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Woman is the Passive Cause of Generation. ;On the loss of grace and the condition of sin’ bk 4, ch.8; by Bellarmine]

Woman is the Passive Cause of Generation

De Amissione Gratiae et Statu Peccati, book 4, chapter 8

[‘On the loss of grace and the condition of sin’ bk 4, ch.8; by Bellarmine]

Cardinal Bellarmine

From De Controversiis Christianae Fidei by Robert Cardinal Bellarmine SJ, written between 1586 and 1593, re-published at Rome in 1840; here vol. IV, p. 202.

Translated especially for womenpriests.org from the original Latin
by Dr. Mary Ann Rossi -- credits

Paragraph numbering added to the text for easy reference.

Excerpt from Chapter 8

Solving objections from Scripture

§ 1. Someone will say, if all who are born from Adam contact original sin, why does the Apostle in that same chapter write: "The grace of God has overflowed to more people through Christ, than sin has overflowed through Adam"?

§ 2. I respond that the noun ‘plures’ [more people] does not in this passage mean comparison, but is equivalent to the noun ‘multos’ [many people]. For in the Greek text it is not ‘pleionas’ [more people], but ‘pollous’ [many people]. Thus the sense is that the grace of God was not restricted to one or two, but overflowed to many, just as sin infected not only Adam and his children, but very many others. Moreover, as to overflowing to many, how much more suitable it is for grace than for sin, since grace is more powerful and more efficacious.

§ 3. They [=the heretics] used to cite the third Scripture proof from the same passage of the Apostle: Through one man sin entered the world. For if sin had entered the world through begetting, the Apostle would have said not through one person, but through two persons. For the act of reproducing requires two.

§ 4. The author of Hypognostici, bk. 2. responds to this that it was said ‘through one person’ because man and woman, having been joined through matrimony, are not two, but one flesh, as the Lord says in Matthew 19.

§ 5. The same author adds that Scripture, in order to satisfy the curious Pelagians, also said ‘per unam’ [through one woman—feminine ending, Tr.]. For Rom. 5 says: Through one man. Eccles. 25 says: "The beginning of sin was caused by a woman; and through her we all die".

§ 6. We can add a third solution, namely that the Apostle said, "through one man", that is, "Adam", because he was the principal cause of original sin, and not Eve. This is so both because Adam's sin, not Eve's, is handed down to posterity; and because man is the active cause of regeneration, woman the passive. On this account if, with Eve sinning, Adam had remained in innocence, their children would not have carried original sin; and the opposite would hold if Adam had sinned, with Eve remaining in innocence.

Return to Summary of Bellarmine’s teaching?



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