Grace on top of natural perfection

I was reading this today:ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2BVM23.HTM

I am wondering what they following meant:

"Pope Alexander VII, in the Bull Sollicitudo of 1661, spoke of the preservation of Mary’s soul “in its creation and infusion into the body”

And also, is it Catholic dogma that Mary was born IN santifying grace, or just that grace prevented the stain from being on her soul? She could, for example, been been hypothetically born both without grace and original sin

Not either/or but both/and. After the fall, all flesh was tainted by original sin, unless there was direct intervention by God. Since everything that has come into being has done so through Christ, the Eternal Word, (John 1:1-4), and in light of her unique role in the salvation of mankind, Mary was “saved” by her Son, our Lord, in the Divine intellect, will and plan of redemption before her conception. No stain of original sin. No concupiscence. No need of baptism! Full of God’s grace and in perfection of faith, hope and love. A pure vessel in which to bring the light of the world to fruition. Such a soul is in absolute exile while on this earth, and thus it is fitting that she was also assumed into heaven.

Yes, the state of original sin is to be without original justice, which means without sanctifying grace, or to put it another way, to be out of communion with God. To be in communion with God, His life in us, is the right order of things for man; justice demands it; man was made for communion with God IOW and he’s lost without it. “Apart from Me you can do nothing” -John 15:5. That’s the basis of the New Covenant; man must have direct relationship with God, fulfilling the prophecy of Jer 31:34:

"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."

This was accomplished by the reconciliation between God and man wrought by Jesus. The basis of this relationship, from man’s perspective in response to God’s initiative of grace, is *faith. *From their God can begin a work of justifying man, ‘placing His law in man’s mind and writing it on his heart’-Jer 31:33. This is formally accomplished at our Baptism where sanctifying grace is infused, but is also an ongoing process of renewal and sanctification throughout our lives. Man needs God in order to possess or be in a state of righteousness-we have none apart from Him. “Natural perfection” is insufficient.

It is a common error to say original sin is the lack of sufficient grace. Original sin has been defined by several Popes as a stain, analogous to actual sin, on the soul. I don’t see in Pius IX’s decree where he says the stain was removed and replace by sanctifying grace

Not so sure about that-it’s certainly not taught that way now as far as I know:

405 Although it is proper to each individual,295 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called “concupiscence”. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

“The doctrine of the synod about the state of happy innocence, such as it represents it in Adam before his sin, comprising not only integrity but also interior justice with an inclination toward God through love of charity, and primeval sanctity restored in some way after the fall; in so far as, understood comprehensively, it intimates that that state was a con-sequence of creation, due to man from the natural exigency and condition of human nature, not a gratuitous gift of God” This was condemned by Piux VI as “false, elsewhere
condemned in Baius and in Quesnel, erroneous, favorable to the Pelagian heresy”.

Therefore original sin did not take something from the soul that was natural to soul. The grace left and something analogous (to use Aquinas’s word) to sin was implanted on the soul as a stain.

Yes, sanctifying grace is not natural to the soul-and yet it is necessary nonetheless in order for man to maintain moral integrity and to achieve his purpose, that which he was made for. IOW, as Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote in Jesus of Nazareth, **“Let us put it very simply: man needs God, otherwise he remains without hope.” ** And so man’s natural perfection is insufficient. To say otherwise would be Pelagianism there as well.

It is impossible to be free of original sin and yet not be in a state of sanctifying grace. The “stain” of original sin is primarily the LACK of original holiness… sanctifying grace.

Would the “something analogous” be* concupiscence*, since concupiscence is something apart from our natures, something sort of added on it could be said, an “inordinate disposition” as Aquinas put it? OTOH this disposition still stems from a negative, “the destruction of the harmony which was essential to original justice”.

What you say here has been condemned by at least three Popes that I know of. If man has a stain without grace, than grace is needed to perfect the person. There is a state of nature, and on top of that would be the supernatural. Man desires the beatific vision by nature, but does not know what grace is. Grace is IMMERSION into God, and that is a free gift, not owed by nature. So with regard to my question, I haven’t found yet where it is Catholic dogma that Mary was born in sanctifying grace as if she was baptized at conception

Aquinas calls the stain analogous to sin

I use to have a great book on Catholic doctrine that was recommended by Tim Staples, but I gave it to a brother and he lost it. :frowning: In it he has footnotes to Denzinger on original sin not simply being the lack of grace. I don’t know if he was referring to Piux VI, Clement XI, and Gregory XIII cited earlier by me.

The absence of sanctifying grace, the privation, is the hereditary stain.

Well, when a baptized person commits mortal sin, the change the spiritual consequence is precisely the loss of sanctifying grace. So if the consequence of our inheritance of Original Sin is analogous to that, why can it not also be described as the loss of sanctifying grace?

We’re either in the state of God’s friendship (sanctifying grace) or outside it (the state of sin). I don’t see where there can be a state in the middle that is neither. Is that what you’re postulating?

Which Aquinas himself, in defining personal sin, described not as a positive attribute but a dimming of light or shadow.

Reply to Objection 3. The stain is neither something positive in the soul, nor does it denote a pure privation: it denotes a privation of the soul’s brightness in relation to its cause, which is sin; wherefore diverse sins occasion diverse stains. It is like a shadow, which is the privation of light through the interposition of a body, and which varies according to the diversity of the interposed bodies.

newadvent.org/summa/2086.htm

Before the Fall, Adam possessed sanctifying grace and the preternatural gifts of integrity, immortality and infused knowledge. Integrity is complete subordination of man’s lower passions to his reason.

Per Catholic Enclopedia, original sin is
[LIST=1]
*]the sin that Adam committed;
*]a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.
[/LIST]
The article goes on to look at what can be called original sin, or not:
[LIST=1]
*]Death and Suffering … These are purely physical evils and cannot be called sin …
*]Concupiscence … concupiscence still remains in the person baptized; therefore original sin and concupiscence cannot be one and the same thing …
*]The absence of sanctifying grace in the new-born child …This privation, therefore, is the hereditary stain.
[/LIST]

Harent, S. (1911). Original Sin. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. newadvent.org/cathen/11312a.htm

[quote=“Council of Orange”]Canon 2. If anyone asserts that Adam’s sin affected him alone and not his descendants also, or at least if he declares that it is only the death of the body which is the punishment for sin, and not also that sin, which is the death of the soul, passed through one man to the whole human race, he does injustice to God and contradicts the Apostle, who says, “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

ewtn.com/library/Councils/Orange.htm
[/quote]

I answer that, As a result of original justice, the reason had perfect hold over the lower parts of the soul, while reason itself was perfected by God, and was subject to Him. Now this same original justice was forfeited through the sin of our first parent, as already stated (I-II:81:2; so that all the powers of the soul are left, as it were, destitute of their proper order, whereby they are naturally directed to virtue; which destitution is called a wounding of nature.

Again, there are four of the soul’s powers that can be subject of virtue, as stated above (I-II:61:2), viz. the reason, where prudence resides, the will, where justice is, the irascible, the subject of fortitude, and the concupiscible, the subject of temperance. Therefore in so far as the reason is deprived of its order to the true, there is the wound of ignorance; in so far as the will is deprived of its order of good, there is the wound of malice; in so far as the irascible is deprived of its order to the arduous, there is the wound of weakness; and in so far as the concupiscible is deprived of its order to the delectable, moderated by reason, there is the wound of concupiscence.

Accordingly these are the four wounds inflicted on the whole of human nature as a result of our first parent’s sin. But since the inclination to the good of virtue is diminished in each individual on account of actual sin, as was explained above (I-II:1:2), these four wounds are also the result of other sins, in so far as, through sin, the reason is obscured, especially in practical matters, the will hardened to evil, good actions become more difficult and concupiscence more impetuous.

Furthermore, please see Summa Contra Gentiles, Book IV Salvation, chaothers 51 (objections made by others regarding original sin) and chapter 52 (resolution to those objections).

dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles4.htm#51

I recommend the whole, but to sample:

This is why they are personal, and why, when one sins, the sin is not imputed to another. But the first sin of the first man not only deprived him of his proper and personal good—namely, grace, and the due order of the parts of the soul—he was deprived as well of a good related to the common nature. For—as we said above—human nature was established in its first beginning so that the inferior powers were perfectly subject to reason, the reason to God, the body to the soul, and God was by His grace supplying what nature lacked for this arrangement. Now, this kind of benefit which some call “original justice” was conferred on the first man in such wise that he was to propagate it to his descendants along with human nature. But in the sin of the first man reason withdrew itself from the divine subjection. And it has followed thereon that the lower powers are not perfectly subject to the reason nor is the body to the soul; and this is not only the case for the first sinner, but the same consequent defect follows into his posterity and to the posterity in whom the original justice mentioned was going to follow. Thus, then, the sin of the first man from whom all other men are derived according to the teaching of faith was not only personal in that it deprived the first man of his own good, but natural, also, in that it deprived him and consequently his descendants of the benefit bestowed on the entire human nature. Thus, too, this kind of defect which is in others as a consequence from the first parent still has in others the essentials of fault so far as all men are counted as one man by participation in the common nature.

…[10] One should consider this, also: The natures origin passes along the defects mentioned because the nature has been stripped of that help of grace which had been bestowed on it in the first parent to pass on to his descendants along with the nature. Now, since this stripping came from a voluntary sin, the consequent defect has the character of fault. Hence, defects of this kind are faulty when referred to their first principle, which is the sin of Adam; and they are natural when referred to the nature already stripped.

…[11] Clearly, then, from what has been said, **the vice of origin in which the original sin is caused comes from the failure of a principle, namely, the gratuitous gift which human nature at its institution had had bestowed upon it. **To be sure, this gift was in a sense natural: not natural as caused by the principles of the nature, but natural because it was given to man to be propagated along with his nature.

…Of course, what comes from a defect of a natural principle of this kind happens in but few cases. But the defect of original sin comes from the defect of a principle added over and above the principles of the species, as we said.

…For sin does not take away that good of nature which belongs to the nature’s species. But that good of nature which grace added over and above nature could be removed by the sin of our first parent. This was said before.

[15] From the same points one easily answers the tenth objection. For, since privation and defect correspond to one another mutually, in that characteristic in original sin are the children made like to the parents in which the gift also, granted the nature in the beginning, would have been propagated to their descendants; for, although the gift did not belong to the essentials of the species, it was given by divine grace to the first man to flow from him into the entire species.

…[17] Be it observed, also, that the actual sin of the first man passed over into nature because the nature in him had been further perfected by the benefit bestowed on the nature. But, when by his sin the nature was stripped of the benefit, his act was simply personal. Hence, he could not satisfy for the entire nature, nor could he make the good of nature whole once more by his act. But the only satisfaction of which he was somewhat capable was that which had a bearing on his own person.

…[18] In like manner, of course, one answers the thirteenth, for the sins of later parents find a nature stripped of the benefit which was at the outset granted to the nature itself.

Quoting Aquinas does not support the TC’s argument.

Cain and Abel by nature, as human beings, did not have the right to grace. So if Adam failed them in not getting them their grace, why the mark of original sin?

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