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  #1  
Old May 1, '12, 5:06 pm
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josephback josephback is offline
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Default How are law and faith related in Catholicism?

I've been told there is no tension the way there is in some non-Catholic assemblies. How does the Church law relate to and intersect with faith in God so as to not contradict Galatians? Thanks in advance.
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Old May 1, '12, 6:28 pm
JDaniel JDaniel is offline
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Default Re: How are law and faith related in Catholicism?

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Originally Posted by josephback View Post
I've been told there is no tension the way there is in some non-Catholic assemblies. How does the Church law relate to and intersect with faith in God so as to not contradict Galatians? Thanks in advance.
Welcome to Catholic Answers, Joseph.

St. Paul did not obliterate the law or the need for law, by all of his words in Galatians, but rather placed the pulling cords of Christ and the Resurrection well above them. Despite the abundance of laws, made to somehow bring communion between God and His chosen ones, the laws, in and of themselves, were unable to accomplish that. Rather, Christ showed that it was "filial love" that God both deserved and wanted, and He showed the Jewish people how to accomplish it.

In the absence of universal human conformity with love of God, love of neighbor, and the following of Christ's lead, mankind would never achieve what God wanted for Him and His creatures. Christ showed men how to give true filial love to God the Father as Father. God wants not much more than any good father would want from his sons and daughters. Not hatred, not disrespect, not disdain, not indifference. True filial love. The Law could not do that.

But, the Church knows that in the absence of absolute and universal conformity with those desires by men, by virtue of their own willingness, there will need to be laws, for a time anyway.

God bless,
jd
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Old May 1, '12, 9:16 pm
fhansen fhansen is offline
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Default Re: How are law and faith related in Catholicism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by josephback View Post
I've been told there is no tension the way there is in some non-Catholic assemblies. How does the Church law relate to and intersect with faith in God so as to not contradict Galatians? Thanks in advance.
True faith leads to obedience-because true faith leads to love, which fulfills the law (Rom 13:10). That's what the New Covenant is all about. The NC promises prophesied by Jeremiah also declare this-God does the writing in us, causing us to do what we can't do on our own:

This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”


And St Basil put it this way:
If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages, . . . we resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands . . . we are in the position of children.

To get a real good handle on the Catholic perspective on the relationship between the Law, faith, and grace, read the Catechism beginning here, paying particular attention to the section on the New Law, para 1965 and following:
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c3a1.htm
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Old May 2, '12, 11:07 am
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josephback josephback is offline
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Default Re: How are law and faith related in Catholicism?

Ok, the law of love. Makes sense. Are there any good Catholic books on Paul and Galatians? I want to understand this in depth.
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Old May 2, '12, 11:48 am
fhansen fhansen is offline
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Default Re: How are law and faith related in Catholicism?

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Originally Posted by josephback View Post
Ok, the law of love. Makes sense. Are there any good Catholic books on Paul and Galatians? I want to understand this in depth.
I'm sure others can give you good advice on books but I'll offer this: Paul knew we must fulfill the Law. It's not about whether or not we must fulfill it; it's about how we're to fulfill it. We either obey by mere external obedience (works of the Law) based on our own efforts/righteousness (ref Phil 3:9), which Paul said he exceeded at as a Pharisee, or we obey the right way, by God's grace working through faith to produce works of love as per Gal 5:6. And this is why Paul could also say:
"For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous." Rom 2:13

And this all fits in with his exhortation in 1 Cor 13:2:
"...if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."
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Old May 2, '12, 1:49 pm
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Khalid Khalid is offline
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Default Re: How are law and faith related in Catholicism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by josephback View Post
Ok, the law of love. Makes sense. Are there any good Catholic books on Paul and Galatians? I want to understand this in depth.
There is Romans and Galatians by Brendan Byrne, and the commentaries on Romans and on Galatians in Sacra Pagina (I believe by the same author): be aware, though, that those sources may not always be the most faithful to Catholic teaching (for example, Sacra Pagina's commentary on Revelation teaches in clear words the condemned doctrine of apokatastasis). Hans Urs von Balthasar (another proponent of a highly qualified apokatastasis in his book, Dare We Hope All Men Be Saved? With a Short Discourse on Hell: not completely orthodox, but likely the greatest [or most original] Catholic theologian of the twentieth century) also deals with the intersection of law and faith in The Theology of Karl Barth, in which he interacts with Barth's Church Dogmatics, especially in the areas of grace and soteriology.

If there are volumes on Romans or Galatians available in the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series, I highly recommend them, as I have found no heterodoxy in that series.

There's always the classical Haydock Commentary as well, which is available online, but which many would complain is outdated and "pastorally insensitive" or overly-harsh for Protestant (or even Catholic) consumption in the Modern Age.

Romans and Galatians is probably the best place to start, as I'm unaware of any completely orthodox or traditional Catholic books that deal with the topic; it will, however, suffice to illumine some of the difference and some of the similarity.

In my own words I would summarize "Law and Gospel" in Catholicism as Thomas Aquinas did: that in the Old Testament, there are three kinds of law: ceremonial, moral, and juridical.

The ceremonial law (i.e. Leviticus) was completely abrogated and fulfilled by the coming of Christ; the only celebration of it remaining is the Sacrifice of the Mass. To observe the ceremonial law is heresy, and tantamount to denying that the Christ and Redeemer has come. (II-I q. 103, aa. 3f.)

The moral law is still binding - it was binding before it was even issued to Moses, as this is the law of God that is written on the hearts of all men. Jesus did not abrogate the moral law; he strengthened it. "For the men of old have said to ye, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery', but amen I say to ye, that whosoever looketh at a woman with lust in his heart, hath committed adultery". These moral laws are summarized in the Decalogue and still have full binding force.

The juridical law (the law of governments or the ordering of nations) is no longer a required observance, but neither is it a sin to observe it. St Thomas views it as an extension of the moral law suited to certain times and places.

You can read the relevant passages of the Summa (qq. 100-103) here: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2100.htm
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Last edited by Khalid; May 2, '12 at 2:04 pm.
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