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The Concept of Redemption and Co-redemptioin During the “Golden Age” of Spanish Mariology

I. Introduction

1.1 During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries strong controversy occurred over the nature and forms of redemption, and also over that of Marian co-redemption, principally in Spain where for many years lively disputes continued over the Immaculate Conception. The goal of these controversies was above all the definition and clarification of the concept of redemption, so as to explain adequately the meaning and content of the work of Jesus Christ, universal Redeemer.

Alongside this, there was an important secondary intention as well. On the one hand the theologians and mariologists sought to introduce into the clarification a concept and type of redemption which did not have sin in itself, either committed or contracted, as its proper object or matter, and thus to make that concept compatible with, and applicable to a person such as the Immaculate Virgin who had not been touched in any way by sin.

Further, these theologians aimed at perfecting a concept of redemption not absolutely exclusive to the Son of God, Savior and Redeemer of mankind, but which would admit a contribution, or collaboration on the part of the creature as well. The basis and the reason for so nuancing the concept of redemption was precisely to render it compatible with the teaching long since traditional in the Church since the time of St. Irenaeus, viz., with the efficacious collaboration of the Virgin Mary, the New Eve, in the redemption of men.

Under discussion here, is a characteristic feature of Catholic soteriology, about which there exist, in fact, considerable differences among theologians. Over and above this, Martin Luther had introduced into the problematic of redemption, his theories concerning justification and the application of the merits of Christ to sinners. What kinds of merit were to be applied? What was the value of such merit?

The disputes over redemption during these centuries were the origin of different theories and explanations, both of the nature of redemption and of the collaboration of the Immaculate Virgin in the redemption, in brief, of the co-redemption. These have continued to be explored down to the present day. So also today, differences of criteria and ways of reflecting continue in relation to the concept or significance of the redemptive work of Christ and, above all, in relation to the collaboration of the Coredemptress, the Virgin Mary, in the redemption. And today, as in past ages, clarification of concepts is sought in order to attain an objective and adequate understanding of the truth: the image of Mary, Mother of the Son of God, and as Immaculate Virgin and Spouse of St. Joseph, collaborator with Him in the work of redemption.

1.2 In past centuries and during the golden age of our [Spanish] theology and mariology, primary attention was devoted to the analysis of theological concepts from the aspect and in the speculative, intellectualist style, characteristic of the scholastic theological system, at times overdoing the subtleties of this kind of thought. Conversely, little place was given to positive theology just in its beginnings (initiated by Petavius…), an approach resting more on the value and significance of facts and testimonials.

This conceptualist methodology within the scholastic system tends to brake, in great part, any progress in making intelligible the underlying problems. It is no easy matter to clarify in simple, brief form what has been transmitted to us from the mariological controversies of the golden age, let alone do it with this kind of approach.

In view of this, I have chosen a different method which facilitates a greater clarification of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, and a more objective knowledge of the reality of the redemption. In a time of easy access to information, of transatlantic flights, when an idea reaches the poles of the earth before a word is spoken-these are facts of the moment-the first requirement is the perfect understanding of experiences, and then the search for a solution to the problems, and the formulation of definitions for the concepts of reality via other possible methods.

In view of this observation, I intend to modify at certain points the theme or object of reflection in this conference or, better perhaps, its premise. In this regard I affirm that:

The priority of the redemption is not, properly speaking, a concept, and is not the equivalent of a definition, verification, or realization of a concept. The redemption is a fact, a phenomenon, a living experience, is Christ the Redeemer. Thus it is experienced. He is our Redemption.

St. Paul, speaking of peace as a union (or unity) of the spirit and heart, says of Jesus Christ: He is our peace who has made his people one (cf. Eph 2: 14), because this unity is in Him, and can be spiritually participated, so that Christ lives in us: it is Christ who lives in me (cf. Gal 2: 10); or who is born in us through faith (cf. Eph 3: 17). These expressions are not mere metaphor, nor are they reducible to symbolism. Christ is our life, is our peace, if not in the totality which He is, then by participation in that of which our soul is capable. If this is not so, or only so in an improper sense, what would these words of Jesus mean, or to what might they point: I am the way, the truth and the life (cf. Jn 14: 6)?

1.3 Christ is our Redemption: how is this text to be understood? What content and significance does this affirmation hold?

1.3.a Christ is the eternal Son of the Father, the Word who from eternity has been with God (cf. Jn 1: 1). He is the Word made flesh as expression and manifestation of the infinite, merciful love of God.

This is the reality of Christ. It is the merciful love of God in action, become flesh to conquer, destroy, and make sin disappear from the world. But it is still more: He made it disappear in the very moment of His Incarnation, because the very mystery of the Incarnation was redemption for the world. Because this is the work of infinite love, this first opening of the heart of Jesus, heart of love for the Father and for men, his brothers, it was condign and superabundant satisfaction for the sins of each one, and for all sinners. The Incarnation was a meritorious act of the Son of God made man, to pay the debt of original sin, and of all the sins of mankind.

I think that this is the profoundest meaning of the text of St. Paul to the Galatians (4: 4): “In the fullness of times God sent his own Son, born of the woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law…” The Incarnation of the Son of God, born of the woman, means the redemption of those under the law; for it grants the liberty of the sons of God, the liberty with which Christ frees us (cf. Gal 4: 31). {footnote}R. G. Bandas, La Redenzione, idea centrale in S. Paolo, Rome 1961, pp.135-137 [English original: The Master-idea of Saint Paul’s Epistles, or the Redemption. A Study of Biblical Theology, Bruges1925].{/footnote}

Christ is our peace, is our liberty, because He is our “Redemption.”

1.3.b From this point of view, I wish to orientate the study and analysis of the concept of redemption. My goal is to center it in Christ, and to reaffirm once more, as basic principle of my view of the “redemption,” that Christ is our Redemption.

In this principle, one saves the unicity and universality of the redemption. It is one and the same for all the redeemed, without exception. And in it, one encounters, as well, the explanation of the variety of forms, modes, offices of Christ in relation to the redeemed. Such variety depends not on the subjects to whom the redemption applies; rather it arises from the riches and superabundance of graces and gifts in the treasury of the Son of God.

Interestingly, because redemption and its specific nature are one, its forms and modes, however, are multiple and, as such, have come to be explicitly defined along the history of salvation.

1.3.c The forms of redemption: Prescinding from etymological questions and focusing only on the theological concept, redemption means liberation of the person, principally from sin and from the effects of sin, as well as other types of spiritual slavery, accomplished by Jesus Christ, the God-man, by way of the mysteries of His flesh. It is the liberation or deliverance of which St. Paul speaks, and to which the Letter to the Hebrews and Vatican II refer with this passage: the Son of God became man, and clothed Himself with a human nature “so as to free man from sin through the mysteries of His manhood.” {footnote}Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 55. In general, theologians in referring to these mysteries, center their attention on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (cf. J. Solano, SJ, De Verbo Incarnato, in Sacrae Theologiae Summa, Madrid 1956, vol. III, pp. 304-308). It is clear, however, that all these mysteries in the life of the Son of God have redemptive value. Christ is our redemption, as I have just noted above.{/footnote} Thereby the entire life of Christ the Redeemer holds a redemptive value because, in its entirety, it is an unfolding and a manifestation of the mysteries of His flesh, or of His human nature, united hypostatically to the divine Person of the Word. In His redemptive actions, two elements are to be considered: the material element and the formal or moral element.

The material element depends on the nature of the act, considered from the point of view of human nature. The formal-moral element, without doubt, appears as the common factor in all these redemptive actions: it is the free and voluntary acceptance on Christ’s part, the love and obedience with which He accepts the various mysteries of His human nature.

The specific forms of redemption correspond to the various mysteries of His human nature, considered precisely as the material element of the redemptive act. One may say that the complete human nature, as the entire person, actuates and plays a part in the entire redemptive act of Christ. The differences, however, must be determined in accord with the material element in His human acts, and their constitutive differences.

In this sense, soteriology underscores the value of the meaning and of the redemptive content of the mysteries of the Redeemer’s humanity: the mystery of the Incarnation and of the Presentation of the Son of God in the temple; the mysteries of the Redeemer’s Passion and Death on the Cross; the mystery of His glorious Resurrection.

The different, but very important forms of redemption from the biblical and positive point of view, prescinding from other considerations, seem to me to be the following:

1) Redemption in the form of condign and superabundant “satisfaction-expiation” for sin

2) Redemption in the form of merit

3) Redemption in the form of “redemption-reconciliation”

4) Redemption in the form of sacrifice-oblation

5) Redemption in the form of liberation

6) Redemption in the form of ransom {footnote}These forms are common enough in soteriology. They have a clear basis in Sacred Scripture, particularly in St. Paul, and in the prophecies and symbolism of the Old Testament. There exists an extensive bibliography on the subject. Cf. Solano, De Verbo Incarnato, cit., pp. 245-313; Bandas, La Redenzione…, cit., pp. 207-292; B. M. Xiberta, O.Carm., Tractatus de Verbo Incarnato. II, Soteriologia, Madrid 1954, pp. 466-766.{/footnote}

Christ Himself, made man for us, who died and rose for our salvation, is the Redeemer and the perfect redemption, superabundant and embracing the whole of mankind, and all the sins of the world.

The problem of the application of the fruits of the redemption which is Christ, or the modes for making redemption efficacious for each of the necessities of grace and of divine salvation, is a diverse question.

1.4 It is not my intention here to present a systematic exposition of the concept of “redemption” and of “coredemption.” My objective is more historical than systematic. Within the ambit of history, it is limited to Spanish theologians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Even less is it my aim to give a general vision of the thinking of the theologians and mariologists of this era, an attempt far exceeding the limits of this essay. The fact is, many great theologians never produced a systematic treatise on “redemption.” But they did expound very important soteriological themes in discussing other more general questions, e.g., on the motive and necessity of the Incarnation of the Son of God, on the grace of Jesus Christ, etc.{footnote}For example, the Salmanticenses treat the merit of Jesus Christ in question 19 of the treatise De Incarnatione (Disputation 28), where they also deal with what pertains to the will and to the virtue of Christ in the order of operation. In general they treat redemption, satisfaction, etc., for sin in Treatise XXI, De Incarnatione, Disputation 1.{/footnote}

Additionally, the objective of this study is limited in terms of its orientation. It is not so much an examination of the general thought of these theologians on the “redemption” as to follow them as they try, more or less in fidelity to the texts of St. Thomas Aquinas on the redemption, to apply his thought to the Virgin Mary, and at the same time, defend the privilege of the Immaculate Conception: i.e., the fact that the Virgin Mary did not contract either a minimal guilt of original sin or indebtedness to sin. Included in this aim is an analysis of the theories of those theologians who exclude the Virgin Mary from the decree concerning the transmission of original sin, and seemingly suppress any relation at all to the sin of Adam. In this case, how can one affirm that Mary was in any way “redeemed” by Christ?

Limiting, then, my study on the concept of redemption to a few, but important authors, defending the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary and Her preservation from all guilt and stain of original sin, I intend to explain in what sense or in terms of what concept She was truly redeemed, in view of the foreseen merits of Her Son. The solution to this problem will provide the key to a definition of the concept of Co-redemptrix, applied to the Virgin Mary.

II. Development of Our Theme

2.1 – The Concept of “redemption”

2.1. a) Methodology

“Redemption” in itself is not an absolute concept, but a relative and highly conditioned one. It depends on the fact and concept of sin and, in particular, of original sin. Hence, the more important authors-including St. Thomas Aquinas, Francisco Suarez, the Salmanticenses and, particularly, defenders of the Immaculate Virgin who treat of redemption-condition their explanation of its nature, and relate it with the existence of original sin or with preservation from said sin.

This conditioning refers or extends not only to the concepts of sin and redemption, but also to its very existence. Redemption, properly speaking, would not have existed, unless sin had pre-existed. Certain elements or aspects which are considered redemptive in the present economy of salvation, such as “satisfaction” or “sacrifice,” could have existed, even had there been no sin, since satisfaction can be given to God, without having any proper relation with the existence of sin.{footnote}The Salmanticenses, for example, are careful observers of the differences.They distinguish with precision the concept of redemption from that of mere satisfaction. Cf. Salmanticenses: Collegii Salmanticensis fr. Discalceatorum B. Mariae de Monte Carmeli… Cursus Theologicus…, Tractatus XXI, De Incarnatione, Disp. 1, Dub. XI, ns. 294-295.{/footnote}

It is not necessary to accumulate data in demonstration of the relation between “redemption” and sin, and its dependence on the concept of offense-injury to the Godhead-which supposes original sin. In treating of sin, the theologians of the epoch under consideration, set in relief certain properties and characteristics of original sin, which influence the definition of the concept of redemption. Here are the two proper notes of this sin: its transmission via natural generation and its universality.

If these theologians treated the application of redemption to the Immaculate Virgin in a particular, exceptional and unique form, that was to give an explanation for exigencies of these two properties: viz., the Virgin Mary is a daughter of Adam by way of natural generation, and that for this reason She is in some way included under the law of universality of sin.

Francisco Suárez, to cite one example, who supports theological conclusions in favor of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, amply treats questions relative to original sin in many of his works. {footnote}Thus he did it, for example, in commentaries on the first and third parts of the Summa; in the treatise on vices and sins, as the Salmanticenses also did it, in the light of the posthumous edition (1628); in the work on the Mysteries of the Life of Christ, published in 1592; and of other, less important writings.{/footnote}

This style is fairly common in many theologians and mariologists during these centuries. Other authors give special attention to questions about original sin in books and monographs, and in writings in defense of the Immaculate Conception. Various important authors can be cited in exemplification.{footnote}In this group of authors I cite only F. Quirino de Salazar, because of the importance this work holds, and in view of the influence it had on subsequent authors. See: Pro Immaculata Deiparae Virginis Conceptione Defensio, Compluti 1618.{/footnote}

In their treatment of these questions, the Salmanticenses follow a procedure similar to that of Francisco Suárez. Above all, they emphasize the core of the relation between original sin and redemption. This has various aspects. But in first place they consider that sin is “the matter” of spiritual redemption, and that there can exist no redemption in the true sense, if there exists no relation to sin, or to the “debitum peccati.”{footnote}Salmanticenses, Cursus Theologicus…, cit., Tractatus XIII, De Vitiis et peccatis, Disp. XV, Dub. III and IV, principally, ns. 70 ff. Here is the Latin text of the affirmation concerning the “debitum peccati” in the Immaculate Virgin: “Alia ratio sumitur… ex ipsa essentia et munere redemptionis, cuius conceptus cum veritate et proprietate salvari nequit sine respectu ad peccatum, vel ad peccati debitum illius qui redimitur.”{/footnote}

This indicates the methodology we must adopt in the development of our theme. For an interpretation of the texts of our authors, we must not lose sight of the dependence of the concept of redemption on questions concerning original sin and its properties. If we limit our angle of vision to the specific tracts and monographs on the Immaculate, we shall surely describe with greater uniformity and better harmonize the different authors, including authors from various schools of different inspiration:

Franciscan school, Jesuit-independent school, Carmelite school, Augustinian school, Dominican school, Mercedarian school, and independent writers. I have kept this in mind so as to provide a uniform development throughout the exposition.

2.1. b) Concepts of Sin and Redemption

1) – The defense of the Immaculate Conception, together with the theological questions concerning original sin and its properties arising out of this during the golden age of Spanish theology and mariology, possesses the radical capacity of harmonizing two postulates seemingly opposed: the original holiness of Mary at Her conception, without stain of original sin, and the fundamental thesis of Catholic soteriology concerning the universality of the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ, without any possible exception. The entire theological tradition of the Church has been preoccupied with offering clarifications and solutions more or less convincing.

St. Augustine offered no solution. He centered attention on the sin of Adam, transmitted by natural generation, and on its universality according to the teaching of St. Paul. However, he considered the singular case of the Mother of the Redeemer as a possible exception to what seemed a general norm.

The problem developed as the centuries passed, principally after the Middle Ages. Hypotheses were proposed whose purpose was to reconcile the fact of the Immaculate Conception with the redemption: sanctification of Mary’s soul at the very moment of its infusion into Her flesh (St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure). The most acceptable theory, which represented a genuine theological resolution to the problem, was that of Bl. John Duns Scotus, a theory quickly accepted by all immaculatists. This is the theory of “preservative redemption,” on which defenders of the Immaculate in the Spanish golden age commented.

It is also the formula adopted by Bl. Pope Pius IX in the Bull Ineffabilis Deus (8 Dec., 1854) to define the Immaculate Conception as a dogma of faith:

…auctoritate Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, ac Nostra, declaramus, pronuntiamus et definimus doctrinam, quae tenet Beatissimam Virginem Mariam in primo instanti suae Conceptionis fuisset omnipotentis Dei gratia et privilegio, intuitu meritorum Christi Jesu Salvatoris humani generis, ab omni originalis culpae labe praeservatam immunem, esse a Deo revelatum…{footnote}Denziger, Enchiridion Symbolorum…, Barcelona 1963, n. 2808.{/footnote}

Spanish mariology during the golden age was tied to this conclusion. So convinced were these mariologists of the absolute truth of this proposition that they strove to persuade the Popes to define it solemnly. They explained and defended the Immaculate in commentaries on St. Thomas, in general works on the Virgin Mary, and in specialized treatises on the Immaculate, as did F. Quirino Salazar (1618) and Juan Antonio Velázquez in five books (1653), {footnote}See the works of F. Quirino de Salazar, SJ, Pro Immaculata…, cit., (in note 7); Juan Antonio Velázquez, Maria, Immaculate Concepta, Libri quinque…, Pinciae 1653.{/footnote} in biographies of the Virgin, and in a vast number of sermon collections.

2) – The majority of theologians of this era, and of authors of works specifically immaculatist, were favorable to “preservative redemption” as the most satisfactory form for explaining, from a theological point of view, the application to Mary of the redemption wrought by Her Son Jesus Christ. They were agreed, for the most part, that this mode of redemption was unique, and more perfect and excellent than redemption as liberation from slavery and purification from original sin once contracted.

However, precisely in relation to this form of redemption, a prolonged polemic arose, which contributed to a wider view of the Immaculate, and to an increase of interest in, and zeal for, the defense of this privilege. In this regard, piety and devotion were, to a point, so intertwined with theological science and wisdom, that some authors exceeded the limits of moderation and prudence in their approach. I refer here to the controversy over the debitum peccati, as applied to the Virgin Mary.

Not all the authors were in agreement as to the content and exact meaning of “preservative redemption.” Some were of the opinion that the term itself, without including or appending any other element, was sufficient to justify the concept of preservative redemption-so the most enthusiastic defenders of the Immaculate generally thought. Some authors of books or of specialized treatises on the Immaculate, and some defenders of immaculatist propositions of great interest to theologians, gained wide notice during public disputations because of their novelty.

Without doubt, commentators on the Summa of St. Thomas in general, such as Francisco Suárez, the Salmanticenses, etc., followers of St. Thomas on other points of his doctrine, and some independent authors or those of different theological currents, were not satisfied with the simple term “preservative redemption.” Their concern was that it included no true relation with original sin, and that it hardly justified a true and authentic redemption of the Immaculate Virgin in virtue of the merits of Her Son Jesus Christ.

Thus there arose two “tendencies” or two “groups” of defenders of the Immaculate after the sixteenth century in Spanish mariology: “debitists” and anti-debitists,” viz.:

a) The defenders of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, who held that Mary was under no obligation, debt, or debitum to contract original sin, because She was not included under the moral headship of Adam, or in the law of sin, having been preserved by the merits of Jesus Christ from contracting original sin.

b) The second group is that of the “debitists,” who affirmed that the “preservative redemption” of the Virgin Mary, in virtue of which She did not contract original sin, because She was Immaculate, supposes in Her, in view of the meaning of the term “preserve,” a debitum, or natural indebtedness, not moral debt, to contract it. For this a simple tendency or natural possibility of sinning is insufficient. Only thus can one explain satisfactorily how this concept of preservative redemption supposes a relation with sin and, at the same time, is not an exemption or total liberation from it. We will explain this in greater detail below.

Further refining their study of the concept of redemption and of its relation with the debitum of original sin, some authors claim the existence in Mary of a debitum in the proper sense, which they qualify as proximate (Salmanticenses), so as to affirm Her redemption in the fullest sense. Others are content with one merely remote.

Many authors not only are anti-debitists, but also maintain that the Virgin Mary did not sin in Adam, nor was She included in the general law concerning the contraction of original sin.{footnote}The history of this controversy has been extensively recounted in a number of general works and in numerous specialized studies, although not all aspects have been clarified. Main authors to be consulted are O. Casado Fuente, CMF, Mariología clásica Espanola. Tomo primero. La Inmaculada Concepción en su problemática teológica, Madrid 1958; J. B. Carol, OFM, A History of the Controversy over the “Debitum peccati,” St. Bonaventure, NY 1978. Many authors have published studies on themes and on writers who participated in this controversy, among which authors I am numbered: Enrique del Sagrado Corazón (Llamas), La Inmaculada en la tradición Espanola: la sentencia sobre el “debitum peccati”: 1595-1660, in La Ciencia Tomista 81 (1954) 247-272; Idem, Los Salmanticenses procesados por la Inquisición en la causa de la Inmaculada, in Salmanticensis 1 (1954 606-621; Idem, Los Salmanticenses y la Inmaculada: su tesis sobre la redención y el “debito” de la Virgen, in Salmanticensis 2 (1955) 265-298. In the two books cited an ample bibliography on the “debitist” controversy can be found.{/footnote}

3) – The debitist controversy occasioned the publication of numerous mariological works and tracts where ample discussion of the theme of redemption, as applied to the Virgin Mary, is to be found. On the other hand, this mariological literature introduces us to many factors which enable us to grasp the thinking of our theologians in regard to this very important problem. All this serves to clarify the concept, the modes and other particulars of this theme, which major theologians usually explain in their treatises on original sin and in commentaries on questions concerning the Incarnation.

The authors who explain their theory of redemption in relation to the Virgin Mary are very numerous. One may say that all the defenders of the privilege of the Immaculate Conception devote some section or question of their writings to an explanation which, at first blush, seems to be a contradiction: to be preserved and exempted from the sin of Adam, and to have been redeemed from sin in virtue of the redemptive merits of Her Son Jesus Christ.

In face of the impossibility of considering so vast a number of writers, I will comment on a few select theologians representative of each of these three types of hypotheses:

a) Defenders of the proximate debitum

b) Defenders of a remote debitum

c) Defenders of total exemption from sin and from the debitum of contracting it

2.1. c) Concept of “Redemption” According to “Debitist” Theologians

In general “debitist” theologians hold the same basic concept of redemption, whether they affirm the existence of a remote debitum only, or defend the existence of a proximate debitum. All admit some relation, more or less profound, on the part of the Virgin Mary with the sin of Adam. Their differences pertain only to the form and nuancing of the explanation of how redemption truly affects the person of the Virgin Mary.

At times, these authors abuse conceptual subtlety, as well as divisions and classifications of aspects and notions: relation to natural, physical, moral, formal, fundamental sin… All these details, at some point, can modify the hypothesis and mode of explanation of each of the authors. This entails a difficulty in arriving at an exact and objective interpretation of their meaning. In fact, I think a number of these authors have not yet been interpreted in a completely objective manner.

In my opinion this occurs because not all these theologians hold the same concept of debitum or debt. This is a term which may refer to physical debt, to moral debt, or be understood as debt in any generic sense. {footnote}Differences of interpretation on this point are treated by Carol, History…,cit., in relation to the conclusions of Toledo and Alcalá, and in relation to some particular authors, such as the Franciscan Juan Merinero López, pp. 81-82 ff.{/footnote}Also, on many occasions it is difficult to determine if redemption is intended in the proper sense, or in the broader sense. This is extremely important, to be kept always in mind, in order to avoid inexactitude and equivocations.

My intention here, is neither to examine nor to expound the teaching of these theologians on the debitum peccati, but to make known and assess their thought on “redemption.” This involves us with their hypotheses over the debitum of the Virgin. Nonetheless, my intention, let it be said once more, is to expound the concept of redemption, and also of co-redemption, in Spanish theology and mariology of the golden age.

1)-Theologians Defending the Proximate Debitum: the Salmanticenses

1 – a – Presentation

The Salmanticenses are among the leading theologians maintaining in the Immaculate the proximate debitum. The seriousness and strength of their argumentation, as well as their consistency in treating so complicated a question has been recognized by all commentators, even by those prescinding from the debitum in explaining the privilege of the Immaculate Conception. Agreement with their conclusions is quite another discussion. {footnote}Cf. Casado Fuente, Mariología…, cit., pp. 332, 346, 347, 363-364; Carol, History…, cit., pp. 102-105{/footnote}The Salmanticenses represent a very important theological school among the seventeenth century thomists. Their Cursus Theologicus has been considered by the historians of theology and by the best students of St. Thomas as “a monumental piece of theological literature, and at the same time one of the more notable compendiums of thomism.”{footnote}Th. Deman, Salamanque, Théologiens de…, in DTC, vol. 14, col. 1017.{/footnote}

The Salmanticenses expound the theme of “redemption” principally in two sections of their ample Cursus Theologicus (12 tomes). From a general point of view this theme is found in tract XXI: De Incarnatione, part 1, disputations 1 and 2 on the necessity and motive of the Incarnation. {footnote}Salmanticenses, Cursus Theologicus, cit., Tract. XXI, De Incarnatione, pars prima, Disp. I, De necessitate Incarnationis, and Disp. II, De motivo Incarnationis… On the history of the Cursus Theologicus see my work: Enrique del Sagrado Corazón (Llamas), Los Salmanticenses, su vida y su obra: Ensayo histórico y proceso inquisitorial de su doctrina sobre la inmaculada, Madrid 1955 (with notes on sources and bibliography); E. Llamas, El Colegio de San Elías y los Salmanticenses, in Rodríguez-San Pedro Bezares (Coord.), Historia de la Universidad de Salamanca, vol. I, Salamanca 2002, pp. [687]-704.{/footnote} From a more particular standpoint this is found in discussions of how redemption applies to the Immaculate Virgin in tract XIII on vices and sins, and still more properly in disputation XV dealing with the explanation of questions relative to original sin. {footnote}Salmanticenses, Cursus Theologicus, cit., Tract. XIII, De vitiis et peccatis: de extensione peccati originalis quantum ad debitum illud contrahendi.{/footnote}One should keep in mind that the most wide-ranging and important analysis of the Salmanticenses on “redemption” is found in this disputation XV in relation to the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Redeemer.{footnote}The authors of the “Cursus Salmanticensis” are principally four. The treatises which I cite here are by Fr. Juan de la Anunciación, and by Fr. Domingo de Santa Teresa. Chronologically, Tract XIII, work of Fr. Domingo is prior to the tract on the Incarnation, whose author is Juan de la Anunciación. On these questions see my work: Los Salmanticenses, Su Vida…, cit., pp. 49-52; 65-67. The tract of Fr. Domingo was composed after 1655, and includes some folios on original sin, which had been prepared by his predecessor, Fr. Antonio of the Mother of God. Juan de la Anunciación redacted tract XXI, De Incarnatione, probably around 1682-1686.{/footnote}

1 – b – Explanation: What is the “Redemption?”

a) The Salmanticenses are clear and convinced defenders of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, even though they defend Her submission to, or contraction, of the proximate debitum to sin. They affirm their belief clearly and expound it precisely, with an abundance of arguments at the very beginning of disputation XV.

It is not possible to believe that their objective in redacting this disputation had a hidden agenda, as their accusers before the Inquisition asserted: that of favoring, by recourse to the proximate debitum, the maculist opinion, so common in those days among thomist theologians. {footnote}On these accusations and suspicions harmful to these theologians, see my work: Los Salmanticenses, Su vida…, cit., pp. 150 ff.{/footnote} Quite to the contrary. Domingo de Santa Teresa (author of this section) sought to facilitate acceptance of the pia sententia [pious opinion as the Immaculate Conception was designated before its dogmatic definition] throughout the entire Church, above all, by the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and to prepare the way for a solemn definition of the Immaculate by the Supreme Pontiff.

b) Before formulating the core problematic concerning the “redemption” of the Virgin, the Salmanticenses resolve a number of questions constituting the preliminaries of their exposition. These include the concept of debitum peccati and of the permanence of this debitum (dubium I), and a second question: whether the Virgin Mother of God could have been exempted from original sin, and whether this exemption could be by the merits of Christ (dubium II). Their solution to this last question is an affirmative, because this is not a question of what is necessary to God himself, but one of something he can do by his absolute power.{footnote}Salmanticenses, Cursus Theologicus, Tract XIII, Disp. XV, Dub. II, title{/footnote}

On the basis of the reply to the last question: God can exempt the Most Holy Virgin from the debitum of original sin, they formulate the principal question in dubium III: whether the exemption or exception of the Mother of God from the debitum of original sin prejudices or is incompatible with Her redemption.{footnote}”Utrum exceptio Deiparae a debito culpae originalis praejudicet eius redemptioni? (Tract XIII, Disp. XV, Dub. III, Title.{/footnote}

Moving on from the proemium, our theologians forcefully argue the question where they explain how some things considered apart (seorsim) and in a