For my church history class, we have to read the canons on justification according to the Council of Trent. The language was muddy, and I wanted to understand what Trent actually affirmed. So I went through after reading the canonized “anathemas” and paraphrased them as Trent’s affirmations on justification. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Justification requires God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
2. Justification is by grace, which aids one’s free will.
3. Justification is enabled by the prevenient grace of the Holy Spirit.
4. Free will cooperates with God’s grace in an active (and not passive) way.
5. Free will exists.
6. God only does good. Man does evil.
7. One’s works before justification/striving toward obedience merit grace.
8. It is not a sin to fear hell.
9. The will must cooperate with grace. Justification is not by faith alone.
10. There is no justification without the justification of Christ.
11. The Holy Spirit pours grace/charity into men, making it inherent in them. Grace is not solely the favor of God.
12. Justifying faith is more than confidence in divine mercy alone.
13. Faith/belief can be wavering.
14. Absolution/justification are not by faith alone.
15. No one can be assured of having been numbered among the predestined.
16. No one can be assured of perseverance.
17. The grace of justification is attained by all.
18. The commandments/Law(s) of God are possible to keep.
19. The Gospel requires more than faith alone.
20. The Gospel is conditioned upon obedience.
21. Christ is also a legislator, who must be obeyed.
22. The special help of God enables obedience.
23. Those who have been truly justified can fall away.
24. Good works are not the fruit of justification. They preserve/increase justification.
25. Not all sins are worthy of eternal damnation.
26. Good works merit eternal recompense.
27. There are many mortal sins which cause one to lose grace.
28. Grace can be lost while faith still remains. Faith can exist without charity.
29. It is possible to receive justification again after falling away, and penance is required.
30. It is necessary to pay for one’s ‘debt of temporal punishment’ (in Purgatory) before one can enter heaven.
31. Good works can be done with a recompense in view.
32. Good works are a merit, and not just simply a gift of God. Good works merit an increase of grace, eternal life, and attainment of that eternal life.
33. It is necessary to believe the Church’s doctrine for salvation.