Of God and His Creatures
The theology of the Catholic Church on this
point stands as follows in the light of controversies
and decisions subsequent to the age of St Thomas.
Nor is St Thomas in disagreement with these
propositions. See Sum. Theol. 1a-2ae, q. 71, art. 4;
2a-2ae, q. 23, art. 7 ad 1 (Aquinas Ethicus, I, 199,
- (a) A man in mortal sin may do acts of natural
virtue, such as even the heathen do (Matt. v, 47).
- (b) He may also do supernaturally good acts by
aid of 'an exterior principle,' i.e., the actual grace
sent him by God. This St Thomas presently
declares (Chap. CLVII).
- (c) These supernatural acts, done by a soul in
deadly sin, need not proceed from fear alone: they
may be motived by hope, by some sense of shame or
gratitude, or even by some initial love of God
(Council of Trent, Sess. 6, Cap. vi).
- (d) An act of perfect love of God is excluded by
the supposition of the soul being still in mortal sin:
for when a man in mortal sin is led on by grace to
make such an act, which is possible enough, his sin
is instantly taken away.
On the other hand, the Chorch has condemned
- (a) Of Michael Le Bay: "Everything that the
sinner, or the state of sin, does is a sin. He is of the
party of Pelagius, who recognises any natural
goodness, that is, any goodness arising from the mere
power of nature."
- (b) Of Paschal Quesnel, the Jansenist: "What
remains to the soul that has lost God and His grace,
but sin and the consequences of sin, a proud poverty
and a lazy indigence, that is, a general incapacity for
labour, prayer, or any good work?" (Denziger, Enchiridion
Symbolorum et Definitionum, nn. 680, 915, 917, 1216.)
Of God and His Creatures: 3.140