Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma


#1

Can anyone answer a few questions for me?

In Dr. Ott’s book, there are “grades of certainty” after each pronouncement of faith in parenthesis. For example, page 206, “Also after the Birth of Jesus Mary remained a Virgin. (De fide.)”

Other “grades” include: Sent. communis, Sent. certa., etc.

How does “De fide” compare with dogma? I’ve noticed that where something is proclaimed a dogma, it also has the De fide grade after it. Is De fide to be understood on the same level as dogma? How is this?

I have been discussing doctrines with a seminarian who told me that if a teaching is not formally declared a dogma, or part of the Creed, a theologian (or priest) may “cast doubt” on that teaching??? For example, the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.


#2

[quote=DonaNobisPacem]Can anyone answer a few questions for me?

In Dr. Ott’s book, there are “grades of certainty” after each pronouncement of faith in parenthesis. For example, page 206, “Also after the Birth of Jesus Mary remained a Virgin. (De fide.)”

Other “grades” include: Sent. communis, Sent. certa., etc.

How does “De fide” compare with dogma? I’ve noticed that where something is proclaimed a dogma, it also has the De fide grade after it. Is De fide to be understood on the same level as dogma? How is this?

I have been discussing doctrines with a seminarian who told me that if a teaching is not formally declared a dogma, or part of the Creed, a theologian (or priest) may “cast doubt” on that teaching??? For example, the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.
[/quote]

I don’t have the book in front of me so I can’t give you the exact page, but Dr. Ott explains the meaning of all the terms in the beginning of the book.


#3

I was told that De Fide is a required belief of the Faithfull.


#4

The terms are explained in the Introduction, Section 8.


#5

[quote=All4lifetoo]The terms are explained in the Introduction, Section 8.
[/quote]

§ 8. The Theological Grades of Certainty can be read online @:(Introduction to the) Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma
by Dr. Ludwig Ott


#6

So if I am understanding correctly, De fide is the highest degree of certainty?? It says “de fide definita”, which I am assuming is the same as “De fide”??

So my question is, can someone (like a theologian or priest) openly disagree with a “de fide” truth and not be considered dissenting or heretical? And could they teach this as something the faithful are not bound to believe??


#7

[quote=DonaNobisPacem]So if I am understanding correctly, De fide is the highest degree of certainty?? It says “de fide definita”, which I am assuming is the same as “De fide”??

So my question is, can someone (like a theologian or priest) openly disagree with a “de fide” truth and not be considered dissenting or heretical? And could they teach this as something the faithful are not bound to believe??
[/quote]

If I’m reading the “Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei” correctly, it seems that “de fide” corresponds with de fide credenda — doctrines that “require the assent of theological faith”. If so, “whoever obstinately places them in doubt or denies them falls under the censure of heresy.”

If “de fide” includes de fide tenenda / sententia definitive tenenda, then, at the very least, “[w]hoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church.”

Either way, denying doctrines “de fide” isn’t compatible with Catholic fidelity. Needless to say, teaching that one can deny such doctrines is a mistake.

I highly recommend reading the “Doctrinal Commentary”. A helpful summary is also located here.


#8

[quote=Matt16_18]§ 8. The Theological Grades of Certainty can be read online @: (Introduction to the) Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma

by Dr. Ludwig Ott

[/quote]

While he has many good points and explanations, they do not necessarily reflect Church teachings. Therefore there can be errors in the article. He has at least one possible error where he said that Roman Congregation Bible Commissions are not infallible. The Pontifical Bible Com. did have infallible teaching authority (until 1964 or so).

All teachings are infallible as they are true and irreformable and as such are de fide.


#9

[quote=Vincent]If I’m reading the “Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei” correctly, it seems that “de fide” corresponds with de fide credenda — doctrines that “require the assent of theological faith”. If so, “whoever obstinately places them in doubt or denies them falls under the censure of heresy.”

If “de fide” includes de fide tenenda / sententia definitive tenenda, then, at the very least, “[w]hoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church.”

Either way, denying doctrines “de fide” isn’t compatible with Catholic fidelity. Needless to say, teaching that one can deny such doctrines is a mistake.

I highly recommend reading the “Doctrinal Commentary”. A helpful summary is also located here.
[/quote]

Excellent links! Thanks.


#10

Dr. Ludwig Ott in the original German (and French translation) was excellent. The English translator did him a disservice.

Here is a critique of the ENGLISH language translation: jloughnan.tripod.com/critott.htm

From John Pacheco:

catholic-legate.com/qa/defide.html

The Catholic Legate

  Question & Answers


  Topic: Dogma, Doctrine and De Fide
  Question: 

    Can you please explain the difference between dogma, doctrine and de fide. I am having trouble with these terms. 

  Answer: **De Fide ** means "of the faith". It means it is an article of faith  and must be believed. A Dogma is a De Fide article of faith. In Catholicism, there exists what we understand to be a "hierarchy of truths". Some doctrines have been formally defined by the Church (i.e. dogmas) and are essentially irrevocable and non-reformable. Other doctrines do not carry such a weight but are generally believed to be true by the majority of theologians. 

  In his book The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Ludwig Ott distinguishes between the level of certainty a Catholic may have towards any teaching of  the Catholic Church (p.9-10). I have provided an example of each immediately following his description: 

  **De Fide ** - The highest degree of certainty appertains to immediately revealed truths, due on the Authority of God revealing. If these truths are solemnly defined by the Magisterium, they are "de defide definita."  (Example: The Dogma of the Trinity) 

  **Fides Ecclesiastica ** - Catholic truths or Church doctrines, on which the infallible Teaching Authority of the Church has finally decided, are to be accepted with a faith which is based on the sole authority of the Church (fides ecclesiatica). These truths are as infallibly certain as dogmas proper. (Example: Anglican Order are invalid.) 

  **Sententia Ad Fidem Pertinens ** - A teaching pertaining to the Faith is a doctrine, on which the Teaching Authority of the Church has not yet finally pronounced, but whose truth is guaranteed by its intrinsic connection with the doctrine of revelation (theological conclusions). (Example: An all male priesthood. Some may disagree and suggest that      Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is an infallible pronouncement on this issue.) 

  **Sententia Fidei Proxima ** - A teaching proximate to Faith is a doctrine, which is regarded by theologians generally as a truth of Revelation, but which has not yet been finally promulgated as such by the Church. (Example: Mary as Co-Mediaterix) 

  **Sententia Communis ** - Common teaching is doctrine, which in itself belongs to the field of free opinions, but which is accepted by theologians generally. (Example: Christ's soul possessed infused knowledge.) 

  **Sententia Probabablis ** - Theological opinions of lesser grades of certainty are called probable, more probable, well-founded. Those which are regarded as being in a agreement with the consciousness of Faith of the Church are called pious opinions (sententia pia). The least degree of certainity is      possessed by the tolerated opinion (opinio tolerata), which is only weakly founded, but which is tolerated by the Church. (Example: Rigorist (strict) view of "No Salvation Outside the Church", or the existence of Limbo.) 

  John Pacheco 
  The Catholic Legate 
  June 7, 2002 

  (c) 2002 The Catholic Legate. All Rights Reserved.


  "A Catholic who does not work at the growth of the body to the extent of his possibilities must be considered useless both to the Church and to himself." 
  - Vatican II, Apostolicam Actuositatem, 2

#11

[quote=JOE OBERR]While he has many good points and explanations, they do not necessarily reflect Church teachings. Therefore there can be errors in the article. He has at least one possible error where he said that Roman Congregation Bible Commissions are not infallible. The Pontifical Bible Com. did have infallible teaching authority (until 1964 or so).

All teachings are infallible as they are true and irreformable and as such are de fide.
[/quote]

The force of the decrees of the PBC was discussed in an article in the 1953 Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.

They are of very varied character.

Their force is indicated, in part, by the form in which the questions were asked and answered. AFAIR, none is infallible; many - possibly all - were binding in conscience. And possibly all could be reversed, were there to be sufficiently solid arguments to bring this about.

As they had by then covered a span of almost 50 years and several pontificates, Biblical studies had not been at a standstill.

The article is far too long to copy :slight_smile:

A recent essay discusses them - scroll down to the last third of the page: [size=1][size=2][size=1]The Decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission[/size][/size][/size]
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#12

[quote=JOE OBERR]While he has many good points and explanations, they do not necessarily reflect Church teachings. Therefore there can be errors in the article. He has at least one possible error where he said that Roman Congregation Bible Commissions are not infallible. The Pontifical Bible Com. did have infallible teaching authority (until 1964 or so).
[/quote]

I have a problem with this statement. Who gave the Pontifical Bible Com. infallible authority? As far as I am aware there are only two infallible sources, the successor of Peter, and an ecumenical council in communion with the successor of Peter. I don’t see the Pontifical Bible Com. meeting those conditions. If the PBC makes a pronouncement and if the Pope confirms it, then the infalliblity of the statement stems from the Pope, not the PBC. Am I missing something here?

All teachings are infallible as they are true and irreformable and as such are de fide.

This statement is clearly false by the nature of its circular reasonning. I don’t think you said what you meant.


#13

In Dr Ott’s book, he does specifically state which teachings are Dogma, but there are many, many truths which are classified as De fide, but not “De fide definita”. For example, I think I mentioned above, the Perpetual Virginity is not Dogma, but classified as “De fide”.

Would I be correct in assuming that “De fide definita” is the same as Dogma? Then what is “De fide”??? And is it something that requires assent of mind and will of the faithful?


#14

No.

De fide definita refers to a dogma that has be *solemnly * defined, i.e. it a dogma that has been defined by an exercise of the extraordinary Magisterium. Solemnly defined dogmas have been promulgated either by an Ecumenical Council, or by a papal ex cathedra pronouncement.

De fide means “of the faith”. It is a *de fide * dogma of the Catholic Church that God exists. Just because this dogma has never been solemnly defined, it doesn’t mean that one can be a Catholic and doubt the existence of God. Generally dogmas only get solemnly defined when there arises a controversy about the dogma.


#15

The force of the decrees of the PBC was discussed in an article in the 1953 Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.
They are of very varied character.
Their force is indicated, in part, by the form in which the questions were asked and answered. AFAIR, none is infallible; many - possibly all - were binding in conscience. And possibly all could be reversed, were there to be sufficiently solid arguments to bring this about.

Not true:
All are binding in conscience: Pope Piux X teaches infallibly:
"Wherefore we find it necessary to declare and to expressly prescribe, and by this our act we do declare and decree that all are bound in conscience to submit to the decisions of the Biblical Commission relating to doctrine, which have been given in the past and which shall be given in the future, in the same way as to the decrees of the Roman congregations approved by the Pontiff; nor can all those escape the note of disobedience or temerity, and consequently of grave sin, who in speech or writing contradict such decisions, and this besides the scandal they give and the other reasons for which they may be responsible before God for other temerities and errors which generally go with such contradictions"
And again he states:
"and this we declare and decree that should anybody, which may God forbid, be so rash as to defend any one of the propositions, opinions or teachings condemned in these documents he falls, ipso facto, under the censure contained under the chapter “Docentes” of the constitution “Apostolicae Sedis,” which is the first among the **excommunications **latae sententiae,…
A recent essay discusses them - scroll down to the last third of the page: [size=1][size=2][size=1]The Decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission[/size][/size][/size]
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That page you referenced is not Catholic Church teaching and is not even remotely infallible. It is the discussion of those who accept the principles of rationalism, it is full of errors, and it must be assumed to be largely to be based on error because it accepts the principles of rationalism.
The reason the Decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission won’t change is because they are based on sound principles, in which teachings handed down in Sacred Tradition are foundational, since they come from God.
Much, but not all bible studies today, reject the primary the authority of Sacred Tradition, and thus they approach scripture as only man made writings.
How stupid! If they are only man-made writings, then why even study them at all? Why even call them “scripture”? How can anyone even know if they are inspired in any sense, unless one accepts the primacy of the Word of God handed down in Sacred Tradition?
If one does not accept the all of God’s word in Sacred Tradition,
then these scholars are hypocrites for calling biblical writings “scripture” in once sentance, then in the next rejecting any sense of being inspired at all in the next sentence. Hypocrites is exactly what they are.
If one really wants to know what the Church teaches in regards to the bible, here is a web page of Church documents on scripture, in which the Church teaches infallibly.
myweb.lmu.edu/fjust/ChurchDocs.htm
We must remember that all heresies in the history of Christianity have come from or have been promoted by Catholic scripture scholars and theologians.
None have ever been infallible. None have ever been free from error. None can be absolutely trusted.
Only the Popes and those few bishops in union with the Pope have ever been infallible. Only they have never taught error when teaching for the whole Church. Only they can be trusted to teach the truth when teaching for the whole Church.


#16

I forgot to mention that the Pope took away all binding teaching authority of the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1984. Thus, any teachings of the Commission after that date are not binding or authoritative and can be in substantial error.


#17

To be more exact, it was after Vatican II that the authority was removed.
This explains it.
rtforum.org/lt/lt94.html

"Pope St. Pius X made the rulings of the Commission a part of the Magisterium, the supreme teaching authority of the Church. This extension of the Magisterium was later removed after the Second Vatican Council. Cardinal Ratzinger writes: "The Pontifical Biblical Commission, in its new form after the Second Vatican Council, is not an organ of the teaching office, but rather a commission of scholars …“5 In other words, Pope St. Pius X made the Commission an organ and that organ taught us, publishing its decrees in the A.A.S. Its promulgated decrees were and remain to this day ordinary Magisterial teaching. But after Vatican II the PBC no longer enjoyed this authority.”


#18

[quote=dcdurel]To be more exact, it was after Vatican II that the authority was removed.
This explains it.
rtforum.org/lt/lt94.html

"Pope St. Pius X made the rulings of the Commission a part of the Magisterium, the supreme teaching authority of the Church. This extension of the Magisterium was later removed after the Second Vatican Council. Cardinal Ratzinger writes: "The Pontifical Biblical Commission, in its new form after the Second Vatican Council, is not an organ of the teaching office, but rather a commission of scholars …“5 In other words, Pope St. Pius X made the Commission an organ and that organ taught us, publishing its decrees in the A.A.S. Its promulgated decrees were and remain to this day ordinary Magisterial teaching. But after Vatican II the PBC no longer enjoyed this authority.”
[/quote]

DcDurel,

Thanks for the good links. They show, without a doubt, that the PBC enjoys no “infallible” authority separate from the Pope. At any time, had the PBC published an unacceptable document, the Pope could have revoked the authority he gave them and he could have personnally corrected the matter in question.


#19

[quote=dcdurel]I forgot to mention that the Pope took away all binding teaching authority of the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1984. Thus, any teachings of the Commission after that date are not binding or authoritative and can be in substantial error.
[/quote]

What 1984 document or act are you referring to here?


#20

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