Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sanctifying grace and the habit of charity

Doran insists on the distinction between sanctifying grace and the habit of charity, even going to the extent of saying that Lonergan in Method in Theology does not always distinguish them.

In Method, Lonergan says: the gift of God's love "really is sanctifying grace but notionally differs from it." [MT 107.] In filling out what he means by that statement, says Doran, Lonergan conflates the gift of God's love with the dynamic state of being in love with God, and so amalgamates what in his earlier work he had distinguished as sanctifying grace (the gift of God's love) and charity (the dynamic state of being in love with God as a response to that gift). [Doran 15.]

In a question-answer session (the fifth) at the 1974 Lonergan Workshop at Boston College, Doran points out, Lonergan admitted this amalgamation. (Transcripton at at 81500DTE070.)
"I have for nearly twenty years regarded this amalgamation as a slight step backward on Lonergan's part, away from explanatory terms and relations to commonsense description. Obviously, if the hypothesis about active spiration and passive spiration being participated in and imitated by, respectively, sanctifying grace and charity is to be preserved, then just as active spiration and passive spiration are really distinct relations in God, so sanctifying grace and charity must be really distinct bases of really distinct relations in us.... I am suggesting that there are distinct special basic relations in human consciousness that correspond to the realities named in metaphysical terms 'sanctifying grace' and the 'habit of charity,' and I'm suggesting that those are the gift of God's love and loving God in return." [Doran 15.] 

In De ente supernaturali Lonergan does distinguish sanctifying grace and the habit of charity as remote and proximate principles, when he says: the theologian affirms “not only charity in the justified and the beatific vision in the blessed, but also a habit of charity, the light of glory, and the remote principle of both of these, sanctifying grace.” [CWL 19:77.]

In other words: the remote principle: sanctifying grace
Proximate principles: habit of charity; light of glory
Acts: of charity in the justified, and charity and beatific vision in the blessed.

In the following also the distinction between sanctifying grace and the (act of) charity is implied: "Charity is received only in one who has been justified. For charity is the love that is friendship, which can only exist between friends; but it is through the reception of sanctifying grace, from which flow the other infused virtues, that we become friends of God." [CWL 19:163. The paragraph clearly speaks of supernatural acts, not habits.]

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