Does the Roman Catholic Church reject the Penal Substitution Atonement theory?

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by SebastianClinciuJJ, Dec 5, 2018.

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  1. SebastianClinciuJJ

    SebastianClinciuJJ Puritan Board Freshman

    Grace and peace!

    I came across a very intersting passage in Expositio in Symbolum Apostolorum, Thomas Aquinas. Talking about the death of Christ he says:

    "Fourthly, we incur the punishment due to sin. For the justice of God demands that whosoever sins must be punished. This punishment, however, is in proportion to the guilt. But the guilt of mortal sin is infinite, because it is an offense against the infinite good, namely, God, whose commandments the sinner holds in contempt. Therefore, the punishment due to mortal sin is infinite. Christ, however, through His passion has taken away this punishment from us and borne it Himself: “Who Himself bore our sins (that is, the punishment due to sin) in His body upon the tree” [1 Pet 2:24]. The passion of Christ was of such value that it sufficed to expiate for all the sins of the whole world, even of a hundred thousand worlds. And so it is that, when a man is baptized, he is released from all his sins; and so also is it that the priest forgives sins; and, again, the more one conforms himself to the passion of Christ, the greater is the pardon and the grace which he gains." (Article 4)

    Latin text:

    "Quarto incurrimus reatum poenae. Hoc enim exigit iustitia Dei, ut quicumque peccat, puniatur. Poena autem pensatur ex culpa. Unde cum culpa peccati mortalis sit infinita, utpote contra bonum infinitum, scilicet Deum, cuius praecepta peccator contemnit; poena debita peccato mortali est infinita. Sed Christus per suam passionem abstulit nobis poenam hanc, et sustinuit ipse. I Petr. II, 24: peccata nostra (idest poenam peccati) ipse pertulit in corpore suo. Nam passio Christi fuit tantae virtutis quod sufficit ad expiandum omnia peccata totius mundi, etiam si essent centum millia. Et inde est quod baptizati ab omnibus peccatis laxantur. Inde est etiam quod sacerdos peccata dimittit. Inde est etiam quod quicumque magis passioni Christi se conformat, maiorem consequitur veniam, et plus meretur de gratia."

    (Both texts are from

    So I wonder, is this in harmony with the official Roman Catholic teaching?
  2. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Sophomore

    Well, I had two seconds (and then I really have to go, so sorry it wasn't more exhaustive) but the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

    Jesus substitutes his obedience for our disobedience

    615 "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous."443 By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who "makes himself an offering for sin", when "he bore the sin of many", and who "shall make many to be accounted righteous", for "he shall bear their iniquities".444 Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.445
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  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    They place it within a larger system:

    God moves all things (in justification) according to the proper mode of each. It looks like this:

    Infusion of justifying grace → a movement of free choice → forgiveness of sin

    At risk of oversimplification, for Rome Christ's death on the cross makes possible the initial infusion of justifying grace.
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  4. SebastianClinciuJJ

    SebastianClinciuJJ Puritan Board Freshman

    From this qoute they seem orthodox, but I don't know if they integrate in their Atonement theory the Penal Substitution aspect.

    In the debate on Indulgences between James White and Peter D. Williams, on 1:44:20, the Roman Catholic apologist rejects the Penal Substitution Theory. Now I wonder if this is an official rejection (of the Roman Catholic Church) or just his rejection.
  5. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    It is what they do NOT say in that catechism citation above. They will affirm the language of substitution, but no consistent Romanist will permit the language of penalty or penal. Nonetheless the concept is affirmed by many writers in the ancient church, even if they are inconsistent with respect to the doctrine itself.
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