Can we extricate ourselves from Molinism?
Gregory I, it seems that the question I have been asking you (concerning the difference the different natures of sufficient and efficacious grace) is actually the source of a historical controversy between the Thomists and the Molinists. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains the problem for the Thomists well:
Catholic Encyclopedia: Molinism Wrote:Thomism, on the other hand, is confronted by the following dilemma: Either the grace which is merely sufficient (gratia mere sufficiens) is able by its own nature and without the help of an entirely different and new grace to produce the salutary act for which it was given, or it is not: if it is not able, then this sufficient grace is in reality insufficient (gratia insufficiens), since it must be supplemented by another; if it is able to produce the act by itself, then sufficient and efficacious grace do not differ in nature, but by reason of something extrinsic, namely in that the will gives its consent in one case and withholds it in the other. If then, when possessed of absolutely the same grace, one sinner is converted and another can remain obdurate, the inefficacy of the grace in the case of the obdurate sinner is due, not to the nature of the grace given, but to the sinful resistance of his free will, which refuses to avail itself of God's assistance. But for Thomism, which assumes an intrinsic and essential difference between sufficient and efficacious grace, so that sufficient grace to become efficacious must be supplemented by a new grace, the explanation is by no means so easy and simple. It cannot free itself from the difficulty, as is possible for Molinism, by saying that, but for the refractory attitude of the will, God would have bestowed this supplementary grace. For, since the sinful resistance of the will, viewed as an act, is to be referred to a physical premotion on the part of God, as well as the free co-operation with grace, the will, which is predetermined ad unum, is placed in a hopeless predicament. On the one hand the physical premotion in the form of an efficacious grace which is necessary to produce the salutary act, is lacking to the will, and, on the other, the entity of the sinful act of resistance is irrevocably predetermined by God as the Prime Mover (Motor primus). Whence then is the will to derive the impulse to accept or to reject the one premotion rather than the other? Therefore, the Molinists conclude that the Thomists cannot lay down the sinful resistance of the will as the cause of the inefficacy of the grace, which is merely sufficient.


Pohle, Joseph. "Molinism." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 10 Aug. 2011

Gregory I, Doce Me, et al. (who espouse the Thomistic system): How does the Thomist explain this?
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(07-19-2011, 08:09 PM)Gregory I Wrote: What would it take for the Catholic Church to return to its Augustinian roots and abandon the Molinism that has seemed to seep in like an oil spill?

I am not a fan of Molinism because it fails to taker seriously not only At. Augustine, but also Saint Thomas; both of whom were basically the theological foundations of the western Church, both of whom taught God's unconditional election of man to salvation, and conditional election to damnation.

Molinism seems soft and kinda wimpy.

What would it take?
From Garrigou-Lagrange, OP - God: His Existence and His Nature,* Vol. 2, Appendix IV, p. 465:[Image: Garrigou-Lagrange+-+God%252C+vol.+2%252C...p.+465.jpg]
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(08-21-2011, 01:14 AM)Geremia Wrote:
(07-19-2011, 08:09 PM)Gregory I Wrote: What would it take for the Catholic Church to return to its Augustinian roots and abandon the Molinism that has seemed to seep in like an oil spill?

I am not a fan of Molinism because it fails to taker seriously not only At. Augustine, but also Saint Thomas; both of whom were basically the theological foundations of the western Church, both of whom taught God's unconditional election of man to salvation, and conditional election to damnation.

Molinism seems soft and kinda wimpy.

What would it take?
From Garrigou-Lagrange, OP - God: His Existence and His Nature,* Vol. 2, Appendix IV, p. 465:[Image: Garrigou-Lagrange+-+God%252C+vol.+2%252C...p.+465.jpg]

Good post, Geremia. Thank you for posting this commentary.

As I understand it, though, there are several unanswerable challenges made to the Thomistic doctrine of grace. I would be interested in hearing the Thomists' responses to them.
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(08-21-2011, 02:51 AM)INPEFESS Wrote: Good post, Geremia. Thank you for posting this commentary.

As I understand it, though, there are several unanswerable challenges made to the Thomistic doctrine of grace. I would be interested in hearing the Thomists' responses to them.
Which challenges, specifically? Thanks
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I know one: That God is the Cause of the commission of evil acts, but not their formal malice. SInce he has created all things with their end in view, he has therefore brought into being the evil acts that men commit (By willing to create men he knew would do them).

Is not GOd therefore the author of humankinds evil actions, since they would not be commited unless he had willed to create those who would do such things?
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(08-21-2011, 06:27 PM)Geremia Wrote:
(08-21-2011, 02:51 AM)INPEFESS Wrote: Good post, Geremia. Thank you for posting this commentary.

As I understand it, though, there are several unanswerable challenges made to the Thomistic doctrine of grace. I would be interested in hearing the Thomists' responses to them.
Which challenges, specifically? Thanks

Well, I posted a few of them in my post above, but here are a few from the Catholic Encyclopedia's article, "Controversies on Grace":
Catholic Encyclopedia: Controversies on Grace, Thomism Wrote:The first objection is the danger that in the Thomistic system the freedom of the will cannot be maintained as against efficacious grace, a difficulty which by the way is not unperceived by the Thomists themselves. For since the essence of freedom does not lie in the contingency of the act nor in the merely passive indifference of the will, but rather in its active indifference — to will or not to will, to will this and not that — so it appears impossible to reconcile the physical predetermination of a particular act by an alien will and the active spontaneousness of the determination by the will itself; nay more, they seem to exclude each other as utterly as do determinism and indeterminism, necessity and freedom. The Thomists answer this objection by making a distinction between sensus compositus and sensus divisus, but the Molinists insist that this distinction is not correctly applicable here. For just as a man who is bound to a chair cannot be said to be sitting freely as long as his ability to stand is thwarted by indissoluble cords, so the will predetermined by efficacious grace to a certain thing cannot be said to retain the power to dissent, especially since the will, predetermined to this or that act, has not the option to receive or disregard the premotion, since this depends simply and solely on the will of God. And does not the Council of Trent (Sess. VI, cap. v, can. iv) describe efficacious grace as a grace which man "can reject", and from which he "can dissent"? Consequently, the very same grace, which de facto is efficacious, might under other circumstances be inefficacious.

Catholic Encyclopedia: Controversies on Grace, Thomism Wrote:Herein the second objection to the Thomistic distinction between gratia efficax and gratia sufficiens is already indicated. If both graces are in their nature and intrinsically different, it is difficult to see how a grace can be really sufficient which requires another grace to complete it. Hence, it would appear that the Thomistic gratia sufficiens is in reality a gratia insufficiens. The Thomists cannot well refer the inefficacy of this grace to the resistance of the free will, for this act of resistance must be traced to a proemotio physica as inevitable as the efficacious grace.

Catholic Encyclopedia: Controversies on Grace, Thomism Wrote:Moreover, a third great difficulty lies in the fact that sin, as an act, demands the predetermining activity of the "first mover", so that God would according to this system appear to be the originator of sinful acts. The Thomistic distinction between the entity of sin and its malice offers no solution of the difficulty. For since the Divine influence itself, which premoves ad unum, both introduces physically the sin as an act and entity, and also, by the simultaneous withholding of the opposite premotion to a good act, makes the sin itself an inescapable fatality, it is not easy to explain why sin cannot be traced back to God as the originator. Furthermore, most sinners commit their misdeeds, not with a regard to the depravity, but for the sake of the physical entity of the acts, so that ethics must, together with the wickedness, condemn the physical entity of sin. The Molinists deny that this objection affects their own system, when they postulate the concursus of God in the sinful act, and help themselves out of the dilemma by drawing the distinction between the entity and malice of sin. They say that the Divine co-operation is a concursus simultaneus, which employs the co-operating arm of God only after the will by its own free determination has decided upon the commission of the sinful act, whereas the Thomistic co-operation is essentially a concursus proevius which as an inevitable physical premotion predetermines the act regardless of the fact whether the human will can resist or not.

Catholic Encyclopedia: Controversies on Grace, Thomism Wrote:From this consideration arises the fourth and last objection to the claim of the Thomists, that they have only apparently found in their physical premotion an infallible medium by which God knows in advance with absolute certainty all the free acts of his creatures, whether they be good or bad. For as these premotions, as has been shown above, must in their last analysis be considered the knell of freedom, they cannot well be considered as the means by which God obtains a foreknowledge of the free acts of rational agents. Consequently the claims and proper place of the scientia media in the system may be regarded as vindicated.
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(08-21-2011, 09:19 PM)Gregory I Wrote: I know one: That God is the Cause of the commission of evil acts, but not their formal malice. SInce he has created all things with their end in view, he has therefore brought into being the evil acts that men commit (By willing to create men he knew would do them).

Is not GOd therefore the author of humankinds evil actions, since they would not be commited unless he had willed to create those who would do such things?

Yes, this is (more or less) the third ojection leveled against the Thomistic system in the Catholic Encyclopedia's article called "Controversies on Grace".

I would like it to be known that I identify most with the Thomistic perspective on grace, but I do think that these objections need to be answerable in order for Thomism to be a potential solution to the problem (as it were).
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(08-21-2011, 11:21 PM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-21-2011, 09:19 PM)Gregory I Wrote: I know one: That God is the Cause of the commission of evil acts, but not their formal malice. SInce he has created all things with their end in view, he has therefore brought into being the evil acts that men commit (By willing to create men he knew would do them).

Is not GOd therefore the author of humankinds evil actions, since they would not be commited unless he had willed to create those who would do such things?

Yes, this is (more or less) the third ojection leveled against the Thomistic system in the Catholic Encyclopedia's article called "Controversies on Grace".

I would like it to be known that I identify most with the Thomistic perspective on grace, but I do think that these objections need to be answerable in order for Thomism to be a potential solution to the problem (as it were).

Why is this an "unanswerable" objection? Ne nos inducas in tentationem: the Our Father himself hints at God's sovereignty over all created things.

Molinism on the other hand makes God a passive being, something literally blasphemous.
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(08-22-2011, 12:20 AM)Vetus Ordo Wrote:
(08-21-2011, 11:21 PM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-21-2011, 09:19 PM)Gregory I Wrote: I know one: That God is the Cause of the commission of evil acts, but not their formal malice. SInce he has created all things with their end in view, he has therefore brought into being the evil acts that men commit (By willing to create men he knew would do them).

Is not GOd therefore the author of humankinds evil actions, since they would not be commited unless he had willed to create those who would do such things?

Yes, this is (more or less) the third ojection leveled against the Thomistic system in the Catholic Encyclopedia's article called "Controversies on Grace".

I would like it to be known that I identify most with the Thomistic perspective on grace, but I do think that these objections need to be answerable in order for Thomism to be a potential solution to the problem (as it were).

Why is this an "unanswerable" objection? Ne nos inducas in tentationem: the Our Father himself hints at God's sovereignty over all created things.

Molinism on the other hand makes God a passive being, something literally blasphemous.

Vetus, if I were to say that the Catholic theology that confession and dying in the state of true grace are salvific necessities conflicted with your views, what would you say?
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Why would these things conflict with my views? They don't.
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