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Response to Pope Francis: Catholic Tradition of Mary as Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces

Alexandra Clark | The Daily Knight

Duccio di Buoninsega. Virgin and Child in Majesty, main panel of Maesta Altarpiece, from Siena Cathedral, 1308-11.

The logic is simple, without Mary, there would have been no Jesus, and without Jesus no salvation.


The Early Church Fathers often called Mary “the new Eve” or the spiritual mother of all men.


It is important to note, that salvation is not automatic; we must be co-operators in Christ’s plan of salvation. Jesus Himself said: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." [Matthew 16:24] And St. Paul adds “with fear and trembling work out your salvation." [Philippians 2:12] We must be co-operative in Christ’s Redemptive Sacrifice and unite ourselves to Him, to have Communion with Him in order to be saved. Now, no other person on earth was more united to Jesus, more co-operative, than His Blessed Mother! By her Immaculate Fiat she became the new Eve and gives birth to the New Adam (Jesus) who will save mankind by offering up His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Thank God that Mary gave her “Fiat” at the Annunciation to become the Mother of our Redeemer. Rightly thus does the Angel Gabriel proclaim:


“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." [Luke 1:28]


“She is the one from whom Jesus was born, His true Mother, and for this reason the worthy and most accepted Mediatrix to the Mediator.” Pope Leo XIII


St. Ephrem the Syrian (373 A.D.) Father and Doctor of the Church said this of Mary:


“After the Mediator thou art the Mediatrix of the whole world.”


It was with great sadness that we heard on March 24th, 2021 that Pope Francis rejected the title as an exaggeration, and even equating it with considering her a “goddess.” He said: “Our Lady who, as the Mother to whom Jesus has entrusted us, envelops us all; but as Mother, not as goddess, not as co-redemptrix.”


This isn’t the first time that Pope Francis has been against Mary as Co-Redemptrix, back on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, on December 12, 2019 the Pope called the idea of declaring Mary co-redemptrix ‘foolishness’ saying how Mary “never introduced herself as co-redemptrix. No. Disciple.”


Pope Francis though stands against many Popes, Saints, Fathers and Doctors of the Church that have all called our Blessed Mother Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of all Graces. Let us take a look at some of these quotes from over the centuries of Church Teaching:


Pope Leo XIII said is best and quite simply:


“Undoubtedly the name and attributes of the absolute Mediator belong to no other than to Christ, for being one person, and yet both man and God, He restored the human race to the favour of the Heavenly Father: One Mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a redemption for all (1 Tim. ii. 5, 6). And yet, as the Angelic Doctor teaches, there is no reason why certain others should not be called in a certain way mediators between God and man, that is to say, in so far as they cooperate by predisposing and ministering in the union of man with God (Summa, p. 111., q. xxvi., articles 1, 2). Such are the angels and saints, the prophets and priests of both Testaments; but especially has the Blessed Virgin a claim to the glory of this title. For no single individual can even be imagined who has ever contributed or ever will contribute so much towards reconciling man with God. She offered to mankind. hastening to eternal ruin, a Saviour, at that moment when she received the announcement of the mystery of peace brought to this earth by the Angel, with that admirable act of consent in the name of the whole human race ( Summa. p. III., q. xxx., art. 1). She it is from whom is born Jesus; she is therefore truly His mother, and for this reason a worthy and acceptable ‘Mediatrix to the Mediator.’” -Pope Leo XIII, Fidentem piumque animum (emphasis mine)


Pope St. Pius X (1914) himself invoked Mary as the “Reparatrix of the lost world” and therefore the “Dispensatrix of all the treasures which Jesus merited for us with his bloody death.” He also quotes St. Bonaventure in speaking of the depth of the Mother’s redemptive participation at Calvary, stating that Mary “so participated in the (Jesus’) suffering that, if it were possible, she would have been most happy to suffer herself all the torments which were supported by the Son.” He even states from St. Bernardine how Mary is the neck of the Divine Head:


“It was not only the prerogative of the Most Holy Mother to have furnished the material of His flesh to the Only Son of God, Who was to be born with human members (S. Bede Ven. L. Iv. in Luc. xl.), of which material should be prepared the Victim for the salvation of men; but hers was also the office of tending and nourishing that Victim, and at the appointed time presenting Him for the sacrifice. Hence that uninterrupted community of life and labors of the Son and the Mother, so that of both might have been uttered the words of the Psalmist”My life is consumed in sorrow and my years in groans” (Ps xxx., 11). When the supreme hour of the Son came, beside the Cross of Jesus there stood Mary His Mother, not merely occupied in contemplating the cruel spectacle, but rejoicing that her Only Son was offered for the salvation of mankind, and so entirely participating in His Passion, that if it had been possible she would have gladly borne all the torments that her Son bore (S. Bonav. 1. Sent d. 48, ad Litt. dub. 4). And from this community of will and suffering between Christ and Mary she merited to become most worthily the Reparatrix of the lost world (Eadmeri Mon. De Excellentia Virg. Mariae, c. 9) and Dispensatrix of all the gifts that Our Savior purchased for us by His Death and by His Blood.


It cannot, of course, be denied that the dispensation of these treasures is the particular and peculiar right of Jesus Christ, for they are the exclusive fruit of His Death, who by His nature is the mediator between God and man. Nevertheless, by this companionship in sorrow and suffering already mentioned between the Mother and the Son, it has been allowed to the august Virgin to be the most powerful mediatrix and advocate of the whole world with her Divine Son (Pius IX. Ineffabilis). The source, then, is Jesus Christ “of whose fullness we have all received” (John i., 16), “from whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly joined together by what every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in charity” (Ephesians iv., 16). But Mary, as St. Bernard justly remarks, is the channel (Serm. de temp on the Nativ. B. V. De Aquaeductu n. 4); or, if you will, the connecting portion the function of which is to join the body to the head and to transmit to the body the influences and volitions of the head — We mean the neck. Yes, says St. Bernardine of Sienna, “she is the neck of Our Head, by which He communicates to His mystical body all spiritual gifts” (Quadrag. de Evangel. aetern. Serm. x., a. 3, c. iii.).”

-Pope Saint Pius X, Ad diem illum


Contrary to what Pope Francis said on Dec. 12, 2019, in the Apparition of Our Lady of America she indeed called herself Co-Redemptrix on February 11, 1958 she said:


“I am the Mother of the sacred humanity, and it is my special work as co-redemptrix of the human race to help souls reach the sanctity of the Father in eternal union by showing them how to put on Christ, to imbibe His Spirit, and thus become one with Him.''


St. Francis Xavier Cabrini (1917), the first American citizen to be canonized, taught many times how Mary is the Co-redemptrix. She calls the Blessed Virgin the “New Eve, true Mother of the Living” who was “chosen by God to become the Co-redemptrix of the human race…If the glory of giving life to our Redeemer pertained to her, then also, as our Holy Father (St. Pius X) said so well, the office of guarding and preparing the Sacred Victim of the human race for sacrifice pertained to her as well. Mary was not only the Mother of Jesus in the joys of Bethlehem, but even more so on Calvary, . . . and there she merited to become our most worthy Co-redemptrix.”


Abbot Arnold of Chartres (1144-56), a friend and disciple of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (who is a Doctor of the Church) said:


“Together they [Christ and Mary] accomplished the task of man’s redemption…both offered up one and the same sacrifice to God; she in the blood of her heart, He in the blood of the flesh…so that, together with Christ, she obtained a common effect in the salvation of the world.”


St. Gemma Galgani (1903) writes to her spiritual director of the sufferings of the Blessed Virgin from the time of Jesus’ birth onward as she painfully pondered his Crucifixion:

“Oh what great sorrow it must have been for the Mother, after Jesus was born, to think that they had then to crucify Him! What pangs she must have always had in her Heart! How many sighs she must have made, and how many times she must have wept! Yet she never complained. Poor Mother!. . . truly, then, when she sees Him being crucified . . . that poor Mother was transfixed by many arrows . . . Therefore my Mother was crucified together with Jesus.”


Saint Louis Marie de Montfort (1716) said:


“Mary has the authority over the angels and the blessed in heaven. As a reward for her great humility, God gave her the power and mission of assigning to saints the thrones made vacant by the apostate angels who fell away through pride. Such is the will of the almighty God who exalts the humble, that the powers of heaven, earth and hell, willingly or unwillingly, must obey the commands of the humble Virgin Mary. For God has made her queen of heaven and earth, leader of his armies, keeper of his treasure, dispenser of his graces, mediatrix on behalf of men, destroyer of his enemies, and faithful associate in his great works and triumphs.” –True Devotion to Mary


Blessed Pope Pius IX (1878), in Ineffabilis Deus said:


“All our hope do we repose in the most Blessed Virgin — in the all fair and immaculate one who has crushed the poisonous head of the most cruel serpent and brought salvation to the world: in her who is the glory of the prophets and apostles, the honor of the martyrs, the crown and joy of all the saints; in her who is the safest refuge and the most trustworthy helper of all who are in danger; in her who, with her only-begotten Son, is the most powerful Mediatrix and Conciliatrix in the whole world; in her who is the most excellent glory, ornament, and impregnable stronghold of the holy Church; in her who has destroyed all heresies and snatched the faithful people and nations from all kinds of direst calamities; in her do we hope who has delivered us from so many threatening dangers.”

St. Maximillian Kolbe (1941) said in a Letter to Father Mikolajezyk, July 25th 1935:


The union between the Immaculata and the Holy Spirit is so inexpressible, yet so perfect, but the Holy Spirit acts only by the most Blessed virgin, His spouse. This is why she is Mediatrix of all Grace given by the Holy Spirit. And since every Grace is a gift of God the Father through the Son and by the Holy Spirit, it follows that there is no Grace which Mary cannot dispose of as her own, which is not given to her for this purpose.”


St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1153) Cistercian Abbot and Doctor of the Church in a homily declared that “God has willed that we should have nothing which would not pass through the hands of Mary.” He composed this noteworthy prayer and meditation on the subject:

“You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us. The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life. Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race. Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word. Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.”

For the Love of God and the Salvation of souls, Mary was able in that most difficult moment to give up her Son to be Crucified, what other mother at the moment of the death of her son would cry out, protest and try to stop such a horrible death of her innocent and Beloved Son? As Pope Pius XII says in the Encyclical “Mystici Corporis” (1943), she “offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father together with the holocaust of her maternal rights and her motherly love like a new Eve for all children of Adam”


The great Theologian Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1787) asks us to:


“Think of what the Saints have done for their neighbor because they loved God. But what Saint’s love for God can match Mary’s? She loved Him more in the first moment of her existence than all the Saints and angels ever loved Him or will love Him. Our Lady herself revealed to Sister Mary Crucified that the fire of her love was most extreme. If Heaven and earth were placed in it, they would be instantly consumed. And the ardors of the seraphim, compared with it, are like cool breezes. Just as there is not one among all the Blessed who loves God as Mary does, so there is no one, after God, who loves us as much as this most loving Mother does. Furthermore, if we heaped together all the love that mothers have for their children, all the love of husbands and wives, all the love of all the angels and Saints for their clients, it could never equal Mary’s love for even a single soul.” -The Glories of Mary


“I bless thy holy Name, I praise thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever Virgin, conceived without stain of sin, Co-Redemptrix of the human race.”

- from The Raccolta, prayer of reparation to the Blessed Virgin Mary 1807-1952.

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