Round One - Martignoni

Round 1

To show that Dr. Mizzi has misrepresented Catholic teaching on salvation, I wish to start by quoting his website:

“So then, what is required for a person to be justified at the end [according to Catholic teaching], that is, to be accounted to have fully satisfied divine law, and therefore to merit eternal life? Trent answers: THEIR GOOD WORKS!”

I have read through the Council of Trent’s “Decree on Justification,” and nowhere do I find it saying what Dr. Mizzi claims it says. So, first I would ask him to give me the exact quotes that he uses to come to the conclusion he has stated on his website. Where does the Council of Trent say that men are accounted as having fully satisfied divine law by “THEIR GOOD WORKS!”?

Next, I will give the actual words of the Council of Trent regarding justification (as found in: “The Sources of Catholic Dogma,” by Denzinger):

“…so unless [men] were born again in Christ, they never would be justified, since in that new birth through the merit of His passion, the grace whereby they are made just, is bestowed upon them.” (Denzinger, p. 249)

“…man himself receiving that inspiration [of the Holy Spirit] does nothing at all inasmuch as he can indeed reject it, nor on the other hand can he, of his own free will, without the grace of God, move himself to justice before Him.” (Denzinger, p. 250)

“…the meritorious cause [of man’s justification] is His most beloved only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who…merited justification for us by His most holy passion on the wood of the Cross, and made satisfaction for us to God the Father…” (Denzinger, p. 251)

“…no one can be just but he to whom the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated…” (Denzinger, p. 251)

“…we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because ‘faith is the beginning of human salvation,’ the foundation and root of all justification, ‘without which it is impossible to please God’ [Heb 11:6] and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and are, therefore, said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things which precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace itself of justification; for, ‘if it is a grace, it is not now by reason of works…’” (Denzinger, p. 252)

“Canon 1: If anyone shall say that man can be justified before God by his own works which are done either by his own natural powers, or through the teaching of the Law, and without divine grace through Christ Jesus: let him be anathema.” (Denzinger, p.258)

Again, Dr. Mizzi has misrepresented the Catholic Faith by giving visitors to his website the impression that the Church teaches that our works, in and of themselves, “merit eternal life.” That our works, in and of themselves, “fully satisfy divine law.” Yet, I have shown that the Council of Trent, which he claimed as the source for his misrepresentations, clearly teaches that we can do nothing pleasing to God in and of ourselves. That without the merits of Jesus’ death on the cross, we are lost.

Dr. Mizzi’s position on justification is actually very close to the Catholic position on justification. The difference is that he believes we cannot “merit” anything. But, instead of focusing on that aspect of our differences on his website, he has instead distorted the whole of Catholic teaching in this area by claiming Trent teaches we are saved by our good works…period! The quotes above show that he is indeed distorting Catholic teaching.

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