Recent posts on Mary, Mother of God and Marian devotions have prompted questions about the proposed Marian dogma called “Mary, Co-Redemptrix.” Supporters of the proposed dogma frequently refer to this teaching as “the fifth Marian dogma.”
There is a lay led group that promotes the dogma rather vigorously, Vox Populi.
Definition of the Proposed Dogma
Mary is given many titles by the Church: Queen of Heaven, Mother of God, Mediatrix of All Graces. Supporters of the fifth Marian dogma are petitioning the Holy Father to add one more: Co-redemptrix. What does this title mean? Simply put, the Holy Father is being asked to declare solemnly and infallibly that the Blessed Virgin Mary is a co-worker in the redemption of mankind through her initial assent to be the Mother of God and through her suffering with Christ as he dies on the cross. Essentially, the title would specify Mary’s role as a human co-operator with Christ’s redeeming sacrifice for us.
The controversy around the dogma is rooted in the easy misunderstanding that the Holy Father is being asked to declare that Mary is our Redeemer on level equal to that of Christ. This is false. In Latin, the prefix “co” means “with” not “equal to.” In English, we use the prefix “co” to mean “with” but it has the connotation of “equal to.” This is not the case in Latin. Think of how we use the terms “co-chair” and “co-pilot.” We tend to think of the co-chair and the co-pilot was functionally equivalent to the chair and the pilot. Again, not the case in Latin.