Can we put ourselves in a position where we lose our sufficient grace?


#1

It is a teaching of the Catholic Church that Christ died for ALL and that God gives all people ‘sufficient grace’ to turn to Him and be saved.

Does it also follow that God gives all people AT ALL TIMES sufficient grace, or can we lose even this through our choices?

In other words, can we put ourselves, through our choices, in a position were everything we do will be a mortal sin?

The medieval theologians seem to have thought so, but it’s not so clear in modern times. Dante, for example (not a theologian, I know, but a man of good understanding of Church teaching at the time) places living traitors in his Inferno, because their treachery has condemned them in a way that makes it impossible for them to repent without committing further sin, thus they are in Hell even while their earthly lives continue.

For example, the men who joined Hitler’s SS, by obeying orders, they were participating in murder and genocide, by disobeying orders, they were breaking their oaths and dishonouring their (legitimate?) superiors. This isn’t a ‘normal’ case of obeying conscience rather than superiors, because the SS swore blood-oaths of unquestioning loyalty, deliberately alienating their own right to freedom of conscience.

Or, alternatively, the Masonic oath, which says that ‘any repentance from the oath will be a sin’. If someone takes that oath and repents, are they sinning by repenting, and thus have they irrevocably thrown away their salvation?

Is it possible to find yourself in a situation where everything you do is a sin?

If that is the case in these extremes, might it also be the case for the whole of our society. Might a culture become so sick that it drags the vast majority of people into such a situation from an early age. For example, if someone has to choose between a job with a bank that invests in the arms trade and makes money from unfair loans that exploit the developing world or not having enough money to feed his own family, is he put in a situation where all his choices are sinful? Does this mean that few people who are not in Religious Life will be saved?


#2

<< Or, alternatively, the Masonic oath, which says that ‘any repentance from the oath will be a sin’. If someone takes that oath and repents, are they sinning by repenting, and thus have they irrevocably thrown away their salvation? >>

Absolutely not if we’re talking about a Masonic oath. Masonic oaths are sinful in themselves. Thus, anyone that swears one sins. Anyone who has sworn one that has since sincerely renounced the oath has consequently revoked their sin.

<< Is it possible to find yourself in a situation where everything you do is a sin? >>

Yes. In a process that I’ll call “reverse sanctification”.

<< If that is the case in these extremes, might it also be the case for the whole of our society. Might a culture become so sick that it drags the vast majority of people into such a situation from an early age. >>

Yes, that’s theoretically possible. Though, there is more to that story than meets the eye. It’s not quite as desperate a situation as it may seem, I believe. More on that if I think the information will be useful…

<< For example, if someone has to choose between a job with a bank that invests in the arms trade and makes money from unfair loans that exploit the developing world or not having enough money to feed his own family, is he put in a situation where all his choices are sinful? >>

There are extreme situations where people are put to some extreme tests in life, yes. However, don’t jump to improper conclusions and throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. Someone sinning in one area of their life does not equate to them sinning in every other area as well.

<< Does this mean that few people who are not in Religious Life will be saved? >>

No, not necessarily. My own personal belief is that it’s just as easy to fall into hell as a religious as it is as a lay person. The reason for this is because religious are to abide by a higher standard. Sin is sin is sin, across the board. But forgiveness also comes much more easily to those who sin because of a variety of mitgating circumstances than it does to those who sin much more freely. Know what I mean? As Scripture says, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more…”

Some thoughts…

SK


#3

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