In witnessing to most every aspect of the story of Mary Co-redemptrix, John Paul II, the “Totus Tuus” Pope, exceeded all papal predecessors. The quantity of such testimonies is vast; their depth profound; their love inspired.
As if before a wine cellar full of extraordinary wines, we do not have the opportunity to taste and appreciate every teaching of Pope John Paul concerning his Mother Co-redemptrix. (1) Rather, let us offer some of his most exceptional.
John Paul II and Usages of Co-redemptrix
John Paul II’s official and repeated use of the title, Co-redemptrix, quickly remedies the silence at the Second Vatican Council. Within his first years as Christ’s Vicar, the Pope invokes the Immaculate Mother as “Co-redemptrix” on repeated occasions and makes whole again the relationship between the doctrine and the title. The title is legitimate, and the Holy Father expresses his conviction about this.
On September 8, 1982, Feast of the Birth of Mary, within the context of a papal address to the sick (who so much need to know the power of co-redemptive suffering), John Paul calls Mary the “Co-redemptrix of humanity” for the first time: “Mary, though conceived and born without the taint of sin, participated in a marvelous way in the sufferings of her divine Son, in order to be Coredemptrix of humanity.” (2)
As is well known, John Paul didn’t celebrate his own birthday of May 18, but rather his “name day” on November 4, the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, after whom he was named “Karol.” On this day in 1984 the Pope once again calls his Mother the “Co-redemptrix” in a general audience:
To Our Lady—the Coredemptrix—St. Charles turned with singularly revealing accents. Commenting on the loss of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple, he reconstructed the interior dialogue that could have run between the Mother and the Son, and he added, “You will endure much greater sorrows, O blessed Mother, and you will continue to live; but life will be for you a thousand times more bitter than death. You will see your innocent Son handed over into the hands of sinners . . . You will see him brutally crucified between thieves; you will see his holy side pierced by the cruel thrust of a lance; finally, you will see the blood that you gave him spilling. And nevertheless you will not be able to die!” (From the homily delivered in the Cathedral of Milan the Sunday after the Epiphany, 1584). (3)
The next usage of the Co-redemptrix title by John Paul is his most important. At a Marian sanctuary in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on January 31, 1985, he delivers a homily in which he professes the Co-redemptrix title within a penetrating theological commentary of scriptural and conciliar teaching on Coredemption:
Mary goes before us and accompanies us. The silent journey that begins with her Immaculate Conception and passes through the “yes” of Nazareth, which makes her the Mother of God, finds on Calvary a particularly important moment. There also, accepting and assisting at the sacrifice of her son, Mary is the dawn of Redemption; . . . Crucified spiritually with her crucified son (cf. Gal. 2:20), she contemplated with heroic love the death of her God, she “lovingly consented to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth” (Lumen Gentium, 58) . . . .
In fact, at Calvary she united herself with the sacrifice of her Son that led to the foundation of the Church; her maternal heart shared to the very depths the will of Christ “to gather into one all the dispersed children of God” (Jn. 11:52). Having suffered for the Church, Mary deserved to become the Mother of all the disciples of her Son, the Mother of their unity . . . .
The Gospels do not tell us of an appearance of the risen Christ to Mary. Nevertheless, as she was in a special way close to the Cross of her Son, she also had to have a privileged experience of his Resurrection. In fact, Mary’s role as Coredemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son. (4)
The Guayaquil homily by Pope John Paul II cannot be dismissed as either marginal or devoid of doctrinal weight. (5) “Spiritually crucified with her crucified son . . .”; “she united herself with the sacrifice of her Son that led to the foundation of the Church . . .”; “her role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son . . .”—all of these declarations constitute sublime confessions to the doctrine of Mary Co-redemptrix. They are packed with doctrinal depth and conviction by the Pope, to whom the believing Catholic heart should assent with obedience, thanksgiving, and awe.
Only a few months later, John Paul confirms once again the legitimacy of Co-redemptrix. On Palm Sunday, during World Youth Day, the he addresses his “favorites,” his beloved youth, and invokes the aid of Mary under the title of “the Co-redemptrix”:
At the Angelus hour on this Palm Sunday, which the Liturgy calls also the Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, our thoughts run to Mary, immersed in the mystery of an immeasurable sorrow.
Mary accompanied her divine Son in the most discreet concealment, pondering everything in the depths of her heart. On Calvary, at the foot of the Cross, in the vastness and in the depth of her maternal sacrifice, she had John, the youngest Apostle, beside her . . . .
May Mary our Protectress, the Co-redemptrix, to whom we offer our prayer with great outpouring, make our desire generously correspond to the desire of the Redeemer. (6)
Again in context of the sick, (this time to volunteers of Lourdes) on March 24, 1990, the Pope calls upon the aid of Mary under the title “Co-redemptrix”: “May Mary most holy, Co-redemptrix of the human race beside her Son, always give you courage and confidence!” (7)
In commemorating the sixth centenary of the canonization of St. Bridget of Sweden (October 6, 1991), the John Paul uses “Co-redemptrix” as a title and role understood by this fourteenth century mystic whose revelations did so much to stimulate the medieval development of the doctrine:
Birgitta looked to Mary as her model and support in the various moments of her life. She spoke energetically about the divine privilege of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. She contemplated her astonishing mission as Mother of the Saviour. She invoked her as the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Sorrows, and Coredemptrix, exalting Mary’s singular role in the history of salvation and the life of the Christian people. (8)
Clearly, the Totus Tuus Pope affirms the authenticity of the Co-redemptrix title within the Church, both in the context of doctrinal treatments and in the order of prayerful invocation by the Church.
John Paul II’s contribution to the doctrinal advancement of Marian Coredemption is no less stellar. During the Marian month of May in 1983, the he highlights the Immaculate Virgin’s association with Christ as the “highest model of cooperation,” which is begun with her “yes” to the work of Redemption at the Annunciation:
Dearest brothers and sisters, in the month of May we raise our eyes to Mary, the woman who was associated in a unique way in the work of mankind’s reconciliation with God. According to the Father’s plan, Christ was to accomplish this work through his sacrifice. However, a woman would be associated with him, the Immaculate Virgin who is thus placed before our eyes as the highest model of cooperation in the work of salvation. . . .
The “Yes” of the Annunciation constituted not only the acceptance of the offered motherhood, but signified above all Mary’s commitment to service of the mystery of the Redemption. Redemption was the work of her Son; Mary was associated with it on a subordinate level. Nevertheless, her participation was real and demanding. Giving her consent to the angel’s message, Mary agreed to collaborate in the whole work of mankind’s reconciliation with God, just as her Son would accomplish it. (9)
On the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 5, 1983, Pope John Paul II again underlines Our Lady’s active part in the one Redemptive Sacrifice, which is continued in every Mass. In this sacrifice, Mary “offered him and she offered herself to the Father,” and as a result, every Mass puts us in intimate communion “with her, the Mother”:
Born of the Virgin to be a pure, holy and immaculate oblation, Christ offered on the Cross the one perfect Sacrifice which every Mass, in an unbloody manner, renews and makes present. In that one Sacrifice, Mary, the first redeemed, the Mother of the Church, had an active part. She stood near the Crucified, suffering deeply with her Firstborn; with a motherly heart she associated herself with his Sacrifice; with love she consented to his immolation (cf. Lumen Gentium, 58; Marialis Cultus, 20): she offered him and she offered herself to the Father. Every Eucharist is a memorial of that Sacrifice and that Passover that restored life to the world; every Mass puts us in intimate communion with her, the Mother, whose sacrifice “becomes present” just as the Sacrifice of her Son “becomes present” at the words of consecration of the bread and wine pronounced by the priest. (10)
In the same year (December 7, 1983), John Paul II elucidates the crucial pre-requisite for the Mother’s coredemptive mission as her Immaculate Conception (a truth of doctrinal interconnectedness which merits greater contemporary appreciation): “We must above all note that Mary was created immaculate in order to be better able to act on our behalf. The fullness of grace allowed her to fulfill perfectly her mission of collaboration with the work of salvation; it gave the maximum value to her cooperation in the sacrifice. When Mary presented to the Father her Son nailed to the cross, her painful offering was entirely pure.” (11)
In the 1984 Apostolic Letter, Salvifici Doloris (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering), the Holy Father delivers an extraordinary teaching on the sufferings of Mary at Calvary:
It is especially consoling to note—and also accurate in accordance with the Gospel and history—that at the side of Christ, in the first and most exalted place, there is always His Mother through the exemplary testimony that she bears by her whole life to this particular Gospel of suffering. In her, the many and intense sufferings were amassed in such an interconnected way that they were not only a proof of her unshakable faith but also a contribution to the Redemption of all . . . . It was on Calvary that Mary’s suffering, beside the suffering of Jesus, reached an intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view but which was mysteriously and supernaturally fruitful for the Redemption of the world. Her ascent of Calvary and her standing at the foot of the cross together with the beloved disciple were a special sort of sharing in the redeeming death of her Son. (12)
John Paul confirms the participation of the Co-redemptrix not only in the distribution of the graces of Calvary, but also in the obtaining of universal redemptive graces, when he declares that the many and intense sufferings were amassed in such a way that they were a “contribution to the Redemption of all.” (13) Moreover his description that the Mother’s sufferings at Calvary “reached an intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view,” attests to the extreme human limits of suffering for the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who watches and consents to the violent immolation of her innocent son, who is also God, so that humanity may be bought back. Because this unique sharing in the redeeming death of Christ is “supernaturally fruitful for the Redemption of the world,” the Immaculate One willingly suffers in love for all mankind.
To the young pilgrims from Vicenza (reminiscent of Pius XI’s first use of Co-redemptrix to the Vicenza pilgrims in 1933), (14) John Paul elaborates extemporaneously that with the death of Jesus on the cross, Mary’s “very self, her heart, her motherhood,” were likewise “crucified” in the greatest “dark night” of human history: “. . . when Jesus died on the cross, her very self, her heart, her motherhood, all was crucified. When I wrote the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater I compared this moment in Mary’s life to a dark night, darker than all the nights which the souls of mystics have experienced throughout the Church’s history.” (15)
The teaching of John Paul’s ordinary Magisterium in the 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, acknowledges the lifelong “yes” of the Co-redemptrix given at the Annunciation which reaches its fulfillment at Calvary, where Mary “offers Jesus” so as to “receive and beget” his disciples as her spiritual children:
“Standing by the cross of Jesus” (Jn. 19:25), Mary shares in the gift which the Son makes of himself: she offers Jesus, gives him over, and begets him to the end for our sake. The “yes” spoken on the day of the Annunciation reaches full maturity on the day of the Cross, when the time comes for Mary to receive and beget as her children all those who become disciples, pouring out upon them the saving love of her Son: “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!'” (Jn. 19:26). (16)
Remarkable in its synthesis of the story of Marian Coredemption is John Paul II’s General Audience of October 25, 1995, where the essential historical panorama of the development of Marian Coredemption is papally ratified:
Saying that “the Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honoured as being truly the Mother of God and of the Redeemer” (Lumen Gentium, n. 53), the Council draws attention to the link between Mary’s motherhood and Redemption.
After becoming aware of the maternal role of Mary, who was venerated in the teaching and worship of the first centuries as the virginal Mother of Jesus Christ and therefore as the Mother of God, in the Middle Ages the Church’s piety and theological reflection brought to light her cooperation in the Saviour’s work.
This delay is explained by the fact that the efforts of the Church Fathers and of the early Ecumenical Councils, focused as they were on Christ’s identity, necessarily left other aspects of dogma aside. Only gradually could the revealed truth be unfolded in all its richness. Down the centuries, Mariology would always take its direction from Christology. The divine motherhood of Mary was itself proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus primarily to affirm the oneness of Christ’s person. Similarly, there was a deeper understanding of Mary’s presence in salvation history.
At the end of the second century, St. Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, already pointed out Mary’s contribution to the work of salvation. He understood the value of Mary’s consent at the time of the Annunciation, recognizing in the Virgin of Nazareth’s obedience to and faith in the angel’s message the perfect antithesis of Eve’s disobedience and disbelief, with a beneficial effect on humanity’s destiny. In fact, just as Eve caused death, so Mary, with her “yes,” became “a cause of salvation” for herself and for all mankind (cf. Adv. Haer., III, 22, 4; SC 211, 441). But this affirmation was not developed in a consistent and systematic way by the other Fathers of the Church.
Instead, this doctrine was systematically worked out for the first time at the end of the 10th century in the Life of Mary by a Byzantine monk, John the Geometer. Here Mary is united to Christ in the whole work of Redemption, sharing, according to God’s plan, in the Cross and suffering for our salvation. She remained united to the Son “in every deed, attitude and wish” (cf. Life of Mary, Bol. 196, f. 123 v.).
In the West St. Bernard, who died in 1153, turns to Mary and comments on the presentation of Jesus in the temple: “Offer your Son, sacrosanct Virgin, and present the fruit of your womb to the Lord. For our reconciliation with all, offer the heavenly victim pleasing to God” (Serm. 3 in Purif., 2: PL 183, 370).
A disciple and friend of St. Bernard, Arnold of Chartres, shed light particularly on Mary’s offering in the sacrifice of Calvary. He distinguished in the Cross “two altars: one in Mary’s heart, the other in Christ’s body. Christ sacrificed his flesh, Mary her soul.” Mary sacrificed herself spiritually in deep communion with Christ, and implored the world’s salvation: “What the mother asks, the Son approves and the Father grants” (cf. De septem verbis Domini in cruce, 3: PL 189, 1694).
From this age on other authors explain the doctrine of Mary’s special cooperation in the redemptive sacrifice. (17)
The Woman of Calvary is also the Woman of Revelation. In the papal audience of May 29, 1996, the Pope identifies the suffering woman of the Apocalypse as the Mother at the Cross, who suffers to give mystical birth to the community of disciples:
Identified by her motherhood, the woman “was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for her delivery” (12:2). This note refers to the Mother of Jesus at the Cross (cf. Jn. 19:25), where she shares in anguish for the delivery of the community of disciples with a soul pierced by the sword (cf. Lk. 2:35). Despite her sufferings, she is “clothed with the sun”—that is, she reflects the divine splendor—and appears as a “great sign” of God’s spousal relationship with his people. (18)
In the same address, John Paul reiterates the role of the Immaculate New Eve as the Redeemer’s “faithful Collaborator” in her co-operation in the Redemption:
It was fitting that like Christ, the new Adam, Mary too, the new Eve, did not know sin and was thus capable of co-operating in the Redemption.
Sin, which washes over humanity like a torrent, halts before the Redeemer and his faithful Collaborator. With a substantial difference: Christ is all holy by virtue of the grace that in his humanity derives from the divine person: Mary is all holy by virtue of the grace received by the merits of the Savior. (19)
A landmark catechesis, part of the Pope John Paul II’s seventy catechetical teachings on the Blessed Virgin, (20) was delivered on April 2, 1997. During this General Audience, John Paul puts forth a moving commentary on the Council’s teaching on Coredemption and the Mother’s compassion at Calvary:
With our gaze illumined by the radiance of the resurrection, we pause to reflect on the Mother’s involvement in her Son’s redeeming passion, which was completed by her sharing in his suffering. Let us return again, but now in the perspective of the Resurrection, to the foot of the Cross where the Mother endured “with her only-begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consented to the immolation of this victim which was born of her.”
With these words, the Council reminds us of “Mary’s compassion”; in her heart reverberates all that Jesus suffers in body and soul, emphasizing her willingness to share in her Son’s redeeming sacrifice and to join her own maternal suffering to his priestly offering.
The Council text also stresses that her consent to Jesus’ immolation is not passive acceptance but a genuine act of love, by which she offers her Son as a “victim” of expiation for the sins of all humanity.
Lastly, Lumen Gentium relates the Blessed Virgin to Christ, who has the lead role in Redemption, making it clear that in associating herself “with his sacrifice” she remains subordinate to her divine Son. (21)
The Holy Father has here penetrated deeply into the compassion of the Mother’s Heart at Calvary. “In her heart reverberates all that Jesus suffers in body and soul,” and thus she “shares in the redeeming sacrifice.” She does not share in the sacrifice formally as “priest,” but subordinately as “mother” in a united offering of the one Sacrifice. She offers her Son as “a victim of expiation” for all of humanity’s sins.
This catechesis is immediately followed by another inspired instruction on the Mother of God’s role as unique “Co-operator” in Redemption on April 9, 1997, which includes the imperative for Christians to participate as “co-redeemers” (22) in the work of distributing the spiritual fruits of Redemption. Only Mary as the Immaculate Co-redemptrix co-operated in the obtaining of graces of Redemption as the New Eve with and under the New Adam on behalf of humanity. The doctrine of Mary Co-redemptrix becomes a crucial “type of the Church” (cf. Lumen Gentium, 63), for the People of God are likewise summoned to partake in the mysterious application of Redemption:
The collaboration of Christians in salvation takes place after the Calvary event, whose fruits they endeavour to spread by prayer and sacrifice. Mary, instead, cooperated during the event itself and in the role of mother; thus her cooperation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity.
The Blessed Virgin’s role as cooperator has its source in her divine motherhood. By giving birth to the One who was destined to achieve man’s redemption, by nourishing him, presenting him in the temple and suffering with him as he died on the Cross, “in a wholly singular way she cooperated . . . in the work of the Savior” (Lumen Gentium, 61). Although God’s call to cooperate in the work of salvation concerns every human being, the participation of the Savior’s Mother in humanity’s Redemption is a unique and unrepeatable fact. (23)
The Mother’s meritorious cooperation in man’s Redemption originates in her role as “Theotokos,” (or God-bearer), for she gave birth to the Redeemer and remains “with Jesus” in salvation’s work unto the Cross. This is why the Mother of the Redeemer’s participation in Redemption is no optional theological speculation, but rather, as the Pontiff declares, a “unique and unrepeatable fact.”
Finally, in the Great Year of Jubilee, the Pope John Paul II compares the sacrifice of Mary with the monumental Old Testament sacrifice of Abraham, Father of Faith. But unlike the sacrifice of Abraham, the full execution of the Mother’s sacrifice of her Son was demanded of her:
Daughter of Abraham in faith as well as in the flesh, Mary personally shared in this experience. Like Abraham, she too accepted the sacrifice of her Son, but while the actual sacrifice of Isaac was not demanded of Abraham, Christ drank the cup of suffering to the last drop. Mary personally took part in her Son’s trial, believing and hoping at the foot of the Cross (cf. Jn. 19:25).
This was the epilogue of a long wait. Having been taught to meditate on the prophetic texts, Mary foresaw what awaited her and in praising the mercy of God, faithful to his people from generation to generation, she gave her own consent to his plan of salvation; in particular, she said her “yes” to the central event of this plan, the sacrifice of that Child whom she bore in her womb. Like Abraham, she accepted the sacrifice of her Son. (24)
John Paul’s courageous testimony to Mary Co-redemptrix perseveres indefinitely, meriting for him the singular title of “Pope of the Co-redemptrix.”
This article is from the thirteenth chapter of “With Jesus”: The Story of Mary Co-redemptrix, Queenship Publications, 2003. The book is available from Queenship for the price of $3.00 U.S.D.
(1) For a more extended treatment, cf. Calkins, “Pope John Paul II’s Teaching on Marian Coredemption,” pp. 113-147; also “The Mystery of Mary Coredemptrix in the Papal Magisterium,” Mary Co-redemptrix: Doctrinal Issue Today, Queenship, 2002, pp. 41-47.
(2) John Paul II, Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1978-, V/3, 1982, 404.
(3) John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, November 12, 1984, p. 1.
(4) Ibid., March 11, 1985, p. 7.
(5) Unfortunately, these were the expressions used to describe the significance of the repeated papal usages of the title of Co-redemptrix by Pope John Paul II, as contained in an unsigned article which appeared in L’Osservatore Romano on June 4, 1997. This article accompanied the brief conclusion of an ad hoc ecumenical committee of theologians (sixteen Catholic and five non-Catholic), who met at the 1996 Czestochowa Marian Conference to study the possibility of a dogmatic definition of Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate (a meeting estimated by the committee members to have lasted less than one hour).
Although the ad hoc committee members later stated that they were not informed that they were in any way acting as an official “papal commission,” their conclusions were nonetheless published some ten months later in L’Osservatore Romano as the conclusions of a “commission established by the Holy See” and released as a “Declaration of the Theological Commission of the Congress of the Pontifical International Marian Academy” (L’Osservatore Romano, June 4, 1997). This publication happened to immediately follow a meeting of some seventy bishops and one hundred theologians and international lay leaders at the Domus Mariae Conference Center in Rome (members of the international Marian movement, Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici), who presented the Holy Father with a votum for the papal definition of Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate, based in part upon the theological foundations of the papal teachings of Pope John Paul II, and containing the petitions of over five-hundred-fifty bishops, including forty-five cardinals, and over six million petitions from the Catholic laity worldwide.
The commission’s statement was published while the Holy Father was on a pastoral visit to Poland. On several points, the conclusions of the commission directly contradict the Pope’s own teaching and practice regarding Marian Coredemption and the legitimate use of the title of Co-redemptrix. For an extended treatment, cf. M. Miravalle, In Continued Dialogue With the Czestochowa Commission, Queenship, 2002.
(6) John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, April 9, 1985, p. 12.
(7) John Paul II, Inseg., XIII/1, 1990, 743:1.
(8) John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, October 14, 1991, p. 4.
(9) Ibid., May 9, 1983, p. 1
(10) Ibid., June 13, 1983, p. 2.
(11) Ibid., December 12, 1983, p. 1.
(12) John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, 25.
(13) Classic terminology in expressing this participation in the acquisition of redemptive graces of Calvary include “Redemption in actu primo” or participation in “objective Redemption.”
(14) Pius XI, L’Osservatore Romano, December 1, 1933, p. 1.
(15) John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, September 16, 1991, p. 4.
(16) John Paul II, Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, March 25, 1995, 103; AAS 87, 1995, p. 520.
(17) John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, November 1, 1995, p. 11.
(18) Ibid., June 5, 1996, p. 11
(20) From September 1995 to November 1997, John Paul II offered seventy Catechetical teachings of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which have been assembled and published under the title Theotókos: Woman, Mother, Disciple: A Catechesis on Mary, Mother of God, Pauline Books and Media, 2000.
(21) John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, April 9, 1997, p. 11.
(22) On at least three occasions, John Paul has underscored the call for Christians to become “co-redeemers” in the distribution of the graces of Calvary obtained by Jesus and Mary, and for Christians to participate in “coredemption.” Due to its importance to Mary Co-redemptrix as an authentic model for the Church, we here include the direct references: “Is it necessary to remind all of you, sorely tried by suffering, who are listening to me, that your pain unites you more and more with the Lamb of God, who ‘takes away the sin of the world’ through his Passion (Jn. 1:29)? And that therefore you, too, associated with him in suffering, can be coredeemers of mankind? You know these shining truths. Never tire of offering your sufferings for the Church, that all her children may be consistent with their faith, persevering in prayer and fervent in hope” (addressing the sick at the Hospital of the Brothers of St. John of God (Fatebenefratelli) on Rome’s Tiber Island on April 5, 1981, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, April 13, 1981, p. 6); “To the sick who are present and to those who are in hospital wards, in nursing homes and in families I say: never feel alone, because the Lord is with you and will never abandon you. Be courageous and strong: unite your pains and sufferings to those of the Crucified and you will become coredeemers of humanity, together with Christ” (spoken while addressing the sick after a general audience given January 13, 1982, Inseg., V/1, 1982, 91); “‘The candidate should be irreproachable’ (Tit. 1:6), Saint Paul admonishes again. Personal spiritual direction should cultivate in them (candidates for the priesthood) an unlimited love for Christ and his Mother, and a great desire to unite themselves closely to the work of coredemption” (addressing the Bishops of Uruguay gathered in Montevideo concerning candidates for the priesthood, May 8, 1988, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, May 30, 1988, p. 4).
(23) John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, April 16, 1997, p. 11.
(24) Ibid., March 1, 2000, p. 11.