TS 01 Review
Review of the first week's lesson:
The truths of the Catholic faith are found in:
Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium
The Magisterium can only teach truth explicit or implicit in Tradition or Scripture. Nothing can be added to, or taken away from, or changed in Tradition and Scripture by the Magisterium.
Always reject every teacher who teaches what is contrary to Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium.
The Church has two types of authority:
1. the Magisterium (spiritual/teaching authority)
a. infallible teachings
b. non-infallible teachings
2. temporal authority
for making practical decisions, judgments, rules, etc. These are called decisions of the prudential order; they are not teachings and are fallible
The Catholic Faith has three levels to truth:
1. infallible teachings (dogmas), issued in any of three ways:
a. papal infallibility (only certain teachings of the Pope meet the conditions for papal infallibility)
b. doctrinal definitions of Ecumenical councils (but not everything taught or decided by a Council is infallible.
c. the universal Magisterium, when successive generations and successive Popes are in agreement on one teaching defintively to be believed by all the faithful (this is the most common use of the infalllible teaching authority of the Church
All infallible teachings require unreserved acceptance and belief with the full assent of faith.
2. non-infallible teachings (doctrines)
These teachings can contain error to a limited extent, specifically, only to the extent that such errors do not lead the faithful away from the path of salvation. Non-infallible teachings are an essential part of the Faith and are necessary to salvation. One cannot attain a sure path to salvation by following only infallible teachings. Since such teachings are necessary to salvation and can only err to a very limited extent, the Church has the duty and right to require belief in these teachings. However, the level of assent required is not the full assent of faith, but a general assent with will and intellect (which might admit of some reservation or dissent on points which may be in conflict with Tradition, Scripture, or other teachings of the Magisterium).
3. fallible pious opinion and theological speculation
Because the faithful have the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit within the Body of Christ, this search for truth, though fallible, cannot fail to bear some fruit by finding some truths which are present in Tradition and Scripture, but not yet taught by the Magisterium.
This search for truth and this adherence to fallible pious opinion is a necessary and very useful part of the Catholic Faith, because it allows the faithful to put the truths of the Faith in their own words, to take in and organize the truths of the Faith in a way that they can understand, and to apply the truths of the Faith to particular circumstances and situations.
Recent Popes have seen fit to write and publish books at this level, that is, not at the level of infallible teachings, and not even at the level of non-infallible teachings, but at the level of pious opinion and theological speculation, indicating the usefulness of this part of the Faith.
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