Nihil Obstat. For, even if it is not the formal cause of justification (causa formalis), it is nevertheless its true exemplar (causa exemplaris), inasmuch as the soul receives a sanctity in imitation of God‘s own holiness. It was held to be the “first and chief article” 1. and at the same time the “ruler and judge over all other Christian doctrines.” 2. According to Rosmini, there are two categories of sin: Although it is a Catholic dogma that sanctifying grace and sin (original and mortal) do never exist simultaneously in the soul, there may be, nevertheless a diversity of opinion regarding the extent of this incompatibility, according as it is considered as either moral, physical, or metaphysical in character. Solid. (Cf. But here we are forced to ask: If all our moral actions be the outcome of an internal necessity and constraint, how can Luther still speak of sin in the true meaning of the word? Cf. Gal., v, 6; I Cor., xiii; James, ii, 17 sqq. The Protestants believed that the Catholic doctrine of justification led to human despondency. We have an authentic explanation of the Catholic doctrine in the famous "Decretum de justificatione" of the Sixth Session (13 Jan., 1547) of the Council of Trent, which in sixteen chapters (cf. The Catholics argued that divorcing justification from sanctification would lead to unrighteous living. We have seen that Protestants claim the following three qualities for justification: certainty, equality, the impossibility of ever losing it. Until quite recently, it was almost universally accepted that the epistle of St. James was written against the unwarranted conclusions drawn from the writings of St. Paul. For this reason, the doctrine of justification takes on eschatological meaning--i.e., it is placed in connection with the final act of the divine plan, or eschaton. By this important decision the Council excluded the error of Butzer and some Catholic theologians (Gropper, Scripando, and Albert Pighius) who maintained that an additional "external favour of God" (favor Dei externus) belonged to the essence of justification. Imprimatur. Original sin has so completely destroyed our likeness to God and our moral faculties in the natural order, that our will has lost its freedom regarding works morally good or bad, and we are consequently condemned to commit sin in every action. By this doctrine Luther opened a fundamental breach between religion and morality, between faith and law, and assigned to each its own distinct sphere of action in which each can attain its end independent of the other. Luther became convinced that James was opposed to Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith alone and thus dismissed the epistle as non-canonical. I had forgotten about this document until just yesterday. Since justification consists in an interior sanctity and renovation of spirit, its formal cause evidently must be a created grace (gratia creata), a permanent quality, a supernatural modification or accident (accidens) of the soul. The Doctrine of Justification: Augustine is Catholic Posted on August 28, 2013 by Joseph T. Richardson Today is the feast day of St. Augustine , and though I have a lot of other things on my plate today, I thought it was an opportune time to make a first post in a matter that’s been boiling over in my head for a while. ; 1883, 491 sqq., 593 sqq. Möhler, "Symbolik", sec. Krogh-Tonning, "Die Gnadenlehre und die stille Reformation", Christiania, 1894). But what probably contributed most of all to the crumbling of the system was the rapid growth of Socinianism and Rationalism which during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries gained so many adherents among the Lutherans. But there is an impassable gap between the Catholic and the Lutheran position after that point. Rechtfertigung; Rademacher, Die ubernaturliche Lebensordnung nach der paulinischen u. johanneischen Theologie (Freiburg, 1903); Mausbach, Die Ethik des hl. In general it was precisely the denial of man’s free will in the moral order, and of the impossibility of his full cooperation with Divine grace that repelled so many followers of Luther. The strict orthodoxy of the Old Lutherans, e.g. J. Jausbach, "Die Ethik des hl. This genuinely Biblical concept of justification forms such an essential element of Catholicism, that even Antonio Rosmini’s theory, standing half way between Protestantism and Catholicism, is quite irreconcilable with it. theol. Solid. Major Protestant authors who oppose the Catholic view are Since neither charity nor good works contribute anything towards justification — inasmuch as faith alone justifies — their absence subsequently cannot deprive the just man of anything whatever. For, just as light dispels darkness, so the infusion of sanctifying grace eo ipso dispels from the soul original and mortal sin. 16). On the contrary, they believe that St. James had no other object than to emphasize the fact — already emphasized by St. Paul — that only such faith as is active in charity and good works (fides formata) possesses any power to justify man (cf. This inner quality of righteousness and sanctity is universally termed "sanctifying (or habitual) grace", and stands in marked contrast to an exterior, imputed sanctity, as well as to the idea of merely covering and concealing sin. By declaring the grace of justification, or sanctifying grace, to be the only formal cause of justification, the Council of Trent intended to emphasize the fact that in possessing sanctifying grace we possess the whole essence of the state of justification with all its formal effects; that is, we possess freedom from sin and sanctity, and indeed freedom from sin by means of sanctity. viii). Schleiermacher and Hengstenberg deviated still further from the old doctrine. real obliteration of sin by means of sanctification, there is a whole series of other effects: beauty of the soul, friendship with God, and Divine adoption. ; II, 561 sqq. Denzinger-Bannwart, “Enchir.”, nn. des Trienter Rechtfertigungs-Dekretes (Paderborn, 1909); Prumbs, Die Stellung des Trid. VI, cap. 208-58. (Cf. But what probably contributed most of all to the crumbling of the system was the rapid growth of Socinianism and Rationalism which during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries gained so many adherents among the Lutherans. vii), moreover, did not neglect to enumerate in detail the other causes of justification: the glory of God and of Christ as the final cause (causa finalis), the mercy of God as the efficient cause (causa efficiens), the Passion of Christ as the meritorious cause (causa meritoria), the reception of the Sacraments as the instrumental cause (causa instrumentalis). Considering merely the psychological analysis of the conversion of sinners, as given by the council, it is at once evident that faith alone, whether fiduciary or dogmatic, cannot justify man (Trent, l. c., can. 25.). theol. Declar. From this point of view we get a psychological explanation of numerous objectionable passages in Luther’s writings, against which even Protestants with deep moral sense, such as Hugo Grotius and George Bull, earnestly protested. 48: "It is settled beyond question that our justice is to be sought wholly outside of ourselves and that it consists entirely in our Lord Jesus Christ." iv, xiv). The process of justification (processus justificationis) But what probably contributed most of all to the crumbling of the system was the rapid growth of Socinianism and Rationalism which during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries gained so many adherents among the Lutherans. Sin is merely cloaked and concealed by the imputed merits of Christ; God no longer imputes it, whilst in reality it continues under cover its miserable existence till the hour of death. Thus we find in one of Luther's letters, written to Melancthon in 1521, the following sentence: "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ more strongly, who triumphed over sin, death, and the world; as long as we live here, we must sin." Of late, however, Catholic exegetes have become more and more convinced that the Epistle in question, so remarkable for its insisting on the necessity of good works, neither aimed at correcting the false interpretations of St. Paul’s doctrine, nor had any relation to the teaching of the Apostle of the Gentiles. For the contrast between grace and sin is as great as between light and darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8), between life and death (Romans 5:21; Colossians 2:13; 1 John 3:14), between God and idols, Christ and Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15 sqq. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that in the Middle Ages there were a few Catholic theologians among the Nominalists (Occam, Durandus, Gabriel Biel), who went so far in exaggerating the value of good works in the matter of justification that the efficiency and dignity of Divine grace was unduly relegated to the background. This opinion was censured by the Holy Office (14 Dec., 1887), not only because without any reason it defended a twofold remission of sin, but also because it stamped indeliberate acts as sins (cf. 105, 117) admits that neither the Church in her official teaching nor the majority of her theologians ever sanctioned, much less adopted, the extreme views of the Nominalists. Although it is a Catholic dogma that sanctifying grace and sin (original and mortal) do never exist simultaneously in the soul, there may be, nevertheless a diversity of opinion regarding the extent of this incompatibility, according as it is considered as either moral, physical, or metaphysical in character. ; II, 561 sqq. The Counter Reformation, or Catholic Reformation, began at the Council of Trent in . In Christian theology, justification is God's righteous act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin while, at the same time, declaring the ungodly to be righteous, through faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice.. The two elements of active justification, forgiveness of sin and sanctification, furnish at the same time the elements of habitual justification, freedom from sin and holiness. Augustinus", II, Freiburg, 1909, pp. Many historical theologians interpret him as confusing justification with sanctification, of which justification is merely a part. (Cf. In the article on GRACE these are described as formal effects of sanctifying grace. I came across a document called “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” which seems to suggest that the Church has changed its teaching on justification by faith and works and is converging with Lutheran view of justification. ; II, 561 sqq. For, just as light dispels darkness, so the infusion of sanctifying grace eo ipso dispels from the soul original and mortal sin. Theol., s.v. also Harnack, Dogmengesch., III (4th ed., Freiburg, 1909); Ihmels in Herzog and Jauck, Realencycl. sanctifying grace) is nothing less than the Person of the Holy Ghost, Who is the hypostatic holiness and charity, or the uncreated grace (gratia increata). The justification of Luther's faith, he thought, was the doctrine of justification by faith. Trent, Sess. Finally the Lutheran Church of Scandinavia has in the course of time experienced a “quiet reformation”, inasmuch as it now, without being fully conscious of the fact, defends the Catholic doctrine on justification (cf. For this reason the Lutheran formularies of belief lay great stress on the doctrine that our entire righteousness does not intrinsically belong to us, but is something altogether exterior. Mohler, “Symbolik”, §12). By this doctrine Luther opened a fundamental breach between religion and morality, between faith and law, and assigned to each its own distinct sphere of action in which each can attain its end independent of the other. 16). in the Kingdom of Saxony and the State of Missouri, alone continues to cling tenaciously to a system, which otherwise would have slowly fallen into oblivion. Vol. . By this important decision the Council excluded the error of Butzer and some Catholic theologians (Gropper, Scripando, and Albert Pighius) who maintained that an additional "external favour of God" (favor Dei externus) belonged to the essence of justification. let him be anathema"). The council rejected the doctrine of justification by faith alone and excommunicated those . James 2:17 sqq.). Theologie", Munich, 1867, p. 583). 283 sqq. sanctifying grace) is nothing less than the Person of the Holy Ghost, Who is the hypostatic holiness and charity, or the uncreated grace (gratia increata). ., a.s.") In considering the effects of justification it will be useful to compare the Catholic doctrine of real forgiveness of sin with the Protestant theory that sin is merely "covered" and not imputed. According to Luther (and Calvin also), the faith that justifies is not, as the Catholic Church teaches, a firm belief in God‘s revealed truths and promises (fides theoretica, dogmatica), but is the infallible conviction (fides fiducialis, fiducia) that God for the sake of Christ will no longer impute to us our sins, but will consider and treat us, as if we were really just and holy, although in our inner selves we remain the same sinners as before. 169; "Katholik", 1883, I, 142 sqq. We agree with Bergauer that Luther erred with respect to James and Augustine. There is only one thing that might possibly divest him of justification, namely, the loss of fiduciary faith or of faith in general. Such a remission of sin could not consist in a mere covering or non-imputation of sins, which continue their existence out of view; it must necessarily consist in the real obliteration and annihilation of the guilt. By declaring the grace of justification, or sanctifying grace, to be the only formal cause of justification, the Council of Trent intended to emphasize the fact that in possessing sanctifying grace we possess the whole essence of the state of justification with all its formal effects; that is, we possess freedom from sin and sanctity, and indeed freedom from sin by means of sanctity. Concupiscence as an intrinsically evil disposition, has instilled its deadly poison into the soul, its faculties, and its action (cf. Möhler, "Symbolik", sec. . The same decree also effectually set aside the opinion of Peter Lombard, that the formal cause of justification (i.e. For, God by His merely judicial absolution from sin does not take away sin itself, but spreads over it as an outward mantle His own righteousness. Möhler, "Symbolik", sec. MLA citation. Thus there exist in man side by side two hostile brothers as it were — the one just and the other unjust; the one a saint, the other a sinner; the one a child of God, the other a slave of Satan — and this without any prospect of a conciliation between the two. We have an authentic explanation of the Catholic doctrine in the famous "Decretum de justificatione" of the Sixth Session (13 Jan., 1547) of the Council of Trent, which in sixteen chapters (cf. during the Apostolic times who welcomed the idea that faith alone suffices for justification, and that consequently the observance of the moral law is not necessary either as a prerequisite for obtaining justification or as a means for preserving it. This absolution is based on Christ’s holiness which God imputes to man’s faith. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Terry Wilkinson. (Cf. (3) The Effects of Justification.—The two elements of active justification, forgiveness of sin and sanctification, furnish at the same time the elements of habitual justification, freedom from sin and holiness. The new breach in the system by the Synergisten-Streit was enlarged by a counter movement that originated among the Pietists and Methodists, who were willing to admit the fallible assurance of salvation — given by fiduciary faith — only in case that that assurance was confirmed by internal experience. fur protest. "The Half-Melanchtonians" had succeeded in smuggling Synergism into the "Book of Torgau" (1576); but before the "Formulary of Concord" was printed in the monastery of Bergen (near Magdeburg, 1557), the article in question was eliminated as heterodox and the harsh doctrine of Luther substituted in the symbols of the Lutheran Church. About this page We now come to the different states in the process of justification. Fiduciary faith was no longer considered a spiritual means to assist man in reaching out for the righteousness of God, but was identified with a disposition which is upright and pleasing to God. Besides the principal effect of justification, i.e. The result of decades of Lutheran–Roman Catholic dialogue, this document represents an ecumenical event of major historical significance. Recently, the Catholic doctrine of justification has become a divisive issue even among evangelicals, as they seek to determine how far they should go in cooperative relations with Catholics.In this conclusion to our series on Roman Catholicism, we will examine both the commonalities and differences between Catholic and Protestant soteriology (beliefs about salvation). JUSTIFICATION IN CATHOLIC TEACHING. Finally if, as Luther maintains, only the loss of faith (according to Calvin, not even that) can deprive us of justification, it follows that justification once obtained can never be lost. iv, xiv). With the "arm of faith" the sinner eagerly reaches out for this righteousness and puts it on as a cloak of grace, covering and concealing therewith his misery and his sins. The Roman Catholic doctrine of justification is analytic. For according to the teaching of the Catholic Church the righteousness and sanctity which justification confers, although given to us by God as efficient cause (causa efficiens) and merited by Christ as meritorious cause (causa meritoria), become an interior sanctifying quality or formal cause (causa formalis) in the soul itself, which it makes truly just and holy in the sight of God. But, if the grace of Redemption merited by Christ is to be appropriated by the individual, he must be “regenerated in God“, that is he must be justified. xi: "Si quis dixerit, homines ju… Since our Divine adoption and friendship with God is based on perfect love of God or charity (cf. The next step is a genuine sorrow for all sin with the resolution to begin a new life by receiving holy baptism and by observing the commandments of God. As long as the sinner with the "arm of faith" firmly clings to Christ, he is and will ever remain regenerated, pleasing to God, the child of God and heir to heaven. Transcription. i: "Liberum arbitrium minime extinctum, viribus licet attenuatum et inclinatum"). Since justification consists in an interior sanctity and renovation of spirit, its formal cause evidently must be a created grace (gratia creata), a permanent quality, a supernatural modification or accident (accidens) of the soul. For they declared contrition and penance as also necessary for justification, thus "coming dangerously near the Catholic system", as Derner expresses it ("Geschichte der protest. This inner quality of righteousness and sanctity is universally termed “sanctifying (or habitual) grace”, and stands in marked contrast to an exterior, imputed sanctity, as well as to the idea of merely covering and concealing sin. iv, xiv). Trent, sess. 793-810) and thirty-three canons (I. c., 811-43) gives in the clearest manner all necessary information about the process, causes, effects, and qualities of justification. Several great theologians have answered in the affirmative, as for instance Lessius ("De summo bono", II, i; "De perfect. fur protest. Diametrically opposed to these qualities are those defended by the Council of Trent (sess. With what little right heretics in defence of their doctrine appeal to St. Augustine, may be seen from the following brief extract from his writings: "He who made you without your doing does not without your action justify you. It was especially the representatives of Antinomianism during the Apostolic times who welcomed the idea that faith alone suffices for justification, and that consequently the observance of the moral law is not necessary either as a prerequisite for obtaining justification or as a means for preserving it. Regarding St. Augustine's doctrine cf. The means of justification is an area of significant difference amongst the diverse theories of atonement defended within Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant theologies. Solid. xi: "The term justification in this instance means the declaring just, the freeing from sin and the eternal punishment of sin in consideration of the justice of Christ imputed to faith by God. Declar., sec. As long as the sinner with the "arm of faith" firmly clings to Christ, he is and will ever remain regenerated, pleasing to God, the child of God and heir to heaven. Now, forty years since its original publication, Hans Kung's groundbreaking study--acclaimed as a model for ecumenical discussion--has become a classic work. The contrast between Protestant and Catholic doctrine here becomes very striking. justificatio; Gr. Christian doctrines.” 2 The doctrine of justification was particularly as - serted and defended in its Reformation shape and special valuation over against the Roman Catholic Church and theology of that time, which in turn asserted and defended a doctrine of justification of a different character. Latterly, A. Ritschl defined justification as the change in the consciousness of our relation to God and amplified this idea by the statement that the certainty of our salvation is further determined by the consciousness of our union with the Christian community. The Lutheran (and Calvinistic) doctrine on justification reaches its climax in the assertion that “fiduciary faith”, as described above, is the only requisite for justification (sola fides justificat). The doctrine of justification by faith alone was considered by Luther and his followers as an incontrovertible dogma, as the foundation rock of the Reformation, as an "article by which the Church must stand or fall" (articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesia), and which of itself would have been a sufficient cause for beginning the Reformation, as the Smalkaldic Articles emphatically declare. Of late, Fathers Denifle and Weiss have shown that Martin Luther was acquainted almost exclusively with the theology of these Nominalists, which he naturally and justly found repugnant, and that the “Summa” of St. Thomas and the works of other great theologians were practically unknown to him. The Protestants believed that the Catholic doctrine of justification led to human despondency. 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