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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 10 years ago

Was St. Augustine a Roman Catholic?

If so, why did he teach:

Double Predestination (Enchiridion, Chapter 100 )

Unconditional Election (On the Predestination of the Saints, Chapter 16 )

and Eternal Security (On the Gift of Perseverance, Chapters 1 and 10 )

These are doctrines that the Roman Catholic Church would call 'heresy.'


@cristoiglesia - Calvin changed the manuscripts we have of Augustine?? What evidence do you have for such an absurd claim?

12 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Augustine was a Catholic and not a "proto-protestant". These articles explain it more for you:

    Augustine was a very deep and prolific Catholic theologian so it would be a big mistake to only take parts of his writings and make assumptions about what he taught. In his writings he's working through many diffrent ideas and if you don't take them as a whole it's easy to misunderstand.

    Additionally, the Catholic teaching on predestination is not a simple teaching. There are actually two acceptable points of view on presdestination that are acceptable for Catholics to hold (Thomism and Molinism)

    To address the ponts - Augustine did NOT teach "double predestination," (the idea that God not only decides to elect some to eternal life but also actively predestines others to eternal destruction). He actually argued against that idea (see

    The idea that God's elect will persevere to the end and attain eternal salvation is not heresy in the Catholic Church. The Church formally teaches that there is a gift of final perseverance. But unlike Calvin and those in the later Reformed tradition, Augustine does not believe that the Christian can in this life know with infallible certitude that he is in fact among the elect and that he will finally persevere. (See

    And Augustine did not teach the idea that once we're save, we're always saved (eternal security). He clearly taught that it was possible for someone to loose God's grace. (See )

  • 10 years ago

    Several things are in error in Questioner's innocent assumptions. The "source" Newadvent Encyclopedia is the re-written Modernized Catholic Dogma and this was not taught by St. Augustine & other Doctors of the Church. New Advent cannot compare itself to the Catholic references of the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1907, even if it plagiarizes the copyrighted Title. To use actual patristic references would give the game away. When doctrine is being altered (ahem) there is no reason to give the prey the quoted sources of St. Augustine & the other doctors.

    The true sources of Catholic Dogma are found in the decrees such as Councils & papal encyclicals. Get them before they get "altered" too.

    Cristoglesia is a Patristic scholar, knowledgeable in the ancient languages. He has read Augustine's Latin, perhaps Dionysius's Greek, & is a former minister educated in scholastic theology. He knows the patristic record is the last stop on authenticity. Change that, and then what? All the Patristic Fathers' writings have been visibly under glass for centuries. Will someone please go & photo the documents before the glass is removed? The original Patristic record has been in archive in the Vatican (whether readable or not I don't know) but it was re-copied by scholars so that it would not be lost without a record of its authenticity. What you have found is the not-under-glass, non-original "under construction", unathentic, "New Patristic" [newadvent] innovation which does a deliberate "twist" against Catholic Dogma. Which just "goes to show" they can fool most of the people most of the time.

    St. Augustine does not teach "evolving New Doctrine;" he remains true Catholic.

    Congratulations on your discovery. The Question can now be revised

    to "Whose Work of Human Hands Did This?"

    Traditional Catholics of Augustine's di Doctrini Christiani & Trent

    "Work of Human Hands", 2010, Fr.Anthony Cekada, Philothea Press

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    I have not gone to the Church Fathers and read Augustine's writings your pertaining to but i'm certain if i do rather than assuming something taken out of context i'll read a more complete meaning to the great Saints Words. Peter Schaff by the way was a Anglican Church historian and after reading the Ante Nicene Fathers and Post Ante Nicene Fathers Schaff interjects commentaries when Catholic teaching are supported by questioning the writers intent.

    As far as Answerers go i in theological challenges definitely trust Father Josephs knowledge and Lynn's knowledge over your skeptical desires.

  • ?
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    "Saint" Augustine could be called the author of "heresy" by Roman Catholics! What evidence do you have for such an absurd claim? [There is no evidence at New Advent.] "Heretic" and "Saint" are contradictions in terms.

    "Sceptic"! You seem to have difficulty with other [than "Saint" vs. "Heretic"] words, given your question directed @cristoglesia, since "changing a manuscript" is called a "forgery" which has false content falsely attributed to a named author, while PLAGIARIZING [which critoiglesia attributed to Cavin] means to take someone else's ideas and attribute those ideas to one's personal self. In both cases there is a false attribution of the author --- but in opposite ways. Plagiarization means to steal someone's seriously held ideas. Forgery means to give someone else your own ideas, while contradicting his actually held ideas.

    So Critoglesia didn't say that Calvin "changed the manuscripts we have of Augustine". You wrote that above [arguably proving that you don't know the difference between "forgery" and "plagiarism"]. Cristoglesia actually said that Calvin plagiarized Augustine's ideas about predestination but contradicted Augustine's conclusions --- which is arguagbly/possibly why Roman Catholics think of Calvin as a Christian heretic and of Augustine as a Roman Catholic saint.

    Catholics, such as myself, actually think that you may be a functionally-illiterate Christian Sceptic, although a dictionary may cure you of that minor [and non-heretical] possible failing.


    Source(s): The Oxford Concise Dictionary; Christian Sceptic and Cristoiglesia
  • ?
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Saint Augustin was not a Roman Catholic per say as Roman Catholicism did not begin to exist as such until after the first millennium ; at the time of Saint Augustine there was only one Church: the Catholic Church ; later on that Church branched out as the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church (plus many others smaller ones) ; the other anachronism you make is in trying to evaluate a Father of the Church in the light of theology elaborated afterwards ; on that basis it is quite possible to paint anybody as a heretic ; your understanding of the predestination of Saint Augustine is also out of historical context ; you need to read on the errors Pelagius to understand the issue at hand.

    The Foreknowledge of God has confused more than one. Calvin misread Augustine and completely missed the mark on that one and so are you apparently : We cannot project the time bound ways of our humanity onto Timeless God ; if you think it through, it is not within the grasp of human intellect to figure out how God Thinks (Judith 8:14) ; to claim otherwise is presumptuous ; yet there is a relatively simple answer to your reservations ; the reason God went through such length restoring and preserving our freedom is because apart from freedom there is no sincere love ; so while He knows our future, we don't ; and in this way we are preserved from what would be crippling fatalism ; yet if He only allowed those to be born that He foreknew would eventually end up in Heaven (aka "the elects"), He would be changing parameters in the very life of these elects, altering the course of and potentially damaging their life or even indirectly cause some of these to not make the right choices and end up in hell after all (Matthew 13:29); kinda like a grand butterfly effect ; furthermore the hypothetical life of those that would be denied birth would remain as an accusation against God for having judged people's life on the basis of His Foreknowledge alone, without giving these a chance to actually commit within the actual unfolding of time the things that would eventually make them suffer damnation. There is however something that God does for the damned-to-be in order to spare them any unnecessary increase in their sufferings ; according to Saint Augustine, while enough of God's Grace is made available to both evil and good men so as make it possible for them to freely choose to love God, He will not waste any more of His Grace on the damned-to-be than necessary so that in the Final Judgment no additional accounting and punishment would result from failing to properly respond to such extraneous Grace (this is what Saint Augustine calls "predestination" and has really nothing to do with the fatalism of Calvin or what we typically call predestination for in the "predestination" of Saint Augustine, human freedom is preserved)

  • 10 years ago

    The facts are that it was not St. Augustin who taught these things but instead it was the Secular Humanist lawyer named John Calvin who plagiarized St. Augustin's writings and changed Augustin's conclusions to support his heretical doctrines. Indeed, Calvin's doctrines were opposed to Catholic teaching and especially an assault on the teaching of the great doctor of the Church St. Augustin. God bless!

    In Christ

    Fr. Joseph

  • 10 years ago

    He was Catholic, and a bishop i think. I don't know much about the issues, but I have heard there are some, and that Calvinist try to claim him. Without giving you details, i have "heard" that his teaches are twisted a lot, but I will not support or deny that. You give me a subject to research more myself. I will check out, and suggest you to, search and maybe they will have something? newadvent though is a good site which it seems you got your info.

  • 10 years ago

    You shold let Ratzinger know that Augustine is a heretic. I'm sure he'll get right on that.

  • 10 years ago

    As I'm sure you know, the RC church did not exist until 1054 with the Great Schism.

    So why ask such questions? Augustine was also a Manichean at one point; he explored all sorts of ideas. One of the things that makes him great, in fact.

  • Jake
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    Sure was.

    That said, not EVERY saint is right on every

    topic they preach about.

    Often they just give their personal opinion and

    don't claim to be certain.

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