Counter-Reformation Theologians

Michael Moriarty

in Disguised Vices

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199589371
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191728808 | DOI:
Counter-Reformation Theologians

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The chapter discusses the handling of these questions by Roman Catholic theologians of the Counter-Reformation. In general, their position is shown to be broadly equivalent to that of Aquinas: they allow that the human rationality that remains after the Fall enables unbelievers, not to achieve perfect virtue, but to perform some good deeds, which cannot, however, contribute to their salvation, since they lack a basis in faith and grace. These authors dissent from the reading of Augustine that sees him as wholeheartedly condemning pagan virtue, arguing that when he calls unbelievers’ actions sins, he means faulty or imperfect rather than wrongful deeds. The spiritual writer François de Sales, a key figure in the French Counter-Reformation, is often regarded as holding an optimistic view of human nature, antithetical to the later views of the Jansenists; but in fact he holds a low estimate of pagan virtue, deprived as it is of charity.

Keywords: Counter-Reformation; Council of Trent; Molina; Bellarmine; Suárez; St François de Sales

Chapter.  17033 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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