Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mary, Co-Redemptrix And Saint Irenaeus

There is sometimes an objection put forth that the Fathers of the Church do not provide any support for the doctrine of Mary as Co-redemptrix. Yet we clearly see that there is evidence for it as early as St. Irenaeus, the first true Mariologist. The actual title may not be there, but the teaching and doctrine is!

Irenaeus presented two concepts of looking at Christ:
1) Recapitualtion
2) Recirculation

-Recapitulation (to re-head) means that Jesus becomes the New Head in the new creation. He is the head of salvation and humanity as the New Adam.

-Recirculation deals with the reversal that happens between the first Adam and Eve and the second Adam and Eve. It means that God used the same instruments in opposite ways to bring about salvation.
This tells us 2 things:
1) The role of a New Eve wasn't optional! You can't have a reversal of Adam, Eve, and the Tree without a New Adam, a New Eve, and a New Tree.

2) It is also appropriate that you have a New Eve for Recapitulation. A New Adam presupposes a New Eve. That is, you have the active human participation of a woman in the re-heading of the human race.

Irenaus taught: "By disobeying, Eve became the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race. In the same way Mary, though she also had a husband, was still a virgin, and by obeying, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race....Thus the knot of Eve's disobedience was undone by Mary."

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