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God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:54 am

George,

I am much more concerned about us baptized sinners who are trying to live our Catholic Faith so as to merit eternity with our God who loves us all.

Yes. Of course.

The discussion some of have here on this issue is actually a form of diversion for us "nerds."

Yet again, to put that discussion in context (Mike posted this in that other thread where be battled over this issue):

THE DEATH of an unbaptized infant presents Catholic theologians with a poignant problem. The dawn star of Christian culture had hardly risen when men first raised the question, and it has continued to echo through the centuries. There are reasons enough for the persistent reappearance of the difficulty. The fate of an unbaptized child is closely tied to several highly volatile questions: original sin, the necessity of baptism, the salvific will of God. Each of these issues is a vital nerve in the body of Catholic doctrine, and each can be studied with clinical precision in the person of an unbaptized child. The question, then, is not pure pedantry; and if it seems a discouraging one, we have the admonition of St. Gregory of Nyssa: "I venture to assert that it is not right to omit the examination which is within the range of our ability, or to leave the question here raised without making any inquiries or having any ideas about it."(LIMBO: A THEOLOGICAL EVALUATION by GEORGE J. DYER, 1958)
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:54 am

Tornpage wrote:
Florence is infallible and says what it says: "the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains."

I have no idea what Limbo is, but any definition of Limbo that goes against the above definition is false, and must be abandoned.
Mark,

Please clarify. You seem to be using “definition” in the fallible sense for Limbo, and in the formal sense for Florence as if it formally "defined" as a revealed truth (as an article of Divine and Catholic Faith) that “the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains", as if “unequal pains” is a formal part of a defined dogma that necessarily and infallibly obliges every Catholic to believe and profess that unbaptizd infants suffer, as a minimum, the spiritual pain of loss.

First of all, while I agree that the dogmatic prescription is infallible, I take it in a general “cannot be opposed to the faith or give harm” sense, for it does not meet the requirement of a formal ex cathedra definition (as it was not even discussed by the Council Fathers, there was no intention to define, but represents the words of St. Fulgentius that were “simply read from a letter sent by the Byzantine emperor”, and inserted in the Bull "Lætentur Caeli").

In fact, it is somewhat ludicrous to suggest that the Church dogmatically defined as a matter of faith, with no discussion, a dogma at complete odds with the common opinion of theologians on Limbo, and at complete odds with the Greeks, the union with whom the Bull was named.

In other words, such an “infallible” understanding (to include that of a suffering spiritual “pain”) of this alleged dogmatic definition flies in the face of the Church’s own understanding; it does not represent the understanding of the Greeks (the “definition” is from the “Decree of Union of the Greeks”, in the Bull "Lætentur Caeli" of Pope Eugene IV) and it flies in the face of the infallible papal bull Auctorem Fidei by Pope Paul VI, 1794, which solemnly condemned the following proposition:

The Punishment of Those Who Die with Original Sin Only

The doctrine which rejects as a Pelagian fable, that place of the lower regions (which the faithful generally designate by the name of the limbo of children) in which the souls of those departing with the sole guilt of original sin are punished with the punishment of the condemned, exclusive of the punishment of fire, just as if, by this very fact, that these who remove the punishment of fire introduced that middle place and state free of guilt and of punishment between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation, such as that about which the Pelagians idly talk,—false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools.
Note well the reference to the condemned proposition being “false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools”, which is understood in the same context as that which was declared at the Council of Florence (Basel):

By these measures the synod intends to detract in nothing from the sayings and writings of the holy doctors who discourse on these matters. On the contrary, it accepts and embraces them according to their true understanding as commonly expounded and declared by these doctors and other catholic teachers in the theological schools. (Session 22, 15 October 1435)
With that in mind, we can see that Pope Pius VI was defending (though not as an obligatory matter of belief) the common doctrine of Limbo, the punishment of which is eternal loss of the beatific vision (“the punishment of the condemned, exclusive of the punishment of fire”), while condemning the doctrine which says “just as if, by this very fact [of Limbo], that these who remove the punishment of fire introduced that middle place and state free of guilt and of punishment between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation, such as that about which the Pelagians idly talk”.

Note well that Pope Pius VI says nothing one way or the other about whether the punishment of eternal loss includes a real (painful) spiritual sense of loss, as Florence seems to suggest with its reference to “unequal pains”. In fact, eternal loss is a “punishment of the condemned”, with “the condemned” signifying perhaps nothing more than the general universal category of those who are excluded from the happiness of the beatific vision.

Pope Pius VI was condemning quite specifically the doctrine which suggests that “these who remove the punishment of fire introduced that middle place and state free of guilt and of punishment between the kingdom of God and eternal damnation, such as that about which the Pelagians idly talk”.

Though unbaptized infants have no personal guilt, original sin still carries the penalty of a type of inherited corporate guilt, as the Council of Trent confirms in Session V:

5. If anyone denies that by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted, or says that the whole of that which belongs to the essence of sin is not taken away, but says that it is only canceled or not imputed, let him be anathema.
So it is clear that the common doctrine of Limbo is NOT that “middle place” (or someplace anywhere other than Heaven) free of guilt [free of Original sin] and punishment of which the Pelagians idly talk.

The teaching of Dons Scotus, summarized below, represents the common doctrine of Limbo as it is typically understood by the “Catholic schools”:

"there can be no unhappiness of any sort in limbo. Grief, he remarks, is a greater punishment than the pain of sense, because it attacks a higher faculty, the human will. Since children are spared the pain of sense, they must logically be free of any unhappiness. It would be absurd to suppose that they were spared the lighter punishment and left to bear the heavier." (http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2007/06/antinomies-of-limbo-some-histo)
And, as Jehanne pointed out, the ITC recognizes:

14. On the one hand, these Greek Fathers teach that children who die without Baptism do not suffer eternal damnation, though they do not attain the same state as those who have been baptised. On the other hand, they do not explain what their state is like or where they go. In this matter, the Greek Fathers display their characteristic apophatic sensitivity.
Sorry, Mark, but I think you need to rethink your “infallible definition” of Florence.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:21 am

tornpage wrote:Mike,

From your link [R. Conte]:

Here is my theological position: The fringe of Hell exists as a place of eternal but lesser punishment for adults who die in a state of original sin alone. These adults died in that state because they committed the actual mortal sin of omission of never having found sanctifying grace in their lives, despite ample opportunity. So no one at all ever goes to Hell, except due to unrepentant actual mortal sin.

http://www.catholicplanet.com/RCC/salvation-unbaptized-children.htm
There may not be a Limbo of the children, but evidently there's a La La Land, and this guy is there.

But at least for those in La La land the set of those dying with original sin alone is not a "null set."
Your "Limbo of the Damned" on not the Limbo of the theological schools, and represents a "null set".

So the guy you are in perfect agreement with on Florence in that it "is infallible and says what it says: 'the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains'" is in "La La Land" because he believes that "limbo" might be a misnomer for the fringe of Hell reserved for those adults who have no other grave sins than the mortal sin of failing to be baptized, and that unbaptized children are saved; while you, on the other hand, are not in La La Land with your infallibly defined doctrine that says unbaptized infants suffer the eternal torment of at least the spiritual pain of loss.

Right.

Actually, I think the both of you have at least a temporary visa for La La Land, though the professed theologian's may be of a more permanent nature (he won't budge). Your visa, on the other hand, may soon expire.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:41 am

tornpage wrote:Mike,

From your link [R. Conte]:

Here is my theological position: The fringe of Hell exists as a place of eternal but lesser punishment for adults who die in a state of original sin alone. These adults died in that state because they committed the actual mortal sin of omission of never having found sanctifying grace in their lives, despite ample opportunity. So no one at all ever goes to Hell, except due to unrepentant actual mortal sin.

http://www.catholicplanet.com/RCC/salvation-unbaptized-children.htm
Mark,

On a more serious note, need I remind you that St. Thomas Aquinas taught that a pagan child who comes to the age of reason must either fall into mortal sin by not conforming his will to the will and desire of God (as far as he is able), or is translated into a state of sanctifying grace.

Let's assume the former condition, and further assume that the child dies without committing any other mortal sins. Tell me why this is "La La Land" when the child may be placed on the fringe of Hell and suffer only the mildest of "unequal pains".

It may be a small stretch to call this a "misnomer" for Limbo, but I see the same principles at work, and being consistent with Aquinas.




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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:16 pm

tornpage wrote:
Again, and again, and again: the critical point is the infants are not in the place they are not owed, Heaven, "the gift not due them" - the place that God gratuitously bestows on those He draws with His efficacious and infallible grace, including some infants whom He makes sure that they reach the baptismal font, without their meriting it.
From the standpoint of total unmerited gratuity, no one is in a place where they are “owed … Heaven” and "the gift not due them" applies to every man, whether he makes it to the baptismal font or not.

However, just as God cannot resist the entreaties of those who respond to His call, unbaptized infants, in a very real sense, also respond to his call in the only way they can, by being conformed in flesh and blood with the humanity of their Savior that already unites them to Him; and by growing in one unified direction to that end for which they were created.

Again, Mark, the Church, with her doctrine of hope, is simply placing greater emphasis on the power of Redemption, than on the power of Original sin, the stain of which God can remove in an instant.



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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:54 pm

Mike,

As to your post at 10:54 a.m. (I wish the posts here were numbered) regarding Florence: the central point is that Florence says that those who depart this life in "original sin alone" go to Hell. The text, again, says:

the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains

It seems to me that your post is spent addressing the “to be punished” and “unequal pains” part of the text. I thought I made it clear in my last post - I probably failed - that the critical element of the text for purposes of our discussion is the highlighted.

You are prepared to say that is a “null set,” I am not.

I say Pope Eugene’s understanding as to whether infants who die without baptism die with the stain of original sin and thereby go to Hell (as they would under the definition) is relevant to what he means in the definition, you say it is not.

I don’t think we need to waste any more time on that, and can move on with the discussion.

If you want to shed some light on why, if your interpretation is right, that is significant for purpose of our discussion on grace, you will have to elaborate. Feel free to. Obviously, if I am right, it makes a big difference: there would then be souls dying with “original sin alone,” and they are in Hell.

But either way, both sides agree that, at the least, there may very well be people who depart this life with "original sin alone" (the infants who die unbaptized). The point I am now making, and have made, is that if that is the case - and it is conceded - the Father Munoz and Marin-Sola criticisms of negative reprobation fail, and make no sense. The Thomist position would accord with that possible reality.

I am beginning to fear I am with those “of the concision” (Philippians 3:2): long posts of many words sometimes are a problem. Very Happy

So as I said, feel free to elaborate.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:00 pm

Mike,

I am not sure on your rationale for putting me in La La land, but I will tell you the primary reason I put my fellow citizen (or not) there: he says that there are adults in Hell because of “original sin alone” who have committed mortal sin.

Hmmm. I may have gone into La La Land by a different gate, but I did not go in by that one.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:08 pm

the Father Munoz and Marin-Sola criticisms of negative reprobation fail, and make no sense. The Thomist position would accord with that possible reality.

And I would add that the Father Munoz position (everyone denied glory commits personal fault) and the Marin-Sola theory (living human beings - alive at the time the infants departed this life - could have de facto acted differently so that the infants would not have departed life in “original sin alone” and hence would not be in Hell) do not accord with that potential reality of unbaptized infants being in Hell with original sin alone.

Of course, I am thinking of the infants born to parents alive in pre-Christian Asia, Africa, etc., who knew nothing of the Church or baptism.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:12 pm

Edit for purposes of more clarity, in cyan:

But either way, both sides agree that, at the least, there may very well be people who depart this life with "original sin alone" (the infants who die unbaptized). The point I am now making, and have made, is that if that is the case - and it is conceded [that it may be] - the Father Munoz and Marin-Sola criticisms of negative reprobation fail, and make no sense. The Thomist position would accord with that possible reality.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  George Brenner on Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:10 pm

Mark,

As I said in my last post, I salute and commend all like yourself that love their Catholic Faith so much that they pursue a deeper or desired accurate understanding of any given subject. Who am I to tell anyone that such efforts are a waste or misuse of precious time. I enjoy this forum deeply because of such efforts. In fact these efforts might make some further appreciate the mystery and will of God that exceeds our ability to grasp or have that ever evasive ' ah ha ' moment. On some subjects especially those that are still being developed by the Church we should not pit some of the Saints against each other but come to accept that they too struggled with some of the great mysteries of Salvation. Part of winning is loosing and part of Sanctity is falling and getting up again(confession etc.). I can not fathom that someone could die in original sin ONLY, having committed NO sins , mortal or venial during whatever time they had lived on earth and not leave this situation simply to the mercy of God. If there were such a case , we would then have to say by definition that IF this person was baptized they would be a Saints, Saint. Something to think about. I believe that we must teach and live Our Catholic Faith without exceptions and leave the unknown mercies to God. Even with the best of intent to speculate on some topics is almost certainly an exercise in futility.

As Mike put so well:

Again, Mark, the Church, with her doctrine of hope, is simply placing greater emphasis on the power of Redemption, than on the power of Original sin, the stain of which God can remove in an instant.


JMJ,


George
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:49 pm

tornpage wrote:Mike,

I am not sure on your rationale for putting me in La La land, but I will tell you the primary reason I put my fellow citizen (or not) there: he says that there are adults in Hell because of “original sin alone” who have committed mortal sin.

Hmmm. I may have gone into La La Land by a different gate, but I did not go in by that one.
Yes, but his meaning becomes clear enough when he wrote (under “Sound Theology on Salvation for Children):

Here is my theological position: The fringe of Hell exists as a place of eternal but lesser punishment for adults who die in a state of original sin alone. These adults died in that state because they committed the actual mortal sin of omission of never having found sanctifying grace in their lives, despite ample opportunity. So no one at all ever goes to Hell, except due to unrepentant actual mortal sin.
He knows that the act of mortal sin is not original sin, but, as he makes clear, the mortal sin of omission occurs for failing to seek the grace that removes original sin.

Hence, my reference to Aquinas and the example of the child who, after coming into reason:

the first thing that occurs to a man to think about then is to deliberate about himself. And if he then direct himself to the due end [which is God], he will, by means of grace, receive the remission of original sin: whereas if he does not then direct himself to the due end, and as far as he is capable of discretion at that particular age, he will sin mortally, through not doing that which is in his power to do. (ST I-II, q.89, a.6).
"In other words,

the child’s first rational thought is of his identity – “Who am I?” – but if he directs himself at that moment to his Creator, he will be forgiven even of original sin. If, on the other hand, the child turns inward and makes himself his own last end, then this sin will be a grave sin of omission – for he will fail to love God. Yet, as this is the first rational act of the child, if he fail to love God, he sets himself wholly intent upon self-love; and this is to sin mortally. (http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2011/03/can-children-commit-mortal-sins.html)
So, the CatholicPlanet theologian may be in "La La Land" for other reasons (and he is), but not for the one you threw out there, though, at first pass, I can understand why you jumped the gun.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:42 pm

Mike,

"Original sin alone" does not include the culpable action or inaction that constitutes mortal sin. The taint of original sin is no longer "alone" in your (and his) responsible adult example.

Welcome to La La Land, my brother. Very Happy

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:15 pm

tornpage wrote:Mike,

"Original sin alone" does not include the culpable action or inaction that constitutes mortal sin. The taint of original sin is no longer "alone" in your (and his) responsible adult example.

Welcome to La La Land, my brother. Very Happy

I know "Original sin alone" does not include the culpable action or inaction that constitutes mortal sin", and so does Conte; and by beginning my response with "Yes", I was agreeing with you that Conte erred by saying "original sin alone", but the context of what he said (by way of detailed explanation) demonstrates that he knows the difference between original sin and mortal sin, and that both are operative in this instance.

So why are you beating this irrelevant horse to death while ignoring the true context of what he said? Do you just enjoy pointing out a gaffe as if that alone justifies ignoring the true substance of his arguments, which are taken directly from Aquinas?

You do like to dictate the terms of a debate, do you not?
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:20 pm

tornpage wrote:Mike,

As to your post at 10:54 a.m. (I wish the posts here were numbered) regarding Florence: the central point is that Florence says that those who depart this life in "original sin alone" go to Hell. The text, again, says:

the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains
It seems to me that your post is spent addressing the “to be punished” and “unequal pains” part of the text. I thought I made it clear in my last post - I probably failed - that the critical element of the text for purposes of our discussion is the highlighted.

You are prepared to say that is a “null set,” I am not.

I say Pope Eugene’s understanding as to whether infants who die without baptism die with the stain of original sin and thereby go to Hell (as they would under the definition) is relevant to what he means in the definition, you say it is not.

I don’t think we need to waste any more time on that, and can move on with the discussion.
Well, I think it is important.

In light of everything I've already posted, let me add this infallible prescription:

Pius IX, Quanto conficiamur moerore, August 10, 1863 (DS 2866) declared: "God. . . in His supreme goodness and clemency, by no means allows anyone to be punished with eternal punishments who does not have the guilt of voluntary fault."

Unbaptized infants are not punished with eternal punishments, period; there are no infants in the "Hell of the Damned".

Furthermore, here is the translation and commentary of Fr. Most on The Council of Florence, 439, DS 1306, which taught:

"The souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, go at once into the realm of the dead, to be punished with different penalties."

Comment: About the two underlined words: "realm of the dead" is Latin infernus which does not always mean the hell of the damned. In the Creed we read that Christ descended into hell. The word punished has the root of Latin poena which need not mean the infliction of positive pain, but merely the loss of something. So it would mean that infants who really die in original sin, are given the loss of the vision of God. This bypasses the question of whether or not God, in some way, might provide grace to them even without a sacrament. He can surely do this if He so wills. St. Thomas, in III. 68. 2. c. says the obvious, that God's hands are not tied by the Sacraments.
So yes, the "realm of the dead" (possibly "Limbo") where souls go who die in original sin only would be a "null set" if God chooses to save them, for He can surely do this if He so wills, since, as St. Thomas says, God's hands are not tied by the Sacraments.

I'm fine with that, what's the problem?

And yes, the place where, allegedly, the souls of those who depart ... in original sin only, who are punished ... with unequal pains, is a "null set", for it simply does not exist.





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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:58 pm

I was agreeing with you that Conte erred by saying "original sin alone", but the context of what he said (by way of detailed explanation) demonstrates that he knows he knows the difference between original sin and mortal sin and both are operative in this instance

Really? So much the worse.

The context of what he said was that this individual, child, whatever you want to call him, satisfied the Florentine definition of an individual in Hell with "original sin alone." That was the particular "instance" he was addressing.

I was kind putting him in La La Land.

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:16 pm

as St. Thomas says, God's hands are not tied by the Sacraments.

I'm fine with that, what's the problem?

I have no "problem" with that either.

I do have a problem with theologians like Fr. Munoz and Marin-Sola disparaging a theology (the negative reprobation and physical premotion of the Thomists) that explains and fits with a potential reality that even they must concede might exist while their theology is totally incompetent to explain that potential reality and, in fact, explodes and crumbles in the face of it.

For some infants may in fact not be in glory a) despite a lack of personal fault on their part (apropos Fr. Munoz) or b) without it being de facto possible that they or their parents or any contemporaneously living human being could have done something differently to prevent it (apropos Marin-Sola).

Now maybe you'll put aside the convenient diversion of Limbo and finally address the central issue of this discussion?
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:34 pm

Tornpage wrote:

I do have a problem with theologians like Fr. Munoz and Marin-Sola disparaging a theology (the negative reprobation and physical premotion of the Thomists) that explains and fits with a potential reality that even they must concede might exist while their theology is totally incompetent to explain that potential reality and, in fact, explodes and crumbles in the face of it.
Just as the theology of the Augustinians that sees unbaptized infants, who are preordained by divine decree for an eternity of at least a spiritual suffering in hell, “explains and fits with a potential reality that even [you] must concede”, while the theology debunking such rigorism and flawed theology is, allegedly, “totally incompetent to explain that potential reality”.

The common theology of theologians like Fr. Munoz and Marin-Sola does not disparage in the least the theology that recognizes that God may choose not to intervene to overcome the secondary (contingent) causes that might impede the ordinary means for transmitting sanctifying grace, for no one but God can know if by such a direct intervention an injustice would be served that upsets the balance between the general and particular orders, particularly as the “general order of the universe” relates to the predestination of the saints.

Aquinas explained the fundamental principles behind this difficult doctrine (the details of which are freely debated), and it remains a mystery, for we cannot know the mind and justice of God in all such matters.

However, because it is difficult does not mean we abandon it in order to force the simplistic logic of a system that says that the reason anyone is lost is because God does not love him enough to save him; thus, He decrees from before the foundations of the world the infallible reprobation of certain souls and infallibly withholds the grace that might otherwise save them. They are damned, and there is not a damned thing they, or any one else (including the Church), can do about it.

That is your awful system in a nutshell. Nice and simple; and rejected in former ages by most schools, and rejected by every school of theology in the modern era, including that of the Church.

The best thing we can say about your system is that you can couch it in language that is not heretical.

That you keep saying things like “their theology is totally incompetent to explain that potential reality and, in fact, explodes and crumbles in the face of it” is sheer arrogance and hubris, for you have not lifted a finger to actually expose the alleged "incompetence" of the sound theological arguments already brought forward.

Do you think just by saying “their theology is totally incompetent to explain that potential reality and, in fact, explodes and crumbles in the face of it”, it is true just because you say it is true?

Your incessant accusations remind me of the arguments of certain Feenyites against the "contradictions" of St. Thomas Aquinas who said the sacrament of Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation (by precept and means), while also saying that the baptisms of Blood and Desire confer the salvific grace of Baptism (and I was once one of those who simply did not get it - and just arrogant enough to "prove" why Aquinas contradicted himself).

It is actually a bit humorous that you keep saying if God wills the salvation of all men and "sufficient grace" for salvation is given to all men (given to all men and at least offered to infants in the general realm through ordinary means), it would be totally inconsistent ("explodes and crumbles") if such salvific grace is not "given" to all infants (we do not know that it is not, but we assume it may be impeded by secondary causes), while under your own system, "sufficient grace" is sufficient for absolutely nothing when efficacious grace is deliberately and infallibly withheld from any man God has chosen for reprobation.

Talk about "incompetent". But I have to admit to a certain, even if a bit twisted, simplistic elegance.

While we can both agree that the efficacious grace of salvation might be withheld in certain cases, how we get there is the difference between orthodoxy (right faith) and the spectacle of infallible reprobation by divine decree.











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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:53 pm

tornpage wrote:
For some infants may in fact not be in glory a) despite a lack of personal fault on their part (apropos Fr. Munoz) or b) without it being de facto possible that they or their parents or any contemporaneously living human being could have done something differently to prevent it (apropos Marin-Sola).
And your point is that some infants may in fact not be in glory because God, by infallible decree, preordained them to reprobation such that the prayers of their parents and/or the Church (He foresees) will be of absolutely no benefit to them, and shall not move Him, for God simply plugged His ears and said “Sorry, but what I have decreed, I have decreed”.

Got it; but you'll forgive me for giving this "system" the old heave-ho.

tornpage wrote:
Now maybe you'll put aside the convenient diversion of Limbo and finally address the central issue of this discussion?
No problem, so long as you don't bring it up again.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:56 am

Mike,

You haven't addressed the issue, but merely engaged in rhetorical posturing that tries to make your position look good and mine bad. You should have been in advertising. Or politics.

That you keep saying things like “their theology is totally incompetent to explain that potential reality and, in fact, explodes and crumbles in the face of it” is sheer arrogance and hubris, for you have not lifted a finger to actually expose the alleged "incompetence" of the sound theological arguments already brought forward.

Do you think just by saying “their theology is totally incompetent to explain that potential reality and, in fact, explodes and crumbles in the face of it”, it is true just because you say it is true?

Apparently I haven't expressed it clearly enough for you, so I'll try it again.

A theory of grace, or any other theory, which purports to offer an explanation for the way things are, must - unfortunately for Fr. Munoz and Marin-Sola - account for, or offer an explanation for, the ways thing are. If it fails to account for the facts, or offers an explanation that is betrayed by the facts, on its own terms it indicates that it is unreliable and “incompetent” to deal with or explain reality.

The way things are - according to the teaching arm of the Church for centuries (a decent, fairly recent example being the expression of the American Bishops in the Baltimore Catechism) - or at least may be, is that there are infants who are not "in glory" as a result of dying without baptism, and some of these infants were born and died in lands where neither the Church nor baptism existed.

Any theory of grace, or theology, has to address this potential reality - provide an explanation for it. If the explanation it offers not only doesn't cover the "facts," but contradicts them, it cannot be true, and can’t be relied upon as providing an explanation for the way things are.

Any reasonable man would agree with that.

Father Munoz's theory says, " If anyone remains without obtaining it [i.e., glory], that is not by fault of God, but by his own fault."

Father Munoz’s explanation doesn't work in lights of facts that we must all concede may be true: it would not be true as to these infants. It is "incompetent to deal" with the facts, or a reality that very likely confronts us.

Now, you can continue to agree with Father M . . . or look for an explanation that would account for the ways things really are (again, according to fairly recent expressions of the Baltimore Catechism), or at least every well may be (even while we “hope” otherwise).

I asked you if Marin-Sola’s view accorded with Fr. Munoz’s – I received no response.

As to Marin-Sola’s view, I stated that he believes that God antecedently desires the salvation of all men and offers all men sufficient grace such that things could really be different, or turn out differently, for all. Correct me if I’m wrong here. He also believes that God does not consequently desire the salvation of all men because of the unique condition peculiar to each individual man of whether they are “finally impenitent.”

I pointed out that no living human being, not the infants or their parents, could have done anything differently to change the fact that they were born in pre-Christian lands and did not have access to baptism. I also noted that the condition of “final impenitence” has absolutely no relevance to these infants.

The view or theory of Marin-Sola, as far as I understand it – and again, please, please tell me if that’s inaccurate – fails to address the reality or acknowledged potential reality of these infants. As such, it too is “incompetent to deal” with the facts, or potential facts which any competent theory must deal with.

Father Most notes regarding Marin-Sola:

The same incertitude appears also in some of the expressions employed by Marín-Sola and Muñiz when they make outlines of their views on predestination. Thus, in an outline made by Marín-Sola, we read that, in the first logical moment, God wills that all men be saved, and that He wills to give sufficient graces. In the second moment, He sees with the knowledge of vision,11 "in those decrees . . . the actual defects or impediments placed or not placed by each man to those graces. In our fallen nature we can actually omit placing an impediment to those graces in the short and easy stretches; but we all will actually place them, without a special grace, in the long and difficult stretch which extends from the call to justification, and more, from it to death." Hence, in the third moment, there is a special providence "predestining most freely to glory whomsoever God wishes, and giving, as a result, for that purpose, grace that is efficacious and persevering to the end; and reprobating, similarly, whomsoever God wills, in merely not giving (in negative reprobation) the special and persevering grace. . . . Both the will to save and the will to reprobate are completely gratuitous or most free, so that His liberty has no other limit than that which God, most freely however, and out of mere mercy, has imposed on Himself in promising us, through the merits of the passion of His Divine Son, to save or not to reprobate everyone who, with His grace, does what he can and prays for what he cannot."

It appears that Marin-Sola agrees with Father Munoz (see highlight), and my same criticism stands as to him: the infants do everything they “can,” and yet they may very well not be in glory nonetheless, but among the reprobate.

The theories of Marin-Sola and Fr. Munoz do not apply to the perhaps majority of men who have been conceived/born since the advent of Christ. The theory fails since it does not account for the data it must address to be “competent” with regard to the questions it purports to answer regarding the relations between God’s provision of sufficient grace to all men and the eternal destinies of men.

I think a reasonable man would thereby find such a theory “incompetent to deal with a potential reality.”

The Thomists say:

For the older Thomists, especially Bañez, Alvarez, Gonet, John of St. Thomas, and others, had taught that God offers sufficient grace for conversion only inasmuch as He provides general means, sufficient in themselves; but they said that God does not immediately provide sufficient grace to all men.

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getchap.cfm?WorkNum=214&ChapNum=23


This is true, and addresses our potential reality regarding these infants with regard to sufficient grace: God has provided the general means (the sacraments, for example) to save all men, but does not offer sufficient grace immediately to all men, and we have the example of these infants. He gives sufficient grace to all men only insofar as He has instituted a general means in the Church with it’s sacraments. This holds and covers the potential reality of these infants.

As to the reprobation (or at least potential reprobation) of the infants, the Thomists say:

The rigorists (Alvarez, John a S. Thoma, Estius, Sylvius) assign as the motive of reprobation the sovereign will of God. God, they say, without taking into account possible sins and demerits, determined a priori to exclude from Heaven those who are not predestined. De Lemos, Gotti, Gonet, Gazzaniga, and others condemn this view as incompatible with the teaching of St. Thomas, and, appealing to St. Augustine's doctrine of the massa damnata, find the ultimate reason for the exclusion of the reprobates from heaven in original sin, in which God, without being unjust, could leave as many as He saw fit.

Pohle-Preuss (cited elsewhere in this thread)

Both Thomist versions acknowledge that God does not take into account the actions or inactions of the infants in reprobating them. The only human being whose action could be said to determine the fate of these infants is Adam – hence my discussion of Adam and original sin and speculations thereto in this thread. In any event, if the infants are not in heaven, as all of us must concede, it is not because of something they did, or their failure (or any contemporaneously living human being’s failure) to do what they can (cf. Marin-Sola and Fr. Munoz). It would simply be because of original sin, and God’s justice in holding them accountable for that shared, and common fault.

The Thomist theory or system thus meets and explains the likely or at least potential reality regarding these infants. Fr. Munoz and Fr. Marin-Sola provide theories that do not explain the reprobation of these infants, and in fact offer theories that are inconsistent with their potential reality, which is absent glory. For they say, no one is absent from glory unless he fails to do what he can with the sufficient grace he receives from God. That is not true (or may not be true) regarding some men (the infants), and the theory is therefore incompetent to deal with the reality of all men.

So I subscribe to the Thomist theory, as meeting the likely or possible facts, and thereby a “competent” theory in that it explains a potential reality that all sides must acknowledge.

I hope your next response deals with the substance of my criticism, and does not merely go off on more rhetorical posturing about how ghastly and “outmoded” the Thomist system is. I already know you don’t like it; that it only avoids “heresy” by a linguistic maneuver, etc. If you want to continue in that mode, I can’t stop you, but I truly hope you don’t.

I will await your response to see if there is any point in continuing.

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:15 pm

tornpage wrote:Mike,

You haven't addressed the issue, but merely engaged in rhetorical posturing that tries to make your position look good and mine bad. You should have been in advertising. Or politics.
Of course, this has been your theme throughout, as if my exposing your system and it serious errors and blatant inconsistencies to the clear light of day is some sort of distraction to the "issue" as you would like to narrowly frame it, even though I've responded multiple times and in great detail to your fundamental question and objections relative to God's true antecedent will to save all men (to include infants) -- which simply hasn't gotten through.

But that's OK, I'll respond once again to each of your comments - and will then ask in all seriousness what is it you do not understand.

tornpage wrote:
I will await your response to see if there is any point in continuing.
And I'll continue, regardless - I started this thread, and there is more I wish to address whether you're involved in the conversation or not. Of course, if you drop out, I'll be talking to myself, but it wouldn't be the first time. Shocked

Be patient; I'm a little preoccupied and it will take some time for me to re-read this thread and copy and/or re-formulate my very direct responses to your specific questions.



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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:17 am

Mike,

Of course, this has been your theme throughout, as if my exposing your system and it serious errors and blatant inconsistencies to the clear light of day is some sort of distraction to the "issue" as you would like to narrowly frame it

Bunk. We've been through this before:

(http://decemrationis.yuku.com/topic/20/Non-Catholics-Among-the-Elect?page=5#.UFf-_u3WbWk)

and spent hours upon it. I have no intention of doing that dance again, and have not the time nor inclination.

You can bluster, moan and groan, imply "heresy" all you want. I don't really care, and it's a done deal as far as I'm concerned. In the words of Father Hardon:

Pope Benedict XIV declared in 1748 that the Dominican, Augustinian and Jesuit theories were all tenable and that declaration remains still in force.

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

THe Jesuits made the same objections to the Domincan/Thomist system of Banez and others, along the same lines. It's old stuff, and it didn't work to pin the old "heresy" label on the Dominicans.

As I've said, we've been through this before.

There is one area where the various tensions between the various systems is placed in relief, and it is precisely where the question and the principles involved are framed "with clinical precision" (George, J. Duffy) - the fate of unbaptized infants, the point in discussion from the other thread, being discussed here.

I'll respond once again to each of your comments - and will then ask in all seriousness what is it you do not understand.

Great. Looking forward to it.




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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:23 am

Correction: the "clinical precision" quote is from George J. Dyer.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:47 pm

tornpage wrote:Mike,

I am aware of the distinctions regarding actual, sufficient graces and sanctifying grace, and it doesn’t obviate the problem.

God is said to desire the salvation of all men and then, as proof or support of that proposition, it is said that sufficient graces are given to all men. But this is not the case because it doesn’t apply to infants, so a whole group - I have read that it is the majority of men conceived in the history of mankind - of human being who died after conception and birth but before reaching adulthood are carved out and not subject to the “proof” or supporting proposition advanced to justify the claim. I do not accept that: the proof or support for the proposition for all men must apply to all men.

As it stands, even the people who support the claim of a universal salvific will for all men (in the sense of all, every single one) cannot tell us that grace is offered to infants who die without baptism. For me, that undermines the claim.

I think I’ve made my point clear, and I do understand your distinction. It doesn’t address my concern.
I chose this post because it is typical of the inconsistencies one finds in your arguments. You complain of “people who support the claim of a universal salvific will for all men (in the sense of all, every single one)”, which of course is the antecedent will of God, while saying elsewhere “I believe that God antecedently wills to save all men”. But you actually believe no such thing, for, you also say that “One could say that God truly desired to save all men and created Adam with that as a real possibility. He consequently does not will to save [all] men who subsequently are generated … with that stain passed on by Adam's sin/fault, not God's.”

In other words,

tornpage wrote:
So I do not see God’s antecedent will to save all men – a general concept which is true and exists in God’s nature/intellect/will as a general a priori concept divorced from the particulars of actual men – as applying to all (this is key) of the individual men who have come after Adam’s fall.

I can agree [wink, wink] that God antecedently wills the salvation of man. However, consequently and under the circumstances as they actually exist, He does not will the salvation of the vast majority of men and women who are born with the stain of Adam and part of the damnable mass of mankind. They are the reprobate. Efficacious grace is necessary for salvation, and they don’t get it.
And with no sense of contradiction whatsoever, you also say:

I believe that God wills the salvation of all men: he provided the sacraments sufficient for the salvation of everyone, and Christ’s Blood is sufficient for the salvation of everyone. Is that will “false”? Huh?
Huh?

You believe God wills the salvation of all men, but only in the sense of a universal general wish that is in actuality an a priori concept divorced from the particulars of actual men who come after Adam’s fall.

In other words, God does not universally will the salvation of all men, not since the fall of Adam, not since the time of Abraham and Moses, not even since His Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection and REDEMPTION, or the promulgation of the Gospel; and this is the supposed to pass for “the antecedent will of God who wills to save all men”.

This is beyond “inconsistent”. But, let’s let Fr. Marin-Sola help put this into context:

The laws of motions of general supernatural providence are founded, for angels and for man in a state of integral nature, upon the elevation to the supernatural order. The laws of the motions of general supernatural providence, for fallen nature, are founded in the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom all men have been redeemed, that is, restored to the rights of the elevation to the supernatural order lost through original sin… the premotions of graces proper to the general supernatural providence are in a certain manner owed to redeemed nature, or better, owed to the adorable blood of our Divine Saviour (N 378; M. Torre, pp 151-152).
Mark, perhaps you should let that digest for awhile before commenting, and examine more closely your theory that says God does NOT will the salvation of all men who have been redeemed, that is restored to the rights of the supernatural order, with such rights owed to a restored nature redeemed by the adorable blood of our Divine Saviour.

And of course, it does not get any easier for you when you actually recruit St. Thomas as an accomplice to this strange doctrine, because he taught:

To understand this we must consider that everything, in so far as it is good, is willed by God. A thing taken in its primary sense, and absolutely considered, may be good or evil, and yet when some additional circumstances are taken into account, by a consequent consideration may be changed into the contrary. Thus that a man should live is good; and that a man should be killed is evil, absolutely considered. But if in a particular case we add that a man is a murderer or dangerous to society, to kill him is a good; that he live is an evil. Hence it may be said of a just judge, that antecedently he wills all men to live; but consequently wills the murderer to be hanged. In the same way God antecedently wills all men to be saved, but consequently wills some to be damned, as His justice exacts. Nor do we will simply, what we will antecedently, but rather we will it in a qualified manner; for the will is directed to things as they are in themselves, and in themselves they exist under particular qualifications. Hence we will a thing simply inasmuch as we will it when all particular circumstances are considered; and this is what is meant by willing consequently. Thus it may be said that a just judge wills simply the hanging of a murderer, but in a qualified manner he would will him to live, to wit, in as much as he is a man. Such a qualified will may be called a willingness rather than an absolute will. Thus it is clear that whatever God simply wills takes place; although what He wills antecedently may not take place.
Context, and added clarification:

St. Thomas Aquinas, both in his Summa and in De Veritate:

“argues that God’s will is efficacious because he brings about things in the manner or mode appropriate to each … Yet … as we have seen, he holds that there is a fallible order of God’s providence…. [H]e goes on to say [in De Veritate]:

God has mercy because of what is from Him, whereas He punishes because of what is from us; and this product of ours is such that it cannot have a place in right order except by means of punishment. He accordingly has mercy from His principle intention, but punishes— as it were beyond the intention of His antecedent will— by a consequent will.
"It is extremely difficult not to read this passage as implying that by his sin man transposes himself from one order of God’s providence to another. Thus the fact that God’s will is efficacious of its effect evidently does not exclude the possibility of man’s will being freely capable of its defect that impedes one order of providence.

"[T]he same doctrine of man’s falling out of one order into another is found in the Summa as well. For Thomas grounds he efficacy of God’s will there on the fact that God is the universal cause of all being. Thus, a creature may fall out of the order of one cause, but this itself is due to the causality of something else, which falls under God’s universal causality: “if anything fails of its effects, this is because of the hindrance of some other particular cause” (I, 19, 6). Thomas obviously here is thinking of physical evil. It will be remembered from De Malo that the primary cause of physical evil is the intervention of an accidental efficient cause. This is not, however, the way moral evil occurs. Nonetheless, Thomas also grounds the efficacy of God’s will in relation to the sinner on its universality:

That which seems to depart from the order of he divine will in one order returns into it in another order; as does the sinner, who by sin falls away from the divine will as much as lies in him, yet falls back into the order of that will when by justice he is punished (I, 16, 6).
The above entails an order of God’s providence that fails to attain the end towards which it was directing the sinner. The sinner is evidently responsible for this failure, as is suggested by the active form of eh verbs: he falls away, turns himself, abandons God. He is not permissively abandoned. God’s will is not infallibly inefficacious in relation to the sinner because it infallibly conditions his sin, but because it is inescapable, not because it determines the sinner’s fate. The doctrine is the same as the Sentences in this respect. God sees and orders sin; He does not permissively entail its existence.

"When Thomas turns from God’s will to His providence, he again affirms its dominion over evil in terms of its universality. One should understand this to imply that it cannot fail in respect to evil because it orders it to good ends. This is just what Thomas says: “it belongs to God’s providence to permit certain defects in particular effects… there would be no patience of martyrs if there were no tyrannical persecution (I, 22, 2 ad 2). As we have already seen, this sort of permission supposes the existence of some evil (to wit the tyrant) and uses that evil to good purpose. That there is a tyrant, however, is not due to some infallible ordination on God’s part, but to the wickedness of the tyrant himself. And, again, when Thomas comes to speak of the certainty of God’s providence in relation to evil (I, 22, 4 ad 2), he does not base that certainty on God’s will, but expressly on His foreknowledge. Again, the implication is that God does not order (“permissively”) men infallibly to evil, but sees the evil they do. By sinning, they depart from the salvific order in which they previously were placed.”
God’s consequent will is infallibly realized when he justly punishes a man for his sins, without negating or diminishing his antecedent will to have this same man saved in the universal order. In other words, if God’s antecedent will is “qualified” as a velleity, it is ONLY with respect to His infallible consequent will that MUST judge a sinner in the particular order out of justice (as a result of a change in order, caused by sin) and only metaphorically rendering His antecedent will as a “velleity” as His one sovereign will unfolds in the concrete; for even when punishing a man, God wills his salvation.

The error, then, is to present God’s antecedent will as only a velleity, for by doing so, “there is no basis for a sufficient grace that is resisted. This is opposed to the Catholic faith. Such an impossible conclusion is a foregone one from the moment God’s antecedent will is conceived as solely a velleity … the true mean regarding the antecedent will ... is to regard it as a will that is conditionally efficacious" and not to erroneously say that "its efficacy [is] determined first by God’s will and not man’s.” (Michael Torre)

The antecedent will is also conditionally efficacious with respect to the fallen condition caused by man – original sin, for secondary causes may impede God’s antecedent will from being realized in the concrete IF His justice demands that He not intercede to overcome an impediment that prevents the ordinary means from becoming effective.

As Marin-Sola explains (using this same example), by sinning, with respect to reward/judgment, man transposes himself from one order to another, by which God’s infallibly renders a just punishment (by necessity); just as, had the man not sinned, His will for his salvation would also have been made efficacious, for God’s consequent will is infallibly efficacious in both orders. Only sin can impede God’s universal salvific will, and God’s judgment in this particular order is always just.

Furthermore, do not misunderstand St. Thomas when he says “we must consider that everything, in so far as it is good, is willed by God. A thing taken in its primary sense, and absolutely considered, may be good or evil,” for he is NOT suggesting that evil exists in the primary sense “in God’s nature/intellect/will”, but only that He sees it in the eternal now (in His essence, for it is not known in His operations), which is why Thomas goes on to say: “and yet when some additional circumstances are taken into account, by a consequent consideration may be changed into the contrary. Thus that a man should live is good; and that a man should be killed is evil, absolutely considered.”

Michael Torre explains:

The fundamental basis for his [Thomas’s] doctrine [concerning ‘God’s knowledge of all defect, whether sinful or otherwise’] is that God is completely without defect or anything representing defect; therefore, defect cannot be known by seeing Himself alone, but must be known by seeing other things in seeing Himself. There is no ideational basis in God for defect in being. When it comes to the defect in sin, a second reason arises for requiring the supposition of something created, because He is in no way the cause of such defect. Consequently, regarding sin, there can be no explanation of it in God’s will either.

It is impossible to locate God’s infallible knowledge of sin in either of God’s operations; therefore, the basis of this knowledge must be located in His essence. This is precisely what St. Thomas teaches when he claims that God’s knowledge is infallible and immutable by virtue of that all created things are physically present to and contained within His eternity.

… [E]vil is infallibly known by God only on supposition of a created term actually existing and hence as present to His eternity, and not simply by means of divine operation. If one concedes this, there is no reason to deny that this defect can exist in man even though it bears no infallible relation to God’s will, for, in either case, it is known infallibly by being immediately present to Him. (p. 246)

Back to the mistaken notion that the antecedent will is simply a velleity, and that this will (velleity) grounds sufficient grace. Torre continues:

The words of Thomas are that the antecedent will is like a velleity. This is based on the fact that it is impossible to save the reprobate given their sins and God’s just judgment of them. Garrigou-Lagrange drops this supposition and thus takes the antecedent will as being a velleity even on the supposition that its object possesses no fault or obstacle to his salvation. If he were consistent with himself, he should then argue (as Banez does) that no salvific means follow from this will. Yet he is doubly inconsistent, because he is committed to a universal vocation that must ground sufficient graces upon some will. He then takes the antecedent will as simply a velleity (which is opposed to Thomas) and as still grounding sufficient grace (which is not only opposed to Thomas, but to reason as well).
The inherent weakness of your doctrine is revealed even further when you recruit St. Thomas and his teaching that says God’s universal salvific will is like a velleity on that supposition that “it is impossible to save the reprobate given their sins and God’s just judgment of them”, for not only do you also appear to drop this supposition and take “the antecedent will as being a velleity even on the supposition that its object possesses no fault or obstacle to his salvation” (negative reprobation by divine decree); like Garrigou-Lagrange, you seem “committed to a universal vocation that must ground sufficient graces upon … the antecedent will as simply a velleity (which is opposed to Thomas) and as still grounding sufficient grace (which is not only opposed to Thomas, but to reason as well).”

Moving on….

The only “sufficient grace” sufficient for the salvation of infants is sanctifying grace, which God makes available to all men in the general order (salvific graces, as St. Thomas says, are showered upon us like rays of sunshine, which can only be impeded by sin, deliberate or original – which he likens to the shutting of one’s eyes to the light of grace), and is always efficacious when applied in the particular order (the consequent will of God) through the sacrament of Baptism.

You say you understand the proper distinctions between “actual, sufficient graces and sanctifying grace”, yet you still say:

In short, the assertion that all men post-Fall are given sufficient grace such that, if they comply, they will receive the efficacious grace that infallibly guarantees their salvation - that is what I am dubious of, and challenging, with unbaptized infants who die in infancy as an example. Because if that were the case, you would have to hold, under these principles, that they are saved. But only a "hope" is offered.
So much for recognizing the proper distinctions that distinguishes between infants who cannot “comply” with (act upon) sufficient grace, except to be oriented by birth, development and being to the end for which they are created (ipso facto receptive and oriented to salvation by virtue of the Incarnation), and the sufficient grace given to adults who can “comply”, or not comply, with the graces they are given.

And this is your argument for “inconsistency”?

tornpage wrote:
Which gets me to one aspect of my problem with I have expressed before: how could a theology that embraces the principle that God desires the salvation of each particular man (in his particular circumstance) fail to assert the salvation of some of those men (the infants) who do not personally place an impediment to the fulfillment of that universal salvific will?
“In his particular circumstances” refers to the particular consequential order and takes into consideration man as he is, either voluntarily conformed (or not) to grace, or in a state of original sin though no fault of his own, but still impeded from salvific grace that is offered to all men in the general order, but may be obstructed by secondary causes and conditions “where man lives”.

The ONLY question that you are really pounding away at is whether it would be unjust for God to leave an infant in original sin if He has a true will to save Him, which can only be answered by whether such an abandonment is demanded of God’s justice in the "the greater good of the universe" (predestination). If it is so demanded, then, just as in the case of mortal sin, justice demands God’s judgment, which must needs “changes” (softens to a velleity) His antecedent will for salvation to a consequent will of eternal loss (leaving him where he is - negative reprobation), while justice also demands a judgment other than eternal “damnation”, properly speaking.

So when you say “I do not think Martin-Sola will provide an answer, or the principles from which to reach an answer”, I simply do not follow you.

Again, for God, the ONLY question to the removal of this specific impediment is whether such a pardon is opposed, as St. Thomas teaches, to "the greater good of the universe", which in this case means the greater good of the predestined.

Let’s go over this again. As Fr. Marin teaches (by way of example where "Peter" committed a crime punishable by death; and this includes he “fault” of original sin), if the "Prince of this nation [Our Lord] so loves Peter [these little ones] that he has a true and most sincere will to pardon him and to free him from death, but a will conditioned by one sole condition: by the condition that the pardon is not opposed to the greater good of the republic [to the greater good of predestination]."

He goes on to say, using the same example:

In this case, a current and common case throughout all time, we clearly have two things: (a) the true and unique cause of not pardoning Peter (negative reprobation) is not the crime, but the greater good of the republic, because even after and thinking about the crime, the Prince possessed a true and sincere will to pardon him; (b) on the other hand, the true cause of hanging him (positive reprobation) is the crime committed [or the crime inherited]

Thus is verified two assertions of the doctrine of Saint Thomas. First, that "the greater good of the universe". Second, that the motive of the negative reprobation is the greater good of the universe, but also of a universe that supposes sin, because without sin it would never be the case that the salvation of a person could be opposed to the good of the universe. (Taken from pages 150 – 152, Part I, Section IV, “Providence, Predestinatioin, and Reprobation)
Again, with respect to infants and original sin, the situation is the same, except the defect (crime) is original sin, which, while committed and passed on by another, still serves as an impediment to God’s salvific grace, and is worthy of “punishment” only in the sense that it deprives the infant of the beatific vision, but not of natural happiness, and in no way as a “partaker” with the devil.

If unbaptized infants are denied eternal beatitude, God allows it only in order to bring good from it. It is a true mystery, but one that is in no way “inconsistent” with the universal doctrine on the true antecedent will of God to have all men saved.

This is where I ask you “what is it you do not understand”?

Finally, I think it is time to set the record straight concerning unbaptized infants and, should God, in all justice, not overcome the impediments that prevent the ordinary means of salvation from reaching them, that these same little ones, whom God vehemently loves (as He loves all men), are the “reprobate”, meaning, a “part of the damnable mass of mankind”.

Certainly, “reprobate” can be used in a general sense for all of those who are denied the beatific vision, but, as it applies to infants, the Church dropped this harsh language some time ago; for, if God, as Pope Pius IX declared, cannot punish eternally a human being who has not incurred the guilt of voluntary sin, He is certainly not going to punish eternally babies who die unbaptized (in original sin alone), except with having them deprived of the beatific vision, but without the sensory or spiritual pains that accompany “the damnable mass” of the reprobate who die in willful mortal sin and are condemned to the “Hell of the Damned”.

In fact, the New Catholic Dictionary defines “Reprobate”, thus:

As a Calvinistic term, it refers to one who is rejected by God, beyond pardon or redemption; the opposite of the "elect," those who assume that they are predestined to salvation. In Catholic usage, only one who dies impenitent is reprobate, and of that state only God is judge.
I know I went somewhat off script, but I answered your burning “issue” (once again), nonetheless. I simply do not understand what it is you do not understand, except to demonstrate that your misunderstanding appears to be clouded by your conflating of the antecedent will of God with a simple velleity that grounds sufficient grace; and by doing so, “there is no basis for a sufficient grace that is resisted. This is opposed to the Catholic faith.”

I'll return to your last larger post (eventually) to see if any more of your objections require a response.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:39 am

Citing Fr. Marin-Sola, I wrote:

The laws of motions of general supernatural providence are founded, for angels and for man in a state of integral nature, upon the elevation to the supernatural order. The laws of the motions of general supernatural providence, for fallen nature, are founded in the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom all men have been redeemed, that is, restored to the rights of the elevation to the supernatural order lost through original sin… the premotions of graces proper to the general supernatural providence are in a certain manner owed to redeemed nature, or better, owed to the adorable blood of our Divine Saviour (N 378; M. Torre, pp 151-152).
This theology governing these “rights” to the supernatural order, which are owed to redeemed nature and the redemptive blood, upon which “the laws of motion of general supernatural providence” and “the premotions of graces” are founded, is also what I had in mind when I said that “infants … cannot ‘comply’ with (act upon) sufficient [salvific] grace, except to be oriented by birth, development and being to the end for which they are created (ipso facto receptive and oriented to salvation by virtue of the Incarnation)”.

If all men since the Incarnation are united in some manner to our Lord’s humanity, the Redemption has restored fallen man to the rights of the elevation to the supernatural order, which is the object of the laws of motion and the premotions of grace.

And therein is the major difference between the more positive theology of the Incarnation and Redemption, and a system that sees unbaptized infants through the one-sided restrictive lens of the massa damnata, oriented as these little ones are, and fit only for the end befitting the reprobate. For, as Mark would have it, if God truly loves all men and wills their salvation, if there is a possibility that not all unbaptized infants are saved, then our Lord simply does not love His fellow creatures enough to save them. So, He just passes them by, leaving them in their sin since, as the more “logical” doctrine says, they were reprobated by divine decree antecedent to creation and without any consideration for secondary causes that might impede the ordinary means for the removal of original sin; and what God has decreed, God has decreed.

Opposed to this pessimism, if we are to trace the significant development in doctrine, we will see that even if it is not explicit in the doctrine of St. Thomas, it does not mean that the Angelic Doctor is “opposed to this in principle”. In “God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?” -- Michael Torre provides some insight to this development:

The reason Thomas does not discuss this will to give grace to some of the reprobate in terms of the antecedent salvific will derives from the way he envisions that will. He takes the universality of that salvific will very seriously. It must, therefore, be grounded in something all men share, namely their very nature. Considering this intrinsic goodness of each individual who is before His eternity, God wills to save that individual. This will, however, is also universally rendered sterile because of original sin, which destroys man’s capacity to order himself to God. Hence, if the reprobate do receive grace, it has to be on some other grounds than their own nature. Thus, although he recognizes that they are given graces based on a will that they be ordered to glory, he never identifies this will as God’s universal salvific one.

Later Thomistic commentators, committed to the doctrine of a universal vocation and a sufficient grace given to all, subtly but profoundly alter the notion of God’s antecedent will. Instead of grounding it in the human nature intrinsic to each individual and seen by God, they ground it in that nature not only as it exists in the individual, but as worthy of salvation by an extrinsic relation to the Incarnation.

Thus, they teach that God considers each man as worthy to receive aid by his nature, as unworthy to do so by the virtue of original sin that spoils that nature, and once again as made worthy by the relation of that nature to Jesus, his universal prayer and redemptive death. Just as each man intrinsically participates in the fall of Adam through the sin inherited, so he extrinsically is rendered worthy of receiving grace through the nature assumed by Christ.

This way of conceiving the antecedent will is absent from the mind of Aquinas, both in his early and in his later writings. In all his writing, the antecedent will is based only on a consideration of the nature made or created for glory. It is not based on a consideration of that nature as one with Christ’s and hence remade or recreated for glory. Aquinas never speaks this way. This does not necessarily mean, however, that he is opposed to this in principle.
(pp. 455-457)
This ties in well with what John F. McCarthy said in “Sources in the Magisterium and St Thomas”, from the Appendix of Abortion and Martyrdom edited by Aidan Nichols, O.P." (Mercy Reigns thread):

St Thomas does visualize little children, and even those who die in the womb, as condemned to the loss of Heaven, and he states that children who die in the womb 'are not born again by receiving grace'. The direction that St Thomas takes in these statements is significant. Whereas he begins with the principle that everyone should receive punishment or reward according to his merits, and children according to the merits of others, he reaches his conclusions on the punishment of little children from the demerits of Adam, rather than arguing to the reward of little children because of the merits of Christ. It was the strongly pessimistic theological tradition of St Thomas's time that seems to have disposed him to take for granted that aborted children die in original sin, but the outlook of today is far more positive and open to the hope of their salvation. And what St Thomas says in the citations that will be given below seems to provide a foundation for the belief that aborted babies are granted the grace of salvation.
McCarthy concludes:

St Thomas, while he assumed that aborted children die in original sin unless they are sanctified in some way apart from Baptism of water, also enunciated various facts and principles which support the hope that aborted babies are sanctified at the moment of their death. These elements include such things as the martyrdom of infants, the vicarious faith of the Church, the availability of sanctification at every age of the human individual, sanctification in the womb, and sanctification by Jesus directly or through the ministry of Angels.

The Church, in the growing awareness of the merciful love of Jesus and the maternal love of Mary, has tended more and more to manifest her hope for the salvation of unbaptized babies. In view of John 3:5, the Church cannot guarantee this, and she must insist that infants be baptized at the earliest reasonable moment after their birth.
The development in doctrine by which theologians “subtly but profoundly alter the notion of God’s antecedent will”, whereby “Instead of grounding it in the human nature intrinsic to each individual and seen by God, they ground it in that nature not only as it exists in the individual, but as worthy of salvation by an extrinsic relation to the Incarnation” is clearly evident in the doctrine of the Eastern Fathers that we also find in the theologies of Popes JPII and BXVI, and in the sublime theology of such luminaries as Fr. Mathias Joseph Scheeben.

And it is this development, more than any other, that has given the Church grounds for hope.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  MRyan on Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:28 pm

tornpage wrote:
A theory of grace, or any other theory, which purports to offer an explanation for the way things are, must - unfortunately for Fr. Munoz and Marin-Sola - account for, or offer an explanation for, the ways thing are. If it fails to account for the facts, or offers an explanation that is betrayed by the facts, on its own terms it indicates that it is unreliable and “incompetent” to deal with or explain reality.
Fr. Marin-Sola offers an explanation for “the way things are” relative to the antecedent and consequent will of God, to include the possible negative reprobation of unbaptized infants in the general order, and their positive reprobation in the particular order, the latter representing a “fault” requiring divine judgment should an extra-ordinary intervention be opposed to “the general ordering of the universe”. In fact, these general principles of Aquinas, to include drawing good from the evil of original sin should an unbaptized infant be prevented from realizing the end for which he was created, are common to every theological system, and why you think they are “inconsistent” with the system of Marin-Sola is simply inexplicable, for there is no inconsistency, and you have yet to identify a real one.

tornpage wrote:
The way things are - according to the teaching arm of the Church for centuries (a decent, fairly recent example being the expression of the American Bishops in the Baltimore Catechism) - or at least may be, is that there are infants who are not "in glory" as a result of dying without baptism, and some of these infants were born and died in lands where neither the Church nor baptism existed.
True; but not infallibly true.

tornpage wrote:
Any theory of grace, or theology, has to address this potential reality - provide an explanation for it. If the explanation it offers not only doesn't cover the "facts," but contradicts them, it cannot be true, and can’t be relied upon as providing an explanation for the way things are.

Any reasonable man would agree with that.
And any reasonable man would agree that Fr. Marin-Sola’s system of grace addresses this potential reality, and why you say he did not address it remains a profound mystery.

tornpage wrote:
Father Munoz's theory says, " If anyone remains without obtaining it [i.e., glory], that is not by fault of God, but by his own fault."

Father Munoz’s explanation doesn't work in lights of facts that we must all concede may be true: it would not be true as to these infants. It is "incompetent to deal" with the facts, or a reality that very likely confronts us.
Once again you appropriate what Fr. Munoz says of adults, to infants, as if their situations are the same relative to “fault”. But, as was demonstrated, original sin is also a “fault”, just not a personal fault of the one who is so generated. As such, the “fault” is an impediment to grace, and must be removed by ordinary or extra-ordinary means.

So, Father Munoz’s explanation does in fact work in lights of facts, you are simply misreading his explanation.

tornpage wrote:
Now, you can continue to agree with Father M . . . or look for an explanation that would account for the ways things really are (again, according to fairly recent expressions of the Baltimore Catechism), or at least every well may be (even while we “hope” otherwise).

I asked you if Marin-Sola’s view accorded with Fr. Munoz’s – I received no response.
If you received no response, it is because I never brought up the subject of Fr. Munoz’s doctrine, you did. I am fairly certain there is no substantial difference between their respective systems, but I am not familiar enough with the teachings of Fr. Munoz to render such a verdict, and don’t see why it matters.

Furthermore, and again, your gratuitous and repeated statement that Fr. Marin-Sola’s system does not “account for the ways things really are” is just as gratuitously rejected.

tornpage wrote:
As to Marin-Sola’s view, I stated that he believes that God antecedently desires the salvation of all men and offers all men sufficient grace such that things could really be different, or turn out differently, for all. Correct me if I’m wrong here. He also believes that God does not consequently desire the salvation of all men because of the unique condition peculiar to each individual man of whether they are “finally impenitent.”
But he qualifies this, as you full well know, when he places this into the context of “adults”. For infants (and for all men), “the unique condition peculiar to” them is original sin, and the secondary causes that might prevent its removal by the only means known to the Church that can assure them of salvation. So the fact of original sin could not have turned out differently post-fall.

So, with respect to “final impenitence”, Fr. Marin is speaking strictly about adults who may, or may not commit personal sins, and it is in this context that he speaks of man’s “final impenitence” should he, of his own free will, reject God’s grace and incur the positive reprobation of God.

tornpage wrote:
I pointed out that no living human being, not the infants or their parents, could have done anything differently to change the fact that they were born in pre-Christian lands and did not have access to baptism. I also noted that the condition of “final impenitence” has absolutely no relevance to these infants.
And who said it did? Certainly NOT Fr. Marin.

Since God provides a means of salvation in every age, I fail to see the relevancy of your first sentence, unless it refers solely to your entirely false and discredited notion that Fr. Marin somehow suggested that an act of “final impenitence” has some relevancy to the condition of unbaptized infants.

Such a “reading” is actually quite appalling.

tornpage wrote:
The view or theory of Marin-Sola, as far as I understand it – and again, please, please tell me if that’s inaccurate – fails to address the reality or acknowledged potential reality of these infants. As such, it too is “incompetent to deal” with the facts, or potential facts which any competent theory must deal with.
If Michael Torre’s analysis of the teaching of Fr. Marin is accurate, then Fr. Marin does in fact “address the reality or acknowledged potential reality of these infants.” I coverd this extensively, and once again, in my first post (today).

tornpage wrote:
Father Most notes regarding Marin-Sola:

The same incertitude appears also in some of the expressions employed by Marín-Sola and Muñiz when they make outlines of their views on predestination. Thus, in an outline made by Marín-Sola, we read that, in the first logical moment, God wills that all men be saved, and that He wills to give sufficient graces. In the second moment, He sees with the knowledge of vision,11 "in those decrees . . . the actual defects or impediments placed or not placed by each man to those graces. In our fallen nature we can actually omit placing an impediment to those graces in the short and easy stretches; but we all will actually place them, without a special grace, in the long and difficult stretch which extends from the call to justification, and more, from it to death." Hence, in the third moment, there is a special providence "predestining most freely to glory whomsoever God wishes, and giving, as a result, for that purpose, grace that is efficacious and persevering to the end; and reprobating, similarly, whomsoever God wills, in merely not giving (in negative reprobation) the special and persevering grace. . . . Both the will to save and the will to reprobate are completely gratuitous or most free, so that His liberty has no other limit than that which God, most freely however, and out of mere mercy, has imposed on Himself in promising us, through the merits of the passion of His Divine Son, to save or not to reprobate everyone who, with His grace, does what he can and prays for what he cannot."
It appears that Marin-Sola agrees with Father Munoz (see highlight), and my same criticism stands as to him: the infants do everything they “can,” and yet they may very well not be in glory nonetheless, but among the reprobate.
And we have already exposed the shallowness and bankruptcy of such a misplaced characterization. Infants can “do” nothing except “do” what they were created for, to be receptive to God’s grace for which they are “extrinsically … rendered worthy of receiving … through the nature assumed by Christ”, and are “restored to the rights of the elevation to the supernatural order lost through original sin… the premotions of graces proper to the general supernatural providence are in a certain manner owed to redeemed nature, or better, owed to the adorable blood of our Divine Saviour”.

If they “are not” finally “in glory” it is ONLY because an extra-ordinary intervention would be opposed to divine justice (the general order of the universe).

I have to cut this short, but will return to answer the rest of your post when I can.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  columba on Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:27 pm

Mryan wrote:
It's not that the love of God does not extend to overcoming the "general order" (as if He arbitrarily chooses not to overcome secondary causes), but whether or not the the justice in overcoming these same causes stand in violation to His justice in the "general order", meaning, in the general predestination of the saints. In other words, If God does not intervene to save them, He has a just reason beyond some arbitrary flip of the coin (meaning He cannot contradict Himself). It is a matter of justice, and it is a mystery.

Hope you don't mind my adding a comment to this thread,
I agree with Mike, especially the last 5 words of the above quote. And my reason for believing that this is to remain a mystery (at least for the present) is the fact that Pope, Paul V, even after consulting with the learned men of his time (one of which is now recognized as a saint and Doctor) could still not come to a definitive conclusion on the matter of the workings of predestination.

Mark, the answer to this question seems to have become an obsession of yours (I'm not condemning having an obsession as a bad thing; I have plenty of obsessions going on myself, some healthy, some unhealthy and trying to know the difference) and maybe looking at the question from a different vantage point might lead to some new insight.

I say this because this question of predestination used to bother me a lot, and it bothered me to think that there could be some -lets say- imperfection in the workings of God's justice or mercy. Of course I recognized that the problem I perceived as being a problem was attributable to my lack of understanding as opposed to any lack of perfection in God. (I think I had the sense to know that).

The answer (or rather the explanation) came unexpectedly from a book I was reading which wasn't at all focused on predestination. I can't even remember the title of the book or its author but the book was a refutation of the Richard Dawkins book, “The God Delusion.”
The author took almost every sentence of Dawkins book and made mincemeat of it and in the process exposed Dawkins. as the unscientific and ntellectually dishonest fool that he is.

To be brief, the Catholic author's refutation of Dawkins contained some very enlightening chapters on the scientific proofs for the existence of God without reference to the Summa (which I take it was a deliberate ploy so as not to alienate any potential non-Christian readers).
As you are all familiar with the principles of cause and effect and everything reverting back to “a first cause” or “principle mover,” there's no need to dwell on that. But the interesting consideration which flows from the the fact of the existence of a principle cause, is the indisputable fact that this “first cause” must be unchangeable simplicity itself and infinitely perfect in all its attributes with no trace of conflict between one attribute and another and, all these attributes must be infinite (in that they are without beginning or without end and infinite too in that they defy scrutiny as each attribute can be infinitely contemplated without ever reaching a final understanding).

If that be the case (which it is), we can only deduce that an answer to the question of predestination can only be known through revelation and since the debate continues unresolved, it would appear that this revelation has not been forthcoming. Maybe for very good reason. If we did know its full workings, would that make any difference as to who was saved and who was lost? Would it be an occasion for laxity or fever among the elect? Could the elect forfiet their election through presumption. We already believe that they can so what difference would it make to what we already know. Who knows. God knows, and I take it it's for good reason we are left in the dark this side of the grave. What we do know, (according to St. Alphonus) is that those who pray will infallibly be saved, those who don't pray will infallibly be lost.

I know this doesn't answer the question of infants before the age of reason, so what was my point in this post? scratch Maybe we're not meant to know.


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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  George Brenner on Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:40 pm

Very good heartfelt post, Columba


I totally agree with your last comment in that ' maybe we are not meant to know.' I would only add that on these issues that the hope and prayer we discuss and debate about so much should humble us and make us tremble in comparison to what should be our trust in God. Just ask Abraham.

JMJ,

George
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  columba on Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:18 pm

George Brenner wrote: Very good heartfelt post, Columba


I totally agree with your last comment in that ' maybe we are not meant to know.' I would only add that on these issues that the hope and prayer we discuss and debate about so much should humble us and make us tremble in comparison to what should be our trust in God. Just ask Abraham.

JMJ,

George


I hadn't read the whole thread when I commented George and just noticed Mark's reply to one of your comments where he said, "The discussion some of us have here on this issue is actually a form of diversion for us "nerds." So I was wrong in calling an obsession what is merely a diversion from other more beat-out topics. I quite enjoyed reading the posts thus far.

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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:39 am

tornpage wrote:

As to Marin-Sola’s view, I stated that he believes that God antecedently desires the salvation of all men and offers all men sufficient grace such that things could really be different, or turn out differently, for all. Correct me if I’m wrong here. He also believes that God does not consequently desire the salvation of all men because of the unique condition peculiar to each individual man of whether they are “finally impenitent.”

But he qualifies this, as you full well know, when he places this into the context of “adults”. For infants (and for all men), “the unique condition peculiar to” them is original sin, and the secondary causes that might prevent its removal by the only means known to the Church that can assure them of salvation. So the fact of original sin could not have turned out differently post-fall.

Fr. Munoz:

That negative reprobation before prevision of sins seems to us to be, from every point of view, incompatible with the universal salvific will of God. It is true that glory is an entirely gratuitous benefit, which God can grant to whom He wills and refuse to whom He wills, but it is no less true, that God most freely and liberally, has decided to grant that benefit of glory to all men, without exception. If anyone remains without obtaining it, that is not by fault of God, but by his own fault. How, then, could it be maintained that God-even before man has placed resistance to grace by sin-should not elect that one to glory, or should seek to exclude him from heaven?"

I wrote:

But either way, both sides agree that, at the least, there may very well be people who depart this life with "original sin alone" (the infants who die unbaptized). The point I am now making, and have made, is that if that is the case - and it is conceded - the Father Munoz and Marin-Sola criticisms of negative reprobation fail, and make no sense. The Thomist position would accord with that possible reality.

At the beginning of this thread, you wrote:

I beg your consideration for beginning a new thread where we can direct our attention to the question of whether God's permission of sin is a negative or a conditioned decree, which I believe is THE central issue (and misunderstanding) of this debate on the universal salvific will of God, and all that this entails (the essentials of this debate).

The thrust of my argument early in this thread was that a) God's decree to reprobate is not conditioned on anything these infants do; and b) to the extent that God's decree of reprobation is conditioned on and in a de facto sense determined by human action that "could have been different," that is only true (or may be true) for one man, Adam - the example of these infants showing that, in man's fallen state which includes original sin, reprobation (we all must concede they may be reprobated) may not be conditioned on the action of the reprobate (the infants not doing anything to incur it).

The drift of your argument now on this issue is a) the cases of adults and infants are different and subject to different considerations, and b) God has reasons for permitting the denial of glory for these infants on account or original sin.

We agree as to b), and indeed have never disagreed as to b).

It is as to a) where the difference comes in. I say there is no relevant difference when it comes to the issue under discussion, God's universal salvific will and decree of reprobation. Thus, for me, God saves in the same manner with respect to all men, and He reprobates in the same manner all men. One group of men - the infants - is not carved out and treated in a different manner then the rest. I say that your drawing of a line between infants and adults for purposes of understanding God's salvific will and how he saves (or not) is only necessary for your position that men are reprobated on the basis of what they do. At the least, I say my position is supported by the example of these infants. I don't have to draw an arbitrary line between adults and infants.

My theology (that of the rigorist Thomists) works with all men and no one group has to be carved out (the infants) to support the theory or theology.

I say it is convenient and inaccurate to put the cloak of mystery (and there indeed is mystery, but not here) on the question of why infants are treated differently, because we know certain things by God's actions vis a vis these infants. We know (or, again, we all must concede as a possible and more so - since the Church exercised her teaching authority to teach it for centuries - reality) that unbaptized infants who die in infancy did not take any responsible moral action but are nonetheless denied glory by God.

What do we do with that fact or possibility?

The rigorist Thomists and myself take account of that in our theology and adhere to a theology that reflects the fact that God reprobates at least some men without their personal or future sins taken into account in the decree of reprobation. The internal debate between the Thomists as to whether this reprobation is merely a leaving in original sin or prior even to that fault is not one on the table at present - for these infants are undeniably conceived in original sin. Obviously we are not dealing with the issue of level of punishment or reward, which differs depending upon personal action or inaction.

I have indicated my view as to how God antecedently desires to save all men: he desires to save all men antecedently, insofar as they are His creation, man, and instituted the sacraments which are capable of saving all. I cited the whole passage from the Summa where St. Thomas talks about the antecedent will, and also cited the passage from St. Alphonsus where he directly responds to my objection regarding these infants and answers with that same understanding, and adds throws in Limbo or the fact that God does not punish these infants as he does those who die with personal fault. I agree with St. Alphonsus on both counts, and my position on the antecedent will accords with St. Thomas.

You say God has reason for reprobating these infants despite His antecedent will to save. Of course He does, and I can't for a minute imagine that you think I am saying otherwise. That he acts gratuitously and freely in His choice of election or reprobation does not mean that He does not have reasons for acting "gratuitously." By saying He acts "gratuitously" I and the Thomists are merely saying that his action of reprobation precedes, and is not determined by, man - not that it is irrational or arbitrary.

The criticism of negative reprobation by Fr. Munoz and Fr. Marin-Sola is based upon a consideration of the reprobation of responsible adults. My objection regarding these infants is therefore valid - they are men also under God's universal salvific will, and if the criticism does not hold as to them, and it does not, then you must either consider them a case apart or account for that fact in how one understands the reprobation and salvation of all men. I chose the latter approach.

So I reject Fr. Marin-Sola's explanation of a "conditional" negative reprobation to the extent it implies that there is anything other than the condition of original sin that grounds the decree. I say it certainly implies that - if not, what's the beef? None of the infants whom I say are negatively reprobated lack the condition of original sin.

Of course, lurking behind all of this is whether God willed Adam's sin or not, an issue which hasn't been addressed, or been advanced in your excerpts from Marin-Sola. Which is odd, since that would be the only "condition" at play with regard to these infants.

However, because it is difficult does not mean we abandon it in order to force the simplistic logic of a system that says that the reason anyone is lost is because God does not love him enough to save him; thus, He decrees from before the foundations of the world the infallible reprobation of certain souls and infallibly withholds the grace that might otherwise save them. They are damned, and there is not a damned thing they, or any one else (including the Church), can do about it.

That is your awful system in a nutshell. Nice and simple; and rejected in former ages by most schools, and rejected by every school of theology in the modern era, including that of the Church.

Again, though you don't agree with me, you must concede that infants who die without baptism may indeed be reprobated, while infants who die after baptism are saved. Consider the case of both sets of infants: does God provide "enough" love to the reprobated? He clearly loves the saved more. As He does all the elect.

And, no, there is nothing the unbaptized, reprobated infants can do about it. Banez is right as to these infants (per Torre): "no salvific means [to these infants] follows from this will [i.e,. God's universal salvific will]."

That is simply a fact.

Is the system of Banez rejected by modern theologians? I know it wasn't condemned by the Church, your (and Torre's and Fr. Marin-Sola's) arguments about Banez and Father GL making God's will a mere "velleity" notwithstanding. The Church was aware of the substance of your criticisms - indeed, the Jesuits maintained that Banez denied "sufficient grace." They got nowhere. According to the Church's standing judgment, you have no license to call it heretical, or say it is.

So where are we now? I don't know, but I'm sure you'll enlighten me.






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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:44 am

Columba,

So I was wrong in calling an obsession what is merely a diversion from other more beat-out topics.

Thank you. Very Happy
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:32 pm

The development in doctrine by which theologians “subtly but profoundly alter the notion of God’s antecedent will”, whereby “Instead of grounding it in the human nature intrinsic to each individual and seen by God, they ground it in that nature not only as it exists in the individual, but as worthy of salvation by an extrinsic relation to the Incarnation” is clearly evident in the doctrine of the Eastern Fathers that we also find in the theologies of Popes JPII and BXVI, and in the sublime theology of such luminaries as Fr. Mathias Joseph Scheeben.

And it is this development, more than any other, that has given the Church grounds for hope.

You can call it “development”; I call it so much twaddle.

The point remains: a) these infants may be reprobated (and the Church in fact taught that they were for centuries); b) these infants did nothing to personally warrant reprobation; and, c) some infants are granted glory who did not personally do anything to warrant glory.

Both sets of infants have the same relation to the Incarnation, intrinsic, extrinsic, circular, triangular . . . whatever.

For, as Mark would have it, if God truly loves all men and wills their salvation, if there is a possibility that not all unbaptized infants are saved, then our Lord simply does not love His fellow creatures enough to save them.

Again, one set of infants may very well be baptized and saved, the other set may very well not be. As I’ve noted repeatedly, the Church has taught that to be the case for centuries. In any event, God is in control of the circumstances of birth, and all other incidentals, of both sets of infants.

Thus, as to your statement, “our Lord simply does not love His fellow creatures enough to save them,” I’m having trouble understanding its point under these facts (i.e. these two identical sets of infants – identical except for the fact that one group is saved and the other not).

One set loved by God to the point of salvation without regard to their merits, and the other reprobated without regard to their merits. Both having the same fault, original sin, and worthy of the same judgment.

But God forbid anyone implies or even offers an explanation that in any way whiffs of the suggestion that the reprobated group is not loved or not loved “enough.”

We must say, “all are worthy of salvation by an extrinsic relation to the Incarnation.”

Right.

Window dressing, posturing . . . rhetoric.
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  Jehanne on Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:42 pm

Mark,

Eternal salvation is an unmerited gift:

1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.

A gift which no one (including, infants) deserves:

403 Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the "death of the soul". Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin.

Okay, what happens to infants who die without sacramental Baptism? Question is, "Do they automatically receive the grace of Baptism?" If they are martyred, certainly. What happens if they should die without martyrdom? Do they still get the grace of Baptism?

Many centuries of universal Church tradition and teaching say "No," with perhaps, some limited exceptions. That's the position which I am going to "hold fast" to, but I agree that the Limbo of the Children is an issue which the Magisterium of the Church needs to clarify. However, one can hardly read #1261 as teaching "universal salvation" for infants who die without sacramental Baptism. If such was the case, why the "urgent call" on the part of the Church to see that they are sacramentally baptized?
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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:24 am

Jehanne,

Eternal salvation is an unmerited gift:

A gift which no one (including, infants) deserves:

Yes, of course. That further supports my understanding and position.


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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  George Brenner on Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:54 pm


Eternal salvation is an unmerited gift:

A gift which no one (including, infants) deserves


Not true ! Each and every time the Church declares that a person is a Saint, it is because they do merit Heaven by the sanctity of their life, faith and works and they most certainly do deserve to be with God in Heaven for eternity.

JMJ,

George


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Re: God's Permission Of Sin: Negative Or Conditioned Decree?

Post  tornpage on Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:06 pm

Mike,

God has an antecedent will to save all men. Consequently, not all men are saved. The antecedent will is a will “abstracted” from a certain condition(s); the consequent will takes into account this condition(s).

Fr. Marin-Solas says that the condition which causes God to consequently not will that certain men be saved is “final impenitence.” That is clearly not the condition that causes God’s antecedent will to save an unbaptized infant to consequently result in his being barred from glory.

The condition that causes that has been described by you as follows:

if the "Prince of this nation [Our Lord] so loves Peter [these little ones] that he has a true and most sincere will to pardon him and to free him from death, but a will conditioned by one sole condition: by the condition that the pardon is not opposed to the greater good of the republic [to the greater good of predestination]."

In other words, God has His reasons, and the “condition” that causes Him consequently to deny glory to one of these infants does not lie in man, in his being finally impenitent or not. As I said in a prior post, we do not disagree that God has His reasons for doing this.

The reasons are found in Himself, and not in man. The reasons have to do with His sense of justice, His glory, His exaltation, etc.

There are abundant passages of Scripture to back that up.

These reasons apply to all men, not just the infants. God leaves some men in original sin, leaves them to their “defect.” He is actually merciful to the infants who die unbaptized because they do not go on to commit personal fault, and whatever punishment they suffer is less than that of adults who do.

In light of the case of these infants, the “condition abstracted” from in God’s antecedent will to save are His own, other considerations and reasons that cause Him to, in the interests of “justice,” nonetheless deny glory to man despite His antecedent will that they be saved.

This has nothing to do with final impenitence, and is not a negative reprobation conditioned on the response of men or man, as Marin-Sola would have it. It is conditioned on God Himself, and considerations that are focused on Him and His glory and exaltation through man, which He has determined is enhanced by the reprobation of some (most) men, and the election of few.

As the Thomists say, God simply denies glory to the mass of men (not just the infants who have no “choice”) as simply something not due them, according to His sovereign design and will.

There is not one set of “conditions” for infants, and another for other men.
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