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VATICAN, Oct. 5, 00 ( -- The consecration of the world to the Virgin Mary, which will be formally pronounced by Pope John Paul II as the Jubilee for bishops concludes in Rome on October 8, is not a new step but the renewal of previous consecrations, according to a Vatican official.
Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, pointed to the previous consecrations, including the rite performed by Pope Pius XII on December 8, 1942, and the one led by Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1984.  
The archbishop also pointed out that Pope John Paul has used a different term for this ceremony.
Rather than "consecrating" the world to Mary, the Holy Father has chosen to "place under Mary's protection" the Church, her bishops, and the pastors of the world. 
The word "consecration," Archbishop Bertone went on to say, is traditionally used-- most notably by St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort-- to convey the desire of the faithful to "participate in the consecration that Christ himself made to his Father before his death on the Cross." The plea for Mary's "protection," he added, conveys the humble realization that we humans need help from God, and therefore ask Mary's intercession. When asked why the Fatima statue is being used for this ceremony, Archbishop Bertone readily acknowledged that the cult of Our Lady of Fatima is a "private devotion," which Catholics are not required to accept. Nevertheless, he said, the Fatima apparitions and devotions have won the explicit approval of the Church, and the message of Our Lady of Fatima "remains valuable for the Christians of the 21st century." 

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