Interview with Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles

Bishop of the Diocese of Lipa, Philippines

How can Mary be “Mediatrix of All Grace”? What is the theological/biblical basis for this title of Our Lady?

“All Grace”, in Latin, “Tota Gracia”, is Christ. Christ is “All Grace.” Christ came to us through the Virgin Mary. “The Gift”, Eu Caris, who is Christ, came to us through the Virgin Mary. Therefore, the Virgin Mary is our Mediatrix with the “All Grace”, the Source of All Graces, Jesus Christ. Consequently, she is also Mediatrix of All Graces brought to us by Christ, who is “Eu Caris”, the gift of God to us.

We can deduce the truth from many biblical citations. We can start from the Book of Genesis (3:15) in the passage of the great promise: “I will put enmity between you and the Woman, your seed and her seed. She (or the Seed) shall crush your head.” The Woman, together with her Son, is the end of the Evil One and conversely, the beginning of all blessings.

There are other citations related to this, like that of Isaiah, which foretold of the Virgin who will conceive and bear a Son whom she would call, “Emmanuel” – God with us. The “Emmanuel” is the Son of God who came from heaven through the Virgin, who is the Mediatrix of All Grace.

The truth of the doctrine can also be clearly seen in the story of the Incarnation or Annunciation. In her “Fiat”, the Virgin accepted to collaborate with God in bringing about our salvation. God wanted the collaboration of the “Woman” in our salvation story – Mary, therefore, as active collaborator, is the rightful dispenser of the graces earned by Jesus’ redeeming act.

Finally, the biblical passage of Mary at the foot of the Cross clearly highlights the truth of the doctrine. In Calvary, Jesus explicitly gave her the mediating role in His words, “Woman, behold your Son. Son, behold your Mother”. John, representing all humanity, was entrusted to Mary, our Mediatrix.

In her apparitions to Ida Peerdeman in Amsterdam, Our Lady requested that a fifth Marian dogma be declared (Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate). At about the same time, in the Philippines, she also allegedly appeared and called herself “Mediatrix of All Grace”. Do you think there is a connection between the Amsterdam apparitions and the alleged Lipa apparitions?

Yes there is a connection between the Lipa apparitions and the Amsterdam apparitions – as well as the apparitions of Mary in Akita and Betania. The Blessed Mother in our times seems to favor this title. In the 19th century, the Virgin often proclaimed herself as “the Immaculate Conception”, most likely in support of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which was declared in 1854. In our current times, it seems that Our Lady in her numerous 20th century apparitions is placing more emphasis on her role as Mediatrix of all Grace and advocate with God.

Is the title “Mediatrix of All Grace” commonly used in the Church? Have there been past precedent of its usage – past popes using it, saints, etc?

The title of Mediatrix has been attributed to Our Lady since the 6th century in the Eastern Church, and since the 9th century in the West. It is very clearly explained in the dogmatic constitution of the Church.

There are concerns that this title of Our Lady, and on a larger level the proposed 5th Marian dogma, will adversely affect our relationships with our non-Catholic brethren, affecting ecumenical efforts. Do you think this is a big cause for concern in the eventuality that the pope officially declares the 5th dogma?

Protestants, in the recent decade, have grown to be more cognizant of the role of the Blessed Mother in the history of our salvation. Initially, Protestantism, as evident in the words of Luther and Calvin, was close to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The disunity of Christians during the 16th century Reformation was due more to the official Church at that time. Doctrinal differences came later due to progressive polarization. The present objection in recognizing the glories of Mary (glories that are meant for the whole Church, which means us) is not due to the differences we have with non-Catholics. Differences with different non-Catholic groups can be resolved through a dialogue of life with them; without this willingness to a dialogue of life, differences will never be resolved.

In point of fact, the lack of enthusiasm to give the Blessed Mother the rightful honor meant for us, her children, intended by God is due to the divisions within the Catholic Church. Most of the objections do not come from outside of the Church. Most objections take place from within the Church, due to the failure of many within our Church to present Mary as a perfect realization of God’s salvific work in humanity. The Mariological problem is not an ecumenical problem. It is a problem within the Church where a great many Catholics fail to recognize Mary as the perfect model of being Christ.

How accepted in the Philippine Church, particularly the clergy, is this title of Our Lady as “Mediatrix of All Grace”?

The Philippines is the “pueblo amante de Maria”, a people beloved by Mary. Those who review our history will not fail to recognize the power of Mary’s mediating role. Thanks to several priests and clergy who are steadfast in recognizing the strength of Marian devotion, the Church in the Philippines remains strong because of our love for Mary and Mary’s love for our people.

Unfortunately, the waves of secularism and materialism, as well as the moral breakdown largely caused by progressive but ungodly countries proposing themselves as models of development, seep into our contemporary culture. In this process of “de-Christianization”, the attachment to the Blessed Mother is the target of the devil’s tactics. Our country is probably the last bastion of fidelity to God and attachment to the Woman through whom God came to us, that is why the great majority of the people and the clergy are in favor of the title, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace. Our country needs to understand this title deeper to prove to the world its truth in our life so that the triumph of God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary may be hastened in and from our country to the entire world.

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