Reading Justification: The Roman Catholic View (Joel) @ivpacademic

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There were no essays in this volume which I approached with any amount of trepidation, except for this one by the Roman Catholic theologians, O’Collins and Rafferty. Perhaps it was because that I have known for sometime my predilection to the Roman Catholic position on Justification. History is never as one-sided as the sectarians would have us believe, and this essay, giving the history of the still-Roman Catholic debate which led to Luther and from Luther to Trent, shows that the usual Protestant banter around this particular topic is often devoid of an objective view of history. Further, the entire essay by these two authors shows that the movement of Scripture is still alive and well in the Roman Catholic Church.

The essay is split in twain, with Rafferty giving the general lead up to Trent, as well as the actual discussion of Trent (although it is light on this subject) and O’Collins adding a theological reflection as well as a personal journey regarding the present topic. If we Protestants continue to see Rome through Trent, we will continue to allow Rome to out pace us in ecumenical moves and theological discussions. Other than the spirituality expressed in this essay, there is not much here to tell. These scholars of theological history show that Trent is often misunderstood, which allows the responders to, rightly, call into question the fact that even with all the change Vatican II put into place, the 16th century council was never revisited. Further, they stress as those before, during, and after Trent, that justification is a many splendored image. If it is misinterpreted, and rarely used rightly, allowing O’Collins to issue his own personal theories, then it should be reexamined and in some way changed. Further, given that both the West and the East have recognized that justification is a theme, an image, that fits into the Scriptural view of salvation, then Trent should be reexamined in such a way as to allow for some of the anathemas to be rescinded, which is a major sticking point for Protestants, and rightly so. But Rome has a great deal to show us in the way it tackles theological questions, often without alienating the factions, but finding a way to strengthen the entire Church.

Full review to follow soon enough

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