Pope Francis: Jesus entrusted Mary to us as a Mother, ‘not as co-redeemer’

Pope Francis delivers a general audience address in the library of the Apostolic Palace. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Mar 24, 2021 / 05:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis on Wednesday said that Jesus entrusted the Virgin Mary to us as a Mother, “not as co-redeemer.”

Speaking at his general audience on March 24, the pope said that while Christians had always given Mary beautiful titles, it was important to remember that Christ is the only redeemer.

He was addressing a theological debate about whether the Church should issue a dogmatic definition declaring Mary “Co-Redemptrix,” in honor of her role in humanity’s salvation.

“Jesus extended Mary’s maternity to the entire Church when He entrusted her to his beloved disciple shortly before dying on the cross,” the pope noted.

“From that moment on, we have all been gathered under her mantle, as depicted in certain medieval frescoes or paintings. Even the first Latin antiphon — sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix: the Madonna who ‘covers,’ like a Mother, to whom Jesus entrusted us, all of us; but as a Mother, not as a goddess, not as co-redeemer: as Mother.”

He continued: “It is true that Christian piety has always given her beautiful titles, as a child gives his or her mamma: how many beautiful things children say about their mamma whom they love so much! How many beautiful things.”

“But we need to be careful: the things the Church, the saints, say about her, beautiful things, about Mary, subtract nothing from Christ’s sole Redemption. He is the only Redeemer. They are expressions of love like a child for his or her mamma — some are exaggerated. But love, as we know, always makes us exaggerate things, but out of love.”

The pope gave his address, dedicated to prayer in communion with Mary, in the library of the Apostolic Palace due to coronavirus restrictions. The address was part of his cycle of catechesis on prayer, which he launched in May and resumed in October following nine addresses on healing the world after the pandemic.

Noting that he was speaking on the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Annunciation, which falls on March 25, he said: “Christ is the Mediator, Christ is the bridge that we cross to turn to the Father. He is the only Redeemer: there are no co-redeemers with Christ. He is the only one. He is the Mediator par excellence.”

Christ’s “one mediation,” he said, sheds light on the role of Mary.

“She occupies a privileged place in the lives of Christians, and therefore, in their prayer as well, because she is the Mother of Jesus,” he said.

Referring to a celebrated image of Mary in Bari Cathedral, southern Italy, he emphasized that the Virgin points the way to Jesus.

He said: “Her hands, her eyes, her behavior are a living ‘catechism,’ always indicating the hinge, she always points out the center: Jesus. Mary is completely directed toward Him to such an extent that we can say she is more disciple than Mother. The directions she gave at the wedding at Cana: ‘He: do whatever he will tell you.’ She always refers to Christ. She is the first disciple.”

He continued: “This is the role Mary fulfilled throughout her entire earthly life and which she forever retains: to be the humble handmaid of the Lord, nothing more. At a certain point in the Gospels, she almost seems to disappear; but then she reappears in the more crucial moments, such as at Cana, when her Son, thanks to her caring intervention, performs his first ‘sign,’ and then on Golgotha at the foot of the cross.”

He described how Christians began to pray to Mary, using expressions found in the Gospels, such as “full of grace” and “blessed are you among women.” The Council of Ephesus in AD 431 approved the title “Mother of God,” which was added to the Hail Mary prayer.

Reflecting on the line “now and at the hour of our death” in the Hail Mary, he said: “Mary is always present at the bedside of her children when they depart this world. If someone is alone and abandoned, she is Mother, she is there, near, as she was next to her Son when everyone else abandoned him.”

“Mary was and is present in these days of the pandemic, near to the people who, unfortunately, have concluded their earthly journey all alone, without the comfort of or the closeness of their loved ones. Mary is always there next to us, with her maternal tenderness.”

Concluding his reflection, he said: “She listens as Mother. Just like, and more than, every good mother, Mary defends us from danger, she is concerned about us even when we are concentrated on our own things and lose a sense of the way, and when we put not only our health in danger, but also our salvation.”

“Mary is there, praying for us, praying for those who do not pray. To pray with us. Why? Because she is our Mother.”

In remarks at the end of the audience, the pope expressed sorrow at terrorist attacks in the West African state of Niger that have claimed 137 lives.

“Let us pray for the victims, for their families and for the entire population so that the violence suffered may not cause them to lose trust in the path of democracy, justice and peace,” he said.

He also conveyed his sympathies to people affected by flooding in the Australian state of New South Wales

He said: “I am near the people and the families affected once again by this calamity, especially those who saw their houses destroyed. I give encouragement to those who are doing everything possible to search for those who are missing and to bring aid.”

He also noted that World Tuberculosis Day falls on March 24, the day in 1882 when the German physician Robert Koch announced that he had identified the bacterium causing the infectious disease.

The pope said: “May this annual event foster a renewed interest in the treatment of this disease and increased solidarity toward those who suffer from it. Upon them and their families, I invoke the Lord’s consolation.”


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6 Comments

  1. Annunciation of Christ’s entry into our world required Mary’s assent. Mary’s assent, her consequent participation in Christ’s Passion, her recognition as Theotokos at Ephesus 431 entitles her as Co-redeemer [Co-redemptress] . Although Pope Francis is not disrespectful to Our Blessed Mother by denying her the title co-redeemer. That is, co-redeemer understood as equal to Christ, the unique redeemer of Man. Where The Pontiff is incomplete in his assessment is the legitimate manner in which claim to that title is valid. For example, when asked in 2000 whether the Church would agree to solemnly define Mary as Co-redemptrix, Cardinal Ratzinger responded that the formula Co-redemptrix departs too far from the language of Scripture and of the Fathers and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings. Everything comes from Him [Christ], as the Letter to the Ephesians and the Letter to the Colossians, tell us. Mary, too, is everything she is through Him. The word Co-redemptrix would obscure this origin. A correct intention being expressed in the wrong way. That correct intention is de congruo. Theologians distinguish between remote cooperation by which Mary consents to the Incarnation and gives birth to the Son of God, and immediate cooperation, in which she willingly unites herself to her Son’s Passion and offers him back to the Father. Philosophers also draw a distinction between merit de condigno [Christ’s merit], which is based on justice, and merit proprie de congruo [Mary’s merit], founded on the friendship of charity. In his encyclical on the Immaculate Conception, Ad diem illum, Pope Pius X said, “Since Mary carries it over all in holiness and union with Jesus Christ, and has been associated by Jesus Christ in the work of redemption, she merits for us de congruo, in the language of theologians, what Jesus Christ merits for us de condigno”. We can be assured of her Son’s love for his Mother, and the unique role given her for our redemption.

  2. A recent quote by Pope Francis
    “We are not orphans; we have a Mother in Heaven.” Sure, of this, we can never fall into the sin of despair, a sin which has a powerful pull today.
    Which could be described as a direct attack (Undermining) of this given teaching by Jesus Christ.

    “I will not leave you behind as orphans, I will come to you” as “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”

    Many Catholic theologians have rightly pointed out in recent decades that Mary often takes the place of the Holy Spirit, for example as “Advocate” and “Comforter”

    While we can reflect on these Words “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, (Holy Spirit) living in me, who is doing his work”

    So, if we trust in His teachings our promise is that the Holy Spirit (God Himself) will dwell within us also. This is true for/of all His Saints including His exulted Mother. As His earthly creatures, we are always the container never the contents. Yes, we are taught that we can pray (request) that the saints intercede on our behalf but ultimately that intercession must glorify God alone and we do this when we ‘trust’ in Him alone

    “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live”

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  3. See Marian Questions about Catholic Answers, Amsterdam, Coredemption.

    The Band of Mary’s Men, Fr. Elias Mills, F.I., Dr. Robert Fastiggi, and Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins rebuts much of the content of Tim Staples’ interview on Catholic Answers, January 18, 2021, on the subject of the Vatican’s recent decree regarding the alleged apparitions of The Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam and the related doctrine of Mary as Coredemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces.

    https://gloria.tv/post/R2s1oEb2zFiM2C7egwVV6RKLo

  4. One of the BVM’s titles always serves to carry into the mysteries of the Mother of God and our Mother. It is Mirror of Justice. In a certain sense also Mirror of Justice already gives away the fact that she is Redemptrix.

    And in one perspective Redemptrix could be the “least awesome” title especially coming after so many centuries, after Theotokos the “most awesome” and after the Litany; and after LUMEN GENTIUM where Paul VI couldn’t stop adding titles.

    Yesterday would have been St. Gabriel’s day, the Angel of the Annunciation; and we entered today with how we may have disappointed it and with an overarching concern for our brothers in faith.

    The situation appears to be of some moment and something more than logic is needed; we need grace. Hopefully it is a sign that our brothers are searching and their hearts want truth in fullness.

    May they not be carried away by error or stubbornness and may they be saved from their sins, failings and weaknesses.

    I resolve to pray and sacrifice for the Holy Father for his own needs and for the needs of the theologians who move him and move with him; and whatever other company is involved.

    May we be supported in the intercession of so many faithful through the ages, in their own uplifted devotion to the BVM, who are now together in heaven with her.

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