Sanctifying  Grace

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

                     Before the Council of Trent, the Schoolmen seldom used the term gratia actualis,
                     preferring auxilium speciale, motio divina, and similar designations; nor did they
                     formally distinguish actual grace from sanctifying grace. But, in consequence of
                     modern controversies regarding grace, it has become usual and necessary in
                     theology to draw a sharper distinction between the transient help to act (actual
                     grace) and the permanent state of grace (sanctifying grace). For this reason we
                     adopt this distinction as our principle of division in our exposition of the Catholic
                     doctrine. In this article, we shall treat only of sanctifying grace. (See also
                     ACTUAL GRACE.)

                     Santifying grace

                     Since the end and aim of all efficacious grace is directed to the production of
                     sanctifying grace where it does not already exist, or to retain and increase it
                     where it is already present, its excellence, dignity, and importance become
                     immediately apparent; for holiness and the sonship of God depend solely upon
                     the possession of sanctifying grace, wherefore it is frequently called simply grace
                     without any qualifying word to accompany it as, for instance, in the phrases "to
                     live in grace" or "to fall from grace".

                     All pertinent questions group themselves around three points of view from which
                     the subject may be considered:

                          I. The preparation for sanctifying grace, or the process of
                          II. The nature of sanctifying grace.
                          III. The characteristics of sanctifying grace.


                     (For an exhaustive treatment of justification, see the article JUSTIFICATION).

                     The word justification (justificatio, from justum facere) derives its name from
                     justice (justitia), by which is not merely meant the cardinal virtue in the sense of
                     a contant purpose to respect the rights of others (suum cuique), nor is the term
                     taken in the concept of all those virtues which go to make up the moral law, but
                     connotes, especially, the whole inner relation of man to God as to his
                     supernatural end. Every adult soul stained either with original sin or with actual
                     mortal sin (children are of course excepted) must, in order to arrive at the state of
                     justification, pass through a short or long process of justification, which may be
                     likened to the gradual development of the child in its mother's womb. This
                     development attains its fullness in the birth of the child, accompanied by the
                     anguish and suffering with which this birth is invariably attended; our rebirth in
                     God is likewise preceded by great spiritual sufferings of fear and contrition.

                     In the process of justification we must distinguish two periods: first, the
                     preparatory acts or dispositions (faith, fear, hope, etc.); then the last, decisive
                     moment of the transformation of the sinner from the state of sin to that of
                     justification or sanctifying grace, which may be called the active justification
                     (actus justificationis) with this the real process comes to an end, and the state of
                     habitual holiness and sonship of God begins. Touching both of these periods
                     there has existed, and still exists, in part, a great conflict of opinion between
                     Catholicism and Protestantism. This conflict may be reduced to four differences
                     of teaching. By a justifying faith the Church understands qualitatively the
                     theoretical faith in the truths of Revelation, and demands over and above this faith
                     other acts of preparation for justification. Protestantism, on the other hand,
                     reduces the process of justification to merely a fiduciary faith; and maintains that
                     this faith, exclusive even of good works, is all-sufficient for justification, laying
                     great stress upon the scriptural statement sola fides justificat. The Church
                     teaches that justification consists of an actual obliteration of sin and an interior
                     sanctification. Protestantism, on the other hand, makes of the forgiveness of sin
                     merely a concealment of it, so to speak; and of the sanctification a forensic
                     declaration of justification, or an external imputation of the justice of Christ. In the
                     presentation of the process of justification, we will everywhere note this fourfold
                     confessional conflict.

                     A. The Fiduciary Faith of the Protestants

                     The Council of Trent (Sess. VI, cap. vi, and can. xii) decrees that not the
                     fiduciary faith, but a real mental act of faith, consisting of a firm belief in all
                     revealed truths makes up the faith of justification and the "beginning, foundation,
                     and source" (loc. cit., cap. viii) of justification. What did the Reformers with
                     Luther understand by fiduciary faith? They understood thereby not the first or
                     fundamental deposition or preparation for the (active) justification, but merely the
                     spiritual grasp (instrumentum) with which we seize and lay hold of the external
                     justice of Christ and with it, as with a mantle of grace, cover our sins (which still
                     continue to exist interiorly) in the infallible, certain belief (fiducia) that God, for the
                     sake of Christ, will no longer hold our sin against us. Hereby the seat of justifying
                     faith is transferred from the intellect to the will; and faith itself, in as far as it still
                     abides in the intellect, is converted into a certain belief in one's own justification.
                     The main question is: "Is this conception Biblical?" Murray (De gratia, disp. x, n.
                     18, Dublin, 1877) states in his statistics that the word fides (pistis) occurs eighty
                     times in the Epistle to the Romans and in the synoptic Gospels, and in only six
                     of these can it be construed to mean fiducia. But neither here nor anywhere else
                     does it ever mean the conviction of, or belief in, one's own justification, or the
                     Lutheran fiduciary faith. Even in the leading text (Rom., iv, 5) the justifying faith of
                     St. Paul is identical with the mental act of faith or belief in Divine truth; for
                     Abraham was justified not by faith in his own justification, but by faith in the truth
                     of the Divine promise that he would be the "father of many nations" (cf. Rom., iv,
                     9 sqq.). In strict accord with this is the Pauline teaching that the faith of
                     justification, which we must profess "with heart and mouth", is identical with the
                     mental act of faith in the Resurrection of Christ, the central dogma of Christianity
                     (Rom., x, 9 sq.) and that the minimum expressly necessary for justification is
                     contained in the two dogmas: the existence of God, and the doctrine of eternal
                     reward (Heb., xi, 6).

                     The Redeemer Himself made belief in the teaching of the gospel a necessary
                     condition for salvation, when he solemnly commanded the Apostles to preach the
                     Gospel to the whole world (Mark, xvi, 15). St. John the Evangelist declares his
                     Gospel has been written for the purpose of exciting belief in the Divine Sonship of
                     Christ, and links to this faith the possession of eternal life (John, xx, 31). Such
                     was the mind of the Chritian Church from the beginning. To say nothing of the
                     testimony of the Fathers (cf. Bellarmine, De justific., I, 9), Saint Fulgentius, a
                     disciple of St. Augustine, in his precious booklet, "De vera fide ad Petrum", does
                     not understand by true faith a fiduciary faith, but the firm belief in all the truths
                     contained in the Apostles' Creed, and he calls this faith the "Foundation of all
                     good things", and the "Beginning of human salvation" (loc. cit., Prolog.). The
                     practice of the Church in the earliest ages, as shown by the ancient custom,
                     going back to Apostolic times, of giving the catechumens (katechoumenoi from
                     katechein, viva voce instruere) a verbal instruction in the articles of faith and of
                     directing them, shortly before baptism, to make a public recitation of the
                     Apostles' Creed, strengthens this view. After this they were called not fiduciales
                     but fideles, in contra-distinction to infidels and haeretici (from aireisthai, to
                     select, to proceed eclectically) who rejected Revelation as a whole or in part.

                     In answer to the theological question: How many truths of faith must one
                     expressly (fide explicita) believe under command (necessitate praecepti)?
                     theologians say that an ordinary Catholic must expressly know and believe the
                     most important dogmas and the truths of the moral law, for instance, the
                     Apostles' Creed, the Decalogue, the six precepts of the Church, the Seven
                     Sacraments, the Our Father. Greater things are, of course, expected from the
                     educated, especially from catechists, confessors, preachers wherefore upon
                     these the study of theology rests as an obligation. If the question be put: In how
                     many truths as a means (necessitate medii) must one believe to be saved?
                     many catechists answer Six things: God's existence; an eternal reward; the
                     Trinity; the Incarnation; the immortality of the soul; the necessity of Grace. But
                     according to St. Paul (Heb., xi, 6) we can only be certain of the necessity of the
                     first two dogmas, while the belief in the Trinity and the Incarnation could not of
                     course be exacted from ante-Christian Judaism or from Paganism. Then, too,
                     belief in the Trinity may be implicitly included in the dogma of God's existence,
                     and belief in the Incarnation in the dogma of the Divine providence, just as the
                     immortality of the soul is implicitly included in the dogma of an eternal reward.
                     However, there arises for any one baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, and
                     entering thus the Church of Christ, the necessity of making an act of explicit faith
                     (fides explicita). This necessity (necessitas medii) arises per accidens, and is
                     suspended only by a Divine dispention in cases of extreme necessity, where
                     such an act of faith is either physically or morally impossible, as in the case of
                     pagans or those dying in a state of unconsciousness. For further matter on this
                     point see Pohle, "Lehrbuch der Dogmatik", 4th ed., II, 488 sqq. (Paderborn,

                     B. The "Sola Fides" Doctrine of the Protestants

                     The Council of Trent (Sess. VI, can. ix) decrees that over and above the faith
                     which formally dwells in the intellect, other acts of predisposition, arising from the
                     will, such as fear, hope, love, contrition, and good resolution (loc. cit., cap. vi),
                     are necessary for the reception of the grace of justification. This definition was
                     made by the council as against the second fundamental error of Protestantism,
                     namely that "faith alone justifies" (sola fides justificat).

                     Martin Luther stands as the originator of the doctrine of justification by faith
                     alone, for he hoped that in this way he might be able to calm his own
                     conscience, which was in a state of great perturbation, and consequently he took
                     refuge behind the assertion that the necessity of good works over and above
                     mere faith was altogether a pharisaical supposition. Manifestly this did not bring
                     him the peace and comfort for which he had hoped, and at least it brought no
                     conviction to his mind; for many times, in a spirit of honesty and sheer good
                     nature, he applauded good works, but recognized them only as necessary
                     concomitants, not as efficient dispositions, for justification. This was also the
                     tenor of Calvin's interpretation (Institute, III, 11, 19). Luther was surprised to find
                     himelf by his unprecedented doctrine in direct contradiction to the Bible, therefore
                     he rejected the Epistle of St. James as "one of straw" and into the text of St.
                     Paul to the Romans (iii, 28) he boldly inserted the word alone. This falsification of
                     the Bible was certainly not done in the spirit of the Apostle's teaching, for
                     nowhere does St. Paul teach that faith alone (without charity) will bring
                     justification, even though we should accept as also Pauline the text given in a
                     different context, that supernatural faith alone justifies but the fruitless works of
                     the Jewish Law do not.

                     In this statement St. Paul emphasizes the fact that grace is purely gratuitous;
                     that no merely natural good works can merit grace; but he does not state that no
                     other acts in their nature and purport predisposing are necessary for justification
                     over and above the requisite faith. Any other construction of the above passage
                     would be violent and incorrect. If Luther's interpretation were allowed to stand,
                     then St. Paul would come into direct contradiction not only with St. James (ii, 24
                     sqq.), but also with himself; for, except St. John, the favourite Apostle, he is the
                     most outspoken of all Apostles in proclaiming the necessity and excellence of
                     charity over faith in the matter of justification (cf. I Cor., xiii, l sqq.). Whenever
                     faith justifies it is not faith alone, but faith made operative and replenished by
                     charity (cf. Gal., v 6, "fides, quae per caritatem operatur"). In the painest
                     language the Apostle St. James says this: "ex operibus justificatur homo, et non
                     ex fide tantum" (James, ii, 24); and here, by works, he does not understand the
                     pagan good works to which St. Paul refers in the Epistle to the Romans, or the
                     works done in fulfilment of the Jewish Law, but the-works of salvation made
                     possible by the operation of supernatural grace, which was recognized by St.
                     Augustine (lib. LXXXIII, Q. lxxvi n. 2). In conformity with this interpretation and
                     with this only is the tenor of the Scriptural doctrine, namely, that over and above
                     faith other acts are necessary for justification, such as fear (Ecclus., i, 28), and
                     hope (Rom., viii, 24), charity (Luke, vii, 47), penance with contrition (Luke, xiii, 3;
                     Acts, ii, 38; iii, 19), almsgiving (Dan., iv, 24; Tob., xii, 9). Without charity and the
                     works of charity faith is dead. Faith receives life only from and through charity
                     (James, ii, 26). Only to dead faith (fides informis) is the doctrine applied: "Faith
                     alone does not justify". On the other hand, faith informed by charity (fides
                     formata) has the power of justification. St. Augustine (De Trinit., XV, 18)
                     expresses it pithily thus: "Sine caritate quippe fides potest quidem esse, sed
                     non et prodesse." Hence we see that from the very beginning the Church has
                     taught that not only faith but that a sincere conversion of heart effected by charity
                     and contrition is also requisite for justification--witness the regular method of
                     administering baptism and the discipline of penance in the early Church.

                     The Council of Trent (Sess. VI, cap. viii) has, in the light of Revelation, assigned
                     to faith the only correct status in the process of justification, inasmuch as the
                     council, by declaring it to be the "beginning, the foundation, and the root", has
                     placed faith at the very front in the whole process.

                     Faith is the beginning of salvation, because no one can be converted to God
                     unless he recognize Him as his supernatural end and aim, just as a mariner
                     without an objective and without a compass wanders aimlessly over the sea at
                     the mercy of wind and wave. Faith is not only the initiatory act of justification, but
                     the foundation as well, because upon it all the other predisposing acts rest
                     securely, not in geometric regularity or inert as the stones of a building rest upon
                     a foundation, but organically and imbued with life as the branches and blossoms
                     spring from a root or stem. Thus there is preserved to faith in the Catholic system
                     its fundamental and co-ordinating significance in the matter of justification. A
                     masterly, psychological description of the whole process of justification, which
                     even Ad. Harnack styles "a magnificent work of art", will be found in the famous
                     cap. vi, "Disponuntur" (Denzinger, n. 798). According to this the process of
                     justification follows a regular order of progression in four stages: from faith to fear,
                     from fear to hope, from hope to incipient charity, from incipient charity to
                     contrition with purpose of amendment. If the contrition be perfect (contritio
                     caritate perfecta), then active justification results, that is, the soul is immediately
                     placed in the state of grace even before the reception of the sacrament of
                     baptism or penance, though not without the desire for the sacrament (votum
                     sacramenti). If, on the other hand, the contrition be only an imperfect one
                     (attritio), then the sanctifying grace can only be imparted by the actual reception
                     of the sacrament (cf. Trent, Sess. VI, cc. iv and xiv). The Council of Trent had no
                     intention, however, of making the sequence of the various stages in the process
                     of justification, given above, inflexible; nor of making any one of the stages
                     indispensable. Since a real conversion is inconceivable without faith and
                     contrition, we naturally place faith at the beginning and contrition at the end of
                     the process. In exceptional cases, however, for example in sudden conversions,
                     it is quite possible for the sinner to overlap the intervening stages between faith
                     and charity, in which case fear, hope, and contrition are virtually included in

                     The "justification by faith alone" theory was by Luther styled the article of the
                     standing and falling church (articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae), and by his
                     followers was regarded as the material principle of Protestantism, just as the
                     sufficiency of the Bible without tradition was considered its formal principle. Both
                     of these principles are un-Biblical and are not accepted anywhere to-day in their
                     original severity, save only in the very small circle of orthodox Lutherans.

                     The Lutheran Church of Scandinavia has, according to the Swedish theologian
                     Krogh-Tonningh, experienced a silent reformation which in the lapse of the
                     several centuries has gradually brought it back to the Catholic view of
                     justification, which view alone can be supported by Revelation and Christian
                     experience (cf. Dorner, "Geschichte der protestantischen Theologie", 361 sqq.,
                     Munich, 1867; Mohler, "Symbolik", 16, Mainz, 1890; "Realencyk. fur prot.
                     Theol.", s.v. "Rechtfertigung").

                     C. The Protestant Theory of Non-Imputation

                     Embarrassed by the fatal notion that original sin wrought in man an utter
                     destruction extending even to the annihilation of all moral freedom of election,
                     and that it continues its existence even in the just man as sin in the shade of an
                     ineradicable concupiscence, Martin Luther and Calvin taught very logically that a
                     sinner is justified by fiduciary faith, in such a way, however, that sin is not
                     absolutely removed or wiped out, but merely covered up or not held against the
                     sinner. According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, however, in active
                     justification an actual and real forgiveness of sins takes place so that the sin is
                     really removed from the soul, not only original sin by baptism but also mortal sin
                     by the sacrament of penance (Trent, Sess. V, can. v; Sess. VI, cap. xiv; Sess.
                     XIV, cap. ii). This view is entirely consonant with the teaching of Holy Scripture,
                     for the Biblical expressions: "blotting out" as applied to sin (Ps., 1, 3; Is., xliii,
                     25; xliv, 22; Acts, iii, 19), "exhausting" (Heb., ix, 28), "taking away" [II Kings, xii,
                     13; I Par., xxi, 8; Mich., vii, 18; Ps. x (Heb.), 15; cii, 12], cannot be reconciled
                     with the idea of a mere covering up of sin which is supposed to continue its
                     existence in a covert manner. Other Biblical expressions are just as
                     irreconcilable with this Lutheran idea, for instance, the expression of "cleansing"
                     and "washing away" the mire of sin (Ps., 1, 4, 9; Is., i, 18; Ezech., xxxvi, 25; I
                     Cor., vi 11; Apoc., i, 5), that of coming "from death to life" (Col. ii., 13; I John, iii,
                     14); the removal from darkness to light (Eph., v, 9). Especially these latter
                     expressions are significant, because they characterize the justification as a
                     movement from one thing to another which is directly contrary or opposed to the
                     thing from which the movement is made. The opposites, black and white, night
                     and day, darkness and light, life and death, have this peculiarity, that the
                     presence of one means the extinction of its opposite. Just as the sun dispels all
                     darkness, so does the advent of justifying grace drive away sin, which ceases
                     from that on to have an existence at least in the ethical order of things, though in
                     the knowledge of God it may have a shadowy kind of existence as something
                     which once was, but has ceased to be. It becomes intelligible, therefore, that in
                     him who is justified, though concupiscence remain, there is "no condemnation"
                     (Rom., viii, l); and why, according to James (i, 14 sqq.), concupiscence as such
                     is really no sin; and it is apparent that St. Paul (Rom., vii, 17) is speaking only
                     figuratively when he calls concupiscence sin, because it springs from sin and
                     brings sin in its train. Where in the Bible the expressions "covering up" and "not
                     imputing" sin occur, as for instance in Ps. xxxi, 1 sq., they must be interpreted
                     in accordance with the Divine perfections, for it is repugnant that God should
                     declare any one free from sin to whom sin is still actually cleaving. It is one of
                     God's attributes always to substantiate His declarations; if He covers sin and
                     does not impute it, this can only be effected by an utter extinction or blotting out
                     of the sin. Tradition also has always taught this view of the forgiveness of sins.
                     (See Denifle, "Die abendländischen Schriftausleger bis Luther uber justitia Dei
                     and justificatio", Mainz, 1905)

                     4. The Protestant Theory of Imputation

                     Calvin rested his theory with the negative moment, holding that justification ends
                     with the mere forgiveness of sin, in the sense of not imputing the sin; but other
                     Reformers (Luther and Melanchthon) demanded a positive moment as well,
                     concerning the nature of which there was a very pronounced disagreement. At
                     the time of Osiander (d. 1552) there were from fourteen to twenty opinions on the
                     matter, each differing from every other; but they had this in common that they all
                     denied the interior holiness and the inherent justification of the Catholic idea of
                     the process. Among the adherents of the Augsburg Confession the following view
                     was rather generally accepted: The person to be justified seizes by means of the
                     fiduciary faith the exterior justice of Christ, and therewith covers his sins; this
                     exterior justice is imputed to him as if it were his own, and he stands before God
                     as having an outward justification, but in his inner self he remains the same
                     sinner as of old. This exterior, forensic declaration of justification was received
                     with great acclaim by the frenzied, fanatical masses of that time, and was given
                     wide and vociferous expression in the cry: "Justitia Christi extra nos".

                     The Catholic idea maintains that the formal cause of justification does not
                     consist in an exterior imputation of the justice of Christ, but in a real, interior
                     sanctification effected by grace, which abounds in the soul and makes it
                     permanently holy before God (cf. Trent, Sess. VI, cap. vii; can. xi). Although the
                     sinner is justified by the justice of Christ, inasmuch as the Redeemer has
                     merited for him the grace of justification (causa meritoria), nevertheless he is
                     formally justified and made holy by his own personal justice and holiness (causa
                     formalis), just as a philosopher by his own inherent learning becomes a scholar,
                     not, however, by any exterior imputation of the wisdom of God (Trent, Sess. VI,
                     can. x). To this idea of inherent holiness which theologians call sanctifying grace
                     are we safely conducted by the words of Holy Writ.

                     To prove this we may remark that the word justificare (Gr. dikaioun) in the Bible
                     may have a fourfold meaning:

                          The forensic declaration of justice by a tribunal or court (cf. Is., v, 23;
                          Prov., xvii, 15).
                          The interior growth in holiness (Apoc., xxii, 11).
                          As a substantive, justificatio, the external law (Ps. cxviii, 8, and
                          The inner, immanent sanctification of the sinner.

                     Only this last meaning can be intended where there is mention of passing to a
                     new life (Eph., ii, 5; Col., ii, 13; I John, iii, 14); renovation in spirit (Eph., iv, 23
                     sq.); supernatural likeness to God (Rom., viii, 29; II Cor., iii, 18; II Pet., i, 4) a
                     new creation (II Cor., v, 17; Gal., vi, 15); rebirth in God (John, iii, 5; Tit., iii, 5;
                     James, i, 18), etc., all of which designations not only imply a setting aside of sin,
                     but express as well a permanent state of holiness. All of these terms express
                     not an aid to action, but rather a form of being; and this appears also from the
                     fact that the grace of justification is described as being "poured forth in our
                     hearts" (Rom., v, 5); as "the spirit of adoption of sons" of God (Rom., viii, 15); as
                     the "spirit, born of the spirit" (John, iii, 6); making us "conformable to the image
                     of the Son" (Rom., viii, 28); as a participation in the Divine nature (II Pet., i, 4);
                     the abiding seed in us (I John, iii, 9), and so on. As regards the tradition of the
                     Church, even Harnack admits that St. Augustine faithfully reproduces the
                     teaching of St. Paul. Hence the Council of Trent need not go back to St. Paul,
                     but only to St. Augustine, for the purpose of demonstrating that the Protestant
                     theory of imputation is at once against St. Paul and St. Augustine.

                     Moreover, this theory must be rejected as not being in accordance with reason.
                     For in a man who is at once sinful and just, half holy and half unholy, we cannot
                     possibly recognize a masterpiece of God's omnipotence, but only a wretched
                     caricature, the deformity of which is exaggerated all the more by the violent
                     introduction of the justice of Christ. The logical consequences which follow from
                     this system, and which have been deduced by the Reformers themselves, are
                     indeed appalling to Catholics. It would follow that, since the justice of Christ is
                     always and ever the same, every person justified, from the ordinary everyday
                     person to the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, would possess precisely the
                     same justification and would have, in degree and kind, the same holiness and
                     justice. This deduction was expressly made by Luther. Can any man of sound
                     mind accept it? If this be so, then the justification of children by baptism is
                     impossible, for, not having come to the age of reason, they cannot have the
                     fiduciary faith wherewith they must seize the justice of Christ to cover up their
                     original sin. Very logically, therefore, the Anabaptists, Mennonites, and Baptists
                     reject the validity of infant baptism. It would likewise follow that the justification
                     acquired by faith alone could be forfeited only by infidelity, a most awful
                     consequence which Luther (De Wette, II, 37) clothed in the following words,
                     though he could hardly have meant them seriously: "Pecca fortiter et crede
                     fortius et nihil nocebunt centum homicidia et mille stupra." Luckily this inexorable
                     logic falls powerless against the decency and good morals of the Lutherans of
                     our time, and is, therefore, harmless now, though it was not so at the time of the
                     Peasants' War in the Reformation.

                     The Council of Trent (Sess. VI, cap. vii) defined that the inherent justice is not
                     only the formal cause of justification, but as well the only formal cause (unica
                     formalis causa); this was done as against the heretical teaching of the Reformer
                     Bucer (d. 1551), who held that the inherent justice must be supplemented by the
                     imputed justice of Christ. A further object of this decree was to check the
                     Catholic theologian Albert Pighius and others, who seemed to doubt that the
                     inner justice could be ample for justification without being supplemented by
                     another favour of God (favor Dei externus) (cf. Pallavacini, Hist. Conc. Trident.,
                     VIII, 11, 12). This decree was well-founded, for the nature and operation of
                     justification are determined by the infusion of sanctifying grace. In other words
                     without the aid of other factors, sanctifying grace in itself possesses the power to
                     effect the destruction of sin and the interior sanctification of the soul to be
                     justified. For since sin and grace are diametrically opposed to each other, the
                     mere advent of grace is sufficient to drive sin away; and thus grace, in its positive
                     operations, immediately brings about holiness, kinship of God, and a renovation
                     of spirit, etc. From this it follows that in the present process of justification, the
                     remission of sin, both original and mortal, is linked to the infusion of sanctifying
                     grace as a conditio sine qua non, and therefore a remission of sin without a
                     simultaneous interior sanctification is theologically impossible. As to the
                     interesting controversy whether the incompatibility of grace and sin rests on
                     merely moral, or physical, or metaphysical contrariety, refer to Pohle ("Lehrbuch
                     der Dogmatik", II 511 sqq., Paderborn, 1909); Scheeben ("Die Myst. des
                     Christentums", 543 sqq., Freiburg, 1898).

                                  II. THE NATURE OF SANCTIFYING GRACE

                     The real nature of sanctifying grace is, by reason of its direct invisibility, veiled in
                     mystery, so that we can learn its nature better by a study of its formal operations
                     in the soul than by a study of the grace itself. Indissolubly linked to the nature of
                     this grace and to its formal operations are other manifestations of grace which
                     are referable not to any intrinsic necessity but to the goodness of God;
                     accordingly three questions present themselves for consideration:

                          (a) The inner nature of sanctifying grace.
                          (b) Its formal operations.
                          (c) Its supernatural retinue.

                     A. The Inner Nature

                     1. As we have seen that sanctifying grace designates a grace producing a
                     permanent condition, it follows that it must not be confounded with a particular
                     actual grace nor with a series of actual graces, as some ante-Tridentine
                     theologians seem to have held. This view is confirmed by the fact that the grace
                     imparted to children in baptism does not differ essentially from the sanctifying
                     grace imparted to adults, an opinion which was not considered as altogether
                     certain under Pope Innocent III (1201), was regarded as having a high degree of
                     probability by Pope Clement V (1311), and was defined as certain by the Council
                     of Trent (Sess. V, can. iii-v). Baptized infants cannot be justified by the use of
                     actual grace, but only by a grace which effects or produces a certain condition in
                     the recipient. Is this grace of condition or state, as Peter Lombard (Sent., I, dist.
                     xvii, 18) held, identical with the Holy Spirit, whom we may call the permanent,
                     uncreated grace (gratia increata)? It is quite impossible. For the person of the
                     Holy Ghost cannot be poured out into our hearts (Rom., v, 5), nor does it cleave
                     to the soul as inherent justice (Trent, sess. VI, can. xi), nor can it be increased
                     by good works (loc. cit., can. xxiv), and all this is apart from the fact that the
                     justifying grace in Holy Writ is expressly termed a "gift [or grace] of the Holy
                     Ghost" (Acts, ii, 38; x, 45), and as the abiding seed of God (I John, iii, 9). From
                     this it follows that the grace must be as distinct from the Holy Ghost as the gift
                     from the giver and the seed from the sower; consequently the Holy Spirit is our
                     holiness, not by the holiness by which He Himself is holy, but by that holiness
                     by which He makes us holy. He is not, therefore, the causa formalis, but merely
                     the causa efficiens, of our holiness.

                     Moreover, sanctifying grace as an active reality, and not a merely external
                     relation, must be philosophically either substance or accident. Now, it is
                     certainty not a substance which exists by itself, or apart from the soul, therefore
                     it is a physical accident inhering in the soul, so that the soul becomes the
                     subject in which grace inheres; but such an accident is in metaphysics called
                     quality (qualitas, poiotes) therefore sanctifying grace may be philosophically
                     termed a "permanent, supernatural quality of the soul", or, as the Roman
                     Catechism (P. II, cap. ii, de bap., n. 50) says "divina qualitas in anima

                     2. Sanctifying grace cannot be termed a habit (habitus) with the same precision
                     as it is called a quality. Metaphysicians enumerate four kinds of quality:

                          habit and disposition;
                          power and want of power;
                          passion and passible quality, for example, to blush, pale with wrath;
                          form and figure (cf. Aristotle, Categ. VI).

                     Manifestly sanctifying grace must be placed in the first of these four classes,
                     namely habit or disposition; but as dispositions are fleeting things, and habit has
                     a permanency theologians agree that sanctifying grace is undoubtedly a habit,
                     hence the name: Habitual Grace (gratia habitualis). Habitus is subdivided into
                     habitus entitativus and habitus operativus. A habitus entitativus is a quality or
                     condition added to a substance by which condition or quality the substance is
                     found permanently good or bad, for instance: sickness or health, beauty,
                     deformity, etc. Habitus operativus is a disposition to produce certain operations
                     or acts, for instance, moderation or extravagance; this habitus is called either
                     virtue or vice just as the soul is inclined thereby to a moral good or to a moral
                     evil. Now, since sanctifying grace does not of itself impart any such readiness,
                     celerity, or facility in action, we must consider it primarily as a habitus
                     entitativus, not as a habitus operativus. Therefore, since the popular concept of
                     habitus, which usually designates a readiness, does not accurately express the
                     idea of sanctifying grace, another term is employed, i.e. a quality after the
                     manner of a habit (qualitas per modum habitus), and this term is applied with
                     Bellarmine (De grat. et lib. arbit., I, iii). Grace, however, preserves an inner
                     relation to a supernatural activity, because it does not impart to the soul the act
                     but rather the disposition to perform supernatural and meritorious acts therefore
                     grace is remotely and mediately a disposition to act (habitus remote operativus).
                     On account of this and other metaphysical subtleties the Council of Trent has
                     refrained from applying the term habitus to sanctifying grace.

                     In the order of nature a distinction is made between natural and acquired habits
                     (habitus innatus, and habitus acquisitus), to distinguish between natural
                     instincts, such, for instance, as are common to the brute creation, and acquired
                     habits such as we develop by practice, for instance skill in playing a musical
                     instrument etc. But grace is supernatural, and cannot, therefore, be classed
                     either as a natural or an acquired habit; it can only be received, accordingly, by
                     infusion from above, therefore it is a supernatural infused habit (habitus infusus).

                     3. If theologians could succeed in establishing the identity sometimes
                     maintained between the nature of grace and charity, a great step forward would
                     be taken in the examination of the nature of grace, for we are more familiar with
                     the infused virtue of charity than with the hidden mysterious nature of sanctifying
                     grace. For the identity of grace and charity some of the older theologians have
                     contended--Peter Lombard, Scotus, Bellarmine, Lessius, and others--declaring
                     that, according to the Bible and the teaching of the Fathers, the process of
                     justification may be at times attributable to sanctifying grace and at other times
                     to the virtue of charity. Similar effects demand a similar cause; therefore there
                     exists, in this view, merely a virtual distinction between the two, inasmuch as
                     one and the same reality appears under one aspect as grace, and under another
                     as charity. This similarity is confirmed by the further fact that the life or death of
                     the soul is occasioned respectively by the presence in, or absence from, the soul
                     of charity. Nevertheless, all these arguments may tend to establish a similarity,
                     but do not prove a case of identity. Probably the correct view is that which sees a
                     real distinction between grace and charity, and this view is held by most
                     theologians, including St. Thomas Aquinas and Suarez. Many passages in
                     Scripture and patrology and in the enactments of synods confirm this view.
                     Often, indeed, grace and charity are placed side by side, which could not be
                     done without a pleonasm if they were identical. Lastly, sanctifying grace is a
                     habitus entitativus, and theological charity a habitus operativus: the former,
                     namely sanctifying grace, being a habitus entitativus, informs and transforms the
                     substance of the soul; the latter, namely charity, being a habitus operativus,
                     supernaturally informs and influences the will (cf. Ripalda, "De ente sup.", disp.
                     cxxiii; Billuart, "De gratia", disp. iv, 4).

                     4. The climax of the presentation of the nature of sanctifying grace is found in its
                     character as a participation in the Divine nature, which in a measure indicates its
                     specific difference. To this undeniable fact of the supernatural participation in the
                     Divine nature is our attention directed not only by the express words of Holy Writ:
                     ut efficiamini divinae consortes naturae (II Pet., i, 4), but also by the Biblical
                     concept of "the issue and birth from God", since the begotten must receive of the
                     nature of the progenitor, though in this case it only holds in an accidental and
                     analogical sense. Since this same idea has been found in the writings of the
                     Fathers, and is incorporated in the liturgy of the Mass, to dispute or reject it
                     would be nothing short of temerity. It is difficult to excogitate a manner (modus)
                     in which this participation of the Divine nature is effected. Two extremes must be
                     avoided, so that the truth will be found.

                     An exaggerated theory was taught by certain mystics and quietists, a theory not
                     free from pantheiotic taint. In this view the soul is formally changed into God, an
                     altogether untenable and impossible hypothesis, since concupiscence remains
                     even after justification, and the presence of concupiscence is, of course,
                     absolutely repugnant to the Divine nature.

                     Another theory, held by the Scotists, teaches that the participation is merely of a
                     moral-juridical nature, and not in the least a physical participation. But since
                     sanctifying grace is a physical accident in the soul, one cannot help referring
                     such participation in the Divine nature to a physical and interior assimilation with
                     God, by virtue of which we are permitted to share those goods of the Divine order
                     to which God alone by His own nature can lay claim. In any event the
                     "participatio divinae naturae" is not in any sense to be considered a deification,
                     but only a making of the soul "like unto God". To the difficult question: Of which
                     special attribute of God does this participation partake? Theologians can answer
                     only by conjectures. Manifestly only the communicable attributes can at all be
                     considered in the matter, wherefore Gonet (Clyp. thomist., IV, ii, x) was clearly
                     wrong when he said that the attribute of participation was the aseitas, absolutely
                     the most incommunicable of all the Divine attributes. Ripalda (loc. cit., disp. xx;
                     sect. 14) is probably nearer the truth when he suggests Divine sanctity as the
                     attribute, for the very idea of sanctifying grace brings the sanctity of God into the

                     The theory of Suarez (De grat., VII, i, xxx), which is also favoured by Scripture
                     and the Fathers, is perhaps the most plausible. In this theory sanctifying grace
                     imparts to the soul a participation in the Divine spirituality, which no rational
                     creature can by its own unaided powers penetrate or comprehend. It is, therefore,
                     the office of grace to impart to the soul, in a supernatural way, that degree of
                     spirituality which is absolutely necessary to give us an idea of God and His spirit,
                     either here below in the shadows of earthly existence, or there above in the
                     unveiled splendour of Heaven. If we were asked to condense all that we have thus
                     far been considering into a definition, we would formulate the following:
                     Sanctifying grace is "a quality strictly supernatural, inherent in the soul as a
                     habitus, by which we are made to participate in the divine nature".

                     B. Formal Operations

                     Sanctifying Grace has its formal operations, which are fundamentally nothing
                     else than the formal cause considered in its various moments. These operations
                     are made known by Revelation; therefore to children and to the faithful can the
                     splendour of grace best be presented by a vivid description of its operations.
                     These are: sanctity, beauty, friendship, and sonship of God.

                     1. Sanctity

                     The sanctity of the soul, as its first formal operation, is contained in the idea
                     itself of sanctifying grace, inasmuch as the infusion of it makes the subject holy
                     and inaugurates the state or condition of sanctity. So far it is, as to its nature, a
                     physical adornment of the soul; it is also a moral form of sanctification, which of
                     itself makes baptized children just and holy in the sight of God. This first
                     operation is thrown into relief by the fact that the "new man", created injustice
                     and holiness (Eph., iv, 24), was preceded by the "old man" of sin, and that grace
                     changed the sinner into a saint (Trent, Sess. VI, cap. vii: ex injusto fit justus).
                     The two moments of actual justification, namely the remission of sin and the
                     sanctification, are at the same time moments of habitual justification, and
                     become the formal operations of grace. The mere infusion of the grace effects at
                     once the remission of original and mortal sin, and inaugurates the condition or
                     state of holiness. (See Pohle, Lehrb. der Dogm., 527 sq.)

                     2. Beauty

                     Although the beauty of the soul is not mentioned by the teaching office of the
                     Church as one of the operations of grace, nevertheless the Roman Catechism
                     refers to it (P. II, cap. ii, de bap., n. 50). If it be permissible to understand by the
                     spouse in the Canticle of Canticles a symbol of the soul decked in grace, then all
                     the passages touching the ravishing beauty of the spouse may find a fitting
                     application to the soul. Hence it is that the Fathers express the supernatural
                     beauty of a soul in grace by the most splendid comparisons and figures of
                     speech, for instance: "a divine picture" (Ambrose); "a golden statue"
                     (Chrysostom); "a streaming light" (Basil), etc. Assuming that, apart from the
                     material beauty expressed in the fine arts, there exists a purely spiritual beauty,
                     we can safely state that grace as the participation in the Divine nature, calls forth
                     in the soul a physical reflection of the uncreated beauty of God, which is not to
                     be compared with the soul's natural likeness to God. We can attain to a more
                     intimate idea of the Divine likeness in the soul adorned with grace, if we refer the
                     picture not merely to the absolute Divine nature, as the prototype of all beauty,
                     but more especially to the Trinity whose glorious nature is so charmingly
                     mirrored in the soul by the Divine adoption and the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost
                     (cf. H. Krug, De pulchritudine divina, Freiburg, 1902).

                     3. Friendship

                     The friendship of God is consequently, one of the most excellent of the effects of
                     grace; Aristotle denied the possibility of such a friendship by reason of the great
                     disparity between God and man. As a matter of fact man is, inasmuch as he is
                     God's creature, His servant, and by reason of sin (original and mortal) he is God's
                     enemy. This relation of service and enmity is transformed by sanctifying grace
                     into one of friendship (Trent, Sess. VI, cap. vii: ex inimico amicus). According to
                     the Scriptural concept (Wis., vii, 14; John, xv, 15) this friendship resembles a
                     mystical matrimonial union between the soul and its Divine spouse (Matt., ix, 15;
                     Apoc., xix, 7). Friendship consists in the mutual love and esteem of two persons
                     based upon an exchange of service or good office (Aristot., "Eth. Nicom.", VIII
                     sq.). True friendship resting only on virtue (amicitia honesta) demands undeniably
                     a love of benevolence, which seeks only the happiness and well-being of the
                     friend, whereas the friendly exchange of benefits rests upon a utilitarian basis
                     (amicitia utilis) or one of pleasure (amicitia delectabilis), which presupposes a
                     selfish love; still the benevolent love of friendship must be mutual, because an
                     unrequited love becomes merely one of silent admiration, which is not friendship
                     by any means. But the strong bond of union lies undeniably in the fact of a
                     mutual benefit, by reason of which friend regards friend as his other self (alter
                     ego). Finally, between friends an equality of position or station is demanded, and
                     where this does not exit an elevation of the inferior's status (amicitia excellentie),
                     as, for example, in the case of a friendship between a king and noble subject. It
                     is easy to perceive that all these conditions are fulfilled in the friendship between
                     God and man effected by grace. For, just as God regards the just man with the
                     pure love of benevolence, He likewise prepares him by the infusion of theological
                     charity for the reception of a correspondingly pure and unselfish affection. Again,
                     although man's knowledge of the love of God is very limited, while God's
                     knowledge of love in man is perfect, this conjecture is sufficient--indeed in human
                     friendships it alone is possible--to form the basis of a friendly relation. The
                     exchange of gifts consists, on the part of God, in the bestowal of supernatural
                     benefits, on the part of man, in the promotion of God's glory, and partly in the
                     performance of works of fraternal charity. There is, indeed, in the first instance, a
                     vast difference in the respective positions of God and man; but by the infusion of
                     grace man receives a patent of nobility, and thus a friendship of excellency
                     (amicitia excellentiae) is established between God and the just. (See Schiffini,
                     "De gratia divina", 305 sqq., Freiburg, 1901.)

                     4. Sonship

                     In the Divine filiation of the soul the formal workings of sanctifying grace reach
                     their culminating point; by it man is entitled to a share in the paternal inheritance,
                     which consists in the beatific vision. This excellence of grace is not only
                     mentioned countless times in Holy Writ (Rom., viii, 15 sq.; I John, iii, 1 sq., etc.),
                     but is included in the Scriptural idea of a re-birth in God (cf. John, i, 12 sq.; iii, 5;
                     Titus, iii, 5; James, i, 18, etc.). Since the re-birth in God is not effected by a
                     substantial issuance from the substance of God, as in the case of the Son of
                     God or Logos (Christus), but is merely an analogical or accidental coming forth
                     from God, our sonship of God is only of an adoptive kind, as we find it expressed
                     in Scripture (Rom., viii, 15; Gal., iv, 5). This adoption was defined by St. Thomas
                     (III:23:1): personae extraneae in filium et heredem gratuita assumptio. To the
                     nature of this adoption there are four requisites;

                          the original unrelatedness of the adopted person;
                          fatherly love on the part of the adopting parent for the person adopted;
                          the absolute gratuity of the choice to sonship and heirship;
                          the consent of the adopted child to the act of adoption.

                     Applying these conditions to the adoption of man by God, we find that God's
                     adoption exceeds man's in every point, for the sinner is not merely a stranger to
                     God but is as one who has cast off His friendship and become an enemy. In the
                     case of human adoption the mutual love is presumed as existing, in the case of
                     God's adoption the love of God effects the requisite deposition in the soul to be
                     adopted. The great and unfathomable love of God at once bestows the adoption
                     and the consequent heirship to the kingdom of heaven, and the value of this
                     inheritance is not diminished by the number of coheirs, as in the case of worldly

                     God does not impose His favours upon any one, therefore a consent is expected
                     from adult adopted sons of God (Trent, Sess. VI, cap. vii, per voluntariam
                     susceptionem gratiae et donorum). It is quite in keeping with the excellence of
                     the heavenly Father that He should supply for His children during the pilgrimage a
                     fitting sustenance which will sustain the dignity of their position, and be to them
                     a pledge of resurrection and eternal life; and this is the Bread of the Holy
                     Eucharist (see EUCHARIST).

                     The Supernatural Retinue

                     This expression is derived from the Roman Catechism (P. II., c. i, n. 51), which
                     teaches: "Huic (gratiae sanctificanti) additur nobilissimus omnium virtutum
                     comitatus". As the concomitants of sanctifying grace, these infused virtues are
                     not formal operations, but gifts really distinct from this grace, connected
                     nevertheless with it by a physical, or rather a moral, indissoluble
                     link--relationship. Therefore the Council of Vienne (1311) speaks of informans
                     gratia et virtutes, and the Council of Trent, in a more general way, of gratia et
                     dona. The three theological virtues, the moral virtues, the seven gifts of the Holy
                     Ghost, and the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the soul are all
                     considered. The Council of Trent (Sess. VI, c. vii) teaches that the theological
                     virtues of faith, hope, and charity are in the process of justification infused into
                     the soul as supernatural habits. Concerning the time of infusion, it is an article of
                     faith (Sess. VI, can. xi) that the virtue of charity is infused immediately with
                     sanctifying grace, so that throughout the whole term of existence sanctifying
                     grace and charity are found as inseparable companions. Concerning the habitus
                     of faith and hope, Suarez is of the opinion (as against St. Thomas and St.
                     Bonaventure) that, assuming a favourable disposition in the recipient, they are
                     infused earlier in the process of justification. Universally known is the expression
                     of St. Paul (I Cor., xiii, 13), "And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these
                     three: but the greatest of these is charity." Since, here, faith and hope are placed
                     on a par with charity, but charity is considered as diffused in the soul (Rom., v,
                     5), conveying thus the idea of an infused habit, it will be seen that the doctrine of
                     the Church so consonant with the teaching of the Fathers is also supported by
                     Scripture. The theological virtues have God directly as their formal object, but the
                     moral virtues are directed in their exercise to created things in their moral
                     relations. All the special moral virtues can be reduced to the four cardinal virtues:
                     prudence (prudentia), justice (justitia), fortitude (fortitudo), temperance
                     (temperantia). The Church favours the opinion that along with grace and charity
                     the four cardinal virtues (and, according to many theologians, their subsidiary
                     virtues also) are communicated to the souls of the just as supernatural habitus,
                     whose office it is to give to the intellect and the will, in their moral relations with
                     created things, a supernatural direction and inclination. By reason of the
                     opposition of the Scotists this view enjoys only a degree of probability, which,
                     however, is supported by passages in Scripture (Prov., viii, 7; Ezech., xi, 19; II
                     Pet., i, 3 sqq.) as well as the teaching of the Fathers (Augustine, Gregory the
                     Great, and others). Some theologians add to the infusion of the theological and
                     moral virtues also that of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, though this view
                     cannot be called anything more than a mere opinion. There are difficulties in the
                     way of the acceptance of this opinion which cannot be here discussed.

                     The article of faith goes only to this extent, that Christ as man possessed the
                     seven gifts (cf. Is., xi, 1 sqq.; lxi, l; Luke, iv, 18). Remembering, however, that St.
                     Paul (Rom., viii, 9 sqq.) considers Christ, as man, the mystical head of mankind,
                     and the August exemplar of our own justification, we may possibly assume that
                     God gives in the process of justification also the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.

                     The crowning point of justification is found in the personal indwelling of the Holy
                     Spirit. It is the perfection and the supreme adornment of the justified soul.
                     Adequately considered, the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit consists of a
                     twofold grace, the created accidental grace (gratia creata accidentalis) and the
                     uncreated substantial grace (gratia increata substantialis). The former is the
                     basis and the indispensable assumption for the latter; for where God Himself
                     erects His throne, there must be found a fitting and becoming adornment. The
                     indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the soul must not be confounded with God's
                     presence in all created things, by virtue of the Divine attribute of Omnipresence.
                     The personal indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the soul rests so securely upon the
                     teaching of Holy Writ and of the Fathers that to deny it would constitute a grave
                     error. In fact, St. Paul (Rom., v, 5) says: "The charity of God is poured forth in our
                     hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us". In this passage the Apostle
                     distinguishes clearly between the accidental grace of theological charity and the
                     Person of the Giver. From this it follows that the Holy Spirit has been given to us,
                     and dwells within us (Rom.,viii, 11), so that we really become temples of the Holy
                     Ghost (I Cor., iii, 16 sq.; vi, 19). Among all the Fathers of the Church (excepting,
                     perhaps, St. Augustine) it is the Greeks who are more especially noteworthy for
                     their rapturous uttertances touching the infusion of the Holy Ghost. Note the
                     expressions: "The replenishing of the soul with balsamic odours", "a glow
                     permeating the soul", "a gilding and refining of the soul". Against the
                     Pneumatomachians they strive to prove the real Divinity of the Holy Spirit from
                     His indwelling, maintaining that only God can establish Himself in the soul;
                     surely no creature can inhabit any other creatures. But clear and undeniable as
                     the fact of the indwelling is, equally difficult and perplexing is it in degree to
                     explain the method and manner (modus) of this indwelling.

                     Theologians offer two explanations. The greater number hold that the indweling
                     must not be considered a substantial information, nor a hypostatic union, but
                     that it really means an indwelling of the Trinity (John, xiv, 23), but is more
                     specifically appropriated to the Holy Ghost by reason of His notional character as
                     the Hypostatic Holiness and Personal Love.

                     Another small group of theologians (Petavius, Scheeben, Hurter, etc.), basing
                     their opinion upon the teaching of the Fathers, especially the Greek, distinguish
                     between the inhabitatio totius Trinitatis, and the inhabitatio Spiritus Sancti, and
                     decide that this latter must be regarded as a union (unio, enosis) pertaining to
                     the Holy Ghost alone, from which the other two Persons are excluded. It would
                     be difficult, if not impossible to reconcile this theory, in spite of its deep mystical
                     significance, with the recognized principles of the doctrine of the Trinity, namely
                     the law of appropriation and Divine mission. Hence this theory is almost
                     universally rejected (see Franzelin, "De Deo trino", thes. xliii-xlviii, Rome, 1881).


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

                     A. Uncertainty

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

                     B. Inequality

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

                     The increase of grace is by theologians justly called a second justification
                     (justificatio secunda), as distinct from the first justification (justificatio prima),
                     which is coupled with a remission of sin; for, though there be in the second
                     justification no transit from sin to grace, there is an advance from grace to a more
                     perfect sharing therein. If inquiry be made as to the mode of this increase, it can
                     only be explained by the philosophical maxim: "Qualities are susceptible of
                     increase and decrease"; for instance, light and heat by the varying degree of
                     intensity increase or diminish. The question is not a theological but a
                     philosophical one to decide whether the increase be effected by an addition of
                     grade to grade (additio gradus ad gradum), as most theologians believe; or
                     whether it be by a deeper and firmer taking of root in the soul (major radicatio in
                     subjecto), as many Thomists claim. This question has a special connection with
                     that concerning the multiplication of the habitual act.

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

                     C. Amissibility

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

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

                     J.  Pohle
                     Transcribed by Scott Anthony Hibbs & Wendy Lorraine Hoffman

                                       The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VI
                                    Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company
                                    Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight
                                  Nihil Obstat, September 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor
                                   Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

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