Bergoglio claims calling Mary “Co-Redemptrix” is “foolishness”…
Francis denies the Co-Redemption of the Blessed Virgin Mary — but is it Catholic Doctrine?
“At the Cross her station keeping…”
Although he loves to feign a great devotion to the Most Holy Mother of God, in actual fact Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope” Francis) has as much hatred and contempt for her as he does for her Divine Son, our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Just last week, on Dec. 9, we published a blog post giving several concrete examples of how the apostate from Buenos Aires blasphemes the Blessed Virgin Mary. Little did we know he was going to do it again just three days later.
On Dec. 12, for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the papal pretender presided over a Novus Ordo worship service at St. Peter’s Basilica (photos and video here). During the homily he couldn’t help himself: Not only did he deny the doctrine of the Co-Redemption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he mocked it as “foolishness”:
Pope Francis appeared to flatly reject proposals in some theological circles to add “co-redemptrix” to the list of titles of the Virgin Mary, saying the mother of Jesus never took anything that belonged to her son, and calling the invention of new titles and dogmas “foolishness.”
“She never wanted for herself something that was of her son,” Francis said. “She never introduced herself as co-redemptrix. No. Disciple,” he said, meaning that Mary saw herself as a disciple of Jesus.
Mary, the pope insisted, “never stole for herself anything that was of her son,” instead “serving him. Because she is mother. She gives life.”
“When they come to us with the story of declaring her this or making that dogma, let’s not get lost in foolishness [in Spanish, tonteras],” he said.
(Ines San Martin, “Pope calls idea of declaring Mary co-redemptrix ‘foolishness’”, Crux, Dec. 13, 2019; italics given.)
Notice that Francis does not merely reject the idea of raising the Co-Redemption (alternate spelling is “Corredemption”) to the level of dogma and officially sanctioning the title of “Co-Redemptrix”, he scoffs at the idea and thereby insults those who favor it. He could have simply said the proposal is not wise and theologically inaccurate, if that’s what he believes, but he chose to go further. He even stooped so low as to suggest that the Co-Redemption implies the Blessed Mother stealing what belongs to Christ.
It is tragicomic that Francis pronounced these impious words on the same day that Life Site published an open letter from Novus Ordo laity addressed to Francis, “imploring him to condemn the idolatry of mother earth (Pachamama) that recently took place at the Vatican and to confirm them in honoring Mary as mother and queen.”
What is the Co-Redemption?
But what even is the Co-Redemption? Many have probably never even heard of it. Is it really traditional Catholic doctrine or is it an impermissible exaggeration of the role of the Mother of Sorrows? Does the title “Co-Redemptrix” not cross the line into quasi-idolatry, making Mary Most Holy to be equal with Christ? And would this doctrine not be an implicit denial of the Council of Trent, which speaks of “Jesus Christ our Lord, who alone is our Redeemer and Savior” (Session 25; Denz. 984)?
Concerned souls can breathe easy: The notion of Mary’s Co-Redemption does not mean that Christ’s Mother is equal with God, that she is divine, that Christ is not our only Redeemer, or that His Redemption was lacking in something a mere creature had to supply.
A lot of the confusion about the concept seems to stem from the prefix “co-.” We must understand that this word does not mean equal. Being derived from the Latin word cum, it simply means with (see Leo F. Stelten, Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995], s.v. “cum”). When we say that the Blessed Mother is the Co-Redemptrix, we mean that she is associated and united with the Redemption of Christ by participating in it in a unique but clearly subordinate way. Precisely in what way, that is the content of the doctrine of the Corredemption.
Is the Co-Redemption Reasonable?
It is not foreign to God to permit His creatures to share in both His natural and His supernatural work. For example, although God is the only Creator, nevertheless He has allowed parents to be co-operators with Him in the work of creation, and this is appropriately called pro-creation. Every priest is an alter Christus (“another Christ”) — he offers Holy Mass, forgives sins, baptizes, etc., in persona Christi (cf. 2 Cor 2:10). The administration of the sacraments is a clear example of where God permits human beings to share in His work of saving souls, but it is not the only one, for, as St. Paul says, in a certain sense all Catholics “are God’s coadjutors” (1 Cor 3:9), that is, His assistants.
We know from Divine Revelation that Jesus Christ is our one and only Mediator: “For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). Yet we also know that this One Mediatorship of Christ does not prevent other, lesser mediators who are subordinate to, and entirely dependent upon, the Divine Mediator. Among them there is, first and foremost, the Blessed Virgin, who is the Mediatrix of All Graces, and then all the other saints. Ultimately, even every last one of us who practices intercessory prayer shares in a very subordinate way in the One Mediatorship of Christ, simply because that is how God has willed it to be in the Communion of Saints. It is a beautiful and consoling truth, one that does not take anything away from Christ’s Mediatorship but demonstrates its great efficacy.
Now it is evident that God willed to allow the Holy Virgin to co-operate in the work of the Incarnation (see Lk 1:26ff.); why then should He not also permit her, who “kept all these words, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19), to co-operate in the work of the Redemption, which is the reason our Blessed Lord became incarnate in the first place?
The Blessed Virgin Mary’s unique participation in the Redemption of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is definitely taught in Divine Revelation and by the Catholic Church’s magisterium, as the following copious quotations will demonstrate.
Church Doctrine on the Co-Redemption
The Corredemption is announced in the very first prophecy of the Redeemer: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Gen 3:15). That a woman should be permitted to cooperate in the Redemption of mankind is most fitting, as it was through the cooperation of a woman that man fell into sin to begin with (see Gen 3:1-6). As Jesus Christ is the New Adam (cf. 1 Cor 15:22), so Mary is the New Eve (Eva –> Ave).
In his Letter to the Colossians, St. Paul the Apostle mentions that “[I] now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church” (Col 1:24). On this passage, the Scripture commentary of Fr. George Haydock notes:
The wisdom, the will, the justice of Jesus Christ, requireth and ordaineth that his body and members should be companions of his sufferings, as they expect to be companions of his glory; that so suffering with him, and after his example, they may apply to their own wants and to the necessities of others the merits and satisfaction of Jesus Christ, which application is what is wanting, and what we are permitted to supply by the sacraments and sacrifice of the new law.
(Haydock Commentary; italics given.)
If this is true for all members of Christ’s Body, for all Catholics, how would it not apply in the most exemplary fashion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the only member of the Church who was never under the dominion of Satan or sin for even an instant, and whose own individual suffering was prophesied by St. Simeon in Sacred Scripture with the words, “thy own soul a sword shall pierce” (Lk 2:35)?
The papal magisterium is filled with beautiful references and allusions to the Blessed Virgin’s unique participation in the Redemption of Christ.
In a letter of Jan. 9, 1801, Pope Pius VII wrote to the bishop of Cagliari that the Sorrowful Virgin “stood at the foot of the Cross and offered those sorrows to the Eternal Father for our salvation” (Apostolic Letter Id Officii Debent; in Benedictine Monks of Solesmes, eds., Papal Teachings: Our Lady [Boston, MA: Daughters of St. Paul, 1961], n. 12, p. 41).
In his Apostolic Constitution defining the dogma of the Immaculate Conception ex cathedra, Pope Pius IX taught:
Hence, just as Christ, the Mediator between God and man, assumed human nature, blotted the handwriting of the decree that stood against us, and fastened it triumphantly to the cross, so the most holy Virgin, united with him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot.
(Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus)
In a letter of Aug. 25, 1873, the same Pope Pius IX pointed out that the Mother of God “was so closely united to the sacrifice of her Divine Son, from the virginal conception of Jesus Christ to His sorrowful Passion, that she was called by some Fathers of the Church, Virgin Priest” (Apostolic Letter Cum Purgaturus; in Papal Teachings: Our Lady, n. 69, p. 85). It is important to understand that the type of priesthood referred to here is not the ordained or ministerial priesthood that most people will think of when they hear the word “priest”. Hence, in order to avoid confusion among the faithful, the Church subsequently forbade a devotion to Mary as Virgin-Priest and in a decree of Apr. 8, 1916, disapproved of images depicting the Blessed Mother wearing priestly vestments (see Acta Apostolicae Sedis VIII , p. 146).
Pius IX’s immediate successor, Pope Leo XIII, more than hinted at Blessed Mary’s Co-Redemption in one of his many encyclical letters on the Holy Rosary when he taught:
In the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is in an agony; in the judgment-hall, where He is scourged, crowned with thorns, condemned to death, not there do we find Mary. But she knew beforehand all these agonies; she knew and saw them. When she professed herself the handmaid of the Lord for the mother’s office, and when, at the foot of the altar, she offered up her whole self with her Child Jesus — then and thereafter she took her part in the laborious expiation made by her Son for the sins of the world. It is certain, therefore, that she suffered in the very depths of her soul with His most bitter sufferings and with His torments. Moreover, it was before the eyes of Mary that was to be finished the Divine Sacrifice for which she had borne and brought up the Victim. As we contemplate Him in the last and most piteous of those Mysteries, there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, who, in a miracle of charity, so that she might receive us as her sons, offered generously to Divine Justice her own Son, and died in her heart with Him, stabbed with the sword of sorrow.
(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Iucunda Semper, n. 3)
In the same encyclical, Pope Leo included this beautiful prayer to the Sorrowful Virgin:
Yes, we fly to thee, we miserable children of Eve, O holy Mother of God. To thee we lift our prayers, for thou art the Mediatrix, powerful at once and pitiful, of our salvation. Oh, by the sweetness of the joys that came to thee from thy Son Jesus, by thy participation in His ineffable sorrows, by the splendors of His glory shining in thee, we instantly beseech thee, listen, be pitiful, hear us, unworthy though we be!
(Iucunda Semper, n. 8)
In an earlier encyclical on the Rosary, the same Pope Leo had taught that “the Immaculate Virgin, chosen to be the Mother of God and thereby associated with Him in the work of man’s salvation, has a favor and power with her Son greater than any human or angelic creature has ever obtained, or ever can gain” (Encyclical Supremi Apostolatus, n. 2).
All subsequent Popes taught the Universal Church in the same manner:
When the supreme hour of the Son came, beside the Cross of Jesus there stood Mary His Mother, not merely occupied in contemplating the cruel spectacle, but rejoicing that her Only Son was offered for the salvation of mankind, and so entirely participating in His Passion, that if it had been possible she would have gladly borne all the torments that her Son bore (S. Bonav. 1. Sent d. 48, ad Litt. dub. 4). And from this community of will and suffering between Christ and Mary she merited to become most worthily the Reparatrix of the lost world (Eadmeri Mon. De Excellentia Virg. Mariae, c. 9) and Dispensatrix of all the gifts that Our Savior purchased for us by His Death and by His Blood.
(Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Ad Diem, n. 12)
In fact, according to the common teaching of the Doctors it was God’s design that the Blessed Virgin Mary, apparently absent from the public life of Jesus, should assist Him when He was dying nailed to the Cross. Mary suffered and, as it were, nearly died with her suffering Son; for the salvation of mankind she renounced her mother’s rights and, as far as it depended on her, offered her Son to placate divine justice; so we may well say that she with Christ redeemed mankind.
(Pope Benedict XV, Apostolic Letter Inter Sodalicia [May 22, 1918], in Acta Apostolicae Sedis X , p. 181; translation taken from Papal Teachings: Our Lady, n. 267, p. 194.)
In his Apostolic Letter Explorata Res of Feb. 2, 1923, Pope Pius XI spoke of “the fact that the sorrowful Virgin took part with Jesus Christ in the work of the Redemption” (in Acta Apostolicae Sedis XV , p. 104; translation from Papal Teachings: Our Lady, n. 282, p. 205).
In 1928, Pius XI issued an encyclical letter on reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in which he explained what can be considered the basis for any and all acts of participation in the Redemption on the part of human beings:
Rightly, therefore, does Christ, still suffering in His mystical body, desire to have us partakers of His expiation, and this is also demanded by our intimate union with Him, for since we are “the body of Christ and members of member” (1 Corinthians xii, 27), whatever the head suffers, all the members must suffer with it (Cf. 1 Corinthians xii, 26).
(Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, n. 14)
The same Roman Pontiff concluded this encyclical stating that the Mother of God “offered Him [Jesus Christ] as a victim by the Cross” so that “by her mystic union with Christ and His very special grace she likewise became and is piously called a reparatress” (n. 21).
Not surprisingly, the last (known) true Pope so far, Pius XII, also taught the Corredemption of the Blessed Virgin:
It was she, the second Eve, who, free from all sin, original or personal, and always most intimately united with her Son, offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father for all the children of Adam, sin-stained by his unhappy fall, and her mother’s rights and mother’s love were included in the holocaust.
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 110)
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, would finally result in that most complete victory over the sin and death which are always mentioned together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles….
Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences….
(Pope Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, nn. 39-40)
But the Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation….
Now, in the accomplishing of this work of redemption, the Blessed Virgin Mary was most closely associated with Christ….
From these considerations, the proof develops on these lines: if Mary, in taking an active part in the work of salvation, was, by God’s design, associated with Jesus Christ, the source of salvation itself, in a manner comparable to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the source of death, so that it may be stated that the work of our salvation was accomplished by a kind of “recapitulation,” in which a virgin was instrumental in the salvation of the human race, just as a virgin had been closely associated with its death; if, moreover, it can likewise be stated that this glorious Lady had been chosen Mother of Christ “in order that she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race”; and if, in truth, “it was she who, free of the stain of actual and original sin, and ever most closely bound to her Son, on Golgotha offered that Son to the Eternal Father together with the complete sacrifice of her maternal rights and maternal love, like a new Eve, for all the sons of Adam, stained as they were by his lamentable fall,” then it may be legitimately concluded that as Christ, the new Adam, must be called a King not merely because He is Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so, analogously, the Most Blessed Virgin is queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, as the new Eve, she was associated with the new Adam.
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, nn. 35-36,38)
The specific title “Co-Redemptrix” for the Blessed Virgin was explicitly used by some of the Popes, such as Pius XI, who during a radio message addressed the Mother of God thus: “Mother most faithful and most merciful, who as coredemptrix and partaker of thy dear Son’s sorrows didst assist Him as He offered the sacrifice of our Redemption on the altar of the Cross…” (Radio Message to Pilgrims at Lourdes, Apr. 28, 1935; excerpted in Papal Teachings: Our Lady, n. 334, p. 228).
The title “Co-Redemptrix” also appears in documents issued by the Holy Office, of which each Pope is the head. The Holy Office is the Vatican dicastery charged with enforcing orthodoxy throughout the Universal Church. In 1913, under Pope St. Pius X, a decree was issued referring to “the glorious name of his Mother, our corredemptrix, the Blessed Mary” (“glorioso … nomine Matris suae, corredemptricis nostrae, beatae Mariae”; in Acta Apostolicae Sedis V , p. 364). Furthermore, the following year the same sainted Roman Pontiff, Pius X, granted an indulgence to a prayer that addressed the Mother of Jesus as “the corredemptrix of the human race” (“corredentrice del genere umano”; in Acta Apostolicae Sedis VI , p. 108).
The Theological Status of the Doctrine
Quotes like the foregoing could be multiplied further, but these suffice to establish that the magisterial evidence for the truth of the Corredemption of Mary is overwhelming; thus it is clear that no Catholic can question it without sinning. Yet the precise theological note of this teaching still remains to be determined. Is it dogma, such that its denial would constitute the sin of heresy? Or does it possess a lesser theological status?
Fr. Joseph de Aldama, S.J., in his treatise On the Blessed Virgin Mary for the dogmatic compendium Sacrae Theologiae Summa, draws some necessary distinctions and assesses the theological status of each individually:
a) That Mary cooperated in the work of redemption, at least mediately, is a matter of faith (de fide).
b) That she also cooperated immediately is a doctrine more in conformity with the quoted texts of the Holy Pontiffs. Indeed these texts, taken together as a whole, signify the constant teaching for a century of the Roman Pontiffs proposed to the whole Church more clearly with the passage of time. For they are not unaware of the disputes of theologians over this matter.
c) That the title of Corredemptrix is used rightly is certain; and it is not licit to doubt about is suitability.
(Rev. Joseph A. de Aldama, Sacrae Theologiae Summa IIIA: On the Blessed Virgin Mary, n. 158; italics given.)
One could write an entire book on the Blessed Virgin’s association with Christ in His Work of Redemption. People who are interested in reading more about this topic are encouraged to consult the appropriate pre-Vatican II Church-approved literature on the subject, such as Fr. Juniper Carol’s 3-volume Mariology set, recently reprinted by Mediatrix Press.
We must remember that the Corredemption of the Blessed Virgin detracts from Christ’s Redemptive Work no more than honoring her as the Mother of God takes away from His Incarnation. On the contrary! As God would not become man without the cooperation of a woman (cf. Lk 1:38), so He chose to redeem the world not without the participation of His sorrowful and afflicted sinless Mother. The ultimate source of the Co-Redemption, we must always remember, is the inscrutable Will of God; it was simply His “special divine will to admit and associate Her with Christ in the work of redemption” (de Aldama, On the Blessed Virgin Mary, n. 158).
Thus the Co-Redemption of Mary is reasonable, in conformity with Divine Revelation, and entirely magisterial. It is, furthermore, incredibly beautiful.
All Catholics Must Assent to the Papal Teaching
Tragically, there are even some who call themselves Catholics and sedevacantists who deny the Blessed Mother’s participation in the Redemption; they opt instead to abide by their own private interpretation of Church teaching, as though they had the right to deviate from the papal magisterium under any pretext.
Yet the Church is clear on the authority of papal teaching, even when it is exercised non-infallibly. St. Robert Bellarmine, the Doctor of the Papacy, pointed out that “all Catholics agree” that “the Pope, by himself or with a particular Council, while stating something in a doubtful matter, whether he could err or not, must be obediently heard by all the faithful” (De Romano Pontifice, Book IV, Chapter II; Grant translation).
Pope Pius IX exhorted his bishops to be “vigilant in act and word, so that the faithful may grow in love for this Holy See, venerate it, and accept it with complete obedience; they should execute whatever the See itself teaches, determines, and decrees” (Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7).
Not surprisingly, the same was also the clear teaching of Pope Leo XIII:
If in the difficult times in which Our lot is cast, Catholics will give ear to Us, as it behooves them to do, they will readily see what are the duties of each one in matters of opinion as well as action. As regards opinion, whatever the Roman Pontiffs have hitherto taught, or shall hereafter teach, must be held with a firm grasp of mind, and, so often as occasion requires, must be openly professed.
(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Immortale Dei, n. 41; underlining added.)
It happens far otherwise with Christians; they receive their rule of faith from the Church, by whose authority and under whose guidance they are conscious that they have beyond question attained to truth. Consequently, as the Church is one, because Jesus Christ is one, so throughout the whole Christian world there is, and ought to be, but one doctrine: “One Lord, one faith;” “but having the same spirit of faith,” they possess the saving principle whence proceed spontaneously one and the same will in all, and one and the same tenor of action.
In defining the limits of the obedience owed to the pastors of souls, but most of all to the authority of the Roman Pontiff, it must not be supposed that it is only to be yielded in relation to dogmas of which the obstinate denial cannot be disjoined from the crime of heresy. Nay, further, it is not enough sincerely and firmly to assent to doctrines which, though not defined by any solemn pronouncement of the Church, are by her proposed to belief, as divinely revealed, in her common and universal teaching, and which the [First] Vatican Council declared are to be believed “with Catholic and divine faith.” But this likewise must be reckoned amongst the duties of Christians, that they allow themselves to be ruled and directed by the authority and leadership of bishops, and, above all, of the Apostolic See.
And how fitting it is that this should be so any one can easily perceive. For the things contained in the divine oracles have reference to God in part, and in part to man, and to whatever is necessary for the attainment of his eternal salvation. Now, both these, that is to say, what we are bound to believe and what we are obliged to do, are laid down, as we have stated, by the Church using her divine right, and in the Church by the supreme Pontiff.
Wherefore it belongs to the Pope to judge authoritatively what things the sacred oracles contain, as well as what doctrines are in harmony, and what in disagreement, with them; and also, for the same reason, to show forth what things are to be accepted as right, and what to be rejected as worthless; what it is necessary to do and what to avoid doing, in order to attain eternal salvation. For, otherwise, there would be no sure interpreter of the commands of God, nor would there be any safe guide showing man the way he should live.
(Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, nn. 21, 24; underlining added.)
To a Catholic, then, the matter is clear.
Who is the Fool now?
In his role as “Pope” Francis, Bergoglio said it was “foolish” to look upon the Blessed Mother as the Co-Redemptrix of mankind. As it turns out, however — and this won’t come as a surprise to many –, it is Bergoglio who is the fool. Thinking himself wise, he added yet another mortal sin to his nearly endless list of grievous offenses against Almighty God, who will not be mocked (see Gal 6:7): “For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor 1:19-20).
Clearly, the Co-Redemption is traditional Catholic doctrine — and now we know it is one more that Francis denies. Depending on precisely what aspects of the Mother of God’s participation in Christ’s Redemptive Sacrifice he means to reject when he calls it “foolishness”, his denial may or may not rise to the level of heresy this time.
However, his proud contempt for the teaching authority of Holy Mother Church and for the Virgin of Sorrows most certainly does reach to heaven.
Image source: airmaria.com (cropped)
License: fair use