Rome is Rome is Rome…on Merit, Grace and Salvation
I just popped over to the Vatican’s web site and noticed that nearly two years ago the Roman Church issues a "compendium" to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The compendium is a condensed version of the much, much larger Catechism proper. I never noticed it before. I went to see how they summarize Justification and was particularly struck by how Rome has not changed a bit, when it comes down to it, that man does, and must, merit for himself grace in order to be saved. Oh, sure, it is couched in gentler terminology, etc. but Rome is Rome is Rome is Rome. I’m no sure how best to put this, but…anyone who actually believes that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was any sort of compromise or change on Rome’s part is simply out of touch with reality. All the same Roman definitions and understandings are fully intact! Where is the "great breakthrough"?
426. What is merit?
In general merit refers to the right to recompense for a good deed. With regard
to God, we of ourselves are not able to merit anything, having received
everything freely from him. However, God gives us the possibility of acquiring
merit through union with the love of Christ, who is the source of our merits
before God. The merits for good works, therefore must be attributed in the first
place to the grace of God and then to the free will of man.
427. What are the goods that we can merit?
Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others the graces
needed for our sanctification and for the attainment of eternal life. Even
temporal goods, suitable for us, can be merited in accordance with the plan of
God. No one, however, can merit the initial grace which is at the origin
of conversion and justification.