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13 Reasons To Delay The Definition of A Dogma

Concerning the form and definition of these three titles for Mary: co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix
which Vox Populi refers to as: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate for the People of God:

1. There is currently only one theological position which predominates discussions of these titles for Mary, the position of Vox Populi and Dr. Mark Miravalle. Any dogmatic definition using these three titles for Mary would be seen as confirming that one theological position in all its specifics.

2. The titles of Mary as co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix have become entangled with the claimed private revelations of Ida Peerdeman. Any dogmatic definition at this time would be seen as confirming that disreputable claimed private revelation.

3. Due to the influence of the claimed private revelation of Ida Peerdeman, this proposed dogma is believed by many to be the fifth and final Marian dogma. If it is defined at this time, the faithful would thereby conclude that there are no other fundamental doctrines about the Virgin Mary, and that the Magisterium will not or cannot define any further Marian dogmas. If, subsequently, the Magisterium were to define another Marian dogma, many of the faithful might refuse to believe it.

4. Due to the influence of the claimed private revelation of Ida Peerdeman, this proposed dogma is believed by many to be associated with the end times. Dr. Miravalle himself believes in the messages of Ida Peerdeman and has made apocalyptic references in his writings on this topic. Vox Populi clearly states on its site that we are living in the climax of the Age of Mary, and all that is left is this final dogma. There are a number of such references in the writings of Vox Populi and its supporters. If it is defined at this time, many of the faithful would conclude that the end is near.

5. Because this so-called proposed dogma is promoted as the fifth and final, if it is in fact the next Marian dogma to be defined, such a definition would confirm the very dubious claim that there have only been four other Marian dogmas in the history of the Church. (See my other article on this point.) The faithful would then consider other doctrines about Mary (such as her Dormition, her sinlessness, her perfect discipleship, her role as Mother of the Church, her role as Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and more) as of substantially lesser importance, since these would not be one of the supposed five sole Marian dogmas.

6. The Vox Populi position on these three true titles for Mary is a very detailed and extensive theological position. And it has been spread worldwide by Vox Populi with the constant claim that this is a dogma. Every page of the Vox Populi website calls this theological position 'the dogma' or 'the fifth Marian dogma' or other such terms. Even the faithful in general have long been referring to this idea with the word 'dogma.' So if ANY portion of this theological position is given a dogmatic definition at this time, the faithful would view this as confirming ALL that has been taught by Vox Populi worldwide under the name of a dogma. The effect would be to seem to hand over to Vox Populi the power of the Magisterium to define a teaching dogmatically.

Let me be very clear on this point, because it is of great importance. A specific theological position, with a core of truth, but with many dubious and, in my view, erroneous points, has been spread worldwide under one single term (i.e. the three titles for Mary) and with the repeated and emphatic claim that this is already a dogma. Therefore, if the Roman Pontiff were to proclaim these three titles as a dogma, with even a minimal definition, it would be viewed by almost all the faithful as confirming the entire theological position of Vox Populi. Even a most minimal definition would then become expanded immediately into, in effect, a proclamation of numerous theological points which were not defined, some of which are certainly inaccurate or erroneous, and some of which are derived solely from the claimed private revelation of Ida Peerdeman.

7. Before a definition can be salutary, and not harmful, to the faithful, the form and meaning of these three titles must be separated from the claims of Ida Peerdeman.

8. Before a definition can be salutary, and not harmful, to the faithful, the form and meaning of these three titles must become independent of the very specific theological position of Vox Populi, which is mainly based on the theology of its founder and longtime International President, Dr. Mark Miravalle. Otherwise, the dogmatic definition will not have the effect of making a specific teaching of the Church dogmatic, but rather of making everything that Miravalle, through Vox Populi, asserts on this topic as already dogmatic.

9. Miravalle and others claim that the theological position of Vox Populi is nothing other than the teaching of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church. And Dr. Miravalle, as well as some other theologians and priests, believes that the Ordinary Magisterium is infallible. (It is not merely the Ordinary Universal Magisterium which they claim to be infallible, but the Ordinary Magisterium in general.) Therefore, they are already convinced that their theological position cannot possibly be in error, that it is already virtually a dogma, and that all that remains is for the Roman Pontiff to make a proclamation of this dogma. The proclamation of this proposed dogma at this time would have the effect of seeming to confirm that the entire theological position of Vox Populi is identical to the teaching of the Magisterium and that the teaching of the Ordinary Magisterium is infallible.

10. Currently, Vox Populi virtually owns this proposed dogma. They have succeeded in making almost all the theology being written on this topic revolve around their wording and their theological talking points. A diversity of theological positions, each contributing its own particular insights to the understanding of these true titles has not developed to any significant extent because the lay organization Vox Populi has obtained a near monopoly on this set of theological questions. They have done so by proclaiming their position to be already the teaching of the Church and by continually using the term 'dogma' to describe that theological position. They have convince a very large number of the faithful that their position is a dogma, one which merely lacks a final approval from the Pope that it is certain to receive sooner or later. It is as if a garden of flowers had one flower (but not a weed) which had grown so large that the other flowers could not grow and offer their beauty as well. It is as if the flower has become the gardener.

11. This situation has been made worse by the petition circulated by Vox Populi, mainly over the internet, so that the group now claims almost 7 million of the faithful, over 500 Bishops, and over 40 Cardinals as signatories. Now it is very likely that most of this signatories were merely expressing their fitting agreement, in a very general way, with these three true titles for Mary. But Vox Populi presents the number and position in the Church of these signatories as if they each and all approved of the Vox Populi position in all its details. Any dogmatic definition at this time would be seen as confirming the acceptability and effectiveness of this rather dubious approach to the expression and teaching of a theological position that is still largely speculative in many of its points.

12. Additionally, any definition in response to such a petition would likely result in many other such organizations being formed using the same approach whose effectiveness was confirmed, as it were, dogmatically. The specter of numerous lay organizations proclaiming and spreading various alleged dogmas in advance of any Magisterial definition (just as Vox Populi has done), and circulating a myriad of petitions, would be harmful to the spiritual life of the faithful.

13. The Vox Populi theological position has numerous serious theological errors and inadequacies. Further development is needed among the faithful and among theologians who do not share the same exact position as Dr. Miravalle and his organization. However, Vox Populi has obtained the support of millions of the faithful, who regard this group as teaching dogma, not speculative theology, and has the claimed support of over 500 Bishops and over 40 Cardinals. As a result, at this point in time, further theological development is unlikely to occur, unless the Roman Pontiff, instead of defining the Vox Populi position as a dogma, were to rebuke the organization publicly, rebuke specific points in their theological position as erroneous or inadequate, and call for a broader dialogue on this important topic.

by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
October 25, 2006

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