Declar, sec. ", III, 6th ed., pp. When we have those down days, or we feel insecure, we can refresh our hearts by drinking at the everlasting fountain of justification by faith alone and can hear God saying, âYou are in Christ and shall remain in Christ forever.â 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. Gal., v, 6; I Cor., xiii, 2), whilst faith devoid of charity and good works (fides informis) is a dead faith and in the eyes of God insufficient for justification (cf. William Most. It is a precious doctrine that is constantly attacked and misrepresented. Over the coming months, the doctrine of justification will be subject to a great deal of scrutiny. Rechtfertigung; Rademacher, Die ubernaturliche Lebensordnung nach der paulinischen u. johanneischen Theologie (Freiburg, 1903); Mausbach, Die Ethik des hl. (Cf. No sooner had Pfeffinger in his book, "De libero arbitrio" (Leipzig, 1555) taken up defence of man's free will than many theologians of Jena (e.g. 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. While in Baptism infants are forthwith cleansed of the stain of original sin without any preparation on their part, the adult must pass through a moral preparation, which consists essentially in turning from sin and towards God. Neither repentance nor penance, neither love of God nor good works, nor any other virtue is required, though in the just they may either attend or follow as a result of justification. ), and Hurter ("Compend. This absolution is based on Christ's holiness which God imputes to man's faith. Denzinger-Bannwart, "Enchir. 16). By the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church Preamble 1. The Council of Trent (l. c. cap. theol. 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. Therefore Catholic official position on Justification is our justification comes from grace of God (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1996) and Justification is acceptance of God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ (ibid, # 1991). "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. 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." This would logically imply in contradiction to the "unica causa formalis" of the Council of Trent, a twofold formal cause of justification (cf. Considered as an act (actus justifications), justification is the work of God alone, presupposing, however, on the part of the adult the process of justification and the cooperation of his free will with God‘s preventing and helping grace (gratia proeveniens et cooperans). The same process of justification is repeated in those who by mortal sin have lost their baptismal innocence; with this modification, however, that the Sacrament of Penance replaces baptism. ; 1883, 491 sqq., 593 sqq. But, not to close the gates of heaven against pagans and those non-Catholics, who without their fault do not know or do not recognize the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance, Catholic theologians unanimously hold that the desire to receive these sacraments is implicitly contained in the serious resolve to do all that God has commanded, even if His holy will should not become known in every detail. Möhler, "Symbolik", sec. New York: Robert Appleton Company. For if it be essential to fiduciary faith that it infallibly assures the sinner of his own justification, it cannot mean anything but a firm conviction of the actual possession of grace. Thus each and every factor receives its full share and is assigned its proper place. Even what we consider good works are nothing but sin. There is only one thing that might possibly divest him of justification, namely, the loss of fiduciary faith or of faith in general. Contact information. The formal cause of justification The same process of justification is repeated in those who by mortal sin have lost their baptismal innocence; with this modification, however, that the Sacrament of Penance replaces baptism. 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. (Cf. According to the Council of Trent sanctifying grace is not merely a formal cause, but “the only formal cause” (unica causa formalis) of our justification. Considered as a state or habit (habitus justificationis), it denotes the continued possession of a quality inherent in the soul, which theologians aptly term sanctifying grace. 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. The Roman Catholic view on justification. Faith, which alone can justify, is also the only requisite and means of obtaining salvation. ); Thomassin ("De Trinit. Solid. What then is meant by justification? 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. In the article on Grace these are described as formal effects of sanctifying grace. VI, can. In the Protestant system, however, remission of sin is no real forgiveness, no blotting out of guilt. • The Catholic Doctrine of Justification: Many Christians are familiar with the Protestant belief in “faith alone,” but what is the Catholic doctrine of justification? Declar. 9-11): uncertainty (incertitudo), inequality (inaequalitas), amissibility (ammisibilitas). Diametrically opposed to these qualities are those defended by the Council of Trent (sess. VI, can. For this last opinion, defended by the Thomists and the majority of theologians, there is also a solid foundation in Holy Writ. Since justification is the unconditional acceptance of the sinner for Christ's sake and not because of any quality in a human's life or morals, it is always to be found in God. ; II, 465 sqq., 610 sqq.) Thus each and every factor receives its full share and is assigned its proper place. In the article on GRACE these are described as formal effects of sanctifying grace. Since neither charity nor good works contribute anything towards justificationâinasmuch as faith alone justifiesâtheir absence subsequently cannot deprive the just man of anything whatever. Vol. ), etc. Kleutgen, "Theologie der Vorzeit", II (2nd ed., Munster, 1872), 254-343. Kirche uber die Rechtfertigung (Munich, 1837); Wieser, S. Pauli doctrina de justificatione (Trent, 1874); Mohler, Symbolik (2nd ed., Mainz, 1890), secs. 16). 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. Declar., Â§ 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.” The contrast between Protestant and Catholic doctrine here becomes very striking. Imprimatur. Since God alone was able to free us from this great misery, He sent in His infinite love His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, Who by His bitter passion and death on the cross redeemed fallen man and thus became the Mediator between God and man. J. Mausbach, “Die Ethik des hl. Catholic theology views justification as an infusion of grace that makes the sinner righteous. i: "Liberum arbitrium minime extinctum, viribus licet attenuatum et inclinatum"). Pohle, "Dogmatik", II, 4th ed., Paderborn, 1909, p. 512). The doctrine of justification was of central importance for the Lutheran Reformation of the sixteenth century. On October 31, 1999 Bishop Kasper the Secretary of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity Rev. The ideas on which the Reformers built their system of justification, except perhaps fiduciary faith, were by no means really original. 25.) In order to exclude the Protestant idea of a merely forensic absolution and exterior declaration of righteousness, special stress is laid on the fact that we are justified by God's justice, not that whereby He himself is just but that whereby He makes us just, in so far as He bestows on us the gift of His grace which renovates the soul interiorly and adheres to it as the soul's own holiness (Trent, l. c., cap. 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. Bartmann, “St. The Catholic doctrine on justification by Francis Patrick Kenrick, 1841, E. Cummiskey edition, in English 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). 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. Rechtfertigung.CATHOLIC TEACHING: Vega, De justificatione doctrina universa, LL. By this, however, we do not assert that the "justitia Dei extra nos" is of no importance in the process of justification. Cardinal Pallavicini* (Hist. By contrast, the Reformers said justification is based on the imputation of the righteousness of Jesus. ), dead faith devoid of charity (fides informis) cannot possess any justifying power. I came across a document called âJoint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justificationâ 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. 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. ", nn.793-810) and thirty-three canons (l.c., 811-43) gives in the clearest manner all necessary information about the process, causes, effects, and qualities of justification. 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. Thus it follows from Holy Writ that by the infusion of sanctifying grace sin is destroyed and blotted out of absolute necessity, and that the Protestant theory of "covering and not imputing sin" is both a philosophical and a theological impossibility. Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 13; James 2:17 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). There is only one thing that might possibly divest him of justification, namely, the loss of fiduciary faith or of faith in general. Although the connection between faith and works is not meritorious, it is certainly conditional, which echoes a catholic spirit. fur protest. On October 31, 1999, the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation will sign a historic document known as the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JD). J. Jausbach, "Die Ethik des hl. This opinion might be safely accepted were sanctifying grace only a physical ornament of the soul. One of the key tasks for this council was to define the Catholic doctrine of justification in response to Protestant challenges. Luther's most dangerous adversary, however, was his friend Melancthon, who, in his praiseworthy endeavour to smooth over by conciliatory modifications the interior difficulties of this discordant system, laid the foundation for the famous Synergisten-Streit (Synergist Dispute), which was so soon to become embittered. We assert this of Protestantism in general; for the doctrine of justification as defended by the reformed Churches differs only in non-essentials from Lutheranism. let him be anathema"). . The only ground by which a person can be saved is Jesus’ righteousness, which is reckoned to him when he believes. Theologie", Munich, 1867, p. 583). Strigel) boldly attacked the Lutheran Klotz-Stock-und-Steintheorie (log-stick-and-stone theory), and tried to force from their adversaries the concession that man can cooperate with God‘s grace. Justification is a divine act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins. 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. 1545. VI, cap. Möhler, "Symbolik", sec. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. 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. The agreement over justificationâthat is, how we are âsavedââis an illusory bridge over an enormous chasm in both doctrine and practice. ; Denifle, Luther u. Luthertum in der ersten Entwicklung, I (Mainz, 1904); Ihmels, Die Rechtfertigung allein durch den Glauben, unser fester Grund Rom gegenuber in Neue kirchliche Zeitschrift (1904), 618 sqq. Since justification as an application of the Redemption to the individual presupposes the fall of the entire human race, the Council of Trent quite logically begins with the fundamental statement that original sin has weakened and deflected, but not entirely destroyed or extinguished the freedom of the human will (Trent, sess. The most important of these differences is to be found in Calvin's system, which taught that only such as are predestined infallibly to eternal salvation obtain justification, whilst in those not predestined God produces a mere appearance of faith and righteousness, and this in order to punish them the more severely in hell (Cf. Solid. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. The Roman Catholic doctrine of justification is analytic. (Cf. ", viii, 9 sqq. Kirche uber die Rechtfertigung (Munich, 1837); Wieser, S. Pauli doctrina de justificatione (Trent, 1874); Mohler, Symbolik (2nd ed., Mainz, 1890), secs. . Granderath ("Zeitschrift fur katholische Theologie", 1881, pp. Augustinus", II, Freiburg, 1909, pp. 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. By the latter Rosmini understood deliberate sins of commission (cutpoe actuales et liberoe), by the former indeliberate sins (peccata non libera), which “do no harm to those who are of the people of God“. vii; “Unica formalis causa [justificationis] est justitia Dei, non qua ipse justus est, sed qua nos justos facit, qua videlicet ab eo donati, renovamur spiritu mentis nostrae: et non modo reputamur, sed vere justi nominamur et sumus, justitiam in nobis recipientes unusquisque suam”). 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. seems to lie in the following distinction: the Divine adoption, inseparably connected with sanctifying grace, is not constituted by the personal indwelling of the Holy Ghost, but receives therefrom its full development and perfection. Hence the Catholic doctrine on justification, in welcome contrast to the Protestant teaching, stands out as a reasonable, consistent, harmonious system. (Cf. 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. x-xxvii; Einig in Kirchenlex., s.v. However, a version of co-operant grace also weaves through Wesley’s doctrine of justification. Vol. 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. Copyright © 2020 by Kevin Knight. The strict orthodoxy of the Old Lutherans, e.g. Neither repentance nor penance, neither love of God nor good works, nor any other virtue is required, though in the just they may either attend or follow as a result of justification. Only such faith as is active in charity and good works (fides caritate formata) can justify man, and this even before the actual reception of baptism or penance, although not without a desire of the sacrament (cf. MÃ¶hler, “Symbolik”,Â§16.) Without assurance of right standing before God, a person could never rest in God’s mercy and unmerited love. The Counter Reformation, or Catholic Reformation, began at the Council of Trent in . 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. Osiander (d. 1552), at once an enthusiastic admirer of Luther and an independent thinker, emphatically stated (in opposition to Luther and Calvin) that the justifying power of faith consists in a real, intrinsic union of Christ with the soul, an opinion for which, as being Catholic, he was censured freely. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2005. 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. 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. Luther emphasised five solas(“alones”) that are particularly relevant to justification: it is … Ps., xxxi, 1); (2) such as God really forgives and blots out. (2) The Formal Cause of Justification.âThe Council of Trent decreed that the essence of active justification comprises not only forgiveness of sin, but also “sanctification and renovation of the interior man by means of the voluntary acceptation of sanctifying grace and other supernatural gifts” (Trent, 1. c., cap. 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. 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. Hello, itâs been a while since I posted here! Loosely, it means getting right with God. Denzinger-Bannwart, "Enchir. No sooner had Pfeffinger in his book, "De libero arbitrio" (Leipzig, 1555) taken up defence of man's free will than many theologians of Jena (e.g. Kleutgen, “Theologie der Vorzeit”, II (2nd ed., MÃ¼nster. Now, forty years since its original publication, Hans Kung's groundbreaking study--acclaimed as a model for ecumenical discussion--has become a classic work. We have seen that Protestants claim the following three qualities for justification: certainty, equality, the impossibility of ever losing it. ", viii, 4 sqq. 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? Frightened, tormented, worn out by constant reflexions on his own sinfulness, he had finally found, even before 1517, relief and consolation only in the thought that man cannot overcome concupiscence and that sin itself is a necessity. Whether Victorinus, a neo-Platonist, already defended the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is immaterial to our discussion. 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. Thus we find in one of Luther’s letters, written to Melanchthon 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.” Could anyone do more to degrade St. Paul’s concept of justification than Luther did in the following blasphemy: “If adultery could be committed in faith, it would not be a sin “? Cf. 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." 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. For, God by His merely judicial absolution from sin does not take away sin itself, but spreads over it as an outer mantle His own righteousness. Since the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification is much like Lutherâs, it will be sufficient to note only those aspects of Romeâs doctrine unique to the Catholic position. For this reason St. Augustine (De fide et operibus, xiv) was of the opinion that the Apostles James, Peter, John, and Jude had directed their Epistles against the Antinomians of that time, who claimed to have taken their doctrines so dangerous to morality from the writings of St. Paul. Prof. Paulsen of Berlin was therefore justified in eulogizing Kant, who followed Luther in this matter, as the “Philosopher of Protestantism“. 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