News – L’Osservatore Romano Breaks Five Year Silence on Coredemption

By August 4, 2007Coredemption, News

Ave Maria!

In the Tuesday-Wednesday, July 30-31 Italian Edition of the L’Osservatore Romano on page 4 an article appeared called Enamored of The Virgin by Fr. Giovanni Velocci which gave a strong promotion of Marian Coredemption and Mediation of all Graces. This breaks a five year silence on the issue and … is so resoundingly positive.

Based on St. Alphnoses de Ligouri’s The Glories of Mary Fr. Velocci argues on a thomistic basis relating and conjoining Mary’s participation in the redemption to her Divine Maternity and specifically as Mother of the Redeemer. Here are my rough translations of excerpts from the Italian:

In his treatment Liguori develops two prerogatives above all, which he uses as a foundation of his mariology: divine maternity and the universal mediation. They are not placed on separate paths, but are seen as closely interconnected, for they recall and compenetrate each other: the first is ordained to the second, and the second finds in the first its ontological foundation.

From this linkage of Divine Maternity to mediation in general he then specifies the type of mediation and how it relates to the very reason for the Incarnation.

Mary was the chosen Mother of God by being Coredemptrix and Mediatrix; one and the same divine decree predestined her to this twofold mission. St. Alphonses considered the divine maternity in the light of the redemption; in the study of the reason of the incarnation he follows the thomistic thesis according to which, “if man had not sinned, God would not have been incarnated”; therefore the ultimate reason of the incarnation was the redemption of humanity. Mary became Mother of a God who made himself man in order to be redeemer and for expiating the sins of the world; without sinners God would not have incarnated himself, and Mary would not have become his mother.

Fr. Velocci then introduces the concept of Mary’s joint predestination with Christ that has many resonances with Bl. John Duns Scotus.

Her mission is combined to that of Christ’s; they have been predestined in order to assure the redemption of fallen humanity, through whom the entire economy of salvation bears the imprint of mercy and the supreme divine indulgence;

He further introduces the argument of fittingness that Scotus used so effectively to defend the dogma of the Immaculate Conception:

Reflecting on the divine maternity, realized in time, St. Alphonses makes the following affirmation: “To God it did not seem fitting to have a mother other than Mary, and to Mary it did not seem fitting to have a son other than God.?? In the explanation of this truth there are two equally reprehensible excesses, which must be avoided: either to exaggerate its importance or to reduce it unduly. He specifies and balances her presentation: Mary is Mother of God “for she has generated a son who even from conception was God.??

Fr. Velocci then refers to the two moments of Mary’s spiritual motherhood to beautifully and firmly tie the concepts of her divine maternity and coredemption.

St. Alphonses writes: “Mary therefore, as the fathers tell us, became our spiritual mother at two times. First when she merited to conceive in her virginal womb the Son of God… in giving her consent she consecrated herself to the work of our redemption, and therefore, without pain, she carried us all in her womb as a most loving mother. The second time is when Mary generated us in grace when on Calvary she offered to the Eternal Father, in profound sorrow of heart, the life of her beloved Son for our salvation.??

He captures the essence of his thoughts in this one paragraph:

In virtue of her privilege as Mother of God, Mary cooperated with Jesus in the salvation of humanity, became Coredemptrix, and now in heaven carries out the mission of Mediatrix.

By allowing this article in the Osservatore Romano could the Holy Father be trying to encourage an open discussion in favor of the Coredemption? If so, it is the latest in a long series of strong marian statements from one who was known for his marian reserve before his election to the papacy.

For more than a decade we (the Franciscans of the Immaculate) and Vox Populi have been advocating the need for declaring these doctrines as dogma and precisely because of the practical solution they offer to the greatest heresy of our day, fear of suffering, or more to the point, not seeing the value of suffering and not understanding how we are mediators between God and our fellow man. On these misconceptions are based all the hedonism and individualism of our modern age that has turned hundred of millions of the faithful from the Church and has given impetus to dozens of heretical and confusing teachings on the moral issues. The doctrine that Mary, a pure creature, is Coredemptrix and Mediatrix of all Graces hits these misunderstandings square in the face. This is a central issue and it is good to see it in the spotlight and agreeing in so many ways with the work we have been doing to promote this doctrine.

It is interesting that we at Air Maria argue for these same marian doctrines using the Franciscan thesis which has the very opposite answer to the question that Fr. Velocci raised above “if man had not sinned, would God have been incarnated?” We Franciscans say he would have been incarnated. Yet our conclusion that Mary is the Coredemptrix and Mediatrix is the same. In a way, this shows the inherent strength of these marian doctrines, that no matter which way you slice the theological pie you get Mary as Coredemptrix and Mediatrix. Irregardless, this article by Fr. Velocci is excellent and so very worthy of the Osservatore Romano.

Fra Roderic Mary, FI

For more on the Franciscan Thesis and the question of why the incarnation and the differences in this regard between Bl. John Duns Scotus and St. Thomas Aquinas see Fr. Maximilian Dean’s video series on Air Maria called The Cornerstone.

Below is the entire translation from the Italian which has just been updated with a better translation.

Enamored of The Virgin

In August 1787, while the Angelus bells sounded, Alphonses Maria de’ Liguori died at Pagani (SA).

The previous day he had a miraculous vision of the Madonna, which the biographer T. Rey-Mermet relates in these terms: “Alphonses, in his Orations to the Divine Mother for Every Day of the Week, had written: … Rather, Our Lady, pardoned my offenses, first that I may hope; come yourself to console me with your presence. I want this grace which you have given to so many of your devotees, and I hope for it also O Mary, I wait for you, do not let me remain unconsoled.” Now, on the 31st near six o??clock in the evening, while he held between his hands the image of the Madonna, his face glowed and became resplendent, while he spoke subduedly and was smiling to the Madonna.??

The vision was a Mother’s gift to her faithful servant, to the one who for so many years with writing and preaching had proclaimed her glories.

He proclaimed them especially in the book entitled “The Glories of Mary”, that he published in 1750 after spending much time in study and reflection. He began the search in 1734, and he worked with great dedication because he wanted to compose a work worthy of Mary.

In truth, for sixteen years he read and delved into the rich patrimony of tradition, in all its components: Fathers and theologians, liturgy and prayers, spiritual writers and people of God, ancient, Medieval and modern, with the interest of a historian, the seriousness of a theologian, the wisdom of a saint. The book is not only the expression of an erudite search, a theological treatment, at times controversial, but also of his great devotion and a token of recognition to Mary for the help he received from her in all the phases of life.

According to Giuseppe De Luca, great student of the history of spirituality, the publication of the Glories of Mary was, “one of the more important dates in the history of the veneration of the most holy Mary… The Glories of Mary was the last great European book written in praise of Mary.” One specialist in the history of the Church, Gregorio Penco, gives the following assessment: “Also collecting a complete set of the sayings and opinions of the ecclesiastical writers of all times, St. Alphonses has penetrated in depth the devotional aspects of the mysteries from which he considers her; in a particular way the heart of Mary Most Holy, her joys, her pains, her glories. And like a look that the author successfully throws in the soul of the Virgin, reading her feelings and guessing her thoughts.”

Naturally the book is a product of the time in which it was written, because, like every great writer, Alphonses was the man of his age, and was conditioned by the cultural and religious situation of the 1700’s. And in the 1700’s the cult of Mary was in crisis, contested by some catholic writers, like Ludovico Antonio Muratori with the book On the Regulated Devotions, and refuted by the Jansenists, which thought that it would force into obscurity the person of Christ, the only mediator with God; therefore the devotion towards Mary must “be regulated”, controlled by reason, moderated in its manifestations.

Liguori, referring to tradition and the instruction of the theologians, responded with lucidity and courage to such currents of thought, and he felt compelled to introduce the mystery of Mary in its truth, developing to the ultimate ramifications her privilege of divine maternity, especially in his book the Glories of Mary.

It is divided in two parts: the first part is a commentary in ten chapters on the Salve Regina; the second part contains Homilies on the Feasts of the Madonna, Reflections on the Seven Sorrows, On the Virtues of Mary Most Holy, Homage and Devotions.

In the commentary on the Salve Regina, which constitutes the more important part of the book, St. Alphonses gives a lively description of dramatic times, the multiple interventions of the Madonna on behalf of men: Mary obtains the forgiveness of sins, brings them back to friendship with God; if sin removes one from God, Mary approaches, reconciles, joins. Therefore she takes part in order to maintain the converted sinner in grace; she invites to prayer, she obtains the light, the force, prevents him from falling again; she obtains the added gift of final perseverance. Mary is a powerful advocate, a pious mother, does not neglect the cause of the most wretched; she is all eyes in order to always see the cause of the most piteous, to help, especially in the moments of danger, and above all in the hour of death; then more than ever she is present in order to comfort her devout people, to defend them from the malignant one, to save them from hell, and for leading them with himself to paradise to the eternal encounter with God.

In his treatment Liguori develops two prerogatives above all, which he uses as a foundation of his mariology: divine maternity and the universal mediation. They are not placed on separate paths, but they are seen as closely interconnected, for they recall and compenetrate each other: the first is ordained to the second, and the second finds in the first its ontological foundation.

Mary was the chosen Mother of God by being Coredemptrix and Mediatrix; one and the same divine decree predestined her to this twofold mission. St. Alphonses considered the divine maternity in the light of the redemption; in the study of the reason of the incarnation he follows the thomistic thesis according to which, “if man had not sinned, God would not have been incarnated”; therefore the ultimate reason of the incarnation was the redemption of humanity. Mary became Mother of a God who made himself man in order to be redeemer and for expiating the sins of the world; without sinners God would not have incarnated himself, and Mary would not have become his mother.

Her mission is combined to that of Christ’s; they have been predestined in order to assure the redemption of fallen humanity, through whom the entire economy of salvation bears the imprint of mercy and the supreme divine indulgence; and we now know, that Mary is Mother of the merciful Savior by being Mother of mercy.

Reflecting on the divine maternity, realized in time, St. Alphonses makes the following affirmation: “To God it did not seem fitting to have a mother other than Mary, and to Mary it did not seem fitting to have a son other than God.?? In the explanation of this truth there are two equally reprehensible excesses, which must be avoided: either to exaggerate its importance or to reduce it unduly. He specifies and balances her presentation: Mary is Mother of God “for she has generated a son who even from conception was God.??

This dogma is but the corollary of the Biblical doctrine on the oneness of the person in Christ.

In considering the transcendent divine maternity St. Alphonses, following the thought of St Thomas Aquinas, sees it at the limits of divine omnipotence: “the dignity of the divine Mother is the maximum dignity that can be conferred to one creature.??

In virtue of her privilege as Mother of God, Mary cooperated with Jesus in the salvation of humanity, became Coredemptrix, and now in heaven carries out the mission of Mediatrix.

And this is the second fundamental principle of the mariology of St. Alphonses, for which he battled for a long time, because in the 1700’s it was called into question and denied by several theologians. He bases it on the doctrine of the mystical Body of Christ, that is the mystery of the Church, considered as a living body of which Christ is the head and men are the members; an organism in which the redeemed, according to their vocation, occupy the place they are assigned by Providence.

Such primacy is derived from the fact that she is Mother of Christ, from whom comes the life, the movement, the activity of all; now if Mary is the mother of the head, she is also the mother of the body, joined inseparably to the head.

St. Alphonses writes: “Mary therefore, as the Fathers tell us, became our spiritual mother at two times. First when she merited to conceive in her virginal womb the Son of God… in giving her consent she consecrated herself to the work of our redemption, and therefore, without pain, she carried us all in her womb as a most loving mother. The second time is when Mary generated us in grace when on Calvary she offered to the Eternal Father, in profound sorrow of heart, the life of her beloved Son for our salvation.??

GIOVANNI VELOCCI

Giovanni Velocci is a priest in Italy. He has written a book Prayer in Newman, about the prayer life of Cardinal Newman. The English version was just released last year by Newman House Press.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • ROY S. TENN says:

    Thanks Fr. Roderick,

    Father Peter told me about this good news, and I contacted Patty Medinger at L’Osservatore who distrubites the English Edition to alert her about this good news, but as of last Thursday none of the newspapers from Italy carried this news.

    Roy Tenn

  • Roy and Robin says:

    Thank you, Fra Roderic, for sharing this wonderful news with us all! Hopefully this will generate more and more enthusiasm in support of the dogmatic declaration of Our Lady as Co-Redemptrix!

    Ave Maria!