Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Philippines, and Archbishop Malayappan Chinnappa of Madras-Mylapore, India were among six speakers from four continents supporting a movement to officially declare Mary “co-redemptrix, mediatrix and advocate for all Christians,” The Catholic Spirit reports.
They spoke at “A Day of Dialogue on the Fifth Marian Dogma” - a Rome event sponsored by the magazine Inside the Vatican.
Archbishop Chinnappa said a formal recognition of Mary’s role in God’s plan to redeem the world would “favor interreligious dialogue and healthy evangelization.”
It also would help ecumenism, he said, by clarifying that Mary had a subordinate, albeit special, role with Jesus and that “Catholics do not adore Mary, but venerate (her) in light on her unique cooperation with the Lord.”
“Co-” means “with” and such a title does not supersede the real redeemer, who is Christ, he said.
The Indian archbishop said the female figure, often in the form of a divine mother, holds high prominence several of in Asia’s religious traditions.
For example, the shrine of Our Lady of Good Health at Vailankanni in India, attracts millions of visitors, including Hindus and Muslims.
For many non-Christians in Asia, God is a supreme and mighty being who may trigger within them a sense of fear and trepidation, he said.
To counteract that, many religions established an “advocate to whom we can approach with less fear,” he said.
Archbishop Arguelles agreed that a solemn declaration on Mary’s role would help evangelize Asia, particularly China.
Asians also understand the Buddhist concept of a bodhisattva, who is motivated by compassion to turn away from final enlightenment and nirvana in order to “remain on earth to aid the suffering beings.”
“Is this not the role of Mary, co-redemptrix and mediatrix, which will be easily understood by the Asian soul?” he asked.
Archbishop Arguelles noted that 16th century Jesuit Fr Matteo Ricci spoke of Mary, Mother of Mercy, when he discovered that the Chinese regarded the image of the crucified Christ as being “too gruesome.”
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