Friday, July 10, 2009

St. Thomas on Justification - Conclusion (So to speak)

We've come to the end of my little (?) series on justification as understood by St. Thomas. By way of summary, here are some of the more important points we've seen:
  • Justification is by grace
  • Justification requires an two-part act of the will: one towards God (i.e., faith), and one away from sin (i.e., repentance)
  • We receive justification by means of the Sacrament of Baptism
  • Justification is through Christ alone
  • Our natural powers cannot save us
  • God rewards our merits, but our merits are given to us by him in the first place
  • Faith is required for justification, but it may be implicit
  • God does not save us against our will
I think it's perfectly clear that the canard advanced by some Protestants that the Gospel is works-based is completely false, at least as seen through the eyes of Aquinas. But more remains to be done. I have said that St. Thomas was no innovator when it comes to preserving the Faith of the Church: that he, and his brother scholastics, were scrupulously zealous to remain true to the Deposit of Faith received from the Fathers. Consequently we ought to find that his views are consistent with the teaching of the Church. That is the question that will occupy my attention next. Is the teaching of St. Thomas with regard to justification consistent with the Council of Trent? Is it consistent with the teaching of Vatican II?

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