Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Imputed vs. Infused

A thought I had after a road trip to Tennessee and back:

Why yes, it is sometimes possible to be more Catholic than the Pope. Fr. Dwight Longenecker explains, with the help of a Catholic deacon named Richard Ballard who was a Lutheran pastor for 25 years:

"I asked what he thought of the Holy Father's surprising and heavily stressed statement that in the matter of justification Luther 'did not err.' 

"According to orthodox Catholic theology, Luther did err," he insisted. "Luther argued for an exterior 'imputed righteousness' which means the baptized person remains a sinner, even after justification. In essence, God is merely pretending that the person is justified and sanctified, when he really isn't," he said.

"This is a major divergence from Catholic theology, which instead of 'imputed righteousness' teaches 'infused righteousness'; in other words, the baptized person really is transformed and purified by God's grace," Ballard said.

Kudos to Fr. Longenecker -- himself a convert to Catholicism -- for talking with his friend, and respectfully pointing out that when this pope chats with reporters on the papal plane (as he was doing when he praised Martin Luther too fulsomely), bad or confusing things happen.

(Photo is from a rest stop in the Great Smoky Mountains)

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