Speaking with a certain group of friends who are much younger than I am, I have discovered a huge discrepancy between their theological training as to the meaning of sin, grace and conscience which has shown me the extremely poor teaching happening in some Catholic institutions.
Some of these people are good and want to know the real deal regarding the moral teaching of the Church, but have been taught incorrectly on the above topics. Sadly, there are too many liberal professors talking about ideas of sin, grace and conscience which are not based on Catholic teaching.
I want to cover a few of these points in three parts today. The first is a discussion of sanctifying grace, about which I have written before and one can follow the links at the bottom of the third posting.
Without sanctifying grace, there is not sharing in the participation of the life of God. The Council of Trent clarified the teaching on grace, because of the confusion brought about by the elimination of the sacraments by the Protestants and the false teaching on atonement and justification by Luther.
Without grace, we are, simply, not pleasing to God, and those is mortal sin do not have sanctifying grace.
The Council of Trent makes the point that sanctifying grace is not just the remission of sins, but "the sanctification and interior renovation of man by the voluntary reception of grace, and the gifts, by which man is changed from unjust to just, and from an enemy to a friend."
Enemy is a strong word, but real. Sanctifying grace makes us just, not merely the carriers of the Justice of God, but actually just, as we are renewed through the sacraments.
Now, this entire discussion on the reception of Communion by those in irregular marriages, as brought up by the German bishops lately seems to ignore the entire questions of the participation in the life of God which is sanctifying grace.
When one marries, "outside the Church", a person has chosen to ignore the marriage laws of the Church and has placed themselves in a state of disobedience in a matter which is serious.
Serious matter makes up mortal sin, sin which kills the life of Christ, sanctifying grace in the soul.
The person who approaches Communion in mortal sin, without sanctifying grace, not only cannot receive more grace until he or she goes to Confession and no longer takes part in the marital actions in an irregular marriage, but commits a further sin of sacrilegious.
Why is this? Sacrilege involves the reception of God in an unworthy state. Now, some liberals claim that we are all in an unworthy state, but to deny that those in sanctifying grace are in a different relationship to God than those who are not, begs the question of "worthiness".
Father Jordan Aumann writes in relation to the necessity of receiving Communion often.
All of our actions should be centered on Christ. Father states that "To perform one's action through Christ and with Christ denotes a high degree of perfection in one's faith and love, but greater still is that identification with Christ that enables the soul to do all things in Christ."
Without grace, we are not capable of pursuing holiness. Without the sacraments,
we cannot receive sanctifying grace. The entire argument of the German bishops seems to
ignore the status of the soul, whether a person is in grace or not. Church law cannot change
the life of God within us, if Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, has told us how
to stay in the life of grace and clarified marriage for us.
These contrary bishops are merely looking at the natural good of something, not the
supernatural. They emphasize the natural goods they may see in a marriage without
considering the supernatural state.
If we are in sanctifying grace, we are in a filial relationship with God. He is our Father and we
are His adopted children. Filiation is rarely spoken of these days, as many Catholics assume
that all people are naturally sons and daughters of God.
Not so. Baptism makes us so. Through baptism, we are actually the sons and daughter of God.
We live in His life, sanctifying grace.
Spiritually, we have been reborn, and become more than merely the sons and daughters of our physical
parents, we become children of God.
So, to depart from this state is what happens in the committing of mortal sin. One may question
the long history of the Teaching Magisterium of the Church regarding marriage, but one must
eventually end up with the words of Christ Himself. No church, no set of bishops can change the
teaching of Christ.
It is not the Church which determines what is serious matter for sin, but God Himself.
To be continued............