St. Edmund Campion Catechism Group - Series 2 Lesson 8


Podcast: Faith and the First Vatican Council
Podcast: Notes
Magisterium: Dei Filius
Catechism: Q9-13
My Catholic Faith: Chapter 2
Bible: Mk 16:17-20Rm 1:20, Heb 1:1-2
Catholic Encyclopedia: Faith, Heresy
Aquinas 101: 
Summa Theologica: Secunda Secundae Q1-9
Companion to the Summa: Vol III.1

Faith & the First Vatican Council

  1. Recap:

    - There is a fundamental distinction between the natural order and supernatural order. (Figures 1 & 2)

    - Natural virtue is acquired by repeated acts, supernatural virtues are infused by God.

    - Faith: 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. It is necessary for salvation.

  2. Vatican I: Dei Filius, Dogmatic Constitution 1870

    (i) On God:

    - God exists and is distinct from his creation (not a pantheistic god).

    - God is Almighty, Eternal, Immense, Incomprehensible, Infinite in intelligence, in will, and in all perfection, [and is an] absolutely simple and immutable spiritual substance.

    - God created and governs the universe including man.

    (ii) On Revelation

    - God reveals Himself to man through nature so that man can know God through natural light of reason. (Rm 1:20)

    - God also revealed supernatural truths about Himself which can only be known by the supernatural light of faith. (Heb 1:1-2)

       a) so that man may know God more surely and

       b) so that man may know God more profoundly  and

       c) because man is called to a supernatural end which is beyond reason. (1 Cor. 2:9)

    - The divinely revealed truths may be found in Sacred Scripture and Tradition of which Holy Mother the Church is the sole interpreter and guardian.

    (iii) On Faith

    - Man owes obedience of intelligence and will to God.

    - Faith, which is the beginning of man's salvation, is a supernatural virtue, whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because of the intrinsic truth of the things, viewed by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself who reveals them.

    - Miracles are motives of credibility of supernatural truths; they make divinely revealed truths to be reasonable to believe with natural reason too (eg. It is reasonable to believe that Jesus can forgive sins if he can cure the man sick of the palsy. Mt 9:6)

    - Faith is possible without charity (eg. Satan has Faith).

    - Faith is necessary "ad esse" for eternal life.

    - The Catholic Church is divinely established to:

       (a) teach the material objects of Faith,

       (b) to protect the Faith against heresy, and

       (c) to dispense the supernatural virtue of Faith by administering her sacraments.

    (iv) On Faith & Reason: 

    - There is a twofold order of knowledge: knowledge by natural reason and knowledge by supernatural Faith. By Faith, man can know truths above/beyond reason and also some truths which are knowable by reason (eg. the existence of God).

    - Knowledge by natural reason can help us penetrate knowledge by supernatural Faith, for example, by analogies with the natural order (eg. the Mystical Body of Christ), or by relationships between mysteries of Faith.

    - Truths of the Faith and truths of the reason never contradict each other because both supernatural and natural truth have their same origin: God.

    - The Church condemns theories of natural science if they contradict truths of faith (eg. materialism, origin of the human soul).

  3. Errors in Faith

    St. Thomas (IIaIIae:11:1) defines heresy: "a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas". "The right Christian faith consists in giving one's voluntary assent to Christ in all that truly belongs to His teaching. There are, therefore, two ways of deviating from Christianity: the one by refusing to believe in Christ Himself, which is the way of infidelity, common to Pagans and Jews; the other by restricting belief to certain points of Christ's doctrine selected and fashioned at pleasure, which is the way of heretics.

    Agnosticism claims, primarily, that nothing can be known by the intellect which is not perceptible by the senses; the world beyond what the senses perceive is inherently unknowable. 

    - Vital immanence is the theory that religion arises purely from within man himself, deriving all its credibility and force from man's own personal experience as its source.

    - Modernism embraces both heresies. 

  4. Homework

    Compare Dei Filius of Pope Pius IX with Fides et Ratio of Pope John Paul II.