To Fr. Phil Bloom c/o Louis Bloom:
I'm a first year graduate student in the Department of Physiology here at the U of Wisconsin. I hope to someday teach at a college or university, but of course a lot could happen between now and then. I attend a church of the Assemblies of God denomination here in Madison. I have really appreciated reading your web pages; your prose reminds me of C.S. Lewis, whose "Mere Christianity" I am reading now for the first time. I'll be looking forward to hearing your opinion on the Co-redemptrix stuff.
Thank you for your e-mail and the question about Mary as "Co-remptrix." I have been delighted that Pentecostals, Baptists and others have found my website and have sent sincere and honest questions like yours. Also I thank you for the kind comparison to C.S. Lewis. To me that would be the highest compliment since he is my favorite writer. I think I have read all of his published Christian writings, most of them several times. If you like to listen to tapes when you drive, I recommend the sound recordings of his works such as The Problem of Pain, Miracles, the space trilogy, etc. They were available at the local library even in a secularized city like Seattle.
In responding to your question, I would like to begin with a distinction C.S. Lewis made when he was asked if he really believed in the devil. He said if you mean a being opposite and equal to God, then "no." But if you are talking about fallen creatures who have set themselves against God and therefore seek the destruction of humans, the answer is "yes." (cf. Screwtape Letters
Regarding Mary as "Co-redemptrix" the answer would be similar. If someone is trying to say that the Virgin Mary is equal to Jesus and that He was not the unique mediator, then "no." But if you mean Mary as a creature (albeit God greatest creation) shares in the redemptive work of her Son, well "yes." St. Paul tells us that all members of the Body of Christ in some way "make up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ." (Help me find the chapter & verse, Seth.) It is a mysterious saying, but implies that we can have some share in Jesus' redeeming work, even tho he of course remains the "one mediator between God and men." (1 Tim 2:5)
Now Mary as the Virgin Mother of Jesus has the greatest purely human role in our redemption. The early Father of the Church (like Irenaeus) reflected on the New Testament references to Mary and called her "The New Eve." As Jesus reverses the transgression of the first Adam (cf. Rom 6:12ff.) so Mary by her obedience (Lk 1:38) reverses the disobedience of our first mother. Her act of obedience, like any of ours, depends on the grace won by Jesus.
I am sure there are fuller and clearer explanations of this, but those would be some of my own reflections. I would enjoy hearing your reflections, Seth. My prayers for your studies and above all that you will continue to "hear the word of God and put it into practice." (Lk 8:21)
God bless you, Seth.
Fr. Phil Bloom
P.S. I did a little web-surfing and found a few articles related to this topic which you might be interested in:
Explanation of the Title "Co-Redemptrix"
Article from Inside the Vatican which explains "To acknowledge Mary as our Co-Redemptrix in no way diminishes the unique Redemption won for us by her Son; indeed, it amplifies it; it makes us realize that we are all called to be other Christs"
Article on Praying to the Saints in relation to Jesus as the "One Mediator."
Follow-up Letter from Seth