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Author Topic: "Created Grace"  (Read 1992 times) Average Rating: 5
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« on: July 20, 2010, 05:32:45 PM »

From Catholic Answers:
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The old Baltimore Catechism called [created grace] "a created sharing in God's life."

The reason for the word "created" is to avoid a kind of pantheism. God is simple and indivisible. He cannot snip off pieces of Himself as "grace" to put it in our souls. So grace is created by Him even though it constitutes for us a sharing in the Divine life.

Discuss.  Huh
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2010, 05:36:06 PM »

1.  Why are you referring to the old Baltimore Catechism rather than to the new (and far more authoritative) Catechism of the Catholic Church?  I can send you a link to it, if you like.

2.  What specifically did you see in this quote that you had not seen or known about before?
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2010, 05:44:39 PM »

1.  Why are you referring to the old Baltimore Catechism rather than to the new (and far more authoritative) Catechism of the Catholic Church?  I can send you a link to it, if you like.

2.  What specifically did you see in this quote that you had not seen or known about before?

It's not that I'm seeing something unusual or new here. As to the quote, I'm not referring to said outdated Catechism, the answerer at CA was making the reference.

I just wanted to discuss the idea of "uncreated" v. "created" grace, and the relation of said concepts to the idea of the Uncreated Energies of God...: different ways of dealing with the problem of pantheism (or panentheism) which he mentions.

For example, what would the Orthodox say about this matter of snippings of God?
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2010, 07:09:33 PM »

Well, as I understand it, the Orthodox believe grace is Uncreated while the Catholics believe it's created.

Does that help?  If not, there's other threads about it, for example:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12063.0.html
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20818.0.html
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2010, 07:52:00 PM »

From Catholic Answers:
Quote
The old Baltimore Catechism called [created grace] "a created sharing in God's life."

The reason for the word "created" is to avoid a kind of pantheism. God is simple and indivisible. He cannot snip off pieces of Himself as "grace" to put it in our souls. So grace is created by Him even though it constitutes for us a sharing in the Divine life.

Discuss.  Huh
A "created sharing in God's life" would not be an actual sharing in God's life, since that which is "shared" is not God, but rather a "creation".

This would be different from the Orthodox idea of theosis as the process of entering into the depths of God's Energies, Energies that are indeed God, uncreated.
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2010, 08:36:05 PM »

1.  Why are you referring to the old Baltimore Catechism rather than to the new (and far more authoritative) Catechism of the Catholic Church?  I can send you a link to it, if you like.

2.  What specifically did you see in this quote that you had not seen or known about before?

It's not that I'm seeing something unusual or new here. As to the quote, I'm not referring to said outdated Catechism, the answerer at CA was making the reference.

I just wanted to discuss the idea of "uncreated" v. "created" grace, and the relation of said concepts to the idea of the Uncreated Energies of God...: different ways of dealing with the problem of pantheism (or panentheism) which he mentions.

For example, what would the Orthodox say about this matter of snippings of God?
It presupposes a spatial dimension to God that doesn't exist, outside of the Incarnation. And the Vatican believes, no? that God is present in the Eucharist.  How is that not a "snipping of God?"

As Lossky says, the energies of God proceed because God is not  bound within His essense.
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2010, 11:37:59 PM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us. The state of grace is a created state because there was a time when were not in that state and now we are.
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2010, 11:45:16 PM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us.
If "substance of Grace" is "God's life in us", then "substance of Grace" is created, because "God's life in us" has not always existed (because we have not always existed).
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2010, 06:19:36 AM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us.
If "substance of Grace" is "God's life in us", then "substance of Grace" is created, because "God's life in us" has not always existed (because we have not always existed).

Um, definitely not. If you follow that argument then the second person of the trinity is created because the human flesh of Jesus had not always existed.
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2010, 08:33:48 AM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us.
If "substance of Grace" is "God's life in us", then "substance of Grace" is created, because "God's life in us" has not always existed (because we have not always existed).

Um, definitely not. If you follow that argument then the second person of the trinity is created because the human flesh of Jesus had not always existed.

I don't believe that the most basic definition of the SPT ("Second Person of the Trinity") involves an enfleshed, embodied SPT. Yes, it's true that, after the Incarnation, the SPT is now enfleshed, embodied, God-and-human Natured; but the SPT before the Incarnation was not so characterized. So, the SPT has always existed, but not in His Dual-Natured Form.

Whereas Papist was arguing that "the substance of Grace" is, by definition, something "in us [humans]". The SPT is not, by definition, something embodied, though He has become so, in time.

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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2010, 09:56:39 AM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us.
If "substance of Grace" is "God's life in us", then "substance of Grace" is created, because "God's life in us" has not always existed (because we have not always existed).

Um, definitely not. If you follow that argument then the second person of the trinity is created because the human flesh of Jesus had not always existed.

His human nature is created. Though the person existed from all time.
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2010, 09:57:26 AM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us.
If "substance of Grace" is "God's life in us", then "substance of Grace" is created, because "God's life in us" has not always existed (because we have not always existed).
God's life itself is uncreated. The state of us being in God's life is created.
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2010, 09:58:17 AM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us.
If "substance of Grace" is "God's life in us", then "substance of Grace" is created, because "God's life in us" has not always existed (because we have not always existed).

Um, definitely not. If you follow that argument then the second person of the trinity is created because the human flesh of Jesus had not always existed.

I don't believe that the most basic definition of the SPT ("Second Person of the Trinity") involves an enfleshed, embodied SPT. Yes, it's true that, after the Incarnation, the SPT is now enfleshed, embodied, God-and-human Natured; but the SPT before the Incarnation was not so characterized. So, the SPT has always existed, but not in His Dual-Natured Form.

Whereas Papist was arguing that "the substance of Grace" is, by definition, something "in us [humans]". The SPT is not, by definition, something embodied, though He has become so, in time.



Let me further clarify. The substance of Grace is God's life which is uncreated. The state of us being brought into that life is created.
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2010, 10:46:51 AM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us.
If "substance of Grace" is "God's life in us", then "substance of Grace" is created, because "God's life in us" has not always existed (because we have not always existed).
God's life itself is uncreated. The state of us being in God's life is created.
If God's life is uncreated, then "God's life" is, simply, God?

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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2010, 10:48:45 AM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us.
If "substance of Grace" is "God's life in us", then "substance of Grace" is created, because "God's life in us" has not always existed (because we have not always existed).
God's life itself is uncreated. The state of us being in God's life is created.
If God's life is uncreated, then "God's life" is, simply, God?

.

"Created" Grace, then, would be the presence of God (Uncreated Grace) within created beings, correct?
Yes, I agree that God's life is God. And created Grace is the state of having God's life in us, or that state of us entering into God's life. Either what, the state or status is what is created. The substance of Grace, or God's life, is not.
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2010, 05:26:57 PM »

1.  Why are you referring to the old Baltimore Catechism rather than to the new (and far more authoritative) Catechism of the Catholic Church?  I can send you a link to it, if you like.

2.  What specifically did you see in this quote that you had not seen or known about before?

It's not that I'm seeing something unusual or new here. As to the quote, I'm not referring to said outdated Catechism, the answerer at CA was making the reference.

I just wanted to discuss the idea of "uncreated" v. "created" grace, and the relation of said concepts to the idea of the Uncreated Energies of God...: different ways of dealing with the problem of pantheism (or panentheism) which he mentions.

For example, what would the Orthodox say about this matter of snippings of God?
It presupposes a spatial dimension to God that doesn't exist, outside of the Incarnation. And the Vatican believes, no? that God is present in the Eucharist.  How is that not a "snipping of God?"

As Lossky says, the energies of God proceed because God is not  bound within His essense.

Yes, it seems that those fret about a snipped up God would do well to remember the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2010, 05:33:02 PM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us. The state of grace is a created state because there was a time when were not in that state and now we are.

Substance and accidents: of course!

For a more useful and true application of Aristotelian terminology to the Christian life, I would recommend Bradshaw's Aristotle: East and West lol
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2010, 06:09:37 PM »

The substance of Grace is uncreated because it is God's life in us. The state of grace is a created state because there was a time when were not in that state and now we are.

Substance and accidents: of course!

For a more useful and true application of Aristotelian terminology to the Christian life, I would recommend Bradshaw's Aristotle: East and West lol

The Thomistic teaching of what has come to be known as "created grace" has nothing to do with substance and accidents.  This whole thread is such a boggle that I am not even comment...till I saw this and can take a direct poke at it.  But whatever it is you guys are talking about a good 85% of it is right off the wall.

Back up and start over later maybe but this is more of a tangled mess than I would ever try to sort out.

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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2010, 08:44:12 AM »

I have been told by multiple Roman Catholic priests that they believe 'grace' to be the 'uncreated energies of God.' The (RC) priest who celebrated my brother's wedding also said the same thing is his homily.

It seems to me that this thread is just another attempt to attack a false construction of Western theology.
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« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2010, 09:29:40 AM »

I have been told by multiple Roman Catholic priests that they believe 'grace' to be the 'uncreated energies of God.' The (RC) priest who celebrated my brother's wedding also said the same thing is his homily.
That view expressed by those RC priests seems to be a recent development. From the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914:

Quote
Palamas taught that by asceticism one could attain a corporal, i.e. a sense view, or perception, of the Divinity. He also held that in God there was a real distinction between the Divine Essence and Its attributes, and he identified grace as one of the Divine propria making it something uncreated and infinite. These monstrous errors were denounced by the Calabrian Barlaam, by Nicephorus Gregoras, and by Acthyndinus. The conflict began in 1338 and ended only in 1368, with the solemn canonization of Palamas [in the Greek Church] and the official recognition of his heresies. He was declared the "holy doctor" and "one of the greatest among the Fathers of the Church", and his writings were proclaimed "the infallible guide of the Christian Faith". Thirty years of incessant controversy and discordant councils ended with a resurrection of polytheism.
[italics mine]
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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2010, 10:46:13 AM »

To return to the question of the original poster:  both the Catholic and Orthodox construals of grace are attempts to state in words a mystery that cannot be captured in words--namely, our participation by grace in the infinite life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Orthodox theologian seeks to express this mystery by making a distinction within God between his imparticipable essence and his participable energies.  The Catholic theologian seeks to express this mystery by making a distinction between uncreated grace and created grace.  But both theologians agree completely that, by grace, we are truly given to share in the divine nature and participate in God through the Son by the Holy Spirit. 

For my part, such an agreement is more than sufficient, but theologians, being theologians, like to push these questions to the nth degree.  An example is the famous conversation between Eric Mascall and Vladimir Lossky, fictionalized in Mascall's book Via Media.  Eric Mascall briefly compares the Thomist understanding of grace with the Palamite understanding.  "For the Thomist," Mascall writes, "grace means a communication of the Creator to the creature in the created mode under which alone a creature can receive anything; for the Palamite, it means a communication of the uncreated energy of God, though not of his incommunicable essence."  Mascall then offers a conversation between a Thomist and a Palamite based on a conversation between Lossky and Mascall hiimself:

Palamite:  "You make no distinction between the essence of God and his energy and you say that God gives himself to the creature in a finite mode.  On your showing, this must mean that the divine essence is given in a finite mode, and this is plainly impossible.  Either what is given is finite, in which case it cannot be God, or what is given is God, in which case it cannot be given finitely.  In the former case there is no real deification of man; in the latter case man ceases to be a creature.  Neither alternative is admissible, so your theory must be false."

Thomist: "The whole matter is, of course, a profound mystery, but you have not been fair to my thought.  I did not mean that God-in-a-finite-mode was given to the creature, but that God was received by the creature in a finite mode.  The finitude is in the mode of participation, not in the object participated.  And here is a dilemma for you, in return for that on which you tried to impale me.  You say that the creature participates in the divine energy, though not in the divine essence.  Now listen.  Either the energy and the essence are identical, or else in participating in the energy the creature does not really participate in God.  In the former case your own theory is false, in the latter it fails to provide for a real deification of man."

Palamite:  "No, now it is you who are being unfair to me.  The energy is divine, and therefore in participating in the divine energy the creature participates in God.  God is present, really present, in his energy as much as in his essence.  The only difference is that the energy is communicable and the essence is not.  Thus God is really communicated in his energy, though he remains incommunicable in his essence."

Thomist: "Really, this is intolerable.  God and his essence cannot be separated.  If the energy communicates God it communicates his essence.  And then you need my theory to explain how the creature can participate in God without losing its creatureliness."

I suggest that the Eastern and Western theologians are asking different questions.  The Eastern theologian asks, "How is it that God can truly communicate God to creatures?"  He answers this question by positing a distinction within God between his imparticipable essence and his participable energies. His answer is theological. The Western theologian, particularly within the scholastic tradition, asks, "How is it possible for the human creature to receive deity?  In what ways must he be transformed and altered to make this supernatural union possible?"  He answers this question by invoking a distinction between uncreated and created grace.  His answer is metaphysical.     

The classic Eastern concern is to insist that the human creature, by the gift of grace, truly participates in divinity.  The classic Western concern is insist that participation in God does not obliterate human nature but rather sanctifies and transforms it.  These concerns are not incompatible, even though the Orthodox and Catholic theologian typically reflect upon the mystery of divine union through different conceptualities.  Orthodox and Catholic are united in their common conviction that in his unmerited love God communicates himself to sinners and incorporates them into the mystery of his Trinitarian life. 
   
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2010, 11:03:04 AM »

I have been told by multiple Roman Catholic priests that they believe 'grace' to be the 'uncreated energies of God.' The (RC) priest who celebrated my brother's wedding also said the same thing is his homily.

It seems to me that this thread is just another attempt to attack a false construction of Western theology.
Aquinas and Balaam false representatives of Western theology. Interesting.

No, it's the common teaching in the West.  If some have abandoned it, all the better.  But I've heard enough Westerners denounce the Energies of God that I know that the idea of created grace isn't dead, yet.
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« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2010, 11:24:36 AM »

To return to the question of the original poster:  both the Catholic and Orthodox construals of grace are attempts to state in words a mystery that cannot be captured in words--namely, our participation by grace in the infinite life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Orthodox theologian seeks to express this mystery by making a distinction within God between his imparticipable essence and his participable energies.  The Catholic theologian seeks to express this mystery by making a distinction between uncreated grace and created grace.  But both theologians agree completely that, by grace, we are truly given to share in the divine nature and participate in God through the Son by the Holy Spirit. 

For my part, such an agreement is more than sufficient, but theologians, being theologians, like to push these questions to the nth degree.  An example is the famous conversation between Eric Mascall and Vladimir Lossky, fictionalized in Mascall's book Via Media.  Eric Mascall briefly compares the Thomist understanding of grace with the Palamite understanding.  "For the Thomist," Mascall writes, "grace means a communication of the Creator to the creature in the created mode under which alone a creature can receive anything; for the Palamite, it means a communication of the uncreated energy of God, though not of his incommunicable essence."  Mascall then offers a conversation between a Thomist and a Palamite based on a conversation between Lossky and Mascall hiimself:

Palamite:  "You make no distinction between the essence of God and his energy and you say that God gives himself to the creature in a finite mode.  On your showing, this must mean that the divine essence is given in a finite mode, and this is plainly impossible.  Either what is given is finite, in which case it cannot be God, or what is given is God, in which case it cannot be given finitely.  In the former case there is no real deification of man; in the latter case man ceases to be a creature.  Neither alternative is admissible, so your theory must be false."

Thomist: "The whole matter is, of course, a profound mystery, but you have not been fair to my thought.  I did not mean that God-in-a-finite-mode was given to the creature, but that God was received by the creature in a finite mode.  The finitude is in the mode of participation, not in the object participated.  And here is a dilemma for you, in return for that on which you tried to impale me.  You say that the creature participates in the divine energy, though not in the divine essence.  Now listen.  Either the energy and the essence are identical, or else in participating in the energy the creature does not really participate in God.  In the former case your own theory is false, in the latter it fails to provide for a real deification of man."

Palamite:  "No, now it is you who are being unfair to me.  The energy is divine, and therefore in participating in the divine energy the creature participates in God.  God is present, really present, in his energy as much as in his essence.  The only difference is that the energy is communicable and the essence is not.  Thus God is really communicated in his energy, though he remains incommunicable in his essence."

Thomist: "Really, this is intolerable.  God and his essence cannot be separated.  If the energy communicates God it communicates his essence.  And then you need my theory to explain how the creature can participate in God without losing its creatureliness."

I suggest that the Eastern and Western theologians are asking different questions.  The Eastern theologian asks, "How is it that God can truly communicate God to creatures?"  He answers this question by positing a distinction within God between his imparticipable essence and his participable energies. His answer is theological. The Western theologian, particularly within the scholastic tradition, asks, "How is it possible for the human creature to receive deity?  In what ways must he be transformed and altered to make this supernatural union possible?"  He answers this question by invoking a distinction between uncreated and created grace.  His answer is metaphysical.     

The classic Eastern concern is to insist that the human creature, by the gift of grace, truly participates in divinity.  The classic Western concern is insist that participation in God does not obliterate human nature but rather sanctifies and transforms it.  These concerns are not incompatible, even though the Orthodox and Catholic theologian typically reflect upon the mystery of divine union through different conceptualities.  Orthodox and Catholic are united in their common conviction that in his unmerited love God communicates himself to sinners and incorporates them into the mystery of his Trinitarian life. 
   

That's good Father!  I almost wish we could use this to start a new clear thread where this isn't buried in the middle of a muddle.

M.
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2010, 11:31:31 AM »

I have been told by multiple Roman Catholic priests that they believe 'grace' to be the 'uncreated energies of God.' The (RC) priest who celebrated my brother's wedding also said the same thing is his homily.

It seems to me that this thread is just another attempt to attack a false construction of Western theology.
Aquinas and Balaam false representatives of Western theology. Interesting.

No, it's the common teaching in the West.  If some have abandoned it, all the better.  But I've heard enough Westerners denounce the Energies of God that I know that the idea of created grace isn't dead, yet.
Isa,
When a Catholic speaks of created grace, they are applying the term to something different than what you think. Again, created grace is the state or mode of taking part in God's life. But what we are taking part in, God's life, is uncreated. We actually agree with you that what we are actually taking part in, God's life/Energies, is uncreated. This really is a just a difference in termonology.

As for Aquinas and Balaam... No Aquinas is not a false representative of the Western Theology. He really did believe that we participate in God's uncreated life.

Balaam, on the other hand, does not represent the Western view. If he really rejected the concept of participation in God's divine life/theosis, then he was a heretic because theosis is a Catholic dogma that must be accepted by all professing Catholics.

On a side note, I do accept the essence/energies distinction as defined but St. John of Damascus and the Cappedocian Fathers (but not that of Palamas); however, I don't think that one need accept any essence/energies distinction in order to believe in a real participation in God's uncreated life.
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« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2010, 01:02:42 PM »

I have been told by multiple Roman Catholic priests that they believe 'grace' to be the 'uncreated energies of God.' The (RC) priest who celebrated my brother's wedding also said the same thing is his homily.

It seems to me that this thread is just another attempt to attack a false construction of Western theology.
Aquinas and Balaam false representatives of Western theology. Interesting.

No, it's the common teaching in the West.  If some have abandoned it, all the better.  But I've heard enough Westerners denounce the Energies of God that I know that the idea of created grace isn't dead, yet.
Isa,
When a Catholic speaks of created grace, they are applying the term to something different than what you think. Again, created grace is the state or mode of taking part in God's life. But what we are taking part in, God's life, is uncreated. We actually agree with you that what we are actually taking part in, God's life/Energies, is uncreated. This really is a just a difference in termonology.

As for Aquinas and Balaam... No Aquinas is not a false representative of the Western Theology. He really did believe that we participate in God's uncreated life.

Balaam, on the other hand, does not represent the Western view. If he really rejected the concept of participation in God's divine life/theosis, then he was a heretic because theosis is a Catholic dogma that must be accepted by all professing Catholics.

On a side note, I do accept the essence/energies distinction as defined but St. John of Damascus and the Cappedocian Fathers (but not that of Palamas); however, I don't think that one need accept any essence/energies distinction in order to believe in a real participation in God's uncreated life.

Dear Old Pape  laugh,

Why don't you accept the teaching of St. Gregory?  What is it about St. Gregory that you find wanting and if possible could you give the sources this time.  I don't usually ask but in this case it might be helpful if we look at St. Gregory and not just what others say...Just as it is generally helpful to go to St. Thomas and then to those who best recast what he's said most faithfully.

I read the diatribe against hesychasm in the newadvent reproduction of a Catholic encyclopedia and I wonder if the author ever really read St. Gregory, etc.

Should we start another thread?

I think Father Kimel's brief treatment is excellent a place to begin.

Mary


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« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2010, 03:08:12 PM »

I have been told by multiple Roman Catholic priests that they believe 'grace' to be the 'uncreated energies of God.' The (RC) priest who celebrated my brother's wedding also said the same thing is his homily.

It seems to me that this thread is just another attempt to attack a false construction of Western theology.
No; rather, what we have here is a typical attempt to appropriate the terminology of the East without any real metanoia to go along with the appropriation. Why is it that Catholics believe exactly everything we do, yet are not Orthodox? oh wait... You don't believe what we do! How could I forget? If I had a nickel for everytime a Catholic told me they believe what I do (in direct contradiction of centuries of their own magisterium's teaching), I could buy my soul's way out of Purgatory!

Theosis envy.
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« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2010, 03:12:37 PM »

I think it was Barlaam by the way. Not the guy with the talking donkey.
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« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2010, 04:03:36 PM »

Dear J,

If you want to deal with reality then don't ignore this.   Father Kimel has done a superior job of making this comprehensible to anyone who cares to look at our respective realities honestly.

And the idea that the west appropriated theosis is just plain ignorant of the saints lives and those who founded religious orders based on contemplative prayer and the prayer of quiet and the prayer of union.

M.

To return to the question of the original poster:  both the Catholic and Orthodox construals of grace are attempts to state in words a mystery that cannot be captured in words--namely, our participation by grace in the infinite life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Orthodox theologian seeks to express this mystery by making a distinction within God between his imparticipable essence and his participable energies.  The Catholic theologian seeks to express this mystery by making a distinction between uncreated grace and created grace.  But both theologians agree completely that, by grace, we are truly given to share in the divine nature and participate in God through the Son by the Holy Spirit. 

For my part, such an agreement is more than sufficient, but theologians, being theologians, like to push these questions to the nth degree.  An example is the famous conversation between Eric Mascall and Vladimir Lossky, fictionalized in Mascall's book Via Media.  Eric Mascall briefly compares the Thomist understanding of grace with the Palamite understanding.  "For the Thomist," Mascall writes, "grace means a communication of the Creator to the creature in the created mode under which alone a creature can receive anything; for the Palamite, it means a communication of the uncreated energy of God, though not of his incommunicable essence."  Mascall then offers a conversation between a Thomist and a Palamite based on a conversation between Lossky and Mascall hiimself:

Palamite:  "You make no distinction between the essence of God and his energy and you say that God gives himself to the creature in a finite mode.  On your showing, this must mean that the divine essence is given in a finite mode, and this is plainly impossible.  Either what is given is finite, in which case it cannot be God, or what is given is God, in which case it cannot be given finitely.  In the former case there is no real deification of man; in the latter case man ceases to be a creature.  Neither alternative is admissible, so your theory must be false."

Thomist: "The whole matter is, of course, a profound mystery, but you have not been fair to my thought.  I did not mean that God-in-a-finite-mode was given to the creature, but that God was received by the creature in a finite mode.  The finitude is in the mode of participation, not in the object participated.  And here is a dilemma for you, in return for that on which you tried to impale me.  You say that the creature participates in the divine energy, though not in the divine essence.  Now listen.  Either the energy and the essence are identical, or else in participating in the energy the creature does not really participate in God.  In the former case your own theory is false, in the latter it fails to provide for a real deification of man."

Palamite:  "No, now it is you who are being unfair to me.  The energy is divine, and therefore in participating in the divine energy the creature participates in God.  God is present, really present, in his energy as much as in his essence.  The only difference is that the energy is communicable and the essence is not.  Thus God is really communicated in his energy, though he remains incommunicable in his essence."

Thomist: "Really, this is intolerable.  God and his essence cannot be separated.  If the energy communicates God it communicates his essence.  And then you need my theory to explain how the creature can participate in God without losing its creatureliness."

I suggest that the Eastern and Western theologians are asking different questions.  The Eastern theologian asks, "How is it that God can truly communicate God to creatures?"  He answers this question by positing a distinction within God between his imparticipable essence and his participable energies. His answer is theological. The Western theologian, particularly within the scholastic tradition, asks, "How is it possible for the human creature to receive deity?  In what ways must he be transformed and altered to make this supernatural union possible?"  He answers this question by invoking a distinction between uncreated and created grace.  His answer is metaphysical.     

The classic Eastern concern is to insist that the human creature, by the gift of grace, truly participates in divinity.  The classic Western concern is insist that participation in God does not obliterate human nature but rather sanctifies and transforms it.  These concerns are not incompatible, even though the Orthodox and Catholic theologian typically reflect upon the mystery of divine union through different conceptualities.  Orthodox and Catholic are united in their common conviction that in his unmerited love God communicates himself to sinners and incorporates them into the mystery of his Trinitarian life. 
   
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« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2010, 04:08:18 PM »

I have been told by multiple Roman Catholic priests that they believe 'grace' to be the 'uncreated energies of God.' The (RC) priest who celebrated my brother's wedding also said the same thing is his homily.

I do not want to question what you believe you heard, Lord Feanor (love the alias--I too am a fan of the Silmarillion), but I do have to question whether these Catholic priests actually used the phrase "uncreated energies."  Catholic priests just don't use this language; it's not a typical part of Catholic vocabulary.  Catholic priests are, however, likely to use the phrase "uncreated grace" and are happy to speak about the self-communication of God and our participation, by adoption and grace, in the divine life of the Holy Trinity.  Contra JLatimer, they do so not because they are trying to be "Eastern" (most Catholic priests have read little Orthodox theology) but because this is part of the Western tradition and has been heavily re-emphasized during the past fifty years in Catholic theology.  If I had to hazard a guess, the priests you have heard learned all about the uncreated grace of God from Karl Rahner, the single most influential Catholic theologian of the second half of the 20th century, and Rahner learned it from Thomas Aquinas, Maurice de la Taille, as well as the Catholic Mass itself.  In the traditional Latin Mass, this is the prayer Rahner would have recited when preparing the chalice: 

Quote
Deus, qui humanae substantiae dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti: da nobis per hujus aquae et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostrae fieri dignatus est particeps, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus. per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

O God, + who established the nature of man in wondrous dignity, and still more admirably restored it, grant that by the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in His Divinity, who humbled himself to share in our humanity, Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord; who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Sadly, the English translation of the Novus Ordo waters the Latin down to this:  "By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity."     

Quote
It seems to me that this thread is just another attempt to attack a false construction of Western theology.

I agree.  Unless someone has taken the time to read Catholic theology in some depth, including most especially theology written during the past one hundred years, they lack the competence to offer any criticisms of the Catholic understanding of grace.  It's easy to attack things about which one is ignorant.  Internet forums are a poor source for learning Catholic or Orthodox theology.  
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« Reply #29 on: July 22, 2010, 09:53:03 PM »

Dear Father Kimel,

What can you tell us of the 'rediscovery' of uncreated grace in the 1930s by Karl Rahner

Uncreated Grace

Message #179
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25368.msg398650.html#msg398650

The writings of Fr Adrian Fortescue, some of which are scattered through the Catholic Encyclopedia reject the idea of uncreated grace because the West sees it as introducing  distortion into the divine simplicity.  He speaks of this briefly in his article on hesychasm in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

The "rediscovery" of uncreated grace in the West commenced in the late 1930s and the 1940s with the writings of the eminent Catholic theologian Karl Rahner, a Jesuit theologian who died about 20 years ago.  He moved Catholicism away from its scholastic approach and closer to the patristic approach of earlier centuries. Rahner was the most noteworthy and influential Roman Catholic theologian of the 20th century. His theology and his approach to theology had a decisive effect on the Second Vatican Council.

However as far as I am aware his ideas on uncreated grace remain a matter of opinion within theological circles and have not been proclaimed as official Roman Catholic doctrine.

More recently we have the writings of the erstwhile Jesuit George Maloney in which he shows that uncreated grace is compatible with Latin theology.

Hesychasm only 'works' if we accept the distinction between God's Essence and God's Energies and the teaching that grace is uncreated. In the past Catholic theologians have not been willing to do this and have termed us heretical on this point. I am not sure if they now accept Orthodox theology on this point but without the theology hesychasm is a dead thing.

George Maloney has written a lot on this, and I think that his writings may be having an effect on Roman Catholic acceptance of the theology underpinning hesychasm but to be honest, I am not sure how 'mainstream' he is or if he is more like Anthony de Mello and his writings. Fr Maloney puts aside the Catholic vs. Orthodox polemics of past centuries and presents a better understanding of Orthodox theology.  (Fr Maloney died a few years back, having been received into the Orthodox Church..)


"Uncreated Energy: A Journey into the Authentic Sources of Christian Faith"
by George A. Maloney S.J.
ISBN: 0916349209

"Theology of Uncreated Energies of God"
(Pere Marquette Lecture Ser.)
by George S. Maloney S.J.
ISBN: 0874625165
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« Reply #30 on: July 23, 2010, 02:34:45 AM »

Father Kimel,

The occasions in which Catholic priests told me they believe grace to be uncreated energies of God were during discussions about the similarities and differences between Orthodox and Catholic theology - I am in the midst of a possible return to the Catholic faith and have spoken to various priests about my problems with certain aspects of the Western theological paradigm. When I spoke to them about the 'essence & energies' distinction made in Eastern Orthodoxy, I was told on multiple occasions that Roman Catholic theology essentially believes the same thing - that grace is uncreated - but in the West there was never a controversy which led to the development of that language, and Western mysticism never went in the direction of Eastern hesychia (e.g., 'dark night of the soul' rather than the experience of 'Thabor light') and therefore the "uncreated energies" terminology never arose.

During my brother's wedding, the (Roman Catholic) priest said that the sacrament of marriage aligns the human relationship with God's grace - "that is, his energy, his activity within us." Can't remember the exact words but it was along those lines.
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« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2010, 09:18:04 AM »

Feanor, for a Catholic discussion of theosis, I commend to you Daniel Keating, Deification and Grace (Sapientia Press, 2007).  For a 19th century discussion of grace and the supernatural life, read the great Catholic theologian, Matthias J. Scheeben, The Glories of Divine Grace (TAN Books, 2000).  See what you think of these passages from Scheeben:

Quote
In creation God erects a dwelling for Himself; in giving man a rational nature, He places His servants and creatures in this dwelling; but when He gives man His grace, He receives him into His bosom, makes him His child, and communicates to him His own eternal life.  In a word, grace is altogether a supernatural gift; that is, it is a gift which no created nature can possess by itself or claim as rightfully due to itself.  Properly, grace belongs only to the nature of God himself.  God cannot produce a created being that would by its nature possess grace; such a creature would not differ from God Himself. ...

The sun and its light are inseparable.  The sun and its light are far more precious and perfect than the earth, which of itself has no such light.  Let us apply this to grace.  Our nature is the earth which receives the rays of the Divine Sun.  By these rays our nature is so elevated and glorified that it becomes divine itself.  Just as God, whom we possess by grace, not onliy contains within Himself the perfection of all things, but is infinitely more perfect than all things together, so is grace more precious than all created things. ...

The participation in the Divine Nature, then, which we enjoy by grace, consists in this: our nature assumes a condition peculiar to the divine nature and becomes so similar to the Deity that, according to the holy Fathers, we may truly say it is deified, or made deiform. ... We do not speak of a dissolution of our substance in the Divine Substance, or even of a personal union with it, as in the Incarnation.  We speak only of a glorification of our substance into the image of the Divine Nature.  Neither shall we become new gods, pretending independence of the true God, but in truth we are made, by the power and grace of God, something which God alone is by nature; we are made like Him in a supernatural way.  Our soul receives a reflection of that glory which is peculiar to Him and above all creatures.

Is this not theosis, though stated in a Western, non-Palamite idiom?
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« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2010, 10:39:22 AM »

Feanor, for a Catholic discussion of theosis, I commend to you Daniel Keating, Deification and Grace (Sapientia Press, 2007).  For a 19th century discussion of grace and the supernatural life, read the great Catholic theologian, Matthias J. Scheeben, The Glories of Divine Grace (TAN Books, 2000).  See what you think of these passages from Scheeben:

Quote
In creation God erects a dwelling for Himself; in giving man a rational nature, He places His servants and creatures in this dwelling; but when He gives man His grace, He receives him into His bosom, makes him His child, and communicates to him His own eternal life.  In a word, grace is altogether a supernatural gift; that is, it is a gift which no created nature can possess by itself or claim as rightfully due to itself.  Properly, grace belongs only to the nature of God himself.  God cannot produce a created being that would by its nature possess grace; such a creature would not differ from God Himself. ...

The sun and its light are inseparable.  The sun and its light are far more precious and perfect than the earth, which of itself has no such light.  Let us apply this to grace.  Our nature is the earth which receives the rays of the Divine Sun.  By these rays our nature is so elevated and glorified that it becomes divine itself.  Just as God, whom we possess by grace, not onliy contains within Himself the perfection of all things, but is infinitely more perfect than all things together, so is grace more precious than all created things. ...

The participation in the Divine Nature, then, which we enjoy by grace, consists in this: our nature assumes a condition peculiar to the divine nature and becomes so similar to the Deity that, according to the holy Fathers, we may truly say it is deified, or made deiform. ... We do not speak of a dissolution of our substance in the Divine Substance, or even of a personal union with it, as in the Incarnation.  We speak only of a glorification of our substance into the image of the Divine Nature.  Neither shall we become new gods, pretending independence of the true God, but in truth we are made, by the power and grace of God, something which God alone is by nature; we are made like Him in a supernatural way.  Our soul receives a reflection of that glory which is peculiar to Him and above all creatures.

Is this not theosis, though stated in a Western, non-Palamite idiom?

Wow. There it is.
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« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2010, 11:14:43 AM »

Looking at Adrian Fortescue to demonstrate the lack of an ancient tradition of theosis in the western Catholic Church is almost a surreal absurdity.

From SS. Bernard and Aquinas on through the Carmelite saints, Dominican saints, Benedictine saints and some Franciscans the teaching of theosis is abundantly clear.

Certainly we all know our Church history well enough to know that Adrian Fortescue represented a period in the Catholic Church where there was a distinct and, in some cases, a rabid rejection of Orthodoxy full of hurt and anger and frustration and absolute rejection.   That set of feelings can be seen here in this forum and essentially represents a backlash to the period that always seems to be highlighted by monk Ambrose, even though I know he knows much better than to use Fortescue as though he is representative of all Catholics for all times.

At any rate perhaps we could have a different sort of discussion this time.  Again Father Kimel is doing a good job of illustration.  I would name different names but that is because my formation is not the same as his was and is.  Nonetheless the messages would be quite similar.

When Orthodox believers refuses to consult Catholic sources other than those selected to highlight the most egregious efforts to maintain separation, there is very little room for honesty in dialogue.

Mary

Dear Father Kimel,

What can you tell us of the 'rediscovery' of uncreated grace in the 1930s by Karl Rahner

Uncreated Grace

Message #179
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25368.msg398650.html#msg398650

The writings of Fr Adrian Fortescue, some of which are scattered through the Catholic Encyclopedia reject the idea of uncreated grace because the West sees it as introducing  distortion into the divine simplicity.  He speaks of this briefly in his article on hesychasm in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

The "rediscovery" of uncreated grace in the West commenced in the late 1930s and the 1940s with the writings of the eminent Catholic theologian Karl Rahner, a Jesuit theologian who died about 20 years ago.  He moved Catholicism away from its scholastic approach and closer to the patristic approach of earlier centuries. Rahner was the most noteworthy and influential Roman Catholic theologian of the 20th century. His theology and his approach to theology had a decisive effect on the Second Vatican Council.

However as far as I am aware his ideas on uncreated grace remain a matter of opinion within theological circles and have not been proclaimed as official Roman Catholic doctrine.

More recently we have the writings of the erstwhile Jesuit George Maloney in which he shows that uncreated grace is compatible with Latin theology.

Hesychasm only 'works' if we accept the distinction between God's Essence and God's Energies and the teaching that grace is uncreated. In the past Catholic theologians have not been willing to do this and have termed us heretical on this point. I am not sure if they now accept Orthodox theology on this point but without the theology hesychasm is a dead thing.

George Maloney has written a lot on this, and I think that his writings may be having an effect on Roman Catholic acceptance of the theology underpinning hesychasm but to be honest, I am not sure how 'mainstream' he is or if he is more like Anthony de Mello and his writings. Fr Maloney puts aside the Catholic vs. Orthodox polemics of past centuries and presents a better understanding of Orthodox theology.  (Fr Maloney died a few years back, having been received into the Orthodox Church..)


"Uncreated Energy: A Journey into the Authentic Sources of Christian Faith"
by George A. Maloney S.J.
ISBN: 0916349209

"Theology of Uncreated Energies of God"
(Pere Marquette Lecture Ser.)
by George S. Maloney S.J.
ISBN: 0874625165
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« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2010, 11:14:43 AM »

Father Kimel,

The occasions in which Catholic priests told me they believe grace to be uncreated energies of God were during discussions about the similarities and differences between Orthodox and Catholic theology - I am in the midst of a possible return to the Catholic faith and have spoken to various priests about my problems with certain aspects of the Western theological paradigm. When I spoke to them about the 'essence & energies' distinction made in Eastern Orthodoxy, I was told on multiple occasions that Roman Catholic theology essentially believes the same thing - that grace is uncreated - but in the West there was never a controversy which led to the development of that language, and Western mysticism never went in the direction of Eastern hesychia (e.g., 'dark night of the soul' rather than the experience of 'Thabor light') and therefore the "uncreated energies" terminology never arose.

During my brother's wedding, the (Roman Catholic) priest said that the sacrament of marriage aligns the human relationship with God's grace - "that is, his energy, his activity within us." Can't remember the exact words but it was along those lines.

If one goes beyond the dark night of the soul, one enters the light.  The trouble remains that more people read about than they do simply read the masters and saints.

Mary
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