Monday, April 25, 2005

The Virgin Mary and Pope Benedict

Those who are hoping that the pope will proclaim a new dogma concerning Mary as co-redemptrix will likely not see it during Pope Benedict's pontificate.

Cardinal Ratzinger stated this about it in an interview published in God and the World (Ignatius Press):

“ I do not think there will be any compliance with this demand, which in the meantime is being supported by several million people, within the foreseeable future. The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is, broadly, that what is signified by this is already better expressed in other titles of Mary, while the formula 'Co-redemptrix' departs to too great an extent from the language of Scripture and of the Fathers and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings.
"What is true here? Well, it is true that Christ does not remain outside us or to one side of us, but builds a profound and new community with us. Everything that is his becomes ours, and everything that is ours he has taken upon himself, so that it becomes his: this great exchange is the actual content of redemption, the removal of limitations from our self and its extension into community with God. Because Mary is the prototype of the Church as such and is, so to say, the Church in person, this being 'with' is realized in her in exemplary fashion."


Therese Z said...

I'm relieved. Not to diminish the role of our Blessed Mother, but that wording would be such a stumbling block to others who cannot see the subtlety of co-. I've tried explaining it to non-Catholics and it doesn't fly.

This Pope is simply wonderful! He's got the back of backfence apologists all over the world....

Sr. Lorraine said...

I too don't see a necessity to define it as a dogma. A few years ago I was able to attend a weekend seminar on this question sponsored by the Marian Research Institute at Dayton. They had the most renowned Marian theologians speaking, including Rene Laurentin, and they gave many substantial reasons why such a dogma would be problematic. For example, Mary was a human being, so she didn't pre-exist her own existence. So if we proclaim her mediatrix of ALL graces, we would have to say she had mediated the grace of her own Immaculate Conception. Which doesn't make sense.
That's not to take away from her role of maternal mediation, but we can't claim more for it than the Church intends.

Lawrence King said...

I agree. In fact, I'm not sure that you can proclaim a semantic point as a dogma. The Fourth Lateran Council decreed the following:

By the consecration of the bread and wine, a change takes place in which the whole substance of bread is changed into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the Holy Catholic Church fittingly and properly names "transubstantiation".

In this example, the fact of the Real Presence is defined as a dogma, but the term "transubstantiation" is declared to be "fitting".

It seems to me that a decree about Coredemtrix would have to be done the same way. The church could define as a dogma the role of Mary with regard to grace and redemption, and then say "therefore it is fitting to call her Coredemtrix". But they can't dogmatically say "Mary is coredemtrix", because unless they define that word the phrase is meaningless.

In any event, I agree that this is liable to great misinterpretation. In English, a "co-pilot" is not equal to a pilot. But almost every other use of the prefix "co" signifies actual equality.

Is Rene Laurentin still alive?

Sr. Lorraine said...

Hi Lawrence,
You have a great point about the terminology not being defined, but the underlying teaching it's meant to convey. I agree with that.

Yes, Rene Laurentin is still alive. We are planning to publish a life of St. Catherine Laboure' that he wrote in French and we have been corresponding with him about that.


Everyone, I cannot emphasize the following too greatly: Judge for yourself after prayer and fasting -- view the DVD,"Messages from Heaven". You will KNOW with certainty through the grace of God and NEVER through works WHO your true LORD is. The road is narrow.

Be in your BIBLE daily. I recommend a 365-day Bible.

God bless you all. For those who have ears...

JESUS said, "Many will be deceived in My Name".