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Charity, mortal sin, and parish life.

1. Classical Teaching on Mortal Sin (1)

"Mortal sin, looked at as an act, is a deliberate transgression of one of the grave precepts of God, which completely turns us from Him as our last end; because sinful man knows full well that on that transgression depend the loss of sanctifying grace and exclusion from everlasting happiness." (2) This arresting text comes from the pen of the nineteenth-century Swiss Jesuit Maurice Meschler (1830-1912), whose book, The Gift of Pentecost: Meditations on the Holy Ghost, was first published in German in 1882. (3) A French translation appeared in 1895, while the English one followed in 1903. (4) The book originally appeared in Germany a year after the launch of Bismarck's Kulturkampf, and it remained in print for more than half a century. (5) Herder produced a new edition in 1932! (6) That is what we call a good press run. If one's devout Catholic ancestors of the early twentieth century spoke German, French, or English, they likely would have come under the influence of this book, especially if they enjoyed contact with Jesuits. If, on the other hand, they spoke other European languages such as Italian or Spanish, they would have encountered similar expositions by other authors. (7) Before the post conciliar period, most even-barely-catechized Catholics had learned that mortal sin spells the loss of sanctifying grace and exclusion from everlasting happiness. All in all, our co-religionists of yesteryear understood what one's being in or--heaven forfend--out of the "state of grace" meant.

Unless they had benefitted from occasional contact with theologians, our forebears probably were not familiar with classical accounts of damnation. Few everyday Catholics in the United States became agitated over the intricacies of predestination. Common religious instruction avoided this theological minefield and, instead, instilled in Catholics both young and old the importance of dying in the state of grace. Intellectually curious Catholics, on the other hand, may have been exposed to popularizations of predestination themes, such as explorations into the freedom of the damned. For example, "None of the damned will arise at the last day to say, 'Lord you did not help me enough.' They will all say, 'That is what I willed.' And they will go on maintaining that their choice was an excellent one. If a single one of the damned could say he was damned by God's fault, God would not be God." (8) The diocesan priest, later Cardinal, Charles Journet, delivered these remarks in the mid-1950s at a retreat house outside of Geneva, Switzerland. (9) The regular Churchgoing parishioner, however, would have been content to save his soul and to avoid going to hell. Speculations about the psychology of the damned would have escaped him. Priests instead told their parishioners about the importance of receiving the last sacraments or the last rites, as they then were known.

Today, this salutary and religious concern for dying in the state of grace no longer informs the spiritual sensibilities of the majority of Catholics. By and large, most people think that God will take care of them in the end. Mortal sin and its wage, on the other hand, apply only to the perpetrators of the Holocaust and of other large-scale misadventures, like marathon bombers and those who cover up child abuse. One could even appeal (wrongly) to Spe Salvi, no. 45, in order to support this outlook. (10) For folks who dream of quasi-universal salvation, the thought that someone who is damned would have something to opine at the last judgment about human freedom sounds like a charming literary device lifted right out of Dante's Inferno. In brief, people remain blase about their moral conduct and its outcomes. When their choices concern the hot-button moral issues that the secular press announces daily will soon undergo reevaluation by the Church, Catholics grow emboldened in their moral indifferentism. Generalizations rarely do justice to complex circumstances such as the theological opinions of Catholics. However, only few Catholics probably would agree with Ralph Martin on the significance of our entering through the narrow gate. (11) All in all, a happy inclusivism-- not fear of "exclusion from everlasting happiness"--dominates Catholic thinking. Why?

2. Official Rejection of Inclusivism

One cannot blame the magisterium. Pope St. John Paul II provided clear teaching on what is defective about ad extra inclusivism. We find it in the Declaration that he ordered to be published during the Great Jubilee of theYear 2000: "If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation (cf. Pius XII, encyclical letter Mystici Corporis, DS 3821)." (12) To possess the fullness of the means of salvation of course implies that a person avail himself of them, especially the sacraments of healing and forgiveness. The reference to Mystici Corporis stipulates further that even those drawn to the Catholic Church "still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church." (13) So no grounds exist to support an egalitarian view of the economy of salvation, even though most Catholics would consider that those outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body enjoy a straight shot to paradise. By a kind of a fortiori reasoning, fear of damnation recedes from being a factor that influences heavily the moral consciences of today's Catholics. As a result, Catholics assume a practical ad extra inclusivism that leaves them without a spring in their spiritual step.

John Paul also addressed definitively ad intra inclusivism with respect to moral teaching, namely, the view that it does not matter what you do within the Church as long as you avoid what the culture deems loathsome (bombing marathons and covering up child abuse). He repeated the Council of Trent's warning that "the grace of justification once received is lost not only by apostasy, by which faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin." (14) Veritatis Splendor, no. 70, which takes up the prior teaching of the 1985 post-synodal exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, offers a very Thomistic account of what mortal sin entails: "With the whole tradition of the Church, we call mortal sin the act by which man freely and consciously rejects God, his law, the covenant of love that God offers, preferring to turn in on himself or to some created and finite reality, something contrary to the divine will (conversio ad creaturam)." (15) The twenty-five years of moral confusion that marked the period from about 1968 until 1993 received more than adequate correction in Veritatis Splendor. On the other hand, the encyclical has not informed a great deal of the moral theology taught in Catholic settings, including certain ecclesiastical faculties. Still, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1854-64, makes clear the truth and also identifies some of the sinful deeds that qualify as "grave matter" by its appeal to Mark 10:19: "You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." (16) The same magisterial text also teaches that one "can even condemn oneself for all eternity." (17) Such a condemnation would finalize a definitive turning toward the creature, conversio ad creaturam. Cardinal Journet's words should strike a holy fear in us: "They will all say, 'That is what I willed.'" (18) Even with these clear teachings about sin and the wages of sin, many Catholics are persuaded that their daily lives proceed without reproach or at least without their committing mortal sin.

To inquire into the broad cultural reasons why Catholics have forgotten about mortal sin and its consequences may prove a distraction. The usual explanations, in any case, are familiar to the reader: the loss of a sense of sin, the sexual revolution and other widespread social upheavals (including the new movement known as transgenderism) that domesticate sinful behavior, failures in religious education and catechesis, and so forth. One homegrown cause of moral nonchalance, however, goes largely unobserved. I return again to the ad extra inclusivism that has infected Catholic ecclesiology, even when the promoters of inclusivism are motivated by the most noble of purposes. Take for example, Cardinal Journet's retreat conferences first published in France in 1959 and the next year in English under the title, The Meaning of Grace. He had already begun to distinguish between "graces of contact and graces at a distance" and to ponder the reality of "uncovenanted Christian graces." (19) These are graces, hypothesizes Journet, which reach people in places "where orientation by the Magisterium and sacramental contact cannot penetrate." (20) The rugged religious division between Protestants and Catholics in preconciliar Switzerland may explain why Journet articulated such a broad embrace of grace. Recall too that Journet was no liberal; he acknowledged the important difference between prevenient and habitual graces. (21) He also fell on the right side, that is, the side of Joseph Ratzinger, of the Communio-Concilium split. (22)

Today, however, I fear that Journet's analysis of how grace touches those outside of the Catholic Church would, ironically, also describe the majority of Catholics within the fold. In other words, an odd reversal has taken place. Today's parishioners surely suffer disorientation from the magisterium and, granted the abiding effects of a valid sacramental administration, it is difficult to estimate how much sacramental "contact" penetrates their lives. The phrase, "graces at a distance," has acquired an innovative meaning that Journet probably did not envisage. Grace is not measurable, of course. Still, the sacraments are neither magic rituals nor mere symbols, that is, badges of Catholic identity. They confer grace. (23) A person therefore can judge inferentially about his or her being in the state of grace. Aquinas makes this clear: "Someone can know that he has grace, for example, by perceiving that he takes delight in God and despises worldly things, and by not being conscious of any mortal sin in himself." (24) Regretfully, many of today's Catholics, including spiritual guides, may find these criteria unfamiliar or difficult to explain.

Long lines at the Communion stations should not assuage the Catholic's concern. The Catechism stipulates the following with respect to one's receiving Holy Communion: "The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church." (25) Communion here is not conceived of primarily in juridical terms, though receiving Holy Communion entails observing juridical conditions, but in ontological categories, that is, one's being united to the Church by a bond of grace and charity. This affirmation represents standard Catholic teaching: "The priority of grace to infused virtue [such as charity] consists in the priority of man's transfigured being to his perfected doing." (26) (Classical authors translated transfigured being into "state of grace.") Charity introduces the notion of friendship. (27) Those whose lives contradict the friendship that charity creates between the creature and God do not stand in "full communion" with the Church. However, this truth of Catholic practice, namely, that communion and friendship go together, seems to have become over the past half-century a well-kept secret. We find ourselves in an odd situation, one for which easy-to-identify parallels with earlier periods of Western Christianity are not easy to locate.

The preachers of penance in classical Christendom--whether St. Vincent Ferrer in the fifteenth century or St. Louis-Mary de Montfort in the seventeenth--operated within a certain recognizable structure. People, for all kinds of social and political reasons, had fallen away from the practice of the faith; consequently, missionary priests went forth to restore devotion by both supplying magisterial orientation and providing sacramental contact. For their part, the Christian people knew what they needed to do in order to regain the state of grace. Or, if they had forgotten what to do, they accepted from the authorized priest the instruction about how to regain favor with God and the Church. For those who closed their ears to the preaching of the missionary priests, the Church reserved the harshest critique, namely, that they were impenitent. Holy men and women prayed fervently for such sinners. Final impenitence, as Aquinas reports St. Augustine's view, may even constitute the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit. (28) No Catholic of an earlier age, however, would have imagined that the mortal sinner would enjoy standing before Christ's judgment by legitimizing his or her magisterial disorientation or by appealing to a sacramental theology put at the service of an inclusivist ecclesiology. The 1270 tympanum of the Last Judgement at Bourges Cathedral--to cite one example-- would have left too strong an impression on their religious imaginations. Furthermore, Aquinas's account of Christ's judgment on our lives would not have allowed for such a disastrous deviation: "All human affairs," he writes, "are ordered to the same end, that happiness which is eternal salvation, to which men are either admitted or refused entry by Christ's judgment." (29) In other words, our actions either follow the teleological path mapped out for them or they do not. The sculptors of Bourges got it right. They pictured the Last Judgment according to the biblical indications: "Those to the right are saved and move towards the figure of Abraham who holds the souls in a napkin. Those to the left are the damned being led to hell by devils." (30) Today's Catholics would consider the imagery passe. As I have remarked above, sadly, Veritatis Splendor has not left its mark on the Catholic world.

3. The Present Circumstances

One might pose the question--and perhaps parish priests suffer this temptation on occasion--"What difference does it make?" Even if one allows for the documented decline in overall religious practice in the United States, most parish priests find themselves conveniently occupied with their responsibilities. Many reason thus: True enough, I realize that people committing sins from every commandment-- from adultery to theft to missing Sunday Mass and everywhere in between--occupy the pews of my parish church. So what? After all, they are nice people and they give to the various collections that the diocese takes up. They do not make a show of themselves, for the most part. Sure, they have their ups and downs, but so do all of us, and so on. Or, if Church folk resist this kind of banal cynicism, they nonetheless conclude along lines similar to the above rationalizations. Sophisticated clergymen and lay theologians, who have been trained in certain schools of moral theology, will recall that many of the abovementioned wayward church attendees have not been taught about the badness of their actions, and so do not suffer from a guilty conscience. (31) Still others may find excuse in adverting to decreased culpability by reason of this or that psychological factor. Whatever the pastoral judgments made, most clergy go on ministering to those whom they consider material sinners. Why not? Since so many of the circumstances of mortal sinning seem intractable, why bother to disturb the happy, ignorant, habitual sinner? Then, when it comes time for the distribution of Holy Communion, the ushers with quasi-military precision empty out the pews one row after another. The priest says, "Body of Christ!" The sacramental sign of full communion in the friendship of charity is given to people who do not enjoy the status.

What is wrong with the ecclesial version of this "Don't Ask; Don't Tell" policy? Consider what the Catechism teaches about sacramental practice: "Anyone conscious of grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion." (32) One may retort, "Well, disorientation from the magisterium would facilitate the multiplication of those who remain unconscious of grave sinning." At the same time, may one imagine that this Catechism text envisages a parish community in which those coming forward to receive Holy Communion include a large number of putatively material mortal sinners? Think what would happen in such an eventuality. The parish would be populated with communicants who regularly act against the truth about the good of the human person. This circumstance cannot create a flourishing parish, even when one allows for the observance of bourgeois sensibilities. Eventually, alas, parishioners whose lives remain morally disordered inevitably fall away from the observance of the Third Commandment.

In order to discover how parents, parish priests, and teachers may address this unhappy circumstance, it is first of all required to correct false notions about moral culpability. The theologians of the casuist period sought to identify strategies whereby Catholics could be exculpated. They had to perform this mental calculus in order to avoid multiplying sins and punishments, such as, "Father, I ate meat on a Friday, but there was nothing else in the house." The casuists replied: an incommodious law does not bind. (33) Veritatis Splendor corrects, however, an overly moralistic view of sinning. The encyclical revolves around a moral teleology. Moral teleology rests upon the solid foundation of the metaphysics of the good. No single sentence in the encyclical better explains this feature of a moral teleology than does the one found in number sixty-three: "It is possible that the evil done as a result of invincible ignorance or a non-culpable error of judgment may not be imputable to the agent; but even in this case it does not cease to be an evil, a disorder in relation to the truth about the good." (34) So even the young man who masturbates with guilt-free abandon because, let's say, he has been taught that the exercise provides psycho-sexual growth and stability, still suffers from his self-inflicted disorientation from the truth. In this case, he comes to think that procured venereal pleasure can remain satisfyingly solitary. Such a young man grows comfortable with his lived lie. Eventually, however, this error about the true human good will affect his capacity to love another human being. Similar analyses may be made for the other commonly overlooked sins.

4. Friendship with Christ

From the time that Second Peter announces that created grace affords the creature a real participation in the divine nature, well instructed Catholics have understood that the life of charity entails more than altruism. Aquinas likes to cite the biblical text, "Divinae consortes naturae" (2 Pt 1:4). (35) This consorting with the divine nature produces a friendship that enjoys ontological status. Aquinas establishes this friendship on a "communicatio" or sharing. As he famously remarks, "it is only with a friend that a friend is friendly. But such reciprocal good will is based on a certain communication." (36) C. S. Lewis explains this communication in everyday terms: "The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends.... Friendship must be about something.... Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers." (37) When we apply this insight to friendship with God, the results are most daunting to the human envisagement: "Charity is that very sharing of spiritual life, which brings us to eternal happiness." (38) Without the charity that enables us to love God as a Friend, we are reduced to human monads lost in the cosmos. The encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est takes up this theme in terms that are not immediately Thomist when it speaks about the effect of agape in the Christian believer: "The sacramental 'mysticism,' grounded in God's condescension towards us, operates at a radically different level and lifts us to far greater heights than anything that any human mystical elevation could ever accomplish." (39) What are the implications of abiding at the heights to which divine charity elevates us? The answer is simple. The divine friendship appears in our practicing the life of the infused virtues both theological and moral and in our remaining docile to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit that we call the movements of his "gifts." The uplifted life of grace and charity further produces its own unique fruits, as the Catechism reminds us. (40) As simple and perennial as this doctrine about the life of charity is, many people appear ignorant of its implications for Catholic living. So we hear the familiar complaints. When will the Church change her teaching on contraception? Why cannot those enjoying the rights of matrimony while remaining in an unlawful marriage also receive Holy Communion? These questions, I fear, come from people who assume that most of the sins mentioned, especially those that erode the virtues of purity and chastity, already have found a place or at least a hiding place within the communication of divine benevolent love that we call agape. They are wrong.

In a text that one does not see cited frequently, Aquinas succinctly answers the queries that we today hear bandied about by theologians as well as laity. Why can't the Church display a more inclusivist approach to those whose personal circumstances entail their repeated mortal sinning? In one of the last questions that Aquinas treats before everything became as straw to him, the Common Doctor asks, "Is it the gravest of sins to approach this sacrament [the Holy Eucharist] while conscious of being in mortal sin?" (41) One objection suggests that unforgiven fornicators show a greater irreverence toward the Eucharist when they receive it than do other sinners. Aquinas makes this reply: "A fornicator receiving Christ's body is likened to Judas kissing Christ as to a resemblance of the sin, for both offer offence to Christ under the guise of friendship.... The comparison applies no less to other sinners than to fornicators; other mortal sins conflict with Christ's friendship, of which this sacrament is a sign, and all the graver they are." (42) Aquinas would not suggest that priests scare away unworthy recipients of the Eucharist by telling them that they compare favorably with Judas. In fact, Aquinas thinks that when unbelievers eat the Eucharist they sin more gravely than other mortal sinners because of the contempt involved. The comparison with Judas, however, does illuminate the relationship between one's receiving the Eucharist and maintaining friendship with Christ. Betrayed friendship may offer a way to persuade Catholics of the seriousness that sacramental communion entails, without immediately adverting to final damnation.

To return to the pastoral circumstances that I mentioned at the start of this article, let me suggest a fresh approach that may serve the new evangelization well. This approach requires only that priests and parents and teachers begin to explain what friendship with God entails. The first lesson may be found in the Catechism: "charity," so the Church teaches, "keeps the commandments of God and his Christ." (43) This salutary and true teaching can be explained morally and juridically, to be sure. Our present circumstances, however, make those approaches hard sells for the priest who wishes to encourage his parishioners to receive Holy Communion worthily. As we have observed, too many people think that what they do morally does not matter. All the more do Catholics disregard juridical stipulations. How else, then, may the preachers and teachers of God's truth explain the relationship between the moral life and sacramental "contact"? I would start by speaking about the divine friendship within the context of the moral life. The first chapter of Veritatis Splendor offers a detailed account of what some call the vocational teleology of the Christian life. Christ invites the Rich Young Man to friendship with God. For this reason, as happens in the common things shared by human friends, Catholics must love the things that Christ loves. "Following Christ is not an outward imitation," says the encyclical, "since it touches man at the very depth of his being. Being a follower of Christ means becoming conformed to him who became a servant even to giving himself on the Cross (see Phil 2:5-8)." (44) Just as most people would understand why a friendship would suffer diminution when one of the friends began to act deleteriously against the other friend, so the same dynamic arises in the spiritual life. Note well that the reason for the diminution is neither peevishness nor pouting on the part of the Lord. The diminution results from a breakdown in the "communication" or communion that charity as a friendship requires. Aristotle's remark cited by Aquinas carries a profound meaning for friendship with God. "It is only with a friend that a friend is friendly." (45) Someone may object, "Does not Christ forgive our transgressions?" The answer of course is yes. And there exists another sacrament to receive this forgiveness. The sacrament of penance and reconciliation only makes sense, however, within the context of a rectification of the sinner's will that entails his making satisfaction. Aquinas sought to emphasize the central place that the sacrament of penance holds in Christian living when he insisted that contrition stands at the heart of this sacrament of healing, not the absolution spoken by the priest. (46) Priests need to explain the implication of Catholics achieving rectified loving so that full communion in friendship may flourish. Resources do not lack. Spiritual authors of the early twentieth century provided popular commentaries on the divine friendship. Dom Eugene Boylan's This Tremendous Lover (1947) and Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene's The Divine Intimacy (1964, English edition) sold thousands of copies.

I conclude by suggesting that we reverse the sad circumstances of Catholic moral and sacramental life that have developed over the past half-century by taking up an ancient theme of Catholic teaching: Christ the Friend. "Christus est maxime sapiens et amicus," says Aquinas. (47) It seems to me that the more the priest and others who communicate the Church's moral teaching properly show themselves friendly toward others--not a cheap replacement for what a person lacks in his sociological setting or psychological development--the better they will find themselves able to preach about the divine intimacy and the divine friendship. It goes without saying, however, that in order for anyone to preach or to teach about the divine friendship, he or she should pursue some experience of it. This experience only arises within the context of a life lived according to the virtues, gifts, and beatitudes. The ontological bond that Christ's priests share with him offers grounds for believing that priests enjoy a special claim on these gifts and graces. Baptism and confirmation offer similar assurances to Christ's lay faithful.


(1.) This article began as an address to Catholic priests during a 2015 summer session held in Baltimore.

(2.) Maurice Meschler, The Gift of Pentecost: Meditations on the Holy Ghost, trans. Amabel Kerr (London: Sands, 1903), 381.

(3.) Moritz Meschler, SJ, Die Gabe des heiligen Pfingsfestes. Betrachtungen uber den heilgen Geist (Freiburg-im-Breslau: Herder, 1882).

(4.) Moritz Meschler, Le Don de la Pentecote. Meditations sur le Saint Esprit, trans. Ph. Mazoyer, 2 vols. (Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1895); Maurice Meschler, The Gift of Pentecost: Meditations on the Holy Ghost, trans. Amabel Kerr (London: Sands, 1903).

(5.) For the effect of the Kulturkampf on the Jesuits, see Michael B. Gross, The War against Catholicism: Liberalism and the Anti-Catholic imagination in Nineteenth-century Germany (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004).

(6.) Moritz Meschler, Die Gabe des heiligen Pfingstfestes (Freiburg-im-B: Herder, 1932).

(7.) For a standard account of classical teaching on mortal sin, see Dominic Prummer, OP, ManualeTheologiaeMoralis, vol. 1 (Freiburg: Herder, 1923), 231: "Peccatum mortale, quod et grave vocatur, est illud, quod destruendo gratiam sanctificantem infert mortem animae."

(8.) Charles Journet, The Meaning of Grace, trans. A. V. Littledale (New York: P. J. Kennedy & Sons, 1960), 26. The original conferences were given at Ecogia, near Geneva, which at the time served as an orphanage run by religious women.

(9.) Similar instructions went on in some circles in the United States, for example, the "Theology for the Laity" lectures sponsored by the Dominicans in New York City.

(10.) Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, no. 45: "There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people for whom everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, [section]1033-37).

(11.) Ralph Martin, Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2012). The author avoids affirming that few will be saved, though his overall emphasis on entering through the narrow gate could lead one to conclude thusly.

(12.) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration "Dominus Iesus." On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church, no. 22

(13.) Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi (1943), no. 103.

(14.) Session VI, Decree on Justification Cum Hoc Tempore, chap. 15 (DS 1344) and Canon 19 (DS 1569) as cited in Veritatis Splendor, no. 68.

(15.) Veritatis Splendor, no. 70, quoting Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, no. 17 (AAS 77 [1985], 222).

(16.) Veritatis Splendor, no. 70 recognizes "grave matter."

(17.) CCC, [section]679.

(18.) Journet, Meaning, 26.

(19.) Ibid., 125T See chap. VIII.

(20.) Ibid., 114.

(21.) Ibid., chap. 3, 35-50.

(22.) George Weigel, "An Open Letter to Hans Kung," "The struggle between this interpretation of the Council, and that advanced by Council fathers like Ratzinger and Henri de Lubac, split the post-conciliar Catholic theological world into warring factions with contending journals: Concilium for you and your progressive colleagues, Communio for those you continue to call 'reactionaries.' That the Concilium project became ever more implausible over time--and that a younger generation of theologians, especially in North America, gravitated toward the Communio orbit--could not have been a happy experience for you. And that the Communio project should have decisively shaped the deliberations of the 1985 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, called by John Paul II to celebrate Vatican Il's achievements and assess its full implementation on the twentieth anniversary of its conclusion, must have been another blow,"( = 1388, accessed June 14, 2015).

(23.) See Reginald M. Lynch, OP, "The Sacraments as Causes of Sanctification," Nova et Vetera, English Edition, 12, no. 3 (2014): 791-836.

(24.) Summa theologiae I-II, q. 112, a. 5.

(25.) CCC, [section]1395.

(26.) See ST I-II, q. iio, a. 3 in Cornelius Ernst, OP, The Gospel of Grace, vol. 30, Summa theologiae (NewYork: McGraw-Hill, 1972), 119, n. "b."

(27.) See Ibid., I-II, q. 23, a. 1, "Is charity a friendship?"

(28.) See Ibid., I-II, q. 14, a. 1.

(29.) Ibid., III, q. 59, a. 4.

(30.) See "Moriarty" at, accessed June 15, 2015.

(31.) A wrong reading of CCC, [section]1385, may encourage this viewpoint.

(32.) CCC, [section]1385.

(33.) Prummer, Manuale, vol. 1 , 150: "Nulla lex positive obligat um magno incommode."

(34.) Veritatis Splendor, no. 63.

(35.) ST I-II, q. 110, a. 3.

(36.) Ibid., II-II, q. 23, a. 1.

(37.) C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves (NewYork: Macmillan, 1965), 63.

(38.) ST II-II, q. 25, a. 2, ad 2.

(39.) Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est (2005), no. 13.

(40.) See CCC, [section]1832.

(41.) ST III, q. 80, a. 5. For the incident in Naples, see The Life of Saint Thomas Aquinas: Biographical Documents, ed. Kenelm Foster, OP (Baltimore: Helicon Press, 1959), 109.

(42.) Ibid., III, q. 80, a. 5.

(43.) CCC, [section]1824.

(44.) Veritatis Splendor, no. 21.

(45.) ST II-II, q. 23, a. 1.

(46.) See Colman E. O'Neill, OP, Meeting Christ in the Sacraments (New York: Alba House, 1991), 259-65.

(47.) ST I-II, q. 108, a. 4, sc.

Romanus Cessario, OP
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Author:Cessario, Romanus
Publication:Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture
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Date:Sep 22, 2016
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