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.

9 thoughts on “Marian Coredemption

  1. Aletheia had an excellent article today critiquing the (protestant) hymn “Mary Did You Know” for undermining the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (which then certainly undermines the doctrine of Co-Redemption and Mediation, and the other Marian dogmas).

    It’s my personal mission to replace “Mary Did You Know” with the gorgeous Basque carol “Gabriel’s Message,” linked below the Aletheia link.

    1. I don’t think “Mary Did You Know” has to be understood as contradicting the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Yes, the Blessed Virgin never had original sin, but this was only by Christ, and thus she DID need a savior, contrary to the claim of the linked article (by a professor of philosophy and theology no less). Does not the Blessed Virgin herself say as much? “My spirit rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47). Without Christ’s merits Mary would not have been immaculately conceived.

      1. The issue isn’t THAT Mary was sanctified by the Incarnation. That was never in question. The issue with the song is that it says that the child she delivered “WILL deliver” her. The wordplay is nice, but the theology is imprecise to the point of being bad. Mary received a singular grace in being preserved from original sin from the moment of her conception. It is why the angel Gabriel hails her as “full of grace,” a singular title, it is why Elizabeth calls her “blessed among women,” and it is the only way she can be the “New Eve” in the work of our salvation, as Jesus is the New Adam. “New Eve” was one of the earliest themes in Mariology, it appears quite a bit within the second century. If Mary isn’t free from original sin before the Annunciation, she cannot make a perfectly free choice to say “yes” to God; her choice must be as free as Eve’s. If she is subject to sin (Ignatius of Antioch says she was “hidden from the prince of this world”), she would not make a choice as free as Eve’s. She can’ undo Eve’s disobedience if she chooses from the state of fallen human nature.

  2. “This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you” = “This Child that you delivered will soon do that without which you would not be delivered (preserved) from sin”.

    In terms of the EFFECT of Christ’s merits as applied to her, Mary was already delivered before the Incarnation. But considered in time, in terms of the CAUSE of that effect, no one–including Mary–was delivered before Christ’s mission was accomplished. This (that an effect would chronologically precede its cause), of course, is only possible because God is outside time.

    Just as I don’t have a problem with certain divinely inspired texts (e.g., “ALL have sinned”), neither do I have a problem with this song, as long as it’s understood in light of the Catholic Faith.

    1. You don’t get that kind of nuance in the song, which is why it’s problematic. Verse, because of its form, has to be quite pointed in its message, especially if it has a distinctive message to relay. Sacred music especially should be careful in what is sung and what is understood by what is sung. There is a lot of bad hymnody out there, and if the lyrics need gymnastics to be justified, it’s a bad hymn. Good hymns give glory to God and lift the soul in the very singing. They are prayerful, express the faith faithfully, and are well constructed.. Look at any of St. Thomas Aquinas’s eucharistic hymns, or the basque carol I linked above. They are beautiful, and draw you deeper into the mystery of salvation; a priest could easily write a homily upon a good hymn. A homily based on “Mary Did You Know” would spend significant time qualifying the nuance. If it’s that much work, it really isn’t worth it.

      There’s certainly a high standard to meet, but that’s what the Church says about sacred art. Sacrosanctum Concilium is quite pointed about the importance of sacred music:

      “112 …the purpose of sacred music…is the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful.

      “121. Composers, filled with the Christian spirit, should feel that their vocation is to cultivate sacred music and increase its store of treasures.”

      1. Lots of expressions in the faith don’t have all the nuance. The nuance isn’t in “ALL have sinned”. Neither is there much nuance in “Mother of God”, which appears in many songs, and which could easily be gravely misunderstood (e.g., by thinking that God had a beginning in time). The nuance may not be in the song, but it’s in the Faith (in light of which you sing the song). Now if you could show that the problematic lyrics in the song were penned in order to deny the Immaculate Conception, I would agree and say that the song should be rejected.

  3. Also, not sure if you realized…but the image displayed in the youtube video you linked says “Most highly flavored gravy” (though when you play the video, it has the correct lyrics).

    1. This is the kind of discussion exhibitive of what should be going on in theology across the world. A good discussion with fair points made on both sides. Perhaps there is hope. (Of course, there is always hope, from God.)

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