Ignatius Press has recently published a collection of our Holy Father's general audiences that focused on the apostle Paul. Since the topic of justification has come up recently on this blog, I thought I'd point my readers to a this book.
Excerpts from the book can be read on Google books by following this link.
The relevant essays can be found by searching for "justification."
The essays themselves, once found, can be read for free at the Vatican's website. Start here, and simply find the general audience by the date listed in the book.
Finally, when I read articles written by evangelicals like this summary (thanks to WHW for the link) from Christianity Today, I can't help but think how very much Catholics share in common with many Evangelicals' understanding of justification. From a Catholic perspective, there may be room for points of disagreement regarding the fine details of what justification entails, so long as a number of basic truths are not denied. It turns out that the majority (if not all) of these basic truths are shared by Catholics and (many) Evangelicals.
Many of the canons of the sixth session of the Council of Trent are actually represented in the article linked above that WHW so kindly pointed out in a comment to the previous post.
To really move the conversation forward, I'm always curious to ask Evangelicals the following question:
What specific points from the following two (Catholic) explanations of justification do you find problematic and/or inconsistent with the points that you agree with?
1) Council of Trent, Sixth Session - On Justification
(See especially the canons beginning about half way down the page.)
2) Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1987-1995 - On Justification
I often wonder what Christianity would look like if all non-Catholics suddenly understood that the Catholic Church does not teach (nor has ever taught) that we can be justified by our own human works (apart from God's grace), an idea often referred to as "works-righteousness"? Even in the Christianity Today article mentioned above, the Catholic position is not given any consideration, apart from a (dismissive?) reference to its supposed teaching of "works-righteousness."
According to Luther, the doctrine of justification was that issue on which the reformation stood or fell.
I'm sorry, but can we really justify using a doctrine about which so much agreement exists as a basis for division?
In my opinion, Pope Benedict XVI is a model ecumenist in the essays linked above. He shows that he is willing to grant the terms and understanding of those who would count themselves opposed to his teaching, so long as the truth is not violated, in order to open the door to true, uncompromising unity.
Likewise, I see something similar happening in some notable evangelical leaders, though there are still some who "are not quite ready" to end the divisions of the Reformation so that true, ongoing, unity-producing reformation can continue.
Since this is the case, both Catholics and non-Catholics are beginning to find themselves uniting behind the common question:
Where are our differences?