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Traditional Catholic Faith => Crisis in the Church => Topic started by: DecemRationis on July 07, 2010, 08:59:21 PM

Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: DecemRationis on July 07, 2010, 08:59:21 PM
A concept involved intimately with the idea of predestination is that of predilection, described as "the love of predilection." To quote Father Garrigou-Lagarange (all quotations will be from his book, Predestination):

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Predestination implies, therefore, along with foreknowledge a love of predilection or the will to effect in a particular person and by means of him in preference to a certain other, this salutary good by which such a person will actually merit and attain eternal life." (Page 47)


While you will not find a direct quote in the solemn magisterium that "God loves the elect more," such a view is "the logical result" of the teachings of the solemn magisterium:

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The Council of Orange makes no positive affirmation about predestination to glory and grace; but we see that this is the logical result of the canons just quoted, especially of canons twelve and twenty. The latter canon reads: "There is no good act done by man which God does not help man to do." Canon twelve declares that "God loves us because of what we will be by the gift of His grace, not because of what we are by our own merit." These two statements along with the Pauline text: "What hast thou that thou hast not received?" are tantamount to saying that one would not be better than another if one were not loved more and helped more by God, and that in the work of salvation everything comes from God, in this sense that we cannot detect therein the least good which could be said to be exclusively from ourselves and not from Him." (Page 52)


This idea of the elect being "loved more by God" is clear in St. Thomas:

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On the other hand, as regards the consequent will, St. Thomas affirms, more clearly than anyone had done before his time, the principle of predilection, which is that one would not be better than another unless one were loved more by God. As he says: "Since God's love is the cause of goodness in things, as has been said, no one thing would be better than another if God did not will greater good for one than for another . . . And the reason why some things are better than others, is that God wills them a greater good. Hence it follows that He loves more the better things." (Pages 75-76)


And again:

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The fourth article proves that the predestined are elected by God, so that predestination presupposes ɛƖɛctıon, and this latter presupposes love. As St. Thomas says: "Predestination presupposes ɛƖɛctıon, in the order of reason; and ɛƖɛctıon presupposes love" (page 86)


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The second principle applied here is that of predilection: no thing would be better than another, unless it were loved more by God. St. Thomas, without alluding at all to the foreseeing of our merits, whether conditionally future or future, excludes any idea of passivity or dependence from the divine knowledge. He writes as follows: "ɛƖɛctıon and love, however, are differently ordered in God than in ourselves: because in us the will in loving does not cause good, but we are incited to love by the good which already exists; and therefore we choose someone to love, and so ɛƖɛctıon in us precedes love. In God, however, it is the reverse. For His will, by which in loving He wishes good to someone, is the cause of that good possessed by some in preference to others. Thus it is clear that love precedes ɛƖɛctıon in the order of reason, and ɛƖɛctıon precedes predestination. Whence all the predestinate are objects of ɛƖɛctıon and love." (Page 87)


When God says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," He's not kidding.

The principle of predilection explains a lot, like no salvation outside the catholic church, and the baptism of some infants who die before being able to exercise personal faith, and not others.

I wonder when was the last time the principle of predilection was spoken of by a priest in a homily in a Catholic church.

DR

Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Caminus on July 07, 2010, 09:47:07 PM
Fr. Garrigou Lagrange, one of my favorites, especially in expositing this exalted principle.  

Molinism turns this principle on its head.  And the new theology that makes God a mere spectator of men is even more remotely removed from this principle than is Molinism.  
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: MyrnaM on July 07, 2010, 10:20:24 PM
Welcome to the board here DecemRationis, I always think on that one verse in the Bible you quoted: "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,"  
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: twiceborn on July 07, 2010, 10:20:30 PM
Quote from: Caminus
Fr. Garrigou Lagrange, one of my favorites, especially in expositing this exalted principle.


Indeed, his book Predestination is excellent as is his exposition of the doctrine following St. Augustine and St. Thomas.


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Molinism turns this principle on its head.


I find it interesting that despite how popular Molinism has become these days, Molina is neither a saint nor a doctor of The Church and as far as I know, his work has never been cited as reference in Catechisms, councils or encyclicals. I believe Molinism is a doctrine that should have been condemned a long time ago. The Aplogodia of the Dominicans headed by Bañez puts the nail in the coffin of this view.

I think Molinism has been like a cancer in The Church, expanding and undermining even the most fundamental of doctrines (Original Sin, EENS, etc).
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Raoul76 on July 07, 2010, 11:02:27 PM
twiceborn said:
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I think Molinism has been like a cancer in The Church, expanding and undermining even the most fundamental of doctrines (Original Sin, EENS, etc).


Or you could see it as having a Counter-Reformation effect, preventing a too-rigid Augustinianism ( boy, does that sound pompous ).  

I think it's a red herring, this whole argument.  It's something Catholic intellectuals like to do to sharpen their wits.  But the question is not resolvable, in my view.  There are problems with every schema that you can come up with on grace vs. free will.  The problem with Molinism is that it posits what I imagine like a giant invisible pool of grace that we just have to reach up and grab some of, as if it were an apple hanging from a tree.  Any of us can have it, just as any of us can have air, as long as we choose to breathe.  It's sloppy, sort of like my mixed metaphors in this paragraph.

If Molinism is unsatisfactory from the point of view of God's predestination, Thomism is unsatisfactory from the point of view of our free will.  It also makes the idea that God wants all men to be saved an in-name-only proposition.  The will has to correspond with sufficient grace, but God already knows whose will is going to respond, so that He can give them more grace ( efficient grace ).  Yet if the will responds in the first place, it can only be because of grace, because of what He gives.  So you enter this Catch-22.  The sufficient grace of Thomism is actually often insufficient!

It makes you wonder, "Then why doesn't He give sufficient grace to everyone, so that their sufficent grace becomes efficient grace through a motion of the will?  Why is this sufficient grace only sufficient for some and not for others, when it is God who controls how much grace is necessary for each person?"  Couldn't this lead to the conclusion that God Himself is responsible for not giving enough grace to certain people?  

So yeah, if you are going to be a Thomist, you flirt with the idea that God intended for some to be damned.  And how does this square with His desire for universal salvation?  Yes, He has favorites, but He still desires the salvation of all.  Molinism resolves this problem, and its sufficient grace really is sufficient in all cases.  That is the virtue of Molinism, that is the "Eureka!" aspect of it.  It's just kind of sloppy, with grace being poured out all over the place indiscriminately.  

Liguori had an in-between view, I forget the name of it, but that is what I have.
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Cecelia on July 07, 2010, 11:37:01 PM
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It makes you wonder, "Then why doesn't He give sufficient grace to everyone, so that their sufficent grace becomes efficient grace through a motion of the will?  Why is this sufficient grace only sufficient for some and not for others, when it is God who controls how much grace is necessary for each person?"  


In my humble opinion I think you are forgetting about free will.  God in His Foreknowledge, knows how we are going to act from the moment of our conception.  Hence He knows that no matter how much grace He gives, certain souls are going to reject Him.   In His justice He gives the talents in number and kind to those who He predestines.  It is not for us to question...but for us to be thankful and to spread the truth whenever we are able.

Also His Divine Integrity demands He saves us how He said He would i.e. through Water, Blood and Spirit- the blessed Trinity.  This is what we are required to believe absolutely...not what He may or may not do, but what He revealed - John 3:5

Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: DecemRationis on July 08, 2010, 12:44:34 AM
Raoul,

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Thomism is unsatisfactory from the point of view of our free will . . . .The sufficient grace of Thomism is actually often insufficient!

So yeah, if you are going to be a Thomist, you flirt with the idea that God intended for some to be damned.


Such are the facile objections.

I'm wondering, before we get into this deeper, do you know the Thomist response to these objections? I take it, in light of your criticism, that you find the responses insufficient. In what way do you find them so?

Before we do get into this more, I'll cite the Haydock commentary on Romans 8:29:

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This foreknowledge of God, according to St. Augustine,[6] is not merely a foreseeing of what men will do by the assistance and graces of God's ordinary providence, much less a foreseeing of what they will do by their own natural strength, as the Pelagian heretics pretended: but is a foreknowledge including an act of the divine will, and of his love towards his elect servants; (as to know in the Scriptures, when applied to God, is many times the same as to approve and love) God therefore hath foreseen or predestinated, or decreed that these elect, by the help of his special graces, and by the co-operation of their free-will, should be conformable to the image of his Son, that so his Son, even as man, might be the first-born, the chief, and the head of all that shall be saved. (Witham) --- God hath preordained that all his elect shall be conformable to the image of his Son. We must not here offer to dive into the secrets of God's eternal ɛƖɛctıon: only firmly believe that all our good, in time and eternity, flows originally from God's free goodness; and all our evil from man's free will. (Challoner)


In a nutshell, the predetermination and choice of God includes the choice that the elect act "freely." This can be understood philosophically and logically, without contradiction to either the principle of God's infallible and independent choice, not based on the merits of men, and the freedom of the ones chosen.  

As to the sufficient grace being insufficient - no. The grace is sufficient; the response to it is insufficient. The power is capable of doing what it was intended for; thus, it is "sufficient." You're arguing that the failure in fact shows that the power is not sufficient potentially. If I roll a normal die a thousand times and a 1 never comes up, that does not show the die "insufficient" in the matter of rolling ones, or not truly have the power to come up 1. It just presents the circumstance of the die not coming up 1. If this were to happen a million or a billion times, you still would not be able to prove the die was not sufficient to roll a 1, or that a claim that it "could" was not true. Man's failure in fact does not show the grace insufficient for its purpose, or to not truly have the potential. As I said, it's a facile objection that does not reveal a rational or logical contradiction, and thus is not an objection that stands the test of truth.

I give you the original Rheims commentary on God "intending some to be damned," Romans 9:14:

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In all this mercy of God towards some, and justice towards othersome, both the pardoned work by their own free will, and thereby deserve their salvation: and the other no less by their own free will, without all necessity, work wickedness, and themselves and only of themselves procure their own damnation.


Lest you think this comes from a Molinist perspective, here's the commentary on the "[n]ot yet born" of verse 11:

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"By the same example of these twins, it is evident also, that neither nations nor particular persons be elected eternally, or called temporally, or preferred to God's favor before others, by their own merits: because God, when he made the choice, and first loved Jacob, and refused Esau, respected them both as ill, and the one no less than the other guilty of damnation for original sin, which was alike in them both."


DR

Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: DecemRationis on July 08, 2010, 12:46:17 AM
Myrna,

Thanks for the welcome. That verse gives one a lot to ponder.

DR
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: DecemRationis on July 08, 2010, 12:49:32 AM
Caminus,

Agree with you on almost all counts. Not quite sure on the "new theology" part, simply because I'm not sure what you mean. But ditto as to Father GL. And I agree about Molinism and the damage it does to the principle of predilection.

DR
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: DecemRationis on July 08, 2010, 12:57:17 AM
Twiceborn,

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I believe Molinism is a doctrine that should have been condemned a long time ago. The Aplogodia of the Dominicans headed by Bañez puts the nail in the coffin of this view.

I think Molinism has been like a cancer in The Church, expanding and undermining even the most fundamental of doctrines (Original Sin, EENS, etc).


This is a difficult one. I don't like Molinism, but respect the Church's judgment that it is a permissible view. Perhaps more have been saved by allowing it. Molinism may put their mind at ease on these issues, and enable them to get to where they need to be, so that they concentrate on seeking the mercy of God and their salvation/justification. The Church has determined that holding the Molinist view is no impediment to salvation, hence it does not cause one to embrace heresy or a false gospel.

DR
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Dawn on July 08, 2010, 05:05:28 AM
Quote from: DecemRationis
Myrna,

Thanks for the welcome. That verse gives one a lot to ponder.

DR


Yes, welcome and wonderful quotr from St. Edmund
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Ladislaus on July 08, 2010, 06:27:18 AM
Quote from: Cecelia
In His justice He gives the talents in number and kind to those who He predestines.


And in His Mercy ...

By witholding graces from those He foreknows will reject them He's sparing them the punishment that would have come from that rejection.

Does God give sufficient grace to a baby born in the jungles of New Guinea who dies shortly after birth?  In a natural sense, that baby never had a chance.  But the baby ends up in a state of natural happiness through God's Mercy.  So God WOULD give and wills to give everyone sufficient grace to be saved, but sometimes witholds these graces out of His Mercy.
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Elizabeth on July 08, 2010, 10:10:17 AM
DecemRationis~

Welcome to this forum and thank you for the thoughtful topic (which I had to edit because of pathetic spelling and comprehension.)


Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Belloc on July 08, 2010, 10:26:25 AM
seems that alot of Molinists today are Prots-any Catholics in the group??
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: DecemRationis on July 08, 2010, 10:43:09 AM
Elizabeth and Dawn,

Thanks for the welcome.

DR
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Caraffa on July 08, 2010, 04:56:05 PM
Quote from: Cecelia
In my humble opinion I think you are forgetting about free will.  God in His Foreknowledge, knows how we are going to act from the moment of our conception.  


But then we have a Frankenstein situation with God and man in which the creature determines the creator's actions. To paraphrase St. Augustine,  God grants one efficacious grace not because he foresaw that they would  eventually co-operate and be good, but in order that they may be so.

Quote from: MyrnaM
Welcome to the board here DecemRationis, I always think on that one verse in the Bible you quoted: "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,"


I think that's a point a lot of people miss. Everyone at some point has either the guilt of original and/or actual mortal sin on their soul. God is at perfect liberty to either pardon them, grant them efficacious grace, and regenerate their wills, or to leave them in their current state. When God does do this it was not because of one's will, but God's mercy. Also God's mercy does not just mean a pardoning and forgiveness of sin, but also an aid in preventing from falling into future or further sin.

Quote from: Raoul76
Liguori had an in-between view, I forget the name of it, but that is what I have.


Sorbonne Congruism, and St. Alphonsus rejected the scientia media view of other Congruists and Molinists. My own position currently is probably between this one and the Thomist view, yet closer I believe to Banez and the Thomists.

Quote from: Twiceborn
I think Molinism has been like a cancer in The Church, expanding and undermining even the most fundamental of doctrines (Original Sin, EENS, etc).


I agree. It sounds way too close to deism and tends to play out in that way ("I did good work x, God owes me").  Four centuries later and even many if not most Conservative Neo-Catholics and some who call themselves Traditionalists believe that man is basically good, that numerous amounts of pagans will be saved because they followed their pagan "God(s)" as best as they could, etc.  

It does not surprise me then that many of the Americanists a century ago had Molinistic views of grace. This view may be unpopular, but I think Molinism has created many false converts/reverts, as well as keeping many people physically/external in the Church, especially this side of the Atlantic who shouldn't be there. There seems to be a tendency amongst those who adhere to Molinism to water-down hard-sayings in order to try and get people to convert or to stay in the Church when they don't really believe, in essence making co-operation easier for them (i.e manipulating grace and playing with souls).
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Alexandria on July 08, 2010, 05:07:19 PM
Caraffa said:

"I agree. It sounds way too close to deism and tends to play out in that way ("I did good work x, God owes me").  Four centuries later and even many if not most Conservative Neo-Catholics and some who call themselves Traditionalists believe that man is basically good, that numerous amounts of pagans will be saved because they followed their pagan "God(s)" as best as they could, etc.  

It does not surprise me then that many of the Americanists a century ago had Molinistic views of grace. This view may be unpopular, but I think Molinism has created many false converts/reverts, as well as keeping many people physically/external in the Church, especially this side of the Atlantic who shouldn't be there. There seems to be a tendency amongst those who adhere to Molinism to water-down hard-sayings in order to try and get people to convert or to stay in the Church when they don't really believe, in essence making co-operation easier for them (i.e manipulating grace and playing with souls)."


This is absolutely true.  I especially agree with the part about Molinism creating many false converts/reverts (Isaac Hecker among others).  The past ten years or so a complete change has occurred.  It was probably in the making long before.  Very few are free of the VII way of thinking.  I don't include myself in the select group - as it is so insidious that you don't even realize you have fallen prey to it unless it is pointed out to you.
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Caraffa on July 08, 2010, 05:21:40 PM
Quote from: DecemRationis
Caminus,

Agree with you on almost all counts. Not quite sure on the "new theology" part, simply because I'm not sure what you mean. But ditto as to Father GL. And I agree about Molinism and the damage it does to the principle of predilection.

DR


Welcome DecemRationis.

I think what Caminus might be getting at may have to do with "The Dignity of Man" in New Theology. Interestingly many who followed William of Ockham (A proto-molinist and proto-Protestant) in the 14th Century rejected the Augustinian and Thomist view of grace presented by Archbishop Thomas Bradwardina on the grounds that it harmed The Dignity of Man.
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: Caminus on July 08, 2010, 08:48:52 PM
That's right, the new theology is infused with a gross anthropomorphism that reduces God's causality to the position of mere moral support, like a cheerleader of sorts who witnesses man achieve heaven or condemn himself (if any such men have ever done so).  This tendency has its roots in nominalism, personalism and positivism.  
Title: The Principle of Predilection
Post by: DecemRationis on July 09, 2010, 09:53:52 AM
Carafa,

Thanks for the welcome.

Ah, the "dignity of man." The answer to a simple question shatters the foundation of the "new theology." From where does this dignity come? Another "reversal" in the moral order, the "spectators" in the seats taking the field and putting the Player in the seats.  

Yes, I get it now. I wholeheartedly agree with all Caminus said. And thanks, Caminus, for the clarification.

DR