Thursday, January 2, 2014

Salvation in the Catholic Church

Welcome to another installment of Theology with Ghym.  Today I want to take a look at the theology of salvation found in the Catholic Church. 
      The Bible gives three phases to Salvation: At times the authors discuss salvation as something already possessed, something received in the past.  At other time they discuss it as something which is ongoing, in the present.  Still at other times they speak of salvation as something still far off in the future.  This is what I was taught when I was a protestant and this is what I was taught after I became Catholic, as far as I am aware these three phases are universally recognized.  I've been saved, I'm being saved and I shall be saved.
      That being said, Catholics and Protestants have some very different understandings of these three phases.  Protestants put a huge amount of emphasis on the initial point of salvation, seeing it as the moment of justification.  For Catholics this is simply the starting point, when we enter into the process; justification comes later. 
      The departure runs even deeper when one considers how it is we come to be "saved", initially.  For Protestants God bestows an initial grace on us which can bring about a saving faith, which, when acted upon by us, brings about our salvation.  For Catholics this initial point of salvation actually precedes faith, faith and works come later.  God bestows initial grace upon us enabling us to respond with either a yes or a no.  If no then we stay outside.  If yes, we enter into the process and God bestows even greater graces upon us, slowly bringing about faith and works, justification and sanctification.
      For Catholics this initial point of salvation is entirely based upon our own receptivity, our willingness to receive the grace of God.  However, this is true, not only of this first point, but of every point that follows.  God continually offers us ever more grace and we continually say yes or no.  As we say yes, through works or prayers or sacraments, God acts upon our hearts to bring about even more faith.
      Catholics do not discuss the initial point of salvation overly much because it is simply the first link in a very long chain.  It is the first yes we offer up to God, but it is far from the only one.  In the second phase of salvation there is an ongoing cycle.  God's grace brings about faith, our faith is made manifest in works, our works dispose us towards a greater receptivity to grace, we get more grace which brings about more faith and the cycle continues.
      The final point of salvation is achieved when we are made fully open to God.  This is that moment of complete surrender when we are brought into the inter life of the Trinity.  It is here that we are able to fully embrace the salvation won for us on Calvary.  It is only here that we are fully sanctified and thus fully repentant and can fully receive our justification.

      It is not necessary that one be a Catholic, or even a Christian, in order to be saved.  All that is necessary is that one be willing to receive the grace of God.  You must be open to Him, He will do the rest.
      The great thing about being Catholic is that we have the fullness of the truth and the sacraments.  As we participate in the life of the Church our spiritual life is expedited.  The sacraments and sacramentals are tools which help us along the journey.  We have saints who serve as examples by which we might live our lives more fully inline with God's will.  And most of all, we get to know God, not just personally, but intimately.  Every time we participate in the Mass we receive a glimpse of heaven.  Every time we receive the Eucharist we receive love incarnate in the most intimate act we could possibly share with God himself. 
      Truly, it is not necessary to be Catholic, but it really helps.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Santa is Real

For Christmas Eve I wanted to share something I made under a different moniker.  The first in what I hope will be a series of videos in which I talk about much of the same things I talk about here but under a more accessible medium.

If you read my post on Santa you have already been exposed to much of what I say in the video but I hope you check it out anyway.  My profession is sound editing, I've never done anything this complicated before.

I hope you enjoy it.

And if you do enjoy it, please don't forget to like and share.  That's the only way you can encourage me to do more.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

5 Differences Between Protestant Theology and the Gospel

Hello everybody!  Its great to see you all again.
Yesterday a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook written by Jesse Johnson for 'Reformation Day'.  You can visit the original piece here.  It's really more of a summary than an argument, rehashing the same points that Protestants generally hit.  This, of course, will not stop be from going all Freddy Kruger on its assertions.
Really, if it had simply been titled "5 Differences Between Protestant and Catholic Theology", I probably would have let it slide.  However, it wasn't. 

1) Justification
Here I must give credit where credit is due.  Not only does Jesse not take any cheap pot-shots at the Catholic faith, he even does a half-way decent job in explaining it.  He even quotes from the council of Trent, twice.  I only have two critics and the first one I'll grant him pass on. I cannot be too upset with him for oversimplifying the Catholic position seeing as this is a summary and not a treatise.  In fact, he gives an explanation that I would not be surprised to hear a Catholic giving.
The problem is that he is not comparing equivalent doctrines.   For Protestants faith alone is the beginning of the salvation process.  For Catholics faith and works serve as the middle of the salvation process.  I feel, and you should feel dumb if you disagree, that we should compare beginning to beginning.
"[Protestants] teach that sinners are justified on the basis of faith alone" while Catholics teach that sinners are justified on the basis of grace alone. 
CCC 1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.
For Catholics "everything is grace" (St. Teresa of Lisieux).  We contribute nothing to this process except out own weakness and brokenness for this is all that we have that is truly of us.  We do participate in the process of salvation through faith and works, but even these are in fact graces received from God and not of ourselves.
CCC 2001 The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity[i.e. works]. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, "since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:"
Truly, everything is grace.  Works are not the cause of justification, but rather a cause and even then only a secondary cause for they are themselves caused by grace.

As for justification as a single event vs a process.  Catholics believe that a person cannot be fully justified until he is also fully sanctified.  That is, we cannot be fully forgiven for sin until we are fully repentant and once we are fully repentant we will stop committing it.  In one sense our justification is complete because Christ has fully atoned for all of our sins.  However, we sinners are only able to receive so much of it at a time.  So, in another sense, we are in constant need of receiving more.  Thus, it is lucky for us that Christ has provided an infinite supply.
As I am pressed for space, please see Jimmy Akin's article, "Salvation Past, Present, and Future" for more on this topic. 

2) The Pope as head of the church
Here is where Jesse starts going down hill.
First, we have a straw-man.  "For evangelicals ... Jesus Christ is the head of the church" but "In the Roman Catholic teaching ... The head of the church is the Pope".  NO!  Again with the misplaced comparisons.  Jesus Christ, for Catholics and Protestants alike, is the head of the Church.  The head of the Church is Jesus Christ.  Got it?  Good!
In the Catholic Church we believe that God, recognizing our weakness and fallibility, gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us to all truth (John 16:13).  And in order that we might know where the Holy Spirit is guiding us he gave us the magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church, which is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim. 3:15).  This teaching authority is wielded, primarily, by the bishops.
The Pope is the prime-minister of Christ.  He serves as the head of the bishops.  Generally, infallible statements issued by the magisterium are put forth by the congregation of bishops acting in a council.  At times the Pope can speak infallible but this is extremely rare.
The Church is made up of everyone who has accepted the grace offered by God; those on earth or in purgatory who are in the process and those in Heaven who have finished the race.  The Church is made up of both laity and cleric although it is lead by the Holy Spirit acting through those who have received holy orders (clerics: deacons, priests and bishops).
Everyone who is in the process of salvation is under the authority of the Pope for he has been given the authority to bind and loose on earth that which has been bound or loosed in heaven. (Matt. 16:19)
When you consider that Catholics and Orthodox have been separated for almost a thousand years and yet our theology is almost identical, the effectiveness of the magisterium becomes apparent.

3) Mass vs. communion
I really like this line, "The bread is symbolic of the body, and wine symbolic of the blood. There is nothing mystical or meritorious about it, but it is a means of grace and of provoking growth in godliness."
If it is a means of grace than it is mystical, that is kinda what mystical means. (I would argue that all mystical experiences are means of grace and it is a requirement of grace that all means of it are mystical.)   So, Jesse is blatantly contradicting himself here.  Secondly, if it is a means of grace that we have to cooperate in, than it is meritorious.  We are earning grace like pagans, we are not placing God in our debts, but if we can do something that brings about grace, than that's merit.  So, he is contradicting himself again.  That's twice in a single sentence.  I am impressed.  He is also being repetitive when he says that it is both "a means of grace and of provoking growth in godliness."  You could easily define grace as a mystical provoking of growth in godliness.  It would be a limited definition, but it would not be a wrong one.
Basically, Mr. Johnson is using three words here without understanding what they mean: mystical, merit and grace.
For the next paragraph, lets just take it one sentence at a time.
"The Catholic Church teaches transubstantiation, that the bread and wine are transformed literally into the body and blood of Jesus."  We're good so far, this is indeed the Church's position.  Moving on.
"Thus in the mass, the priest calls Jesus down from heaven, and in the breaking of the bread Jesus is re-sacrificed."  This is just wrong.  The idea of Jesus being called down from heaven was expressed at times in Church history but never as a teaching of the Church.  A far more accurate way of saying this is that in the mass the entire congregation is lifted up to heaven and we receive a glimpse of the beatific vision.  It is not that the priest calls Jesus down, but rather that Jesus lifts us up.
The expression of Jesus being re-sacrificed can work in some languages, but not in English because it implies that this is a new sacrifice whereas we do not see it as such.  Rater, this is a re-presentation of Christ's singular sacrifice.  Christ dies once but in the mass we are able to witness it as if we were standing at the foot of Calvary and the priest takes that sacrifice and he offers it up once more for our sake.
"The mass is meritorious, as one of the seven sacraments, and it is a 'true and proper sacrifice.'”  This is mostly true, it is a mystical means of grace provoking growth is godliness. The only mistake here is more of a technicality. The mass is not the sacrament, although it is sacramental, the Eucharist is the true sacrament.
-As a side note, many of the Catholics made martyrs by the Protestants, communist and even going back to the Romans, went to their deaths over this issue. They considered participation in the Mass to be essential to the Christian life and often were put to death for their participation.

4) Mary
Seeing as this was written for "Reformation Day" I think it is fitting that I let someone else take central stage for a moment. 
In the words of Martin Luther,
-"The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart."
- ". . . she is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin. . . . God's grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. . . . God is with her, meaning that all she did or left undone is divine and the action of God in her. Moreover, God guarded and protected her from all that might be hurtful to her."
-"Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that 'brothers' really mean 'cousins' here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers."

Or I could point you to Huldreich Zwingli,
-"I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity."

Or how about John Wesley,
 -"The Blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as when she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin."

Seeing as I have given the opinion of all these Protestants, i should give a summary of the Catholic position, but I again feel that Martin Luther says it best,
"One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God's grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God."

For more of these quote, this is the place to go.
For a more detailed look at why we revere Mary, look here.

5) Purgatory
I wish I had time to go over all the problems here, but I have a life and I would like to get back to it.
Plus, I'm already 900 words over my standard 1000, so please return tomorrow for Part 2 in our discussion.

To be Continued!

If you like my blog, consider liking my page on facebook:
Or share me with a friend!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Catholic in the Extreme

Sorry for taking such a long break.  I especially want to apologize to my fans, i know you both missed me terribly.

      Part of the reason  was gone so long was i simply ran out of topics worth writing on.  Or rather, I ran out of things to say on them.  The other part is, trying to write a post weakly became a chore and then i lost interest.  From now on i will try to post more than once a semester, but no promises on how often that will be.

      Here is what got me to come back.  I saw a post from CatholicVote today and it got me thinking.  You can read the article here. But basically, the author is upset that some low level military clerk put together a power point in which Catholics were referred to as extremists. 
       Now, on the one hand, the power point did put us along side such groups as the KKK, Al Queda and Hamas.  That is a little offensive but that was not CatholicVote's complaint. CatholicVote was upset we were called "extremists".  They found something which was marginally offensive and then proceeded to miss why.  Yes, it is offensive to imply the Catholic Church is a hate group.  No, it is not offensive to call us extremists.  That is exactly what we are called to be.
       We are called to a radical Christianity that makes itself felt in every part of the world, that expresses itself in every aspect of society.  Not with blades or bombs, but with truth and love.  Catholic extremists devote their lives to serve the poor and underprivileged, they build schools and hospitals, they travel to strange and distant lands just to tell people whom they had never met just how much they love them.
      Some religious extremists have Bin Laden.  We have Mother Teresa. 

       Saints are radical, they go to the extreme.  St. Francis once challenged a group of Muslim scholars to walk with him through a furnace and whoever survived served the true God.  The scholars declined his offer.
       After John Paul II recovered from being shot he went and forgave his attacker and even converted him to Christianity.
       As the Titanic was going down, Father Thomas Byles turned down two seats on life boats in order to remain with those who needed him.  He gave up his life in order to spend a few more minutes with people who were soon to die.  He spent his last minutes praying the rosary, hearing confession and sharing what words of comfort he had.
       This is Catholic Extremism, this is what we are called to.  We ought never take offense when someone accuses us of living up to it.  If only there were more Catholic extremists out there, the world would be a much better place.

From your friendly neighborhood Ghym

If you are wondering how to be a little more extreme in your Catholicism, consider joining MissionPals.  A free pen pal program i'm running which pairs active catholic missionaries with everyday lay Catholics for mutual support and edification.  You can read more about it at

If you like my blog, consider liking my page on facebook:
Or share me with a friend!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Why Every Woman Should be a Mother and Every Man a Father

Motherhood is one of those indispensable positions.  We really can't do without it.  The same is true of fatherhood.  Catholics hold that every child has a right to a mother and a father.  Although some instances make this impossible, outside of anyone's control, to purposefully deprive a child of either parent is to violate their rights and to act contrary to their dignity.  We each begin life as a child, with a calling to be sons and daughters.  As we grow older we gain a new vocation, to be mothers and fathers.  This is universal to every person who has ever or will ever live.
      A vocation is a calling, it is what you are called to be.  We each have many vocations.  Some people are called to be priests, they have a priestly vocation.  Some people are called to be doctors, having a medical vocation.  Every little boy is called to be a son and every little girls is called to be a daughter.  As we travel through life we discover ever more vocations.  Our very first vocation is to be children and we never grow out of our vocations, for heaven belongs to such as these.
      Vocations are never callings to receive, they are always callings to give, to the gift of self.  As children we gave ourselves in trust and obedience.  We trusted our parents and teachers to guide us and so we obeyed them.  In so doing we gave up our own desires and gave ourselves over to them.  As adults we gained a new calling, to be more than children, to be parents.  Every man is called to be a father and every woman is called to be a mother.  Not necessarily a biological father or mother.  If this were it would make life awkward for Catholic nuns and monks and priests.  It would also be very unfair to those men and women who can't have children.
      Nevertheless, all men and women are called to a type of motherhood or fatherhood.  We are called to give ourselves to those who may find themselves under our authority, to be worthy of the trust they are called to place in us, to guide for their sake and not for our own.  This is the servant leadership Christ taught us. We so often think that having the position of power entitles us to privilege and honor, it makes us better than those we have authority over, but Christ came as one who serves.  You see, the essence of God is love and the essence of love is humility, to place another before ourselves.  This is the essence of being a parent, to wield whatever power you may have for the good of another.
      The president may think he is the ruler of the free world, but the truth is your parish priest has more real power in his pointer fingers and thumbs than the United States President has in the whole of his office.  However, the priest does not seek to force his will on others or enrich himself at their expense.  Rather, he pledges himself to poverty, chastity and obedience.  In his voice is found the greatest power ever bestowed on mortal man, and yet he does not benefit from it in the slightest.  He wields it only for the good of others.  This is why we call him father.
      Within the womb of a woman is found another great power.  The power to bring forth life.  A man is necessary for the first fifteen minutes or so, but after that his involvement is more or less voluntary.  It is within the woman's womb that this new life finds incarnation, where it is nurtured for nine months, where the mother literally gives herself to her child, providing it with her own nutrients and sheltering it within her own body.  The relationship between a mother and child for that first year of life is the purest embodiment of what it means to be a mother.
      Within the Church we find nuns and religious sisters, women who have pledged themselves to be be the mothers of the world.  They give themselves to God in the three vows or solemn promises of poverty, chastity and obedience.  In this way they give themselves not only to God, but to us as well.  Although they will never be biological mothers to anyone they become spiritual mothers to all.
      To give ourselves in love, for the good of others, is to find the meaning of our existence.  For adults, this means to be a parent.  Sometimes to our own biological children, sometimes by adoption and sometimes to some person we have never met before and may never see again.  This willingness to be a parent is more than just something we do on occasion, it is a state of being.  You don't get to be a mom or a dad on a part time basis.  Every moment of every day must contain the willingness to be a parent to whomever may have need of us. 
      This is part of the reason the Church opposes contraception.  When we create physical barriers to pregnancy in the midst of sexual union we close ourselves off from our purpose of self giving love, from being moms and dads.  Even Natural Family Planning can be contrary to God's will for us if it is done from a desire to avoid having kids.  That is, NFP can be done for the sake of being a better parent to those who are already here.  Neither it nor any other form of birth control should be used for the purpose of avoiding our parent vocations. 
      Every woman is called to be a mother and every man is called to be a father.  Sometimes we get to be mothers and fathers to our own kids.  Sometimes God has other plans for us.  Sometimes we only get to embrace this love for an hour.  Sometimes for a lifetime.  Sometimes our openness to parenthood leads to us being parents.  Sometimes it doesn't.  What really matters is the openness.  God is always open to being our Father, but we have to let Him.  We too ought to be ever open; open to being mothers and fathers, open to being sisters and brothers, open to being sons and daughters.  As long as we are open to love, we are growing closer to God.  The second we close ourselves off, we have lost sight of our very purpose in being and have condemned ourselves to a misery of our own making.

If you enjoy my blog, consider clicking that share button down below.  Maybe some of your friends will enjoy it too. 
Also, feel free to like my page on Facebook;

Peace and Love!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Santa or Jesus? Must we Choose?

Christmas is soon upon us.  Yesterday we had the first snow to stay on the ground.  Today i bought a few more Christmas gifts.  Tomorrow i post a blog on Santa Clause.  The day after tomorrow is the fourth Sunday of advent.  It is a good time to contemplate what Christmas really is and what it should mean to us.  Every year we hear our pastors or priests talk about how the Christmas season, the love and the self sacrifice, should not be restricted to only one month, they should extend throughout the year.  And yet, every year when the Christmas decorations come down, so too does that Christmas spirit.
      I have a problem with people who say Santa isn’t real.  I stopped believing in him when I was around 10 or 11 years old and didn’t regain that faith until college.  Today I absolutely believe in Santa, 100%, and if you know me you know I can defend my beliefs.  I have heard many people discuss the differences between Santa Clause and Jesus and how Jesus wins on every comparison. These
people are missing the point of the great Saint who spreads so much joy each season.  When people place him above Jesus that is a problem, but nor should they be in competition.  Santa's gifts aren’t the physical ones left under the tree, and he doesn’t travel the world on a sleigh pulled by nine reindeer.  All of these ideas are symbols for deeper truths which Saint Nicolas is trying to teach us.  Christ is constantly working through Saint Nick and Saint Nick is constantly pointing us towards Christ.
      Saint Nicholas is a real historical figure born around 270AD in a little town called Patara, in modern day Turkey.  His parents were wealthy Christians who passed on their love of Christ to their son.  They died when he was still fairly young, probably early teens.  However, they had done such a good job passing on their faith that young Nicholas devoted himself and his inherited wealth to serving the poor and the needy in his community.  When he was old enough he became a priest and soon after the bishop of Myra, a larger town to the east of Patara.  He is remembered for his love of those in need, especially children and the many miracles and stories attributed to him.  One story says he punched Arius at the council of Nicea.  He is one of my favorite Saints and i could write this entire post on the historical figure, if you would like to know more in that regard look here.  Today, i am more interested in the myth.
      When people place Saint Nick and Jesus in conflict with each other the gifts are often the central focus.  "Santa gives material gifts and thus supports materialism, Jesus gives spiritual gifts and so He denounces materialism."  For many this is enough to condemn Santa as a usurper.  I would suggest that this is not necessary, that the true gifts are the same.  The material gifts attributed to Santa are symbols of these true gifts, the gifts of faith, hope, and love and the message of salvation.
      Nicholas was a bishop and even to this day Santa Clause dresses in red, the color of Bishops.  The role of the Bishop is to guide and serve.  He is a husband to his church and a father to his congregation.  If we are disobedient to God we cannot receive the gifts of the Spirit.  So too, if we are naughty we cannot receive the gifts Santa brings.  This is not materialism, this is symbolism.  Being obedient to our parents teaches us how to be obedient to God.  This obedience is necessary for salvation, the greatest gift of all.
      As a bishop, Saint Nicholas was single.  Mrs. Clause can be seen as a construct for the Church as the people of God. She teaches us of the role of a bishop as husband.  But more than that, she teaches us of our responsibilities.  Just as a wife needs to support and encourage her husband, so too must we support and encourage our bishops.
      The sleigh represents the Church as a structure, as the institution through which we receive the sacraments.  Just as Santa has his reindeer, the bishop has his priests.  As the reindeer bring the sleigh and its gifts to the children of the world, the priests bring the the Church and its gifts to the children of God.  We see this in Rudolph's red nose which glows so bright that it serves as a light to guide the sleigh.  In every Catholic Church there is a red light, a candle burning near the tabernacle.  It symbolizes the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  Just as Rudolph's red nose guides Santa's sleigh, the Eucharist must guide the Church.
      And who are we in all this?  We are the elves who make the toys.  We display our faith and hope and love in the world.  When we do this we produce the proofs that draw people deeper into God.  But unlike the elves who stay safely hidden away in the workshop, we must be in the world drawing people into the Church where they can receive these gifts.
      Christ has granted Santa an infinite supply of presents.  Every time a gift is given in Santa's name this great saint gives a gift of his own to both the giver and receiver, a gift containing not toys or earthly wealth, but the three greatest gifts of all, the gifts of the Spirit, the gifts of faith and hope and love.  Perhaps the reason these three greatest gifts of Christ tend to leave the world when the Christmas decorations come down is not because people forget Christ, but because they forget we are His workers, not just in December, but throughout the entire year.  Christ has empowered Santa to further the message of salvation, but we must participate in this.  Just as Santa has no gifts to give without the elves, our bishops will have no one to bestow their gifts upon unless we are out there winning souls.
      We do not need to choose between Santa and Jesus.  We have been called to a New Evangelization.  Perhaps if we ask him, Santa will help us in this.  He has a great deal to tell the world if we are willing to give him a voice.

Merry Christmas
And don't forget to like my page on Facebook!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Five Catholic Solas

Some time back a fellow blogger circulated a list of five Solas.  Now, he wasn't a Catholic.  In fact, his list was meant to conflict with Catholic theology, to show the differences.  Its been awhile since he put it up, but i felt a desire to write a response piece. 
      Mr. Calvin, who put forth the original articular, gives the following list;
  • Sola fide ("by faith alone")
  • Sola gratia ("by grace alone")
  • Sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone")
  • Solus Christus or Solo Christo ("Christ alone" or "through Christ alone")
  • Soli Deo gloria ("to God alone be the glory")
      Given my extreme laziness and very rusty Latin i'm going to leave my responses in English.  If one of my readers feels called to translate my list into Latin i would find that amusing.  It should be mentioned, my list should not be seen so much as a point by point critic, but rather as a Catholic alternative.  There are some points upon which Calvin and i would agree, although i shall do my utmost best to ignore them for the remainder of this post.
      The Five Catholic Solas, which i put forth, are these;
  • By Grace Alone
  • By Love Alone
  • By the Word of God Alone
  • God Alone
  • From God Alone is the Glory
      The first point on my list is grace alone.  More observant readers will notice that Mr. Calvin has already used this term.  In some ways it is a point were we would agree, but i think Calvin takes faith too far.  For Catholics it is all grace, we contribute nothing of ourselves.  Everything we have to offer, even our faith, we have only by the grace of God.  If my faith is of myself i would have cause to boast.  We are not saved by some combination of faith and grace.  We are saved by grace alone and everything else, including faith and works, flow from that.
      My second point is love alone.  We are saved for love, through love and on account of love.  God saved us because He loves us so that we might love Him.  Because God loves us, He is not satisfied to simply ignore our deficiencies.  He is compelled by love to heal us, to reconcile us to Himself.  God is love and we cannot begin to understand God apart from love.  It is for and by love that we were made in the first place.
      This third one is pretty straight forward.  The Bible alone is insufficient.  Scripture alone cannot explain where it came from, how we know what is and isn't scripture.  Scripture alone cannot address series differences of opinion within the Church.  Perhaps most grievous is that one must look beyond scripture to to find the very idea of scripture alone, it's not found in the Bible.  In professing the Word of God Alone we affirm the need for and value of both scripture and tradition and the need of the
Church to interpret it.  We profess the Word of God alone, but we do not limit this to only that which is written.
      God Alone is perhaps the foundational tenet of Catholic faith.  All the others are contained in this one.  God is the source and means of everything.  Salvation comes from Him, forgiveness comes from Him, the Word of God is His word which He enables us to interpret through His grace.  I have expanded this from Christ alone to God alone in order to emphasis the roles of the Father and Holy Spirit.  Christ is not alone, we cannot come to Him unless we are first called by the Holy Spirit, and this journey does not conclude until we arrive at the house of the Father.  Additionally, i want to emphasis that even when God works in and through others, it remains God Himself who does the work.
      In this final point, it is perhaps a very small change grammatically, but it is a very large change theologically.  In the original, to God alone, any praise not directed towards God directly is wrong.  To attribute glory to anything outside of God would detract from God.  In recognizing instead, that all glory flows from God, we are free to praise popes and saints and small children because the glory we see in them is of God.  They do not detract from God, they reflect God.  In proclaiming From God Alone is the Glory, we recognize that to praise truth, goodness and beauty, wherever they are found, is to give praise and worship to Him who made them.  We give glory to God when we recognize the grandeur of His creation.

      By Grace Alone - This first point reminds us that we can go all things through God who strengthens us, but we can do nothing apart from Him.  Everything we have we have through His grace.  Everything we do, we do through His grace.
      By Love Alone - This second point reminds us that we were made by love and for love.  Apart from love our lives have no purpose, no meaning.  We owe everything to God's love and are now called to share that love with the world.
      By the Word of God Alone - This third point reminds us that our own intellects are insufficient.  We must be guided by the Holy Spirit if were are to know anything of God.  Our understand comes from Sacred Scripture and Tradition, interpreted by the magisterium under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
      God Alone - This fourth point reminds us that we exist only by God's continuing choice.  Our very existence is grounded in Him.  He needs no one else but we desperately need Him.
      From God Alone is the Glory - This fifth point reminds us that no matter where we may encounter truth, goodness or beauty; it is God's glory being manifest.  We in no way detract from Him in praising His creation.