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Is Our Lady the Co-Redeemer?
By Bro. Peter Dimond, O.S.B.
Refuting a Response on Co-Redemptrix; defending the necessity of devotion to Our Lady; and defending the truth that Jesus Christ is our Sole Redeemer
FOR A MORE UPDATED ARTICLE ON THIS MATTER, SEE THIS:
Mary is not the Co-Redeemer (Co-Redemptrix)
Audio Debate: Mary is not the Co-Redeemer (Co-Redemptrix)
[Dennis M. sent out an e-mail complaining that our answer that Mary is not Co-Redemptrix is wrong. He writes:]
This is bad willed, illogical and heretical. Mr. Dennis M. says “the Dimonds' answer revealing a very "Protestant Fundamentalist" interpretation of Our Blessed Lord being our sole Redeemer without Our Lady's role.” What he says is a “Protestant Fundamentalist” interpretation is word for word the teaching of the Council of Trent. The infallibly defined teaching of the Council of Trent is that Jesus Christ is our sole Redeemer (QUI SOLUS NOSTER REDEMPTOR). Only a heretic would call that “Protestant” after he has seen it, which Mr. Dennis M. has. Mr. Dennis M. is a heretic. Read it again, Dennis M., and weep for insulting Trent as “Protestant”:
Those who have a problem with the fact that we have said that Mary is not Co-Redemptrix or Co-Redeemer don’t have a problem with us; they have a problem with the dogmatic Council of Trent, the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church, which erred according to them when it infallibly defined that Jesus alone is our Redeemer. Further, look at the context of this dogmatic definition of the Catholic Church. The context deals with devotion to Our Lady and the Saints; and yet not only does it not say that Our Lady is Co-Redemptrix, it specifically contradicts the idea by infallibly declaring that Christ alone is Our Redeemer.
Before I proceed with further dogmatic teaching proving that Mary is not Co-Redeemer or Co-Redemptrix, I must say that correctly pointing out that Our Lady is not the Redeemer or Co-Redeemer (Co-Redemptrix) is not to insult Our Lady, as bad willed heretics imply; it is to state the truth.
Our Lady, ever faithful to God, is ever faithful to the truth, in which she rejoices completely. She was the vessel by which The Truth came to humanity. To state untruths or falsehoods about Our Lady doesn’t honor her or her Son. It dishonors her and her Son. It is truly a sad situation when one is criticized by false devotees of Our Lady, such as Dennis M. (who, if he were truly devoted to Our Lady, would denounce evil and split from heretics) as if one were demeaning Our Lady when one correctly asserts that Mary is not God and is not the Redeemer. These people seem incapable of grasping the fact that Our Lady is not the Redeemer or Co-Redeemer does not diminish her absolutely unique role in the salvation of souls, her absolutely unique role in the Incarnation, the necessity for devotion to Mary for salvation, or the necessity of her consent in the Incarnation. It doesn’t diminish the fact that her union with the Son of God in the Incarnation is so profound that St. Alphonsus calls her “omnipotent by grace,” meaning that, while being totally a creature, she has such an influence with God by grace that her requests are almost irresistible to Him. And this union in the Incarnation and in the salvation of souls is why devotion to Mary is not like devotion to other Saints; it is far more necessary and more powerful.
It is precisely because most don’t understand Mary’s unique connection to Jesus, and her role in the Incarnation and the salvation of souls, that they never make much progress in the way of perfection.
At the end of this article there are more points about the necessity and power of devotion to Our Lady. This being true, it must be affirmed again that Mary is not God and is not the Redeemer or Co-Redemptrix.
THE COUNCIL OF FLORENCE ALSO DOGMATICALLY DEFINED THAT CHRIST ALONE REDEEMED US
This is an infallible dogmatic definition on the Redemption. The Church infallibly defines that CHRIST’S DEATH ALONE redeemed us. Another translation has it: “He alone by His death (SOLUS SUA MORTE) overthrew the enemy of the human race…” It couldn’t be more clear. Christ alone is our Redeemer; Our Lady is not. And the language of Florence is strikingly similar to the dogmatic teaching of Trent.
It was only the God-man that could redeem man. It was only the Precious Blood of Christ that could re-purchase man’s salvation.
These facts considered, it is contrary to Catholic Teaching to say that Mary is Co-Redemptrix. Certainly, it’s possible for people to express themselves erroneously on this topic in good faith before the specific dogmatic definitions above are presented to them. But once they have seen these dogmatic definitions they must reject this idea; it is, strictly speaking, a heresy which contradicts the dogmatic teaching of Trent and Florence. Mr. Dennis M. defended it and insulted this teaching as “Protestant” after he saw the dogmatic definition of Trent, which shows that he has no fidelity to the infallible teaching of the Church. It shows that he is of bad will. And he cannot have it both ways. He cannot hold with Trent and Florence that Christ alone is our Redeemer while he obstinately defends that Christ and Mary are our Redeemers. That is a clear contradiction, which is evident even in his words:
No, Mr. Dennis M., you don’t hold that Christ alone is our Redeemer, as Trent teaches (QUI SOLUS NOSTER REDEMPTOR); you obstinately hold that there are two Redeemers.
I can already anticipate certain people illogically comparing these points I’m making to the often used false Protestant dichotomy (which Protestants wrongly employ in many areas) of “either or” but not “both and.” That analogy won’t work here; because, in this case, the Catholic Church has infallibly excluded anyone as Redeemer other than Christ; so it truly is “either or” while “both and” is not acceptable. Either Christ ALONE is our Redeemer, as Trent and Florence infallibly define, and Mary is not; or Christ and Mary are our Co-Redeemers and Christ ALONE is not – in which case both Trent and Florence would be wrong, WHICH IS HERESY.
WHAT ABOUT CERTAIN THEOLOGIANS AND A FEW PAPAL STATEMENTS POST-TRENT THAT MARY IS CO-REDEMPTRIX?
There are a few non-infallible quotations that people bring forward to attempt to show that Mary is Co-Redemptrix. The answer is that they are not infallible and they are simply wrong. They cannot be defended. They are refuted by the facts above. This issue is an example of people attempting to emphasize a truth (Mary’s absolutely unique role in the salvation of souls and the Incarnation) and falling into erroneous statements in the process. For instance, in his book True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis De Montfort says that man becomes God.
This statement is heretical. It is condemned by the Church to assert that any man becomes God. There is only one God.
Pope Pius XII condemned the same thing.
The fact is that St. Louis De Montfort didn’t really mean that we become God. He was emphasizing in an exaggerated and erroneous fashion a man’s union with Christ and conformity to His will. This is proven by what he says in True Devotion to Mary #157:
If you were to challenge St. Louis De Montfort and ask him about what he says in #219 above, he would surely admit that he doesn’t really believe that man becomes God. He would also surely admit that it is heretical for one to really believe and defend that man becomes God. This example shows us that we cannot defend or apply an erroneous statement that a Saint or Pope may make (in a fallible capacity) which exaggerates something in a way that contradicts Catholic dogma. If we defend such erroneous statements, which contradict the infallible teaching of the Church, we become heretics. This is exactly the case with a few quotations on Mary as Co-Redemptrix. Those who made such statements were simply wrong; they were falsely exaggerating Mary’s absolutely unique role in our salvation. Take the next quote, for example.
In defending the idea of Co-Redemptrix, Dennis M. cites Pius XI (with no footnote, by the way):
This is an example of an erroneous statement by Pius XI; it is similar to the case of St. Louis De Montfort above. Even in these words of Pius XI we can see that his statement that Mary is Co-Redemptrix is erroneous. This is proven because he says that we should also be CO-REDEEMERS. So according to this quotation which Dennis M. gives, we are all Co-Redeemers! But this is clearly false. This shows us again that the idea that Mary is Co-Redemptrix is theologically indefensible. People need to grasp the concept that because Our Lady (in a unique way) and the Church help dispense the graces of the Redemption that does not make them our Co-Redeemers. We see this clearly in the next citation.
In this we see clearly that all can cooperate in dispensing the graces of the Redemption, but that Christ alone is the Redeemer. In summary, therefore, the quotation above from Pius XI was simply erroneous and indefensible. He erroneously asserted that all those who are dispensing and helping to carry out the work of the Church are Co-Redeemers. Our Lady played an absolutely unique role in the Incarnation and is involved in our salvation like no other creature, but she is not the Co-Redeemer.
St. Paul says that his sufferings make up for what is wanting in the sufferings of Christ for the Church. Now, there was nothing lacking in the sufferings of Christ, which were superabundant for the salvation of the world. But our Redeemer’s Passion did not save our souls for us; it opened the gates of heaven to man (with the opportunity for salvation) which were previously closed. We still have to fulfill His will, endure trials, sufferings and tribulations. In working through these trials and sufferings and offering them up, as well as laboring for the salvation of souls through prayer, work, etc., we can obtain graces for ourselves and others in and outside the Body of Christ. That is the meaning of St. Paul’s statement that he fills up those things that are wanting in the sufferings of Christ. Hence, my point is that if cooperation in dispensing the graces of Redemption constituted being a Co-Redeemer, then we would have to call St. Paul Co-Redeemer as well. But there is only one Redeemer, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dennis M. also quotes Benedict XV (again with no footnote):
This is not infallible and it is simply wrong. It directly contradicts the Council of Florence and Trent, which both infallibly define (with no possibility of error) that Christ alone redeemed the human race. The Holy Roman Church firmly believes and preaches that Christ ALONE redeemed us.
So, just like those who would obstinately defend the statement from St. Louis De Montfort that man becomes God (which is, strictly speaking, heretical) would become heretics, those who obstinately defend the erroneous statements of certain individuals (in fallible capacities) that Mary is Co-Redemptrix (after seeing the dogmatic definitions above) are heretics.
Notice here that Pius IX emphasizes that Mary’s role was so unique and important that it was prophetically indicated. He also indicates that she shares in the redemptive triumph; yet he identifies Christ alone as “the merciful Redeemer of mankind.” Later on, in further confirmation of this point, Pius IX specifically declares that Mary was redeemed in a special way by Christ.
Mary was redeemed in a special and sublime way; she is not the Redeemer or Co-Redeemer. Further, Pius IX specifically identifies Christ alone in this context as “our Lord and Redeemer,” and not Mary as a Co-Redemptrix. And even if Pius IX did call Mary “Co-Redemptrix” in this part of the Bull which is not infallible and dogmatic (which he didn’t), he simply would have been speaking erroneously and in contradiction to the infallible definitions of Trent and Florence above.
Mary leads us to Jesus in a way that no one else can, but she is not the Redeemer; she is the Mother of the Redeemer.
CONCLUSION ON CHRIST AS SOLE REDEEMER
With these facts in mind we can see the teaching of the Catholic Church that Christ ALONE is our Redeemer. The idea that Mary is a Co-Redeemer or Co-Redemptrix is a heresy, even though many could be confused about it in good faith until they see the specific dogmatic definitions contradicting it above. At that point all must reject this notion. Those who obstinately insist that Mary is a Co-Redeemer not only contradict Catholic dogma, but they disgrace the Catholic Church before the Protestants. They give the Protestants an opportunity to assert that the Catholic Church believes in more than one Redeemer, and that the Church is not really faithful to the truth of Jesus Christ. The truth is that the Catholic Church alone is Biblical and faithful to the truths of Jesus Christ, which include that He alone is the Redeemer.
Of course, the Catholic Church alone is also faithful to those many truths about Our Lady. The dogma that Our Lord Jesus Christ alone is our Redeemer does not detract from or diminish Our Lady’s incredibly unique role in the salvation of souls and in the Incarnation; and it does not diminish the necessity of having devotion to her. On the contrary, understanding and believing that Our Lady is not the Co-Redeemer or Co-Redemptrix increases the purity of our devotion to her, because it increases the purity of our Faith in Jesus Christ; it increases the purity of our Faith in Truth, and our understanding of Our Lady’s true role.
Dennis M. attacked us for upholding the teaching of the Church. In so doing, he specifically attacked exactly what Trent defined as “Protestant.” Notice how Dennis M. word for word repeated the teaching of Trent and labeled it Protestant. Notice the bolded and underlined portions:
One can see that he described the teaching of Trent word for word and labeled it “Protestant”! Since this was after Dennis M. had read the dogmatic teaching of Trent which we simply reiterated, this shows him to be a bad willed heretic who insults Catholic dogma. If he were of good will he would have realized that his view that Mary is Co-Redemptrix is false and contradicted by Trent; he would have realized that we are basing our position squarely on defined and infallible dogma; and he would have amended his position to conform it to this dogma. Instead, he attacked this teaching because he wanted to give the false impression that we attack Our Lady – as a false and very dishonest way of throwing a jab at us – when in fact we are defending Our Lady when we state the truth about her and her Son, the Redeemer.
Another person who had been influenced by the heretic Dennis M. wrote in and told us that we are false teachers for saying that Mary is not Co-Redemptrix. This person also has no fidelity to Catholic teaching and, if he were of good will, would have seen that he is denying the infallible teaching of Trent. But because he – like Dennis M. – doesn’t really believe in the infallible teaching of the Church – and cares only about appearances – he is very shallow and dishonest; so that if you don’t accept anything anyone says about Our Lady (even if it contradicts Catholic teaching), it’s as if you are attacking Our Lady. They don’t care about the truth of the assertion or the infallible authority upon which it is based, but only the impression that is given. All these people are dishonest and despicable. To use the words of St. Louis De Montfort: “All these are false devotees, pleasing neither to God nor to His holy Mother.” (True Devotion to Mary #103)
It reminds me of a Novus Ordo heretic with whom I was discussing the Vatican II apostasy. To expose the Vatican II apostasy I quoted many scriptures which condemned it; in response she said that I didn’t sound like a person of her religion, because her religion also accepts Tradition. In other words, if you quote Scripture you are a Protestant. I then proceeded to cite things from Tradition and the Catholic Magisterium against the Vatican II apostasy. I told her that the reason that I didn’t begin with those was because I didn’t think she was familiar with the Council of Florence, etc. But my point is that we have gotten to the point that when one emphasizes Sacred Scripture (which is Catholic) or the dogmas about Our Lord Jesus Christ, false Catholics are accusing one of being a Protestant.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DEVOTION TO MARY
In addition to understanding that Mary is not God or the Redeemer, Catholics must absolutely understand and practice true devotion to Mary. It is because people lack true devotion to Mary – or don’t understand its extreme importance – that almost all of their spiritual failures and problems arise.
And because God chose Mary, the Immaculate Virgin, as the way to bring Himself to mankind, He wants us to remain with her at all times to unite ourselves to Him.
And because Jesus Christ was conceived by Holy Ghost with the cooperation of Mary, the more the Holy Ghost finds Mary in a soul the more He conforms that soul to Jesus Christ.
That is why we recommend the most effective method of devotion to God, which is the true devotion to Mary:
That is why those who detract from devotion to Our Lady are moved by the evil spirit.
And because Jesus’ humanity came from Mary, she is the easiest and shortest way to Him.
It was by the Hail Mary (the Angelic Salutation) of Gabriel (Luke 1:28) and Mary’s consent that God became man and the process of the salvation of the world began. That is why the Hail Mary and the Rosary is so crucial, so powerful and so necessary.
And this is why Padre Pio told one of his spiritual children:
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