe: “Through Jesus to Mary, through Mary to Jesus.” Love of Jesus leads to a greater love of Mary, and love of Mary leads to a greater love of Jesus. John Paul II reflects this maxim in his papal consecration of Zaire to the Mother of the Church: “To consecrate itself to Christ through you! To consecrate itself to you for Christ!” (Inseg. III: I (1980); 1069). St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort expresses the same truth in these formulations: “They (Jesus and Mary) are so intimately united that the one is altogether in the other. Jesus is altogether in Mary and Mary is altogether in Jesus; or rather, she exists no more, but Jesus alone is in her, and it were easier to separate the light from the sun than Mary from Jesus; so that we might call Our Lord, ‘Jesus of Mary,’ and our Blessed Lady, ‘Mary of Jesus'” (True Devotion to Mary, n. 247).

6. Progressive Themes: Church Reform and Social Outlook

The messages call for change in certain Church disciplines such as fasting practices and seminary instruction, and also emphasize a more “social” dimension to the Church. Can such a progressive call for Church reform be justified in a private revelation?

It must be remembered that these messages for disciplinary reforms such as fasting and seminary formation were addressed to the Church in the 1950’s to fortify the Church for upcoming challenges, and have in fact been incorporated by the Church since that time. For example on March 19, 1957, Pope Pius XII issued a change in the fasting practice before reception of Holy Communion that greatly mitigated the previous discipline, which allowed more of the Christian faithful to receive Eucharistic communion. The Second Vatican Council issued several disciplinary changes in the formation of priests (Optatam Totius, or the Decree on the Training of Priests) and of religious life (Perfectae Caritatis, or the Decree on the Up-To-Date Renewal of Religious Life), precisely with the intention of making priests and religious more capable of pursuing Christian holiness and bringing Christ to the world in our present day.

An authentic private revelation can certainly call the Church to re-examine its present disciplinary practices for the greater benefit of the People of God in ways that could, for example, assist its ministers and faithful in participating in the new evangelization with greater effectiveness, and in partaking of the Eucharist with greater frequency for the sanctification of God’s people.

The importance of greater social awareness is emphasized in the Second Vatican Council’s “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” (Gaudium et Spes), where it states:

Today there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbor of every man, no matter who he is, and if we meet him, to come to his aid in a positive way, whether he is an aged person abandoned by all, a foreign worker despised without reason, a refugee, an illegitimate child wrongly suffering for a sin he did not commit, or a starving human being who awakens our conscience by calling to mind the words of Christ: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt. 25:40) (Gaudium et Spes, 27).

In one regard, Our Lady speaks of the dangers of modern movements of “humanism, socialism, and communism” (March 20, 1953 message). In another sense, Our Lady’s call for a greater social outlook for the Church was not only incorporated by Vatican II, but also her concern for the need for socially oriented movements to be as much as possible brought “under the guidance of the Church” (August 29, 1945 message) that also finds its parallel in the words of the Council: “Socialization, as it is called, is not without its dangers, but brings with it many advantages for the strengthening and betterment of human qualities and for the protection of human rights” (Gaudium et Spes, 25).

7. Political and Economic Dimensions of the Messages: Supernatural Concern

The messages get very specific about political and economic topics, for example, prophecies of future difficulties for the Royal Family in England, wars in the Balkans and the Middle East, and even warnings to the United States not to “push their politics too far” (December 10, 1950, February 11, 1951 messages). Is this political-economic specificity a legitimate aspect of a heavenly apparition from the Blessed Virgin Mary? Does Heaven truly concern itself with matters of earthly politics and economics?

The messages in general can be divided into two different categories concerning their discussion of political and economic topics. Before 1950, the messages repeatedly warn of upcoming political and economic problems; after 1950, the messages focus rather on spiritual remedies offered by Our Lady to assist her children through these and other spiritual difficulties.

The Church herself mirrors the concern of Our Lady for the economic and political circumstances which can threaten the general well-being of humanity. John Paul II has been outspoken throughout his pontificate against political and economic injustice that violates the rights of man and which in turn leads to grave spiritual crises for the human family, including war, starvation, oppression, terrorism, abortion, sterilization, and family breakdown.

Again, the Second Vatican Council shares the concern for international political and economic justice when it states, for example:

The present solidarity of mankind calls for greater international cooperation in economic matters. Indeed, although nearly all peoples have achieved political independence, they are far from being free of excessive inequalities and from every form of undue dependency and far from being immune to serious internal difficulties…” (Gaudium et Spes, 85).

Many of the upcoming political and economic events prophesied in the messages have indeed come to pass in our own day, for example the wars in the Balkans and the Middle East; the difficulties with the Royal family in England; the uprise of Communism and its effects; and the world concern over present U.S. political policies. At Fatima, Our Lady prophesied political and economic events such as the spreading of Communism, a conditional second world war, and the annihilation of nations. Is Our Lady concerned with earthly politics and economics? Certainly she is when it can result in widespread suffering and death for a significant number of her earthly children.

8. Absence of Public Sign: Condition for Authenticity

At apparitions sites such as Lourdes and Fatima, the Blessed Virgin granted a public sign as an indication of authenticity for the apparitions, but at Amsterdam Our Lady responded to the request for a public sign with the words: “My signs are contained in my words” (May 31, 1957 message). Is a public sign a necessary criterion for the authenticity of a Marian apparition according to the guidelines of Church investigation?

The criteria for the evaluation of a reported private revelation, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and sent to diocesan commissions, do not refer to the requirement of a public miracle as a condition for a conclusion of supernatural authenticity of an apparition. Nevertheless, public signs of a remarkable nature have been recorded and can be attributed to the Amsterdam apparitions.

One example of a truly remarkable sign is contained in the Amsterdam message of February 19, 1958, which predicted the death of Pope Pius XII in October of the same year. The message was kept secret and was written and sealed in an envelope which was given to the visionary’s spiritual director. After the unexpected death of Pius XII on October 9, 1958, the envelope was opened and the prediction was confirmed. In fact, Our Lady’s sign was contained in her words.

Numerous other prophecies which foretold future events have been fulfilled in our own times and in themselves constitute true signs of authenticity. From prophecies concerning a “landing on the moon” (February 7, 1946 message), to wars in the Balkans (October 1, 1949 message) and in the Middle East (December 26, 1947 message), to the convocation of a great Church council (Vatican II, in February 11, 1951 message), to modern forms of chemical and biological weapons (December 26, 1947), the signs of supernatural authenticity have been repeatedly manifested and fulfilled in the “words” of the Lady of All Nations.

Moreover, the weeping statue of the Lady of All Nations located in Akita, Japan constitutes a miraculous public sign which is documented and confirmed. A wooden statue of The Lady of All Nations venerated in a Japanese convent wept numerous lacrimations, which were witnessed and documented by several hundred people including the local bishop, Most Rev. John Shorijo Ito, Bishop of Niigata (local ordinary during the time of the apparitions). The tears were scientifically examined at the University of Akita and concluded to be of the nature of human tears. This public phenomenon accompanied apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to a Japanese religious, Sr. Agnes Sasagawa with a message emphasizing Our Lady’s role as Co-redemptrix. Several supernatural healings were documented, scientifically confirmed, and personally examined by Bishop Ito. Bishop Ito issued a pastoral letter declaring the events of Akita to be supernatural (April 22, 1984).

Bishop Ito has publicly testified to the essential interconnectedness of the apparitions of Our Lady of Akita with the Amsterdam apparitions of the Lady of All Nations, and has twice taken pilgrimages to the site of the Amsterdam apparitions.

9. The Tone of the Messages: Our Lady’s “Forcefulness”

Aspects of the message give the impression that Our Lady is “angry,” with the pounding of her fist or manifesting other signs of forcefulness. Can this be reconciled with the scriptural and traditional portrayal of the Mother of Jesus?

The Pauline admonition to “be angry and sin not” (Eph. 4:26) reminds us that the human emotion of anger is not in itself sinful, but only when such anger leads to sinful acts against the Gospel. Jesus himself manifests anger in the temple when he drove out the moneychangers, turning over their tables and seats (cf. Mt. 21:12). Is it not possible for the Mother of Jesus also to speak with strength and conviction when she points out and warns the Church and her children about the seriousness of the time and the great dangers which they will soon face?

Our Lady is also foreshadowed in the Old Testament figures of Judith, who triumphs over the enemy Holofernes with the cutting off of his head (cf. Jud. 8-16); and the prophetess Deborah, who is Barak’s active partner in the victory over Sisera, which leads to the crushing of Sisera’s head by Jael (cf. Judg. 4:5). These Old Testament models convey in type the ongoing spiritual battle courageously fought by Our Lady, between the “woman” and the “serpent” (cf. Gen. 3:15), which continues in our present day.

But an examination of some of the particular messages reportedly manifesting the “forcefulness” of Our Lady actually reveal her efforts to depict anger or battling between others, and not expressions of her own anger. For example, she refers to an indifference and a battle in the Church symbolized by a gesture, as if she bangs her fist on the table, but then immediately shakes her head in an emphatic “no” against this battle (December 10, 1950 message). In another message, Mary refers to a battle between the East and West which she symbolically conveys through the striking of her fists three times together. This does not relay her own anger or forcefulness, but rather warns of grave international confrontations between the East and the West. It must also be kept in mind that such passages are rare and must be understood in context of the overall message tone which conveys peace, gentleness, and a loving maternal concern for humanity.

10. The Expressions, “Church” and “Community”: Consistency in Meaning

The term, Church, is not used in a uniform fashion throughout the messages. Sometimes it seems to be used as interchangeable with “Community.” Does the Church permit others terms to express its unique essence and role?

The term, “Church” (Latin, ecclesia; Greek, ekkalein), refers to an assembly or convocation. In Christian usage, the word designates the liturgical assembly, the local community, or the whole universal community of believers (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 751, 752). The Second Vatican Council states that the “sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic…subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the Successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him” (Lumen Gentium, 8). The Council also refers to the Church by using different expressions, for example as the “People of God” (Lumen Gentium, 13) and as a “visible society and spiritual community” (Lumen Gentium, 8).

The call of the Lady of all Nations, for example, to “Build one community for all the nations” (May 31, 1958 message), does not undermine the unique subsistence of the sole Church of Christ in the Catholic Church, but rather refers to the imperative for all peoples to come together in assembly under the Holy Spirit and under the successor of Peter. This particular message also refers to the geographical location designated by the Lady for the building of a church (place of assembly) where believers from all nations could come together in Christian worship.

The Second Vatican Council speaks in general about the appropriateness of one community of believers from all nations, one “People of God” united in communion by the Holy Spirit: “The one People of God is accordingly present in all the nations of the earth, since its citizens, who are taken from all nations, are of a kingdom whose nature is not earthly but heavenly. All the faithful scattered throughout the world are in communion with each other in the Holy Spirit so that ‘he who dwells in Rome knows those in most distant parts to be his member,’ ‘qui Roma sedet, Indos scit membrum suum esse'” (Lumen Gentium, 13).

Moreover, the term “community” may be understood in an analogical sense just as the term “Church,” may be. In its fullest and truest sense, the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church and it is realized in individual local churches. Each parish church and gathering of the faithful is a further “assembly” of this reality. In a further analogical sense, the Church is realized, but not in its fullness, in those bodies which have maintained Apostolic Succession and the Sacraments. It is realized to an ever lesser extent in those ecclesial bodies in which we recognize a bond of Christian union by virtue of our common Baptism. These general distinctions regarding the nature of the Church and related terminology is well articulated in the messages of the Lady of All Nations, even though the messages were revealed before the significant ecclesiological developments of the Second Vatican Council.

11. The Visionary, Ida Peerdeman: Obedience and Spiritual Attacks

Was the visionary of sound psychological and emotional state? Were there ever occasions of disobedience? How are we to interpret the demonic attacks experienced by Ida Peerdeman?

Preceding the declaration regarding the authenticity of the apparitions, Bishop J. M. Punt sought the advice of theologians and psychologists. Moreover, each of his four predecessors who were in office during the experience of the apparitions and the remainder of the visionary’s life knew Miss Ida Peerdeman personally, and never expressed any opinion or statement against her psychological well-being and emotional stability. On the contrary, as testified to by the Most Reverend Hendrik Bomers, Bishop of Haarlem during his homily at the funeral mass of Miss Peerdeman:

I have known the visionary Ida Peerdeman for many years…I believe we can all easily confirm that Ida, with all the experiences that she had, never became something similar to a hypocrite. She was entirely “down to earth” up until her last day, and she would hold in great abhorrence any glorification of her own person. To her, this was out of the question. Both (of these qualities) are good and positive signs that are of major importance. What to me is indisputable without any doubt is that she was absolutely honest and told the truth about all she experienced (Homily of Bishop H.J.A. Bomers, June 20, 1996, Archives of the Diocese of Haarlem).

All this led Bishop Punt to the conclusion that there was no psychological impediment concerning the sound emotional and psychological condition of the visionary.

The obedience of the visionary to her own spiritual directors and to Church authorities was exceptional and without failure. At times, she obeyed her spiritual director in preference to obeying the specific requests of the Lady, for which she was commended by the Lady herself: “You have acted well. Obedience was your first duty – so be it! This is what the Lord wanted of you” (message of May 31, 1956).

The visionary did report occurrences of satanic attacks, but similar demonic attacks have been experienced by numerous canonized saints, such as St. John Vianney and St. Pio of Pietrelcina. Spiritual attacks such as these can give positive indication of Satan’s dissatisfaction with the spiritual fruitfulness of the person’s cooperation with God and the individual’s contribution to the Mystical Body of Christ (cf. Col. 1:24), rather than being indicative of any negative quality.

12. Previous Church Prohibitions on the Apparitions: Present Status

Has the local bishop ever condemned the apparitions as “constat de non supernaturalitate”? Did the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ever declare the apparitions false? Is it appropriate for the local bishop to make a declaration of authenticity before Rome makes a statement?

In principle and according to the guidelines of the Church, it is primarily the task of the local bishop to come to a judgment regarding the authenticity of a private revelation in his diocese. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith may then confirm this judgment, but this is not necessary. Three classifications are used to express the level of authenticity of a reported private revelation. “Constat de supernaturalitate” denotes that the apparitions are of supernatural origin; “Non constat de supernaturalitate” indicates that a supernatural origin has not been defined; and “Constat de non supernaturalitate” signifies that there is no supernatural origin to the reported apparitions.

The Apparitions of the Lady of All Nations have never been condemned as “constat de non supernaturalitate,” either by any local bishop of Haarlem or by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has commonly confirmed the decisions of the local ordinary regarding the apparitions. For example, on March 13, 1957, the Holy Office confirmed disciplinary restrictions which were taken after investigation by Bishop Huibers, but added that it did not rule out the presentation of new information in the future. In May, 1974, the same Congregation confirmed that the status on the apparitions was “non constat de supernaturalitate.”

In the decades that followed, much new information was added to the documentation. With greater awareness of the apparitions worldwide and greater maturity of its international devotion over time, Bishop H. Bomers undertook a new step which marked the beginning of a new phase. In 1996, after consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Bishop Bomers in conjunction with his Auxiliary Bishop, Joseph Maria Punt, declared the approval of public devotion of the Lady of All Nations (May 31, 1996), but without making a formal statement regarding authenticity.

After over fifty years of the development of this devotion (inclusive of two major investigations), and over the period of six subsequent years following a careful and prayerful discernment of authenticity according to the appropriate theological, psychological, and spiritual criteria, Bishop J. M. Punt came to the conclusion that the Apparitions of the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam consist of a “supernatural origin” (Declaration, May 31, 2002). In the declaration itself and the accompanying pastoral letter, he makes the following notes:

· The recognition refers to the apparitions of Mary as the Lady of All Nations, during the years 1945 to 1959. These occurred in the presence of others and were immediately documented.

· The bishop recognizes these apparitions as essentially authentic, as essentially of a supernatural origin. But he adds that the influence of the human factor remains, that the abilities and limitations of the visionary can have their own impact.

· The bishop recalls that a private revelation is never binding for the conscience of the faithful. Everyone has the freedom to give this devotion a place in his or her religious life or not.

Numerous resources are available concerning the messages of the Lady of All Nations, the theological foundations for the doctrine and potential dogma of Mary, Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, and the historical development of the position of the Church regarding the apparitions.

The Lady of All Nations Foundation
Amsterdam, 2004

Vatican CDF Approves Revised Our Lady of All Nations Prayer

In a series of consultations in 2006 between the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and His Excellency, Bishop Joseph Maria Punt of Haarlem/Amsterdam, the Congregation has officially approved a revised version of the Prayer of the Lady of All Nations for universal distribution. The revised version of the Prayer replaces the clause “who once was Mary” with “the Blessed Virgin Mary” in an effort to avoid any possible misunderstanding.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father,
send now Your Spirit over the earth.
Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts
of all nations, that they may be preserved
from degeneration, disaster and war.

May the Lady of All Nations,
the Blessed Virgin Mary,
be our Advocate. Amen.

We encourage all Mother of all Peoples readers to daily pray this Vatican-approved Prayer of the Lady of All Nations, which was given by Our Lady specifically to prepare the way for the proclamation of the Dogma of Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate.

Our Lady of All Nations Prayer Cards with the revised prayer can be obtained through Queenship Publications, Tel: 1-805-692-0043; 1-800-647-9882; P.O. Box 220, Goleta, CA 93116, U.S.A.; www.queenship.org.

Our Lady of All Nations, the Woman of Genesis and the Apocalypse

I. Enmity between the Woman and the Serpent

In his profound Marian Encyclical Redemptoris Mater of March 25, 1987, the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II stated:

In the salvific design of the Most Holy Trinity, the mystery of the Incarnation constitutes the superabundant fulfillment of the promise made by God to man after original sin, after that first sin whose effects oppress the whole earthly history of man (cf. Gen. 3:15). And so, there comes into the world a Son, “the seed of the woman” who will crush the evil of sin in its very origins: “he will crush the head of the serpent.” As we see from the words of the Protogospel, the victory of the woman’s Son will not take place without a hard struggle, a struggle that is to extend through the whole of human history. The “enmity,” foretold at the beginning, is confirmed in the Apocalypse (the book of the final events of the Church and the world), in which there recurs the sign of the “woman,” this time “clothed with the sun” (Rev. 12:1).

Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word, is placed at the very center of that enmity, that struggle which accompanies the history of humanity on earth and the history of salvation itself. In this central place, she who belongs to the “weak and poor of the Lord” bears in herself, like no other member of the human race, that “glory of grace” which the Father “has bestowed on us in his beloved Son,” and this grace determines the extraordinary greatness and beauty of her whole being. Mary thus remains before God, and also before the whole of humanity, as the unchangeable and inviolable sign of God’s election, spoken of in Paul’s letter: “in Christ … he chose us…before the foundation of the world, … he destined us … to be his sons” (Eph. 1:4, 5). This election is more powerful than any experience of evil and sin, than all that “enmity” which marks the history of man. In this history Mary remains a sign of sure hope. …

Thanks to this special bond linking the Mother of Christ with the Church, there is further clarified the mystery of that “woman” who, from the first chapters of the Book of Genesis until the Book of Revelation, accompanies the revelation of God’s salvific plan for humanity. For Mary, present in the Church as the Mother of the Redeemer, takes part, as a mother, in that “monumental struggle; against the powers of darkness” which continues throughout human history (1).

It seems to me that the words received by Ida Peerdeman from March 25, 1945, to May 31, 1959, must be read and understood in this context traced out by the Pope. In fact, I believe that all of the major Marian apparitions recognized as worthy of credence by the Church since that of Guadalupe in 1531 reflect the struggle between the Woman and the serpent.

Let us begin with Guadalupe. The extraordinary image of the Virgin “not made by human hands” shows her standing on a black crescent moon, identified by some scholars as the serpent god of the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl, to whom millions of human sacrifices were made yearly. Helen Behrens (2), a noted Guadalupan expert offers this interpretation of the image and the name “Guadalupe”:

Neither Bishop Zumárraga nor any other Spanish prelate has been able to explain why (Our Lady) wished her image to be de Guadalupe. The reason must be that she did not say the phrase at all. She spoke in the native language, and the combination of words which she used must have sounded like de Guadalupe to the Spaniards. The Aztec “te coatlaxopeuh” has a similar sound. “Te” means “stone”; “coa” means “serpent,” “tla” is the noun ending which can be interpreted as “the,” while “xopeuh” means “crush” or “stamp out.” Her precious image will thus be known (by the name of) the Entirely Perfect Virgin, Holy Mary, and it will crush, stamp out, abolish or eradicate the stone serpent (3).

It is arguable that the “Woman who crushes the stone serpent” brought about the greatest movement of evangelization in the history of the Church. Within seven years of the apparition to St. Juan Diego eight million natives asked for Baptism, virtually wiping out one of the most cruel and diabolic cults which the world has known.

Another very important iconic reproduction of the “Woman who crushes the serpent” was manifested to St. Catherine Labouré in the vision which she had on November 27, 1830, in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul on the Rue du Bac in Paris. There she beheld the image of Our Lady familiar to us as Our Lady of Grace or of the miraculous medal with her foot on the head of the serpent. Strangely none of the written accounts by Catherine mention the serpent, but as Fr. Joseph I. Dirvin, C.M. writes:

That Catherine transmitted the details of the serpent and the stars to her director, at least by word of mouth, is morally certain, for she approved the medal which bore both details from the first. Besides, in 1836, when the artist LeCerf was painting canvases of the apparitions, she described the serpent to her director as “green with yellow spots” – a rather fearsome serpent, and one, certainly, to offend the sensibilities of an artist (4)!

This image of Our Lady, reproduced literally millions of times in medals, statues and pictures has become imprinted in the souls of generations of Catholics calling to mind at once the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 and the image of the “Woman Clothed with the Sun” in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation.

In the July 1917 apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, it is not an image of a serpent or of a dragon which the shepherd children see, but rather a terrifying vision of the kingdom of the prince of darkness. Let us listen to Lúcia’s narration of the event:

“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times to Jesus, especially whenever you make some sacrifice:

‘O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’”

As Our Lady spoke these last words, she opened her hands once more, as she had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in the fire, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly:

“You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace” (5).

Here let it be noted that it is through the instrumentality of Mary’s hands that the children see the vision; she has the power to reveal the horrors of hell because hell is subject to her.

The messages communicated to Ida Peerdeman are apocalyptic, but of a different genre, one more similar to the third secret of Fatima. Throughout the scenes, especially those from 1945 to 1950, spiritual battle becomes a kind of constant background. Our Lady says to Ida: “This is the spiritual battle that is being carried on all over the world. It is much worse than the actual wars now being waged, because it is undermining mankind” (6). On another occasion Ida sees St. Peter’s while Our Lady stretches her hand over it and says “This must and shall be protected. The other spirit is infiltrating with such dreadful success” (7). Yet again she says: “Pass this on: Christendom, you do not know the great danger you are in. There is a spirit that is out to undermine you, but … (and her hands make a sign of blessing), the Victory is ours” (8). The kingdom of darkness is very clearly alluded to in the prayer given by Our Lady: “Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations, that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster and war.” (9).

The spiritual battle which Ida sees is much more insidious than material warfare. Our Lady draws the matter out for her on March 28, 1951:

Do you know, child, what kind of period this is? It is a time such as the world has not experienced in centuries – such falling away from the Faith! … in these modern times, in this modern world, which knows so well how to act promptly and swiftly in material affairs, it is equally necessary, in spiritual matters, to act swiftly and without delay. …

Rome still thinks itself to stand securely; it is not conscious of how it is being undermined! Do you realize that theology must yield to the interests of my Son? …

Rome must be conscious of its role in these days. Does Rome know who the enemy is that is lying in wait for her, like a serpent stealthily making its way in the world? I am not referring to Communism alone; there are yet other “prophets” to come, false prophets (10)!

What develops as the scenes unfold is that theologians have a special role to play in this spiritual battle because the era of true peace in the Church and in the world is dependent upon the recognition of the unique role which God has given to Mary. Now that the major truths about her person – her Immaculate Conception, her Divine Motherhood, her Perpetual Virginity and her Glorious Assumption – have been solemnly professed by the Church, it is time to recognize the altogether unique role which Mary has played and is playing as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate. So speaks Our Lady to Ida:

My purpose and my commission to you is none other than to urge the Church, the theologians, to wage this battle. For the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will to send the Lady, chosen to bear the Redeemer into this world, as Co-redemptrix and Advocate. I have said, “This time is our time.” By this I mean the following: The world is caught up in degeneration and superficiality. It is at a loss. Therefore, the Father sends me to be the Advocate, to implore the Holy Spirit to come. …

In the sufferings, both spiritual and bodily, the Lady, the Mother has shared. She has always gone before. As soon as the Father had elected her, she was the Co-redemptrix with the Redeemer, who came into the world as the Man-God. Tell that to your theologians.

I know well, the struggle will be hard and bitter (and then the Lady smiles to herself and seems to gaze into the far distance), but the outcome is already assured (11).

Let us listen now to the words of Our Lady to Ida on August 15, 1951: “I have crushed the snake with my foot. I have become united to my Son as I had always been united with Him. This is ‘the dogma’ that has gone before in the history of the Church” (12). Indeed, Our Lady has crushed the serpent; the grace of the redemption has been poured out, but it must still be appropriated. Indeed the victory is assured, but its timing will depend on your part and mine – and I can find no explanation for the incredible opposition and even hostility to the proposed dogma except that this is the serpent’s way of stalling for more time. The opposition itself stems from before the time of the Second Vatican Council and was reflected in the debates on the council floor and behind the scenes. As the Servant of God John Paul II put it very delicately and diplomatically in his Marian catechesis of December 13, 1995:

During the Council sessions, many Fathers wished further to enrich Marian doctrine with other statements on Mary’s role in the work of salvation. The particular context in which Vatican II’s Mariological debate took place did not allow these wishes, although substantial and widespread, to be accepted, but the Council’s entire discussion of Mary remains vigorous and balanced, and the topics themselves, though not fully defined, received significant attention in the overall treatment (13).

The point is that the council did not and could not close the door on further precisions on Our Lady’s role in the work of our redemption even if many commentators today would have us believe that. The ongoing controversy about this which Our Lady frequently indicated to Ida seems to be echoed by what she said to Sister Agnes Sasagawa on October 13, 1973: “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres” (14).

My point is simply that Marian doctrine is never marginal or a luxury in the Church. The recognition of the role that the Lord has given to Mary for our benefit is bound to have many important ramifications. How befittingly Ida heard Our Lady apostrophize on the Feast of the Assumption in 1951:

Rome, do you know, how completely everything is being undermined? The years will speed by unheeded, but the longer you wait, the more the Faith will decline; the greater the number of years, the greater the apostasy (15).

II. Mediatrix of All Graces

In the course of the second millennium the Catholic Church has come to an ever clearer understanding of the role of Mary as the distributor of all of the graces of the redemption in which she had an active role. This has been affirmed by all of the popes of modern times, even though, because of complex maneuvering behind the scenes and on the council floor, the Second Vatican Council effectively refused to pronounce on this matter. The council did effectively recognize that Mary may rightly be called Mediatrix, but abstained from stating that she is by the express will of God “Mediatrix of All Graces” (16). Hence the following statement of Pope Benedict XVI in his homily of May 11, 2007, at the canonization of Frei Antônio de Sant’Ana Galvão at Campo de Marte, São Paulo, Brazil, complements and completes the teaching of the council and may be safely taken as representative of what his predecessors have been teaching for the past 150 years:

Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, stands particularly close to us at this moment. Frei Galvão prophetically affirmed the truth of the Immaculate Conception. She, the Tota Pulchra, the Virgin Most Pure, who conceived in her womb the Redeemer of mankind and was preserved from all stain of original sin, wishes to be the definitive seal of our encounter with God our Savior. There is no fruit of grace in the history of salvation that does not have as its necessary instrument the mediation of Our Lady. …

My dear friends, allow me to finish by recalling the Vigil of Prayer at Marienfeld in Germany: in the presence of a multitude of young people, I spoke of the saints of our epoch as true reformers. And I added: “Only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world” (Homily, August 20, 2005). This is the invitation that I address to all of you today, from the first to the last, in this Eucharist without frontiers. God said: “Be holy, as I am holy” (Lev. 11:44). Let us give thanks to God the Father, to God the Son, to God the Holy Spirit from whom, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, we receive all the blessings of heaven; from whom we receive this gift which, together with faith, is the greatest grace that can be bestowed upon a creature: the firm desire to attain the fullness of charity, in the conviction that holiness is not only possible but also necessary for every person in his or her own state of life, so as to reveal to the world the true face of Christ, our friend! Amen (17)!

Probably the most striking representation of this Catholic belief is to be found in the image of Our Lady of the miraculous medal as she appeared to St. Catherine Labouré on November 27, 1830.

On each of her fingers were three precious stones of differing size and from them came rays of light which fell upon the sphere at her feet. But from some of these stones no rays at all were cast.

Just as I was thinking of this – continues Catherine – the Blessed Virgin turned her eyes to me, and a Voice spoke within me: “The sphere which you see is the world; it includes France and every inhabitant of the earth. The rays of light which come from my hands are the graces which I shower on those who ask for them.”

Our Lady gave me to understand with what generosity and great joy she dispensed grace. “But,” she said, “there are graces for which I am not asked, and it is for this reason that some of the stones you see are not sending forth any rays of light” (18).

In her Third Memoir, finished on August 31, 1941, Lúcia offers us this profound insight into the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

As I have already written in the second account, Our Lady told me on June 13th, 1917, that she would never forsake me, and that her Immaculate Heart would be my refuge and the way that would lead me to God. As she spoke these words, she opened her hands, and from them streamed a light that penetrated to our inmost hearts. I think that, on that day (of the second apparition), the main purpose of this light was to infuse within us a special knowledge and love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary, just as on the other two occasions it was intended to do, as it seems to me, with regard to God and the mystery of the most Holy Trinity.

From that day onwards, our hearts were filled with a more ardent love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary. From time to time, Jacinta said to me: “The Lady said that her Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God. Don’t you love that? Her Heart is so good! How I love it!” (19)

Here the images of Our Lady’s mediation are quite striking. Her Heart will be Lucia’s “refuge and the way that will lead her to God.” Secondly there is the image of Mary’s hands opening and the light streaming from them. This is reminiscent of the vision of St. Catherine Labouré, but here there is the understanding that through Mary’s mediation one can receive special insights into the Most Blessed Trinity as well as into her own Immaculate Heart.

Lúcia goes on to report to us some of the extraordinary insights of her little cousin Jacinta:

You will remain here to make known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you are to say this, don’t go and hide. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God has entrusted it to her. If I could only put into the hearts of all, the fire that is burning within my own heart, and that makes me love the Hearts of Jesus and Mary so much!” (20)

Here we may note Bl. Jacinta’s firm conviction about the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with God and “that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side,” a confirmation that the recognition of Mary’s unique coredemptive and mediatorial role is the will of Jesus.

Now it is very interesting that the general posture of Our Lady in the image that she instructed Ida to have painted and that Ida herself had seen on May 31, 1951, is very similar to that of the image found on the miraculous medal. There are a number of differences, however. One is that Our Lady stands before the cross, indicating her collaboration in the work of our redemption. Another is that the globe of the world is surrounded by flocks of sheep. Let us listen to Ida’s description.

Then the Lady speaks to me again, “My child, imprint this image deeply on your mind and transmit it correctly: The flocks of sheep represent the peoples of the world who will not find rest until they achieve content and fix their eyes on the Cross, the center of this world.”

“Now look at my hands and relate what you see.” Now I see in the palms of her hands what appear to be wounds already healed and from these, rays of light stream out, three from each hand, and diffuse themselves upon the sheep.

Smiling, the Lady adds, “These three rays are grace, redemption, and peace. Through the grace of my Lord and Master, and for the love of mankind, the Father sent His only-begotten Son as Redeemer for the world. Now they both wish to send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, Who alone can bring peace. Hence: ‘Grace, redemption and peace.’ The Father and the Son wish, as at this very time, to send Mary, ‘the Lady of All Nations’ as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. – Now I have given you a clear and lucid explanation of the picture. There is nothing more to be said (21).

What is particularly striking here is that Mary’s hands have the stigmata imprinted on them. I believe that this is an entirely new feature in Marian iconography, but entirely justified pictorially. After Jesus, the God-man, no human creature – including all of the stigmatics of history – have shared more intimately in the saving Passion of Jesus than his mother. Let us listen to the words of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II in his Marian catechesis of April 9, 1997, which faithfully echoes the teachings of his predecessors on this important point:

Applied to Mary, the term “cooperator” acquires a specific meaning. The collaboration of Christians in salvation takes place after the Calvary event, whose fruits they endeavor to spread by prayer and sacrifice. Mary, instead, cooperated during the event itself and in the role of mother; thus her cooperation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity (22).

Iconographically, then, we have here a remarkable indication that Mary’s mediation of grace, redemption and peace flows from her role as Co-redemptrix: precisely from her wounded hands pour forth the graces of redemption. She would repeat this message again to Ida on July 2, 1951, with further explanations:

Now look hard at my hands. From them emanate rays of grace, redemption and peace. The rays shine upon all peoples, upon all sheep. Among these peoples there are many of good will. To be of good will means to keep the first and great commandment. The first and great commandment is LOVE. He who loves, will honor his Lord and Creator in His creation. He who loves, will do nothing that would dishonor his neighbor. That is what this world is lacking: Love of God – Love of Neighbor (23).

Our Lady indicates that “the rays shine upon all peoples, upon all sheep. Among these peoples there are many of good will.” Quite evidently she is saying that the graces which she mediates are not only for Catholics, not even just for Christians, but for all people of good will. All peoples need to know that the grace of redemption comes from Jesus through Mary. The more explicit this knowledge is, the more all peoples can benefit from it. The call for the dogma is also a call for the “new evangelization.”

III. The Advocate for All Humanity with Jesus and the Holy Spirit

In the wonderfully rich homily which our Holy Father gave in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on January 31, 1985, he said that “Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son” and then he went on to explain that

The Church believes that the Most Holy Virgin, assumed into heaven, is near Christ, forever living to make intercession for us (cf. Heb. 7:25), and that to her Son’s divine mediation there is joined the incessant supplication of his Mother on behalf of men, her sons and daughters.

Mary is the dawn, and the dawn unfailingly announces the arrival of the sun.

Therefore I recommend to all of you, brothers and sisters of Ecuador, that you honor with profound love and have recourse to the Mother of Christ and the Church the “all-powerful suppliant” (omnipotentia supplex), that she will bring us ever closer to Christ, her Son and our Mediator (24).

There are at least two salient points to be drawn from this doctrinally rich statement. The first is that Mary participates in the priestly intercession of the glorified Christ who is now seated at the right hand of the Father where he ceaselessly intercedes for us. In union with Jesus (cf. Heb. 7:25; 1 Jn. 2:1) and the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn. 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) (25) she, too, is our Advocate. The second is a further precision of Mary’s intercessory role: she is omnipotentia supplex, an almost untranslatable phrase which indicates that she is at the same time both a suppliant as well as all-powerful. Pope John Paul II used this paradoxical expression to describe Our Lady’s intercession on a number of occasions (26). Perhaps one of the best explanations of this terminology comes from St. Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori:

Since the Mother, then, should have the same power as the Son, Jesus, who is omnipotent, has also made Mary omnipotent; though, of course, it is always true that, while Jesus is omnipotent by nature, Mary is omnipotent only by grace. But that she is so appears from the fact that, whatever the Mother asks for, the Son never denies her. … Mary, then, is called omnipotent in the sense in which such a term can be applied to a creature who is incapable of a divine attribute; that is, she is omnipotent because she obtains by her prayers whatever she wishes (27).

As Mary is Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of all Graces, she is also our most perfect human Advocate before the Blessed Trinity. This title has profound roots in the Catholic tradition going all the way back to St. Irenaeus in the second century. It occurs in the Hail, Holy Queen where we pray: “turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us.” The word Advocate is predicated of Mary literally hundreds of times in the Papal Magisterium and reference to her intercession is a constantly recurring theme. Indeed, the great Marian document of the Second Vatican Council readily recognized that Mary is rightly invoked as Advocate (28). In his great Marian Encyclical Redemptoris Mater John Paul gave a brilliant analysis of how Mary’s role as Advocate is intimately related to her role as Mediatrix:

At Cana in Galilee there is shown only one concrete aspect of human need, apparently a small one of little importance (They have no wine). But it has a symbolic value: this coming to the aid of human needs means, at the same time, bringing those needs within the radius of Christ’s messianic mission and salvific power. Thus there is a mediation: Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings. She puts herself “in the middle,” that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother. She knows that as such she can point out to her Son the needs of mankind, and in fact, she “has the right” to do so. Her mediation is thus in the nature of intercession: Mary “intercedes” for mankind. And that is not all. As a mother she also wishes the messianic power of her Son to be manifested, that salvific power of his which is meant to help man in his misfortunes, to free him from the evil which in various forms and degrees weighs heavily upon his life (29).

On May 31, 1955, Our Lady gave Ida what was to be the clearest description of her role as Advocate:

You will have to endure a great deal as yet in this century. You, nations of this era, do realize that you are under the protection of “the Lady of All Nations”; call upon her as the Advocate; ask her to stave off all disasters; ask her to banish degeneration from this world.

Degeneration breeds disaster. Degeneration generates war. You should ask by means of my prayer to eject it from this world; do you not know what great value and power this prayer boasts before God? He will grant the requests of his Mother, when she comes to plead for you as Advocate (30).

IV. Conclusion

In concluding his important, but unfortunately largely forgotten Encyclical Letter of May 8, 1928, Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI formulated this prayer:

May the most gracious Mother of God, who gave us Jesus as Redeemer, who reared Him, and at the foot of the Cross offered Him as Victim, who by her mysterious union with Christ and by her matchless grace rightly merits the name Reparatrix, deign to smile upon our wishes and our undertakings. Trusting in her intercession with Christ our Lord, who though sole Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), wished however to make His Mother the advocate for sinners and the dispenser and mediatrix of His grace, from the bottom of our heart as a token of heavenly favor and of our fatherly solicitude we heartily impart to you and to all the faithful entrusted to your care our apostolic benediction (31).

If one reads this text with care, one will discover that Pius XI effectively identifies the Mother of God as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. One of the keys is to understand that the Latin word Reparatrix which the Pope used is an equivalent of the word Co-redemptrix. By offering his death for us on the Cross, Jesus “repaired” our relationship with the Father; he made “reparation” to him. As the “New Eve” at the side of the “New Adam,” Mary was united with him in this act of “reparation” in a way that was secondary, subordinate and dependent on him, but at the same time altogether unique. Hence she may be rightly called Reparatrix or Co-redemptrix (32). Secondly, the Pope pointed out that while Jesus, the God-man, is the sole Mediator between the Creator and his creatures, he wished to make His Mother “the dispenser and mediatrix of His grace.” Thirdly, the Pope also stated that the Lord wanted to make His Mother the “advocate for sinners.”

Linking together the titles Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate enables us to grasp Mary’s role in our salvation in a logical and coherent way: it is precisely because of Our Lady’s unique and intimate participation in the work of the redemption as Co-redemptrix that she is able to be the distributor (Mediatrix) of all graces and the great intercessor (Advocate) for her children after Jesus himself and the Holy Spirit. Indeed, each of these terms brings out another facet of how Mary shares in an unparalleled way in the unique priestly mediation of Jesus: she cooperates in the work of our redemption; she distributes the graces of the redemption; she lives to make intercession for us.

These three titles represent the Church’s ever deepening grasp of the unique role which the Mother of God plays in the work of the redemption, not only in the past, but here and now. The titles are not new, much less is their content new. The role of Mary in the work of our redemption has been the central question in Mariology for the past century and because, as the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council rightly stated, “Mary, having intimately entered into salvation history, somehow brings together in herself and reverberates the most important doctrines of the faith” (33). Therefore, far from being a side issue, I believe that this is the most important question facing theology today. Thus far the great majority of Catholic theologians have refused to affirm clearly what the Holy Spirit has been teaching the Church about Mary for the past millennium and have preferred instead the route of compromise and minimalism. One need only consult “agreed statements” like Mary in the New Testament (34), The One Mediator, The Saints, and Mary (35), the much-touted declaration of the Dombes Group (36) and the ARCIC agreed statement on Mary of 2005 (37). Catholic pastors with the rarest of exceptions have also maintained an almost total silence about this matter and, indeed, at this stage many are genuinely ignorant of the Church’s millennial tradition.

But as Our Lady repeatedly stressed to Ida: now is the time to act. If God has made Mary the greatest and most perfect creature possible and has given her a totally unique role in the work of redemption – always subordinate to the God-man and dependent upon him – can we legitimately deny this or remain silent about it? Jesus is at the very center of our faith and Mary stands next to him. No, she is not the center of our faith, but she stands next to the center. She is inseparable from Jesus, united to him by an indissoluble bond and likewise united to the Church by an indissoluble bond. This is what the revelations of Our Lady of All Nations insist on, but this is not a new doctrine; it is the perennial teaching of the Church, now unfortunately all too often unknown, misunderstood or obscured. We must make this doctrine known, humbly, but joyfully. We must pray and sacrifice so that the definition requested by Our Lady comes about. I believe that we must accept the words spoken to “Rome” as also addressed to ourselves:

Rome, do you know, how completely everything is being undermined? The years will speed by unheeded, but the longer you wait, the more the Faith will decline; the greater the number of years, the greater the apostasy (38).

The Lord asks our collaboration, just as he asked for Mary’s. On this depends the “Triumph of her Immaculate Heart” (39) prophesied by Our Lady at Fatima and the Lord has chosen to make this triumph the key to the Reign of the Most Sacred Heart of his Son.

Praised be the Hearts of Jesus and Mary!

 

Msgr. Calkins gave the preceding paper on May 31, 2008, at a Mariological conference on coredemption in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

 

Notes

(1) Redemptoris Mater #11, 47. Emphasis my own.

(2) Cf. A Handbook on Guadalupe (Kenosha, WI: Franciscan Marytown Press, 1974) 113-115.

(3) Cited in Francis Johnston, The Wonder of Guadalupe (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1981) 47-48. Emphasis my own. Cf. also The Dark Virgin: The Book of Our Lady of Guadalupe – A Documentary Anthology edited by Donald Demarest & Coley Taylor (Coley Taylor, Inc. / Publishers, 1956) 26-28; A Handbook on Guadalupe 107-112; Thomas Mary Sennott, Acheiropoeta: Not Made by Hands (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 1998) 27.

(4) Joseph I. Dirvin, C.M., Saint Catherine Labouré of the Miraculous Medal (NY: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1958) 97.

(5) Louis Kondor, S.V.D. (Ed.), Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words trans. Dominican Nuns of Perpetual Rosary (Fatima: Postulation Centre, 1976), Fourth Memoir, 162. Emphasis my own.

(6) The Messages of The Lady of All Nations (Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing Co., 1996) (= Messages followed by date, then page number in parenthesis) January 3, 1946 (8).

(7) Messages December 16, 1949 (24).

(8) Messages August 15, 1950 (30-31). Emphasis my own.

(9) Messages February 11, 1951 (39).

(10) Messages March 28, 1951 (44-45). Emphasis on “like a serpent …” my own.

(11) Messages April 29, 1951 (49-51).

(12) Messages August 15, 1951 (54).

(13) Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II XVIII/2 (1995) 1369 (Pope John Paul II, Theotókos – Woman, Mother, Disciple: A Catechesis on Mary, Mother of God (Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2000) 51).

(14) Teiji Yasuda, O.M.V., Akita: The Tears and Message of Mary trans. John M. Haffert (Asbury, NJ: 101 Foundation, 1989) 78. These words are also quoted by Bishop John S. Ito in his pastoral letter of April 22, 1984, in which he authorized the veneration of the Holy Mother of Akita, cf. 196.

(15) Messages August 15, 1951 (56).

(16) Cf. Lumen Gentium #60, 62.

(17) Insegnamenti di Benedetto XVI III/1 (2007) 820-821 (L’Osservatore Romano, weekly edition in English (= ORE). First number = cumulative edition number; second number = page) 1829:3. Emphasis my own except for Immaculate Conception, Tota Pulchra and “Be holy, as I am holy” (Lev. 11:44).

(18) Omer Englebert, Catherine Labouré and the Modern Apparitions of Our Lady trans. Alastair Guinan (NY: P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1959) 34-35.

(19) Kondor Third Memoir, 107. Italics my own.

(20) Kondor Third Memoir, 111-112. Italics my own.

(21) Messages May 31, 1951 (52).

(22) Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II XX/1 (1997) 621-622 (Pope John Paul II, Theotókos – Woman, Mother, Disciple: A Catechesis on Mary, Mother of God (Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2000) 185-186).

(23) Messages July 2, 1951 (54).

(24) Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II VIII/1 (1985) 321 (ORE 876:7).

(25) These texts in John’s gospel all refer to the Greek word Parakletos which is sometimes left in the Greek form “Paraclete” and variously translated as “Counselor” and “Advocate.” It refers to one who intercedes and pleads the cause of another.

(26) Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II II/1 (1979) 1034 (ORE 580:1); Inseg II/2 (1979) 816, 818 (ORE 610:3); Inseg VI/2 (1983) 558.

(27) St. Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori, The Glories of Mary, Part I trans. Charles G. Fehrenbach, C.SS.R. et al. (Baltimore: Helicon Press, 1962) 113 (Opere Ascetiche di S. Alfonso M. De Liguori Vol. VI (Rome, 1936) 205-206).

(28) Cf. Lumen Gentium #62.

(29) Redemptoris Mater #21.

(30) Messages May 31, 1955 (87).

(31) Acta Apostolicæ Sedis 20 (1928) 178 (Our Lady: Papal Teachings) trans. Daughters of St. Paul (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1961) #287.

(32) Cf. Arthur Burton Calkins, “Maria Reparatrix: Tradition, Magisterium, Liturgy” in Mary at the Foot of the Cross – III: Maria, Mater Unitatis. Acts of the Third International Symposium on Marian Coredemption (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2003) 223-258.

(33) Lumen Gentium #65.

(34) Raymond E. Brown, Karl P. Donfried, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and John Reumann (eds.), Mary in the New Testament: A Collaborative Assessment by Protestant and Roman Catholic Scholars (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA – Paulist Press, New York, N.Y.,1978).

(35) H. George Anderson, J. Francis Stafford, Joseph A. Burgess (eds.), The One Mediator, The Saints, and Mary: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VIII (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1992).

(36) Alain Blancy and Maurice Jourjon and the Dombes Group, Mary in the Plan of God and in the Communion of Saints trans. Matthew J. O’Connell (NY: Paulist Press, 2002).

(37) The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, Mary, Grace and Hope in Christ: An Agreed Statement (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 2005).

(38) Messages August 15, 1951 (56).

(39) Cf. Kondor Fourth Memoir, 162.