Christian apologetics site that attacks Catholicism


#1

Greetings (sorry if this is printed twice, but I’m having trouble getting it on here once),

I stumbled apon this “Christian” apologetics site that attacks the Catholic Church: carm.org/catholic.htm and I wanted some help with some of the charges the owner levels against the Catholic Church.
One of those charges is the owner quoting 2027 in the Cathecism of the Catholic Church. This section of the Cathecism reads:

No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.

The owner/author cites in bold the “we can merit for ourselves…” in attempt to show that the Catholic Church teachings one can earn his/her way into Heaven. I know that the Catholic Church doesn’t actually teach that, but what is the proper response to this charge based on this quote from the Cathecism that “we can merit for ourselves…”?

Thanks,

Cody


#2

Cody,

Since the Christian apologist used the Catechism, perhaps you can respond with your own use of the Catechism. In the glossary of the newest Catechism, the definition of Merit is as follows:

Merit:

*** The reward which God promises and gives to those who love him and by his grace perform good works. One cannot merit justification or eternal life, which are the free gift of God; the source of any merit we have before God is due to the grace of Christ in us (2006).***



The following paragraphs in the Catechism might help as well:

***CCC 2020 ***
Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God’s mercy.

***CCC 2023 ***
Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.

***CCC 2025 ***
We can have merit in God’s sight only because of God’s free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man’s collaboration. Man’s merit is due to God.

***CCC 2026 ***
The grace of the Holy Spirit can confer true merit on us, by virtue of our adoptive filiation, and in accordance with God’s gratuitous justice. Charity is the principal source of merit in us before God.


#3

Cody,

You might also site the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification which was signed in 1998 by the Lutheran and Catholic Churches.

Here is an important excerpt:

[left]4.1 Human Powerlessness and Sin in Relation to Justification
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[left]19.We confess together that all persons depend completely on the saving grace of God for their salvation. The freedom they possess in relation to persons and the things of this world is no freedom in relation to salvation, for as sinners they stand under God’s judgment and are incapable of turning by themselves to God to seek deliverance, of meriting their justification before God, or of attaining salvation by their own abilities. Justification takes place solely by God’s grace. Because Catholics and Lutherans confess this together, it is true to say:
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[left]*20.When Catholics say that persons “cooperate” in preparing for and accepting justification by consenting to God’s justifying action, they see such personal consent as itself an effect of grace, not as an action arising from innate human abilities. *
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[left]21.According to Lutheran teaching, human beings are incapable of cooperating in their salvation, because as sinners they actively oppose God and his saving action. Lutherans do not deny that a person can reject the working of grace. When they emphasize that a person can only receive (mere passive) justification, they mean thereby to exclude any possibility of contributing to one’s own justification, but do not deny that believers are fully involved personally in their faith, which is effected by God’s Word. [cf. Sources for 4.1].
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[left]
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#4

It’s amazing how people can mis-represent the church. It claims to be stating the truth, but it’s all a matter of the author’s opinion. We worship Statues and the Pope apparently. You had to love that chart that compared Catholics/LDS/JW/Christians. :rolleyes:


#5

One thing I am still kind of confused on is the concept of justification and sanctification. What is the difference of the two? And is it justification or sanctification that first come to us when we are baptized…well, at least those who were baptized as infants.

Cody


#6

[quote=Cody]One thing I am still kind of confused on is the concept of justification and sanctification. What is the difference of the two? And is it justification or sanctification that first come to us when we are baptized…well, at least those who were baptized as infants.
[/quote]

Cody, there are many other threads about justification on this list, even if you confine yourself to looking in the past two weeks. Jimmy Akin’s book, The Salvation Controversy, goes into it at length. If you wish to dialogue with Protestants about these issues, I suggest you read it, as well as his stuff on justification at www.jimmyakin.com.

Justification and sanctification are both given in baptism. They are both different aspects of the same process. You should be aware that Protestants would strenuously disagree with that statement, though.


#7

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