[words of my anti-Catholic brother in Christ will be in blue]
[my words were cited, about one of James White’s innumerable swipes at me] “he started making out that I was an ignorant Protestant who hadn’t read anything (Protestant) of any worth, and that this is why I converted”
That is the more generous position. The other alternative is that you are an apostate – an enemy of the Gospel.
What is your conclusion?
I don’t know, I haven’t read your story.
Here’s my conversion story.
Would you say you once trusted in the righteousness of Christ alone, but now reject it in favor of your own righteousness?
Let’s cut to the quick, and through the crap: Is a person who accepts all that the Catholic Church teaches a Christian?
No – the Catholic Church teaches a false gospel which cannot perfect anyone.
Can he or she be saved?
Yes – salvation is not based on us, but on God.
Or do they have to reject various teachings of the Catholic Church in order to possibly be saved? Is Catholicism a species of Christianity?
One can be a Christian and believe the Church is the One True Church. We all make mistakes. A Christian should reject the Catholic Church, but isn’t always aware.
So you’re saying that we can’t be saved by our own works, nor by any reason but God’s grace and the help of the Holy Spirit?
That’s cool. It’s what Canons 1-3 on Justification from the Council of Trent teach:
CANON I. If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.
CANON II. If any one saith, that the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, is given only for this, that man may be able more easily to live justly, and to merit eternal life, as if, by free will without grace, he were able to do both, though hardly indeed and with difficulty; let him be anathema.
CANON III. If any one saith, that without the prevenient inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and without his help, man can believe, hope, love, or be penitent as he ought, so as that the grace of Justification may be bestowed upon him; let him be anathema.
Delighted to hear that you agree with the basics of Catholic soteriology. You aren’t far from the fullness of Christian truth.
CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.
Yes, sola gratia: grace, charity, and the Holy Spirit living in our hearts. It denies only imputation, which is a Protestant invention 15 centuries after Christ, and not found in Holy Scripture, nor in the Church fathers.
What about Sola Christus?
That’s expressed in Chapters 2-3 on justification:
On the dispensation and mystery of Christ’s advent.
Whence it came to pass, that the heavenly Father, the father of mercies and the God of all comfort, when that blessed fulness of the time was come, sent unto men, Jesus Christ, His own Son-who had been, both before the Law, and during the time of the Law, to many of the holy fathers announced and promised-that He might both redeem the Jews who were under the Law, and that the Gentiles, who followed not after justice, might attain to justice, and that all men might receive the adoption of sons. Him God hath proposed as a propitiator, through faith in his blood, for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world.
Who are justified through Christ.
But, though He died for all, yet do not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only unto whom the merit of His passion is communicated. For as in truth men, if they were not born propagated of the seed of Adam, would not be born unjust,-seeing that, by that propagation, they contract through him, when they are conceived, injustice as their own,-so, if they were not born again in Christ, they never would be justified; seeing that, in that new birth, there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of His passion, the grace whereby they are made just. For this benefit the apostle exhorts us, evermore to give thanks to the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light, and hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption, and remission of sins.
May God bless you in all good things and bring you to the light of the fullness of truth. Movin’ on . . .
For more on Trent and soteriology, see my handy summary.
Photo credit: Whore of Babylon illustration from Martin Luther’s 1534 translation of the Bible (workshop of Lucas Cranach) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]