Contrary to what many assert, Pope Leo XIII does not call Mary ‘Co-Redemptrix’ in his encyclical Iucunda Semper Expectatione of 1894.
THE FALSE TRANSLATION OF IUCUNDA SEMPER EXPECTATIONE OF POPE LEO XIII
OBJECTION– In his Sept. 8, 1894, encyclical Iucunda Semper Expectatione, Pope Leo XIII stated:
Pope Leo XIII, Iucunda Semper Expectatione (#2), Sept. 8, 1894: “The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace; being by worthiness and by merit most acceptable to Him, and, therefore, surpassing in power all the angels and saints in Heaven. Now, this merciful office of hers, perhaps, appears in no other form of prayer so manifestly as it does in the Rosary. For in the Rosary all the part that Mary took as our co-Redemptress comes to us, as it were, set forth, and in such wise as though the facts were even then taking place; and this with much profit to our piety, whether in the contemplation of the succeeding sacred mysteries, or in the prayers which we speak and repeat with the lips.”
ANSWER– No, that is not what he said. The translation above, which is commonly cited, is a false translation. Here’s the Latin of the passage:
LATIN: “Quod Mariae praesidium orando quaerimus, hoc sane, tamquam in fundamento, in munere nititur conciliandae nobis divinae gratiae, quo ipsa continenter fungitur apud Deum, dignitate et meritis acceptissima, longeque Caelitibus sanctis omnibus potentia antecellens. Hoc vero munus in nullo fortasse orandi modo tam patet expressum quam in Rosario: in quo partes quae fuerunt Virginis ad salutem hominum procurandam sic recurrunt, quasi praesenti effectu explicatae: id quod habet eximium pietatis emolumentum, sive sacris mysteriis contemplandum succedentibus, sive precibus ore pio iterandis…”
A proper translation of this is as follows:
“As for the assistance of Mary that we seek in prayer, that of course is based as though on its foundation on the office of procuring divine grace for us, (an office) which she herself continually performs before God, (being) by reason of (her) dignity and merits most acceptable (to Him), and far surpassing all the holy residents of Heaven in (her) power. Now this office is perhaps in no manner of prayer so patently expressed as in the Rosary: in which the parts that were of the Virgin for the procurement of men’s salvation recur in such a way as though unfolding with present effect: something that holds exceptional devotional benefit, whether through the sacred mysteries as they succeed each other for our contemplation or through the prayers to be repeated with devout lips…”
As this correct translation shows, Pope Leo XIII does not call Mary the ‘Co-Redemptress’ in this encyclical.
The dogmatic definitions below prove that the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ alone is our Redeemer and that He alone redeemed us. Mary is thus not to be considered or called ‘Co-Redemptrix’. For a full treatment of this matter, see this article: Mary is not the Co-Redeemer (Co-Redemptrix).
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino” 1441, ex cathedra: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes, and teaches that no one conceived of man and woman was ever freed of the domination of the Devil, except through the faith of the mediator between God and men, our Lord Jesus Christ; He who was conceived without sin, was born and died, ALONE BY HIS OWN DEATH LAID LOW THE ENEMY OF THE HUMAN RACE BY DESTROYING OUR SINS, and opened the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven, which the first man by his own sin had lost…” (Denz. 711)
Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, Sess. 25, On Invocation, Veneration and Relics of Saints, and on Sacred Images, ex cathedra: “… the saints, who reign with Christ, offer up their prayers to God for men; and that it is good and useful to invoke them suppliantly and, in order to obtain favors from God through His Son JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD, WHO ALONE IS OUR REDEEMER and Savior… And they must also teach that images of Christ, the virgin mother of God and the other saints should be set up and kept… But if anyone should teach or maintain anything contrary to these decrees, let him be anathema.” (Denz. 984)
Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part III: The Decalogue – First Commandment – Thou Shalt not Have Strange Gods, etc. – Objections Answered: “True, there is but one Mediator, Christ the Lord, who alone has reconciled us to the heavenly Father through His blood, and who, having obtained eternal redemption, and having entered once into the holies, ceases not to intercede for us.”