Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Monday, 22 December 2008

Should you build Me a house to dwell in?

Over at St Mary Magdalen, on t'other side of the pond, Fr Blake has a good post , and hosts an interesting combox conversation on the perniciously pandemic pelagianism. (H/T to Fr Keyes of Refugio San Gaspare.)

I don't know that he's right that there's anything peculiarly British about the heresy, after all, it was an American who wrote the national anthem of the Sovereign State of Pelagia.

I had never though of communion in the hand as symbolic of a kind of pelaginism, but without totally endorsing the line of reasoning, I can see that the combox poster who brought it up has a point.

Pelagianism denies the action of Grace in the world, man is saved by his own goodness and efforts, rather than by God.
It is what we do, rather than what God does that matters, therefore the value of the sacraments is the psychological effect they have in our lives, rather than the direct intervention of God. It denies the power of Grace, of the role of the Blessed Virgin, of miracles, of the power of prayer: Pelagians above all would deny the role of the Holy Spirit, of His act of sanctification. Wherever there is attempt to place man at the heart of the faith, there we should expect to find Pelagianism.
Pelagianism expects Man to be strong rather God's grace to be powerful. Catholicism, or as we could call it, mainstream Christianity, acknowledges mankind is weak and wholly dependant on those things God gives him.

Signs of the Pelagian:
The Church is a human construct, there is nothing or little of Grace about it.
The Liturgy and prayer is about how it makes us feel. Feelings rather than Grace are important.
Revelation is not a given, something given for today and all time, but something of that past that depends on our interpretation.
Ultimately Pelagianism says God is irrelevant to society and to the individual.
Pelagians tend to have a poor view of mankind, what see is what you get, because their is no room for Grace. It is also elitist, insofar as it values a human being by his goodness, his talents, his skills, his willpower.
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin is the destroyer Pelagianism, her whole being was about saying yes to Grace, and being the Mather of God she became the source of Grace. Her life shows the effects and power of Grace.

From the thread:

Mark said...

Pelagianism also leads to the idea that Christianity is first and foremost about social and political change (i.e. man redeeming his own world) rather than about justification and sanctification (i.e. God redeeming his own world).

Mary Jane said...

And a liturgy that is focused on feelings and emotional response fosters Pelagianism. In the eyes of many, grace only exists if the group manufactures it.

Henry said...

By receiving in the hand, communicants pick up and transfer the Body of Christ to their mouths by their own efforts instead of accepting and receiving passively.

The symbolism is Pelagian.

bernadette said...

But people get very annoyed if you use the "P" word. Apparently it doesn`t really exist anymore. A kind of counter-heresy. It flies in the face of an empowered laity. Pelagianism, is "uncharitable" and denies many of the good, virtuous works that man has inspired.

People who use the "P" word are very, very unkind.


torchofthefaith said...

Yes, sadly Pelagianism is alive and well in the Church - and very much so in Britain.

The same ideologues who falsely claim the Church 'used to promote salvation by your own efforts' (and then use that as a vehicle to suggest that Indulgences, the Rosary, and so on were just that), are happy to embrace, and this in the name of Catholicism, the endless man-made efforts to 'save the self' and to 'save the environment' and to 'save the church' by attempted lay governance..... Until we stop imposing our prideful stances on the Faith... and learn to accept ourselves as creatures in need of God's free gift of Grace, and our own need to co-operate with His Grace, the present Pelagian nightmare will persist.

RC said...

Pelagianism is about attaining salvation based on our right moral conduct, and we faithful Catholics are deeply concerned about right moral conduct in society. We are properly opposed to the public acceptance of sins such as abortion. And we are eager to work together with our non-Catholic separated brethren in resisting these evils.

But there is a danger: if we lose sight of the primacy of the life of grace -- if we begin to think that we have stronger spiritual bonds with non-Catholics, based on our common morality, than with morally confused Catholics, then we are being tempted to Pelagianism.

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