What should be a warning to all: A study of St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings about the workings of the devil.

As already noted, the devil is always ready to make provocative suggestions to us, to work on our prejudices, our sexual weaknesses, our temperamental flaws, our developed habits of sinfulness of some type or degree, to weaken or destroy our vocation as spouse or religious or cleric, even attempting to turn our virtues against us. Nevertheless, our free will and therefore our responsibility and thus culpability remain more or less in each instance.

A question remains why God allows the devil–that angel who himself first sinned against God and is doomed to eternal punishment to tempt man to sin–to roam the earth in search of others to join him in his rebellion. This is a mystery as much as the existence of sin is a mystery, the mystery of iniquity. By his sin the devil lost nothing of his native or natural capabilities, especially his free will. Although by his sin he is no longer capable of turning back to God, yet for God’s purposes he is still free, as he was with our first parents, to influence inferior creatures. Thus “it belongs to the domain of the divine majesty, to whom the demons are subject, that God should employ them to whatever purpose he wills” (ST II-II:96:2:3).

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The Catholic principle

All other churches in America pretty much belong to what sociologists have called the “denominational mentality,” that for public purposes there’s no real difference what any religious group teaches so long as it falls in line with prevailing social mores.

Once you’ve given in to that, you essentially will stand for nothing anymore because, even within your own church, you’re going to have people deciding what they will believe and what they won’t. In fact, they will start to make the “right to choose” the central tenet of the faith.

The Catholic principle is quite different. All of us have the freedom of the sons and daughters of God, but we don’t get to make up the truth about who God is and what he expects of us.

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What Calvinists, Jesuits (and Muslims) don’t understand about divine providence.

If nothing exists without God’s causing it to exist, and nothing is moved without God acting as the first Mover – how can we avoid concluding that every human choice is wholly and entirely caused by God and that the human will is moved infallibly by God’s providence? In short, if God causes all things, how can man be truly free?

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Editor’s note: Like the Protestant Christian Calvinists, Muslims also believe in a form of “double-predestination”.  According to that (false) principle, God is the only cause of everything … all is preordained by God alone … and no mortal has freedom of will, in any case.

Of course, if double-predestination was indeed true, it logically follows that God could not convict anyone for sin … nor would a holy redeemer be necessary … nor would there be any need for a Judgment Day … since consent of the will is absolutely necessary if one is to be found guilty.

The “right to choose” is a gift from God, but misusing that gift results in divine judgment.

by Doug Lawrence

God created man as a free person, obliged to make all kinds of free-will choices, and to answer for them, come Judgment Day.

One who knowingly and willingly chooses evil has nothing but the mercy of God, on which to rely.

One who knowingly induces others to do evil, by whatever means, shares the responsibility for all the negative consequences that logically follow.

But what of the person who claims their conscience informs them to the contrary … who perceives evil as good … and perhaps, good as evil? What then?

He gets to be President of the United States, and he gets to give a State of the Union speech on national television, in order to try to justify his seriously disordered “take” on things!

May God have mercy on his soul … and if he manages to get himself reelected … on this once great country!

Free will and eternal destiny

Submitted by Bob Stanley

Archbishop of San Francisco once again sets Pelosi straight

In a recent interview with Eleanor Clift in Newsweek magazine (Dec. 21, 2009), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about her disagreements with the United States Catholic bishops concerning Church teaching. Speaker Pelosi replied, in part: “I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have the opportunity to exercise their free will.”

Embodied in that statement are some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom. These misconceptions are widespread both within the Catholic community and beyond. For this reason I believe it is important for me as Archbishop of San Francisco to make clear what the Catholic Church teaches about free will, conscience, and moral choice.

Catholic teaching on free will recognizes that God has given men and women the capacity to choose good or evil in their lives. The bishops at the Second Vatican Council declared that the human person, endowed with freedom, is “an outstanding manifestation of the divine image.” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 17) As the parable of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov, makes so beautifully clear, God did not want humanity to be mere automatons, but to have the dignity of freedom, even recognizing that with that freedom comes the cost of many evil choices.

However, human freedom does not legitimate bad moral choices, nor does it justify a stance that all moral choices are good if they are free: “The exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything.” (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1740) Christian belief in human freedom recognizes that we are called but not compelled by God to choose constantly the values of the Gospel—faith, hope, love, mercy, justice, forgiveness, integrity and compassion.

It is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel—racism, infidelity, abortion, theft. Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right.

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Seen on the internet: Nancy Pelosi on abortion and free will

Pelosi:

“We are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions,” she continues. “And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will.”

Informed reader’s comment:

She misses the issue ENTIRELY and obviously does not take her Catholic faith seriously enough to think deeply about this issue (or, she’s just plain dumb). Using Speaker Pelosi’s reading, the Catholic Church cannot come out against for example, rape, murder or torture (or, for that matter, sexual abuse of children by Priests or others) because that would impinge upon the ‘free will’ of the rapist, murderer, torturer or abuser.

With abortion, the issue is not “free will”. The issue is whether abortion is murder.

If its murder, how can the Catholic Church, or any religion, leave it up to one’s “free will?”

Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America, folks!