Pope Benedict and the Fifth Marian Dogma

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. Continue reading