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Ad tuendam fidem (English: To Protect the Faith) is an apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II issued motu proprio on May 18, 1998. The apostolic letter modified the Oriental and Latin codes of canon law specifying the form of profession of faith to be made by ministers of the Church before assuming office.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith accompanied publication of the document with a doctrinal commentary, clarifying the three levels of authoritative teaching of the Church. The highest level is that of doctrines solemnly propounded as revealed by God. These call for divine faith. The second level is that of doctrines likewise infallibly taught not as revealed by God but as truths inseparably connected with revelation. The third category is that of teachings on matters more or less loosely connected with revelation that without being set forth with the solemnity of infallible doctrines are nevertheless authoritative. For this last category, what is required of Catholics is "religious submission of will and intellect". The other two call for firm and definitive assent, an assent that in the first category is one of divine faith.
The congregation's doctrinal commentary gave several examples of teachings of the first category, including the articles of the Creed, and teachings on the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist and on the grave immorality of direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being. The second category includes teachings on such matters as the illicitness of euthanasia, prostitution and fornication, and on what are called "dogmatic facts", such as the canonization of saints and the invalidity of Anglican ordinations.
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing of some form of truth or knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entities.
Theological virtues are virtues associated in Christian theology and philosophy with salvation resulting from the grace of God. Virtues are traits or qualities which dispose one to conduct oneself in a morally good manner. Traditionally they have been named Faith, Hope, and Charity (Love), and can trace their importance in Christian theology to Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 13, who also pointed out that “the greatest of these is love.”
Sola scriptura is a theological doctrine held by some Protestant Christian denominations that posits the Christian scriptures as the sole infallible source of authority for Christian faith and practice.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the oldest among the nine congregations of the Roman Curia, seated at the Palace of the Holy Office in Rome. It was founded to defend the church from heresy; today, it is the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine. Formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, it is informally known in many Catholic countries as the Holy Office, and between 1908 and 1965 was officially known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office.
The magisterium of the Catholic Church is the church's authority or office to give authentic interpretation of the Word of God, "whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition." According to the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the task of interpretation is vested uniquely in the Pope and the bishops, though the concept has a complex history of development. Scripture and Tradition "make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church", and the magisterium is not independent of this, since "all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is derived from this single deposit of faith."
The infallibility of the Church is the belief that the Holy Spirit preserves the Christian Church from errors that would contradict its essential doctrines. It is related to, but not the same as, indefectibility, that is, "she remains and will remain the Institution of Salvation, founded by Christ, until the end of the world." The doctrine of infallibility is premised on the authority Jesus granted to the apostles to "bind and loose" and in particular the promises to Peter in regard to papal infallibility.
Sacred tradition is a theological term used in major Christian traditions, primarily those claiming apostolic succession, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, and Anglican traditions, to refer to the foundation of the doctrinal and spiritual authority of Christianity and of the Bible.
In one sense, faith in Christianity is often discussed in terms of believing God's promises, trusting in his faithfulness, and relying on God's character and faithfulness to act. Some of the definitions in the history of Christian theology have followed the biblical formulation in Hebrews 11:1: "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". As in other Abrahamic religions, it includes a belief in the existence of God, in the reality of a transcendent domain that God administers as his kingdom and in the benevolence of the will of God or God's plan for humankind.
Apostolicae curae is the title of a papal bull, issued in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII, declaring all Anglican ordinations to be "absolutely null and utterly void". The Anglican Church made no official reply, but the archbishops of Canterbury and of York of the Church of England published a response known by its Latin title Saepius officio in 1897.
Dogmatic theology is that part of theology dealing with the theoretical truths of faith concerning God and God's works, especially the official theology recognized by an organized Church body, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Dutch Reformed Church, etc. At times, apologetics or fundamental theology is called "general dogmatic theology", dogmatic theology proper being distinguished from it as "special dogmatic theology". In present-day use, however, apologetics is no longer treated as part of dogmatic theology but has attained the rank of an independent science, being generally regarded as the introduction to and foundation of dogmatic theology.
The Paschal mystery is one of the central concepts of Catholic faith relating to the history of salvation. Its main subject is the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus – the work that God the Father sent His Son to accomplish on earth. According to the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "The Paschal Mystery of Jesus ... stands at the center of the Christian faith because God's saving plan was accomplished once for all by the redemptive death of His Son Jesus Christ." The Catechism states that in the liturgy of the Church which revolves around the seven sacraments, "it is principally His own Paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present."
Ordinatio sacerdotalis is an apostolic letter issued by Pope John Paul II on 22 May 1994 in which he discussed the Catholic Church's position requiring "the reservation of priestly ordination to men alone" and wrote that "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women". While the document states that it was written so "that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance", it has been contested by some Catholics, as to both the substance and in the authoritative nature of its teaching.
Private revelation is, in Christian theology, a message from God which can come in a variety of types.
Obsequium religiosum is a Latin phrase meaning religious submission or religious assent, particularly in the theology of the Catholic Church.
Sensus fidei, also called sensus fidelium is, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "the supernatural appreciation of faith on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals." Quoting the document Lumen gentium of the Second Vatican Council, the Catechism adds: "By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority,... receives... the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. ...The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life." The foundation of this can be found in Jesus' saying in Mt 16:18 that "the gates of Hell will not prevail against it," where "it" refers to the "Church", that is, the Lord's people that carries forward the living tradition of essential beliefs throughout history, with the Bishops overseeing that this tradition does not pursue the way of error.
A dogma of the Catholic Church is defined as "a truth revealed by God, which the magisterium of the Church declared as binding." The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
The Church's Magisterium asserts that it exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging Catholics to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.
Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that, in virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the pope when appealing to his highest authority is preserved from the possibility of error on doctrine "initially given to the apostolic Church and handed down in Scripture and tradition". This doctrine was defined dogmatically at the First Vatican Council of 1869–1870 in the document Pastor aeternus, but had been defended before that, existing already in medieval theology and being the majority opinion at the time of the Counter-Reformation.
In the liturgical traditions the Catholic Church the term ordination refers to the means by which a person is included in one of the orders of bishops, priests or deacons. The teaching of the Catholic Church on ordination, as expressed in the Code of Canon Law, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, is that only a Catholic male validly receives ordination, and "that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." In other words, the male priesthood is not considered by the Church a matter of policy but an unalterable requirement of God. As with priests and bishops, the church ordains only men as deacons. The church does not ordain anyone who has undergone sex reassignment surgery, and may sanction or require therapy for priests who are transsexual, contending that these are an indicator of mental instability.
Heresy in the Catholic Church denotes the formal denial or doubt of a core doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Heresy has a very specific meaning in the Catholic Church and there are four elements which constitute formal heresy; a valid Christian baptism; a profession of still being a Christian; outright denial or positive doubt regarding a truth that the Catholic Church regards as revealed by God; and lastly, the disbelief must be morally culpable, that is, there must be a refusal to accept what is known to be a doctrinal imperative. Therefore, to become a heretic in the strict canonical sense and be excommunicated, one must deny or question a truth that is taught as the word of God, and at the same time recognize one's obligation to believe it. If the person is believed to have acted in good faith, as one might out of ignorance, then the heresy is only material and implies neither guilt nor sin against faith.
The theology of Scripture in the Roman Catholic church has evolved much since the Second Vatican Council of Catholic Bishops. This article explains the theology of Scripture that has come to dominate in the Catholic Church today. It focuses on the Church’s response to various areas of study into the original meaning of texts.