Dogma vs. Doctrine, etc

That Mary is Co-Redemptrix or Mediatrix of all Graces may not be a dogma, but both of these are well-founded teachings of the Catholic Church. Some saints have explicitly used these terms, and Popes (particularly Pope John Paul II) have clarified their meaning. Pope Benedict XVI was right. These terms are not found in the language of the Scriptures and of the Fathers. But so was the word “purgatory” not found. Therefore, while the Church might not elevate these teachings to the level of dogma, it is important that all Catholics realize that these Marian beliefs are solidly founded in Scriptures - provided, of course, that Mary’s role is properly understood as not being equal, but subordinate, to Christ’s work. Just as there is danger in glorifying Mary excessively by use of these titles, there is an equal danger - if we drop the use of these titles altogether - of not giving Mary the recognition that she deserves in the special role that she played in God’s plan of salvation.

Frank J Sheed, that doyen of the Catholic Evidence Guild, in his great Theology And Sanity, Sheed & Ward 1947, expresses the doctrine beautifully:
“As Christ represents humanity in the Redemptive Act, she represents humanity in the co-redemptive act. His suffering was the essential thing, and hers valuable only by derivation. His was the Passion, hers the Com-Passion. He was the Redeemer but the Church loves to call her Co-Redemptrix.” (Theology And Sanity, p 235).

Pope Benedict XV reaffirmed Mary as Co-Redemptrix in his Apostolic Letter Inter soldalica:
“Therefore, one can say, she [that is, the Blessed Virgin] redeemed with Christ the human race.” [Pope Benedict XV, Apostolic Letter *Inter soldalica, AAS 1918, 181].

The Church’s teaching is that the BVM was eternally united with Jesus in the decree for the Incarnation, and thus from eternity before time began and through all eternity (Lumen Gentium 59).

Just as the pagan may be saved WITHOUT knowing Christ and His teaching or Church specifically, yet every Grace comes to the pagan through Christ’s Church, and through the BVM as Mother of the Church and Mother of Grace.

In the same way as every grace comes to men from Christ through Mary as Mother in the order of grace, so does every grace come to men through Mary as Mother of the Church, for outside of the Church there is no salvation.

Church Teaching on Mary as Mediatrix of (All) Graces
Compiled by Fr. William G. Most

Obviously, no statement in St. Alphonsus’ work is dogmatic merely because it’s in St. Alphonsus’ work. That’s important to make clear to your Protestant interlocutor. “Famous Catholic book by sainted Catholic writer” does not the Magisterium make.

Which means that material dogmas are sometimes fallible teachings.

What you are asking IS very hard to know and understand. Even with a graduate degree in theology I get confused. When you start to debate with Protestants you are moving into a whole new territory that will create even more confusion and/or questioning on your part. Please spend time in prayer and be confident that you have nothing to prove to anyone. Keep the faith.

patricius79 #1
I realize that I don’t really understand the various levels of Catholic teaching
chaplainmom #24
What you are asking IS very hard to know and understand. Even with a graduate degree in theology I get confused. When you start to debate with Protestants you are moving into a whole new territory that will create even more confusion and/or questioning on your part.

What is difficult to understand and confusing in The three levels of teaching from *Ad Tuendam Fidem * from the reference:
in post #13?

If the teaching is stated correctly, it can be formally non-infallible (not yet defined infallibly, but taught by the Magisterium) and materially infallible. But we do not know for certain that this is the case until it is taught infallibly.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception was first the minority theological opinion, later a non-infallible teaching, and still latter it was defined infallibly.

Why do you suppose the doctrine of the IC was a minority theological opinion?

Even St. Augustine will not have her discussed at the same time with sin.

IOW, although not formulated exactly like the final Dogma of Ineffabilis Deus, the germ of that Doctrine was always latent in the Deposit of Faith. It was later Revealed as a Divine Truth (in 1854.) It was always taught by the Magisterium, although not in the exact wording or with the same nuance of the final dogma.

The opposing view taken by Theologians (like St. Thomas Aquinas for a short time) was the minority view IMHO, unless you can prove otherwise. :wink:

With respect, your assertions are not true “unless” someone “can prove otherwise”.

See this article, the section called “the controversy”.

No, it was not always taught by the Magisterium. It was always implicit in Tradition and Scripture, but not taught by the Magisterium until sometime after Duns Scotus, as the above article explains.

For St. Thomas and others, it wasn’t a question of our Lady being immaculate from the womb; that was a given. (In fact, St. Thomas argued in favor of the Immaculate Conception in his commentary on Lombard.) What they questioned was whether she were sanctified at the “first instant of her conception,” or if she were temporarily in a state of original sin, then sanctified. I think that “conception” in this context, at least for some theologians, referred to the creation of the rational soul, or to the infusion of the soul into the body, rather than *biological *conception as we understand it today. This distinction matters because St. Thomas and others held that the soul was not infused into the body at the first moment of biological conception.

That is a very good article. However, my point was the doctrine of the sinlessness of the Virgin Mary, which was the majority opinion, even in the ECFs, despite isolated exceptions. This doctrine was taught by the Ordinary Universal Magisterium in the same way as the Male Priesthood. IOW, there are not necessarily specific documents asserting the doctrine. Why would we suppose otherwise? We know, today, that this doctrine was always latent in the Deposit of Faith. We can therefore assume that the Holy Spirit guided the Church in preserving and gradually unfolding this doctrine.

The SPECIFIC doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, I agree, is of later appearance, as you say, with Dun Scotus.

So again I question your assumption that the teaching, when it emerged in the 13th century represented from that time the “minority” opinion.

Interesting, especially, since “it belongs to the notion of this particular man to be composed of this soul, of this flesh,”. So, then The Blessed Virgin is not “her” until the soul and body are together. There are, however, the terms “inward man” and “outward man”.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae Q75 Article 4. Whether the soul is man?

On the contrary, Augustine (De Civ. Dei xix, 3) commends Varro as holding “that man is not a mere soul, nor a mere body; but both soul and body.”

I answer that, The assertion “the soul is man,” can be taken in two senses.

First, that man is a soul; though this particular man, Socrates, for instance, is not a soul, but composed of soul and body. I say this, forasmuch as some held that the form alone belongs to the species; while matter is part of the individual, and not the species. This cannot be true; for to the nature of the species belongs what the definition signifies; and in natural things the definition does not signify the form only, but the form and the matter. Hence in natural things the matter is part of the species; not, indeed, signate matter, which is the principle of individuality; but the common matter. For as it belongs to the notion of this particular man to be composed of this soul, of this flesh, and of these bones; so it belongs to the notion of man to be composed of soul, flesh, and bones; for whatever belongs in common to the substance of all the individuals contained under a given species, must belong to the substance of the species.

It may also be understood in this sense, that this soul is this man; and this could be held if … [but] it is clear that man is not a soul only, but something composed of soul and body.

Vico, you are quite right, and I was wrong on that last point.

RETRACTION. St. Thomas Aquinas did *not *hold that the body is created in time before the soul (at least at the time he wrote Part I of the Summa). Other theologians, however, did hold that view.

After more digging, I found the following:

Some have thought that man’s body was formed first in priority of time, and that afterwards the soul was infused into the formed body. But it is inconsistent with the perfection of the production of things, that God should have made either the body without the soul, or the soul without the body, since each is a part of human nature. This is especially unfitting as regards the body, for the body depends on the soul, and not the soul on the body. (S.T. I, Q. 91, a4)

“…souls were not created before bodies, but are created at the same time as they are infused into them.” (S.T. I, Q. 118, a3)

Then there is a difficulty understanding which soul is meant by “the soul”. Is it the rational soul? In the Shorter Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas, 92, states:

Thus in the generation of man the fetus first lives the life of a plant through the vegetative soul; next, when this form is removed by corruption it acquires, by a sort of new generation, a sensitive soul and lives the life of an animal; finally, when this soul is in turn removed by corruption, the ultimate and complete form is introduced. This is the rational soul, which comprises within itself whatever perfection was found in the previous forms.

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