Mary as Co-Redemptrix

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I have a protestant friend who has a problem with the idea of Mary as “co-redemptrix”. Is this an official teaching of the Catholic Church, and what is a good way to explain it to him?

Many thanks.
Mary as co-redemptrix is a doctrine not a dogma. When explaining this term to your friend, make sure he understands that the Church does not teach (never has and never will) that Mary as Co-redemptrix is equal to Christ. “Co” is from the Latin “cum,“ meaning “with”. “Trix” is a feminine suffix, so the word means “the woman with the redeemer”—the woman with the one doing the act of redemption.

Just as Eve participated in the fall by her consent and pride, Mary cooperates with the redemption of man by her consent and humility as handmaid of the Lord. She gave Jesus his body, and his body is what saved us.

*Lumen Gentium * says,
  1. Thus Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. Embracing God’s salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she “being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.”(6*) Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.”(7*) Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her “the Mother of the living,”(8*) and still more often they say: “death through Eve, life through Mary.”
  2. Predestined from eternity by that decree of divine providence which determined the incarnation of the Word to be the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin was in this earth the virgin Mother of the Redeemer, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth and nourished Christ. she presented Him to the Father in the temple, and was united with Him by compassion as He died on the Cross. In this singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace.
For further reading, I recommend the following:

Our Lady’s Cooperation in the Redemption by Fr. William Most

Unscriptural Marian Doctrine? Fr. William Most

Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix (many articles and online books):
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