by Rev. Peter Damian M. Fehlner, F.F.I.
The absolute perfection of the actual redemption wrought by Christ Jesus is a given, not only of the Franciscan school with St. Bonaventure and above all Bl. John Duns Scotus, but also of all others, especially that of St. Thomas with his three quasi-infinites, namely, works which could not be better devised by the Creator even in a more perfect world: the Incarnation, divine maternity and our salvation. We cannot overstress: the transcendent perfection of the redemption actually wrought for us is not a theologoumenon, but a certain truth of faith. Though often forgotten, this is especially valid for the Franciscan school (including Scotus, sometimes accused of ignoring the redemption in favor of pure hypothetical constructs about the purpose of the Incarnation) where the passion of Christ and perfect conformity to the Crucified in St. Francis is the central inspiration of theological reflection.
But it is within the Franciscan school especially that the "metaphysical essence" of perfect redemption has been elaborated in greatest detail. For the purposes of this paper that elaboration may be summarized under four headings.
It is this approach to the possibility, not of any redemption, but of a most perfect redemption, which all schools of theology agree is the fact of the matter, which provides the best basis not only for resolving the objection to the coredemption based on the perfection of God, but of transcending it, viz., of extracting the sting from it.
The unique relation of the Virgin Mother, both to the Redeemer and to those redeemed, is defined by the concept of preservative redemption, one transcending in excellence both the preservation of the good angels and the justification of Adam and Eve before their fall. While she is wholly dependent on the Redeemer for this grace, all others are dependent on her for their justification and preservation and/or subsequent liberation from sin. In a word, she is uniquely mediatrix, because universally such. Hence the concept of preservative redemption, while first described historically and empirically in relation to sin, metaphysically is defined in reference to the prior salvific counsels of the Trinity, wherein the "ratio perfectionis" is to be discovered.
The point of the scotistic speculation about the preservation of our Lady even from the "debitum peccati" is not to free her from any relation to the Redeemer, but to point out just how unique that relation is in terms of the primary purpose of the Incarnation. Since to be holy she has no need to be "liberated" from any "debitum," because her sanctity is prior to any consideration of sin, her charity in respect to her consent and compassion as Coredemptrix, i.e., her consecration, is unlimited. This relation, undergirding the mysterious and redemptive character of her consent and suffering, is already evident at the Annunciation. Hence, this superlative perfection of the redemptive work is reflected in the actual economy and hence discovered in its study.
Quite in accord with distinctively human modes of learning, the relation of Christ and Mary, Redeemer and Coredemptrix, is first revealed in outline form in the central typology Adam-Eve.
"Male and female he created them." (Gen. 1,27) While this typology does not provide a complete exposition of the concept of perfect redemption and in particular of the notion of coredemption, nonetheless it prepares the believer for a positive resolution of two difficulties: that the association of the New Eve with the New Adam derogates from the sufficiency of Adam as head of the human family; and that this woman, as universal mother of all the living and so distinct from Adam, is not capable of meriting (or demeriting) for others. It is the dignity of headship on the part of one who is holy which makes it possible (and the corresponding lack of this on the part of Adam's children which makes it impossible) to merit (and satisfy) de condigno. What makes this merit (satisfaction) most perfect is a) the divine dignity of the One Redeemer and b) the inclusion of his Mother as Coredemptrix in the consummation of the one redemptive work.
In this we find the basis for resolving the objections to the Coredemption expressed in terms of the infinite offense of sin to God. With St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure one may continue to speak of the "infinity" of the offense, which requires a divine person as Redeemer, yet which does not exclude a Coredemptrix any more than the Incarnation excludes a Virgin Mother. Or with Bl. John Duns Scotus one may admit the finite character of sin as an offense to God (or relatively infinite) and so indicate how a created person in certain circumstances might offer some reparation, but nonetheless sin is of such magnitude that only a divine person is capable of perfect satisfaction. Doctrinally the two positions tend to converge and complement each other in affirming the mystery of the coredemption.
Plainly, the perfection of human nature, both in the man and in the woman, in some way entails their "joint formation," viz., Eve is included in Adam, before she is taken from his side. Taken from his side in no way derogates from his perfection. Evidently, the whole mystery of Mary Coredemptrix is not explained, for Mary is not only the "filia Filii," the perfect fruit of a perfect redemption, but also "Mater novi Adami," which Eve is not. Mary precedes Christ as Eve does not, not only in his first, but in his second coming. Every celebration of Christ is prepared by a Marian feast.
Like Eve, however, under Adam who on condition Adam merit or demerit also merited or demerited as mediatrix of father and child, so Mary is a public person, under Christ, who subordinately to him and under his headship merits for all their moral status. Her merit "de condigno" does not add to Christ's, nonetheless is distinct from his, yet included in his. The meritorious influence of Mary far transcends in perfection and power that of Eve. The key point to note is the natural and moral efficacy of a mother, and that headhship, as Bl. John Duns Scotus points out, is a matter of moral, not physical causality, viz., merit.
Those familiar with the ancient Christian metaphysics of exemplarism will have no difficulty recognizing in the prophetic principle of economic theology a fuller application of this exemplarism and its corresponding epistemology in the principle of recapitulation and typology. But let not the "re" in recapitulation mislead. While we may know first—chronologically—the type, and be tempted to compare anti-type to type, in fact metaphysically it is the anti-type (the truth or reality) which explains the type (or figure), and recapitulation which is partially reflected in and the reason for the initial capitulation.
And thus, Adam is a figure of Christ, both before and after the fall, in reference both to the primary and to the secondary ends of the Incarnation. Eve is a type of Mary, only in relation to her role in the work of redemption after the birth of Christ in view of the foundation and growth of the Church. She assists the first Adam in a public way. Mary also in a public way assists the new Adam more perfectly, because she gives him birth. In this Mary is prefigured by the virgin earth from which Adam is formed and the Paradise into which he is first placed, typological affirmations of the Immaculate Conception as the basis for the perfect virginity of the Mother of God. Hence, as new Eve assisting in the work of religion: sacrifice and redemption, she far transcends the first Eve and is the latter's salvation (as the present Holy Father points out in his Oct. 25, 1995 catechesis, citing St. Irenaeus), just as the new Adam, being divine, far transcends the first Adam.
The three types of Mary found in the account of creation and dear to the Fathers and great scholastics: virgin earth, paradise and Eve, mother of all the living, prepare us to study our Lady, not only in relation to the economy of salvation, but in relation to that economy as trinitarian. Here St. Maximilian Kolbe's insight into the intimate and singular union of the Immaculate with the Holy Spirit, respectively as created and uncreated Immaculate Conception, fits perfectly that fuller statement of the principle of recapitulation in terms of the Father: from the Virgin Mother, the Immaculate, spouse of the Holy Spirit, through the Son, to the Father. If we assume this to have been the primary purpose of creation, viz., just such a return, then the subversion of Adam and Eve by Satan establishes an anti-recapitulation: a return of all things to Satan and opposes Satan directly to the Father, but through Eve to Adam. The reversal of subversion is effected definitively on the cross, as prophesized in Gen 3:15, by the Redeemer and Coredemptrix, the latter subordinated to the former, and so in fact all things are returned to the Father.
It is perfectly evident that not every aspect of the type Adam-Eve is equally applicable to the relations of the New Adam and New Eve. Mary is the mother of the New Adam, not his wife. And the figure of Eve is fulfilled not only in the Virgin Mother, but also in the Church which is taken from the side of the New Adam, even if in that process the Virgin Mother as Coredemptrix enjoys an active role.
But in order to grasp this clearly, it is necessary to consider another type of the ancient tradition of the Church, that of the virgin earth from which the old Adam was miraculously formed.  The virgin earth is a type of the Virgin conceived immaculately from whom in another way even more miraculous the New Adam was formed as man.
This figure of the virgin earth is a type of Mary precisely as Immaculate. St. Maximilian sought to illustrate the Immaculate Conception, not only negatively in reference to the fall of Adam, but positively in reference to the divine counsels and eternal exemplar. This he did in referring to that perfect union of wills effected by the grace of the Immaculate Conception, a union of wills appropriated to the Holy Spirit and the central term of the Holy Spirit's mission "ad extra," as a union of two persons and two natures, in which the name of the human person, Immaculate Conception, is that precisely because from eternity it is the name of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it best reveals the mode of procession of the Spirit from Father and Son. Hence in time, Mary is the perfect fruit or term of the love of Father and Incarnate Son, viz., a person capable of being his Mother and Coredemptrix of the Church.
On the basis of the Saint's insight we may say that the temporal mission of the Holy Spirit, precisely as terminating at the Immaculate Conception, is included with the predestination of the Christ, and is subordinated to it, as the mission of Christ is in obedience to the Father, just as Eve is subordinated to Adam in their joint formation.
So Mary, as the spouse of the Holy Spirit by whose power she conceives and bears the Son of God without loss of her virginity, is Coredemptrix subordinately to the Redeemer without detracting from the perfection and sufficiency of his priestly work. She is not the priest, but the Mother of the Priest, the other Advocate. A most perfect redemption, then, entailing Redeemer and Coredemptrix, because, as Scotus says, a perfect Redeemer must be able not only to free, but preserve from sin, not only preserve relatively, but absolutely, can be described concretely in terms of Priest and Mother of Priest. At each and every crucial moment of that work, from its inception to its consummation, both in the Head and in the Body of the Church, Redeemer and Coredemptrix are involved according to a certain proportion or relation rooted in the order to the two divine missions one to the other.
The title for Mary of "Advocate," or defender of faith against the enemy, the liar and fomentor of heresy and a "murderer from the beginning" (cf. Jn 8:44; Mt 13: 24ss), as for example in the Salve Regina, a title also dear to St. Francis,  suggests indeed a unique relation to the "other Paraclete" or "Advocate," the Holy Spirit, unique because entailing in the Virgin, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the same relation to Christ as Mediator and "first Paraclete" as the Holy Spirit for this reason: she is the pre-redeemed Immaculate-Mediatrix, and so both Mother of God who conceived her Redeemer by the power of the Holy Spirit, and Coredemptrix-Advocate on Calvary, Mother of the Church, the link between Head and Body of the Church. Rightly does Henry of Avranches in his Legenda Versificata describe the Marian spirituality of St. Francis in this way: Mediatrix Virgo beata ad Christum, Christus ad Patrem sit Mediator. But why so uniquely Mediatrix now with Christ, if not because antecedently Coredemptrix, and Coredemptrix, viz., Mediatrix with God, because Mother of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
She is not priestess, but Mother of the Priest, without whose active presence there is neither priest nor victim. For as instrument of the Holy Spirit, the Immaculate, she is therefore Coredemptrix, or Mother of the High Priest, the only such Mother. Thus is she distinguished from Christ the Priest in the one, historic, sacrificial work of redemption, yet at the same time her maternal mediation is intrinsically sacerdotal.
How might we best formulate the relations between the titles Mediatrix, Mother and Coredemptrix in the light of the unique relation of the Immaculate qua Immaculate to the Holy Spirit and so to the entire Trinity? In virtue of her Immaculate Conception and union with the Holy Spirit therefrom she enjoys the rank of universal Mediatrix of all graces for all men and angels. That mediation is properly maternal, first by way of the divine maternity with God in the initial establishment of an economy of salvation, consummated coredemptively through her obedience and compassion at the foot of the cross; and then with Christ in the Church in the distribution of all graces.
What is the link between all these moments? The perpetual virginity of the Immaculate, capable of being maternally redemptive and redemptively maternal, because she is the created Immaculate Conception, spouse of the uncreated Immaculate Conception, pre-redeemed in virtue of the foreseen merits of her Son, to the glory of God the Father. No where is the practical import of preservative, as distinct from liberative, redemption so evident than in the divine maternity and coredemption where Mary alone actively cooperates, both in bringing the Word to earth and in the consummation of the dual purpose of that Incarnation. She occupies a rank all her own, is a "hierarchy" above all other created hierarchies, to use St. Bonaventure's phrase, because she is uniquely consecrated to the Trinity in her Immaculate Conception, still more perfectly in the Divine Maternity when her virginity is not only preserved, but consecrated in her motherhood, a sanctification consummated at the foot of the cross as Mother of Priest and Victim and so first born daughter of the Father, whose compassion, with and under that of her Son, is most acceptable in his sight.
Not all mediation is maternal. This is another way of stating that the title of Mediatrix predicated of Mary is not a corollary of her maternity.
But in the approach outlined here, the maternity of our Lady, both in respect to the Son of God and in respect to his mystical members (respectively the divine and spiritual maternity), is a reflection of the one mediation of Christ, in so far as this is perfect and includes the sending of the Holy Spirit, first to the Immaculate and then on the Church.
The distinctive character of this miraculous maternity, as the term of the mission of the Holy Spirit, is revealed in the mystery of Mary's perpetual virginity. We may, therefore, convert the Bonaventurian axiom: the mode of the Incarnation (and redemption) is Marian, into: the mode of the Incarnation and Redemption qua perfect is virginal. The uniquely virginal character of Mary's motherhood, both the divine and the spiritual, precisely because she is the Immaculate, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, culminates in an exercise of charity rightly described as the surrender of her maternal rights over the Son of God (Benedict XV: Inter Sodalicia; Pius XII: Mystici Corporis), or sacrifice of her maternal heart (John Paul II, passim—cf. A.B.Calkins, "The Heart of Mary as Coredemptrix") for the sake of the Church, viz., for the rebirth of the saints and their unity and identity with Christ. Hence she has "crushed the head of the infernal serpent with her Immaculate foot."
And in the virginal divine maternity we will find what is distinctive of this mode of begetting: a physiological process of generation which is truly such, yet miraculous. And in that same virginity we will discover the supernatural factor which makes her merit fecund in others for filling up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ.
St. Bonaventure has neatly summarized the underlying assumptions of Catholic tradition when he writes: what the Virgin bore in joy at Bethlehem she brought forth in sorrow on Calvary. Once this is pondered on the basis of the absolute primacy of Christ and joint predestination of Christ and Mary, it is clear that the principle enunciated by the Seraphic Doctor is an exact formulation of the mediation of Mary qua Immaculate: first absolutely in view of the Incarnation, then relatively in view of that Incarnation as the basis of a perfect redemption, viz., one including a Coredemptrix.
The point made by the Seraphic Doctor, together with its basis in Scripture and Tradition, is easily grasped by juxtaposing related titles of Christ and Mary in this sequence:
So projected the mediation of Virgin Immaculate, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, like that of her Son, necessarily is consummated on Calvary, and so is coredemptive. The mystery of our Lady's virginity "post partum" is the link between the divine maternity and the redemptive sacrifice and explains why both the birth of the Savior and the virginity distinctive of that birth are consummated in sacrifice. The virginity of Mary is the effective sign of the holy birth, holy life, and holy death of her Son terminating in the resurrection, and hence, if she is an actor at his birth and therefore in his anointing as Priest, so too is she an actor at his death and therefore in his consecration as Victim. The sacrifice of his body and blood, formed in her virginal womb, is the sacrifice-compassion of her virginal heart. This virginal coredemption has four principal characteristics.
1) It is universal. It involves all graces, except those by which she herself is preservatively redeemed. Not only, but it includes all others saved, angels as well as men. For the good angels who passed their trial received the grace of preservation and perseverance from the Redeemer and Coredemptrix.
2) It is maternal, because that is how it is the mode of the Incarnation. Evidently maternal in the title divine maternity is to be taken in the proper sense. Considerable debate has occurred in past times on whether the spiritual maternity is maternal in the proper sense. In view of the universality of the Virgin's mediation one might consider it metaphorical in respect to the angels, since they are strictly speaking not capable of being begotten, whereas in respect to men it is proper. And hence, although in one sense the redemption of the angels is more perfect because preservative, that of men, though liberative, is more perfect because the mediation of Mary for them can be maternal in the proper sense.
3) Because it is virginal, Mary not only offers, but is offered with her Son and Savior. Her heart is transfixed, as Simeon foretold. For this reason the redeemed are not only consecrated to Jesus through her, but also to her, that is, as St. Maximilian says, are transsubstantiated into her, so that they too might be one with Jesus as victim, and so share in the life of the Trinity, as she does so uniquely qua Immaculate, first born daughter of the Father. One is not unjustified in discovering here the basis for the traditional twofold aspect assigned the Virgin's maternal mediation: our Mediatrix with Jesus to which corresponds consecration to Jesus through Mary; and with and under Jesus victim for sin our Mediatrix with the Father to which corresponds consecration to the Immaculate and so to Jesus as victim for sin, because the most perfect sacrifice of praise offered to the Father.
4) Finally, the Virgin's mediation is unique, because she has been preserved from all taint of original sin to be Mother of God and Coredemptrix, that is, capable of merit and satisfaction for others de condigno. For her soul alone was uniquely transfixed on Calvary, and so she was given to the Church and the Church and all disciples entrusted to her. In this consists the "sacrifice of her maternal rights" or "sacrifice of her maternal heart," the final consummation of her holiness or consecration, which childbirth did not diminish, but perfected first at the Annunciation, finally on Calvary. For this, from her very conception, she was uniquely prepared and instructed. Her understanding, first of the promised Savior, was progressively illumined that her consent to the Incarnation might be truly such and unconditionally. And with the birth of her Son and Savior under his instruction she came to understand at his circumcision, presentation, finding in the Temple, the full implications of that consent, and began at Cana to live what was consummated at Calvary in the surrender of her maternal rights for the rest of his brethren, the rest, therefore, of her offspring. In a word the suffering and death He endured corporally, she endured in her heart without dying, so that she might be by right (meritoriously, exigitive) maternal mediatrix of all graces.
In this approach, then, there is no need, as Fr. Galot thinks, to distinguish types of merit or object of merit to justify Mary's role as Coredemptrix. In that sublime alliance of the hearts Jesus and Mary, Redeemer and Coredemptrix, together merit de condigno the same work, our salvation, according to an order willed from all eternity.
Because she is involved actively on Calvary in the work of salvation with and under her Son, and this redemptive work is a work of mediation, rightly is her subordinate role in this called coredemptive. And the exercise of charity which this entails generally is seen to consist both in the consummation of her consent, or Fiat, and in her compassion or transpiercing in view of the suffering of her Son and the ingratitude of so many sinners.
Her merit, therefore, as distinct from her Son's in the single work of salvation, is maternal, what St. Bonaventure calls a form of efficient causality more perfect than that of a vestige ("physical" causality). Here is the basis for that direct and immediate influence of the Virgin on the souls of all who are beneficiaries of the redemption, an influence which neither detracts from nor duplicates the uniqueness of the redemptive mediation of Christ.
In conclusion: we may say that, in virtue of the divine salvific counsels ordaining a most perfect redemption, our Lady as Coredemptrix is included with Christ, the One Mediator. Under him she merits de condigno all which he merits, except the grace to be the Immaculate Mother of God and Coredemptrix. This is precisely what preservative redemption in the full sense means in so far as it differentiates her cooperation with the Savior from that both of men and of angels: to be able to be actively engaged with the One Mediator in the historic work of salvation: as his Mother and as ours, both at its initiation and at its consummation, and therefore both before and after that consummation. She is therefore the link, or as St. Bernard put it, the neck, uniting Head and Body of the Church, only on the assumption that she alone is the Coredemptrix, not only offering, but in some way part of the sacrifice of Christ.
Once we realize that the compassion of Mary, like her Son's suffering, is that of a public person, then the title, "Sorrowful Mother," and its universal acceptance in the faith and devotion of the Christian people, is revealed to be a synonym of Coredemptrix.
Attentive reflection on the foregoing cannot but confirm what so many commentators on the eve of Vatican II remarked: the question of the coredemption is today a central issue of theology. Indeed, on the resolution of this question, like that of the Immaculate Conception earlier, hinges our very concept of theology as an activity of the mind under the influence of the gift of the Holy Spirit called understanding, why in a word our theology tends to reveal itself as Marian. Quite naturally this leads us to ask what is the reason this mystery occupies so central a place in the economy of salvation and why at this time it should become so crucial to the progress of theological reflection, viz., the discussion of the "potuit" leads to a discussion of the "decuit."
DECUIT. The Virgin Made Church (St. Francis, Salute to the Virgin)
The deposit of faith is complete. No new public revelation is to be expected, and any doctrinal development, by definition, can only occur as a form of proclaiming more exactly particular points of the deposit, not of adding to it.
Now, when any particular article of faith or of the creeds is first proposed in more distinct, exact and definitive form, that moment is heralded by some intervention of the great Shepherd and Guardian of our souls, usually in raising up some great Saint whose holiness serves to focus the attention of the entire Church on the significance and need of defining that point. All of this serves to underscore the appropriateness of the doctrine in question and so effectively contribute to the conviction, not only that doctrine is credible by divine faith, but ought to be believed.
A classic instance of this is St. Francis and the definition of the Immaculate Conception. No one seriously questions the intimate link between the profoundly Marian character of this Saint's spirituality and the Immaculate Conception and the subsequent leadership supplied by the Order he founded in promoting the definition of this doctrine and its incorporation into the life of the Church.
St. Francis did not invent the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, much less Duns Scotus. But each contributed: the first in illustrating the "decuit," the other the "potuit," in bringing a development already under way to term.
What has seldom been noticed is a parallel development re the coredemption. The first express discussions of the doctrine in the east date from the 9th century, and a century or two thereafter in the west. They are generally linked to spiritual considerations bearing on the oblation of the Virgin: both her offering of her Son and her inclusion in that offering. Pope John Paul's catechesis of Oct. 25, 1995, reflects this very point. And in fact, as the massive study of Fr. Ragazzini demonstrates from the lives of great saints of all schools since the time of St. Francis, contemplative or mystical life is essentially Marian, and this in relation to the mystery of the cross and of the Trinity.
If there is any Saint whose spirituality centers on the oblation of the Virgin, it is that of St. Francis: perfect conformity to Christ crucified, victim for our sins, is attained via the mediation of Mary, viz., via the coredemption, this for the repair of the Church. By striving for perfection in this way, quite literally the Virgin becomes Church, namely, the Church is ever more perfectly incorporated into her Savior and Head, not only in offering, but in being offered with him.
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, or preservative redemption, is the key to this spirituality and in this context serves to illustrate, speculatively and practically, how this precise mediation of the Virgin is possible. This in effect is the key to the mariology of St. Bonaventure: the universal maternal mediation of Mary consummated in the oblation of Christ. Spiritually, as Henry of Avranches wrote in his Legenda Versificata of St. Francis, this is the core of Franciscan piety; doctrinally this is the mystery of which the Immaculate Conception is the foundation, and which makes possible the spiritual maternity of Mary and the mediatory work of the Church.
Schematically, in terms of the traditional correlation between the mysteries of Christ and Mary and the events-places in the life of St. Francis expressive of his perfect conformity to Christ, Greccio and Alvernia correspond to Bethlehem: Birth of Christ and Divine Maternity; and to Calvary: Redemption and Coredemption. Portiuncula, viz., the Franciscan community in the Church, corresponds to Cana: the mediation of Mary and our involvement in the great wedding feast.
All this anticipates the Catholic reply to the reformation heresy concerning the work of atonement. The "new religion" proposed a substitute theory of redemption, whose key is the radical repudiation of the coredemption. The Catholic response, in turn, has always been predicated on the mystery of the Immaculate Conception and the distinctive role this gives the Mother of God and of the Church as Mediatrix; indeed the competing ecclesiologies: Catholic and Protestant, ultimately depend on the affirmation or rejection of this title and the notion of absolute primacy of Christ from which it is derived.
Hence, the significance of the transpiercing of the heart of St. Teresa of Jesus, and later of St. Veronica Giuliani for the development of the doctrine of the two hearts and the importance which our Lord himself attaches to the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Finally, in the work of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in favor of total consecration to and through the Immaculate and in the form which his martyrdom took on the vigil of the Assumption, 1941, we can contemplate the final significance, the appropriateness, of the doctrine of the coredemption: it is the means by which the entire Church, and each member, is perfectly conformed to the Savior, is "transsubstantiated" into him as the victim for sin, as the most glorious work of the Father, and so share in the triumph of the Coredemptrix.
In this context can be better understood the suffering of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (to whom St. Maximilian was so devoted and on whom he depended so much for the success of his missionary apostolate) during that trial of faith at the end of her life. All too frequently it is interpreted simply as the coefficient of a temptation to doubt, whereas it might better be pondered as an experience of one suffering in reparation for sin: above all for the sin of infidelity so widespread today. Through the coredemptive suffering of the Immaculate Mediatrix and of those who are by consecration transubstantiated into her to be instruments of that compassion the "thoughts of many hearts are revealed (cf. Lk 2, 35), both of the faithful and of the faithless." That work of reparation to the Immaculate Heart and through her to the Sacred Heart is a kind of extension in the Church of the compassion of the Coredemptrix, with similar meritorious efficacy.
The significance of Our Lady's presence in the Church, at the moment and from the moment her Immaculate Heart was pierced, the moment of the formation of the Church as the body saved by Christ; and the importance of devotion to that Heart culminating in what St. Maximilian calls transubstantiation into the Immaculate, whereby She offers us with Christ and Herself in us to Christ, was recently well summarized by the Holy Father:
The importance of this and of the role of St. Francis in its universal acceptance as part of the piety of the Christian people is capital. It constitutes the reply to those who claim that the coredemption is not ready for definition, because not the object yet of devotion. It is, and has been, under the title of "Sorrowful Mother."
FECIT. The Historical Path of the Coredemption
The foregoing only "prove" the coredemption, in so far as proof is a way of conducting the "proper" mode of theology. A better word would be "illumine" or render intelligible what is already believed in some way. Once the possibility and appropriateness of the coredemption is seen, then it is not difficult to "prove," i.e., appreciate the objective bases in Scripture and tradition for the doctrine which is in the course of definition.
Three periods are generally identified in the history of the doctrine of the coredemption: the patristic (to about the 9th century) when there appear no explicit, and according to some scholars, no certain implicit testimonies to the doctrine; the monastic-scholastic, with the first express affirmations of the doctrine without the title; and the modern period (counter-reformation to the present) with not only express affirmations of the doctrine with the title Coredemptrix, but with a precise theological elaboration to accompany it.
That elaboration involving considerations bearing on the concepts of mediate-immediate coredemption, of objective-subjective redemption, and of christotypological and/or ecclesiotypological orientation, reflects respectively the central problem encountered in the testimonies of each of these periods.
Because during the patristic period no express (and, as the critics claim. possibly no implicit) testimony to the Virgin's active role in the work of redemption on Calvary has been found, many have maintained and still maintain that patristic references to her role in the work of redemption must be understood to refer to mediate coredemption, with the consequence of assuming no immediate coredemptive activity on the part of our Lady unless conclusively proven.
Because during the monastic-scholastic period discussions of the oblation of the Savior by our Lady (St. Bernard) and of her as being a part of the price of our redemption (St. Bonaventure) cannot be reconciled with her need of liberative redemption (as taught by the aforementioned doctors), therefore, so the critics of the doctrine claim, such affirmations must be referred either to some form of mediate coredemption, or to her part in the subjective redemption, viz., the redemption "quoad efficientiam," rather than to the "objective" redemptive work of Christ "quoad sufficientiam."
Finally, during the period since the reformation, when the fact of the coredemption came gradually to be accepted as a datum of faith, the difficulty of explaining how so unique and exalted a position with the Savior might be reconciled with her position as member of the Church was brought forward. Whence the options, either christotypical or ecclesiotypical, stress respectively her singular oblation or model acceptance of the fruits of his oblation, as the fundamental orientations of mariology.
So viewed, the most commonly met formulation of the status quaestionis of the coredemption plainly reflects a defensive attitude, a need to show the doctrine in no way offends the unicity and sufficiency of the mediation of Jesus, an attitude in part dependent on interpreting this history as a reflection the "exclusive" approach to the one Mediator.
But whether the Fathers and early medieval Doctors, who show no evidence of any preoccupation with this contemporary crux theologorum in their discussions of the Virgin and the redemption, worked on this assumption has hardly been demonstrated. Indeed, there is evidence that they worked on exactly the opposite view, namely, that of an "inclusive" approach to the one Mediator based on the joint predestination of Christ and of his Mother to save the world. And hence, the assertion of the late Yves Congar, that the ancient and modern conception of Mary's part in the work of redemption are quite different because the one attributes a mediate, the other an immediate role to Mary in the redemption, must be considered erroneous.
Indeed, the logic of tradition, from the beginning, is in favor of a solemn definition, a moment that seems to have arrived. For a definition of the coredemption as the core of maternal mediation will give to that very practical mystery the ultimate dogmatic touch rendering it fully effective in view of the final coming of Christ and the perfection of the Church.
A considerable number of theologians earlier in the century, and even more today, would hold that the first set of texts refer to the mediate coredemption and the second to the subjective coredemption as realized in the mystery of the Church, wherein she is the first "cooperator" in the distribution of grace, the model for all other "cooperators" or "co-redeemers." Thus, as noted above, the late Cardinal Yves Congar wrote that the patristic notion of coredemption is quite different from the post-tridentine asserting an immediate, active role for Mary in the objective redemption.
And so it seems, if we assume that the text of I Tim, 2,5-6 is to be taken in the exclusive sense. But did the Fathers so take it? On other aspects of the Christus solus theory of atonement to which the difficulty is linked, e.g., fides sola, neither St. Paul, nor the Fathers, nor the great scholastics shared the assumptions of Protestant-cartesian theology. Nor does the modern Magisterium appear to support the position of Congar.
For as the present Holy Father pointed out in the catechesis already cited, though the Fathers before the 9th century did not directly discuss the coredemption in terms of its last moment, they did discuss it in terms of its first moment, and in view of a methodological principle, that of recapitulation, one which enables us to understand how they could have treated it in terms of that last, sacrificial moment on Calvary. In other words, what they discussed in terms of the divine maternity which is a virginal maternity bearing on the flesh, was not a notion of coredemption different from the post-tridentine, but the basis for that immediate participation in the work consummated on Calvary, viz., the divine maternity whose distinctive sign is virginal: not only in reference to the identity of the Child conceived and born, but also in reference to the nature of his work as priest and victim: His passion, death and resurrection from the tomb.
This consideration makes it possible to appreciate how, as Fr. L. Cignelli notes, the frequent commentaries of the Fathers on our Lady as the new Eve, are not to be interpreted merely in reference to the mystery of the Church qua mother after the completion of the objective redemption, as do so many minimalists. That title does entail some prior reference to the work of redemption, and in patristic usage it is a reference always related to a moment preceding the crucifixion, not after. Thus, the title new Eve ascribed to Mary rather than to the Church entails some greater involvement in the work of redemption. The Church is the new Eve, or mother of the redeemed only after the completion of the Savior's work; Mary on the other hand, as new Eve, is an active associate in it. That is why it would be fair to say, were a Father of the earlier centuries asked if he believed in the coredemption as an immediate, active participation of Mary in the objective redemption, he would reply affirmatively.
Related themes often met in the writings of the Fathers from the earliest times confirm this analysis. Some of these are the titles Virgin Earth, Paradise, [cf. note 48 for references] all indicating unique, holy rank within the economy of salvation, not only at the first, but in every moment to its consummation, objectively and subjectively. However much prone to misunderstanding in modern times, the ancient title "Salvatrix" is not without interest in regard to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, for it is the obvious basis for asking, as in the ancient prayer "Sub tuum praesidium," that she free us, save us from all evil.
Another interesting support for this reading of the Fathers, which would find perfect continuity between their thought and that of the contemporary Magisterium, can be discovered in their commentary on her virginity. St. Basil, for instance, in his exegesis of Is 7:14  insists on the traditional reading and understands this sign of the birth of the Messiah as a sign as high as the heaven and as deep as hell: therefore a sign not only of birth, but of the triumphant redemptive sacrifice of the Child in which the Virgin Mother, qua Virgin is involved actively in crushing the head of the serpent and opening heaven. Once this exegesis is accepted, then calling Mary, the Handmaid of the Lord, the "lovely Agna" who accompanies the "Agnus" or Servant of Yahweh (Lord) in the work of salvation, as does Melito of Sardis, will only seem the logical thing to do, given the occasion. The profound sense of the virginity "post partum" lies here in informing each moment of her life from the Annunciation with the mystery of coredemptive maternity. In the words of Lumen Gentium, n. 62, the birth of the Savior not only preserved her integrity, but consecrated it, a consecration consummated on Calvary.
The Fathers pinpoint the difference in the public role of the first Eve and the new Eve, by noting that the former only participated in the fall via persuasion, viz., after Adam had been formed and she from him. Whereas Mary cooperated in the work of restoration, not only by consent, but by giving birth. This is said, not to affirm some kind of mediate coredemption, or to reduce it merely to a role in the subjective redemption, but to indicate the basis for a cooperation in the historic work of salvation, That cooperation transcends the public role of the first woman. It is the reason Mary's presence and work in the Church, above all during the Liturgy, excels qualitatively that of every other saint and of all together.
The best evidence for this interpretation is to be found in the traditional sense of the Virgin's unique presence at every Mass. The Communicantes prayer of the ancient Roman Canon (now called first canon) goes as follows:
Compare this with these two passages from the liturgy of St. Basil, the first called Alexandrian, the second Coptic, evidently like the Roman Canon reflecting the same sensus fidei found in the Sub tuum praesidium:
Why, then, no prolonged, direct commentary on the coredemptive maternity, especially at the foot of the cross? Not every mystery is fully appreciated, except after a passage of time and in those circumstances arranged by divine Providence to best favor the salvation of souls. The Fathers by and large affirmed the unique initial sanctity of Mary (we call it, more fully defined, the Immaculate Conception), but failed in some instances to interpret her actual sanctity as unique, incomparable, and so judge her conduct by the familiar modes of ordinary sanctity. The same inconsistency is noted by the Fathers themselves in discussing the views of those who confessed the virgin birth, but would go on to deny the virginity "post partum" (and so by implication the immediative coredemption).
The other consideration is positive: before there can be any effective appreciation of the unique, coredemptive role of Mary on Calvary, the miraculous character of the birth of the Savior as sacerdotal must be appreciated. Without that, inevitably the redemptive work both of the Savior and of his Mother will be interpreted in purely secular terms. The patristic age does indeed contribute to the development of the doctrine of coredemption, not by affirming a mediate coredemption, but by noting the redemptive character of the virginal birth of Christ. Once we realize how this unique active virginal influence in the order of the hypostatic union and redemption does not cease with the birth, but continues, then we are in a position to affirm the basis for the distinction between objective and subjective redemption, and for the role of the Woman in it.
And so it comes as no surprise that the Fathers of the 9th to 12th centuries so interpreted the tradition when the question of coredemption or the oblatio virginis was first explicitly posed: not in view of Christ's sacerdotal anointing at birth, but in terms of his consecration as victim on the cross. The logic of tradition leads one to assume spontaneously that Mary has an immediate, active, though subordinate role in both as unique, privileged instrument of the Holy Spirit.
That reply expresses exactly what is at the heart of their discussion of "mediate" coredemption and the use of the title New Eve for the Virgin Mother. Even those texts which seem to express the sorrow of Mary in terms of a purely personal experience need not imply what we so readily infer: personal means private. Personal may also mean public, but the joys and sorrows do not for that reason cease to be personal and singular. The personal interpretation of the scene at the foot of the cross does not exclude the public, but in the context of a metaphysical mariology is the presupposition for the public.
The unique element in the title New Eve when predicated of Mary might best be pinpointed by corelating that title with "Virgin Earth" from which the body of Adam was miraculously formed as a type of the Immaculate Conception. Mary's uniqueness as New Eve, as preeminent member of the Church, resides in the fact that she is the Immaculate Conception, who in some way precedes her Son and on whose cooperation he relies, both in his birth and in his death. In that she differs from every other member of the Church: she alone pertains to the order of the hypostatic union, she alone is his Mother, she alone is Coredemptrix, for the mode of the Incarnation and Redemption is Marian. In that sense according to the Seraphic Doctor, not apart from Christ, but as preeminent member of the Church, she constitutes an order or hierarchy in her own right.  But on that preeminence under the Headship of Christ rests the mystery of the Church as Mother and Teacher, as new Eve and Virgin Bride of the Savior (cf. Eph 5,22ss).
Some theologians and historians have questioned in the past, and still do, whether such Doctors as Bernard and Bonaventure who speak often and extensively of the oblatio Virginis may in fact be cited as supporters of the coredemption in the modern sense of immediate, objective coredemption. The discussion is especially important in the case of St. Bonaventure, because he appears to speak not only of an offering of the Virgin, but of her being part of the offering qua satisfaction for sin.
Now these Doctors, say the critics, held our Lady needed to be sanctified via a "liberative redemption." Principium meriti non cadit sub merito. Hence, if the grace to offer redemptive sacrifice meritoriously for others depends on the sacrifice offered, evidently there is an inconsistency in these doctors, if they meant by these terms what modern theologians mean by them.
Minimalists have always held that the solution of the difficulty is to be found simply by restricting such statements about the Virgin's oblation to mean nothing more than what the Church does in offering the Eucharist. The other solution is to admit the inconsistency and to ascribe this, not to uncertainty about the objective coredemption, but to an incorrect theory about Mary's initial sanctity at conception, a failure to recognize that her preservation from sin at conception is at that moment the same mystery called coredemption at the moment of her Son's sacrifice on the cross. The affirmations of the medieval masters about the coredemption are not out of harmony with the data of revelation; rather those about her initial sanctification require correction.
Curiously, the papal catechesis of Oct. 25, 1995, in addition to Arnold of Chartres, almost always cited in favor of objective coredemption, also cites St. Bernard as witness to this, something a large number of scholars to date have not been willing to do.
Are there any solid considerations favoring the second approach, other than continuity with the implications of patristic use of the title New Eve? There are two important ones: the danger of western subjectivism and pelagianism, as well as predestinationism, for a genuine doctrine of the atonement and Eucharist—witness Berengarius—without a clear affirmation of the doctrine of our Lady's oblation, viz., of her role on Calvary. Without this affirmation there tends to be verified in the west an evacuatio crucis Christi, exactly parallel to the denial of the divinity of Jesus when the title Theotokos is refused the Virgin Mother. For the pelagian the cross is not necessary; for the predestinationist the human is irrelevant. In the end, when the coredemption is not affirmed, the redemption eventually is defined in terms appropriate to the coredemption, with the Savior reduced to the place of his Mother or of one of the saved. "Christus solus" soteriologies are the prelude of pure naturalism, as a certain puritanical pietism is the prelude of "Christus solus" soteriologies. Here we glimpse a basic norm for understanding the history of doctrinal development, particularly as this affects the core mystery of redemption: that development is always governed by the joint predestination of Christ and Mary, or by the alliance of two Hearts.
The second reason, however, is independent of controversy over heresy (symbolic theology), and bears rather upon the contemplative aim of all theological reflection on the mysteries of salvation: perfect conformity to Christ crucified, impossible without receiving the transpierced Woman into one's own heart. The central figure who occasions the shift of theological attention from the peripheral aspects of the coredemption (its inception in the divine maternity; its prolongation in the Church, the new Eve) to those at the core of the mystery is St. Francis of Assisi.
Hence, the essentials of the maximalist or christotypical approach, with an accent on the offering of the Virgin at Calvary and on her becoming part of the offering so singular is her suffering, is found above all in the Franciscan theologians of the 13th century, known for their mastery of contemplation: St. Bonaventure, James of Milan, Jacopone da Todi. Yet not without reference to the Divine Maternity. For the distinctive feature of this conformity to Christ Crucified in the life of the Friar Minor: poverty, is defined above all by the Poverello of Assisi primarily in reference to the poverty of Mary and her Child in the crib at Bethlehem, nowhere more so than during the well-known Christmas Mass at Greccio.All this confirms that there can be no genuine appreciation of the sacred humanity of Christ such as that witnessed in the life and spirituality of St. Francis, except by way of a corresponding love and appreciation of the Virgin Mother Coredemptrix.
Clearly providential, then, is the theological contribution of Bl. John Duns Scotus, who though he said little or nothing directly about the coredemption, surely contributed much to the subsequent development by resolving the inconsistency in Bernard and Bonaventure, not by denying the oblation of the Virgin at Calvary, but by working out the theology of the Immaculate Conception in such wise as to illustrate how such preservation from sin, such sanctity, makes it possible for Mary not only to be virginal Mother, but virginal Coredemptrix. Equally important, as noted above, is his analysis of the question of condign merit for others, first in reference to the role of headship, then to the role of perfect headship, its inclusion preservatively of a Coredemptrix capable of condign merit as the foundation of spiritual motherhood, particularly as that is extended in the Church through the vocation of the woman to be virgin and mother.
The Marian Doctor, Bl. John Duns Scotus, is also the doctor of charity, of which love virginal charity is the most perfect as a response to divine love. Is it any wonder that the perfection of the Handmaid's charity should be consummated as her oblation under the cross, as the love of the Coredemptrix, and so be the key to the charity of the Church as spotless bride of Christ (cf. Eph 5, 22ss)? If in one way or another questions of ecclesiology come to the fore in theology after the reformation, is it not logical that at the heart of their resolution there be the Virgin's charity, and that our "transubstantiation" (to borrow St. Maximilian's term) into the heart of the Immaculate Coredemptrix be the goal of sanctification, a goal wonderfully exemplified by the "Martyr of Charity."
Conversely, the modern minimalizing tendency in mariology began to manifest itself precisely in opposition to the coredemption as an alleged form of mariolatry, e.g., with Adam Widenfeld and his Monita Salutaria, L. A. Muratori, etc., as it had earlier in respect to the universal mediation of Mary, the title Theotokos, the Immaculate Conception, etc. These are not so much distinct heresies as they are different manifestations of a single opposition to the unique predestination of the Virgin and therefore to her unique rank above all the choirs of angels and all mankind, yet in their midst, to whom they are to give honor in worshipping the King of kings.
Once the mystery had been recognized as a doctrine of the Church, effectively with the definition of the Immaculate Conception, then this tendency to minimalize Mary Coredemptrix, rather than expressing itself as a denial of the fact of coredemption, appeared as a circumscription of the doctrine so as to leave it with little or no practical import for the Church. In much the same way the dogma of the Immaculate Conception has been circumscribed by ascribing to the Virgin some form of the debitum peccati originalis.
In the case of the coredemption that circumscription consisted in denying to the Virgin any genuine act of oblation, either by way of consent as Mother, or by way of compassion in sharing her Savior's victimhood. Coredemption, says the contemporary minimalist, consists only in her accepting on behalf of the Church the fruits of the Redeemer's sacrifice on its completion. In a word, Mary is a model for the Church before the cross, but not an effective agent of the Church's sharing in the fruits of the redemption. Were she such, continues the ecclesiotypologist—as the supporters of this view are now called—she would have a part in the work of redemption impossible to anyone but the Redeemer-Priest (and so effectively be a priest), and not be a member, preeminent or otherwise, of the Church. Christotypology, it is finally claimed, by ascribing to the Virgin a part in the objective redemption denies Mary her place in the Church.
But have the ecclesiotypologists correctly defined the mystery of the Church? Those who support the definition of coredemption in terms of oblation rather than acceptance do not share that notion of the Church and even less that view of Christian life. Oblation for them need not exclude acceptance and membership in the Church; it is the foundation of that premier membership without which there can be no other members: no others because only through the coredemptive suffering of the Virgin can what is lacking to the sufferings of Jesus in his body the Church be filled up to the end of time. As the Virgin offers the Head, so also she offers the Body united to him. The conformity of the Body which is the Church to the crucified Savior, viz., the completion of his expiatory work within the Church defines the central reality of the subjective redemption, in which the Virgin occupies the same place as she does in the objective, that of Coredemptrix, unique to the Virgin Mother.
Seen in this way the coredemption is the logical basis for the unique triumph of the Virgin solemnly defined as her Assumption. Whether we stress that victory of the Courageous Woman in terms of her person or of her spiritual maternity in the Church, her anticipated resurrection clearly indicates the singular character of her direct, immediate, active role in the historic work of redemption.
1) The fact of Mary's "universal mediation" in the sense of distribution of all graces to all other men is a certain doctrine of the Church for which there are abundant witnesses in every age since Pentecost.
2) The doctrine is not yet solemnly defined, because the nature and basis of this maternal mediation in the Church, as Pope John Paul II often calls it, is still subject to theological discussion.
a) It is generally conceded as certain in theology, and by some as catholic doctrine, that this maternal mediation is based both on the Virgin Mother's consent to the Incarnation at the Annunciation (mediate coredemption) and on her consent and compassion with her Redeemer Son on Calvary (immediate coredemption), that the one cannot be admitted without admitting the other.
b) But the precise relation between mediate and immediate coredemption, and the nature of the Virgin's active involvement in the objective coredemption on Calvary, particularly in regard to the question of her merit (condign or merely congruent), and its extent (all men, all angels?). The resolution given to these questions is intimately linked to questions touching the Immaculate Conception and the absolute joint predestination of Christ and Mary as this has been expounded in the Franciscan school.
3) The resolution of this question in turn affects the definition of the Virgin's maternal mediation: whether it differs from that of the other saints and how it is the basis for the mediatory work of the Church. Some would reduce this to a form of intercession essentially no different from that of the other saints and so only maternal in the metaphorical sense and indirect, the position of those who concede to the Virgin Mother a coredemptive role only in the subjective sense. Others would limit her active role in the objective redemption to consent, immediate as well as mediate, such as the ecclesiotypologists. Many more, however, would attribute to her a spiritual maternity in the proper sense and so a direct influence over every person affected by her mediation in virtue of her compassion. That compassion, in turn, is the consummation of that perfect charity of a heart conceived immaculately, viz., preserved from all taint of original sin. As the life of the Virgin is countersigned by the Immaculate Conception, so it is ended by the Coredemption, not two mysteries, but the same mystery at two different moments. The confirmation of their view is found in the truth of the Immaculate Conception and the reality of the transpiercing.
Whether or not that influence invoked to explain the Marian mode of the interior life is moral or physical, is a secondary question, not however without interest in showing the link between the question of coredemptive mediation and more general questions touching the character of theology.
Finally, the study of this history reveals that since the early middle ages, when the question of the coredemption began to be posited expressly, there has always been a sector of theological opinion which has responded initially to the mystery in minimalizing fashion. Yet each major objection has been resolved to the great advantage of the Church and theology in particular. There is no reason to think that these remaining difficulties will not find a similar solution. When, further, one approaches this history with a definition of Mediatrix, not primarily in terms of distribution of graces, but as that comprehensive title which designates the involvement of the Virgin Mother in every moment of the work of redemption, objective and subjective, then we have grounds to expect that the resolution of these difficulties will culminate in a solemn definition of the universal mediation of the Immaculate Coredemptrix. For from this perspective the witness of each period is as it were a piece of a great mosaic, which on completion will be the definition of our Lady's universal mediation.
Indeed, once it is conceded that the virginal maternity: divine and spiritual, is the distinctive form which mediation takes in the Immaculate, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mother of God and firstborn daughter of the Father, then it is relatively easy to discover the biblical affirmations of coredemption qua oblation of the Virgin at the Annunciation in the title the Virgin gives herself: behold the Handmaid of the Lord, the alma Socia of the Servant of Yahweh, her Son (cf. Is. 7,14; 53); at the Presentation and Finding in the Temple (the oblation of the Virgin and the prophecy of the transpiercing); and under the cross (Jn 19,25-27), the heart of the Coredemptrix made present in the Church. But not only is the work of the Coredemptrix perfectly plain, but the distinctive character of that work qua maternal as well in her unique union with the Holy Spirit in the Immaculate Conception: at the Annunciation in relation to the Savior and at Pentecost in relation to his body, the Church, making it possible to fill up, as St. Paul says, what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the Church, viz., to realize the "subjective redemption."
May we legitimately find in the phrase popularized by Pope John Paul II: maternal mediation, the grounds for such a prognostication? A detached reading of Redemptoris Mater and the many other documents issuing from his Marian magisterium surely incline one to reply in the affirmative, so easily and correctly does it synthesize the connatural relation between the Virgin's unique participation in the objective and subjective aspects of the work of redemption: the mystery of Mary in Christ and in the Church (Lumen Gentium, ch. 8). Mary is the mediatrix of that union between Head and Body, Christ and us, because she is the Virgin Mother, the maternal Coredemptrix, on Calvary. Promoting that mystery fully, not suppressing it, surely is the most efficacious way to achieve the goal of true ecumenism, the unity of all the sheep in one fold. Thus, the logic of tradition shows that whether it is a question of the "potuit" or of the "decuit," the doctrine of the coredemption is so articulated today that it might be defined at any moment the Church is pleased to do just this.
If we consider attentively the historical path of the doctrine to date, we note that it is the so-called "christotypical" orientation of the Franciscan school of theology in respect to the Immaculate Conception which best grounds and declares the profound ecclesial significance and purpose of the Coredemption.
And so it is not difficult to find in the mystery of the Immaculate Heart transpierced on Calvary the basis for the maternal mediation of Mary in the Church, and why the triumph of that Heart should be so much desired by the Savior.
Nor does this theological review of the history of the doctrine fail to indicate the points essential to an appropriate formulation of any solemn definition of what stands at the center of the maternal mediation of Mary, namely the coredemption. These are:
What does it mean in practice? For St. Maximilian M. Kolbe it means nothing more of less than the full incorporation of the mystery of the Immaculate Conception into the Church, than the transubstantiation of every person for whom the Savior died into the Immaculate, so that each might die out of love for the Good Shepherd who didst deign to die for love of our love. This is the testimony, not only of his life, so Marian, but of his death as a martyr of charity.
Hence the promotion of total consecration, not only to Christ through the Immaculate, but to the Immaculate. When the history of the doctrine of the coredemption is considered in the light of the salvific counsels of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit which have guided it, it seems clear enough that the closer the Church comes to that day of her final glorification, the more evident becomes the Marian character of her life. Like the Incarnation the basic mode of the Church, the Body of Christ, is Marian. That life of the Church is above all the life of the Woman whose heart was pierced by the sword, so that the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed: for or against the Savior. It is the Immaculate as Coredemptrix whose presence continues to be felt at the very heart of the Church and of each believer, for their hearts are one with hers.
Surely, in a moment of the life of the Church especially chaotic and painful, the solemn definition of this great mystery would not only be a wondrous act of homage and thanks to the Savior, but a most beneficial source of renewal and order in the Church. For by defining those points left still undecided about the Virgin's maternal mediation, the Immaculate will once again crush the head of the fomentor of heresy and rebellion in the Church. But more than that She will, through the incorporation of the mystery into the life of the Church, bring the Church to the perfection of holiness which the Savior expects in her at his second coming. (Cf. Eph 4,15; 5,26-27).
These points may be deepened theologically, but the essential is clear: the coredemption is fully capable of definition any time the Church chooses to make such. And the logic of history as here expounded indicates that the opportune moment has arrived.
45. Cf. Rosini, Mariologia... pp 158-162, for a summary of Scotus on this point. The Coredemption is possible, first because Mary is "pre-redeemed" by the merits of Christ, and second because sin, not being infinite absolutely, therefore a created person who is innocent can either redeem imperfectly, or contribute subordinately in a perfect Redemption if God so wills this. All that is necessary is that said person enjoy a "public" role in respect to the "universitas salvandorum". This is what Scotus understands in the concept of moral headship, wherein Eve is included subordinately to Adam, and Mary to Christ. In fact, the thomistic and scotistic analyses are complementary and convergent here: the thomistic stresses the disporportion between the requirements of just satisfaction for sin and the native capacity of the created person to fulfill these, as well as the subordinate character of the Coredemption; whereas the scotistic is intent on noting not only how such a coredemptive role is possible "a parte rei", but why it enters into the very definition of perfect Redemption as a "quasi-infinite". On this point St. Bonaventure prefers the terminology of St. Thomas.
46. On the patristic background for the concept of "preservative Redemption", particularly in reference to the angels (with citations from Sts. Fulgentius and Bernard) cf. Rosin, Mariologia..., pp. 99-100. The direct, special link between preservative Redemption and the salvific work of Christ, which at Calvary may be given the name Coredemption, has recently been noted by the Holy Father in his catechesis of May 15, 1996 (cf. L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. ed., 22 May 1996, p. 11) when he refers to the "value of Mary's virginal holiness [the Immaculate Conception) at the beginning of the world's Redemption". And in the catechesis of June 5, 1996 (as reported by Vatican Internet VIS), the Holy Father, by associating this reflection on the Immaculate Conception as preservative Redemption with the name of Bl. John Duns Scotus, clearly locates in the concept of preservative Redemption the active basis whereby our liberation from sin enables us to overcome sin in life and share in Mary's blessedness. In the work of Redemption, therefore, at every moment her preservation from sin is Christ's chosen means for freeing us from sin. Here is the essence of coredemptive mediation. "The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary", continues the Pontiff,"does not conceal, but on the contrary, wonderfully highlights the effects of Christ's redemptive grace in human nature." With St. Bonaventure we paraphrase: the mode of the Redemption, at its every moment, includes the person of the Virgin Mother, because as the Church now realizes, she is conceived immaculately. To continue with Pope John Paul II: "This dimension of preservation, which is complete in Mary, is present in the redemptive intervention through which Christ, liberating from sin, also donates to man the grace and strength to overcome the influence of sin in his life."
48. 11 Sent, d. 32, q. un.
50. Cf. E. Testa, OFM, Maria Terra Vergine. 2 vol (Jerusalem 1984); and also the review by PD.Fehlner, Miles Immaculatae 22 (1986) 402-407. On the limitations of the title "New Eve" re the mystery of the Coredemption, its ambivalent usage by the Fathers and the current temptation to interpret it exclusively along ecclesiotypical lines cf. L. Cignelli, OFM, Maria Nuova Eva nella Patristica greca (Assisi 1966), in particular ch. 6, pp. 202 ss. Cf. also the remarks of C. Pozo, SJ, Maria en la obra de la Salvatión (Madrid 1974), p. 35. In view of this the treatment of the Coredemption in the Nuovo Dizionario di Mariologia primarily under the entry Nuova Eva (and secondarily under the entries Mediatrice and Addolorata) may account for an impression of onesidedness and a tendency to minimalize.
51. SK 1310; 1318. As far as I can discover, the first to employ the title "Immaculate Conception" as a name both for the Holy Spirit and for the Virgin Mother because of the singular character of this grace in relation to the mode of procession and mission of the Holy Spirit, is St. Maximilian. But the possibility of such a usage is clearly anticipated by St. Bonaventure in his explanation [I Sent., d 10, a. 2, q. 1] of charity as a personal name of the Holy Spirit by way of an analogy drawn from spousal love as fecund or conceptive. Cf. P D.Fehlner, "The Immaculate and the Mystery of the Trinity in the Thought of St. Maximilian Kolbe" in Miscellanea Francescana 85 (1985) 382-416. The importance of this datum of tradition is noted only by one other modern commentator: M. Oltra, OFM, "Doctrina trinitaria en San Buenaventura" in Obras de San Buenaventura V (Madrid 1948) pp. 24-25. But the comment includes no Marian reference. Cf. also H.M.Manteau-Bonamy, O.P, "Saint Maximilien Marie Kolbe et la mediation de L"Immaculée (Dans la lumiere de Vatican II)", in La Mariologia di S. Massimiliano M. Kolbe, Rome 1985, pp. 508-530.
52. In the divine processions there is, according to St. Bonaventure, a communication of authority from the Father to the Son and from Father and Son to the Holy Spirit, so that the divine "auctoritas" in the Son and in the Holy Spirit is termed "subauctoritas", not to imply subordination of one divine person to another, which is impossible, but to indicate how in a person who proceeds (the Son) that one divine authority is from the person who does not proceed, or (in the case of the Holy Spirit) from the one through whom he proceeds (the Son) as well as from the Father.This order among the terms of the divine processions without subordination is the presupposition for the order among the missions ad extra entailing a certain subordination of the Word Incarnate in His humanity to the Father and of the Holy Spirit in the Immaculate to the Word Incarnate. Cf. I Sent. d. 12, q. 1; Breviloquium I, c. 5, 5.
53. Thomas of Celano, Vita secunda, 198; St. Bonaventure, Legenda Major 9,3.
54. Analecta Franciscana X, 448.
55. II Sent, d 9, q 7.
56 Cf. Redemptoris Mater, n. 39 ss.
57 Commentarium in Lc, c. 23; and also c. 2. De Septem Donis Spiritus Sancti VI ,18. Cf. PD.Fehlner, The Role of Charity in the Ecclesiology of St. Bonaventure (Rome 1965) pp. 74-95.
58. For the patristic backdrop of the bonaventurian reflection on the virginity of Mary and its relation both to the birth and to the death ofJesus cf. M. Gordillo, SJ, "La virginidad transcendente de Maria Madre de Dios en San Gregorio de Nisa y en la antiqua tradition de la Iglesia" in Estudios Marianos 21 (1960) 117155; P.D.Fehlner, FFI, Virgin Mother. The Great Sign (Washington, NJ, 1993).
59. An early, quasi classic, affirmation of this is found in St. Bonaventure, Collationes de Septem Donis Spiritus Sancti, c.VI. For a full exposition, cf. DiFonzo, Doctrina S. Bonaventurae..., pars I, c. 5 (pp. 95-122). Whereas Fr. DiFonzo considers merit de digno a unique kind of merit de congruo, I would prefer the analysis traditional in Franciscan circles since Scotus: that this is a kind of merit de condigno for others, subordinate to that of Christ qua Head and Redeemer, viz. relatively, not absolutely condign. Cf. Manelli, La Corredenzione Mariana, pp. 13-15. An obvious precedent, and perhaps source, for the Seraphic Doctor, is the assertion of Arnold of Chartres about two altars on Calvary: "one in Mary's heart, the other in Christ's body. Christ sacrificed His flesh, Mary her soul." (De Septem Verbis in cruce, 3 PL 189, 1694, cited by Pope John Paul II in his Marian catechesis of Oct. 25, 1995).
60. SK 508. Cf. P.D.Fehlner, "The Immaculate and the Mystery of the Trinity in the Thought of St. Maximilian Kolbe"; and by the same author: "Complementum Ss.Trinitatis" in Miles Immaculatae 21 (1985) 177-204. On the question of consecration, not only through Mary to Jesus, but to her in view of "transubstantiation into her" and the objections of many theologians, such as R. Laurentin, to the latter, cf. A.B. Calkins, "The Alliance ofTwo Hearts and Consecration" in Miles Immaculatae 31 (1995) 402-407. Both rest soundly on authentic tradition and the latter clearly supposes the alliance of the two hearts and the oblatio Virginis. Recently S. De Fiores has asserted that strictly speaking consecration to or through Mary is impossible, because like latria it is not participle by any creature, being in its origin and end an exclusively divine work. One can only be consecrated to a person if that person consecrates, and only a divine person can consecrate: "La problematica della consacrazione mariana," in La Spirituality Mariana: Legittimita, Natura, Articolazione, Rome 1994, p. 366. Were this so, then not only the Coredemption, but the divine maternity would be impossible, as Mary could have no active role in the consecration of Christ as priest which is His conception in her womb.
61. Cf. ED.Fehlner, "Saint Francis and Mary Immaculate" in Miscellanea Francescana 82 (1982) 502-519.
62. S. Ragazzini, OFMConv., Maria Vita dell'Anima. Itinerario mariano ally SS. Trinità (Frigento 1986 - 2 ed.). A conspicuous number of the saints noted in this work are Franciscan and Carmelite. This phenomenon, at the very heart of holiness of life, surely is an aspect of the continuing marianization of every aspect of the life of the Church so noticeable in medieval and modern times, but ever with a basis in principle and content of the earlier tradition. For the doctrinal basis of this study cf. the author's earlier work: La Divina Maternità di Maria nel suo concetto teologico integrale (Roma 1948; Frigento 1986).
63 Address to the Italian Bishops, May 9, 1996. L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. ed., 22 May 1996, p. 9.
64. Cf. Carol, De Corredemptione.
65. The terminology is from St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium IV, c. 10, and is of some help in linking the more modern terminology, "objective" and "subjective" Redemption, with an earlier mode of designating the same general concepts.
66. Cf. L. Cignelli, Maria Nuova Eva, p 202 ss. The citation from Congar is found on p. 237, note 1. Elsewhere in the same work: p. 217, note 2, and p. 229, note 2, attention is called to Congar's recognition that a purely ecclesiotypical interpretation of the Coredemption tends to a protestant soteriology undervaluing or eliminating any kind of human causality in the work of Redemption.
67. Carol, De Corredemptione, pp. 137-150.
68. Cf. the exposition of S. Meo, OSM, "Nuova Eva" in Nuovo Dizionario di Mariologia, pp. 1021-1027.
69. The approach taken in the recent catechesis of the Holy Father is anticipated by L. Cignelli, Maria Nuova Eva, chapters one and six. The remarks of this author, pp. 205-207, 225, on the use of the principle of recapitulation by the contemporary Magisterium, especially Vatican II in the Constitution Lumen Gentium, are confirmed by the approach of the Holy Father.
70. Cignelli, Maria Nuova Eva, ch. 1.
71. Homilia in sanctam Christi Generationem, 4 [Casagrande 436]. Nor should one overlook the significance of patristic comment on Ps. 21,10 (Yet thou hast brought me forth from the womb) in relating the virgin birth to the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. This is the Psalm commonly thought to have been recited by Jesus on the cross.
72. Homilia Paschalis [Casagrande 23].
73. St. Ambrose (or perhaps St. Peter Chrysologus) Sermo XLV [Casagrande 636): "primus (Adam) suasu virginis (Evae) cecidit, secundus (Adam-Christus) partu virginis (Mariae), quod jacebat (genus humanum), erexit." Clearly, such a line of thought implies immediate Coredemption, for the "virginal birth" is immediately and actively, viz., intrinsically, involved in the work of redeeming and restoring Adam and Eve. That the Fathers often refer to Abraham and Isaac in reference to the faith of the Handmaid of the Lord is a clear confirmation that the divine maternity is directly and immediately redemptive, for as the obedience of faith of Abraham had as its final object the sacrifice of his only heir, so that of Mary in the divinity of her Child has as its final object sacrifice of her maternal rights on Calvary.
74. Cf. Liturgia S. Basilii Alexandrina, and Liturgia S. Basilii Coptica [Casagrande 438-443].
75. One need only peruse the indices of a good Marian Patristic anthology, such as Casagrande, to see how frequently the Fathers make use of such richly doctrinal titles of honor. In this regard St. Ephraem is outstanding. Cf., e.g., his Oratio ad Deiparam [Casagrande 3410; Hymni de Instauratione Ecclesiae IV [Casagrande 424-425].
76. St. Ephraem, Ad joannem Monachum [Casagrande 333]. For St. Ephraem, denial of the perpetual virginity, or "post partum" is a denial not only of the divinity of our Lord at birth, but on the cross, in completing the work of Redemption. Here is implied clearly an immediate active role of Virgin, qua perfect Virgin in the historical consummation of the work of salvation. It is a commonplace of Catholic theology that unless the Savior were divine he could not satisfy fully the divine Majesty for the offense of sin. Such perfect satisfaction is initiated by way of a virgin birth and consummated by way of a virginal mode as well.
77. In reverse fashion the inseparability of the first and last moments of the redemptive work and the identical character of Mary's involvement as Coredemptrix in each is evident in the recent study of J. Saward, Redeemer in the Womb (San Francisco 1993), where the affirmation of Redeemer and Coredemptrix on Calvary entails the same affirmation about both from the first moment of the Incarnation, with certain important practical corollaries bearing on questions such as contraception, abortion, etc. This author draws heavily on St. Bonaventure to illustrate both the redemptive and coredemptive activity of Savior and Mother while in her virginal womb and during His infancy. C. Houselander, The Passion of the Infant Jesus (London 1949), recently reprinted under the title Wood of the Cradle - Wood of the Cross (Manchester, NH, 1995), without citing St. Bonaventure, expounds essentially the same themes, as unquestionably part of the received tradition, in this volume often related to the "little way" of St. Therese. Many allusions to this same point may be observed in the letters of St. Clare of Assisi to St. Agnes of Prague, in particular letters one and three. II Sent. d. 9, q. 7.
79. Carol, De Corredemptione... pp. 154-156. Fr. Galot, "Maria Corredentrice...", clearly anticipates the position taken by the Holy Father.
80. The name of Card. J.H.Newman is especially associated with this insight into the old antiphon: the Virgin has crushed every heresy in the whole world. Cf. "The Glories of Mary for the Sake of Her Son" in Discourses to Mixed Congregations (London 1899) pp 342-359. On the Coredemption as a bulwark against both rationalism and pietistic voluntarism cf. Fehlner,` "J.13. Carol. His Mariology," pp 42-43.
81. The works in question: St. Bonaventure, Collationes de septem Donis Spiritus Sancti, c. VI; James of Milan, Stimulus Amoris, c 15 (Meditatio in Parasceve); Jacopone daTodi, Stabat Mater. Reading these texts in sequence and recalling that in the Franciscan tradition Mary is a public figure in the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation cannot but leave the impression that without the name the mystery of the Coredemption in the strict sense is the central object of meditation. In any case, these works and these Franciscan pieties signal the beginning of the contemporary devotion to the Sorrowful Mother in the Church. For the theology of the Coredemption in the Franciscan school, cf. K. Balic, OFM, "Die Coredemptrixfrage innerhalb der Franziskanishen Theologie" in Franziskanishe Studien 39 (1957) 218-287; M. Mückshof , OFMCap., "Die Mariologishe Predestination in Denken der Franziskanisher Theologie" in Franziskanishe Studien 39 (1957) 288-500; PD.Fehlner, "J.B.Carol: His Mariology..."
82. Cf. Thomas of Celano, Vita Prima S. Francisci, cap. 30. The occasion, midnight Mass for Christmas, the crib under the altar where the same Child would soon be present as Victim for our Redemption and food of our soul, could not better indicate how St. Francis, more than anyone else brings together in the Christian and theological consciousness the mysteries of the Divine Maternity, of the Redemption-Coredemption and the Eucharist in the Church. At each point the Savior is never without the active presence of His Mother.
83. For the significance of this debate, so often dismissed today as "irrelevant", cf. J.B. Carol, OFM, A History of the Controversy over the "Debitum Peccati" (St. Bonaventure, NY 1978).
84. Cf. Fehlner, "J.B. Carol: His Mariology...," p. 45-47, for a suggested integration of the academic and contemplative approaches to the mystery of the Coredemption, represented respectively by the Franciscans, Fr. Charles Balic, and St. Maximilian M. Kolbe.
85. Cf. J.H.Newman,"A Letter Addressed to the Rev. E.B.Pusey on the Occasion of His Eirenikon" in Certain Difficulties Felt by Anglicans in Catholic Teaching (London 1910) vol. II, pp. 68-76.
86 Is the present Pontiff numbered among these? As Msgr. Gherardini observes, La Madre... pp. 302, the point is contested.
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