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Author Topic: The Concept of Deification in Catholicism  (Read 5433 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: May 30, 2011, 01:15:24 AM »

Do Catholics ever include deification language/concepts when discussing salvation?
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Alcuin
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2011, 01:24:29 AM »

Read Dante.
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2011, 01:27:31 AM »

Do Catholics ever include deification language/concepts when discussing salvation?

Emphatically yes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divinization_(Christian)#Roman_Catholicism
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2011, 01:32:39 AM »

Interesting, thank you. And I didn't even have to reveal how culturally illiterate I was by admitting that I'd never read anything by Dante. Oh wait...  angel  Anyway, thanks...
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2011, 08:54:41 AM »

Interesting, thank you. And I didn't even have to reveal how culturally illiterate I was by admitting that I'd never read anything by Dante. Oh wait...  angel  Anyway, thanks...

Deification in the Roman rite is also referred to as the prayer of quiet or the prayer of union.  There are distinctions in those two prayers sometimes, depending on the tradition from which they com and often from the saints who were the founders or reformers of religious orders.  The goal of all spiritual life is a creatures share of participation in the divine life...another way of speaking of theosis/divinization.
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 09:41:41 AM »

How central the idea of deitification is in Latin Catholicism? Has it always been or has there been periods when it has been out of fashion?
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2011, 09:57:16 AM »

How central the idea of deitification is in Latin Catholicism? Has it always been or has there been periods when it has been out of fashion?

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


It speaks briefly of the teaching of uncreated grace in the Roman Catholic Church without which theosis simply doesn't "work"
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2011, 10:07:37 AM »

How central the idea of deitification is in Latin Catholicism? Has it always been or has there been periods when it has been out of fashion?

As the ready contact with monasteries in England and Europe decreased with the suppression of monastic life, there began about a 150 year period beginning in the late 1700's and lasting till the turn of the 20th century where SOME monastics, in Ireland particularly and elsewhere as well, began to assert that the prayer of union was only for monastics and could never be hoped for by ordinary laity.

In some ways it was a teaching reminiscent of St. Simeon the New Theologian who taught something very similar and even suggested that non-monastic clergy were not capable of the purity of prayer and closeness to God and theological illumination that was reserved for the monastic alone.

But that has been the worst of it in the west, at that level, and even at that there were other religious orders, Carmelites and Dominicans in particular, who never took that position. 

Throughout the 20th century the rise of new lay associations and third order Carmelites, Dominicans and Franciscans have returned participation in the divine life and the practice of continuing prayer for the laity back to the center of many parishes with which I am familiar...

PS: What Father Ambrose has posted above is part of the history that I refer to here.  But it is not the whole of the Church that was affected, as I noted, and it was not long lived in the history of the Church.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 10:16:56 AM by elijahmaria » Logged

Alcuin
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2011, 11:48:43 AM »

Barlaam taught that grace was a creature. He was a second-rate theologian and his views aren't reflective of Catholicism, though they're reflective of how Catholicism was communicated (inadequately) to the Orthodox. The Orthodox were right to reject the false doctrine Barlaam presented to them, but Barlaam's doctrine was his own inadequate understanding of what the west was actually saying.

'Created grace' is not meant to signify that grace is a creature. It is meant to signify that grace exists in humans as accident rather than as essence, which is just saying that humans don't have grace by their nature but that it has to be granted by God. To quote Aquinas:

Quote
And because to become and to be corrupted belong to what is, properly speaking, no accident comes into being or is corrupted, but is said to come into being and to be corrupted inasmuch as its subject begins or ceases to be inact with this accident. And thus grace is said to be created inasmuch as men are created with reference to it, i.e. are given a new being out of nothing, i.e. not from merits, according to Ephesians 2:10, "created in Jesus Christ in good works."

Quote
thus because the soul participates in the Divine goodness imperfectly, the participation of the Divine goodness, which is grace, has its being in the soul in a less perfect way than the soul subsists in itself. Nevertheless, inasmuch as it is the expression or participation of the Divine goodness, it is nobler than the nature of the soul, though not in its mode of being.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 11:49:27 AM by Alcuin » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2011, 12:39:22 PM »

'Created grace' is not meant to signify that grace is a creature. It is meant to signify that grace exists in humans as accident rather than as essence, which is just saying that humans don't have grace by their nature but that it has to be granted by God. To quote Aquinas:
So, why not call it "accidental grace" instead of the misleading "created grace"?
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 01:09:39 PM »

'Created grace' is not meant to signify that grace is a creature. It is meant to signify that grace exists in humans as accident rather than as essence, which is just saying that humans don't have grace by their nature but that it has to be granted by God. To quote Aquinas:
So, why not call it "accidental grace" instead of the misleading "created grace"?

Because the Latin world habitas [that is translated rather poorly in some ways] has connotations of effect with respect to the gift of grace more than it does of the grace itself.

It is the idea that sanctifying graces change the person.  A better ideational representation might be to call it transfiguring grace, or re-creational grace, though the latter one has its problems.  Smiley

Nevertheless habitas with reference to the virtues, for example, results in ideas of such things as infused virtue.

Let's say I cuss:  Every time I split my finger open with the hammer I say "BLAST IT!!" or some form thereof...Well "BLAST IT" is not a particularly good thing for a contemplative hermit to be shouting around in the skete with all the windows open for the neighbors to hear, and not only is it bad example, it is disquieting to the soul.

So for months and years, I work, by dint of prayer and grace,  every day to try to stop hollering "BLAST IT" every time something hurts or I get frustrated.  Well...The working and praying pays off and I am down to 5 "BLAST ITs" per week rather than 49 of them. 

But that is not really good enough for sanctity and I have asked God to sanctify my life. 

Eventually, one day, I stand at the kitchen window and realize that I have not said "BLAST IT" for months and months.  My response is not to pat myself on the back for all the hard work;  My response is to get on my knees and thank God for answering my prayer for removing that habit from me entirely, something that I could not have done without his habitation in my soul...

Habitus is the way that I, as a human, can be indwelled by the Living God, the Trinity.

Well...there it is...an infused virtue of patience that has resulted in a considerably quieter neighborhood and interior space where prayer can now go much deeper on account of the custody of one of my greater passions.

You see?....that is what the Church has understood to be "created grace" since the time of St. Thomas and even before that....and what follows is a more scholarly discourse for your reading pleasure:

The following is from A Brief Catechesis on Nature and Grace (Ignatius Press, 1984):

The supernatural, one might say, is that divine element which man’s effort cannot reach (no self-divinization!) but which unites itself to man, “elevating” him as our classical theology used to put it, and as Vatican II still says (Lumen Gentium, 2), penetrating him in order to divinize him, and thus becoming as it were an attribute of the “new man” described by St. Paul. While it remains forever “un-naturalizable,” it profoundly penetrates the depths of man’s being. In short, it is what the old Scholastics and especially St. Thomas Aquinas called (using a word borrowed from Aristotle which has often been completely misunderstood) an accident, or call it a habitus, or “created grace”: these are all different ways of saying (even if one thinks they need various correctives or precisions) that man becomes in truth a sharer in the divine nature (divinae consortes naturae; 2 Pet 1:4). We do not need to conceive of it as a sort of entity separated from its Source, something like cooled lava — which man would appropriate to himself. On the contrary, we wish to affirm by these words that the influx of God’s Spirit does not remain external to man; that without any commingling of natures it really leaves its mark on our nature and becomes in us a principle of life. This Scholastic notion of created grace, so often belittled today, does express the incontrovertible fact that “it is we, ourselves, and our creaturely being, which the active presence in us of the Spirit makes divine, without for that reason absorbing us and annihilating us in God."

For St. Thomas, as Fr. Louis Bouyer explains,

[T]he soul…will find its completeness and go beyond itself in God. Disagreeing with Peter Lombard, in fact, he would not admit that grace is purely and simply the gift of the Holy Spirit, of the Third Person of the Trinity as it is in itself…. He realized that if such were indeed the case, man would certainly be the temple of the Spirit, but not God’s living temple, vivified by the presence of its Guest who assimilates our life to his divine life. The uncreated grace of the gift of the Spirit, according to him, has its prolongation in the soul itself in created grace, i.e., a divine quality that assimilates the soul to God and makes it share in his own life. (Introduction à la vie spirituelle, Paris: Desclée, 1960, 154-55)
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 01:13:49 PM by elijahmaria » Logged

witega
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 01:31:51 PM »

Read Dante.

If the climax of Dante's Paradise is what Roman Catholics mean by deification then it is
a) a misnomer, and
b) a whole separate thing from Orthodox theosis
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Alcuin
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2011, 03:06:24 PM »

Quote from: Jetavan
So, why not call it "accidental grace" instead of the misleading "created grace"?

Good question. I have thought that may be a good idea in the past. Force of custom and history at this point, I imagine.

Re: Dante: The Commedia, in my opinion, is an attempt to capture in poetic language the experience of theosis, not something to be read literally. Dante is also not arguing that Purgatory is really a mountain on the south pole, for example.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 03:06:59 PM by Alcuin » Logged
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