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  #21  
Old 4th February 2009, 11:58 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default Decree On Justification 1547

CHAPTER I.
On the Inability of Nature and of the Law to justify man.

The holy Synod declares first, that, for the correct and sound understanding of the doctrine of Justification, it is necessary that each one recognise and confess, that, whereas all men had lost their innocence in the prevarication of Adam -- having become unclean, and, as the apostle says, by nature children of wrath, as (this Synod) has set forth in the decree on original sin, -- they were so far the servants of sin, and under the power of the devil and of death, that not the Gentiles only by the force of nature, but not even the Jews by the very letter itself of the law of Moses, were able to be liberated, or to arise, therefrom; although free will, attenuated as it was in its powers, and bent down, was by no means extinguished in them.

[So because of the sin of Adam and Eve, we were in need of a Savior, being unable to bring ourselves back to grace from original sin without Him.]

CHAPTER II.
On the dispensation and mystery of Christ's advent.

Whence it came to pass, that the heavenly Father, the father of mercies and the God of all comfort, when that blessed fulness of the time was come, sent unto men, Jesus Christ, His own Son -- who had been, both before the Law, and during the time of the Law, to many of the holy fathers announced and promised -- that He might both redeem the Jews who were under the Law, and that the Gentiles, who followed not after justice, might attain to justice, and that all men might receive the adoption of sons. Him God hath proposed as a propitiator, through faith in his blood, for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world.

[So God sent Jesus to remedy the state of humanity caused by Adam's Fall from grace.]

CHAPTER III.
Who are justified through Christ.

But, though He died for all, yet do not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only unto whom the merit of His passion is communicated. For as in truth men, if they were not born propagated of the seed of Adam, would not be born unjust, -- seeing that, by that propagation, they contract through him, when they are conceived, injustice as their own, -- so, if they were not born again in Christ, they never would be justified; seeing that, in that new birth, there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of His passion, the grace whereby they are made just. For this benefit the apostle exhorts us, evermore to give thanks to the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light, and hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption, and remission of sins.

[all are offered justification, but not all accept it]

CHAPTER IV.
A description is introduced of the Justification of the impious, and of the Manner thereof under the law of grace.

By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated, -- as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver [washing] of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

[the laver of regernation is baptism; notice that the Council also taught a Baptism of desire, i.e. a non-formal Baptism]
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  #22  
Old 5th February 2009, 10:54 PM
Rob Rob is offline
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Ron,

Every so often there is a major Council which appears to explore and explain Truths from the Faith in a deeper level than others, quite clearly this Council was one of them.

Why was that? Was it because the Council lasted very long? Or is it because the Church reached a particular point in understanding many Truths? Or maybe because there were many heresies to contrast?
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  #23  
Old 5th February 2009, 11:00 PM
Shane Shane is offline
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Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post


But if any one receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema....

According to Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius XII, Trent decreed the total inerrancy of Scripture:

"But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred.... For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, solemnly defined in the Councils of Florence and of Trent, and finally confirmed and more expressly formulated by the Council of the Vatican." (Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, n. 20).



Ron,
How is it that since the total inerrancy of Sacred Scripture was underlined clearly here, both at Florence and Trent, that it still continues to be a much-debated topic today, even amongst the faithful?
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  #24  
Old 5th February 2009, 11:37 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Every so often there is a major Council which appears to explore and explain Truths from the Faith in a deeper level than others, quite clearly this Council was one of them.

Why was that? Was it because the Council lasted very long? Or is it because the Church reached a particular point in understanding many Truths? Or maybe because there were many heresies to contrast?

The place of Ecumenical Councils in the Church has undergone a development over the history of the Church. In the early Councils, they often condemned heresies by name, but without teaching any particular doctrine. There were a number of Councils that mainly exercised the temporal authority. Only as the centuries passed, and some heresies took root, as in the Protestant reformation, that the Councils began to take more of a role of defining doctrine, often in opposition to heresy. This approach reached its height with Trent.

Then with the Vatican Councils, the Councils have developed into even more of a teaching role, even without a heresy to refute. I expect this development of the role of Councils to continue, so that Councils teach extensively, with or without a heresy to refute.

Many Catholics have an idealized and over-simplified understanding of Councils, imagining that they do nothing but issue infallible dogmas, and not realizing the true history of the Councils in the Church.
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  #25  
Old 5th February 2009, 11:45 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Shane View Post
Ron,
How is it that since the total inerrancy of Sacred Scripture was underlined clearly here, both at Florence and Trent, that it still continues to be a much-debated topic today, even amongst the faithful?

Many Catholics discount the teachings of past Popes and Councils, as if their teachings had less authority as the centuries pass. If the current Pope wrote this:

"But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred.... For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, solemnly defined in the Councils of Florence and of Trent, and finally confirmed and more expressly formulated by the Council of the Vatican." (Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, n. 20).

then they would accept it as infallibly taught. But since it was taught so long ago, they reduce its value. They want each and every Pope and each and every current generation of Bishops to re-teach every past teaching. They are ignorant of the history of salvation.

Also, it is the case that many Bishops, priests, religious, and most lay persons (and many theologians) have fallen into material heresy, or even formal heresy, and have become very ignorant about Catholic teachings.

The heresy that the Bible is only inerrant on matters of faith and morals, or on matters of salvation is one of the most widespread heresies today.
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  #26  
Old 11th February 2009, 01:00 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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CHAPTER V.
On the necessity, in adults, of preparation for Justification, and whence it proceeds.

The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient [arriving in advance] grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening [before any good act] and assisting [during any good act] grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace: in such sort [in such a manner] that, while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight. Whence, when it is said in the sacred writings:
Turn to me, and I will turn to you,
we are admonished of our liberty; and when we answer;
Convert us, O Lord, to you, and we shall be converted,
we confess that we are prevented [i.e. grace arrives first] by the grace of God.

So grace is before, during, and after any good act. We do not merit the grace that arrives before the good act, we cooperate but still do not merit the grace that we receive during the good act, we may merit some of the grace that we receive after our act of cooperation with grace, but more grace is given afterward than merely what we merit.

Salvation is not merited, and so baptism for salvation is given even to infants, for no prior act is needed since salvation is a gift.

Our reward in Heaven is merited to one extent or another, for some persons receive a greater reward, and some a lesser reward, according to their merits.

Even in Hell, some are punished more and some less, according to what they deserve.
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Old 13th February 2009, 01:21 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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CHAPTER VI.
The manner of Preparation.

Now they (adults) are disposed unto the said justice, when, excited and assisted by divine grace, conceiving faith by hearing, they are freely moved towards God, believing those things to be true which God has revealed and promised,-and this especially, that God justifies the impious by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; and when, understanding themselves to be sinners, they, by turning themselves, from the fear of divine justice whereby they are profitably agitated, to consider the mercy of God, are raised unto hope, confiding that God will be propitious to them for Christ's sake; and they begin to love Him as the fountain of all justice; and are therefore moved against sins by a certain hatred and detestation, to wit, by that penitence which must be performed before baptism: lastly, when they purpose to receive baptism, to begin a new life, and to keep the commandments of God. Concerning this disposition it is written; He that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him; and, Be of good faith, son, thy sins are forgiven thee; and, The fear of the Lord driveth out sin; and, Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; and, Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; finally, Prepare your hearts unto the Lord.


So adults are prepared for Baptism by the grace of God and by their cooperation with the grace of God. My theological conclusion based on this teaching of Trent is that adults preparing for Baptism often receive love, faith, and hope, which is sanctifying grace, prior to formal Baptism by their Baptism of desire. But the formal Baptism is necessary in as much as we cannot be sure if we have received a non-formal Baptism, but we can be sure that we have received a formal Baptism.
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  #28  
Old 15th February 2009, 01:23 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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CHAPTER VII.
What the justification of the impious is, and what are the causes thereof.

This disposition, or preparation, is followed by Justification itself, which is not remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace, and of the gifts, whereby man of unjust becomes just, and of an enemy a friend, that so he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting.

Of this Justification the causes are these: the final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Jesus Christ, and life everlasting; while the efficient cause is a merciful God who washes and sanctifies gratuitously, signing, and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance; but the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited Justification for us by His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father; the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which (faith) no man was ever justified; lastly, the alone formal cause is the justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just, but that whereby He maketh us just, that, to wit, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and we are not only reputed, but are truly called, and are, just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to every one as He wills, and according to each one's proper disposition and co-operation. For, although no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of those that are justified, and is inherent therein: whence, man, through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these (gifts) infused at once, faith, hope, and charity. For faith, unless hope and charity be added thereto, neither unites man perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body. For which reason it is most truly said, that Faith without works is dead and profitless; and, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision, availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by charity. This faith, Catechumen's beg of the Church -- agreeably to a tradition of the apostles -- previously to the sacrament of Baptism; when they beg for the faith which bestows life everlasting, which, without hope and charity, faith cannot bestow: whence also do they immediately hear that word of Christ; If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Wherefore, when receiving true and Christian justice, they are bidden, immediately on being born again, to preserve it pure and spotless, as the first robe given them through Jesus Christ in lieu of that which Adam, by his disobedience, lost for himself and for us, that so they may bear it before the judgment-seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may have life everlasting.


summary: justification is salvific grace, also called sanctifying grace, which takes the form of the infused theological virtues of love, faith, and hope. This justification is not merited by us, but was merited for us by Christ. This justification is received at Baptism.
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  #29  
Old 19th February 2009, 04:50 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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CHAPTER VIII.
In what manner it is to be understood, that the impious is justified by faith, and gratuitously.

And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification - whether faith or works - merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.

summary: grace in the form of sanctifying grace is not merited by us at all, but is merited by Christ for us; so salvation is a free gift. Faith is the beginning of salvation, but faith alone is not sufficient, for the faithful must live in the true love of God and neighbor and with true hope for eternal life. Love, faith, and hope together are infused at baptism, when sanctifying grace is received.
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  #30  
Old 19th February 2009, 04:53 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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CHAPTER IX.
Against the vain confidence of Heretics.

But, although it is necessary to believe that sins neither are remitted, nor ever were remitted save gratuitously by the mercy of God for Christ's sake; yet is it not to be said, that sins are forgiven, or have been forgiven, to any one who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins, and rests on that alone; seeing that it may exist, yea does in our day exist, amongst heretics and schismatics; and with great vehemence is this vain confidence, and one alien from all godliness, preached up in opposition to the Catholic Church. But neither is this to be asserted, -- that they who are truly justified must needs, without any doubting whatever, settle within themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from sins and justified, but he that believes for certain that he is absolved and justified; and that absolution and justification are effected by this faith alone: as though whoso has not this belief, doubts of the promises of God, and of the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ. For even as no pious person ought to doubt of the mercy of God, of the merit of Christ, and of the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, even so each one, when he regards himself, and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension touching his own grace; seeing that no one can know with a certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.

summary: No one can know as an article of faith that he himself is in a state of grace. This teaching opposes the false teaching of Protestants that all who merely believe in Jesus know that they are saved, despite any mortal sins that they may have committed. So eternal life is not based on faith alone, nor is it possible to be certain that one is in a state of grace, with the certitude of an article of faith (both of which being Protestant errors).
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