it’s been awhile since i’ve seen a faith and works debate critiqued from the catholic view. here is my understanding of faith and works, with an interjection of catholic principles. thoughts?
the main difference between catholics and protestants in faith and works, should be (there are many varieties of protestants, so i can’t speak for all, just what i see as best formulated): catholics teach faith plus works equals justification… and protestants teach faith equals justification plus works.
this is supported i believe it was, by the council of trent, that says that justification increases via works.
protestants see justification as a fixed idea, with sanctification increasing in one’s life. catholics view sancitifcation and justifiation as directly proportional.
of couse, both sides say it’s ‘grace alone’… but in regards to how that grace is achieved, the above points better hash that out.
the differences in the above theories are more a matter of academic points only, cause we see for practical purposes it’s clear a christian should have faith, and works. “must have” faith and works, even. neither theory necessarily describes an overall calculous of good works that must be involved, or even a calculus of faith. to be sure, most on both sides say one should be generally increasting towards God, with maybe some stumbles and ruts here and there… but most don’t define too much in this regard.
i sometimes say the catholic view is that “Jesus picks up the slack” in that what you don’t acheive in justification, Jesus does, or it is finished in purgatory. (which cleanses both temporal punishment, and some venial sins)
i like the protestant version, because it follows the one bible verse “though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be white as snow”… but on the other hand, it is still dung covered by snow. the catholic version calls it what it is, if you are just, you are called just. that’s not to say there’s something to be said about the ‘covering’ and legal aspects in protestantism.
i relate side most teachings of st paul to the protestant view, and Jesus to the catholic view. obviously it’s how you reconcile those teachings, cause they aren’t contradictory. It was galatians or ephesians that said “by faith are ye saved, not of works, lest any man should boast”. and it is Jesus who always says things regarding good works for salvation. i’m also reminded of how Abraham was justified in different stories… in Romans, Paul says he was justified by faith… in James, James says Abraham was justified by works, and “not by faith alone”. again, it’s all a matter of how you hash out and reconcile all these different teachings.
so do you think i’m hitting all the high notes here, and doing catholic teaching justice?