In his clarification, Bishop Hendriks acknowledged that "Through devotion to Mary, the Mother of All Nations, many faithful express their desire and their effort for the universal fraternity of mankind with the help and support of Mary's intercession."
He quoted from Pope Francis' encyclical, "Fratelli tutti," published Oct. 3, in which the pope wrote that "For many Christians, this journey of fraternity also has a Mother, whose name is Mary. Having received this universal motherhood at the foot of the cross, she cares not only for Jesus but also for 'the rest of her children.' In the power of the risen Lord, she wants to give birth to a new world, where all of us are brothers and sisters, where there is room for all those whom our societies discard, where justice and peace are resplendent."
Hendriks said: "In this sense, the use of the title Lady of All Nations for Mary is in itself theologically acceptable. Prayer with Mary and through the intercession of Mary, Mother of our peoples, serves the growth of a more united world, in which everyone recognizes themselves as brothers and sisters, all created in the image of God, our common Father."
Concluding his clarification, the bishop wrote: "Regarding the mere title 'Lady,' 'Madonna,' or 'Mother of All Nations,' the Congregation generally is not opposed to its use, provided that this is clearly separated from the recognition of the alleged apparitions."
"If the Virgin Mary is invoked under this title, pastors and faithful must ensure that all forms of this devotion refrain from any reference, even implicit, to alleged apparitions or revelations."
Alongside the clarification, the bishop issued an explanation, also dated Dec. 30 and published in five languages.
In it, he wrote: "Devotion to Mary as the Lady and Mother of All Nations is good and valuable; it must, however, remain separate from the messages and the apparitions. These are not approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. That is the core of the clarification which has come about in accordance with the Congregation following the recent appearance of various national and international reports concerning the veneration."
The bishop said that he had issued the clarification as a result of conversations with CDF officials following the media reports and inquiries.
He recalled that the CDF had expressed concern in 2005 about the wording of an official prayer invoking the Blessed Virgin as Lady of All Nations "who was once Mary," advising Catholics not to use the phrase.
Hendriks said: "It is permitted to use the image and the prayer -- always in the way the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith approved in 2005. Days of Prayer in honor of the Lady of All Nations are also allowed; however, reference may not be made to the apparitions and messages which are not approved."
"Anything that might be understood as (implicit) recognition of the messages and apparitions has to be avoided because the Congregation passed a negative judgment about these which was confirmed by Pope Paul VI."
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Hendriks noted that Bishop Hendrik Bomers, bishop of Haarlem from 1983 to 1998, authorized the devotion in 1996, although he did not pronounce on the validity of the apparitions.
He also acknowledged that Bishop Jozef Punt, bishop of Haarlem from 2001 to 2020, announced in 2002 that he believed that the apparitions to be authentic.
Hendriks said that Paul VI's negative verdict would therefore "be new for many people."
"In 2002, namely, when Bishop Punt took a position on the authenticity of the apparitions, only a clarification from the year 1974 was known," he said.
"In the 1980s, my predecessor believed that it might be possible to authorize this devotion, and Bishop Bomers finally decided for that in 1996."
Hendricks was appointed coadjutor bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam in 2018 and succeeded Punt in June 2020. (The diocese's name was changed from Haarlem to Haarlem-Amsterdam in 2008.)