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Papers on Proposed 5th Marian Dogma

Immaculata Mediatrix — Toward a Dogmatic Definition of the Coredemption

by Rev. Peter Damian M. Fehlner, F.F.I.

Part 1

Fr. Fehlner is author of many books and articles on themes Theological, Marian and Franciscan. He is a member of The Mariological Society of America, has taught as Professor of Theology for many years in Rome and has also taught in the United States.

The objective of this paper [1] discussing the dogmatic definition of the Coredemption is to provide a perspective from which to assess the current doctrinal status of this mystery of faith: both in reference to its antecedent development and in view of that study most appropriate to the proximate preparation of a dogmatic definition; and, in accord with the happy phrase of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, the patron of our troubled age, the further "incorporation" of this mystery into the life of the Church, indeed of civilization, so that it might truly be as the Holy Father has so often said, a civilization of love, a reflection of the city of God.

St. Maximilian used that phrase in connection with the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. But it is equally pertinent to the mystery we propose to study "in the spirit of prayer and devotion," [2] because the mystery of the Immaculate Conception is at the beginning of the Virgin Mother's earthly life what the Coredemption is at its consummation under the Cross and at Pentecost in the Church: the form which her vocation as universal Mediatrix of all graces takes at that point in the economy of salvation.

And hence, the method, traditionally associated with a similar analysis of the Immaculate Conception by Bl. John Duns Scotus at the beginning of the 14th century is the one most appropriate to the aim of this paper: potuit, decuit, ergo fecit.[3]

The old axiom is often criticized today as a kind of fallacious illation, attempting in theology the impossible task of deducing certainty about the contingent from mere plausibility.

But why that is not at all the correct interpretation of the scotistic methodology, is easy to see by considering this axiom as a particular application of a more generalized description of theological activity repeatedly enunciated by the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure. This is particularly significant for any discussion of the mystery of Mary, because St. Bonaventure is the first great exponent of Franciscan mariology in terms of a mystery central to the spirituality of St. Francis: that of the Virgin Mother as universal Mediatrix.[4]

Theology, the Seraphic Doctor tells us, [5] may be conducted in three modes: symbolic centered on the study of the Creeds and Sacraments in the light of faith; proper centered on the use of reason under the influence of the gift of understanding; contemplative or mystical consisting in the knowledge of God which accompanies infused contemplation in this life or fruition of the beatific vision in the life to come. The axiom, associated traditionally with the name of Bl. John Duns Scotus and the theological defense of the Immaculate Conception, defines more exactly the basic goals and activities of what St. Bonaventure calls proper and we call scholarly or academic theology.

Indeed, [6] theology is for the sake of speculation, viz., is an intellectual discipline and so engages the native powers of reason (as distinct from the light of faith) in the effort to grasp the intelligibility of any mystery. Nonetheless, that speculation is not indiscriminate curiosity, but for the sake of virtue, and principally that we might be holy (and in the life to come blessed). Thus, in practice the primary task of the academic theologian is to assist in clarifying the intelligibility of any mystery (the "potuit"), in view of its fittingness for our sanctification (the "decuit," or basis for its incorporation into the life of the Church), and so prepare the way for an ever more precise or definite proclamation of what God hath done (the "fecit," or clearer identification of the evidences for the mystery in the sources of revelation).

Strictly speaking, certainly from a traditional Franciscan concept of "doctrinal theology," the theologian does not prove what God hath done in the economy of salvation. This is a given in revelation, proclaimed by the Church. His auxiliary task consists, first, in illustrating the "potuit" and the "decuit" of each mystery, thereby assisting (but not dictating to) the Magisterium in clarifying what has already been given. There can be no useful study of tradition or of the historical course of any given dogma, unless there is some antecedent illustration of its meaning and fittingness within the economy and the salvific counsels of the Blessed Trinity.

Hence, the outline of this paper: a statement of the current "valor theologicus" of the doctrine, followed by a review of each of the foregoing considerations bearing on further theological promotion of the doctrine pointing to its solemn definition. First, the "potuit": its intelligibility and the resolution of central objections (for there can be no assessment of a history unless first there is some understanding of the subject of that history); next the "decuit": its fittingness and the relevance of the saints (for there can be no intelligibility in that history unless it tends to some goal); finally, the "fecit": its readiness for definition and the theological interpretation of its development to date: the historical path so far traversed by this doctrine does indeed point to just this conclusion, so as to meet the needs of the Church in this hour. Thus a positive response can be given those who say the coredemption couldn't be or shouldn't be.

Here is the conclusion: the Virgo facta ecclesia [7] is but the Virgin Coredemptrix exercising her role as spiritual mother at the heart of the Church. And the Virgo Coredemptrix, Mediatrix between Christ and us in the Church, precisely because of her unique cooperation on Calvary in the redemptive work of Christ, is antecedently the Immaculate-Theotokos, exercising as Mother of God a mediation between us and God, one and triune, to effect the Incarnation: to the greatest glory of God (primary end) and our redemption (secondary, proximate end), a maternal mediation, therefore, by the will of God both glorious and redemptive.




At the end of his massive study [8]of the history of the doctrine of the coredemption (published in 1950, but still the most detailed and authoritative volume on the subject) the late Fr. Juniper Carol concluded that by mid-20th century the doctrine had already been taught expressly for over a century by the ordinary Magisterium of the Church.

Writing just before the opening of Vatican II Fr. G. Baraúna agreed, noting that the cultivation of mariology throughout the 20th century centered around this doctrine. According to him, the fact of the coredemption qualified as doctrina catholica was not called into question by any reputable theologian, although the mode of the coredemption was the subject of strong debate, perhaps the centrally debated issue of theology.[9]

In view of positions taken on this question of mode theologians on the eve of the Council were divided into maximalists and minimalists. In the terminology of the time exponents of the two approaches were dubbed, rather inaccurately, christotypologists and ecclesiotypologists, respectively. For it would be a mistake to think the former did not relate Mary to the Church and the latter were the only theologians to do so.

The difference in their approaches to the place of Mary in the Church rests on the fact that the first insist she, and she alone as God's Mother, precedes the Incarnation. A mariological maximalist in doctrinal matters was and is one who wishes to ascribe to the Virgin an active role both at the beginning, during and at the end of her Son's historical sojourn in our midst. A minimalist, by contrast, is one who denies her such a role, absolutely with the protestants in general, inconsistently with those Catholics who concede her an active role as Mother, but deny her an active role in the "oblatio Christi," viz., as Coredemptrix. And so they only of her part in "representing" the mediatory role of the Church at the moment of its formation.

This assessment was seemingly confirmed by the famous vote during the Council over an independent schema on the Blessed Mother (initial proposal, favored by the "maximalists"), versus one in the form of a chapter in the constitution on the Church (favored by the minimalists), the solution in fact adopted, although clearly the resolution of the acrimonious dispute was expressly formulated so as not to be taken as a resolution of questions freely disputed before and up to the start of Vatican II. In a word, Vatican II [10] is not a charter for Marian minimalism, much less the repudiation of the doctrine of coredemption.

Earlier this year, in the course of discussing in the pages of La Civiltà Cattolica proposals for a solemn definition of the coredemption, Fr. J. Galot asserted that the truth of the coredemption is already a matter of faith ex Magisterio ordinario Ecclesiae as set forth (without the title) by Vatican II. Mary is the preeminent member of the Church, because she is uniquely associated with her Son and Savior in the work of redemption, this in the sense of immediate, objective coredemption. The doctrine, Fr. Galot opines, is still not sufficiently ready, theologically speaking, for any more precise definition which would settle the questions left open by the Council for further theological disputation, viz., not only whether she might merit for us de condigno, but what she might merit re the establishment of the objective economy of salvation.[11]

Nonetheless, this matter of fact assertion in so prestigious a journal is surely remarkable in the light of nearly 30 years of theological silence about this important truth, important above all because any truth assessed as doctrina catholica is such for the thought and life of the Church and of the faithful.

That on more than one occasion during his pontificate the present successor of St. Peter has used the title Coredemptrix in acts of public teaching (the second Pope after Pius XI to do so),[12] and that recently he has made this very truth as expounded by Vatican II the subject of his weekly catechesis on the Virgin Mother, as for instance in that of Oct. 25, 1995,[13] are straws in the wind signaling the time has come to break the post-conciliar silence on so important a matter for the up-building of the Church and the salvation of souls, and it should be added for the formation of a "civilization and culture of love."

How did this massive silence about so profound a truth at the very center of the mystery of redemptive salvation through the sacrifice of the cross come about? Many reasons might be cited, but the basic one, perhaps, is the following: many persons, clerical as well as lay, influenced by the "open spirit of Vatican II" were persuaded that the doctrine known as the coredemption since the counter-reformation was never more than a post-tridentine, anti-protestant theologoumenon of certain theologians, predominantly Franciscan and Jesuit; and that the cultural-devotional foundation for such an opinion and for the spirituality both inspired by it and based on it in the Church had so radically shifted in the wake of the Council as to render any further discussion, let alone any practical implementation of such discussion, utterly irrelevant and counterproductive.[14]

This form of Marian minimalism in terms of the Coredemption is in a sense the final stage in a movement which began with a radical refusal to ascribe the title Mediatrix to the Virgin Mother, whether as a rank in the order of esse, or as a unique mode of operation, whether this be for the sake of mankind in relation to God in view of the divine maternity (Nestorianism), or for the members of the Church, potential and actual, in relation to Christ, the Head. Initially justified in terms of the "solus Christus" theology, it ends with a total repudiation, both of the divinity of Christ and of the necessity of the cross for salvation, in favor of doctrinal and moral relativism.

Now, not for one instant do I believe in the myth of radical cultural shifts employed to discredit the traditional metaphysical mariology, for the simple reason every human mind is capable of metaphysics or is not a mind. Hence, I do not intend to waste time refuting the rationalistic relativism of which this is a superficial reflection.

One aspect of this theory, however, may be usefully underscored: how no history of any doctrine of faith, whether to support or to attack that doctrine, is possible without certain metaphysical premises. What is true of the study of the Sacred Page is equally true of tradition: a purely "scientific" or "empirical" exegesis or theory of development of doctrine is impossible. The only valid question concerns whether or not the intelligibility or meaning of the history is to be discovered within the history or from without it, in the counsels of the one who originated and guided that tradition and placed within it the types and figures by which its fulfillment might be discerned. The fundamental principle of economic theology, as elaborated by St. Irenaeus, for instance and reflected in the traditional Franciscan theology as the principle of recapitulation, is a clear instance of the latter.

In fact, the first point of view, that of the immanentist (and mariological minimalist) we may designate as the hegelian theory of history, common to so many studies unsympathetic to the coredemption. Evolutionism is another name for hegelianism, putting change before the immutable, becoming (fieri) in place of being (esse), or in more theological terms: defacing the eternal Trinity as a glorification of time, and substituting in the economy of salvation for the sacred triad composed of God the Father, Christ, the Word Incarnate, and the Virgin Mother, spouse of the Holy Spirit, the wicked triad of Satan, Adam and Eve. Here is what is thinly veiled in the "solus Christus" theologies of the late middle ages and modern times: a false deification of Adam. So, too, female liberation is but another ploy of Satan in venting his resentment of the Father to set up an anti-economy of "damnation." By contrast the ultimate victory of the Father is achieved through the missions of Son (Incarnation) and Holy Spirit (Immaculate Conception). Denial of the coredemption or active role of Mary in the oblation of Christ and denial of the divine maternity are one and the same error, that of naturalism and evolutionism. It is a point of view ever present in the cry: there is nothing so irrelevant as devotion to the Mother of God and Coredemptrix.

The second, supernatural point of view, as intimated, is the basis of the theology of history championed by Saint Bonaventure,[15] the medieval Doctor most obviously sympathetic to the doctrine we now commonly call the coredemption. Such a history conceives Jesus and Mary as unique public persons, always united, moral agents directly affecting the whole and every detail of human history, just as do the first man and woman, subverted by Satan, so as to put him "in the place of God."

Far from being a merely secondary question of scholastic theology, the doctrine of the coredemption is intimately linked to questions touching the very nature of theology and of salvation. According to St. Bonaventure, all history is about the conflict between Christ and his body, the Church, and the anti-Christ or devil and his anti-body, headed by the fallen Adam and Eve.[16] Since the cross, the tree of life is at the center where victory and defeat are defined, the unique, coredemptive role of Mary directly and immediately in this central act, and therefore in its denouement, is perfectly obvious.

For this reason the resolution of doctrinal questions about the coredemption still disputed by theologians is primarily metaphysical in character and involves concretely use of the principle of recapitulation-recirculation to elucidate the salvific counsels of God and the purpose of creation and redemption. Such discussions converge on the definition of what Bl. John Duns Scotus called "perfect redemption," willed by God in fact, better than which none is possible or can be conceived (St. Anselm), one of the three quasi-infinites "ad extra," which according to St. Thomas tax the very limits of divine omnipotence.[17]

And so, like the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, that of the coredemption is an index of the relative perfection of the redemption wrought in Christ Jesus, viz., one greater than which none other is possible.

And like that mystery with which the Coredemption is so intimately linked in the Franciscan theological tradition the distinctively metaphysical color of this doctrine—in the Bonaventurian sense of metaphysics: Christus est metaphysica nostra, viz., the metaphysics of exemplarism plene resolvente intellectu via dogmatic faith -defines the first step in any properly theological activity: the analysis of the "potuit," or intelligibility of a revealed mystery.[18] In matters pertaining to the economic theology, or the theologia contingentium, [19]this involves two points: the counsels of God, here the joint predestination of Jesus (Incarnate Redeemer and our Redemption) and Mary (Coredemptrix Mother of the Redeemer and our Redemption); and the method of revealing and implementing this central counsel: for revelation, type and antitype, and for implementation, recapitulation and recirculation.[20]

Hence, the importance of the account of creation culminating in the formation of our first parents (and the deleterious influence of evolutionism on belief in the coredemption), and of the text of Gen. 3,15 in the history of this doctrine [21]and of the elaboration of the concept of a perfect redemption, more perfect than which none is conceivable and which only God can conceive. This point the Ven. Pius IX includes in Ineffabilis Deus, adapting St. Anselm on the conception of the Virgin.[22]

Patience with the kind of reflection-mediation required by the conduct of dogmatic-metaphysical theology is not a strong point of an empirical "scientifically" orientated age. But there can be no satisfactory appreciation of the historical path of a doctrine concerning the Woman who defined herself at Lourdes as "the Immaculate Conception." And so there can be no possibility of grasping the "theological demonstration" of the what God hath done (the "fecit") in the sources of revelation, in particular Scripture, or why the Magisterium over the centuries has obviously inclined more and more toward a solemn definition of this mystery, unless the "potuit" and the "decuit" of the coredemption are explained and accepted. Whence, the organization and the length of this prolusio.


POTUIT—The metaphysics of Coredemption: the one mediation of Christ (I Tim 2,5-6; Jn 19,25-27) fulfilling the promise-prophecy of Gen 3,15: Mother of Good Counsel.


Those who minimize or indeed deny outright the revealed status of the truth of the Coredemption almost always do so by citing St. Paul in his first letter to Timothy:

Unus enim Deus, unus et mediator (mesites) Dei et hominum homo Christus Jesus, qui dedit redemptionem (antilutron) semet ipsum pro omnibus...

This text clearly defines mediation in reference to the central act by which it is accomplished, viz., the redemption, or Christ's self-giving (self-sacrifice) to save us from sin and so take us to heaven from this earthly exile and imprisonment, as one pays a ransom to purchase another (cf.
I Pet 3,18) and so free him from slavery.

The adversaries assume that if our Lady is to merit the title Mediatrix and to enjoy an active, direct role in the redemptive work as Coredemptrix, then it must be shown how such mediation does not detract from the unicity and sufficiency of the one Mediator's work.

The central objection has a positive and negative formulation, but the conclusion is always the same: the redemption is only possible if Christ alone, to the exclusion of all others, including Mary, is Mediator-Redeemer. The positive formulation argues from the divine perfection of Christ: any co-redeemer would detract from the sufficiency of His work. The negative formulation argues from the infinite offense of sin: only a divine Redeemer is capable of satisfaction for sin. Both formulations have been utilized to bolster the classical Protestant (and in Catholic circles Jansenist and/or modernist inspired) soteriology of Christus solus. Among Catholics recognition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception has provided a basis for replying to the positive formulation. The resolution of the negative is still much disputed among Catholic theologians, and that lack of consensus is often cited as an obstacle to a solemn definition of the universal Mediation and Coredemption.[23]

On the resolution of this objection depends the concrete definition of the extent of her mediation: universal, antecedent to the completion of the work of redemption by the Redeemer, unique in respect to that of the Church and every other Saint; and the nature of spiritual motherhood: proper or metaphorical.

Since the adversaries hold that neither coordination nor subordination of a mediatory action by any other mediator in the consummation of Christ's sacrifice can be shown to meet such conditions, therefore the very notion of coredemption as an immediate involvement of the Virgin Mother in the objective redemption is impossible. And so they tend to and often do limit her mediation to the distribution of graces after Pentecost, define the spiritual maternity as metaphorical and describe her influence on the interior life of souls as indirect and merely moral causality (a definition of "moral causality" which misrepresents the Franciscan tradition on this point). Where such occurs among Catholics, there are clearly in evidence sympathies for Protestant soteriologies.[24]

Ever since Adam Widenfeld, in his Monita Salutaria (n. 10), recorded his antipathy to the doctrine and the title, giving classic form to the modern bias against it, by quoting our Lady (falsely) as reproving the use of titles such as Salvatrix and Coredemptrix, defenders of the doctrine, even after its general recognition as part of the deposit of faith, have been bedeviled by a certain defensiveness about it. Thus, Vatican II clearly teaches the fact of the coredemption, yet out of "ecumenical" sensitivity the title "Coredemptrix" was not used by the Council.

1. Joint Predestination. The Alliance of Two Hearts

Two approaches in modern times have been adopted to meet the objection: if Mary is Coredemptrix, what in fact does she actively contribute to the redemptive sacrifice at the moment of its historic consummation; what, indeed, can she, if that supreme priestly act is to remain uniquely Christ's and thereby all sufficient?

a. The first approach concedes the assumption of the critics and minimalizers, viz., that the contribution of Mary is somehow alongside the work of satisfaction of Christ, but without detracting from its unicity and sufficiency, because not coordinated with it, but subordinated to it. More frequently, theologians distinguish the merit of the Coredemptrix from that of the Redeemer by describing the latter as "
de condigno," and the former as "de congruo," although some Scotists would develop the Bonaventurian concept of merit "de digno" as a subordinate form of condign rather than congruent merit: relative, however, rather than absolute.[25]

Recently, Fr. Galot has remarked how pointless it is to affirm that Christ merited all grace for us condignly and then affirm that Mary does the same congruently. This is to define the coredemption simply as a duplicate, a "carbon-copy," of the redemption, or better to conceive of both as numerical instances of a single genus: mediation. Fr. Galot's point is well taken and helps us to perceive the difficulty of so many who cannot grasp why the uniqueness and sufficiency of Christ's mediation does not eo ipso exclude various degrees of participation in that work. It is the difficulty of those who think that the distinction of divine persons compromises the unity and infinity of God, or that the second procession of the Holy Spirit implies the insufficiency of that of the Son.

In fact, the "one Mediator" is not the most perfect as the highest in a series of numerical instances.[26] As the incomparably perfect and sufficient Mediator,he is the primary source of all grace. For that reason his mediation admits of degrees of participation, the highest of which is based on "preservative redemption," whose characteristic features are exemption from all taint of original sin from the first moment of conception and the fullest active cooperation in the work of redemption from the conception of the Savior to his exaltation on the cross and his glorification in his body, the Church. This is why the Catholic argument for the coredemption, like that for the Immaculate Conception based on Gen. 3: 15, does not stand or fall with the translation: "ipse/ipsa conteret caput suum."

Fr. Galot has also suggested another way of accounting for the distinction between Redeemer and Coredemptrix in the one work of redemptive sacrifice by distinguishing, not type of merit—both in this case would merit condignly, but object of merit: Christ merits his resurrection and our salvation, whereas subordinately to him the Virgin merits condignly the spiritual maternity.[27]

An interesting observation, but in the final analysis subject to the same difficulties which others try to meet by limiting the merit of Mary for others to that ascribed to other saints: congruent merit. Either Christ merits all graces sufficiently, or ascribing this to Mary entails the same difficulty as ascribing to her condign merit in the very act of sacrifice, viz., she merits somethinghe does not merit, a view easily adapted by those feminists who explain the redemption as the work of two persons: one male for men, the other female for women, each with the title of co-redeemer, so as to avoid the subordination to a "male" redeemer which the title "Coredemptrix" entails.[28]

There is, however, another dimension of the universality of Mary's mediation, often neglected, and that is to how many persons it extends: to all men, except evidently our Lady? to all the good angels, not only per accidens, but per se? And if the latter, as in the Franciscan school, is our Lady also Coredemptrix of the angels by way of a kind of "preservative coredemption," as Christ in the Franciscan thesis is their Redeemer per se?[29]

Fr. Galot believes that the doctrine of the spiritual maternity is far more ready for solemn definition than that of the coredemption, because it expresses better than the mediation of Mary the role exercised presently by Mary in the economy of salvation. This could only be the case, as Fr. Galot observes, if her spiritual maternity can be definitively explained apart from any reference to her unique mediation centering on the mystery of the redemption.[30] Indeed, this is an approach typical of defenders of the coredemption who do not share the distinctive premises of the Franciscan thesis about the primacy of Christ: to make the coredemption a postulate of the spiritual maternity, rather than the spiritual maternity a postulate of the universal mediation of Mary.

Yet Fr. Galot's suggestion above for resolving a central problem affecting the nature of the coredemption can only be sustained if in fact the spiritual maternity depends for its definition on that of the coredemption, as in the Franciscan tradition. It is not her maternity that is the foundation of her mediation, but just the opposite, her rank as universal mediatrix rooted in her privilege of "preservative redemption," which is the basis for the transcendence and excellence of her maternal vocation, both as Mother of God and of the Church.

In a word, what is meant by the title Mediatrix is not defined primarily in terms of the form it takes in its final phase, viz., distribution of graces in the Church where the virgin's maternity indeed is the foundation of her mediation, but rather as a title indicating the unique participation of the Immaculate in the work of universal salvation and redemption, objective and subjective, at every moment of its implementation, each earlier moment being the proximate basis for her involvement in the successive.[31]

When, however, we ask what is distinctive about this involvement, we shall say: hers is a maternal mediation, i.e., the form which her mediation takes is maternal and enables us to know maternity in its most perfect form, first in respect to the formation of the human body of the Son of God and then in respect to the interior life of those who are born of water and the Holy Spirit.

Conversely, the maternal form of her mediation within the one work of the Savior enables us to distinguish her mediation as instrument of the Holy Spirit from that of Jesus. Finally, what it means to be a mother at the consummation of such a vocation in the sacrifice of maternal rights under the cross, is the mystery of the coredemption wherein the full extent of perfect maternal mediation is revealed.[32]

The mediatory role of our Lady, before it is discussed as a role or exercise of a vocation, where the tendency is always to define in terms of present exercise, viz., in terms of the subjective redemption, must be discussed as a rank, so that operari is acknowledged to be rooted in esse. In the case of the Virgin Mother the perfection of her esse, or rank, is unique, above all others, something clearly indicated in her answer to St. Bernadette at Lourdes: "I am the Immaculate Conception."

At this point it becomes plain how closely theological analysis of the coredemption is intimately bound up with the question of the primary purpose of the Incarnation: the maximum glory of God or our redemption. Fr. Galot's approach in many ways is a development of the position laid down by Fr. Terrien in his classic treatment of the divine and spiritual maternity: the first is ordered to the second, because the Incarnation is primarily for the sake of the redemption, and for this reason the term Marian mediation is to be taken first in reference to her role in the subjective redemption.[33]

For the Franciscan-scotistic school just the opposite is the case. the lesser good, our redemption, is subordinated to the greater, indeed the greatest possible realization of the greatest glory of God, and therefore greatest enjoyment of God, in any world God might create. Now, the greatness of such glory concretely is attained in the Incarnation by way of the divine, virginal maternity, the instrument of that work, not only in the first, but in its final moment of historical achievement.

Thus, in the Franciscan school there is to be found a particular insistence on a double mediatory role on the part of our Lady: not only with Christ, the Redeemer, on our behalf within the economy of salvation already established (subjective redemption, dispensation of graces already won), but with God the Father in view of the Incarnation and praise of God in the perfect sacrifice. Thus she is: first born daughter of the Father and Mother of his Son, because she is by will of the Father and through the foreseen merits of his Son the Spouse of the Holy Spirit or Immaculate Conception. Or in the order of execution she is in herself the Immaculate, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, therefore Mother of the Son of God, therefore in the worship he offers his Father the acceptable and accepted first-born daughter of the Father.[34]

That is why her dispensation of all graces in the economy is unique and transcends in extent and effectiveness the mediation of any other saint. For it presupposes an active, yet subordinate part with her Son in effecting the economy itself as Mother of God and Coredemptrix, in turn possible because as Immaculate Mother of the Savior she is also his active associate in giving to the Father the greatest praise and glory possible on the part of creation. Being the "Immaculate Conception" she is that mysterious Woman, first expressly mentioned in Genesis 3:15 and then revealed in glory in Apoc 12:1, but who is also the exemplar of the Church, the Virgo facta Ecclesia, as this unique Mediatrix.[35]

b. Even if the majority of contemporary theologians, like Fr. Galot, tend in theory to dismiss the other approach which rests on this vision, nonetheless they do not close the door on it. For like Fr. Galot they insist that the uniqueness of Christ's mediation is not to be defined numerically, but in such wise as to include varying degrees of participation.

And so, it is still worthwhile to consider the point of departure associated with the names of Msgr. Lebon of Louvain and Fr. Charles Balic,[36] and in a particular way with St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, viz., to consider our Lady, as that Saint put it, included within the one redemptive work of Christ, rather than as one alongside him, in some way a potential threat to the unicity of his mediation.[37] Curiously, notwithstanding a certain thrust of his article in this very direction, Fr. Galot considers this approach very dubious, because it seems to obscure the position of Christ as one Mediator, and to make of our Lady a redemptress on a par with the Redeemer.[38]

Now this is to fail to take account of a very important observation of Fr. Balic and an even profounder insight of St. Maximilian. Admittedly, the exposition of Msgr. Lebon lends itself to such criticism, for it appears to define or at least does not state clearly why one should not use the con-causal model to define the relation of Christ and Mary in the one work of redemption.

But the Louvain theologian's exposition is neither complete, nor as is commonly thought original. It was a kind of relaunching of a tradition overlooked for the most part in the discussion of this central theme of mariological study in our day, viz., the Franciscan tradition as developed and expounded by such great Franciscan Scotists as Angelo Vulpes in the 17th and Carlos del Moral in the 18th centuries.[39] It is an exposition which stresses the absolute predestination of Christ and Mary in one and the same decree and which, with Bl. John Duns Scotus, finds in the absolute primacy of Christ and Mary the reason for calling this way of redeeming and saving us the most perfect of all divine options, one in which Mary, preserved from all taint of original sin in virtue of the foreseen merits of her Son and Savior, is the perfect fruit of a perfect redemption by a perfect Redeemer.[40]

Thereby, in a felicitous comment of St. Maximilian on the Marian antiphon for the office of the Passion composed by St. Francis, Mary becomes, not merely by sanctifying grace, but by the grace of the Immaculate Conception, firstborn daughter of the Father, Mother of his Son and Spouse of the Holy Spirit.[41]Her preservative redemption is the means of our liberation, because thereby she can be the Mother of the Redeemer at the Incarnation and our Mother as Coredemptrix, because our liberation from sin on Calvary is effected by her preservation, which there means coredemption. In a word: the one mediation of I Tim 2.5-6 includes both Redeemer and Coredemptrix of Jn 19,25-27, and is so reflected in the address of Jesus when he calls his Mother "Woman," viz., the Woman of Gen 3,15 or Coredemptrix and identifies her, therefore, to John as Mother. The spiritual maternity is rooted in the coredemption as the distinctive feature of a perfect Redemption by a perfect Redeemer, viz., the Incarnate Son of God via the virginal maternity.

This is but to elaborate the well-known axiom of St. Bonaventure:[42] the mode of the Incarnation is Marian, not only in its first moment, but in every moment, above all the last. That is why our actual redemption is the most perfect one possible in any possible world.

If Mary pertains intrinsically to the order of the hypostatic union, it is only logical to suggest with del Moral that she pertains intrinsically, as does no other person, to the order of his headship. The appropriateness of Del Moral's term "co-headship" (with Christ over the Church) may be argued, for according to some it implies an erroneous coordination of Mary with Christ. But whether this term or some other is employed, his essential point is valid: with Christ and under Christ Mary forms, in virtue of their joint predestination, a single redemptive personality. Hence, like him, she is a public person, viz., one capable of meriting not only for herself, but for others "de condigno." And if that merit is redemptive, she is Coredemptrix. We want to stress: Mary pertains in this unique way to the redemptive order in such wise as to merit condignly for others, because she pertains as no other to the order of the hypostatic union.

The present Holy Father has given a certain impetus to the development of the theology and devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, which articulates the mystery of this joint predestination, under the title: Alliance of the two Hearts.[43] Plainly there is here a reflection of the mystery to which the Ven. Pius IX refers in Ineffabilis Deus speaking of that "one and the same decree," whereby the Son of God is predestined to be Incarnate King and the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and Queen of angels and men. Surely this confirms the importance of not lightly dismissing as purely academic and non-devotional the discussion of the predestination of Jesus and Mary at the very center of the divine counsels of salvation.

The two approaches reflect two different ways of assessing the coredemption in relation to the redemption. When the coredemption is considered merely as distinct from the redemption, then it cannot but appear as secondary and accidental in comparison with the infinite value of the redemptive work of a divine person. But when it is situated within the divine plan of salvation willed by the Father, then it clearly appears what the sources of Revelation show it to be: by God's mercy an essential, though subordinate aspect of the objective redemption, without which the most perfect possible redemption could not be achieved in facto esse. [44]

Plainly with the first approach it is more difficult to give a final, apodictic defense of the coredemption, and pressed exclusively it becomes indistinguishable from the protestant principle of Christus solus. That is why it ought not to be the primary point of departure, but rather the second approach, or that of joint predestination as the foundation of the concept of perfect redemption admitted by all.

Part 2


1. Opening presentation from the International Mariological Symposium, "Maria Corredentrice" convened at Castelpetroso, Italy, Sept. 8-12, 1996. This international team of mostly European theologians, independent though complementary with the Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici movement, assembled for the purpose of a theological preparation for "a solemn definition of the maternal mediation of Mary Immaculate: Coredemptrix and Universal Mediatrix of all graces." - Ed.

2. From the Regula Bullata (Nov. 29, 1223) of St. Francis of Assisi. Cf. also his letter to St. Anthony of Padua, giving the Evangelical Doctor permission to teach theology (Opuscula S.P. Francisci Assisiensis, ed. C. Esser. Grottaferrata 1978, pp. 94,231,235-236). A connatural commentary on this phrase is found in St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium Mentis in Deum, prol. 4, and again in the writings of St. Maximilian in the material for a book on the Immaculate Conception, SK 1306. That the phrase had a strongly Marian context in St. Francis and St.Anthony is perfectly apparent from the Marian character of St.Anthony's theologizing. Cf. J. Schneider, OFM, Mariologishe Gedanken in den Predigten des Heiligen Antonius von Padua (Werl 1984).

3. For the scotistic provenance of this axiom, its importance and its misrepresenatation by critics of Scotus, see R. Rosini, OFM, Mariologia del beato Giovanni Duns Scoto (Castelpetroso 1994) p. 80, note 16.

4. The classic study of this theme in the Seraphic Doctor is still that of L. DiFonzo, OFMConv., Doctrina Sancti Bonaventurae De Universali Mediatione B. Virginis Mariae (Romae 1938).

5. This concept of theology is explained briefly by the Seraphic Doctor in the Itinerarium Mentis in Deum, ch 1, 7, and at greater length in Christus Unus Omnium Magister. There that concept is shown to derive from Christ, the One Master: the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It provides, inter alia, the evident basis for correlating the three definitions of theology as an intellectual exercise found in his major writings: theology as the study of Sacred Scripture (in relation to the symbolic mode); theology as the use of reason to reflect on the truths of faith (in the proper mode qua intellectual activity); and theology for the sake of contemplation (in relation to the mystical mode). The first two definitions are found in the Breviloquium, respectively in the prologue and in part I, ch. 1; the third in I Sent., proem. q. 3. The connatural link between doctrine-theology on the one hand and contemplation on the other, particularly a contemplation "marianized," is consistently downplayed or denied by those inclined to disbelieve in the Coredemption: either in holding that contemplation has no bearing on theological demonstration, or that piety is not conditioned by doctrine. In a word, this disbelief reflects current pragmatism, a pragmatism which is revealed to be anti-Marian, to the degree our theology is shown to have an in­built Marian mode. Reflection on the Coredemption along the lines of the three modes of theology here proposed helps to illustrate this: the virgin birth as the great sign of faith (symbolic mode); Immaculate Virgin as instrument of the Holy Spirit in giving the gift of understanding (proper mode); the oblation of the Virgin Coredemptrix on Calvary and during the Eucharist (the contemplative mode). Whoever reads with this in mind what the Seraphic Doctor says about the Eucharist and theology in Christus unus omnium Magister will immediately see the link with what he says about the oblation of the Virgin Mother at the Annunciation, at the Presentation and above all on Calvary in Collationes de septem donis Spiritus Sancti, c.VI. In this regard one may read with profit B. Madariaga, OFM, La Filosofia al Interior del la Teologia (Madrid: 1961).

6. For the Latin text of which this is a commentary cf. I Sent, proem. Q 3.

7.Cf. St. Francis of Assisi, Salute to the Virgin (K. Esser, Die Opuscula des hl. Franziskus von Assisi, Grottaferrata 1976, p. 418). The oldest manuscripts of the Salute give this reading, so expressive of the mystery of Mary in the Church (Cana in the Gospels, Portiuncula in the topography of Franciscan spirituality). Readings more familiar in the past substituted "semper virgo" for this phrase, not unrelated to the thought of Francis, since the perpetual virginity of the Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit, both at Bethlehem and at Calvary (Theotokos and Coredemptrix) provide the distinctive ratio for calling Mary in the Church Virgo facta Ecclesia.

8. J.B.Carol, OFM, De Corredemptione Beatae Virginis Mariae Disquisitio positiva (Civitas Vaticana 1950), pp. 589 ss; 620-621. Cf. PD. Fehlner, "Fr. Juniper B.Carol, OFM: His Mariology and Scholarly Achievement", in Marian Studies 43 (1992) p 29.

9. G. Baraúna, OFM, De natura corredemptionis marianae in theologia hodierna (1921­1958) (Romae 1960) [= Bibliotheca Mediationis B.VMariae, 2], pp. 156-158. Cf. also the assessment of J. De Aldama, SJ, "Mariologia" in Sacrae Theologiae Summa (Madrid 1953) 422 (as regards the fact); 427,431 (as regards various aspects of the Coredemption).

10. Cf. B. Gherardini, La Madre. Maria in una sintesi storico-teologica (Frigento: 1989) p. 300.

11. J. Galot, SJ, "Maria: Mediatrice o Madre Universale?" in La Civilta Cattolica 1996 1232-244. Cf, also his earlier article:"Maria, Corredentrice. Controversie e problemi dottrinali" in La Civiltà Cattolica 1994 111 213-225. B. Gherardini, La Madre... pp. 300-301, makes substantially the same assessment. The comment of R. Laurentin reported in L'Avvenire d'Italia (Aug. 23, 1996, p. 13), namely, that since Vatican II has described Mary's wondrous share in the work of Christ biblically, and since the terms "coredemptrix, mediatrix and advocate" are not biblical, it is no longer useful or licit to employ them, is strangely reminiscent of Arian objections to "homoousious," Nestorian objections to "Theotokos," and Protestant objections to any traditional terminology, not found exactly such in Scripture. On such grounds neither the Immaculate Conception nor Assumption should have been defined.

12. Cf. A.B. Calkins, "The Heart of Mary as Coredemptrix in the Magisterium of Pope John Paul II" in S. Tommaso Teologo: Ricerche in occasione dei due centenari accademici (Città del Vaticano 1995) 320-335. The remarks of Gherardini, La Madre, pp. 262ss, must be revised in the light of Fr. Calkins' research. Indeed, the widespread impression among Catholics, including clergy, that use of the title Coredemptrix is "out," and what is worse open insinuations that those who promote its use or work for a solemn definition somehow are opening the door to "mariolatry," is clearly without foundation, and a reflection of a non­Catholic Marian minimalism.

13. English version: L'Osservatore Romano, Nov. 1, 1995, p 11.

14. Cf., for instance, the views of S. De Fiores, set forth in a long article "Mariologia/ Marialogia" in Nuovo Dizionario di Mariologia 891-920. The cultural relativism shaping this writer's theology is even more evident in his conference: "Come presentare oggi la spiritualità di s. Massimiliano Kolbe," at the International Kolbean Congress in Poland, 1994. The same assumptions are to be found in another conference at that same congress: S.C.Napiorkowski: "Esperienze delle persone e delle communità cristiane come fonte di teologia."

15. Cf. Collationes in Hexaemeron, cc 13-19. One of the best known, but not the only commentary on this theme in the Seraphic Doctor is that of J. Ratzinger, Die Geschichtstheologie des Heiligen Bonaventura (Munich 1959 - translations in various languages). Not all would concede such influence as does the Cardinal to Abbot Joachim of Fiore in the formation of St. Bonaventure's theory. Cf. the conference of PD.Fehlner,"St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, Man of the Millenium, p 2, note 2, at the first national Kolbean Congress of Irpinia (Frigento 1995), to be published in the Acts of the Congress.

16.  Col. in Hex., c. 14, 17

17. B1. John Duns Scotus, III Sent d 3, q 1.The scotistic notion of perfect Redemption with textual references is given by R. Rosin, OFM, Mariologia..., pp 80­100. For St. Thomas, cf. S.T. I, q. 25, a. 6, ad 4. For the manner in which St. Maximilian draws on both Doctors, cf. PD.Fehlner, "The Immaculate Conception: Outer Limits of Love" in Miles Immaculatae 25 (1989) 537-547.

18.  Cf. St. Bonaventure, Collationes in Hexaemeron, I, in particular n. 17; and Itinerarium, in particular ch 5, with the notes to this chapter and scholion by the Quaracchi editors.

19. As contrasted with the theologia necessaria, or simply theology, i.e., of the Trinity. Cf. BI. John Duns Scotus, Ordinatio, prol. part III. The scotistic discussion of the object of theology gives summarily terminological precision to the views of the Seraphic Doctor, whose position reflects the distinction of the Greek Fathers between theology and economy, a position evidently the basis for St. Irenaeus' theory of recapitulation. The source of this approach, to be found in the theological method used by the Savior to instruct His disciples (cf. Luke 24,27), is made plain in the relation of the economy to the Trinity (cf. Jn 16, 28-30).

20. For texts of St. Bonaventure: cf. Breviloquium, prol; Col. in Hex., cc 13-19.

21. Cf. Carol, De Corredemptione, pars prima, pp. 73 ss. Insufficient attention has been given to the importance of the first two chapters of Genesis for mariology in general and the mystery of the Coredemption in particular. In regard to evolution and the origin of the human body: those who deny the direct, miraculous intervention of the Creator in the formation of Adam's body are prone to deny the miraculous character of the conception and birth of the new Adam, Christ, of the Virgin Mother. And those who deny the Virgin Birth evidently are inclined to find support for their naturalism by denying the literal, historical character of the Genesis account of Adam's formation from the virgin earth in favor of some "natural, evolutionary process."

22. Ineffabilis Deus, Introductory paragraph: conclusion.

23. Cf. Galot, "Maria: Mediatrice o Madre Universale?"

24.Gherardini, La Madre, p. 267, introduces a novel approach to the distinction of objective and subjective Redemption, not in terms of the historical work of Christ in establishing a salvific economy as distinct from the subsequent implementation of that work in the Church, but in terms of what is exclusively divine operation (objective Redemption) and of a created agent (subjective Redemption), in which Mary is called Coredemptrix because she offers the highest form of cooperation. The novelty of the approach seems to obscure the central issue in the dispute over the Coredemption: does anyone, other than the Redeemer, actively contribute, with and under Him, to the completion of the historical work of Redemption.

25. Gherardini, La Madre, p. 313, considers the scotistic position as that of an "insignificant" minority. The good Monsignor will surely understand if a scotist should think of himself as belonging to a school of theology something more than "insignificant" in the history of Catholic theology.

26 Cf. St. Thomas, S.T. III, 26, 1, where the Angelic Doctor says the problem of mediation is not a question of number, but of role; and the commentary of B. Gherardini, La Madre... pp 288 ss; 307.

27. Galot, "Maria: Mediatrice o Madre Universale?", p 237.

28. Cf. G.V Bradley, "A Mariology Too High" in Catholic Dossier 2 (May-June 1996) 40, reporting the views of Sister Mary O'Neill, RSM. In the same source cf. also the article of M. Hauke, "Mother of God or Domesticated Goddess? Mary in Feminist Theology," pp. 34-38.

29. Cf. J.B.Carol, OFM, Why Jesus Christ? Thomistic, Scotistic and Conciliatory Perspectives (Manasses,VA 1986), for a detailed overview of these questions, and in particular what role questions touching the salvation of the angels play in a general theory of Redemption and its relation to the purpose of the Incarnation.

30. Galot, "Maria: Mediatrice o Madre Universale?": pp 241-242. Fr. Galot holds that our Lord in Jn 19,26 refers expressly only to the spiritual maternity, not to the mediation of Mary. R. Laurentin, A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary (Washington, NJ: 1991) pp 257-258, concurs. But the general tenor of the encyclical Redemptoris Mater of Pope John Paul II appears to favor rooting Mary's spiritual maternity in her mediation: she is mother because mediatrix, and mediatrix in order to be mother, first of God, then of the Church and of the faithful. Vatican II spoke only of the "maternal help" of Mary (Lumen Gentium 62); the Pope advances the discussion by employing a new term, maternal mediation, to underscore the essential relation between Coredemption and distribution of graces (cf. RM 21-24; 38 ss). For a contrary evaluation of RM cf. Msgr. Gherardini, La Madre...301-303.

31. B. Gherardini, La Madre..., p. 298, rightly notes that the two approaches reflect those taken respectively by the Belgian and Spanish commissions established by Pius XI to investigate the possibility of a definition of the mediation of Mary. (The texts of these commissions were published in Marianum 47 [1985].) The Belgian commission, under the leadership of Msgr. Lebon, sought to define the spiritual maternity on the basis of the Virgin's place in the plan of universal salvation; whereas the Spanish group sought to define the mediation on the basis of her maternity. Msgr. Gherardini appears to favor the approach associated with the Spaniards. J.-B. Terrien, SJ, La Mere des Hommes (Paris 1902) also uses the concept of spiritual motherhood as a basis for asserting her mediation. Cf. the introduction to the 1951 reprint, pp (39) ss. The distinctive approaches seem also to reflect different accents in formulating the primary principle of mariology: one stressing the concept of Immaculate Mediatrix and preservative Redemption (St. Bonaventurre, Scotists in general and St. Maximilian in particular -(cf. E. Piacentini, OFMConv., "L'Immaculata Concezione primo principio della mariologia" (Rome 1994) and those who place the accent on maternity (e.g., Gherardini, La Madre... pp. 25ss, who believes it to be the mind of St. Thomas). The insights and limitations of each approach illustrate the one mystery of the Virgo-Mater, should the supernatural character of Mary's maternity be explained in reference to the unique virginity, or the supernatural character of her virginity defined in reference to the maternity?

32. The link between spiritual maternity (distribution of all graces after the consummation of the redemptive work by Jesus) and a prior maternal mediation culminating in the offering of the Coredemptrix becomes even more evident in any discussion of the nature of that spiritual maternity: metaphorical or proper, or indirect (mere intercession, like that of the other saints) or direct and immediate influence on the recipients of grace, above all sanctifying grace. Contemporary use of the categories of physical and moral causality to differentiate the two positions is not entirely satisfactory.

For in the middle ages the champions of meritorious causality (the Franciscan school generally) did not understand this to be indirect and merely intercessory, but with exemplary causality a form of efficient causality on the part of creatures (viz., that of images) more perfect than the "physical" (characteristic of vestiges), but less perfect than the causal influence of the Creator. Thus, for Scotus the "efficient" causality exercised by Adam as head of the human family in the transmission of original sin is primarily moral (demeritorious) rather than physiological. So, too, in the maternity of Mary, the spiritual or moral factor takes precedence over the visible, whether this be physiological as with the divine maternity or sacramental as with the spiritual maternity.

In any case, so conceiving the problematic it is possible to show how the merit of Mary culminates in condign satisfaction subordinate to that of Christ and how that "meritorious" causality as ordained by the salvific counsels of God leaves a direct impress on her children and explains why the spiritual maternity is a motherhood in the proper, not merely metaphorical sense. Significantly, St. Bonaventure in disucssing the causal relation between Christ's predestination and ours (III Sent d 11, a 1, q. 3) explains this in terms of immediate meritorious causality which he distinguishes as "dispositive" in contrast to "efficient" (or physical) and "stimulative" (exemplary). Plainly, merit de digno need not be considered merely a type of congruent merit, but condign as well, nor need meritorious influence be merely indirect as with the example of intercession so frequently given to exemplify what is meant by it.

Dispositive and stimulative causality rest ultimately on the validity of St. Bonaventure's metaphysical exemplarism and divine illumination, both intellectual and moral, so closely related to his definition of mediation outside the Trinity. Both are rooted in his Christocentrism; and because his doctrine of the Incarnation presupposes that of the Trinity, his notion of meritorious causality in the economy of salvation and of the conditions for its possibility in creatures: above all sanctifying grace whose source is a vital union with Christ the head, defines practically what is required for a creature to act in the mode characteristic of a divine person. As creatures cannot come forth from God without the mediation of the Word in the Holy Spirit, so there can be no full return (at the level of similitude) except through the Word made flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit. Cf. B.Apperibay, OFM, "Cristologia mistica de San Buenaventura" in Obras de San Buenaventura, vol.11 (Madrid 1947) pp. 4-93; M. Oromí, OFM, "Filosofia ejemplarista de San Buenaventura" in Obras de San Buenaventura III (Madrid 1947) pp 3-138; and the following introduction to the Collationes in Hexaemeron pp 141-175. In Scotus similar views are articulated in terms of metaphysical essentialism, at root a development of bonaventurian positions. Cf. M. Oromi, Introductión a la filosofia esencialista (Madrid 1961)

33. J B.Terrien, La Mère de Dieu et la Mère des Hommes (Paris 1902). Cf in particular the introduction to the reedition of 1950, vol. I, part 1.

34. Cf. St. Francis of Assisi, Antiphon for Office of the Passion (K.Esser, Die Opuscula des hl. Franziskus von Assisi, Grottaferrata 1976, p. 339): "Sancta Maria Virgo, non est tibi similis nata in mundo in mulieribus, filia et ancilla summa Patris caelestis, mater sanctissimi Domini nostri lesu Christi, sponsa Spiritus Sancti..." The association of the titles "filia" and "ancilla" in reference to the Father neatly expresses the double finality of the Incarnation and what this implies in reference to the Father in the economy of salvation.

35. The traditional exemplaristic metaphysics of the Franciscan school (cf. the commentaries cited in note 31. above) is most useful in elucidating the myterious figure of the Woman of Revelation who at Lourdes defined herself as the "Immaculate Conception. For an instance of this type of reflection in respect to the mystery of the Assumption and the Church cf. St. Bonaventure, Sermo I de Assumptione B. VM.: "In horum omnium vertice beata Virgo mons praeparatus dicitur, quia quidquid illis (aliis sanctis omnibus) est promissum et revelatum, hoc est in ea impletum; et quidquid gratiae in illus influxit, ab ipsa et per ipsam derivavit;" and Sermo V de Assumptione B.VM.: "Quidquid enim dignitatis et gloriae istis partialiter est collatum, sacrae Virgin integraliter est concessum." In the hierarchical vision of the universe so typical of the Seraphic Doctor the unique mediation of the "one Mediator" does not exclude, but recapitulates that of the lower orders. In this recapitulation the Virgin Mother occupies a unique place under Christ, transcending that of any other created order, angelic or ecclesial.

36. K. Balic, OFM, "Die sekundare Mittlerschaft der Gottesmutter. Hat Maria die Verdienste Christi de condigno für uns mitverdient?"in Wissenschaft and Weisheit 4 (1937) 1-22. Cf. Fehlner, "J.B.Carol; His Mariology...," pp. 23-24.

37. SK 603: "Non bisogna cercare il Re (Gesù) vicino al palazzo (Maria), ma dentro, assai dentro, nell'interno del sale". CK 25 April, 1937 (Conference): "Noi dobbiamo cercare Gesù attraverso Lei e non in altro luogo, ma solo in Lei. Noi passiamo con una all'altro, non da una all'altro." It is clear that the Saint does not here deny, but supposes the mediation of Mary: through her to Jesus. He places it, however, in a traditional Franciscan context, that of the joint predestination of Jesus and Mary, ultimately reflecting the relation of the missions of the Son and Holy Spirit. Thus, once united to Jesus through Mary, we pass in her to Jesus and in Jesus to her, and so to the Father, because through her mediation we are consecrated or transubstantiated into her. The radical doctrinal foundation for his promotion of the Immaculate Mediatrix under the form of a spiritual Militia is surely to be located in this mystery of the joint predestination of King and Queen, which already in his infancy he had experienced through an apparition of the Queen of heaven [and of Poland], Our Lady of the Assumption, offering him two crowns, eventually to be won via a sharing in the purity and the suffering of the Immaculate Coredemptrix. Cf. the general overview of his mariology in E. Piacentini, OFMConv., Dottrina Mariologica del P Massimiliano Kolbe (Roma 1971). Does Redemptoris Mater, n. 21, support the position of St. Maximilian? The passage is part of a commentary on the nuptuals at Cana and reads thus: "She puts herself 'in the middle,' that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother."

38. Galot, "Maria Corredentrice...," p. 223.

39. Fr.Balic makes this very point: cf, "Die secundäre Mittlerschaft der Gottesmutter." This approach to Marian mediation was never entirely absent from mariology during the period between Moral and its partial reproposal by Belgian theologians at the time of the Brussels Congress of 1921. It is clearly found in the work, for instance, of A. Nicolas, La Vierge Marie et le plan divin, 4 vols. (first published 1856), a work with which St. Maximilian was most familiar. The other basic approach, the one followed by Fr. Galot, which argues from maternity to mediation rather than from mediation to maternity, finds a classic formulation in the work of J.-B.Terrien, SJ, La Mère de Dieu et la Mère des Hommes, 4 vols. (first published in 1902, reprinted in 1951 with an important introduction). St. Maximilian was quite familiar with this work as well.

40. On the various possibilities of redemptive merit, not the most perfect, according to Scotus, cf. Rosin, Mariologia..., ch. 3, art. 1, on the mediation of Mary, passim.

41 The observation is made more than once, and sometimes expressly in reference to the Coredemption: cf. SK 1224, 1229, 1284, 1310, 1318, 1326.

42 Breviloquium p. IV, ch 3.

43. Cf. the Angelus discourse, Sept. 15, 1985, for the feast of the Seven Dolors. Text in Miles Immaculatae 22 (1986) pp 5-6. For the international congress on the alliance cf. Miles Immaculatae 23 (1987) pp 178-179. For the theology of the alliance cf. A.B.Calkins, "The Alliance of the Two Hearts and Consecration" in Miles Immaculatae 31 (1995) 389-407.

44. Cf. the excellent exposition of S. Manelli, FFI, La Corredenzione Mariana (Castelpetroso 1996) p. 9. Corresponding to Fr. Manelli's distinction of two ways is that of Fr. Galot between two modes of ascribing congruent merit to our Lady: first as Coredemptrix distinct from the Redeemer, and second as Coredemptrix cooperating in the most perfect way possible in the divine plan of Redemption. In the first case we affirm "congruent" merit, for this is simply a way of saying that Christ might have redeemed us alone. In the second instance we affirm something more than "congruent" merit, because not to do so is to fail to acknowledge how the Redemption in fact occurred. In underlining the crucial factor of the divine salvific will as a starting point for our assessment of the fact and possibility of a Coredemption, Fr. Manelli also reminds us of object and method of the "theologia contingentium" of Scotus, or study of the economy of salvation in the Fathers. We see why in opposing the Scotistic thesis on the primary purpose of the Incarnation and the Immaculate Conception, Calvin and his disciples were merely repudiating the foundations of a Catholic soteriology, viz., one including the Coredemption. A "Christus solus" soteriology is in fact a false Christocentrism, anti-trinitarian in its logic. Hence, it has always been followed historically by unitarianism, or some other form of pantheistic naturalism.

Part 2

The above paper first appeared in Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D., (ed.), Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, Theological Foundations II: Papal, Pneumatological, Ecumenical (Goleta, CA: Queenship Publishing Company, 1997)

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