From the website Catholic.Org comes this explanation of what is meant by the title Co-Redemptrix as applied to Mary, the Mother of Jesus:

In his helpful Introduction to Mary: The Heart of Marian Doctrine and Devotion, Deacon Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D., Professor of Theology and Mariology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, offers a valuable explanation of this term. "The title, "Co-redemptix," refers to Mary's unique participation with and under her Divine Son Jesus Christ, in the historic Redemption of humanity. The prefix, "Co," comes from the Latin "cum," which means "with." The title of Coredemptrix applied to the Mother of Jesus never places Mary on a level of equality with Jesus Christ, the divine Lord of all, in the saving process of humanity's Redemption. Rather, it denotes Mary's singular and unique sharing with her Son in the saving work of Redemption for the human family. The Mother of Jesus participates in the redemptive work of her Savior Son, who alone could reconcile humanity with the Father in his glorious divinity and humanity."

Deacon Miravalle states:

"Mary uniquely participated in the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary and in the acquisition of the graces of Redemption for humanity

And Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical On the Mystical Body, confirmed that:

Mary offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father, together with the holocaust of her maternal rights and her motherly love, like a New Eve for all children of Adam.

The apostle Paul, deeply concerned that the Corinthians were being deceived away from undiluted devotion to Christ, wrote:

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. - 2 Corinthians 11:1-4

"Sincere and pure devotion to Christ" here in the ESV is sometimes rendered "simplicity towards Christ" (ASV), "simplicity that is in the Christ" (YLT) or "sincere [and pure] commitment to Christ" (NABRE).

While some take the meaning to refer to an uncomplicated presentation of the Gospel message and some decry doctrinal teaching as muddying the "simple Gospel" the idea actually appears to refer not to some quality in Christ (although He exemplified simplicity as explained below towards the Father) or in the Gospel message itself but to us:

It is not simplicity in Christ, but towards Christ of which the Apostle is speaking; not a quality in Him, but a quality in us towards Him. - MacLaren's Expositions

This seems well in keeping with the apostles concern that anything (in the immediate context, the teachings of the Judiezers) be received as an admixture to what Christ has done in redemption.

MacLaren goes on further to describe the word picture intended in the Greek haplotēs (ἁπλότης):

To be ‘without a fold,’ which is the meaning of the Greek word and of its equivalent ‘simplicity,’ is, in one aspect, to be transparently honest and true, and in another to be out and out of a piece. There is no underside of the cloth, doubled up beneath the upper which shows, and running in the opposite direction; but all tends in one way. A man with no under-currents, no by-ends, who is down to the very roots what he looks, and all whose being is knit together and hurled in one direction, without reservation or back-drawing, that is the ‘simple’ man whom the Apostle means.

Catholicism currently holds 4 Marian dogmas (from Wikipedia):

  1. Mother of God - 1st magisterial definition, Council of Ephesus, 431 AD
  2. Perpetual Virginity - wikipedia has the 1st magisterial definition as (one of the?) Synod of Milan (345, 355, 389, 451, 860), but the University of Dayton lists the Fifth Ecumenical Council held at Constantinople in 553
  3. Immaculate Conception - 1st magisterial definition, Pope Pius IX, 1854
  4. Assumption in Heaven - 1st magisterial definition, Pope Pius XII, 1950

Of the four dogmas the latter two are relatively recent, at least in terms of their formal definition and acquisition of dogmatic status. An article in the National Catholic Register on Pope Francis' spontaneous remarks regarding the Marian title "co-redemptix" during a Dec. 12 2019 Vatican Mass explains the evolution of these latter two dogmatic statements as being the results of massive "people of God petition drives". This appears in the context of a current, worldwide, and century old "people of God petition drive" to introduce a fifth Marian Dogma, namely Mary's Spiritual Motherhood of All People:

The century-old international movement for a proposed fifth Marian dogma of Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood (which necessarily includes her foundational roles as Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces) was started by the renowned Belgian cardinal, Cardinal Désiré Mercier, in 1915, and by 1918, Pope Benedict XV has received hundreds of other cardinal and bishop petitions for the solemn papal definition or “dogma” of Mary’s relationship with humanity as a “mother to us in the order of grace” as delineated by the Second Vatican Council (Lumen Gentium, 61).But over the course of the last 100 years, it has especially been the holy People of God who, as an expression of the sensus fidelium, the common consensus of the faithful, have prayed and petitioned the various popes for this dogmatic crowning for Our Lady. Over the past 25 years, the People of God from over 170 countries have sent over 8 million petitions to the Holy See for this dogmatic crowning for Our Lady. This contemporary movement of the Christian faithful has constituted a massive worldwide “People of God petition drive” to recent pontiffs, which follows the Church precedent of the past petition drives from the laity that successfully led to the last two Marian dogmas of the Immaculate Conception (1854) and the Assumption (1950).

The following is from CRUX: Taking the Catholic Pulse:

ROME — Pope Francis appeared to flatly reject proposals in some theological circles to add “co-redemptrix” to the list of titles of the Virgin Mary, saying the mother of Jesus never took anything that belonged to her son, and calling the invention of new titles and dogmas “foolishness.”

“She never wanted for herself something that was of her son,” Francis said. “She never introduced herself as co-redemptrix. No. Disciple,” he said, meaning that Mary saw herself as a disciple of Jesus.

Mary, the pope insisted, “never stole for herself anything that was of her son,” instead “serving him. Because she is mother. She gives life.”

“When they come to us with the story of declaring her this or making that dogma, let’s not get lost in foolishness [in Spanish, tonteras],” he said.

How does the petitioning for a new Dogmatic definition, which necessarily includes the naming of Mary as "co-redemptix", to the highest levels of Roman Catholic authority, "grass-roots" style from the laity, exemplify and encourage simplicity and purity of commitment towards Christ (sole-mediator between God and man), especially when the current Pope appears to reject the notion, calling her a disciple?

  • 2
    Just in case there is any misconceptions concerning this subject matter, the Church has never made this a dogma of faith. As such their is a lot of theological speculation involved here. Rome has never pronounced on this definitively. This question seems to be more of theological speculation and opinion until that time, when Rome decides to definite it, if ever, with clarity. Even though some Catholics employ the title of Mary as Co-Redemptrix or Mediatrix of all graces, I will wait for a solid pronouncement from the Teaching Magisterium before making an answer here.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 21:21
  • The faithful may petition Rome to define this as a doctrine. That is their prerogative which emulates from their theological opinions.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 22:10
  • @KenGraham I am well aware that this idea has not, as yet, received a magisterial definition but the idea is strongly out there and has been gaining influence for the last 100 years or so...hence the question. Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 22:30
  • Thus you want a theological opinion based answer that could in some way be at odds with some future definitive Papal Pronouncement on this subject. Wait a hundred years and it may be defined. No speculation needed then. In any event, I think this question would be better if shortened.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


How does the petitioning for a new Dogmatic definition, which necessarily includes the naming of Mary as "co-redemptix", to the highest levels of Roman Catholic authority, "grass-roots" style from the laity, exemplify and encourage simplicity and purity of commitment towards Christ (sole-mediator between God and man), especially when the current Pope appears to reject the notion, calling her a disciple?

The petition for the Fifth Marian Dogma are three titles, the Mediatrix and Advocate are already in the Catechism, only the title Co-Redemptrix needs further acceptable definition.

969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."(Lumen Gentium 62)

The title Advocate and Mediatrix already part of the Lumen Gentium teachings, a Dogmatic Constitution of the Church.If the petitioner only seek the two titles, then we can see that there will no longer obstacle in proclaiming this as Fifth Marian Dogma.

The title that lacks Dogmatic definition is the Co-Redemptrix, but the succeeding Catechism defined it already as "sharing in the Priesthood of Christ"..

970 "Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it."513 "No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source."514

We can see in CCC970. the Catechism already is defining the role of the ministers the Sacramental Priesthood and the faithful or the Baptismal Priesthood taken from 1Peter2:9.

Not only the Sacramental Priest can offer a pleasing sacrifice to God, but all the faithful can share in the Priesthood of Christ by virtue of the Sacraments of Baptism, all baptized are Royal Priesthood. And St.Paul teaches in Collosians, that all can offer or share in the sufferings of Christ, in a way, all of the baptized are co-redeemer.

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church. (Collosians1:24)

If all the baptized, are called to be sharer or co-redeemer, a royal priesthood as part of the Mystical Body of Christ the Church, what more is the Mary the Mother of the Church?

That's why we can see Pope Pius XII words is the key to understanding Mary as the Co-Redemptrix, because She is not only the Mother of the Church, She is also as a perfect disciple of Christ can offer Her sufferings, Her sorrows as a pleasing sacrifice to God.

Mary offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father, together with the holocaust of her maternal rights and her motherly love, like a New Eve for all children of Adam.(Pope Pius XII)

While the baptismal priesthood allowed us to offer our own sufferings united to Christ, At Calvary which is a Mass according to Pope Francis. https://opusdei.org/en-ph/article/the-mass-means-repeating-calvary/

Mary offered Jesus Himself to the Eternal Father at the Foot of the Cross. This is the highest form of sacrifice and Mary is the one who had offered it to the Eternal Father at the very hour that Jesus is Agonizing at the Cross.

The Divine Mercy prayer perhaps came from the very lips of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Foot of the Cross;

Eternal Father I offer thee the body,blood,soul & divinity of your beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world."

How about the words of Pope Francis? It seems he is not favoring the petition on Mary's additional title. Let us remember, the title Advocate and Mediatrix already have a Dogmatic definition, the objection that Pope Francis is referring to most probably the Co-Redemptrix, which I doubt, Pope Francis mean it that way. I think it is safe to say, that Pope Francis is not seeing the Holy Spirit moving in that direction yet and the Movement needs to pray for, as Pope Francis is docile to the voice of the Holy Spirit like what the Woman Movement asking Pope Francis to look into Woman Diaconate which Pope Francis easily gives positive support. The group that pushing the approval of the petition on the Fifth Marian Dogma needs more prayer and wait for God's perfect timing. And I'm sure, this Co-Redemptrix title is moving now even at the US Congress, uttering the words, "Amen and a-Woman", accidentally or mystically?

"Mary Virgin Priest, pray for us."(St.Pius X, 1905)

  • How does the title of Mary as Co-Redemptrix exemplify or encourage simplicity towards Christ? How does this post answer the question?
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 5:15
  • The simplicity can be seen in this way, that Mary together with the faithful are co-redeemer with Jesus Christ the Redeemer. Since, Mary are higher than all creatures even of all the angels combined, She is co-redeemer or Co-Redemptrix in the highest rank, because She is the one who offered Jesus the Redeemer to the Eternal Father at the Foot of the Cross. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 5:25
  • @KenGraham Sometimes spoon feeding is not good, the reader must think deeper. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 5:48
  • You wrote quoting St. Pius X, "Mary Virgin Priest". Isn't that a contradiction to established Catholic teaching of only male priests? Maybe another question.
    – SLM
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 19:41

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