February 11, 2013, will be remembered as the day on which Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would resign from the papacy. The day was also the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 21st World Day of the Sick.
In his Latin-language letter naming Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, as his special envoy to the solemn celebration of the World Day of the Sick at the Shrine of Our Lady of Altötting (Germany), Pope Benedict entrusted the prelate’s mission “to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix of all graces” [intercessioni Beatae Virginis Mariae Immaculatae, Mediatricis omnium gratiarum].
I have a theory. Pope Benedict is all about conversion through a free process of conviction brought about by means of personal encounter with Christ. His reluctance to define the dogma has to do with what he considers the unnecessary use of papal authority to define something inherently controversial and hard for many to understand. Nonetheless true, he wants to see people embrace this kind of teaching freely, rather than because of a canonical demand.
Those of us who have defended the dogma without any connection or motivation from the traditionalist side of the fence, have done so, not because we wanted papal coercion to be applied to the question, but because it is a matter of defending Our Lady’s honor and because we believe that when the Church as a whole embraces this truth there will be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The grace is prophetic and the Church must respond as to a prophecy. I see the response of the Church from both the Chair of Peter, the pulpit and the pews as a true charismatic movement. I think that when Institutional authority and the charismatic response align, that is the moment when the supreme act of both institutional authority and charismatic ministry of Peter will unleash the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
In other words, there needs to be a greater conversion to Our Lady before the scales will tilt in favor of the dogma. I think the signs are favorable and that we are moving in that direction. The Holy Father’s work has set the stage. Let us pray.