Chapter I, Part 1 the problem: is it the same church? Vatican 2 can be described as a turning point in the history of the Catholic Church. Prior to this event the Church considered herself a 'perfect society' in no need of change

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1. A Manual of Catholic Theology, based on Scheeban's 'Dogmatic' by Joseph Wilhelm and Thomas Scannel, London: Kegan Paul, 1909.

2. Canon George D. Smith, The Teaching of the Catholic Church, op. cit.

3. In a similar vein: Fr. Daniel Lyons, Christianity and Infallibility, N.Y., Longmans Green, 1892: 'Neither the Church nor the Pope has power to add to it, or to take from, or to alter, in one jot or title, the contents of this Apostolic Revelation or deposit of faith.'

4. Tradition is further classified as objective when referring to dogmatic truths, and active by some in reference to the 'customs, precepts, disciplines, and practices,' and by still others when referring to the various organs of transmission such as the rites of the Church and the teaching Magisterium. It is called constitutive if it is established by the Apostles and continuative if of later origin. With regard to its relationship with Scripture, it is termed inherent (if what is handed on is clearly stated in Scripture), declarative (only stated in an obscure manner in Scripture and needing the help of Tradition to be understood, and constitutive (if not to be found in Scripture).

5. 'Every truth, every proposition of the deposit of Revelation is and has ever been implicitly of Catholic Faith; but that only those portions of it which have been authenticated by the infallible authority of the Church and by her proposed for the belief of all the faithful, are explicitly of Catholic faith.' Franzelin, op. cit, quoted from Daniel Lyons, op. cit., p. 214. The distinction is also discussed in Chapters II and V.

6. Many assume that Revelation only comes from Christ. While it is ultimately true that all Revelation comes from God, it may also come to us through the medium of the Apostles. The Christian Revelation was complete with the death of the last Apostle.

7. St Clement, fourth Bishop of Rome and travelling companion to St. Paul, is described by the early Fathers as 'sometimes Apostolic, sometimes Apostle, sometimes almost Apostle.'

8. contra Jul. Pelag. The Fathers of the Council of Trent were quite specific that 'truths and disciplines are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions,' but declined to specify these in an exact manner. The following passage from Rev. J. Waterworth's Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (London, Burns Oates, 1848) is pertinent: 'These regulations having been completed, the private congregations proceeded to consider divine and apostolic traditions - such doctrines that is, and practices, as, taught by Jesus Christ and his Apostles, have not been recorded in the sacred writings, but have been transmitted in various ways from age to age. Numerous congregations, both particular and general were held on this subject. On the existence of such traditions all were agreed; but whilst some insisted that the received traditions should be distinctly specified, others were as urgent that they should be approved of in the most general manner possible, even to the exclusion of the distinctive term Apostolic, for fear of seeming to repudiate such usages and rites as could not be traced to that source... In the general congregation of the 5th of April, the Bishop of Chioggia raised a more intemperate opposition; regarding the traditions as laws, not as revelations; and pronouncing it impious to declare them as of equal authority with the written word. This sentiment had no approvers, but excited the indignation of the whole assembly...'

9. Tertullian in the following passage shows that the practices of the Church fall in the category of Tradition. 'If for these [the practices of the Church] and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scriptural injunction, you will find none. Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of them, custom as their strengthener, and faith as their observer. That reason will support tradition and custom, and faith you will either yourself perceive, or learn from some one who has.' Discussing the practice of women veiling their hair at Church, he continues: 'This instances, therefore, will make it sufficiently plain that you can vindicate the keeping of even unwritten tradition established by custom; the proper witness for tradition when demonstrated by long-continued observance...' De Corona, Chapter IV.

10. A Manual of Catholic Theology, based on Scheeban's 'Dogmatic' by Joseph Wilhelm and Thomas Scanell, London: Kegan Paul, 1909.

11. Exposition of Christian Doctrine, op.cit

12. J. Tixeront, History of Dogmas, London: Herder, 1923.

13. J. Tixeront, op. cit.

14. dialogus contra Luciferanos, viii.

15. John Barry, Tradition and Scripture, London: Longmans, 1906

16. De Spiritu Sancto, 25, 66, 67, 71.

17. It is pertinent to note that 'The Profession of The Catholic Faith for Converts' required by the traditional Church states: 'I admit and embrace most firmly the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all the other constitutions and prescriptions of the Church' (Collectio Ritum, 1964). St. John Fisher taught that 'Those Apostolic traditions which are not recorded in Scriptures must none the less be observed. In addition to these traditions, the customs received by the universal Church must not be rejected by any Christian.' (Quoted by E.E. Reynolds, in his St. John Fisher, N.Y.:Kennedy, 1955).

18. The Book of 'The Lord Be With You', Selected Writings on the Spiritual Life, translated with an Introduction by Patricia McNulty, London:Faber and Faber, 1959. there are some 35 or 40 theologians who have been declared Doctors of the Church, and whose writings therefore have weighty authority. Among them are St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, etc.

19. Homily IV on Tessalonians, available in translation from Michel Erdmans Publ. House, 1969

20. Encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, Nov. 1, 1914.

21. La Croix, Sept 4., 1970

22. Introduction to The Life of St. Alphonso Maria de Liguori, London:Richardson, 1848.

23. In times of persecution the Sacred Species was distributed to the faithful in the hand (and usually in a pure linen cloth), for transport to those who could not come to the catacombs because of age or illness. Such circumstances do not prevail today.

24. In writing about the Feast of the Sacred heart, Gerald Manley Hopkins said: 'This is what the Church does or the Holy Ghost who rules the Church: out of the store which Christ left behind him he brings forth from time to time as need requires some doctrine or some devotion which was indeed known to the Apostles and is old, but is unknown or little known at the time and comes upon the world as new. Such is the case with the worship of the Sacred Heart.' (Sermons and Devotional Writings of Gerald Manley Hopkins, Edited by Christopher Devlin, London:Oxford, 1959).

25. Tractatus De Divina traditione et Scriptura, Roma:Typis S.C. De Propag. Fide, 1870.

26. Later theologians have labelled 'objective' tradition as the 'remote rule of faith'; and the magisterium or 'active' tradition as the 'proximate rule of faith.' Still others have reversed the terms 'remote' and 'proximate.' Pius XII used the phrase 'proximate and universal norm for every theologian' with regard to the Magisterium (A.A.S. XLII, l150, 567), but at the same time made it clear that the magisterium is the 'guardian and interpreter of revealed truth,' and not 'a separate source of truth.'

27. Rev. Greg. 1937, p. 79.

28. A.M. Henry, O.P., An Introduction to Theology, Ill.: Fides, 1952.

29. A. H. Mathew, Ecclesia: The Church of Christ, London: Burns Oates, 1906.

30. Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, London: Herder, 1929.

31. Abbe Gueranger, Institutions Liturgique, he also notes that one of the characteristic s of the various Protestant changes in the liturgical forms is 'the hatred of all that is Traditional in the formulas of divine worship.'

32. Dictionaire de Theologie Catholique, Paris: Letouzey et Ane, 1911-49. The well known authority Deneffe states 'In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries many theologians say it quite clearly: Tradition is the Church teaching... Indeed, some say, TRADITION IS THE CHURCH MAGISTERIUM.' (Der Traditionsbegriff, quoted by J.P. Mackey, The Modern Theology of Tradition, N.Y.: Herder, 1963.) Such was the opinion of Father C. Pesch: 'we understand by Tradition that organ by which revealed truths are handed on, and the organ in question is the Church Magisterium.' (Praelectiones Dogmaticae, Freiburg: 1909.)

33. The faithful Catholic finds no need to make these distinctions because he is prone, almost by the vary nature of his soul, to accept what is divine, divine-apostolic and ecclesiastical with the same reverence and love. he would not more think if changing his rites than would a devout Moslem, Hindu or Buddhist. Is the traditional Mass any less 'Catholic' than Scripture? Surely it deserves at least the same respect.

34. Cardinal Boussuet, Defense de la tradition des saintes Peres, various editions.

35. It may be added that the new Cathedral of Guadaloupe has virtually made this impossible by means of a conveyer belt that brings pilgrims through a side door beneath the picture rather than letting them approach it from the main aisle. Such a change is certainly 'anti-traditional. They have compounded this offense by claiming a new building was necessary because the old one was in danger of falling down, and then turning the old one into a museum!

36. As might be expected, the Modernist attack was directed primarily against the traditions of the Church. Under the guise of 'historical criticism,' they attacked the Apostolicity of her practices as well as her doctrines. As Loisy said, 'what disquiets the faithful as far as Tradition is concerned is the impossibility of reconciling the historical development of Christian doctrine with the claim made by theologians that it [Tradition] is immutable.' Let us have no illusions. The Faithful were not disquieted; Loisy was, as are the modernists in control of the new Church. Then as today, they claimed they were attacking tradition in the name of the 'faithful.' Others such as Tyrrell attacked tradition on the grounds that it derived, 'not from a deposit of doctrine committed to the care of the teaching Church, and of which the faithful are to receive authoritative interpretation from time to time,' but from 'the life of the collectivity of religious souls, or rather, of all men of good will who aspire to realize an ideal higher than the earthly aims of egoists' (Archbishop Mercier's Encyclical, 1908). The Protestants of course attack tradition, for it above all condemns them. Listen to Paul Tillich: 'We must forget everything traditional we have learned about God, perhaps even the word itself' (Quoted by Thomas Molnar in Utopia, the Perennial Heresy, N.Y.: Funk and Wagnalls, 1967.)

37. L'Osservatore Romano, June 3, 1976.

38. St. Thomas Aquinas defines heresy as 'a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas... the right Christian faith consists of 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 of the pagans and Jews; the other by restricting belief in certain points of Christ's doctrine selected and fashioned at pleasure, which is the way of heretics. The subject-matter of both faith and heresy is, therefore, the deposit of the faith, that is, the sum total of truths revealed in Scripture and Tradition.... The believer accepts the whole deposit as proposed by the Church; the heretics accepts only such parts of it as commend themselves to his own approval' (Summa II-II, Q. 11, a. 1). It would be one thing - though still offensive - if Paul abrogated certain traditional pious practices, but is quite another for him to abrogate the Mass - especially as no one can say with certainty which parts are divine, apostolic and or ecclesiastical in origin.

39. Canon George Smith, The Teaching of the Catholic Church, op. Cit.

40. Discourses against the Arians. He also said of the Arians, 'they have the churches, but we have the faith.'

41. The Commonitory, Chapter II, A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1969.

42. Ep. 243.

43. Traditional Catholics should avoid the terms 'traditionalism' and 'traditionalist' as these pertain to a condemned heresy. The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) states: 'according to Traditionalism, human reason is of itself radically unable to know with certainty any truth or, at least, the fundamental truths of the metaphysical, moral, and religious order. Hence our first act of knowledge must be an act of faith, based on the authority of revelation. This revelation is transmitted to us through society, and its truth is guaranteed by tradition or the general consent of mankind.' This was the error of Lamennais who saw tradition as a reflection of the common beliefs and practices of society, and not the other way around - essentially a modernist position.l

44. Commentarium, IIa-IIae, qu. 2, art.6

45. Liber de Vera Religione, 6.


'Without faith, it is impossible to please God'
(Heb. 11:6)

We have demonstrated that the Catholic 'rule of faith' must be 'the Bible and Divine Tradition', and that the Magisterium can in no way depart from these primary sources (1). We have further demonstrated that the 'traditions' of the Church are part and parcel of the Magisterium, for it is through them, as well as through other organs, that 'the teaching authority of the Church is manifest'. It behooves us now to consider the concept of Faith in greater detail. The topic is of considerable importance because the meaning conveyed by this term when used by traditional Catholics is quite different than that generally given to it by those outside the faith, and/or by post-Conciliar Catholics.

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908), Faith must be considered both objectively and subjectively. 'Objectively' it stands for the sum of truths revealed by God in Scripture and Tradition (the 'rule of faith') and which the Church presents to us in a brief form in her creeds [and in her other Magisterial organs such as the Liturgy and the famous Catechism of the Council of Trent - editor(2)] ; 'Subjectively' it stands for the habit or virtue by which we assent to these truths.' According to St. Thomas, 'the principles of the doctrine of salvation are the articles of faith.' (Commentary on 1. Cor. 12:10). As the Blessed John of Avila said, 'the entire foundation of the spiritual life is the faith... by the faith we listen to God Himself, for it is not a human, but a divine teaching...'(3). This faith having been given to us by Christ and the Apostles in a total manner, to be preserved intact 'till the end of time' CANNOT NOT CHANGE, HAS NEVER CHANGED AND WILL NEVER CHANGE. 'The Revelation made to the Apostles by Christ and by the Holy spirit whom He sent to teach them all truth was final and definitive. To that body of revealed truth nothing has been, or ever will be added. The duty of the Apostles and their successors was clear; to guard jealously the precious thing committed to their care and to transmit it whole and entire to posterity'(4?).

Objective Faith

If the Catholic Church is the one true Church, and not just one Church among others, then the faith she teaches is the one true faith, and not just one faith among others. What then does a Catholic understand by 'the Faith'? In what must he place his belief? The answer is made clear by his traditional 'Act of Faith'.

'O my God, I firmly believe in all that Your Holy Catholic Church approves and teaches, since it is You, the Infallible Truth, who has revealed it to your Church.'

One must believe everything that the Church teaches

'Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected' (Pope Benedict XVI, Ad beatissimi Apostolorum). As Father Hahel explains, this means that 'to believe rightly... everything without exception that God teaches us through the Catholic Church, be it written or tradition; be it Holy Writ or not, must be believed. For Christ commissioned His Apostles to teach all nations and to teach them everything that He had told them. By that He has imposed upon everybody who hears His teachings, the duty to believe all of it. If any one were to reject one simple truth of the faith, though he accepted all others, he would come under the category of those of whom St. James says: 'now whosoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all''(5).

This teaching of the Church is particularly important in our day. If we reject any of the truths of the Catholic faith - even one - we can no longer call ourselves Catholic. If the acceptance of Vatican II (to which the post-Conciliar conscience is bound) involves a single change in the teaching of the Church Magisterium, this principle applies. Consider the statement of the Martyr St. Edmund Campion given to the Anglican Bishop Chaney during his 'trial': 'What is the use of fighting for many articles of the Faith, and to perish for doubting a few. He believes no one article of the Faith who refuses to believe any single one. In vain do you defend the religion of Catholics, if you hug only that which you like, and cut off all that seems not right in your eyes. There is but one plain known road: not enclosed by your palings [fences] or mine, not by private judgment, but by the severe laws of humility and obedience.' As Pope Leo XIII said in his Encyclical Sapaentiae Christianae: 'To refuse to believe in any one of them is equivalent to rejecting them all', and as Pius XII taught in his address to the Bishops of the Sacred Congregation in 1949: 'The Catholic doctrine must be set forth and taught completely and entirely. One cannot allow that anything should be omitted or veiled in ambiguous terms...'

There may of course be certain Truths that the Church teaches and that a given Catholic may be unaware of. His attitude however, is that of a person who wishes to think correctly, rather than of one who wishes to think for himself. When faced with a doctrinal or a moral question, the Catholic hastens to ask 'what does the Church teach?' The Church in turn makes no demand that the faithful know all that she holds true (the average person might not know the application of moral principles to a highly technical medical situation). She considers certain truths to be necessary (necessitate medii) for salvation, and these must be believed by all men in an explicit manner(6). She insists that the faithful be instructed in their catechism in accord with their ability to understand, and it goes without saying that the Catholic has an obligation to know those truths necessary for him to life a Catholic life. Beyond this however, there are still other truths that the Church teaches and which the ordinary Catholic may be unaware of without thereby endangering his soul - truths which he must nevertheless believe implicitly - that is to say, the Catholic must give assent to them because the Church proposes them for belief. A Catholic must believe them for the simple reason that he must believe that the Church derives her truths from Christ and hence is incapable of teaching error.

This teaching should not be confused with the Protestant idea that there are certain 'fundamental' and other 'non-fundamental' truths - the former to be held by all, while the latter can be subject to individual choice. A Catholic must accept all the truths of the Church with the same faith and assent(7). (The Protestant sects had to make such distinctions if they were ever to cooperate with each other.) Yet Vatican II has introduced just such a concept in teaching that there is a 'hierarchy' of truths in the Church's teaching. To quote the documents directly: 'when comparing doctrines, they [Catholics] should remember that in Catholic teaching there exists an order or 'hierarchy' of truths, since they very in their relationship to the foundation of the Christian faith' (de Oecumenismo) (8). Dr. Oscar Cullmann, one of the Protestant 'observers', considered this one of the 'most revolutionary' statements to come out of Vatican II, and Dr. McAfee Brown suggested that such truths as the Immaculate Conception and Assumption, 'stumbling blocks in ecumenical discussion', should be placed well down on the scale of the 'hierarchy of truths'.


Modernists who believe that truth is the expression of humankind's 'religious consciousness', and who see this 'consciousness' as constantly evolving, necessarily find themselves in conflict with the stance of the Church on the fixed nature of truth. The only way they can introduce their ideas into the bosom of the Church is by resorting to ambiguity and 'double-speak'. Under the guise of interpreting the Faith in new ways to make it more acceptable to modern man, they proceed to apply the label of 'adaptation', 'development', and even 'evolution' to doctrine. Claiming that throughout the course of history God reveals himself more fully, they managed to introduce such ideas into the documents of Vatican II: 'As the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward towards the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her... thanks to the experience of past ages, the progress of the sciences, and the treasures hidden in the various forms of human culture, the nature of man himself is more clearly revealed and new roads to truth are opened.' (9)

It is of course quite true that we can explain our faith to non-believers in terms that may be understandable to them, indeed, we have a certain obligation in charity to do so. It is however totally false to state that our Faith must adapt itself to modern man, and equally false to state that our faith 'evolves' in anything like the Darwinism process. There has been, since the days of Cardinal Newman, a great deal of loose talk about the 'Development of Christian Doctrine'(10). The term 'development' requires precise definition, for some of the faithful use this term to describe the 'flowering' of the Faith, much as a tree grows and blooms that it might be 'fruitful', while others use this same term to disguise what is in fact radical change.

One must understand just what a given author means by 'development', for, as we have shown it is de fide that Christian Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle. Dogmas implicit in this revelation may become explicit and more clearly stated, but by definition cannot be altered, abrogated or added on to. How then does dogma 'develop'? Van Noort tells us it can do so in three ways: '1) In a more finished exposition of dogma the gist of which had always been taught explicitly; 2) in an explicit proposal of dogmas which had formerly been taught implicitly; and 3) in the clear-cut proposal of dogmas which formerly were proposed in a less obvious fashion.' (11). St. Albert the Great, a doctor of the Church, succinctly describes development as 'the progress of the faithful in the faith, rather than of the faith within the faithful.'

In other words, the whole of revealed truth is contained in the sources of revelation, but in the course of ages it has undergone, and still undergoes, a process of 'unfolding' whereby the faithful, under the infallible guidance of the Church, arrive at a fuller understanding of the truths which God has revealed. As St. Vincent of Lerins put it, the development of Christian doctrine is the 'perfectus fidei, non permutatio - the perfection of the faith and not its alteration' (Commentaria). Obviously, such a 'development' in no way involves 'adapting' the teaching of the Church to the modern world. Nor does it imply that the Church's understanding of a given doctrine can change. Vatican I made this quite clear: 'The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed has not been proposed to human intelligence to be perfected by them as if it were a philosophical system, but as a divine deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted... The meaning of the sacred dogmas must always be retained which Holy Mother Church has once taught, nor may it ever be departed from under the guise, or in the name of, deeper insight... If anyone shall say that, because of scientific progress, it may be possible at some time to interpret the Church's dogmas in a different sense from that which the church understood and understands, let him be anathema!... THEREFORE, LET THERE BE GROWTH... AND ALL POSSIBLE PROGRESS IN UNDERSTANDING, KNOWLEDGE, AND WISDOM, WHETHER IN SINGLE INDIVIDUALS OR IN THE WHOLE BODY, IN EACH MAN AS WELL AS IN THE ENTIRE CHURCH, ACCORDING TO THE STAGE OF THEIR DEVELOPMENT; BUT ONLY WITHIN PROPER LIMITS, THAT IS, IN THE SAME DOCTRINE, IN THE SAME MEANING, AND IN THE SAME PURPORT.'

The idea that God reveals Himself more fully during the course of time may have been true prior to the Incarnation, but clearly it is not so since. There is no such thing as an 'ongoing revelation' (13).


�Let them [the faithful] blend modern science and its theories and the understanding of the most recent discoveries with Christian morality and doctrine.'
(Vatican II)

Those who talk of 'aggiornamento' or 'adapting' the teachings of the Church so as to make them acceptable to the modern 'world' forget that the so-called modern world is intrinsically opposed to the to the Church's constituency, 'Kingdom of Heaven'. Indeed by its very nature the modern world represents a rupture with traditional values. It is founded on principles that reflect a basic infidelity to Christ - it has replaced the fire of love with the arson of rebellion, and cries out with Rousseau 'Ecrase l'Infamy'. How can the Church, the Bride of Christ, adapt itself to this infidelity? Those who foster such ideas commit spiritual adultery and call down upon themselves the anathema Jeremias laid upon the Jews of his day who had become a 'generation of harlots'. How can one adapt truth to error? The absurdity of the adaptionist position, promulgated under the banner of aggiornamento, becomes even clearer when we consider the parable of the Prodigal Son. It was not for 'the father' to join his son who had become a herder of swine, but for the son to return to his father's home. In no other way can the 'fatted lamb' be killed. It is modern man who must change and not the Church. The results of his apostasy are manifest. Revolution always results in devastation. 'Hold firmly that our faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this and you dissolve the unity of the Church.'


'All those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universally teaching (Magisterium) proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed.'
(Vatican I)

The authority of the Ordinary or Universal Magisterium, if not openly denied, is currently diminished in a variety of ways. The post-Conciliar Church, following in the footsteps of the 'Inopportunists' of Vatican I, has further obscured this teaching by claiming that it changed nothing de fide. When Catholics protest against the new orientations being inforced, such as the teaching on Religious Liberty, or question the appropriateness of common worship with heretics (Communicatio in sacris), they are told ad nauseum that nothing de fide has been changed. Implicit in such a statement is that the contents of the Ordinary Magisterium are not de fide, or that the Ordinary Magisterium contains virtually nothing of a doctrinal nature. Thus for example, Father Curren, who holds a variety of clearly heteredox positions (such as denying the Virgin Birth of Christ), loudly proclaims that his dissent is in matters outside the realm of the infallible teaching of the Church. Cardinal Ratzinger in turn demands that he give assent, not only to what the Cardinal calls the 'infallible magisterium', but also to what he calls 'the authentic but not infallible magisterium'. The former is apostasy (Father Curran remains a priest in good standing) and the latter is nonsense.

This claim that nothing de fide has been changed has a further consequence. In so far as it obfuscates the limits of the Magisterium and implicitly declares that what comes under the heading of the Ordinary Magisterium is not de fide, it allows the faithful to ignore a wealth of documents wherein they would normally come to a deeper understanding of the faith. Even if they do not embrace formal heresy, they are as a result constantly exposed to un-Catholic and anti-Catholic material which corrodes their faith. It is not in the least bit unusual to find them embracing views that are 'savoring of heresy, suspect of heresy, close upon heresy, schismatical, Jewish, pagan, atheistical, blasphemous, impious, erroneous, close upon error, savoring or suspected of error, scandalous, temerarious, seditious, ill-sounding, offensive to pious ears, lax, likely insane...', and still claiming to be Catholic.

As Mgr. Van Noort points out, the belief that 'one may reject or call into doubt any non-revealed truth one chooses, without committing sin or injuring the Catholic profession of faith' is an 'extremely serious error'. He continues, 'some truths are so necessarily intertwined with revelation that to deny or doubt them would cause injury to revelation itself... Other truths are connected to revelation as a necessary consequence (conclusio theologica)... finally, some truths are necessarily connected with revelation by reason of its goal (decisions relating to the universal discipline of the Church). Truths not formally revealed but bound up with Revelation in one of these three ways just pointed to, look directly to the guardianship and practical application of the deposit of the faith; thus indirectly they belong to the deposit itself and to Catholic faith.'

It is important to once again point out that dogmas are declared de fide in a solemn or extraordinary manner only when they are brought into question. And truths so proclaimed have no greater claim on our assent then they had when they were considered part of the ordinary magisterium. Proclamations regarding the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption of Our Lady are not additions to our faith but rather formal authoritative and definitive declarations of what the faith teaches(20). Prior to Vatican II, no Council or Pope ever claimed or professed to be doing more than making explicit what was contained in the original Revelation and hence already of implicit faith. If this false concept that only what is declared de fide in an extraordinary manner were true, or only what is contained in the Solemn Magisterium is true, then what would the Catholic of the first centuries have had to believe? Listen to the words of Pope Pius XI: 'Not because the Church had defined and sanctioned truths by solemn decree of the Church at different times, and even in times near to us, are they therefore not equally certain and not equally to be believed. For has not God revealed them all?...The Church has the duty to proceed opportunely in defining points of faith with solemn rites and decrees, when there is a need to declare them to resist more effectively the errors and the assaults of heretics or to impress upon the minds of the faithful clearer and more profound explanations of points of sacred doctrine. However, in this explanatory use of the teaching authority nothing is invented nor is anything new added to the sum of the truths that are, at least implicitly, contained in the deposit of divine revelation that was entrusted by God to the church. Instead, points of faith are defined that could by chance still seem obscure to some, or truths are established as matters of faith that for the first time are called into question'(Mortalium animos).

One cannot limit the faith of Catholics to what has been declared de fide by the Supreme or Extraordinary Magisterium. Catholics must believe in all the ex Cathedra teachings contained in the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium the extent of which is covered in Chapter II. They must also believe those truths which are implicitly contained in revelation, as well as those which are indirectly related to what has been revealed.

Such then in summary is the 'objective' aspect of the Catholic faith. It is to these truths which we must give our assent.

'The faith of the Church is not made by our faith, but by our assent, which assent commeth to us, and is the work of our soul'


The 'subjective' nature of the Faith is 'the habit or virtue by which we assent to these truths'.



Now both the 'facts' we believe and the grace we have to give our assent to them are 'gifts' from God. As Vatican I states: 'Faith itself and in itself, even if it does not work through charity, is a gift of God, and its act is a work pertaining to salvation; by it a man offers to God Himself a free obedience insofar as he consents and cooperates with His grace which he could refuse.'

That faith is a 'gift' in no way means that those who lack it are somehow excused and free of all responsibility. The faith is a 'gift' because it is freely given us by God, and, as with any 'gift', we must be willing to accept it - it cannot be forced upon us. God could not in charity (which is His very nature) hold back from any soul the necessary grace required. As St. Augustine teaches in his commentary on the passage 'no one can come to me [by faith] unless the Father who sent me draw him', says: 'And yet no one comes [to the faith] unless he wills to. He is drawn therefore, in marvellous ways to will by Him who knows how to work interiorly in the very hearts of men; not that men - something which is impossible -should believe unwillingly, but that from unwilling they should be rendered willing... God acts with persuasions that we may will and believe; what is more, God Himself brings about in a man the very will to believe.'

In similar manner, Msgr. Van Noort states that 'the vocation to the faith... is a free gift of God, which, just as it is denied to no adult except through his own fault, cannot be merited by any natural work.'. God is always calling us to give our assent to truth, and it is within our power to refuse this assent. Thus man is responsible for examining the claims of the Church while remaining free to accept or reject the these claims.

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