In the past few months Catholic publications have been featuring reports on a possible new doctrine involving Mary as co-redeemer that may soon be publicly proclaimed as an official doctrine of the church.
Newsweek magazine (Aug. 25) reports that there is an influential movement throughout the world that is petitioning Pope John Paul II to take such an action by collecting over 4,300,000 signatures from 157 countries. The movement has attracted nearly 500 bishops and 42 cardinals — including New York’s John O’Connor and Joseph Glemp of Poland — as well as Mother Teresa of Calcutta. But propelling much of the the phenomenon are such American conservative Catholics as Mark Miravalle of Franciscan University of Steubenville and nun-broadcaster Mother Angelica. On her show, Mother Angelica has stated that the pope’s proclaiming of such a doctrine would “save the world from great catastrophe.”
Rumors of the potential new dogma “have triggered blistering criticism from other Christian denominations and ignited a battle within the church itself,” writes Kenneth Woodward. The proposed doctrine would also cause a serious division among Catholic theologians; last June it was reported that a commission of 23 Mariologists unanimously advised against promulgating the new dogma.