source of catholic dogma 1700-1800

"Syllabus," or Collection of Modern Errors *

[Excerpted from various Allocutions, Encyclicals, Epistles of PIUS IX, together with (the above quoted) Bull, "Quanta cure," edited Dec. 8, 1864]

A. Index of the Acts of Pius IX, from which the Syllabus is excerpted

1700 1. The Encyclical Letter, "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846 (to this are referred the propositions of the Syllabus 4--7, 16]. 40, 63).

2. The Allocution, "Quisque vestrum," Oct. 4,1847 (Prop. 63).

3. The Allocution, "Ubi primum," Dec. 17, 1847 (Prop. 16].

4. The Allocution, "Quibus quantisque," Apr. 20, 1849 (Prop. 40, 64,76).

5. The Encyclical Letter, "Nostis et Nobiscum," Dec. 8, 1849 (Prop.

6. The Allocution, "Si semper antea," May 20, 1850 (Prop. 76).

7. The Allocution, "In consistoriali," Nov. 1, 1850 (Prop. 43, 45).

8. The Condemnation, "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851 (Prop. 15, 21,23, 30, 51, 54, 68)9. The Condemnation, "Ad apostolicae," Aug. 22, 1851 (Prop. 24, 25, 34 36, 38, 41, 42, 65 67, 69--75).

10. The Allocution, "Quibus luctuosissimis," Sept. 5, 1851 (Prop. 45).

11. Letter to the KING of Sardinia, Sept. 9, 1852 (Prop. 73).

12. The Allocution, "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852 (Prop. 31, 51, 53, 55, 67, 73,74, 78).

13. The Allocution, "Singular) quadam," Dec. 9, 1854 (Prop. 8, 17, 19). 

14. The Allocution, "Probe memineritis," Jan. 22,1855 (Prop. 53). 

15. The Allocution, "Cum saepe," July 26, 1855 (Prop. 53). 16]

16. The Allocution, "Nemo vestrum," July 26, 1855 (Prop. 77). 

17. The Encyclical Letter, "Singular) quidem," Mar. 17., 1856 (Prop.4, 16].).

18. The Allocution, "Nunquam fore," Dec. (15), 1856 (Prop. 26, 28, 29, 31, 46, 50, 52, 79).

19. The Letter, "Eximiam tuam," to the Archbishop of Cologne, June 15, 1857 (Prop. 14 NB)

20. The Apostolic Letter, "Cum catholica Ecclesia," Mar. 26,1860 (Prop. 63, 76 NB)

21. The Letter, "Dolore haud mediocri," to the Bishop of Wratislava (Breslau), Apr. 30, 1860 (Prop. 14 NB).

22. The Allocution, "Novos et ante," Sept. 28, 1860 (Prop. 19, 62,76, NB).

23. The Allocution, "Multis gravibusque," Dec. 17., 1860 (Prop 37, 43,73).

24. The Allocution, "Iamdudum cernimus," Mar. 18, 1861, (Prop. 37, 61,76, NB, 80).

25. The Allocution, "Meminit unusquisque," Sept. 30, 1861 (Prop. 20).

26. The Allocution, "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862 (Prop. 1--7, (15),19, 27, 39, 44, 49, 56--60, 76, NB)

27. The Letter, "Gravissimas inter," to the Archbishop of Munich-Freising, Dec. II, 1862 (Prop. 9--11).

28. The Encyclical Letter, "Quanto conficiamur moerore," Aug. 10, 1863 (Prop. 17., 58).

29. The Encyclical Letter, "Incredibili," Sept. 17., 1863 (Prop. 26).

30. The Letter, "Tuas libenter," to the Archbishop of Munich-Freising,

Dec. 21, 1863 (Prop. 9, 10, 12--14,, 22, 33).

31. The Letter, "Cum non sine," to the Archbishop of Friburg, July14, 1864 (Prop. 47,48).

32. The Letter, "Singularis Nobisque," to the Bishop of Montreal (?), Sept. 29, 1864 (Prop. 32).

B. Syllabus*

Comprising the particular errors of our age, which are noted in

consistorial Allocutions, in Encyclical and other Apostolic

Letters of His Holiness, our Lord Pope Pius IX *

Sec. 1. Pantheism, Naturalism, and Absolute Rationalism

1701 1. No supreme, all wise, and all provident divine Godhead exists, distinct from this world of things, and God is the same as the nature of things and, therefore, liable to changes; and God comes into being in man and in the universe, and all things are God and they have the same substance of God; and God is one and the same as the world, and therefore, also, spirit is one and the same with matter, necessity with liberty, the true with the false, the good with the evil, and the just with the unjust (26).*

1702 2. All action of God upon men and the world must be denied (26).

1703 3. Human reason, with absolutely no regard to God, is the only judge of the true and the false, the good and the evil; it is a law unto itself and is, by its own natural powers, suffcient to provide for the good of individuals and of peoples (26).

1704 4.All truths of religion flow from the natural power of human reason; hence, reason is the chief norm by which man can and should come to a knowledge of all truths of whatever kind (1, 17., 26).

1705 5. Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to continuous and indefinite progress, which corresponds to the progress of human reason (1 [cf. n. 1636] 26).

1706 6. The faith of Christ is opposed to human reason; and divine revelation is not only of no benefit to, but even harms the perfection of man ( 1 [see n. 1635] 26).

1707 7. The prophecies and miracles described and related in Sacred Scripture are the inventions of poets; and the mysteries of the Christian faith are the culmination of philosophical investigations; and in the books of both Testaments are contained mythical inventions; and Jesus Christ Himself is a mythical fiction (1,26).

Sec. 11. Modified Rationalism

1708 8. Since human reason is equal to religion itself, therefore, theological studies must be conducted just as the philosophical 13. [see n. 1642]).

1709 9. All the dogmas of the Christian religion without distinction are the object of natural science or philosophy; and human reason, cultivated so much throughout history, can by its natural powers and principles arrive at the true knowledge of all, even the more hidden dogmas, provided these dogmas have been proposed to reason itself as its object (27, 30 [see n. 1682]).

1710 10. Since a philosopher is one thing and philosophy another, the former has the right and the duty to submit himself to the authority which he himself has proved to be true; but philosophy cannot and should not submit itself to any authority (27 [see n. 1673] 30 [see n. 1674])

1711 11. The Church should not only never pay attention to philosophy, but should also tolerate the errors of philosophy, and leave it to correct itself (27 [see n. 1675]).

1712 12. The decrees of the Apostolic See and of the Roman Congregations hinder the free progress of science (30 [see n. 1679]).

1713 13. The method and principles according to which the ancient scholastic doctors treated theology are by no means suited to the necessities of our times and to the progress of the sciences (30 [see n. 1680]).

1714 14. Philosophy is to be treated without any regard to supernatural revelation (30).

 N.B. To the system of rationalism are closely connected in great part the errors of Anthony Guenther which are condemned in the Epistle to the Card. Archbishop of Cologne, "Eximiam tuam," Jun. 15, 1857 (19) [see n. 1655], and in the Epistle to the Bishop of Breslau, "Dolore haud mediocri," Apr. 30,

Sec. 111. Indifferentism, Latitudinarianism

1715 15 Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which he, led by the light of reason, thinks to be the true religion (8, 26).

1716 16. In the worship of any religion whatever, men can find the way to eternal salvation, and can attain eternal salvation (1, 3, 17).

1717 17. We must have at least good hope concerning the eternal salvation of all those who in no wise are in the true Church of Christ 13. [see n. 1646] 28 [see n. 1677]).

1718 18. Protestantism is nothing else than a different form of the same true Christian religion, in which it is possible to serve God as well as in the Catholic Church (5).

Sec. IV. Socialism, Communism, Secret Societies, Biblical Societies, Clerico-liberal Societies

1718a Evils of this sort have been reproved often and in very severe words in the Encyclical Letter, "Qui Pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846 (1); in the Allocution, "Quibus quantisque," Apr. 20,1849 (4); in the Encyclical Epistle, "Nostis et Nobiscum," Dec. 8, 1849 (5); in the Allocution, "Singular) quadam," Dec. 9, 1854 13. in the Encyclical Epistle, "Quanto conficiamur moerore," Aug. IO, 1863 (28).

Sec. V. Errors Concerning the Church and Its Rights

1719 19. The Church is not a true and perfect society absolutely free, nor does it operate by its own fixed and proper rights conferred on it by its divine founder; but it belongs to the civil power to define which are the rights of the Church, and the limits within which it may exercise these rights (13, 23, 26).

1720 20. The ecclesiastical power should not exercise its authority without the permission and assent of the civil government (25).

1721 21. The Church does not have the power of defining dogmatically that the religion of the Catholic Church is the only true religion (8).

1722 22. The obligation by which Catholic teachers and writers are absolutely bound is restricted to those matters only which are proposed by the infallible judgment of the Church, to be believed by all as dogmas of faith (30 [see n. 1683]).

1723 23. The Roman Pontiffs and the Ecumenical Councils have trespassed the limits of their powers, have usurped the rights of princes, and have even erred in defining matters of faith and morals (8).

1724 24. The Church does not have the power of using force, nor does it have any temporal power, direct or indirect (9).

1725 25. Besides the power inherent in the episcopate, there is another temporal power attributed, either expressly or tacitly granted by the civil government, to be revoked, therefore, at will by the civil government (9). 

1726 26. The Church does not have a natural and legitimate right to acquire and to possess (18, 29).

1727 27. The sacred ministers of the Church and the Roman Pontiff should be entirely excluded from all administration and dominion over temporal things (26).

1728 28. Without the permission of the government, it is not lawful for bishops to issue even Apostolic Letters 18

1729 29. Favors granted by the Roman Pontiff should be considered void, unless they have been requested through the government (18).

1730 30. The immunity of the Church and of ecclesiastical persons had its origin in civil law (8).

1731 31, The ecclesiastical court for the temporal cases of clerics, whether civil or criminal, should be absolutely abolished, even if the Apostolic See was not consulted, and protests 12. 18

1732 32. Without any violation of natural right and equity, the personal immunity by which clerics are exempted from the obligation of undergoing and practicing military service, can be abolished; in truth, civil progress demands this abrogation, especially in a society organized on the form of a more liberal government (32)

1733 33. It does not belong exclusively to the ecclesiastical power of jurisdiction, by proper and natural right, to direct the teaching of theological matters (30).

1734 34. The doctrine of those who compare the Roman Pontiff to a free prince acting in the universal Church is a doctrine which prevailed in the Middle Ages (9).

1735 35. There is nothing to forbid that by the vote of a General Council or by the action of all peoples the Supreme Pontificate be transferred from the Roman Bishop and THE CITY to another bishopric and another city (9).

1736 36. The definition of a national council allows no further discussion, and the civil administration can force the matter to those boundaries (9).

1737 37. National churches can be established which are exempt and completely separated from the authority of the Roman Pontiff (23, 24).

1738 38. The excessive decisions of the Roman Pontiffs contributed too much to the division of the Church into East and West (9).

Sec. Vl. Errors Concerning Civil Society, Viewed Both in 

Themselves and in Their Relations to the Church

1739 39. The state of the commonwealth, inasmuch as it is the origin and source of all rights, exercises a certain right bound by no limits (26).

1740 40. The doctrine of the Catholic Church is opposed to the good and to the advantages of human society (1 [see n. 1634], 4).

1741 41, To the civil power, even if exercised by an infidel ruler, belongs the indirect negative power over sacred things; and hence to the same belongs not only the right which is called exsequatur but also the right, as they call it, of appeal as from an abuse (9).

1742 42. In a conflict between the laws of both powers, the civil law prevails (9)

1743 43. The lay power has the authority of rescinding, of declaring and making void the solemn agreements (commonly, concordats) made with the Apostolic See concerning the use of rights pertaining to ecclesiastical immunity, without its consent and even against its protests (7, 23).

1744 44. The civil authority can interfere in matters which pertain to religion, morals, and spiritual government. Hence, it can judge about the instructions which the pastors of the Church, in accordance with their duty, issue as a guide to consciences; nay even, it can make decrees concerning the administration of the divine sacraments and the dispositions necessary to receive them (7, 26).

1745 45. The entire government of the public schools in which the youth of any Christian state is instructed, episcopal seminaries being excepted for some reason, can and should be assigned to the civil authority; and assigned in such a way, indeed, that for no other authority is the right recognized to interfere in the discipline of the schools, in the system of studies, in the conferring of degrees, in the choice or approval of teachers (7, 10).

1746 46, Nay, even in the seminaries themselves for the clergy, the plan of studies to be followed is subject to the civil authority 18

1747 47. The best state of civil society demands that the peoples' schools which are open to all children of any class of people, and the public institutions in general which are destined for the teaching of literature and the more exact studies, and for caring for the education of youth, should be exempted from all authority, control, and power of the Church; and be subjected to the full authority of the civil and political power, exactly according to the pleasure of the rulers and the standard of current public opinion (31).

1748 48. Catholic men can approve that method of instructing youth which has been divorced from Catholic Faith and the power of the Church, and which regards only, or at least primarily, the natural sciences and the purposes of social life on earth alone 31,

1749 49. Civil authority can hinder bishops and the faithful people from freely and reciprocally communicating with the Roman Pontiff (26).

1750 50. The lay authority has of itself the right of presenting bishops, and can compel them to enter upon the administration of their dioceses before they receive from the Holy See their canonical appointment and Apostolic Letters 18

1751 51. Moreover, secular government has the right of deposing bishops from the exercise of their pastoral ministry, and is not bound to obey the Roman Pontiff in those matters which regard the institution of episcopates and bishops (8, 12.

1752 52. The government can by its own right change the age prescribed by the Church for the religious profession of women as well as of men, and can prescribe for all religious orders that they should not admit anyone to the pronouncement of solemn vows without its permission ( 18)

1753 53. The laws which pertain to the protection of the status of religious orders and to their rights and duties should be abrogated; indeed, the civil government can furnish aid to all those who wish to abandon the institute of the religious life which they once accepted, and to break their solemn vows; and likewise, it can suppress these same religious orders, as well as collegiate churches and simple benefices, even those of the right of patronage, and can lay claim to, and subject their property and revenues to the administration and will of the civil power 12. 14.

1754 54. Kings and princes are not only exempt from the jurisdiction of the Church, but they also are superior to the Church in deciding questions of jurisdiction (8).

1755 55. The Church is to be separated from the state, and the state from the Church 12.

Sec. VII. Errors Concerning Natural and Christian Ethics

1756 56. The laws of morals by no means need divine sanction, and there is not the least need that human laws conform to the natural law, or receive the power of binding from God (26).

1757 57. The science of philosophy and of morals, likewise the civil laws, can and should ignore divine and ecclesiastical authority (26).

1758 58. Other powers should not be recognized except those which have their basis in the material (physical side of man), and all moral discipline and honesty should be employed to accumulate and increase wealth in any way whatsoever, and to satisfy man's pleasures (26, 28).

1759 59. Right consists in a physical fact; all the duties of men are an empty name, and all human deeds have the force of right (26).

1760 60. Authority is nothing more than numbers and the sum of material strengths (26).

1761 61. The chance injustice of an act brings no detriment to the sanctity of the right (24).

1762 62. The principle of "nonintervention" must be proclaimed and observed (22).

1763 63. It is lawful to withhold obedience to legitimate rulers, indeed even to rebel (1, 2, 5, 20).

1764 64. The violation of any most sacred oath, and even any criminal and disgraceful action repugnant to eternal law, not only must by no means be reproved, but is even altogether lawful and worthy of the highest praise, when it is done for love of country (4).

Sec. Vlll. Errors Concerning Christian Marriage

1765 65. In no way can it be asserted that Christ raised matrimony to the dignity of a sacrament (9).

1766 66. The sacrament of matrimony is nothing but an appendage to the contract and separable from it, and the sacrament itself consists merely in the nuptial blessing (9).

1767 67. By natural law the bond of matrimony is not indissoluble, and in various cases divorce, properly so-called, can be sanctioned by civil authority (9, 12. [see n. 1640]).

1768 68. The Church does not have the power to establish impediments nullifying marriage; but that power belongs to civil authority by which the existing impediments should be removed (8).

1769 69. The Church in later centuries began to introduce diriment impediments, not by its own right, but by making use of a right which it had borrowed from the civil power (9).

1770 70. The canons of the Council of Trent which impose the censure of anathema on those who have the boldness to deny to the Church the power of introducing diriment impediments [see n. 973 f.], are either not dogmatic, or are to be understood in accordance with this borrowed power (9).

1771 71. The formula of the Council of Trent [see n. 990] does not oblige under penalty of nullity where the civil law prescribes another formula, and wishes to validate a marriage by the intervention of this new formula (9).

1772 72. Boniface VIII was the first to declare that the vow of chastity taken in ordination renders marriages invalid (9).

1773 73. A true marriage can exist between Christians by virtue of a purely civil contract; and it is false to assert that the contract of marriage between Christians is always a sacrament; or, that there is no contract if the sacrament is excluded (9, II, 12. [see n. 1640] 23).

1774 74. Matrimonial cases and betrothals by their very nature belong to the civil court (9, 12. [see n. 1640]).

1774a N.B. Two other errors can contribute to this subject: about abolishing the celibacy of the clergy, and concerning the state of matrimony to be preferred to the state of virginity. The first is thoroughly discussed in the Encyclical Epistle, "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846 (1); the second in the Apostolic Letter "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851 (8).

Sec. IX. Errors Concerning the Civil Power the Roman Pontifl

1775 75. The sons of the Christian and Catholic Church dispute about the compatibility of the temporal power with the spiritual (9).

1776 76. The abolition of the civil power which the Apostolic See possesses, would be extremely conducive to the liberty and prosperity of the Church (4, 6).

1776a N.B. Besides these errors explicitly noted, many others are implicitly condemned, by setting forth and declaring the doctrine which all Catholics should hold firmly regarding the civil power of the Roman Pontiff. Doctrine of this sort is lucidly set forth in the Allocution, "Quibus quantisque," April 20, 1849 (4); in the Allocution, "Si semper antea,~' May 20, 1850 (6); in the Apostolic Letter, "Cum catholica ecclesia," March 26, 1860 (20); in the Allocution, "Novos et ante,,, September 28, 1860 (22), in the Allocution, "lamdudum cernimus,'' March 18, 1861, (24); in the Allocution, "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862 (26).

Sec. X. Errors Which Are Related to Modern Liberalism

1777 77. In this age of ours it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all i other cults whatsoever 16].

1778 78. Hence in certain regions of Catholic name, it has been laudably sanctioned by law that men immigrating there be allowed to have public exercises of any form of worship of their own (12).

1779 79. For it is false that the civil liberty of every cult, and likewise, the full power granted to all of manifesting openly and publicly any kind of opinions and ideas, more easily leads to the corruption of the morals and minds of the people, and to the spread of the evil of indifferentism (18).

1780 80. The Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile and adapt himself to progress, liberalism, and the modern civilization (24). 


Ecumenical XX (on Faith and the Church)

SESSION III (April 24, 1870)

Dogmatic Constitution concerning the Catholic Faith *

1781 But now, with the bishops of the whole world sitting and judging with us, gathered together in this Ecumenical Council by Our authority in the Holy Spirit, We, having relied on the Word of God, written and transmitted as We have received it, sacredly guarded and accurately explained by the Catholic Church, from this chair of PETER, in the sight of all, have determined to profess and to declare the salutary doctrine of Christ, after contrary errors have been proscribed and condemned by the power transmitted to Us by God.

Chap. 1. God, Creator of All Things

1782 [The one, living, and true God and His distinction from all things.] * The holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church believes and confesses that there is one, true, living God, Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, omnipotent, eternal, immense, incomprehensible, infinite in intellect and will, and in every perfection; who, although He is one, singular, altogether simple and unchangeable spiritual substance, must be proclaimed distinct in reality and essence from the world; most blessed in Himself and of Himself, and ineffably most high above all things which are or can be conceived outside Himself [can. 1-4].

1783 [ The act of creation in itself, and in opposition to modern errors, and the effect of creation] . This sole true God by His goodness and "omnipotent power," not to increase His own beatitude, and not to add to, but to manifest His perfection by the blessings which He bestows on creatures, with most free volition, "immediately from the beginning of time fashioned each creature out of nothing, spiritual and corporeal, namely angelic and mundane; and then the human creation, common as it were, composed of both spirit and body" [Lateran Council IV, see n. 428; can. 2 and 5]

1784  [The result of creation] .But God protects and governs by His providence all things which He created, "reaching from end to end mightily and ordering all things sweetly" [cf. Wisd. 8:1]. For "all things are naked and open to His eyes" [ Heb. 4:13], even those which by the free action of creatures are in the future.

Chap.2. Revelation 

1785 [ The fact of positive supernatural revelation] .The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches thatGod, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason from created things; "for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" [ Rom 1:20]; nevertheless, it has pleased His wisdom and goodness to reveal Himself and the eternal decrees of His will to the human race in another and supernatural way, as the Apostle says: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by His Son" [ Heb.1:1 f; can. 1]. 

1786 [ The necessity of revelation].Indeed, it must be attributed to this divine revelation that those things, which in divine things are not impenetrable to human reason by itself, can, even in this present condition of the human race, be known readily by all with firm certitude and with no admixture of error.* Nevertheless, it is not for this reason that revelation is said to be absolutely necessary, but because God in His infinite goodness has ordained man for a supernatural end, to participation, namely, in the divine goods which altogether surpass the understanding of the human mind, since "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him" [ 1 Cor. 2:9 ; can. 2 and 3].

1787 [The source of revelation].Furthermore, this supernatural revelation, according to the faith of the universal Church, as declared by the holy synod of Trent, is contained "in the written books and in the unwritten traditions which have been received by the apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself; or, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit have been handed down by the apostles themselves, and have thus come to us" [Council of Trent, see n. 783]. And, indeed, these books of the Old and New Testament, whole with all their parts, just as they were enumerated in the decree of the same Council, are contained in the older Vulgate Latin edition, and are to be accepted as sacred and canonical. But the Church holds these books as sacred and canonical, not because, having been put together by human industry alone, they were then approved by its authority; nor because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and, as such, they have been handed down to the Church itself (can. 4).

1788 [The interpretation of Sacred Scripture].But, since the rules which the holy Synod of Trent salutarily decreed concerning the interpretation of Divine Scripture in order to restrain impetuous minds, are wrongly explained by certain men, We, renewing the same decree, declare this to be its intention: that, in matters of faith and morals pertaining to the instruction of Christian Doctrine, that must be considered as the true sense of Sacred Scripture which Holy Mother Church has held and holds, whose office it is to judge concerning the true understanding and interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures; and, for that reason, no one is permitted to interpret Sacred Scripture itself contrary to this sense, or even contrary to the unanimous agreement of the Fathers. 


Chap. 3. Faith 

1789  [ The definition of faith] .Since man is wholly dependent on God as his Creator and Lord, and since created reason is completely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound by faith to give full obedience of intellect and will to God who reveals [can. 1]. But the Catholic Church professes that this faith, which "is the beginning of human salvation" [cf. n. 801], is a supernatural virtue by which we, with the aid and inspiration of the grace of God, believe that the things revealed by Him are true, not because the intrinsic truth of the revealed things has been perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived [can. 2]. For, "faith is," as the Apostle testifies, "the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not" [Heb. 11:1].

1790   [That faith is consonant with reason ].However, in order that the "obedience" of our faith should be "consonant with reason" [cf. Rom. 12:1], God has willed that to the internal aids of the Holy Spirit there should be joined external proofs of His revelation, namely: divine facts, especially miracles and prophecies which, because they clearly show forth the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are most certain signs of a divine revelation, and are suited to the intelligence of all [can. 3 and 4]. Wherefore, not only Moses and the prophets, but especially Christ the Lord Himself, produced many genuine miracles and prophecies; and we read concerning the apostles: "But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal and confirming the word with signs that followed" [Mark 16:20]. And again it is written: "And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place" [2 Pet. 1:19].

1791  [ Tha t faith in itself is a gift of God].Moreover, although the assent of faith is by no means a blind movement of the intellect, nevertheless, no one can "assent to the preaching of the Gospel," as he must to attain salvation, "without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all a sweetness in consenting to and believing in truth" (Council of Orange, see n.178 ff.). Wherefore, "faith" itself in itself, even if it "worketh not by charity" [cf. Gal. 5:6], is a gift of God, and its act is a work pertaining to salvation, by which man offers a free obedience to God Himself by agreeing to, and cooperating with His grace, which he could resist [cf. n.797 f: can. 5].

1792 [The object of faith] .Further, by divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God and in tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed.

1793 [The necessity of embracing faith and retaining it] .But, since "without faith it is impossible to please God" [ Heb. 11:6] and to attain to the fellowship of His sons, hence, no one is justified without it; nor will anyone attain eternal life except "he shall persevere unto the end on it" [ Matt. 10:22;24:13]. Moreover, in order that we may satisfactorily perform the duty of embracing the true faith and of continuously persevering in it, God, through His only-begotten Son, has instituted the Church, and provided it with clear signs of His institution, so that it can be recognized by all as the guardian and teacher of the revealed word. 

1794  [ The divine external aid for the fulfillment of the duty of Faith ] .For, to the Catholic Church alone belong all those many and marvelous things which have been divinely arranged for the evident credibility of the Christian faith. But, even the Church itself by itself, because of its marvelous propagation, its exceptional holiness, and inexhaustible fruitfulness in all good works; because of its catholic unity and invincible stability, is a very great and perpetual motive of credibility, and an incontestable witness of its own divine mission.

 [The divine internal aid to the same].By this it happens that the Church as "a standard set up unto the nations" [Isa. 11:12], both invites to itself those who have not yet believed, and makes its sons more certain that the faith, which they profess, rests on a very firm foundation. Indeed, an efficacious aid to this testimony has come from supernatural virtue. For, the most benign God both excites the erring by His grace and aids them so that they can "come to a knowledge of the truth" [ 1 Tim. 2:4], and also confirms in His grace those whom "He has called out of darkness into his marvelous light" [1 Pet. 2:9 ], so that they may persevere in this same light, not deserting if He be not deserted [see n. 804 ]. Wherefore, not at all equal is the condition of those, who, through the heavenly gift of faith, have adhered to the Catholic truth, and of those, who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for, those who have accepted the faith under the teaching power of the Church can never have a just cause of changing or doubting that faith [can. 6]. Since this is so, "giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light" [Col. 1:12 ], let us not neglect such salvation, but "looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith" [ Heb. 12:2], "let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering" [ Heb. 10:23].

Chap. 4. Faith and reason


1795   [ The twofold order of knowledge] .By enduring agreement the Catholic Church has held and holds that there is a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only in principle but also in object: (1) in principle, indeed, because we know in one way by natural reason, in another by divine faith; (2) in object, however, because, in addition to things to which natural reason can attain, mysteries hidden in God are proposed to us for belief which, had they not been divinely revealed, could not become known [can. 1]. Wherefore, the Apostle, who testifies that God was known to the Gentiles "by the things that are made" [Rom. 1:20], nevertheless, when discoursing about grace and truth which "was made through Jesus Christ" [cf.John 1:17] proclaims: "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, a wisdom which is hidden, which God ordained before the world, unto our glory, which none of the princes of this world know. . . . But to us God hath revealed them by His Spirit For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God" [ 1 Cor. 2:7,8,10]. And the Only-begotten Himself "confesses to the Father, because He hath hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hath revealed them to little ones" [cf.Matt. 11:25 ] 

1796  [The role of reason in teaching supernatur al truth ] .And, indeed, reason illustrated by faith, when it zealously, piously, and soberly seeks, attains with the help of God some understanding of the mysteries, and that a most profitable one, not only from the analogy of those things which it knows naturally, but also from the connection of the mysteries among themselves and with the last end of man; nevertheless, it is never capable of perceiving those mysteries in the way it does the truths which constitute its own proper object. For, divine mysteries by their nature exceed the created intellect so much that, even when handed down by revelation and accepted by faith, they nevertheless remain covered by the veil of faith itself, and wrapped in a certain mist, as it were, as long as in this mortal life, "we are absent from the Lord: for we walk by faith and not by sight" [ 2 Cor. 5:6 f.],

1797  [The impossibility of opposition between faith and reason ] .But, although faith is above reason, nevertheless, between faith and reason no true dissension can ever exist, since the same God, who reveals mysteries and infuses faith, has bestowed on the human soul the light of reason; moreover, God cannot deny Himself, nor ever contradict truth with truth. But, a vain appearance of such a contradiction arises chiefly from this, that either the dogmas of faith have not been understood and interpreted according to the mind of the Church, or deceitful opinions are considered as the determinations of reason. Therefore, "every assertion contrary to the truth illuminated by faith, we define to be altogether false" [Lateran Council V, see n. 738 ].

1798 Further, the Church which, together with the apostolic duty of teaching, has received the command to guard the deposit of faith, has also, from divine Providence, the right and duty of proscribing "knowledge falsely so called" [1 Tim. 6:20 ], "lest anyone be cheated by philosophy and vain deceit" [cf.Col. 2:8; can. 2]. Wherefore, all faithful Christians not only are forbidden to defend opinions of this sort, which are known to be contrary to the teaching of faith, especially if they have been condemned by the Church, as the legitimate conclusions of science, but they shall be altogether bound to hold them rather as errors, which present a false appearance of truth. 

1799  [ The mutual assistance of faith and reason, and the just freedom of science].And, not only can faith and reason never be at variance with one another, but they also bring mutual help to each other, since right reasoning demonstrates the basis of faith and, illumined by its light, perfects the knowledge of divine things, while faith frees and protects reason from errors and provides it with manifold knowledge. Wherefore, the Church is so far from objecting to the culture of the human arts and sciences, that it aids and promotes this cultivation in many ways. For, it is not ignorant of, nor does it despise the advantages flowing therefrom into human life; nay, it confesses that, just as they have come forth from "God, the Lord of knowledge" [ 1 Samuel 2:3], so, if rightly handled, they lead to God by the aid of His grace. And it (the Church) does not forbid disciplines of this kind, each in its own sphere, to use its own principles and its own method; but, although recognizing this freedom, it continually warns them not to fall into errors by opposition to divine doctrine, nor, having transgressed their own proper limits, to be busy with and to disturb those matters which belong to faith.