Poena Satisfactoria by John Joy, STL

Poena Satisfactoria is both a devastating criticism of the Protestant theory of atonement known as "penal substitution" as well as an explication of the teachings of St. Anselm and St. Thomas on the atonement. Ultimately, the "vicarious atonement" theory of St. Thomas is established as the most sound and consonant with the Catholic faith.

The views of the Reformers are put forth and repudiated by reference to St. Thomas. In explicating St. Thomas' teaching on the atonement, the author points to the perfect charity of Christ as the source as the primary reason for the acceptibility of His sacrifice, which goes hand in hand with Christ's sinlessness, perfection and divine nature. In making charity the animating principle, St. Thomas is able to avoid basing the atonement on an appeal to an exalted "measure of justice" that even God must obey, while at the same time placing the value of Christ's sacrifice not on His physical sufferings (poena simpliciter) but on the perfect charity with which He offered Himself to God to endure those sufferings. This perfect offering, voluntarily undertaken in perfect charity, makes the punishment Christ endured a satisfactory punishment (poena satisfactoria).

 Readers will appreciate its scholarly tone, its tendency to be relevant to a dozen side-issues while remaining focused on only one; Thomists will appreciate the copious amount of the Angelic Doctor that is cited in the text and footnotes. Highly recommended for getting to the traditional, Catholic view on the atonement of Christ. Paperback, 106 pages, $11.99 USD + shipping.



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