Mary, Mother Of Divine Grace
By FR, DENNIS FAHEY
Fr. Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp., is the senior translator of Fr. Joseph Le Rohellec's book, Mary, Mother of Divine Grace, which was criticised by Fr. Vincent McNabb, 0.P., as containing bad theology, in our issue of December 17.
The Catholic Herald, a newspaper run entirely by laymen untrained in theology, cannot presume to judge as between theologians. It feels, however, that when a theologian of the reputation of Fr. Vincent McNabb, 0.P., wishes to make use of its columns in order to bring to the notice of the general Catholic public what he considers an important matter. the Catholic Herald should not stand in his way. Equally it gladly offers its space to those who are criticised. Fr. Fahey's article, being too long for a single issue, is divided into two parts. Should Fr. McNabb, O.P., wish to answer it, we shall print his answer, and the discussion will then be closed. Meanwhile some room will he made on our letter page for letters bearing the signature of students competent to enter into this technical discussion.—EotToR. Catholic Herald.
Fr. Joseph Le Rohellec, C.S.Sp., author of the book which 1 have had the privilege of helping to translate, passed his priestly life as a professor of theology and philosophy at the French Seminary in Rome, as well as at the Seminary of the Lateran. He was a member of the Roman Academy of St. Thomas and, as such, was chosen to prepare the Thomistic Week in 1923, and the Thomistic Congress in 1925. He died in 1930.
Fr. McNabb is a Dominican in England. Now one of the personal friends of the late Fr. Le Rohellec was the lamented Dominican in Rome, Fr. Edward Hugon, O.P., who died in 1929. after having been professor of theology for many years at the principal Dominican University, the Angelico, Rome. I shall have occasion to quote Fr. Hugon, O.P., the theologian, against Fr. McNabb, 0.P., the theologian.
Fr. Hugon, O.P.
In the Dominican Review, Revue Thomiste, Fr. Cazes, O.P., spoke of him as follows : " He was a model Friar Preacher. . . He leaves behind him in the Church the memory of an eminent theologian who bad studied St. Thomas every day for forty years with a tenstaney of application and an enthusiasm which enabled him to acquire a perfect knowledge of the teaching of the Angelic Doctor.. , He has been spoken of as a " complete theologian." Thanks to his ardour for study and his prodilsions memory, he had acquired vast and profound knowledge of all the branches of theology. .. As he had an astounding capacity for work, he published . . . a number of books which owed their success not only to the sureness of the doctrine contained therein. but also to the limpid clarity with which that doctrine was eelforth. His authority at Rome had long been recognised. Bishops and Cardinals took pleasure in consulting him on different points of dogmatic and moral theology and canon law. . This eminent theologian vras also a holy religious. . ."
I have quoted these extracts from the Dominican review so that my readers may have a correct idea of the sureness of doctrine of the theologian whose writings I shall adduce here and there, in addition to and in explanation of the teaching of the Sovereign Pontiffs.
Let us now allow Fr. Le Rohellec to state his fundamental doctrine by a few extracts from pp. 37-42 of Mary, Mother of Divine Grace.
Fr. Le Rochellec's Fundamental Thesis
"Christ could have been born of the Virgin without allowing her to share personally in the work of Redemption, for He is the unique Redeemer, the ' one Mediator between God and man,' and He alone could offer a reparation for sin that ' abounded more ' than the sin. Mary is Herself the first-fruits of the Redemption and holds all Her glories from the Divine munificence of Him Who deigned to become Her Child. But Christ has redeemed His mother with so much more ample Redemption than other creatures that He has made Her actually share in the redemption of other creatures. He has associated Her
with Himself in all His works, and the principal and absolute causality of the Son does not exclude the universal and subordinate causality of the Mother who Herself depends upon Him. Let it be repeated: God could have dispensed with any and every aid in the work of our salvation, but in His mercy has freely ordained that Mary should share in the amassing of supernatural favours, so that He may exalt Her who is full of grace and the same time give us a Mother full of pity. . .
" The Redemption had two effects, the one of atonement. the other of merit, but these two effects are inseparable, because by one and the same act and by one and the same offering, the Saviour redeemed the world and opened to the redeemed an inexhaustible fountain of supernatural life. Now since the Holy Virgin, by a free gift of the one Redeemer, was called to co-operate in the Redemption of a guilty world, it follows that She also co-operated in the acquisition of graces which make men ' participators of the Divine Nature.' . . This is what the Fathers of the Church mean when they compare the Virgin Mary with the Virgin Eve and proclaim her Mediatrix ' between God and man... This doctrine, sup. ported by the explicit witness of tradition is now common among theologians who summerlife it. (as follows): Mary has made satisfaction by a title of congruity or suitableness (de omens()) wherever Christ made satisfaction by a title of justice (de cemdigno), and has merited by a merit of suitability (de corer-no) all that Christ has merited by a merit of jusflee (de condign").
"Christ merited as the principal cause. who suffices of Himself to produce the effect and does not borrow from anyone the reason of His Efficiency; Mary has merited as secondary and instrumental cause who received all Her efficacy from Christ. The mediation, there_ fore, of Mary is not of the same order as the mediation of Jesus; but in its own order (a subordinate and dependent one) it is as uni versal in its application as that of Christ . Many theologians readily give Mary the title of 'Co-redemptress ' of the human race. but others (and they are among the most illustrious), like Fr. Billet. S.J., in his beautiful introduction to Fr. Bainvel's book. Marie, Mere de Grace, think that this title is incompatible with the most certain tenets of Catholic dogma. Assuredly, if the title ' Coredemptress ' were meant to put Mary on the same level as the Redeemer, or implied that She had no need of redemption, or that She no-operated in the payment of Her own rahsem. or that She filled up the price of our Reparation by adding something to the merits and satisfactions of Jesus Christ—assuredly
the title would have to be excluded mercilessly. But the theologians who adopt it are careful not to give it such an erroneous meaning. They say nothing more than this: the price of our Redemption was offered superabundantly by Jesus Christ and by Him alone.
Mary needed to he redeemed in a more sublime way, in a unique way that puts Her in an order apart; She alone was preserved and rendered immune by the Blood of Her Son. Jesus redeemed His Mother in such a way that, once redeemed Herself, She might share with Him in the redemption of the rest of mankind and be inseparably associated with Him in the work of salvation. All the meritorious value of the intercession of Mary oomes to it from Jesus; so far from adding anything to the merits of Jesus, it is merely a derivation from them, granted by the free generosity of Jesus . . . The term ('oredemptress occurs in certain acts of the Holy See. It occurs in a prayer approved and indulgeneed by the Holy Office, 22 Jan., 1914 (Acta. 1914. D. lam . us:se
Pope Benedict XV to the Association of Ong Lady of a Happy Death, 22 March, 1918 (Acta, 1918, p. 182).
" The question, therefore, resolves itself rather into one of words, and since the title
Co-redemptress ' is open to mis-interpretation, one may give the preference in Our Lady's titles to 'Co-operatrix ' or •Co-adjutrix ' of the Redemption.
"The thesis we have just enunciated is not only taught by theologians, but has been explicitly affirmed in Papal Encyclicals, and though it has not been defined by the infallible teaching authority of the Church., it is yet an integral part of Catholic doctrine."'
Fr. Le Rohellec then goes on to quote the Encyclical Adjutricem Perth of Pope Leo XIII, and the Encyclical Ad diem illam of Pope Pius X. I shall quote the Encyclical Ad diem ilium of Pope Pius X, and also Pope Benedict XV. I shall now set