Catholics believe in Sola Fide


Let’s explore this idea.

Salvation is by grace.

Righteousness comes by faith.

Works are by grace. Not to our credit but because God chooses to give us credit. Thus, any works we do are because of righteousness that God gives us. And how does He give us that? By faith.

Any works a Catholic does is as a result of faith, not of themselves, but are a gift of God to them by His grace. God gives us merit. It is unearned. So works are not something a Catholic can take credit for. Credit is given, but all a Catholic really has is faith - until God gives merit.

So in the Catholic system one is saved by faith alone.




Sola fide would mean one believes that salvation is solely by faith, and nothing else, so why would it even cross the mind of someone that Catholics believe in this? We should also start by what one means by faith; is it belief or simply knowing Christ, or is it believing and obeying Christ? Now, if one’s definition of faith is belief plus obedience, then that is the Catholic definition of faith. It is not a mere knowing or accepting Jesus, but rather an acceptance and obedience to Him. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Protestant definition of faith is mostly limited to knowing and accepting Christ; it is often I find in discussions regarding this that it seems most Protestants separate working or obeying from accepting Christ. For the Catholic, obedience to Christ is part of that acceptance; you cannot say you accept Christ but refuse to obey Him, or would not do anything for Him. At best, that is only partial acceptance.


The Council of Trent declared (Session VI):

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of
glory; let him be anathema.

Also, Trent said that it is possible to have true Faith without Charity:

CANON XXVIII.-If any one saith, that, grace being lost through sin, faith also is always lost with it; or, that the faith which remains, though it be not a lively faith, is not a true faith; or, that he, who has faith without charity, is not as Christ taught; let him be anathema.

It’s not enough to believe in God; we also have to love him.


I think any Protestant would agree that you cannot believe in and accept Jesus without there being obediance. Obediance is the necessary result of faith. Where there is faith there must and will be obediance. What Protestants deny is that our works merit anything not that they are not required.


The question is one of logic. What is not being said here is that if a=b=c=d then d=a. According to the question, initially works are a gift. In the end it is said that our salvation is a gift. Our works which depended on the Grace of God is not the same as Salvation which is also a gift, but not the same gift. That is the failure of the logic.



Of course God is not bound by our logic and reasoning.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
(1 Corinthians 1:18-20)

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”; and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS.”
(1 Corinthians 3:19-20)



Righteousness comes by faith.

True. We are justified by faith.

Works are by grace.


Not to our credit but because God chooses to give us credit.

True. This is called congruous merit.

Thus, any works we do are because of righteousness that God gives us. And how does He give us that? By faith.

Not quite. The works we do are due to actual graces God gives us. But our response to those graces and the resulting works we do are due to another theological virtue: charity.

Any works a Catholic does is as a result of faith, not of themselves, but are a gift of God to them by His grace. God gives us merit.

Not of faith alone, but faith moved by charity.

It is unearned. So works are not something a Catholic can take credit for. Credit is given, but all a Catholic really has is faith - until God gives merit.

Actually faith justifies (makes us righteous), but for this faith to be living it must work together with charity. God’s grace moves the charity in us so that we do works to which God has graciously attached merit. But all thse: faith, charity and merit, would have not come into being if not for grace, for even faith is a gift.

So in the Catholic system one is saved by faith alone.

It cannot and can never be. James 2 flatly denies that we are saved by faith alone.

So actually, the Catholic formula is this. Savlation through grace alone, through faith, working in love [charity].

We can never leave out charity as a virtue. Both faith and hope will cease to exist in heaven, but love will remain. The Catholic Church echoes St. Paul’s sentiments in 1 Corinthians 13: “If I have faith to move mountains, but not love, I am nothing.”


Charity itself is a gift, I think, but like faith, it is alive only in action.

The Catholic definition of faith seems to be intellectual assent.

The definition I use is that faith is only faith if it is proved in action. Likewise, love is only love if it is proved in action. I can tell a sick man I love him but leave him to die; I can likewise tell God I believe Him but disobey Him.

Love comes by faith, as faith brings righteousness, out of which we can love. We cannot love unrighteously, so righteousness must be there first, which means faith must have been there before love.

God gives us His grace, which gives us faith, which gives us love and and thus works. But this is based on faith. Faith alone.

Sola fide is Catholic - but it depends on your definition of faith.


And I could, using your logic, confidently state that Protestants believe in faith and works. Wouldn’t you agree?? Here we go 'round in circles.:hypno:


I am sorry you did not understand my answer. I was not talking about God being bound by our logic at all. I was talking about a just plain logic that can be learned in a philosophy course at any major university.


Can anyone explain if an atheist can do good works? Is this something that can be answered on this thread?


and i quoted : **How I led Catholics Out of the Church ** **STEVE WOOD **

For twenty centuries the Catholic Church has faithfully taught that salvation is by grace. Peter the first pope said, “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved” (Acts 15:11). The Catechism of the Catholic Church, fully endorsed by Pope John Paul II, says, “Our justification comes from the grace of God” (section 1996). Protestantism started when Martin Luther declared that we are justified (made righteous) by faith alone. At the time I was leading Catholics out of the Church, I wasn’t aware that Martin Luther had added the word alone to his translation of Romans 3:28 in order to prove his doctrine. (The word alone is not found in any contemporary Protestant English translation of Romans 3:28.) I didn’t realize that the only place the bible mentions “faith alone” in the context of salvation is in James 2:24, where the idea of faith alone is explicitly refuted: “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” This verse was troubling, but I either ignored it, or twisted it to mean something other that what the verse and its context clearly taught.:slight_smile: this article was very interesting:D May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be Adored, Glorified, Loved & Preserved throughout the world, now & forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus, please pray for me. Saint Jude, Worker of Miracles, please pray for me. Saint Jude, Helper of the Hopeless, please pray for me. Amen.":slight_smile:


Noticed in your profile that you’re Evangelical Presbyterian.

You’d be amazed how closely Calvin’s doctrine of justification matches ours, as far as the role of faith is concerned.

If that’s your definition of faith, then we practically have the same theology, only different terminologies.

Unfortunately, many Evangelicals do not have justification theologies as rich as yours or ours.

But of course, there are differences. Catholics go for infused justification while mainstream Protestant theology calls for imputed justification.


Luther would not agree with you:

“Many sweat to reconcile St. Paul and St. James, but in vain. ‘Faith justifies’ and ‘faith does not justify’ contradict each other flatly. If any one can harmonize them I will give him my doctor’s hood and let him call me a fool.”


I’ve often had exactly the same thought. I think this type of reasoning is what will lead to reunification

However the natural implication is that those who continue to live in sin lack faith. This seems to contradict the theology of Luther himself, who stated that even though we sin in this manner we will still be saved.

The Augsburg Confession
"Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here in this world we have to sin. This life is not a dwelling place of righteousness"

“No sin will separate us from the lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.”

Your views appear to be more Catholic than Protestant :thumbsup:


Truthstalker comes from Calvin’s school of theology, so his views on justification appear to be closer to ours, as was Calvin’s. The Lutherans accused him of letting Rome back in through the back door.

I think there is little in the way of agreement with regards to the role of faith and works even with the Calvinists. However, IIRC, the Calvinists still believe in imputed justification, which is still a major divide between the Catholic and Presbyterian confessions.


Where in the Augsburg Confession did you find that quote? This is what the Augsburg Confession does say about faith and works.

Furthermore, it is taught on our part that it is necessary to do good works, not that we should trust to merit grace by them, but because it is the will of God.


My apologies, the former of the two quotes was from “Let Your Sins Be Strong” Letter to Melanchthon Letter no. 99. The latter was from the confession.

But does it really matter? Luther said it, and it gives us an understanding of his delusional theology.


Please provide a link for the second quote then because I have searched the confession and it is not there.

With respect to Luther, he was not infallible. He should not be held to any greater than the Popes, who in at least one encyclical has urged the worship of Mary. I can provide the quote and link if you like.

  1. But where - as is the case in almost all dioceses, there exists a church in which the Virgin Mother of God is worshipped with more intense devotion, thither on stated days let pilgrims flock together in great numbers and publicly and in the open give glorious expression to their common Faith and their common love toward the Virgin Most Holy. We have no doubt that this will be done in an especial manner at the Grotto of Lourdes, where there is such ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary conceived without stain of sin.
  1. But let this holy city of Rome be the first to give the example, this city which from the earliest Christian era worshipped the heavenly mother, its patroness, with a special devotion. As all know, there are many sacred edifices here, in which she is proposed for the devotion of the Roman people; but the greatest without doubt is the Liberian Basilica, in which the mosaics of Our predecessor of pious memory, Sixtus III, still glisten, an outstanding monument to the Divine maternity of the Virgin Mary, and in which the “salvation of the Roman people” (Salus Populi Romani) benignly smiles.
    Pius XII Fulgens Corona

Now I would no more say that this speaks of Catholic doctrine or practice than I think you should say the quotes reflect Lutherans.

By the way I am not a Lutheran

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