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God the Author of Nature and the Supernatural
Part Two: Creation as a Divine Fact

Section Two: Supernatural Anthropology

Original Sin Essentially Consists in the Privation of Sanctifying Grace.
It is Voluntary in All Men Through Their Juridical Solidarity Under Adam,
the Physical and Juridical Head of the Human Race.

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Having established the fact of Adam's sin and our inheritance of a fallen nature from Adam, we have still to examine into the ultimate nature of original sin. Anticipating the difficulties in this matter, we might recall St. Augustine's saying that "There is nothing better known for preaching than the subject of original sin, as there is also nothing more difficult to understand."

Before entering on the thesis proper, it is well to see the dogmatic background. We assume as established that original sin does not descend as a substantial form from Adam to his descendants, constituting man an incarnate image of the devil. If this seems fantastic, it was seriously taught by the Lutheran theologian Mathias Flacius Illyricus (1520-1575) whose near Manicheism led him to say that Adam's sin intrinsically transformed the soul into a sinful substance and an image of Satan. His followers, called the Substantiarians, were opposed by other Protestants, the Accidentarians. Illyricus was refuted centuries before by Augustine, who wrote, "The evil whose origin I have so long been seeking is not a substance. For if it were a substance, it would be good. It would either be an incorruptible substance, a great good indeed; or a corruptible substance, which if it were not good, could not be corrupted" Confessions, 7:12.

We also assume as true, since it was defined by Trent (DB 792), that concupiscence as such does not constitute the essence of original sin. Among the Reformers, this was the position of Luther, Calvin and Melanchthon, and among the Jansenists, of Jansenius, Baius and Quesnel.

It is true that St. Augustine, like St. Paul before him, spoke of concupiscence as sin. But he did not mean that it is sin formally, except on consent from the free will. "Concupiscence," wrote Augustine, "has received the name of sin because it is a sin to consent to it" De Perfectione Justitiae Hominis, 44. Indeed St. Augustine, from whom Jansenius claimed to derive his error, anticipated the definition of Trent, that St. Paul calls concupiscence sinful because it comes from sin and leads to sin. "As arising from sin," he explained, "it is called sin, although in the regenerate it is not actually sin. It has this name applied to it just as speech which the tongue produces is itself called tongue, and just as the word 'hand' is used in the sense of writing which the hand produces" De Nuptiis et Concupiscentia, 1:23-25.

The scope of our thesis is twofold: to show that privation of grace constitutes the essence of original sin, and that through its causal relation to the sin of Adam, it involves guilt on the part of all who are affected by it. Corollary to the aspect of original sin as voluntary in us, we give a theory to explain how this is possible. Two elements, therefore, constitute the essence of original sin: privatio gratiae and ratio voluntarii - or as theologians prefer, these elements are necessarily included in the concept of original sin. The explanation of how our original sin can be voluntary is a speculative question tied in with the second element.


Original sin means original-originated, that is, the sin residing in us as a result of Adam's actual fault. It is therefore something habitual, and yet truly sinful and grave, in as much as it implies aversio a Deo. However we do not say it is committed but rather contracted, in as much as we do not personally and actually do an evil deed but receive it from someone else.

Saying that original sin essentially consists in privation of grace, we mean more than merely that such privation is somehow connected or belongs to the ratio of original sin, which is implicitly defined in Trent (DB 789), and the sources always teach. We do not to say that privation of grace is all there is to original sin, as though no other elements were present; but taken formally, this privation truly and properly belongs to our peccatum originale to make it a real sin and something grave, and if this were removed it would cease to be sinful.

Moreover in saying that privation of grace belongs formally to original sin, we prescind from concupiscence which is also present but as the material element.

Sanctifying grace in context is the permanent supernatural gift previously described, which is inadequately distinct from original justice, as explained in the previous thesis.

The privation of grace means that original sin is something evil in the strict sense of the word, and not merely a negative absence. In other words there is a carentia boni debiti. At the same time the evil is understood as a passive element which is the effect of a previous actual sin, producing in us a state of sin.

Original sin in us is said to be voluntary, but since this term is crucial to the whole concept it needs to be carefully explained against a larger background. Two kinds of voluntarity are known to theology: the formal and proper, which proceeds directly from the free will of an agent, fully conscious of what he is doing and placing a deliberate human act; and the denominative, which proceeds indirectly from a free human will, either imperatively, as when present in the acts of other faculties commanded by the will, or terminatively, as any effect which ultimately came from an act of the will.

In as much as original sin in Adam's progeny is something habitual, and therefore an effect proceeding from a sinful act of the will, it cannot be voluntary except denominatively in us. It was formally voluntary in Adam.

Our original sin, then, is voluntary from the sin of Adam, namely, from an actual sin. Thus Baius was condemned in two propositions, claiming that: "Voluntariness does not pertain to the essence and definition of sin; nor is the question whether every sin must be voluntary one of definition, but of cause and origin… Hence, original sin truly has the essence of sin without any relation or reference to the will from which it took its origin” (DB 1046, 1047). The doctrine is also implicitly defined whenever (as in Trent) the Church defined that Adam transmitted his sin to us, and implicitly said or expressly taught that we are sinners because of the fall of Adam.

It is also implicitly defined (DB 789) that the privation of grace in us is voluntary from Adam's sin, which other documents, too, affirm whenever they say that by his fall Adam lost for us sanctity and justice. Consequently when the thesis reads that privation of grace formally constitutes original sin, it also says that qua peccatum it is voluntary because of Adam's sin. We therefore presume two things as established: that original sin is voluntary, and that privation of grace is voluntary ex peccato Adami.

The expression voluntary in all men means first of all a denominative voluntariety, which is intrinsic to all men (singulis hominibus), and not simply an extrinsic imputation from Adam's voluntariness. Each person inherently shares in this voluntarium, which, however, is not personal to him as though he actually abused his freedom by committing a sin.

We further describe the voluntariness of our original sin by stating its source, namely, through our juridical solidarity under Adam, as physico-juridical head of the human race. At this point we enter into a highly controversial area, stating a position which lies midway between two different schools of Catholic thought: those who claim original sin is morally voluntary, in as much as the wills of all men were included by God in (or into) Adam's will, so that they are regarded as morally willing the same as he, acting in the name of mankind; and those who say that physical solidarity, alone and by itself, explains voluntariety. Physical solidarity is also called seminal, which then makes our original sin voluntary because we are all seminally descended from Adam and his children according to the flesh.

Our position is that all men descended from Adam are thereby necessarily members of an human society, instituted by God under the original headship of Adam. Acting as head of this society, he would administer the bonum commune of its original justice, either retaining or losing it, and therefore transmitting or not the most important element of this justice, namely, sanctifying grace.

Stated in other words, we claim that God gave to Adam, as physical head of mankind, grace that was actually destined and due to all men, and in the process of conception would actually pass on to them. At the same time, God made him juridical head of the human race, to administer through propagation the common good of sanctifying grace (if he did not personally sin), or to lose for his posterity this bonum commune (if he disobeyed God).


In reviewing the adversative positions we must distinguish between the heretical and those intra scholam among Catholic theologians, ancient or modern.

According to the Protestants, whom Baius and Jansenius followed rather closely, original sin consists in concupiscence. No doubt concupiscence remains in the baptized, but it is no longer imputed to them as a sin, having been "covered over by the imputata merita Christi." The Church condemned this doctrine as heretical.

We must carefully distinguish the preceding from the teaching of St. Augustine. At times he did speak of original sin as concupiscence, but, as noted above, he did not restrict the concept like the Protestants and followed St. Paul in calling concupiscence sinful because it derived from and led to sin.

Equally distant from Protestantism was the doctrine of certain scholastics in the twelfth and thirteenth century, like Hugh of St. Victor, St. Bernard, Peter Lombard and Peter of Poitiers. Like St. Augustine they spoke of original sin as concupiscence. At the same time, they admitted that Adam had received and lost the preternatural gifts, that human nature was not intrinsically corrupted by original sin, that although man is subject to concupiscence he is still capable of moral good, and that concupiscence is not a sin in the baptized. The Council of Trent did not intend to condemn this scholastic position. However subsequent theologians have not followed these medievalists, both because of their terminological affinity to Protestantism and because it is hard to sustain their doctrine on dogmatic grounds. It is impossible to prove that concupiscence carries the ratio of a true sin, especially in the baptized, in whom Trent has defined no sin remains, since baptism makes them "innocentes, immaculati, puri, innoxii ac Deo dilecti fill" (DB 792).

We have already seen something of the aberrations of Flacius Illyricus, the Lutheran theologian who made original sin a kind of forma peccati or sinful substance, by which man becomes substantially evil and corrupt. He compared man before the fall as imago Dei with fallen man as imago diaboli. Basically Manichean, this doctrine contradicts sound philosophy, which says that all being is good and there cannot be an intrinsically evil substance.

A number of scholastic theologians, between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, believed that original sin was a positive quality which they called a qualitas morbida and which they said is transmitted from the infected body to the soul and asserts itself in the form of concupiscence. Thus, among others, Gregory of Rimini, Henry of Ghent, Driedo and in modern times men like Lacordaire, Bossuet, Laforet and Bougard. The latter described concupiscence as some sort of physiological deordination which is transmitted by carnal generation in the nature of a disease.

The trouble with this "morbid quality" theory is not in its identification of original sin with concupiscence. Men like Driedo expressly said that original sin also consists in the privation of original justice. But they held to a notion of concupiscence which seemed to call out the need of something positive. They claimed that from the mere composition of human nature we may adequately explain the presence in man of concupiscence or inordinate inclination to sensible things. The problem is how to reconcile the continued inordinate drive which remains in those who are baptized with the idea of concupiscence as a positive quality that ex hypothesi should have been removed by baptismal regeneration.

Peter Abelard (1079-1142) was almost Pelagian in his explanation. According to him the only real sin is the one to which we personally consent, whereas original sin is simply the debitum damnationis which we have to pay for Adam’s fall. Others in the Abelardian tradition likewise identified original sin with the “liability or debt of punishment.” This doctrine is heretical, since it denies that original sin is really a sin. Besides it contradicts the divine justice to have us punished for a sin that was in no sense our own.

Ambrose Catharinus (1484-1553) and Albert Pighi (1490-1542), who were otherwise strenuous defenders of the Catholic cause against the Reformers, conceived of original sin as nothing else than the evil action of Adam, which is called a sin because it is extrinsically imputed to us. The privation of sanctifying grace, along with concupiscence and other defects to which we are subject, would be only a penalty for Adam's sin, but without the reality of sin in the soul.

Some Catholic writers, notably Cardinal De Lugo, Alphonsus Salmeron, and Cardinal Toletus, sought a via media between the foregoing theory of Catharinus and the traditional position. They explained that the privation of grace is only a penalty of original sin, while admitting that our own original sin is a real and not merely imputed sin, yet only in the sense that Adam's sin morally perseveres in us. The grave objections to this theory will be handled in the body of the proof.

Dogmatic Value

In setting up the dogmatic notes of the thesis, we shall first review the background doctrine which our thesis presupposes, and beyond which it goes. Consequently the first group of notes does not directly touch the thesis, yet should be seen and known in order to place the analysis of original sin into proper perspective.

  1. Propositions Antecedent to the Thesis

    1. It is implicitly defined (DB 792) or at least theologically certain that concupiscence does not formally constitute original sin.

    2. Since it is defined that original sin is a mors animae and therefore a true sin (DB 792), this means that original sin necessarily involves the privation of sanctifying grace, which, in the present order of elevated nature, joins man in supernatural friendship with God. Accordingly it is theologically certain that privation of grace is necessarily included in original sin.

    3. Trent has also defined (DB 790) that original sin is one in origin and is proper to each person, and therefore it cannot be reduced to a mere extrin

      sic imputation of Adam's personal sin.

    4. It is at least theologically certain that original sin must be understood with relation to the evil will of Adam, and this not only to explain its origin but also its sinful nature. In other words, the relation with God in which a person finds himself because of Adam’s fall cannot be conceived as sinful except with relation to the sin of Adam. This follows from the condemnation of Baius (DB 1046-1048).

    5. The Council of Trent has further defined that original sin is transmitted by natural generation; even from parents who are baptized, which latter becomes theologically certain (DB 795).

    6. Finally Trent has defined that through original sin men had come "under the power of the devil and of death," and while their free will has not been "destroyed or lost" it has become "weakened and unsteady" (DB 793, 815).

  2. Aspects of the Thesis

    1. Stated generically, that original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, caused by the free act of sin committed by the head of the human race, the thesis is certain and common doctrine.

    2. It is likewise common doctrine that the essence of original sin consists in the privation of sanctifying grace, understood as excluding the positions which say 1) that the essence of original sin consists in some positive entity, whether physical or psychic, or 2) that the essence of original sin is a deordination of Adam's actual sin imputed to his progeny (Catharinus) morally perduring in them (De Lugo).

    3. It is theologically certain, from the condemnation of Baius (DB 1046-1048) that some kind of voluntariety belongs to the essence of original sin; or restated, that the essence of original sin consists in a voluntary privation of sanctifying grace.

    4. Further specifications of the thesis are solidly probable doctrine.

Theological Proof

Part One: "Original Sin Essentially Consists in the Privation of Sanctifying Grace."

  1. Ecclesiastical Documents

    According to the II Council of Orange, Adam's sin was injurious not only to himself but also to his descendants, and moreover it was not only the death of the body which is punishment for sin, but sin, "the death of the soul, which passed from one man to all the human race" DB 175). Since death means the loss of the principle of life, and the principle of supernatural life is sanctifying grace, it follows that original sin consists in the privation of this principle, which is grace.

    The Council of Trent defined that the injustice inherited from Adam is removed through acceptance of the justice of Christ (DB 795). Since the latter means the reception of sanctifying grace, the former must mean its loss and deprivation.

  2. Theological Reason

    Original since is something habitual, as is evident from the fact that children possess it although they have not sinned actually. Now in the present order of supernatural providence, the essential quality of habitual sin is the privation of sanctifying grace. Hence we conclude, the same kind of privation belongs to the essence of original sin. Of course we are here comparing grave sin, as a state, with original sin; in both there is an aversio a Deo, postulated by the absence of grace which is indispensable to attain the beatific vision.

Part Two: "Original Sin Essentially Consists in the Voluntary Privation of Grace, i.e., it is Voluntary in All Men Through Their Juridical Solidarity under Adam, the Physical and Juridical Head of the Human Race."

Theological Reason (For Voluntariety in general from Adam)

Original sin must be voluntary because of some sin which was actual, either of each person himself or of someone else. Since it cannot be the first it must be the second and indeed, of Adam. The core of the argument rests on the known dogmatic facts that every habitual sin, truly and properly so called, must be voluntary by reason of some prior actual sin which gives rise to the habitual sinful state, and that the only sin recognized in the documents of the Magisterium as producing original sin in us is the voluntary disobedience of Adam, by which he lost for himself and the whole human family the original gift of grace.

Theological Reason (For Voluntariety from Adam as Specified in the Thesis)

Our approach to the problem is substantially that of Cardinal Billot (1846-1931), as opposed to that of De Lugo, although with slight modification. Accordingly our treatment of this speculative question will follow in sequence 1) an exposition of De Lugo's analysis (along with a critique), 2) a statement and defense of Billot, and 3) some final comments.

De Lugo's Analysis of original sin, put in the form of a proposition, says that "Original sin is Adam's transgression, committed by his descendants through their juridical head, which morally perseveres and renders all men unworthy of divine friendship until they are individually forgiven."

In this theory, original sin is a peculiar type of habitual sin, namely an actual sin morally perduring in the eyes of God, and making its possessor hateful to God in the same way as if the person had himself committed an actual sin. Briefly stated, original sin consists formally in this moral perseverance, and fundamentally in the physical act transmitted and not yet deleted through satisfaction or divine condonation.

To make this peculiar kind of habitual sin affect all Adam's descendants (who did not actually commit the sin), a transfusion of our wills into the will of Adam is postulated. Adam is therefore constituted juridical head of all mankind, in such a way that they are considered as having done through him what de facto only he committed.

In De Lugo's hypothesis, the privation of sanctifying grace is rather the effect of original sin than pertaining to its essence.

On the asset side, this theory accounts for all the elements of faith required by the Magisterium, and is not contrary to the faith. However, on the debit side it seems untenable because:

  1. To include the wills of all men to come after Adam, even morally, supposes that they sinned with Adam. But how could they sin before existing?

  2. Such inclusion of future generations would make an appeal to reason if it were a question of obtaining some good (where Adam's posterity could be interpreted to want what Adam had or did). It appears inconceivable where the descendants are reasonably presumed not to desire an evil which Adam did and a good that he lost.

  3. Since the final cause of the inclusion appears due to God, He would become the author of our sin, on the hypothesis that we did nothing to deserve the inclusion.

Billot's Theory of original sin, stated in a proposition, reads that "Original sin is the privation of original justice, in so far as original sin depends on the voluntary act of Adam, source and principle of the human race." According to Billot, Adam is regarded as the natural head of the whole human family, which was therefore contained in him seminally or physically in causa.

In addition to Adam's being the physical head of mankind, by a positive divine institution, God gave to. Adam supernatural original justice, not merely as a donum personae (for Adam himself), but as a donum naturae (for his posterity). Thus original justice is seen as a supernatural accident or proprium of the human race itself, destined for transmission through generation.

Therefore, by his disobedience, Adam not only entered into a sinful state for himself, but all of human nature lost that original justice which Adam possessed as a gift of nature.

This absence of original justice in us, then, is not a mere lack (carentia) but real deprivation, since human nature was to have had it by divine institution.

It is furthermore a privation in the moral order, since man as a consequence does not have the positive supernatural ordination to God as his final end, such as he would have had if Adam had not sinned.

Moreover the privation is sinful, because not God but Adam took the initiative in causing that privation. It is therefore a deprivation derived from a human will acting against the divine will.

After the fall of Adam, in virtue of the merits of Christ, God restored grace to men, but no longer as a donum nature. It is now only a donum personae. The gift is no longer transmitted by generation, so that even the children of baptized persons, in the state of grace, are conceived and born with original sin on their souls.

In support of Billot's theory, we first note that its postulates are reasonable and minimal. Its only presupposit, to be admitted by everyone, is that Adam's original justice was not merely personal to him but was destined for the whole race of mankind. Original sin is considered a real sin, since the children of Adam (because deprived of original justice) from the moment of their conception do not have that moral relationship with God which they should have, and this for a sinful reason because Adam took the initiative to reject the divine friendship.

The voluntariety of original sin is vindicated by its essential relationship to the free will of Adam, since it was precisely because of Adam's deliberate sin that his posterity is deprived of original justice. So, too, the transmission of original sin by generation is accounted for because whoever is generated is born with that privation, even though his parents are baptized and in the friendship of God.

Given this theory, there still remain two great mysteries of faith: our solidarity with Adam, and our elevation to participate in the divine life. The first is a mystery of God’s free decree, by which He willed to give Adam original justice as an accident of nature, so that our perseverance in this justice would depend on Adam’s. Corresponding to the mystery of our solidarity with Adam is the other, and greater, of our solidarity with Christ the second Adam. Our elevation to the divine life is a mystery par excellence. Not the least insoluble problem is how explain our supernatural destiny in spite of the fall and the deprivation of sanctifying grace.

Our position goes along with Billot in all essentials, while adding stress to the positive divine institution by which God determined that Adam's gift of original justice should be a donum naturae. We call this constituting Adam a kind of juridical head of the human race, not in De Lugo's sense of our wills being somehow contained in the will of Adam so that his sin morally perdures in us; but in the sense that except for this divine institution which made Adam's possession of grace affect his posterity, his loss of grace would not explain why we should not have what he received. There is something analogous here to the theory of mutations in genetics. We know that the genes can be changed in living organisms through such external media as X-Rays, and once changed the mutation becomes hereditary. In other words, the characteristic (say some defect) acquired by the parent is passed on through reproduction to the children, and through them down the family line.

Kerygmatic Development

  1. Effect of Original Sin. Catholic theology agrees that because of original sin, man lost sanctifying grace, bodily immortality, integrity and the state of happiness which our first parents enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. In Patristic language, man was "spoliatus in gratuitis."

    In spite of these losses, however, we are capable of knowing God by the light of pure reason (Vatican Council), our free will has not been completely destroyed (Council of Trent), and we are better than good for nothing but sin (Baius). Yet in general we have become "worse in body and soul” (Trent).

    St. Thomas distinguishes four injuries that were inflicted on human nature through the fall of Adam:

    • The wound of ignorance, in as much as reason has lost its facility for the knowledge of truth, especially in the religious and moral order. Hence revelation becomes a moral necessity to enable all men to know, with ease, firmness of certitude and without error, those moral and spiritual verities which are proportionate to the human mind.

    • The wound of malice, through which the will is deprived of its ready, inclination to good. Hence the need for fallen man to receive grace in order to keep the moral law for any great length of time.

    • The wound of weakness, which makes man weak in overcoming all the trials and difficulties incident to his pursuit of virtue. As a result he lacks the constancy and effectiveness demanded by the moral law.

    • The wound of concupiscence, or loss of integrity in the control of the appetitive faculties, so that pleasant things are spontaneously desired (antecedent to the dictate of reason) and the unpleasant are instinctively shunned.

  2. Necessity of the Church and Original Sin. The primary necessity of the Church arises from her nature as the instrumental source of grace in the supernatural order. In the words of the first draft of a definition at the Vatican Council, “Let all understand how necessary a society the Church of Christ is for obtaining salvation. It is just as necessary as participation in, and conjunction with, Christ the head and His Mystical Body is necessary.” But the Church is also necessary on the level of the natural law, consequent on the ravages in man because of original sin.

    As explained by Pius XII in Humani Generis, the truths that have to do with God and the relations between God and men, completely transcend the sensible order, and where there is question of their practical application and realization, call for self-surrender and self-abnegation. In the acquisition of such truths, the human intellect is hampered not only by the impulses of the senses and the imagination, but also by evil passions stemming from original sin. As a result men readily persuade themselves in such matters that what they do not wish to be true, is false or at least doubtful.

    It is for this reason that divine revelation is morally necessary, as explained above, so that those religious truths which are not of their nature beyond the reach of the mind, may be easily and accurately known by the majority of mankind. And the custody of divine revelation, including these truths of the natural law, has been committed by God to the Catholic Church.

    If we have any doubt about the world’s need for clear and authentic knowledge of the basic principles of natural religion and morality, it is easily settled by the evidence all around us; and not only (or especially) among the so-called primitive peoples of Asia and Africa but in reputedly civilized nations and within them in the highest academic circles. “Each man is free," writes Rabbi Gordis of Columbia University and Jewish Theological Seminary, "to determine for himself whether he finds it both necessary and possible to believe in personal immortality after death. The decision must obviously be a personal one, and, by that token, is beyond argument" A Faith for Moderns, New York, 1961, p. 238.

    This need for giving men clear, convincing certitude about the existence of a personal God, of His will in relation to man, of His sanctions if men disobey, and of the correlative obligations incumbent on mankind both to know and live up to the demands of a divine lawgiver - is so transparent in the modern world, that on this basis alone (apart from the supernatural) the Catholic Church represents the greatest bulwark of religious sanity and, in fact, the only sure guide in protecting a weakened human intellect from its own self-destruction.

    Yet not only is the Church, as custodian of revelation, necessary to give man the knowledge he needs even of the natural law, but as the ultimate channel of divine grace through Christ her Head, she supplies the help that men need to live up to their religious obligations - no matter how little or perfectly known. Because of the ravages of original sin, with the consequent drive of concupiscence, the law of God, even when known, requires the help of His grace to be kept for any length of time. Thus it is common theological doctrine that, “In the condition of fallen nature, it is morally impossible for man without restoring grace (gratia sanans) to fulfill the entire moral law and to overcome all serious temptations for any considerable period of time.” If we further ask: Where will this grace come from? We must say, finally from Christ, but proximately through the Church He founded: through His merits channeled by the Mass and sacraments, the prayers and sacrifices, the sufferings and good works, of those who are united with Him in His Mystical Body. We may therefore restate the familiar axiom, Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, to read the “Whoever is eventually saved, will be saved through the Catholic Church,” because of the graces which came to him from the Church – even on the minimal level of keeping the natural law, and prescinding from the supernatural order or the obligations arising from man's elevation to a higher than natural end.

Study Questions

  1. Briefly explain St. Augustine's position that concupiscence is sin.

  2. If our original sin implies aversio a Deo, does it also involve a complete conversio ad creaturas? Explain.

  3. Compare the following kinds of sin, and distinguish between them: 1) sin in general, 2) mortal sin, 3) venial sin, 4) Adam's sin, 5) our original sin.

  4. What is privation of grace, and how does it differ from mere absence?

  5. Explain in what sense our original sin is voluntary. Give necessary distinction.

  6. What do we mean by our juridical solidarity under Adam, as physico-juridical head of the human race?

  7. How did the Reformation Protestants explain the essence of original sin?

  8. Give a brief historical run-down of the various theories held among Catholics on the essence of original sin: from St. Augustine, through the early Scholastics and up to the Council of Trent inclusive.

  9. List the major propositions that are commonly held in Catholic theology, antecedent to our thesis on the essence of original sin.

  10. Give the dogmatic value of the various aspects of our thesis.

  11. How do we argue from the Council of Orange (with the help of theological reason) that “Original sin essentially consists in the privation of sanctifying grace”?

  12. Prove from theological reason that original sin is voluntary, in some sense, from the free will of Adam.

  13. State the theory of Cardinal De Lugo, outlining its main elements.

  14. Critically evaluate the theory of De Lugo on the essence of original sin.

  15. Briefly describe the main elements of Billot's theory, and show how it differs from De Lugo's.

  16. Evaluate the theory of Billot, in detail, particularly showing how it rests on the distinction between a donum personae and a donum naturae, and how it explains the voluntariness of our original sin in relation to Adam's will.

  17. hat is our position, and what stress do we place in the theory of Billot?

  18. What does Catholic theology hold as to the consequences of original sin, according to the documents of the Church?

  19. Briefly state and explain the four vulnera of original sin, as described by St. Thomas.

  20. What is the meaning of the patristic dictum, regarding the effects of original sin in man: Spoliatus in gratuitis, vulneratus in naturalibus?

  21. Distinguish between the Church's necessity on the supernatural level, and her necessity as a consequence of original sin.

  22. Why is revelation morally necessary as regards the truths of natural religion? And how do we square this with the teaching of Vatican that, in spite of concupiscence and the effects of original sin, men are able to know God from natural reason alone?

  23. What relation is there between original sin and the theological maxim that grace is necessary to keep the natural law faithfully for any length of time?

  24. In what sense is the Church necessary, in view of the need for grace to keep the natural law faithfully?

  25. What practical consequences follow for members (and leaders) in the Church, in view of the need of revelation and grace, as a result of original sin?

Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica

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