November 21, 1994
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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Structure of the Church East and West
Two-Lung Traditions vs. One-Lung Deviations
William H. Marshner, S.T.D.
Orientale Lumen Conference
Washington DC 2004
San Diego 2005
I begin with this question: what is the right starting point for theological reflection on the structure of the Church? One might think, “Well, the New Testament, of course” But this answer is not enough. As Fr. Raymond Collins pointed out to us, last night, the New Testament evidence is “less than clear.” Fr. Collins indicated three New Testament pictures, as you may recall: the charismatic, the Christian rabbinic, and the household overseer. It is important to add, however, that the New Testament text itself does not tell us whether these are three structures or are three different ways of describing one structure. Continue reading “Structure Of The Church East And West”
Table of Contents
Rahner’s Basic Stencil
W. H. Marshner
0.0 The following text is a hypothesis as to how the late Karl Rahner, S.J., applied in his theology a certain fixed pattern in construing the mysteries of the Faith. I call this pattern his stencil. Under my hypothesis, certain conceptual moves distinctive of his theology were made so as to put him in a position to apply the stencil. By its repeated applications he was able to impose upon the mysteries both a far-reaching isomorphism and a transcendental meaning. The first and basic application was as follows.
Three Problems in Calvinism
W. H. Marshner
Suppose God pulls me up by my armpits to make me stand. If my legs stay jelly, does He succeed in making me stand? No. My muscles and sinews must become such that, in real terms, I am standing on them. The same is true when we take ‘stand’ more broadly to refer to our being alive and upright before God spiritually. God lifts me up by His grace to make me alive and upright. If my inner faculties remain dead as doornails, does He succeed in making me alive? If they remain utterly prostrate in sin, does He succeed in making me stand? No. My mind and will must be-come such that, in real terms, I am living-for-God in them. This point Calvinism recognizes (against Luther) and rightly so: in those whom He is saving, God accomplishes a real work of sanctification.
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”