Condign Merit

Condign merit in 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.

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. In congruent merit, if reward is withheld, 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 positionsCondign merit the kind of goodness that is bestowed on a person because of the actions of that person.  It is not owed but is kindly given.  If the reward is withheld, then that is not just.  Congruent merit (merit from another) is the goodness bestowed on a person because of the work of another person. If the reward is withheld, there is no injustice. Strict merit (merit strickly due, as is a wage for work) is goodness bestowed as a contractural agreement between two or more parties.  If not given, it is not just.

  • 1. Catholic Encyclopedia, merit, newadvent.org/cathen/10202b.htm
 
 
About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.