St. Edmund Campion Catechism Group - Series 2 Lesson 9


Podcast: What Catholic Faith should look like
Podcast: Notes
Magisterium: Dei Filius
Catechism: Q9-13
My Catholic Faith: Chapter 2
Catholic Encyclopedia: Faith, Heresy, Doubt
Aquinas 101: Faith, Faith & Reason, Common objections to Faith
Summa Theologica: Secunda Secundae Q1-9
Companion to the Summa: Vol III.1

What Catholic Faith should look like

  1. Recap:

    - 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.

    - The formal object of supernatural faith is the authority of God. Faith makes us believe whatever God tells us.

    - The material object of faith are all the truths of Catholic doctrine.

    - The truths of Catholic doctrine are rendered more credible by miracles and they are never in conflict with reason (ie. never illogical).

  2. States of mind in relation to a proposition:

    - Certitude: The adhesion of the mind to a proposition without misgiving as to its truth

                  (i) Certitude of supernatural faith: based on the authority of God (eg. there are three Persons in the Blessed Trinity)

                  (ii) Certitude of natural faith: based on a man's authority (eg. "My name is Godfrey Gilbert")

                  (iii) Certitude of reason: based on induction and deduction

                       a) Metaphysical certitude (highest) based upon first principles of reasoning (eg. "a part is never greater than the whole")

                       b) Physical certitude (physical sciences) based upon physical evidence (eg. Newton's laws of motion)

                       c) Moral certitude (lowest) based upon study of behaviour (eg. Maslow's Hierarchy)

    - Opinion: The adhesion of the mind to a proposition together with a misgiving as to its truth (eg. "we are going to win the game")

                   (i) Opinion based on natural faith (eg. the faith one might have in a blog)

                   (ii) Opinion based on reason (eg. "this government is inimical to the common good")

    - Doubt: A state in which the mind is suspended between two contradictory propositions and unable to assent to either of them. 

                  (i) +ve Doubt: the evidence for and against is so equally balanced as to render decision impossible

                  (ii) -ve Doubt: the doubt arises from the absence of sufficient evidence on either side

    - Ignorance: The mind is unable to say anything about the truth or falsity of proposition due to the absence of any evidence.

  3. How supernatural faith works

    When we believe something by supernatural faith, instead of the will freely giving assent to a proposition by a judgement of the intellect as a result of natural faith or reason, the will is pushed by God to freely give assent to all that God reveals because it is God revealing. It is the authority of God that we believe directly and the things that He reveals as a consequence.

  4. Theological doubts and opinion

    If we have supernatural faith, then there is no opinion or doubt about any truth that God reveals, but there may be opinion or doubt about whether a proposition belongs to the set of propositions that are revealed, or, whether a proposition can be deduced from the set of propositions that are revealed. Theology is the science of divinely revealed truth; it is the application of reason to Revelation with a view to "unpacking" (ie. deducing new truths from) that Revelation, and because man is doing the reasoning, opinion and doubt is permitted.

  5. Doubts about the Revealed Truth and Defined Truth

    When the Church clearly states that a proposition is to be believed on faith (in the extraordinary and ordinary magisterium), opinion and doubt must cease, because otherwise we would reject the authority of God revealing and hence reject God (eg. the Church's teaching on contraception or any truths of the natural law are not open for debate). If we reject one iota of those things to be believed by faith (contained in the extraordinary and ordinary magisterium, creeds, catechism, liturgy), then we lose all supernatural faith, grace, virtues and gifts of the Holy Ghost.