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The Predestination and Coredemption of Our Lady

Father Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M., born in Cardenas, Cuba, on February 19, 1911, was the youngest of eight children. He eventually made his way over to the United States, where he would fulfill his vocation. “On February 20, 1935, he was ordained priest at the Immaculate Conception Shrine in Washington, D.C.” (1)

Father Carol spent his consecrated life advancing the primacy of Christ, which brought about a greater Marian devotion. (2) Through lectures, books, and numerous articles, Father Carol challenged minimalist approaches in Mariology, in the hopes that our witness as followers of Christ would become that which imitates our Lord’s fullest expression in honoring Mary. Mariology for Carol started with the Christological or Trinitarian perspective, and from this foundation a proper ecclesial understanding was established. How God considered and honored Our Lady, in as much as we can deduce this, should impact our own Marian expression. Having spearheaded and started the Mariological Society of America, which produced the periodical Marian Studies, Father Carol gave readers the opportunity to contemplate Mariological issues both current and traditional. In addition to the publication, an annual symposium would be given, inviting leading theologians to present lectures and engage in further Mariological dialogue. (3) His periodicals addressed all things Marian, but father Carol seemed to have a few Mariological favorites he focused upon.

Three areas of emphasis in Carol’s Mariology will be examined. First, Our Lady’s predestined primacy with and under Jesus. (4) Mary, with Christ, was predestined by the will of God the Father, thereby giving back to the Trinity the greatest glory offered by humanity (5) within herself, having been being intentionally selected as the Mother of God. (6) This is not only a Franciscan position, but also a Thomistic one. Applying this teaching to the redemptive aspects of the Incarnation will also be examined to clarify theological differences.

For Father Carol, Mary’s association with Jesus is not dependent upon or impacted by the stain from Adam, because Jesus’ Incarnation was not reliant upon sin. His becoming flesh and dwelling among us was the perfect expression of the Father’s love toward His creation. Although Father Carol is a Franciscan, his work has been extremely balanced in presenting differing viewpoints fairly. (7) We will focus on Mary with Christ, emphasizing her predestined role in God’s oikonomia. (8) In viewing the Incarnation, the Passion, and the eternal reign of the Messiah we shall address other subjects of concern in Carol’s Marian scope.

Another area of prominence for Reverend Carol is his penetration of the controversy surrounding the “debitum peccati.” (9) Original sin is something that impacts us all, (10) and its application to us as descendents of Adam brings about questions on Our Lady’s preservation from it. What is Mary redeemed from, if she is sinless? Certainly with the definition of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception in 1854, (11) we have clarity from a Magisterial perspective, and from this we are able to work out many applications in the field of soteriology. There are still areas of question though, (12) and whether Mary was ever, or could have ever been, under the debt of sin is one such topic under investigation. How far does the reach of humanity’s flawed father extend to this daughter of Zion, who is completely separate from the stain of sin?

The redemptive role of Christ is certainly imperative to Father Carol’s Trinitarian comprehension and expression, and thus it has Mariological ramifications, in that he sees Our Lady as Coredemptrix. Because Mary is predestined with Jesus primarily for expressing and responding to the Father’s love, she is certainly associated with Our Lord’s redemptive plan, through His generous intentionality. Her association with Jesus’ redemptive mission as Coredemptrix is the final area of specific emphasis for our review concerning this Franciscan theologian. He will be a guide from whom we will examine these topics in Scripture, Magisterial documents and current theological contributions. These three areas of interest for Carol are intertwined one with the other. Each could be examined under the category of Trinitarian generosity, or, for Father Juniper, under the universal primacy of Christ. The ecclesial ramifications of Our Lady’s invitation into such Divine intimacy certainly speaks of what the Church is, and what we are called to be as followers of Christ. (13) There are eternal consequences to proper Mariology.

Investigating the early Church, we note how defining Mary’s role as Theotokos at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D., and ever-virgin at the Lateran Council in 649 by Pope Martin the first, safeguarded a proper understanding of Christology. (14) As it was then, so it is for us today. Mary will always point us to Christ, and with this in mind we can see great value in the theological efforts of Father Juniper Carol’s Mariology.

Typological reflections will be applied in examining the Old Testament with its fulfillment in the New, where applicable. (15) Applying faith to natural reason, we will be able to go beyond the merely rational in Marian consideration. She is more than just the mother of the historical Jesus. All of this will be bedded in the Magisterial teaching, which will give an interpretive voice to the examination of Scripture and Tradition. (16)

Starting with the Predestination of Mary, then examining Adamic sin and our redemption, we will conclude with its application to Our Lady as Coredemptrix. Each of these topics is extremely dense in theological insights and developments, and consequently, have significant implications for our spirituality. As St. Anselm says,

I am afraid that, just as I am invariably annoyed by bad painters when I see the Lord himself depicted as of ugly appearance, the same fault will be found with me, if I presume to plough through such beautiful subject matter with an unpolished and contemptible style of writing. (17)

With Father Carol as a guide we shall examine these topics in greater depth. This is not a complete analysis of the subject matter mentioned, (18) nor the fullness of Father Carol’s Mariology, but it is a wonderful place to start.

The Predestined Primacy of Mary with Jesus

We are a people desperate for clarity on the eternal . This is expressed by man’s continued grappling with core philosophical questions and his wanting lucid teachings on matters of life and eternity. “Men look to their different religions for an answer to the unsolved riddles of human existence. The problems that weigh heavily on the hearts of men are the same today as in the ages past.” (19) With the inclusion of faith, we transform and build upon man’s natural reasoning and philosophical queries. With the revelation found perfectly in and through Christ as seen in Scripture and Tradition, we, through the Magisterial teaching authority, have clarity in our soteriology. (20) From this teaching body we hear of Mary’s redemption. (21)

This matter is imperative because our Christology is what forms our soteriology, and a proper understanding of the theologia within the Trinity not only aids our approach to the Incarnation and redemption, but our foundations in orthodox Mariology. (22)

Mary is the recipient of the Trinity’s generosity in the most manifold way. (23) She now stands as an icon for the Church, a standard, but always our Mother, leading us into greater intimate response (anabasis) and elevation, due to the decent (katabasis) or condescension of God in Christ. (24) In her, we are nurtured to a greater reception of Christ in the sacraments of the Church, and become more receptive to the Spirit’s unfolding of the life of Christ within us.

Concerning the predestination of Our Lady, Carol says,

If, in point of time, we find Our Blessed Lady fulfilling a specific mission entrusted to her by the Almighty, it is obvious that this mission is the result of a positive act on the part of God’s will from all eternity. This divine will determining the existence of Our Lady, ordaining her to the beatific vision and (as a means to the end) charging her with a specific function in the divine economy is what we mean here by her predestination. (25)

God’s creation of the heavens and earth, the visible and invisible, is an intentional and free expression of God’s loving generosity. (26) He is not in need of us, or our praise, nor is He made greater because of the creation of the heavenly beings or earthly realities. That which is created exists because of Him, from nothing (ex nihilo). (27) There was not a back-up plan in case creation did not fall in sync with the Creator. The Trinity was not caught off-guard by the Angelic or Adamic rebellion. The fact that some of His creation failed their probationary period did not leave God wringing His hands, so to speak. This is important when considering questions regarding the Incarnation and its redemptive applications, expressed traditionally in Scotistic and Thomistic schools of thought. The Incarnation is not a hypothetical appendage to theologia (28) and the entire history of salvation. (29)

Through revelation the Creator, specifically the unity of the Trinity, causes to exist what did not. (30) By natural reason, many deduced from creation a higher power, first cause, or Creator, but it was the Incarnation which expressed God as Family; (31) Father, Son, and Spirit. (32) The oikonomia of God is the unfolding of this revelation within the economy of time, to a stiff-necked people. “Creation’s economy is the law of God’s household. It is how He fathers His family throughout salvation history.” (33)

Because God’s redemptive oikonomia is not an accidental unfolding of events, brought upon our existence due to the blunder of our first parents, we can see the unchanging constancy of God’s love, being expressed patiently from the beginning until now, and forever after. “The cross needs to be understood as a Trinitarian event, but one that we weren’t ready to receive, or even comprehend, until God took us through a long preparation. That’s what the Old Testament is all about, and why we need the New Testament in order to see it.” (34)

Out of all time, past, present, and future, God chose Mary to be the Mother of Jesus.

From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world. Above all creatures did God so love her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. (35)

We know that all of creation was made by and for the Word. Jesus is above all and before all. (36) The Incarnation was neither an accident nor a back-up plan. This Incarnation is forever associated in time and eternity with Mary as the Mother of God Incarnate. It is from her association with Christ that all is explored. (37) Starting with the Trinity and then humanity, we approach this “gentle Woman” with a new expectancy and insight. In Christ we readily see the Church as His Body and Kingdom. This certainly is in God’s intention before time, so how much more is the reality of Mary’s identity with and in Christ, in that her offspring is the Source from which the Church exists. (38)

In the Old Testament we are introduced to Eve as the first woman, intentionally chosen to exist in time, brought forth from the side of Adam. She is eternally identified with her spouse. Although our Lady’s existence in time comes about after thousands of years, she is foreshadowed throughout God’s economy being expressed in the Old Testament. From Sarah, Rebecca, Judith, and Hannah, all the way back to the very beginning with Eve, we see Our Lady in typological representatives. (39) Specifically we are directed to the reality of Our Lady’s role with Jesus in the Protoevangelium, (40) where hope is extended amidst the rubble of the first sin, seeing that this Woman with her Seed would be in enmity with the serpent and his.

So, intentionally from the start, we can see Our Lady’s predestination with Jesus, even though experientially Eve is the first woman created for the unfolding of God’s economy.

Why would there be resistance to the predestination of Our Lady with Jesus? Misunderstanding and fear often are reasons many distance Mary from such close correlation to Our Lord’s Incarnation and Redemption. Many approach her maternity in a utilitarian manner, as if any old womb would have done. We must see her first as Jesus does, before resigning her to a belittled state of emphasis. Mary is not selected haphazardly, as if she is an incidental part in God’s demonstration of Love. She is forever identified with Christ at the Incarnation, as well as with His death, resurrection, and Ascension.

But she remains what she was and will be for all eternity, the Mother of God made flesh. And what child, all the more if it were God, would forget the part and position played by his mother with regard to her? “Honor your father and your mother…”: how should the Son of Man, who honored his heavenly Father in everything, not also honor his earthly mother as well? (41)

God is not surprised by our sins, confused by our constant stumbling, nor unsure as to the next step needed in our journey back to Him. It just so happens, and is to our benefit, that our invitation into the Trinity’s love is built upon the inclusion of the Blessed Mother into the Divine economy.

Our Lady’s predestination with Christ and her association with Him, is seen in Old Testament typology and is fulfilled and transformed in the New Covenant’s unveiling. As Eve is identified with Adam, the mother of all living, even more so does Our Lady stand with Christ in the redemptive fulfillment. Abraham is the father of faith (42) and next to him stands Sarah, who struggled with the promise of God. Juxtapose this with Our Lady next to Christ, believing the promises of God, and offering her Son to the Father as an acceptable sacrifice. In the Old Testament Esther intercedes for her people before the king, and Mary fulfills this type as the Mediatrix and Advocate for the Church. (43) As Solomon lifted up Bathsheba, to be at his side, even more we note Our Lady as Queen of Heaven beside our eternal King. The Old is fulfilled in the New. (44)

In her very person as a Jewish girl become the mother of the Messiah, Mary binds together, in a living and indissoluble way, the old and the new People of God, Israel and Christianity, synagogue and church. She is, as it were, the connecting link without which the Faith (as is happening today) runs the risk of losing its balance by either forsaking the New Testament for the Old or dispensing with the Old. (45)

Another reason Mary’s association with Jesus is so resisted is due to the debt of sin applied towards all of humanity. Just because she is pre-figured in Old Testament types, (46) how can she avoid the fall’s ramifications upon humanity? This dilemma has brought much resistance and discussion in Mariology concerning Mary’s exemption in contracting original sin.

Sin and Redemption

There are two aspects we will look at in this section. The first is Mary’s exemption from the otherwise universal contractingt of original sin; the second, briefly addresses the Incarnation and whether it would have happened regardless of original sin.

Because Adam and Eve sinned, (47) humanity was deprived of the preternatural gifts, the Garden of Eden, and the intimate life and communion of the Trinity. Our sin cut the very life off to our souls. From that time on, humanity has carried the weight of sin and death, unable to receive total peace. The oikonomia of God’s commitment to His people by covenant is unfolded in His economy. From Adam and Eve, to Noah, Abraham, Moses, (48) and David we have been pointed to Messianic deliverance. (49) Jesus is that fulfillment. He is that which the Old covenant testified about, pointed to, and prophesied of. (50) The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (51) Mary was with the child. (52) All of created history unfolded with hope growing in humanity for the Woman and her Seed to come and crush the serpent, the devil, bringing fear of death to an end. (53) We are all worthy of death, unrighteous, and wanderers, in need of an ark, a ram, a deliverer, and a King. Jesus becomes flesh and we see the Father. (54) The oikonomia is revealed from the perspective of the Son’s revelation. The question arises though, that if all are in need of deliverance and under the debt of sin, how could our Church proclaim as dogma that Mary was immaculately conceived? How could she be without sin? (55) Another question could be, in what way is she redeemed? Would Mary be in need of deliverance from Adam’s sin? Since she is always identified with Christ how could she have been under Adam’s stain? Although Mary is human and not divine, she is intentionally chosen by God, so, in what manner is Mary sharing humanity with Adam, yet remaining free from his associative sin in her role as Mother of God?

Father Carol says of the debitum peccati, that it is “the universal necessity to contract sin.”

This necessity is said to arise from two factors: (a) being conceived according to the normal laws of propagation; and (b) being included, by divine disposition, in the act of disobedience by which Adam lost the grace of God for all his descendants. The former factor is supposed to induce a remote necessity (debitum remotum) to incur original sin; while the latter factor gives rise to a proximate necessity (debitum proximum) to contract it. (56)

In this debate there are three varying opinions which need to be pointed out. First,

Some say that, since Mary was conceived by way of seminal generation, and since she was included in the will of Adam as the moral representative of the race, she should have contracted original sin, although, in fact, God suspended the application of the law in her case (here is the debitum proximum).

Others claim that, owing to her normal generation, Mary should have been included in the sinful will of Adam, but God exempted her from this, and hence from actually contracting original sin (debitum remotum).

A third group contends that God preserved Mary from every necessity (proximate or remote) to contract original sin. (57)

Sin is a deprivation of grace. We are lacking grace whereas, Mary is filled to overflowing with it. (58) Her redemption is more sublime and most perfect. All of these graces are the fruits of Jesus’ redemptive work and its application to Our Lady before the Passion, for her calling as Mother of God. “The efficacy of the Savior’s redemptive grace was so overwhelming in her case, that it not only preserved her from the actual contraction of sin, but even places her beyond any possible reach of the universal law of sin.” (59) She is preserved from sin and not bound under the curse of sin and death, yet fully human. This is not so outlandish; humanity was once in a state of purity and innocence before the fall in the Garden of Eden. For Mary, her redemption is likened to a pre-fallen state, yet it is even greater, in that Christ fulfills and transforms the Old Testament types and preternatural gifts with the New Covenant realities, and Mary’s fullness of grace. In other words, Mary’s identification with Jesus enables her to participate with a greater innocence and purity than our first parents. She is the model that we wish to emulate in following Christ.

The matter of sin is something our technologically advanced society cannot remedy. Regardless of the amount of movies promoting ideologies which glory in the self, or the countless books, magazines, and articles, which try to promote existence based on immediate gratification with little thought of selfish ramifications, the nagging conscience reminds those who haven’t completely dulled it that we are not the entirety of our existence. There can be an intellectual snobbery which attempts to convert the religious from their spiritual introspection, but no logic or reason can negate the ramifications of our creatureliness. If there is a Creator, than I as creature am not my own. He is the authority to whom I inquire, how should I then live? In opposition to the gods of self or the sterile attempts of creatures striving for divinization, the one true God has chosen to speak with and to us from the very beginning. We have been privileged from the onset to be invited into communion with our Maker. The Creator has chosen to dialogue with His creation. He has intended to make them family so we stop here and meditate upon the opening moments of “the beginning” as it unfolds within the book of Genesis.

Man is created in the image and likeness of God and woman is formed from the side of Adam by this same God. We hear of the intimacy in Eden as the Lord walks with them in the cool of the day. (60) Our first parents were not created for an eternity in Eden, but rather the Beatific Vision. (61) To compliment the full outpouring of God’s generosity, freedom in humanity enables a response which, if given, will enter the creature into loving exchange with the Creator. In the Garden we are told they have one tree they must not partake of, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (62)

When the serpent enters this place of refuge Adam and Eve are put to the test. Will they obey God who loves them, or will they allow themselves to be persuaded by satan, God’s enemy?

There are many examples in the Old Testament of those who resisted evil. Consider young David who could not stand for the venom of Goliath’s mockery of the God of Israel. He is not cowed by the size of this giant, rather in the power of God David protects and acts in a way that shows a willingness to sacrifice his life for God. (63) We consider Abraham, willing to obey the Word of God, even to the point of sacrificing his son, who we know is spared at the last moment by God’s sending a ram. (64) Adam, however, did not resist the devil, did not fight against God’s enemy.

Ultimately, of course, we have the example of Christ himself, who defends that which God the Father gave to Him. He verbally spars with the serpent in the wilderness, countering the diabolical distortions with Divine lucidity, and ultimately gives his life for us. (65)

Why is such a moment of confrontation allowed in the Garden of Eden? It is because Adam and Eve were not in their final place of rest. As the period of Angelic probation revealed those who would follow God and those who would not serve Him, (66) so our first parents were given a moment to choose self or sacrificial life-giving love. Our first parents chose the former; as a result, they were deprived of grace because of the consequences of selfishness and pride. The whole of humanity, being from the line of Adam and Eve was now identified under Adam’s headship and deprived of the life of God. God’s economy is an unfolding of His Fatherly invitation back into His love, through the real suffering and death of Jesus, which was so selfishly avoided by Adam. In selfish pride Adam and Eve lost themselves and all they clutched. Now, through toil, (67) suffering and pain they began to learn what would eventually be fully revealed in Christ’s total self-donation to the Father.

What if Adam had chosen to battle the serpent of old? What if he hadn’t been silent? In calling out to the Lord, some feel Adam and Eve would have entered the beatific vision, through the protection of Christ Incarnate. (68) This brings about more questions concerning Christ’s Incarnation. (69) In viewing the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, we may ask what role the Blessed Mother plays in this drama.

Remember that Mary is not under the moral headship of Adam, and she is always identified with Christ, at enmity with the serpent.

Mary, then, had no obligation whatsoever to be in any way affected by the universal law of sin which threatens every child of Adam even before he begins to exist. She was never under any debitum peccati of any kind, whether proximate or remote, personal or natural, absolute or conditional. She was, of course, a natural child of Adam. But…before she was predestined to be a child of Adam, she was already the object of God’s ineffable love and affection. (70)

She is filled with grace, being deprived nothing, instead overflowing with life. (71) Mary, like Christ, offers her life (the sword pierces her heart) for the Church. She fulfills what Eve should have done, in terms of obedience to the will of God. Eve should have been “with Adam” in resisting the devil in Eden, as we see Mary with Christ during His Passion.

Mary is free from sin, identified with Christ, predestined with Him. But if Adam had not sinned, would the Incarnation have happened? Would Mary have been mother? If there had been no bowing to sin in the probation of Adam and Eve, would she be the Immaculate Conception? Would she still be Mother, still be Queen of His Kingdom? In the beatific vision would we have seen her as the closest creaturely expression of the Trinities love? Somehow I think we would still recognize her as blessed among women, the masterpiece of creation, Immaculate with greater grace than the preternatural gifts gave our first parents. If the Incarnation is not dependent upon Adam’s sin, than Our Lady’s role, even if not participating with Him as Coredemptrix, would still be so identified with Him that our response to her would be hyper-dulia.

The Incarnation is the greatest demonstration of God’s love for humanity, and along with Jesus one always finds Mary. For Reverend Carol, his concern is not so much the hypothetical question of Jesus’ Incarnation based on Adam sinning or not sinning, rather care must be taken in examining the ramifications of Christ’s primacy, regardless of sin.

Mary as Coredemptrix (72)

We have examined our Lady’s predestination with the primacy of Christ, as well as her preservation from sin through a more sublime redemption. We now address her earthly identification with Jesus as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate. (73) Her role as Coredemptrix is not considered in the light of an Incarnation outside of sin. Christ’s becoming flesh assumes the primary purpose of being redemptive in all areas of life. His recapitulation is the perfect response to the Father. Mary echoes this response, even as Coredemptrix.

From the early moments of the Church, even at the foot of the cross, we see Jesus giving Mary to the beloved disciple to take as his own. (74) She is now the mother of those who are now Jesus.’ (75) From the side of Christ blood and water flowed, the reality of the sacraments of initiation into the Church in Eucharist and baptism. Our Lady is also present by the will of God when the Holy Spirit is poured upon those gathered in the upper room, awaiting with expectant petitions the promise. (76) The overflowing love of the Holy Spirit, as tongues of fire, (77) draws our attention back to the pillar of fire in the desert, by which the children of Israel made their way in dark times. (78) Even more, the early Church is illumined by the Spirit now upon them, guiding them to remember the words of Christ, now enabling them to be guided into all truth. (79) Mary is there mothering the infant Church. She is familiar with the Holy Spirit’s presence at the Annunciation, and as St. Maximilian Kolbe describes her relation to the Spirit, she is acknowledged to be the spouse of the Blessed Mother. This same Holy Spirit is poured upon the Church, bringing much fruit!

To understand Mary’s maternal role in the Church, we can gain greater insight by viewing her maternity expressed towards Jesus. Certainly from the Annunciation, Nativity, and hidden years of our Lord, she fully loved and gave of herself to this Child. Mary is at the side of Christ during the beginning of His ministry. At Cana she intercedes for a common need, bringing about an uncommon reaction from her Son’s miraculous intervention. (80) This event shows Mary’s advocacy and mediation, knowing that her request would begin publicly that for which she and her Son have been preparing; the forthcoming road to Calvary. Her mediation brings about temporal salvation at the wedding feast in Cana, pointing towards the great demonstration of transformative love to be displayed and poured out at Calvary.

It is Mary’s association with Christ at Calvary that directs our attention to her as Coredemptrix. It is not a word implying equality, as if Mary in her very being was capable in rescuing any man, independent of God. It is her identification with Jesus as Mother, which enables her to offer to the Father, not only the body of her Son which would redeem us through His sacrifice, but also her sword-pierced heart filled with sufferings, (81) united with His salvific act. These gifts somehow contributed to our objective redemption, through the Lord’s generosity.

“The prefix “co” does not mean equal, but comes from the Latin word, “cum,” which means “with.” “The title of Coredemptrix applied to the Mother of Jesus never places Mary on a level of equality with Jesus Christ, the divine Lord of all, in the saving process of humanity’s redemption. Rather, it denotes Mary’s singular and unique sharing with her Son in the saving work of redemption for the human family.” (82)

Typically the primary reference for coredemption is found in the Old Testament in Genesis, the third chapter, where we are given the Protoevangelium, or “First Gospel.” “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” (83) This association with the Woman and her seed in complete opposition to the serpent and his seed is foundational for understanding Mary as Mediatrix and Coredemptrix.

When applied to Our Blessed Lady the term “Mediatrix” designates a twofold function: first, reconciling mankind with God through her cooperation in the redemptive work of Christ while she was still on earth; second, making available to each individual soul the graces which were earned by Christ and by herself through the work of Redemption…. In virtue of the first function Mary is called “Coredemptrix”; in virtue of the second, “Dispenser of all graces.” (84)

For many, these terms are new and possibly unsettling. We have considered our Lady’s predestination with Christ, her association with Him from the beginning in her call as Mother of God (Theotokos). Applying the redemptive aspects of salvation to Mary before Calvary in her preservation from sin is not problematic. Because of her role in salvation, with and under Christ, as Mother, Mary is granted beforehand the redemptive fruits of her Son. (85) Having been foreshadowed in the Old Testament as Queen Mother, Gebirah, she is to be crowned Queen of Heaven in her association with Jesus in the establishment of His kingship and Kingdom. As Jesus fulfills, and surpasses, King David and his dynasty we also see Our Lady partially reflected in Bathsheba when she is appointed Gebirah by Solomon.

Between Bathsheba and Nehushta there were many queen mothers. Some worked for good, some didn’t; but none was a mere figurehead. Gebirah was more than a title; it was an office with real authority. Consider the following scene from early in Solomon’s reign: “So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right” (1 Kgs 2:19). (86)

Mary’s intercession for us, having been foreshadowed by Esther, now is fulfilled in her maternal mediation, pouring the graces of her Son upon us as her children. And why is she given the role of Mediatrix and our Advocate? Because she is our Mother, but also, because, she is our Coredemptrix. With and under Jesus, Our Lady offers her sorrows, due to the immolation of her Son, in complete unity with the mission of Jesus and the desires of the Father, in a manner which has become objectively redemptive. What is the divine intention she has united with? It is the invitation to offer to the Father the fullness of the Son’s self-donation of life-giving love as Mother. She is invited into the very life of God, through the generosity of Jesus’ total life-giving sacrifice. Mary offers to the Father, as Mother (a picture of priests offering the sacrifice of the Mass to the Father, and our priesthood as believers), the salvific work of Jesus, along with her sword-pierced heart. Somehow, through the Lord’s inclusive generosity, Mary participates in the objective redemption of the world. Not because God has to do it this way, but because He chooses to be identified with the woman when crushing the serpent’s head.

In learning from Father Carol’s Mariology we see not only a consistent focus on Christology, but a continued check with Magisterial accuracy and Scriptural foundations. I have shown his Mariology within the framework of Old and New Testament reflections, as well as Catechetical references and modern theological insights, in order to advance his continued relevance within Marian applications of spiritual understandings. All of his books and articles are filled with Scriptural and Magisterial references, as well as an abundance of theological insights, both favorable and contrary to his perspectives, enabling the reader to discern the lucidity of his arguments. His commitment to scientific and Biblical Mariology brought to fruition the periodical Marian Studies, and also his invaluable collection of Mariological essays dealing with the enormous field of past and current Marian development. Speaking of today’s modern Mariologist, Father Carol stated, “his efforts are directed toward justifying Mariology’s claim as a theological science in the true and proper sense of the term.” And speaking of a Mariological Society in America, “its members must be up to date as regards the latest developments in this field; we must be sufficiently abreast of current mariological problems and of the solutions offered to meet these problems, otherwise the endeavors of our Society, sincere though they may be in themselves, will hardly be said to further the cause of Mariology as a science.” (87)

Having applied Carol’s Marian perspectives, along with Magisterial teachings, other theological writings and Scriptural references, I hope to continue drawing out more insight into these and other topics. The deeper one enters Mariology the more specific the terminology becomes. Learning to communicate in any language takes time, but it is well worth the effort. In discovering the various ways theologians have considered the Incarnation, Mariology, and its salvific effects, we have the opportunity of discerning how one insight may fit with another. Greater insight will enable greater application, both individually and collectively in its spiritual manifestations. We can be certain that Our Lady is bringing us closer to her Son. Even if the period of Angelic and human probation still seems a bit unclear, we can be certain that what is needed for our salvation concerning the Word of God has been given in full with the deposit of faith, preserved in the Church’s Magisterium and handed onto us, the body of Christ. I am praying that Our Lady continues to pour the graces of her Son upon us all as we are led into a deeper intimacy with Jesus.

Christopher Padgett, a convert to Catholicism, is a speaker, musician and author, who has a particular ministry to the youth. He is married with seven children.


(1) Koehler, Theodore A., S.M. Marianum Ephemerides Mariologiae, Annus LIII-Fasc.II-n. 142-1991, Rome, Pg.707-722.

(2) “Fr. Juniper’s substance—his intellectual priorities and apostolate—was securely focused on one goal above all: the Primacy of Jesus Christ.” Marian Studies, Vol. XLII, 1991. “Fr. Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M., 1911-1990: VIR CATHOLICUS ET TOTUS APOSTOLICUS,” James McCurry, O.F.M. Conv., Pg. 11.

(3) In the bibliography I have made reference to Marian Studies, where Father Carol, as editor of the periodical, and secretary for the Society, documented the topics covered by varying theologians at each annual gathering. Topical examples are, Our Lady and St. Paul’s Doctrine on Justification, Our Lady and the Law of Sin, (Vol.16), Mary’s Present Role in the Communion of Saints, (Vol. 18), Mary and the Crisis of Faith (Vol. 20), etc.

(4) Father Carol had a vast comprehension of the history of Mariology. His documentation of resources is demonstrated in careful footnotes throughout his works. A couple of Carol’s book titles will exemplify his emphasis on Mary’s predestine primacy with Christ, each filled with an extensive theological development and history of the subjects discussed: The Absolute Primacy and Predestination of Jesus and His Virgin Mother,Franciscan Herald Press; Why Jesus Christ?, Trinity Communications; The Universal Primacy of Christ, which Carol translated from the work of Francis Xavier Pancheri, O.F.M. His three-volume work Mariology, by Bruce Publishing, contains important insights not only from Carol but many other principal Mariologists as well.

(5) This is differentiating Mary as fully a human person, from Jesus, who is One Divine Person with two natures: human and divine.

(6) St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan friar, was advancing in Mariology with his growing insight in Our Lady’s relationship with the Holy Spirit. “In the Holy Spirit’s union with Mary we observe more than the love of two beings; in one there is all the love of the Blessed Trinity; in the other, all of creation’s love,” Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, Manteau-Bonamy, Fr. H.M., 1977, Marytown Press, Pg. 5.

(7) Examining the meticulous documentation in, Why Jesus Christ?, is an example of the diligence in scholastic presentation that Father Carol undertook in his writings.

(8) “What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.” Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 487.

(9) “In general, the debitum peccati may be defined as “the universal necessity to contract original sin.” Carol, Rev. Juniper, O.F.M., A History of the controversy over the “Debitum Peccati,” Franciscan Institute Publications, Theology Series No. 9. Edited by George Marcil, O.F.M, The Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University, 1978. Pg. 4.

(10) Romans 5:12.

(11) Ineffabilis Deus.

(12) “The theological debate was partially settled by the dogmatic pronouncement embodied in the Bull Ineffabilis Deus of 1854. Still some disputed aspects of the doctrine concerning Mary’s Immaculate Conception were untouched by the papal definition, thus leaving the matter open to further discussion by theologians. One of these disputed aspects concerns the so-called debitum peccati in Our Lady.” Carol, Rev. Juniper, O.F.M., A History of the controversy over the “Debitum Peccati,” Franciscan Institute Publications, Theology Series No. 9, Edited by George Marcil, O.F.M, The Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University, 1978, Pg. v. (prefatory note by John Cardinal Wright).

(13) Lumen Gentium 65, Vatican Council II, Austin Flannery, O.P., Costello Publishing Company, Inc., NY, 1975, Pg. 420. “Devoutly meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church reverently penetrates more deeply into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her spouse.”

(14) For a brief overview of the four Marian dogmas, see the Introduction of Dr. Miravalle’s, Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, Pg. xiii, xiv, 1993, Queenship Publishing, Santa Barbara, CA.

(15) Catechism of the Catholic Church, An Image Book, Doubleday, NY, 1995 (CCC 128).

(16) Dei Verbum, Chapter 2, Art. 10. Vatican Council II, Austin Flannery, O.P., Costello Publishing Company, Inc., NY, 1975, Pg. 755, 756.

(17) Anselm of Canterbury The Major Works, Oxford University Press 1998. Brian Davis and G.R. Evans, editorial matter, Pg. 267.

(18) Regarding the debitum peccati alone, Carol says, “To undertake even a superficial commentary on the immense bulk of texts we have been able to assemble during the past four decades, and to arrange the massive whole into a creditable synthesis, would require, besides two large volumes, many months of careful analysis,..” A History of the controversy over the “Debitum Peccati,” Pg. 3.

(19) Nostra Aetate, Art. 1. Vatican Council II, Austin Flannery, O.P., Costello Publishing Company, Inc. NY, 1975, Pg. 738.

(20) See, Nostra Aetate, #2, “Yet she proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (2 Cor. 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life,” Pg. 739.

(21) “Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.” Ineffabilis Deus, Pius IX, St. Paul Books and Media, Boston, MA, Pg. 3,4.

(22) CCC. 487.

(23) “She stands in a category of her own, a category which far surpasses any and everything which is not God.” Carol, Rev. Juniper, Marian Studies, Vol. VI, 1955, “Our Lady’s Immunity From The Debt of Sin,” Pg. 165.

(24) Philippians 2:6-8.

(25) Carol, Juniper B. O.F.M., Fundamentals of Mariology, Benziger Brothers, Inc., NY. 1956, Pg. 21. This chapter distinguishes four propositions within her predestination. 1. The order of intention. 2. Jesus and Mary predestined in one and the same decree. 3. With and under Christ she has priority in predestination. 4. Her predestination is secondary cause of all others’ predestination. First two held by most, last two are primarily Franciscan, Pg. 21-25.

(26) CCC. 295.

(27) CCC. 296.

(28) CCC. 236.

(29) CCC. 456-463.

(30) CCC. 258.

(31) CCC. 2779.

(32) See Dr. Hahn’s, First Comes Love, Chapters 1-5. and, A Father who keeps his Promises, for greater insight into the Trinity as Family, and our inclusion into it.

(33) Hahn, Scott, Ph.D. First Comes Love, Doubleday, NY, 2001, Pg. 53.

(34) Hahn, Scott, Ph.D A Father Who Keeps His Promises,. Servant Publications, Ann Arbor, MI, 1998, Pg. 20.

(35) Ineffabilis Deus, Pius IX, St. Paul Books and Media, Boston, MA, Pg. 3.

(36) Colossians 1:17.

(37) “But I go further; for I dare assert that the union existing between these two predestinations is so close, that the Son and Mother being one in union of mind, and heart and will, their predestination is inseparable. Jesus recognized Himself in the eternal designs of God as Son of Mary, Mary saw herself therein as Mother of Jesus. So that the one included and was encompassed by the other reciprocally. Thus it comes to pass that the Church applies to the Mother of the Savior, the same words that the Holy Ghost uses regarding the eternal election and predestination of her Son: “ab aeterno ordinate sum.” “Dominus possedit me in initio (Vel initium) viarum suarum.” (Prov. 8: 23,24). Eudes, St. John, The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God,Preserving Christian Publications, Inc. Albany, NY, 1998, Pg. 33.

(38) CCC. 963-975.

(39) “Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary” CCC. 489.

(40) Genesis 3:15.

(41) Mary for Today, Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Ignatius Press, San. Francisco, CA, 1988. Pg. 75.

(42) Romans 4:11, 12.

(43) Lumen Gentium, Art. 62.

(44) CCC. 129.

(45) The Ratzinger Report, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger with Vittorio Messori, Ignatius Press, San. Francisco, CA, 1985, Pg. 107.

(46) “We have previously noted that in order to interpret Mary, the New Testament refers back to the mothers of the Old Testament, to the theology of the daughter Zion, and probably also to Eve, and then ties these three lines of development together.” Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal, Daughter Zion, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, Pg. 25.

(47) Genesis Chapter 3, Romans 5:12, see also CCC., 415-419.

(48) John 5:46.

(49) Luke 24:27.

(50) Luke 24:44.

(51) John 1:14.

(52) Matthew 2:11.

(53) Romans 8:19-22.

(54) John 14:9.

(55) This is more of an issue within Protestantism.

(56) Carol, Rev. Juniper, O.F.M., A History of the controversy over the “Debitum Peccati,” Franciscan Institute Publications. Theology Series No. 9, edited by George Marcil, O.F.M., The Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University, 1978, Pg. 12.

(57) A History of the controversy over the “Debitum Peccati,” Pg. 4. He continues to state that many theologians consider this untenable because, “Mary was a true child of Adam by way of seminal generation; and it withholds her from the influence of Christ’s redemption.” Ibid. pg. 4,5. Replying to these arguments they say, “Seminal generation does not, of itself, create in the offspring a true necessity to contract original sin; it merely gives rise to a possibility of contracting it.” Also pointed out, is we would inherit Adams and our ancestors sins if generation caused the transmission of sins. Ibid. Pg. 5. Finally, “For a person to be affected by Adam’s sin, a second factor is strictly necessary, namely, a decree of God withdrawing His grace from that individual whose solidarity with Adam in the supernatural order had been foreseen. Briefly, a true debt of sin presupposes that a person depends on the physical and moral headship of Adam. Now, Mary did not depend on Adam for her grace. It was the other way around.” Pg. 5.

(58) CCC. 490.

(59) Carol, A History…Pg. 5.

(60) Gen. 3:8.

(61) St. Anselm speaks of a City that is awaiting the completion of those who will fill it. Humanity within the Garden was to be an opportunity to chose the greater good. “For they used to have, in the Garden, a sort of immortality, that is, the power not to die; but this was not an undying power, because it could die—in the sense, I mean, that Adam and Eve could not not die.” Pg. 296. And also, “it was at the time when they sinned that God would have brought about their confirmation, supposing they had not sinned—just as he did in the case of the angels who remained steadfast.” “If they had been victorious in not sinning when tempted, they would be confirmed along with all their progeny, so as to be unable to sin any more.” Pg. 297. Anselm of Canterbury The Major Works. So he notes a period of probation which they fail.

(62) Genesis 2:17.

(63) 1 Samuel 17.

(64) Genesis 22: 1-14.

(65) Matthew 4:1-11.

(66) See Padgett, Chris, The Word of God as the Father’s Will with Marian Aspects in the Angelic Period of Probation, for the period of Angelic probation.

(67) Genesis 3:17-19.

(68) “We know that the Father would not have forsaken his son in his hour of need, if only Adam had cooperated with grace and called upon God for help. Either God would have empowered his faithful servant with sufficient grace to destroy the devil, or the Father would have accepted Adam’s sacrificial offering of himself as a holy oblation, saving him from death and corruption and rewarding him with eternal glory in heaven.” Hahn, Scott, A Father who keeps his promises. Pg. 71. On 3/3/05 Dr. Hahn made an observation that the Incarnation may have taken place as a divine response to Adam’s prayer of help. Here Christ would have become Incarnate, and this would enable Adam to avoid sin.

(69) For the probationary period of our first parents, it is designed to transform them into a divine-like love; a live-giving love. Jesus assumes human nature (by Mary) and perfects it by divinizing it. He transfers life-giving love into our nature (through our inclusion into Him via baptism). Jesus does with His earthly life, what He does with His Divine life: He pours it out. So, whether we apply this to the Garden of Eden, or realize the truth of this in the Garden of Gethsemane, it is applicable. Much of this is considered and drawn from our class on 3/3/05 with Dr. Hahn in Theological Foundations.

(70) Carol, Father Juniper, B., Marian Studies, Vol. VI, 1955, Pg. 166, 167.

(71) Father Carol says, “In our opinion, what Our Blessed Lady should have at her conception is grace, not original sin. Not that she had an antecedent right to it, of course; rather, since God had predestined her to the ineffable dignity of the divine motherhood, He owed it to Himself to grant her this unique privilege.” A History of the controversy over the “Debitum Peccati,” Pg. 6.

(72) “From 1937 to 1940, he pursued his theological studies at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anthony in Rome and prepared a doctoral dissertation on Mary’s co-redemption.” Marianum, Rome, 1991, Pg. 710.

(73) “Our Blessed Lady does not produce directly and physically the sanctifying grace given to us through the Sacraments, nevertheless, she intervenes in that production in a twofold manner. First, remotely, inasmuch as that sacramental grace was merited by her (together with Christ) as Coredemptrix while she was on earth. Secondly, proximately (although indirectly), inasmuch as the very desire to receive the Sacraments, and the proper dispositions to do so worthily are the effect of actual graces which are granted to the recipient in each case through the intercession of Our Blessed Lady.” Fundamentals of Mariology, Carol, Juniper B. O.F.M. Benziger Brothers, Inc. New York, 1956, Pg. 71.

(74) John 19:26, 27.

(75) “Because the baptized Christians are brethren of Christ, they are children of Mary. There is nothing particularly mysterious about this; in fact, nothing could be more clear. How can we have Christ for our elder brother and not have piety toward Mary as Our Mother.” Wright, Cardinal J., Mary Our Hope, 1984, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA., Pg. 131. As a side note, Cardinal Wright and Juniper Carol were good friends. Carol always thanked the Cardinal in the Marian Studies review of the annual symposium. In fact, in this book Father Carol writes the Epilogue, and in Carol’s A History of the Controversy over the “Debitum Peccati” Cardinal Wright pens the prefatory note, in the book Carol has dedicated to him.

(76) Acts 1:14.

(77) Acts 2:3.

(78) Exodus 13:21,22.

(79) John 14:26.

(80) John 2:1-11.

(81) Luke 2:35.

(82) Miravalle, Mark, S.T.D., Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate. 1993 Queenship Publishing, Santa Barbara, CA.

(83) Genesis 3:15, The Catholic Answer Bible, NAB. Fireside Catholic Publishing, Our Sunday Visitor, 2002. DeVore and Sons, Inc., Wichita, KS.

(84) Fundamentals of Mariology, Carol, Juniper B. O.F.M. Benziger Brothers, Inc. New York, 1956, Pg. 56.

(85) Even in the New Testament we see Jesus extending forgiveness to people before the Passion. “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:48; Mt. 9:2.

(86) Hahn, Scott, Hail, Holy Queen, Doubleday 2001, NY, NY, Pg. 80.

(87) Marian Studies, Vol. 1. 1950. The Mariological Society of America, Washington, D.C., Pg. 26.

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