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Papers on Proposed 5th Marian Dogma

Marian Coredemption in the Hagiography of the 20th Century

by Rev. Stefano Manelli, F.I.

Part 2

Bl. Bartolo Longo (+ 1926)

St. Francis de Sales and, even more, St. Alphonsus dei Liguori were two Doctors of the Church who engaged themselves with talent and passion in being apostles to the faithful Christians by transmitting to them, in simple and clear language, the very rich patrimony of the truth of our Faith, of the most precious piety and most cherished devotion; they did all this in order to nourish the people's Christian life. St. Francis de Sales and St. Alphonsus dei Liguori desired "to break the bread" (cf. Lam 4:4) of the word of God so that all the faithful might eat of it at ease; and they did this by means of books and essays, devout writings and sacred songs which have formed the Christian people for centuries and which continue to do so today and will continue from generation to generation.

Bl. Bartolo Longo had the soul of an apostle and the quality of a Christian giant. He too knew how to enter upon the missionary road to the people, the path of simple and essential catechesis and of a most popular Marian piety, so as to reach all and to teach even the most marginalized and abandoned persons how to pray.[110] He accomplished all this by means of the Rosary, by means of this admirable prayer and devotion which is, effectively, suited for all and is tailored, one might say, for all, especially for the simplest and least gifted persons.

It has rightly been pointed out that "the doctrinal outline of Bl. Bartolo Longo's Marian spirituality," writes Fr. Miotto, "is firmly based on the truth of the Maternity of Mary Most Holy as universal Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces, of which the Rosary is a most devout, pious, and prayerful expression in the hands of the people. One can say that the lifelong mission of Bl. Bartolo Longo as an apostle of Our Lady and of charity was this: to carry to the most needy the graces of Redemption 'by setting the world on fire with love for the Rosary.'"[111]

The Rosary, in effect, in its three series of joyful, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries, presents for the pious reflection and contemplation of those praying the fundamental mysteries of salvation the Incarnation, the Redemption, and the Glorification in which Blessed Mary is, respectively, the divine and virgin Mother of the Word Incarnate (the joyful mysteries), the Co-redemptrix alongside the divine Son and Redeemer (the sorrowful mysteries), and the "Woman" assumed into Heaven as Queen and universal Mediatrix (the glorious mysteries). This most authentic and well-founded theological vision of Marian spirituality is certainly complete in the holy Rosary, and Bl. Bartolo Longo presented, offered, explained, and illustrated this in that book of doctrine and mediation, of piety and devotion, entitled The Fifteen Saturdays of the Holy Rosary. This work is, as of now, approaching its 90th edition with millions and millions of copies in many languages.[112]

The theme of Marian Coredemption obviously runs through page after page in this text, with invocations and reflections, thoughts and insights, allusions and explanations which, taken altogether, reveal the clarity and certitude of faith in the Blessed Mother as universal Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces. We can recall here, as an example, the prayer in which he calls the Blessed Virgin Mary "our Co-redemptrix and Dispensatrix of graces" with the invocation: "O Holy Virgin, fulfill today your office of being our Co-redemptrix."[113]

How moving are the pages in which Bl. Bartolo speaks of the immense sufferings of Mary Co-redemptrix! He comments on the Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple, where the Madonna had the sublime strength to "offer up her Son, the Only-Begotten, to death for us sinners," accepting that "sword" driven into her soul, which rendered her the "Queen of Martyrs," more heroic than all the martyrs, because from that day on she was offering the Son to the Eternal Father, thinking of the future sufferings which He would have to endure.[114]

Bl. Bartolo then expounds upon the most sorrowful participation of the Co-redemptrix in the mysteries of the Passion of Jesus Crucified by considering and manifesting Mary of Sorrows "with her Heart crucified on Calvary,"[115] at the foot of the Cross, where "that Divine Lamb and this innocent little Sheep reciprocally beheld and understood one another: one being tormented by the sorrows of the other."[116] With acumen, Fr. Miotto reflects on this text, so saturated with divine sentiment: "It seems that the sufferings of Both that of the Redeemer and that of the Co-redemptrix were not adding one to the other, but were uniting."[117]

Likewise moving, and vibrant with Easter joy, are Bl. Bartolo's reflections on the glorious mysteries of the Rosary, starting with the apparition of the Risen Jesus who first turned to His Mother. In that most joyful apparition the Risen Jesus wished to thank expressly His Mother for her "bitter participation in all the sorrows, as Co-redemptrix of the human race,"[118] for the realization of God's salvific plan. And finally, at the completion of her earthly life, the Mother of God, assumed body and soul into Heaven, was received in Paradise by the Son who placed her "at His right above all the choirs of angels... associating her to Himself as His Mother, Spouse, and Co-redemptrix, as His Cooperatrix for the Redemption of the world and Queen of the universe."[119]

The faith of Bl. Bartolo is integral. In his theological vision, permeated by the sensus fidei, the mission of the Co-redemptrix on earth and in Heaven runs through all the events of Blessed Mary's life, a life inseparable from that of her divine Son to whom she remains always bound "by a close and indissoluble union" (L.G. 53), actively and immediately cooperating with the Redeemer in the work of Redemption, always "under Him and with Him" (L.G: 56), and placed in the heavens for eternity "at His right... as His Mother, Spouse, and Co-redemptrix."

Bl. Luigi Orione (+ 1940)

Great indeed was the apostolic activity of Bl. Luigi Orione, wider still his field of labor, and vaster yet still his projects of evangelization and charity towards others, especially towards the suffering and most needy. The preaching, teachings, and instructions of Bl. Luigi Orione resounded through cities and villages, from pulpits and Cathedrals, through squares and the streets, in churches and homes. . . Words of light, words of life, words of hope, words of eternity! Bl. Luigi Orione was an incredible apostle, wholly dominated by a most ardent, triple love toward Christ, Mary, and the Pope.

As for his love towards the Holy Virgin Mary one could gather page after page, as some have in fact already done.[120] These pages do not form a treatise of Mariology, much less do they constitute an academic or scholastic theological textbook on Mary. Quite the contrary. They are a treasure chest of pure and ardent faith in the mystery of Mary, a mystery explained and illustrated, studied and contemplated, and at times, one is tempted to say, sung and praised with enthusiasm, all by a believer whose love for his most sweet and heavenly Mother of God could never be contained.

Regarding the mystery of Marian Coredemption in particular, Bl. Orione left us no systematic treatise apart on the subject. However, he does speak of it many times in his usual ardent and luminous style, and he treats all its essential details as common doctrine, as certain, as a patrimony of Faith lived by the People of God, and more precisely as a Faith permeated by that sensus fidei which illuminates, guides, and leads every believer along the way of a truly Christian life, that is, along the road to salvation and sanctification.

The primary foundation upon which Bl. Orione bases the truth of Marian Coredemption is the biblical-patristic. Bl. Orione shapes his thought and teaching on the three doublets, involving as it were a kind of opposition and recirculation, found among the pages of the Bible and the Church Fathers, namely Adam and Eve, Jesus and Mary, Eden and Calvary. With these three figures Bl. Orione presents the work of our destruction and our salvation. Bl. Orione writes: "Adam and Eve ruined us; Jesus and Mary save us."[121] These are the first two doublets. The fall of humanity is linked to the moral collapse of the first couple, Adam and Eve; the salvation of humanity is linked to the Redemption wrought by the second couple, Jesus and Mary.

In this thought of Bl. Orione it is easy to find the double unity. First there is that of the moral collapse, wrought together by Adam and Eve, with diverse responsibilities: principally for Adam as head of the human race, secondarily for Eve as the instigator and co-sinner (co-peccatrix) with Adam. Secondly, there is that of the Redemption wrought together by Jesus and Mary, with diverse responsibilities: primarily by Jesus as the Redeemer, secondarily by Mary as the Co-redemptrix. Here one can also read the double unity: the effectors of the moral collapse were solely Adam and Eve, and the Effectors of the Redemption were solely Jesus and Mary.

The third figure of Bl. Orione is this: "Eden and Calvary were the two culminating points in history, where occurred the two greatest events for humanity."[122] This third couplet, as it were, with one dramatic event placed against the other, is a charming way to indicate even the geographic locale serving as historical theaters for the most important events in human history, namely that of man's devastating fall (Eden) and that of his Redemption (Calvary) wrought by the two opposing couples, the sinner and co-sinner (Adam and Eve) versus the Redeemer and Co-redemptrix (Jesus and Mary).

Fr. Miotto correctly observed that in the thought of Bl. Orione

"revelation and history, geography and topography are linked in the creative and redemptive plan of God willed for humanity. Adam and Eve, Christ and Mary, Eden and Calvary, the Incarnation and the Redemption, all meet at the crossroads of the divine design, and the unfolding of this plan of salvific love is here shown in its primary human and divine protagonists, in its theological and soteriological dimensions, in its most basic historical and geographical aspects as realized in the time and space of our world."[123]

Another enlightened insight of Bl. Orione on the mystery of Mary Co-redemptrix is his teaching on the salvific mission of our Blessed Lady, constituted our universal Mother precisely because she is Co-redemptrix, proclaimed our "Mother" by Jesus Himself on Calvary (cf. Jn 19:25-26) exactly at the consummation of the most sorrowful Coredemption. Bl. Orione writes:

"If Mary were not to have suffered, I say this only in order to express my point, we could say that she was not completely our Mother. . . Mary is Co-redemptrix of humanity; she is our most tender Mother because she even wept, especially for this reason. . ."[124]

The Blessed Virgin Mary, therefore, is our Mother because she was the "Co-redemptrix of humanity." This affirmation reveals that for Bl. Orione, too, the Maternity and Coredemption in Mary are correlative and interdependent. It is with the Coredemption that she regenerated us unto supernatural life, becoming in this way our true Mother, our "Mother in the order of grace," as Vatican II teaches (L.G. 61). Mary's Maternity, therefore, has been a coredemptive Maternity. And such a coredemptive Maternity, which had its ultimate consummation on Calvary, was the mission which Blessed Mary received and welcomed for our salvation, this from the beginning, offering for this goal "the secret tears of her entire life," as Bl. Orione puts it,[125] tears which mixed and became one "with the Blood of our Crucified Lord,"[126] in order to pay the ransom and restore our supernatural life.

His Marian teaching also treats the mediation of graces springing from the Coredemption, matrix of all salvific grace to be distributed to every person on the road to salvation. If Mary Co-redemptrix cooperated with Christ in the acquisition of the divine grace lost in Eden, then Mary Mediatrix cooperates with Christ in the distribution of that grace recuperated on Calvary. Concerning her mediation, Bl. Orione is quite aware of how St. Paul speaks of Christ as the "one Mediator" between God and man (I Tim 2:5), and he is careful, therefore, when explaining in what sense Blessed Mary is Mediatrix. He writes:

"If Christ, the God-Man, is the supreme and omnipotent Mediator by nature, Mary, the Mother of God, is Mediatrix by grace, as by grace she is omnipotent: her prayer is most efficacious and her Mediation infallible."[127]

In accord with the tenor of these brief reflections on the coredemptive doctrine of Bl. Luigi Orione, we too can agree with Fr. Miotto who thus summarizes:

"The outline of Marian Coredemption in the thought of Bl. Orione is complete in all its constitutive elements. In contrast to the first Eve, already at the dawn of human history, Mary Most Holy has been presented by God as the New Eve with the mission of Co-redemptrix of humanity and maternal Mediatrix of all graces for our salvation."[128]

Bl. Ildephonse Cardinal Schuster (+ 1954)

Cardinal Ildephonse Schuster is an eminent figure both as a teacher and pastor. Hence, his teaching holds a particular authority, marked by the charism of doctrine and pastoral practice. Orthodoxy and orthopraxis, mutually supportive and strengthened by his vision of faith and apostolic fervor, are the distinctive marks of the person and mission of Bl. Schuster, Cardinal Archbishop of Milan.

The mariological doctrine of Cardinal Schuster, found profusely in his numerous books and writings, presents itself in perfect harmony with the perennial Marian theology of the Church. The sentire cum Ecclesia was a constant in all of Bl. Ildephonse's teaching, and especially his Marian teaching contained both in his monumental work in nine volumes, Liber Sacramentorum,[129] and in his other writings, but above all in his last work, L'Evangelo di Nostra Donna,[130] which is truly a testimony of love from his Marian soul.

As for the mystery of Marian Coredemption, it is enough to read only a little of his writings to grasp immediately that in the thought of Bl. Ildephonse Marian Coredemption is treated as common and certain Catholic doctrine.[131] The Blessed freely adopts the term Co-redemptrix and frequently calls Mary Co-redemptrix of the human race without any caveats or fears. The term Co-redemptrix appears without quibble throughout his catechesis and studies, his homilies and other writings. Moreover, the term is employed both precisely and appropriately in accord with its semantic structure and clear significance. That structure and significance is soteriologically most exactly expressive of the relation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Redeemer in accomplishing the universal redemption.

The coredemptive thought of Bl. Ildephonse is ever grounded on Sacred Scripture and the Liturgy. The Old and New Testaments are the primary basis of truth and the foundation of Faith. Bl. Ildephonse always moves in the light of Revelation. And so it is also for his teaching on Marian Coredemption. He relates it to the biblical contrast between the two Testaments: EveMary, Adam Christ. Listen to his brilliant insight while treating the Blessed Virgin Mary's Assumption into Heaven:

"Even in Heaven Mary exercises the office of being our Advocate, that office which Jesus entrusted to her on Calvary; this is so that the Redemption might completely repair the fall, even in superabundance. To Adam and Eve, sinners and the source of original sin in this world, God has countered with Christ and Mary, the Redeemer and Co-redemptrix of the human race."[132]

Bl. Ildephonse also presents two other women of the Old Testament as figures of Mary Co-redemptrix. He speaks of Deborah[133] and Judith.[134] Regarding Judith the Cardinal writes expressly that she is especially

"suited for celebrating the glories of the 'Co-redemptrix' of the human race, of her who, to save the world from final ruin, did not spare herself nor her only-begotten Son, but with a perfect conformity to the will of God the Father, she also, as His Immaculate Mother, offered Him in sacrifice on the altar of the Cross."[135]

Liturgically, on the other hand, Bl. Ildephonse explains in a very timely manner that the Marian celebration of Our Lady's Sorrows during Good Friday was a most ancient and significant celebration, for which, after many centuries, the date was fixed
on September 15th. To that celebration of Mary's Dolors on Good Friday was linked, ab antiquo, the piety of the Church who "associated herself with Mary in mourning Jesus Crucified."[136] Consequently, the Cardinal writes:

"The special devotion to the Sorrows of the Virgin, Co-redemptrix of the human race, was already within the soul of the Christian people many centuries ago."[137] The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15th, however, was "rather the feast of the triumph of the Blessed Mother who, at the foot of the Cross, precisely by means of her cruel martyrdom, redeemed the human race together with her Son, and merited the triumph of her exaltation above all the choirs of Angels and Saints."[138]

With these words Cardinal Schuster expresses in maximal fashion the direct and immediate participation of the Blessed Virgin in the universal Redemption. Listen again to his culminating point: She, "at the foot of the Cross, precisely by means of her cruel martyrdom, redeemed the human race together with her Son." The word "redeemed" seems to say too much, but in reality one can also reinsert here the expressions of Vatican II which speak of the Holy Virgin Mary as being totally united to Christ "by an intimate and indissoluble bond" (L.G. 53), always "serving the mystery of Redemption under Him and with Him" (L.G. 56).

Other fundamental points on Marian Coredemption touch those privileges which depend on it, such as the spiritual Maternity, the Queenship, and the Mediation of graces by our Blessed Lady. Cardinal Schuster's teaching is consistent: Mary is our Mother, our Queen, our Mediatrix of all graces because she is the Co-redemptrix. Bl. Ildefonso's reasoning follows a clear logic: we are sons of Mary Co-redemptrix, since "she regenerates us in God by her bitter martyrdom at the foot of her Son's Cross and thus becomes Mother of all men."[139] In the most sorrowful Coredemption Mary regenerates us amidst the sorrows and travails of childbirth.

Regarding the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bl. Schuster teaches along the same lines that "Mary is the Queen of the world because she is Co-redemptrix of the human race together with Jesus and for Jesus, on whom the Father conferred 'omnis potestas in coelo et in terra' (viz. 'all power in Heaven and on earth') after His Resurrection."[140] And as to the Mediation of all grace, with equal surety and consistent logic, Cardinal Schuster leads us to understand that if the Co-redemptrix cooperated in the acquisition of the graces of Redemption, she too will be the one to dispose of them for distribution. The Cardinal, in fact, maintains that "the Virgin distributes the treasures of Redemption as Queen, Mother, and Mediatrix."[141] And the Marian prayer of the People of God linked to the Co-redemptrix, according to Bl. Ildephonse, is the prayer of the Rosary which is the expression of the faith and love "which," says the Cardinal, "the universal Church nourishes for her who is the Mother of God and of men, the Co-redemptrix of the human race."[142]

At this point in our rapid-fire presentation of but a handful of the many texts of Bl. Ildephonse on the Co-redemptrix, there remains nothing else but to conclude with a cursory look at his last work written in 1954, the year of his death; a truly stirring "swan's song" about the Mother of God and Co-redemptrix. It is the Marian work entitled L'Evangelo di Nostra Donna, "in which," writes Fr. Siano, "the remembrance of the Coredemption acts, in some ways, as a counterpoint to the entire text which breathes exclusively the Gospel."[143] This is so because in his mature contemplation Bl. Schuster "had already grasped and also had written how the figure of Mary could not be detached from the shadow of the Cross."[144]

What is more, this precious text presents the life of Our Lady in the light of the culminating moments of her coredemptive vocation and mission on earth. At the Annunciation, the Virgin Mary adheres to "the plan of the future Redemption,"[145] "with perfect knowledge of cause and with absolute free will,"[146] in order "to become the Mother of Jesus, and, after a time, the Genetrix of His Mystical Body, the Co-redemptrix of human progeny."[147] At the Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple she encountered the holy and aged Simeon who, writes Bl. Schuster,

"already discerns from afar the Cross planted on Calvary, and he foresees Mary Co-redemptrix at the foot of the Cross with her Heart transfixed by the sword... Mary heard the old man, understood, but did not utter a word. Her unbloody martyrdom began from that moment, but she kept silence, because the victim usually keeps quiet and does not speak."[148] At the times for nursing the Baby Jesus, Mary, while nourishing the Body of the divine Infant was nourishing her own soul as well because, writes Bl. Ildefonso, "by hearing the Logos, who had come to teach, during all the times in which she was feeding Him, she was made ever more fit for her mission of Co-redemptrix of the human race."[149]

Of the work of Redemption in its consummation on Calvary, Bl. Schuster expresses himself with extraordinary emotion when treating the holocaust of Jesus and Mary, from whom a "wave of mercy will descend to wash away the sins of all generations."[150] From the Redeemer and Co-redemptrix, in fact, comes the cleansing waters which wash away the original sin for the salvation of the world. This was the work of redemption in accord with the loving plan of God, and "the mission of Mary Co-redemptrix," teaches Cardinal Schuster, "entered maximally in that soteriological mystery."[151]

In conclusion, Bl. Schuster's coredemptive teaching constitutes a precious patrimony of Marian doctrine which he, a most eminent and qualified teacher of the People of God, has bequeathed to the Church. And in this twenty-first century which has begun with the confidence of Crossing the Threshold of Hope, as our Holy Father John Paul II has written, we can surely affirm, with Fr. Siano, that among

"the voices of the Saints and Blessed, Venerable and Servants of God who have sung the glory of Marian Coredemption, the voice of Cardinal Schuster full of authority and sanctity will rise above the others confirming that so sweet truth about Mary Most Holy, 'Co-redemptrix of the human race.'"[152]

Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina (+ 1968)

It has been written, and rightly so, that "if there is an aspect of the mystery of Mary especially fitting to the life and work of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, it is certainly the coredemptive aspect of the person and mission of the Immaculate in God's salvific plan of love."[153]

The mystery of Mary Co-redemptrix is present in the life and writings of Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina at the highest levels of mystical experience which he lived out in body and soul, and of the theologia cordis transmitted by him to his spiritual children in the language of that wisdom transcending by far a language limited to the solely notional and conceptual.[154]

Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina in the first place lived the mystery of Marian Coredemption in his exceptional mystical experience of the Passion of Christ Crucified, of which he bore the living and bleeding stigmata in his body for fifty entire years, from 1918 to 1968. He became an "imprinted reproduction of the wounds of the Lord," according to the happy expression of Pope Paul VI.[155] In this exceptional mystical experience he co-immolated himself with Christ, assimilating himself in a most extensive and profound manner to the Mother Co-redemptrix who immolates herself with the Son on the Cross in order to bring to pass the universal Redemption.[156] It has been written that

"Padre Pio penetrated the sorrows of Mary and participated in them, mirrored them, relived them; as his soul had been a partaker in the sorrows of the Passion, so too he had the gift of participating in the sorrows of Mary."[157]

Into this area of mystical experience, however, the inexperienced are not allowed to enter nor are they in a position to speak of it. St. Bonaventure, the "Seraphic Doctor," teaches expressly that, with regard to the mystical, "those who are not experts and who do not wish to become experienced, must absolutely keep silent."[158]

What is more within the range of our intelligence, then, is the coredemptive aspect of Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina's active ministry. He exercised the ministry of the confessional for more than fifty years, administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation to such a vast family of penitents that Pope Paul VI called it, in yet another happy expression, a "worldwide clientele."[159] But to administer the Sacrament of forgiveness and of reconciliation between mankind and God means to operate on the same wavelength, so to speak, as the Marian Coredemption. In fact, Mary Most Holy, being united with the Redeemer "under Him and with Him," as Vatican II teaches (L.G. 56) reconciled humanity with God through the sacrificial offering consummated on Calvary; and after Calvary she continues unceasingly to reconcile man to God with her Mediation and Distribution of all the graces of Redemption. Consequently, she is proclaimed the Mother of universal reconciliation.

The spiritual director of Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina, Fr. Benedict of San Marco, once told Bl. Pio in a letter of spiritual direction that his particular vocation was a "vocation to coredeem" by means of the daily trials, battles, sufferings, and toils coming from the exercise of his ministry. And in reference particularly to his work as a confessor, it has been accurately observed that

"in the ministry of reconciliation, Padre Pio prolonged or, in a certain sense, actualized the fruitfulness of grace of Marian Coredemption which 'restores the supernatural life in souls' (L.G. 61). In fact, the divine grace acquired by the Redeemer and the Co-redemptrix in the 'effecting' of the Redemption is here distributed and applied to every soul in need by means of the sacramental absolution given by Padre Pio to his penitents."[160]

To understand Bl. Pio's "vocation to coredeem" better, one must also consult his writings, of primary value where he speaks of the Co-redemptrix in the salvific mystery. And one recognizes immediately that his discourse is not theoretical or notional, but reflects instead the most profound and moving characteristics of the theologia cordis, of theology lived at the level of ascetical and mystical experience, one which gives a knowledge of the mystery characteristically sapiential and experiential, as St. Bonaventure explains.[161]

The pages in which Bl. Pio speaks of the Blessed Virgin Mary's sorrows are exceedingly numerous.[162] In these pages the figure of Our Lady of Sorrows is present in her immense coredemptive suffering, and she is seen walking along the way to Calvary "immediately behind Jesus. . . burdened with her own cross."[163] A cross for Jesus, a cross for Mary. It is of value here to recall the insight of Arnold of Chartres who speaks of a double altar on Calvary: "one in the Heart of Mary, the other in the Body of Christ. Christ sacrificed His flesh, Mary her soul."[164] And Bl. Pio recommends to all "to keep always right behind this Blessed Mother, to walk always close to her, since there is no other road which leads to life, except the one trod by our Mother."[165]

When Bl. Pio wants to describe the sufferings of Our Lady of Sorrows, he finds a very valid point of reference in his very own suffering, be it moral or physical, a suffering so terrible as to dry up every tear and to petrify him in sorrow.[166] For this reason in contemplating Our Lady's sorrows he can expand his soul and say: "Yes, now I understand, oh Jesus, why in admiring You Your Mother did not weep beneath the Cross,"[167] because "by the excess of sorrow, she remained petrified before her crucified Son";[168] and on another page of sublime contemplation touching his own measureless sorrows and those of Our Lady, he exclaims movingly:

"Now I seem to be penetrating what was the martyrdom of our most beloved Mother (. . .). Oh, if all people would but penetrate this martyrdom! Who could succeed in suffering with this, yes, our dear Co-redemptrix? Who would refuse her the good title of Queen of Martyrs?"[169]

The words "dear Co-redemptrix" express most exactly the soteriological value of the Blessed Virgin Mary's maternal mission in the tones of a pure theologia cordis. She coredeemed humanity by offering the divine Victim, her Son Jesus, in the bloody immolation of the Cross, and co-immolating herself with Him in order to "restore supernatural life to souls" (L.G. 61), became in this way our "Mother in the order of grace" (L.G. 1.c.).[170] She "gave birth to us in sorrows," affirms Bl. Pio. She is, therefore, the Mother Co-redemptrix. She desires to raise her children and, what is more, to make them grow even unto the stature of Christ. She is, therefore, the Mother Mediatrix and Dispensatrix of all graces,[171] always "associated with Jesus in applying the fruits of the Redemption to souls," as Fr. Melchior da Pobladura writes.[172] The Co-redemptrix reacquired the grace lost. The Mediatrix distributes the grace reacquired. There is an operative continuity between the Coredemption and Distribution of saving grace. And, according to the teaching of Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina, we should be eternally grateful to "our dear Co-redemptrix" and to our "Mediatrix and Dispensatrix of all graces."

Bl. [Now Saint] Josemaria Escrivà (+ 1975)

Bl. Josemaria Escrivà was an extraordinary apostle of our times and for all times. He was preoccupied with carrying the People of God to the highest realms of universal sanctity in accord with the "Work of God" Opus Dei, for which he battled and suffered, sacrificed and consumed himself without respite even to the very end of his life, always retaining the wealth of two precious treasures: that of his "supernatural sense and his most human cordiality."[173]

In the vast literary production of Bl. Escrivà, Our Lady's presence is constant and luminous. Every aspect of the Church's Marian doctrine occupies its place of importance and animates Bl. Escrivà's faith which he transmitted to his children spread throughout the world. Hence, the mystery of Marian Coredemption could not be absent from the Blessed's instruction and piety.

"Among the Marian writings of Bl. Escrivà," notes Fr. Miotto, "there is a page of splendid meditation in which a beautiful synthesis of Marian Coredemption is presented, drawing particularly upon the Gospel events of the Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple and of the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus on Calvary, but also confirmed and guaranteed by the Pontifical Magisterium, especially the teaching of Pope Benedict XV."[174]

Bl. Escrivà views the scene of the Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple in the light of the immense love of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He writes:

"Recall the scene of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. The aged Simeon says to Mary, His Mother: 'Behold this Child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; and thy own soul a sword shall pierce that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed' (Lk 2:34-35). The immense charity of Mary towards humanity accomplished, above all in her, the affirmation of Christ: 'Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends'(Jn 15:13)."[175]

In this commentary of Bl. Escrivà's on the shocking words of the holy old Simeon to Mary, we learn that between the Redemption and the Coredemption there is a communality in that "greater love." The gift and immolation of life for the salvation
of humanity, says the Blessed, was common to both the Son and the Mother, to the Redeemer and the Co-redemptrix: a bloody immolation for the Redeemer, an unbloody immolation for the Co-redemptrix.

Consequently, according to the teaching of Bl. Josemaria Escrivà, between the Redeemer and the Co-redemptrix there was effected a union of sufferings terminating at fusion in the total immolation of both. With her indescribable coredemptive sufferings, then, Mary Most Holy was brought "to fuse herself," as the Blessed writes, "with the redeeming love of the Son," offering all her "immense suffering like a sharpened sword which pierced her most pure Heart."[176] In this fusion of love in her immolation with the Son an immolation which "pierces the soul" one must understand all the personal, direct, and immediate participation of the Co-redemptrix in the work of the universal Redemption.

At this point in his reflection, Bl. Escrivà cites the Papal teaching which constitutes the highest guarantee and certitude for every truth of the Faith. He finds here the clearest and most solid confirmation. In his subtle and deep reflection, in fact, he refers to the thought of Pope Benedict XV who speaks, perhaps as no other Pope ever has, of the Marian Coredemption. Pope Benedict XV states that Our Lady's presence at the foot of the Cross on Calvary was

"not without divine design. In truth Mary suffered, and almost died with her suffering and agonizing Son. She renounced her maternal rights over her Son... and as far as what depended upon her, she immolated the Son to placate the divine justice in such a way that one can rightly say she, with her Son, redeemed the human race."[177]

Reechoing the teaching of other Popes before and after Benedict XV as well, Bl. Escrivà reflects and comments in this manner:

"The Supreme Pontiffs have rightly called Mary 'Co-redemptrix'. At that point, together with her Son who was suffering and dying, she suffered and almost died; at that point she abdicated her maternal rights over her Son for the salvation of humanity and immolated Him, insofar as she was able, in order to placate the justice of God; thus one can rightly say that she redeemed the human race together with Christ. In this fashion we are in a better position to understand that moment of the Lord's Passion which we should never grow tired of meditating upon: Stabat iuxta crucem Jesus Mater eius, 'Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother' (Jn 19:25)."[178]

In analyzing the core of Bl. Josemaria's reflection we can say that:

  • rightly do the Supreme Pontiffs call Mary "Co-redemptrix"
  • Mary, in truth, suffered and almost died with her crucified Son
  • Mary abdicated her maternal rights over her Son
  • Mary, insofar as she was able, immolated her Son
  • Mary redeemed the human race together with Christ
  • Mary is the unique Co-redemptrix "standing beside her Son" on Calvary.

In the thought of Bl. Escrivà, this is the graphic panorama of the universal Redemption willed by God and worked out by Christ the Redeemer in His own Blood, in union with the Mother Co-redemptrix transfixed by the "sword" of sorrow, associated and united to Him in "a close and indissoluble bond" (L.G. 53) in order to serve "the mystery of Redemption under Him and with Him" (L.G. 56), with that "fusion" of supreme love in total immolation.

And now we turn to yet another reflection of the Blessed. If it is true that the felix culpa of which the celebrated Easter praeconium speaks obtained for us the gift of the divine Redeemer and Savior, then it is also true that it obtained for us the gift of the Mother Co-redemptrix and omnipotent Mediatrix. The Blessed himself writes:

"Felix culpa, sings the Church: Oh happy fault because it has obtained for us such a great Redeemer. Oh happy fault, we can also add, which has merited us to receive Our Lady as Mother. Now we no longer have anything to fear, nothing must alarm us, because Our Lady, who is crowned Queen of heaven and earth, is the omnipotent intercessor before God. Jesus cannot deny anything to Mary, nor to us, children of His very own Mother."[179]

Here we can also conclude with Fr. Miotto who writes:

"The Coredemption and Mediation shape the universal Maternity of Mary respectively in its phase of 'travailing in birth. . . in pain' (cf. Rev 12:2) on Calvary at the foot of the Cross (cf. Jn 19:25-27), and in the phase of the nursing and growth of children most in need of maternal care and sustenance until they reach the Kingdom of Heaven, leaving this world of 'thorns and thistles' (Gn 3:18). This is the truth of the Christian life in a soteriological light, a life made more amiable by the maternal presence of the Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix who desires to save and sanctify all of her children, all of her Son's little brothers."[180]

The Venerable

Ven. James Alberione (+1971)

Ven. Alberione is a brilliant Founder and extraordinary apostle of the twentieth century, a genius and charismatic pioneer in the field of evangelization by modern means to the entire planet. He was also a theologian, an orator, and a very prolific writer, teacher, and guide to generations of religious and laity.

Among his writings, his Marian works occupy a central and consistent place and, claims Roatta, he "set forth the profoundest portraits of the Virgin Mother."[181] Ven. James Alberione wrote an entire Marian trilogy, plus another Marian text dedicated to the Queen of the Apostles,[182] not to mention a rich series of articles and notes.

On the subject of Marian Coredemption Ven. Alberione has left us a complete doctrine in lessons and chapters of true and accurate Marian soteriology. All of this he presents in simple but certain language, with solid and clear theological method, expounding certain and commonly held truth, without hesitation or discussion as to the probability of such statements. Ven. James presents and illustrates the Coredemption and Mediation of Our Lady as a truth of Faith, even if not yet defined, but nonetheless a living doctrine in terms of the sensus fidei of the People of God and a genuine sentire cum Ecclesia.[183]

Ven. James confirms in a clear and precise synthesis that the Blessed Virgin Mary

"cooperated in the acquisition of grace, and therefore she is Co-redemptrix; she exposes our needs to God, and therefore she is Mediatrix of grace; she loves us and communicates the divine mercy to us, and therefore she is our spiritual Mother."[184]

This is the theological paradigm of the coredemptive, distributive and maternal Mediation of Mary Most Holy. In a few lines Ven. James shows the specific, constitutive elements and consequences of Mary's cooperation in the acquisition of redemptive graces as Co-redemptrix, in her dispensation of redemptive grace as Mediatrix, and in the maternal care of her children as spiritual Mother. Here a theologian has spoken, one who sought to catechize, one who knew how to "break the bread" of the word of God for the faithful (cf. Lam 4:4).

His explanation continues, simply and convincingly, with regard to Marian Coredemption. The Venerable writes concisely: "Co-redemptrix. She cooperated with Jesus Christ the Redeemer, though in a secondary and dependent mode, in saving us from eternal damnation."[185] With these words Ven. Alberione specifies that the Marian Coredemption is "secondary and dependent" with respect to the primary and absolute Redeemer; he maintains that the Coredemption served in the very reopening of the doors to the Kingdom of Heaven, that is to say, the Co-redemptrix cooperated in the very "effecting" of the universal Redemption.

In the second volume of the Marian trilogy The Feasts of Mary the Venerable presents the truth of Mary Co-redemptrix with other reflections made from different perspectives. He writes as follows:

"Let us consider why Mary is not remembered in the Gospels during the glorious episodes of her Son (i.e. the transfiguration, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, etc.), but her presence is recalled on Calvary. She knew her office and her mission: she accomplished these most faithfully, even to the very end, by cooperating with the Son as Co-redemptrix. She prepared the Host for sacrifice; and now behold her offering and immolating it on Calvary."[186]

Here one immediately understands how the coredemptive mission was fundamental for Mary from the very moment of the Incarnation of the Word and Redeemer. She knew well from the Annunciation and, even more so, from the words of the aged Simeon, that she "would have to share in the pains because (she was) Co-redemptrix."[187] Furthermore, in order to offer Jesus as Victim "she had disposed and offered herself to become Co-redemptrix."[188]

We find even more insights which enrich the theme of the Marian Coredemption in the third volume of Alberione's Marian trilogy, the Month of Mary. Recalling the sacrifice of Abraham, Ven. Alberione writes that

"more perfect than Abraham who completely prepared the sacrifice of his son according to the divine will, Mary felt in her Heart, with her voluntary presence, the sorrows of Jesus in the Crucifixion, the Agony, the Death; she suffered beyond words, and with profound charity she offered the Blood of Jesus and her own pangs in payment to the heavenly Father."[189]

In this text we find a particular item of great worth in the expression "she offered the Blood of Jesus and her own pangs in payment to the heavenly Father." Here Alberione clearly displays Mary's active and immediate cooperation in the very "effecting" of the Redemption, by giving the personal contribution of "her own pangs in payment to the heavenly Father," that is, by paying off, she too, the price of ransom with "her own pangs" united to "the Blood of Jesus." There is a divine union here between the Redeemer and the Co-redemptrix in working out the universal Redemption.

And as a support to this doctrine, Ven. James cites the magisterial text of Pope Benedict XV, considered so expressive and decisive in presenting the active and immediate cooperation of the universal Co-redemptrix: "Mary," states Pope Benedict XV, "as far as what depended upon her, immolated the Son... in such a way that one can rightly say she, with her Son, redeemed the human race."[190] If this is the doctrine of the Church, this is also the doctrine of Ven. Alberione who presents, explains, and communicates it to the People of God as a secure truth from the patrimony of our perennial and immutable Faith.

In his volume on Mary, Queen of the Apostles, Ven. Alberione adds other brilliant points of reflection on Mary Co-redemptrix in a chapter dense with Marian doctrine and spirituality, with a particular emphasis on the bond that runs between the Marian Coredemption and the active apostolate, or, put more precisely, between the work of Mary as Co-redemptrix and as Co-apostle which is in harmony with the apostolic work of the Pious Society of St. Paul.[191]

"As Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani agreed to offer Himself," writes the Venerable, "so too Mary gave her consent to the immolation and, insofar as it stood within her power, she immolated her Son. Her consent was in a different mode, but similar to that given for the Incarnation... And the union of wills and intentions and sorrows between Mother and Son never came to be interrupted throughout Their lives; and much less was that union broken on Calvary... As a result of that union of sorrows, wills and intentions between Mary and Jesus Christ, Mary became Reparatrix and our Co-redemptrix and the Dispensatrix of the fruits of the Cross... The Redeemer is Jesus alone. Jesus is the principal Mediator by office; Mary is the secondary and associated Redemptrix to this great work by the divine will."[192]

The intimate union between the Redeemer and the Co-redemptrix through Their lives (a union "of wills, of intentions, and of sorrows"); the dynamic rapport between the Reparatrix-Co-redemptrix who acquired the fruits of Redemption, and the Dispensatrix who distributes the fruits of the Cross; Jesus as the one Redeemer "by office," Mary as "the secondary and associated Redemptrix . . . by the divine will." These are the constitutive and supporting elements of Marian Coredemption as analyzed in-depth and argued logically and consistently, with theological precision, in Ven. Alberione's writings. They are founded on Revelation, on Tradition and on the Papal Magisterium, on the

Liturgy and the sensus fidelium of the People of God. The theological thought of Alberione is luminous and solid, profound and clear, even in its simple style: the doctrine of Marian Coredemption makes up part of the patrimony of the Church's Faith, it belongs to the timeless theology of the Church, and is rooted in the Church's living sensus fidei which has always loved the Mother of God and Co-redemptrix.

Let us conclude summarizing the thought of Ven. James on the Blessed Mother: She

"suffered in union with Jesus the Redeemer; she was Co-redemptrix. She knew that this was her mission, to give worthy satisfaction for sin, to reopen Heaven, to save mankind. She fulfilled this, her office, from Jesus' crib even to Calvary, and to Jesus' Sepulcher."[193]

Ven. Gabriel Mary Allegra (+ 1974)

Friar Minor, missionary in China and celebrated biblical scholar, Ven. Gabriel Allegra supported and defended the truth of Marian Coredemption and Mediation by demonstrating authoritatively the dogmatic definibility of the universal Coredemption and Mediation of all graces.[194]

The thought of Ven. Gabriel Allegra on Marian Coredemption reveals itself as theologically "clear and integral, luminous and harmonious," says Fr. L. Murabito,[195] particularly rich in its biblical authority and spiritual intonation. Above all on this subject of biblical authority,

"Fr. Allegra," continues Murabito, "insists that, read well, Scripture teaches the entire design of God about Mary: her predestination to be the Mother of the Word Incarnate, her Coredemption at the foot of the Cross, her sweet office of Mother of the Church, her victory over the dragon, participating in the glory of her Risen Son."[196]

With significant expression, for example, Ven. Allegra calls Our Lady the "new Eve-Co-redemptrix," to indicate with clear biblical reference that the first Eve was the cause (secondary) of our fall with the first Adam (primary cause), while the second Eve has been the cause (secondary) of salvation with the second Adam (primary cause): He, the new Adam-Redeemer, she the "new Eve-Co-redemptrix."[197] With another expression, no less clear, the Venerable writes that "the Mother of the Word Incarnate was also the Co-redemptrix, the new Eve, as Jesus was the new Adam."[198]

Elsewhere on other pages of his Marian writings Ven. Gabriel Allegra speaks of the "mystery of the Immaculate-Mother-Co-redemptrix"[199] and calls Our Blessed Lady the "Sorrowful Mother-Co-redemptrix,"[200] and again: "our Co-redemptrix,"[201] thus employing the term Co-redemptrix with great freedom,
without any reserve or preoccupation over the dangers of such usage, which presently some would like to describe as presumptuous, risking to obscure the term Redeemer. On this point the decisive affirmation of Ven. Allegra is authoritative; he writes:

"I firmly believe and with all my strength I will preach to the rest of the faithful that the title of Co-redemptrix is theologically exact in explaining the part that Mary had in the work of our salvation."[202]

This is the word of a great biblical scholar, one who is about to be honored at the altars.

Ven. Allegra expounds the truth of the term Co-redemptrix and its theological significance in terms of a balanced and secure Marian soteriology: that is, the term Co-redemptrix signifies the dependent participation, nonetheless direct and immediate, of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the work of the universal Redemption:

"Mary's cooperation in our Redemption," writes the Venerable, "is such that Mary merited the title Co-redemptrix,"[203] above all because "she intimately united herself to her dying Son on the Cross as our Co-redemptrix,"[204] and thus she was united with Him by means of that maternal compassion which "intimately unites us to the dying Christ. . . The Compassion constitutes the Coredemption."[205] And again: to be the Co-redemptrix means to be a "partaker of all the mysteries of the Son on earth," explains Fr. Murabito, "a partaker of the definitive battle and eschatological triumph of Jesus,"[206] according to Ven. Allegra.

He structures the Marian Coredemption, therefore, entirely in terms of the intimate and total union between the divine Son and Mother, between Jesus the Redeemer and Mary the Co-redemptrix. It is in the union of both their sorrows offered together that the universal Redemption is effected.

"The afflictions of Mary and those of Jesus," the Venerable stirringly writes, "were but one affliction which made two Hearts to suffer. . . The Compassion of Mary increased the suffering of Jesus and the Passion of Jesus was the source of Mary's sorrows. This double offering redeemed the world."[207]

Furthermore, Ven. Gabriel also points to the celebrated Franciscan thesis of the predestination of the Blessed Virgin "together with her Son from all eternity. Jesus is the King, and Mary the Queen of the universe; Jesus is the Redeemer, Mary the Co-redemptrix,"[208] and at that fixed moment, "when the fullness of time arrived" (cf. Gal 4:4), the Immaculate Conception became "the Mother of the mystical Body of the Lord, in virtue of the 'fiat' of the Annunciation, of the Coredemption on Calvary and of the glorious Assumption."[209]

Regarding the doctrine of the absolute primacy of Christ and Mary, Ven. Allegra "knew well," Fr. Murabito points out, "that not a few theologians ignored the Franciscan and Scotistic doctrine on the Incarnation and absolute predestination of Christ together with Mary," and yet the Venerable, as early as 1945, noticed: "I hear that the exegetes and biblical theologians are ready to direct themselves towards the doctrine of the absolute Primacy of Christ...;"[210] and Fr. Murabito adds that the Venerable was already speaking of the

"necessity to make known to the faithful the doctrine of the predestination of Mary in the mystery of Christ and the pilgrim Church and in history, because this doctrine sheds the most light on the doctrine and mystery of Mary Mediatrix and Co-redemptrix."[211]

As to the thorny problem of ecumenism, in particular, the Venerable suffered and lamented because, to cite Fr. Murabito again,

"the theologians, whether under the influence of protestantism or just lacking conviction of the transcendent dignity of the Mother of God and of her mission in the Church, were becoming silent, when they were not directly denying this or that prerogative of the Immaculate Mother. From this arose their more or less open opposition to the doctrine of the universal Mediation and Coredemption of Mary."[212]

Ven. Allegra, to the contrary, and in perfect accord with St. Leopold Mandic, was thoroughly convinced that "the Immaculate Mother, the Mediatrix and Co-redemptrix, would be the Victor of the ecumenical battle because, as he would say, the Immaculate will triumph."[213]

The doctrine of Ven. Allegra on Mary Immaculate, universal Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix-Dispensatrix of all graces, is filled with light, is anointed with inspiration, is solid in its structure, grounds a most lively hope for the whole Church and for all humanity. The Immaculate Co-redemptrix and universal Mediatrix is an entirely maternal Heart for us.[214]


Fr. Miotto, concluding his accurate study on the Coredemption in the hagiography of the 20th century, could write that this

"rapid survey of coredemptive thought in the life and teaching of a group of Saints and Blessed from our twentieth century in Christian history confirms and comforts us with that affirmative chorus hailing the saving and fruitful truth of Marian Coredemption as a living part of the deposit of our Faith ab antiquo."[215]

This conclusion, comprehensive and compelling, equally serves to conclude our hagiographical research embracing a larger number of Saints, Blessed and Venerable, all exclusively belonging to the twentieth century. And this resounding chorus of voices, though but a handful with respect to the much larger number of living "elect" of the twentieth century, are a chorus more than sufficient to impress us profoundly with the certainty of the truth of Marian Coredemption which, for the "elect," admitted of no reservations, much less arguments or negations of any kind. We speak here of that certainty of faith and sureness of truth which only the Saints succeed in communicating with their living sensus fidei substantiated by prayer and contemplation, doctrine and spirituality, heroic virtue and mystical experience.

In view of the hagiographical landscape here depicted one can immediately assert that the doctrine of Marian Coredemption in the thought and experience of the twentieth century Saints, Blessed and Venerable is evident in all its richness, immensity, and solidity. The teaching and catechesis, the studies and research, the writings and sayings, the cult and piety, the action and contemplation centered on the mystery of the divine Mother Co-redemptrix had free rein in the lives of the Saints and Blessed, the Venerable and Servants of God who lived in the last century of the second millennium of Christianity. Even the variety of Saints examined represents a wide spectrum. Saints young and old, men and women, consecrated religious and lay-faithful, missionaries and contemplatives, with the presence also of a great Supreme Pontiff, Pope St. Pius X.

It has been authoritatively asserted by T. Koehler that the twentieth century has been a "century of Mariology."[216] More precisely, perhaps, one could say that the twentieth century has been the century of "coredemptionists," and in particular of the Saints and Blessed, Venerable and Servants of God, all upholding the Coredemption, loving and singing, venerating and defending that so delightful truth of Marian Coredemption with speech and writing, virtues and works, veneration and devotion. They demonstrate that Marian Coredemption is a precious patrimony of the perennial Faith of the pilgrim Church as she makes her way towards the Kingdom of Heaven.

Of particular importance and beauty in this Marian review of hagiography is the fact that the opening and closing of the twentieth century are linked by two stigmatists: St. Gemma Galgani who died in 1903, and Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina who died in 1968 and was beatified on May 2nd, 1999. It is a significant fact, especially if we consider the very expressive and tight-knit association stigmatization has with the Coredemption-transfixion of Mary Most Holy in relation to the Crucifixion of the Redeemer.

Another significant fact is the flowering of studies on the Co-redemptrix. Especially during the last decade of the millennium, this has occurred at the highest levels of research,[217] reanimating the languishing field of Mariology then in a truly pitiable state: "After Vatican Council II," Laurentin bluntly maintains, "biblical and theological criticism was reduced to the status of a skeleton or an ectoplasm."[218] The theme of the Marian Coredemption is now sparking the vitality of Mariology for all areas of orthodoxy and orthopraxis,[219] notwithstanding the opposition and objections raised by the anti-coredemptionists, always hyper-cautious.[220]

The present essay on the Coredemption in hagiography, in any case, is not only indicative, but even more assertive, both in respect to the validity of the coredemptive doctrine theologically speaking, and in respect to the vitality of the cult and devotion towards Our Lady of Sorrows-Co-redemptrix on the part of the most elect portion of the Church made up by the Saints and Blessed, Venerable and Servants of God, as well as that army of unknown saintly souls among the People of God. This hagiography, peopled by great Masters of the Faith (one thinks of Pope St. Pius X, Bl. Ildephonse Schuster, and Ven. Gabriel Allegra), as also by simple and humble souls (like St. Gemma Galgani and St. Frances Xavier Cabrini), by apostles and contemplatives (such as Bl. Bartolo Longo, Bl. Orione, Ven. Alberione, and Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity), and by martyrs and extraordinary mystics (like St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, and Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina), gives us the highest and best tested guarantee of orthodoxy and orthopraxis for every truth of the Faith, and, in this case, the truth of Marian Coredemption.

From this hagiographical exposition of the Coredemption one can cite the tranquil ownership and the ordinary, uncontested use of the term Co-redemptrix in its simpler, more essential semantic connotation and theological content, namely that of Mary's subordinate and dependent, yet direct, immediate, active and exclusive participation in the very "effecting" of the Redemption in its primary and fundamental phase, that of the acquisition of the universal redemptive grace on the part of the sole and absolute Redeemer. With the title Co-redemptrix one then associates that of Dispensatrix of redemptive grace, distributed to each person, in the second phase of Redemption, i.e., of the application of grace according to divine plan in the economy of salvation. The Coredemption, in its historical, earthly phase, and the Dispensation of graces, in its heavenly phase, are shown united, we could say, in the maternal Mediation, consisting in the spiritual and universal Maternity of Our Lady, for all men "still on pilgrimage," as Vatican II states, "and placed among dangers and anxieties, until that time when they are conducted into the blessed Fatherland." (L.G. 62).

There now remains nothing else but to conclude by glorifying Almighty God for the gift of His "elect" who live "in lumine fidei sub ductu Ecclesiae," and radiate the pure and timeless Faith of divine Revelation, guaranteeing it with their lives and works, their words and writings, "to the edification of the Body of Christ," which is the Church (Eph 4:12). It is the "elect" whom the Church displays to humanity as resplendent models, conformed to Him who is "full of grace and of truth" (Jn 1:14); they are the masters and builders of the Christian life of faith; they are the ones sustaining and guaranteeing the sensus fidei of the holy People of God on pilgrimage toward the Kingdom of Heaven.

Theologians fare badly, as a result, by paying in their studies and research but scant attention to the teaching of the Saints and, on the other hand, not holding their writings and instructions in great esteem. The teaching of the Saints endures and lasts like their sanctity. A single written expression from the likes of a Bl. Pio of Pietrelcina, who calls Our Lady of Sorrows "yes, our dear Co-redemptrix," or the offering of one's life in a vow to the "Co-redemptrix of the human race" as did St. Leopold Mandic, form a school of Faith for age after age. And what about the teachings of Bl. Orione, Bl. Schuster, Bl. Escrivà, Ven. James Alberione and Ven. Gabriel Allegra who unanimously taught others to call Mary "Co-redemptrix of the human race"?[221] Their teaching of the truth about Marian Coredemption, guaranteed by their lives of faith with the practice of heroic virtue, is a teaching of light and life which leads to eternal salvation.

The Saints, Blessed and Venerable, recognized as such by the Church (which first rigorously scrutinizes their writings and then recognizes their heroic virtues), are in reality the highest and most vital guarantee of the truth at the maximum levels of grace and charisms. And in regard to doctrine and spirituality they constitute the most fertile and living, secure and enlightened teaching for all mankind. Vatican II states that they are the "most secure way" in our pilgrimage of faith from earth to Heaven (L.G. 50).

So it is that in learning the truth of Faith about Marian Coredemption from the school of the life and doctrine of the Saints and Blessed, Venerable and Servants of God, we find ourselves along that "most secure way" of the life of faith and of the sentire cum Ecclesia. And for this reason let us always give thanks to God and to the Mother of God Co-redemptrix!


110. It has, in fact, been written on solid grounds, that Bl. Bartolo Longo "is to be counted among those few authors who sought to elaborate a popular Marian spirituality, directed above all to the most spiritually and materially abandoned classes" of people (S. DE FIORES, Maria nell'esperienza negli scritti di Bartolo Longo, in Atti del Convegno storico, Rome, IT 1983, vol.I, p. 137).

111. S.M. MIOTTO, op. cit., p. 206. Shortly after he writes that "this system of Marian spirituality can be said to have shaped and sustained the entire painful life of Bl. Bartolo Longo in the accomplishment of his great work of charity and in the erection of that stupendous work of architecture, the Marian Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary at Pompei. Love for the lowliest and the suffering and love towards the divine Mother Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix were united in the mind and heart, the will and actions, the words and writings of Bl. Bartolo" (ibid. p. 207).

112. I quindici sabati del santo Rosario, Pompei, IT 1996 (here cited it as: I quindici sabati). To know more about this precious book cf. A. L'ARCO, Il Beato Bartolo Longo, Pompei, IT 1987, pp. 76 ff..

113. I quindici sabati, p. 62.

114. Ibid. p. 98.

115. Ibid. p. 144.

116. Ibid. p. 246.

117. op. cit., p. 208.

118. I quindici sabati, p. 271.

119. Ibid. p. 348.

120. Cf., for example, the anthology Con don Orione verso Maria, Rome, IT 1987.

121. Ibid. p. 115.

122. Ibid.

123. S.M. MIOTTO, op. cit., p. 210.

124. Con don Orione verso Maria, edition cited, p. 215.

125. Ibid. p. 216.

126. Ibid. p. 104.

127. Ibid. p. 95; on the same page Bl. Orione also presents Mary Most Holy as "our Advocate before God, our Mediatrix, our Ark of Salvation".

128. Op. cit., p. 211.

129. I. SCHUSTER, Liber Sacramentorum. Note storiche e liturgiche sul Messale Romano, Turin-Rome, IT 1928, vol. IX.

130. I. SCHUSTER, L'Evangelo di Nostra Donna, Milan, IT 1954.

131. As for Bl. Schuster's doctrine on the Coredemption cf. the profound and well-articulated study of P.M. SIANO, Maria SS. "Corredentrice" nel pensiero del beato Ildefonso card. Schuster (+1954), in AA.VV., Maria Corredentrice, Frigento, IT 2000, vol.III, pp. 137-161.

132. I. SCHUSTER, Liber Sacramentorum, edition cited, Vol. VIII, p. 181.

133. Ibid. p. 239; regarding the interpretation of Deborah, see P.M. SIANO, op. cit., pp. 141-143.

134. I. SCHUSTER, op. cit., edition cited, 1929, vol. VII, p. 90.

135. Ibid.

136. Ibid. p. 89.

137. Ibid. p. 89. "Of utmost importance," comments Fr. Siano, "is this simple and perfect equivalence which Cardinal Schuster establishes between the 'sorrows of the Virgin' and the 'Co-redemptrix of the human race'. This means that there is, in substance, an identity between the titles Our Lady of Sorrows (Addolorata) and Co-redemptrix. To grasp this brilliant equivalence between the titles: Our Lady of Sorrows and Co-redemptrix it is sufficient to understand immediately how the truth of Marian Coredemption was 'already' rooted 'within the soul of the Christian people many centuries ago', before the late middle ages! Therefore, (one sees that) it dates back to the times of the early Church, and discovers that Marian Coredemption is a truth belonging to the deposit of the Christian Faith from the beginning. This is marvelous. Thus the authoritative word of Cardinal Schuster provides solid historical-liturgical support for the sensus fidei of the Christian people who have always cultivated 'the special devotion to the Sorrows of the Virgin, Co-redemptrix of the human race'" (P.M. SIANO, op. cit., p. 154).

138. Ibid. p. 90.

139. Ibid. p. 93.

140. Ibid. vol.VIII, p. 79.

141. Ibid. p. 138.

142. Ibid. vol. IX, p. 18.

143. P.M. SIANO, op. cit., p. 154.

144. G. BASADONNA, Cardinal Schuster, Milan, IT 1996, p. 60.

145. CARD. I. SCHUSTER, L'Evangelo di Nostra Donna, Milan, IT 1954, p.1 7.

146. Ibid. 1.c.

147. Ibid. p. 19.

148. Ibid. p. 67. During the previous year of 1953, on the occasion of a Marian study week held at Milan from Sept. 14-18, Cardinal Schuster declared in his address that from the Marian week of study "we can find another advantage: a better knowledge of the mystery of Our Lady. As Co-redemptrix, as Mother of Christians and Mother of the whole Christ: Christ the Head, Christ the Body. As Co-redemptrix the aged Simeon sees her. After he prophesied the passion of Christ, he immediately prophesied the passion of Mary: a union of two passions" (in Maria nell'economia della salute, Milan, 1955, p. 16).

149. Ibid. p. 106. Fr. SIANO comments on this point: "This contemporaneous exchange of gifts between the Mother and the Son is most beautiful: while the Mother with her virginal milk helps the Son to grow in His Body which will serve for the redemptive offering, the Son helps the Mother to grow in her soul for her 'mission of Co-redemptrix of the human race'" (op. cit., p. 158).

150. Ibid. p. 33.

151. Cf. Ibid. pp. 122-123.

152. Op. cit., p. 161.

153. N. CASTELLO, S.M. MANELLI, La "dolce Signora" di Padre Pio, Cinisello Balsamo, IT 1999, p. 119.

154. On this theme cf. the more far ranging and elaborate study: S.M. MANELLI, Maria SS.ma Corredentrice nella vita e negli scritti di Padre Pio da Pietrelcina, in AA.VV., Maria Corredentrice, Frigento, IT 1999, vol. II, pp. 277-294; see also: N. CASTELLO, S.M. MANELLI, La "dolce Signora" di Padre Pio, edition cited, pp. 119-128.

155. PAOLO VI, Discorso, Feb. 20, 1971.

156. It has been written, with good reason, that in the life and writings of Bl. Pio "the transparent, close and indissoluble union of Mary Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces with Jesus the one Mediator between God and men is (found) everywhere" MELCHIORRE DA POBLADURA, Alla scuola spirituale di Padre Pio da Pietrelcina, San Giovanni Rotondo, IT 1978, p. 93.

157. A. NEGRISOLO, N. CASTELLO, S.M. MANELLI, Padre Pio nella sua interiorità, Rome, IT 1997, p. 58. Of considerable importance and interest would be a comparative study of the mystical experience and coredemptive thought of Bl. Pio and St. Veronica Giuliani (Cf. Sr. MARIA FRANCESCA PERILLO, Il mistero di Maria Corredentrice in santa Veronica Giuliani, in AA.VV., Maria Corredentrice, Frigento, IT 1999, vol. II, pp. 169-217).

158. St.BONAVENTURE, Apologia Pauperum, c.9, n.27; VII, 303.

159. Discorso, Feb. 20, 1971.

160. N. CASTELLO, S.M. MANELLI, work cited, pp. 127-128. It should also be noted that Bl. Pio frequently recalled Our Lady of Sorrows to his penitents in giving them the sacramental penance of reciting seven Hail Mary's to Our Lady of Sorrows, "and sometimes he could not succeed in finishing the word Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) without an outburst of tears!" (ibid. p. 123).

161. Cf. St. BONAVENTURE, Questio disputata de perfectione evangelica, Q.1, conclusion.

162. Cf., for example, the first volume of the Epistolario, San Giovanni Rotondo, IT 1992, pp. 213, 345, 384, 601, 639, 993 (here cited as: Ep.).

163. Ep. I, p. 597.

164. ARNOLD OF CHARTRES, De septem verbis Domini in cruce, 3, PL 189, 1694. This is a text quoted recently by Pope John Paul II in a catechesis on the Marian Coredemption on Oct. 25, 1995.

165. Ep. I, p. 602.

166. So he writes, for example, in a letter: "Oh God, what torture I feel... Would that I could at least have the satisfaction of pouring out this interior martyrdom with tears. The sorrow is immense and has overwhelmed me." (ibid. 993).

167. ibid.

168. Ep. III, p. 190.

169. Ibid., p. 384.

170. The following is well stated: "As to the words 'dear Co-redemptrix', it is important to verify how for Padre Pio of Pietrelcina the term Co-redemptrix serves also to efficaciously explain the truth of the compassion and transfixion of Mary Most Holy in the universal work of Redemption. Here mystical theology, too, supports the usage of the term Co-redemptrix, already common in Mariology and in the Church for centuries, used even by the Sovereign Pontiffs, and particularly by Pope John Paul II" (N. CASTELLO, S.M. MANELLI, work cited, pp. 126-127).

171. Bl. Pio himself wrote these expressions on a little memorial image for his 50th anniversary as a priest, calling Our Lady precisely the "most sweet Mother (mamma) of priests, Mediatrix and Dispensatrix of all graces" (reported by FERDINANDO DA RIESE, P. Pio da Pietrelcina crocifisso senza croce, Foggia, IT 1991, p. 428).

172. MELCHIORRE DA POBLADURA, op. cit., p. 96.

173. Colloqui con Monsignor Escrivà, Milan, IT 1987, p. 14.

174. S.M. MIOTTO, op. cit., p. 215. On Bl. Escrivà's doctrine of the Marian Coredemption, cf. also: F. DELELAUX, Nel dolore invocare e imitare Maria Corredentrice, in Eco del Santuario dell'Addolorata, Castelpetroso, IT 1995, n.3, pp. 6-8, n.4, pp. 3-5.

175. JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA, Amici di Dio. Omelie, Milan, IT 1978, pp. 318-319.

176. Ibid. pp. 318-319.

177. BENEDICT XV, Encyclical Letter Inter sodalicia, March 22, 1918 (AAS 10 1919, 182).

178. Op. cit., p. 318.

179. Ibid. p. 319.

180. op. cit., p. 218.

181. G. ROATTA, Presentazione for the work of G. ALBERIONE, Pensieri, Rome, IT 1972, p. 47.

182. The trilogy carries the title of Maria nostra speranza, in three distinct volumes: Le grandezze di Maria, Feste di Maria Santissima, Albano, IT 1954 (3rd ed.), Mese di Maggio, Rome, IT 1938; adjoined to these is the text Maria Regina degli Apostoli, Rome, IT 1948.

183. On the theme of the Marian Coredemption according to the doctrine of Ven. Alberione, cf. the extensive and accurate study: S.M. MANELLI, Maria Corredentrice nel pensiero del venerabile Giacomo Alberione, in AA.VV., Maria Corredentrice, Frigento, IT 2000, pp. 163-188.

184. G. ALBERIONE, Le grandezze di Maria, edition cited, p. 42.

185. Ibid.

186. G. ALBERIONE, Le Feste di Maria, edition cited, p. 54.

187. G. ALBERIONE, Brevi meditazioni per ogni giorno dell'anno, Rome, IT 1952, vol.I, p. 438.

188. Ibid. vol.II, Rome, IT 1965, p. 328.

189. G. ALBERIONE, Mese di Maggio, edition cited, p. 69.

190. BENEDICT XV, Encyclical Letter Inter sodalicia, March 22, 1918.

191. "Fr. Alberione," wrote Todaro, "puts in a logical rapport Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and the apostolate of social communication" and he presents "the doctrine on Mary, Queen of the Apostles, as he transforms it into an new pastoral principle" (L. TODARO, Maria Regina degli Apostoli, Rome, IT 1994, pp. 96, 110).

192. G. ALBERIONE, Maria Regina degli Apostoli, edition cited, pp. 110-111.

193. G. ALBERIONE, Brevi meditazioni per ogni giorno dell'anno, edition cited, vol.I, pp. 452-453.

194. On the coredemptive doctrine of Ven. Allegra, cf. the extensive study of L. MURABITO, La Corredenzione di Maria nel pensiero del venerabile Padre Gabriele Allegra, in Maria Corredentrice, Frigento, IT 1999, vol. II, pp. 195-314. The particular devotion of Ven. Allegra towards Our Lady of Sorrows dates back to his family upbringing (cf. ibid. p. 305); the Venerable attributed his religious, priestly and missionary vocation to Our Lady of Sorrows; the Venerable began his translation of the Bible into Chinese on April 11, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (Good Friday), and in the Statutes of the Biblical Studium in China he decreed that the "the heavenly Patroness of the Biblical Studium is the Mother of Sorrows" (ibid. p. 297).

195. Ibid. p. 300. The author adds that Ven. Allegra "treats of Mary Mediatrix and Co-redemptrix in a little volume published at Peking in 1944, published by 'Collectanea Commissionis Synodalis', under the title 'De doctrina Sancti Bernardini Senensis circa universalem Mediationem Gratiarum Beatae Mariae Virgnis'" (ibid. 1.c.).

196. op. cit., p. 300.

197. G.M. ALLEGRA, Il Cuore Immacolato di Maria, Acireale, IT 1991, p. 76; cf. also IDEM, Madre mia, fiducia mia!, Catania, IT 1958, p. 10, 37. On the Mariological sense of the more important Old and New Testament prophecies, cf. also G.M. ALLEGRA, Vaticini mariani dell'Antico Testamento e dell'Apocalisse XII, Castelpetroso, 1996.

198. G.M. ALLEGRA, Madre mia, fiducia mia!, edition cited, p. 42.

199. Ibid. p. 5.

200. Ibid. p. 43.

201. G.M. ALLEGRA, Il Cuore Immacolato di Maria, edition cited, p. 132.

202. G.M. ALLEGRA, Fasciculus Florum, Quaderno, IT Nov. 18, 1939, in Archivio della Vice Postulazione.

203. G.M. ALLEGRA, I sette dolori di Maria, Castelpetroso, IT 1995, p. 30.

204. G.M. ALLEGRA, Il Cuore Immacolato di Maria, edition cited, p. 132.

205. G.M. ALLEGRA, De Compassione Matris Mariae, in Meditazione, 1944, in Archivio della Vice Postulazione.

206. L. MURABITO, op. cit., p. 311.

207. G.M. ALLEGRA, I sette dolori di Maria, edition cited, pp. 30-31. Ven. Allegra, as one can see, did not hesitate to affirm that the offering of the compassion of Mary also "redeemed the world".

208. G.M. ALLEGRA, Madre mia, fiducia mia!, edition cited, p. 11.

209. Ibid. p. 27.

210. G.M. ALLEGRA, Il Primato assoluto di Cristo, in san Paolo e Duns Scoto, Palermo, IT 1966, p. 36.

211. L. MURABITO, op. cit., p. 314.

212. G.M. ALLEGRA, Peregrinantibus et iter agentibus, Macao, 1970, p. 41.

213. L. MURABITO, op. cit., p. 313.

214. Regarding the particular connection which Ven. Allegra establishes between the Co-redemptrix and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, cf. Fr. Murabito: op. cit., pp. 309-313.

215. S.M. MIOTTO, op. cit., p. 218.

216. T. KOEHLER, La storia della Mariologia, Vercelli, IT 1974, IV 183.

217. For the first half of the century it is sufficient here to cite the fundamental work of J.B. CAROL, De Corredemptione Beatae Virginis Mariae, Vatican City, 1950, pp. 643; for the rest of the century, cf. in addition to the wealth of bibliographical data throughout the review Marianum, the two volumes Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, Theological Foundations, Santa Barbara, CA, 1995 vol. I, 1997 vol. II, and the three volume study Maria Corredentrice, Frigento, IT 1998 vol. I, 1999 vol. II, 2000 vol. III; cf., finally, the instructive work of B. GHERARDINI, La Corredentrice in Cristo e nella Chiesa, Rome, IT 1998, and the study of A.M. AVELLA, L'Addolorata nostra Madre Corredentrice, Castelpetroso, IT 1999.

218. R. LAURENTIN, Maria chiave del mistero cristiano, Cinisello Balsamo, IT 1996, p. 5.

219. See in particular S.M. MANELLI, Una finestra aperta sul terzo millennio: la "Mediazione materna", in AA.VV., La Corredentrice in Cristo e nella Chiesa, Quaderno Mariano, Castelpetroso, IT 1999, pp. 19-27.

220. Cf. A. APOLLONIO, Il "Calvario teologico" della Corredenzione mariana, Quaderno Mariano, Castelpetroso, IT 1999.

221. What, then, is to be said of the term Co-redemptrix used by the Supreme Pontiffs? We recall St. Pius X who first introduced the term into the documents of the Holy See; we recall Pope Pius XI who used it more than a few times in his discourses; we recall, above all, Pope John Paul II who has used it a good six times. Gherardini rightly teaches that "once 'co-redemptrix' makes its appearance in any pontifical document whatsoever, it has a weight by far superior to the same 'co-redemptrix' on the lips of a theologian, even if he were a new St. Thomas Aquinas" (op. cit. p. 115).

The above paper first appeared in Mark Miravalle (ed.), Mary Co-redemptrix: Doctrinal Issues Today (Goleta, CA: Queenship Publishing, 2002)

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