Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Catholic Justification

I just finished reading Karl Keating's The Usual Suspects: Answering Anti-Catholic Fundamentalists. I liked the way he summarized the Catholic view of Justification, so I'll share it with you:
"The Council [of Trent] says we obtain [justification] by grace through faith, not good works, [but] our sanctification (the word commonly used by Protestants) is increased by our good works after we are justified and... that initial justification is preserved by our good works (because by doing good works we stay away from evil works, sins, through which we can forfeit justification)."
This may be a simplification, but sometimes it's good to know the simple version, partially so we can quickly explain our beliefs to others, and also so we ourselves don't get too confused when we look into the issue in greater depth. He also explains that:
"Even Fundamentalists talk about a process of sanctification that comes after justification, yet the passage from Trent has been misconstrued to mean something that the Catholic Church does not teach, but Fundamentalists think she teaches."
What these Fundamentalists think she teaches is expressed by former priest, Bart Brewer:
"The Catholic Gospel, the Roman Catholic Gospel, is absolutely a Gospel of works."
Of course, we all know that Mr. Brewer is mistaken. How he missed this fact in his years of seminary is one of those great unanswered questions, but just make sure to remember this quick explanation of this fundamental Catholic teaching, and you'll never end up so confused as he.

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