I came across this protestant quote today
If we got what we deserved from God, none of us would be in existence. We would be banished from His presence forever. The mystery is that we do not get what we deserve.
I agree that nothing in us can merit favor with God, and yet there is something divine in us by virtue of being His creation. Many protestants are taught that everything we do is tainted with sin, and that when God redeemed us he simply covered our sin, and our righteousness is only a legal declaration not something that increases with spiritual growth, paltry though it may be.
What does the Catholic church teach about this?