Religion book and Pelagianism

In my son’s 1st grade homeschool religion book, one of the questions it wants him to learn is the following:
Will we get to Heaven if we obey God’s Ten Commandments?
Yes, we will go to Heaven if we obey God’s Ten Commandments.

(The book is called “Religion 1 for Young Catholics”, published by Seton.)

Of course Jesus told a young man to keep the commandments to inherit eternal life, but without context this seems to cross the line into Pelagianism to me, and a 5-year-old wouldn’t understand the subtleties. Should I be concerned by this?

Well…I had to look up what pelagianism is. But I would guess the answer is no, if I were you I wouldn’t be concerned. You could always frame it as: ‘The first step is to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. Then you follow the Commandments. Jesus knows you were baptized as a baby because your parents love you. What he’s telling you as you’re older is that it’s your turn to take responsibility.’ Something like that?

I have to agree with on the hill here, it just seems badly thought out. As far as errors in religion books goes, it could be worse, my brother’s old religion book called the Eucharist ‘magic bread’. :rolleyes: I seem to recall there being an illustration of a witch somewhere in there too, would have to track that down.

I don’t think you should be concerned and I don’t think it crosses the line into Pelagianism. The problem with Pelagianism is not that it says you get to heaven by keeping the 10 Commandments. That’s standard Catholic doctrine and it is what Jesus said to the rich young man. The problem with Pelagianism is that it says God’s grace is unnecessary to enable us and assist us toward keeping the Commandments.

Pelagians say we can do it on our own steam. Catholicism says God’s grace precedes us and works with us to make salvation possible.

See the difference?

The way that it was worded in the OP is in problematic. You cannot get yourself into heaven by keeping the 10 Commandments. The Jews kept the 10 Commandments and Jesus still had to come for our Salvation.

The Jews who kept the 10 Commandments also believed what God revealed through the prophets, and they were saved through Christ. The same is true of us.

The old Baltimore Catechism says so in Question 73: "Q. How could they be saved who lived before the Son of God became man?

A. They who lived before the Son of God became man could be saved by believing in a Redeemer to come, and by keeping the commandments." source It also says, “It is not enough to belong to the Church in order to be saved, but we must also keep the Commandments of God and of the Church.” (Question 1125 – source)

I think the bishops who commissioned this Catechism knew what they were talking about.

BTW the more recent Catechism seems to repeat this teaching: “all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.” (CCC 2068 – source)

Understand that when it speaks of following the commandments, it does not mean following the bare letter of the commandments, but the spirit of the commandments. Thus, faith is embodied in the First Commandment.

Yes but the problem here is that it doesn’t mention baptism is necessary.

Still, I don’t see a problem. It’s for 5 year olds so it has to be simplistic. Going into detail would bore them and they’d soon forget.

To dmar198’s good Post #4, I would just add that this is a religion question for baptized children - children who are already in the state of sanctifying/saving grace. It is possible to lose that grace thru serious sin. The way to avoid serious sin is to obey God’s commandments.

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