St. Edmund Campion Catechism Group - Series 2 Lesson 7


Podcast: Supernatural virtue of faith
Podcast: Notes
Catechism: Q9-13
My Catholic Faith: Chapter 2
Bible: Luke 17:5; Mark 9:23Mark 16:16Hebrews 11:6Colossians 1:22-231 Peter 1:4-9
Catholic Encyclopedia: Faith
Aquinas 101:  Virtue,  Where do Virtues Come From?Growing and Diminishing in Virtue,   Virtue and Happiness,  Theological Virtues, and Faith
Summa Theologica: Secunda Secundae Q1-9
Companion to the Summa: Vol III.1

Supernatural Virtue of Faith

  1. Recap:

    Man naturally acquires virtue by practise:

    (a) intellectual virtues (wisdom, science) by which he can know, judge and reason to possess truth.

    (b) moral virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance) by which he can act well or direct himself to good. 

    Virtues are good habits which have the effect of keeping the concupiscible and irrascible passions in check.

    When a man sins, he diminishes virtue and grows in vice. 

  2. Distinction between the natural order and supernatural order (Figures 1 & 2)

    Natural Order: That which is natural to a thing proceeds from the nature of the thing. That which is natural to a being is something (a property or a power) that the being is necessarily born with and which directs a being to its end. Everything that exists has a nature which is ordered to an ultimate end. The natural order is the ordination (order) of all creatures to their ultimate end in accordance with their nature.

    Supernatural Order: That which is supernatural does not proceed from the nature of a thing, but is super-added by God to the nature to direct a creature to an end which is above its natural end. The supernatural order is the ordination of raional creatures to a supernatural final goal. 

  3. Natural and supernatural virtues (Figure 3)

    Natural virtues are acquired by repeated acts. For example, the habit of being able to ride a bicycle is acquired by repeated efforts.

    Supernatural (infused) virtues are infused by God into the soul. They permit a man to perform actions which are above those naturally possible, and for an end which above the natural end of man.  For each corresponding theological and moral virtue, there is a supernatural equivalent.

  4. Supernatural faith

    Catechism Definition: Faith is a supernatural gift of God which enables us to believe, without doubting, whatever God has revealed.

    Theological Definition: Faith is the supernatural virtue which renders the intellect entirely obedient to the will when God reveals a truth, because of the authority of God revealing.

    - Material object: all that is divinely revealed

    - Formal object: the authority of God as revealing divine truths

    Sublimity: Supernatural Faith aims at supreme Truth and so at the supreme perfection of the intellect of man. How can we know the First Truth unless we be told by the one Being Who can know it, knowing Himself? Faith has rightly been called a theological, a divine virtue; it looks to the very essence of God Himself, and attains to its sublime object through the action of God Himself, through the supreme Truth's gracious stooping to tell us about Himself. It is saturated with divinity though it is made for man.

    Necessity for salvation: The justification of an adult is not possible without faith (de fide). (cf. Q. "What do you ask of the Church?" A. "Faith?" in the rite of baptism)
  5. Errors: Religious Liberty, False Ecumenism (See Fighting for Catholic Tradition)