31 January 2008

Poll - January 2008

Does the Catholic Church teach salvation by grace alone?
  • Yes (29) 23%
  • No (89) 72%
  • Don't know (5) 4%
Total votes: 123. Poll closed.

Comments: Roman Catholicism denies the Pelagian heresy, namely, that we can save ourselves by our own strength. Grace is necessary.

The Catholic Church sometimes even states that it teaches justification by 'grace alone', as in the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification:
"Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works" [link]
But that is rather misleading. The statement is referring to the initial justification. From then on Catholics are called to preserve and increase this original 'justice' or 'righteousness' by their works. In fact the Catholic Church curses anyone who says that the justice received is not preserved and increased before God through good works. Salvation is ultimately dependent on the merit of personal good works.
"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, whose living member he is, does not truly merit an increase of grace, eternal life, and in case he dies in grace, the attainment of eternal life itself and also an increase of glory, let him be anathema' (Trent 6, canon 32 - link).
For Catholics, grace is necessary, but it is NOT sufficient. It must be supplemented by good works!