Monday, December 17, 2018

Gratia prima

Around the 19 min. mark, Bishop Barron draws a distinction between sola gratia and gratia prima. He frankly says Catholic theology affirms gratia prima but rejects sola gratia. That's a useful admission to clarify a crucial difference between Catholicism and classic Protestant theology:

In Catholicism, you're not saved by grace alone.


  1. And I think this is what is meant by saying that Vatican II invited in Pelagianism. I think that a pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic would have real trouble understanding what Barron is saying, precisely because Rome worked hard (up to that point, I would say) to say that even the “congruent merit” that we gain from our own good works is merely “congruent” — they would be say it is “grace filled, grace-enabled, a pure gift of God” — what Barron is doing (following Vatican II) is saying that the merit that, to use his examples, either a Jewish person or an atheist would gain by keeping the law (listening to his conscience), is something that enables the person on his own to “merit” eternal life. That is Pelagian.

    1. And when I say "merit", the intention is that the righteousness with which we would stand before God is actually our own righteousness (and not the imputed righteousness of Christ).

    2. Hey John, if you havent already seen it, I would highly recommend Horton's new work on Justification that came out last month, particularly Vol 1. His discussion on Aquinas, Scotus Ockham and Biel was quite eye opening. He also has a hammer of a last chapter (though I haven't read it yet)

    3. Swrath, thanks for the heads-up! I’ll try to give it a look!

    4. Hey John at what point in the video does Barron talk about merit?