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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Mary: Redemption and Preservation
WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
FAITH AND REASON
Vol. VII, No. 2
The following analysis of Mary’s redemption attempts to clarify the Catholic understanding of how it can be said that a person conceived without original sin can be said to be redeemed at all. The importance of William Marshner’s technical treatment of this traditionally vexing question, including his use of modal logic, will be apparent to those who regard it as a chief function of theologians to defend and advance the Faith by precisely answering as many potentially devastating questions as possible. Thus, Marshner proceeds to eliminate false understanding of Mary’s redemption so that a proper understanding might leave the central doctrines of the Church less open to attack.
By WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
This paper is devoted to refuting the so-called debitum hypotheticum or conditionatum. In general, a debitum is expressed by the claim that Mary, thanks to her connexion with Adam, was under a necessity to contract original sin; the debitum conditionatum is expressed by the claim that, thanks to the same necessity, she would have contracted original sin, if one or another condition had been fulfilled (e.g., if God had not preserved her).
Continue reading “A Critique Of Marian Counterfactual Formulae: A Report Of Results”
A LOGICIAN’S REFLECTIONS ON THE DEBITUM CONTRAHENDI PECCATUM
By WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
Reprinted from MARIAN STUDIES (1978)
The long-standing theological debate over whether Our Blessed Mother can be said to have had a debitum peccati begins and ends, it seems, with both sides admitting the truth of the following contrary-to-fact condition:
(A) If she had not been preserved, Mary would have contracted original sin.
The necessity of affirming this or similar counterfactuals is usually said to lie in the Church’s doctrine that Our Lady’s redemption was a “preservative” redemption. It is asked, what can “preservative” mean, if an assertion like (A) is not true?
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Prof. William H. Marshner
Prof. J. M. Alonso
Ex «Ephemerides Mariologicae» Matriti – 1977
Catholic theologians are agreed that the Mother of God, considered as «universal principle of intercession», plays a rôle in the subjective redemption (or redemption in actu secundo) of all those who in fact enter into this redemption. The question which divides counsels is her role in the objective redemption (or redemption in actu primo). Is she a factor in this redemption primarily or even exclusively because her fiat was a condition sine qua non for the Incarnation, or because her actions enter into the constitution of the objective redemption itself, being acceptable to God the Father not alongside the actions of her Divine Son but together with them per modum unius?