Catholic theologians after Trent saw the Protestant teaching about the remnants of original sin in the justified as one of the ‘chief ’ errors of Protestant soteriology. Martin Luther, John Calvin, Martin Chemnitz, and many Protestant theologians believed that a view of concupiscence as sinful, strictly speaking, did away with any reliance on good works. This conviction also clarified the Christian’s dependence on the imputed righteousness of Christ. Catholic theologians condemned this position as detracting from the work of Christ who takes away the sins of the world. The rejection of this teaching—and the affirmation of Trent’s statement that original sin is taken away and that the justified at baptism is without stain or ‘immaculate’ before God—is essential for understanding Catholic opposition to Protestant soteriology. Two Spanish Dominican Thomists, Domingo de Soto and Bartolomé de Medina, rejected the Protestant teaching on imputation in part because of its connection with the view on the remnants of original sin in the justified. Adrian and Peter van Walenburch, brothers who served as auxiliary bishops of Cologne in the second half of the seventeenth century, argued that the Protestants of their time now agreed with the Catholic Church on a number of soteriological points. They also drew upon some of their post–Tridentine predecessors to offer a Catholic account of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. Nonetheless, the issue of sin in the justified remained a point of serious controversy.
This article begins by examining what is meant by the Catholic Reformation and how it relates to the other frequently used term, Counter–Reformation. It then discusses the different ways Catholics and Protestants in the early 16th century understood ecclesial reform. Next there is a consideration of the call for a general or ecumenical council to resolve the differences between the Catholics and Protestant reformers; the reasons for the delay of the council; and the reasons why the Protestants did not participate. The article then provides a summary of the three main periods of the Council of Trent: 1545–1547; 1551–1552; and 1562–1563 along with the 1547–1549 Bologna period. This is followed by a detailed overview of the reforms of the council, which were both doctrinal and disciplinary. The article shows that, while abuses related to various Catholic practices and the sacraments were addressed, the main concerns in the various disciplinary decrees related to clerical corruption and immorality. The article addresses the need for bishops to reside in their dioceses; stop clerical corruption, greed, and nepotism; and establish seminaries for the proper formation of priests. After the review of the disciplinary reform decrees, attention is given to the Catechism of the Council of Trent that served as a resource for parish priests in their instruction of the faithful. The final section considers viewpoints of different historians regarding the effect of the Council of Trent on reform within the Catholic Church.
This essay explores Francisco Suárez’s account of the nature of human free will. To that end, Suárez’s engagement with John Calvin is considered so as to place the Jesuit’s account into greater relief. The conclusion of this study will reveal that, for Suárez, the human will’s freedom of self–determination is both caused by God and consists in its own indifference regarding the power to act and the power not to act.
In this paper, I examine the four elements—universal sinfulness, natural sinfulness, inherited sinfulness, and Adamic sinfulness—of the doctrine of original sin in both the Reformed confessions, with particular attention to the Canons of Dort, and the Council of Trent’s definitive teaching on Original Sin. I give particular attention to the question regarding how all men are implicated in the sin of Adam. Realism and federalism will be analyzed as answers to this question. Even if a theological account is given that justifies the claim that God may justly impute Adam’s sin to his posterity, that still leaves unanswered the question of unconditional negative reprobation, also called, preterition (praeteritio), namely, that God passes over some and not others. Does preterition jeopardize the Church’s call to evangelization? That question will need to be reconsidered briefly, and in conclusion, in light of the doctrine of divine election and its implications for the preaching and hence proclamation of the gospel.
In the face of the external challenge of the Protestant Reformation, as well as the internal threat of spiritual, moral, and disciplinary corruption, two Catholic saints worked tirelessly to reform the Church in different but complementary ways. Philip Neri (1515–95) and Charles Borromeo (1538–84) led the Catholic Counter–Reformation during the middle–to–late sixteenth century, placing their distinctive gifts at the service of the Church. Philip Neri used his personal humility, intelligence, and charisma to attract the people of Rome to Christ, while Charles Borromeo employed his gifts for administration and his experience as a top aide to the pope to promote needed institutional reform. Both men achieved great personal holiness and moved others to holiness of life. It is their response to and sharing of the ‘universal call to holiness’, then, that constitutes the core of both of their approaches to ecclesial reform. Their focus on holiness, expressed in an emphasis on either the ‘charismatic’ or ‘hierarchical’ dimensions of the Church’s life, also provides a model for today’s Church, scarred as she is by scandal and in need of a new movement of reform.
This article will examine Bellarmine’s first anti–conciliarist work, found in the Disputationes de controversiis Christianae fidei adversus huius temporis haereticos, emphasizing his theological treatment of the pope’s authority relative to the authority of a council and his repudiation of conciliarism. Bellarmine sees the conciliarists as attacking the divinely instituted Petrine structure of the Church. He does not advocate for an absolute papal monarchy in which there are no ‘constitutional’ limitations on the papacy. For Bellarmine, Christ and his Word, as found in Sacred Scripture and Apostolic Tradition, have supreme authority in the Church: one which the magisterium, whether papal or conciliar, must accept in humility and pass on unsullied. Only Christ has a true fullness of power; the pope has a fullness only relative to that of the bishops. Nevertheless, Christ immediately instituted the pope as the supreme head of the Church on earth, and as such, the pope has supreme ecclesiastical power over the whole Church on earth. Lastly, the article examines Bellarmine’s position on papal heresy.
Joseph Blado critiqued my probabilistic arguments against Roman papal doctrines by deploying probability arguments, particularly Bayesian arguments, in favor of the papacy. He contends that there are good C-inductive arguments for papal doctrine that, taken together, add up to a good P-inductive argument. I argue that his inductive arguments fail, and moreover that there are three good C-inductive arguments against papal doctrine in the neighborhood of his failed arguments. I conclude by critiquing his retreat to what he calls ‘skeptical papalism’ as a last ditch sort of move to defend papal doctrine.
In their book, Roman but Not Catholic, Kenneth Collins and Jerry Walls make the case that certain beliefs central to the Roman Catholic faith are unreasonable. This article evaluates, from the point of view of Eastern Orthodoxy, some of the arguments Collins and Walls make. In particular, it argues first that Collins and Walls are correct to criticize John Henry Newman’s theory of the development of doctrine as a reason to accept otherwise insufficiently supported Catholic doctrines. Secondly, it offers some points of clarification concerning the matter of sacred tradition and attempts to show the areas of agreement and disagreement between Eastern Orthodoxy and the position that Collins and Walls articulate. Thirdly, it argues that Collins and Walls rely on what is, from an Eastern Orthodox point of view, a questionable view about the interpretation of scripture by assuming without good reason that the clear meaning of scripture is equivalent to the literal interpretation.
In chapters 9 and 10 of their book Roman but Not Catholic, Kenneth Collins and Jerry Walls criticize the Roman Catholic positions on the Eucharist as a sacrifice and on the ministerial priesthood. I reply to their historical and theological objections, and defend the belief that the Eucharistic sacrifice, the Mass, is a re-presentation, or making present, of Jesus’s redemptive sacrifice on Calvary, and a key component in God’s incarnational strategy for redeeming us.