What are the dogmas of the church?


Can anyone point me to an online resource which lists all the formal dogmas of the church? Or a book?

If you google “catholic dogmas”, you will find a number of copies of a list taken from Ott’s Fundamentals of the Faith. But this list may not be right. For instance, many discussions of Marian dogmas speak of the Four Dogmas, to which CoRedemptrix, if ever defined, would be the 5th Dogma. But the Ott list has many more than 4 under the Mother of the Redeemer section of the list.

So many of the items on the Ott list, while certainly true doctrines, are not dogma.


I can’t give you a list, but the Creeds do prove a good offering. In general, the dogmas of the Church clarify the Scriptures and tells us which of the traditions are essential to the Gospel.




I understand the question…but it is the wrong question, IMHO. Catholics are bound not only by defined dogmas. Here is Cardinal Manning addressing this liberal error:

[quote=Cardinal Manning]"This spirit began in Germany. It says: ‘I believe everything which the Church has defined. I believe all dogmas; everything which has been defined by a General Council.’ This sounds a large and generous profession of faith; but they forget that whatsoever was revealed on the Day of Pentecost to the Apostles, and by the Apostles preached to the nations of the world, and has descended in the full stream of universal belief and constant tradition, though it has never been defined, is still matter of Divine faith. Thus there are truths of faith which have never been defined because they have never been contradicted. They are not defined because they have not been denied. The definition of the truth is the fortification of the Church against the assaults of unbelief. Some of the greatest truths of revelation are to this day undefined. The infallibility of the Church has never been defined. The infallibility of the Head of the Church was only defined the other day. But the infallibility of the Church, for which every Catholic would lay down his life, has never been defined until now; the infallibility of the Church is at this moment where the infallibility of the Pope was this time last year; an undefined point of Christian revelation, believed by the Christian world, but not yet put in the form of a definition. When, therefore, men said they would only believe dogmas, and definitions by General Councils, they implied, without knowing it, that they would not believe in the infallibility of the Church. (From, “Four Great Evils of the Day”.)



Is the above post by SFD in referance to the magisterium of the church or is this not the same thing?
I start RCIA on monday,so I’m a bit of a newby…
Anyway,I thinking it has something to do with the collective beliefs and traditions of The Body as a whole.That is,everybody believes it so it must be true.(sort of)Then the Vatican hashes it out to see how substantial the issue is and makes it official?


Thanks, buffalo, but that is the list that is troublesome. I know that Mediatrix, for instance, is not a dogma. Or at least, that is what the wikipedia article on Marian doctrine states. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_doctrines_of_the_Catholic_Church


I understand. But the dogmas are at least a good place to start. Suppose there are many teachings to which I am bound to believe. Well, what are those teachings? We live in a confusing time. At least in my own mind, I can settle the question that have been dogmatically defined and not worry about them any longer.

Saying that there is more than dogmas just leaves me with more questions, not less.

The trouble is that many teachers within the church, even bishops, make statements which are contradictory to some of the deposit of faith. Even dogmas. I think the best place to start is with those things which have been definitively settled.

Still, it surprising that a list is hard to find on the web.


Such a list is hard to find because the Church has never published one. Those published by Ott and others are valuable, but they are well informed opinion, and not declarations from the Church. The Church has made plenty of pronouncements of what the faith is, and the Catechism is the best and easiest guide, IMO. But I believe the Church has good reason for not providing lists of “dogmas” versus doctrines, (or any other category).


Use Catholic Church sources rather than wikipedia.


I suggest you obtain a copy of Denzinger.



Thank you. I will do that.


There’s nothing wrong with Ott’s listings of doctrines and classifications. Remember that there are defined dogmas of the Faith and those classified as de fide by the Church’s approved theologians. They assign a “theological note” to a doctrine. Some are “Of Faith” or de fide. Some are “of ecclesiastical faith”, “proximate to the faith”, or “theologically certain”. It is at minimum a mortal sin to knowingly oppose any of the doctrines thus classified.



This is inexact…and very misleading. Here is an extract from Scheeben’s Dogmatik, a very well know and respected dogmatic theology manual.

SECT. 27.— The Writings of Theologians.

I. By Theologians we mean men learned in Theology, who as members or masters of the theological schools which came into existence after the patristic era, taught and handed down Catholic doctrine on strictly scientific lines, in obedience to and under the supervision of the bishops. The title belongs primarily to the Schoolmen of the Middle Ages — the Scholastic Theologians strictly so-called; then to all who followed the methods of the School during the last three centuries; and, generally, to all distinguished and approved writers on Theology whether they have adhered to the Scholastic methods or not. It is only in exceptional cases that the Church gives a public approbation to an individual Theologian, and this is done by canonization or by the still further honour of conferring on him the title of Doctor of the Church. When we speak of an Approved Author, we mean one who is held in general esteem on account of his learning and the Catholic spirit of his teaching. Some approved authors are of acknowledged weight, while others are of only minor importance. What we are about to state concerning the authority of Theologians must not be applied indiscriminately to every Catholic writer, but only to such as are weighty and approved (auctores probati et graves).

II. The authority of Theologians, like that of the Fathers, may be considered either individually and partially, or of the whole body collectively. As a rule, the authority of a single Theologian (with the exception of canonized Saints, and perhaps some authors of the greatest weight) does not create the presumption that no point of his doctrine was opposed to the common teaching of the Church in his day; much less that, independently of his reasons, the whole of his doctrine is positively probable merely on account of his authority. When, however, the majority of approved and weighty Theologians agree, it must be presumed that their teaching is not opposed to that of the Church. Moreover, if their doctrines are based upon sound arguments propounded without any prejudice and not contradicted very decidedly, the positive probability of the doctrines must be presumed. No more than this probability can be produced by the consent of many or even of all Theologians when they state a doctrine as a common opinion (opinio communis) and not as a common conviction (sententia conmunis). These questions have been discussed at great length by Moral Theologians in the controversy on Probabilism. See Lacroix, Theol. Mor., lib. I., tr. i., c. 2.

The consent of Theologians produces certainty that a doctrine is Catholic truth only when on the one hand the doctrine is proposed as absolutely certain, and on the other and the consent is universal and constant (Consensus universalis et constans non solurn opinionis sed firmae et ratae sententiae). If all agree that a particular doctrine is a Catholic dogma and that to deny it is heresy, then that doctrine is certainly a dogma. If they agree that a doctrine cannot be denied without injuring Catholic truth, and that such denial is deserving of censure, this again is a sure proof that the doctrine is in some way a Catholic doctrine. If, again, they agree in declaring that a doctrine is sufficiently certain and demonstrated, their consent is not indeed a formal proof of the Catholic character of the doctrine, nevertheless the existence of the consent shows that the doctrine belongs to the mind of the Church (catholicus intellectus), and that consequently its denial would incur the censure of rashness.

These principles on the authority of Theologians were strongly insisted on by Pius IX in the brief, Gravissimas inter (cf. infra, § 29), and they are evident consequences of the Catholic doctrine of Tradition. Although the assistance of the Holy Ghost is not directly promised to Theologians, nevertheless the assistance promised to the Church requires that He should prevent them as a body from falling into error; otherwise the Faithful who follow them would all be led astray. The consent of Theologians implies the consent of the Episcopate, according to St. Augustine’s dictum: “Not to resist an error is to approve of it — not to defend a truth is to reject it.” (“Error cui non resistitur approbatur, et veritas quae non defenditur opprimitur “ (Decr. Grat., dist. 83, c. error). And even natural reason assures us that this consent is a guarantee of truth. “Whatever is found to be one and the same among many persons is not an error but a tradition” (Tertullian). (Supra, p. 68.)

(A Manual Of Catholic Theology, Based On Scheeben’s “Dogmatik” Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D. With A Preface By Cardinal Manning, Vol. 1. 1906, pp. 83-84.)


I don’t see how any of this contradicts what I said, or how what I said is misleading. Many learned men have published lists of dogmas, many of them are very helpful and informative. The Church has chosen not to publish such a list. This is not to say that those theologians that do are not respected and of value. Still, to my knowledge, the Church has never published an official list of dogmatic beliefs, or an official list of infallible teachings. The Church provides us with the catechism, but declines to classify some parts of it as required and others as optional.


You seem to be hung up on the idea of an “official list”. The moral unanimity of the Church’s approved theologians is official enough…don’t you think? This is what Pius IX insisted upon when people started to claim that only dogma were essential.



Not hung up, quite the opposite. So many people want a list of things they have to do, and want the Church to sort its teachings into buckets of things that are really required, sort of required, etc. The Church has never done that, even though it obviously could do easily do so. I said the Church has good reasons for not doing that. One of those reasons is that it does not want Catholics to feel free to consider some teachings as optional if they do not receive the highest stamp of authority.


The Church has done that. Most teachings are given a “theological note”…so if one so desires to know this classification it can be found. There are things that are matters of opinion…but most doctrine is at a minimum classsified as “Catholic teaching” or “Safe”. Denial of these teachings is considered either “rash” or “unsafe”. This come directly from the Papal Bull, Auctorum Fidei of Pius VI condemning the Jansenist Synod of Pistoia (1794).

The rule of faith for a Catholic however is the preaching of the ecclesistical magisterium (the bishops and their auxilaries).

Do you see any problem here?



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