Saturday, July 14, 2012

This Sunday's Second Reading Ephesians 1: 3-14 - Yes Catholics Believe In Predestination

There is a lot in the Sunday Mass  readings this weekend that of great interest. The Sacrament of anointing makes an appearence in the Gospel. The old testement reading shows that lay people have a crucial role in spreading God's  word among other things.

Pope Benedict gave a wonderful mediation on the second reading back in 2005.

However this is one of those text that Catholics need to get know better also as to the issue of Predestination. Catholics believe in predestination though Catholics have always had some great latitiude about the doctrine.

The Sacred page that has a nice commentary on all the Mass readings this week has this to say:

Like the reading from Amos, this passage from St. Paul focuses on God’s choice of certain individuals. In fact, this passage is a key biblical text for the doctrine of predestination, the truth that believers were chosen in advance by God. Contrary to popular belief, “predestination” is not a specifically “Protestant” or “Calvinist” doctrine, although its true that it receives a great deal of emphasis in Calvinism. Calvin, however, got his ideas from St. Augustine. “Predestination” is a biblical and Catholic doctrine, found in Scripture and the Fathers. In the Catholic theological tradition, there are two distinct schools of thought on the issue of predestination: the Dominican and the Jesuit. The Dominican tradition has a stronger view of predestination, in which God is proactive, moving certain people to choose him. The Jesuit tradition has a weaker view, in which “predestination” is finally nothing more than God’s foreknowledge of our own free choice.

For myself, I’m not optimistic that I will ever understand predestination, or the mysterious interaction between God’s will and my own free will, in this life. With St. Paul, however, I do recognize that, although I often felt like I was “choosing for God” at various points in my life, when I look back now, it seems apparent that God was moving everything in a direction he always intended. How this works, I don’t know, but it is a common Christian experience. If someone wants to insist that it can’t be so, that God can’t “choose us” and at the same time we freely “choose him,” I would reply that reality is more mysterious then we think it is. Even physicists have discovered this: there are apparent “contradictions” in the material world that are nevertheless true. As physicist-turned-theologian John Polkinghorne points out, light is both a wave and particle at the same time, yet how this can be so is very difficult to imagine....

Taylor Marshal went into this divide at Is the Thomist Doctrine of Predestination Calvinistic?

I agree with him that the majority view ( but not the mandated view ) of Catholics is a Molinists view. A view which I larely share.

What Catholcs MUST assent to and and What Catholic MUST NOT assent to as to Predestination is stated in short form here.

In a blog forum that is devoted to discussing issues between Catholics and the Reformed Christians

Taylor  Marshal expands on the above link I posted. The back and forth in the comments are also good. See Predestination: John Calvin vs. Thomas Aquinas .

1 comment:

Rick67 said...

I respectfully suggest the Dominicans and Jesuits (re)present a false dichotomy between "God causes(? nudges? influences?) our choices" and "God foreknows our choices". Perhaps Ephesians 1 is not necessarily about *individual choices* for or against God. But more about the purposes of God. Which is exactly what Paul discusses throughout the rest of the pericope. See Ralph Martin, Interpretation commentary on this text. With the Orthodox I would say that without freedom there cannot be love. Therefore this postulate must be kept in mind when attempting to understand the text.

This is not to deny that God takes the initiative and that his activity is always prior to our "choosing" more properly understood as responding in obedience.

Interesting post!