The Mary Heresy: Papal support for Co-Redemptrix?

BVM assumption.jpgA lobby of hyper-Marianists sees signs that Benedict XVI is open to declaring the dogma that the BVM “corempetrix” of humanity with her Son–that’d be Jesus Christ. From the Vatican, RNS’ Francis X. Rocca reports this week:

At least 7 million Catholics from more than 170 countries, including hundreds of bishops and cardinals, have reportedly signed petitions urging the pope to proclaim Mary “the Spiritual Mother of All Humanity, the coredemptrix with Jesus the redeemer, mediatrix of all graces with Jesus the one mediator, and advocate with Jesus Christ on behalf of the human race.”


In other words, the Virgin Mary–though always subordinate to and dependent on the will of Christ–plays an active, unique and irreplaceable role in helping her son deliver mankind from sin and death.

Proponents say that such a statement would represent the culmination of the church’s traditional teaching on Jesus’ mother, and bring the world untold spiritual and material benefits.

But critics of the proposed dogma say it would exaggerate Mary’s true importance and undermine efforts toward unity with other Christian denominations.

The idea of Mary as Christ’s collaborator in the redemption of humanity is deeply rooted in Catholic tradition, said Monsignor Arthur B. Calkins, an American priest working at the Vatican who has written extensively on the subject.


“The church has been meditating on this role for two millennia,” Calkins said in an interview, “and so the Holy Spirit continues to draw forth what is there already in seed.”

Rocca also cites Steubenville theologian Mark Miravalle, a longtime proponent of the coredemptrix dogma, who says “the new dogma would mean the “climax of the `Age of Mary’,” a period that began in 1830 with apparitions of the Virgin in France, and witnessed papal proclamations of her Immaculate Conception (1854) and bodily Assumption into heaven (1950).”

Me, I don’t see it in Benedict’s writings; indeed, if John Paul II, who actually used the “co-redemptrix” phrase, didn’t do it, why would Benedict, who is not nearly as “Marian”? Besides, in 2000, Cardinal Ratzinger flat-out nixed the idea, adding that the “formula `Co-redemptrix’ departs to too great an extent from the language of Scripture and of the (church) Fathers and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings.”


Then again, this so-called dogma (seemes like straightforward heresy to me) has been hanging around for a while. It was bubbling up again a year ago, as Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez of Puerto Rico told ZENIT in March 2008 why the dogma should be proclaimed. In May 2008, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo of India said the dogma would aid ecumenical dialogue.

Color me skeptical. Then again, if Benedict did this it would solidify his legacy as the greatest innovator since…I don’t know who.

PS: While I might disagree with the proposed dogma, it does allow me to post an image of one of my favorite paintings of all time, Titian’s Assumption in Santa Maria dei Frari in Venice.

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Co-Redemptor of Gibson

posted May 28, 2009 at 10:50 am

To me, I came to accept the doctrine when I found out that Mary was called the ”bride of the Holy Spirit”.
The Co-Redemptrix doctrine helps explain why the Incarnation dogma is so important in Christianity. The Holy Spirit basically implanted Lord Jesus into this Woman and she followed Him unto the Cross along with John and the Spirit himself (cf Stabat Mater and the Mel Gibson movie).
Thus, Mary participates in the salvation of humanity in a very special way. In fact, this also explain why she has other titles such as Queen of Bavaria and Our Lady of Paris. She was elected Mother of the Church by the Apostles themselves while they sang old credos in ancient Palestine.
Another persepctive which makes the doctrine interesting is Mary’s prominent role within the annual liturgical cycle. The Mass or Eucharist is the Sacred Heart itself. Since the Immaculate Heart is almost conjoined to the Sacred Heart, it often has a prominent role in the mystical or insivible oart of the ceremony.
With regards to ecclesiology, the Church is the people of God. But Mary is the Mother of Christians. Since Jesus is the Christ-Head of the Body of Christ, Mary has been described as the neck of Christ, since she directly intercedes for souls at the altar of the Holy Trinity himself.
She is advocate for the people of God because she is the highest ranking human to have comtemplated the mystery of the Holy Trinity, being at once the Daughter of God, the Spouse of God and the Mother of God.
She was created Immaculate and assumed to Heaven along with Enoch, Jacob and Moses.
A dogmatic mystery indeed !

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posted May 28, 2009 at 11:16 am

Is it me or has the room just gotten warmer. This whole discussion of coredemptrix seems a little steamy. Maybe it IS just me.
Well, if the RCC and b16 go ahead with this (and I am sure Mel Gibson and Monaghan of Ave Maria Univ will support him) then there will surely be a mighty wedge between the the RCC and the Protestant evangelical conservatives. Oddly, this might form a bridge with the New Age, Christian/Pagan Goddess folks.
Ain’t it great the way we shove the shuttle and reweave the woof and warp of spiritality and theology.

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posted May 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I would contemplate going Orthodox Christian if the “co-redemptrix” dogma ever passed. Mary is indeed mortal, and I consider the Fifth Marian Dogma a confusion of Christ’s divinity with Mary’s humanity. I’m glad that Pope Benedict has put this one on hold. Mary is Mother of God ever-virgin, immaculately conceived, the greatest saint, and our advocate in heaven. The proposed “co-redemptrix” dogma would, in my view, bring Mary really close to being a demi-goddess of sorts.

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Bryan Cones

posted May 28, 2009 at 3:24 pm

If B16 does this, it will be a sign of the apocalypse. There is absolutely no way that Joseph Ratzinger, a conservative’s conversative when it comes to church tradition, is going to proclaim as a dogma this bit of Marian novelty. It would gravely endanger unity with the Orthodox, which are the only other churches B16 really cares about.

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posted May 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm

And with one wave of his pen, Benedict XVI turns Catholicism into a religion that feminists could no longer revile.

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Your Name

posted May 28, 2009 at 5:36 pm

I do think that Mary’s “yes” to her vocation was a cooperation in the economy of salvation that was unique among the created. Her motherhood of te whole church is a divine gift. That said, the term co-redemptrix, while intending to express this unique role, may result in confusion about Christ’s sole role as the Lamb of God, Son of the Father and Priest, Prophet and King of His Church.

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Little Bear

posted May 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm

I have devotion to Mary—but this is going too far! I believe that there are other areas of the Church that need worked on right now–ex.
1) Sexual abuse in many, many countries.
2) Lack of priests—leading to eucharistic famine around the world
3) Restructing the hierarchy from feudal model to an accountable model
4) Giving the laity—women and men—more of a say in the Church—
valuable not just for their financial contributions.
Declaring this a dogma raises to almost the status of goddess, the Mother of God—but fails to recognize the efforts of other women and men who build up the church today. Mary’s last written words in the Gospels is at the Wedding Feast of Cana—she tell the waiters to “Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you.” Mary always points to her Son—away from herself. A good mother always promotes her child. This is not the time to promote this as dogma—rather let us all strive to build up the People of God (Mary’s children), and rebuild the Church founded by Christ.

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Elias Nasser

posted May 29, 2009 at 7:16 am

“seems like straightforward heresy to me”
this line, in a nutshell, clarifies this issue to me
this is not development of dogma: this is just playing games whilst the Church is in desperate need of rebuilding
well done David: thank you for doing what you do best: stating the obvious, particularly when the emperor is not wearing any clothes

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David Gibson

posted May 29, 2009 at 9:27 am

Interesting thoughts about the ecumenical aspects–I think it’s make Catholicism radioactive to both Protestants and Orthodox.
But another interesting question as to whether this would give fuel to advocates of women’s ordination?

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posted May 29, 2009 at 10:18 am

I think David Gibson makes and interesting point. If Mary is Co-redemptrix what will be the argument against women priests????

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posted May 29, 2009 at 11:22 am

I usually disagree with your take on Benedict, David…but this time I totally agree with you. This seems to go against what he has said before and his idea of the centrality of Christ. I think this jumps the shark.

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Fr. Ian

posted May 29, 2009 at 11:22 am

It is quite likely that the adoption of the co-redemptrix teaching would further alienate Christians rather than unify them. I think that the majority of us are sold on Jesus being sole redempter however.

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posted May 29, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I don’t understand why some Catholics in the Church need another marian dogma defined to emphasize Mary’s already important role in the Church.

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posted May 30, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Mary is a co-redeemer, just as we all are. The truth is, if we do not respond through faith to the free offer of saving grace, then we will not be saved. We must have faith and that is an act of the will. So, in a very real way we are all co-redeemers in our salvation. Likewise, without Mary Jesus would never have come into the world, and anyone who says God would have chosen someone else is standing on weak ground–nowhere in the Bible does it ever even hint at God making abother choice if Mary said no. Being a co-redeemer does not mean Mary or even us are equal to God, it simply means we must cooperate in God’s plans or we will not be saved…

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posted May 30, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Mary, if my memory serves me correctly wasn’t crucified on the cross along with Christ. So scripturally this argument is over before it started. If by some chance it would become dogma, you’d find this recent Catholic convert(and I dare to assume many like me) running full speed back to the ranks of the protesters…

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Gary Wheeler

posted May 31, 2009 at 11:00 pm

As a former protestant (Lutheran), and Catholic convert of 23 years I have come to appreciate the significance of Mary in the whole salvation history. However I must agree with C3 when I say that if the Church proclaims this teaching as an infallible doctrine, I’m out of here. The last time I checked in scripture, (and tradition) there was only one savior on the cross. This teaching, far from honoring Mary, would be insulting to her. We honor Mary for her purity, her goodness, and her example of service to our ONE Lord Jesus Christ. This teaching if ruled dogmatic would forever crush any hope of church unity. As a former Protestant I can assure you of this. It also would result in millions leaving the Church, both among former Protestants and some Catholics as well.

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posted August 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I think most people misunderstand what is being promoted here. Those who support Mary as Co-Redemptrix are stating only that she “supports” the work of redemption. Even before the year 200, the Church Father Irenaeus referred to Mary as “causa salutis” [cause of our salvation] given her “fiat” .
The noted Mariologist Father Gabriel Roschini supported the teaching. In his 1946 publication Compendium Mariologiae, Roschini explained that Mary did not only participate in birth of the physical Jesus, but, with conception, she entered with him into a spiritual union. The divine salvation plan, being not only material, includes a permanent spiritual unity with Christ.
The supporters of this title, that of Co-Redemptrix do not imply that Mary participates as equal part in the redemption of the human race, since Christ is the only redeemer. That is the important distinction to remember.

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posted August 24, 2009 at 3:51 am

The catholic church is the mother church.Some christians are loosing time on debate of St mary role in salvation.It is clear that nobody in heaven and on earth could boil an egg without the bloody signature of the Lord Jesus Christ,here I refer to the book:the coin of the temple ISBN 1425905773.But be sure when somebody come to Christ to Him only should come and not to any other he shall come.But when he arrives he will definetaly find always St Mary near Jesus pointing to her son and asking Him favor for who needs,she is always standing at the feet of the cross.This should not be a dispute among Christians.Jesus is the only savior and redeemer,and St Mary is always near Him,and if somebody do not want Mary to be near Her son,this is his problem,and a big problem.Christians should aware about the deceivers among them such as Oprah and the secret organisation mentioned in the book page 192.The DAY is near,christians are invited to be one.Protestants should find and see Mary and the biggest mistake committed that they have the cross without the crucified.He is resurected,but without the crucified and standing under the cross for repentance (Here we will meet St Mary)we are going to stay in the graves.St Paul:we preach Christ crucified.No resurection for Christians without coming in repentance to the crucified,and this what the mother church is doing.The secret word in the mother church is the word:TODAY.The mass is TODAY,and not telling a story from the past,otherwise God is not God and Jesus is not Divine and the Holy Spirit does not exist.Getting out of the mother church young christians lost even the mediating in looking on the crucified,on St Mary,that why they shift to harry potter,sorcey and adultery movies,their mothers were running to buy harry potter books for their children as delivering them without knowing to the dragon.
Saint Mary pray for us,and help anyone who comes TODAY(not came from 2000 years) to your crucified Son.

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posted September 6, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Mother Mary intercedes for us; all I have ever had to do was ask. She is more real to me than anything in the physical world. I have come to her, as a mother, many times in my life, and have asked her to intercede in times of pain, worry, etc as a mother, and to protect my daughter. She UNFAILINGLY intercedes and God answers my prayers. She knew the pain of a mother watching her child suffer, and my prayers are always prefaced with this statement. I love Mary with all my heart; she holds a place in heaven with her son, and I believe he reveres her requests. She is the bridge between this world and the next.

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posted November 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Until recent years (perhaps 10 years ago) I did not have a good understanding of the depth of worship of Mary among Catholics and in Catholic teaching.

What I do not understand is how they can justify such blatant idolatry.

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posted January 11, 2012 at 12:19 am

I have been seriously considering getting confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church. I have put much time and effort into studying its history and doctrines, and I’ve prayed for guidance. (My friends call this phenomenon “Roman Fever.”) The church’s Marian doctrines are a problem for me. They are an obstacle. I can’t get past them — and this whole proposed co-redemptrix doctrine is compounding the problem. The fact that it is even being proposed is a giant red flag. I think I’ll remain an Orthodox Anglican for now, thank you.

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posted May 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Hello, I have a blog that I am going to use to educate on the doctrine of the co-redemption, and would be grateful if you would allow me to link to You can find more information, from our perspective on this blog, which is totally dedicated to marian doctrine, especially the co-redemption.

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posted November 27, 2013 at 6:07 am

These Titles are heretical, and have never been taught by the Catholic church. People who support this are over exaggerating marries role in redemption and are basically turning here into a lesser divine Godess. They claim that though she is not equal to Christ she played a lesser role in the salvation of humanity. This clearly goes against Catholic Christian teaching. The Bible and Church Councils declare Jesus as the soul redeemer of the world! PERIOD. THeres no debate. Mary played a supportive role in the events that lead to the act of Salvation, but she did not play ANY role in the act of Salvation. Also many others played supportive roles also. John the Baptist played a very special role intimately with Jesus, he also died for Jesus by being beheaded. Is he the Co-redemptrix or Mediatrix??NO. any Catholic who supports this teaching needs to think about what he is saying, because its not Catholic and its not Christian!

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