Please define the difference between "Tradition" and "tradition" when you get a chance. Where would the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Perpetual Virginity of Mary, Assumption of Mary, and Co-Mediator teachings fall? Thank you!
Welcome to the blog, Praisethelord!
The Catholic Church does differentiate between "Tradition" and "tradition."
Tradition with a capitol 'T' refers to defined doctrines regarding faith and morals, which cannot be changed. It is made up of both Holy Scripture, and oral or written traditions which have been passed down through the centuries. For example, which books are in the Bible canon are Tradition, as they are not listed in the Bible. The vast majority of Tradition is composed of doctrines which almost all of Christianity agrees upon. For example, the Incarnation or the nature of the Trinity.
Usually, the Catholic Church only formally defines doctrines which they begin to be questioned. For example, the earliest doctrines were regarding the nature of the Trinity, because very early in Christianity, people questioned whether Jesus was equal to God, whether He had the same Divine nature.
Hence, the Nicene Creed, which states that Jesus was:
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
That is Tradition, which is now formally defined.
Similarly, various Marian doctrines were not formally defined until after the Reformation, because they were accepted until then. Martin Luther believed both in Mary's Perpetual Virginity, and in her Immaculate Conception.
I think most non-Catholics think of Marian doctrines as add-ons from the Middle Ages, but really, most date from the earliest times, 100-300 years A.D. Catholic Answers has quotations from the Early Church Fathers on the titles Ever Virgin, Full of Grace, and Mother of God.
The Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity of Mary, and her Assumption have been formally defined, and thus would fall under Tradition. Mary has not been formally defined as "Co-Mediatrix," but I believe this would probably still fall under Tradition, as it is also a very ancient view, and so the Church would be extremely unlikely to say that she is not "Co-Mediatrix."
There is a movement within the Catholic Church to formally define this title, but personally, I think it better to leave it undefined because it is so often misunderstood. I'm going to cut-and-paste from a previous post, here.
The Catholic Catechism, paragraph #1544 states: Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the "one mediator between God and men." The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, "priest of God Most High," as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique "high priest after the order of Melchizedek"; "holy, blameless, unstained," "by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified," that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.
Considering Mary as mediatrix does not negate Jesus as the One Mediator. This is a difference in understanding what is meant by mediatrix. When Catholics refer to Mary as Mediatrix, we saying that God entered the world through her. Jesus was physically born by a woman, and that woman was Mary. Because she cooperated with God, by saying yes to him, Jesus was able to enter the world.
Does this mean our salvation depends on her? No. But because she cooperated with God, God worked through her (mediated), and so she has been known from the earliest time of Christianity as Theotokos, or God-Bearer.
Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong gives a great answer to this question on his website:
7) So, just as we are allowed the unfathomable privilege of participating in our own redemption, likewise God willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, the Immaculate one, the perpetual Virgin, the Second Eve, would play a part in the Redemption of all, by consenting to the Sacrifice on the Cross of her Son, who was God in the flesh. She doesn't (solely and sufficiently) cause the Redemption any more than we (solely and sufficiently) cause our own redemption. Her role is to freely assent and to bear the suffering in her immaculate heart that Jesus bore in His Sacred Heart (hence those two devotions in Catholic theology).Tradition with a small 't' are things which are customary in the Church, but can be changed. For example, requiring celibacy for priests is a tradition, while reserving ordination for men is a Tradition. Other traditions include fasting regulations, what sort of sacred vessels can be used for Mass, whether to sprinkle or dunk for Baptism.
8) "Co" in Latin does not mean "equal"; it merely means "with" or "alongside." We see this even in English. If you have a "co-pay" with regard to health insurance, that doesn't mean that you always pay equally with your insurance provider (I sure hope not!). "Co-Pilot" sometimes means "equal" but usually not. Etc. But because the term Co-Redemptrix is so misunderstood, it has fallen out of use in the last 50 years or so. But nevertheless, Pope John Paul II has used it at least five times, as Dr. Miravelle notes.
9) This was God's marvelous plan - to involve a creature and a woman at every step of the way, so as to achieve a certain "balance" - if I may properly speak in such a way. Eve brought down the human race, acting with Adam; Mary helped to raise it, acting in concert with Jesus Christ, her Son, the second Adam (as Paul describes Him). If Satan could cause the fall of the human race through the frailty of Woman and Man, why is it not plausible that God could in turn bring about the Redemption of the human race in part through the Immaculate Mary, the Second Eve, the Theotokos? To me it all makes eminent sense. It is contrary neither to Scripture nor to common sense and reason.
For a really good explanation of Tradition, I suggest reading an article by Mark Shea, who is a convert to Catholicism. Here are a few excerpts.
This pattern of seeing Scripture in light of Sacred Tradition is absolutely crucial to understand, because failure to grasp it accounts for an enormous amount of misunderstanding. Evangelicals who have received (usually without realizing it) a pair of contact lenses colored by the Tradition of the Closure of Public Revelation can "see" that Tradition implied in Paul's commands to Timothy. Yet we do not derive the doctrine from Scripture. Rather, we see it reflected there. But since Evangelicals have not received the contact lenses with the Tradition of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, they are unable to see it reflect there. Instead, they imagine that doctrine is arrived at by Catholics sitting down with a Bible and saying, "Let's see. What is the most tortured and extreme reading I can get out of Matthew 1:25 today? Hey! Let's say Mary remained a virgin perpetually!"
In reality, however, Catholics see the Perpetual Virginity of Mary reflected in Scripture in just the same way the Council of Jerusalem saw the Circumcision Exemption reflected in Amos and Evangelicals see the Closure of Public Revelation reflected in Paul's command to Timothy. The Church does not sit down and derive the dogma from the tortured reading of a few isolated texts of Scripture. Rather, it places the Scripture in the context of the Tradition handed down by the apostles and the interpretive office of the bishops they appointed.
In this context, we discover not explicit, but implicit testimony to the doctrine, while those verses which appear to speak of Jesus' siblings or Mary's relations with Joseph after the birth of Christ can easily be understood in a way compatible with her perpetual virginity. We find, for instance, that mention of Jesus "brothers" can mean "cousins" in the first century Jewish milieu. We find that Matthew 1:25 need not necessarily imply anything about Mary's subsequent sexual relations with Joseph any more than "Michal had no children till the day of her death" implies that Michal had children after her death. We also find Mary-a woman betrothed-is astonished at Gabriel's proclamation that "You will bear a son." This is an odd thing for a betrothed woman to be astonished about. After all, a betrothed woman could expect and hope to bear many sons... unless she had already decided to remain a virgin even after marriage. Then she would be astonished at the prophecy.
We find also the New Testament subtly but clearly identifies Mary with the Ark of the Covenant, wherein dwelt the Presence of God. Luke 1:35 speaks of the power of the Most High "overshadowing" Mary just as the Shekinah glory overshadowed the Ark (Numbers 9:15). John does the same thing in Revelation, juxtaposing the Ark (Rev 11:19) with an image of a woman clothed with the sun who gives birth to a "male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter." (Rev. 12:5). The connection between Mary and the Ark, once it is made by with the help of Sacred Tradition, is hard not to see. Knowing the identity of Mary's "male child" it would be an easy mental connection for any pious Jew to immediately think of her as a kind of Second Ark.
Well, one such pious Jew was a certain Joseph of Nazareth who, after his dream (Mt 1:23) did know the identity of Mary's "male child." He also knew, as a Jew steeped in the Old Testament, what happens to people who touch the Ark without authorization (2 Sm 6:6-8). So it becomes very psychologically probable that Joseph, knowing what he knew, also would have chosen celibacy in this rather unusual situation. And so, in short, the Sacred Tradition of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, like Sacred Tradition of the Closure of Public Revelation, turns out to illuminate Scripture in an unexpected and yet satisfying way. Which is why the Church of the sixth century knows and defines (at the Second Council of Constantinople), that Mary is Ever-Virgin even though it is not written explicitly in the New Testament any more than the words "After the apostles die, there will be no new revelation." For the Second Council of Constantinople, knowing what the Council of Jerusalem knew, acts like the Council of Jerusalem did: operating in light of the apostolic Tradition that Mary was Ever-Virgin, the Church reads Scripture accordingly and sees its Tradition reflected there.
You can read my defense of Sacred Tradition here.
I hope this helped answer your questions, and let me know if you have any more.