Good evening Father Angelo,
I am writing to you because I would have doubts to submit to you. First of all I want to thank you for your availability and the time you dedicate to this site, I always find your answers very enlightening!
I will briefly talk to you about me, my name is Joseph, I am Italian-English and I grew up in an “ecumenical” family, Anglican father, Catholic mother. For a long time I was indifferent to the Faith, indeed hostile, I called myself an atheist, while respecting those who believed. Then after a serious family mourning I got closer to the Faith … now I would define myself as a Catholic in training … I also have a great respect for the Orthodox Church, I love its mystical approach (sometimes perhaps the Latin Church has sinned intellectualism) … what would it be like nice to see the two lungs return to breathe in unison!
Returning to my doubts, the ones I would like to submit to you concern private revelations, Marian apparitions, consequently I know that these are not things we should believe in … but if the Church has recognized them they must be aligned with the Doctrine or at least not contradict it. But some statements seem false or at least unclear to me:
1. Our Lady of Fatima – as with the other Marian apparitions, I have no difficulty in believing that the Lord uses his mother as an ambassador to the world and many of the messages are extremely important in my opinion. However, what surprised me, indeed, made me turn up my nose, is when Our Lady would have required “sacrifices for the reparation of sins” … now an irremovable point for me is that the Sacrifice of Our Lord is the only one, perfect, complete and unrepeatable. How then to interpret this request for “sacrifices of reparation”? Not only does it seem to me to belittle the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but also how can the Lord want the suffering of men to be moved in his mercy? Perhaps these sacrifices must be understood as penance, as a demonstration to ourselves and to God that only he counts for us? Other meanings seem almost blasphemous to me, images like those of children hurting themselves with the rope as a sacrifice (and Our Lady would have told them ONLY not to use it at night) seem really weird … Do I misinterpret them?
2. Our Lady of Salette – here Our Lady “would” have declared something that almost scandalizes me: “If the people do not submit, I will be forced to let my Son’s arm free, it is so strong and so heavy that I can no longer support it “… What puzzles me is the fact that from these words it would transpire that Our Lady BRAKES Jesus’ arm … now Our Lady is the all Holy, perfect, spotless, crowned creature of creation … but here she seems more merciful than God, which is absurd for me. Surely God wants us to pray to Him, He loves the intercession of His Mother… but we cannot think that God is less perfect than one of His creatures. Our Lady is the perfection of Mercy, God the Mercy itself… there is an unbridgeable difference between them… it seems to me almost blasphemous even here to say that God is more ready for the wrath of one of his creatures. Is this my wrong interpretation of the context?
3. Lady of all nations in Amsterdam – here Our Lady would even have required the proclamation of a new dogma: “Provide for the last dogma, the coronation of the Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate!” Almost all the words of this statement do not arouse surprise, it is what the Church, Catholic and Orthodox, have always believed, Our Lady as a point of intercession for our prayers, come Advocate with the Advocate for Excellence etc … Instead what arouses I suspect is the request to be defined “Coredemptrix” … even here, it seems to me that devotion exaggerates, wanting to honor Our Lady we end up doing her damage … Our Lady deserves the greatest devotion, love and respect from her children, and her humble acceptance of God’s will makes her the new Eve, the one who “made possible” the work of redemption … but there is only one of the Redeemer, I see a co-redemptive Madonna as a conceptual error and a bad choice, I imagine how the BAD popular devotion would interpret such a thing. I don’t think Our Lady herself wants confusion about who the Redeemer is, she too was saved by Her Son
Excuse me if I have been long-winded… I have tried to explain my doubts as clearly as possible, in the hope that you with your knowledge and spirituality can spread them.
Response from the priest
I am delighted first of all by the “ecumenical” family in which the Lord gave you birth and much more by your conversion, which, according to Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas, is a greater work than the very creation of the world .
I am convinced that you too, as a “Catholic in formation and full of enthusiasm” consider it as such.
I am now coming to answer the questions you have asked regarding apparitions approved by the Church.
1. As regards Fatima, it would be sufficient to refer to what St. Paul says in the letter to the Colossians: “Now I am happy in the sufferings I endure for you and I fulfill what, of the sufferings of Christ, is lacking in my flesh, in favor of of his body which is the Church ”(Col 1:24).
You rightly ask yourself: but the sacrifice of Christ, which has an infinite value, was not enough. Can we add something to this sacrifice?
Here is the response of the Church in Pius XII’s encyclical Mystici corporis:
Pius XII (29.6.1943): “However, it is not necessary to believe that Christ the Head, being placed in such a sublime place, does not want the help of the Body. In fact, it is necessary to assert of this mystical Body what Paul affirms of the human compound: “The head cannot say … at the feet: you are not necessary to me” (1 Cor 12:21).
It clearly appears that Christians absolutely need the help of the divine Redeemer, since He himself said: “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15: 5), and, according to the Apostle’s doctrine, every increase in this Mystical body for its own edification, depends on the Head of Christ (Eph 4:16; Col 2:19).
However, it must also be assumed, although at first sight it may arouse wonder, that Christ too needs His members. (…) Our Savior, by governing the Church from Himself in an invisible way, wants to be helped by the members of His Mystical Body in carrying out the work of Redemption. This does not really happen because of His indigence and weakness, but rather because He Himself thus disposed of His undefeated Bride for greater honor. In fact, while he was dying on the Cross, he gave to his Church, without any cooperation of it, the immense treasure of the Redemption; when it comes to distributing this treasure, he not only communicates with his uncontaminated Bride the work of the sanctification of others, but wants this sanctification to come in some way also from her action “(EE 6, 193).
At this point the Pope makes a great affirmation: “Certainly a tremendous mystery, never sufficiently meditated upon: that the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary mortifications, for this purpose undertaken by the members of the mystical Body of Jesus Christ, and by the cooperation of Pastors and faithful, especially fathers and mothers of families, in collaboration with the divine Savior ”(EE 6, 193).
In a word: collaboration with Christ is necessary not in carrying out the work of redemption, but in distributing the treasures of redemption.
In this sense, Our Lady at Fatima on July 13, 1917 said: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifices: ‘O Jesus, it is for your love, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary’ ! ”.
2. For La Salette you find it difficult to say these words: “I will be forced to let go of my Son’s arm”.
However, a similar expression is already found in the Old Testament.
When the people of Israel built a golden calf for themselves, God said to Moses: “I have observed these people: behold, they are a hard-necked people. Now let my anger ignite against them and devour them. Instead of you I will make a great nation “” (Ex 32,9-10).
The expressions used in the sacred text are particularly harsh: “Now let my anger be ignite against them and devour them”. In Dt 9:13 we read even harsher words: “Let me do it: I will destroy them and erase their name under heaven and make you a nation more powerful and greater than they are” (Dt 9:14).
God could have done with just one of his words all that he had in mind because at his command everything folds and nothing can resist him either in heaven or on earth.
But he says: Let me do it.
The language is evidently anthropomorphic.
St. Gregory the Great comments: “By telling Moses let me do what else did God do if not give Moses the opportunity to pray?” (Moralia, lib. 9, chap. 2).
Moses later said to the people: “I was afraid in the face of the anger and fury of which the Lord was kindled against you, to the point of wanting to destroy you. But the Lord heard me also that time “(Dt 9:19).
Moses began to entreat the Lord (Ex 32:11). Literally it would be: he began to caress the Lord “and remembers all the works of love done by God for his people.
To God who had said “let my anger …” Moses replies: “Desist from the ardor of your anger and forsake (leave, put aside) the intention to harm your people” (Ex 32:12).
The conclusion was that “the Lord repented of the evil he had threatened to do to his people” (Ex 32:14).
God stopped before Moses’ prayer.
The only reality that can stop the hand of God and somehow “overcome God” (if you can say that!) Is prayer.
Then the words of Our Lady in La Salette, used also previously as we read for the origin of the Dominican Order, signify the power of Mary’s prayer and her role as mediator.
3. For the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam the term co-redemptrix is correct if understood correctly.
1). Understanding it well means first of all this: that Our Lady herself was redeemed by Christ.
Indeed, it was redeemed in a special way, because in anticipation of the passion and merits of Christ it was preserved from original sin and filled with grace.
Furthermore, God called her as the new Eve not only to dispense to all the treasures of her redemption but also to cooperate with him in the redemption of humanity: “For this she was for us the mother in the order of grace” (Lumen Gentium 61).
2). The Council says: “Redeemed in an eminent way in view of the merits of her Son and united to him by a close and indissoluble bond, she is awarded the supreme office and dignity of mother of the Son of God” (LG 53).
He also says: “Mary was not a merely passive instrument in the hands of God, but … she cooperated in the salvation of man with free faith and obedience” (LG 56).
3). Mary’s singular participation in the work of redemption should also be remembered “in such a way that nothing is deducted or added to the dignity and efficacy of Christ, the only Mediator” (LG 62).
The Church is aware that the only mediator between God and men is Jesus.
And it knows well that “every healthy influence of the Blessed Virgin … springs from the superabundance of Christ’s merits, is based on his mediation, absolutely depends on it and draws all its effectiveness” (LG 62).
4). However, “the one mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude, but arouses in creatures a varied cooperation, participated by a single source”; and thus “the one goodness of God is really spread in various ways in creatures” (LG 62).
5). John Paul II says: “In proclaiming Christ the only mediator (cf. 1 Tm 2,5-6), the text of the Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy excludes any other parallel mediation, but not a subordinate mediation.
In fact, before emphasizing the one and exclusive mediation of Christ, the author recommends “that questions, petitions, prayers and thanks be asked for all men …” (2,1).
Aren’t prayers a form of mediation? Indeed, according to Saint Paul, the one mediation of Christ is destined to promote other dependent and ministerial mediations. By proclaiming the uniqueness of that of Christ, the Apostle tends to exclude only any autonomous or concurrent mediation, not other forms compatible with the infinite value of the Savior’s work “(2.10.1997).
6). It could be said that through this subordinate, active and singular participation of Mary in the Redemption of Christ she deserved to become mother and dispenser of all grace.
I wish you well, I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.