What do you think of gradualism?

A cardinal at the Vatican talked about this. Now, this is not gradualism in the form of spirituality, but in the sense of mortal sin. That you can be in mortal sin, but still come to God in stages. Like, what they did for divorced and remarried couples at the Synod. It didn’t pass, but they talked about how they can come into the church and receive the Sacraments- without confession, thinking that they’ll come to God eventually.

Now, do you agree with gradualism? Or do you find it heretical?

Slippery slope of modernism.


It’s very “born-again” Protestant to expect and even demand dramatic shifts overnight in order to prove valid conversions.

I do not fine what you suggest above to be heretical. Many, if not most, people DO come to God in stages…whether one is in mortal sin or not.
We speak of “growing in holiness”. Is this not "gradualism?
We speak of the process of overcoming sin as a process that takes time. Is this not “gradualism”?
An unbeliever - coming to know and accept God and faith and His Church - may take considerable time and study. Is this not gradualism?

So why should gradualism be seen as heretical?

As to specific applications - such as what is suggested in the last part of your post. We trust that Holy Mother Church, protected by the Holy Spirit, will get it right.
At least I trust that she will…


Jimmy Akin has a helpful analysis of gradualism here:

The Law of Gradualness

Among other things, he points out that Pope John Paul II spoke about gradualism and specifically forbade priests from using it to admit people to the Eucharist who are still living in mortal sin: [Married people] cannot however look on the law as merely an ideal to be achieved in the future: they must consider it as a command of Christ the Lord to overcome difficulties with constancy.

And so what is known as ‘the law of gradualness’ or step-by-step advance cannot be identified with ‘gradualness of the law,’ as if there were different degrees or forms of precept in God’s law for different individuals and situations.

In God’s plan, all husbands and wives are called in marriage to holiness, and this lofty vocation is fulfilled to the extent that the human person is able to respond to God’s command with serene confidence in God’s grace and in his or her own will. (Familiaris Consortio 34) Jimmy Akin concludes that the idea of allowing people to receive Holy Communion while living in mortal sin is not consistent with gradualism as understood by Pope John Paul II.

I like gradualism as defined by Pope John Paul II because it means becoming holier as time goes on. But letting people receive Communion without a decisive break from mortal sin? That I do not like, and that is not gradualism.

Canon 916: "A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to… receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession."
Canon 915: “Those…obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
It is not possible for someone to receive communion knowing they have not had a grave sin absolved, and it is not possible for someone to distribute communion to a person “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin.” There is no gradual way around this. Either the doctrines reflected by those laws are followed or they are ignored.

Now, do you agree with gradualism? Or do you find it heretical?

It is in this case irrational.


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