I came across this post online: ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/SOLAFIDE.htm . It makes some very good points but was lacking something at the end which i was hoping people on here might be able to suggest solutions to. Its a long text so i’ll place what i think are the key points here:
The following section is basically saying that Catholics would be correct in saying that they are “saved by faith alone”:
Many Protestants today realize that Catholics adhere to two of the important “solas” related to salvation sola gratia (by grace alone) and solo Christo (by Christ alone) but fewer are aware that Catholics can also accept the formula of justification sola fide (by faith alone), provided this phrase is properly understood.
The following section is basically saying that good works can’t save you. Good works are simply an indicator that your faith is real faith. Good works don’t play a direct role in the justification process:
*According to [Lutheran] Protestant interpretation, the faith that clings unconditionally to God’s promise in Word and Sacrament is sufficient for righteousness before God, so that the renewal of the human being, without which there can be no faith, does not in itself make any contribution to justification. Catholic doctrine knows itself to be at one with the Protestant concern in emphasizing that the renewal of the human being does not contribute to justification, and is certainly not a contribution to which he could make any appeal before God. *
The following section clarifies that both Catholics and Protestants essentially believe the same thing when they use the phrase being saved by “faith alone”:
What both communities need to do today, now that a different usage has been established in them, is learn to translate between each others languages. Protestants need to be taught that the Catholic formula salvation by faith, hope, and charity is equivalent to what they mean by faith alone. And Catholics need to be taught that (at least for the non-antinomians) the Protestant formula faith alone is equivalent to what they mean by faith, hope, and charity.
The following section further clarifies the last point:
The fact faith is normally used by Catholics to refer to intellectual assent (as in Romans 14:22-23, 1 Corinthians 13:13, and James 2:14-26) is one reason Catholics do not commonly use the faith alone formula even though they agree with what (good) Protestants mean by it.
Jimmy Akin then makes a suggestion:
It would be nice if the two groups could reconverge on a single formula
Alot of Protestants mistakenly think Catholics believe that they can be saved by their good works. Catholics don’t actually believe this (my understanding is that a genuine desire to do good works and repent is basically your assurance that the Holy Spirit is in you. Good works in themselves don’t actually save you). This mistake only serves to drive an unnecessary wedge between the two branches of Christianity. Both sides theology is the same, the problem is the language being used.
What do you think would be a good single formula for both sides to reconverge on? Would something like:
*]“justification by real faith alone”
*]“justification by genuine faith alone”
*]or “justification by formed faith alone”