Grace and Sin at the Dawn of Moral Experience
William H. Marshner
In a notorious article of the Prima Secundae, Aquinas claimed that the first moral decision of an unbaptized child could not result in a venial sin. If the decision was bad, the sin could only be mortal. On the other hand, if the decision was good, the same unbaptized child was freed from original sin. The common doctor’s argument for these claims wove together threads of psychology, moral theology, and eschatology, to fashion a controversial doctrine — elegant, but hard to defend, and in conflict with his own work on faith and justification. This paper will unravel the threads and propose a revised doctrine, less elegant but more plausible, and free of conflict.
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WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
Front Royal, Virginia
How does the grace of the Immaculate Conception illuminate the problems of ecclesiology? How does it clarify the new being to which we are called in the Church of God?
The purpose of this paper is to answer these questions with respect to a specific and crucial issue: the sinlessness of the Catholic Church, which is, as St. Ambrose put it, ex maculis immaculata. In order to address this issue, I must begin again with the original questions and summarize for the reader the pre-requisite clarifications which I have tried to bring to them in previous papers. Continue reading “The Immaculate Conception And Recent Ecclesiology”
ON THE TEXT OF THE SYLLABUS
Translated by W. H. Marshner
Originally appeared in Action française, May 15, 1906
Who is killing you?
Who is leading you?
Among the various nonbelievers who joined together in the common effort of l’Action française, there were differences of opinion and tendency, to be sure. Yet their stance of seeking the public good, on the one hand, and the pains they took to avoid all preconceived ideas, on the other, have led them on (or led them back) little by little to a plain fact: here in this world (whether it be a question of things spiritual or things temporal, of the moral order or the material one) the views, interests, suggestions, and decisions of Catholicism match up point for point with the essential interests of the French nation and of the civilized world. I speak of interests understood as precisely as possible. I speak of Catholicism taken in strict definition. Continue reading “On The Text Of The Syllabus”
Why Liberal Arts at Christendom College?
By W. H. MARSHNER
Office of Admissions
This pamphlet was published and distributed over several years at Christendom College. No exact date of publication is available.
The College exists to produce the one thing it promises to its students: a Catholic education. The philosophy or theory of education which guides the College, therefore, emerges in the analysis of that one thing.
By WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
MARIAN STUDIES, Vol. 28 (1977)
University of Dallas
Irving, Texas 75061
As a critique of recent proposals by E. J. Yarnold, S.J., and R. E. Brown, S.S., to re-think the “meaning” of certain Marian dogmas, a method is proposed for establishing the sense and reference (hence verifiability conditions, falsifiability conditions, axiomatic connexions, and metalinguistic “properties”) of these and other dogmas. It is shown that such a method forms an integral part of a general criteriology for doctrinal development. At the outset, then, the possibility and necessity of such a criteriology is defended against certain “theological theories” of doctrinal development, especially that of K. Rahner, S.J. Finally, the relevance of Henri Bouillard’s problematic of “reconceptualization” to the here proposed method and general criteriology is evaluated. Several philosophical and theological issues closely related to the main thesis are handled in footnoted discussions.
Continue reading “Criteria For Doctrinal Development In The Marian Dogmas: An Essay In Metatheology”
Membership in the Church: Fundamental Questions
by WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
FAITH AND REASON
Vol. 2, No. 3
A pressing question before the Church today is precisely “Who is a member?” The importance of this matter, which seems on the surface to be rather obvious, stems from two scandalous but simple facts. First, the division of Christianity into competing sects has created the difficulty of defining the relationship of these sects to the true Church. Second, modern Catholics who deny even the most basic of Church teachings often confuse the issue by refusing to admit that they have left the Church. It is in this context, then, that F&R publishes the following rigorous, careful and technical treatment of Church membership by William H. Marshner. The argument demands and deserves careful reading and rereading with full attention to the notes. It is true that the casual reader will find certain traditional attitudes toward Church membership reinforced by the author’s conclusions. But the painstaking student of this article will find much more, for presented here are basic distinctions which go far toward ending the confusion about who is a member in good standing of the Catholic Church and who, in fact, is not.
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By W.H. MARSHNER
December 5, 1974
On Monday, Nov. 18th, at the noon press conference, Bishop James Rausch made an excellent statement which deserves wider reporting than it is likely to receive. As General Secretary of the NCCB-USCC, Bishop Rausch was asked to comment on the concerns which are being expressed by Catholics today and the apparent fact that most of the groups petitioning the Bishops are voicing so-called conservative concerns (dogma, catechetics) rather than liberal ones (social action). Bishop Rausch replied that he rejects the “typecasting of concerns as Right-wing or Left-wing.” From The Wanderer’s point of view, this Bishop, who has received his share of knocks in our pages, could hardly have made a wiser or more timely point.
By W. H. MARSHNER
APRIL 25, 1974
Last year 50,429 fewer people received a diocesan newspaper than the year before. In any other business, that kind of decline would be called catastrophic, or at least precipitous. But in the Catholic press business, last year was one of the “good” years; people even talked about a stabilization. The “rate” of decline, you see, had begun to decline. The Editors of the diocesan newspapers entered rejoicing, therefore, into a very exclusive Wonderland previously inhabited only by crime statisticians and Nixon economists.
The Scripture Game II
W. H. MARSHNER
The first part of this commentary on modem biblical scholarship argued that the Catholic biblical revival is producing suspicious fruits because the philological-critical method of exegesis has been misapplied to the task of Christian exegesis. It remains to show what Christian exegesis is, why it is theologically inevitable and how it can be defended against the charge of obscurantism.
The Scripture Game
W. H. MARSHNER
No Christian can object to increasing the knowledge or the influence of Sacred Scripture. Yet the wide diversity of benefits that are expected to flow from the current “progress” in biblical studies suggests anything but unanimity as to how the subject ought to be approached. Continue reading “The Scripture Game”