Author Topic: St. Robert Bellermine on grace's intrinsic efficacity  (Read 217 times)

Offline Geremia

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St. Robert Bellermine on grace's intrinsic efficacity
« on: May 14, 2019, 06:36:36 PM »
Can efficacious grace be rejected?
Thomists believe that efficacious grace cannot be rejected, whereas Molinists think it can. The Church has not yet decided on the question.
From Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's Grace, introduction:
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these contradictory propositions: “Grace is intrinsically efficacious,” and “Grace is not intrinsically efficacious,” cannot be true at the same time or false at the same time; one is true, the other is false. The first is maintained by Thomism, the second by Molinism and likewise by the congruism of Suarez. Which, then, is true remains to be discovered.
Efficacious grace is (according to Fr. John Hardon, S.J.)
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The actual grace to which free consent is given by the will so that the grace produces its divinely intended effect. In the controversy between the Dominicans [led by Báñez (1528-1604)] and the Jesuits [led by Molina (1525-1600)] there was no agreement on what precisely causes an actual grace to become efficacious. In the Báñezian theory, the efficacy of such grace depends on the character of the grace itself; in the Molinist theory, it depends on the fact that it is given under circumstances that God foresees to be congruous with the dispositions of the person receiving the grace. In every Catholic theory, however, it is agreed that efficacious grace does not necessitate the will or destroy human freedom. (Etym. Latin efficax, powerful, effective, efficient, gratia, favor freely given.)
Here's St. Augustine's view on efficacious grace, from his De praedestinatione sanctorum, chap. 8:
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Grace which is not rejected by any hard-heartedness, since it is bestowed, in the first place, to remove hardness of heart.
and his De gratia Christi, chap. 24:
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[Efficacious grace is the] internal, hidden, wonderful, and ineffable power by which God effects in the hearts of men not only true revelations but even upright wills.
cf. Grace ch. VIII "Excursus on Efficacious Grace"
So, "without me you can do nothing" (Jn. 15:5) is true even for disposing oneself to receive/accept grace in the first place (thus prevenient grace must be efficacious, else one could never begin to be sanctified).

St. Robert's opinion
St. Robert's views are found in his De gratia et libero arbitrio libri sex.
According to Pohle-Preuss's Grace, Actual and Habitual: A Dogmatic Treatise (Chapter III. Grace In Its Relation To Free-Will, Section 2. Theological Systems Devised To Harmonize The Dogmas Of Grace And Free-Will, Article 2. Molinism And Congruism),
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Cardinal Bellarmine, who was a champion and protector of P. Molina, seems to have rejected Molinism765 in favor of Congruism.766

  • Cfr. his treatise De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio, I, 12 […]: “Prima opinio eorum est, qui gratiam efficacem constituunt in assensu et cooperatione humana, ita ut ab eventu dicatur gratia efficax, quia videlicet sortitur effectum et ideo sortitur effectum, quia voluntas humana cooperatur. Itaque existimant hi autores, in potestate hominis esse ut gratiam faciat esse efficacem, quae alioquin ex se non esset nisi sufficiens.
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    Their first opinion is that efficacious grace consists in human assent and cooperation, so that from its occurence it is called efficacious grace, because it works its effect and thus achieves the effect, because the human will cooperates. So these authors think that it is within human power that grace is made efficacious, which otherwise of itself is only sufficient.
    Bellarmine treats this opinion as the extreme counterpart of Thomism (which he also combats) and disposes of it thus: “Haec opinio aliena est omnino a sententia b. Augustini et, quantum ego existimo, a sententia etiam Scripturarum divinarum.” (l.c.)
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    This opinion is entirely foreign to the thought of St. Augustine and, as far as I think, even to the thought of Holy Scriptures.
    Among the Scriptural texts which he quotes in support of this view are John VI, 45, 1 Cor. IV, 7, Rom. IX, 11.
  • The learned Cardinal describes the difference between congruism and extreme Molinism (which latter, it may be remarked, was not defended by Molina himself) as follows: “Neque enim intelligi potest, quo pacto gratia efficax consistat in illa interna suasione, quae per liberum arbitrium respui potest, et tamen infallibilem effectum habeat, nisi addamus, Deum iis quos efficaciter et infallibiliter trahere decrevit, eam suasionem adhibere quam videt congruere ingenio eorum et quam certo novit ab eis non contemnendam.” (Op. cit., […])
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    Nor can it be understood that efficacious grace consists in that internal persuasion which by freewill can be rejected and yet have an infallible effect, unless we add that God efficaciously and infallibly decreed they draw it, which persuasion He sees congruent with their innate nature and which He certainly knows they will not despise.
    The objection that this explanation eventually resolves itself into the Molinistic theory which he had censured, Bellarmine meets as follows: “Respondeo sententiam nostram, quam S. Augustini esse demonstravimus, aliqua in re cum prima illa opinione convenire, sed in multis ab illa discrepare. Convenit enim in eo quod utraque sententia gratiam sufficentem et efficacem ponit in auxilio excitante potissimum, non in adiuvante. Sed discrepant inter se, quod prima opinio vult efficaciam gratiae pendere a voluntate humana, nostra vero pendere vult a voluntate Dei.” (l.c., cap. 13 [p. 294].)
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    I answer that our opinion, which we have demonstrated is St. Augustine's, really agrees with that first opinion, but in many ways disagrees with it. It agrees with both opinions by putting sufficient and efficacious grace in the most powerful eliciting divine help, not in the one helped. But they disagree with each other, the first opinion wanting efficacious grace to depend on the human will, but ours wanting it to depend on the will of God.
(Improvements of the English translations, which are not in Pohle-Preuss, are welcome. ☺)

Congruism
Fr. Hardon, S.J., defines "congruism" as:
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The theory of man's co-operation with grace, first developed by Francisco Suárez (1548-1617) and St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) and later adopted by the Jesuit order. According to congruism, the difference between efficacious and sufficient grace lies not only in the consent of the free will (Molinism), but also in the congruity or suitableness of a particular grace to the peculiar conditions of the one who receives the grace. When the grace suits the interior dispositions and external circumstances of a person, it becomes effective by the free consent of the will; otherwise it remains ineffective because it lacks free acceptance. As in Molinism, God foresees the congruity of the grace and its infallible success. Unlike Molinism, congruism places the emphasis not on man's freedom but on the supremacy of the divine will in determining salvation. (Etym. Latin congruitas, congruity, fitness, suitability, becomingness.)
 
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Offline james03

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Re: St. Robert Bellermine on grace's intrinsic efficacity
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2019, 04:56:19 PM »
St. Robert allowed us to accept predestination without going all the way to Luther.

All Grace is efficacious.  It does what it is meant to do.  Sometimes we cooperate, sometimes we reject it.  But the Grace carries out God's Will.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."
 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: St. Robert Bellermine on grace's intrinsic efficacity
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2019, 03:48:06 AM »
St. Robert allowed us to accept predestination without going all the way to Luther.

All Grace is efficacious.  It does what it is meant to do.  Sometimes we cooperate, sometimes we reject it.  But the Grace carries out God's Will.

"It does what it is meant to do" - be rejected? God PERMITS it (what you call efficacious grace) to be rejected, but that is carrying out only God's PERMISSIVE will. It seems to me that efficacious grace should actually carry out God's POSITIVE will. To me it makes most sense that there is both sufficient and efficacious grace. Christ merited efficacious grace for all, but if men resist the sufficient grace that precedes it, they never receive the efficacious grace that follows.    Sufficient grace is preparatory and resistible: it is God's permissive will if it is resisted.  Efficacious grace (fruit from the flower) carries a holy act through to completion: God's positive will.

God does not deny efficacious grace to anyone; they block it in the sense of not GETTING it if they reject the sufficient grace.  Rejecting sufficient grace IS (amounts to) rejecting efficacious grace in that sense. But if there is no distinction "efficacious grace" isn't really efficacious because it doesn't always effect God's Holy positive Will.

This is still my understanding.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 04:14:12 AM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 

Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: St. Robert Bellermine on grace's intrinsic efficacity
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2019, 08:15:25 AM »
Have we discussed this before?    :laugh:
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline Gardener

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Re: St. Robert Bellermine on grace's intrinsic efficacity
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2019, 08:53:31 AM »
Have we discussed this before?    :laugh:

sufficiently but not efficaciously.
"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Providence is a present mystery by which our hope is confirmed and our faith solidified, if we give not into despair or disbelief.
 
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: St. Robert Bellermine on grace's intrinsic efficacity
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2019, 09:05:37 PM »
Have we discussed this before?    :laugh:

Oh yeah, I forgot!   ;D Sorry, I did think twice about posting that but maybe should have thought a third time!
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: St. Robert Bellermine on grace's intrinsic efficacity
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2019, 09:29:28 PM »
Have we discussed this before?    :laugh:

sufficiently but not efficaciously.

But how could efficacious discussion be reached when sufficient discussion was resisted? (I apologize again, but that impulse was hard to fight  ;)).
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 09:35:16 PM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: St. Robert Bellermine on grace's intrinsic efficacity
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2019, 08:18:38 AM »
Have we discussed this before?    :laugh:

sufficiently but not efficaciously.

But how could efficacious discussion be reached when sufficient discussion was resisted? (I apologize again, but that impulse was hard to fight  ;)).
Ha! Not all sufficient is efficacious, but all efficacious is sufficient.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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