In response to recent articles concerning our Holy Father’s comments on the “Co-redemptrix” title and the possibility of a new Marian dogma made during his December 12, 2019 Homily on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, including in CruxNow, the following clarifications are in order.
The accurate words of the key lines of the homily of Pope Francis, given in Spanish during his non-scripted ex tempore homily, are as follows:
“Faithful to her Master, who is her Son, the unique Redeemer, she never wanted to take anything away from her Son. “She never introduced herself as ‘co-redemptrix.’ No. ‘
disciple” (Fiel a su Maestro, que es su Hijo, el ùnico Redentor, jamàs quiso para si tomar algo de su Hijo. Jamàs se present como co-redentora. No. discipula”).
Our Holy Father is completely accurate in stating that Mary never “introduced herself” as “co-redemptrix,” neither in the context of the Annunciation nor in the historical events at Guadalupe, the subject of his homily. This, though, does not in itself deny the doctrinal legitimacy of the co-redemptrix title when it is used with its proper meaning in referring to the unique participation of Mary in the historical Redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, the only divine Redeemer.
Our Holy Father is furthermost accurate when he states that “She never wanted to take away anything from her Son.” Fortunately, when Pope St. John Paul II (and Pope Pius XI before him) repeatedly used the title, “co-redemptrix” for Our Lady, he likewise did not seek to take anything from Jesus and give it to Mary, but rather to identify Mary’s unique cooperation in the Redemptive work accomplished by Christ. The co-redemptrix title for Our Lady has been part of the Church’s Tradition since the 14th century and has been used correctly to identify Our Lady’s unequaled cooperation in the Redemption by popes, saints, mystics, bishops, clergy, theologians, and the faithful People of God, including by recent saints including St. Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, St. Josemaría Escrivá, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and, again, Pope St. John Paul II.
The co-redemptrix title seeks to represent, in one term, the Church’s official doctrine of Mary’s unrivaled participation in the Redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, the sole Divine Redeemer, which is repeatedly taught at the Second Vatican Council (Lumen Gentium, 56-58; 61) and by the papal Magisterium of the last three centuries. Pope Francis also strongly confirms in his December 12 homily the legitimacy of the title, “mother of all,” which has been proposed over the last century (starting in 1915) as the overall title and doctrine for a potential Marian definition, as presently none of the existing four dogmas (Mother of God, Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception, Assumption) refer to Mary’s direct and maternal relationship with humanity as our Spiritual Mother.
Regarding the Holy Father’s comments regarding new dogmas in general, he can presently hold a certain position, but can also experience a further development in his position. This has clearly been the case regarding Pope Francis’ position to the Medjugorje apparitions, which has certainly developed from earlier comments which appeared to be somewhat negative, to his recent positive and unprecedented granting of permission for official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, even before the final word on the apparitions’ authenticity has been determined.
The international movement, Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, continues to pray and work in joyful anticipation of further development towards the potential solemn definition of Our Lady’s unique maternal role in our Redemption, as well as her overall doctrinal role as Spiritual Mother of All Peoples, in full obedience to our Holy Father and to the Church’s Magisterium.
Dr. Mark Miravalle
President, Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici