Mediatrix of all graces is a title that some in the Catholic Church give to the Blessed Virgin Mary; as the Mother of God, it includes the understanding that she mediates the Divine Grace. In addition to Mediatrix, other titles are given to her in the Church: Advocate, Helper, Benefactress.[1] In a papal encyclical of 8 September 1894, Pope Leo XIII said: "The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace."[2]

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

Proposal for dogmatic definition

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

In the Catholic Church there are many levels of teaching, the highest of which is a dogmatic teaching. Nonetheless, there are also definitive teachings that have not been declared as dogmas, but could be declared as a dogma in the future:

"The fact that these doctrines may not be proposed as formally revealed, [...] in no way diminishes their definitive character, which is required at least by their intrinsic connection with revealed truth. Moreover, it cannot be excluded that at a certain point in dogmatic development, the understanding of the realities and the words of the deposit of faith can progress in the life of the Church, and the Magisterium may proclaim some of these doctrines as also dogmas of divine and catholic faith."[5]

— Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican

In 1928, the encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor of Pope Pius XI prayed the Virgin Mary as "the advocate of sinners, and the minister and mediatress of grace."[6]

Celebration in Belgium

In Belgium, 8 years later, Redemptorist priest François Xavier Godts wrote a book, De definibilitate mediationis universalis Deiparae (On the definability of the universal mediation of the Mother of God), proposing precisely that it be defined that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces. In April 1921, Désiré-Joseph Mercier, Cardinal Archbishop of Mechelen, Belgium wrote to his brother bishops in support of this.[7]

In response to petitions from Belgium, including one signed by all its bishops, the Holy See approved in 1921 an annual celebration in that country of a feast day of Mary Mediatrix of All Graces.[8] In printings of the Roman Missal from that date until 1961, the Mass of Mary Mediatrix of All Graces was found in the appendix Missae pro aliquibus locis (Masses for Some Places), but not in the general calendar for use wherever the Roman Rite is celebrated.[9] Other Masses authorized for celebration in different places on the same day 31 May were those of the Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Belgian celebration has now been replaced by an optional memorial on 31 August of the Virgin Mary Mediatrix.[10]

Scholarly opposition to dogmatic definition

Despite requests for a new Marian dogma, the Fathers of Vatican II and the Popes who presided at the Council, John XXIII and Paul VI decided not to proceed with new dogmatic definitions. The decree Lumen gentium of Vatican II would caution of the title of "Mediatrix" that: "This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator".[11]

In August 1996, a Mariological Congress was held in Czestochowa, Poland, where a commission was established in response to a request of the Holy See. The congress sought the opinion of scholars present there regarding the possibility of proposing a fifth Marian dogma on Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. The commission unanimously declared that "it is not opportune to abandon the path marked out by the Second Vatican Council and proceed to the definition of a new dogma, define a fifth Marian dogma on those titles." The Declaration of Czestochowa observed that while these titles can be given a content in conformity with the deposit of the faith, nevertheless such "titles, as proposed, are ambiguous, as they can be understood in very different ways".[12]

Continued campaigning

Groups of laity and clergy, what has been called "a small but growing movement", continue to operate for proclaiming the dogma of the universal mediation of Mary.[13] One such group calls itself Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici.[14] On 8 February 2008, five cardinals published a petition asking Pope Benedict XVI to declare the Blessed Virgin Mary both Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix, and over 500 bishops later added their signatures.[15] The magazine Inside the Vatican and Saint Thomas More College organized a one-day panel discussion on the question in Rome on 25 March 2010.[16]

In December 2019, at a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis said in referring to a picture of La Morenita that three terms came to mind, woman, mother and mestiza; the latter because "Mary makes God a mestizo, true God but also true man.” He also discouraged proposals for a new dogmatic title. "“When they come to us with the story of declaring her this or making that dogma, let’s not get lost in foolishness [in Spanish, tonteras],” he said."[17]

Devotion in the Philippines

Statue of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace at the Carmelite convent in Lipa

Further information: Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace

Among Filipino Catholics, the term "Mediatrix" is associated with an alleged 1948 apparition of the Virgin Mary to Teresita Castillo, with title Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace in the Carmelite monastery of Lipa, Batangas, Philippines. Ramón Argüelles, the archbishop emeritus of Lipa, declared his personal belief in the veracity of the 1948 apparitions, encouraging veneration of Mary under that title.[18]

The apparition is well known in the Philippines and among the Filipino diaspora, most notably the preserved rose petals which fell from the sky and are claimed to be miraculous. Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Mercedes Arrastia Tuason is a known devotee of the apparitions, and displays a large statue in her consulate office in Rome.[19]

Mystic / stigmatist Emma de Guzman, foundress of the “La Pieta” International Prayer Group, which had received local ecclesiastical approval at one time,[20] said that Mary had declared herself to be "the Mediatrix standing in front of the Mediator".[21] This ruling by the local bishop was overruled in May 2016 by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith declared that it had rejected the local authority's decree citing Pope Pius XII's statement in 1951 that the apparitions "were not supernatural in origin" to be definitive. [22]


  1. ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church, #969".
  2. ^ Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Iucunda Semper Expectatione, 8 September 1894
  3. ^ Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Octobri mense, §4, 22 September 1891;"by the will of God, Mary is the intermediary through whom is distributed unto us this immense treasure of mercies gathered by God,"
  4. ^ [1] Gloria Falcão Dodd, The Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces: History and Theology of the Movement for a Dogmatic Definition from 1896 - 1964 (Academy of the Immaculate. 2012. ISBN 978-1-60114061-6), pp. 51–52
  5. ^ "CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio fidei".
  6. ^ "Miserentissimus Redemptor".
  7. ^ Anglican Theological Review, vol. 5, p.130, Columbia University Press, 1923
  8. ^ Mark Miraville (editor), 2008, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Queenship Publishing. ISBN 1-57918-355-7. page 448.
  9. ^ See, for instance, the 1957 printing and a late-1920s printing.
  10. ^ Calendrier liturgique francophone 2010-2011
  11. ^ "Lumen gentium, 62". Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  12. ^ L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English 25 June 1997, page 10
  13. ^ Mark Miravalle, 1993, Introduction to Mary. Queenship Publishing. ISBN 978-1-882972-06-7 page 51
  14. ^ "Voice of the People for Mary Mediatrix". Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  15. ^ "ZENIT - Cardinals' Letter Promoting Marian Dogma". Archived from the original on 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  16. ^ Robert Moynihan, "Is the Time Ripe for a 5th Marian Dogma?" in ZENIT, 1 March 2010 Archived 3 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ San Martín, Inés. "Pope calls idea of declaring Mary co-redemptrix ‘foolishness’", Crux, December 13, 2019
  18. ^ "Letter of Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, 17 April 2005". Archived from the original on 13 March 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  19. ^ Office of the Ambassador of the Philippines to the Vatican, Pope Paul VI residence -
  20. ^ /Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, Endorsement of pilgrimage, 1 August 2007
  21. ^ [2] June Keithley Castro, "Messages from Mama Mary" in Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 September 2012]
  22. ^ [ editor), Lito B. Zulueta (Arts & Books. "Vatican overrules Batangas bishop; declares 1948 Marian apparitions not genuine".