Friday, June 29, 2007

Condemnation Of The Protestant Theses On Predestination

"In opposition to this [Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin], the Council of Trent had been more explicit on these questions in formulating the revealed doctrine such as always taught by the Church. The principal definitions relative to the point at issue are found in the following canons of the sixth session.

Can. 4: ‘If anyone saith that man’s free will moved and excited by God, by assenting to God exciting and calling, no wise co-operates toward disposing and preparing itself for obtaining the grace of justification; that it cannot refuse its consent, if it would, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive, let him be anathema.’

Can. 5: ‘If anyone saith that, since Adam’s sin, the free will of man is lost and is extinguished; or that it is a thing with only a name, yea, a name without reality, a figment in fine, introduced into the Church by Satan, let him be anathema.’

Can. 6: ‘If anyone saith that it is not in man’s power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil God worketh as well as those that are good, not permissibly only, but properly and of Himself, in such a wise that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul, let him be anathema.’

Can. 17: ‘If anyone saith that the grace of justification is attained only by those who are predestined unto life; but that all others who are called, are called, indeed, but receive not grace, as being by the divine power predestined unto evil; let him be anathema.’

Can. 18: ‘If anyone saith that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.’

In the eleventh canon, which is the counterpart of this last quoted canon, the Council of Trent has in mind two propositions of St. Augustine, whose doctrine the Protestnats appealed to in the following passages, though interpreting him in a wrong sense: ‘God does not command what is impossible, but in commanding advises you to do what you can, and to ask for what you cannot do.’ ‘God does not abandon those whom He has once justified by His grace, unless He is first abandoned by them.’ In saying that God never commands what is impossible, St. Augustine had equivalently affirmed that in a certain way He wills all men to be saved, in this sense that He wills to make it really possible for all to keep the commandments, and that no one is lost except through his own fault."

-Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange from his book Predestination.

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