YOUR editorial (March 27), does not accord with the ordinary teaching of the Church and its tradition in regard to the titles due to Our Lady. You describe her titles, "Mediatrix of All Graces" and "CoRedemptrix" as products of the exaggerated devotions of the late fifties.
Such titles have been given to Our Lady from the early days of the Church and have been developed to this day. The use of these titles were accepted and explained by St Bernard, St Augustine, St Bonaventure, St Bernardine, St Thomas Aquinus and St John Damascene. They acknowledge that God has chosen Our Lady to be His instrument of salvation.
Pope Leo XIII often preached about Our Lady as Mediatrix. In 1891, the encyclical, Octobri mense on the Rosary, explains how Mary's consent to the Will of God makes her the mother of the redeemed and it states, ". . . nothing is imparted to us except through Mary, God so willing; so, just as no one can approach the highest Father except through the Son, so no one can approach Christ except through His Mother."
In 1896, the encyclical, Fidentem, again on the Rosary, contains the statement, ". . . she
is worthy and quite acceptable as the Mediatrix of the Mediator."
In 1897, the encyclical, Divinum illud on the Holy Spirit, ends with a paragraph imploring Mary's help and includes the plea. ". . . let all Christian peoples join their prayers also, invoking the powerful and ever acceptable intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin, Our Conciliatrix."
Pope St Pius X in 1904 issued his encyclical, Ad diem ilium on the title "Mediatrix of Graces." To quote: "As the result of this participation between Mary and Christ in the sorrows and the will, she deserved most worthily to be made the restorer of the lost world, and so the dispenser of all the gifts which Jesus procured for us by His death and blood."
In 1921, Pope Benedict XV approved the Feast of Mary, Universal Mediatrix of the Divine graces.
Finally, in these times, Vatican Council II proclaims in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, (para 62,) "Therefore the Blessed
Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Aux iliatrix, Adjutrix and Mediatrix. These, however, are to be so understood that they neither take away from nor add anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator."
So, it can be seen that Our Lady "Mediatrix of all graces" and "Co-Redemptrix" are ancient and proper titles that the tradition of the Church has bestowed upon the Mother of God.
The key to the understanding of these honours is the realisation of our utter unworthiness to even approach our Divine Redeemer. We acknowledge this unworthiness by approaching Christ through His mother. As our perfect mother, she makes up for what is lacking in our prayers so as to present them, pure and perfect, before her Divine Son.
That God chooses to work through His mother is a continuation of the Incarnation and , in human terms, a safeguard of the doctrine of His Divinity. For, the more that Mary is rightly honoured, the brighter shines her first title, Mother of God.