A Bite in de Lubac’s theory on Nature and Grace? Part 11

Last of all, let us note some Magisterial authorities in the matter. I make reference to D (= old Denzinger numbering; you can find the references in Sources of Catholic Dogma) and to DS (= new Denzinger numbering; you can find these in 43rd edition through Ignatius Press, Latin-English). All Catholic theologians need the Denzinger text in their libraries.

  • See the condemnations of Pelagius (DS 371ff): Grace is not owed to man.
  • Condemned proposition of Michael Baius in year 1567 “The elevation and exaltation of human nature unto a participation of the divine nature were due to the integrity of the first condition, and thus should be called natural, not supernatural.” DS 1921. Here, we see Holy Mother Church condemn the proposition that grace is due. Now, if the category “due” is absolutely empty, then the condemnation is effectively meaningless and a waste of time; the same can be said of many of the condemnations that follow.
  • Condemned prop of Baius = “Absurd is the opinion of those who say that man from the beginning, by a certain supernatural and gratuitous gift, was raised above the condition of his nature, so that by faith, hope, and charity he cherished God supernaturally” (D 1023 / DS 1923)
  • Condemned prop. of Baius = “The integrity of the first creation was not the undeserved exaltation of human nature, but its natural condition” (D 1026 / DS 1926). Here, we have an important reference to the natural condition.
  • Condemned prop of Baius = “The fact that having lived piously and justly in this mortal life even to the end of life we attain eternal life, should not be imputed to the grace of God, but to the natural order instantly ordained in the beginning of creation by the just judgment of God; neither in this recompense of goods is regard paid to the merit of Christ, but only to the first institution of the human race, in which it is ordained by the natural law that by the just judgment of God eternal life is paid for obedience to His mandates” (D 1011 / DS 1911) Baius effectively denies a purely natural end, asserting that the only end man can have is beatific union with God.
  • Pius VI, Auctorem fidei, art. 16: “… in so far as, understood comprehensively, it [a proposition in the synod of Pistoia, not magisterial] intimates that that state [of integrity and holy justice] was a consequence of creation, due to man from the natural exigency and condition of human nature, not a gratuitous gift of God – false” (D 1516 / DS 2616).
  • Pius VI, Auctorem fidei, art. 17: “… insofar as, under the deceitful mention of the name of the apostle, it insinuates that death, which in the present state has been inflicted as a just punishment for sin by the just withdrawal of immortality, was not a natural condition of man, as if immortality had not been a gratuitous gift, but a natural condition” (DS 2617)
  • Pius VI, Auctorem fidei, art. 19: “… insofar as it generally intimates that man became a transgressor through the nonobservance of the law that he was powerless to observe, as if ‘he who is just could command something impossible, or he who is pious would be likely to condemn man for that which he could not avoid’ [citing Pistoia] is false, scandalous, impious, and condemned in Baius.” This is a very important condemnation. It teaches, conversely, that God supplies creatures with the capacity to fulfill their duties. In fact, the category is dynamical debitum naturae.
  • Pius X, Pascendi, art. 10: The modernist thesis goes beyond the old error: “The question is no longer one of the old error which claimed for human nature a sort of right (ius) to the supernatural order.”
  • Pius X, Pascendi, art. 37: Some hold falsely “there is in human nature a true and rigorous need (exigentia) for the supernatural order”.[1]
  • “The saintly Doctor describes another order of things set above nature and eluding the grasp of reason, an order which man would never have suspected unless the divine goodness had revealed it to him…” (art. 17, Pius XI Studiorum Ducem).
  • Pius XII, Humani generis (1950): “Others destroy the true ‘gratuity’ of the supernatural order when they say that God is not able to establish beings gifted with intellect without ordering and calling them to the beatific vision.” (DS 3018)

[1] Nos iterum oportet, non desiderari e catholicis hominibus, qui, quamvis immanentiae doctrinam ut doctrinam reiiciunt, ea tamen pro apologesi utuntur; idque adeo incauti faciunt, ut in natura humana non capacitatem solem et convenientiam videantur admittere ad ordinem supernaturalem, quod quidem apologetae catholici opportunis adhibitis temperationibus demonstrarunt semper, sed germanam verique nominis exigentiam.