31 December 2019

Co-Redemtrix Idea “Foolishness”? Here Is Another View

Fr Scanlon gives the Catholic view of what Francis considers 'foolishness'.

From Fr Regis Scanlon

According  to Crux Magazine “Pope calls idea of declaring Mary Co-Redemptrix ‘foolishness.’”  Pope Francis explained that Mary “never stole for herself anything that was of her son.”  No doubt, the Pope does not want to attribute anything of Christ’s action as “Redeemer” to Mary for fear of detracting from Christ or diminishing Him. Therefore, Pope Francis considers the invention of new dogmas and titles declaring “Mary Co-Redemptrix” foolishness.

It cannot be denied that when people use the prefix “Co” in a relationship, they normally mean that the parties involved are equal. But the prefix “Co” can refer to either a “subordinate” or “equal.”  Two clear examples of this are the concepts co-pilot and copayment neither of which expresses an equal relationship between the parties involved. Only the pilot is the first officer who has the final say and seldom if ever does the beneficiary and the insurer pay an equal amount in a health care arrangement.

In fact, the title of Mary as “Co – Redemptrix” or “Co – Redeemer” is not so different from titles that the Second Vatican Council has already attributed to Mary in no 62 of the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church (Lumen Gentium), when they recognized her as “Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”  The Church does not hesitate to attribute each of these titles to Mary as long as it is understood that “neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator.”

Yet, there does seem to be more in the title of Co-Redemptrix. Literally the title says that Mary cooperated in the redemption of the world. While Mary’s participation in the redemption of the world is not equal in magnitude to Christ’s, it is equal to Christ’s in the sense that both Jesus and Mary had to give a free assent to the will of God.  It means that Mary had something to do—admittedly very small compared to Christ—with her own salvation and the salvation of the world.

But there is more.  Since no. 65 of Lumen Gentium teaches that Mary is a “model” for all Christians, whatever we say of Mary, almost without exception, we say of ourselves. Just as we say that Mary had a part—be it ever so small—to play in her own redemption and salvation and that of all Christians by her “fiat” (“let it be done according to your word” Lk. 1:38), so Mary as Co-Redemtrix also means that each one of us has a part to play in our own redemption and salvation and that of others in the world.

While the consequences of maintaining that Mary is a Co-Redemptrix is that some may falsely conclude that Catholics are equating Mary’s role with the role of Jesus in the redemption of mankind, the consequences of people concluding that Mary is not a Co-Redemptrix are even worse. When one maintains that Mary is not a Co-Redeemer, one is saying that Mary did not cooperate in her own and others redemption by her “fiat”—”let it be done to me according to your word.”  This would also mean that each one of us does not play a role in our own salvation and that of others.

But if this is the case, then God alone is responsible for the salvation and damnation of every individual person — and the Christian teaching on the freedom and responsibility of the individual for his own salvation disappears.  If God alone decides our salvation without our cooperation, then God alone is responsible for people going to hell. This suggests that God creates some people for salvation and others for eternal punishment and there is nothing they can do about it. This would ultimately mean that God is an unjust and wicked God and we are not free or responsible beings. So, the title of Mary, as Co-Redemtrix, protects the “goodness of God” and the Christian concept that we are with free beings and morally responsible for our actions and eternal salvation.

Pope Francis worries that honoring Mary as Co-Redemptrix by her “fiat” would diminish Jesus Christ as Redeemer. But the Holy Spirit speaking through Mary following her magnificent “fiat” says just the opposite. Mary says: “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Lk. 1:46). It makes Jesus Christ greater, not less.

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