What is the definition of the expression causa procurans, and who may have been the originator of the term?

I found this expression used by a number of people, but I haven't been able to find it defined by anyone. For example:

Obedientia et passio Christi illud est, quo anima remissionem pecatorum obtineat, cum sit causa procurans istius gratiae et seminis, cujus internis operationibus Christus intus formatur et anima illi conformis fit ideoque justus et justificatus. (Robert Barclay. Theologiae verè christianae apologia)

I found it used by Alexander of Hales as well, but only as part of a question:

Ad tertium dicendum quod Deus Pater fuit causa efficiens mortis Christi, ut permittens et ut non prohibens mortem, cum posset; Christus vero ut passionem voluntarie suscipiens nec prohibens, cum posset; Iudaei vero et Iudas ut causa procurans; crucifixores vero [ut] causa inferens mortem. (Alexander of Hales, Summa universis theologiae, Pars III, Q. XVIII, Memb. VII)



2 Answers 2


I think it could be a peculiar type of cause, such as causa efficiens, causa materialis, etc, philosophical concepts from Aristotle, widespread in medieval philosophy and theology. See this passage from Barclay's Apology (1676): Prior est causa procurans et efficiens, secunda causa formalis. — 7, 4. p. 129. Obedientia et passio Ch. illud est, quo anima remissionem peccatorum obtineat, cum sit causa procurans istius gratiae et seminis, cuius internis operationibus Ch. intus formatus et anima illi conformis fit cet. — thes. 5. u. 6, 15. p. 85.

It's quoted by Georg Benedikt Winer (https://archive.org/details/comparativedars00preugoog/page/n8/mode/2up) page 73.


In your second citation Iudaei vero et Iudas ut causa procurans it seems to me the meaning is something akin to "executive power" (this is of course wrong historically and terrible theology, but the author of the text presumably understands it that way, along with a fairly substantial number of people in history and, I'm afraid, present).

Something along those lines also works in the Barclaeus fragment: cum sit causa procurans istius gratiae... i.e. "since it is the active force of that grace..." vel sim.

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