Okay so I’m working my way through the protestant arguments, trying to come up with what the church actually says on the subject and how She defends herself.
I don’t have access to commonly cited texts (behold your mother, haul holy queen) at this time, but I do have a catechism and the Vatican website.
My understanding at this time is that the action of co-mediation is not exclusive to Mary. Any given Christian (perhaps outside of those "converted in a dream"stories you hear about in China) has many co-mediators: parents, pastors, apologists, and prayer warriors all teaching, evangelizing or praying for their salvation, etc. These actions are efficacious and biblical. Indeed, they are part of the great commission and thus required.
Mary, however, is unique. Her status of Holy Mother of all living means that she genuinely cares (via the graces of God in her life) about the outcome of EACH person’s spiritual battle. She wants each individual to come to saving knowledge of her Son and prays that way continually (and is so enabled to do that by her presence in heaven and God’s grace). When we pray a hail Mary on behalf of someone’s salvation, we are actually agreeing with her in prayer.
Thus, if you are saved, you know that Mary was praying for you for that, and she is part of that group of people who led you from ignorance to Christ.
Is this an accurate summary of the Catholic position, or what internet-available resources would you recommend to help me get clarity on this subject?
It is true that all the faithful can instrumentally be co-mediators of the grace of Jesus Christ for one another and for the conversion of sinners. Our Lady, however, is the Co-Mediatrix with a capital M. Mary’s mediation is universal after the manner and subordinate to the universal mediator of all mankind, Jesus Christ. Our Blessed Mother played a wholly unique and singular role with Jesus Christ, the God-Man, in the redemption of the human race. Mary is the mother of Christ. The eternal Son of God took flesh and became man in the womb of the Blessed Virgin. The eternal Son of God didn’t appear on earth as a full grown man. He was conceived in the womb of Mary at Mary’s free consent to the incarnation. Mary is truly the mother of all the redeemed, the spiritually alive, she is the Mother of divine grace, the new Eve. Just as Eve played a singular role in the fall of the entire human race, so Mary the new Eve by God’s will and plan played a singular role in the redemption of the human race. The motherhood and mediation of Mary over all the faithful did not end when she departed from this earth but it continues uninterruptedly in heaven until the end of time. Indeed, in heaven, our Blessed Mother will always be our spiritual mother for all eternity.
As Mary is our mother in the order of divine grace, we can compare her motherhood over us in the spiritual life to what our own biological mothers do for us in conceiving us in their wombs, giving us birth into the world, and raising, watching over us, and caring for us as we grow up to adulthood. In the spiritual life of grace and our rebirth to grace, Mary our Mother plays a similar kind of role. In catholic doctrine, Mary is called the Mediatrix of all graces. She cooperates with the Holy Spirit in the dispensing of all graces and our growth in the spiritual life until we reach heaven. Mary not only prays and intercedes for us, but she actually and freely cooperates with the Holy Spirit in the dispensing of the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit. All the graces of the Holy Spirit given to mankind pass through Mary’s hands. As Mediatrix of all graces, Mary gives to whom she wills, as much as she wills, and when she wills all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, Our Lady’s will is wholly united to the will of the Holy Spirit and she in everything is moved by the Holy Spirit so that she never does anything contrary to God’s will. Mary’s motherhood over the Church and all the faithful is founded on her divine maternity. Her motherhood and mediation involves profound truths and is something we can meditate on and ask the Holy Spirit for enlightenment. The writings of the fathers, doctors, and saints of the Church concerning Mary are an invaluable source of course.
Recommended reading: Catechism of the Catholic Church (see what is said concerning Mary); Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (see the Blessed Virgin and the Church, and read footnote references); True Devotion to Mary by St Louis de Montfort; the marian doctrine and writings of St Maximilian Kolbe (there are some excellent books in print concerning the teaching and writings of Fr. Kolbe, not sure if these books are on the internet but one can probably find excerpts of his teaching on the internet at least).
You could see the website, just type,. “Journey home, marcus grodi”.
It gives you quite a number of protestant ministers with doctoral and phd in Theology and many others from many walks of life, who on their own did the research, as you have and have come into the Catholic Church.
This website was set up to assist all who with a desire to seek the Truth and assist them in any way on their journey with resources and recommendations and support. I have been reading many of their stories and have been so inspired, humbled and thankful for the wonderful ways God has lead them to Himself.
God Bless. Remembering you and yours in my prayers.
“Co-mediatrix” is not a title that one encounters in the history of Mariology.
I assume you are, perhaps, conflating “Mediatrix” and “Co-Redemptrix.”
There was an effort led by Cardinal Mercier of Belgium to seek the definition of Mary as “Mediatrix of All Grace” at the beginning of the 20th century. The effort did not succeed. There was a movement for this definition at Vatican II, which also did not succeed. The Council Fathers were almost evenly divided on whether the Council’s treatment of the Virgin Mary should be in a stand-alone document or as part of Lumen Gentium. The latter position prevailed by a narrow margin.
The title Mediatrix is used in Chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium but the qualification “of all grace” was not used, as there are various important unresolved theological issues concerning it…not least involving the operation of sacramental grace.
At the end of the 20th century, there was an effort for the definition of the Virgin as “Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate” under one dogmatic definition. Pope Saint John Paul II referred the case to the Theological Commission which weighed against the definition on various grounds. The definition did not take place.
The principle of subordinate mediation is articulated in the Chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium.
I would suggest you would find much that is helpful and useful on this topic in the encyclical of Pope Saint John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater. He treats of Mary’s maternal mediation at some length and in a way that is quite readable for non-theologians.
You are welcome. I think you will find *Redemptoris Mater *very approachable. If you are actually wanting theology text books on the topic, they exist, but they may be a bit more challenging – and largely are not Internet based.