This has caused me immense distress. I must be mis-reading it. I’d like someone to help me, here. I have the sickest feeling that I cannot even truly be awake, that I must be in a sort of awful nightmare.
It’s especially the part of Unconditional Election. It seems set against everything I thought I knew about Catholicism. It would seem to completely eliminate the meaningfulness of merit and free will. It seems to make free will into a sort of practical joke, so to speak. Either God has predestined you for glory, in which case you’ll will it (without being able not to), or God has “passed over” you, and since God made you unable to merit Heaven by your own means, as your natural will is so severely wounded, you’re assuredly damned (thus it’s not a double predestination, but in terms of the results, it is)
I can’t see where free will plays into this. It’s the sort of thing I would have laughed at to hear, if I weren’t now hearing it from CA apologists.
Be kind, here. I’m not trying to rail against God, or anyone. I’m feeling like everything I know about my faith is completely shattered and useless. It’s kind of rough.
Not exactly helpful. Besides, I am quite sure I am mis-reading this, as just about every other article one may read from NewAdvent on things such as merit, predestinarianism, etc… as well as the Catholic Catechism seem to not touch on the sort of thing within the article I presented.
What bothers me so much is that it’s been recommended several times at CAF by the apologists, so I don’t know what’s going on.
I found an interesting bit of information in paragraph 600 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition.
“To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace:”
That lines up with paragraph 1730
"God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. “God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own counsel,’ so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.”
[INDENT]“Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts.”
[/INDENT]Therefore, free will is essential which is a teaching of the Catholic Church.
The link is not an easy read for me. However, I did notice that it was one-sided which can be proper when one is concentrating on a difficult topic. I did not get the impression that free will is denied; rather it seemed to be forgotten – but that can happen when there are different elements of a difficult topic.
I wonder if you and I could look at either the easiest point in unconditional election or the most difficult point and figure out how it relates to Catholic teaching.
Thanks for posting. I am really tired now and going to bed, but tomorrow I will take a more in-depth look into the matters.
As it is, my understanding of Catholic teaching has been as follows (and it seems to be congruous with the teachings of the CCC you provided):
God foresees how all will choose to receive his grace. He gives all people sufficient grace that their wills shall not be utterly impaired and they can freely choose to accept Him. If they do so, He continues to infuse them with graces, and they continually have the free choice to accept or deny those graces.
If a person shall not cooperate with those graces, God can allow them to harden their heart as it was their free choice.
I do not understand Catholicism as promoting an idea that God permits man to remain in his wounded state without at least giving him an out, that is, grace, and man has to make a real denial of that grace to be lost.
It just seems with all this talk that they’re affirming just the opposite: that God either decided to give you grace or didn’t. But perhaps you’re right, perhaps in the interest in making Catholicism more palatable to Calvinists on such difficult subject matter, the author is ignoring a lot, like free will.
God provides sufficient grace to all to have the free choice, but unlike Roman Catholicism, God regenerates those who give their life to the God who keeps so “they shall never perish” (John 10.28); whereas RCC and William Lane Craig state you can lose salvation once saved and then would need to be born-again again even again and again if necessary. As Dave Hunt use to say, “That would be a weird kind of salvation if you could get saved, lose it, get it back and lose it again.”
Just as you can be born physically only once, you can be born-again no more than once, so you can’t lose salvation once saved. That’s a God you cant rust in.
Well, the document you linked says you are free to disbelieve in it, so that is what I would suggest you do. The problem with questions like this is that God has not revealed the answer to us, so we have to figure it out. People will figure it out differently, and people who figure it out differently than you do may not mean what you think they mean, either.
I have found that it is better not to get het up about things like this, especially when you’re tired. The fact that Catholics are allowed (but not required) to believe in something that you find troubling is not a cause for panic.
Also, Jimmy Akin and CAF are not the Magisterium. Not only can they make mistakes, and even if they haven’t made a mistake, they can word things badly. Alternatively, you may be reading it wrong, as you noted.
If you’re good with what the Catechism says, I’d just leave the rest be, if it doesn’t help you.
Modern Revert was making fun of a typo in revivin’s post: “cant rust” for “can trust.”
Given some of the truly dreadful punctuation, spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and idea flow I have seen at various times on CAF, however, it seems unnecessary to call out such a small error, except that it was contained in a post that was perhaps insufficiently respectful when speaking of Catholic beliefs given that this is a Catholic forum in which “evangelization” of Catholics to leave Catholicism is not permitted.
I carefully checked your post before I made my statement. I am a Christian myself (as are all believing Catholics), so I wouldn’t find fault with anyone for that. Also, literally my best friend of many years is a Protestant. The “revert” in my user name refers to the fact that I myself spent years attending Protestant churches.
I would happily admit my mistake if I could see that I made one, but I can’t see that I have. Also, even if I had made a mistake, I am not aware of what I would have done to earn the epithet “your petty self.”
However, if I have offended you, please accept my apology.
The petty self only applies if I did make a mistake which I did assuming someone didn’t insert that mistake into my post. You can be friends with the tares and the swine that look like Christians but are not. I believe a person who doesn’t receive the Jesus who keeps always is not my brother, because it would be a selfish salvation, nor would I consider a brother in Christ someone who claims they were irresistibly selected (Calvinists). I would not break bread with these. This isn’t a thought crime is it?
First of all, I don’t see anything in the article that makes election sound capricious. In fact, I see several things in the article that teach against that, which I’ll mention in a second. But I also want to point out a key sentence you may have missed. Even if you interpret Thomism as making God capricious or a jokester, the article clearly states, “What would a Catholic say about this? He certainly is free to disagree with [this] interpretation [of election], but he also is free to agree.”
If you think this interpretation of election is incompatible with God’s mercy, then you are free to disagree with it. The article does not say that this is Catholic teaching.
Back to my main point, I think the article does not teach that “you’ll will it (without being able not to)” and I don’t think it teaches “a double predestination…in terms of results.” In fact, I think it teaches against both of those.
Re: being able not to cooperate with God, the article clearly states, “Thomists do believe in free will…They claim God’s grace [works] in a way that does not disturb the will’s freedom.” Thus, in the Thomistic system, the elect are free to choose whatever they want. Therefore they can reject God’s grace. They just don’t.
Therefore, it seems you have misunderstood the article on this point. Nowhere does it say that “you’ll will it (without being able not to).” Instead, it says you are free, and that God’s grace works in such a way that it does not disturb the will’s freedom.
Re: “a double predestination…in terms of results,” the article teaches against that too. In the section on perseverance of the saints, it sufficiently explains that someone may be predestined to initial salvation, but then through their own fault they fall away. “Some might genuinely come to God (because they were predestined to initial salvation) and then genuinely leave (because they were not predestined to final salvation).”
This is not compatible with double-predestination, because, in Catholic tradition, to “genuinely leave” is to leave of your own free choice, not because you were forced. God’s decision not to predestine that person to final salvation is therefore a reflection of their own free choice. Double-predestination says the opposite.
The article relies heavily on Ludwig Ott’s valuable book, “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma.” That book is in large part a selection of excerpts of infallible Catholic Councils and papal pronouncements. I bring it up because one of its excerpts shows the incompatibility of Calvinism with Catholic theology:
“The Human Will remains free under the influence of efficacious grace, which is not irresistible. (De fide.)”
Catholics are required to believe this, and it is incompatible with Calvinism. It is also Catholic teaching that no one goes to Hell except through their own fault. “[God’s] supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments.” (Quanto Conficiamur Moerore 7)
I had a friend that attended a multicultural nondenominational church strongly influenced by calvinistic beliefs. She gave me.the tapes of the sermons her pastor gave on T.U.L.I.P.
I was really turned off by the total depravity concept and never finished the rest of the tapes.
The P is strange because Calvinists call it “perseverance of the saints” but that suggests by works by persevering to remain saved, but in fact, what Calvinists really mean is that they are irresistibly made to persevere to remain saved. Crazy stuff!