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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Why The Church Cannot And Will Not Legislate Gradualism Part One

Gradualism is not one platform on the steps of perfection, which I have been covering in detail for years on this blog.

Let me try and explain for the lay person the dangers of gradualism and how it is being misunderstood by commentators, bloggers, journalists.

First of all, the road to perfection begins with the initial conversion to "Go and sin no more". One cannot be in the state of mortal sin and attain any of even the most primary steps of perfection.

The first step is orthodoxy, not heterodoxy. The first conversion is a radical acceptance of Jesus Christ as one's Lord, Savior, and as the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity. Part of this first conversion is a total acceptance of the teaching of Christ.

There is a second conversion which involves a detachment from venial sin. Again, a person cannot even be holding on to habits and knee-jerk reactions to venial sin and follow the road to perfection. I have reiterated this many times in my series. quoting the great mystics, Doctors of the Church, and, of course, Garrioug-Lagrange. This second conversion breaks the ego's reliance on the predominant fault. In other words. one has endured the long or short, but intense suffering of the Dark Night of the Soul in order to experience the purification of the senses and the spirit. Without this purification, to which we are all called, there is no Illumination State or State of Unity.

Suffering provides the means to this purification and one can either suffer in martydom, as did the Apostles, or in the daily walk of a virtual purgatory on earth, like St. Pope John Paul II. We are aware of his faults and mistakes in his papacy and we are also aware how God allowed him to suffer publicly for many years in order to purify him, as those closest to him have attested.

Gradualism is a heresy which denies several necessary components to the walk towards perfection.

It assumes that people need and should be allowed a long time to convert in that first conversion and it denies the real purgative power of suffering.

Gradualism denies the love of God, a real burning flame which cannot be resisted. Gradualism denies free will and assumes people cannot make a decision to be holy. It smacks of Pelagianism and Noe-Pelagianism.

God works with us only if we are in sanctifying grace. God does give actual grace and prevenient grace, but if a person insists on, for example, living in adultery or fornication, only the surgeon's knife of a complete break of mortal sin will enable that soul to grow in holiness.

There is NO growth in the soul is one is in mortal sin. Mortal sin kills the life of the soul and separates the person from God FOREVER. Only Confession and absolution, plus the complete turning away from serious can lead a person into the life of God again, which is sanctifying grace.

One of the great flaws of gradualism is the denial of mortal sin as killing the life of God in the soul.

One cannot even begin step one on the road to holiness if one is living in sin, or has even committed one unforgiven, unrepented mortal sin.

One unrepented moral sin sends us to hell. A person who chooses to live in sin, such as in fornication, which is an obvious example, cannot receive sanctifying grace until that person repents, This is the meaning of conversion, of metanoia.

Those who are pushing for gradualism in the Synod and in the media are following an idea of Protestantism which denies the need for the sacraments, as the only gifts from God which impart sanctifying grace (usually), and also the damage that mortal sin does not only to the soul but in relationships.

Christ never taught gradualism nor did the early Church. A lack of knowledge of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church and the Teaching of the Church from Christ on has caused this confusion, which is not new, by the way, and was condemned.

I shall quote some passages of Scripture and continue this discussion in the next post. Church discipline demands excommunication, which happened immediately in the Early Church, for the sake of the soul of the unrepentant sinner.

Two quotations from 1 Corinthians 5  and 2 Corinthians 5 starting with the latter:

17 If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new.
18 But all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Christ; and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
19 For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their sins; and he hath placed in us the word of reconciliation.
20 For Christ therefore we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting by us. For Christ, we beseech you, be reconciled to God.
21 Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in him.
The false Protestant idea of the imputation of justice, rather than the actually being made just in Christ is part of the faulty thinking behind gradualism.
It is absolutely heard, that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as the like is not among the heathens; that one should have his father's wife.
And you are puffed up; and have not rather mourned, that he might be taken away from 
among you, that hath done this deed.
I indeed, absent in body, but present in spirit, have already judged, as though I 
were present, him that hath so done,
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being gathered together, and my spirit, 
with the power of our Lord Jesus;
To deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be 
saved in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump?
Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened. For Christ 
our pasch is sacrificed.
Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness; 
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
I wrote to you in an epistle, not to keep company with fornicators.
10 I mean not with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or the extortioners, or 
the servers of idols; otherwise you must needs go out of this world.
11 But now I have written to you, not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother, 
be a fornicator, or covetous, or a server of idols, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner: 
with such a one, not so much as to eat.
12 For what have I to do to judge them that are without? Do not you judge them that are within?
13 For them that are without, God will judge. Put away the evil one from among yourselves.
to be continued...