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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Slavery of the Will; Freedom of the Will Part Five

Hero of the Synod
I want to get back to the Molinists, but here is a short excursion into the Jansenist aspect of the problem in Synod perspectives.

It could be that Jansenism still infects some thinking among some cardinals.

I only want to highlight one aspect which would impact pastoral concerns on irregular marriages. The pastoral view of some who are in error is that people simply do not have the grace to separate or be chaste. I find it amazing that there could still be cardinals and bishops influenced by Jansenism, but it seems so after October. It seems that at least two cardinals think it is too hard to convert, that it is impossible to give up a life of sin. Is not the cry of the false pastor that the Church must accept these sinners without expecting conversion? Does not the false pastor state that it is too hard to live according to the laws of God concerning marriage?

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange in Chapter Five of Grace.

At first, the Jansenists denied sufficient grace. Jansen himself (De gratia Christi, Bk. III, chap. I) admits no grace that is not efficacious. Quesnel (Denz., nos. 1359 ff.) and the Pistoians (Denz., no. 1521) adhere to this fully. Jansen’s first proposition (Denz., no. 1092) should be cited in particular: “Some commands of God are impossible to just men who are willing and striving, according to their present powers; moreover they lack grace which would make their observance possible to them.” In other words, many just men of good will, who make an effort, are deprived of sufficient grace which gives a real power or faculty for good works commanded by God; it would follow that the wicked are punished unjustly, since they could not be good. This proposition is declared heretical.
The second proposition is closely related to the first: “In the state of fallen nature, interior graces are never resisted,” that is to say, interior grace is always efficacious, which is heresy.
Likewise the third proposition of Jansen: “For meriting and demeriting in the state of fallen nature man does not require freedom from necessity; freedom from constraint is sufficient.” This proposition pertains rather to efficacious grace which, according to the Jansenists, removes freedom from necessity and leaves only spontaneity. Their fourth proposition is that the Semi-Pelagian heresy consisted in maintaining that the human will can resist or obey grace. The fifth proposition declares that Christ did not die for all men.

Does Arnauld’s explanation preserve sufficient grace? I reply: not really, but only as a matter of verbiage, for actions to be accomplished are not general but concrete and individual. Hence, if grace does not suffice for each particular precept or each individual temptation, it is simply insufficient. Therefore Arnauld does not escape from Jansen’s first proposition: “Some commands of God are impossible to just men who are willing and striving, according to their present powers; moreover, they lack grace which would make their observance possible to them” here and now.
Since this proposition is condemned as heretical, it is a dogma of faith that at least grace which is truly, yet merely, sufficient is not lacking to the just; truly, since it confers a real power of acting virtuously; merely, since it is resisted and fails of its final effect. This dogma of faith had already been equivalently expressed in several councils. The Council of Orange (Denz., no. 200) declared that “all the baptized, by the help and cooperation of Christ, can and ought to accomplish whatever pertains to salvation, if they are willing to work faithfully.” The Second Council of Valence maintained against Scotus Erigenus (Denz., no. 321): “Therefore the wicked themselves are not lost because they could not be good, but because they would not.” And the Council of Trent (Denz., no. 804) adopts the formula: “God does not command the impossible, but by commanding He teaches thee to do what thou canst and to ask what thou canst not, and He assists thee that thou mayest be able.” Therefore God confers sufficient help to enable us, not only in general, but in individual cases, to observe His commandments.
What, then, is the scriptural basis for this dogma of sufficient grace? Especially worthy of citation are the words of the Lord in Isa. 5:4: “What is there that I ought to do more to My vineyard, that I have not done to it?” For if God ought not to do anything more, then His help is truly sufficient. However, in this text it does not say: “What is there that I could do more,” and we shall see that God can do more, although not bound to do so.

to be continued...