Sanctifying Grace – the Perfection of Free Will and Principle of Merit

Catholic Candle note:  Occasionally, we analyze the liberal statements of Bishop Richard N. Williamson.  Yet, someone could wonder:

Why mention Bishop Williamson any longer, since he is unimportant as merely one of very many compromising bishops and priests?  

It is true that a priest (or group) is of small importance when he (or the group) is merely one of the countless compromisers.  By contrast, an uncompromising and faithful priest or bishop is of great importance, even though he is only one.

However, we sometimes mention Bishop Williamson in particular for at least these five reasons, motivated by charity:

  1. New Catholic Candle readers might not be sufficiently informed of Bishop Williamson’s liberalism in order to avoid him.  Out of charity for them we occasionally provide these warnings to help those new readers appreciate the danger of the errors he spreads.
  2. Some longtime Catholic Candle readers might forget Bishop Williamson’s poison or vacillate in their resolution to stay away from him, if they never received a reminder warning about the danger inherent in his teachings.  This is like the fact that all it takes for many people to become conciliar is to never be reminded about the errors of Vatican II and the conciliar church.  Out of charity for these readers we occasionally provide these reminders lest readers “forget” to continue to avoid Bishop Williamson and his group.
  3. Bishop Williamson serves as an important study case to examine how leaving the truth often happens.  It is a warning to us all about a very common way to depart from the truth and become unfaithful.  Out of charity for ourselves, we occasionally provide these insights about becoming unfaithful by taking this common road of compromise that Bishop Williamson is taking.
  4. Over time, Bishop Williamson has provided us with a large catalogue of liberal errors.  Studying his compromises and errors along with the contrasting Traditional Catholic truth is a helpful means of studying our Faith and guarding ourselves against the principal errors of our time.  This helps us to fulfill our duty of continually studying the doctrines of our Faith.  Out of charity for ourselves, we use the occasion of Bishop Williamson’s liberalism to study our Traditional Catholic Faith better, in contrast to Bishop Williamson’s corresponding liberalism.

  1. Most so-called “bishops”, whether liberal/conciliar or sedevacantist, have doubtful consecrations and must be treated as invalid.[1]  By contrast, Bishop Williamson’s consecration is not doubtful.  Thus, if he ever were to return from his heresies, he could once again do important work for the Catholic Church, as he did years ago.

Finally, for those readers who are already resolute in their determination to completely avoid Bishop Williamson and his compromise group, they can receive just as much of the substance of this Catholic Candle article, if they substitute the phrase “a liberal could say” anytime they read “that Bishop Williamson teaches”.

Defending the Catholic Faith and Our Lady’s Perfection

Against Bishop Williamson’s Confusion and Heresies[2]


In a recent letter to his followers, Bishop Richard Williamson showed his confusion about the spiritual life when he taught that if God were to bestow grace in great enough abundance, it would:

  1. Take away a person’s free will; and
  2. Destroy the merit of prayers, virtuous acts, and good works.

These two conclusions are heresies. But this confused bishop also adds a third error:

  1. Because God wanted His elect to be able to merit, He could not avoid the world being a place where most people go to hell.

Below, we will examine each of these three errors.

  1. Bishop Williamson falsely claims that grace can take away a person’s free will.

Bishop Williamson (falsely) teaches that God would take away a person’s free will by giving that person grace in sufficiently great abundance.  Bishop Williamson says that, if God gave grace in such abundance, then “He [viz., God] would in effect be stopping human beings from exercising their free-will”.[3]

In other words, Bishop Williamson is falsely asserting that if grace is abundant enough, it takes away free will.  That is false and is heresy!

The truth is that grace always makes our will freer and less under the dominion of the wounds of original sin.  Man is not free to choose his goal (i.e., his end).  It is fixed by the nature God gave to him.  Man always seeks happiness as his end.  Man’s will is only free to choose the means to this end.  All of this is explained beautifully in Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Libertas.

God can save the most hardened sinner by enlightening his mind and strengthening his will, so that the man sees more plainly the true means to obtain his happiness. When God gives this extra light and strength, any man freely chooses these means which God clearly shows him, and thus he attains happiness (especially heaven), which is the end which God fixed for him to seek.

Thus, the souls of the saints are most-free, because they follow God and reason in all of the various aspects of their lives. They are freest from the slavery to vices, such as pride and gluttony.[4]

The consequences of Bishop Williamson’s error are especially striking because of how his error insults the Blessed Virgin Mary.  If he were correct, then Mary would be the least free of all humans, since she has the greatest grace of any human person, as shown below.[5]


Mary has the greatest grace of any human person.

Mary is full of grace, as the Archangel Gabriel proclaimed: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”  St. Luke, 1:28.  

St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Church, teaches the same truth:

So full of grace was the Blessed Virgin, that it overflows onto all mankind.  It is, indeed, a great thing that any one saint has so much grace that it is conducive to the salvation of many; but it is most wondrous to have so much grace as to suffice for the salvation of all mankind. Thus, it is in Christ and in the Blessed Virgin.[6]

Indeed, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church, teaches that Mary has more grace than all of the other saints together.  Here are his words:

Let us conclude that our heavenly child [Mary], because she was appointed mediatrix of the world, as also because she was destined to be the Mother of the Redeemer, received, at the very beginning of her existence, grace exceeding in greatness that of all the saints together.[7] 

So, we see that Our Lady has the greatest grace of any human person – i.e., more than any person except Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Does this grace impede the Blessed Virgin Mary from exercising her free-will, as Bishop Williamson teaches?  Absolutely not!

Anyone who receives grace becomes freer because of the grace.  With the greatest abundance of grace, Our Lady is the freest of all.  This truth is the opposite of Bishop Williamson’s distortion of the spiritual life and his erroneous and confused teaching about grace and free will.

  1. Bishop Williamson falsely claims that abundant grace can take away a person’s opportunity to merit.

Bishop Williamson (falsely) teaches that a person’s ability to merit would be taken away if God gave him grace in sufficiently great abundance.  Bishop Williamson says that, if God gave very abundant grace, then “He [viz., God] would in effect be stopping human beings … from meriting for Heaven”.[8]

In other words, Bishop Williamson is falsely asserting that if grace is abundant enough, then a person cannot merit.  That is false and is heresy!  If he were correct, then Mary would be most greatly prevented from meriting since she has the greatest grace of any human person.  However, she has the greatest merit, as shown below.

Our Lady’s merit is greatest among all of the saints

The Blessed Virgin Mary is not only full of grace but this is the reason for the great merit she earned by every thought, word and deed.

St. Alphonsus beautifully explains this truth in these words:

If Mary, as the already destined Mother of our common Redeemer, received from the very beginning the office of mediatrix of all men, and consequently even of the saints, it was also requisite from the very beginning [that] she should have a grace exceeding that of all the saints for whom she was to intercede.  I will explain myself more clearly. If, by the means of Mary, all men were to render themselves dear to God, necessarily Mary was more holy and dearer to Him than all men together.  Otherwise, how could she have interceded for all others?  That an intercessor may obtain the favor of a prince for all his vassals, it is absolutely necessary that he should be dearer to his prince than all the other vassals.  And therefore St. Anselm concludes that Mary deserved to be made the worthy repairer of the lost world, because she was the purest of all creatures. ‘The pure sanctity of her heart, surpassing the purity and sanctity of all other creatures, merited for her that she should be made the repairer of the lost world.’[9]

St. Alphonsus further teaches:

Let us conclude that our heavenly child [Mary], because she was appointed mediatrix of the world, as also because she was destined to be the Mother of the Redeemer, received, at the very beginning of her existence, grace exceeding in greatness that of all the saints together.  Hence, how delightful a sight must the beautiful soul of this happy child have been to heaven and earth, although still enclosed in her mother’s womb!  She was the most amiable creature in the eyes of God, because she was already loaded with grace and merit. …  And she was at the same time the creature above all others that had ever appeared in the world up to that moment, who loved God the most; so much so, that had Mary been born immediately after her most pure conception, she would have come into the world richer in merits, and more holy, than all the saints united.[10] 

With the most abundant grace, Our Lady also had the most abundant merits.  Contrary to Bishop Williamson’s heresy, a greater abundance of grace does not impede merit, but rather causes it.

  1. Bishop Williamson falsely claims the world is not the most perfect world but is the best world God was able to create and still have heaven be a great place.

Bishop Williamson not only shows his confusion about grace, free will, and merit (as shown above), but also, he asserts that God did not make earth a better place than He did, because that would have made heaven a worse place.  Bishop Williamson (falsely) teaches that if God had not made a world where most people go to hell, then heaven would be worse.  This is false and is heresy.  Here are Bishop Williamson’s words:

[A]n unmerited Heaven could not have the quality of a merited Heaven, which is why we live in this “vale of tears” – God created us only for the best, even if it necessitated the “collateral damage” of a “vale of tears” in which a majority of all souls created would choose Hell.[11]

In other words, Bishop Williamson falsely asserts God made a world where most men go to hell because otherwise, He could not have made heaven as great.

The truth is that the world that God made is the best of all possible worlds.[12]  God allows evil for His greater glory and in order to bring about greater good.[13]  God allows some people to (voluntarily) sin and to damn themselves because their damnation manifests God’s Justice more clearly than if damnation had been something which never occurred but which we understood only as something that could have – but didn’t – ever happen.

Similarly, God’s Mercy and Goodness in saving the elect is more manifest in contrast to the actual damnation of other souls, since the damned very evidently manifest what could have happened to the elect, had God not chosen to save them because of His Mercy and Goodness.

Although sin itself is evil, this world which God made, in which He allows sin and damnation, is better as a whole because it manifests God’s Mercy, Goodness, and Justice better than if there had been no sin.  By better manifesting God’s perfections, the universe gives greater Glory to God.[14]  For God’s only end is His Own Glory, that is, Himself.  Any other end (less than God) is unworthy of God.[15]

Thus, we see that, for His own Glory and to manifest His perfections, God saves some persons and gives them happiness.  Likewise, for His own Glory and to manifest His perfections, God allows some persons to damn themselves and be unhappy.[16]

Thus, Bishop Williamson errs that God made the earth imperfect because, if He had made the earth better, it would have made heaven worse.  The truth is that God could have made a world where everyone received superabundant grace and where everyone went to the perfect heaven which He made.  But this would have been a less-perfect world.

Similarly, God could have made a world where everyone received superabundant grace and there were no tears and no suffering, and everyone loved Him greatly.  However, such a world would have been less perfect because it would have failed to manifest His Honor and Glory as perfectly as the world He actually made.  

Conclusion

We must be vigilant to guard against Bishop Williamson’s fundamental errors concerning the spiritual life.  In contrast to his errors, the truth is that:

  • Grace always makes a man’s will freer.  

  • Grace always increases the merits of his actions.  

  • The heaven and earth that God made are the most perfect ones possible, although most men choose sin and choose to damn themselves.

[1]          For further information about the doubtfulness of the conciliar “consecration” rite, read this analysis: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49oPuI54eEGZVF5cmFvMGdZM0U/view?resourcekey=0-d98Ksw0xkbtafE2fYSTq8A

[2]          Heresy is an error about the Catholic Faith.  Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas explains this truth:

We are speaking of heresy now as denoting a corruption of the Christian Faith.  Now it does not imply a corruption of the Christian faith, if a man has a false opinion in matters that are not of faith, for instance, in questions of geometry and so forth, which cannot belong to the faith by any means; but only when a person has a false opinion about things belonging to the faith.

Now a thing may be of the faith in two ways, as stated above, in one way, directly and principally, e.g., the articles of faith; in another way, indirectly and secondarily, e.g., those matters, the denial of which leads to the corruption of some article of faith; and there may be heresy in either way, even as there can be faith.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.11, a.2, respondeo.

[3]          Here is the longer quote:

God is absolute Goodness because He is absolute Being, only a lack of being can be evil. It is absolutely impossible for God to cause directly moral evil. What He can do is cause it indirectly by not giving the grace or graces which would have prevented that moral evil from happening. In that case He is not acting positively, He is refraining from acting, or acting negatively, to allow the evil to happen. Those graces that would have prevented the evil, He is entirely free to give or not give, and if He always gave them, He would in effect be stopping human beings from exercising their free-will and from meriting for Heaven. But an unmerited Heaven could not have the quality of a merited Heaven, which is why we live in this “vale of tears” – God created us only for the best, even if it necessitated the “collateral damage” of a “vale of tears” in which a majority of all souls created would choose Hell (Mt. VII, 13–14).

Eleison Comments by Mgr. Williamson – Issue DCCXXXII (732) (underline emphasis in original; bold and italic emphasis added).

[5]          We must defend Our Lady against such insults to her prerogatives.  As St. Louis de Montfort teaches in his book, True Devotion to Mary, ¶265:

Finally, we must do everything for Mary.  Since we have given ourselves completely to her service, it is only right that we should do everything for her as if we were her personal servant and slave.  This does not mean that we take her for the ultimate end of our service, for Jesus alone is our ultimate end.  But we take Mary for our proximate end, our mysterious intermediary and the easiest way of reaching Him.

Like every good servant and slave, we must not remain idle, but, relying on her protection, we should undertake and carry out great things for our noble Queen.  We must defend her privileges when they are questioned and uphold her good name when it is under attack.

[6]          St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Angelic Salutation.

[7]         St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary — discourse #2 the birth of Mary (emphasis added).

[8]          Here is the longer quote:

God is absolute Goodness because He is absolute Being, only a lack of being can be evil. It is absolutely impossible for God to cause directly moral evil. What He can do is cause it indirectly by not giving the grace or graces which would have prevented that moral evil from happening. In that case He is not acting positively, He is refraining from acting, or acting negatively, to allow the evil to happen. Those graces that would have prevented the evil, He is entirely free to give or not give, and if He always gave them, He would in effect be stopping human beings from exercising their free-will and from meriting for Heaven. But an unmerited Heaven could not have the quality of a merited Heaven, which is why we live in this “vale of tears” – God created us only for the best, even if it necessitated the “collateral damage” of a “vale of tears” in which a majority of all souls created would choose Hell (Mt. VII, 13–14).

Eleison Comments by Mgr. Williamson – Issue DCCXXXII (732) (underline emphasis in original; bold and italic emphasis added).

[9]         St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary – discourse #2 the birth of Mary

 

[10]         St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary — discourse #2 the birth of Mary (emphasis added).

[11]          Here is the longer quote:

God is absolute Goodness because He is absolute Being, only a lack of being can be evil. It is absolutely impossible for God to cause directly moral evil. What He can do is cause it indirectly by not giving the grace or graces which would have prevented that moral evil from happening. In that case He is not acting positively, He is refraining from acting, or acting negatively, to allow the evil to happen. Those graces that would have prevented the evil, He is entirely free to give or not give, and if He always gave them, He would in effect be stopping human beings from exercising their free-will and from meriting for Heaven.  But an unmerited Heaven could not have the quality of a merited Heaven, which is why we live in this “vale of tears” – God created us only for the best, even if it necessitated the “collateral damage” of a “vale of tears” in which a majority of all souls created would choose Hell (Mt. VII, 13–14).

Eleison Comments by Mgr. Williamson – Issue DCCXXXII (732) (underline emphasis in original; bold and italic emphasis added).

[13]          Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas (the Greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church) explains this truth, quoting St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church:

As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): “Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil.”  This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

Summa, Ia, Q.2 a.3, ad 1 (emphasis added).

[14]
         Here is St. Thomas’ fuller explanation of this truth:

It is the part of the best agent to produce an effect which is best in its entirety; but this does not mean that He makes every part of the whole the best absolutely, but in proportion to the whole; in the case of an animal, for instance, its goodness would be taken away if every part of it had the dignity of an eye. Thus, therefore, God also made the universe to be best as a whole, according to the mode of a creature; whereas He did not make each single creature best, but one better than another.  And therefore, we find it said of each creature, “God saw the light, that it was good” (Genesis 1:4); and in like manner of each one of the rest.  But of all together it is said, “God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Summa, Ia, Q.47, a.2, ad 1 (emphasis added).

[15]
         Here is how St. Thomas explains this truth:  

[E]ach and every creature exists for the perfection of the entire universe.  Furthermore, the entire universe, with all its parts, is ordained towards God as its end, inasmuch as it imitates, as it were, and shows forth the Divine goodness, to the glory of God.

Summa, Ia, Q.65., a2, respondeo (emphasis added).

God loves mankind and the rest of creation because they are His work and He gave them whatever goodness they have.  But they are finite goods which God loves finitely as part of His infinite love for Himself.  For a fuller explanation of this truth, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/god-does-not-infinitely-love-any-creature.html

[16]
         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas (quoting St. Paul) explains this Truth of the Catholic Faith:

Let us then consider the whole of the human race, as we consider the whole universe.  God Wills to manifest His goodness in men; in respect to those whom He predestines, by means of His mercy, as sparing them; and in respect of others, whom he reprobates, by means of His justice, in punishing them.

This is the reason why God elects some and rejects others.  To this, the Apostle refers, saying (Romans 9:22-23):

What if God, willing to show His wrath [that is, the vengeance of His justice], and to make His power known, endured [that is, permitted] with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction; that He might show the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He hath prepared unto glory;

and (2 Timothy 2:20):

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver; but also, of wood and of earth; and some, indeed, unto honor, but some unto dishonor.

Summa, Ia Q. 23 a.5, ad 3 (emphasis added).  The bracketed words (in the quotes from St. Paul) are contained in the Summa.

Our Life is a Personal Gift from God

A gift-giver has the moral right to expect the gift to be spent, used, or lived as intended by the giver.  If you inherited a large sum of money from your (traditional Catholic) parents that they worked hard all their lives to accumulate, they’d have a right to expect you to use it wisely, and above all, not to use it in an evil way, putting your salvation in greater doubt.

Most people take their gift of life for granted and live it as they see fit, without considering restrictions from God or anyone else.  WRONG!  Your life is a magnificent gift from God, and in justice, ought to be lived as He requires.  The Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say about supernatural gifts:

A supernatural gift may be defined as something conferred on nature that is above all the powers of created nature.  When God created man, He was not content with bestowing upon him the essential endowments required by man’s nature.  He raised him to a higher state, adding certain gifts to which his nature had no claim.[1]

***

The absolutely supernatural gifts, which alone are the supernatural properly so called, are summed up in the Divine adoption of man to be the son and heir of God.  This expression, and the explanations given of it by the sacred writers, make it evident that the sonship is something far more than a relation founded upon the absence of sin; it is of a thoroughly intimate character, raising the creature from its naturally humble estate, and making it the object of a peculiar benevolence and complaisance on God’s part, admitting it to filial love, and enabling it to become God’s heir, i.e., a partaker of God’s own beatitude.  “God sent His Son…that He might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because you are sons, God hath sent the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying: Abba. Father. Therefore, now he is not a servant, but a son.  And if a son, an heir also through God.”[2]

In the present world, life is not valued as the precious gift that it is.  Therefore, it is easy for people to think they have the right to use it in any way they want – ignoring God’s Ten Commandments, one (or all), and thinking they are living a fuller, more enjoyable, and happy life.

But in reality, it is a most unfulfilled life, filled with drugs and alcohol, pleasure-seeking, futilely chasing after money, success, satisfaction, and happiness. It is like one of God’s fish trying to live out of water.

Real happiness in life is based on understanding and real appreciation of God’s gift of your life, and living it according to the Giver’s intention and plan.

God picked you to receive His gift of life.  He could have chosen not to create you and to create someone else instead.

Show your appreciation by living a holy life to please Him.  This has the (intended) consequence of bringing you untold happiness.  You were created to be happy on earth and then to be perfectly happy with God forever in heaven.

When it comes to generosity, God is never outdone.  In reality, you take far more than you give, whereas God gives and gives, wants your love, and waits for you to love Him in return.

So, realize Who is the Giver, and who is the one always taking.  Your life will be happier if you make a real effort to live your gift of life by standing up for Him in this sea of evil called “the civilized world”.

Don’t worry.  He knows of your love and appreciation of His gifts. He can read your heart.  Oh, what a gift!

 

          



[1]           The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909, Vol. 6, Page 553, article: Gifts, Supernatural.


[2]           The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909, Vol. 6, Page 553, article: Gifts, Supernatural.

Sanctifying Grace – the “Companion” of Charity

Catholic Candle note: We should study the Catholic Faith our whole life.  Part of this duty is to understand more fully the truths of the Faith we already learned as children.  Thus, for example, concerning the question “Who is God?”, we know from our First Communion Catechism that “God is the Supreme Being Who made all things.”  During our life, we should learn more about God, as best we can, little-by-little, using the opportunities we have.

The article below is an aid to help us “peering a little more deeply” into a few related truths of the Faith which we already learned in our catechism as children.  The article below is merely one more step in the journey of learning our Faith better.


What is Charity, and How does it relate to Sanctifying Grace?

Charity is friendship with God.[1] 

Without charity, a man is an enemy of God, since every man is at enmity with God through Original Sin[2] (and mortal sin), unless (and until) he becomes His friend through the friendship of charity[3], which is only acquired with Sanctifying Grace.[4] 

Sanctifying Grace is God’s Life within us[5] and makes us holy and pleasing to God.[6]

Let us summarize what we covered so far:  God’s life is to know and love Himself, and that life is pure and perfect bliss; He is the only worthy object of His love and knowledge.[7]

Yet the astounding fact is this:  When we possess charity and Sanctifying Grace, we also participate in that very life of God – His love and knowledge for Himself!  We know and love God in a way similar to the way that He Himself knows and love Himself.  Note that we said “in a way similar to how He knows and loves Himself” – but not to the same extent. 

This qualification of “in a way similar to” is very important.  Perhaps an example might help: let us suppose a very bright philosopher who knows and can prove many truths about God, yet who lacks Sanctifying Grace.  This man might be able to explain many natural truths about God (truths knowable by the human intellect without Revelation) which many or even most Catholics cannot prove because of a lack of education.  Yet this bright man is not able to know God in the way that the simplest peasant can know Him when he has Sanctifying Grace. 

What is the way the bright man knows God?   He can prove things about God from a distant and cold perspective, in a dry, academic way.  For example, he can prove there must be a God, because of such-and-such human reasoning.  He can prove that this God must be eternal, and can prove many other truths.  This is all good, but yet it is a “far cry” from what Sanctifying Grace does for the soul. 

Let us now contrast:  What can the peasant in the state of grace do which the bright philosopher in the state of mortal sin cannot do?  The peasant is able to know God as a loving Father – a personal God Who cares about each of us deeply, Who was born and died for us, Who is always looking out for us, guiding us, showering us with gifts, and Who longs to have us with Him forever in heavenly bliss.  But love requires knowledge of the thing loved.  Thus, because the peasant is able to know God in this way, he is also able to love God in a way that bright philosopher is simply not able to.

The “Companionship” of Sanctifying Grace and Charity: Sanctifying Grace and Charity always come into a soul together[8] and increase together (and they leave together, in any soul that has the great tragedy of committing a mortal sin).[9]

Thus, we can see that Sanctifying Grace and charity are inseparable “companions” in the supernatural life.  Here is how God’s Life and His Love for Himself are reflected in our possessing Sanctifying Grace and charity:

  God is His Own Divine Life; Sanctifying Grace is God’s Life in us by participation.

 

  God has one act, which is to love Himself.[10]  By charity, we love God in a similar way.


Without Charity and Sanctifying Grace, we cannot merit.

What is merit?

To “merit” means “to be worthy of or entitled or liable to earn”.[11]

Merit is a right to a reward.   For example, let us suppose a man who is in mortal sin discovers a plot to kill and overthrow the king.  The man informs the king.  This deed deserves praise and reward, because perhaps it not only saved the king himself, but also the whole kingdom.  Thus, the king – if he is a just man – might say to the man, “Well done!  You have merited a reward and my gratitude.”  In that case, the man merited a natural reward from a mere man. 


Merit can be natural or supernatural.

But what if the man did the same thing, but this time possessed Sanctifying Grace and charity?   When in the state of grace, the motive behind our actions can be that of love of God, and thus take on a supernatural dimension.   In such case, not only would the man gain natural merit from the human king, but also supernatural merit.  God, Who is Justice itself, might well give him natural gifts (e.g., good health, success), but also supernatural gifts (e.g., a right to a higher place in heaven, an increase of virtue and grace).

But without Sanctifying Grace, we cannot merit anything from God.[12]

This is not surprising, since those without Sanctifying Grace are God’s enemies.[13]  How could God’s enemies ever merit from Him while remaining His enemies and remaining in mortal sin – with their wills turned against Him?[14]

Let us “unpack” the consequences a little further, of the truth that without Sanctifying Grace, a person can merit absolutely nothing from God.  This means that:

  A man in the state of mortal sin who builds orphanages, schools, or monasteries (which are good works) does not merit even the slightest thing from God, by doing so.[15]

  A man in the state of mortal sin who teaches the Catholic Faith, does not merit even the slightest thing from God, by doing so. [16]

 

  A man in the state of mortal sin who dedicates his life to fighting communism or disease, or who dies trying to rescue a child in a burning building, does not earn anything at all from God, by doing so.[17]

This is true even if the man’s work was an instrument to save many other souls and brought about much good in other ways.  Persons without Sanctifying Grace never merit from God by the good works they do.  On the other hand, though, those persons are able to commit further evil.  By choosing to commit more sins, they offend God further and deserve further punishment.

This does not mean that a man in mortal sin never does anything good and that he cannot have any natural virtues.  When the man teaches the truth or constructs a building, those are truly natural good works and this fact is not “taken away” by the man’s inability to merit from God for those works.[18]  Again, a man might merit natural rewards, such as from the human king, as explained in the above example.

Natural virtue is not a source of supernatural merit, when a man is in mortal sin.[19]  For example, a Satanist (or other enemy of God) could possibly have the habit of being patient with his neighbor or be habitually generous to a crippled child.  These habits (patience and generosity) would be natural virtues.  What is impossible is for such a man to merit supernaturally from God, by his (natural) good acts and virtues.

We ordinary Catholics, who are unaccustomed to the ways of God, might tend to falsify the truths (above) by supposing that there is a way “through the back door” for a man in mortal sin to merit in some way.  For example, although we know that a man in mortal sin cannot merit from God, we might suppose that, when God sees the man’s (human) good works or (natural) virtues, God might decide to give that man grace on that basis, i.e., for this reason.  But our supposition (viz., that God might act this way) would contradict the truth that a man in mortal sin never merits from God by anything he does.  In other words:

Nothing done by a person without Sanctifying Grace inclines God to give him any blessing or good.

Remember the explanation above: to “merit” is to be a cause of good or to earn good in some way.  If a man in mortal sin were to influence God favorably toward him in any way, through the good works that man did, so that God gave him something which the man would not have otherwise received, then that man has merited while in mortal sin.  In other words, that man’s good works would have been a cause of the good he received from God.  This is impossible.[20]  Thus, God never gives any good to a man because of that man’s good works while he is in mortal sin, because that man cannot merit anything by his works.

However, this truth certainly does not mean that God could never (or would never) give grace to a man in mortal sin.  Rather, the Sanctifying Grace and other good things which God gives to a man in mortal sin are in no way merited by him.  They are given as a free, undeserved gift of God, not based on anything he did.

In a future article, we will look at how someone can merit supernatural good in some way (called “condignly”), when he is already in the state of Sanctifying Grace.


Conclusion

A man in mortal sin cannot merit Sanctifying Grace or any other good from God, by the (human) good works he does or by the (natural) virtues he has.  Sanctifying Grace is a free gift of God, not merited in any way by the man in mortal sin.



[1]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Church, explains this truth:

It is written (John 15:15): “I will not now call you servants . . . but My friends.”  Now this was said to them by reason of nothing else than charity. Therefore, charity is friendship.  …

According to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 2,3) not every love has the character of friendship, but that love which is together with benevolence, when, to wit, we love someone so as to wish good to him.  If, however, we do not wish good to what we love, but wish its good for ourselves, (thus we are said to love wine, or a horse, or the like), it is love not of friendship, but of a kind of concupiscence. For it would be absurd to speak of having friendship for wine or for a horse.

Yet neither does well-wishing suffice for friendship, for a certain mutual love is requisite, since friendship is between friend and friend: and this well-wishing is founded on some kind of communication.

Accordingly, since there is a communication between man and God, inasmuch as He communicates His happiness to us, some kind of friendship must needs be based on this same communication, of which it is written (1 Corinthians 1:9): “God is faithful: by Whom you are called unto the fellowship of His Son."  The love which is based on this communication, is charity: wherefore it is evident that charity is the friendship of man for God.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.23, a.1, sed contra and respondeo (emphasis added).

[2]           As the psalmist teaches, concerning everyone being born with Original Sin: “I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.”  Psalm, 50:7.  St. Paul teaches that, because of Original Sin, we are all “by nature children of wrath”.  Ephesians, 2:3. 

[3]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth, following and quoting St. Augustine: “whosoever has not charity is wicked, because ‘this gift alone of the Holy Ghost distinguishes the children of the kingdom from the children of perdition’”.  Summa, IIa IIae, Q.178, a.2, sed contra, quoting St. Augustine’s treatise on the Blessed Trinity, De Trinitate, bk.15, ch.18.

St. Paul teaches: “the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us.”  Romans, 5:5.

[4]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth, quoting St. Augustine:

Sanctifying Grace is given chiefly in order that man’s soul may be united to God by charity.  Wherefore Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 18): “A man is not transferred from the left side to the right, unless he receives the Holy Ghost, by Whom he is made a lover of God and of his neighbor.”

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.172, a.4, respondeo.

[5]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

[T]he light of grace which is a participation of the Divine Nature is something besides the infused virtues which are derived from and are ordained to this light ….

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.110, a.3, respondeo

See also, St. John of the Cross, the Mystical Doctor of the Church, where he teaches the same truth: Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 38, §4.

St. Peter refers to Sanctifying Grace as making us “partakers of the Divine Nature”.  2 Peter, 1:4.

[6]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

Even as when a man is said to be in another’s good graces, it is understood that there is something in him pleasing to the other; so also, when anyone is said to have God’s grace – with this difference, that what is pleasing to a man in another is presupposed to his love, but whatever is pleasing to God in a man is caused by the Divine love, as was said above.

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.110, a.1, ad 1.

A little below these words of St. Thomas, he says “we speak of grace inasmuch as it makes man pleasing to God”.

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.110, a.3, respondeo (emphasis added).

Here is how the Baltimore Catechism #3 explains this truth:

Q. 461. What is sanctifying grace?

A. Sanctifying grace is that grace which makes the soul holy and pleasing to God.

[7]               The only way God knows creatures is through knowing Himself and knowing us as His works.  Summa, Ia, Q.14, a.7, respondeo; Ia, Q.16, a.7, respondeo.  The reason why God loves us creatures is because we are His works and He loves His works and the good He put into us.  Summa, Ia, Q.14, a.5; Ia, Q.20, a.2.

[8]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

Sanctifying Grace is given chiefly in order that man’s soul may be united to God by charity.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.172, a.4, respondeo.

[9]           Mortal sin deprives a man of sanctifying grace.  Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.7, respondeo.  Mortal sin deprives a man of charity.  Summa, Ia IIae, Q.88, a.1, respondeo.

[10]         This same one act of loving Himself is also an act of knowing Himself.  It is hard for us to understand this, but God is wholly simple and has only one act, which is to know and to love Himself.  Summa, Ia, Q.3; Ia, Q.16, a.5, ad 1.

[11]         https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/merit (definition of the transitive verb, “merit”).

 

[12]         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth, referring to Sanctifying Grace using its other name, i.e., “habitual grace”, since Sanctifying Grace remains in (inhabits) those in the state of grace:

The preparation of the human will for good is twofold: the first, whereby it is prepared to operate rightly and to enjoy God; and this preparation of the will cannot take place without the habitual gift of grace, which is the principle of meritorious works ….

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.6, respondeo (emphasis added).

Here is how the Catechism of St. Pius X teaches this truth:

5 Q. Why do not those who are in mortal sin participate in these goods [shared in the Communion of Saints]?

A. Because that which unites the faithful with God, and with Jesus Christ as His living members, rendering them capable of performing meritorious works for life eternal, is the grace of God which is the supernatural life of the soul; and hence as those who are in mortal sin are without the grace of God, they are excluded from perfect communion in spiritual goods, nor can they accomplish works meritorious towards life eternal.

Catechism of St. Pius X, section, Ninth Article of the Creed, subsection, Communion of Saints (bracketed words added to the question, to show the context).

Here is how the Baltimore Catechism #3 teaches this truth:

Q. 141. Why then do we say a soul is dead while in a state of mortal sin?

A. We say a soul is dead while in a state of mortal sin, because in that state it is as helpless as a dead body, and can merit nothing for itself.

[13]         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth, following and quoting St. Augustine: “whosoever has not charity is wicked, because ‘this gift alone of the Holy Ghost distinguishes the children of the kingdom from the children of perdition’”.  Summa, IIa IIae, Q.178, a.2, Sed contra, quoting St. Augustine’s treatise, De Trinitate, bk.15, ch.18.

As the psalmist teaches: “I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.”  Psalm, 50:7.  St. Paul teaches that, because of Original Sin, we are all “by nature children of wrath”.  Ephesians, 2:3. 

[14]         Concerning three ways that all sin is an infinite offense against Almighty God and concerning a fourth way in which mortal sin is an infinite offense against God, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-infinite-evil-of-sin.html

[15]         We already implicitly know this truth, since we know what St. Paul teaches regarding the importance of Charity, which is the inseparable “companion” of Sanctifying Grace:

And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, … and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.     

1 Corinthians, 13:3.

[16]         We already implicitly know this truth, since we know what St. Paul teaches regarding the importance of Charity, which is the inseparable “companion” of Sanctifying Grace:

If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  …  And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians, 13:1-2.

[17]         We already implicitly know this truth, since we know what St. Paul teaches regarding the importance of Charity, which is the inseparable “companion” of Sanctifying Grace:

If I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

1 Corinthians, 13:3.

[18]         Here is one way St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

Yet because human nature is not altogether corrupted by sin, so as to be shorn of every natural good, even in the state of corrupted nature it can, by virtue of its natural endowments, work some particular good, as to build dwellings, plant vineyards, and the like ….

Summa, Ia IIae, Q. 109, a.2, respondeo.

[19]         Here is one way St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

[W]ithout grace man cannot merit everlasting life; yet he can perform works conducing to a good which is natural to man, as "to toil in the fields, to drink, to eat, or to have friends," and the like, as Augustine says.  …

Summa, Ia IIae, Q. 109, a.5, respondeo.

[20]         St. Thomas teaches that: “Man by himself can no wise rise from sin without the help of grace.”  Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.7, respondeo.

St. Thomas teaches that a man in mortal sin is as unable to merit return to grace, as a dead man is unable to cause his soul to return to his body.  Here are St. Thomas’s words:

[M]an cannot be restored by himself; but he requires the light of grace to be poured upon him anew, as if the soul were infused into a dead body for its resurrection.

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.7, ad 2.

Here is how the Catechism of St. Pius X teaches this truth:

5 Q. Why do not those who are in mortal sin participate in these goods?

A. Because that which unites the faithful with God, and with Jesus Christ as His living members, rendering them capable of performing meritorious works for life eternal, is the grace of God which is the supernatural life of the soul; and hence as those who are in mortal sin are without the grace of God, they are excluded from perfect communion in spiritual goods, nor can they accomplish works meritorious towards life eternal.


Catechism of St. Pius X, section, Ninth Article of the Creed, subsection, Communion of Saints.

 

No Salvation outside the Catholic Church

Catholic Candle note:

If people are only warned once against the principal errors of our Time, most of them will not keep the Faith.  They must be reminded periodically about each of these errors and the opposing Catholic Truth.  They will appreciate these reminders if they love the Faith, just like a man loves hearing people mention his spouse, if he loves her.  

People are continually bombarded with liberalism from all sides.  They will gradually and imperceptibly succumb to liberalism if they simply are not regularly warned and reminded about these errors which are foisted upon them from all sides.  

We see this happening now among the N-SSPX’s followers because that group has largely stopped preaching regularly against Vatican II[1] (as the SSPX used to do).  The article below reviews a crucial Catholic dogma and the N-SSPX’s recent public doubting of this dogma.

        

There is No Salvation outside the Catholic Church

The Catholic Faith infallibly teaches that only Catholics go to heaven, because there is No Salvation outside the Catholic Church.

The Council of Florence and Pope Eugene IV infallibly declare:

The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the ‘eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Matthew 25:41), unless before death they are joined with Her”.

Session 11.

Pope Boniface VIII infallibly declares:

With Faith urging us, we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this (Church) outside which there is neither salvation, nor remission of sin”.

Unam Sanctam, 1302, Denz. 468.

Pope Sylvester II infallibly declares:

I believe that in Baptism all sins are forgiven, that one which was committed originally as much as those which are voluntarily committed, and I profess that outside the Catholic Church no one is saved.

Pope Sylvester II’s Profession of Faith, 991 AD.

Pope Innocent III infallibly declares:

By the heart, we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics but the Holy Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside which we believe that no one is saved.  

Fitts exemplo, 1208, Denz. 423.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Greatest Doctor of the Church, declares:

[T]here is but one Church in which men find salvation, just as outside the Ark of Noah it was not possible for anyone to be saved.  

Commentary on the Apostles’ Creed, at the article “The Holy Catholic Church”.

Saint Augustine, Doctor of the Church, declares:

He who is separated from the body of the Catholic Church, however laudable his conduct may otherwise seem, will never enjoy eternal life, and the anger of God remains on him by reason of the crime of which he is guilty in living separated from Christ.  

St. Augustine’s Epistle 141.

Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, declares:

The Holy Catholic Church teaches that … all those who are separated from Her will not be saved.  

De Moralis, bk.14, §5.

Pope Pius IX declares:

There is only one true, holy, Catholic Church, which is the Apostolic Roman Church.  There is only one See founded in Peter by the word of the Lord, outside of which we cannot find either true faith or eternal salvation.  He who does not have the Church for a mother cannot have God for a father, and whoever abandons the See of Peter on which the Church is established trusts falsely that he is in the Church.

Singulari Quidem, §4.

Pope Pius XI declares:

The Catholic Church alone is keeping the true worship.  This is the font of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God; if any man enters not here, or if any man goes forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation.

Mortalium Animos, §11.

Saint Cyprian of Carthage, a Father of the Church, in writing against the heretics of his time who denied the “faith and truth of the Catholic Church”, declared that “there is no salvation out of the Church”.  3rd Century, Letter LXXII, To Jubaianus, Concerning the Baptism of Heretics, ¶¶ 20 & 21.

The Conciliar Church, the N-SSPX, and Bishop Williamson All Publicly Doubt the Dogma

The conciliar church promotes the idea of holiness and salvation outside the Catholic Church.  For example, Vatican II declares that the Jews who have not converted to the Catholic Faith “remain most dear to God”.[2]  Likewise, Pope John Paul II declared that Buddhists and other non-Catholics (as well as Catholics), are part of the “Church of the Living God”.[3]

As the “new” SSPX and Bishop Williamson are becoming more liberal, they are adopting more conciliar errors.[4]  For example, Bishop Williamson doubts the dogma that there is No Salvation outside the Catholic Church.[5] 

Recently, the N-SSPX’s superior general, Fr. Davide Pagliarani, doubted this same dogma.  Here are his words:

If a soul can be saved outside the Catholic Church, it is despite the error in which it finds itself, and not thanks to it, and in any case, it is saved by Jesus Christ alone.[6]

Fr. Pagliarani here asserts the possibility that someone can be saved outside the Catholic Church.  When Fr. Pagliarani says:

if a soul can be saved outside the Catholic Church … it is saved by Jesus

Christ

this is a shocking and Faith-destroying statement which suggests the impossible might be possible, leading many souls into liberalism.  

Moreover, Fr Pagliarani contradicts himself.  Jesus Christ saves souls by incorporating them into Himself.  That is the only reason why God’s elect have their sins forgiven.  The Body of Christ is the same thing as the Catholic Church. This is why Pius XI (above) described the Church as the temple of God, which was the way Jesus referred to His Body.  St Paul uses both expressions to refer to his early converts and explain to them how Christ was atoning for their sin by incorporating them into Himself.  See 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 12:13, 27; Col. 2:11-14; John 2:19-22.

Faithful and informed Catholics would never entertain Fr. Pagliarani’s Faith-denying doubt that there might be salvation outside the Catholic Church even on the condition that salvation outside the Church was still through Jesus Christ.  The statement is similar to:

if the devil can go to heaven, he is saved by Jesus Christ.

Faithful and informed Catholics would never say this about the devil even on condition!  Yet the devil has as much chance of gaining heaven as does someone who dies outside the Catholic Church – that is, no chance!

Faithful and informed Catholics affirm the dogma that outside the Catholic Church “no one is saved.”  Quoted from Fitts exemplo, 1208, Denz. 423 (emphasis added).  

Fr. Pagliarani proves in other ways too, that he is a coward and a doctrinal weakling.  In this same interview, he is directly asked if Jews must become Catholic.  Here is the interviewer’s question:

Do the Jews also have to convert to the Catholic Church, as you say for Protestants?[7]

Weak Fr. Pagliarani does not answer that question which a faithful and informed Catholic could easily answer.  Instead, he gives the non-answer that: 1) priests used to take the anti-modernist oath; and 2) Jews who wished to join the Catholic Church are allowed to enter.  Here is his full answer to the interviewer’s question whether “the Jews also have to convert to the Catholic Church”:

Modernism is one of the most dangerous errors. Until the Second Vatican Council, the Church asked all priests to take the anti-modernist oath, which I have also taken.  As for Judaism, it would be an unforgivable sin to exclude the Jewish people from the assets and the treasures of the Catholic Church.  The salvific mission of the Church is universal, and she cannot leave out any people.[8]

Fr. Pagliarani and the “new” SSPX betray the Catholic Faith!  They neither speak the truth freely nor defend it boldly.  Thus, they betray God and the Catholic Faith.  Here is how St. Thomas declares this truth:

He who does not speak the truth freely also betrays it, for it must be freely spoken; also, he who does not defend it boldly, betrays it, for it must be boldly defended.[9]

Conclusion

The conciliar church leaders betray the Faith.  Beware: the traitors who are leading the N-SSPX and the Williamson group are leading their followers along the same conciliar path of modernism!


[1]          For example, Fr. Daniel Cooper, SSPX, wrote regarding people who want the SSPX “to be attacking Vatican II from the pulpit. Very rarely is there a good reason to do this.”  Read the longer quote here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/sspx-cooper-silent-vatican-ii.html

Fr. Cooper followed the liberal new direction of the SSPX.  He has since died.  The N-SSPX declared he entered heaven on the date he died.  Read the quote here, taken from the SSPX’s own source: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/sspx-travels-the-conciliar-path-toward-promoting-universal-salvation.html

 

Please pray for the repose of Fr. Cooper’s soul.

[2]          Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, §16.

[3]          Here is the longer quote from Pope John Paul II (before he became pope):

O God of infinite majesty!  The Trappist or the Carthusian confesses this God by a whole life of silence.  The Bedouin wandering in the desert turns toward him when the hour of prayer approaches.  And this Buddhist monk absorbed in contemplation, who purifies his spirit in turning it towards Nirvana: but is it only towards Nirvana?  …  The Church of the Living God unites in her precisely these peoples who in some manner participate to [sic] this admirable and fundamental transcendence of the human spirit, because she knows that no one can appease the most profound aspirations of this spirit but He alone, the God of infinite majesty.

Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, The Sign of Contradiction, Ed. Fayard, 1979, pp. 31-32.

[4]            Bishop Williamson rarely or never publicly condemns the N-SSPX’s liberalism and in fact, agrees with much of it.  His only frequent criticism of the N-SSPX is its seeking a deal with modernist Rome.  While such a deal will hasten the N-SSPX’s descent into ever-greater liberalism, the N-SSPX is continually becoming more liberal now.

[5]          Read Bishop Williamson’s own words about non-Catholics going to heaven, quoted from his own source, in this article:  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/williamson-bishop-williamson-promotes-vatican-ii-heresy-that-people-can-be-saved-outside-the-catholic-church.html

[6]          Words of Father Davide Pagliarani, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, quoted from the interview he gave to the Austrian daily newspaper the Salzburger Nachrichten, and published on December 15, 2018.  This interview can be found here:  https://fsspx.news/en/news-events/news/it-inconceivable-church-was-mistaken-two-millennia-43158?utm_source=Society+of+Saint+Pius+X+%7C+Newsletter&utm_campaign=fb5d776750-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_15_11_06&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8c13eb2341-fb5d776750-203947293

 (emphasis added).

[8]          Words of Father Davide Pagliarani, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, quoted from the interview he gave to the Austrian daily newspaper the Salzburger Nachrichten, and published on December 15, 2018.  This interview can be found here:  https://fsspx.news/en/news-events/news/it-inconceivable-church-was-mistaken-two-millennia-43158?utm_source=Society+of+Saint+Pius+X+%7C+Newsletter&utm_campaign=fb5d776750-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_15_11_06&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8c13eb2341-fb5d776750-203947293

 (emphasis added).

[9]
         
St. Thomas Aquinas, The Ways of God for Meditation and Prayer, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, ©2007, p.97.

What Gift do most People Appreciate Least, but is Worth more than a King’s Ransom?

Catholic Candle note: The article below was written by a man who has always been Traditional Catholic and who has been continually fighting liberalism since before Vatican II.

The answer to this riddle is: the gift of a Supernatural Faith.

The definition of a Supernatural Faith is:

The act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God.[1]

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains further:

And just as the light of Faith is a supernatural gift bestowed upon the understanding, so also this Divine grace moving the will is, as its name implies, an equally supernatural and absolutely gratuitous gift.  Neither gift is due to previous study; neither of them can be acquired by human efforts, but ….  “Ask and ye shall receive.”[2] 

Most receive this gift from God through their parents, at Baptism, without effort or request.  It usually happens at a time when we give it little or no value.  Many people gain little appreciation for this gift over the years and many people discard it without any regret.  Those who keep and nurture this gift gain in virtue and understanding of what is at stake regarding earthly and eternal happiness.

The gift of Faith must be protected by an informed conscience, study, prayer, and courage to stand up against liberalism and modernism, and to stand up for Christ the King.

Two big helps to nurture your gift of Faith are humility and prayer.  Humility is the first virtue, inasmuch as it removes the obstacles to Faith.  Prayer inspires devotion and love for the Gift Giver.

The worst thing you can do with your precious gift of Faith is to put it in the hands of a liberal priest, or to be a follower of a liberal organization like the N-SSPX.  This foolish and misplaced trust does not relieve you of the responsibility for your own salvation.  I believe many follow a misguided path to salvation because they are lazy and/or cowardly; thus, they take the easy way out.  St. Paul in Romans states: “You have to work out your salvation in fear and trembling.”

Your actions demonstrate what value you place on your gift of Faith.  Below is a to-do list, with numbers for a grade.  This will help you determine what value you place on your gift of Faith.  100 points is your goal; less than that, there is work to do.

  1. You set aside a regular time for a daily Holy Hour of prayer and spiritual reading.  20 points

  1. You go out of your way to receive the traditional sacraments and attend Mass, when available.  10 points

  1. You fearlessly stand up for Christ the King no matter the criticism or loss of friendship or family.  10 points

  1. You set a good example at all times for others to follow.  10 points

  1. The traditional Catholic Faith is your whole life, every day, from the morning’s first moment through the night’s last moment.  20 points

  1. You never compromise with liberalism, no matter how slight.  10 Points

  1. You join the real resistance of informed and uncompromising Catholics.  10 points

  1. You leave or disassociate from any compromised group or priest without hesitation.  10 points

The above should confirm and defend your decision to leave the liberal N-SSPX, if you or others previously had any doubt about this.  The above points should also give you the courage to leave the liberal N-SSPX if you have failed to do so before now.

Let’s further take stock of the value you place on your gift of Faith, compared to your gift of Life from God.  The gift of Life has a built-in incentive to preserve it and nurture it.  Many spend much time and treasure to improve their health, no matter what the cost or distance.  But few people make equal efforts and have equal enthusiasm for the gift of Faith, that they have for this gift of Life.

Many protect and nurture their gift of Life to excess, which is a sin against temperance and a distraction from their effort to nurture and protect the gift of Faith.  We all have a duty to nourish and safeguard our health, but not to excess.  Everything in moderation except love for God.

So, let’s all dedicate ourselves to the eight steps listed above to nurture our gift of Divine Supernatural Faith.  You couldn’t make a better or more worthwhile decision.

 


[1]          Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911, Vol. V, page 756, quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa, IIa IIae, Q.4, a.2.

[2]          Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911, Vol. V, page 756.

God Came to Earth to Redeem Man but Also for an additional reason

Catholic Candle note: The article below was written by a man who has always been Traditional Catholic and who has been continually fighting liberalism since before Vatican II.

After God had freely determined to save the human race, He might have done so by pardoning man’s sins without having recourse to the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.  However, the Incarnation of the Word was the most fitting means for the salvation of man, and was even necessary should God claim full satisfaction for the injury done Him by sin.[1]  He took upon Himself not only the nature of man – a nature capable of suffering and sickness and death – but also He became like man in every respect except sin.[2]

Now, another reason God came to earth as a man is so He could teach us for 33 years – day after day, year after year – how one must live in order to be happy on earth and in heaven.  Any important and difficult subject to be mastered is best taught by demonstration of a leader.  This is why a new physician does a residency and a new plumber does an apprenticeship.  

Our Lord’s personal demonstration spoke much louder than words alone.  Because of that, we can never say it was easy for Him to suffer this or that, or go without this or that.  No, He suffered and gave up much, offering to be our earthly guide to ensure our happiness on earth and in heaven by following His selfless example.

It was all to help us break the grip the devil has on us because of the sin of our first parents, and our own sins.  Without Him showing us the way for 33 long years, I doubt there would be as many wonderful saints and a history of great religious societies.

Our Catholic Faith gives us many reminders of the importance of following Our Lord’s example.  For example, St. Paul urges us in these words:

Brethren, be imitators of God as very dear children and walk in love.

Epistle for 3rd Sunday of Lent (Ephesians, 5:1).

Below are the three phases of Our Lord’s Life on earth that will demonstrate for us the Way, the Truth, and the Life that we should follow for our salvation.

Phase I – Our Lord’s Hidden Life

His first examples for us started with His birth in a stable, a humble beginning.  He preferred poverty and humility to show Himself a friend of the poor, at the same time showing us the best way to heaven is through humility and detachment from earthly goods.

The Holy Family lived in Nazareth, and every year they went to Jerusalem to worship at the temple.  When Jesus was 12 years old, He went with them, but failed to return home with them.  Instead, He went to the temple to be in the midst of the wise men there.  We all know the familiar story.  After a day’s journey, Mary and Joseph could not locate Jesus in the caravan and returned to Jerusalem.  They found Him in the temple, and Mary said, “Behold thy father and I have been seeking Thee, sorrowing.”  Jesus replied, “How is it that you sought Me?  Did you not know that I must be about My father’s business?”  (Luke, 2:49)

He then meekly followed His parents to Nazareth and was subject to them.  He worked hard as a simple Carpenter, with St. Joseph.

Phase II – Our Lord’s Public Life, beginning at age 30

He started by an act of great humility: being baptized by St. John.  He then went to the desert to fast and pray for 40 days and nights.  This teaches us to do penance and prepare ourselves to fight the devil by mortification and prayer.  Jesus’ public life was to give us an example of how we should live day-to-day until our personal judgment.  Words and example directly from the God-man have a greater effect in preparing souls with instructions and training necessary for salvation.  He spoke in parables to help the less educated to understand.  Another lesson taught many times was empathy for the sick and disabled.

Phase III   Our Lord’s Passion and Death

Here again, He taught humility when He washed the feet of His Apostles at the Last Supper.  After that, He instituted the Blessed Sacrament, using common bread and wine, changing them into His own Divine Body and Blood.  

Jesus suffered and died for us, setting the example that no man has greater love than to give his life for another.  Also, He set us the perfect example how we should endure and persevere.  He suffered bitter agony of blood and sweat.  He was cruelly scourged, crowned with thorns, carried His cross, and suffered the excruciating death on the cross – all in silence.  He could not have set a better example for us to follow.  Jesus said, “I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you also should do.”  (John, 13:15)

He taught us to practice humility, penance, mortification, and perseverance before we presume to set an example and lead others.

His life on earth illustrated this.  He established the perfect religion, the Catholic Religion, with none of the worthless trappings and false teachings of man-made religions.

Our Lord’s perfect lessons especially fit our needs, in the true Resistance.  We must be humble and longsuffering.  We must stand firm for principle when others “bend” their principles to obtain the sacraments or find acceptance in a particular “traditional” group.  We must persevere without expecting that people will ever
understand us, or accept our stand for Christ.


[1]          Taken from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, article: Salvation, sub-article Salvation of the Human Race, Vol. 13, page 407.

[2]
         Taken from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, article,
Incarnation, Vol. 7, page 706.

St. Paul taught this same truth in these words:

Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God:  let us hold fast our confession.  For we have not a high priest, who cannot have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.

Hebrews, 4:14-15 (emphasis added).

Final Perseverance is the Last Great Battle with The Devil

Catholic Candle note: The article below was written by a man who has always been Traditional Catholic and who has been continually fighting liberalism since before Vatican II.

Most people put off till later preparing for death and this battle, because it is something they don't want to think about.  That is a mistake.  It will be the biggest and most important and final spiritual combat of your life.  Being that it will be the devil’s last chance to escort your soul to the everlasting fires of hell, he will “pull out all the stops” to ensure his success.  He will come after you in a different or more promising way, something that he has been saving for you in this final battle.

The definition of perseverance is to persist in an undertaking in spite of counter-influences or opposition. This will be your final test, and you must prepare for it.  As a student, you prepared to do your best for the big test at the end of the school year.  It goes without saying that the most significant test of your life – with the results lasting for an eternity – will take your earnest preparation.  When success is important in some endeavor, you certainly should never wait till the last minute to prepare.

How does one prepare for this encounter?  Let me list a few goals:

  1. Conquer pride

  1. Practice humility

  1. Gain complete control of your passions

     4)  Make the uncompromising Catholic Faith your whole life

     5)  Establish a deep love for God with a definite and regular prayer life

     6)  Practice self-denial daily

     7)  Set a good example in this pagan world

     8)  Study the lives of the Saints to see what they did to succeed

     9)  Say little indulgenced prayers regularly and often

    10) Pray (at least) twice daily for final perseverance: first thing in the morning

and last thing at night

In this endeavor, prayer is certainly the most important preparation.  The Saints, filled with the love of God, would gladly pray all night, following Our Lord’s example.[1]  They were talking to the Love of their life.  Most people pray like they are talking to their strict boss at work and can’t end the conversation soon enough.  Learn to love God and pray gladly.

Most people take a chance that they will be strong and able to withstand the onslaught of the devil at the end of life.  That is wishful thinking without the proper preparation.

I know of a situation where a pious and humble, bed-ridden traditional Catholic was in veterans’ hospice care.  On his death bed, he was under attack by the devil to such an extent that fear took over and he was able to get out of bed and run down the hall shouting, “They [viz., the devils] are trying to get me to commit mortal sin!”  And then he dropped dead.

From all appearances, he did what he had to do to win the battle with the devil.  He had prepared himself to do whatever it took to win.

For Satan does not tempt unbelievers and sinners whom he already holds securely, but he does tempt and trouble the faithful servant in many ways.

Quoted from The Imitation of Christ, Book 4, chapter 18.

We will all face death and this final great battle with the devil.  However, there is powerful help available: prayers to St. Joseph, who is the Patron of a Happy Death and also the Terror of Demons.

So prepare yourself for this great battle that will come.  Don’t risk failure by putting off the important and necessary preparation to win that battle.

Catholic Candle note: To learn more about how to prepare well for death, read Preparation for Death, by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church.  This book is available for free, here: https://www.goodcatholicbooks.org/alphonsus.html


[1]          Then Jesus “went out into a mountain to pray, and he passed the whole night in the prayer of God.”  St. Luke’s Gospel, ch.6, v.12.

Conscience is a Great Gift from God

The Catholic Encyclopedia definition of conscience is: “A feeling of pain accompanying and resulting from our non-conformity to principles.”[1]  You have a duty to inform your conscience with the highest principles by consulting great philosophical leaders like St. Thomas and St. Paul.

St. Thomas defines conscience as “The judgment or dictates of the practical intellect which (arguing) from the general principle (of Morals) pronounces that something in particular here and now is to be avoided, inasmuch as it is evil, or to be done, inasmuch as it is good.”[2]

Most people living in our immoral world consider their conscience a problem they are stuck with, that it stands in their way of having fun and really isn’t necessary.  They fail to realize that it is a most important gift to be used throughout the day, to obtain salvation.  Oh, what a gift that actually lets you know if you’re on the correct (narrow) path to a heavenly reward, or on the (wide) road to eternal damnation.  A gift beyond your imagination.

You must avoid going through life with an uninformed conscience or a lax conscience.  It is a “minimizer” if it falsely judges actions to be harmless which are sinful.  God has established an objective moral order and cannot be presumed to be indifferent to its maintenance.[3]  Both passion and ignorance interfere with correct dictates of an informed conscience.

There is such a thing as a scrupulous conscience.  The scrupulous person is the victim of an imaginary spiritual impediment to his free action.  He is tormented in every action by the thought that he may be committing a sin.[4]  A scrupulous conscience is really the work of the devil hoping you will become frustrated and refuse to listen to your conscience in the future.  Such a conscience can be informed and corrected with guidance from an uncompromising confessor.  Before confession, we examine our consciences to ensure a “good” confession.  However, it is best to examine our conscience every night in order to avoid a lax conscience.

Let’s pledge to appreciate our conscience as a generous gift from God, and keep it informed and use it as He intended, cooperating with God to work out our salvation.


[1]          1913-1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, page 269.

[2]
         
Catholic Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Religious Information, Addis & Arnold, Entry: Conscience, page 215

[3]
         
Moral and Pastoral Theology, Davis, volume 1, page 78.

[4]
         
Moral and Pastoral Theology, Davis, volume 1, page 73.

God Allows Some People to Damn Themselves to Better Manifest His Perfection

God created man with free will.  He allows Sin and permits People to Damn Themselves to manifest His Justice, Mercy, and Goodness — for His Greater Honor and Glory.

God allows evil for His greater glory and in order to bring about greater good.[1]  God allows some people to (voluntarily) sin and to damn themselves because their damnation manifests God’s Justice more clearly than if damnation had been something which never occurred but which we understood only as something that could have – but didn’t – ever happen.

Similarly, God’s Mercy and Goodness in saving the elect is more manifest in contrast to the actual damnation of other souls, since the damned very evidently manifest what could have happened to the elect, had God not chosen to save them, because of His Mercy and Goodness.

Although sin itself is evil, this universe which God made, in which He allows sin and damnation, is a better universe as a whole, because it manifests God’s Mercy, Goodness and Justice better than if there had been no sin.  By better manifesting God’s perfections, the universe gives greater Glory to God.[2]  For God’s only end is His Own Glory, that is, Himself.  Any other end (less than God) is unworthy of God.[3]

Thus, we see that, for His own Glory and to manifest His perfections, God saves some persons and gives them happiness.  Likewise, for His own Glory and to manifest His perfections, God allows some persons to damn themselves and be unhappy.[4]

God chooses the elect, whereas the damned, with their free will, cause their own damnation.

God can and does save anyone He wishes to save.  God never forces anyone to sin and never forces anyone to damn himself.  However, there are some men that God allows to damn themselves.

Sacred Scripture infallibly declares:

The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord: whithersoever He will He shall turn it.

Proverbs 21:1 (emphasis added).

When this passage from Proverbs says God turns the heart of the king “whithersoever He will”, it shows that whenever God chooses to save the king (or anyone else), He does it without forcing a man’s free will.[5]  Notice that Sacred Scripture does not say that God can turn the heart of the king unless the king is one of those unconvertable souls.  There is no such thing (among the living) as a soul which God could not convert.  Although God can convert anyone, He allows some men to damn themselves.  St. Thomas Aquinas and other Doctors of the Catholic Church teach these same truths.[6]

In a certain way, it is true that God Wills all men to be saved, but this is (as it were) a “contingent will” or “antecedent will” subject to a condition that was not fulfilled.

St. Paul teaches that God “will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4.  However, God wills all men to be saved upon a condition which was not fulfilled, viz., that there be no sin.

Because sin entered the world, God’s eternal, unconditional Will (i.e., His “subsequent” Will) is that some persons are not saved and are not even “called” through grace.  Our Lord teaches: “many [not all] are called but few are chosen.” St. Matthew’s Gospel, 22:14 (bracketed words added).

Also, Our Lord teaches us that most people go to hell and few people even find the path to salvation (much less follow this path):

Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.  How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!

St. Matthew’s Gospel, 7:13-14 (emphasis added).

Among the examples of men that God could have saved but chose not to save (or even give them any grace), are babies who die without baptism, and also “the profane Samaritans [whom], had He so willed, He would have made devout” (words of St. Ambrose, quoted in the note above).

Absolutely and unconditionally speaking, God does not desire all men to be saved but Wills to allow some men to damn themselves through their own free will.

Although God Wills (in a manner of speaking) to save all men, subject to a condition which was not fulfilled, unconditionally God Wills to bring about His greater glory by saving the elect He has chosen and He Wills to allow the damned to damn themselves by their own voluntary sins.  This is why Our Lord did not pray for everyone, in His prayer to His Father after the Last Supper.  Here are His words to His Heavenly Father:

I have manifested Thy name to the men whom thou hast given me out of the world.  Thine they were, and to me thou gavest them; and they have kept thy word.  Now they have known, that all things which thou hast given me, are from thee:  Because the words which thou gavest me, I have given to them; and they have received them, and have known in very deed that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.  I pray for them:  I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me: because they are thine …. 

St. John’s Gospel, 17:6-9.

God chooses His Elect.  They don’t choose Him.  As Christ told His Apostles, who were the beginning of His Church:

You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you ….

St. John’s Gospel, 15:16.

Since it is false that Christ desires absolutely and unconditionally that all men are saved, we should not hope to fulfill Christ’s (supposed) desire for universal salvation, promoted by the liberal N-SSPX and by the rest of the conciliar church.

We should not hope for impossible things.  So, for example, we should not hope we become angelic spirits or that we sprout wings and fly into the air.  Likewise, it is impossible for all men to be saved and so we should not hope for universal salvation, but rather we should hope to help bring about the salvation of whomever God chooses to save from their own voluntary sins.  

We don’t know with certainty which people around us God chooses as His elect,[7] so God Wills that we try to help everyone save his soul, although we know God does not choose to save everyone but allows some men to damn themselves.

Also, as shown above, Our Lord does not Will unconditionally that all men go to heaven.  If He had chosen to save all men, He could have saved them since He can turn their hearts “whithersoever He will” (Proverbs).  Instead God allows some men to damn themselves.  (It is important to note that God does not damn souls but He allows them to damn themselves!)

Thus, we see that the N-SSPX is wrong when it recently taught that we should hope to fulfill Christ’s desire for universal salvation.  Here are the N-SSPX’s words:

Only when the Church is brought back to full health can we hope to fulfill Christ’s desire that all men come to know Him and find salvation.  Supporting the SSPX is about bringing the Gospel to all of those with ears to hear in the hope that, by God’s grace, hearts will be converted, and souls saved.[8]

Conclusion

The elect in heaven have great reason to be humble and grateful, since, in God’s Goodness and Mercy, He gave them the undeserved, free gifts of grace and salvation.  God was not obligated to give them grace and not obliged to choose them as His elect.  

We hope to save our souls and hope to be among God’s elect.  We have great reason to be humble and grateful because God gave us grace and made us Catholics without our deserving these free gifts.  Thus, we must humbly beg God that He choose us to be among His elect.

Let us Glorify God for the Goodness and Mercy He showed us by making us Catholics, giving us the full Traditions of His true Church!


[1]          Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas (the Greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church) explains this truth, quoting St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church:

As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): “Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil.”  This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

Summa, Ia, Q.2 a.3, ad 1 (emphasis added).

[2]
         Here is St. Thomas’ fuller explanation of this truth:

It is the part of the best agent to produce an effect which is best in its entirety; but this does not mean that He makes every part of the whole the best absolutely, but in proportion to the whole; in the case of an animal, for instance, its goodness would be taken away if every part of it had the dignity of an eye. Thus, therefore, God also made the universe to be best as a whole, according to the mode of a creature; whereas He did not make each single creature best, but one better than another.  And therefore, we find it said of each creature, “God saw the light, that it was good” (Genesis 1:4); and in like manner of each one of the rest.  But of all together it is said, “God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Summa, Ia, Q.47, a.2, ad 1 (emphasis added).

[3]
         Here is how St. Thomas explains this truth:  

[E]ach and every creature exists for the perfection of the entire universe. Furthermore, the entire universe, with all its parts, is ordained towards God as its end, inasmuch as it imitates, as it were, and shows forth the Divine goodness, to the glory of God.

Summa, Ia, Q.65., a2, respondeo (emphasis added).

God loves mankind and the rest of creation because they are His work and He gave them whatever goodness they have.  But they are finite goods which God loves finitely as part of His infinite love for Himself.  For a fuller explanation of this truth, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/god-does-not-infinitely-love-any-creature.html

[4]
         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas (quoting St. Paul) explains this Truth of the Catholic Faith:

Let us then consider the whole of the human race, as we consider the whole universe.  God Wills to manifest His goodness in men; in respect to those whom He predestines, by means of His mercy, as sparing them; and in respect of others, whom he reprobates, by means of His justice, in punishing them.

This is the reason why God elects some and rejects others.  To this, the Apostle refers, saying (Romans 9:22-23):

What if God, willing to show His wrath [that is, the vengeance of His justice], and to make His power known, endured [that is, permitted] with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction; that He might show the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He hath prepared unto glory;

and (2 Timothy 2:20):

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver; but also, of wood and of earth; and some, indeed, unto honor, but some unto dishonor.

Summa, Ia Q. 23 a.5, ad 3 (emphasis added).  The bracketed words (in the quotes from St. Paul) are contained in the Summa.

[5]          For an explanation how God never acts against man’s free will even in those whom He chooses to save, read the article here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/williamson-bishop-williamson-teaches-the-heresy-that-even-god-is-powerless-to-save-some-men.html

[6]          St. Thomas Aquinas, following and quoting the Doctor of the Church, St. Ambrose, teaches that:

God calls whom He deigns to call, and whom He wills He makes religious: the profane Samaritans, had He so willed, He would have made devout. 

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.82, a.3, respondeo (emphasis added).

Just as in the Book of Proverbs we see that God can convert the king if He chooses to do so, similarly St. Ambrose teaches that God can convert any profane Samaritans He chooses to convert.

St. Thomas Aquinas, following St. Augustine, the Doctor of Grace, teaches that God can save anyone He wishes to save.  Here are their words:

Hence it is impossible for these two things to be true at the same time — that the Holy Ghost should will to move a certain man to an act of charity, and that this man, by sinning, should lose charity.  For the gift of perseverance is reckoned among the blessings of God whereby “whoever is delivered, is most certainly delivered, ” as Augustine says in his book On the Predestination of the Saints (De Dono Persev. xiv).

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.24, a.11, respondeo (emphasis added).

Charity always comes with Sanctifying Grace and makes a man the friend of God.  In the quote immediately above, St. Augustine teaches that the Holy Ghost will move any man to charity (and Sanctifying Grace) if He chooses to convert him.

[7]          St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine assure us that we cannot know with certainty why God chooses some people as His elect and not others.  Here are St. Thomas’s words, quoting St. Augustine:

Yet why He chooses some for glory, and reprobates others [i.e., allows them to damn themselves], has no reason, except the Divine Will.  Whence Augustine says (Tract. xxvi. in Joan.):

Why He draws one, and another He draws not, seek not to judge, if thou dost not wish to err.

Summa, Ia Q. 23 a.5, ad 3 (bracketed words added for context).

[8]          Emphasis added; quoted from the April 30, 2019 “Dear Friend” letter which Fr. Wegner mass-mailed to everyone on the SSPX U.S. District mailing list and also posted here https://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/fr-wegner-pray-mary-remember-your-mothers-and-pray-holy-mother-church-47813?mc_cid=e244c8c82b&mc_eid=4fbfee0c0b

God Wills Inequalities between People

 

Difference is the basis for the order in things.  If there were no differences between things, there could be no order between them.  The very idea of order includes within it the concept of priority and of posteriority, and hence, of difference and inequality.  In fact, that very separateness, i.e., the distinctions among things, is the principle of all order.[1]

 

 

God makes creatures unequal.

 

God made difference and inequality in all creatures.  As Ecclesiasticus teaches:

 

Why does one day excel another, and one light another, and one year another year…?  By the knowledge of the Lord they were distinguished.

 

Chapter 33, verses 7-8.

 

Therefore, just as God’s Wisdom is the cause of His making all creatures, so His Wisdom is the cause of Him making creatures unequal.[2]  By making some creatures inferior to other creatures, the whole of creation is more perfect than it otherwise would be.[3]

 

 

Inequality between individual persons

 

All men are equal in some ways.  For example, they are equal before the law, so that their rights as citizens are the same despite differences between them such as in height, in wealth, etc.

 

However, God made persons unequal in many ways and intends this inequality.  God made persons unequal in eyesight, mental acuity, natural prudence, athletic ability, beauty, musical talent, health, height, and in many other ways.  God intends these inequalities. 

 

All mankind is bound together with duties to help those individuals who are more in need of help because of these natural inequalities.  So, a person who can see, can guide a blind man across the street, a taller person might reach something on a high shelf to help a shorter person. 

 

Among all other inequalities between persons, some persons are naturally less prudent than some other persons.  These less prudent persons need to be helped and protected for their own good, including protecting them from their own imprudence.  There are many examples of this.  For example, for their own good, civil laws prohibit persons from making contracts which include interest charges greater than a statutory maximum interest rate.[4]  These laws and many other laws, are ways that society protects those persons against their own imprudence, because they are less able to protect themselves.

 

 

Differences between men in society

 

As explained above, the very idea of order includes within it the concept of priority and of posteriority, and hence, of difference.  In fact, that very separateness, i.e., the distinctions among people, is the principle of all social, political, economic, military and religious order, since difference is a principle of order.  For example, in a proper military order, an army cannot have all generals or all privates.  The army cannot have all equipment operators or all cooks.  Etc.

 

St. Paul emphasizes that God made men unequal and made them to have different roles, strengths and weaknesses.  Here are St. Paul’s words:

 

For as the body is one, and hath many members; and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body, so also is Christ.  For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free; and in one Spirit we have all been made to drink.  For the body also is not one member, but many.  If the foot should say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear should say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were the eye, where would be the hearing?  If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?  But now God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased Him.  And if they all were one member, where would be the body?  But now there are many members indeed, yet one body.  And the eye cannot say to the hand: I need not thy help; nor again the head to the feet: I have no need of you.  Yea, much more those that seem to be the more feeble members of the body, are more necessary.  And such as we think to be the less honorable members of the body, about these we put more abundant honor; and those that are our uncomely parts, have more abundant comeliness.  But our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, giving to that which wanted the more abundant honor, that there might be no schism in the body; but the members might be mutually careful one for another.  And if one member suffer anything, all the members suffer with it; or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it.

 

1 Corinthians, 12:12-27 (emphasis added).

 

As St. Paul shows us, God did not make every man to play whatever role that man chooses.  Some men are made more honorable members of society, some, less.  Some men are made the “eyes” of the collective group and some are made the “feet”.  Id.

 

St. Paul emphasizes that these differences between men give rise to the obligation that “the members might be mutually careful one for another”.  Id.

 

 

God intends differences and inequalities between groups as well as between individuals.

 

Just as God intends the countless inequalities between individuals, He also fully intends the inequalities between different groups/peoples/ethnicities/tribes.  To take a few of countless examples:

 

Ø  one people is better at a sport such as basketball, than any other peoples;

 

Ø  one people is more emotional, with a high-strung temperament, while another ethnic group is more calm, staid and reason-oriented;

 

Ø  one people is more creative in the fine arts, than some other peoples;

 

Ø  one people more apt to the sciences than some other peoples; and

 

Ø  one people is more capable in leadership in society than some other peoples. 

God intends all these natural differences, both the strengths and the weaknesses.

 

Pope Leo XIII assures us that “there will ever be differences and inequalities of condition in the State.  Society cannot exist or be conceived of without them.”  Rerum Novarum, §34.

 

These differences between one people and another, are differences between the members of society on a larger scale.  St. Paul teaches us that these differences oblige “the members [to be] mutually careful one for another”.  1 Corinthians, 12:25.

 

All peoples and groups are bound together with duties in justice and charity.  Some peoples are more capable of leading and other peoples need more guidance, more protection and need to be led because of these natural inequalities that God Wills. 

 

These inequalities include that some peoples are naturally less prudent and don’t guide themselves and others as well as other peoples do.  Such peoples need to be helped and protected for their own good.  A striking example of this need occurred in Colombia, after the Masonic revolution in the early 1800s:

 

The liberal revolutionary governments wanted to decrease the authority of the Catholic Church and to enact land “reforms”, including the abolition of the somewhat-feudal system governing the lives of the Indians (who comprised about one-third of the population).

 

The previous (Spanish) government had protected these Indians (like Medieval serfs were protected) by restricting their ability to freely sell the plots of land which they possessed and farmed.  In the name of freedom and the free market, the new liberal government allowed the Indians to sell their little plots of land.  Rich, unscrupulous men quickly induced most of the Indians to (naïvely and shortsightedly) sell their little plots, thus ruining the small amount of independence the Indians had enjoyed.  Within a few years, the ownership of the Indians’ lands was concentrated in the hands of a few rich and powerful families.  The Indians became landless tenants.  The land which had been cultivated by the Indians was then mostly used for grazing cattle.

Quoted from: Latin America: A Sketch of its Glorious Catholic Roots and a Snapshot of its Present, by the Editors of Quanta Cura Press, p.111, © 2016.

 

In light of the natural inequalities between peoples, and because the men of society are bound together in justice and charity, persons and peoples more capable of leading have a duty to guide and protect those who are less capable.

 

It denies reason and these natural inequalities between peoples, to insist that a society’s or an organization’s leaders would be subject to “quotas” and include a “sampling” of “everybody”, i.e., representatives from each different group or people.  This is as foolish as insisting that a basketball team must fulfill “quotas” and have members who “represent” every people in proportion to every part of the public.

 

 

God’s intent that there be inequality in society includes His intent that there be economic inequality (viz., rich and poor).

 

The revolutionaries in society stir up discontent by complaining there is an “income gap” between the rich and the poor, or that this income “gap” is increasing.  However, an inequality in economic conditions is a natural reflection of other inequalities between men.  God Wills these inequalities.

 

Quoting earlier Doctors of the Church, St. Thomas explains that God Wills wealth inequality for both the rich and the poor, so that the rich might acquire the virtue of liberality and so that the poor might acquire the virtue of patience.  Here are his words:

 

The temporal goods which God grants us, are ours as to the ownership, but as to the use of them, they belong not to us alone but also to such others as we are able to succor out of what we have over and above our needs.  Hence Basil says [*Hom. super Luc. xii, 18]: “If you acknowledge them,” viz., your temporal goods, “as coming from God, is He unjust because He apportions them unequally?  Why are you rich while another is poor, unless it be that you may have the merit of a good stewardship, and he the reward of patience?  It is the hungry man’s bread that you withhold, the naked man’s cloak that you have stored away, the shoe of the barefoot that you have left to rot, the money of the needy that you have buried underground: and so you injure as many as you might help.”  Ambrose expresses himself in the same way.[5]

 

The Socialists seek to abolish private property, pretending that men are equal and that private property destroys this supposed equality.  Here is how Pope Leo XIII explains this truth:

 

Socialists proclaim the right of property to be a human invention repugnant to the natural equality of man ….[6]

 

The Catholic Church, however, recognizes that all men are unequal and their differences in wealth proceeds from their many natural inequalities.  Here is how Pope Leo XIII explains this truth:

 

[T]he Church, much more properly and practically, recognizes inequality among men, who are naturally different in strength of body and of mind; also, in the possession of goods, and it orders that right of property and of ownership, which proceeds from nature itself ….[7]

 

Pope St. Pius X condemned the false idea that:

 

every inequality of condition is an injustice, or at least, a diminution of justice.  Here we have a principle that conflicts sharply with the nature of things, a principle conducive to jealousy, injustice, and subversive to any social order.[8]

 

 

Conclusion

 

God made creatures different and unequal.  God made all men different and unequal to each other.  God made the peoples and groups of society different and unequal.  God intends that we help each other in our deficiencies and not that we try to impose a false equality and quota system so that all roles in society would be composed from “every group”.

 

 

 



[1]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Church, teaches this important point, quoting Aristotle:

 

As the Philosopher says (Metaph. v, text. 16), the terms “before” and “after” are used in reference to some principle.  Now order implies that certain things are, in some way, before or after.  Hence wherever there is a principle, there must needs be also order of some kind.

 

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.26, a.1 respondeo.

[2]           Here is St. Thomas Aquinas’ fuller explanation of this truth:

 

[I]t must be said that as the wisdom of God is the cause of the distinction of things, so the same wisdom is the cause of their inequality.  This may be explained as follows.  A twofold distinction is found in things; one is a formal distinction as regards things differing specifically; the other is a material distinction as regards things differing numerically only.  And as the matter is on account of the form, material distinction exists for the sake of the formal distinction.  Hence, we see that in incorruptible things there is only one individual of each species, forasmuch as the species is sufficiently preserved in the one; whereas in things generated and corruptible there are many individuals of one species for the preservation of the species.  Whence it appears that formal distinction is of greater consequence than material.  Now, formal distinction always requires inequality, because as the Philosopher says (Metaph. viii, 10), the forms of things are like numbers in which species vary by addition or subtraction of unity.  Hence in natural things species seem to be arranged in degrees; as the mixed things are more perfect than the elements, and plants than minerals, and animals than plants, and men than other animals; and in each of these, one species is more perfect than others.  Therefore, as the divine wisdom is the cause of the distinction of things for the sake of the perfection of the universe, so it is the cause of inequality.  For the universe would not be perfect if only one grade of goodness were found in things.

 

Summa, Ia, Q.47, a.2 respondeo (emphasis added).


[3]           Here is St. Thomas Aquinas’ fuller explanation of this truth:

 

It is part of the best agent to produce an effect which is best in its entirety; but this does not mean that He makes every part of the whole the best absolutely, but in proportion to the whole; in the case of an animal, for instance, its goodness would be taken away if every part of it had the dignity of an eye. Thus, therefore, God also made the universe to be best as a whole, according to the mode of a creature; whereas He did not make each single creature best, but one better than another.  And therefore, we find it said of each creature, “God saw the light, that it was good” (Genesis 1:4); and in like manner of each one of the rest.  But of all together it is said, “God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good” (Genesis 1:31).

 

Summa, Ia, Q.47, a.2, ad 1.

 

[4]           Here, for example, is a prohibition of excessive interest, taken from New York’s civil code of law:

 

4. Except as otherwise provided by law, interest shall not be charged,   taken  or  received  on any loan or forbearance at a rate exceeding such   rate of interest as may be authorized by law at the  time  the  loan  or forbearance  is  made,  whether  or  not the loan or forbearance is made   pursuant to a prior contract or commitment providing for a greater  rate   of  interest,  provided, however, that no change in the rate of interest prescribed in section fourteen-a of the banking law shall affect (a) the validity of a loan or forbearance made before the date such rate becomes effective, or (b) the enforceability of  such  loan  or  forbearance  in accordance  with  its  terms,  except  that  if  any loan or forbearance provides for an increase in the rate of interest during the term of such loan or forbearance, the increased rate shall not exceed  such  rate  of interest  as  may  have  been authorized by law at the time such loan or forbearance was made.

 

Quoted from the 2012 New York Consolidated Laws, General Obligations, Article 5 – CREATION, DEFINITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS

Title 5 – (5-501 – 5-531) INTEREST AND USURY; BROKERAGE ON LOANS

5-501 – Rate of interest; usury forbidden.

 

[5]           Summa, IIa IIae, Q.32, a.5, ad 2.


[6]          
Encyclical, Quod Apostolici muneris, Dec. 28, 1878, Denz. 1851.  Here is the longer quote from Pope Leo XIII:

 

But also, Catholic wisdom most skillfully provides for public and domestic tranquility, supported by the precepts of divine law, through what it holds and teaches concerning the right of ownership and the distribution of goods which have been obtained for the necessities and uses of life.  For when Socialists proclaim the right of property to be a human invention repugnant to the natural equality of man, and, seeking to establish a community of goods, think that poverty is by no means to be endured with equanimity; and that the possessions and rights of the rich can be violated with impunity, the Church, much more properly and practically, recognizes inequality among men, who are naturally different in strength of body and of mind; also in the possession of goods, and it orders that right of property and of ownership, which proceeds from nature itself, be for everyone intact and inviolate; for it knows that theft and raping have been forbidden by God, the author and vindicator of every right, in such a way that one may not even look attentively upon (i.e., covet) the property of another, and “that thieves and robbers, no less than adulterers and idolators are excluded from the kingdom of heaven” [cf. 1 Cor. 6:9f.].

Encyclical, Quod Apostolici muneris, Dec. 28, 1878, Denz. 1851.


[7]          
Encyclical, Quod Apostolici muneris, Dec. 28, 1878, Denz. 1851.

 

[8]           Here is the longer quote from Pope St. Pius X, condemning the ideas of a liberal and modernist group called the Sillon:

 

Teaching such doctrines, and applying them to its internal organization, the Sillon, therefore, sows erroneous and fatal notions on authority, liberty and obedience, among your Catholic youth.  The same is true of justice and equality; the Sillon says that it is striving to establish an era of equality which, by that very fact, would be also an era of greater justice.  Thus, to the Sillon, every inequality of condition is an injustice, or at least, a diminution of justice.  Here we have a principle that conflicts sharply with the nature of things, a principle conducive to jealously, injustice, and subversive to any social order.  Thus, [according to the claims of the Sillon] Democracy alone will bring about the reign of perfect justice!  Is this not an insult to other forms of government which are thereby debased to the level of sterile makeshifts? 

 

Quoted from the encyclical sometimes called, On the Sillon and sometimes called Our Apostolic Mandate.