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the catholic church teaches that we r justified by faith and works

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/18/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 602 times Debate No: 63457
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the catholic church teaches that we are justified by faith and works

It is important to remember that Trent is responding to Marin Luther "saved by faith alone..." so you can expect that they are going to emphasize works. and, they go pretty far in doing so.

Here are highlights from Trent, note 24 and 32:
Canon 11. If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, excluding grace and charity which is poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit and inheres in them, or also that the grace which justifies us is only the favour of God, let him be anathema. (see note 1)

Canon 12. If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema.

Canon 24. If anyone says that the justice (righteousness) received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of the increase, let him be anathema.

Canon 30. If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.

Canon 32. If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are in such manner the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him justified; or that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ (of whom one is a living member), the justified does not truly merit an increase of grace, and eternal life, provided that one dies in the state of grace, the attainment of this eternal life, as well as an increase in glory, let him be anathema.

Rome teaches that God helps man to do good works and hence to be more justfied... Trent elaborates this idea in chapter 16:

"For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses his virtue into the said justified, - as the head into the members, and the vine into the branches, - and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God, - we must believe that nothing further is wanting to the justified, to prevent their being accounted to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life, and to have truly merited eternal life, to be obtained also in its (due) time, if so be, however, that they depart in grace..."

More Trent:
"the alone formal cause is the justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just, but that whereby He maketh us just, that, to wit, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and we are not only reputed, but are truly called, and are, just"

is saying we are justified by a renewal, ie by works. "makes us just". not that we are just because of Jesus.

"This disposition, or preparation, is followed by Justification itself, which is not remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace, and of the gifts, whereby man of unjust becomes just, and of an enemy a friend, that so he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting. (Council of Trent, 6th Session, ch. Vii)"

this basically says ..... "justification is renewal of inward man through cooperation with grace". although, the actual statement is vague enough to allow one to think it could be applied to a protestant idea "justification causes an inward accepting grace".

the key points are "is renewal" v "causes renewal", and "cooperate with grace" v "accept grace"

"through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified"


Isn't justification considered a process within the catholic church? (i know salvation is usually considered a process... but these are distinct ideas, so i am clarifying)

here is the catholic encyclopedia.

"We now come to the different states in the process of justification."

i recognize that the encyclopedia is only paraphrasing Trent here at least on the 'process' of justification, and it is important to realize that Dogma is different than an encyclopedia. but still, this should be at least standard teaching, even if one can split hairs about what is actually to the level of "dogma"

but trent did say "makes us just" and has similar verbiage.

i've heard some catholic say "we are justified, and we also increase in justification" which seemed to be somewhat of a cop out. and it deosn't seem to be per se based on catholic dogmatic teachings.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares: "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man."


"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right"." R13; Martin Luther

Part of the problem with quoting documents like Trent or even the writings of Martin Luther is context. Martin Luther was a very powerful man. So much so that the Roman Church could not ignore him. The Roman Church was forced to address Martin Luther because he was on a spiritual looting rampage. Luther was not just entering church buildings and striping the building of artifacts. He was not just kidnapping some of the members of the local church buildings. Martin Luther was taking entire communities and yes even nations away from the Roman Church. Everywhere that Martin Luther went he sacked the Roman Church. And it is in this context the writings of Luther and Trent should be examined. For in the spiritual, what went on between Luther and Rome was Total War. And we must be sure-

We are still at war
Debate Round No. 1


con says luther was taking away people from the catholic church, but doesn't add or detract from the resolution.


Does Pro mean that Con should add to the resolution of what the Roman Church teaches today? Or how about what the Roman Church taught in the 1500s? Because what the Roman Church taught in the 1500s when it had a monopoly on religion in Western Europe would literally have almost everyone here at burning at the stake.

But probably Pro is right that we should adhere to the topic at hand-

The Roman Church is real big. It has 100,000 priests. 100,000 nuns. 100,000 saints. 10,000 cardinals. At any given time not all these people that actually make the Roman Church go are going to agree. So given this important military information we have at any given time-

1 The official teaching of the Roman Church
2 The collective teaching of the priests
3 The collective teaching of the nuns
4 The collective teaching of the cardinals

Pro would have us believe that theology is at the fore. Ok-

Just like Martin Luther, Con here has little respect for the New Testament book of James. But let us take one example-

"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." James 2:17

To be save there must be faith and there must be works. But the unsaved are dead. The unsaved can have neither faith nor works because the unsaved are dead. Christ must supply everything. Christ must supply the faith. Christ must supply the work. If Christ does not supply what we have then we have nothing. We have nothing because we are dead.

Does the Roman Church believe in faith?
Does the Roman Church believe in works?

What's the prob there Pro?
Debate Round No. 2


linate forfeited this round.


Here is the Con opinion as to what this particular Pro had in mind with this debate-

Pro intended for a Protestant to argue using inferior doctrine. When that did not take place then this particular Pro retreated behind the shield of Snobbery. Snobbery is a form of cowardice.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by GoOrDin 3 years ago
Linate state your side of the debate clearly.

Justified by Works or faith,
Justified by works and faith.
Posted by cheyennebodie 3 years ago
romans 3:27,28. Where is boasting then, it is excluded . By what law?Of works?No, but by the law of faith.Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law."
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