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Saturday, 13 September 2014

No one answered my plea

I am looking for a pamphlet condemining all the secret societies which are anti-Catholic: Mason, Elks, Rotarians, Moose, Grange or Grangers et al.

I ask readers for feedback and have received none. Here is one which includes Ratzinger's notice.

Here is one example, but I want one which is more inclusive.

Here is another one which is not inclusive enough.

And in a threefold form...

Can you believe some are only found in rare book rooms in libraries?

Repeat of a repeat on three examinations of conscience

Confession leaflet for children
- A5 leaflet suitable for children aged 7-10.
Confession leaflet for teenagers
- A4 tri-fold leaflet suitable for young people 11-16.
Confession leaflet for adults – A4 tri-fold
leaflet for adults.

Guess who said this?

"Political correctness is tyranny with manners."

The Best Catholic Paper in Great Britain

Main Stream Catholic Media is going downhill fast. I have given up reading both the liberal and conservative newspapers, as most are becoming rabid on either end of the spectrum. I read online msm, like the Catholic Register, but realize, like Mr. Voris, that most msm are not upholding the sanctity of the Church, not reporting on the coming schism, or just trashing the Pope.

No thanks.

The best Catholic online newspaper in Great Britain in The Catholic Herald. Other news outlets allow personal opinion to trump Catholic teaching, which is not the point of the Catholic media.

The Catholic Herald is the most objective. There is room for improvement, but out of all the msm in GB, it is the best.

However, the weaknesses are those of most msm: refusal to address mediocre, compromising Catholic schools which rarely create vocations; the lack of strong, strong support for Humanae Vitae; and the missing ongoing reporting of why there are mass persecutions of Christians in the world. Most of us know why, and who are the persecutors, because we know our history.

But, TCH is the best on line and I hope the editors become more sensitive and less ameliorating to our Protestant brethren, who have many other, truly wishy-washy newspapers to follow.

God bless The Catholic Herald.

The Place of Passings

It is a shame that when people say "New York" that most Americans think of the big city.

New York outside of the City proves to be a beautiful, strange state.  I have been to Albany and areas around, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Lake George, and various small towns at various times.

The lakes and rivers of northern New York must be some of the most beautiful in America. One cannot imagine so many isolated areas, full of bear, coyote, deer, porcupine, (saw one on Wednesday), heron, loon, and even the occasional puma, (which I have not seen) in such a populated, crazy state.

The pine and fir forests seem almost untouched, and the old farmhouses, as well as ancient barns, remind one of Amish territory further south and west.

One thing I rarely see is the sky, unless I am by water, a lake, or river. The forests are dense, with little bits of sky peeping through, small puzzle pieces taunting the eye. I miss the big sky. I miss watching the clouds build up and roll across the prairie like giant spirits ruling the skies,  None of that here. The clouds pass over the huge pines and firs quickly, as if  looking for a place to be seen and admired. I never see stars.

I do not mind the dark of the forests, but I am, as a Midwest girl, use to big horizons, plains and views, which may be over twenty miles away in all directions. I miss the constellations, the planets, the meteors.

One cannot see that far in any direction here, unless one climbs up the hills and mountains and looks out.

Cold is coming in with a vengeance. Winter is rumored to be worse than last year, and the locals tell me last year was bad. Ice storms broke many branches, which still lay where these fell.

I do hear birds, like the chickadees, blue jays, and still, the odd goldfinch, but some have left the area already. Even the crows have left, with a racket. The deer pass the house, snorting and scaring the cats. A big animal walks above the house, on the ridge, at night, but I cannot identify it. Under the darkness of the trees, it seems like a shadow, not an animal.

All the small, red squirrels have disappeared.

I have not heard the loon for many days.

I do think winter is going to shut up this place, pushing a huge dome of silence over the soil, which is not like Iowa dirt, but red and sandy. Obviously, glaciers came through here and the scattered boulders in odd places here and there remind one of the power of the ancient ice flow.

I always need to live near water to feel like I am at home, as I grew up on the Mighty Mississippi, which I miss. The rivers here, although beautiful, with small waterfalls and rapids, cannot rival the Father of Waters. The rivers here have no romance, no stories to tell, but are just what they are. In this part of New York, there are no poets, no novelists, no story-tellers to weave magic around the rivers.

New York here is a strange place, almost pristine. It is a land at odds with itself, not able to decide whether it wants people or not, despite centuries of natives and pioneers marking the land with small tools or temporary homes. It is not "hospitable".

Two days ago, I passed a pumpkin patch. It was nestled between two red farmhouses. Some of the houses look pre-Civil War. But, many houses lack care and tlc. There is a run-down, almost sad feeling to so many small communities,which, indeed, are dying for lack of employment and children.

This land will sink back into pre-pioneer settlements, I believe, with the ferns and Queen Anne's lace, the milkweed and birches taking over the once tilled lands. Mulleins, cornflowers, and flea-bane encroach upon the edges of the roads as if to say, we shall take over again, just wait and see. As the giant oaks throw acorns everywhere, I am told that wild boar have been seen not too far away, following the acorns for food from states west and south.

This is not a country which is tamed. It never has been. The people all seem like passengers in boats, cars, campers, wandering through the forests and glens, temporary visitors, ready to give the land space to be wild, which it is. These people do not seem "at home", but like pilgrims, on their way to somewhere else, restless, men and women waiting to be told to move on, somewhere else.

Man is not master here. Perhaps, he is in the City, but not here. The animals still walk the old instinctual paths and the dark, deep forests still belong to these creatures. One has a healthy respect of the wild here.

I may have to move on soon, sooner than I expected, or face an early winter of illness, as asthmatics do not do well in cold and still places. We need warmth and fresh air. The air here, like the land, is wild, solid, almost a thing, not ethereal, not breezy, not helpful to those who are not use to sand, mold, and decaying bark shifting in the harsh wind.

I shall only miss the silence, which I love.

The wilderness will never reveal that I was here. I am just another passing biped, inconsequential, leaving no prints on the soil. If and when I return, the land, the rivers, the woods will be unmoved, not surprised, but ever calm and still. The firs may sigh and whisper, another stranger has returned, but we shall push her out, as we did so many before. She, too, will move on.

This is the land which belongs to itself, to no one, even though persons may have deeds over a hundred and fifty years old or even older. This New York is nothing like Old York, but something which belongs to no time and no history. Roads, houses, businesses seem plunked down, like small pieces on a monopoly board, to be moved again by chance.

It is a land between time. I wonder at the edges of these times which seem to have little grace and much shadowed mystery. I do not think I shall be here to see a unraveling of the story of these parts. Like all people here, I have stood at the edge of the ancient woods and turned my back on the wilderness wondering if any light brought by humans could ever pierce this darkness.

If, before a storm, I saw Henry Hudson's men playing ninepins, I would not be shocked. They seem more real in fable than so many people I have met, who just have not settled this land. Maybe the land belongs only to fable, but few read or write here now.

Perhaps, this place will never belong to men. Perhaps God made it for himself and His irrational creatures. I hope this is the case, as I believe this is the land of nature's sovereignty, not man's.

Even the large flatbed trucks carrying logs seem out of place, as if the owners, loggers, someone, somewhere was trying to destroy the unwritten, silent song of this place with the noise of saws and cranes. But, one knows the machines, the businesses will go, fade away, leaving scars on the sides of the hills, but no more. The weeping linden will cover the scars in time.

Once the Mohawks walked through these forests, once missionaries held meetings under these trees, once entrepreneurs created small Edens, but no efforts of men have changed the air, the trees, the soil under the layers of needles.

As I walk down the hill towards the river-lake, I know my footprints will be gone with the new rain which is coming tomorrow. So, it has ever been here, in this place of passings.


 Parents, especially home schooling parents who can add some curriculum to this, I highly suggest showing this movie to your children twelve and over.

El Cid. It is available here....

How Do We Obtain Merit?

Again, the greatest Doctor of the Church explains how one gets merit, but may I add that only those who are purged of sin can really merit. The Church, for example, tells us that we must be free of the desire to sin even venially in order to obtain a plenary indulgence. Here is Aquinas on how to gain merit. Merit must involve charity or love of neighbor. It must involved something difficult and not easy, like extra prayers and extra devotions, as well as love.

And, we merit reward for loving for the sake of Christ and not for the sake of the person involved.

As we may gather from what has been stated above (Article 1), human acts have the nature of merit from two causes: first and chiefly from the Divine ordination, inasmuch as acts are said to merit that good to which man is divinely ordained. Secondly, on the part of free-will, inasmuch as man, more than other creatures, has the power of voluntary acts by acting by himself. And in both these ways does merit chiefly rest with charity. For we must bear in mind that everlasting life consists in the enjoyment of God. Now the human mind's movement to the fruition of the Divine good is the proper act of charity, whereby all the acts of the other virtues are ordained to this end, since all the other virtues are commanded by charity. Hence the merit of life everlasting pertains first to charity, and secondly, to the other virtues, inasmuch as their acts are commanded by charity. So, likewise, is it manifest that what we do out of love we do most willingly. Hence, even inasmuch as merit depends on voluntariness, merit is chiefly attributed to charity.
Reply to Objection 1. Charity, inasmuch as it has the last end for object, moves the other virtues to act. For the habit to which the end pertains always commands the habits to which the means pertain, as was said above (Question 9, Article 1).
Reply to Objection 2. A work can be toilsome and difficult in two ways: first, from the greatness of the work, and thus the greatness of the work pertains to the increase of merit; and thus charity does not lessen the toil--rather, it makes us undertake the greatest toils, "for it does great things, if it exists," as Gregory says (Hom. in Evang. xxx). Secondly, from the defect of the operator; for what is not done with a ready will is hard and difficult to all of us, and this toil lessens merit and is removed by charity.
Reply to Objection 3. The act of faith is not meritorious unless "faith . . . worketh by charity" (Galatians 5:6). So, too, the acts of patience and fortitude are not meritorious unless a man does them out of charity, according to 1 Corinthians 13:3: "If I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."

What Is Merit?

St. Thomas Aquinas states that merit is reward. It is an act of justice, but not of equality, as we are not equal to God.

Here is the great saint on this point. God is not our debtor at all, but we give glory to him through the use of our own free will in obtaining from God that which He has.

Hence man's merit with God only exists on the presupposition of the Divine ordination, so that man obtains from God, as a reward of his operation, what God gave him the power of operation for, even as natural things by their proper movements and operations obtain that to which they were ordained by God; differently, indeed, since the rational creature moves itself to act by its free-will, hence its action has the character of merit, which is not so in other creatures.
Reply to Objection 1. Man merits, inasmuch as he does what he ought, by his free-will; otherwise the act of justice whereby anyone discharges a debt would not be meritorious.
Reply to Objection 2. God seeks from our goods not profit, but glory, i.e. the manifestation of His goodness; even as He seeks it also in His own works. Now nothing accrues to Him, but only to ourselves, by our worship of Him. Hence we merit from God, not that by our works anything accrues to Him, but inasmuch as we work for His glory.
Reply to Objection 3. Since our action has the character of merit, only on the presupposition of the Divine ordination, it does not follow that God is made our debtor simply, but His own, inasmuch as it is right that His will should be carried out. 

 and more here...

The Holy Spirit moves us to do acts of charity which gain merit, such as loving those who hate us and doing good for those who cannot pay us back, such as the poor.

Suffering patiently and with peace brings merit.

Man's meritorious work may be considered in two ways: first, as it proceeds from free-will; secondly, as it proceeds from the grace of the Holy Ghost. If it is considered as regards the substance of the work, and inasmuch as it springs from the free-will, there can be no condignity because of the very great inequality. But there is congruity, on account of an equality of proportion: for it would seem congruous that, if a man does what he can, God should reward him according to the excellence of his power.
If, however, we speak of a meritorious work, inasmuch as it proceeds from the grace of the Holy Ghost moving us to life everlasting, it is meritorious of life everlasting condignly. For thus the value of its merit depends upon the power of the Holy Ghost moving us to life everlasting according to John 4:14: "Shall become in him a fount of water springing up into life everlasting." And the worth of the work depends on the dignity of grace, whereby a man, being made a partaker of the Divine Nature, is adopted as a son of God, to whom the inheritance is due by right of adoption, according to Romans 8:17: "If sons, heirs also."
Reply to Objection 1. The Apostle is speaking of the substance of these sufferings.
Reply to Objection 2. This saying is to be understood of the first cause of our reaching everlasting life, viz. God's mercy. But our merit is a subsequent cause.
Reply to Objection 3. The grace of the Holy Ghost which we have at present, although unequal to glory in act, is equal to it virtually as the seed of a tree, wherein the whole tree is virtually. So likewise by grace of the Holy Ghost dwells in man; and He is a sufficient cause of life everlasting; hence, 2 Corinthians 1:22, He is called the "pledge" of our inheritance.

 As adopted sons and daughters through baptism, we can do actions or pray to gain merit...

to be continued...

Who Can Merit?

The CE provides us with a long answer on merit derived from the long Tradition of the Catholic Church. However, as the question of "who" can merit came up in conversation, I shall concentrate on this aspect today. Here is part of the section from the CE:

(b) The agent who merits must fulfil two conditions: He must be in the state of pilgrimage (status viœ) and in the state of grace (status gratiœ). By the state of pilgrimage is to be understood our earthly life; death as a natural (although not an essentially necessary) limit, closes the time of meriting

 Only in England did I hear an odd idea that the souls in purgatory can merit good things for us. NO. 

I tried to explain at the time that we must gain merit for the souls in purgatory, who are not able to help either themselves or us.

The time of sowing is confined to this life; the reaping is reserved for the next, when no man will be able to sow either wheat or cockle. Comparing the earthly life with day and the time after death with night, Christ says: "The night cometh, when no man can work [operari]" (John 9:4; cf. Ecclesiastes 11:3; Sirach 14:17). The opinion proposed by a few theologians (Hirscher, Schell), that for certain classes of men there may still be a possibility of conversion after death, is contrary to the revealed truth that the particular judgment (judicium particulare) determines instantly and definitively whether the future is to be one of eternal happiness or of eternal misery (cf. Kleutgen, "Theologie der Vorzeit", II, 2nd ed., Münster, 1872, pp. 427 sqq.)

Death ends one's chances for both salvation and for merit. Our particular judgment, mentioned earlier this week, ends all time of merit.
Baptized children, who die before attaining the age of reason, are admitted to heaven without merits on the sole title of inheritance (titulus hœreditatis); in the case of adults, however, there is the additional title of reward (titulus mercedis), and for that reason they will enjoy a greater measure of eternal happiness. 

In addition to the state of pilgrimage, the state of grace (i.e., the possession of sanctifying grace) is required for meriting, because only the just can be "sons of God" and "heirs of heaven" (cf. Romans 8:17). 

Only those in sanctifying grace can gain merit for themselves or others.

In the parable of the vine Christ expressly declares the "abiding in him" a necessary condition for "bearing fruit": "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit" (John 15:5); and this constant union with Christ is effected only by sanctifying grace. In opposition to Vasquez, most theologians are of opinion that one who is holier will gain greater merit for a given work than one who is less holy, although the latter perform the same work under exactly the same circumstances and in the same way. The reason is that a higher degree of grace enhances the godlike dignity of the agent, and this dignity increases the value of the merit. This explains why God, in consideration of the greater holiness of some saints specially dear to Him, has deigned to grant favours which otherwise He would have refused (Job 42:8; Daniel 3:35). 

I know a woman who died who intercedes for her friends, as prayers to her are answered, and readers may remember the story of her husband's conversion and entrance into the Church less than 48 hours after her death, he, receiving his First Holy Communion at her funeral.
(c) Merit requires on the part of God that He accept (in actu secundo) the good work as meritorious, even though the work in itself (in actu primo) and previous to its acceptance by God, be already truly meritorious. Theologians, however, are not agreed as to the necessity of this condition. The Scotists hold that the entire condignity of the good work rests exclusively on the gratuitous promise of God and His free acceptance, without which even the most heroic act is devoid of merit, and with which even mere naturally good works may become meritorious. Other theologians with Francisco Suárez (De gratia, XIII, 30) maintain that, before and without Divine acceptance, the strict equality that exists between merit and reward founds a claim of justice to have the good works rewarded in heaven. Both these views are extreme. The Scotists almost completely lose sight of the godlike dignity which belongs to the just as "adopted children of God", and which naturally impresses on their supernatural actions the character of meritoriousness; Francisco Suárez, on the other hand, unnecessarily exaggerates the notion of Divine justice and the condignity of merit, for the abyss that lies between human service and Divine remuneration is ever so wide that there could be no obligation of bridging it over by a gratuitous promise of reward and the subsequent acceptance on the part of God who has bound himself by His own fidelity. Hence we prefer with Lessius (De perfect. moribusque div., XIII, ii) and De Lugo (De incarnat. disp. 3, sect. 1 sq.) to follow a middle course. We therefore say that the condignity between merit and reward owes its origin to a twofold source: to the intrinsic value of the good work and to the free acceptance and gratuitous promise of God (cf. James 1:12). See Schiffini, "De gratia divina" (Freiburg, 1901), pp. 416 sqq.

Again, on Grace

Follow the tags for many posts on grace. I am reminded by a friend today that only those in sanctifying grace can obtain merit. She was referring to some people she knows who do not always go to church on Sunday and to some Protestant members of her family.

One cannot be in mortal sin, which does not only mean living in sin, but having committed one mortal sin unconfessed, and gain merit.

My friend, who had old-fashioned Catholic teaching remembered her heritage and corrected herself.

Practicing Catholic can merit blessings for the next life. Non-practicing Catholics cannot merit grace, which will be clearer in the next post. And, here is a reminder of the definition of grace from CE.

Grace (gratia, Charis), in general, is a supernatural gift of God to intellectual creatures (men, angels) for their eternal salvation, whether the latter be furthered and attained through salutary acts or a state of holiness. Eternal salvation itself consists in heavenly bliss resulting from the intuitive knowledge of the Triune God, who to the one not endowed with grace "inhabiteth light inaccessible" (1 Timothy 6:16). Christian grace is a fundamental idea of the Christian religion, the pillar on which, by a special ordination of God, the majestic edifice of Christianity rests in its entirety. Among the three fundamental ideas — sin, redemption, and grace — grace plays the part of the means, indispensable and Divinely ordained, to effect the redemption from sin through Christ and to lead men to their eternal destiny in heaven.

Now, sanctifying grace is only one type of grace. But, it is necessary for salvation. Here is CE again...

The Protestant conception of justification boasts of three characteristics: absolute certainty (certitudo), complete uniformity in all the justified (aequalitas), unforfeitableness (inamissibilitas). According to the teaching of the Church, sanctifying grace has the opposite characteristics: uncertainty (incertitudo), inequality (inaequalitas), and amissibility (amissibilitas).


The heretical doctrine of the Reformers, that man by a fiduciary faith knows with absolute certainty that he is justified, received the attention of the Council of Trent (Sess. VI, cap. ix), in one entire chapter (De inani fiducia haereticorum), three canons (loc. cit., can. xiii-xv) condemning the necessity, the alleged power, and the function of fiduciary faith. The object of the Church in defining the dogma was not to shatter the trust in God (certitudo spei) in the matter of personal salvation, but to repel the misleading assumptions of an unwarranted certainty of salvation (certitudo fidei). In doing this the Church is altogether obedient to the instruction of Holy Writ, for, since Scripture declares that we must work out our salvation "with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12), it is impossible to regard our individual salvation as something fixed and certain. Why did St. Paul (1 Corinthians 9:27) chastise his body if not afraid lest, having preached to others, he might himself "become a castaway"? He says expressly (1 Corinthians 4:4): "For I am not conscious to myself of any thing, yet am I not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me, is the Lord." Tradition also rejects the Lutheran idea of certainty of justification. Pope Gregory the Great (lib. VII, ep. xxv) was asked by a pious lady of the court, named Gregoria, to say what was the state of her soul. He replied that she was putting to him a difficult and useless question, which he could not answer, because God had not vouchsafed to him any revelation concerning the state of her soul, and only after her death could she have any certain knowledge as to the forgiveness of her sins. No one can be absolutely certain of his or her salvation unless--as to Magdalen, to the man with the palsy, or to the penitent thief--a special revelation be given (Trent, Sess. VI, can. xvi). Nor can a theological certainty, any more than an absolute certainty of belief, be claimed regarding the matter of salvation, for the spirit of the Gospel is strongly opposed to anything like an unwarranted certainty of salvation. Therefore the rather hostile attitude to the Gospel spirit advanced by Ambrosius Catherinus* (d. 1553), in his little work: "De certitudine gratiae", received such general opposition from other theologians. Since no metaphysical certainty can be cherished in the matter of justification in any particular case, we must content ourselves with a moral certainty, which, of course, is but warranted in the case of baptized children, and which, in the case of adults diminishes more or less, just as all the conditions of, salvation are complied with--not an easy matter to determine. Nevertheless any excessive anxiety and disturbance may be allayed (Romans 8:16, 38 sq.) by the subjective conviction that we are probably in the state of grace. 


If man, as the Protestant theory of justification teaches, is justified by faith alone, by the external justice of Christ, or God, the conclusion which Martin Luther (Sermo de nat. Maria) drew must follow, namely that "we are all equal to Mary the Mother of God and just as holy as she". But if on the other hand, according to the teaching of the Church, we are justified by the justice and merits of Christ in such fashion that this becomes formally our own justice and holiness, then there must result an inequality of grace in individuals, and for two reasons: first, because according to the generosity of God or the receptive condition of the soul an unequal amount of grace is infused; then, also, because the grace originally received can be increased by the performance of good works (Trent, Sess. VI, cap. vii, can. xxiv). This possibility of increase in grace by good works, whence would follow its inequality in individuals, find its warrant in those Scriptural texts in which an increase of grace is either expressed or implied (Proverbs 4:18; Sirach 18:22; 2 Corinthians 9:10; Ephesians 4:7; 2 Peter 3:18; Revelation 22:11). Tradition had occasion, as early as the close of the fourth century, to defend the old Faith of the Church against the heretic Jovinian, who strove to introduce into the Church the Stoic doctrine of the equality of all virtue and all vice. St. Jerome (Con. Jovin., II, xxiii) was the chief defender of orthodoxy in this instance. The Church never recognized any other teaching than that laid down by St. Augustine (Tract. in Jo., vi, 8): "Ipsi sancti in ecclesia sunt alii aliis sanctiores, alii aliis meliores." Indeed, this view should commend itself to every thinking man. 

The increase of grace is by theologians justly called a second justification (justificatio secunda), as distinct from the first justification (justificatio prima), which is coupled with a remission of sin; for, though there be in the second justification no transit from sin to grace, there is an advance from grace to a more perfect sharing therein. 

 Sometimes called second conversion, as in the mystics and the perfection series.

If inquiry be made as to the mode of this increase, it can only be explained by the philosophical maxim: "Qualities are susceptible of increase and decrease"; for instance, light and heat by the varying degree of intensity increase or diminish. The question is not a theological but a philosophical one to decide whether the increase be effected by an addition of grade to grade (additio gradus ad gradum), as most theologians believe; or whether it be by a deeper and firmer taking of root in the soul (major radicatio in subjecto), as many Thomists claim. This question has a special connection with that concerning the multiplication of the habitual act. 

As in habitual virtue.....or the habitual response to grace.

But the last question that arises has decidedly a theological phase, namely, can the infusion of sanctifying grace be increased infinitely? Or is there a limit, a point at which it must be arrested? To maintain that the increase can go on to infinity, i.e. that man by successive advances in holiness can finally enter into the possession of an infinite endowment involves a manifest contradiction, for such a grade is as impossible as an infinite temperature in physics. Theoretically, therefore, we can consider only an increase without any real limit (in indefinitum). Practically however, two ideals of unattained and unattainable holiness have been determined, which nevertheless, are finite. The one is the inconceivably great holiness of the human soul of Christ, the other the fullness of grace which dwelt in the soul of the Virgin Mary.


In consonance with his doctrine of justification by faith alone, Luther made the loss or forfeiture of justification depend solely upon infidelity, while Calvin maintained that the predestined could not possibly lose their justification; as to those not predestined, he said, God merely aroused in them a deceitful show of faith and justification. On account of the grave moral dangers which lurked in the assertion that outside of unbelief there can be no serious sin destructive of Divine grace in the soul, the Council of Trent was obliged to condemn (Sess. VI, can. xxiii, xxvii) both these views. The lax principles of "evangelical liberty", the favourite catchword of the budding Reformation, were simply repudiated (Trent Sess. VI, can. xix-xxi). But the synod (Sess. VI cap. xi) added that not venial but only mortal sin involved the loss of grace. In this declaration there was a perfect accord with Scripture and Tradition. Even in the Old Testament the prophet Ezechiel (Ezekiel 18:24) says of the godless: "All his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die." Not in vain does St. Paul (1 Corinthians 10:12) warn the just: "Wherefore he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall"; and state uncompromisingly: "The unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God...neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers.... nor covetous, nor drunkards...shall possess the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9 sq.). Hence it is not by infidelity alone that the Kingdom of Heaven will be lost. Tradition shows that the discipline of confessors in the early Church proclaims the belief that grace and justification are lost by mortal sin. The principle of justification by faith alone is unknown to the Fathers. The fact that mortal sin takes the soul out of the state of grace is due to the very nature of mortal sin. Mortal sin is an absolute turning away from God, the supernatural end of the soul, and is an absolute turning to creatures; therefore, habitual mortal sin cannot exist with habitual grace any more than fire and water can co-exist in the same subject. But as venial sin does not constitute such an open rupture with God, and does not destroy the friendship of God, therefore venial sin does not expel sanctifying grace from the soul. Hence, St. Augustine says (De spir. et lit., xxviii, 48): "Non impediunt a vita Aeterna justum quaedam peccata venialia, sine quibus haec vita non ducitur." 

Mortal, as in mortis, mort, dead...the soul is dead in mortal sin, not alive in Christ and not in sanctifying grace....

But does venial sin, without extinguishing grace, nevertheless diminish it, just as good works give an increase of grace? Denys the Carthusian (d. 1471) was of the opinion that it does, though St. Thomas rejects it (II-II:24:10). A gradual decrease of grace would only be possible on the supposition that either a definite number of venial sins amounted to a mortal sin, or that the supply of grace might be diminished, grade by grade, down to ultimate extinction. The first hypothesis is contrary to the nature of venial sin; the second leads to the heretical view that grace may be lost without the commission of mortal sin. Nevertheless, venial sins have an indirect influence on the state of grace, for they make a relapse into mortal sin easy (cf. Sirach 19:1). Does the loss of sanctifying grace bring with it the forfeiture of the supernatural retinue of infused virtues? Since the theological virtue of charity, though not identical, nevertheless is inseparably connected with grace, it is clear that both must stand or fall together, hence the expressions "to fall from grace" and "to lose charity" are equivalent. It is an article of faith (Trent, Sess. VI, can. xxviii, cap. xv) that theological faith may survive the Commission of mortal sin, and can be extinguished only by its diametrical opposite, namely, infidelity. It may be regarded as a matter of Church teaching that theological hope also survives mortal sin, unless this hope should be utterly killed by its extreme opposite, namely despair, though probably it is not destroyed by it second opposite, presumption. With regard to the moral virtues, the seven gifts and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, which invariably accompany grace and charity, it is clear that when mortal sin enters into the soul they cease to exist (cf. Francisco Suárez, "De gratia", IX, 3 sqq.). As to the fruits of sanctifying grace, see MERIT. my next post is on merit

Back to the Protestants.

Is it possible without the life of the sacraments in the Church to avoid mortal sin?  Unlikely....Do Protestants contracept, divorce and remarry, skip Sunday observance, not receive the Eucharist? Yes for most....sanctifying grace given at baptism has been lost.

But, here is the clincher passage from Christ Himself: John 6.

 [51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven. [52] If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. [53] The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? [54] Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. [55] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. 

Without receiving the Eucharist, there is no life within a person, including lasped Catholics and Protestants, Hindus, Jews, Muslims. We have stopped preaching this truth which comes from the mouth of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Why have we stopped teaching this long-held Catholic truth? 

Salvation is given to all men and women. Some reject it. Some reject grace to become Catholics. Some do not think to become Catholics. God is merciful, and some will be saved by the merits of the Catholic Church. What that means will be examined in the next post.

to be continued...

Prayer More Than Good Works

 More on merit later..but here is a snippet from the CE:

But, for obtaining temporal favours, prayer is more effective than meritorious works, provided that the granting of the petition be not against the designs of God or the true welfare of him who prays . The just man may merit de congruo for others (e.g., parents, relatives, and friends) whatever he is able to merit for himself: the grace of conversion, final perseverance, temporal blessings, nay even the very first prevenient grace (gratia prima prœveniens), (Summa Theol., I-II, Q. cxiv, a. 6) which he can in no wise merit for himself. St. Thomas gives as reason for this the intimate bond of friendship which sanctifying grace establishes between the just man and God. These effects are immeasurably strengthened by prayer for others; as it is beyond doubt that prayer plays an important part in the present economy of salvation.