Category Archives: Mary

Fatima Part II: The Three Part Secret

Here, a podcast on the Secret of Fatima. It comes in three parts. Two have been known for many decades. The third only recently revealed, and questions still hang over this third part, questions reasonably asked and charitably pursued for the sake of the salvation of souls and of the Truth.

 

Fatima: Part I

Today the first in a several part series on FATIMA. If you do not know of this event, you will want to listen. If you are of opinion that miracles do not occur, you may be challenged by this. If you think that there are no public testimonies to the truth of Christianity, you may be startled to hear of this event.

Fatima is the greatest public miracle ever in the history of the world.

Marian Coredemption

Mary cooperated with Jesus’ work of salvation on behalf of sinners. Of course, even today she cooperates in the distribution of the fruits of redemption. Not a single grace comes to us but through her intercession. However, she also cooperated at the foot of the cross in the work of the redemption itself.

This is established teaching.

Cardinal Pacelli, in a sermon about 80 years ago, Dec. 7:

After all, the application of the merits of Christ constitutes, together with their acquisition, a single, complete work: that of salvation. It was fitting that Mary should co-operate equally in the two phases of the same work; the unity of the divine plan demands it. Dec 7, 1937

Later, as Pope:

“As Christ the new Adam must be called a king not merely because he is Son of God but also because he is our Redeemer, so analogously the Most Blessed Virgin is queen not only because she is Mother of God but also because as the new Eve she was associated with the new Adam.” See DS 3913ff

Who, then, were the detractors against this Marian Privilege?

First, Heinrich Lennerz, S.J. Then, Karl Rahner, S.J. And also the early, and rather late, Ratzinger (who embraced the substance as pope). Also M. de la Taille; Billot; et alia.

Even the Early Ratzinger Causes One to Lament

Part I.

These days, one is bound to find people nostalgic for the good old days of 30 years ago, or 10 years ago. Indeed, one can sympathize with this.

However, one should take note that difficult times have been with us for some while. Josef Ratzinger was “peritus” at the Second Vatican Council. His input was crucial on certain matters. He even teamed up with Fr. Karl Rahner, who afterwards went even more wrong than before. Ratzinger, thankfully, got better. However, it is important to know, when assessing today, that his early theology had notable problems.

Case in point: His Mariology.

He wrote, at the time of the Council, “The idea of Mary as ‘co-redemptrix’ is gone now, as is the idea of Mary as ‘mediatrix of all graces’” (Theological Highlights of Vatican II [New York: Paulist Press, 1966], p. 93). He even held such a negative view as late as the end of John Paul II’s pontificate. See Ratzinger, God and the World (Ignatius, 2002), p. 306.

Is this a problem? Yes, a big problem. Why? Because Mary as Mediatrix is part of the ordinary and universal teaching of the Church for many centuries. Also, the notion of Mary as CoRedemptrix is also doctrine, for at least a century of Magisterial teaching. But to deny doctrine, established doctrine, is not a good act. Further, to see Vatican II’s silence as a repudiation of the doctrine is perhaps worse.

Now, it is one thing to get Mary wrong before the Church teaches, again and again, on a matter. E.g. Aquinas. It is quite another to ignore that teaching. Sadly, that is what Ratzinger did for quite a while. Fortunately, he died to his own opinion when he became pope. He allowed the grace of state to increase and his own theological mind to decrease. Hence, he actually proclaimed Mary’s mediating role in every grace. Thank God.

Woman in Revelation 12

Who is the woman in Revelation 12?

Sadly, most biblical critics the past 100 years or so fail to see that the woman, indeed a polyvalent symbol, refers also to Mary.

Very quickly, we can establish this.

The woman is “with child”; she is about the bear “a son who is to rule the world with an iron rod”. Well, this is without question a reference to the Messiah. See Ps 2 for the connected imagery. The Messiah is a royal ruler on the throne of David. Further, as the expectation in the Old Testament increases, to the extent that the Messiah is to not just Judea but all the world. Rev. 12 thus refers really to the Messiah.

If the reference in the text is to a real son, one ought immediately to expect the woman to be a reference to a real woman. And thus, we have reference to Mary.

However, some critics hide behind another true reference in the text, as though truth could cancel truth. Some say that the woman symbolizes Israel, from whom the Messiah is to come (or to be born). Fine, let us accept this reference as well. We would then have a singular for the collective, a not unheard of Hebraism. But the singular standing for the collective does not cancel out the singular. Both can be held. And why not? What, is a village going to give birth to a particular man? What a monstrosity? How can Israel give birth to the Messiah without one particular woman doing so? How else can the Messiah come through Israel than through a “woman”? Ergo.

But wait, there is more.

The text continues, describing hostility between the woman’s offspring and the dragon. The dragon tries to get the son but the son is taken away. The dragon then is full of wrath towards the woman, who likewise is protected. (The flood does not touch her. Interesting, no?)

This woman then is described as mother of others, of “all who keep the commandments and bear testimony to Jesus.” Interesting. Here, many scholars, including Protestants, find a reference to the Church, which is mother of the Christian faithful. That’s great and true. Yet, these same take that truth to cancel out reference to Mary again.

In short, the critics can’t take truth. Not too much of it anyway.

But they are slain by the text itself, with its two-edged sword. For the text states that the dragon “went off to wage war on the rest of her offspring.”

Of whom could this predicate be said? Only of Mary.

Not of Israel, for Israel does not give birth to Christians, but perhaps (by collective standing for singular) Israel can be said to give birth to the Messiah, through the one woman.

Nor can the predicate be said of the Church, for the Church does not give birth to Jesus; Jesus institutes the Church.

Only of Mary can it be said that she is Mother of Christ and of all Christians.

How Mother of all Christians? First, she is “mother of John” (Jn 19) and we are all his brothers. This text is loaded in symbolism. Next, she is the New Eve, and Eve is “mother of all living”. Whereas Eve is physical mother, Mary is spiritual mother.

Indeed, if we deny that Mary is mother of all Christians, we have absolutely no one of whom this predicate “rest of her offspring” can be said.

If Mary is Co-Redemptrix, Does Christ Lose? (Part II)

We must now consider the question whether it is possible that Mary cooperates in the Redemption. There is a difficulty to face, an important one.

Here is the reason for the difficulty: Nothing can be the cause of itself. Why? Well, only an existing thing can cause. But if something is supposed to be caused, it exists only after it is caused. Thus, a thing that causes itself must exist (so as to cause) and not exist (so as to be something that can be caused). Thus we have the principle of our difficulty: Nothing can be the cause of itself.

We must now apply this principle to Mary: She clearly cannot be the cause of her own redemption. Why not? Because she herself is redeemed. But if she is redeemed, how can she cause redemption? She would have to be cause of herself, but that is absurd.

Theologians have struggled with this difficulty for some time. In fact, even some Catholic theologians gave up the notion that Mary cooperates in the redemption in order to solve the difficulty. But that was to give up on a Church teaching. Proper theological method does not give up truth to make consistency easier. Rather, proper method faces the difficulty with prayer and study. So, other theologians meditated on the topic more fruitfully. They dug into the treasury of the Church’s wisdom. They realized, in accordance with our principle stated earlier this section, that whenever Mary is rightly honored, Christ is magnified. Thus, if we are right in honoring Mary as Co-Redemptrix, we will all the more magnify Christ. Mary’s co-redeeming activity must help the work of Christ shine forth more magnificently.

How can this be? We can discern that Christ suffering on the Cross must have had two distinct goals in mind. First, he wished to procure salvation for Mary and second, he wished to procure salvation for the rest of the world. By offering up his life towards the accomplishment of the first goal, he redeemed Mary. In this act, Christ alone acts while Mary is only a recipient. By offering up his life towards the accomplishment of the second goal, he procures the rest of the world’s salvation. However, Mary is able to cooperate with this second intention of his. She is pure fruit of grace with respect to the first intention; she cooperates with grace with respect to the second intention.

Thus, there is no contradiction. Mary is not cause of her own redemption. Rather, already considered as redeemed by Christ’s first intention, she is able to cooperate with him in his second intention. Finally, this insight allows us to come back to the Cross of Christ once again with renewed awe. Our Lord hanging on the Cross was accomplishing a twofold act. His redeeming love was so great that he first procures his mother’s salvation and glory and second procures that of the rest of the world.

If Mary is Co-Redemptrix, does Christ Lose? (Part I)

In short, absolutely not.

But the question raises the issue of “What is co-redemption?” The title “Co-Redemptrix” indicates the Catholic belief that Our Lord Jesus Christ enabled Mary to co-operate with him as a secondary agent, dependent entirely on him as primary agent, in procuring the Price of Human Salvation. The claim raises many deep concerns among Protestants. The theological objection that many Protestants use is, “Whatever you attribute to Mary, you take away from Christ.” The objection sounds reasonable. But in fact, it is erroneous. We do not detract from Christ by extolling the legitimate glory of Mary — Rather, we magnify it! A brief argument shows how this is the case.

Here’s a key principle: A cause which can bring about a greater effect is greater than one that can’t.

Another point: A thing is greater if it can cause an effect than it would be if it could not.

Conclusion: A cause which can bring about an effect that itself can cause an effect is greater than a cause that can only bring about inert effects (effects that don’t cause).

Application to Christ and Mary: If Christ is able to bring it about that Mary herself can co-operate with him in procuring the world’s salvation, he is a greater cause than if he is not able to do this. With this simple observation, we see that the Protestant objection is null and void. In fact, we turn the objection on its head: Precisely because Christ can enable another to co-operate with him, he is all the more glorious a redeemer!

Of course, this raises the next logical question: Wait! Your response would work if it is possible for Christ to do this. Maybe it is not possible! Maybe it is a contradiction in terms!!! And what is not possible cannot factor into your basic premise (“A cause which can bring about a greater effect is greater than one that can’t.) What’s the contradiction in terms? Someone will readily object: Mary is herself redeemed by Jesus Christ. But if she is redeemed by Christ, she cannot co-operate in the redemption of the world. Just like all other human beings, she is the fruit of redemption and not its active cause. A thoughtful objection, to which the next post shall respond.