Our Mother of Perpetual Help

Our Mother of Perpetual Help, has been displayed in Rome since the 15th century and Catholics have, for centuries, prayed to reproductions of this icon to intercede on their behalf to Christ, an example of Marian art involved in sensus fidelium for the Mariological concept of Mediatrix.

Mediatrix in Roman Catholic Mariology refers to the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a mediator in the salvation process. It is a separate concept from Co-Redemptrix.[1]

That Mary is Mediatrix of graces at a level higher than the mediation of other saints is accepted without question in the Catholic Church. She is such in two ways: Mary gave birth to the Redeemer, who is the fountain of all grace. Therefore she participated in the mediating of grace. A second opinion states that Mary, assumed into heaven, participates in the mediating of divine graces of her son.[2] Popes such as Leo XIII, Pius XII and John Paul II have traditionally supported both interpretations.[3]

The view that Mary is Mediatrix of all graces, a view held by some Catholics,[4] has not been formally defined as a Marian dogma, although petitions for declaring it (along with Co-Redemptrix) a dogma have been submitted to the pope by various cardinals and bishops. It would become a fifth Marian dogma if approved by the Holy See.[5]

Early references


In this statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Boston, MA, souls in purgatory beg for Mary's intercession. One of the souls is wearing a brown scapular.

Saint Thomas Aquinas argued that only Christ can be the perfect mediator between God and mankind. But this does not hinder the fact that others are called mediator because they assist and prepare the union between God and man.[6] There is no question among Catholic theologians, that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and the human race.[7]

But this does not exclude a participation of the Virgin Mary vicariously in the one mediatorship of her Son. Early indications of this notions go back to a prayer attributed to Ephrem the Syrian (306-373):

After the mediator, the mediatrix of the whole world[8]

19th century views

In the 19th century, the word "mediatrix" appears in the papal bull Ineffabilis Deus of Pope Pius IX and in several rosary encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII,[9][10].

20th-century use

Pope Pius X used the word "mediatrix" of Mary in the encyclical Ad Diem Illum. It appears, combined with the phrase "all" graces in the title of the feast day of Mary Mediatrix of all graces that Pope Benedict XV authorized for celebration in Belgium it 1921. The date assigned for this celebration was 31 May, the same day on which other places were authorized to celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love or Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Recent papal views

In his encyclical Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II said:

Thus there is a mediation: Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings. She puts herself "in the middle," that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother. She knows that as such she can point out to her Son the needs of mankind, and in fact, she "has the right" to do so. Her mediation is thus in the nature of intercession: Mary "intercedes" for mankind.[11]


A series of articles on
Roman Catholic

Raphael - Madonna dell Granduca

General articles
Overview of Mariology
Veneration of the Blessed VirginHistory of Mariology

Expressions of devotion

Specific articles
ApparitionsSaintsPopesDogmas and DoctrinesMovements & Societies

The reported Marian messages from Međugorje refer both to the term "mediator" and "mediatrix". A message from October 7, 1981 reported by the children at Međugorje reads

The seers: "Is there, outside of Jesus, other intermediaries between God and man, and what is their role?"
There is only one mediator between God and man, and it is Jesus Christ."[12]

Also a message from the same apparition site from 1983 reads

"The sole mediator of salvation is Jesus Christ." [13]

And a message reported in 1984 states:

"You must know there is only one God and only one Mediator Jesus Christ".[14]

A message attributed by the children to the Virgin Mary from July 17, 1986 states:

"I am the Mediatrix between you and God".[15][16]

The Croatian original of this message reads

"Ja sam Posrednica između vas i Boga. (I am mediatrix/arbitratrix/intercessor/agent between you and God)"[17]

In the Chronological Corpus of the Messages of Mariologian René Laurentin this message reads:

"I am the intercessor between you and God." [18]

Or, in its French original:

J'exerce une médiation entre vous et Dieu. (I exercise a mediation between you and God)"[19]

There are many messages of Medjugorje in which the apparition states that she intercedes between the addressed persons and Jesus or God.

Popular and clerical support

Popular support for Mary as Mediatrix has appeared in recent times both from lay groups and the clergy. A lay movement called Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici is promoting the doctrine of Mary as Mediatrix and provides petitions that can be signed by Roman Catholics at large and sent to the Pope in support of a formal dogmatic definition.[20][21]

On February 8, 2008 five Roman Catholic Cardinals issued a petition asking Pope Benedict XVI to dogmatically declare the Blessed Virgin Mary as both Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix. The five Cardinals were: Telesphore Toppo, Luis Aponte Martínez, Varkey Vithayathil, Riccardo Vidal, and Ernesto Corripio y Ahumada. The Cardinals also included a votum (i.e. petition) that would allow other cardinals and bishops to also request the same from the pontiff. This would in effect create a fifth Marian dogma if approved by the Holy See. To date over 500 bishops have sent in their votums to the Vatican in support of a fifth Marian dogma.[22]


  1. Mark Miravalle, 1993, Introduction to Mary, Queenship Publishing ISBN 9781882972067, page 102
  2. Jordan Aumann, 1987 Spiritual theology ISBN 0722085184 page 61
  3. Pope John Paul II, Margaret Bunson, 1996, John Paul II's book of Mary ISBN 0879735783 page 45
  4. William G. Most, Mary Mediatrix of All Graces
  5. Vatican News on the Mediatrix Petition to the Pope
  6. Thomas Aquinas, Summa, III, 26,1
  7. Timothy 2:5
  8. "Mediatorship of Mary". Retrieved 2008-10-08. "post mediatorem mediatrix totius mundi" 
  9. "Leo XIII - Fidentem piumque animum". Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  10. "Leo XIII - Adiutricem". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  11. Pope John Paul II's encyclical Redemptoris Mater: On the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the Pilgrim Church
  12. "Messages and Teachings of Mary at Medjugorje" page 166. Riehle Foundation, 1988: ISBN 0-9618840-7 X, online at
  13. "Messages and Teachings of Mary at Medjugorje" page 302. Riehle Foundation, 1988: ISBN 0-9618840-7 X, online at
  14. "Words from heaven: Messages of Our Lady from Medjugorje: a documented record of the messages and their meanings" page 164. Saint James Publishing, 1990: ISBN 1878909053
  15. "Words from heaven: Messages of Our Lady from Medjugorje: a documented record of the messages and their meanings" page 245. Saint James Publishing, 1990: ISBN 1878909053
  16. Website of Franciscans of Medjugorje, English, Messages of Our Lady, July 17, 1986.
  17. Website of Franciscans of Medjugorje, Hrvatski, Gospine poruke, 17. srpnja 1986.
  18. "Messages and Teachings of Mary at Medjugorje" page 283. Riehle Foundation, 1988: ISBN 0-9618840-7 X, online at
  19. "Message et Pédagogie de Marie à Medjugorje. Corpus chronologique des messages" page 261. O.E.I.L., Paris 1988: ISBN 2.86839.122.2
  20. "Voice of the People for Mary Mediatrix". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  21. Vox Popoli website
  22. "ZENIT - Cardinals' Letter Promoting Marian Dogma". Retrieved 2008-10-09. 

pt:Medianeira sv:Mediatrix

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