Original Sin and Trent


#1

I talk to an Orthodox sometimes and he was talking about Original Sin. I told him it was just the tendency to sin. He brought up the council of Trent and said that they said babies are born guilty. Here is the part of the council that deals with it. I highlighted the parts that I think he is refering to. Can you guys help me?

  1. If any one denies, that infants, newly born from their mothers’ wombs, even though they be sprung from baptized parents, are to be baptized; or says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which has need of being expiated by the laver of regeneration for the obtaining life everlasting,–whence it follows as a consequence, that in them the form of baptism, for the remission of sins, is understood to be not true, but false,** --let him be anathema.** For that which the apostle has said, By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned, is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere hath always understood it. For, by reason of this rule of faith, from a tradition of the apostles, even infants, who could not as yet commit any sin of themselves, are for this cause truly baptized for the remission of sins, that in them that may be cleansed away by regeneration, which they have contracted by generation. For, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
  1. If any one denies, that, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted; or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away; but says that it is only rased, or not imputed; let him be anathema. For, in those who are born again, there is nothing that God hates; because, There is no condemnation to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism into death; who walk not according to the flesh, but, putting off the old man, and putting on the new who is created according to God, are made inno-**[Page 24]**cent, immaculate, pure, harmless, and beloved of God, heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ; so that there is nothing whatever to retard their entrance into heaven. But this holy synod confesses and is sensible, that in the baptized there remains concupiscence, or an incentive (to sin); which, whereas it is left for our exercise, cannot injure those who consent not, but resist manfully by the grace of Jesus Christ; yea, he who shall have striven lawfully shall be crowned. This concupiscence, which the apostle sometimes calls sin, the holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood it to be called sin, as being truly and properly sin in those born again, but because it is of sin, and inclines to sin.
    This same holy Synod doth nevertheless declare, that it is not its intention to include in this decree, where original sin is treated of, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the mother of God; but that the constitutions of Pope Sixtus IV., of happy memory, are to be observed, under the pains contained in the said constitutions, which it renews.

#2

Original Sin is more than just a “tendency to sin” (what you are referring to is called concupisience). Original sin is a condition of the Human race that has been passed down by our first parents, Adam and Eve. It is a separation from communion with God, the guilt of which is inherent to every person.

This guilt is different, however from “personal” guilt, or the type of guilt for which we are judged. Though the Church teaches that infants are to be baptized, it also teaches that we can only be damned by personal guilt, not the inherited guilt of Originl Sin. The Church has not defined dogmatically where unbaptized children who have died before they reach the age of reason go, but we know for certain that they do not go to Hell (or suffering of any kind).


#3

Original sin is the lack of Original Justice. It is the lack of sanctifying grace infused within the soul. This means that we are not naturally born righteous. It takes a supernatural intervention by God to make us righteous. This is a gratuitous gift. It was given to Mary at conception. It was given to me with the Sacrament of baptism. It was given to Cornelius (Acts 10) prior to sacramental baptism, based upon implicit desire and his love for God.

Infants can be sanctified by God in the womb. However, Catholicism does not presume such santification has occurred. Instead, unless there’s been a supernatural revelation to the contrary, it is presumed that infants are born unsanctified (i.e., a state of original sin).


#4

Thanks for the help guys, it helps alot. If anyone has anything else I could use as much as I can get.


#5

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a large section devoted to Original Sin:

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p7.htm


#6

The problem sometimes is that we think of Original sin as this black stamp that gets whomped on every new soul before it goes out of the factory.

A better analogy would be a squandered inheritance. Imagine your parent’s were billionaires, but they blew it all in bad investments, debauchery, etc. It doesn’t matter how much you scream about how it is not your fault, or the unfairness that you have to endure poverty, because when you go to the bank to draw on that inheritance, it’s gonna come up “NSF” everytime because there is nothing there.

Scott


#7

Here’s something from a discussion I had on a Protestant theology forum…

The Myth of Original Sin
p081.ezboard.com/fmindofchristfrm9.showMessage?topicID=8.topic

My understanding of Original Sin is not something we are born with, but something we are born without. We are born without the Original Justice that Adam and Eve enjoyed. Why? The consequence of the sin of Adam (his original sin).

It is not “guilt” as much as a consequence of Adam’s sin that we suffer from. Said another way, we are not naturally, automatically, born from above. Unless there’s a special intervention by God, the soul is not automatically infused with the Holy Spirit–made holy, or regenerated, or born again, or born from above. …

I think that the Protestant view of the “fall” is much more destructive of human nature than the Catholic view.

My understanding is that the Protestant view of the fallen nature is an intrinsically CHANGED human nature in the literal sense. Catholicism, on the other hand, teaches that the human nature remained the same, but the preternatural gifts and supernatural gifts were removed. In otherwords, Adam’s human nature was just like all of humanity, except that his nature was supercharged with supernatural and preternatural catalysts (gifts) that intrinsically elevated his human nature. After the fall, the catalyst was removed. In this sense, human nature was intrinsically changed (due to the lack of divine catalysts). The nature is said to be damaged, but strictly speaking, it is the same nature as it was before, but without the supernatural catalyst (grace), it is a fallen nature (as opposed to a once elevated nature), it is a concupiscient nature, also called a sinful nature. Catholicism teaches that this sinful nature can still desire the good, but it is not likely without the gift of grace.

This is in stark contrast to the Lutheran and Calvinist view of “total depravity.” Catholics would say depraved, yes, but not totally depraved. God creates every human nature. God only creates good. Without the help of supernatural gifts, our (good) natural gifts are at a disadvantage in dealing with the temptations of Satan. In otherwords, without grace our natural selfishness is bound to result in personal sin. Nonetheless, in the Book of Genesis, God tells Cain that he must master sin. I don’t believe God was telling Cain to do something that was impossible for Cain could to do.

The notion of original sin is simply the assertion that natural generation does not produce Original Justice (sanctification). One must be born again. I don’t see this as a mythical notion, but rather a biblical notion.

Tertullian, ca AD 208 …

"Every soul, then, by reason of its birth, has its nature in Adam until it is born again in Christ; moreover, it is unclean all the while that it remains without this regeneration; and because unclean, it is actively sinful, and suffuses even the flesh (by reason of their conjunction) with its own shame. " On the Soul, 40 (A.D. 208 ) , in ANF,III: 220 ]


#8

A man could not share in God’s spiritual life, think God-like thoughts, or experience (know) the will of God without having been elevated above his mere human nature. If God elevates him, it is the work of supernatural grace, a grace that surpasses human nature. God called mankind to share in His own divine life. I once heard it explained like this: “Iron, by its nature, is stiff and dark, but when it is cast into the fire, it becomes malleable and glowing, while not ceasing to be iron. In comparison, our soul is immersed in the luminous and fiery essence of God. Yet it remains a human soul, similar to God, but not equal to Him.” This elevation of soul is called Sanctifying Grace. God gave mankind this gift of sanctifying grace first in Adam, and after Adam’s sin, once again in Christ Jesus.

God’s plan was for Adam, and all of mankind, to be able to pass on this sanctifying grace to his children by a hereditary means. Now, however, it is like a rich man who loses his fortune on the throw of a dice; he would then be a poor man and would be unable to will any of his fortune to his children (as described in an earlier post). The fact that Adam could not pass on these graces is contrary to the will of God. Sin can be defined as that which is opposed to the will of God. Therefore this first sin of Adam’s is called Original Sin

Original Sin affects all of mankind. However, it is not that we are somehow guilty of the sinful deed committed by Adam. Rather, we say that all mankind is born in sin because we all bear the consequences of Original Sin. The consequence is the absence of sanctifying grace and the loss of other non-supernatural gifts. It is correct to say that babies are not guilty of sin, because they are not conscious of sin. However they do bear the consequences of Original Sin. This is why King David said “Behold, I was brought forth iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”(Psalm 51,7). And this is why Paul describes Christ as the new Adam; because Christ reestablished the order of grace. Through the redeeming merits of Christ’s suffering and death, the Heavenly Father once again offers to mankind supernatural life and heaven, through Sanctifying Grace.

One is called a child in reference to the person from whom he is born and takes his nature. Our parents are so because we received our human nature from them. Likewise God is our Father because we receive our divine nature from Him. Through Baptism we become children of God (1 John 3, 1). This is why Jesus tells us to call God “Our Father” (Matt 6, 9).


#9

Can anyone tell me what it means that **guilt **of original sin is remitted at baptism?


#10

I think it means this: We are guilty of original sin even though we didn’t commit it personally. We inherit the guilt of it from our fallen nature, which we have received from Adam & Eve.

The guilt means that we are conceived and born in a state of rejecting God, without sanctifying grace. The punishment due to the sin is loss of eternal life.

Baptism takes away the guilt of original sin (as well as, for an adult, any personally committed sins.) It also infuses sanctifying grace into the soul, and makes us pleasing to God, and deserving of heaven.


#11

The guilt of Original Sin is not taught in the Eastern Churches, Catholic or Orthodox.

That is a purely Western concept, it informs both Protestant and Catholic thinking in the West and is assumed in the dialog.

So to be honest about it, there are 21 Catholic Sui Iuris churches that do not teach the guilt of original Sin and 1 that does.

Most Roman Catholics are unaware of this because they are not informed of it in their studies. In fact, the average Roman Catholic is totally unaware of the Eastern Catholic churches, so we should not be surprised if the question doesn’t come up.

Just thought you ought to know. :slight_smile:


#12

The problem with the word guilt in this context is that it wasn’t used to mean the same thing then as we use it to mean now. When we think of guilty now, we generally think of the courtroom meaning of the word, with “guilty” meaning “commited the crime in question”. Guilt in the classic sense simply meant the weight of the sins of Adam and Eve were born by their offspring, which makes perfect sense; if your parents are driving the car and get lost, you are lost with them when sitting in the back seat. The passengers, as well as the driver, “got lost” so to speak.

Personally I think the use of the term guilt in this context is archaic and should be dropped in all but the most academic studies of classic theology. Western folk don’t understand the terms that are held over our heads in the way they were intended anymore, and using such outdated terms in teaching leads to gross misunderstandings of doctrine, IMO.


#13

[quote=Ghosty]The problem with the word guilt in this context is that it wasn’t used to mean the same thing then as we use it to mean now. When we think of guilty now, we generally think of the courtroom meaning of the word, with “guilty” meaning “commited the crime in question”. Guilt in the classic sense simply meant the weight of the sins of Adam and Eve were born by their offspring, which makes perfect sense; if your parents are driving the car and get lost, you are lost with them when sitting in the back seat. The passengers, as well as the driver, “got lost” so to speak.
[/quote]

This is the second time I’ve heard this argument, is this on some apologetics page since CCC?

Not true, for you that is, you have to believe that Adam’s sin was disobedience and the punishment was banishment from the garden into a sinful state utterly devoid of God’s friendship, the guilt of that is what’s passed on through generation and inherited by every child born, a baby who dies before baptism cannot see God according to your dogma.

Humani Generis Pope Pius XII

“Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the **Teaching Authority of the Church **propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.”[12]

  1. Cfr. Rom., V, 12-19, Conc. Trid., sess, V, can. 1-4.

“Nor is this all. Disregarding the Council of Trent, some pervert the very concept of original sin, along with the concept of sin in general as an offense against God, as well as the idea of satisfaction performed for us by Christ.”

ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P12HUMAN.HTM

**From the Summary of the Catechis on Original Sin given by Pope John Paul II
**

II
2. The fact underlying the descriptive forms that really matters is of a moral nature and is imprinted in the very roots of the human spirit. It gives rise to a fundamental change in the human condition. Man is driven forth from the state of original justice and finds himself in a state of sinfulness—status naturae lapsae.

John Paul II

It is a state in which sin exists and is marked by an inclination to sin. From that moment the whole history of humanity will be burdened by this state. In fact, the first human being (man and woman) received sanctifying grace from God not only for himself but as the founder of the human family for all his descendants. Therefore, through sin which set man in conflict with God, he forfeited grace (he fell into disgrace) even in regard to the inheritance for his descendants.

[size=2]Continued

[/size]


#14

Continued to Ghosty

Pope John Paul II

IV

  1. Man in the beginning (in the state of original justice) spoke to the Creator with friendship and confidence in the whole truth of his spiritual/corporeal being, created in God’s image but he now has lost the basis of that friendship and covenant. He has lost the grace of sharing in God’s life: the good of belonging to him in the holiness of the original relationship of subordination and sonship. But sin has immediately made its presence felt in the existence and the whole comportment of the man and the woman: shame for their transgression and the consequent condition as sinners and therefore fear of God.

[size=2] [/size]

[size=2]4. The biblical texts on the universality and hereditary nature of sin as through “congenital” in nature in the state in which everyone receives it at the moment of conception from one’s parents, lead us to examine more directly the Catholic teaching on original sin. (Also quoted: Ps 50, Rom 3:9, 19; Eph 2:3)
[/size]
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]Confirms the RCC doctrine as below, please note the local council Orange 329 is again given as is the Synod of Carthage 418, this is from your Infallible Teaching Authority of the Magesterium.[/size]
[size=2][/size]
Pope John Paul II
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]It is a case of a truth transmitted implicitly in the church’s teaching from the very beginning which[/size] became a formal declaration of the Magisterium in the XV Synod of Carthage in 418 and the Synod of Orange in 329, principally against the errors of Pelagius (DS 222-223; 371-372). Later, during the period of the Reformation, this truth was solemnly formulated by the Council of Trent in 1546 (DS 1510-1516). The Tridentine Decree on original sin expresses this truth in the precise form in which it is the object of faith and of the church’s teaching. We can therefore, refer to this Decree for the essential content of the Catholic dogma on this point.

V

  1. The Council of Trent solemnly expressed the Church’s faith concerning original sin. In the previous catechesis we considered that Council’s teaching in regard to the personal sin of our first parents. Now we wish to reflect on what the council says about the consequences of that sin for humanity.
  1. In this regard, the Tridentine Decree states first of all: Adam’s sin has passed to all his descendants, that is to all men and women as descendants of our first parents and their heirs in human nature already deprived of God’s friendship.
  • From:

SUMMARY OF CATECHESIS ON ORIGINAL SIN
Pope John Paul II

**
ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2ORSIN.HTM**

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=11290&page=1

Personally I think the use of the term guilt in this context is archaic and should be dropped in all but the most academic studies of classic theology. Western folk don’t understand the terms that are held over our heads in the way they were intended anymore, and using such outdated terms in teaching leads to gross misunderstandings of doctrine, IMO.

What’s leading to misunderstandings here is that the infallible dogma of the RCC of Original Sin doctrines is being hidden, it’s now gone into the small print of the CCC, but it still applies and you’re still required to believe it.


#15

Myhrr: I think you’re grossly misrepresenting the case. I’m not only well aware of the things you quoted, but I’m basing my statement on the very same things you are posting. Nothing in those quotes even implies that a child is guilty, in the sense I’m speaking, of the sin commited by Adam. There is a very important disctinction between personal guilt, the committing of a crime, and inherited guilt, the transmission of the wounded human nature by virtue of Adam and Eve’s “Original Sin”.

Today, when people hear the word guilt, they take it to mean that newborn infants have committed some offense against God, which is absolutely NOT what the Latin Church teaches. Here is exactly what the CCC states on the nature of this “guilt”:

404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man”.293 By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” - a state and not an act. 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.

a baby who dies before baptism cannot see God according to your dogma.

Absolutely wrong. Rather, Latin Catholics in our funeral rites for the unBaptised children are given to the hope that God has saved the child through His mercy. The CCC states:

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

continued


#16

The Church teaches that Baptism is a gift from God, and certainly the norm for the renewal of the original human nature damaged by the Original Sin, but it does NOT teach that children can not be with God if they die before Baptism. Their true fate is a mystery, not a matter of any Dogma. Denying Baptism to a child is considered evil not because it damns the child, but because it denies them the grace willed for them by God, and made available through the ministry of Christ:

1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called.50 The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.51

Note that the CCC does not state that the parents deny the child salvation by not Baptising, but rather that they deny the child the special grace of being a full “child of God”, and leave them to the special ministrations of darkness. Baptism confers a special kind of freedom that that unBaptised do not enjoy, but this lack of freedom does NOT necessarily imply damnation, as I demonstrated above.


#17

Ghosty, the orginal sin is inherited through generation, it is the inherited guilt for Adam’s disobedience for which an angry, wrathful God punished him with death. That is what you are required to believe dogmatically. As Pope John Paul II explained while giving audiences on this subject from Peter’s Chair, it is a complete loss of friendship with God. It is banishment into the state of sin from which only baptism can rescue you. The teachings of Trent, Orange and so on are confirmed by Pope John Paul II.

I can only suggest that you go back to the original sources, as noted in the CCC, and explore the foundation of your original sin beliefs because the current spin on this is recent, since Paul VI and with imput from the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome, however, the dogma remains intact.

And I hope when you come to see how great Augustine’s imput was in this that you’ll agree with your Eastern bretheren who reject his imput from his personal revelation which then as now is against the traditional teaching of the Church…

:whistle:

God created us in his image and likeness, a good creation, blessed, a creation of this world which God saw was good.


#18

Myhrr: I’m afraid I’ve completely lost any point you are intending to get across. I’ve cited that the Catechism itself describes the guilt of inheritance as inherently different from personal guilt. I’ve also cited that it is NOT Dogma that an infant who is not Baptised is lost to God.

I’m beginning to think that you may be misunderstanding what I’m trying to say, since you continually refer to a non-existant Dogma and the CCC which I’m using as the very foundation of my argument. I politely ask that you restate your point so I can follow you better.


#19

[quote=Ghosty]Myhrr: I’m afraid I’ve completely lost any point you are intending to get across. I’ve cited that the Catechism itself describes the guilt of inheritance as inherently different from personal guilt. I’ve also cited that it is NOT Dogma that an infant who is not Baptised is lost to God.

I’m beginning to think that you may be misunderstanding what I’m trying to say, since you continually refer to a non-existant Dogma and the CCC which I’m using as the very foundation of my argument. I politely ask that you restate your point so I can follow you better.
[/quote]

The point I’m making, and which we went into thoroughly on the Original Sin discussion, is that you’re not reading the small print.

None of the past dogmas of Trent, Carthage, Orange etc. have been in any way changed, as Pope John Paul II affirms. The new ‘slant’ in the CCC comes from the imput from the Eastern Churches in communion with the RCC, but to be understood properly they have to be read in context of previously defined dogmas of Trent etc. to which there are numerous references, notes, in the CCC.

Original Sin isn’t a personal sin, it’s inherited guilt passed on by generation, i.e. through the sexual act.


#20

Original Sin isn’t a personal sin, it’s inherited guilt passed on by generation, i.e. through the sexual act.

That’s exactly what I’ve been saying this whole time. I’m even more at a loss now as to what you are challenging me about. I never denied that people have inherited a broken nature by virtue of the Original Sin.

My point is only that the word guilt is misunderstood in a modern context because when we hear it we think of personal sin, as if the child in question committed the crime rather than children inheriting the results of the crime, i.e. a wounded human nature. The term is archaic because we don’t say, for example, that when a parent refuses to pay their taxes and their belongings are confiscated, that their children are also “guilty” of the crime despite the fact that they must live with the diminished belongings just as much as their parent. The children inherit the sin of their parent, but they don’t commit the sin, so we wouldn’t use the word guilt in a modern context.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.