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Our Lady’s Coredemption

We here present a classic defense of Our Lady’s role as the Co-redemptrix as articulated by the late Fr. Juniper B. Carol, renowned mariologist and founder of the Mariological Society of America. Even though the article is written before the Second Vatican Council, and the pontificate of John Paul II and his extraordinary contribution to Marian Coredemption, Fr. Carol’s treatise still represents the unquestionable presence of Marian Coredemption in Scripture, Tradition and the Papal Magisterium. – Ed.

Those who are fairly abreast of current Catholic thought scarcely need to be apprised of the importance attached to the problem of Our Lady’s Coredemption in contemporary theological literature. They are aware of the fact that during the past twenty-five years particularly, few questions in the vast field of the sacred sciences have engaged the attention of theologians more frequently and absorbingly than the one we are about to discuss. Even the Protestant theologian Giovanni Miegge recognizes this truth when he maintains that Mary’s Coredemption is the central and fundamental issue in twentieth-century Mariology. (1)

Indeed, considering “the pressure of public opinion,” it is easy to foresee that this Marian prerogative will soon be solemnly defined by the Roman Pontiff. (2) If we believe Pierre Maury, another Protestant writer, the Coredemption is not only one of the primary principles of Mariology; (3) in the mind of the Popes and Catholic theologians, it is the very synthesis of the Marian tract. (4)

Despite their exaggerated appraisal, it is obvious that these non-Catholic authors reflect the current doctrinal preoccupations of their Catholic brethren. Be that as it may, it remains true that many dogmatic questions will not be satisfactorily solved nor properly understood until they are solved and understood through a well-focused prism of the fundamental doctrine relative to Our Lady’s position in the economy of salvation.

Perhaps it is well to remark at the outset that, in writing this article we make no pretense of either originality or thoroughness. Both are impossible under the circumstances. Our aim is simply to acquaint English-speaking readers with the result of the many years of study which modern Mariologists have devoted to this complex yet enthralling doctrine. Considering the vastness of the field, our presentation will be, of necessity, somewhat sketchy and superficial. (5) It will follow the usual pattern adopted in similar dissertations, namely:

preliminary notions and state of the question; the argument from the Magisterium (Section I); the teaching of Sacred Scripture (Section II); the data of Tradition (Section III); the nature and modalities of the Coredemption (Section IV); difficulties and solutions (Section V).

Preliminary Notions and State of the Question

Since the word “Coredemptrix,” by its very definition, designates Our Lady’s share in the work of man’s supernatural rehabilitation as brought about by Christ, it is obvious that in order to have an accurate understanding of the doctrine expressed by that word, we must first have exact notions concerning the essence of Christ’s redemptive work and likewise of the various ways in which Mary may be said to have co-operated therein.

We take the term “Redemption” to mean exclusively the restoring of the human race to the divine friendship lost by sin, in virtue of the meritorious and satisfactory acts which the Savior performed while still on earth, and which He offered to the Eternal Father with and through His sacrificial death on the cross. The “price” which Christ paid for our ransom from the slavery of Satan was actually the sum total of His merits and satisfactions from the time of the Incarnation until His self-immolation on Calvary. The Eternal Father was so pleased with this price offered by His beloved Son, that He canceled our debt, was reconciled to the human race, and showed Himself ready to grant us again the graces necessary for our salvation. The Redemption just described is called by some objective Redemption, (6) by others, Redemption in actu primo, and again by others, Redemption sensu proprio. The actual application of this Redemption to individual souls is referred to by some modern authors as the subjective Redemption (Redemption in actu secundo; Redemption sensu lato). In this article we are directly concerned with the Redemption itself (Redemption in the proper sense) and not with the application of its fruits to individuals.

Speaking in general, there are two ways in which Our Lady may be said to have co-operated in Christ’s redemptive work: mediately (indirectly, remotely) and immediately (directly, proximately). Mary co-operated mediately, for example, by meriting some of the circumstances of the Incarnation, and chiefly by giving birth to the world’s Savior. Since Mary knowingly and willingly consented to the coming of Christ with a view to man’s Redemption, it is clear that this co-operation of hers was moral and formal, notwithstanding its being mediate. (7) She co-operated immediately if her merits and satisfactions were accepted by Almighty God together with the merits and satisfactions of Christ to bring about the selfsame effect, namely, the restoration of the human race to God’s former friendship. Another type of immediate co-operation would be had, for example, if Our Lady had determined Christ (by request, command, counsel, etc.) to perform the work of Redemption, thus directly influencing the Savior’s redemptive acts in themselves. This particular point will call for further observations when we discuss the nature of the Coredemption, under Section IV to follow.

Let us now cast a rapid glance at the various opinions expressed by Catholic (8) theologians in this connection. It is, of course, admitted by all that Our Lady had a mediate share in our Redemption inasmuch as she freely consented to become the conscious instrument of the Redeemer’s coming by consenting to be His Mother. Furthermore, it is generally granted that Our Lady participated in our Redemption in the sense that, throughout her life, she united her sentiments, prayers, and sufferings to those of her divine Son, desiring to be associated with His saving mission out of love for the human race. But the agreement ceases as soon as theologians endeavor to determine the precise value, efficacy, and extent of that co-operation. A first group, representing the minority, contends that Our Lady’s association with the Redeemer, as just described, had no value or efficacy whatever for the Redemption itself (objective Redemption, as they call it), but only for the application of its fruits to individual souls (subjective Redemption, as they say). In other words, the human race was reinstated into the friendship of God in view of the merits and satisfactions of Christ alone. Mary, too, had merits and satisfactions of her own, but these merely won for her the right, or quasi right, to become the dispenser of all the graces which flow from the Savior’s redeeming sacrifice. Such is, in its barest outline, the opinion of H. Lennerz, S.J., W. Goossens, G. D. Smith, and several other distinguished theologians and Catholic writers. (9)

A second group, no less distinguished than the first, believes that Our Lady co-operated proximately, directly and immediately, in the Redemption itself (objective Redemption) inasmuch as Almighty God was pleased to accept her merits and satisfactions together with those of Christ (although subordinately to them) as having redemptive value for the liberation of mankind from the slavery of Satan and its supernatural rehabilitation. Hence, just as the world was redeemed by Christ, it was also coredeemed by Mary. The difference between the two causalities lies in this, that while Christ’s merits and satisfactions were infinite, self-sufficient, and de condigno ex toto rigore justitiae, Our Lady’s merits and satisfactions were finite, totally dependent upon those of Christ whence they drew all their value, and de congruo. (10) Such is the view which we ourselves have consistently upheld and which has the endorsement of the vast majority of Catholic theologians at the present time. Outstanding for their contributions in this connection are Msgr. J. Lebon, J. M. Dover, S.J., the late Canon J. Bittremieux, C. Dillenschneider, C.Ss.R., C. Friethoff, O.P., P. Strater, S.J., H. Seiler, S.J., G. M. Roschini, O.S.M., E. Druwé, S.J., and D. Bertetto, S.D.B. (11) In Section IV below we shall have occasion to discuss in greater detail the various ways in which these theologians explain the nature of Mary’s Coredemption sensu proprio.

Within the past decade a small group of German theologians have undertaken to champion what many consider a “middle-course theory” between the two schools of thought just referred to. Summarized in a few words, their position may be stated as follows: Our Blessed Lord alone brought about our reconciliation with God in actu primo. This presupposed, Our Lady may be said to have proximately cooperated in the objective Redemption in the sense that she “accepted” the fruits of the Savior’s redemptive sacrifice and made them available to the members of the Church whom she officially represented on Calvary. (12) As the alert reader will observe, this theory does not adopt a true “middle course.” While their advocates frequently use the terminology of the second group (a clever camouflage), actually their explanation (or destruction?) of Our Lady’s Coredemption coincides substantially with that of Professors Lennerz and Goossens. (13)

With the above preliminary remarks in mind, we shall now proceed to give a resumé of the arguments which would seem to establish the thesis championed by the theologians of the second group.

I. The Ordinary Magisterium on Mary’s Coredemption

Under the term “magisterium” we designate the teaching of the Supreme Pontiffs and of the body of bishops in communion with Rome. We refer to it as “ordinary” in contradistinction to the solemn and extraordinary teaching contained in ex cathedra pronouncements or conciliar definitions. We are dealing here with less important documents such as encyclical letters, papal allocutions, and the like. (14) As far as doctrinal questions are concerned, the Pope and the bishops, and they alone, constitute the authentic and divinely appointed teaching authority here on earth. While God’s revelation is objectively preserved in Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition, nevertheless the data found in these sources must always be interpreted according to the mind of the living magisterium. It is only by following the guidance of this “proximate rule of faith” that the faithful can be sure of grasping the genuine sense of the depositum fidei. And by “the faithful” we mean, not only the simple, unlettered, ordinary Catholic, but the professional theologians as well, regardless of their learning and official status.

It is only within the past one hundred years that the Popes have turned their attention to the specific phase of Mariology being discussed here. Nevertheless, their repeated statements in this connection are sufficiently clear and important to deserve separate treatment in this article. (15) The series of noteworthy testimonies fittingly opens with Leo XIII (1878-1903) whose numerous Marian encyclicals contributed so much to the recent Mariological movement. In his Jucunda semper (1894) Pope Leo states that “when Mary offered herself completely to God together with her Son in the temple, she was already sharing with Him the painful atonement on behalf of the human race… (at the foot of the cross) she willingly offered Him up to the divine justice, dying with Him in her heart, pierced by the sword of sorrow.” (16) A year later he wrote that “she who had been the cooperatrix in the sacrament of man’s Redemption, would be likewise the cooperatrix in the dispensation of graces deriving from it.” (17) The passage is worth noting because it clearly distinguishes the Redemption itself from its actual application, and points out that Our Lady co-operates in both.

A similar distinction is alluded to in the much-discussed text of the encyclical Ad diem illum (1904) of St. Pius X (1903-1914). Here we read: “Owing to the union of suffering and purpose existing between Christ and Mary, she merited to become most worthily the reparatrix of the lost world, and for this reason, the dispenser of all the favors which Jesus acquired for us by His death and His blood.” The Pontiff then mentions that Christ is the source of grace, and Mary its channel; hence, far from him to ascribe to her the efficient causality of grace. Then he continues: “Nevertheless, because she surpasses all in holiness and in union with Christ, and because she was chosen by Christ to be His partner in the work of human salvation, she merits for us de congruo, as they say, that which Christ merited for us de condigno, and she is the principal dispenser of the graces to be distributed.” (18) Some theologians, it is true, understand these words as referring exclusively to Our Lady’s cooperation in the so-called subjective Redemption; but in all probability those who interpret them in the sense of a true and proper Co-redemption (and they are the majority) have captured the genuine meaning of the papal passage. (19)

If some hesitation is conceivable as regards the teaching of Popes Leo and St. Pius, the stand of their successor, Benedict XV (1914-1922), leaves no room for doubt. He was the first Pope to formulate the doctrine of Mary’s Coredemption in trenchant and unequivocal terms. His classical text is found in the Apostolic Letter Inter sodalicia (1918) and reads in part: “To such extent did (Mary) suffer and almost die with her suffering and dying Son; to such extent did she surrender her maternal rights over her Son for man’s salvation, and immolated Him—insofar as she could—in order to appease the justice of God, that we may rightly say she redeemed the human race together with Christ.” (20) It is to be noted that the Pope is not reviewing here the various aspects of Our Lady’s remote connection with the redemptive work of her Son; the specific manner in which she is said to have redeemed the world with Christ is her direct participation in the Passion, in the sacrificial immolation itself, in order to make satisfaction for the sins of the world. (21)

Remarkable though it is, the above text lacks one thing: the word Coredemptrix itself. Benedict’s immediate successor, Pius XI (1922-1939) was the first Pope explicitly to apply this title to Our Lady. Perhaps his most important testimony is that found in the prayer with which he solemnly closed the jubilee of our Redemption on April 28, 1935: “O Mother of love and mercy who, when thy sweetest Son was consummating the Redemption of the human race on the altar of the cross, didst stand next to Him, suffering with Him as a Coredemptrix… preserve in us, we beseech thee, and increase day by day the precious fruit of His redemption and thy compassion.” (22) Here Our Lady is styled Coredemptrix, not because she gave birth to the Savior, but because of her proximate share in the Redemption itself; and the graces which flow from that Redemption are said to be the fruit of a joint causality: the Passion of Christ and the compassion of His Mother. (23)

While the present Holy Father, Pius XII, has not as yet employed the term “Coredemptrix” in any of his official documents, (24) nevertheless, his mind on this Marian prerogative is quite clear from several utterances in this connection. For example, in his encyclical Mystici Corporis (1943) he writes: “It was she (Mary) who, always most intimately united with her Son, like a New Eve, offered Him up on Golgotha to the Eternal Father, together with the sacrifice of her maternal rights and love, on behalf of all the children of Adam, stained by the latter’s shameful fall.” (25) In a detailed analysis of this passage, published elsewhere, (26) we have endeavored to establish that it contains a direct reference to Our Lady’s Coredemption sensu proprio. We see no valid reason for a more restricted interpretation. Again, in his radio broadcast to the pilgrims gathered at Fatima on May 13, 1946, the same Pontiff stated:

He, the Son of God, reflects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty and the dominion of His kingship; for, having been associated with the King of Martyrs in the ineffable work of human Redemption as Mother and cooperatrix, she remains forever associated with Him, with an almost unlimited power, in the distribution of graces which flow from the Redemption. Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest; through Him, with Him and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest and by singular election. (27)

If, as the Pope points out, Mary’s co-operation in the Redemption is the basis for her role in the application of its fruits, the former function cannot possibly be identified with her share in the subjective Redemption; it must refer to the very acquisition of graces, to the Redemption itself. Note also that Our Lady is Queen by right of conquest, which, in the teaching commonly received, means that she is our Queen because she is our Coredemptrix in the proper sense of the word.

Another passage deserving of mention is the one found in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus(1950) among the most cogent arguments in favor of the Assumption. It reads: “We must remember especially that, since the second century, the Virgin Mary has been designated by the holy Fathers as the new Eve, who, although subject to the new Adam, is most intimately associated with Him in that struggle against the infernal foe which, as foretold in the Protoevangelium (Gen. 3:15), finally resulted in that most complete victory over sin and death…” (28) Since the struggle and victory foretold in Genesis 3:15 refer to the work of Redemption, (29) it follows that Our Lady had an intimate share in the latter. Indeed, the purpose of that close association between Christ and His Mother had been specified by the same Pope on another occasion in these significant words: “Are not Jesus and Mary the two sublime loves of the Christian people? Are they not the new Adam and the new Eve whom the tree of the cross unites in sorrow and in love in order to make satisfaction for the guilt of our first parents in Eden?” (30) In view of the above papal testimonies we feel that the thesis of Mary’s Coredemption, as understood by the majority of theologians, may well claim the endorsement of the ordinary magisterium, especially as represented by Popes Benedict XV and Pius XII. In our evaluation of these and other papal utterances we must, of course, avoid the excesses of those who either minimize them or exaggerate them unduly. Both attitudes are reprehensible, particularly the former. While the passages quoted do not in any way constitute infallible pronouncements, nevertheless they should be received with humble respect and religious assent, coming, as they do, from the highest teaching authority in the Church. The Popes are undoubtedly well aware of the fact that their words are interpreted by a large number of theologians as favoring the doctrine of Mary’s Coredemption sensu proprio. Had they felt that they were being misunderstood, they surely would have used the proper means to correct the error, considering the far-reaching implications of the thesis, and their duty to safeguard the purity of the faith. Yet, not only have they failed to sound a warning, but their statements in this connection have increased in number and emphasis in recent years. (31)

II. The Argument from Sacred Scripture

It is common knowledge among Catholics and non-Catholics alike that Sacred Scripture contains no clear and explicit statement to the effect that Our Lady was destined to fulfill a coredemptive mission on behalf of the human race. However, Catholic writers in general agree that this mission is implied in the written word of God. (32) This suffices in order to consider any point of doctrine as revealed by God, as forming part of the original deposit of divine revelation.

The first, and indeed the most important, biblical passage generally advanced in support of our thesis is the well-known Protoevangelium, which embodies the promise of a future Redeemer. In striking simplicity the sacred text relates how, after the fall of our first parents in the garden of Eden, Almighty God addressed these words to the tempter disguised under the appearance of a serpent: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; he shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for his heel” (Gen. 3:15). The Creator, therefore, is not only going to frustrate the evil designs of His enemy; in His infinite wisdom He plans a particularly humiliating device: to bring about the devil’s utter defeat by using certain means which are similar (though in reverse) to those employed by the devil to perpetrate our spiritual ruin. Immediately the question arises: who is that mysterious woman chosen by God to wage a victorious battle against His enemy? The point has been widely discussed from time immemorial, but principally in recent years, in view of the obvious Mariological implications. It is well to bear in mind that the discussion does not center on the second part of the text, which the Vulgate renders: “she shall crush thy head…,” for scholars agree that the original Hebrew read: “He (the seed of the woman) shall crush thy head,” and hence no strictly biblical argument may be drawn from it in favor of Our Lady. The debate bears directly on the first part of the pericope, namely, on the identity of “the woman” who is at enmity with Satan. While a few interpreters still contend that the reference here is to Eve and Eve alone, (33) the vast majority of Catholic theologians and exegetes hold that “the woman” designates Our Blessed Lady, either in a typical sense (34) or even in a literal sense. (35) In our humble opinion, this latter view is the only one that can possibly be reconciled with the positive data of subsequent revelation, and with the various utterances of the magisterium as found in the Ineffabilis Deus, (36)Munificentissimus Deus, (37) and Fulgens corona. (38) Indeed, there are very weighty reasons indicating that we are dealing here with an exclusive-literal Marian sense. (39)

Based on the above interpretation, the argument from the Protoevangelium may be formulated as follows: In the words of Genesis 3:15, Almighty God foretells a singular and absolute struggle between Christ and Satan, a struggle which will eventually culminate in the utter defeat of the latter. Since, on the one hand, this struggle-victory coincided with the redemptive work of the Savior, (40) and on the other hand, Our Lady’s struggle is identically the same as Christ’s, (41) and she has an intimate share in His complete triumph, (42) it follows that her coredemptive mission is already foreshadowed in the sacred text. The passage itself does not, of course, elaborate on the various modalities of that mission, although the interpretation given by Pope Pius IX in Ineffabilis Deus would seem to point to a direct co-operation in the Redemption itself. (43)

This close association between the Redeemer and His Mother, foretold in the book of Genesis, is strikingly suggested also in several narratives of the New Testament. The Annunciation pericope, for example, with which we are all so familiar, has been discussed quite at length by Catholic writers in this connection. The scene introduces the Angel Gabriel informing Our Lady of God’s economy relative to the coming of the promised Redeemer through her instrumentality. Since Mary has vowed perpetual virginity, she naturally questions the heavenly messenger as to the manner in which the divine decree is to be fulfilled. Being assured that the Incarnation of the Word will be accomplished through a supernatural overshadowing on the part of the Holy Spirit, she humbly surrenders to God’s holy designs and answers: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word” (Lk. 1:38).

Interpreted in the light of Christian tradition, this sacred text leads us to the following conclusions: (a) that the angel was sent by God, not to impose a command which had to be obeyed by Mary regardless of her free choice, (44) but to request her consent to the divine plan; (b) that this plan concerned not merely the assumption of a human nature on the part of the Divine Word, but likewise the redemptive role with which the Incarnate Word would be charged; (c) that Our Lady gave her consent with adequate (not full) knowledge of what the Savior’s mission entailed; (45) and (d) that she gave it most willingly, namely, desiring and intending what God desired and intended to accomplish through the Incarnation. So much can be accepted—and is accepted—by Catholic theologians in general.

From the above we gather that Our Blessed Lady, by the very fact that she uttered her fiat, positively co-operated in the initial phase of the world’s Redemption. Her fiat was not simply a gracious gesture by which she “accepted” the redemptive work of Christ. It was an act of formal participation in the soteriological mystery itself. It was such, not by an absolute necessity, but by a hypothetical necessity, since it was required by the divine Will disposing that Mary should represent mankind in the supernatural alliance taking place between the Word and the human race. (46) As things stand, she was not merely a physical instrument, but a formal and official co-agent used by God to carry out His saving scheme. (47)

May we advance a step further and say, with Prof. J. M. Bover and others, (48) that Mary’s initial consent, taken by itself, implies an immediate co-operation in the entire redemptive work of her Son? Some theologians have raised difficulties against this view, and, obviously, for good reasons. Granted that a co-operation is usually considered remote or proximate, not by reason of its distance in time from the effect, but rather by reason of the amount of influence on the effect. (49) Nevertheless, this amount of influence may have varying degrees of “directness” and it is this specific circumstance that should be the deciding factor.

For this reason we may conceive of a person knowingly and willingly giving his or her (hypothetically necessary) consent so that a certain action may be performed solely by a third party. In which case the effect will be ascribed to the person giving the consent as a moral, formal cause, yet not as an immediate co-agent.

Be that as it may, the Annunciation scene is not the last word on our subject. In fact, the Evangelists do not fail to bring out the close association of Mary with her Son on the other two passages bearing directly on His redemptive mission, namely, the incident of the Purification and that of Calvary. In the former, Our Blessed Lady offers her Son to God (a public oblation corresponding to the private oblation she performed at the Incarnation) and hears the aged Simeon prophesy her future share in the Savior’s Passion: “Thine own soul a sword shall pierce.” (50) In the latter, she is publicly proclaimed the spiritual Mother of the human race as she regenerates everyone of us to the life of grace through her bitter compassion. “When Jesus, therefore, had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he said to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he said to the disciple: Behold thy mother.” (51)

The evangelist does not tell us that Mary was standing at the foot of the cross for the purpose of co-operating with her divine Son in the world’s restoration. Nevertheless, his reference to her spiritual Motherhood is quite significant at this particular juncture. That the Savior’s words “Behold thy Mother” must be interpreted as signifying Mary’s universal Maternity of grace in a scriptural sense, can scarcely be questioned any longer. (52) The mind of the magisterium on this point, (53) particularly as expressed by Pope Leo XIII, (54) is sufficiently clear to dispel all possible doubts. Now, in the present economy, the spiritual Maternity practically coincides with Our Lady’s direct co-operation in the Redemption. (55) Therefore, if—as the Popes tell us—the former was publicly proclaimed by Christ’s words on the cross, so was the latter, at least by implication. After all, it was then and there at the foot of the cross that Our Lady was bringing to its natural climax the initial oblation which took place at the Incarnation. It was then and there that she was surrendering her maternal rights on the divine Victim in order to satisfy for the sins of mankind. (56) It was then and there that she was officially sharing the immolation of the Redeemer precisely in order to regenerate the human race to the life of grace together with Him and under Him. (57) Bearing this set of circumstances in mind, we are almost compelled to see in the brief but pregnant Johannine passage an implied reference to Our Blessed Lady’s role as Coredemptrix of mankind. (58)

To sum up: all things considered, Sacred Scripture is far from being silent on the thesis of Mary’s direct share in the Savior’s soteriological mission. Exegetes and theologians may continue to debate over the precise value of specific texts, but the content of all pertinent passages combined, especially when interpreted in the light of recent papal pronouncements, does lend considerable support to the doctrine in question.

III. The Teaching of Tradition

The doctrine of Our Lady’s Coredemption is generally referred to as “traditional” in the Catholic Church. If by that is meant that this thesis, as we profess it today, has been taught in the Church from the beginning, the claim is hardly acceptable, for reasons to be indicated shortly. Nevertheless, since the teaching of contemporary theologians on this matter is but a further elaboration of what has been handed down from the beginning, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, we are justified in considering that teaching as “traditional” or based on Tradition.

In order to follow the gradual development of the doctrine through the centuries, we shall divide this treatment in three sections corresponding to the three following periods: (a) the patristic period, that is, from the beginning to the eighth century; (b) the middle ages, from the ninth to the seventeenth centuries; and (c) the modern period, from the seventeenth century to the present time.

A. The Patristic Period

One of the most ancient doctrinal portraits of Our Blessed Lady is unquestionably that which represents her as the New Eve or Second Eve, next to the New or Second Adam. The implied doctrine has two phases, according to whether it is used as a parallel or as an antithesis. In the first case, Mary is compared with the first woman before the fall, and the comparison points to her sinlessness and especially her virginity. In the second case, Mary is set in contrast to Eve after the fall, and then the emphasis is placed on her unique position in the economy of salvation. The second aspect alone is of interest to us here. Briefly formulated, the antithesis amounts to this: Just as Eve shared Adam’s responsibility in the process of original prevarication, so likewise Mary was instrumental with Christ in the reparation of the initial fall.

That this distinctive feature of Our Lady’s mission was widely accepted throughout the patristic era is admitted by all Catholic theologians and historians at the present time. Hence, we may be dispensed from the burdensome task of offering here a more or less complete anthology of pertinent ancient texts. (59) The problem which divides modern scholars concerns rather the precise interpretation to be given to these numerous texts. The classical testimony of St. Irenaeus (d. c. 202), which we will now examine, may well serve as a typical example. Our discussion concerning him applies equally to all others, since the basic idea they express is substantially one and the same. (60)

The celebrated bishop of Lyons summarizes the antithetical parallelism as follows: “Just as she (Eve) . . . having disobeyed, became the cause of death to herself and to the entire human race, so Mary . . . being obedient (to the angel’s message), became the cause of salvation to herself and to the entire human race. . . . Thus the knot of Eve’s disobedience received (its) unloosing through the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve bound by unbelief, that the virgin Mary unfastened by faith.” (61)

Even a cursory analysis of the above passage will not fail to disclose that St. Irenaeus is therein comparing not only the virginity of Eve (something purely personal) with the virginity of Mary, but also, by way of contrast, the evil effect of Eve’s action with the salutary effect of Mary’s positive causality. Moreover, the manner in which Mary exercises her causality is not merely by being the Mother of the Redeemer, but by freely consenting, in humble obedience, to the designs of God as expressed by the angel. Hence we are dealing here, not with an exclusive causality of a physical nature, as Prof. Lennerz contends, (62) but with a formal co-operation in the moral order. Indeed, since the object of that obedient consent was the redemptive Incarnation itself, it follows that Our Lady’s cooperation had a soteriological character and value. All this may be gathered from the words of the Saint without doing any violence to them.

Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that, in the teaching of St. Irenaeus, the Incarnation was “redemptive” only in the sense that, by assuming a human nature, the God-Man was thereby “summing up” the human race in Himself, thus being capable of carrying out our reconciliation by theandric acts which actually followed the Incarnation itself. In other words, the Incarnation was the initial phase of the Redemption. (63) That Mary had a very definite role to play in that initial phase is tersely declared by the author, and in this sense he styles her “the cause of salvation.” Beyond that, the Bishop of Lyons does not specify; nor, for that matter, do the other Fathers who employ the Eve-Mary antithesis. (64) For this very reason we do not share the views of those who believe that the passage in question clearly points to Mary’s immediate co-operation in the Redemption itself. (65)

The claim is sometimes made that, beyond comparing Mary with Eve, many Fathers and early Christian writers ascribe the various effects of the Redemption to Our Lady. Such an attribution, it is maintained, would hardly be justified if the Fathers had in mind only a remote causality on the part of Mary, just as one would not be justified in attributing the discovery of the American continent to Columbus’ mother, simply because she had given birth to him.

We answer that if the testimonies of the Fathers are read in their proper context and in the light of parallel passages, they are found to ascribe the effects of the Redemption to Our Lady either because of her instrumentality in the Incarnation or because of her actual intercession in heaven, as we have shown elsewhere in detail. (66) As to the example of Columbus’ mother, we fail to see the parity. The discovery of America can in no way be predicated of her because there was no internal nexus between the act of giving birth to Columbus and the future feat accomplished by him. The Incarnation, on the contrary, was the very beginning of our Redemption; it was redemptive in the sense explained above. Since Our Lady had formally co-operated therein, the early writers were amply justified in ascribing to her the work of Redemption in globo, regardless of what they thought concerning Mary’s causality in the soteriological acts which followed the Incarnation and which, per modum unius with the sacrifice of Calvary, constituted our objective reconciliation with God.

Perhaps the following example will serve to illustrate the point. Let us suppose that the coming of a certain doctor to a hospital is strictly necessary to save a patient who would certainly die unless an operation were performed on him. Let us suppose, furthermore, that the doctor refuses to go to the hospital without his wife’s consent. The latter, ardently desiring the patient’s health, gladly acquiesces. The operation is performed and the patient at once recovers.

It is evident that the wife formally and efficaciously contributed to the patient’s recovery; he owes his subsequent health to her. And yet, she did not directly and immediately co-operate in the surgical operation itself, as performed by her husband. In our humble opinion, this is the type of co-operation which the Fathers and early writers ascribe to Our Lady in the process of man’s rehabilitation. It is one thing to say that Mary’s immediate co-operation in the Redemption itself is implied in, or deduced from, the teaching of the Fathers; it is another thing to assert that the Fathers themselves perceived this type of co-operation. The former is perfectly legitimate; the latter is quite unwarranted. The complex doctrine relative to Mary’s role as the Second Eve contains, as in germ, many aspects to which the ancient writers simply did not advert. It was left to subsequent generations to arrive gradually at these aspects by way of analysis and/or deduction. (67)

B. The Middle Ages

The period which we designate here as the Middle Ages extends roughly from the ninth to the sixteenth century and may well be considered a transition period as regards our doctrine. It is during this time that theologians and Catholic writers in general, under the influence of SS. Bernard and Bonaventure, and particularly of pseudo-Albert the Great and Arnold of Chartres, begin to turn their attention to the properly soteriological character of Our Lady’s association with the Savior of mankind. (68)

As it was to be expected, we still find during this period (especially at the beginning) not a few authors who, at first sight, seem to be very explicit on the question of Mary’s Coredemption, but who, upon closer examination, do nothing but repeat what their predecessors had taught. Among these we may mention St. Tarasius (fl. 807), St. George of Nicomedia (fl. 880), Alcuin (d. 904), and Eadmer of Canterbury (d. 1124) who, incidentally, seems to be the first to mention Mary’s merit in connection with man’s Redemption. (69)

With St. Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) we take a definite step forward. It is in his writings that we hear, for the first time, of Our Lady’s satisfaction for the damage caused by Eve, (70) although the context would indicate only a remote co-operation in our Redemption. His importance lies rather in the fact that he introduced the idea of Our Lady’s offering the divine Victim in the temple for our reconciliation with God; an offering which, according to him, was accepted by the Eternal Father. (71) This idea was taken up and elaborated by his disciple, Arnold of Chartres (d. 1160), who may well be acknowledged as the first clear exponent of Our Lady’s Coredemption. On Calvary, he writes, Christ and Mary “together accomplished the task of man’s Redemption . . . both offered up one and the same sacrifice to God: she in the blood of her heart (i.e., through her compassion), He in the blood of the flesh … so that, together with Christ, she obtains a common effect in the salvation of the world.” (72) The great influence of Arnold’s remarkable teaching is easily gathered from the innumerable authors of subsequent centuries who explicitly quote him approvingly on this matter.

Likewise deserving of mention in the history of this development are St. Albert the Great (d. 1280) and St. Bonaventure (d. 1274). (73) The noteworthy contribution of the Universal Doctor would seem to lie in his insistence that the principium consortii outlined by the Fathers be extended to the entire process of man’s Redemption; (74) while it was left to the Seraphic Doctor to draw the only logical conclusion by pointing out that on Calvary Our Lady co-offered the divine Victim, (75) satisfied for our sins, (76) and paid the price of our Redemption. (77) The famous Mariale, until recently attributed to St. Albert, but written probably at the beginning of the following century, (78) frequently and forcibly echoes Bonaventure’s far-reaching intuitions, (79) particularly as regards Our Lady’s share in the redemptive merit of the passion. (80) In clearness of expression, however, all these authors were far surpassed by the great Dominican mystic-theologian, Blessed John Tauler (d. 1361). According to him, Mary offered herself, together with her Son, as a living victim for the salvation of all; (81) furthermore, “God accepted her oblation (on Calvary) as a pleasing sacrifice, for the utility and salvation of the whole human race … so that, through the merit of her sorrows, she might change God’s anger into mercy.” (82) A little further he thus addresses Our Lady: “(At the foot of the cross), filled with sorrow, thou hast redeemed men together with thy Son.” (83)

It is about this time that the ideas expressed above begin to be reflected with amazing limpidity in some liturgical hymns. And it is interesting to note that the term “Coredemptrix” is now making its appearance, perhaps for the first time in history. (84) The following excerpts will suffice:

Pia, dulcis et benigna

Nullo prorsus luctu digna,

Si fletum hinc eligeres

Ut compassa Redemptori

Tu Corredemptrix fieres. (85)

Laus Patri necnon Filio

Sancto simul Paraclito

Pro poenis matris et nati

Quibus sumus reparati (86)

Sit Trinitati gloria

Pro redemptionis venia

Quam meruerunt miseris

Filius et mater nobis. (87)

As to the fifteenth century, its contribution to the evolution of our doctrine was virtually nonexistent. With the exception of St. Antonine of Florence, who repeats and somewhat elaborates the excellent ideas of pseudo-Albert. (88) the several Marian writers of this period, while emphasizing Mary’s compassion on Calvary, are rather vague and ambiguous as to the nature and extent of that co-operation. (89) Something similar may be said, in general, concerning the authors of the sixteenth century. The two notable exceptions here would be Archbishop Ambrose Catarino, O.P. (d. 1553), and the eminent theologian of the Council of Trent, Alphonsus Salmeron, SJ. (d. 1585). The former trenchantly states that Our Blessed Lord and His Mother, taking upon themselves the sins of the world, merited our Redemption through their joint sufferings; (90) according to the latter, it was the will of the Savior that His holy Mother, as a Coredemptrix, should have a share in His redeeming power; for this reason our Redemption proceeded actually from both: Christ and Mary. (91)

As to Francis Suarez (d. 1617), who is sometimes styled “the father of modern Mariology,” it is obvious that his stand on the Coredemption thesis does not approach, in perspicuity of expression, that of his illustrious confrere Salmeron. However, it must be noted in all fairness that he was the first to discuss our subject ex professo in a strictly theological commentary. (92)

C. The Modern Period

If clear-cut and categorical statements like those of Tauler and Catarino were exceptional in the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries respectively, they became more and more common in the period immediately following. Indeed, the seventeenth century may well be considered the “Golden Age” of Mary’s Coredemption. It is with the theologians of this epoch that the doctrine of Mary’s direct co-operation in the Redemption reaches its fullest development; and this to such extent that subsequent generations can scarcely be said to have contributed any new element of importance in this connection.

Since the available data are so numerous and varied, (93) it seems preferable to group them under appropriate headings, giving their doctrinal content after the manner of a systematic synthesis. These headings will correspond to the various aspects under which Our Lady’s prerogative is generally studied by theologians, namely: merit, satisfaction, sacrifice, and ransom or redemptive price.

a) Merit. From some of the testimonies previously recorded we gather that the explicit teaching regarding Our Lady’s coredemptive merit dates back to at least the fourteenth century. By the middle of the seventeenth century the doctrine had become almost a theological axiom and was formulated as follows: the Blessed Virgin merited for us de congruo that which Christ merited for us de condigno.

Perhaps the first theologian to exploit the above axiom was the Jesuit Ferdinand de Salazar (d. 1646) in his Expositio in Proverbia Salomonis, published in Cologne in the year 1618. (94) He was soon followed by Roderick de Portillo, O.F.M., who, in 1630 tersely remarked: “…There is no doubt that (at the foot of the cross) the Blessed Virgin merited the same thing which her Son merited.” (95) Only a few years later (1646) the controversial Angelus Vulpes, O.F.M.Conv., would echo Portillo with the declaration that it was through the merits of Christ and Mary that God had decreed to redeem mankind from the slavery of Satan. (96) By the year 1659 the Franciscan bishop of Acerno, Francis Guerra, could calmly refer to this doctrine as “the common opinion of theologians.” (97) In partial support of this rather ambitious claim, we could quote here, among others, the Franciscans Van Hondeghem, Urrutigoyti, and Wadding; (98) the Augustinian Bartholomew de los Rios; the Dominican Dassier; (99) and the Jesuits Poire, de Vega, de Rhodes, de Convelt, and Reichenberger. (100) The last author mentioned, an erudite professor of the University of Prague, penned a lengthy and vigorous refutation of the unorthodox brochure Monita salutaria B. V. Mariae ad devotos suos indiscretos, in which the author, Adam Widenfeld, had questioned Mary’s prerogative. (101)

Despite its Mariological deficiencies, the eighteenth century also yields some unequivocal testimonies in this connection, such as are found in the works of Van Ketwigh, the prolific Montalbanus, Nasi, Galiffet, del Moral, and Lossada. (102) With the exception of the last two, there is little originality in these authors. They seem to be satisfied with re-echoing the acquisitions of the past.

As to the nineteenth century, it would be comparatively easy to multiply the number of favorable witnesses. Perhaps the most influential are Castelplanio, Scheeben, Herrmann, R. de la Broise, Depoix, Faber, and Pradie. (103) All these authors, and many of their tributaries, unhesitatingly uphold the coredemptive nature of Our Lady’s merit. It is of interest to note here, in view of recent controversies, that, of all the writers mentioned thus far, only two (the Franciscans Charles del Moral and Dominic Lossada) defend the theory that Our Lady merited our Redemption de condigno; the others continue to adhere to a congruous merit.

b) Satisfaction. Christ’s actions, eminently His Passion, offered to the Eternal Father in obedience and charity, constituted a superabundant compensation for the sins of the human race. That the Blessed Virgin also, particularly through her bitter compassion, offered some satisfaction for our sins is quite commonly held at the present time. Taught in the Middle Ages only occasionally, this phase of the doctrine begins to appear more and more boldly expressed in the Mariological treatises of the seventeenth century. We find it, for example, in Frangipane, Wadding, de Kreaytter, in the writings of Urrutigoyti and de Vega. The last two seem to be the first to defend the possibility of even a condign satisfaction on the part of Our Lady, without in the least detracting from the unique prerogative of the Savior. (104)

The eighteenth century introduces no innovations in this respect; it simply holds fast to the Mariological legacy of the “Golden Age.” Our Lady’s share of Calvary’s drama is clearly portrayed as having had a satisfactory value, de congruo, to placate the divine wrath and to restore men to the friendship of their Maker. This is the frank position taken by Gonzalez Matheo, Peralta, Almeyda, Federici, Nasi, and others. (105) The Franciscans del Moral and Lossada, already known to us, go even further and claim that Our Lady’s compassion had a condign satisfactory value for our Redemption; not, of course, ex rigore justitiae, as in the singular case of Christ, but only ex mera condignitate. (106) Unfortunately, del Moral’s penetrating presentation of this view does not seem to have allured any of the theologians of the nineteenth century; these, in ever growing numbers, continue to adhere to the common opinion, namely: Our Blessed Lady’s atonement, while truly coredemptive, did not exceed the degree of “fittingness.” (107)

c) Sacrifice. Our Blessed Lord redeemed the human race, not only by way of merit and satisfaction, but also by way of sacrifice. This means that He freely accepted the immolation of Himself and offered it to His Father in a truly sacerdotal action for the sins of mankind. That Our Blessed Mother shared also in this particular aspect of her Son’s saving role, is quite generally admitted by theologians at the present time, although they are far from agreeing as to whether or not her oblation constituted a sacrifice sensu proprio. We shall have occasion to return to this point in the next section of this chapter.

Has Catholic tradition shown a sympathetic attitude to this phase of Mary’s Coredemption? Unquestionably it has. Perhaps no other element of this complex doctrine has been so frequently stressed from the twelfth century to the present day. It is here precisely that the remarkable intuitions of Arnold of Chartres (d. 1163) exerted their greatest influence on virtually all subsequent writers. Echoing and elaborating Arnold’s teaching, hosts of Marian theologians in the seventeenth century, such as Portillo, de Rojas, Tausch, Niquet, Reichenberger, and Crasset, while treating Mary’s Coredemption, would seem to place the emphasis on her sacrificial oblation on Calvary. (108) Something similar may be said of those who touched on this subject during the eighteenth century, for example, Montalbanus, Van Ketwigh, and Martinez de Barrio. (109) None of these authors, of course, specify whether this oblation constituted a sacrificial action sensu proprio or not; but the point is that they regard it as having a soteriological character.

In the nineteenth century, particularly under the influence of Msgr. Van den Berghe and Father Giraud, M.S., (110) we discover an even greater attention given by Catholic writers to this phase of Mary’s coredemptive role. Not only devotional authors like Saintrain and Ambrosij, (111) but professional theologians of the caliber of Scheeben, Gueranger, Körber, and Risi (112) unmistakably point to Mary as Coredemptrix precisely inasmuch as she offered up the divine Victim on Calvary for our Redemption. Indeed, some authors so exaggerate the reality of this oblation that they speak of Our Lady’s having a true priestly character; (113) a deformation which, unfortunately, is still countenanced by some even in our own twentieth century.

d) Redemptive price. The fourth aspect under which Our Lord’s objective Redemption is generally considered in theology is that of “ransom” or the paying of a “price.” To forestall unnecessary inaccuracies in this connection, it must be recalled that this new phase of the doctrine does not add anything positive to the Savior’s Passion. The “payment of the price” is simply a metaphorical expression which does not indicate an operation specifically different from those described above. In point of fact, the merits and satisfactions of Christ constitute the “price” which He paid to the Eternal Father, and in virtue of which the human race was freed from the slavery of Satan. From this it logically follows that if Our Lady, together with Christ and under Him, satisfied for our sins and merited our supernatural restoration in actu primo, she had, by that very fact, a direct and proximate share in the actual paying of the price of our Redemption. In this respect, a twofold manner of co-operation is possible: (a) Mary paid the same price which her Son paid, that is to say, she offered to God the meritorious and satisfactory value of her Son’s life; (b) she offered her own merits and satisfactions together with those of the Savior for our Redemption. Either type of co-operation is sufficient to constitute her a Coredemptrix sensu proprio. Actually, both may claim a certain amount of “traditional” support. The Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, seems to be the first to clearly refer to this modality of Mary’s Coredemption. (114) Strangely enough, we find no repercussions of his teaching in the literature of the period immediately following. The theme is quite frequently touched upon, although mostly per transennam, in the Marian treatises of the seventeenth century, among which we may recall those by the Jesuits de Guevara, de Convelt, Vieira, (115) and the Franciscan Vulpes and Urrutigoyti. (116) The latter categorically states that no other price was added to Christ’s death, except the merits of our Coredemptrix; this, he says, is her exclusive privilege. More or less direct references to this subject are found in not a few subsequent writers such as Peralta, Worpiz, and Nasi in the eighteenth century, (117) and Maynard, Stecher, Ventura de Ráulica, and Castelplanio in the nineteenth century. (118) The last author mentioned, a prolific writer whose Mariology exerted no little influence on Scheeben and others, expressly teaches that Our Lady’s sorrows were offered with the Passion of Christ to expiate our sins; the sufferings of the Son and of His Mother obtained one and the same effect.

Conclusion. In our extensive work De Corredemptione B. V. Mariae, so often referred to in this chapter, several hundred authors were quoted to substantiate the claim that the doctrine of Mary’s Coredemption is fully endorsed by Catholic Tradition in the sense already explained. Not being able to reproduce that mass of testimony here, the only feasible substitute was a synthetic presentation of the available data. Nevertheless, we feel that the above survey, fragmentary and sketchy though it is, will be sufficiently adequate to establish that the thesis in question is far from being a novelty, an abrupt creation of the twentieth century.

The variety of nationalities and religious institutes represented by the authors mentioned in that survey is rather significant, for it clearly points to the fact that the doctrine professed is not peculiar to any one country or theological school. This important feature is quite noticeable particularly with regard to the testimony furnished by contemporary writers, whose names are legion. Thus, for example, Our Lady’s Coredemption sensu propriois openly proclaimed not only by the vast majority of theologians in so-called “Catholic” countries such as Spain, Italy, France, and Belgium, but also by not a few authors living in countries where Catholics are a minority, such as the United States of America, (119) Holland, (120) Germany, and Switzerland. (121) As to scholars from religious institutes representing the different theological traditions, it will suffice to recall such well-known names as Garrigou-Lagrange, Cuervo, Sauras, and Llamera among the Dominicans; (122) Bover, Druwé, de Aldama, and Boyer among the Jesuits; (123) and Balic, Di Fonzo, Crisóstomo de Pamplona, O’Brien, and W. Sebastian among the Franciscans. (124)

However, to those who follow the progressive line of testimonies scattered through the monuments of tradition, it will be equally evident that the complex doctrine of Mary’s Coredemption, as we know it today, represents the result of many centuries of gradual development. The germ idea embodied in the concrete “New Eve” expression, found in the early days of the patristic period, underwent a long and, at times, imperceptible process of evolution before it attained to the stage of maturity. In the beginning, and up until about the eleventh century, the Fathers and ecclesiastical writers seem to have considered the doctrine in its more generic and fundamental concept, namely: Our Lady, by supplying her free consent to the redemptive Incarnation, was instrumental in bringing about our spiritual rehabilitation through Christ. The eleventh century ushers in the period of transition from the implicit to the explicit. (125) It is at this time that Mary’s compassion and her oblation begin to receive more and more attention, and to be considered as having a soteriological value in behalf of the human race. The aspect of coredemptive merit, alluded to by pseudo-Albert the Great, found clear and definite expression in the writings of Blessed Tauler (d. 1361) and Archbishop Catarino (d. 1553). But the doctrine as a whole did not reach its peak until the seventeenth century. It was during this “Golden Age” of Mariology that Our Lady’s prerogative, exactly as we profess it today, became the generally accepted teaching among theologians and Catholic writers. Scholars of subsequent centuries have not added any substantial element to the notion of Coredemption as expounded in that period; their work seems to be restricted to a theological elaboration and scientific systematization of the acquisitions of the past.

In the preceding sections we have attempted to establish the fact of Our Lady’s Coredemption understood in the proper sense. We have done this by appealing to the Magisterium, Sacred Scripture, and Tradition. Regardless of the shortcomings latent in our examination of these sources, one thing remains undeniable: the vast majority of theologians and Catholic writers at the present time unhesitatingly favor the doctrine under discussion. This fact alone sufficiently guarantees the legitimacy of our position, donec contrarium probetur. However, as St. Augustine so well expressed it: “Non aequaliter mente percipitur, etiam quod in fide pariter ab utrisque recipitur.” (1) Which means that even among those who champion the thesis of Mary’s proximate co-operation in the redemptive work of Christ, different opinions have been advanced with regard to the more intimate nature and extent of that co-operation. It may be helpful to summarize here the various points of contact and divergence in this matter.

IV. Nature and Modalities of Mary’s Coredemption

The advocates of Mary’s Coredemption sensu proprio are morally unanimous on the following phases of the doctrine: 1. Our Lady’s free consent to become the Mother of the Redeemer as such constituted a true, formal co-operation in the Redemption; 2. Together with Christ and under Him, Mary satisfied (at least de congruo) for the sins of mankind, thus removing the obstacle to our reconciliation with God in actu primo; 3. Together with Christ and under Him, Our Lady merited (at least de congruo) the reinstatement of the human race in the friendship of God in actu primo; 4. Together with Christ and under Him, Our Lady offered up the divine Victim to the Eternal Father, particularly on Calvary, for the reconciliation of man with God in actu primo; 5. Our Lady’s merits and satisfactions, pre-eminently those resulting from her bitter compassion, were accepted by the Eternal Father together with the merits and satisfactions of Christ as having the nature of a secondary ransom or redemptive price for our liberation from the slavery of Satan; 6. Any one of these functions, and a fortiori the combination of them, confers on Our Blessed Lady a strict right to be styled “Co-redemptrix” of the human race sensu vero et proprio.

The area of disagreement is not as wide as it might appear on the surface. It may be reduced to the three following points: 1. the nature of Mary’s coredemptive merit; 2. the nature of her sacrifice; and 3. the nature of her influence or causality with reference to the redemptive actions of Christ.

As regards the first point, it may be well to recall that merit, meaning “a right to a reward,” is generally divided in condign and congruous. The former supposes an equality between the meritorious action and its reward; the latter is based on fittingness coupled with the generosity of the one granting the reward. Condign merit may be of two kinds: either ex toto rigore justitiae, if there is equality not only between the meritorious work and the reward, but also between the persons giving and meriting the reward; or ex mera condignitate, if the latter equality is wanting. (2)

While theologians are agreed that Christ alone merited our Redemption de condigno ex toto rigore justitiae, they are divided as to the nature of Our Lady’s coredemptive merit. The majority still believes that hers was only a merit de congruo, inasmuch as it was fitting that God should reward her unique co-operation with the Redeemer in our behalf. (3) A second group proposes that it be designated by a new name, namely, merit de digno or de super-congruo. (4) This would differ from our merit, not in species, but in degree, and also insofar as the object of Mary’s merit is the Redemption itself, while the object of our merit is only the application of the Redemption. Others, finally, uphold the theory that Our Lady merited our Redemption de condigno; not, of course, ex toto rigore justitiae, but only ex mera condignitate, in the sense explained above.

Condensed in a few words, the reasoning supporting this last theory is this: Our Lady was not a mere member of the Mystical Body; she co-operated in our Redemption in an official capacity, as a public person, as a representative of mankind. Specifically, since God had predestined her to regenerate the human race to the supernatural life of grace, her merit in the acquisition of that grace must have had an “ecumenical” character in behalf of the whole Mystical Body. In this sense we may speak of her merits having an intrinsic ordination to the salvation of all. Furthermore, dignified to an ineffable degree by her singular grace and the divine Maternity, her merit must have been likewise proportionate to the reward to be received. If this utterly unique function of Mary in the redemptive economy was the result of a positive divine decree, then surely God owed it to Himself to reward her merits not only out

of fittingness, but in justice.

This opinion, which until a few decades ago was looked upon with considerable suspicion, (5) is now finding increasing support among contemporary theologians. True, the reasoning process varies according to authors, (6) but their conclusions coincide with the one indicated above, which, incidentally, expresses also our personal preference on the subject.

The second point of divergence concerns the nature of Mary’s co-operation by way of sacrifice. That Our Lady had a positive share in our Redemption through her offering of the Victim on Calvary is clearly taught by recent Pontiffs (7) and, of course, admitted by all. The disagreement begins when theologians attempt to determine whether or not that offering constituted a sacrificial act sensu proprio. The question is particularly delicate because of the related discussion concerning the so-called priesthood of Mary. A good deal has been written in recent years in an effort to clarify the issues involved and to reconcile conflicting opinions; unfortunately, the noble endeavor has not been wholly successful.

In view of the multiplicity of terms employed by the various authors in this connection, it is difficult to group their views under clearly defined headings. In general, however, two currents of thought are easily discernible. The first, represented by such well-known writers as Seiler, Petazzi, Sauras, and Llamera, claims that Our Lady’s oblation constituted a sacrificial and sacerdotal act in a true and proper sense. (8) They explain that, while Mary did not receive the sacramental character of Orders, nevertheless she was invested with a true priesthood, analogous to the substantial priesthood of Christ and far superior not only to the mystical priesthood shared by all Christians, but also to the ministerial priesthood of those properly ordained. If we believe Prof. Bover, Mary’s elevation to the divine Motherhood was already an “ordination to the priesthood.” (9) According to Sauras, her “ordination” was constituted by the unique grace of her spiritual maternity, analogously to the capital grace of the Savior. (10)

The other current, diametrically opposed to the first, reflects the views of the majority. Among the more articulate representatives of this trend we may mention Garcia Garces, Roschini, and Friethoff. (11) They readily agree with their adversaries that Mary’s oblation on Calvary, so often recalled in recent papal documents, constituted a true co-operation in the Savior’s redemptive sacrifice; but they emphatically deny—and rightly so—that this co-operation shared the formality of a true and proper sacrifice. The fundamental reason for this position would seem to be that, in order to offer a sacrifice sensu proprio, one must be a priest sensu proprio, and Our Lady was not. Her priesthood is of the same kind as that of all the baptized, although of a higher degree because of her singular grace and dignity. Perhaps it is for this very reason that the Holy See has repeatedly frowned on the use of the title “Virgin-Priest” as applied to the Blessed Virgin. (12) Incidentally, this controversial title, so tenaciously vindicated by some, does in no way help our proper understanding of Mary’s share in the sacrifice of her Son. It adds nothing but confusion to an already difficult and thorny question.

In our humble opinion it should be banished from our Catholic literature, both theological and devotional. The extremely cautious attitude of the Holy See in this respect should be a warning to all. (13)

As mentioned before, the third point of discrepancy concerns the modality of Mary’s immediate co-operation with Christ in the Redemption itself. A survey of contemporary theologians discloses at least three different approaches in this connection. According to some, Our Lady not only did not place any obstacles to prevent the redemptive mission of her Son, but she also encouraged, entreated, and urged Him to lay down His life for our salvation. This moral causality on her part exerted an immediate influence on the will of Christ and directly determined the positing of His redemptive acts. This seems to be the position of Merkelbach, Seiler, and Strater. (14) Merkelbach, for example, writes that “as the Son was moved to obey the command of His Father (to suffer and die), so He could not help being influenced likewise by His Mother’s consent. . . . Through her consent and desire, Mary morally influenced her Son and disposed Him to accomplish the Redemption of the human race….” (15)

According to a second group of theologians, (16) Our Lady’s immediate co-operation should be explained rather in the sense that her own merits and satisfactions were accepted by the Eternal Father together with (and subordinate to) the merits and satisfactions of Christ for the selfsame purpose: the reconciliation of the human race in actu primo. In other words, the total effect was produced by the joint causality of the Redeemer and the Coredemptrix; both acquired a right to the graces which would save all men; both constituted (though in a different way) the total principle of salvation. Hence, Our Lady’s co-operation was redemptive, not because it directly influenced and determined Christ’s redemptive will or His theandric actions, but rather because the actions of Christ conferred a redemptive value on Mary’s co-operation, thus enabling it to concur in the production of the same effect. (17)

A third theory, not necessarily incompatible with the second, was proposed a few years ago by the Hungarian Jesuit, Tiburtius Gallus. According to the distinguished theologian, the Blessed Virgin, being the true Mother of Christ, had a strict right to protect her Son’s life from unjust aggressors. By surrendering this right, she removed an impediment to her Son’s sacrificial immolation, and thus furnished the material principle for the redemptive act. The obedience of Christ to His Father’s will decreeing His sacrifice has a twofold causality: first, by a priority of nature, it elevates and actuates Mary’s obedience for the same purpose; second, it becomes, together with Mary’s obedience, the efficient cause of the entire redemptive work. Hence, our Redemption depends on Christ’s renunciation as a formal element, and on Mary’s renunciation as a material element. The latter, Gallus explains, is not merely accessory; it is necessary inasmuch as it is required by divine disposition. The two elements constitute one single moral cause of the Redemption. Furthermore, since Christ’s obedience imprints its soteriological character on Mary’s co-operation, her merits in our behalf become coredemptive de condigno, and not merely de congruo. (18)

If we were to express our personal preference in this delicate question, we would say that, while the first and third theories are not devoid of appealing features, nevertheless, the second seems better calculated to safeguard the reality of Mary’s Coredemption, without in the least compromising the intangible rights of the unique Redeemer.

V. Difficulties and Solutions

In the course of the foregoing exposé we have had occasion to recall that, while the doctrine of Our Lady’s Coredemption enjoys the support of most contemporary theologians, nevertheless there are some authors who still find it difficult, if not altogether impossible, to conciliate this teaching with other irrevocable data of divine revelation. Their difficulties and pointed observations deserve a fair and dispassionate hearing at this time. The formulation of adequate answers and solutions should furnish us with an additional opportunity to shed further light on some of the apparently nebulous issues involved.

The first objection is based on Sacred Scripture, particularly on the well-known text of St. Paul: “For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all.” (19) That the Apostle is here openly proclaiming the oneness of the Redeemer to the exclusion of any other, acting even in a secondary capacity, is clear from the parallelism which he establishes with the oneness of God. Just as the oneness of God is incompatible with the existence of secondary gods, so is the oneness of the Mediator (Redeemer) incompatible with the existence of secondary mediators or redeemers. So argues Prof. Werner Goossens. (20)

The objection is not new. It has been raised—and answered—countless times, particularly since the sixteenth century. It may be observed, in general, that if the oneness of the Mediator were as absolute as Goossens contends, it would exclude likewise the mediatorial activity of all the saints in the sphere of the subjective Redemption. Quod nimis probat, nihil probat. Even in the light of the parallelism stressed by the author, one could perhaps point out that, just as the oneness of God does not exclude our sharing His divine nature through sanctifying grace, neither does the oneness of the Mediator exclude an analogous participation of Our Lady in His mediatorial role. (21) That St. Paul is here speaking only of the principal and self-sufficient Mediator is evident from the fact that he himself elsewhere bestows this very title on Moses. (22) Besides, if the Pauline passage had the exclusive sense claimed by Goossens, would the Magisterium of the Church, the sole official interpreter of Holy Scripture, allow the vast majority of theologians to continue teaching the doctrine of Mary’s Coredemption? Surely, the Popes would have at least sounded a note of warning. Instead, they have repeatedly shown favor to the doctrine, as we indicated above.

A second difficulty springs from the undeniable theological axiom: Principium meriti non cadit sub merito, that is to say, the principle or cause of merit cannot be the result or effect of merit. The implications of this axiom, which have been fully exploited in recent years, particularly by Prof. Lennerz, may be summarized as follows: In order to co-operate in the Redemption, Mary must first be redeemed and in possession of grace which will render her co-operation acceptable to God. Now that redemption of Mary, that grace conferred on her, is, of course, the effect of Christ’s redemptive work. Therefore, the latter must have been already completed beforeMary received its effect. If so, how could she aid Christ in producing something which was already produced”? (23)

The answer generally given to the above objection was that Our Lady had been redeemed in a very unique manner, namely, through a preservative grace which enabled her to co-operate with her Son at the time He was bringing about our Redemption. To which Father Lennerz promptly retorted that this was nothing but a subterfuge which left the original difficulty intact. The reason is simple. If Mary received a preservative grace at the time of her Immaculate Conception, it was in view of the future merits of Christ; it was because the future merits of the Savior were foreseen by God and applied to Mary by anticipation. Obviously, this presupposes that the Redemption was foreseen as having been already accomplished; now, since Mary had not as yet co-operated therein, the Redemption would still be incomplete, still unfinished. In which hypothesis the same Redemption would have to be considered as accomplished and unaccomplished at one and the same time, which is contradictory and absurd. (24)

Father Lennerz’ reasoning, which, incidentally, has now been popularized for the benefit of English-speaking readers by Canon George D. Smith, (25) made a profound impression in some quarters. It constitutes, admittedly, the gravest speculative difficulty militating against Our Lady’s Coredemption. Nevertheless, the advocates of this doctrine do not consider it insurmountable. An adequate solution may be formulated as follows:

The alleged contradiction indicated by Lennerz presupposes that we postulate one and the same Redemption as being complete and incomplete under one and the same respect. Now this supposition is false. In our theory, when the Redemption was applied to Mary it was already complete as regards herself only; it was still unaccomplished as regards the rest of mankind. Once Mary has received the effect of Christ’s Redemption, she is able to co-operate with Him in the Redemption of all others. Is this perhaps equivalent to introducing two Redemptions, as Canon Smith fears? Not at all. There is only one Redemption for Mary and for the rest of men. But in that one Redemption we may distinguish two signa rationis, as the Scholastics would say, two modes of operation taking place at one and the same time, but made possible only by a priority of nature. In this hypothesis, Christ redeems Mary, and her alone, with a preservative Redemption; then, together with her, in signo posteriori rationis, He redeems the rest of mankind with a liberative Redemption. This, we repeat, does not correspond to two numerically distinct Redemptions, but rather to a twofold intention on the part of the Redeemer; and this twofold intention, in turn, corresponds to a twofold acceptance of the Redemption on the part of the Eternal Father: first, with a logical priority, God deigns to accept Christ’s Redemption for Mary alone; then, once Mary is redeemed, God accepts Christ’s Redemption with Mary’s co-operation for the rest of the human race. (26) Since the redemptive value of Christ’s whole life was eternally present in the mind of God, there is no room for a chronological “before” and “after” which would, of course, compromise the absolute oneness of the objective Redemption.

At this juncture the adversaries point out that the above solution, while unassailable in itself, is nevertheless a gratuitous hypothesis without any basis in the sources of revelation. To which Father Dillenschneider rightly answers: “It is not at all necessary that this explanation find a formal support in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, provided that it be not opposed by either, and that it be justified by the belief, sufficiently accredited in the Church, concerning a direct cooperation of Mary in our objective Redemption. Now, such a belief does exist, and it would be vain to deny it. This being so, if the thesis of Mary’s immediate Coredemption is sufficiently warranted, and we feel that it is, then the explanation which shows its harmony with the preredemption of the Immaculate Virgin is likewise warranted.” (27) The same author further recalls that when the Franciscan Duns Scotus (d. 1308) had recourse to his “preredemption” theory in order to reconcile the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception with the dogma of the universality of Redemption, he could not claim any scriptural or traditional data in its favor. And yet, his explanation was accepted and definitively introduced in Catholic theology for the good reason that it alone solved the major difficulty of trying to harmonize the dogma of universal Redemption with the living tradition of the Church relative to Our Lady’s original sanctity. (28)

Still reluctant to endorse the doctrine, the adversaries have recourse to a further objection. Granted, they say, that, theoretically, the thesis involves no contradiction. In point of fact, however, we are faced with the following serious dilemma: either Mary’s co-operation adds something positive to the Redemption wrought by Christ, or it does not. If it does, it would enhance the value of Christ’s merits and satisfactions, which is unthinkable. If it does not, then it is superfluous and useless. In either case it should be discarded.

We reply: Since the merits and satisfactions of the God-man possessed an infinite value and a superabundant efficacy, they could not possibly be enhanced by those of Our Blessed Lady. Nevertheless, her co-operation, without being an intrinsic “addition” to the work of her Son, constituted a new title in the eyes of God for the granting of pardon to the human race. Her merits and satisfactions are accepted by God as an integral part of the universal redemptive economy, as a positive contribution made by a purely human representative of mankind. As such they become a new reason moving God (humanly speaking) to cancel our debt in actu primo.

In this connection Father Dillenschneider borrows an example from Christology to illustrate the point. We know, he writes, that from the first moment of the Incarnation and in virtue of the Hypostatic Union, the God-Man had an initial exigency to the glorification of His body. On the other hand, we know that this bodily glorification was also merited by His sacred Passion and death. Now, are we to suppose that this merit argues to a deficiency in the previous connatural right to glorification? Not at all. After the Passion, the bodily glorification is due to Christ by a twofold title: the Hypostatic Union and the infinite merit acquired through His sufferings. (29) Something similar may be said concerning the reconciliation of the world in actu primo. It is granted by God in view of a double title, without the implication that one of them (constituted by the Marian element) betrays any deficiency in the other.

We have an analogous situation in the sphere of the subjective Redemption. Whenever we co-operate with divine grace to perform some salutary act, our co-operation adds nothing to the intrinsic value of Christ’s grace. On the contrary, the former is entirely dependent upon the latter. And yet, that share of ours is not at all superfluous and useless; indeed, it is necessary to produce the salutary act because God has decreed that the work of our sanctification should be not only divine but human as well. “Qui ergo fecit te sine te, non te justificat sine te.” (30) If this is possible in the realm of subjective Redemption, why not also in the order of objective Redemption? Is not the divine element in one case as incapable of being intrinsically enhanced as in the other?

It may be asked further: Why did God decree to grant our reconciliation in view of this twofold title? The answer would seem to lie in the very nature of the redemptive alliance between God and the human race. That alliance is frequently described in Sacred Scripture as a mystical espousal. Since the Redeemer’s bride is the community of the redeemed, it is fitting that the latter be actively represented on Calvary at the climax of this mystical marriage. Now, if we know from the living tradition of the Church that Our Blessed Lady is both the intimate associate of the Savior in the entire process of salvation and also the prototype of the community to be redeemed, is it not reasonable to suppose that God wished her actively to represent that community at the most solemn moment of the spiritual nuptials? (31) Is not Mary’s official function as the New Eve to offer atonement for our sins together with the New Adam? (32) And if almighty God Himself freely appointed her to that official role, did He not owe it to Himself to accept her meritorious co-operation as a new title for our Redemption in actu primo?

A final attempt was recently made by Father Lennerz to weaken our position. If God—he wrote in substance—freely decreed not to accept Christ’s Redemption without Mary’s co-operation, the latter must be said to belong to the very essence of the redemptive work. In this event, the work of Christ alone, without Mary’s co-operation, is not sufficient to redeem the human race. (33)

The above reasoning, based as it is on an obvious equivocation, is not at all conclusive. Its underlying weakness is the author’s confusion of that which is necessary with that which is essential. Our Lady’s co-operation is hypothetically necessary because it was decreed by God, but it remains nonessential. Hence, God accepts Christ’s merits and satisfactions as an essential element of our Redemption, and at the same time He deigns to accept Our Lady’s merits and satisfactions as a nonessential (though necessary), secondary, and totally subordinate element of the same Redemption. The point here is that God’s acceptance does in no way alter the intrinsic nature of either element.

Having disposed of these speculative stumbling blocks, let us now turn our attention to a difficulty of a more practical character: the one sometimes raised against the title “Coredemptrix” itself. In the opinion of some, this title had better be banished from Catholic theology for the following reasons. First of all, it is a “novelty,” unknown before the past century. (34) Then again, the very nature of the word is apt to mislead the uninitiated, to engender confusion in the minds of those who are less enlightened and even merely prejudiced. After all, the prefix “co” in the word Coredemptrix does seem to place Our Lady on an equal footing with her Son in the redemptive economy. (35) Finally, it has the disadvantage that it can only be explained by being explained away. (36)

Since we have on previous occasions, and indeed quite at length, vindicated the legitimacy of this Marian title, an answer per summa capita would seem to suffice at this time.

First of all, the fact that a word is new does not necessarily militate against its legitimacy, especially if it is used to convey an old idea. There was a time in history when words like transubstantiation, omoousios, theotokos,and others were new, and yet they were subsequently consecrated by ecclesiastical usage. Second, it is not correct to state that the title “Coredemptrix” was first introduced in Catholic theology during the nineteenth century. Actually, it can be traced back to at least the fourteenth century in a liturgical book preserved with other manuscripts at St. Peter’s in Salzburg. (37)

As regards the structure of the term “Coredemptrix” we may point out that the prefix “co” is the exact equivalent of the Latin cum which means “with,” not “equal,” as every grammarian knows. For this reason St. Paul could rightly say that we are God’s “co-workers” in the process of our sanctification, without in the least equating the efficacy of God’s grace with that of our own co-operation. (38) Besides, if the prefix “co” means “equal,” what then does the word “co-equal” mean? Hence we see no justified fear that the title “Coredemptrix” will mislead and confuse the less enlightened and the prejudiced. A sensible way to prevent that confusion would seem to be to instruct such people so as to make them more enlightened and less prejudiced.

Last, the claim that the expression “Coredemptrix” can only be explained by being explained away does not correspond to actual facts. If by that term we meant only that Our Lady brought the Redeemer into the world and that she now intercedes for us in heaven, we surely would be explaining it away. But when we style Mary our Coredemptrix we mean exactly what we say, namely, that “she together with Christ redeemed the human race.” (39) It is true, of course, that this apparently bold statement must be understood and explained in a sense which is compatible with other undeniable truths of our Catholic faith; that is to say, we must emphasize that Our Lady’s share in the redemptive process was entirely secondary, nonessential, and subordinate to the unique causality of the Savior, to whose merits she owed the very possibility of being His partner. But we ask: Is that “explaining it away”?

We have an analogous case in connection with the word “infallibility,” to mention but one example. Etymologically, as it stands, this term means simply inability to err. When we apply it to the Holy Father we must, of necessity, narrow down its meaning to a highly restricted and specific area. Once the required limitations are clearly drawn, it is obvious that the Pope can err on a variety of subjects. Now we ask: When a Catholic theologian thus explains Papal infallibility, is he merely “explaining it away”? Not at all. The Church has a perfect right to select any term she deems suitable to convey a given doctrine, and to attach to that term a specific and restricted meaning. Something similar may be said concerning the title “Coredemptrix” which has been widely used in the Church for several centuries, and has been repeatedly endorsed by the Holy See in recent years. (40) In our humble opinion, this fact alone more than sufficiently warrants its legitimacy.


The expose undertaken in these pages has been an attempt to familiarize our readers with the very essence of the Catholic position relative to Mary’s role in the process of man’s Redemption, and with the theological justification of that position. We have not only surveyed contemporary attitudes and opinions on this question; we have also inquired into the past, searching the written and spoken word of God. Such an investigation is necessary in order to ascertain whether and to what extent the Catholic teaching of today may be considered an authentic development of the original data furnished by the sources of revelation, or rather a deviation from, and a corruption of, that primitive deposit of divine truth. The final decision on this point must be left, not to the professional theologians (much less to the historian), but solely and exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church. The theologian may, to be sure, evaluate the result of his investigation and formulate positive or negative conclusions accordingly; but these must always be of a tentative nature, always subject to the final judgment of the Ecclesia docens. In the absence of a definitive and infallible pronouncement of the Magisterium concerning Our Lady’s Coredemption, we have endeavored to discover at least the “mind” of that teaching authority as represented by recent Pontiffs. If our interpretation of their repeated utterances on this vital problem is sound and objective, then it would seem safe to conclude that the current doctrine of Mary’s direct co-operation in the objective Redemption bears the unmistakable mark of a genuinely Catholic truth authentically developed from the original deposit of revelation. Incidentally, this conclusion is quite generally accepted among contemporary theologians, although it is not always formulated in so many words.

May we now advance a step further and speak of the doctrine’s definability? Several eminent scholars have declared themselves favorable in this respect. (41) We can think of no solid reason militating against their stand. Indeed, if our appraisal of the copious testimonies gathered here and elsewhere is valid and cogent, then the extant data constitute an overwhelming array of evidence pointing to the revealed character of this doctrine.

Theologians may and will, of course, debate the further question as to whether it was revealed formally or only virtually. While such discussions are undoubtedly legitimate and often fruitful, nevertheless, it is well to bear in mind that the solution of this question is not at all necessary in order to proceed to a dogmatic definition. The course adopted by the Supreme Pontiff with regard to the Immaculate Conception and Mary’s Assumption is an evident proof of it. Whether or not the Vicar of Christ will some day consider our doctrine sufficiently well established to be proclaimed an article of Catholic faith remains, of course, pure conjecture; but it is our fervent hope and humble prayer that the decision will be made in a not too distant future.


(1) G. Miegge, La Vergine Maria; saggio di storia del dogma (Torre Pellice, 1950), p. 178.

(2) Ibid., p. 194.

(3) P. Maury, La Vierge Marie dans le catholicisme contemporain, in Le Protestantisme et la Vierge Marie, ed. by Bosc-Bourguet-Maury-Roux (Paris, 1950), pp. 39-40.

(4) Art. cit., p. 57.

(5) For a more detailed treatment, cf. J. B. Carol, O.F.M., De Corredemptione B. V. Mariae disquisitio positiva(Civitas Vaticana, 1950).

(6) On this terminology cf. G. M. Roschini, O.S.M., Equivoci sulla Corredenzione, in Marianum, Vol. 10, 1948, pp. 277-282; J. M. Bover, S.J., Cooperatio remota in ordine physico ad objectivam Redemptionem, in Analecta Sacra Tarraconensia, Vol. 13, 1940, pp. 5-45; J. B. Carol, Pater H. Lennerz et problema de Corredemptione mariana, in Marianum, Vol. 2, 1940, pp. 194-200.

(7) Cf. the somewhat different views of J. M. Bover, Virginis consensus fuitne vera Corredemptio?, in Alma Socia Christi, Vol. 2 (Romae, 1952), pp. 164-176. In this writing we follow the more common practice of using the terms “immediate” and “proximate” interchangeably, although, strictly speaking, they do not mean exactly the same thing. Cf. Marianum, Vol. 14, 1952, pp. 62-63; R- M. Gagnebet, O.P., Questions mariales, in Angelicum, Vol. 22, I945, p. 169.

(8) Non-Catholics, in general, deny all co-operation, except in the very broad sense that Our Lady gave birth to the world’s Redeemer.

(9) H. Lennerz, S.J., De cooperatione B. Virginis in ipso opere redemptionis, in Gregorianum, Vol. 28, 1947, pp. 576-597; Vol. 29, 1948, pp. 118-141; W. Goossens, De cooperatione immediata Matris Redemptoris ad Redemptionem objectivam (Parish’s, 1939), passim; G. D. Smith, Mary’s Part in Our Redemption, 2nd ed. (New York, 1954), pp. 92-99.

(10) As we shall see later, some say that Mary merited our Redemption not merely de congruo, but de condigno ex mera condignitate.

(11) J. Lebon, Comment je conçois, j’etablis et je défends la doctrine de la médiation mariale, in Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, Vol. 16, 1939, pp. 655-744; J. M. Bover, María Mediadora universal, o Soteriología Mariana (Madrid, 1946), pp. 242-385; J. Bittremieux, Adnotationes circa doctrinam B. Mariae Virginis Corredemptricis in documentis Romanorum Pontificum, in Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, Vol. 16, 1939, pp. 745-778; C. Dillenschneider, C.Ss.R., Marie au service de notre Redemption (Haguenau, 1947), passim; C. Friethoff, O.P., De alma Socia Christi Mediatoris (Romae, 1936), p. 53ff.; P. Sträter, S.J., Sententia de immediata cooperatione B. M. Virginis ad redemptionem cum aliis doctrinis marianis comparatur, in Gregorianum, Vol. 15, 1944, pp. 9-37; H. Seiler, S.J., Corredemptrix, Theologische Studie zur Lehre der letzten Päpste uber die Miterlöserschaft Mariens (Rom, 1939), passim; G. M. Roschini, Mariologia, 2nd ed., Vol. 2 (Romae, 1947), pp. 251-393; E. Druwé, S.J., La Médiation universelle de Marie, in Maria. Etudes sur la Sainte Vierge, ed. by H. du Manoir, S.J., Vol. I (Paris, 1949), pp. 410-572; D. Bertetto, S.D.B., Maria Corredentrice(Alba, 1951), passim.

(12) Cf. H. M. Köster, S.A.C., Die Magd der Herrn (Limburg an der Lahn, 1947), pp. 117-126; id., Unus Mediator. Gedanken zur marianischen Frage (Limburg an der Lahn, 1950), passim; id., Die Stellvertretung der Menschheit durch Maria. Ein Systemversuch, in a symposium of the German Mariological Society, entitled Die heilsgeschichtliche Stellvertretung der Menschheit durch Maria, ed. by C. Feckes (Paderborn, 1954), pp. 323-259. Also O. Semmelroth, S.J., Urbild der Kirche. Organischer Aufbau des Mariengeheimnisses (Wurzburg, 1950), pp. 40-47, 50-51. A new edition of this work, and also of Roster’s Die Magd des Herrn, has just come off the press (1954).

(13) For further details on this point cf. Father Vollert’s excellent chapter on Mary and the Church in Carol, Mariology, Vol. 2. Cf. likewise K. Rahner, S.J., Probleme heutiger Mariologie, in Aus der Theologie der Zeit, ed. by G. Söhngen (Regensburg, 1948), pp. 85-113, esp. pp. 106-107; C. Dillenschneider, Le mystère de la Coredemption mariale. Théories nouvelles (Paris, 1951), pp. 27-90, an extensive refutation of this theory.

(14) Due to space limitation we shall restrict this section to the teaching of the Supreme Pontiffs. Elsewhere we have treated the teaching of the bishops at length. Cf. De Corredemptione… , pp. 539-619.

(15) On this subject cf. Crisóstomo de Pamplona, O.F.M.Cap., La Corredención mariana en el Magisterio de la Iglesia, in Estudios Marianos, Vol. 2, 1943, pp. 89-110; Seiler, op. cit.; Bover, op. cit., pp. 445-494; Bittremieux, art. cit.; Dillenschneider, op. cit., pp. 45-71.

(16) In A.S.S., Vol. 27, 1894-1895, p. 178.

(17) In ibid., Vol. 28, 1895-1896, pp. 130-131.

(18) In ibid., Vol. 36, 1903-1904, p. 453.

(19) Cf. L. Pillet, S.D.B., La Corredenzione mariana nel magistero del Beato Pio X (Torino, 1951). L. Di Fonzo, O.F.M.Conv., B. Virgo “de congruo, ut aiunt, promeret nobis quae Christus de condigno promeruit,” in Marianum, Vol. I, 1939, pp. 418-459; the author holds that the doctrine is implicitly contained in the papal text.

(20) In A.A.S., Vol. 10, 1918, pp. 181-182.

(21) Cf. Lebon, art. cit., pp. 693-702; Seller, op. cit., pp. 81-86.

(22) In L’Osservatore Romano, April 29-30, 1935, p. 1.

(23) For other pertinent statements of this Pope, cf. L’Osservatore Romano, November 1, 1933; A.A.S., Vol. 15, 1923, p. 105; Vol. 20, 1928, p. 178. Cf. likewise Roschini, De Corredemptrice (Romae, 1939), pp. 34-36.

(24) Cf., however, the words of the Holy Father to A. Carrillo de Albornoz, S.J., as reported in the latter’s article La pensée du Pape, in Marie, Vol. 3, March-April, 1950, p. 59.

(25) A.A.S., Vol. 35, 1943, p. 247.

(26) Cf. Mary’s Coredemption in the Teaching of Pius XII, in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 121, 1949, pp. 353-361.

(27) A.A.S., Vol. 38, 1946, p. 266. Cf. also his recent encyclical Ad coeli Reginam, October 11, 1954, N.C.W.C. trans., nn. 36-39. On this point see the remarkable article by W. G. Most, Coredemption and Queenship in the “Ad caeli Reginam,” in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 133, September, 1955, pp. 171-182. Cf. likewise Marianum, Vol. 17, 1955, pp. 334-368.

(28) A.A.S., Vol. 42, 1950, pp. 768-769.

(29) Cf. Jn. 12:31-33; Col. 2:14-15; Hebr. 2:14-15; Ench. Bibl, n. 334.

(30) Cf. L’Osservatore Romano, April 22-23, 1940, p. 1. For various significant statements made by him as Cardinal Pacelli, cf. our article in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 121, 1949, pp. 360-361.

(31) Cf. D. Baier, O.F.M., in Franciscan Studies, Vol. 2, 1943, pp. 10-11.

(32) Cf. R. Rábanos, C.M., La Corredención mariana en la Sagrada Escritura, in Estudios Marianos, Vol. 2, 1943, pp. 9-59. Abundant bibliographical references may be found in our work De Corredemptione…, pp. 73-121.

(33) Cf. A. De Guglielmo, O.F.M., Mary in the Protoevangelium, in Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 14, 1952, pp. 104-115; G. Calandra, O.F.M., Nova Protoevangelii mariologica interpretatio, in Antonianum, Vol. 26, 1951, pp. 343-366.

(34) Cf., among others, F. von Hummelauer, S.J., Commentarius in Genesim (Parisiis, 18955, p. 161; J. Corluy, Spicilegium dogmatico-biblicum, Vol. I (Gandavi, 1884), p. 348; E. Mangenot, in D.T.C., Vol. 6, coll. 1208-1212.

(35) Among many others, A. Bea, S.J., Maria SS. nel Protovangelo (Gen. 3, 15), in Marianum, Vol. 15, 1953, pp. 1-21; J. Prado, Praelectiones Biblicae; Vetus Testamentum, Vol. I (Taurini, 1934), pp. 53-54; J. Trinidad, Quomodo praenuntietur Maria in Gen. 3, 15, in Verbum Domini, Vol. 19, 1939, pp. 353-367.

(36) Acta et decreta Sacrorum Conciliorum recentiorum. Collectio Lacensis, Vol. 6 (Friburgi Brisgoviae, 1882), col. 839. Cf. our extensive commentary in De Corredemptione…, pp. 100-121.

(37) A.A.S., Vol. 42, 1950, pp. 768-769. Cf. our commentary The Apostolic Constitution “Munificentissimus Deus” and Our Blessed Lady’s Coredemption, in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 125, October, 1951, pp. 255-273.

(38) A.A.S., Vol. 45, 1953, p. 579.

(39) Cf. the excellent articles by F. X. Peirce, S.J., The Woman of Gen. 3, 15, in The Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 103, 1940, pp. 95-101; id., Mary Alone is “The Woman” of Genesis 3, 15, in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 2, 1940, pp. 245-252; also the exhaustive book by D. J. Unger, O.F.M.Cap., The First-Gospel: Genesis 3, 15(Franciscan Institute, St. Bonaventure, New York, 1954); and the masterly treatment by Eric May, O.F.M.Cap., in Mary in the Old Testament, in Mariology, ed. J. B. Carol, O.F.M., Vol. I (Milwaukee, 1954), pp. 56-62.

(40) Cf. above, footnote 29.

(41) Ineffabilis Deus, in Acta et Decreta . . . ; Collectio Lacensis, Vol. 6, col. 839.

(42) Munificentissimus Deus, in A.A.S., Vol. 42, 1950, p. 769.

(43) Cf. Carol, De Corredemptione . . . , pp. 112-116. We abstract here from the question as to how Catholic Tradition has interpreted the Protoevangelium. In general, we accept as valid the conclusions of T. Callus, S.J., in his exhaustive and scholarly works: Interpretatio mariologica Protoevangelii (Gen. 3, 15) tempore postpatristico usque ad Concilium Tridentinum (Romae, 1949); Interpretatio mariologica Protoevangelii posttridentina . . . , pars prior: a Cone. Trid. usque ad annum 1660 (Romae, 1953); pars posterior: ab anno 1661 usque ad definitionem dogmaticam Immaculatae Conceptionis (Romae, 1954). As to the patristic period specifically, we recommend the very penetrating study by R. Laurentin, L’interpretation de Genèse 3, 15 dans la tradition jusqu’au debut du XIII siecle, in Bulletin de la Societe Française d’Etudes Mariales, Vol. 12 (Paris, 1955), pp. 79-156. However, we regret that we have to disagree with the exegetical interpretation which the learned author himself adopts on pp. 113-115.

(44) On the perfect compatibility of Mary’s act of obedience with her formal cooperation in the Redemption, cf. the pertinent observations made by Father Roschini, Mariologia, 2 ed., Vol. 2, pars prima (Romae, 1947), p. 295.

(45) From the very words of her Magnificat we gather that Our Lady must have been familiar with the prophecies concerning the redemptive mission of the future Messiah. Cf. the detailed analysis of the text by T. Callus, Ad “principium materiale” Redemptionis objectivae, in Divus Thomas (PL), Vol. 57, 1954, pp. 246-250. Cf. also Roschini, La Madonna secondo la fede e la teologia, Vol. 2 (Roma, 1953), pp. 339-340.

(46) Cf. Summa Theologica, P. 3, q. 30, a. I; C. Dillenschneider, Toute l’Eglise en Marie, in Bulletin de la Société Française d’Etudes Mariales (Paris, 1953), pp. 111-113.

(47) H. Barré, C.S.Sp., Le consentement à l’lncarnation rèdemptrice. La Vierge seule, ou le Christ d’abord?, in Marianum, Vol. 14, 1952, pp. 233-266.

(48) Bover, Virginis consensus fuitne vera Corredemptio? in Alma Socia Christi, Vol. 2 (Romae, 1952), pp. 164-176: B. H. Merkelbach, O.P., Tractatus de Beatissima Virgine Maria Matre Dei atque Deum inter et homines Mediatrice… (Parish’s, 1939), p. 341.

(49) Merkelbach, loc. cit.

(50) Lk. 2:34-35. Cf. Callus, De sensu verborum Lc 2, 35 eorumque momenta mariologico, in Biblica, Vol. 29, 1948, pp. 220-239.

(51) Jn. 19:26-27. Cf. E. May, The Scriptural Basis for Mary’s Spiritual Maternity, in Marian Studies, Vol. 3, 1952, pp. 125-130; T. Callus, art. cit., in Divus Thomas (PL), Vol. 57, 1954, p. 254ff.

(52) It is still denied, however, by W. Newton, A Commentary on the New Testament (Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1942), p. 357; F. Ceuppens, O.P., De Mariologia Biblica, ed. 2 (Taurini, 1951), pp. 192-202, and several others. Cf. M. J. Gruenthaner, S.J., Mary in the New Testament, in Mariology, ed. J. B. Carol, O.F.M., Vol. I (Milwaukee, 1954), p. 104.

(53) Cf. especially Msgr. G. W. Shea, The Teaching of the Magisterium on Mary’s Spiritual Maternity, in Marian Studies, Vol. 3, 1952, pp. 68-69, 92-93.

(54) Encyclical Adjutricem populi (September 5, 1895), in A. Tondini, Le encicliche mariane, ea. 2 (Roma, 1954), p. 222.

(55) Cf. W. Sebastian, O.F.M., The Nature of Mary’s Spiritual Maternity, in Marian Studies, Vol. 3, 1952, pp. 14-34; M. Llamera, O.P., La maternidad espiritual de María, in Estudios Marianos, Vol. 3 (Madrid, 1944), pp. 67-162; Gregorio de Jesús Crucificado, O.C.D., Naturaleza de la maternidad espiritual de Maria, in Estudio Marianos, Vol. 7 (Madrid, 1948), pp. 124-144.

(56) Benedict XV, Inter sodalicia, in A.A.S., Vol. 10, 1918, pp. 181-182; Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, in A.A.S., Vol. 35, 1943, p. 247.

(57) Cf. Leo XIII, encyclical Jucunda semper (September 8, 1894), in A.S.S., Vol. 27, 1894-1895, p. 178; Pius XII, in L’Osservatore Romano, April 22-23, 1940, p. 1.

(58) Cf. T. Callus, “Mulier, ecce filius tuus” (Jo. 19, 26), in Verbum Domini, Vol. 21, 1941, pp. 289-297, esp. p. 296. Cf. also F.-M. Braun, O.P., Eve et Marie dans les deux Testaments, in Bulletin de la Société Française d’Etudes Mariales, Vol. 12 (Paris, 1955), pp. 9-34, esp. pp. 30-34.

(59) Abundant patristic quotations on this theme may be found in J. M. Bover, La Mediación universal de la “Segunda Eva” en la tradición patrística, in Estudios Eclesiásticos, Vol. 2, 1923, pp. 321-350; id., B. V. Maria, hominum Corredemptrix, in Gregorianum, Vol. 6, 1925, pp. 544-559; J. Bittremieux, De Mediatione universali B. M. Virginis quoad gratias (Brugis, 1926), lib. I, passim.

(60) St. Irenaeus was not, of course, the first to use the “Eve-Mary” antithesis. Cf. St. Justin Martyr (d. c. 165), in Dial. cum Tryphone, c. 100; PG, 6, 709. The theory that the former actually depended on the latter has not as yet been proved.

(61) Adv. haer., lib. 3, cap. 22, 4; PG, 7, 959. The same idea is repeated in lib. 5, cap. 19, I; PG, 7, 1175; and in his Demonstratio praedicationis apostolicae, n. 33, in Patrologia Orientalis, ed. Graffin-Nau, Vol. 12 (Paris, 1919), pp. 772-773. Cf. the excellent study by N. Moholy, O.F.M., St. Irenaeus: The Father of Mariology, in Studia Mariana, Vol. 7 (Burlington, Wis., 1952), pp. 129-187, esp. p. 151-172; also G. Jouassard, La Nouvelle Eve chez les Peres anteniceens, in Bulletin de la Societe Française d’ Etudes Mariales, Vol. 12 (Paris, 1955), pp-35-54; id., La theologie mariale de saint Irenee, in Congres Marial de Lyon (Lyon, 1955), pp. 265-276.

(62) H. Lennerz, De Beata Virgine, ed. 3 (Romae, 1939), p. 132.

(63) Cf. Adv. haer., lib. 5, cap. 17; PG, 7, 1169; lib. 3, cap. 21; PG, 7, 953.

(64) Cf. the excellent papers by B. Capelle, O.S.B., Le theme de la Nouvelle Eve chez les anciens docteurs latins, in Bulletin de la Societe Française d’Etudes Mariales, Vol. 12 (Paris, 1955), pp. 55-76; and by Th. Camelot, O.P., Marie, la Nouvelle Eve, dans la patristique grecque du Concile de Nicee a saint Jean Damascene, ibid., pp. 157-172.

(65) Bover, Concepto integral de la Maternidad divina segun los Padres de Efeso, in Analecta Sacra Tarraconensia, Vol. 7, 1931, p. 157; Lebon, art. cit., in Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, Vol. 16, 1939, pp. 655-744, passim.

(66) Cf. Carol, De Corredemptione . . . , pp. 140-142.

(67) Cf. L. J. Riley, Historical Conspectus of the Doctrine of Mary’s Coredemption, in Marian Studies, Vol. 2, 1951, pp. 46-47. The eminent patrologist Burghardt has recently endorsed the same sober conclusion (cf. art. cit., pp. 116-117).

(68) For this period cf. particularly M. Muller, O.F.M., Maria. Ihre geistige Gestalt und Personlichkeit in der Theologie des Mittelalters, in Katholische Marienkunde, ed. P. Strater, S.J., Vol. I (Paderborn, 1947), pp. 282-295; C. Dillenschneider, Marie au service de noire Redemption (Haguenau, 1947), pp. 201-267; E. Druwé, an. cit., pp. 498-517; G. W. Shea, Outline History of Mariology in the Middle Ages and Modern Times, in Mariology, ed. Carol, Vol. I (Milwaukee, 1954), pp. 285-309.

(69) S. Tarasius, PG, 98, 1491-1492; George of Nicomedia, PG, 100, 1451; Alcuin, PL, 101, 1300 (this particular homily is not authentic); Eadmer, PL, 159, 573 and 578.

(70) St. Bernard, Hom. 2 super Missus est; PL, 183, 62.

(71) Serm. 3 de Purificatione; PL, 183, 370. On this point cf. R. Laurentin, Maria, Ecclesia, Sacerdotium: Essai sur le developpement d’une idee religieuse (Paris, 1952), pp. 140-145.

(72) Arnold of Chartres, De laudibus B. Mariae Virginis; PL, 189, 1726-1727. Cf. Carol, De Corredemptione . . ., pp. 156-159; Bertetto, op. cit., pp. 51-55.

(73) On St. Albert cf. M.-M. Desmarais, O.P., St. Albert le Grand, docteur de la Mediation mariale (Paris-Ottawa, 1935), bearing in mind the discovery to be mentioned below in footnote 78. On St. Bonaventure, cf. L. Di Fonzo, O.F.M.Conv., Doctrina S. Bonaventurae de universali Mediatione B. V. Mariae (Romae, 1935), and E. Chiettini, O.F.M., Mariologia S. Bonaventurae (Romae, 1942), pp. 44-75.

(74) Comment, in Matth., I, 18; op. own., ed. Borgnet, Vol. 20 (Parish’s, 1898), p. 36.

(75) St. Bonaventure, Collatio 6 de donis Spiritus Sancti, n. 17; op. omn. (Ad Claras Aquas, 1882-1902), Vol. 5, p. 486.

(76) Ibid., n. 16.

(77) Ibid,., n. 15, also n. 5; op. omn., Vol. 5, p. 484.