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Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

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Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:21 pm

MRyan quotes Scheeben thus:

Even if the mystery is not entirely destroyed, its true character is distorted, and its distinctive greatness is obscured. At least this is the case if God's moving influence upon the will is so conceived that the cooperation of the will or its self-determination must spring from the force of the existing impulse with an inner infallibility, if not with absolute necessity. If anyone can distinguish between this infallibility and necessity, let him approve of this view. We are unable to do so, particularly if infallibility is to be understood strictly; for from a given cause the only effect that follows with absolute infallibility is an effect which cannot fail to result, and which therefore is so determined in its cause that it cannot be absent as , -long as the cause is in operation. (The MOC, pp 717-718)

This is a good place to begin.

Contrary to Scheeben's characterization, Thomists, Catholics in good standing, do distinguish infallibility and necessity without it being possible in the real world of action for men to act against God's will. They believe it is impossible in fact (only possible in theory and considering the nature of the will which God created (a very key point), but that theoretical possibility maintains freedom in the will) for the will to oppose efficient grace sent from God. The will will act in accordance with the divine motion - no question, and every time. Yet Thomists believe in the will's freedom.

I maintain the Calvinist view is essentially the same as that noted in the prior paragraph.

We will get into this more later.
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  MRyan on Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:12 am

tornpage wrote:MRyan quotes Scheeben thus:

Even if the mystery is not entirely destroyed, its true character is distorted, and its distinctive greatness is obscured. At least this is the case if God's moving influence upon the will is so conceived that the cooperation of the will or its self-determination must spring from the force of the existing impulse with an inner infallibility, if not with absolute necessity. If anyone can distinguish between this infallibility and necessity, let him approve of this view. We are unable to do so, particularly if infallibility is to be understood strictly; for from a given cause the only effect that follows with absolute infallibility is an effect which cannot fail to result, and which therefore is so determined in its cause that it cannot be absent as , -long as the cause is in operation. (The MOC, pp 717-718)

This is a good place to begin.

Contrary to Scheeben's characterization, Thomists, Catholics in good standing, do distinguish infallibility and necessity without it being possible in the real world of action for men to act against God's will. They believe it is impossible in fact (only possible in theory and considering the nature of the will which God created (a very key point), but that theoretical possibility maintains freedom in the will) for the will to oppose efficient grace sent from God. The will will act in accordance with the divine motion - no question, and every time. Yet Thomists believe in the will's freedom.

I maintain the Calvinist view is essentially the same as that noted in the prior paragraph.

We will get into this more later.
Very good.

Scheeben is not saying anything contrary to the doctrine of St. Thomas, and Calvin’s view is NOT, in my view, essentially the same since it exaggerates and misrepresents Augustine’s doctrine by suggesting that the human will is predetermined to such an extent that it “must spring from the force of the existing impulse with an inner infallibility, if not with absolute necessity.”

The prosecution rests.
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:44 am

I see the "Calvinist" position as not much different from the Thomist as far as "irresistible grace" goes. When Scheeben says, "inner infallibility," he's playing the fine scholastic distinction that results in one side calling the other a heretic, but it's meaningless.

The bottom line is the same. The elect never resist the divine motion ("efficacious grace") which saves them. The following points from Father Garrigou-Lagrange's summary of the Thomist position jives with Calvinism:

(2) God has a special love for and chooses a certain number of angels and men whom He wills efficaciously to save. Predestination to glory thus precedes in the order of intention the foreseeing of merits. (3) God puts at the disposal of the elect intrinsically and infallibly efficacious graces whereby infallibly, although freely, they will merit eternal life and attain it."

Predestination, page 175.

On the point of "irresistible grace" and election, I maintain the Calvinist position is in agreement with the Thomist. This is where the "Calvisint" issue comes up with the unbaptized infants, and this is where it is relevant as to that issue. Thus, some Thomists like the Dominican Domingo Banez (according to Father Most anyway - see my post in the 1 Timothy thread) deny a universal salvific will since some men do not get these efficacious graces. I would agree with Banez and St. Augustine on the universal salvific will.

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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:35 am

Father William Most has a number of interesting articles on Augustine, Thomas and "Thomism" which are posted at EWTN. I've recently referenced some of them in the "1 Timothy 2:4" thread. His articles actually highlight some of the similarities between Thomism and Calvinism, though he doesn't say that and that's not his purpose in the articles. He's not fond of Thomism, clearly. Nor of St. Augustine's opinion on the universal salvific will and the "massa damnata" idea.

Anyway, I've stated what I believe are the similarities between the Calvinistic notion of "irresistible grace" and the Thomist notion of efficacious grace. In his article on Predestination, Most actually shows a similarity between the Calvinistic notion of "total depravity" and the Thomist position also:

without efficacious grace a man infallibly sins, according to "Thomists"

http://www.ewtn.com/library/SCRIPTUR/PREDESTI.TXT

Consider that in light of the similarities between Calvinism and Thomism with regard to efficacious grace, and the essential similarity between the two positions on the issue of the who and how of salvation is dramatically highlighted.

Thomism maintains that the elect are subject to efficacious graces which are infallible and which result in the salvation of the elect. Not all receive these graces, but those who are loved more by God according to the principle of Predilection. I have noted the similarity of this with the Calvinist view of election.

Now Most is telling us that without these efficacious graces, which only the elect receive, it is "infallible" that men sin according to the Thomists. I haven't heard it stated that way, but I think it's accurate in terms of the way things work in the real world. Thomists will say that sufficient grace is enough, and that it has within it sufficient power to lead to salvation if man doesn't reject it and sin. But that is purely considering the nature of the grace, and not describing how in fact it happens in reality. Since none of the saved are saved without the receipt of efficacious grace, I think Most is accurate in his claim, which is, in essence, without efficacious grace man will sin and be enslaved by it, and he would not die in a "state of grace."

Think about this - it is essentially the Calvinist system. It takes "efficacious graces" to save, and only the elect receive them. It is "infallible" that the rest of mankind, who do not receive the efficacious graces without which one cannot be saved(it is "infallible" in fact that they will sin without these graces according to the Thomists says Most), is damned.

As I've noted, Thomism has not been condemned by the Church.

There are great divisions between Catholics and Calvinists are so many issues (the sacraments, the pope, Purgatory, etc.), but on the issue of election, predestination, and God's sovereignty and gratuity in saving whom He chooses, I don't think the divide is what it is purported to be.

A Feeneyite might say that is why (i.e, God's sovereign choice of who will be among the elect) one baby who is to die in infancy is baptized, and another is not.
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:52 am

In his Predestination article(http://www.ewtn.com/library/SCRIPTUR/PREDESTI.TXT) ,Father Most quotes Father Garrigou-Lagrange:

Idem, De gratia (Turin, 1945) p. 63, note 2):"...a person is
not able of himself alone, to not place an obstacle [to
sufficient grace]
, for that [not placing an obstacle] is good."
Ibid. p. 190: "...although he could [possit] non resist, de facto
nevertheless he resists
, but freely and culpably.... there is no
middle term in between to resist, which comes from our
defectibility, and to not resist, which comes from the font of
all good things, because 'to non-resist is already some good.'"

Again, in fact, de facto, the elect infallibly go along with the efficacious grace sent by God, and the damned infallibly reject sufficient grace.

As with Calvinism, the gratuity of the act that saves (efficacious grace) lies with the differentiating love and choice of God. The unsaved will resist, and the saved elect will not. Infallibly.
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  MRyan on Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:04 pm

Before going further, “It seems to me that the most important question in this context and in relation to our aim of reconciling Reformed Protestants with the Catholic Church is this: What positions does the Catholic Church allow, and what does the Catholic Church condemn, with respect to this subject of predestination?”

And with that lead-in, Brian Cross, in the comments section of the Called to Communion article Predestination: John Calvin vs. Thomas Aquinas, goes on to say:

Given that within those guidelines, there remain open (unresolved) questions and different permitted answers, it seems to me important first to lay out those guidelines, because everything that is *within* those guidelines is not cause for schism, but can be an open question as an in-house matter.

The Catholic Church does teach definitively that some people are predestined to heaven through grace. We can see this in the canons of Trent 6. She also teaches that some are predestined to hell, on the basis of their foreseen sin and free rejection of God, as just retribution for their sin. But she teaches that no one is predestined to sin. (See the Second Council of Orange) God’s foreknowledge imparts no necessity on man’s free will. Likewise, man’s will remains free under the influence of grace. (Trent 6 can. 4) Grace is resistable. No one perishes because he is unable to be saved, but because he is unwilling to be saved. God desires all men, without exception, to be saved. God gives sufficient grace [for salvation] to all men, yet not all men are saved.

As for the question concerning why in some persons sufficient grace is efficacious, and in other persons, sufficient grace is not efficacious (is it because of a qualitative difference in the grace given, or because of a difference in the willed response), the Church has (for now) left that question open. That entails that a Catholic may believe that God gives sufficient grace to all, but gives efficient grace only to some.

A Catholic may, alternatively, believe that what makes sufficient grace efficient is the free acceptance by the will, and what makes sufficient grace not efficient is the free rejection by the will. A Catholic may, alternatively, prescind altogether from answering this question. This question (in this paragraph) is an open-question within the Catholic Church, and therefore need not be a cause for division. (http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/05/predestination-john-calvin-vs-thomas-aquinas/)
Let’s begin:

tornpage wrote:I see the "Calvinist" position as not much different from the Thomist as far as "irresistible grace" goes. When Scheeben says, "inner infallibility," he's playing the fine scholastic distinction that results in one side calling the other a heretic, but it's meaningless.

That the “Calvinist” position is “not much different from the Thomist position as far as "irresistible grace" is concerned is certainly true; but it is that minor difference that is the difference between remaining within the bounds of Catholic orthodoxy, and ultimately falling into heresy.

Taylor Marshall (author of the same CTC article) notes this difference:

Free will is a secondary cause flowing out from predestination. This distinction ensures that God is not the direct cause of murder or final damnation. This is where Calvin departs from Saint Thomas. In chapter 23 of Book III of the Institutes, Calvin seems to deny the distinction between primary and secondary causation. Calvin mocks those who want to wedge in the claim that the wicked perish by the permission of God and not by the will of God. “The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should: why he deemed it meet, we know not.” Calvin then asserts: “It is certain, however, that it was just, because he saw that his own glory would thereby be displayed.” It seems contrary to justice, but Calvin confirms the decree to sin was just because God obviously cannot be unjust. This argument is circular and rather unsatisfying.
If in this system of “irresistible efficacious grace” the salvation of the elect is found in the absolute predetermined will of God, and because Calvin “seems to deny the distinction between primary and secondary causation”, eternal damnation also finds its only explanation in the Divine will. As such, how free is the will of the justified soul NOT to sin if concupiscence acts on the sinful will with an “irresistible force”? Does this not follow from the idea that demerits cannot be the cause of eternal damnation, but only the Divine will of God?

Calvin’s position simply took “irresistible grace” to a heretical conclusion based on other false assumptions. However, you speak too harshly when you suggest when “Scheeben says, ‘inner infallibility,’ he's playing the fine scholastic distinction that results in one side calling the other a heretic, but it's meaningless”, for it is not “meaningless” when its distortion leads to heresy.

I don’t see how we debate the legitimate differences in opinion about the irresistibly of a certain infallible efficacious grace without examining how this grace comes to play within one’s understanding of free will and first and secondary causes. If there is no universal salvific will of God by which God desires the salvation of all men, we are left with absolute predestination and damnation, while giving lip service to secondary causes and free will.

Let me make it clear: The “ultramystical conception” of grace (e.g. Calvin’s system) is “diametrically opposed to the view combated by St. Augustine”, which was nothing less than the Pelagian heresy. So Scheeben did NOT say that this ultramystical system was heretical. However, the Church would condemn the heretical inference Calvin draws from it when he taught:

This certainty [“True believers … have the assurance of their salvation”] is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope, but an infallible assurance of faith founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel … Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
Once again, Brian Cross, from the same article:

I agree that in certain respects Calvin’s theology of predestination is similar to that of Aquinas. But if there were no significant differences between Aquinas and Calvin on the subject of predestination, then Calvin’s position wouldn’t be “outside of the permissible bounds of the Catholic faith”, given that Aquinas’s position is within the permissible bounds of the Catholic faith.

The Catholic Encyclopedia article on ‘predestination’ gives three limiting conditions for any orthodox theory on predestination and reprobation:

Owing to the infallible decisions laid down by the Church, every orthodox theory on predestination and reprobation must keep within the limits marked out by the following theses: (a) At least in the order of execution in time (in ordine executionis) the meritorious works of the predestined are the partial cause of their eternal happiness; (b) hell cannot even in the order of intention (in ordine intentionis) have been positively decreed to the damned, even though it is inflicted on them in time as the just punishment of their misdeeds; (c) there is absolutely no predestination to sin as a means to eternal damnation.
For Calvin, God predestined men to hell and sin in the same ‘positive’ way He predestined the elect to heaven. (See Institutes III.XXII.11; XXIII) So, that would put Calvin’s doctrine at odds with the second and third conditions directly above. But Aquinas’s doctrine would satisfy all three conditions.
In other words, there is nothing “heretical” about "irresistible grace", but it must be understood within the bounds of orthodoxy.

tornpage wrote:The bottom line is the same. The elect never resist the divine motion ("efficacious grace") which saves them.
The bottom line is not the same when the influence of God's action upon the will is so infallibly persuasive and predetermined that not only can it NOT be resisted (only in theory, thus, ostensibly, preserving “free will”), the certainty of salvation for “true believers” is infallible; i.e., he WILL be saved and “can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace”.

That’s the “bottom line” of Calvin’s doctrine; a doctrine infallibly condemned by the Council of Trent (Session VI):

Canon 23. If anyone says that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or on the contrary, that he can during his whole life avoid all sins, even those that are venial, except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin, let him be anathema.
What is being condemned is “Calvinism”, but not the “ultramystical” system of grace from which his heresy is derived. Calvin simply exaggerates the doctrine and takes it to its logical false conclusion, just as he falsely takes the ultramystical” system of grace to the heresy of divine reprobation that finds its explanation in the Divine will.

Taking Father Garrigou-Lagrange's summary of the Thomistic position as our model, here is Calvin’s doctrine in all of its exaggerated crudity:

(2) God does not have a special love for and chooses a certain number of angels and men whom He wills to efficaciously damn. Predestination to damnation thus precedes in the order of intention the foreseeing of demerits. (3) God does not put at the disposal of the damned intrinsically and infallibly efficacious graces, without which they will infallibly, although freely, merit eternal damnation and attain it.
Since, as you say, God does NOT (conditionally) will the salvation of all men, it follows that He must either absolutely will and predetermine their salvation, or absolutely will and predetermine their damnation, which Will precedes in the order of intention not only the foreseeing of merits, but also foresees all secondary contingencies and causes, and infallibly sets their course.

tornpage wrote:The following points from Father Garrigou-Lagrange's summary of the Thomist position jives with Calvinism:

(2) God has a special love for and chooses a certain number of angels and men whom He wills efficaciously to save. Predestination to glory thus precedes in the order of intention the foreseeing of merits. (3) God puts at the disposal of the elect intrinsically and infallibly efficacious graces whereby infallibly, although freely, they will merit eternal life and attain it."

Predestination, page 175.
And for all of the reasons already given, the Thomist position does not jive with Calvin’s.

If they jived, they would also jive with respect to the following: “(a) At least in the order of execution in time (in ordine executionis) the meritorious works of the predestined are the partial cause of their eternal happiness; (b) hell cannot even in the order of intention (in ordine intentionis) have been positively decreed to the damned, even though it is inflicted on them in time as the just punishment of their misdeeds; (c) there is absolutely no predestination to sin as a means to eternal damnation.”

tornpage wrote:On the point of "irresistible grace" and election, I maintain the Calvinist position is in agreement with the Thomist. This is where the "Calvisint" issue comes up with the unbaptized infants, and this is where it is relevant as to that issue. Thus, some Thomists like the Dominican Domingo Banez (according to Father Most anyway - see my post in the 1 Timothy thread) deny a universal salvific will since some men do not get these efficacious graces. I would agree with Banez and St. Augustine on the universal salvific will.
This should be addressed in a separate thread since I’ll have to tie in the citation and your comments from the 1 Timothy thread (and this post is already too long).

But let me say for now that you shouldn’t assume that Fr. Most and I are in agreement; and I reject his assertion that “St. Augustine … clearly denied the salvific will”; he most certainly did not, as we shall see.
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:05 pm

Mike,

eternal damnation also finds its only explanation in the Divine will.

Everything finds its only explanation in the Divine will. He determine the means as well as the ends. If He determines that secondary causes act freely, they act freely - whether you or I can understand that or not. You're big on mystery, right? This is one of the areas where it comes in.

But that God decrees that sin or evil happens is not in question. That men act freely is also not in question.

Let me ask you a question: Did Pilate, Ciaphas, Herod, the soldiers who mocked Christ, etc., act freely?

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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:23 pm

Canon 23. If anyone says that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or on the contrary, that he can during his whole life avoid all sins, even those that are venial, except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin, let him be anathema.

Yes, I know what Trent says. That there is a difference between Catholicism and Calvinism on justification is conceded. That is not what we are discussing here.

BTW, I think the difference is meaningless. One of the elect is one of the elect; one of the damned is not. If you want to describe some of the damned as those who had received justification but lost it, ok. If a Calvinist wants to describe the same as a false Christian, a tare among the wheat, and simply one who is not among the elect and one who is not nor has ever been justified by the Blood of Christ, that's ok too.

I now that's not what Trent says, but that's my view.
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:25 pm

The bottom line is not the same when [I take it the following is the "Calvinist" difference] the influence of God's action upon the will is so infallibly persuasive and predetermined that not only can it NOT be resisted (only in theory, thus, ostensibly, preserving “free will”), the certainty of salvation for “true believers” is infallible; i.e., he WILL be saved and “can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace”.

As to the first thing which you say makes the bottom line not the same, "when the influence of God's action upon the will is so infallibly persuasive and predetermined that not only can it NOT be resisted (only in theory, thus, ostensibly, preserving “free will”)." That is exactly what efficacious grace in the Catholic and Thomist view does (it cannot be resisted in fact) and that "theory" is exactly what Thomists argue preserves the freedom of the will.

From Grace Considered Intensively, by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Chapter XV.

Sufficient and Efficacious Grace.

It is a dogma of the Catholic faith that there exists a truly sufficient but inefficacious grace, and also that there exists a truly efficacious grace which, however, is not necessitating . . .

By a truly efficacious grace is meant one that will be (is) infallibly followed by the act to which it tends, e.g. contrition. If you receive such a grace, even before your will consents to it, that grace is infallibly “sure of success;” it will infallibly procure your consent, produce that act – of contrition.


Father Garrigou-Lagrange, Predestination

"In other words, according to the teaching of St. Thomas, under the influence of efficacious grace, the free will never wills in fact to resist and posit the contrary act (for then grace would cease to be efficacious), but it retains the power to do so"

and

"it is impossible for the will, under the influence of the divine efficacious motion, actually to omit the performance of the act efficaciously willed by God, or actually to perform the the contrary act."

and

"St. Thomas again affirms the intrinsic efficacy of the divine motion against which the objection was raised; but he replies that under the influence of this motion which man positively does not resist, he retains the power to resist. He could resist if he so wills; but under the influence of this most powerful and gentle motion, he never wills to resist."

What does it mean when it is said that something will "infallibly" follow? It means it cannot fail to happen. Do you dispute that? If it cannot fail to happen, for all practical purposes it cannot be resisted - it can only be resisted "in theory" based upon the instrument, the will, and its powers and essence. I really don't know what's so hard to understand about that.

As to other part of the different "Calvinist" view, "the certainty of salvation for “true believers” is infallible; i.e., he WILL be saved and “can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace," Jimmy Akin summarizes how the Calvinist system jives with the Catholic/Thomist:

If one defines "saint" as one who will have his "saintification" completed, a Catholic can say he believes in a "perseverance of the saints" (all and only the people predestined to be saints will persevere). But because of the historic associations of the phrase it is advisable to make some change in it to avoid confusing the Thomist and Calvinist understandings of perseverance. Since in Catholic theology those who will persevere are called "the predestined" or "the elect," one might replace "perseverance of the saints" with "perseverance of the predestined" or, better, with "perseverance of the elect."

Of course, for the Calvinist the saints are the elect, so . . ,

The bottom line: the same.



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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  Roguejim on Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:16 am

tornpage wrote:



Now Most is telling us that without these efficacious graces, which only the elect receive, it is "infallible" that men sin according to the Thomists. I haven't heard it stated that way, but I think it's accurate in terms of the way things work in the real world. Thomists will say that sufficient grace is enough, and that it has within it sufficient power to lead to salvation if man doesn't reject it and sin. But that is purely considering the nature of the grace, and not describing how in fact it happens in reality. Since none of the saved are saved without the receipt of efficacious grace, I think Most is accurate in his claim, which is, in essence, without efficacious grace man will sin and be enslaved by it, and he would not die in a "state of grace."

Think about this - it is essentially the Calvinist system. It takes "efficacious graces" to save, and only the elect receive them. It is "infallible" that the rest of mankind, who do not receive the efficacious graces without which one cannot be saved(it is "infallible" in fact that they will sin without these graces according to the Thomists says Most), is damned.

If "efficacious grace" is necessary for salvation, what is the point of sufficient grace?
Pardon the crude question, but I have not the resources at my disposal that you and Mryan have.
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:50 am

MRyan quotes a Brian Cross:

Grace is resistable. No one perishes because he is unable to be saved, but because he is unwilling to be saved. God desires all men, without exception, to be saved. God gives sufficient grace [for salvation] to all men, yet not all men are saved.

I know the mantra, and the refrain of the sing-a-long: "Grace is resistable." And yet:

Father GL:

"In other words, according to the teaching of St. Thomas, under the influence of efficacious grace, the free will never wills in fact to resist and posit the contrary act (for then grace would cease to be efficacious), but it retains the power to do so"

Father Hardon:

By a truly efficacious grace is meant one that will be (is) infallibly followed by the act to which it tends, e.g. contrition. If you receive such a grace, even before your will consents to it, that grace is infallibly “sure of success;” it will infallibly procure your consent, produce that act – of contrition.

Go ahead, say "Grace is resistable," and then go outside and experience the real world, where I pray you and I are recipients of the efficacious grace that is "sure of success," and, well, can't be resisted.

Are we simply going to sing the songs we were taught, or are we going to "reason together" with the Lord, and worship Him in truth? I know what I'm going to do.

To continue with Mr. Cross:

God desires all men, without exception, to be saved. God gives sufficient grace [for salvation] to all men, yet not all men are saved.

Well, that God desires all men to be saved is specifically the point we are delving into via consideration of those infants who die in infancy without baptism. I say, no, God doesn't desire all men to be saved, and, case in point, He does not give those infants who are not baptized "sufficient grace [for salvation]." Those infants are men. It is in fact false that God desire all men to be saved, and that He gives "sufficient grace" to all men. If it is not, tell us how He gives sufficient grace to those infants.

I'm going to repeat once again the insight of St. Alphonsus on the issue of what is necessary for God to have a "true will" to save all men (as in everyone):

If then God wills all to be saved, it follows that He gives to all that grace and those aids which are necessary for the attainment of salvation, otherwise it could never be said that He has a true will to save all.

And yet again: He doesn't give it to those infants, and thus, ineluctably, and as night follows day, it therefore follows that He does not will the salvation of all men.

Oh, and this is the real Cross whopper:

No one perishes because he is unable to be saved, but because he is unwilling to be saved.

Oh really, Mr. Cross? Are these infants "unwilling to be saved"? If not, why do you not tell them, and the Church tell them and us, that they are saved, since the only ones who perish are those who are "unwilling to be saved"?


I'm not going to sing the "Grace is resistable" song or the "God wills all men to be saved song" if it's not true.

Sorry.



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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:56 am

If "efficacious grace" is necessary for salvation, what is the point of sufficient grace?

That's an excellent question, Jim. Very astute.

And I don't have a clue. Ask the scholars. I'm just trying to apply common sense to these distinctions they throw at us.

If efficacious grace can't be resisted, and only the elect get it, then all of the saved are recipients of graces that can't be resisted. The unsaved do not get these graces.

The rest is a muddle.

Is sufficient grace sufficient for salvation when all of the saved get additional graces called efficacious? Seems like a strictly academic question to me.

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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:11 am

From a Calvinist summary of TULIP, on the "I," irresistible grace:

It is for this reason that Calvinists speak of the Spirit’s call and of God’s grace in saving sinners as being “efficacious,” “invincible,” or “irresistible.” The grace which the Holy Spirit extends to the elect cannot be thwarted or refused; it never fails to bring them to true faith in Christ.

http://www.monergism.com/calvinsimfactsheet.html

All true. And where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, scroll up to the remarks of Fathers Garrigou-Lagrange and Hardon.
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  MRyan on Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:59 pm

Tornpage,

I shall return!
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  MRyan on Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:14 pm

Seems I’m a bit behind the power curve with my unanticipated absence. My attendance may be a bit spotty, but I hope to catch up.

Where to begin?

I appreciate your citations from Fr. Hardon, Tornpage, so let’s begin there, and let’s bring St. Liguori into the mix by seeing what the former has to say about the latter:

We must ask God, St. Alphonsus would say, for efficacious graces when we conscious of weakness, find ourselves hard pressed with severe temptation and trial. In his treatment of the subject, he relies on the authority of Bellarmine and Francis de Sales. He is not even remotely concerned to reconcile grace and free will in the style of Banez or Molina. He wants to explain in clear language the common teaching of the Church about the need of prayer for salvation.

Liguori’s trenchant insistence on everyone’s receiving sufficient grace at least to pray, and thereby obtain further, efficacious graces to overcome grave obstacles, is borrowed from Bellarmine, whom he quotes to the effect that all the Scripture exhortations to “be converted, return, come, ask,” would be “vain and mocking if God did not give to all at least the grace to pray actually if they wish.” [25] He concludes with a graphic description of the just complaint that sinners might make if this were not true.

I am unable to understand how preachers can exhort the people to return to God, if even the grace of prayer is refused to some. For the people might answer, “Why do you exhort us to repentance? Ask God Himself to convert us, for we have neither the immediate efficacious grace to return actually to God, nor the mediate sufficient grace to obtain it by means of prayer.”

I am likewise unable to conceive how the Sacred Scriptures can so strongly exhort men to listen to the divine inspirations if the grace of prayer be not granted to all. For they who are destitute even of the efficacious grace of prayer may say to God, “Lord, why do You tell us to do this? Make us do it Yourself, for You know we have not even the grace to ask You to make us correspond to Your invitation.”

Finally I cannot comprehend how the reproof given to sinners in these words, “you always resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51), can be just, if they do not receive even the remote grace necessary for actual prayer. [26]
His conclusion is that since the grace of prayer is common to all, every excuse is removed from those who say they had no strength to resist the assaults of the flesh or the evil spirit, since they always had, as the Council of Trent declared, the grace of prayer by which “God does not command the impossible; but when He commands, He warns you to do what you can, and also to pray for what you cannot do.” [27] To this principle, all theoretical systems of reconciling grace and free will would subscribe.( http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Grace/Grace_015.htm )
Tornpage wrote:

If efficacious grace can't be resisted, and only the elect get it, then all of the saved are recipients of graces that can't be resisted. The unsaved do not get these graces.
Then does it not necessarily follow that if they are not of the predetermined elect, their prayers are not heard, or are heard, but ignored? God gives them the remote graces necessary for actual prayer with no intention of fulfilling their prayers, for He has turned a deaf ear (for the unsaved do not get efficacious graces). They are damned, and it is as simple as that.

Welcome to the doctrine of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

Tornpage, are only the prayers of the elect heard that they might become efficacious? If not, God ignores the prayers of the non-elect (sufficient grace) by refusing to make them efficacious?

Is this just an "academic exercise" since in either case they are already damned by the absolute will of God?
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  columba on Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:26 pm

That seems to be the answer at least for those above the age of reason that all have the ability to pray (even the athiest) and therefore -according to the promise made by Our Lord- that all who ask most certainly receive, all who seek, find, and all who knock have the door opened to them, therefore everyone can obtain both sanctifying and efficacious grace if they persist in asking and therefore the predestined are those who pray. As St. Alphonus would say, "All who pray will most certainly be saved, all who do not pray most certainly will be lost."
(All have the ability to pray).
It doesn't however explain how those below the age of reason can obtain this efficacious grace but then, those below the age of reason do not need efficacious grace; all they need is Baptism.
How does God provide for their salvation other than through Baptism?
If they do not receive Baptism does it follow that God did not will their salvation?

I can't reconcile the latter conclusion with His love for children and I'm of the opinion that He does indeed will their salvation. If original sin is not imputable to the individual it does however disqualify one from enjoying the Beatific Vission and this unfortunate result was not due to any lack of charity on God's part but solely to the sin of Adam.

To take this discussion to the extreme, one could almost argue concerning those who God could have created but didn't create; that in some way God was obliged to create them. Just saying.


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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  columba on Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:38 pm

PS.

Haha... I got that last point from my youngest son. When he was about 4 yrs old our older daughter was having her 7th birthday party. Well, he (my son) was a bit put out about all the fuss being made of his sister and of all the birthday gifts she receieved. I explained to him that when his birthday comes round he gets the same treatment, but not to be pacified he replied, "But what about all the birthdays she had before I was born?" sob sob. Crying or Very sad
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Re: Scheeben versus . . . Calvin?

Post  tornpage on Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:57 am

Mike,

Just to be clear: you are saying with your citation of Father Hardon that St. Alphonsus’s remarks do not address whether God truly wills to save everyone? I repeat the quote of St. Alphonsus at issue for ease of reference.

If then God wills all to be saved, it follows that He gives to all that grace and those aids which are necessary for the attainment of salvation, otherwise it could never be said that He has a true will to save all.

The remark comes immediately after a Chapter where St. Alphonsus is dealing specifically with the issue of whether God wills to save all men, and even says in the Introduction to that chapter:

. . . God in His goodness grants to every one the grace of prayer, by which he is able to obtain all other graces which he needs in order to keep the Commandments and to be saved.

But before I explain this point, I must prove two preliminary propositions. First, that God wills all men to be saved; and therefore that Jesus Christ has died for all. Secondly, that God, on His part, gives to all men the graces necessary for salvation; whereby every one may be saved if he corresponds to them.

Even assuming the remark is not directed to the question of whether God truly wills to save all men by St. Alphonsus, I say it is relevant to the question: a will to save all men is absurd and a fiction if the sufficient grace and aid for salvation are not given to all men.

Tornpage wrote:

If efficacious grace can't be resisted, and only the elect get it, then all of the saved are recipients of graces that can't be resisted. The unsaved do not get these graces.

Then does it not necessarily follow that if they are not of the predetermined elect, their prayers are not heard, or are heard, but ignored? God gives them the remote graces necessary for actual prayer with no intention of fulfilling their prayers, for He has turned a deaf ear (for the unsaved do not get efficacious graces). They are damned, and it is as simple as that.

Welcome to the doctrine of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

Tornpage, are only the prayers of the elect heard that they might become efficacious? If not, God ignores the prayers of the non-elect (sufficient grace) by refusing to make them efficacious?

Is this just an "academic exercise" since in either case they are already damned by the absolute will of God?

As to the rest of your comments, we both know that God does not hear the prayers of everyone (i.e, He turns a deaf ear to some prayers). For example:

James 4:3

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Are you now making an argument based upon some kind of assumption of what prayers are answered, and whose? As if you could know that. I would say, to borrow the language of James 4:3, that God only hears and responds to the prayers of those who do not pray “amiss.” I have no reason to believe that anyone other than the elect, the regenerate, do not pray amiss, i.e. pray with the proper disposition and faith so that their prayers are heard. And even the elect may pray "amiss" at times, and even some of their prayers are not heard. It seems that your premise requires God to hear the prayers of the non-elect, for example, that the non-elect genuinely pray for His will to be done, etc. I see no basis for the assumption, and reject that. You have not laid a foundation for God hearing the prayers of anyone other than the elect.

Your argument doesn’t address the issue at hand.

If you want to first establish that God hears and responds to the requests and the prayers of the non-elect, then maybe this argument would become relevant to the issue, and I’d address it in more detail.
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