Sunday, November 10, 2013

Catechesis on Predestination, Creation, and Freedom -- Part 1, by Fr. Ronald Check

The following question was submitted: “Since God knows the future, why does He create souls that he knows will spend eternity in Hell?”  This is a great question!  It’s also a very theological question.  Because of the theological complexity of this question and the need for a pastoral and somewhat clear explanation, I am turning to Father William Most, who has explained the answer based upon the teaching of Saint Francis DeSales, a Doctor of the Church.  It is important for any theology to rely heavily on Saint Francis DeSales because of his theological authority on this subject.  Saint Farncis DeSales spent much time and energy fighting against the Calvinists, who believed in predestination.  He also had a personal spiritual struggle with this theory.  He is both an intellectual as well as a spiritual authority.  Predestination basically asserts that God, because of his fore knowledge of all future events, has already pre-destined certain souls to heaven or to hell.  This contradicts Catholic Teaching on the subject.  The next few weeks, we will see why this is the case.  This answer is coming from: “The MOST Theological Collection: Grace, Predestination and the Salvific Will of God: New Answers to Old Questions” (Pt. 2: Predestination and reprobation - Ch. 16: The teaching of St. Francis de Sales).  This answer will be done in several parts.  And so, Part 1…

273. The special importance of teaching of St. Francis de Sales:The thought of this Doctor of the Church is of special importance since the Pope himself followed the advice of St. Francis in putting an end to the debates De Auxiliis. Pope Pius IX reports it as follows: (1)“...our Predecessor of holy memory, Paul V, when the famous debate De Auxiliis was being held at Rome decided to ask the opinion of this Bishop on the matter and, following his advice, judged that this most subtle question, full of danger, and agitated long and keenly, should be laid to rest, and that silence should be imposed on the parties.” The special importance of his teaching is even clearer from the words of Pius XI: (2)“But taking the opportunity, he lucidly explained the most difficult questions, such as efficacious grace, predestination, and the call to the faith.”

Notes (As Father Most records them):
Note in Context: Dives in misericordia Deus, AAS 10, 411-12.
Note in Context: Rerum omnium perturbationem. AAS 15.56.

Look next week for what St. Francis de Sales actually says…

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