The following article is the second part of an excerpt from a chapter in the recently published Marian anthology, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Seat of Wisdom Books, A Division of Queenship, 2008. Fifteen international Mariology experts contributed to the text. The book features a foreword by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke and has 17 chapters divided into four parts: 1. Mary in Scripture and the Early Church; 2. Marian Dogma; 3. Marian Doctrine; and 4. Marian Liturgy and Devotion. The book will be available from Queenship Publications in mid-February.–Asst. Ed.

The Situation on the Eve of the Second Vatican Council

First, it must be remembered that the Second Vatican Council was convoked just at a time when Marian doctrine and piety had reached an apex (98), which had been building on a popular level since the apparition of Our Lady to St. Catherine Labouré in 1830 (99) and on the magisterial level since the time of the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854 (100). This Marian orientation had accelerated notably during the 19-year reign of the Servant of God Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) with the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 31, 1942 (101), the dogmatic definition of the Assumption of Our Lady on November 1, 1950 (102), the establishment of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1944 (103) and of the Queenship of Mary in the Marian Year of 1954 (104).

Secondly, and as a consequence of this comprehensive “Marian movement,” much study, discussion and debate had been devoted to Mary’s role in salvation history, specifically to the topics of coredemption and mediation. These scholarly deliberations were largely occasioned by the initiatives undertaken by Cardinal Désiré Joseph Mercier (1851-1926) in favor of the proclamation of Our Lady as Mediatrix of all graces (105), and continued until the International Mariological Congress held at Lourdes in 1958. These disputes are carefully chronicled and analyzed in Juniper Carol’s masterful study on “Our Lady’s Coredemption” which appears in the three-volume Mariology (106). Major adversaries were Professors Werner Goosens and Heinrich Lennerz, S.J. Goosens argued against the incompatibility of secondary mediators and redeemers with Christ as the “One Mediator” according to 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (107), a matter which had already been addressed and clarified by St. Thomas Aquinas (108) and Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Letter Fidentem Piumque of September 20, 1896 (109).

Lennerz, on the other hand, presented what Carol considered to be “the gravest speculative difficulty” to the doctrine of Marian coredemption. If Mary was herself redeemed by the Precious Blood of Christ, how could she at one and the same time cooperate in the redemption of others (110)? Carol had already carefully summarized a response on the basis of the competent scholarship at the time that he wrote (111), which is in full harmony with what I now present in ways that may be less technical for the modern reader. Let us begin with these observations by the biblical and patristic scholar, Father Lino Cignelli, O.F.M.:

Insofar as redeemed by God through the merits of Christ, Mary is revealed as the receptive, graced, object of redemption, both with respect to the One and Triune God, the principal Savior, and with respect to the man Christ, ministerial Savior. Insofar as Co-redemptrix, she is instead the complement of the man Christ and his “helper” in the work of universal salvation. She represents the feminine component of the dimension or the human causality of the objective redemption, and is thus the associate of the historical Christ or the Second Adam and Savior.

Mary, therefore, is soteriologically active only in relation to other men, not already in relation to herself. In the work of redemption it is necessary to distinguish two logical moments: Christ alone redeems Mary and, together with her, redeems the rest of humanity (112).

Thus Father Cignelli presents the mystery of the Immaculate Conception and the coredemption in terms of the classical teaching of Irenaeus and the Fathers: in order to function as the New Eve, Mary had to be redeemed in advance; only then could she collaborate in the redemption of others. While she could not be actively involved in her own initial grace of redemption, which is always a pure gift, she could be in the case of others.

Now let us consider these further clarifications about the “two logical moments of the redemption” offered to us by the late Father Gabriele M. Roschini, O.S.M. (+1977) (113), founder and first President of the Theological Faculty “Marianum” and a master in the field of Mariology:

The objective redemption of Christ therefore is constituted by two elements: 1) by the Passion and death of Christ and 2) by the intention with which Christ offered his life to the Father. The first of these two elements is common to both Mary and to all the other redeemed; the second, on the contrary (which is the principal element in the objective redemption), is different. The first intention of Christ was that of redeeming Mary with preservative redemption; the second intention of Christ, instead, was to redeem, along with Mary (the New Adam with the New Eve) all the others with liberative redemption.

This double intention is implicit in the double mode of redemption: preservative for the Virgin and liberative for all the rest. Otherwise (or without this double intention) these two undeniable modes of redemption would be inexplicable. The end then for which the Redeemer intended first to redeem the Virgin (with preservative redemption) is precisely so that the Virgin would be in a position to be able to cooperate with him in the (liberative) redemption of all the others. In short: Immaculate because Co-redemptrix (114).

Father Roschini’s clarifications are of the greatest importance to what we are considering. What Father Cignelli presented in terms of the logical, but not chronological, difference between the “two moments of redemption” Father Roschini further differentiates in terms of “preservative” and “liberative” redemption. Mary’s redemption was “preservative,” i.e., she was preserved from original sin and its effects from the first moment of her existence (115).

In his Marian catechesis of January 24, 1996, Pope John Paul II verified these insights and effectively responds to the arguments put forth by Heinrich Lennerz:

In the light of the New Testament and the Church’s tradition, we know that the new woman announced by the Protoevangelium is Mary, and in “her seed” we recognize her son Jesus who triumphed over Satan’s power in the Paschal Mystery.

We also observe that in Mary the enmity God put between the serpent and the woman is fulfilled in two ways. God’s perfect ally and the Devil’s enemy, she was completely removed from Satan’s domination in the Immaculate Conception, when she was fashioned in grace by the Holy Spirit and preserved from every stain of sin. In addition, associated with her Son’s saving work, Mary was fully involved in the fight against the spirit of evil.

Thus the titles “Immaculate Conception” and “Cooperator of the Redeemer” show the lasting antagonism between the serpent and the New Eve. The Church’s faith attributes these titles to Mary in order to proclaim her spiritual beauty and her intimate participation in the wonderful work of redemption (116).

In other words the enmity between the woman and the serpent point both to the mystery of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, a totally gratuitous gift from God, and to the mystery of Mary’s active collaboration in the work of the redemption. The gratuitous gift was necessary in order for Mary to play the role which God intended for her in our redemption. Here is the way the Pope draws this truth out for our benefit in his catechesis of May 29, 1996:

The same biblical text (Gen 3:15) also proclaims the enmity between the woman and her offspring on the one hand and the serpent and his offspring on the other. This is a hostility expressly established by God, which has a unique importance, if we consider the problem of the Virgin’s personal holiness. In order to be the irreconcilable enemy of the serpent and his offspring Mary had to be free from all power of sin, and to be so from the first moment of her existence.

In this regard, the Encyclical Fulgens Corona, published by Pope Pius XII in 1953 to commemorate the centenary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, reasons thus: “If at a given moment the Blessed Virgin Mary had been left without divine grace, because she was defiled at her conception by the hereditary stain of sin, between her and the serpent there would no longer have been—at least during this period of time, however brief—that eternal enmity spoken of in the earliest tradition up to the definition of the Immaculate Conception, but rather a certain enslavement” (AAS 45 (1953) 579) (117).

Hence it is clear according to the Papal Magisterium, that Mary was conceived without original sin and filled with grace precisely so that she could fulfill her role as Mother of God and Co-redemptrix. The enmity between the woman and the serpent, according to God’s plan, must have begun at the first moment of her existence so that she would have no “Achilles’ heel” whereby she could be attacked and so that she could be “God’s perfect ally” in the supreme battle fought on Calvary. In fact, the use of Genesis 3:15 in the modern Papal Magisterium almost always comprises these two points of reference: Mary’s Immaculate Conception and her role as Co-redemptrix. This is readily verifiable in Ineffabilis Deus (118), as it is in the entire tradition (119). Hence the response to Father Lennerz’ objection is even more clearly affirmed in the Magisterium now than it was when he raised it.

Hence while there had been vigorous disputation regarding Mary’s active collaboration in the work of our redemption during the reign of Pope Pius XII, by the time of the International Mariological Congress in Lourdes in 1958 at the end of his reign, there was a fairly unanimous consensus regarding Our Lady’s true cooperation in acquiring the universal grace of redemption (120).

Not surprisingly, then, a good number of bishops entered the Council with the desire to see a comprehensive treatment of these questions. Father Michael O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., notes that of the 54 bishops at the Council who wanted a conciliar pronouncement on Mary as Co-redemptrix, 36 sought a definition and 11 a dogma of faith on this matter (121). On the related question of Mary’s mediation, he tells us that 362 bishops desired a conciliar statement on Mary’s mediation while 266 of them asked for a dogmatic definition (122). Father Besutti, on the other hand, holds that over 500 bishops were asking for such a definition (123). A fundamental reason why no such definition emanated from the Council was the expressed will of Bl. Pope John XXIII that the Council was to be primarily pastoral in its orientation, specifically excluding any new dogmatic definitions (124).

Finally, at the very same time another current was entering into the mainstream of Catholic life, that of a newly emphasized ecumenical sensitivity. While Father Besutti confirms that the word “Co-redemptrix” did appear in the original schema of the Marian document prepared in advance for the Council (125), the Prænotanda to the first conciliar draft document or schema on Our Lady contained these words:

Certain expressions and words used by supreme pontiffs have been omitted, which, in themselves are absolutely true, but which may only be understood with difficulty by separated brethren (in this case Protestants). Among such words may be numbered the following: “Co-redemptrix of the human race” (Pius X, Pius XI) (126).

This original prohibition was rigorously respected and hence the term “Co-redemptrix” was not used in any of the official documents promulgated by the Council and, undeniably, ecumenical sensitivity was a prime factor in its avoidance (127), along with a hesitancy for the general language of mediation on the part of certain theologians (128). We remain free to debate about the wisdom and effectiveness of such a strategy (129).

The Second Vatican Council

The above discussion already gives some idea about the various currents that came to the fore at the time of the Second Vatican Council (which have been dealt with as well in other places) (130). Here I will limit our examination to the positive presentation on Our Lady’s active participation in the work of the redemption which emerged in the Council’s great Marian synthesis, chapter 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. Lumen Gentium 56 speaks forthrightly of Mary’s collaboration in the work of redemption:

Committing herself whole-heartedly to God’s saving will and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally, as a handmaid of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son, under and with him, serving the mystery of redemption, by the grace of Almighty God (131).

In the same paragraph there is further specification about the active nature of Mary’s service, which I have already cited in the discussion of Mary as the “New Eve.” Quite clearly, then, the Council Fathers speak of an active collaboration of Mary in the work of the redemption and they illustrate this with the Eve-Mary antithesis as found in St. Irenaeus.

Further, the Council Fathers did not content themselves with a general statement on Mary’s collaboration in the work of the redemption, but went on to underscore the personal nature of the “union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation” (Matris cum Filio in opere salutari coniunctio) throughout Jesus’ hidden life (57) and public life (58). Finally, in 58 they stress how she

faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the Cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only-begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which was born of her (132).

Not only, then, does the Council teach that Mary was generally associated with Jesus in the work of redemption throughout his life, but that she associated herself with his sacrifice and consented to it. Furthermore, the Council Fathers state in 61 that Mary

shared her Son’s sufferings as he died on the Cross. Thus, in a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls (133).

Not only did Mary consent to the sacrifice, but she also united herself to it. In these final two statements we find a synthesis of the previous papal teaching on the Our Lady’s active collaboration in the work of the redemption, as well as a stable point of reference for the teaching of the post-conciliar popes.

While it may well be argued, as Pope John Paul II has done, that “the Council’s entire discussion of Mary remains vigorous and balanced, and the topics themselves, though not fully defined, received significant attention in the overall treatment” (134), it is also true that the battles on Our Lady’s mediatorial role which took place on the council floor and behind the scenes continue to have their effects (135).

The Contribution of John Paul II

I believe that the Marian magisterium of the late Pope John Paul II may well constitute his greatest single legacy to the Catholic Church. While certain prominent modern Mariologists have settled for presenting us with an interpretation of the Second Vatican Council’s Marian teaching in an almost exclusively ecclesiotypical key, Pope John Paul II managed to keep a remarkable balance in his presentation of Marian doctrine, emphasizing both the Christotypical and ecclesiotypical dimensions and clearly illustrating the continuity in the Church’s teaching on Our Lady. He quoted extensively from chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium both in his Marian Encyclical Redemptoris Mater as well as in the extensive corpus of his Marian teaching, opening the conciliar texts up to their maximum potentiality. In terms of the number and depth of his Marian discourses, homilies, Angelus addresses and references in major documents, there is no doubt that his output exceeds that of all of his predecessors combined. His Marian magisterium alone would fill several large volumes and in assessing it, one should not forget the clear indications given in Lumen Gentium 25 for recognizing the authentic Ordinary Magisterium of the Roman pontiff:

This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra in such wise, indeed, that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect, and sincere assent be given to decisions made by him, conformably with his manifest mind and intention, which is made known principally either by the character of the documents in question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated.

What is true in general about his Marian magisterium is true in particular about his teaching on Our Lady’s active cooperation in the work of the redemption, or coredemption. His teaching in this area has been extraordinary (136).

Perhaps occupying pride of place among these is his treatment of Our Lady’s suffering in his Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris. In that letter he had already stated in 24 that “The sufferings of Christ created the good of the world’s redemption. This good in itself is inexhaustible and infinite. No man can add anything to it” (137). That is a premise from which no Christian can depart, but the mystery is even deeper, as he tells us in 25 of that same letter:

It is especially consoling to note—and also accurate in accordance with the Gospel and history—that at the side of Christ, in the first and most exalted place, there is always his Mother through the exemplary testimony that she bears by her whole life to this particular Gospel of suffering. In her, the many and intense sufferings were amassed in such an interconnected way that they were not only a proof of her unshakable faith but also a contribution to the redemption of all. In reality, from the time of her secret conversation with the angel, she began to see in her mission as a mother her “destiny” to share, in a singular and unrepeatable way, in the very mission of her Son. …

It was on Calvary that Mary’s suffering, beside the suffering of Jesus, reached an intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view but which was mysteriously and supernaturally fruitful for the redemption of the world. Her ascent of Calvary and her standing at the foot of the Cross together with the beloved disciple were a special sort of sharing in the redeeming death of her Son. And the words which she heard from his lips were a kind of solemn handing-over of this Gospel of suffering so that it could be proclaimed to the whole community of believers.

As a witness to her Son’s Passion by her presence, and as a sharer in it by her compassion, Mary offered a unique contribution to the Gospel of suffering, by embodying in anticipation the expression of St. Paul which was quoted at the beginning. She truly has a special title to be able to claim that she “completes in her flesh”—as already in her heart—”what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”

In the light of the unmatched example of Christ, reflected with singular clarity in the life of his Mother, the Gospel of suffering, through the experience and words of the apostles, becomes an inexhaustible source for the ever new generations that succeed one another in the history of the Church (138).

These two citations from Salvifici Doloris help us to hold in tension the dynamic truths which underlie Marian coredemption. On the one hand, “The sufferings of Christ created the good of the world’s redemption. This good in itself is inexhaustible and infinite. No man can add anything to it.” On the other hand, “Mary’s suffering (on Calvary), beside the suffering of Jesus, reached an intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view but which was mysteriously and supernaturally fruitful for the redemption of the world.” Thus the Pope strikes that careful balance which is always a hallmark of Catholic truth: he upholds the principle that the sufferings of Christ were all-sufficient for the salvation of the world, while maintaining that Mary’s suffering “was mysteriously and supernaturally fruitful for the redemption of the world.” Is this a contradiction? No. It is a mystery. The sacrifice of Jesus is all-sufficient, but God wished the suffering of the “New Eve,” the only perfect human creature, to be united to the suffering of the “New Adam.” Does that mean that Mary could redeem us by herself? By no means. But it does mean that she could make her own unique contribution to the sacrifice of Jesus as the “New Eve,” the “Mother of the living.”

Let us see how skillfully the Holy Father states this in his truly extraordinary Angelus address on Corpus Christi, June 5, 1983:

“Ave, verum Corpus natum de Maria Virgine!”

Hail, true Body born of the Virgin Mary! …

That divine Body and Blood, which after the consecration is present on the altar, is offered to the Father, and becomes Communion of love for everyone, by consolidating us in the unity of the Spirit in order to found the Church, preserves its maternal origin from Mary. She prepared that Body and Blood before offering them to the Word as a gift from the whole human family that he might be clothed in them in becoming our Redeemer, High Priest and Victim.

At the root of the Eucharist, therefore, there is the virginal and maternal life of Mary, her overflowing experience of God, her journey of faith and love, which through the work of the Holy Spirit made her flesh a temple and her heart an altar: because she conceived not according to nature, but through faith, with a free and conscious act: an act of obedience. And if the Body that we eat and the Blood that we drink is the inestimable gift of the Risen Lord, to us travelers, it still has in itself, as fragrant Bread, the taste and aroma of the Virgin Mother.

“Vere passum, immolatum in Cruce pro homine.” That Body truly suffered and was immolated on the Cross for man.

Born of the Virgin to be a pure, holy and immaculate oblation, Christ offered on the Cross the one perfect sacrifice which every Mass, in an unbloody manner, renews and makes present. In that one sacrifice, Mary, the first redeemed, the Mother of the Church, had an active part. She stood near the Crucified, suffering deeply with her firstborn; with a motherly heart she associated herself with his sacrifice; with love she consented to his immolation (cf. Lumen Gentium, 58; Marialis Cultus, 20): she offered him and she offered herself to the Father. Every Eucharist is a memorial of that sacrifice and that Passover that restored life to the world; every Mass puts us in intimate communion with her, the Mother, whose sacrifice “becomes present” just as the sacrifice of her Son “becomes present” at the words of consecration of the bread and wine pronounced by the priest (cf. Discourse at the Celebration of the Word, June 2, 1983, n. 2 (ORE 788:1)) (139).

The Eucharist, according to the Holy Father, bears “the taste and aroma of the Virgin Mother” not only because Jesus was born of Mary, but also because in the Mass her sacrifice, her offering of Jesus and herself to the Father, becomes present along with his.

This final text is from a homily given at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Dawn in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on January 31, 1985:

Mary goes before us and accompanies us. The silent journey that begins with her Immaculate Conception and passes through the “yes” of Nazareth, which makes her the Mother of God, finds on Calvary a particularly important moment. There also, accepting and assisting at the sacrifice of her Son, Mary is the dawn of redemption; and there her Son entrusts her to us as our Mother: “The Mother looked with eyes of pity on the wounds of her Son, from whom she knew the redemption of the world had to come” (St. Ambrose, De Institutione Virginis, 49). Crucified spiritually with her crucified Son (cf. Gal 2:20), she contemplated with heroic love the death of her God, she “lovingly consented to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth” (Lumen Gentium, 58). She fulfills the will of the Father on our behalf and accepts all of us as her children, in virtue of the testament of Christ: “Woman, there is your son” (Jn 19:26). …

At Calvary she united herself with the sacrifice of her Son that led to the foundation of the Church; her maternal heart shared to the very depths the will of Christ “to gather into one all the dispersed children of God” (Jn 11:52). Having suffered for the Church, Mary deserved to become the Mother of all the disciples of her Son, the Mother of their unity. …

The gospels do not tell us of an appearance of the risen Christ to Mary. Nevertheless, as she was in a special way close to the Cross of her Son, she also had to have a privileged experience of his Resurrection. In fact, Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son (140).

The late Holy Father used the adjectival form of Co-redemptrix in Spanish (corredentor), just as he used the Italian term Corredentrice in speaking of Mary on six other occasions (141). In effect, he used the word more than twice as much as his last predecessor to do so, Pius XI (142).

Where does all of the above discussion leave us? According to Monsignor Brunero Gherardini

The conditions by which a doctrine is and must be considered Church doctrine are totally and amply verifiable in Marian Coredemption: its foundation is indirect and implicit, yet solid, in the Scriptures; extensive in the Fathers and theologians; unequivocal in the Magisterium. It follows, therefore, that the Coredemption belongs to the Church’s doctrinal patrimony.

The nature of this present relation, in virtue of a theological conclusion drawn from premises in the Old and New Testaments, is expressed by the note proxima fidei (143).

We can safely say that the teaching on Mary’s collaboration in the work of redemption is part of the Ordinary Magisterium, and our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, especially by the frequency with which he returned to this theme, brought it to a new peak of explicitness and prominence in the Church (144).


It has been noted that there are already four dogmas about Mary. They are that she is (a) the Mother of God (Theotókos) (145); (b) ever-Virgin (146); that she was (c) immaculately conceived (147) and (d) assumed body and soul into heaven (148). All of these truths of the faith pertain to the person of Mary, but thus far the Church has not yet proposed to the faithful in the most solemn manner the truth about Mary’s role in their lives. In his brilliant essay, “Mariæ Advocatæ Causæ: The Marian Issue in the Church Today,” Father Peter Damian Fehlner, F.I., has argued cogently that the theological question about Mary Co-redemptrix is the theological issue of our era and that until it is clarified the fruits hoped for from the Second Vatican Council will not be brought forth:

Nonetheless, there is a hesitation on what I maintain has been for nearly a century the theological issue of our time: the doctrine of coredemption, in view of which on the eve of Vatican II theologians were divided into maximalists (those in favor, a majority) and minimalists (those who insisted that the doctrine was inopportune). Vatican II left the question open, like Trent with the Immaculate Conception, teaching the mystery of coredemption, but not dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s.” Is this why the crisis continues, and why the hoped-for fruits of the Council have not been realized, above all the resolution of the ecumenical question (division among the baptized) and the problem of a genuine, and radical renewal of theology (confusion, even in the Roman schools)? (149)

One really needs to follow his entire exposition in order to grasp the full force of his argumentation, but I remain convinced that his evaluation is absolutely correct. What, then, is to be done?

In his essay “Verso un Altro dogma Mariano?”, which was actually a kind of book review of the first book of essays edited by Dr. Mark Miravalle, Father Angelo Amato, S.D.B., indicated that to arrive at a dogmatic definition, one needs three elements: 1.) a widespread movement of favorable opinion on the part of the faithful, 2.) impetus on the part of the Papal Magisterium and 3.) the contribution of theologians (151). We can say that the conviction of the faithful continues to grow because the teaching about Marian coredemption is deeply implanted in the sensus fidelium. It will grow much stronger to the extent that it is preached, celebrated and taught. If this is not the case at present, it is because for almost two generations it has not been taught in seminaries. The doctrine is clearly taught by the Magisterium; about that there is no doubt and even Father Amato had to admit it. The biggest single problem is the theologians, but this, too, can and must change. More and more convincing studies are being published. The theological establishment cannot ignore solid theological research and block indefinitely. I believe that the more bishops, priests and deacons preach and teach the doctrine, the more the faithful will be fired up. The Holy Spirit will not tolerate indefinite obstacles.

The more that the Church consciously and deliberately recognizes Mary’s role in our salvation, proclaims it and celebrates it, the more Satan will be vanquished and the more Jesus will reign. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council already gave voice to this intuition when they stated in Lumen Gentium 65 that

Having entered deeply into the history of salvation, Mary, in a way unites in her person and re-echoes the most important doctrines of the faith: and when she is the subject of preaching and worship she prompts the faithful to come to her Son, and to his sacrifice and to the love of the Father. Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her lofty type, and continually progresses in faith, hope and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things.

*      *      *

Special Note

Status Quaestionis: And yet, it appears as if most of those who hold prominent positions in academic Mariology and other high places have taken little note of the clear papal teaching and all of the positive scholarship that has been produced in this regard during the past 15 years. The most positive statement to come from one of their representatives thus far was an admission in a footnote by the late Father Ignazio M. Calabuig, O.S.M., on behalf of his colleagues, that my study of the use of the term Co-redemptrix published in Maria Corredentrice: Storia e Teologia I was done with praiseworthy precision and clearly indicates that the title Co-redemptrix is not proscribed and is susceptible of a correct reading, even though they seem to maintain that the word only occurs in documents of a non-magisterial character (Ignazio Calabuig, O.S.M., e il Comitato di redazione della rivista Marianum, “Riflessione sulla richiesta della definizione dogmatica di «Maria corredentrice, mediatrice, avvocata»,” Marianum LXI, nn. 155-156 (1999) 157, n. 50).

In addition, an ad hoc committee was convened at the Mariological Congress held in Częstochowa, Poland, in August 1996, to deal with petitions which the Holy See had been receiving for a dogmatic definition of Mary’s role in the work of our redemption as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. Unfortunately, none of those who had done any studies in support of such a definition were consulted, and of the 23 theologians who rendered the negative decision against considering a definition, one was Anglican, one was Lutheran and three were Orthodox. The reasoning proffered was the following: “The titles, as proposed, are ambiguous, as they can be understood in very different ways. Furthermore, the theological direction taken by the Second Vatican Council, which did not wish to define any of these titles, should not be abandoned” (OR 4 giugno 1997, p. 10 (ORE 1494:12)).

What is difficult to understand about this statement is that the prologue to the Marian chapter of Lumen Gentium 54 explicitly states that

This sacred synod … does not, however, intend to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which the work of theologians has not yet fully clarified. Those opinions therefore may be lawfully retained which are propounded in Catholic schools concerning her, who occupies a place in the Church which is the highest after Christ and also closest to us.

The same edition of L’Osservatore Romano which carried their declaration also carried an unsigned article stating that

With respect to the title of Co-redemptrix, the Declaration of Częstochowa notes that “from the time of Pope Pus XII, the term Co-redemptrix has not been used by the Papal Magisterium in its significant documents” and there is evidence that he himself intentionally avoided using it. An important qualification, because here and there, in papal writings which are marginal and therefore devoid of doctrinal weight, one can find such a title, be it very rarely (OR 4 giugno 1997, p. 10 (ORE 1497:10)).

It seems that the primary reason why Pius XII did not use the title, even though he clearly taught the doctrine as we have seen, was because of the discussion of theologians which had only reached a definite theological consensus at the Mariological Congress of Lourdes in 1958, a few months before his death (Cf. Calvario 7-8). The fact that Pope John Paul II used the term “Co-redemptrix” five times and “coredemptive” once in speaking about Our Lady is apparently set aside as “marginal and therefore devoid of doctrinal weight,” with no reference to Lumen Gentium 25. I would simply add that the Częstochowa Declaration itself is hardly above criticism for the way it attempts to deal with facts, and may be far more appropriately described as “marginal and therefore devoid of doctrinal weight.” Although it was published in L’Osservatore Romano, a semi-official organ of the Holy See, its various editorials and articles do not form part of the Church’s official Magisterium.

Subsequently, the Pontifical International Marian Academy issued a publication entitled La Madre del Signore on the occasion of the Great Jubilee of 2000 which stated that

In our opinion such study (of Our Lady’s role in the work of redemption) should not be conducted by re-proposing the presuppositions, the terminology and the metaphors used by many theologians before the Second Vatican Council, but rather according to the lines traced by the Constitution Lumen Gentium. Within this ambit John Paul II has amply considered the cooperation of the Virgin in the Trinitarian work of salvation under the categories of “mediation in Christ” and of “maternal mediation,” that is as a particular function of the universal motherhood of Mary in the order of grace; to many theologians this way of presenting the question of the mediation of Mary appears more rich, based on a good biblical foundation (cf. Jn 19:25-27), more in conformity with the sensus fidelium, less subject to controversy (La Madre del Signore. Memoria, Presenza, Speranza. Alcune questioni attuali sulla figura e la missione della b. Vergine Maria (Vatican City: Pontificia Accademia Mariana Internationalis, 2000) hereafter cited as La Madre del Signore 80 (my trans.).

Here it is necessary to comment. 1.) To the uninitiated, at first glance this statement might seem unexceptionable, but, in fact it suggests side-stepping the entire millennial Catholic tradition of understanding and elucidating Our Lady’s unique mediatorial role by saints, mystics and theologians, along with the Papal Magisterium of Bl. Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI and Pius XII which has put this matter in ever-sharper relief, (Cf. Theotokos 238-242; Gabriele M. Roschini, O.S.M., Maria Santissima nella Storia della Salvezza, Vol. II (Isola del Liri: Tipografia Editrice M. Pisani, 1969) 198-235; Brunero Gherardini, La Madre: Maria in una sintesi sotrico-teologica (Frigento: Casa Mariana Editrice, 1989) 287-324; Arthur Burton Calkins, “Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate in the Contemporary Roman Liturgy,” in CMA I:68-82). 2.) This statement infers that the pre-conciliar methodology employed in exploring this topic is “less rich” than the conciliar treatment found in Lumen Gentium, and is based on less-solid biblical foundations. Such a vague statement, of course, implies and effectively promotes the thesis that the teaching of the Second Vatican Council represents a “break” or “rupture” with pre-conciliar teaching. 3.) Without any supporting evidence, the authors of this communication state that their approach is in greater conformity to the sensus fidelium (Cf. Lumen Gentium 12, 34; Dei Verbum 10; Catechism of the Catholic Church 889; Theotokos 322-323). 4.) They also state that their proposed methodology is less subject to controversy, but that is only because by prescribing the methodology to be used, they have effectively eliminated any opposition. 5.) Without stating it in so many words here, the authors appear to be concerned about avoiding controversy on the ecumenical level as they clearly indicate elsewhere (Cf. La Madre del Signore 112-116). Specifically, they state that students of Mariology

– should abstain from the will to impose on brethren not in communion with the Catholic Church “other obligations beyond those which are indispensable (cf. Acts 15:28),” that is doctrinal questions about the Mother of the Lord which are quæstiones disputatæ among Catholic theologians;

– should proceed to a supervised and correct use of terms and formulae (purification of language); the use of formulae and terms which, on the one hand, are not ancient nor accepted by many Catholic theologians and on the other hand provoke grave discomfort in brothers and sisters who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church is certainly not useful for reciprocal understanding; rather it is wise to use a terminology which expresses doctrine with exactness and efficacy, but which does not provide grounds for false interpretations (La Madre del Signore 115, my trans.).

This kind of language is concerning. In the name of what could appear as less-than straightforward ecumenical correctness camouflaged as “purification of language,” the authors seem to seek to impose silence on Catholics about matters which were not fundamentally “quæstiones disputatæ among Catholic theologians” until after the Council. It could be interpreted that they are concerned about not “provoking grave discomfort in brothers and sisters who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church,” but not among their own Catholic brothers and sisters.

The dossier published in Marianum regarding the request for the dogmatic definition of Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate takes the very same approach as what has just been quoted above, with even more specific indications about terminology which it says the Second Vatican Council wished to avoid. This is perhaps because the same persons were involved in the redaction of these documents. In that dossier, the late Father Ignazio Calabuig, O.S.M., the principal redactor, goes on to state that the Council consciously and deliberately renounced

– using the title Co-redemptrix and the term coredemptio with reference to the Blessed Virgin; to the latter the Council preferred cooperatio and this because since it has an ecclesial point of reference with a biblical foundation (cf. 1 Cor 3:9), it could effectively designate the collaboration given by Mary, in faith, obedience and love, to the formation both of the body of Christ in the mystery of the incarnate Word and of his mystical body, the Church, which is indissolubly linked to Christ the Head and from whose life she herself lives;

– making use of a terminology of Western scholastic coinage: objective and subjective, mediate and immediate redemption, merit de congruo and de condigno, terms alien to the theological tradition of the East; such terminology could certainly have continued to be used in theological research, but it was unthinkable that an ecumenical council would make its own these terms which of themselves recall the disputes of the schools;

– defining in conceptual terms the association of Mary in the redemptive work of Christ, preferring to have recourse to the category of salvation history: thus describing the acts which, from the Incarnation all the way to the death on the Cross, show the Mother intimately united to the redemptive work of the Son (cf. LG 61);

– using the term mediatio with reference to the Virgin, employing in its place expressions like “maternal function” (munus maternum) and “saving influence” (salutaris influxus) or words like “cooperation” (cooperatio), in passages in which it was legitimate to expect the word “mediation” to be used with regard to the requirements of parallelism (cf. LG 61, 63).

– configuring the “mediatorial action” of Mary in geometric or spatial terms or in symbolic terms like ladder or neck, as if between Christ and the faithful there were a rampart which they could only surmount by means of the mediatorial intervention of the Virgin.

– the use of any expressions like that of “Mediatrix of all graces” which, although recurring in papal documents previous to the Council, were the object of dispute among theologians; and the use of expressions such as “Mediatrix with the Mediator,” “Christ and Mary” in contexts which could produce the impression that the grace of the redemption is attributable, almost at the same level, to Christ and to the Virgin of Nazareth (Ignazio M. Calabuig, O.S.M., “Riflessione sulla richiesta della definizione dogmatica di ‘Maria corredentrice, mediatrice, avvocata’” in Marianum LXI (1999) hereafter cited as Calabuig 154-155, my trans.).

The impression is given that underlying principle in all of this discussion about what is to be avoided is precisely the idea that a general council of the Church can simply renounce the Church’s patrimony and banish the use of any terminology which was not used in the council documents and thus come to be regarded as “ecumenically” incorrect. Indeed, it is the doctrine taught by the Council which is of ultimate importance. The study of the background from which the document emerged is also of value precisely insofar as it indicates how and why matters were treated in a particular way. Thus a study like Ermanno Toniolo’s (Ermanno M. Toniolo, O.S.M., La Beata Maria Vergine nel Concilio Vaticano II: Cronistoria del capitolo VIII della Constituzione Dogmatica “Lumen Gentium” e sinossi di tutte le redazioni (Rome: Centro di Cultura Mariana «Madre della Chiesa», 2004)), which furnishes a great deal of background information on how chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium arrived at its final form is of great value, but the methodology followed in establishing the final form of chapter 8 need not become ipso facto the methodology which must be followed by all who work in the field of Mariology. This will to impose a particular approach and methodology, and to effectively rule out the employment of terminology and systems of thought that have developed in the Church in the course of centuries and even millennia, is a fundamental component of what I refer to as “Vatican II triumphalism” (Cf. TTMM 15-22).

On the one hand it is not difficult to perceive that there has been a consistent development and clarification of doctrine on the active collaboration of the Mother of God in the work of our redemption in the course of two millennia of the Church’s history and that it clearly constitutes a non-negotiable element of the Church’s teaching (Cf. Brunero Gherardini, “The Coredemption of Mary: Doctrine of the Church” in Mary at the Foot of the Cross II (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2002) 37-48). On the other, there can be no doubt that in the present situation there is very formidable resistance to a solemn recognition of this truth of faith on the part of many who are considered major and authoritative proponents of post-conciliar Mariology. Often the reasons adduced for such resistance are “ecumenical.” The then Father Angelo Amato, S.D.B., stated that such a solemn proclamation “from the ecumenical perspective would constitute a wound that would be hard to heal,” (Angelo Amato, S.D.B., “Verso Un Altro Dogma Mariano?” in Marianum LVIII (1996) 232. Cf. my response, “‘Towards Another Marian Dogma?’: A Response to Father Angelo Amato” in Marianum LIX (1997) 159-167), but this begs the entire question of what the principles of Catholic ecumenism are (Cf. Brunero Gherardini, Una sola Fede – una sola Chiesa. La Chiesa Cattolica dinanzi all’ecumenismo (Castelpetroso: Casa Marian Editrice, 2000). Can the Catholic teaching on Mary’s active collaboration in the work of our salvation—which is a paradigm for the collaboration of all Christians in the work of salvation—be reconciled with the Lutheran dogma that there can be no human collaboration in the work of salvation? It would seem that that is only possible by contradicting the “principle of non-contradiction,” i.e., that a thing cannot be and not be at the same time in the same way (Cf. Brunero Gherardini, “Unity and Coredemption” in Mary at the Foot of the Cross III (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2003) 54-69; Ibid., “Ecumenismo e Corredenzione” in Maria “Unica Cooperatrice alla Redenzione.” Atti del Simposio sul Mistero della Corredenzione Mariana, Fatima, Portogallo 3-7 Maggio 2005 (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2005) 463-475). However, some present-day ecumenists, such as those Protestant and Catholic theologians known as “the Dombes Group,” (Cf. Alain Blaincy and Maurice Jourjon and the Dombes Group, Mary in the Plan of God and in the Communion of Saints trans. by Matthew J. O’Connell with Foreword by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J. (NY: Paulist Press, 2002) (= Dombes) 2-5) believe that they have found a way through the impasse:

Since the term “cooperation” is there and is alive in the mentalities of both sides, we cannot act as if it did not exist. Our effort will therefore be to both purify and “convert” it, to “reconstruct” it, as it were. Some day, perhaps, a different term will emerge from our dialogue, one that is more satisfactory to all concerned, because it will be free of all equivocations. …

Mary was also present at the Cross. She did not cooperate in the unparalleled sacrifice which Christ alone offered. … She responded with all the freedom her faith gave her by accepting the loss of her son Jesus and welcoming the beloved disciple as son.

Mary is an example of the lot of all the saved. Salvation consists in a relationship: there is no salvation if this relationship is not accepted, if it does not meet with a response of thanksgiving. Passivity in the presence of grace, faith’s “letting itself be moved” by grace—there are the source of a new activity; receptivity turns into obedience. Docility to the Holy Spirit becomes an active force. The passivity is never total; in a second moment receptivity itself becomes active. But every response is at one and the same time the work of God’s grace and the work of human freedom stirred into action by grace. The only thing that belongs exclusively to human beings is the rejection of grace.…

But here a distinction is needed: acceptance is not a work. One who accepts a gift plays no part in the initiative that produces the gift. On the other hand, a gift is not fully a gift unless it is received (Dombes 89-91).

There appear to be few Catholic elements remaining in this statement. The Catholic participants had already professed that “The very term ‘coredemption’ is objectively flawed, because it suggests that Mary’s role is of the same order as that of Christ. Vatican II consciously abandoned the term; it has not reappeared since then in official texts and ought to be deliberately dropped” (Dombes 88). While the work of the Dombes Group has been hailed in many Catholic circles, and even Jean Galot sees it as “a great step forward in the direction of the doctrine held by Catholics,” (Galot, Marie, Mère et Coréremptrice 142), I confess to finding this statement lacking from a Catholic perspective.

Another objection to the doctrine of Marian coredemption from the Catholic side comes from Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B., who stated in an interview:

The title of Co-redeemer is neither biblical nor patristic nor theological and has been used rarely by any pontiff and only in minor addresses. Vatican Council II avoided it deliberately. It’s well to remember that in theology the principle of analogy can be used, but not that of equivocality. And in this case, there is no analogy, but only equivocality. In reality Mary is the “redeemed in the most perfect way,” she is the first fruit of the redemption by her Son, the sole Redeemer of mankind. Wanting to go further seems hardly prudent to me (Gianni Cardinale, “A life as a halfback” in 30 Days Year 22 (2004:4) 59).

To Monsignor Gherardini goes the credit for a carefully balanced response (Cf. Brunero Gherardini, “A proposito di un intervista” in Immaculata Mediatrix IV:3 (2004) 437-443). The denial that there could be any analogy between Jesus and Mary is contradicted by the Church’s theological Tradition from the time of St. Irenaeus, and indeed from the doctrinal development stemming from the Protoevangelium which we have outlined above. Analogy does not mean equality, but rather that there is a likeness in difference (Cf. Totus Tuus 162-168). A recent publication by a Dutch student of theology rehearses a wide variety of attacks on the theology of Marian coredemption which are rather superficial (Hendro Munsterman, Marie corédemptrice? Débat sur un titre marial controversé, Paris: Cerf, 2006); it has been more than adequately answered by Father Peter Damian Fehlner (Peter M. Fehlner, F.I., “Marian Minimalism on Coredemption: Marie corédemptrice? Débat sur un titre marial controversé” in Immaculata Mediatrix VI:3 (2006) 397-420). While it is not possible to respond in detail here to all of the objections to the doctrine of Marian coredemption, the interested reader is referred to an excellent resumé which considers the principal ones (Cf. Mark Miravalle, “Mary Co-redemptrix: A Response to 7 Common Objections” in CMA IV: 93-138).

A rather unique and irenic position has been taken by Jean Galot, S.J., who is basically a supporter of the doctrine of Marian coredemption and its eventual definition (Jean Galot, S.J., “Maria: Mediatrice o Madre Universale?” in La Civilità Cattolica 1996 (quaderno 3495) I:236-237). In various publications, however, he takes the position that it would be easier and therefore more immediately possible to define Our Lady’s spiritual maternity as a dogma of faith, but even this will require time and further in-depth study (“Maria: Mediatrice o Madre Universale?” 241-244; “La Mediazione di Maria: Natura e Limiti” in La Civilità Cattolica 1997 (quaderno 3535) IV:25; Marie, Mère et Coréremptrice 140). According to scholars like Brunero Gherardini, however, the coredemption along with the divine maternity are the two doctrinal bases of the spiritual maternity (Brunero Gherardini, “The Coredemption and Mary’s Universal Maternity” in Mary at the Foot of the Cross IV (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2004) 28). This also seems quite clearly to be the position of the Papal Magisterium. I will limit myself to just a few citations. We have already noted above that the Servant of God Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical letter of June 29, 1943, declared that

She (Mary) it was who, immune from all sin, personal or inherited, and ever most closely united with her Son, offered him on Golgotha to the eternal Father together with the holocaust of her maternal rights and motherly love, like a New Eve, for all the children of Adam contaminated through this unhappy fall, and thus she, who was the Mother of our Head according to the flesh, became by a new title of sorrow and glory the spiritual Mother of all his members (AAS 35 (1943) 247-248 (OL 383)).

In his general audience of May 11, 1983, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II said:

This universal motherhood in the spiritual order was the final consequence of Mary’s cooperation in the work of her divine Son, a cooperation begun in the fearful joy of the Annunciation and carried through right to the boundless sorrow of Calvary. …

On Calvary she was indeed united with the sacrifice of her Son who was looking to the formation of the Church; her motherly heart shared completely Christ’s will “to gather into one all the dispersed children of God” (Jn 11:52). Having suffered for the Church, Mary deserved to become the Mother of all her Son’s disciples, the Mother of their unity. For this reason the Council states that “the Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved Mother” (Lumen Gentium, 53). (Inseg VI/1 (1983) 1201, 1202 (ORE 784:1))

In his homily at the Marian Shrine of Guayaquil, Ecuador, on January 31, 1985, John Paul II preached this same message:

In fact, at Calvary she united herself with the sacrifice of her Son that led to the foundation of the Church; her maternal heart shared to the very depths the will of Christ “to gather into one all the dispersed children of God” (Jn 11:52). Having suffered for the Church, Mary deserved to become the Mother of all the disciples of her Son, the Mother of their unity. For this reason, the Council affirms that “Taught by the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved Mother” (Lumen Gentium, 53). Mother of the Church! Mother of us all! (Inseg VIII/1 (1985) 319 (ORE 876:7)).

Likewise, Pope Benedict XVI has reinforced this teaching. In his homily at the Marian Shrine of Altötting, Germany, on September 11, 2006, he offered this reflection:

We can understand, I think, very well the attitude and words of Mary (at Cana), yet we still find it very hard to understand Jesus’ answer. In the first place, we don’t like the way he addresses her: “Woman.” Why doesn’t he say: “Mother”? But this title really expresses Mary’s place in salvation history. It points to the future, to the hour of the Crucifixion, when Jesus will say to her: “Woman, behold your son—Son, behold your mother” (cf. Jn 19:26-27). It anticipates the hour when he will make the woman, his Mother, the Mother of all his disciples.

On the other hand, the title “woman” recalls the account of the creation of Eve: Adam, surrounded by creation in all its magnificence, experiences loneliness as a human being. Then Eve is created, and in her Adam finds the companion whom he longed for; and he gives her the name “woman.”

In the Gospel of John, then, Mary represents the new, the definitive woman, the companion of the Redeemer, our Mother: the name, which seemed so lacking in affection, actually expresses the grandeur of Mary’s enduring mission (OR 27 settembre 2006, p. VII; (ORE 1961:3)).

Again at the Marian Shrine of Meryem Ana Evì, Ephesus, Turkey, on November 29, 2006, he reiterated:

We have listened to a passage from St. John’s Gospel which invites us to contemplate the moment of the redemption when Mary, united to her Son in the offering of his sacrifice, extended her motherhood to all men and women, and in particular to the disciples of Jesus (OR 13 dicembre 2006, p. V (ORE 1972:5)).

Why is there such resistance to recognizing the development of doctrine which has taken place, especially in the course of the last pontificate, and in celebrating and proclaiming the role that the “New Eve” had in the working out of our redemption and the role which she continues to carry out in dispensing the graces of the redemption and interceding on our behalf? There are many partial answers, but ultimately, I believe the opposition can only be explained in terms of the eternal enmity between the serpent and the “woman” of the Protoevangelium.


(98) Cf. Michael O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., “Still Mediatress of All Graces?”, Miles Immaculatæ 24 (1988) 121-122; Theotokos 351-352.

(99) This apparition of Our Lady would be succeeded by a number of others in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries which would eventually be recognized by the Church as worthy of credence. Cf. Donal Foley, Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World (Herefordshire: Gracewing, 2002) 113-346.

(100) Cf. Theotokos 179-180. Interestingly, Father O’Carroll acknowledges an impetus for the definition in the apparition of 1830, cf. Theotokos 182.

(101) Cf. Arthur Burton Calkins, Totus Tuus: John Paul II’s Program of Marian Consecration and Entrustment (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate “Studies and Texts,” No. 1, 1992) (= Totus Tuus) 98-101.

(102) Cf. Theotokos 555-56.

(103) Cf. Totus Tuus 100.

(104) Cf. Totus Tuus 104-105.

(105) Cf. Manfred Hauke, “Mary, ‘Mediatress of Grace’: Mary’s Universal Mediation of Grace in the Theological and Pastoral Works of Cardinal Mercier.” Supplement to Mary at the Foot of the Cross – IV (Part B) (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2004).

(106) Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M., S.T.D., “Our Lady’s Coredemption” in Carol, Mariology Vol. 2 (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1957) 377-425, esp. 416-424.

(107) Cf. W. Goosens, De cooperatione immediata Matris Redemptoris ad redemptionem objectivam (Parisiis, 1939) 30-31; Carol, “Coredemption” 416.

(108) St. Thomas says “There is no reason why certain others should not be called in a certain way mediators between God and man, that is to say in so far as they cooperate by predisposing and ministering in the union of man with God” in Summa Theologica III, q. 26, a. 1.

(109) Acta Sanctae Sedis (= ASS) 29 (1896-1897) 206 (OL 194).

(110) Cf. Heinrich Lennerz, S.J., “Considerationes de doctrina B. Virginis Mediatricis” in Gregorianum 19 (1938) 424-425; George D. Smith, Mary’s Part in Our Redemption (P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1954) 92-99.

(111) Cf. Carol, “Coredemption” 418-422.

(112) Lino Cignelli, O.F.M., Maria Nuova Eva nella Patristica greca (Assisi: Studio Teologico “Porziuncola” Collectio Assisiensis #3, 1966) 241 (my trans.). Emphasis in second paragraph my own.

(113) Cf. Theotokos 314-315; Pietro Parrotta, La Cooperazione di Maria alla Redenzione in Gabriele Maria Roschini (Pregassona, Switzerland: Europress, 2002).

(114) Gabriele M. Roschini, O.S.M., Maria Santissima nella Storia della Salvezza, II (Isola del Liri: Tipografia Editrice M. Pisani, 1969) 193-194 (my trans.) Last emphasis my own.

(115) This argument is also taken up in a less technical way by Galot in “Mary Co-redemptrix: Controversies and Doctrinal Questions” in CMA IV:14-17 and in Marie, Mère et Coréremptrice 177-178.

(116) Inseg XIX/1 (1996) 116-117 (MCat 62-63).

(117) Inseg XIX/1 (1996) 1389-11390 (MCat 93-94). Emphasis my own.

(118) Cf. my study “The Immaculate Coredemptrix in the Life and Teaching of Blessed Pius IX” in Mary at the Foot of the Cross – V: Redemption and Coredemption under the Sign of the Immaculate Conception (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2005) 508-541.

(119) Many other studies in Volume V of Mary at the Foot of the Cross also treat of the relationship between Mary’s Immaculate Conception and her role as Co-redemptrix, but the one which has the most direct bearing on responding to Lennerz’s objection is Msgr. Brunero Gherardini’s “The Immaculate Co-redemptress” 47-73.

(120) Cf. Alessandro M. Apollonio, F.I., Il “calvario teologico” della Coredenzione mariana (Castelpetroso, IS: Casa Mariana Editrice, 1999) (= Calvario) 7-8. This conclusion is summarily and categorically denied by Stefano De Fiores, S.M.M., in his Maria: Nuovissimo Dizionario I (Bologna: Edizioni Dehoniane, 2006) (=Nuovissimo) 325 who speaks of an “unhealable division between two currents.”

(121) Cf. Theotokos 308.

(122) Cf. Michael O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., “Mary’s Mediation: Vatican II and John Paul II” in Virgo Liber Verbi: Miscellanea di studi in onore di P. Giuseppe M. Besutti, O.S.M. (Rome: Edizioni «Marianum», 1991) 543; Theotokos 352. In the latter article Father O’Carroll gave the number of Fathers asking for a statement on Mary’s mediation as 382. Toniolo gives the number as 381, cf. Ermanno M. Toniolo, O.S.M., La Beata Vergine Maria nel Concilio Vaticano II (Rome: Centro di Cultura Mariana «Madre della Chiesa», 2004) (= Toniolo) 34.

(123) G. Besutti, O.S.M., Lo schema mariano al Concilio Vaticano II (Rome: Edizione Marianum-Desclée, 1966) (= Besutti) 17.

(124) Cf. Calvario 14.

(125) Besutti 28-29; cf. Toniolo 36.

(126) Acta Synodalia Sacrosancti Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani Secundi, Vol. I, Pt. VI (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1971) 99 (my trans.). Cf. Toniolo 98-99; Gabriele M. Roschini, O.S.M., Maria Santissima nella Storia della Salvezza II:111-112.

(127) Cf. Thomas Mary Sennott, O.S.B., “Mary Mediatrix of All Graces, Vatican II and Ecumenism,” Miles Immaculatæ 24 (1988) 151-167; Theotokos 242-245.

(128) Cf. Ralph M. Wiltgen, S.V.D., The Rhine Flows into the Tiber; A History of Vatican II (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1985, c. 1967) 90-95, 153-159.

(129) Cf. my article “‘Towards Another Marian Dogma?’ A Response to Father Angelo Amato,” Marianum LIX (1997) 163-165.

(130) Cf. MMC 35-41.

(131) Flannery 416 (I have altered the word order of the translation).

(132) Flannery 417. Galot’s reflections on this text and its hesitation to speak more directly of Mary’s offering of her Son and herself to the Father for our salvation are illluminating. Cf. his article “Mary Co-redemptrix: Controversies and Doctrinal Questions” in CMA IV:17-19.

(133) Flannery 418.

(134) Inseg XVIII/2 (1995) 1369 (MCat 51).

(135) Cf. Theotokos 351-356. Effectively, the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council’s Marian treatise found most frequently in both learned and popular publications after the Council is well represented by this relatively recent statement by Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J.:

The achievements of Vatican II have been called a watershed. The chapter on Mary in the Constitution on the Church seemed to mark the end of an isolated, maximizing Mariology, and the inclusion of Mary in the theology of the Church (Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., “Mary Since Vatican II: Decline and Recovery,” Marian Studies LIII (2002) 12. This position is delineated at much greater length in Stefano De Fiores’ article “Concilio Vaticano II” in Nuovissimo I:323-358).

This departs notably from all of the commentaries on the Mariology of Vatican II offered by Pope John Paul II in the course of his long pontificate and constitutes what I refer to as “Vatican II triumphalism.”

“Vatican II triumphalism” is virtually always a partial and one-sided interpretation of the council documents which favors a position espoused by one party at the time of the Council and studiously avoids mention of any conciliar statements which would counterbalance the “favored” position. In the case of chapter eight of Lumen Gentium on “The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church,” the “favored” position heavily emphasizes Mary’s role as model of the Church. This reflects the rediscovered insights of ecclesiotypical Mariology (which sees an analogy between Mary and the Church) which were emerging again at the time of the Council, while very largely ignoring Christotypical Mariology (which sees an analogy between Christ and Mary) and dismissing it as deductive and “privilege-centered” (cf. the comments by Fathers George F. Kirwin, O.M.I., and Thomas Thompson, S.M., in Donald W. Buggert, O.Carm., Louis P. Rogge, O.Carm., Michael J. Wastag, O.Carm. (eds.), Mother, Behold Your Son: Essays in Honor of Eamon R. Carroll, O.Carm. (Washington, DC: The Carmelite Institute, 2001), 17 and 202.) In an essay significantly entitled “Revolution in Mariology 1949-1989,” Father Eamon R. Carroll, O.Carm., consistently presents the ecclesiotypical Mariology as the great triumph of the Council, even as he discloses his discomfort at the Christotypical elements which remained in the eighth chapter of Lumen Gentium:

The Council did indeed favor the notion that Mary is model to the Church, even archetype, without using that word, but its chapter on Our Lady is in fact a complicated compromise that sought to keep a balance between Mary’s association with her son’s mediation and the obedient faithful Virgin as ideal of the Church’s own response to the Lord (Eamon R. Carroll, O.Carm, “Revolution in Mariology 1949-1989,” in The Land of Carmel: Essays in Honor of Joachim Smet, O.Carm. (Rome: Institutum Carmelitanum, 1991) 457-458. On the former page one also finds his evaluation of Fathers Cyril Vollert, S.J., Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M., and Charles Balić, O.F.M., all of whom represent the Christotypical approach to Mariology).

There were obviously many theological insights which were coming to the fore at the time of the Council, largely due to the historical researches begun in the previous century in the areas of biblical, liturgical, patristic and ecclesiological studies. Many of these found expression in the council documents, and specifically in chapter eight of Lumen Gentium. All too often, however, an overemphasis on certain of these insights on the part of the majority of commentators to the exclusion of the other insights has, in fact, led to a “low Mariology” which focuses on Mary much more as “woman of faith,” “disciple” and “model” than as “spiritual mother” or “mediatrix,” and tends to depreciate the importance of the antecedent Papal Magisterium. All too often this virtually exclusive emphasis on ecclesiotypical Mariology is coupled with the whole-hearted embracing of the historical-critical method of biblical exegesis and “lowest common denominator” ecumenism (cf. Carroll, “Revolution in Mariology” 455). In a real sense the practitioners of this methodology can be identified as sustainers of the thesis that the teaching of the Second Vatican Council represents a “break” or “rupture” with the pre-conciliar Catholic tradition, (this thesis was clearly declared unacceptable by Pope Benedict XVI in his memorable speech to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005. Cf. Insegnamenti di Benedetto XVI I (2005) 1023-1031 (ORE 1925:5-6)), and are almost always notably devoid of that awe before the mystery of Mary which comes instinctively to “little ones.”

(136) I have already published two lengthy essays on it, and some shorter ones, as well as treating it in the course of other studies of the Papal Magisterium on Marian coredemption, without in any way having analyzed it exhaustively. Cf. Arthur Burton Calkins, “Pope John Paul II’s Teaching on Marian Coredemption” in CMA II:113-147; also published in Miles Immaculatæ XXXII (Luglio/Dicembre 1996) 474-508 and “Pope John Paul II’s Ordinary Magisterium on Marian Coredemption: Consistent Teaching and More Recent Perspectives” in MFC II:1-36; also published in Divinitas XLV «Nova Series» (2002) 153-185. Cf. also “The Heart of Mary as Coredemptrix in the Magisterium of Pope John Paul II” in S. Tommaso Teologo: Ricerche in occasione dei due centenari accademici (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana “Studi Tomistici #59,” 1995) 320-335; “Il Cuore di Maria Corredentrice nel Magistero di papa Giovanni Paolo II” in Corredemptrix: Annali Mariani 1996 del Santuario dell’Addolorata (Castelpetroso, Isernia, 1997) 97-114; “Amorosamente consenziente al sacrificio del Figlio: Maria Corredentrice nei discorsi di Giovanni Paolo II,” Madre di Dio 67, N° 11 (Novembre 1999) 28-29. Cf. also “Il Mistero di Maria Corredentrice nel Magistero Pontificio” in Autori Vari, Maria Corredentrice: Storia e Teologia I (Frigento (AV): Casa Mariana Editrice «Bibliotheca Corredemptionis B. V. Mariae» Studi e Richerche 1, 1998) 141-220 and “The Mystery of Mary the Co-redemptrix in the Papal Magisterium,” in CMA IV:25-92.

To my knowledge, Monsignor Brunero Gherardini (Cf. Brunero Gherardini, La Corredentrice nel mistero di Cristo e della Chiesa (Rome: Edizioni Vivere In, 1998) 135-139) and I are the only students of Mariology to have done so in extenso; Inseg I (2005) 1023-1031; OR 23 dicembre 2005, pp. 5-6; ORE 1925:5-6. Besides the passages which I have already presented in the course of this paper, I can only hope to share a small sampling of what I consider to be the most outstanding texts.

(137) Inseg VII/1 (1984) 307 (St. Paul Editions 37).

(138) Inseg VII/1 (1984) 308-309 (St. Paul Editions 40-41).

(139) Inseg VI/1 (1983) 1446-1447 (ORE 788:2).

(140) Inseg VIII/1 (1985) 318-321 (ORE 876:7). I refer those interested to my commentary on this text elsewhere, cf. Arthur Burton Calkins, “Pope John Paul II’s Ordinary Magisterium on Marian Coredemption: Consistent Teaching and More Recent Perspectives” in MFC II:32-34.

(141) Inseg III/2 (1980) 1646; (ORE 662:20); Inseg V/3 (1982) 404; Inseg VII/2 (1984) 1151 (ORE 860:1); Inseg VIII/1 (1985) 889-890 (ORE 880:12); Inseg XIII/1 (1990) 743; Inseg XIV/2 (1991) 756 (ORE 1211:4). Cf. my presentation of all but the first of these texts in MMC 41-46. John Paul II’s first use of the title Co-redemptrix thus far documented, that of December 10, 1980, occurred in a greeting to the sick after the general audience and was identified by Fr. Paolo M. Siano, F.I., and is cited in his article, “Uno Studio su Maria Santissima «Mediatrice di Tutte le Grazie» nel Magistero pontificio fino al pontificato di Giovanni Paolo II” Immaculata Mediatrix VI:3 (2006) 348.

(142) Cf. MMC 32-34.

(143) Brunero Gherardini, “The Coredemption of Mary: Doctrine of the Church,” in MFC II:48.

(144) Unfortunately, despite the clarity of the Holy Father’s teaching many have not embraced this important truth. For a more in-depth exploration of this resistance, see the special note at the end of this chapter.

(145) Defined by the Council of Ephesus in 431. Cf. D-H 252.

(146) By the time of the Council of Ephesus belief in Mary’s virginity before, during and after the birth of Christ was in possession and was explicitly defined at the Lateran Council of 649, convoked by Pope St. Martin I. Cf. D-H 503.

(147) Defined by Bl. Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854. Cf. D-H 2303.

(148) Defined by the Servant of God Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950. Cf. D-H 3903.

(149) Peter Damian M. Fehlner, F.I., “Mariæ Advocatæ Causæ: The Marian Issue in the Church Today” in Maria “Unica Cooperatrice alla Redenzione.” Atti del Simposio sul Mistero della Corredenzione Mariana, Fatima, Portogallo 3-7 Maggio 2005 (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2005) 559.

(150) Angelo Amato, S.D.B., “Verso Un Altro Dogma Mariano?” in Marianum LVIII (1996) 231.