QUOTE=LumenGent;8087210]You could abuse it, or use it to support whatever you wish. The statement means what it implies, that God’s plan includes our free response to his Grace. You can twist it to support your own advances, however, The fact remains that this is the limit that the Church has set for us to accept.
I’m not sure if we agree on this point or not. The Catechism statement is skillfully worded so that it can fit any of the major Catholic schools of thought on the subject. It is not meaningless though. For example, its use of the word “free” with regard to our response to grace would be impossible to reconcile with the rejection of any sense whatsoever in which the response to grace is free. In this particular case I could imagine an argument a Calvinist could make to possibly reconcile this particular statement to his belief, though ultimately Calvinism, unlike Thomism, is not among the options allowed by Catholic teaching as a whole.
What would be an abuse of the statement would be to insist it rules out certain theological positions it is in fact compatible with.
Very Arminian. Not very Catholic, in its language that is. If predestination is synonymous with foreknowledge, then God predestines the reprobate to hell in exactly the same way (knowing “in advance” that it will happen) that He predestines the elect to heaven. That predestination formula was condemned by the Council of Trent’s Decree on Justification, but only because the word “predestination” was not used to mean “foreknowledge” in the Catholic Church, nor I believe in Protestantism at the time of the Council. Anyway, why even speak of predestination (etymologically, to appoint/determine beforehand) if all you mean is to know beforehand?
I’m not saying your underlying idea is heretical, but we really do need to keep our definition of predestination distinct from our definition of foreknowledge if we are to avoid total confusion. If your own preference is to reject the opinion (which the Magisterium has not rejected or affirmed) that predestination comes logically before free choices, then the position for you would be to say predestination comes logically after those choices and, therefore, logically after God’s foreknowledge of those choices.
If you choose to adopt a personal policy of only affirming what the Church has formally defined on this subject and staying neutral on the various schools of theological thought on it, that is perfectly respectable. But that does not seem to be what you have done, from this debate. You seem to be trying to advance certain tolerated theological opinions (like predestination logically after previous merit) against other tolerated theological opinions (like predestination logically prior to previous merit). In fact, as I recall you specifically said St. Thomas Aquinas got this issue wrong.
If you wish to take a particular theological position on this subject, that’s fine. If you wish to just stick to the doctrines without taking sides on controversial matters of theological interpretation, that’s also fine. But please don’t take a particular theological position and then claim that it is simply the Catholic teaching on the matter, when it is really only one of many schools of thought, none of which has been defined as the correct one.
Basically I agree. Evil, if defined as a lack of due good, came into Creation through the free decisions of men and angels. In creating us with free will God gave us the ability to commit moral evil, and He foreknew that we would in fact do this. The problem of evil is more multifaceted than this, though.
I have to go grab some lunch (well, I want to go grab some lunch) so I’ll leave the rest of your responses for another time.