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.
Francis’ words, delivered in Spanish, came while celebrating a Thursday evening Mass in Rome for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The title of Mary as “co-redemptrix” dates to the Middle Ages, and the idea of declaring it as a church dogma was discussed, though not adopted, at the Second Vatican Council. In the 1990s American Catholic theologian Mark Miravalle launched a petition asking the pope to make such a declaration, and today the “co-redemptrix” devotion tends to be strongest among more conservative Catholics.
What Francis said Thursday is in line with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican’s doctrinal chief during most of St. John Paul II’ papacy, and now Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.
Speaking with Peter Seewald for the book-length interview published as God and the World: A Conversation, the then cardinal said: “The formula ‘co-redemptrix’ departs to too great an extent from the language of Scripture and of the Fathers, and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings.” — AFP