Infallibility: Co-Redemptrix/Mediatrix

I wanted to adress this very issue so that many of you here on this forum can understand that the doctrine of Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces, Advocate, and Co- Redemptrix are already infallible by the virtue of the Church’s ordinary magisterium. Let me explain…
I am sure all of you know that the Church teaches (De Fide) that at the death of the last apostle all public revelation stopped. After that no new dogmas are introduced. At times certain doctrines are “talked about” and “debated” (especially in the early Church). Often times the Popes or councils (approved by the current Pope) will teach the doctrine in an ordinary way. This occurs when the Pope teaches the doctrine, but does not solemnly defined it. The Pope may teach the doctrine in an encyclical, Apostolic Letter, Papal Bull, etc. This is an act of the ordinary magisterium. It flows logically that if a doctrine is infallible it does not all of a sudden become infallible when it is solemnly defined. It must have been infallible from at least the time of the death of the last aopstle (this is the basis of Catholicism). The Church teaches (and it flows logically) that when a teaching (on faith/morals) is taught over a constant perioid of time the teaching is infallible.9this is the ordinary magisterium) At times, this may be difficult to determine, so sometimes the Church needs to exercise her extraordinary magisterium. This means the Pope or Ecumenical council(approved by the Pope) can define the particular dogma. These type of teachings are infallible in and of themselves(obviously the doctrine couldnt be defined if it wasnt taught by the Fathers and the magisterium in an ordinary way). However, the doctrine (when it is solemnly defined) didnt/doesnt become infallible at that moment when it was defined. It was/is already infallible. The extraordinary magisterium removes all doubt and totally clarifies the issue.
Two examples of this are the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (solemnly defined 1854 Pius IX 1950 Pius XII) Both doctrines, obvioulsy were infallible before 1854, and 1950. Both doctrines were debated and talked about in the early Church (included in prayers of the Liturgy) and taught by various Popes and Councils (in an ordinary way). Example, the Council of Trent, 300 years before 1854, stated that Mary is to be excluded from its Decree on Original sin. After much debate and much teaching the two doctrines were solemnly defined. The Church never ever taught anything contrary to these two dogmas even though there were some who questioned or refused to accept them.
This is the same situation with the Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces. It was taught by a number of Fathers and taught by a host of Popes. Most recently Pope John Paul II, Leo XIII, Pius XII, Benedict XV. The Church has never taught anything denying the Mediatrix of All Graces or Co- Redemptrix.

Pope Leo XIII in Lucunda Semper(Which is totally in line with the Fathers) “Every grace is given to man from the Father to the Son through the Blessed Virgin Mary.” (quoting St. Bernard)

Benedict XV states (Inter Sodalicia 1918) "The fact that she was with her son crucified and dying, was in accord with the divine plan. To such extent did she (Mary) suffer and almost die with her suffering and dying Son; to such extent did she further surrender her maternal rights over her Son for man’s salvation, and immolated Him-insofar as she could-in order to appease the justice of God, that we may rightly say she redeemed the human race together with Christ."
These are just two recent Popes who taught this—There are a number of fathers, saints and Popes who have also taught this–Piux X, Pius XII, John Paul II—all this and not one denial from any Pope----I assert that this doctrine, even though the extraordinary magisterium hasnt acted, is infallible by virtue of the ordinary magisterium. It has been taught over a constant period of time.
Therefore, one can argue that it isnt prudent to solemnly define the dogam, but one may ot deny it----for it is infallible.

This post is way too long :sleep:

Solid argument. I look forward to an illuminating discussion.

The doctrine is solid and orthodox when understood properly. The problem, however, is that it can so easily be misunderstood. If the Church does feel the need to solemnly define this, it should take great pains to make sure that the true meaning is abundantly clear. Otherwise, the protestants and the Orthodox will be all over it.

I am surprised that none of you have commented on my argument here-----

These things are also taught by Vatican II and in the Catechism–even though the specific terminiology isn’t always used (also, check the citations from this paragraph from Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium as well for more good examples of what you are saying):

Also, read some of the ECFs, Doctor’s of Church, and other saints like Sts. Ephrem, John of Damascus, Sophroniuos, Germanus of Constantinople, John Chrysostom, Alphonsus Liguori, Bernard, Robert Bellarmine, Laurence Justinian, Thomas of Villanueva and many, many more.

The doctrine is solid and orthodox when understood properly. The problem, however, is that it can so easily be misunderstood and is NOT infallibly taught.

I think the solid orthodox truths being discussed have been taught consistently by the Fathers and the universal ordinary Magisterium and therefore have been taught infallibly.

However, certain terms or titles introduced more recently to express those truths are often thought to mean something else, as you say. But this is true for other titles too, like “Mother of God.” Many non-Catholics think this title means Mary pre-existed God or that she created God or other falsities.

So the magisterium is “infallibly” denying Scripture, which says:

  • 1 Timothy 2:5: For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
  • Hebrews 8:6: But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.
  • Hebrews 9:15: For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
  • Hebrews 12:24: to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

The Bible is the Church’s book—the Church interprets it----the Church is not denying any scripture it is interpreting its true meaning—Jesus is the mediator but God has chosen to raise Marry up as Mediatrix of all Graces–(obviously her “Mediatership” is secondary and dependent upon God) How do we know this?–Because God speaks through the Church—we read the Church’s teaching and see he has taught it-------Whoever hears you hears me. Whoever rejects you rejects me." Luke 10:18—

I don’t understand your infallibilty argument. You point out that some things now considered infallible were also believed by some of the ECF. Then you assert that some ECF believed in Co-Redemptrix. That does not lead to the conclusion that Co-Redemptrix must be or should be infallible. At best, if some ECF believed Mary was Co-Redemptrix, that would provide support for the doctrine by showing it has been around for a long time. But it does not in any way affirm the doctrine.

I have two questions about the history of the teaching of hte doctrine, and one about the doctrine itself.

First, the sticking point I have always had is the assertion that Mary has a role in salvation (beyond Advocacy) after her Assumption. I don’t see any support for an ongoing salvic role for her anywhere, and this is the main problem with the Co-Redemptrix doctrine. What teaching supports this idea?

Second, if Mary has this essential role in distribution of grace and in salvation, how did it work while she was still alive?

Finally, I have been reading more of the arguments in support of this doctrine on various websites. Some resolve the apparent conflicts between what Co-Remptrix (and some interpetations of Mediatrix) say is Mary’s role and what Scripture teaches about the Holy Spirit by saying that Mary is a quasi-Incarnation of the Holy Sprit and that the Spirit acts only through her. Do you hold to that?

Remember, Mary as Co-Redemptrix has NOT been dogmatically defined…

My argument is much more than simply the early(some) church fathers taught Mary as Co- Redemptrix /Mediatrix of All Graces. That is part of it. The teaching has been taught from at least the 4th century. I dont beleive any fathers denied this doctrine–With many other herseies (if not all herseies) there was serious debates (Arianism, Modalism, Donatism Gnosticism, Protestanism) . Not only have the Church fathers taught the doctrine , but the Church in official teaching documents has also. Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, Pope John Paul II, Pius XII all taught the doctrines. Other Popes including Pius XI made reference to her as Co- Redemtptrix in speeches and Papal adresses. My point was/is that this is the same situation with the Assumption and Immacualte Conception. Pius X was petitioned numerous times to define the Assumption. Popes prior to Pius IX were alos asked to define the Immaculate Conception. Both teachings were taught by the ordinary magisterium as is the case with the Mediatrix of All Graces and Co- Redemptrix. As I said before both doctrines were already infallible by virtue of the ordinary magisterium. They didnt suddenly become true just because they were defined. They (Immacualte Conception ,Assumption) were already infallible because they were taught by the Church for a long period of time .If you are gonna argue against the Co- Redemptrix/ Mediatrix of all Graces you are gonan have to say that all these Popes have erred when they have taught this—I dont think you can do that and s till be a faithful Catholic–The ordinary magisterium cannot be wrong since this teaching is constant.

I am not sure about your question about Mary being an incarnate version of the Holy Spirit, but I would have to reject that one. I have never ever heard that and dont know any Church teaching on it.

I think there are one or two quotes that seem to support the doctrine. But most of the things you cite refer to Mary’s role in the Incarnation. Some refer to Mary’s role at the foot of the cross in both offering her suffering, and in accepting Christ’s gift. But her post-Incarnation role is as Advocate. That is how the current Pope has explained it:

From the Annunciation to the Cross, Mary is the one who received the Word, made flesh within her and then silenced in death. It is she, lastly, who took into her arms the lifeless body of the one who truly loved his own “to the end” (Jn 13:1).

Consequently, every time we approach the Body and Blood of Christ in the eucharistic liturgy, we also turn to her who, by her complete fidelity, received Christ’s sacrifice for the whole Church. The Synod Fathers rightly declared that “Mary inaugurates the Church’s participation in the sacrifice of the Redeemer.” (104) She is the Immaculata, who receives God’s gift unconditionally and is thus associated with his work of salvation. Mary of Nazareth, icon of the nascent Church, is the model for each of us, called to receive the gift that Jesus makes of himself in the Eucharist.


Mary is associated with the salvation. Her unconditional ‘yes’ to her important role in the Incarnation is model of cooperation with God’s plan. Her suffering at the foot of the Cross is inspiring. Her acceptance of her Son’s sacrificial gift is another important model for all Christians. I don’t see support in the cites you provide for a role that extends beyond that. I think statements of adoration for Mary’s role in the Incarnation are being streched into something that was not taught in the early church.

With all do respect are you blind?
Benedict XV explicitly says that “Mary, in so far as she could, redeemed the human race with Christ…”–I dont see how much more clear it could be----

Leo XIII -----“every grace that we recieve flows from the father throught the son through Mary…”----notice EVERY GRACE"----I mean how much more do you need?

also you may not believe the early fathers mean what some are saying they mean–however if the magisterium states otherwise–which they have (look at the two quotes above)then you have to conclude that they in fact did mean what some say they meant–this teaching just cant come out of no where—it has to be in the Tradition of the Church–

You are so bound up in your Tradition and your sola ecclesia that you don’t see how the Church has added such a blasphemous doctrine, totally counter to Scripture. You buy the line that the church gives you that “She” interprets scripture for you, and in fact gave you Scripture–this keeps people stunted in their spiritual growth. And in this way, you can call black white, because the Church tells you so. You are saying that because the church interprets “one mediator between God and man” as “well, actually two”, that you believe such a lie. I don’t get it.

I have not denied that some relatively modern quotes (without any real explication of what they mean) support your position. But it has not been a consistent teaching. I am not sure who you believe makes up the magisterium but, as I have pointed out, multiple commissions have studied this and come to a different conclusion than you do. Pope John Paul II declined to declare this doctrine, and he was arguably one of the most Marian Popes in history.

As the commission concluded, its not clear what the Popes that have used the term meant by it. If it means that Mary participated in redemption in that her cooperatoin was integral to the Incarnation, the Church already teaches that and adding this misleading title would be merely confusing. If it means Mary has divine power and redeems in the same sense that Christ redeems, that is not Catholic.

No one is saying that Mary redeems in the same sense Christ did/does. That is why Pope Benedict XV said “in so far as she could she reeedemed the human race with Christ.” I dont know how you cant see that the Fathers taught this --I have given multiple quotes. I have given multiple quotes from Popes that teach this doctrine. I think you just don’t want to believe it. Also if you could quote that commission you are talking about that would be helpful. Eveyone keeps saying they disagree with this, that, and the other, but offer know quotes for me and others to respond to.

It is totally blaspemous against your interpretation of scripture. You dont have an infallible authority that can definitively decide what scripture means. How do you know your interpretation is correct? YOU DONT!! That is why you have thousands of Protestant denominations all believing in the Bible, but interpreting it differently. I could go on and on about this–How you dont have a New Testament canon without the Catholic church. (an excellent book for you to read would be The Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic church–by Henery Graham-convert from Protestanism) I hope you see the light before your judgment day.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit