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by Father Frederick William Faber

If we hated sin as we ought to hate it, purely, keenly, manfully, we should do more penance, we should inflict more self-punishment, we should sorrow for our sins more abidingly.

Then, again, the crowning disloyalty to God is heresy. It is the sin of sins, the most loathsome of things which God looks down upon in this malignant world. Yet how little do we understand of its excessive hatefulness! It is the polluting of God’s truth, which is the worst of all impurities.

Yet how light we make of it! We look at it, and are calm. We touch it and do not shudder. We mix with it, and have no fear. We see it touch holy things, and we have no sense of sacrilege. We breathe its odor, and show no signs of detestation or disgust.

Some of us affect its friendship; and some even extenuate its guilt. We do not love God enough to be angry for His glory. We do not love men enough to be charitably truthful for their souls.

Having lost the touch, the taste, the sight, and all the senses of heavenly-mindedness, we can dwell amidst this odious plague, in imperturbable tranquillity, reconciled to its foulness, not without some boastful professions of liberal admiration, perhaps even with a solicitous show of tolerant sympathies.

Why are we so far below the old saints, and even the modern apostles of these latter times, in the abundance of our conversations? Because we have not the antique sternness? We want the old Church-spirit, the old ecclesiastical genius. Our charity is untruthful, because it is not severe; and it is unpersuasive, because it is untruthful.
We lack devotion to truth as truth, as God’s truth. Our zeal for souls is puny, because we have no zeal for God’s honor. We act as if God were complimented by conversions, instead of trembling souls rescued by a stretch of mercy.

We tell men half the truth, the half that best suits our own pusillanimity and their conceit; and then we wonder that so few are converted, and that of those few so many apostatize.
We are so weak as to be surprised that our half- truth has not succeeded so well as God’s whole truth.

Where there is no hatred of heresy, there is no holiness.

A man, who might be an apostle, becomes a fester in the Church for the want of this righteous abomination. We need St. Michael to put new hearts into us in these days of universal heresy.

But devotion to the Precious Blood, with its hymning of the Church and its blazoning of the Sacraments will give us Michael’s heart and the craft to use Michael’s sword. Who ever drew his sword with nobler haste, or used his victory more tenderly, than that brave archangel, whose war-cry was All for God?

The Precious Blood is His Blood, who is especially Uncreated Truth. It is His Blood who came with His truth to redeem souls.

Hence love of souls is another grace, which comes from the spirit of devotion to the Precious Blood. I wish “the love of souls” were words that were not so shortly said. They mean so much that we should linger over them, in order to imbibe their sweetness, perhaps also their medicinal bitterness as well.

A volume would hardly say all that wants saying upon this matter. In all ages of the Church a zeal for souls is a most necessary grace; and this is hardly an age in which it is less necessary than usual.

Alas! It is a rare gift, incredibly rare, rare even amongst us priests, and a gift unfortunately dishonored more than most gifts by base counterfeits and discreditable impostures.

Of all things that can be named, the love of souls is perhaps the most distinctively Catholic. It seems to be a supernatural sense, belonging only to the Church.

There are several classes of saints, classes divided from each other by wide discrepancies of grace, and a dissimilitude, almost an incompatibility, of gifts. Yet the love of souls is an instinct common to all saints of whatever class.

It is a grace, which implies the accompaniment of the greatest number of graces and the exercise of the greatest number of virtues. It is the grace which irreligious people most dislike; for it is a grace which is peculiarly obnoxious to the worldly.

It is a gift also, which requires an unusually fine spiritual discernment; for it is always and everywhere the harmony of enthusiasm and discretion. Natural activity, vulgar emulation, the bustle of benevolence, the love of praise, the habit of meddling. The over-estimate of our own abilities, the hot-headedness of unripe fervor, the obstinacy of peculiar views, the endless foolishnesses of indocile originality — all these things prepare so many delusions for the soul, and so multiply them by combining in varieties, that the gift of counsel and the virtue of prudence, as well as the cool audacity of an apostle, are needed for the exercise of this love of souls.

It is also a very laborious grace, wearing the spirit, fatiguing the mind, disappointing the heart.

This is the reason why in so many persons it is a short-lived grace. It is a part of almost everybody’s fervor, while it is part of the perseverance of very few. It is a grace which never grows old, never has the feelings of age, or the repose of age, or the slowness of age.

Hence many men cast it aside as a thing which belongs to youth, as if it were a process to be gone through, and then there was an end of it. The soul of an apostle is always youthful. It was mature in its young prudence; and it is impetuous in its grey-haired zeal.

______________________
– Taken from The Precious Blood, Chapter VI “The Devotion To The Precious Blood”, by Frederick William Faber, originally published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers to the Holy See with a Dedication by Fr. Faber dated 1860 on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

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Objector: I went to Mass with one of my friends, and I noticed that during the Penitential Rite, Catholics ask for prayers from “the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin.” This is an obvious example of Catholics adding teachings that contradict the clear witness of Scripture.

Catholic: On the contrary, the belief that Mary was always a virgin has been held since the earliest days of Christianity. Many of the early Church Fathers, including Athanasius, Jerome, and Augustine, expressed this belief. To give just one example, Augustine said in A.D. 411 that Mary was “a Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual.”

Objector: Well, I definitely respect Augustine, but just because he said something doesn’t mean that it’s true. He was a great theologian, but he wasn’t infallible. This is one case where I’ll have to disagree with him. By the time Augustine said this, over three hundred years had gone by since Mary had lived.

Catholic: I understand that Augustine was fallible, but I don’t think you should dismiss his testimony so easily, especially because what he says is supported by many other early Fathers. Another source that supports belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James . It was written around A.D. 120, when some of those who had known the apostles were still alive. It records that Mary was dedicated before her birth to serve the Lord in the temple, as Samuel had been dedicated by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). This required perpetual virginity of Mary so that she could completely devote herself to the service of the Lord.

Objector: But if Mary wasn’t supposed to get married, why do we read that that Mary was engaged to Joseph (Luke 1:27)?

Catholic: Again according to the Protoevangelium of James , concerns about ceremonial cleanliness required that Mary have a male protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Joseph was “chosen by lot to take into [his] keeping the Virgin of the Lord.” His duty to guard Mary was taken so seriously that when Mary conceived, Joseph had to answer to the temple authorities. So Mary’s betrothal to Joseph was not in conflict with her vow of virginity.

Objector: This is very interesting, but there were many things written early in the history of Christianity that did not express what Christians actually believed, such as the Gnostic gospels. Like these, the Protoevangelium of James expresses a belief that is contrary to what has been revealed in Scripture.

Catholic: I agree that we should use caution when relying on extrabiblical accounts, but we can also see evidence in the biblical texts that Mary had chosen to be a virgin. When the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son, Mary asks, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” (Luke 1:34). At this point, Mary was engaged to Joseph. Why would she then be so surprised at being told she would conceive? If she were planning on having children with Joseph in the usual way, it wouldn’t make sense for her to ask how she would be able to have a child. This question makes sense only if Mary was already planning to remain a virgin.

Objector: Maybe if you read this in light of the Protoevangelium of James , this passage could be read as an indication that Mary was planning on remaining a virgin. But why should we rely on ambiguous biblical passages and extrabiblical evidence when the Bible itself clearly states that Jesus had siblings? For example, Matthew records that “while [Jesus] was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him” (Matt. 12:46). His listeners ask, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?” (Matt. 13:55). Jesus is even advised by his siblings: “So his brothers said to him, ‘Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world'” (John 7:3-4).

Catholic: Although the Bible says that Jesus had brothers, this doesn’t mean that they were necessarily sons of Mary. If we accept the theory put forth in the Protoevangelium of Jamesand accepted by many in the early Church, Jesus’ brothers would be stepbrothers, sons of Joseph but not of Mary. This would explain why Jesus’ “brothers” felt that they could admonish him, as they do in John 7:3-4. In Near Eastern society of that time, it was normally unacceptable for younger siblings to give advice to older ones.

Objector: But not all of the early Church Fathers believed that Joseph had children. St. Jerome said, “I claim that Joseph himself was a virgin.”

Catholic: It is interesting that you quote St. Jerome, who adamantly defended the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. It is certainly possible for Catholics to believe that Joseph did not have children of his own. In this case, the brothers of Jesus could be other relatives, such as cousins. Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus and his apostles, had no word for “cousin,” so cousins and other close relatives were often referred to as brothers. For example, Abraham’s nephew Lot was called his brother (Gen. 14:14).

Objector: There’s a problem with your reasoning here. Although cousins may have been referred to as brothers, it’s clear that in this case, the word brothers means blood brothers of Jesus — sons of Mary. We read in Matthew’s Gospel that Joseph “had no marital relations with her until she had borne her firstborn son” (Matt. 1:25). This implies that Joseph did have relations with her after she had given birth.

Catholic: The word until here just says what happened up to the time of Christ’s birth. It doesn’t imply anything about what happened after that, although our modern use of the word until seems to imply that. For an example of this, look at 2 Samuel 6:23, which says, “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children till the day of her death.” We’re obviously not supposed to assume that she had children after she died.

Objector: In this case, it’s obvious that Michal could not have had children after her death. The situation of Mary and Joseph is quite different. We see that in the same verse, Jesus is called Mary’s firstborn son. If Jesus is designated as Mary’s firstborn son, that shows that she had other children. My mother wouldn’t call me her oldest child if I were her only child.

Catholic: This is another case where our modern understanding of terms interferes with understanding what the Bible meant at the time it was written. In biblical times, the termfirstborn had great importance. The firstborn was to be consecrated to the Lord (Ex. 13:2); the parents were to redeem every firstborn son (Ex. 34:20). They weren’t supposed to wait until they had a second child to redeem the firstborn, and so the first son born to a woman was called the firstborn regardless of whether or not she had other children later on.

Objector: It seems to me like you’re using a lot of complicated reasoning to ignore the obvious statements in Scripture that show that Jesus had brothers and that Mary therefore could not have remained a virgin. You’re going to the passages with the idea that Mary was a virgin, and you’re reading that idea into the passages instead of drawing it from them. Even if the passages in question could be interpreted the way you see them, I don’t see any evidence in Scripture that they should be interpreted that way.

Catholic: On the contrary, I think there is evidence (even beyond what I’ve shown you already) that it is very reasonable to interpret the texts as showing that Jesus did not have brothers. If Jesus did have brothers, why would he have entrusted Mary to the beloved disciple, John, at the foot of the cross (John 19:26-27)? He would have had surviving siblings who would have taken care of her. It would be surprising for Jesus to release his brothers from their obligation to their mother, especially because he criticized the Pharisees for neglecting the support of their own parents in Matthew 15:3-6.

Objector: But how could Mary and Joseph have had a loving marriage if she always remained a virgin?

Catholic: Granted, a life of complete abstinence is not the recommended way for ordinary married couples to interact. But Mary and Joseph were not an ordinary married couple. They were entrusted with raising the Son of God. This circumstance was so unusual that their marriage could not have been an ordinary one, because the child they nurtured was no ordinary child.

Objector: I still don’t see why the Church requires Catholics to believe that Mary remained a virgin instead of allowing them to have their own opinions. Does it really matter if Mary had other children?

Catholic: Actually, it does matter. Every doctrine about Mary tells us something about Christ or something about ourselves or the Church. Mary’s perpetual virginity demonstrates her purity of heart and total love for God. In 388, St. Ambrose of Milan wrote that Mary’s virginity was “so great an example of material virtue” because it demonstrated her total devotion to Jesus. In Mary, we see an example of the purity our own hearts must have in total dedication to God. Her virginity also tells us something about the Church, which, like Mary, is both mother to the faithful and “pure bride to her one husband” (2 Cor. 11:2)

© Catholic Answers, Inc.

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Pocket Catholic Dictionary – Fr John Hardon SJ

Justification -. The process of a sinner becoming justified or made right with God. As defined by the Council of Trent.

“Justification is the change from the condition in which a person is born as a child of the first Adam into a state of grace and adoption among the children of God through the Second Adam, Jesus Christ our Savior” (Denzinger 1524)

Etymology of Justification comes from the Latin justus: just + facere: to make, do: justificatio.

A Catholic who is in the state of grace i.e. not in the state of mortal sin is justified. Depending on the sins from which a person is to be delivered, there are different kinds of justification:

1- An infant is justified by baptism and the faith of the one who requests or confers the sacrament.

2-Adults are justified for the first time either by personal faith, sorrow for sin and baptism, or by the perfect love of God, which is at least an implicit baptism of desire.

3- Adults who have sinned gravely after being justified can receive justification by sacramental absolution or perfect contrition for their sins.

SANCTIFICATION. Being made holy. (Etymology from Latin sanctificare: to make holy.

1- The first sanctification takes place at baptism, by which the love of God is infused by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5)…

2- The second sanctification is a lifelong process in which a person already in the state of grace grows in the possession of grace and in likeness to God by faithfully corresponding with divine inspirations.

3- The third sanctification takes place when a person enters heaven and becomes totally and irrevocably united with God in the beatific vision.

The following is from The Salvation Controversy – James Akin.

SALVATION. Salvation basically means being saved.

In the New Testament the focus is primarily on the idea of eternal salvation – salvation from the eternal consequences of sin (hell.)

In the Old Testament the term salvation often used to refer to temporal dangers – war, famine, disease, and death (physical rather than eternal.)

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Ever tried to explain the importance of the Sacraments to a protestant friend? Are they really necessary for Salvation, if  Salvation is a Gift of God? If yes,  are those who die without baptism, for example, condemned to eternal death? Cardinal Arinze answers these questions in the video below.

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 By Msgr. Charles Pope

Oh Lord, I’m running….Trying to make a 100. Ninety-nine and a half won’t do! These are the words of an old African American spiritual. And ultimately they are rooted in a promise of God that we will one day be perfect.

Well, I’ll tell you, God’s been good to me and he’s brought me a mighty long way, but I’m not at 100, not even close. Because this “100″ is not graded on some human curve or scale. The 100 is God’s 100! Jesus says, Be therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:48).

How about you? Are you there yet?

If we’re honest we all fall short, way short. But what then of God’s promise, if on the day we die, we haven’t reached God’s 100? Have you ever really known anyone who had God’s perfection? Really? We often speak of how holy some people are, and some have reached great heights, by God’s grace. But how many have you or I really known that had, not just human perfection, but the very perfection of God?

So what if we die unfinished? And most of us will.

Some say, oh well, God will just overlook all that and let us in anyway, “God loves me just the way I am.” But again then we must ask, “What of God’s promise that we would be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect?”

And further, what of the descriptions of the just in heaven and the promises of perfection assigned to us? For example:

  1. But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect (Heb 12:22-23)
  2. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband…..Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 21:2,27).
  3. You know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, and lacking in nothing. (James 1:3-4)
  4. For now, we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away (1 Cor 13:9-10).
  5. God who has begun a good work in you, will bring it to perfection. (Phil 1:6)

So the promise and the need of perfection stand clear in Scripture. And God will not just overlook his promise and “love me just the way I am.”

What a callous and cruel thing to consign us to ultimate imperfection. The very thought of living in my present unseemly state forever would be awful. As I have said, God has been good to me, but for all of us, there are still too many disordered and competitive drives at work, too many unruly passions, and too many spiritual, emotional and physical irritants of many unknown and deep sources, for you and me to say we’d be happy to stay in this condition. Spiritual progress is the normal Christian state.  But we are heading to a high and wondrous state beyond all imagining. This is the promise and I won’t be satisfied with anything less that the full promise of the Lord to make me perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.

GK Chesterton, responding to a Critic of Purgatory said,

Purgatory may exist whether he likes it or not…..It may be obvious to us that [a person] is already utterly sinless, at one with the saints. It may be evident to us that [he] is already utterly selfless, filled only with God and forgetful of the very meaning of gain. But if the cosmic power holds that there are still some strange finishing touches, beyond our fancy, to put to his perfection, then certainly there will be some cosmic provision for that mysterious completion of the seemingly complete. The stars are not clean in His sight and His angels He chargeth with folly; and if [God] should decide….there is room for improvement, we can but admit that omniscience can heal the defect that we cannot even see. (G.K’s Weekly 4/11/1925)

Yes, even if we were to engage in the folly of thinking we ourselves, or someone else had reached perfection, the truth is we don’t really know what true, God-like perfection is. All I know is, that if I were to die today, God would have to bring to completion the good work he has begun in me.

The Protestants largely dismiss Purgatory because their first founders (Luther, Calvin et al.) tended to reduce salvation and justification to a legal act. The sinner was “declared” righteous, was “covered” in the blood of the Lamb. But this justice was a justitia aliena (an alien justice), a justice imputed, declared, or said of the sinner, but not intrinsic to them. They did not actually become righteous, they were merely said to be righteous and the Father overlooked their sin. They were, to use Luther’s supposed analogy, a dung hill covered with snow (but still a dung hill underneath).

But here too is a sad loss of the promise of the Lord who did not merely promise we would be considered perfect, but that we would actually BE perfect, by his grace. And in all the promises of scripture listed above, there is no notion of a mere declaration of perfection but, rather, an actual experience of real perfection, an actual and real transformation. And this experience, this transformation, begins now. But surely some finishing work is required for most all of us after death, if we take the scope of Godlike perfection seriously.

Purgatory just makes sense when we focus on the promises of God rather than merely to see it as a punitive place where we make up for our sins. Purgatory must also be a place of healing and of promise keeping. Likely there is suffering there, since to let go and be purged of things to which we have been clinging is probably not easy. But Oh, the healing too and weight that must be lifted and we finally shed years of accumulated “issues and baggage.”

Of those made fit for heaven the Scripture says that Jesus “Will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Rev 21:3). I, like you, have surely said goodbye to family, friends and parishioners who still had some tears in their eyes. And we know that they, like we, had things they could not bring to heaven: tears, sorrows, regrets, painful memories, unhealed hurts, and sins. But God, who is good, and a promise keeper, will not leave anything undone. He will wipe every tear from our eyes, every tear.

Purgatory has to be. God loves us too much to leave us in our present unseemly state.

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The debate on justification between Protestants and Catholics have for a long time been concentrated on the definitions of Works of the law, as taught in scriptures by St Paul in Romans 3:28, as well as on the ‘biblicity’ of the Lutheran doctrine of ‘Faith Alone’. Now, some would argue that the sentence in Romans 3:28 “A man is justified by faith a part from the works of the law” is equivalent to say “A man is justified by faith alone”, but ‘justified by faith a part from the works of the law’ ONLY excludes works of law from faith, NOT such things as love, hope, charity or other virtuous quality. Moreover, as we study Scriptures we see that in fact, nowhere in the Bible has Paul associated the word alone with the word faith to explain justification. On the other hand, St. James, guided by the same Holy Spirit who inspired St Paul, asserts that Faith without Works is dead and writes: You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone (James 2:24).

Therefore, in the face of this controversy Catholics continue to be accused by their protestant counterpart of not relying on the Redemptive Sacrifice of Jesus for their salvation as they try to ‘earn’ their salvation through good works. So what is the real Catholic stand on Justification?

The Catholic teaching on justification is and has been the same as St Paul’s teachings, as we can verify it in the writings of the Council of Trent.

COUNCIL OF TRENT ON JUSTIFICATION – Canons On Justification – Session VI, (Jan. 13, 1547)

See also the Catholic definition of Anathemas

Canon 1. If anyone shall say that man can be justified before God by his own works which are done either by his own natural powers, or through the teaching of the Law, and without divine grace through Christ Jesus: let him be anathema.

Canon 2. If anyone shall say that divine grace through Christ Jesus is given for this only, that man may more easily be able to live justly and merit eternal life, as if by free will without grace he were able to do both, though with difficulty and hardship: let him be anathema.

Canon 3. If anyone shall say that without the anticipatory inspiration of the Holy Spirit and without His assistance man can believe, hope, and love or be repentant, as he ought, so that the grace of justification may be conferred upon him: let him be anathema.

Canon 4. If anyone shall say that man’s free will moved and aroused by God does not cooperate by assenting to God who rouses and calls, whereby it disposes and prepares itself to obtain the grace of justification, and that it cannot dissent, if it wishes, but that like something inanimate it does nothing at all and is merely in a passive state: let him be anathema.

Canon 5. If anyone shall say that after the sin of Adam man’s free will was lost and destroyed, or that it is a thing in name only, indeed a title without a reality, a fiction, moreover, brought into the Church by Satan: let him be anathema.

Canon 6. If anyone shall say that it is not in the power of man to make his ways evil, but that God produces the evil as well as the good works, not only by permission, but also properly and of Himself, so that the betrayal of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul: let him be anathema.

Canon 7.- If anyone shall say that all works that are done before justification, in whatever manner they have been done, are truly sins or deserving of the hatred of God, or that the more earnestly anyone strives to dispose himself for grace, so much the more grievously does he sin: let him anathema.

Can. 8. If anyone shall say that the fear of hell, whereby by grieving for sins we flee the mercy of God or refrain from sinning, is a sin or makes sinners worse: let him be anathema.

Canon 9. If anyone shall say that by faith alone the sinner is justified, so as to understand that nothing else is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification, and that it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will: let him be anathema.

Canon 10. If anyone shall say that men are justified without the justice of Christ by which He merited for us, or that by that justice itself they are formally just: let him be anathema.

Canon 11. If anyone shall say that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of grace and charity, which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and remains in them, or even that the grace by which we are justified is only the favor of God: let him be anathema.

Canon 12. If anyone shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone by which we are justified: let him be anathema.

Canon 13. If anyone shall say that it is necessary for every man in order to obtain the remission of sins to believe for certain and without any hesitation due to his own weakness and indisposition that his sins are forgiven him: let him be anathema.

Canon 14. If anyone shall say that man is absolved from his sins and justified, because he believes for certain that he is absolved and justified, or that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified, and that by this faith alone absolution and justification are perfected: let him be anathema.

Canon 15. If anyone shall say that a man who is born again and justified is bound by faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestined: let him be anathema.

Canon 16. If anyone shall say that he will for certain with an absolute and infallible certainty have that great gift of perseverance up to the end, unless he shall have learned this by a special revelation: let him be anathema.

Canon 17. If anyone shall say that the grace of justification is attained by those only who are predestined unto life, but that all others, who are called, are called indeed, but do not receive grace, as if they are by divine power predestined to evil: let him be anathema.

Canon 18. If anyone shall say that the commandments of God are even for a man who is justified and confirmed in grace impossible to observe: let him be anathema.

Canon 19. If anyone shall say that nothing except faith is commanded in the Gospel, that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor prohibited, but free, or that the ten commandments in no way pertain to Christians: let him be anathema. Canon 20. If anyone shall say that a man who is justified and ever so perfect is not bound to observe the commandments of God and the Church, but only to believe, as if indeed the Gospel were a mere absolute promise of eternal life, without the condition of observation of the commandments: let him be anathema.

Canon 21. If anyone shall say that Christ Jesus has been given by God to men as a Redeemer in whom they should trust, and not also as a legislator, whom they should obey: let him be anathema.

Canon 22. If anyone shall say that he who is justified can either persevere in the justice received without the special assistance of God, or that with that [assistance] he cannot: let him be anathema.

Canon 23. If anyone shall say that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he who falls and sins was never truly justified; or, on the contrary, that throughout his whole life he can avoid all sins even venial sins, except by a special privilege of God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin: let him be anathema.

Canon 24. If anyone shall say, that justice received is not preserved and also not increased in the sight of God through good works but that those same works are only the fruits and signs of justification received, but not a cause of its increase: let him be anathema.

Canon 25. If anyone shall say that in every good work the just one sins at least venially, or (what is more intolerable) mortally, and therefore deserves eternal punishments, and that it is only because God does not impute those works unto damnation that he is not damned, let him be anathema.

Canon 26. If anyone shall say that the just ought not to expect and hope for an eternal recompense from God and the merit of Jesus Christ for the good works which have been performed in God, if by doing well and in keeping the divine commandments they persevere even to the end: let him be anathema.

Canon 27. If anyone shall say that there is no mortal sin except that of infidelity, or that grace once received is not lost by any other sin however grievous and enormous, except the sin of infidelity: let him be anathema.

Can. 28. If anyone shall say that together with the loss of grace by sin faith also is always lost, or that the faith that remains is not a true faith, though it be not a living one, or that he, who has faith without charity, is not a Christian: let him be anathema.

Canon 29. If anyone shall say that he who has fallen after baptism cannot by the grace of God rise again; or that he can indeed recover lost justice, but by faith alone without the sacrament of penance, contrary to what the holy Roman and universal Church, taught by Christ the Lord and His apostles, has hitherto professed, observed, and taught: let him be anathema.

Canon 30. If anyone shall say that after the reception of the grace of justification, to every penitent sinner the guilt is so remitted and the penalty of eternal punishment so blotted out that no penalty of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in the world to come in purgatory before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened: let him be anathema.

Canon 31. If anyone shall say that the one justified sins, when he performs good works with a view to an eternal reward: let him be anathema.

Canon 32. If anyone shall say that the good works of the man justified are in such a way the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him who is justified, or that the one justified by the good works, which are done by him through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ (whose living member he is), does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life (if he should die in grace), and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema.

Canon 33. If anyone shall say that because of this Catholic doctrine of justification as set forth by the holy Synod in this present decree, there is in some degree a detraction from the glory of God or from the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that the truth of our faith, and in fact the glory of God and of Jesus Christ are not rather rendered illustrious: let be anathema

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As an Evangelical said to me once: “It is as if what Christ did on the cross to purify us of our sins (forgving us and cleansing us through His shed blood and sacrifice) is not enough and we must suffer ourselves to somehow earn a purification that we do not receive simply by believing in Christ alone so here”

Along the same lines Catholics could ask a fundamentalist Christian “why are we asked to keep the commandments, to be holy, to carry our cross, feed the hungry and clothe the naked,  if  faith in Christ is enough to take us to Heaven?  Didn’t his Sacrifice make up for every omission or wrongdoing that we could possibly do?  If we believe, but  fail to do all those things the Lord is asking of us, what happens, what are the consequences?”

Nevertheless, how should Catholics explain the position of the Church on Purgatory and Salvation to a protestant friend?

1030 – All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven ( Catechism of the Catholic Church)

First we have to clarify that  Catholics believe that only God is perfectly good and holy. However, God is just and fair, therefore he would not ask his children “to be Holy because he is Holy” (Cf Lev 11:44) if that was something impossible for any-one to achieve. Neither would Peter echoed these words in 1 Peter 1:15-16.

 Having said that, even the great saints in the Bible, such as David and the apostle Peter, sinned against God; didn’t they? So how can it be that without holiness no one will see God (Cf Heb 12: 14)?

I suppose the Catholic answer to this would be: Contrition, Expiation and Remission of Sins.

The Bible plainly says that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die”, Ezek. 18:4. It also says that, “Without shedding of blood is no remission” of sin (Heb.9:22).  Christ said before He went back to Heaven “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Therefore, blood redemption in Christ means nothing to the individual until he first repents.

Contrition –  Repentance for one’s sins. Perfect Contrition, on the other hand is repentance for the LOVE of GOD rather than for fear of Hell.

Isaiah speaks of it in these words,“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa. 57:15).

Expiation – “The idea of expiation has to do with reparation for a wrong, the satisfaction of the demands of justice through paying a penalty.” To make expiation or satisfaction for a sin is to make amends or reparation for it. When someone makes reparations, he tries to repair the situation caused by his sin. This is a very clear concept that  I’ve seen in the lives of the of all Catholic saints that I’ve read.

I found this catholic explanation on Catholic Answers Website:

 Certainly when it comes to the eternal effects of our sins, only Christ can make amends or reparation. Only he was able to pay the infinite price necessary to cover our sins. We are completely unable to do so not only because we are finite creatures incapable of making an infinite satisfaction (or an infinite anything), but because everything we have been given to us by God. For us to try to satisfy God’s eternal justice would be like using money we had borrowed from someone to repay what we had stolen from him. No actual satisfaction would be made (cf. Ps. 49:7-9, Job 41:11, Rom. 11:35). This does not mean we can’t make amends or reparation for the temporal effects of our sins. The claim that only Christ can atone for or expiate our sins arises from a confusion about whether the temporal or the eternal dimension of our sins is being discussed. Only Christ can provide eternal satisfaction for our sins, but we can make temporal amends or reparations for them.

Proverbs 16:6 states, “By kindness and piety guilt is expiated, and by the fear of the LORD man avoids evil” Also on expiation, Exodus 30:15-16; Leviticus 17:11; Numbers 31:50

We could put it like this, in our earthly relationships whenever we hurt someone it is good to say sorry, but it is even better if we try to put things right whenever we can, because we are called to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This can be done at all levels. Say that I break my neighbor’s window while playing ball, I can say sorry and apologize, but the right thing to do is to say sorry AND replace the window or pay for the damage. This would please my neighbor; wouldn’t it? The same thing with God. 

With true contrition comes the desire to put things right. With repentance comes remission of sins.

Remission of Sins –  A completely free and undeserved gift, a newness of life which we could never earn. God grants it to us out of his mercy. As Saint Paul wrote: “It is all God’s work. It was God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the work of handing on this reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5, 18).

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