Discomfort With the Mother of God

Firstly, let me assure you I’m not Protestant: what the Church has said about Mary, I believe. After all, it is not I, but the Church, which is the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15).  And if the Church says it, and the Church is true (which she most certainly is), then I must defend whatever is said by her. And so I will. But, it’s not all easy. I’ve repeatedly found myself feeling uncomfortable with certain claims made about Mary and I want to know if I’m alone in my discomfort. Granted, it wouldn’t matter: what the Church says is what goes. Still, companionship in suffering is a pleasant thing.

Mary is the mother of God, not just the human nature which Jesus possesses. Got it, thanks.

Mary has a subordinate role of mediation as the “Mediatrix of all Graces”. Alright, I’ll roll with that. Christ is still the fountain of grace, she’s just a spout through which it gets to us.

Mary is sinless. Makes sense. Who better to bring God into the world than someone undefiled?

Mary is Co-Redemptrix. ….?

That’s where the trouble starts for me. Perhaps the biggest issue is that, in reading about that last one, I haven’t been able to find a clear statement of exactly what being a co-redemptrix implies. As the title stands currently, it looks to be saying that she is a redeemer-with, one who redeems alongside. And then I’ve heard other people make it much less daunting by saying it simply means “woman with the redeemer” since the Redeemer was in her womb for a while. To me, just observing the word co-redemptrix, the latter option looks unlikely. There’s a third thing I’ve heard though, too, and that is that she can be called “co-redemptrix” because she said “yes” to Gabriel and thereby started turning the wheels of the Redemptive process. But which of these three is it?

Now if Mary suffered with Christ, it would definitely have to be in a subordinate way. That’s obvious from stuff I’ve read, from common sense, Church teaching, Scripture, etc… If you wanna say she suffered in a way subordinate to Christ’s, yet unique enough that she alone, and not others, could merit such a title, that’s fine. But to me the title as it is doesn’t do a good job conveying that and makes her seem a bit too…dare I say…exalted?

Now bear in mind this is not an infallibly defined teaching of the Church, though many people are pushing for it to be. And if it is, I’ll throw my complaints in the garbage disposal. The Church knows better than I do. But if anyone reads this who knows, for certain, what Mary’s being a “co-redemptrix” implies, can you please comment and tell me? I’m sure that if it’s explained well all ill feelings will cease (as, for example, when I was told we “worship” Mary, only to find out it meant hyperdulia and not latria, the second of which is due to God only and is the common use of “worship”).

May is the month of Mary. Ah, how controversial she can be.

May God bless you, and may His mom give you her prayers,

Michael

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4 thoughts on “Discomfort With the Mother of God”

  1. I’d say it’s the third suggestion you made. Like a co-pilot is to the pilot — he takes part, but he’s not the main event. But you can see there’s a reason the Church hasn’t infallibly defined that Mary is the “co-redemptrix” — it’s a word that could very easily be misunderstood.

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  2. I understand it much like Sheila does. Does she, or does not, play a part in our redemption? The “co” in co-redemptrix does not have to imply that her role is equal to His; just that she plays some role. The Bible says we’re co-heirs with Christ. Does this mean we inherit everything to the same degree He does? I’m sure there are other examples where “co” is used for an inequal partnership, but I just can’t think of any at the moment.

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  3. Let me add a bit here. In the writings of the church Fathers and through the deposit of faith, Mary is the new Eve, the Mother of the Church and Jesus is the new Adam our savior. So, just as the first Adam and Eve sinned together and tied mankind in the knot of sin through disobedience, so it was necessary for the knot to be untied by both Mary and Jesus through odedience. I find the idea of Cooperation with to more in line in”comply with a request” or to ” work together toward the same end.”
    Also, think of the Communion of Saints who continue thier prayes for us.
    If we are cooperating with God then we too are aiding in the redemption of the world’ “This is a wicked and perverse generation but you lives should redeem it.” Can’t find the exact verse or wording but I think that is pretty close. Mary’s whole liffe was a YES to the will of God. I am honored to call her co-redemptrix and my Mother.

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    1. This Cooperation definitely makes sense, and I agree with that. I also think Mary’s role in our salvation is to bring us to Jesus. She does not want to be lifted higher in our minds than God…she was a human, and God is God Almighty. Mary is such a humble woman, and beautiful example because she was Human, yet she earned favor with God.

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