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  • Writer's pictureJohn Pacheco

St. Joseph, the Fifth Marian Dogma, and the Bridge of Roses

On Feb. 16, 2008, Italian Cardinal Caffara had celebrated a Mass at the tomb of Padre Pio, after which he gave an interview with Tele Radio Padre Pio. He was asked about the prophecy of Sister Lucia dos Santos that speaks about “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom

of Satan.” Cardinal Caffarra explained that Saint John Paul II had commissioned him to plan and establish the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. At the beginning of this work, the cardinal wrote a letter to Sister Lucia of Fatima through her bishop, since he could not do it directly. “Inexplicably, since I did not expect a reply, seeing as I had only asked for her prayers, I received a long letter with her signature, which is now in the archives of the Institute,” the Italian cardinal said. “In that letter we find written: ‘The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family.’ Don't be afraid, she added, because whoever works for the sanctity of Marriage and the Family will always be fought against and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. Then she concluded: ‘nevertheless, Our Lady has already crushed his head’.” Cardinal Caffarra added that “speaking again with John Paul II, you could feel that the family was the core, since it has to do with the supporting pillar of creation, the truth of the relationship between man and woman, between the generations. If the foundational pillar is damaged, the entire building collapses and we're seeing this now, because we are right at this point and we know it.” (Source)

Our days are full of darkness and evil. There is no doubt.

But what if I told you, there is a ray of hope in the midst of this present darkness, and rather euphorically, I proclaim to you that not only does this ray of hope exist, it has a definite Canadian angle to it! What would you say to that, eh?! Interested? Read on, dear reader, read on!

Many of you probably have heard the news recently of the incredible and opportune pronouncement that this liturgical year has been declared as the "Year of St. Joseph". Fr. Don Calloway has done an incredible and providential job in promoting a renewed and reinvigorated devotion to St. Joseph and was instrumental in having this liturgical year declared in his honour.

St. Joseph and "the Second Annunciation" We are all familiar with Our Lady's secondary mediation in the economy of salvation. In fact, it is the basis for the proposed fifth (and final) Marian dogma which will be based on a well-established pedigree in the Catholic Church. But less well known or really appreciated in the Catholic Church is St. Joseph's role in Christ's mediation. As Father James Mercer explains:

"St. Joseph also participates in this mediation by virtue of the inseparable unity of the Three. The reason is to be found in the direct and immediate association of Mary and Joseph with the theandric constitution [theandric: as God-man] of the Redeemer in virtue of the hypostatic union, foreseen from eternity in the saving plan of God. This union is brought about through the obedience of faith on the part of both, no only by Mary's free consent to the divine and virginal Maternity, but also by that of Joseph, son of David, to be the virginal and messianic father of Jesus....The Three are indissolubly united in the decree of predestination in view of the restoration of the supernatural life lost, a life which "conforms" us to the image of the new Adam, the firstborn among the brethren (Cf. Romans 8:29) and that of the new Eve, wedded to Joseph, iconic reflection of the Father and Head of the Family." (Source)

What is the scriptural and theological basis of St. Joseph's mediation? Strictly speaking, there is only one Meditator between God and Man and that is Jesus Christ (Cf 1 Tim 2:5). But while this "one mediation" is only exclusive in relation to other religions' claims, it is not (to answer Protestant objections) exclusive within the Body of Christ itself whose various parts (because they are one Body) participate in the Head's mediation with the human race (Cf. 1 Cor 12). Scripture speaks frequently about Jesus conquering death (Cf. Acts 2:24, Romans 6:9, 1 Cor. 15:26, 1 Cor. 15:54, Hebrews 2:14). In conquering death, Jesus united Himself to every believer (Cf. Romans 6:5, 1 Cor. 1:10, 2 Cor 2:5, and 2 Cor 1:5, Philippians 2:1) and every believer shares both in His glory (Cf. Romans 8:17, Gal. 4:30, Eph. 3:6, Philippians 1:7, Col. 1:12, 2 Thes. 2:14, Hebrews 6:4, 1 Peter 5:1) and in His Body (Cf. Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, 1 Cor. 11:24-27). Therefore, those who die in Christ Jesus are alive in Him and remain part of the ONE body of Jesus Christ, as St. Paul reminds the Ephesians: "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 3:6, Cf. Eph. 4:4-6, Eph. 4:25, Eph. 5:29-32, Col 2:18-19, Col. 3:15).

This secondary mediation is different in kind and intensity from Christ’s. All of the baptized participate through the mystical Body of Christ in this mediation, first and most notably with Our Lady at its apex and then with her beloved spouse, St. Joseph, followed by all of Christ’s faithful. The biblical teachings of Christ on mediation (Cf. Matthew 25:23; Luke 12:43-44), after all, would make no sense unless understood in light of the Catholic teachings on intercession and mediation.

  1. By virtue of his representation of the Father in the Trinity’s participation in the Incarnation, and as head of the Holy Family, he was the proto-mediator.

  2. By virtue of his role as the “pre-incarnation second Adam” as spouse of the new Eve, the Blessed Virgin.

  3. By virtue of his obedience to the Father’s will in preserving and guarding Mary’s perpetual virginity, the unblemished and virgin Ark of the New Covenant.

  4. By virtue of his noble character in shielding a pregnant woman whose child was not conceived through him from the world's scorn and derision.

  5. By virtue of his bravery and heroism in protecting the Holy Family in the flight to Egypt.

  6. By virtue of fulfilling his role as Father as provider for the Holy Family.

  7. By virtue of his paternity in forming the human character of Jesus's masculinity, thereby providing a real and tangible form in how Christ interacted with His listeners.

The fact is that without St. Joseph's mediation, Christian redemption - as we understand it today - would not exist. We are amazed at the Annunciation and rightly point to that event as a seminal point in the history of Salvation. But what would have happened after the Annunciation if Joseph had refused to take Mary as his lawful Spouse? We should think and meditate on such a profound question. In terms of significance, is not St. Joseph's "yes" not in the same "ball park" as Our Lady's? Is not this the "second Annunciation"? His refusal would have proposed significant difficulties both for Mary and for Jesus. Christian mediation began with three acts: Mary's fiat, the Holy Spirit's action in her womb, and St. Joseph's consent to be the father of the Holy Family. Without St. Joseph, there would be no "Holy Family" and there would be no Ministry for Christ, either. Mary and Joseph's "yes to God" were the reversal of the disobedience of our first parents. In this respect, while Mary is indeed the "new Eve" in it fullest and proper sense, Joseph, too, could be rightly called a kind of new Adam. In fact, we can say that the roles of the three participants at Creation appear again during the events surrounding the Annunciation. Talk about the great reset!

The question now becomes: why has the Church brought St. Joseph's role to the forefront in declaring this liturgical year in his honour? Simply put: because we are entering a phase in salvation history which is particularly dramatic and consequential, where the stakes of millions of souls hangs in the balance and the very future of mankind itself stands on the precipice. In one sense, with St. Joseph’s arrival on the scene in this coming liturgical year, we are witnessing - in a mystical way - the rebirth of the Gospel drama, version 2.0, as the final chapter of the confrontation that started in Eden now begins. How long this chapter will be in human years is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for certain: St. Joseph’s arrival has started it. There’s no question about that. In his Encyclical, Quamquam Pluries, Pope Leo XIII strongly exhorted the Faithful to have recourse to St. Joseph for the defense of the Church and in particular the family, in response to the rationalism and anti-family rhetoric that he confronted during his papacy. And if that was true back in 1889, this assault of the human family and what it even means to be a man or woman today is 21st century kulturkampf on steroids.

This revelation of St. Joseph’s role, however, is not for itself. His particular mediation was in service of the central and primary mediation of his Son. Joseph's mediation makes no sense, understood apart from the mediation which would flow from his Son, through his Spouse. It is at the service of the same question, "Do whatever he tells you" that started with Joseph's namesake in Genesis 41:55 and found its climax with Our Lady uttering the same words in John 2:5.

St. Joseph: At His Son's Left Hand

Our Lady's mediation is dependent and follows the mediation of St. Joseph. In the divine economy, like the first Adam responsible for our Fall, the second Adam-like figure must have consented to be used by God. Through weakness and subordination, the first Adam relented to Eve's offer to eat of the forbidden fruit. St. Joseph, by contrast, had to believe a dream and a rather unlikely claim by his betrothed. For Adam, the fruit was offered by his beautiful wife, was 'pleasing to the eyes' and promised immortality and power. For Joseph, the "fruit" (that is, the "fruit of her womb" as we say in the Hail Mary) was not pleasant to the eyes at all; it was visible through the lens of apparent illegitimacy and scandal which was about to unfold on a righteous man's head. The first Adam believed a lie through "knowledge" while the second Adam had to believe a supernatural truth through faith. If St. Joseph had rejected the narrative proposed to him, the jig, as they say, would have been up for all of us. So, in other words, a lot hung on what Joseph decided. A lot.

Let us not imagine that St. Joseph's role was marginal, arbitrary, or anything less than monumentally important. For instance, let us recall the conversation that James and John had with the Lord:

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” (Mark 10:35-40)

We know very well the tradition in Jewish patrimony of the Queen Mother sitting at the right hand of the King Son. If that was true for Queen Bathsheba and King Solomon (Cf. 1 King 2:19), it would be exponentially more fitting between Our Lady and Our Lord. But if we believe that Our Lady sits at Our Lord's right hand, as she most certainly does, where might we suppose does St. Joseph sit? Where does the man who was chosen from all eternity to represent the first person of the Trinity, the Heavenly Father, Himself, as a "suitable" representative in the Holy Family; and the man who spent more earthly time in molding and mentoring Him than any other human creature, with the exception of the Blessed Virgin -- where precisely is this noble and righteous Adam-like figure seated at the heavenly banquet? One need not look far. It's the same seating arrangement that was found in a modest dwelling in Nazareth with Jesus seated at the dinner table between his parents, with His Mother on the right and St. Joseph on the left. This is the significance of Jesus saying, "but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant". That's because the Heavenly Father had already reserved the spots by election well before His son's birth.

St. Joseph & the Fifth Marian Dogma

St. Joseph's role in the Holy Family was to prepare the foundation so that Our Lord would be

able to fulfill His ministry. St. Joseph's first and primary mission was to

protect the legitimacy and the authentic claims of the Theotokos's (God-bearer) maternity, as the vessel of the Word of God made flesh. Through St. Joseph's protection, Our Lady's principal role in salvation history developed within the Holy Family as an intercessor and mediator which is a mother's traditional role. Mary's maternity was and is not merely a physical or temporal reality, restricted to a time and place two millennia ago. Not at all. In reality, Mary's maternal role in salvation history, from the earliest days of the Church, has been one of intercession and mediation (Cf. John 2:4, Acts 1:14, John 19:26-27, Revelation 12:1-6) and continues through the centuries to our day. The Church has acknowledged this role throughout history, most importantly at the Second Vatican Council:

And yet, this teaching has yet to find its way into a formal proclamation by the Church at its highest level: a dogmatic formulation of this truth. Until now, all of the four dogmas concerning Our Lady have been essentially "passive" or "declaratory" only.

  • Mother of God (Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity)

  • Perpetual Virgin (Virginal Spouse of the Holy Spirit)

  • Immaculate Conception (Free of Satan's claim)

  • Assumption (Enjoyment of the first fruits of Christ's Resurrection)

The final dogma which remains to be proclaimed represents a personal, relational, and active dimension towards the Church. It is the one which solemnly defines her as the Mother of the Church. And flowing from this title are her acts of loving maternal intercession for all her spiritual children which include suffering, nourishing, and pleading, or as she is known in the Church's tradition with these acts as: co-redemptrix, co-mediatrix, and advocate. The Church understands the prefix "co" in these titles as not being equal to Christ (as Mary is a mere creature), but only to emphasize her preeminent role within the Body of Christ.

St. Joseph made Our Lady's maternal mediation possible by his fiat, his sacrifice, and his own paternal mediation in protecting and providing for the Holy Family. As with all things in the realm of faith, the complete truth is not always revealed immediately. Many times such revelation takes decades, centuries and even millennia for the full development of any particular truth to be fully understood and appreciated. A cursory reading of theological development in Christian history attests to this truth. And so we are now at a point in salvation history when St. Joseph has come to bring to completion what he first made possible all those centuries ago: a maternal mediation from which all graces of Christ flow. "It is for this reason", says Pope Benedict XV, "that all the graces contained in the treasury of the Redemption are given to us through the hands of the same sorrowful Virgin." (Litterae Apostolicae, Inter Sodalicia, March 22, 1918, AAS 10, 1918, 182). To be sure, Christ won human redemption and merited the grace from God, but how that grace is dispensed is another matter entirely. Given the great liberality and generosity of God, it is most assuredly given to those saints in heaven who are in charge of many things (Cf. Luke 12:43-44). And we must always remember that there is complete and perfect unity in heaven so Our Lady's participation in the mediation of God's grace is in perfect accord with His divine Will. There is no separation or discord in Our Lady's mediation from God's will. The only reason she is in the position she is in is because of God's sovereign election.

In fact, in light of the theology that St. Paul taught about the mystical Body of Christ (Cf. 1 Corinthians 12) and how Christ uses that Body in advancing salvation both here on earth and in heaven (for death does not separate the mystical body of Christ), we should expect Jesus would assign His most loyal disciples with heavenly tasks (as He has done with the angels), and put them "in charge of many things". Principal among these disciples is the Woman who would supply Christ's human nature, and the task assigned to her is nothing less than making the incarnation a reality in heaven as it was on earth. Her womb was the channel of God himself when He took on her human flesh (Cf. Genesis 2:23) and was born of her womb. She was the mediator of "all grace" by this very fact since salvation (Jesus) literally came through her. If it was true 2000 years ago, it is true today. Mary is still the Mother of Jesus and will be for all eternity. Protestants and, sadly, Catholics who wish to minimize Mary's role have, as the colloquial saying goes, "missed the proverbial boat". The fact that Christ redeemed Man is our central cause for joy, but have we really understood and appreciated the manner in which he has caused this redemption? This latter question is still not really much understood or appreciated. God has redeemed the human race in a particular way - a way which completely reverses the effects and the actions of what happened in the Garden of Eden. We all know the part that the first Adam and the second Adam played in our redemption, but have we really explored how God has chosen to reverse the effects of Eve's sin, as representative of all Women, as a particular redemption? Like Mary, Eve was a kind of mediatrix too. She mediated between the Serpent and Adam, and became a kind of "anti-Mediatrix", introducing sin and, through Adam's acceptance, death into the world. We may even venture to say that without God reversing this "anti-Mediatrix" role the Woman played, the Redemption Jesus won for all humanity on the Cross would have been incomplete and lacking in at least one dimension: a perfect rout of the devil requires the rout to be total. That total rout of the Serpent and redemption of "Woman" was prophesied in the story of the Fall and at the end of time (Cf. Genesis 3:15; Revelation 12). The Old Eve was the anti-dispentrix of the Devil's deadly fruit and brought death to the human race, but oh what a blessed Redeemer we have in Our Lord Jesus Christ! -- to reverse the effects of the Devil's poison and give us life through the New Eve, the dispentrix of the new fruit of the Kingdom, the fruit of her womb, which is nothing else than Christ Himself and the graces which flow from Him! What is remarkable, therefore, is not how outlandish this Marian title "co-mediatrix" is, but rather how biblically ignorant and theologically absurd it is to deny it. We lost our salvation, in part, because of a Woman, and God will see it put right because of a Woman as well. There is an indispensable feminine part to play of Christ's victory over sin and death. We know this, of course, because Sacred Scripture points out that the enmity which existed was between the Serpent and the Woman:

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman,

and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head,

and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel."

(Genesis 3:15, Douay-Rheims)

The Woman's singular participation in that victory only makes Christ's victory complete, but also very fitting in concluding the story which included one of the main protagonists, and presented her as the Woman clothed with the Sun (Cf. Revelation 12:1). There is nothing worse in a story, after all, than a critical subplot which is left unresolved.

So, we are at a point in human history where there's a sort of "unfinished business" here with regard to the Church and the Blessed Mother which needs to be addressed. St. Joseph is presented to us now at this time in history to intercede with the Faithful, to invite the Church to get to the business of declaring the fifth and final Marian dogma, as Our Lady has explicitly requested. God used St. Joseph in a profound way to pave the way for the first maternal mediation - otherwise known as the Incarnation. Today, he comes again to invite us into recognizing this truth about his Spouse so that as the co-mediatrix and dispentrix of all Graces, she may intercede with God to favour us with His divine assistance at this critical hour when every fundamental dimension of the human family is under attack. As Sister Lucy said, "The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family." If indeed this is the final confrontation, what other than the Fifth Marian Dogma which defines Mary as Mother of the Church and all that such a recognition entails, is a more fitting response to this attack? The time is ripe NOW for such a definition.

Our Lady, Queen of Intercessors

The relational element of Our Lady's role in the Church as encapsulated in the fifth Marian dogma is also present in the title: Our Lady, Queen of Intercessors, as proposed by The Marian Devotional Movement:

Queen of Intercessors

Our Lady of the Cape, Queen of Intercessors, daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit, envelop my heart with your Immaculate Heart; that your joys and sorrows be my joys and sorrows; that your prayers and supplications be my prayers and supplications. With trust and confidence do I unite my intercessions with yours seeking only the Divine Will of the Father. O Mary, Queen of Intercessors, my Mother in faith, pray for me that in all circumstances I would abandon myself to Divine Providence for the greater glory of God. Amen.

Among all of the titles attributed to Mary, very few, if any, have such a relational dimension to the Church's Faithful. But the one proposed above: Our Lady, Queen of Intercessors does just that! Such a title and its wide acceptance would give more support for the proclamation of the Fifth Marian Dogma...perhaps, fittingly, in the year following the year dedicated to St. Joseph! Let us pray this prayer every day to accomplish the divine will concerning Our Lady.

Mary brings the needs of mankind to the throne of Christ. She is the principal intercessor on behalf of her earthly children, and as Queen, she has the greatest possible intercessory power to Jesus, the King of the Kingdom of God, for humanity’s needs. In the Old Testament, the Queen Mother of the King had the greatest power of intercession to her son, the king in the line of David, on behalf of the Jewish people (1 Kings 2:19). In the New Testament, Mary is the new Queen Mother who give birth to the “King of Kings” (Lk 2:7), and is crowned as the Queen and Advocate in the Kingdom of God (Rev 12:1-6), becoming the greatest intercessor for the people of God to Christ the King. For this role of interceding for humanity, Mary is called the “Advocate”, her most ancient title, dating back to the 2nd century (St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer.V). (Source)

In order to make this a reality, the Marian Devotional Movement (MDM) has set out to re-introduce all Catholics (especially those in North America) to the Canadian National Marian Shrine in Quebec, Canada which is known as "Our Lady of the Cape", and the incredible story behind it with the express intention of revitalizing the world-wide Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. the premier assault weapon against the devil.

Canadian Catholics have taken the initiative to invite all our brothers and sister around the world to join with St. Joseph (Canada's patron saint) and make known Our Lady's powerful intercession. In particular, the MDM has launched an incredible docu-drama of the story behind Our Lady of the Cape:

Fr. Don Calloway, the principal promoter of devotion to St. Joseph today, through his immensely popular book, Consecration to St. Joseph, has given this project his blessing:

Please consider >>>DONATING<<< to this effort.

Canadian donors are eligible to receive a charitable tax receipt.

At this time in salvation history, our Church and the world stand at a crossroads. At different times in our history, faced with the onslaught of the Enemy and its infernal attacks, the Church has had recourse to Our Lady to scatter the darkness. That recourse has manifested in solemn pronouncements and dogmas to counter pernicious evil and unleash heavenly Grace. If there was ever a time for such a dogmatic pronouncement, it is surely now - the age of the Co-Mediatrix. And, yes, as outrageous as it sounds, you can be part of one of the most important movements in Salvation history. You can make a big difference, as one of Our Lady's spiritual offspring mentioned in Revelation 12!

Prayer to St. Joseph, Terror of Demons

"Saint Joseph, Terror of Demons, cast your solemn gaze upon the devil and all his minions, and protect us with your mighty staff. You fled through the night to avoid the devil’s wicked designs; now with the power of God, smite the demons as they flee from you! Grant special protection, we pray, for children, fathers, families, for priests and religious and the dying. By God’s grace, no demon dares approach while you are near, so we beg of you, always be near to us! Amen."

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