‘Saved by faith alone’ // denominations and the catechism

I’m currently reading the catechism for adults and I’m pretty sure that many misunderstandings about the Catholic Church could be dispelled if people would only read it.

I’ve just had a chapter about the major differences between Protestantism and Catholicism and the reformation, and I realize that if I ever would have had the choice, if I wouldn’t have been a teenager growing up in such strict Protestant surroundings but could actually have learned about other denominations, I would probably have chosen the Catholic Church already back then. It just speaks to me so much more than Protestantism…

On the other hand, what I said some weeks/months/whatever ago still stands – a part of me is very grateful that I regained my faith first now, as an adult who can actually learn and get to know and so make an informed decision. I was unable to do so as a teenager and I probably wouldn’t have been able to fully appreciate the richness and subtlety of the Catholic doctrine back then, certainly not in the way I do now.


The book mentions Luther’s famous quote ‘We are saved by faith alone’, saying that Luther explicitly didn’t include the matter of love for fear that it would clash with his idea of legalism (which would make sense, but see my point below), but that, for the Catholic Church, it’s always faith working through love (with love being God’s grace) to get to the justification (and in the end so salvation) and can never be reached merely by faith without love.

My problem is with the last emphasized part, because I just can’t see how faith without love can even exist to start with. How can you really believe in Christ and God, without experiencing/feeling love as well? For me that seems completely impossible, especially seeing that God is pure love. You can’t have faith and not love (in some way at least). It’s like fire can’t exist/grow without oxygen, or fish without water, or… one can’t just exist without the other.

The same the other way around, of course. You can’t love God without believing, but that’s even more of a given, I think.

Granted, I did read it far too late last night/too early this morning, when I should already have been asleep, so maybe I just couldn’t see the point that would make the statement ‘faith without love’ even remotely possible… For me, as soon as faith is there, love (as God’s grace) will enter the equation as well, otherwise you can’t really believe, so everything can – and will! – follow automatically.

/random thought of the day


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