Innocent X vs Sound Doctrine

In 1653, Innocent X released the constitution “Cum Occasione” (May 31, 1653)(full text here). In that document, there were errors said to have been extracted from the Augustinus of Cornelius Jansen. These are also printed Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma (1957)(Dz. 1092-1096)(link)

1. Some of God’s precepts are impossible to the just, who wish and strive to keep them, according to the present powers which they have; the grace, by which they are made possible, is also wanting.

Declared and condemned as rash, impious, blasphemous, condemned by anathema, and heretical.

2. In the state of fallen nature one never resists interior grace.

Declared and condemned as heretical.

3. In order to merit or demerit in the state of fallen nature, freedom from necessity is not required in man, but freedom from external compulsion is sufficient.

Declared and condemned as heretical.

4. The Semipelagians admitted the necessity of a prevenient interior grace for each act, even for the beginning of faith; and in this they were heretics, because they wished this grace to be such that the human will could either resistor obey.

Declared and condemned as false and heretical.

5. It is Semipelagian to say that Christ died or shed His blood for all men without exception.

Declared and condemned as false, rash, scandalous, and understood in this sense, that Christ died for the salvation of the predestined, impious, blasphemous, contumelious, dishonoring to divine piety, and heretical.

The condemnation of these five statements was then affirmed by Alexander VII (Constitution, “Ad sacram beati Petri Sedem,” October 16, 1656 and Constitution “Regiminis apostolicis,” February 15, 1665)(more discussion and links here)

It is interesting to note that Innocent X appears to be affirming perfectionism (contra 1), denying irresistible grace (contra 2 and 4), denying compatible free will (contra 3),and denying limited atonement (contra 5), and on each of these points appears to err, since Scriptures teach that we continue to struggle with sin in this life, Scripture teaches irresistible grace, Scripture teaches that free will is compatible with divine necessity, and Scripture teaches that Christ died specifically for the elect.

– TurretinFan

6 Responses to “Innocent X vs Sound Doctrine”

  1. Vincent VAN DER WEERDEN Says:

    Is this document of Innocent X infallible? Is it binding on Catholics?

  2. partiallycalvinist Says:

    “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” – 1 John 2:2

    The idea of limited atonement is simple. It is clear. It is unambiguous. Would a Calvinist casually use words like 1 John 2:2 in a letter to the members of his church?

    Do verses like this ever cause you to question the validity of your assumptions? Can you justify stacking up a huge number of other verses that apparently teach limited atonement and then claiming 1 John 2:2 (which is just as inspired as all the others) is unclear or ambiguous?

    One other possible conclusion is that maybe the correct understanding of the atonement isn't as simple as strict limited atonement Calvinists would prefer.

    Please forgive the rhetorical nature of the preceeding three paragraphs. I'm not looking for a defense of limited atonement. There's a lot in the Bible. I'm more interested in how 1 John 2:2 is integrated into the limited atonement viewpoint without ignoring it.

    Here is what TurretinFan has to say about this verse:

    “The question is whether this “whole world” means everyone in the world, or just the whole world in general. John contrasts it with “us”- which suggests the general sense is what he has in mind. There is not, however, any ready and immediate way to resolve the issue from context. The major theme of I John is for us to do righteousness, love the brethren, and believe on the Son.”

    Can we agree “ours” refers to the elect, i.e. Christians?

    I do not read John as contrasting two different things. He is saying that one thing is the same as another (“Christ is propitiation for our sins” and likewise “Christ is propitiation for the sins of the whole world”).

    Even if you disagree with this, however, I'm still trying to understand what you mean: In what way is Christ the propitiation for the sins of the whole world “in general?”

    I appreciate your time.

  3. middling Says:

    There's at least one way of taking “in general,” generally, while still holding limited atonement. One is to draw a comparison with statements like “Man is a featherless biped.” In general, it's true. Except of course there are people who have only one leg, or none… and maybe some cases where a genetic mutation causes feathers. So a general rule can have exceptions. It seems to me that a Calvinist can hold that Christ suffered for “the whole world” in that sense. He suffered for the whole world insofar as it repents and trusts Him.

    (Btw, I'm a 3.5-point Calvinist who doesn't actually hold limited atonement, but I think this is how 5-pointers argue!) =)

  4. Reformed Apologist Says:

    It's not just my opinion that the sky is blue. It's the world's opinion. Wait a minute. Some people are color blind.

  5. Reformed Apologist Says:

    How did the apostles turn the world upside down without having gotten outside Asia minor?

    Btw, a lot of this world stuff is in the context of Jews only for 2000 years. Now it's not just Jews but the works, ie the Gentiles too. Maybe doesn't apply to 1 John given the lack of Jewish phraseology and references. TF is better qualified to address John's audience.

  6. Reformed Apologist Says:

    Not works but world

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