03 March 2010

More on Mary, Co-redemptrix

NB.  The mention of the conference on the proposed Fifth Marian Dogma generated some emails.  I thought I'd repost this piece from a year ago:


In his amazingly clear explication in the role of the Blessed Virgin's compassion and sorrow in salvation history, The Foot of the Cross Or, The Sorrows of Mary, English theologian, Fr. Frederick W. Faber, argues for the use of the title, "Co-Redemptress" when referring to Mary's contribution to Christ's unique sacrifice for our sins. He argues that the title must be understood in the context of the following five theological facts:

1) Our Blessed Lord is the sole Redeemer of the world in the true and proper sense of the word and in this sense no creature whatsoever shares the honour with Him neither can it be said of Him without impiety that He is co redeemer with Mary

2) In a secondary dependent sense and by participation all the elect co-operate with our Lord in the redemption of the world

3) In the same sense but in a degree to which no others approach our Blessed Lady co-operated with Him in the redemption of the world

4) Besides this and independent of her dolours she co-operated in it in a sense and after a manner in which no other creatures did or could

5) Furthermore by her dolours she co-operated in the redemption of the world in a separate and peculiar way separate and peculiar not only as regards the co-operation of the elect but also as regards her own other co-operation independently of the dolours.

Could not be clearer or more precise.

BTW, this book was written in the late 1840's and published in 1858. And Fr. Faber was an Anglican priest before converting to the Church under Cardinal Newman's tutelage. He was also a founding member of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in London, the famous "Bromption Oratory."

Also, check out this post for further information and links:  Mary, Co-redemptrix?

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  1. I was born on September 15th, the feast of the Seven Dolors of Mary. My devotion to Mary under this title has spanned 5 decades. Nevertheless, I see no need for a dogma proclaiming Mary as Co-Redemptress. I hardly think she's campaigning for such a title, either.

    This particular discussion stirs up lots of controversy within Catholic circles. Is it that important? I'd opt for unity and peace among the faithful, not polarization.

  2. The meaning is indeed clear when explained, but how many people will not see the explanation and therefore understand the title incorrectly? I completely agree that Mary is co-redemptrix, but am concerned that if the title is made official Protestants, especially Evangelicals, will be scandalized.

  3. Elizabeth, truth can never be a scandal.

    Besides, I don't see our Protestant brothers and sisters worrying overly much about scandalizing us as they gut the faith with modernist innovations.

  4. Truth can never be a scandal, but a word that is not understood does not convey the truth. Many people hear this as meaning that Mary is equal with her Son. I have had some success in explaining this doctrine by reminding people that "co-starring" in a movie is far below "starring", but it is confusing to them.

    BTW, the Evangelicals I know (and I was one before becoming Catholic 24 years ago) are far from modernist.

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  6. Elizabeth, we can't defer preaching the truth b/c some might misunderstand. I know life-long Catholics who can't tell you the diff. btw the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception. My Protestant family members cannot understand that Catholics do not have to work for their salvation. We can't stop teaching these truths b/c they are misunderstood.

    Unfortunately, modern Evangelicals are responsible for pushing one of the greatest distortions of the faith: sola scriptura.