Condign Merit

Condign merit is a Roman Catholic term designating the kind of goodness that is bestowed on a person because of the actions of that person.  It is merit.  It "supposes an equality between service and return."1.  It is reward for work accomplished only with the help of the Holy Spirit, but it is actually a reward that is deserved.  If reward is withheld due to condign merit, then there is injustice.

"The most merit humans can have is condign—when, under the impetus of God’s grace, they perform acts which please him and which he has promised to reward (Rom. 2:6–11, Gal. 6:6–10). Thus God’s grace and his promise form the foundation for all human merit (CCC 2008)."2

Condign merit (meritum de condigno) is contrasted with congruent merit which is the goodness bestowed on a person because of the work of another person, i.e., Jesus' work on the cross bestows merit upon a person who believes; but it is not owed.  It is freely given. If reward is withheld due to congruent merit, then there is no injustice.

Strict merit is goodness bestowed as a contractural agreement between two or more parties.  An example would be getting paid money for work performed.

 

Summary of positions:  Condign merit (reward merit, not owed but kindly given) is the kind of goodness that is bestowed on a person because of the actions of that person. Congruent merit (merit from another) is the goodness bestowed on a person because of the work of another person. Strict merit (merit strictly due--as is a wage for work) is goodness bestowed as a contractural agreement between two or more parties.

  • 1. Catholic Encyclopedia, merit, newadvent.org/cathen/10202b.htm
  • 2. http://www.catholic.com/tracts/reward-and-merit

 

 

 

 
 
CARM ison