by Rev. John A. Schug, O.F.M. Cap.
The word "Coredemption" can be understood only vis-à-vis "Redemption." Our Redemption is the "price" that Jesus paid for our salvation, that is, the restoration of sanctifying grace. By "Coredemption" we mean Mary's unique participation in "the payment of the price" of our Redemption: through, with, in, and under Christ, our only Savior and Redeemer. Jesus is our Redeemer; Mary is our Coredemptrix only in complete dependence upon Him: "I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).
Just as we focus on the sufferings of Jesus as the "price" He paid to redeem us (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23), so too when we call Mary "Coredemptrix," we focus on her cooperative role in His redemptive sufferings and death. Other Marian titles of course are closely allied to that awesome God-given vocation, for example "Mediatrix" and "Spiritual Mother." However, this study shall not draw attention (with few exceptions) to the Magisterium's frequent use of those titles.
Among Mary's "personal" titles we might list her divine motherhood, her Immaculate Conception, her virginity and her Assumption. Other titles might be considered more social or ministerial, such as those attributed to her by the Second Vatican Council: "Advocate, Auxiliatrix [Helper], Adjutrix [Aide], and Mediatrix."
Insofar as Mary's title "Coredemptrix" is concerned, the degree of the directness and immediacy of her cooperation will determine the sense - analogical, metaphorical, or equivocal - in which we will understand her role in Coredemption.
This essay will consider Mary's title "Coredemptrix" and its significance in the ordinary Magisterium, as expressed by the Popes, the Ecumenical Councils of the Church, the Roman Curia, and the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. However, all references will be grouped into a single chronological list of Popes.
Our approach will be in the nature of a survey, rather than a theological analysis. Nor shall we consider (except briefly and in passing) the distinctions that theologians commonly make anent our Redemption by Christ: objective and subjective, or immediate and remote.
Before we begin, we must address a problem - the words "Coredemptrix' and "Mediatrix" might pose for some that these Marian roles may detract from the absolute supremacy of Christ, our one Redeemer and Mediator. Precision of words is of crucial importance here, for we find a host of meanings to the Latin preposition "cum" and its correlative "co." All of them indicate some kind of dependence or inferiority, or less than absolute equality. For example, under the word "cum": "From Greek: kyn, dzyn, syn. It denotes in general, a being together, an accompanying, and is applied to persons as well as things and ideas. Its principal signification is `with' (opposed to sine, without)... hence, it signifies in union, in relation to, in communion. Hence, of an acting in common, with, together with... also in amicable relations... I am on very friendly terms with... I am in connection with a person... siding with a person... take one's part. It denotes reciprocation. Also, in company, in society with, together with, along with, provided with. Of persons: among (equal to Greek kai (and)."  The title "Mediatrix," even as an English word and without the prefix "co," does not seem to pose a similar semantic problem and is less controversial.
References by the Magisterium to the value of Mary's sufferings burgeoned in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prior to our modern era, the Church had enjoyed peaceful possession of the same truth. It seems to have generated little or no controversy. The Eastern and Western Fathers and Doctors of the Church had amassed a veritable Mariological treasure in regard to these sublime Marian roles, and in doing so already prepared the groundwork for the later invocation of Mary under the more technical term "Coredemptrix."
Dr. Miravalle writes: "The first recorded use of the title 'Coredemptrix' appears to date back to the fourteenth century, for example, in a liturgical book found in St. Peter's in Salzburg." 
In the very first Marian encyclical in the history of the Church, Gloriosae Dominae, Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758) summarizes Mary's importance in our Redemption: a) her role is with Christ, our Redeemer; b) it is at the foot of the cross that she is entrusted to the Church as a mother; c) and through this, our reconciliation is completed:
The apparent casualness of Benedict's XIV's terse statement that "in Mary the Mysteries of our reconciliation have achieved their goal" does not detract from the importance of Gloriosae Dominae. The encyclical is less than four pages long and marks the Magisterium's most graphic reference to date of the concept of Coredemption. The very casualness of Benedict XIV indicates that Mary's role as Coredemptrix was already a truth in the Church by the time he wrote his encyclical.
A half century later, in 1806, Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) refers to the concept of our salvation having been accomplished in Mary by calling her the "Dispensatrix of all graces."  We get further development under the Papacy of Pius IX (1846-1878) as he brings to light an "indissoluble" association of Mary with her Son in both His labor and His redemptive victory. Drawing from Sacred Scripture and the Church Fathers, the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus depicts Mary as the "secondary restorer" ("Reparatrix") of our first parents, intimately sharing with her seed the same enmity and victory over Satan (cf. Gen. 3:15), and thus having a unique and intrinsic cooperation with her Son in the saving work of redemption:
The entire encyclical is studded with references to Mary's role in our Redemption, which led the Pope to attribute to her the specific titles of Reparatrix (cited above), and Mediatrix and Conciliatrix  in the following statement:
The papal teachings of Leo XIII (1878-1903) portray the intense suffering Mary endured with her Son. She "was already a participant" with the Redeemer at the temple offering (cf. Lk. 2:35), and continued to suffer "along with His most bitter sufferings" until faithfully and triumphantly, in a climactic act of great love, "she died with him" in her maternal heart:
Leo XIII offers a dynamic portrayal of Mary's coredemptive suffering: She painfully partakes in "His torments in the very depths of her soul," "weeping" at the cross of her dying Son and willingly offers him to divine justice. This coredemptive suffering with the Redeemer was fitting and appropriate so that Mary "might receive us as her children."
Thus beyond endorsing the Marian roles of Mediatrix, Reparatrix and Conciliatrix, Leo XIII brings to light the precious gift generously given to Mary by divine will: her cooperation in the acquisition of the graces of redemption. She has been granted "an almost boundless power" in dispensing the very graces won by her coredemptive participation with the Redeemer:
The Pope's depiction of Mary's vocation is so astonishing that we might not fully appreciate its importance. Mary's ancient title Domina is usually translated into English by the very weak "our lady." However, that word's counterpart is Dominus - LORD! In Sacred Scripture, "Lord" is unambiguous for God Himself, even more clearly than "Son of God." Yet Domina is one of Mary's titles that the Pope uses in the context of our Redemption by Christ. Also, the significance of Adiutricem populi is further heightened when Vatican II, calling Mary "Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix," refers us back to this encyclical.
"We have shown that the Rosary,...coupled with [Mary's] office of mediatrix [mediationis officio], is a most excellent and fruitful prayer of petition." Pope Leo XIII draws the Christian faithful to recall the truths of the Rosary, prayer and our Lady's mediating role which include her effective and unique participation in Redemption:
This remarkable concatenation of Mary's prerogatives depicts her cooperation with her Son. It is cooperation that is 1) direct, immediate and dynamic; 2) bilateral, between Mary and Jesus precisely in His role as Redeemer; 3) not only an activity but a ministry - a role initiated by Him and assigned to her by Him to achieve our Redemption. In these succinct quotations of Pope Leo XIII we see the Magisterium's fullest description to date of the essence of Mary's role as Coredemptrix.
Pope Saint Pius X (1903-1914) joins Pope Leo in calling Mary our Mediatrix, Conciliatrix (Conciliatrix), Restorer (Reparatrix), and Dispensatrix of all grace. Pius X also resounds Pope Pius IX's description of an "indissoluble bond" uniting "the Woman and her seed" as he tells us that the life and work of Mary and her Son are "never disassociated." "So perfect was the identity" of Mary's coredemptive suffering with the Redeemer - a "communion of pain and will" - that she merited to become the Reparatrix and thus the Dispensatrix in distributing the graces of redemption:
The precious gift and exalted role of Mediatrix of the graces of the redemption has been granted to Mary in light of her "communion with her Son in pain and sorrow," that is, in light of and in reward to her unfailing perseverance in fulfilling her coredemptive mission.
The unequivocal primacy of the one Mediator, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Tim 2:5), who alone could reconcile humanity in his divinity and humanity is not undermined by the subordinate and dependent coredemptive role of Mary from which flows her likewise subordinate and dependent role as Mediatrix of the graces of redemption. The rights of these gifts belong to Jesus Christ, and yet these gifts are generously bestowed upon Mary because of her communion and solidarity of suffering with the one Redeemer. Pope St. Pius explains:
Pius X further expands the panoply of Marian titles used by Pope Leo XIII. Going beyond the Marian titles of Mediatrix, Conciliatrix (Conciliatrix), Restorer (Reparatrix), and Dispensatrix of all grace, Pope Pius adds to the Mariological development when he sanctions the use of the word "Coredemptrix" by three Congregations of his Curia: In the Congregation of Rites, we see the decree elevating the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the rite of a double of the second class: "Through this decree...may devotion to the merciful Coredemptrix [Conredemptrix] increase."  The Holy Office repeats the title in the following section on Indulgences:
Six months later the Holy Office again employs the use of this term:
We can do more than presume that Pope St. Pius X personally approved their statements. After all, they were published in the official Acta Apostolicae Sedis and were never recanted. As cited above, on one occasion "Coredemptrix" was used by the Congregation of Rites, but twice this title passed the scrutiny of the Holy Office, the very congregation commissioned and entrusted to insure doctrinal integrity. Therefore, we see here the Magisterium's first three endorsements of Mary's title "Coredemptrix" with an indulgenced encouragement to the faithful to recognize her blessed prerogative as "Coredemptrix of the human race."
Although the papal teachings of Benedict XV (1914-1922) were possibly less conspicuous than his predecessors in the number of titles he attributed to Mary, perhaps he was more conspicuous than they in his comprehension of Mary's office of Coredemptrix. His encyclical Inter sodalicia was unambiguous in describing how Mary cooperated with Christ in his role as Redeemer. In Benedict XV the Magisterium verbalized for the first time what Coredemption meant to Mary personally: "She abdicated her maternal rights": 
Clearly, we see in Pope Benedict's statement the doctrines of the Coredemptrix and Mediatrix: Mary "redeemed the human race together with Christ" and "administers" those graces which flow from the redemption. Benedict XV further endorsed the term "Mediatrix" through the prescript of the Congregation of Rites that approved a Mass and Office of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces.
Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) continues the consistent teachings of the modern Popes in describing the essence of Mary's coredemptive role in light of her "inscrutable and absolutely unique bond" with the Redeemer and her "offering of the Victim of sacrifice" for the acquisition of the life of grace for humanity:
Here also we see present the threefold office of Mary as Coredemptrix (Reparatrix), Mediatrix and Advocate. This paragraph spans the full gamut of the Coredemption - objective and subjective - from Mary's sharing in Christ's sufferings to her distribution of grace. This quotation is the third of four endorsements given by the Second Vatican Council to Mary's titles: "Advocate, Auxiliatrix [Helper], Adjutrix [Aide], and Mediatrix."
In a Papal Audience in 1933, Pius XI marked a Marian milestone when for the first time in Church history a Pope had personally and explicitly attributed the title "Coredemptrix" to Mary. When he did so, he was in the Sala del Concistoro, seated on the papal throne. Even the printer of the Vatican newspaper seems to have picked up the excitement. For the headline "The Glories of Mary, Coredemptrix" he used a very conspicuous ten-point font. The Pope tells us that Mary not only gave us the instrument of Redemption, but she also raised Him for that very work and further shared in His Passion, accomplishing the redemptive victory. Thus the Redeemer, says Pius XI, "could not help but associate His Mother in His work, and therefore we invoke her under the title of Coredemptrix":
Continuing his address, Pius XI celebrates the "universal motherhood of Mary" in these 1933 papal words:
A year later Pius XI again made use of the term "Coredemptrix." This occasion was a 1934 papal audience with pilgrims from Spain:
And in his 1935 Radio Message to Lourdes Pius XI invoked the Mother of Jesus once again as Coredemptrix, she who bears fruit in the redemptive work of her Son through her compassion:
Significantly, the occasion of this radio message was the solemn closing of the jubilee year of our Redemption. We may legitimately understand the word "compassion" in its etymological sense (suffering with). Thus our "Redemption" by Christ and the "compassion" of Mary become one in producing the single "fruit" for which the Pope prays. Hence "compassion" and "Coredemption" are synonymous, in referring to the selfsame meritorious role of the new Eve with the new Adam in the redemptive victory.
If Pope Pius XI called Mary "Coredemptrix" only once, in 1933, that would have been noteworthy enough. But the fact that he used basically the same word-form three times also in 1934 and once again in 1935 is highly significant.
Even though Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) did not explicitly use the title, "Coredemptrix," his theological commentary on the coredemptive role of Mary manifests a development of this Marian role, particularly in regard to the patristic model of the "New Eve". Like his predecessors, he spoke emphatically and repeatedly of an organic union between Jesus and Mary - not only between the Son and his Mother, but between Jesus precisely in His redemptive sufferings, and Mary as His co-sufferer.
In three encyclicals (Mystici Corporis Christi, Ad Caeli Reginam and Munificentissimus Deus) Pius XII states that Mary is "inexorably bound to her Son" (arctissime coniuncta). Etymologically, coniuncta means "joined to the same yoke, like oxen pulling a plow." Regardless of whether or not he and Pius XI intentionally chose coniuncta because it has this derivation, they proffer to us a graphic portrait of Mary as Coredemptrix. In Pius XII's Mystici Corporis Christi, we read:
Pius XII points out that the offering of her Son with the holocaust of her maternal rights was a suffering directed for the specific end of the redemption of the "children of Adam."
Seven years later in the encyclical Munificentissimus Deus, the coredemptive role of Mary is expressed by Pope Pius XII in the Patristic language of the "new Eve," reiterating once again the Fathers' understanding that the battle against the devil was "jointly engaged in" by the new Eve with the new Adam, and thereby advanced the modern Magisterial doctrine of the Coredemptrix with the Redeemer:
In his encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, Pius XII continues to expound on this "redemptive alliance" of the Blessed Virgin with Jesus Christ, procuring life for the human race in a "recapitulation" of the first Eve-Adam alliance which brought death to the human race. The human race is instrumentally "saved by a virgin":
Pius XII's May 13, 1946 radio message to Fatima speaks of Christ specifically as our Redeemer, and Mary's association and cooperation with Him specifically in that role. The Pope also attributes her cooperation "by right of conquest." Note that he had just spoken the right of Jesus' conquest because of his "martyrdom.' Because the Pope duplicates the phrase identically now in reference to Mary, we may conclude that her "right of conquest" is also attributable to her "martyrdom." Coredemption is nothing less than that:
This same radio message to Fatima is the fourth (and final) citation of official footnote number 278 of Lumen Gentium (pg. 91), documenting Vatican II's use of Mary's titles: Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix.  Not insignificantly, he called Mary "Mediatrix" eight times. The first schema of Vatican II's Lumen Gentium made thirty-two references to Pius XII. The final text has seven references to him - the largest number for any non-biblical or patristic author.  For Pius XII, Mary's redemptive participation is also intimately associated with her revealed relationship to us as Mother: "This mother [Mary] shone forth as our mother when our divine Redeemer was offering His sacrifice, and therefore by this title, too, we are her children."
And we should note that the petition to Pope Pius XII from the First International Mariological Congress, held in Rome in 1950, embodies a desire on the part of "the faithful" for a dogmatic definition of Mary's coredemption and mediation, since her personal attributes were already defined:
The Marian pronouncements and official acts of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) are voluminous; they total 476 pages.  This single quotation can stand as typical of his thought on Mary's association with Christ, our Redeemer: "[Our Lady is] intimately associated [intimamente associata] in the Redemption in the eternal plans of the Most High."
Adding its Conciliar weight to the consistent Magisterial teaching, the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (chapter 8) ratifies Mary's coredemptive role in cooperation with the Redeemer. Her "cooperation" is not a static, one-time act, but her "role" in the on-going mystery of our Redemption. In this context, we see Mary's cooperation as coredemptive: 
In Lumen Gentium, nos. 55-56, the Council is plumbing the full depth of Genesis 3:15 and sees an implication (the foreshadowing of Mary's cooperation in Christ's victory) that the Prophets themselves might not have grasped. Then the Council echoes Irenaeus's bold encomium: "[Mary] became a cause [causa] of salvation." Could any definition of "Coredemptrix" encompass more than that? Yet that is exactly what the Council perceives as Mary's "dynamic" role:
Sacred Scripture singles out Calvary as the recapitulation and climax of Christ's sufferings. Just the preceding numbers indicate Mary's association with Christ generally, but now, in Lumen Gentium nos. 57-59, the Council pinpoints the culmination and epitome of Mary functioning as Coredemptrix not only in her heartrending witnessing of Calvary but in her "uniting herself to His sacrifice and loving consent to the immolation of this victim." The Council clearly justifies our referring to her sufferings as coredemptive:
The Council Fathers further teach that Mary's cooperation was utterly unique, bringing with it a maternal reward as "mother to us in the order of Grace." "This saving role" of the Mother of Jesus, and now Spiritual Mother of all humanity, continues to manifest itself in her ongoing mediating role in the work of salvation:
Because Mary is intimately united with her Redeemer Son, she is also intimately bound to the Church, mediating seeds of "new and immortal life" to the faithful:
We note that the four titles ascribed to Mary by the Council show an unprecedented concern for her social role. Previously, critics complained that some of the Virgin Mary's titles (Mother of God, Virgin, Immaculate Conception and Assumption) seemed strictly personal to her, without sufficient relevancy to "the social Church." Also, for the first time an Ecumenical Council endorsed the appropriateness of the term "Mediatrix." For two reasons we may conjecture that the proponents of the Coredemption were deterred from presenting a motion to add "Coredemptrix" to her other acceptable titles. First, considering the vigorous debate at the Council concerning her title "Mediatrix," they seem to have rested content when that title emerged as acceptable. Secondly, the Council was a pastoral Council, which, as it said, "does not have it in mind to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which have not yet been fully illuminated by the work of theologians."  The Council approved Lumen Gentium in its entirety, including the celebrated Marian chapter 8 from which we have been quoting, by a vote of 2,151 to five.
In echo of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) adds greater force to these titles by invoking the Mother of the Church as "our Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix." He further continues the long-standing Magisterial teaching of the Blessed Virgin's intimate and perpetual union with the Redeemer in the divine drama of salvation:
The Church celebrates in her liturgy these salvific events in which Mary freely cooperates with her Saviour Son. Pope Paul VI singles out a few of those commemorative triumphs:
Present throughout all these salvific moments in the life of Mary is the Holy Spirit who sustains and strengthens her in the work of redemption, producing "results ever more advantageous." Paul VI here highlights the critical spousal collaboration of the Holy Spirit and Mary in the "work of human redemption":
In view of Pope Paul VI's consistent Magisterial teaching we can say that he repeats his insistence on 1) the unique bond between Mary and our Redeemer and His Church, now calling her our "Mediatrix"; 2) Mary's "intimate association with the mystery of salvation"; 3) the Holy Spirit inspiring Mary "to want to be associated as a mother in the sacrifice of the Son for the redemption of the human race"; and 4) Mary's "spiritual presence in the redemption of all her children."
True to his motto Totus Tuus Maria, Pope John Paul II's writings and public statements represent an outstanding contribution to Mariology, and continues the rich ordinary Magisterial teaching on Mary's coredemptive role, expressing with even greater clarity the doctrines of the Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate already present in the Second Vatican Council's Lumen Gentium. The excerpts below, which include the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, are a concatenation of his references to the direct and immediate cooperation of Mary in Christ's redemptive sufferings.
Mary, Mother of the Redemption, was prepared in advance so that she could fulfill perfectly her God-given mission with her Son in the redemptive liberation. Advancing Pope Paul VI's teaching that "Most holy bonds bound and still bind the Virgin Mary to the Holy Spirit in the work of human redemption," producing fruits "ever more advantageous," John Paul II reminds us at a General Audience in 1983 that it is Mary filled with grace that allowed for and gave "maximum value" to her participation in the work of redemption: "The fullness of grace allowed [Mary] to fulfill perfectly her mission of collaboration with the work of salvation; it gave the maximum value to her cooperation in the sacrifice." It is the Holy Spirit present at every moment of Mary's life who gives the greatest possible value to her salvific work with the Redeemer. The foundation of Mary's coredemptive activity is her fullness of grace. She is the "Coredemptrix" because she was first the "Immaculate Conception."
Coredemption reached a profound, personal kenosis for Mary at Calvary. It was there that she offered both herself and her Son to divine justice, freely uniting herself to his Sacrifice for the salvation of the human family. Thus the coredeeming Mother constitutes an active, not passive, part in the redemptive Sacrifice of Calvary. The Holy Father makes this clear in a 1983 Angelus address:
This active participation in suffering with the Redeemer reached its culmination at Calvary. In his 1984 apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris, John Paul points our gaze to the foot of the Cross, the climax in the work of redemption where Mary's ascent of Calvary with her redeeming Son reached "an intensity" beyond human comprehension, bearing fruit for the salvation of the world:
Hence Mary not only had an active participation in the redemptive victory but it was fruitful as well, in light of her "special sort of sharing" in the suffering and death of her redeeming Son. And as a gift for this sacrificial act of great love with the Redeemer, the coredeeming Mother received from her dying Son the providential gift of a "new kind of motherhood." Mary, "Mother of the human race," continues to bring the graces of redemption to the human family:
In his address in Ecuador a year later, the Holy Father continued his commentary on the "particularly important moment" at the foot of the Cross. Mary's coredemptive journey led her to that excruciating moment where she accepted and assisted in the sacrifice of her Son, the very moment that the Church and all humanity was entrusted to her maternal care by her crucified Son:
Mary, "the dawn of redemption," willingly united herself with the one redeeming Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Spiritually crucified with him, she offered both herself with her victim Son. The Holy Father makes it unequivocally certain that Mary's contribution to the work of redemption was an active, real, and effective collaboration in the reconciliation between man of God:
And further in his address in Ecuador, not only is Mary's coredemptive role made explicit by Pope John Paul II under the particular title "Coredemptrix," but he also tells us that this role did not cease after our Lord's glorification:
And again, two months later during his 1985 Palm Sunday Angelus address, the Holy Father sanctions the appropriate invocation of Mary under this title in her ongoing role as Spiritual Mother:
In the first two pages of his 1987 encyclical letter Redemptoris Mater, John Paul II begins by stating that God "associated this hidden 'daughter of Zion' with the plan of salvation embracing the whole history of humanity" (pp. 1-2, no. 3).  The Holy Father continues to explore this coredemptive kenosis wherein Mary entirely "abandons herself" to the providential will of God, pre-eminently sharing in the very death of her redeeming Son: "How completely she 'abandons herself to God' without reserve, 'offering the full assent of her intellect and will' to him whose 'ways are inscrutable' (cf. Rom 11:33)!...Through faith the Mother shares in the death of her Son, in his redeeming death" (pg. 5, no. 18).  This coredemptive sharing in the redeeming death of her Son further confirms Mary's most eminent and unique association with the Redeemer in restoring life to souls. In echo of the Second Vatican Council's Lumen Gentium (nos. 61-62), John Paul affirms this Magisterial teaching:
Redemptoris Mater further cites Vatican II when it restates the Council's teaching that "Mary figured profoundly in the history of salvation and in a certain way unites and mirrors within herself the central truths of the faith" (pg. 7, no. 25, citing Lumen Gentium, n. 65). 
The Holy Father tells us that in Mary's "pilgrimage to the foot of the Cross there was simultaneously accomplished her maternal cooperation with the Saviour's whole mission through her actions and sufferings" (p. 11, no. 39).  John Paul's Mother of the Redeemer continues the Magisterial teachings of Mary's ongoing presence in the mysteries of redemption. His Holiness looks to the Gospel of John to express the profound implications of Mary's "new motherhood," as "mother to us in the order of grace" (cf. Lumen Gentium, no.61). It is salvific and universal, a maternal mediation where the Mother of the redemption brings the needs of humanity within reach of her redeeming Son's saving power:
Our Mother's maternal mediation does not diminish Christ's universal primacy as the one Mediator between God and Man (cf. 1 Tim 2:5), as it is a sharing in the one unique source that is the mediation of Christ himself. It remains wholly secondary, subordinate and dependent upon the one Mediator, Jesus Christ, while at the same time constituting "a real dimension of her presence" in her Son's saving mystery. Citing Lumen Gentium, nos. 61-62, the Holy Father repeats this teaching of the Council:
In sum, the contribution of John Paul's encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, further advances the doctrinal development concerning the revealed truth about the Mother of redemption. It offers a dynamic representation of the coredeeming Mother's personal kenosis with the redeeming death of her Son. It further elucidates the ongoing presence of Mary in the mysteries of redemption, manifested in her universal maternal mediation. Redemptoris Mater also reiterates the Second Vatican Council's teaching that "Mary figured profoundly" in God's plan of restoring life to souls, "an associate of unique nobility" who offered herself with her Saviour Son for the salvation of the human family. Clearly, we see in this 1987 encyclical of John Paul II the continuation of the doctrines of Coredemptrix and Mediatrix in Magisterial teaching.
Two years later in a 1989 address in Italy, His Holiness refers to Mary specifically under the title "mediatrix of grace" as she reflects all the more her Son's salvific power: "Enlightened by the fullness of Christ's light, Mary, mediatrix of grace, reflects him." And in a 1991 Angelus address, the Holy Father again, for a third time, advocates the use of the title "Coredemptrix" when he cites with approval the invocation of Mary under this title by St. Birgitta : "[St. Birgitta]...invoked [Mary] as the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Sorrows, and Co-redemptrix."
John Paul continued to promulgate Mary's coredemptive role on different occasions in 1993. For example, in an address to youth in Sicily, he stated: "The Virgin of Nazareth...offered herself with Christ for the redemption of all humanity,"  and four months later in a homily at the shrine of Our Lady of Siluva, the Holy Father spoke of Mary's coredemptive "self-offering" with her Redeeming Son: "The true 'Daughter of Zion'...offered herself with him in an excruciating act of faith on Calvary." This consistent theme of Mary's coredemptive suffering is again referred to in these 1993 papal words: "The Stabat Mater...is the figure of Mary at the foot of the cross, witness of faith in the Redeemer and sharer in his sufferings for the salvation of the world."  And in the 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor, John Paul further alludes to Mary's coredemptive participation as she exercised her freedom by giving herself to God who gives Himself to the world: "[Mary]...accompanied [the Son of God] in that supreme act of freedom which is the complete sacrifice of his own life."
These quotations become tessera of a mosaic of Mary, Coredemptrix, with a portrait complete in each part and in the whole, as the soul animates the whole body and exists entirely in every cell. They continue with ever greater clarity the ordinary Magisterial teachings of Mary's intimate cooperation with the Redeemer in the work of redemption. They represent the mind of the Holy Father and his predecessors on the life and work of the "hidden daughter of Zion," prepared and sustained by the Holy Spirit from the moment of her Immaculate Conception to "her ascent of Calvary," where she freely "accepted and assisted" at the Sacrifice of her Son and was entrusted with the maternal care of the Church and all humanity. The Holy Father speaks with particular empathy for Mary's profound sufferings at the cross of her Son where she "offered herself with him in an excruciating act of faith," her suffering reaching "an intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view" and "was mysterious and supernaturally fruitful for the redemption of the world." Because Mary's meritorious participation in the redemption was "active, real and effective" which "figured profoundly in the history of salvation" (cf. Lumen Gentium, no. 65), the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, continuing the rich teachings of his predecessors, speaks and writes prolifically of Mary's maternal mediation and of her coredemptive role from which it comes. John Paul II therefore does not hesitate to invoke the "dawn of redemption" under the title "Coredemptrix" as he has on three separate occasions.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The universal Catechism contains nothing new on the subject of Mary's coredemption and mediation as new development is not the intention of the Catechism, but rather an authoritative synthesis of what the Church teaches, particularly in light of the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The universal Catechism continues to teach the doctrine of Mary's redemptive cooperation with Jesus Christ, and has quoted with a particular completeness the coredemption and mediation paragraphs of Lumen Gentium, chapter 8, nos. 58 and 61-62 respectively.
Referring back to the book of Genesis, the Protoevangelium, the Catechism again sounds the theme of the "new Eve" which certainly prepared and advanced the coredemptive doctrine promulgated in modern Magisterial teaching. Paragraph 410-411 states:
The Catechism first states that Genesis 3:15 pertains to our Redemption, which involves a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and the final victory of her descendants. Then the Catechism identifies Mary as the Woman. Since the battle and the triumph pertain to the Redeemer and his mother, we may legitimately call Mary's role coredemptive.
"The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life" (488, pg. 123, quoting Lumen Gentium, no.56). Here the Catechism quotes verbatim Lumen Gentium, Vatican II's document on Mary, and appends footnote number 127, which cites not only "LG 56" but also "cf. LG 61," which in turn says: "She...was united with Him in suffering as He died on the cross. In an utterly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior's work of restoring supernatural life to souls." Therefore, through its double reference to Lumen Gentium, the Catechism proffers a self-commentary on Mary's role as Coredemptrix. See also number 964 below.
Paragraph 502 states: "...the welcome Mary gave that mission [of Christ] on behalf of all men" (pg. 127). This allusion - vague though it may seem - to the "welcome" that Mary gave to the mission of Christ seems to imply not only that Mary's and Christ's lives overlapped, but that their roles, too, overlapped in our redemption.
We might not easily grasp the depth of this simple sentence contained in paragraph 529: "The sword of sorrow predicted for Mary [cf. Lk. 2:35] announces Christ's perfect and unique oblation on the cross" (pg. 134). If Mary's sword of sorrow had done nothing more than "announce Christ's oblation," that announcement would already implicate her as a Coredemptrix, because the message that is announced is of our Redemption.
The Catechism's paragraph 964 goes one step further than Lumen Gentium by saying that Mary's union with Christ is "made more manifest at the hour of His passion" and goes on to quote in its entirety the paragraph of Lumen Gentium, chapter 8, dedicated to Mary's coredemption, number 58:
In number 529 the Catechism uses two descriptive phrases: one Christological, the other Mariological. So too in number 964 the Catechism does exactly the same. In number 529 we saw that Jesus' "unique oblation on the cross" warrants our calling Jesus our Redeemer and Mary our Coredemptrix. In number 964 the Catechism implicitly sanctions all the more our calling her "Coredemptrix" because of the multiple examples that are given.
Number 973 is the Catechism's own "In Brief" of the previous section, which includes number 964: "She is mother wherever he is Savior and Head of the Mystical Body" (pg. 254).
Paragraph 410 (cited earlier) described the Eve-Mary parallel (or rather antithesis) as coredemptive on Mary's part; so too, now in its last pages (number 2618), the Catechism not only repeats the same Eve-Mary parallel but extends Mary's coredemptive role to its ultimate significance: "Mary, the New Eve, the true Mother of the living." Number 2618 states: "It is at the hour of the New Covenant, at the foot of the cross, that Mary is heard as the Woman, the new Eve, the true 'Mother of the living'" (pg. 630).
In sum, the theology of Mary's coredemption and mediation is well-presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Apart from Christ our Redeemer, Mary is the only person mentioned in this book as a collaborator in the redemptive mission of Christ. With the possible exception of the Catechism's references to Mary's virginity, no other Marian concept receives the emphasis given to Mary's direct and immediate cooperation in Christ's suffering and death for our Redemption.
Beyond the consistent ordinary Magisterial teaching of Mary's coredemption and mediation in providential service of her Saviour Son, we also see the Magisterium's direct usage of the term "Coredemptrix".
As cited earlier in the text, the Magisterium under Pope St. Pius X used the term "Coredemptrix" three times: May 13, 1908 (Congregation of Rites); June 26, 1913 (Holy Office); and January 22, 1914 (Holy Office).
Pius XI employed the term five times on three separate occasions (also cited in the text): November 30, 1933 in a papal audience with a pilgrimage from Vicenza; March 24, 1934 in a papal audience with pilgrims from Spain; and April 28, 1935 in a radio message to Lourdes.
John Paul II has also confirmed the appropriate use of this term on three separate occasions: January 31, 1985 in his address in Guayaquil, Ecuador; March 31, 1985 in his Palm Sunday Angelus address; and in citing with approval the invocation of Mary by St. Birgitta under this term on October 6, 1991 in his Angelus address.
Prior to Vatican II, the four Marian definitions (her divine Maternity, Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception and Assumption) do not of themselves betoken any conspicuously ecclesial or "social" role of Mary.  But during the Council we witnessed a "subtle shift" when Pope Paul proclaimed Mary as "Mother of the Church."  His words were no novelty, but they received a unique standing ovation. Then the Council annunciated in its own name Mary as "Mediatrix" - again, a title that by definition is more than strictly personal to her.
Significant also is the Council's decision to include its tract on Mary in its "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" (Lumen Gentium), rather than issuing it as an independent document or including it in any of the other fifteen documents.
In the foregoing study we have been reviewing the acceptance by the Magisterium of the concept of Coredemption, sometimes with the use of the term "Coredemption" or "Coredemptrix." Mary's titles "Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix" have passed the Council's own litmus test of "the signs of the times." So too has her title "Coredemptrix."
The preceding article assures us that the ordinary Magisterium of the Church - in substance and in word - portrays Mary as a direct, immediate, effective cooperator with her Son in His redemptive sufferings - a Marian role that is fittingly called "Coredemption", with Mary fittingly called our "Coredemptrix." We believe that a papal definition of the Marian titles Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate will mark the fitting completion of authentic Marian dogma revealed by God for the spiritual and perpetual benefit of the People of God.
2. Documents of Vatican II: All Sixteen Official Texts Promulgated by the Ecumenical Council, 1963-1965, ed. Walter M. Abbott, S.J.; transl.: Msgr. Joseph Gallagher America Press (New York, 1966); "Lumen Gentium," no. 62, pg. 91, hereafter cited as LG. In this article all English quotations will be from this source, reprinted with permission of America Press, Inc., 106W. 56th Street, New York, NY 10019 © 1966, all rights reserved. For Latin of Lumen Gentium see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 57 (January 30, 1965), chap. 8, pp. 58-67, hereafter cited as AAS.
3. 'Objective' Redemption is the price Jesus paid for our forgiveness and grace. 'Subjective' Redemption is God's distribution of grace to us. Mary's cooperation is our objective Redemption is either 'immediate' (she shared in some way with Jesus in His payment of the price for our forgiveness and grace), or it is 'remote' (she merely gave us Jesus, who paid the price for our Redemption). Mary' cooperation in our subjective Redemption is either 'immediate' (as an instrument like the Sacraments) or 'remote' (she merely intercedes for grace). There is a primary need for theologians to clarify the interdependence of Mary's titles: Coredemptrix and Mediatrix
4. Leverett's Lexicon of the Latin Language, J.B. Lippincott Co (Philadelphia, 1850).
5. Says Father Carol, O.F.M., in Dictionary of Mary, s.v. "Mediatrix,", pg. 226:
For a chronicle of the battle of words during the Second Vatican Council,
6. Mark I. Miravalle, Mary: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, Queenship Publishing (Santa Barbara, 1993), pg. 14, n. 67. See idem, pg. 36, n. 151. See also
8. See Ampliatio privilegiorum ecclesiae B.M. Virginis ab angelo
9. Apostolic Constitution of Pius IX: Ineffabilis Deus, Defining
the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, issued December 8, 1854, pg. 13, St. Paul
10. Ibid. pp. 15-16
11. Surprisingly, chapter eight of Lumen Gentium does not cite Ineffabilis Deus among the references in n. 278 (pg. 91) to Mary's titles. The only reference to Pius IX is in n. 273, pg. 90, regarding her Immaculate Conception.
12. Ineffabilis Deus, pp. 21-23.
13. Jucunda semper, September 8, 1894, Acta Sanctae Sedis 27 (1894- 1895): 178, hereafter cited as ASS.
14. Adiutricem populi, September 5, 1895, ASS 28 (1895-1896): 130-131.
15. Documents of Vatican II, LG no. 62, pg. 91, n. 278.
16. Diuturni temporis spatium, September 5, 1898, ASS 31(1898-1899) 147.
17. Parta humano generi, September 8, 1901, ASS 34 (1901-1902): 194-195.
18. Ad diem illum, February 2, 1904,
ASS 36 (1903-1904): 453-454.
21. Holy Office (Section on Indulgences), June 26, 1913, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 5 (1913): 364-365, hereafter cited as AAS.
22 Ibid., January 22, 1914, AAS 6 (1914): 108.
24. Inter sodalicia, March 22, 1918, AAS 10 (May 1, 1918): 182.
25. See Miravalle, Mary, pg. 43, n. 193. See also O'Carroll, Theotokos, s.v. "Mercier
26 Miserentissimus Redemptor May 8, 1928, AAS 20 (June 1, 1928): 178.
27 See n. 15 above.
28 "The Papal Audience with a Piligrimage from Vicenza: The Glories of Mary Coredemptrix of the Human Race." L'Osservatore Romano (Italian) (Dec. 1933), no. 281, #123, 344, pg. 3, col. 1. A comment is in order on the topography of this article. We have enclosed the words of the Pope in quotation marks; the newspaper did not. However, because of the tight reportorial style of the article we did not hesitate to cite them as a direct quotation. The paragraph immediately precedes it begins - without any quotation marks: Ecco, iniziava il Suo dire l'Augusto Pontefice, ecco di nuovo Vicenza a Roma. When we translate this sentence into English, for accuracy and intelligibility we are constrained to punctuate the sentence thusly: "Look!" said the August pontiff as he began speak. "Look!" "Vicenza [has come] again to Rome." The Vatican reporter had no need to introduce the following paragraph (the one we have cited) with the words: "The Holy Father continued..." Therefore we are certainly justified taking the paragraph that we have cited as a direct quotation of the Holy Father and to punctuate it as such.
30 Papal Audience with pilgrims from Spain, L'Osservatore Romano (March 25,
31. Radio Message to Lourdes, April 28, 1935, L'Osservatore Romano (April 29-30
32. Mystici Corporis Christi, June 29, 1943, AAS 35 (1943): 247-248.
33. Munificentissimus Deus, Nov. 1, 1950, AAS 42 (Nov. 4, 1950): 768).
34. Ad Caeli Reginam, Oct. 11, 1954, AAS 46 (1954):634-635.
35. Radio Message to Fatima, May 13, 1946, AAS 38 (July 6, 1946): 266.
36. Interestingly, in this radio address we do not find any of the four titles to which Lumen Gentium is referring in footnote 278. One might think that the Council's reference is irrelevant. We may possibly explain this reference by saying that Council saw in the radio address the concepts that underlie these four titles although the Holy Father did not use them. If my conjecture is correct, and granting that the radio address does implicitly describe Mary's office as Coredemptrix, we may rightly conclude that the Council has endorsed, at least implicitly, intentionally or not, the concept of Mary being our Coredemptrix. Certainly the same could be said about Lumen Gentium n. 58 and the title "Coredemptrix".
37. See O'Carroll, Theotokos, s.v. "Mediation, Mary Mediatress," pg. 242, col. 1, and pg. 244, col. 2. See also ibid., s.v. "Pius XII," pg. 290, col. 1-2.
38. Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947, AAS 39 (Dec. 2, 1947):582.
39. Alma Socia Christi, Proceedings
of Rome International Mariological Congress,
40. See Theotokos, s.v. "John XXIII, Pope," pg. 206.
41.' Homily for the Canonization of St. Peter Julian Eymard, December 9, 1962, AAS 55 (Jan. 30, 1963):10.
42. In Theotokos (s.v. "Benedict XIV," pg. 74, col. 2) Father O'Carroll sees "part' of Benedict XIV's encyclical Gloriosae Dominae "written into LG 53." However the single official footnote in LG, no. 53, cites only St. Augustine.
43. Documents of Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, chapter 8, nos. 53-54. See footnote n. 2 above.
44. Ibid. nos. 55-56.
45. Ibid. nos. 57-59.
46. Ibid. nos. 61-62. Some might translate
Auxiliatrix as 'Helper', and Adiutrix as
47. Ibid. nos. 63-65.
48. Ibid. no. 54.
49. Signum magnum, May 13, 1967, quoting Lumen Gentium, no. 62, AAS. 59 (June 28, 1967):466-468.
50. Marialis Cultus, Feb. 2, 1974, L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, no. 314 (April 4, 1974), hereafter cited as ORE.
51. Letter to Cardinal Suenens, May 13, 1975, AAS 67 (June 30, 1975):354- 355.
52. Ibid., AAS :356-357.
53. General Audience, December 7, 1983, ORE no. 813 (Dec. 12, 1983): 1, no. 3
54. Angelus Address on June 5, 1983, ORE no. 788 (June 13, l983):2.
55. Salvifici Doloris, February 11, 1984, ORE no. 822 (Feb. 20, 1984).
57. Address at Alborada, Guayaquil, Ecuador, January 31, 1985, ORE no. 876 (March 11, 1985).
60. Palm Sunday Angelus address, March 31, 1985, ORE no. 880 (April 9, 1985)12: no. 2.
61. Redemptoris Mater, March 25, 1987.
68 Address at Orte, Italy, September 17, 1989, ORE no. 1109 (Oct. 2, 1989):3, no. 3.
69. Angelus Address, October 6, 1991, ORE. no. 1211 (Oct. 14, 1991):4, no. 2.
70. Address to Youth in Agrigento, Sicily, May 9, 1993, ORE no. 1292 (May 26, 1993):7, no. 6.
71. Homily at Shrine of Our Lady of Siluva, Lithuania, September 7, 1993, ORE no.
72. Remarks at Concert Celebrating The Anniversary of His Election, October 16,
73.Veritatis Splendor, August 6, 1993, ORE no. 1310 (October 6, 1993):XIX, no. 120.
74. As cited in the text: Address at Alborada, Guayaquil, Ecuador, January 31, 1985, ORE no. 876 (March 11, 1985); Palm Sunday Angelus address, March 31, 198 ORE no. 880 (April 9, 1985): 12, no. 2; and in citing with approval the invocation of Mary by St. Birgitta under this term in Angelus Address, October 6, 1991, ORE no. 1211 (Oct. 14, 1991):4, no. 2).
75. English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, United States America, © 1994, the United States Catholic Conference - Libreria Editrice Vaticana, used with permission. This translation is subject to revision according the official Latin typical edition when it is published. On Oct. 11, 1994, Vatican Press said that they expect a Latin edition "in about a year."
76. Note the reason for the petition of the First International Mariological Congress~ Pope Pius XII:
In O'Carroll, Theotokos, s.v. "Mediation, Mary Mediatress," pg. 242, col 2. For the same criticism by contemporary theologians see John A. Schug, Cap., Mary, Mother, St. Francis Chapel Press (Springfield, MA, 1992), pp. 204-205. Notice, in contrast, the leitmotiv of the entire 1993 issue of Marian Studies. Even the article "Our Lady of Guadalupe" has as its subtitle: "A Sign of Ecclesial Unity" (pp. 88-105).
77. For a historical survey and bibliography, see O'Carroll, Theotokos, s.v. "Mother of the Church," pp. 251-253.
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