Full question by Anonymous:
Some people claim that Mary is a co-Savior. Is this what the Catholic Church believes? Does she have the power to save someone from hell?
The only person who has the ability to redeem us is the God who created us, in becoming man and dying as a sacrificial offering for us (Hebrews 10:10-14). It is through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ that we are redeemed; and through our baptism into that paschal mystery (Romans 6:3 & 1 Peter 3:21).
This has been the teaching of the Church since the days of the Apostles and is unchanged and unchangeable. It was even dogmatically defined by at least two ecumenical councils, the councils of Trent and Florence.
The successors of Peter weigh in
Here’s what these councils had to say, the first is from a Papal Bull and the second is the decision of an ecumenical council, both are infallible doctrinal statements of the Church’s magisterium.
“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…”
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino” 1441, ex cathedra
On Invocation, Veneration and Relics of Saints, and on Sacred Images:
“… 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…
Council of Trent session 25
Non-Catholics often are mystified, or even downright offended, by the honor that the Church bestows upon Mary, but this honor is only following the prompting of the Holy Spirit when he prompted her to say “all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:47).
This is why the statement from Trent is so important here, it says that even though we honor the saints and pray for their intercession it in no way implies that we believe they have the power to save our souls.
For related posts see Do Catholics Worship Mary & The Communion of Saints
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