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Catholic Dictionary




The theory of man's co-operation with grace, first developed by Francisco Suárez (1548-1617) and St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) and later adopted by the Jesuit order. According to congruism, the difference between efficacious and sufficient grace lies not only in the consent of the free will (Molinism), but also in the congruity or suitableness of a particular grace to the peculiar conditions of the one who receives the grace. When the grace suits the interior dispositions and external circumstances of a person, it becomes effective by the free consent of the will; otherwise it remains ineffective because it lacks free acceptance. As in Molinism, God foresees the congruity of the grace and its infallible success. Unlike Molinism, congruism places the emphasis not on man's freedom but on the supremacy of the divine will in determining salvation. (Etym. Latin congruitas, congruity, fitness, suitability, becomingness.)