Friday, August 28, 2015

Reclaiming Augustine

Protestant apologists, especially of the Reformed/Calvinistic variety, love to claim Augustine as an early Church Father who professed their unique beliefs on grace, predestination, authority, and many other topics. I personally think such an exercise is an ahistorical grasping at straws and a false reading of a very Catholic man.

Since today is St. Augustine's feast day, it is as good a day as any to reclaim Augustine and plant his theology firmly within the mind of the Church. Dave Armstrong has a post on his blog that goes a long way towards achieving that end. On all of the following doctrines, Dave has provided quotes from the works of Augustine that show the Catholicity of his thinking:
  • Apostolic succession
  • Baptism
  • "Catholic" Church
  • Church authority
  • Contraception
  • Deuterocanonical books
  • Eternal security
  • Eucharistic adoration
  • Real Presence in the Eucharist
  • Faith Alone
  • Irresistible grace
  • Mary: Mother of God, perpetual virgin, sinless
  • Sacrifice of the Mass
  • Merit
  • Mortal and venial sin
  • The papacy and the Roman See
  • Penance
  • Primacy and preeminence of Peter
  • Prayers for the dead
  • Purgatory
  • Relics
  • Invocation/intercession/veneration of the saints
  • Scripture alone
  • Sacred Tradition

It really is an amazingly helpful post! He has several other articles on the thought of St. Augustine as well:
For my part, I have a small post that answers the question, "Did Augustine Invent Original Sin?" What do you think?

Pax Christi,


  1. Thanks much for the link, good buddy! Hope all is going well for you. I often think about how much fun I had visiting y'all in Ohio-land.

  2. I have a proposal for something for you to research, if you have the time.

    There is an argument out there that since the mass is a representation of the cross of Christ and, as the Roman Catechism puts it, "is truly a propitiatory Sacrifice, by which God is appeased and rendered propitious to us", we have no need of confession.

    Further from the Roman Catechism on this point, "If, therefore, with a pure heart, a lively faith, and affected with an inward sorrow for our transgressions, we immolate and offer this most holy victim, we shall, without doubt, obtain mercy from the Lord, and grace in time of need; for SO delighted is the Lord with the door of this victim that, bestowing on us the gift of grace and repentance, He pardons our sins. Hence this usual prayer of the Church: As often as the commemoration of this victim is celebrated, so often is the work of our salvation being done; that is to say, through this unbloody Sacrifice flow to us the most plenteous fruits of that bloody victim."

    There are also several popes who've said the same thing. I've been having difficulty coming up with a response to the statement that because of this Confession is superfluous. Can you speak to this?

  3. Great article!

    Sadly, it's not JUST St. Augustine that the Reformists are utilizing, but also Chrysostom and Justin Martyr (if you can believe that)

    There is also the protestant "Continuing Church of God" that makes claims to succession of teaching from Polycarp, Iraneus, Ignatius, John the Baptist, and St. Paul.

    It seems like the NEW fashion is to make the same claims as the Catholic Church, then have the Catholic attempt to defend against misquoted and "taken out of context" Early Church Father writings, presented by the protestant position.

  4. Good point, Mark. It seems that they misappropriate the Fathers just like they misappropriate Scripture!


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