Mary as Dispenser of God's Grace

Coronation of the Virgin by Batholomaus Bruyn the Elder

Holy Scripture clearly tells us there is but one mediator between man and God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;--1 Timothy 2:5

The Roman Catholic Church, it at first appears, agrees with Paul's words. In the Dogmatic Constitution On The Church - Lumen Gentium, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964, we read the following:

Chapter VIII Our Lady

III. The Blessed Virgin And The Church

60. In the words of the apostle there is but one mediator: "for there is but one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all" (1 Tim. 2:5-6). . .

So far, so good. Nothing there that a Bible-believing Christian could find fault with. Trouble is, John Paul was not content to leave it at that. He had to add the following:

. . . But Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men originates not in any inner necessity but in the disposition of God. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. It does not hinder in any way the immediate union of the faithful with Christ but on the contrary fosters it. -- Ibid.

Does that read like doubletalk to you? Sure does to me. The Pope seems to be saying that Mary in some way is involved with Christ's mediatory work. Clearly, we find no indication that such is true when we search the Scriptures. Must be one of those things that Romish tradition came up with. Anyway, Lumen Gentium continues, after explaining what a good and godly mother Mary was:

62. This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. This, however, is so understood that it neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator. [Emphasis not in original] -- Ibid.

Notice what the Pope said? "Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation." Am I reading this correctly? Mary is involved in the distribution of the "gifts of eternal salvation?" Apparently she is so good at this that the RCC has accorded dead Mary the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.

Let me quote the Bible one more time, just to refresh everyone's memory:

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;--1 Timothy 2:5

No mention of any mediatrix there. Did the Holy Spirit make a mistake when He inspired Paul to write those words? Or did Paul forget what he was supposed to say? Good thing we have the Magisterium to fill in the gaps left by Paul's sloppy transcription. Maybe that's why Mary bears the title Helper. Isn't that how the risen Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit (Paraklete)?

Lemme see here. Mary bears the same titles as Jesus (Advocate and Mediatrix) and the Holy Spirit (Helper). Don't you just have to wonder when the inventive Magisterium is going to come up with that last title? Wonder what it will be? Creatrix? Jehovina? Boggles the mind.

There no doubt will be those who will charge I am not reading Lumen Gentium correctly, or that the Pope did not really mean what his words clearly say. Perhaps I should seek the insight of some famous Catholic theologian, to whose writings I have frequently turned in the past. In his well-received (in RCC circles) seminary textbook,I read:

Although Christ is the Sole Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2, 5), since He alone, by His death on the Cross, fully reconciled mankind with God, this does not exclude a secondary mediatorship, subordinated to Christ...-- Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, B. Herder, (1962) page 211 [My emphasis]

Oh! Ott seems to agree with John Paul II. Well, I suppose that is to be expected. Don't you just love the reasoning here? Ott says "Although Christ is the SOLE (my emphasis) Mediator between God and man. . .." And then, in the SAME sentence, goes on to say, "this DOES NOT EXCLUDE A SECONDARY MEDIATORSHIP" .

My mind reeling from such intellectual gymnastics, I consulted my dictionary to confirm my understanding of the word "sole." This is what I found:


1 : having no spouse
2 : having no companion
3 a : having no sharer (as in a right or status) : being the only one b : of unmatched quality or kind
4 : functioning (as in acting, working, moving) independently and without assistance or interference
5 obsolete a : that is such and no other
6 : belonging, granted, or attributed to the one person or group specified : independently accomplished, held, or developed : exclusively exercised
--"sole." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. (28 Feb. 2006).

Nope. I was right. "Sole" means only one. Now, in this superb example of Roman Catholic word gaming, we see how "only one" can be twisted to include a helper. I suppose the argument would be that, since the passage does not specifically state there is not another, then there certainly could be another. Building on that flimsy foundation, I reckon nominating Mary for the job is a logical next step. Folks, this is why one never should approach exegesis with a predetermined result already in mind.

Well, maybe the forgoing statement by Dr. Ott was an isolated aberration. Let's look more deeply into his fine book which, by the way, bears the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.

Oops!, lookie what else I found on page 211:

Mary ... [is] the 'Go-between' (mediatrix). ... 'After the Mediator (Christ) thou [Mary] art the mediatrix of the whole world. [My emphasis]

And there's more:

Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces by her intercession in Heaven. Since her assumption into Heaven, Mary co-operates in the application of the grace of Redemption to man. She participates in the distribution of grace by her maternal intercession ... [My emphasis]

Mary's intercessory co-operation extends to all graces, which are conferred on mankind, so that no grace accrues to men, without the intercession of Mary, ... according to God's positive ordinance, the redemptive grace of Christ is conferred on nobody without the actual intercessory co-operation of Mary. [My emphasis] (page 213)

Nobody can approach Christ except through the Mother. [My emphasis] (page 214)

What does the Bible say?

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (1 Timothy 2:5)

Where is the truth? Is it in the Roman Catholic dogma as expounded by Dr. Ludwig Ott? Or is it in the Sacred Scriptures, as breathed by the Holy Spirit? I do believe that is a no-brainer.

But let us spend a bit of time searching the Scriptures to see if we can find some hint as to the "biblical" source of the Romish dogma concerning Mary as advocate, mediatrix, helper and -- wait for it -- co-redeemer.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

No mention of Mary here. However, this may not be crucial, since Mary may not have been walking with her Son that day.when He encountered John the Baptist. Scripture is silent concerning that.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.--Romans 3:23-26

Christ the Redeemer and Justifier. Funny that Paul did not mention Mary when making this declaration. Perhaps it was an oversight.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: --Romans 5:1

Yes, we are at peace with God, through Jesus Christ. Maybe Mary's name was written in invisible ink. Or perhaps some careless scribe neglected to copy this passage correctly.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.--Romans 5:6-11

In his book, Dr. Ludwig Ott declares:

In the power of the grace of Redemption merited by Christ, Mary, by her spiritual entering into the sacrifice of her Divine Son for men, made atonement for the sins of men, and ... merited the application of the redemptive grace of Christ. In this manner she co-operates in the subjective redemption of mankind. -- Ludwig Ott, Op. cit., Page 213 [My emphasis]

WHAT??!! After a slow and careful reading of this excerpt I can only believe that Dr. Ott is declaring, with the official Romish assurance that nothing he says goes against Catholic teaching on faith and morals, that Mary atoned for the sins of men. THAT SHE IS OUR REDEEMER . . . or, at least, is a co-redeemer with Christ.

Let's see here. We know there is no forgiveness for sin without the shedding of blood.

For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11)

If Mary has truly shared in Christ's atoning work, why can't I find a reference to her blood being spilling for the redemption of sinners?

Please, all you who silently read the pleadings on this board, read carefully the following passages and see if you can find any reference to Mary's substitutionary atoning sacrifice. And don't stop with the passages I have quoted, search your own Bibles. Please. Show me how I could have missed the biblical evidence that supports Rome's claim that Mary shared in Christ's atonement for the sins of man.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:8-10)

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ) Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. --Romans 5:14-19

Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

Grace [be] to you and peace from God the Father, and [from] our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: (Galatians 1:3-4)

Grace [be] to you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;--Ephesians 1:2-7

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. --Ephesians 5:2

For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:--Colossians 1:19-22,

I am shocked by what I read concerning Mary's roles as mediatrix, advocate, helper and redeemer. I do not for a moment doubt that Catholic readers will respond to my words above by saying something like, "You don't understand." What could be more clear than the words quoted above from a textbook on Catholic dogma that is used in Catholic seminaries?

All I can think to say is, "Please, please, open your Bibles and seek God's truth therein."

Home | Mariology | Catholic Stuff | PTG Forum
(C) 1991-2010 Ron Loeffler