Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces



Against the Jansenist heresy the Church taught as a divinely revealed truth that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for all men without exception. Innocent X, and after him, Alexander VIII and Clement XI, were obliged to inculcate this afresh (Denzinger 1096, 1294, 1382). St John had already stated clearly:


He, in his own person, is the atonement made for our sins, and not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world. (I John, 2:2)


Also St Paul:


God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. (II Cor. 5:19)


It is his (God’s) will that all men should be saved and be led to recognize the truth. (I Tim. 2:4)


This divine will cannot remain unproductive, but must have a real effect in the natural as well as the supernatural order. (I Sent. 46. 1. 1., de Ver: 23: 2c and ad 2um.) Therefore God’s grace, contrary to the teaching of Calvin, is at the disposal of all men.


Notwithstanding all this, the Church confesses explicitly at the 19th Ecumenical Council of Trent:


Although Christ died for us all (II Cor. 5:15) not all receive the benefit of his death, but only those to whom the merits of his passion have been applied. When Jesus addressed his Consummatum est to heaven and earth, his passion was indeed completed, but not his work. This had to be continued through the ages. When he died, a principle had been established, according to which the Father owed it to himself and to Jesus to reconcile individual human beings to the Godhead: to forgive their personal sins, to remit their punishment and to bless them. There was one condition: that these individual human beings should be submitted to the action of this causality so that it might be applied to each of them in the necessary way, agreed upon and defined by the Father and Jesus.


As we have already examined Mary’s share in the universal salvific causality, there only remains for us to look more closely at her part in the application of this universal causality to individual human beings.


But just as the one reality of the universal causality has many aspects, so that we are obliged to treat separately of merit, satisfaction, redemption and atonement, so too the one reality of the application, which is the distribution of graces, presents different aspects, and we are therefore obliged to speak separately of mediation of graces, intercession and royalty.


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The notion mediator may be studied in its general character which must be present wherever and whenever mediation is mentioned; and consequently according to the special character of this or that special case. Therefore the Mediator between God and men, our Lord Jesus Christ, has attributes which belong to him in common with all other mediators, and other attributes which are to be found only in this particular case of mediation.