Thursday, October 22, 2009
The Council of Trent did not deny forensic justification
It seems to me that in Catholic thought prior to the Reformation there had always been a forensic aspect to justification, insofar as there is a legal component to one becoming an adopted son of the Father at baptism. Even The Council of Trent claims as much: “If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost,[Rom. 5:5] and remains in them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.” If you read it carefully, Trent does not deny that justification involves imputation of righteousness. What it is claiming is that it is wrong to think of justification as "the imputation of the justice of Christ alone," just as it is wrong to think of Jesus Christ as not fully both God and man.