Tag Archives: Co-Redemptrix

Pope Francis rejects seven popes on Co-Redemptrix

I’m going to offer a critique of Pope Francis’ impassioned rejection of Mary as Co-Redemptrix at Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe the other day, December 12, 2019. The video above is the entire homily.

And yes, I’m aware through second hand information – I know, “second-hand” – and from a private conversation with then Cardinal Ratzinger – I know, “private” – that the then Prefect’s opinion of the title co-redemptrix could be misleading, but not that it was wrong in itself. Analogously, that’s what Saint John Henry Newman said about Papal Infallibility, right? It’s entirely correct, but maybe that wasn’t the best time to be proclaiming that truth of the Gospels in Matthew 16, what with the sum of all heresies running rampant in both the Catholic Church and the Anglican get-togethers at that time (it’s no different today). I would counter that the best time to preach the truth is all the time: “Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient [in season or out of season]; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Anyway, that objection of “it’s correct but the wording could be misinterpreted” is all a far cry from Pope Francis’ putting the absolute worst spin on that title for Mary – Co-Redemptrix – that he could possibly ever dream up in some nightmare, having it that not only is it misleading, but wrong, he even saying that efforts with this are “stupidities.”

Lets see what he himself says at 2’17”:

  • “Fiel a su Maestro, que es su Hijo, el único Redentor, jamás quiso para sí tomar algo de su Hijo. Jamás se presentó como co-redentora, no: discípula.”
  • “Faithful to her Master, who is her Son, alone the Redeemer, she never desired to take something of her Son for herself. She never presented herself as co-redeemer, no: disciple.”

Well, that’s all true:

  • She was faithful to her Master, who is her Son, He alone being the Redeemer.
  • She never desire to take something of her Son for herself.
  • She never presented herself as Co-Redeemer. [nor does she have to for this to be true.]
  • She was, in fact, a disciple.

The problem is that Pope Francis contrasts all this with the title Co-Redemptrix, attacking the historical interpretation of that title by, say, the “Servant of God” (first step toward canonization) Sister Lucia of Fatima, and by, say, Pope Saint John Paul II, who used that title a half-dozen times (and also a few more times for all the rest of us, by the way, inasmuch as we are to be evangelizers of the redemption). The title was also used by Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII. Anyway, let’s move on:

In the video, at 2’55”:

  • “Nunca robó para sí nada de su Hijo. Lo sirvió porque Madre. “
  • “She never robbed anything from her Son, but she served Him, because she is Mother.”

Fine. That’s all true as well:

  • She never robbed [stealing by way of arrogant violence] anything from her Son.
  • She served Him as Mother.

But that has nothing that contradicts her being Co-Redemptrix. With overwhelming irony, all that misses the point of her being the woman and mother that she is, as we will see. Let’s move along…

Then, at 6’07” (he’s mumbling a bit…):

  • “Quando vengan con historias de que de declarala esto a ser trato como un dogma o esto – non la perdamos in tonteras.”
  • “When they come with stories of having to declare this [Mary as Co-Redemptrix] to be a dogma or whatever – let’s not lose her in stupidities.”

“Stupidities.” This, of course, is not a named, but is nonetheless a direct attack on seven previous popes, as well as, it seems to me – and this is perhaps to the point – on Mark Miravale, who has made this title of Co-Redemptrix a life project. He’s done a lot of excellent work on this. What Pope Francis does is simply offensive. If he wants to pick a fight, he should name his adversaries who are alive today instead of hiding behind a bully pulpit. All stupidities about Mary? Really?

Let’s do some reasoning about this:

Pope Francis considers the title Co-Redemptrix to be falsely assigning Mary a function which she steals violently from her Son, as if being a woman and mother wasn’t enough for any woman, including Mary, to have dignity.

But this is missing the point altogether. It’s so dark, so dismal, so unable to see goodness and kindness in being a woman, a mother. Here’s the deal:

  • It is because Mary is a faithful woman, mother and disciple that she is Co-Redemptrix. Only she could be so faithful, such a mother, and such a disciple.

Let’s unpack that a bit…

  • Mary is free of original sin as we know from Genesis 3:15 and Luke 1:28 (see my thesis on Genesis and Ignace de la Potterie’s study on Luke 1:28).
  • That means she has purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision such that she sees the contrast between God’s goodness and our sin. In looking upon her Son on Calvary, she sees all the sin of all mankind wrecked upon her Son. As a woman, as a mother, as His mother, she is in solidarity with Him while He accomplishes our Redemption, He alone our Redeemer. In her immaculateness, with her clarity of vision, seeing what we need perfectly, she perfectly intercedes for us in that solidarity, heart to Heart, with her Son.
  • Here’s the point: it is entirely fitting in justice that one of us mere human beings (only she is capable what with her being free from original sin) asks for all that we need in Redemption. Her request, in all justice, and her Son’s answer as a command to His Heavenly Father (Father! Forgive them), makes of them co-workers in our Redemption. She asks. He provides. That’s what the title Co-Redemptrix for Mary is all about. Nothing more. But nothing less.
  • Being Co-Redemptrix is the flourishing of her being a woman, a mother, His Immaculate Virgin Mother, and ours. She’s not brutally, violently stealing anything from Son to make herself look good. No. How sick is that? Instead, she serves Him in unimaginable suffering as only a good mother could. How could anyone look into her eyes and insult her that her motherhood is not flourishing here under the Cross?

We are also to be co-redeemers of sorts, co-workers with the redemption, evangelizing the redemption. Is that so bad, so blasphemous? No. It isn’t.

I have much to say about this connection between the motherhood of Mary and her title of Co-Redemptrix, foundationally in my thesis, and then more precisely and especially  in the conference on Mary, Mother of the Church Militant, which I gave back in 2013:

So, we pray for Pope Francis and for each other, doing this as, um… co-redeemers… and we ask Mary to show us all her motherhood, you know, as the Co-Redemptrix:

Monstra te esse matrem! Show yourself to be a mother!

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Filed under John Paul II, Mary, Pope Francis

The Necessary Co-Redemptrix

SISTINE MADONNA detail

While preaching this Palm-Sunday on what would be an appropriate meditation for this Holy Week for my parishioners – the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and then the 4th and 13th Stations of the Cross: Jesus meeting his mother after getting smashed down by the cross for the first time and then Jesus being lowered from the cross into her arms, ever so dead – in preaching on all that… well… I mean… I suppose I could put the audio of the homily up… It’s just that it’s embarrassing as I got entirely choked up a number of times, entirely unable to speak for at least what seemed like ten seconds… thirty seconds…

Here’s the deal: Not that it at all came out in what I said necessarily, but it was in preaching on Jesus and His good mom that I “understood” – beheld quite directly, if you will – the dynamic, if you will – by which it is entirely necessary that Mary be Co-Redemptrix. To me this wasn’t just an “insight”, but rather an invitation to behold what’s really going on with our Redemption, ever so personal for Jesus about Mary, the good Son of a good mom. It was like seeing Mary as Mother from the eyes of her good Son.

I asked a specialist in psychology and priests about this fault of mine, getting choked up, which the Brits would call weakness, and even worse. He knows me well, and is my spiritual director. He straight up laughed at me for stupidly even asking the question, saying that Freud would say that it all has to do with an unresolved conflict with my own mom. But, then he said that Freud has been discredited on saying everything like this must be a “conflict,” adding that surely this was, in fact, for me, a valid religious experience. And then he went on to mention some of his own like experiences.

I say all that just to rid some of such unnecessary distraction so that they might pay attention to what is important. Here are some points spelling out a bit what I didn’t entirely spell out in the homily because of my getting choked up:

  • Only Adam was responsible for the “breath of the living ones” which was only given to him with its intention that he and his offspring be alive and then reaffirm this life should he eat from the tree of the living ones, that is, living with good choices, instead of eating, as it were, from the tree of knowing good mixed with evil, a kind of epistemology of dumbed-downness by which the power of his agent-intellect was corrupted not only for himself, but for us. Adam changed the intention of the breath from life to death. We no longer have the wherewithal to keep matter and spirit, body and soul together. We start to drop into the grave the moment we are conceived.
  • Any offspring have a share in the breath of the dying ones, and are dumbed-down, weakened, unable to love that which, the One – God – whom they don’t know, as they otherwise should, and so are immediately in sin, what we call original sin.
  • God creates the soul which is concomitant with that life, that dying life at the choice of Adam, not of God. God is just respecting Adam’s choice for himself, for us. We are created good up to the point Adam chose. And that’s the point: up to the point that Adam chose. Adam chose to descend to the level of where his wife bid him to go, not more nor less.
  • In justice, in our Redemption, Jesus should redeem us, recreate us only inasmuch as, only to the point that one of us would ask for this, Mary’s intercession for us.
  • Mary, free from original sin, and therefore with purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of (spiritual) vision so that she could see exactly what we needed as she looked upon what sin has ravaged on her Son. She was in perfect solidarity with Son, her Immaculate Heart, His Sacred Heart.
  • Jesus followed up on her intercession for us, and only up to the point she desired this for us, which, of course, was perfectly. She’s the perfect mother. Our mother.
  • That maternal intercession of hers was necessarily for Him. It is this to which He looked. And only this. Jesus had a human nature. In justice, He should use this human nature. It is in His human nature that He received the intercession of His mother for us. He was going to do exactly what she wanted for us (which is, of course, exactly what He wanted for us precisely as her children, with Him).

Just to say it:

Our Redemption by Jesus is equal, not more, not less, to the maternal intercession of Jesus’ good mom for us. He looked to her, the Son to the Mother. Just as Adam looked to his wife as to just how far he should fall, so did the new Adam look to The Woman to see just how far He should lift us back up. Being Immaculate, she saw our need perfectly, and, in perfect solidarity with her Son, interceded for us perfectly. Having said all that, it is she who set us before our Redemption. Jesus would not have done it without her indicating that Redemption. Mary is entirely necessary as Co-Redemptrix for our Redemption.

Academically, the point is entirely valid with all my years of doctoral studies on Genesis 2:4–3:24 (including 3:15). I have much to say on all this, drawing out all the implications, drawing out the incisive ironies. I am overwhelmed with the entirely and very personal dynamic, if you will, of what is happening with our redemption, Jesus looking to His good mom: “Woman! Behold! I make all things new!”

Finally, this provides me the engine – how to say it? – to draw out a popular version of the thesis. I pray that I’m able to accomplish this. I pray that this works toward what has been called the fifth Marian dogma.

Now it’s more personal than it ever was. It’s like a project with Jesus.

I entirely realize that making it personal makes me look to be the fool. Delusional. An idiot. Fine. Whatever. I know what I know. It’s all come together. Whatever authority by which I write anything has nothing do with me. It’s to be judged on consistency with the Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Magisterial interventions of the Church. It’s to be judged on the reasoning. Yes.

All I can say is that, right now, at the start of Holy Week, I’ve been shaken to the core of my being before God that Mary, our good mom, is necessarily Co-Redemptrix. It has to be that our Redemption in entirely involved with Jesus looking to His good mom. And, yes, she was singled out in Genesis: “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and The Woman [in context, the future Mother of the Redeemer].

In saying that, what is left to say? Just this:

Jesus, Immaculate Mary’s Divine Son, has done all things well.

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Filed under Immaculate Conception, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, John Paul II, Mary