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The letter which communicated the decision was received by the community with the joy of faith Acts For Luke, these events demonstrated proper ecclesial action, involving both the pastoral service of the apostles and elders and also the participation of the community, qualified to participate by their faith.
Writing to the Corinthians, Paul identifies the foolishness of the cross as the wisdom of God 1Cor The capacity to recognise the crucified Messiah as the wisdom of God is given by the Holy Spirit; it is not a privilege of the wise and the scribes cf.
Their faith needs to mature and to find better expression in their words and deeds.
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In his own ministry, Paul shows respect for, and a desire to deepen, the faith of his communities. Col ; Eph Finally, in the Book of Revelation, John the prophet repeats in all of his letters to the churches cf. The members of the churches are charged to heed the living word of the Spirit, to receive it, and to give glory to God.
It is by the obedience of faith, itself a gift of the Spirit, that the faithful are able to recognise the teaching they are receiving truly as the teaching of the same Spirit, and to respond to the instructions they are given. The development of the idea, and its place in the history of the Church The concept of the sensus fidelium began to be elaborated and used in a more systematic way at the time of the Reformation, though the decisive role of the consensus fidelium in the discernment and development of doctrine concerning faith and morals was already recognised in the patristic and medieval periods.
What was still needed, however, was more attention to the specific role of the laity in this regard. That issue received attention particularly from the nineteenth century onwards. The Fathers and theologians of the first few centuries considered the faith of the whole Church to be a sure point of reference for discerning the content of the apostolic Tradition.
Their conviction about the solidity and even the infallibility of the discernment of the whole Church on matters of faith and morals was expressed in the context of controversy. They refuted the dangerous novelties introduced by heretics by comparing them with what was held and done in all the churches. To resolve disputes among the faithful, the Church Fathers appealed not only to common belief but also to the constant tradition of practice.
Jerome c. The testimony of the patristic period chiefly concerns the prophetic witness of the people of God as a whole, something that has a certain objective character. The believing people as a whole cannot err in matters of faith, it was claimed, because they have received an anointing from Christ, the promised Holy Spirit, which equips them to discern the truth.
Some Fathers of the Church also reflected on the subjective capacity of Christians animated by faith and indwelt by the Holy Spirit to maintain true doctrine in the Church and to reject error. In the first five centuries, the faith of the Church as a whole proved decisive in determining the canon of Scripture and in defining major doctrines concerning, for example, the divinity of Christ, the perpetual virginity and divine motherhood of Mary, and the veneration and invocation of the saints.
In some cases, as Blessed John Henry Newman remarked, the faith of the laity, in particular, played a crucial role. The most striking example was in the famous controversy in the fourth century with the Arians, who were condemned at the Council of Nicaea AD , where the divinity of Jesus Christ was defined.
From then until the Council of Constantinople AD , however, there continued to be uncertainty among the bishops. The body of Bishops failed in their confession of the faith.
They spoke variously, one against another; there was nothing, after Nicaea, of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony, for nearly sixty years. Rabanus Maurus, c. Ratramnus, died c.
The Scholastic doctors acknowledged that the Church, the congregatio fidelium, cannot err in matters of faith because she is taught by God, united with Christ her Head, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The challenge posed by the 16th century Reformers required renewed attention to the sensus fidei fidelium, and the first systematic treatment of it was worked out as a result. The Reformers emphasised the primacy of the word of God in Sacred Scripture Scriptura sola and the priesthood of the faithful.
Their doctrines called into question, among other things, the role and status of Tradition, the authority of the pope and the bishops to teach, and the inerrancy of councils.
In the process, they gave increasing attention to the teaching authority of the hierarchy. Theologians of the Catholic Reformation, building on previous efforts to develop a systematic ecclesiology, took up the question of revelation, its sources, and their authority. Melchior Cano , who attended the council, provided the first extended treatment of the sensus fidei fidelium in his defence of Catholic esteem for the probative force of Tradition in theological argument.
In his treatise, De locis theologicis ,  he identified the present common consent of the faithful as one of four criteria for determining whether a doctrine or practice belongs to the apostolic tradition. For him, all that the faithful hold as de fide, and all that the bishops teach as pertaining to the faith, is necessarily true and to be believed.
The 19th century was a decisive period for the doctrine of the sensus fidei fidelium. It saw, in the Catholic Church, partly in response to criticism from representatives of modern culture and from Christians of other traditions, and partly from an inner maturation, the rise of historical consciousness, a revival of interest in the Fathers of the Church and in medieval theologians, and a renewed exploration of the mystery of the Church.
John Henry Newman initially investigated the sensus fidei fidelium to resolve his difficulty concerning the development of doctrine. He was the first to publish an entire treatise on the latter topic, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine , and to spell out the characteristics of faithful development. When Newman later wrote On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine , it was to demonstrate that the faithful as distinct from their pastors have their own, active role to play in conserving and transmitting the faith.
The original draft constitution, Supremi Pastoris, from which it developed, had a chapter on the infallibility of the Church chapter nine. In his relatio on the definition of papal infallibility, Bishop Vincent Gasser nevertheless explained that the special assistance given to the pope does not set him apart from the Church and does not exclude consultation and cooperation.
What it excludes is the theory that such a definition requires this consent, antecedent or consequent, as a condition for its authoritative status.
The decree censured a proposition that would allow the pastors to teach only what the faithful already believed. Catholic theologians in the 20th century explored the doctrine of the sensus fidei fidelium in the context of a theology of Tradition, a renewed ecclesiology, and a theology of the laity.
Yves M. Congar contributed significantly to the development of the doctrine of the sensus fidei fidelis and the sensus fidei fidelium. Jn and unifying her in communion and in the works of ministry, he bestows upon her varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her; and he adorns her with his fruits cf.
Acts ; Apoc so that the power of the Gospel may shine out in daily family and social life.
It is the basis for their work of evangelisation. When this text is read in light of the description of the sensus fidei in Lumen Gentium 12 as a supernatural appreciation of the faith, aroused by the Holy Spirit, by which people guided by their pastors adhere unfailingly to the faith, it is readily seen to express the same idea.
This second chapter concentrates on the nature of the sensus fidei fidelis. It utilises, in particular, the framework of arguments and categories offered by classical theology in order to reflect how faith is operative in individual believers.
Although the Biblical vision of faith is larger, the classical understanding highlights an essential aspect: the adherence of the intellect, through love, to revealed truth. This conceptualisation of faith serves still today to clarify the understanding of the sensus fidei fidelis. In these terms, the chapter also considers some manifestations of the sensus fidei fidelis in the personal lives of believers, it being clear that the personal and ecclesial aspects of the sensus fidei are inseparable.
The sensus fidei as an instinct of faith The sensus fidei fidelis is a sort of spiritual instinct that enables the believer to judge spontaneously whether a particular teaching or practice is or is not in conformity with the Gospel and with apostolic faith. It is intrinsically linked to the virtue of faith itself; it flows from, and is a property of, faith.
The sensus fidei fidelis arises, first and foremost, from the connaturality that the virtue of faith establishes between the believing subject and the authentic object of faith, namely the truth of God revealed in Christ Jesus.
Generally speaking, connaturality refers to a situation in which an entity A has a relationship with another entity B so intimate that A shares in the natural dispositions of B as if they were its own. Connaturality permits a particular and profound form of knowledge.
For example, to the extent that one friend is united to another, he or she becomes capable of judging spontaneously what suits the other because he or she shares the very inclinations of the other and so understands by connaturality what is good or bad for the other. This is a knowledge, in other words, of a different order than objective knowledge, which proceeds by way of conceptualisation and reasoning.
It is a knowledge by empathy, or a knowledge of the heart. Every virtue connaturalises its subject, in other words the one who possesses it, to its object, that is, to a certain type of action. What is meant by virtue here is the stable disposition or habitus of a person to behave in a certain way either intellectually or morally.
Every virtue has a double effect: first, it naturally inclines the person who possesses it towards an object a certain kind of action , and second, it spontaneously distances him or her from whatever is contrary to that object. A chaste person thereby instinctively adopts the right attitude, where the conceptual reasoning of the moralist might lead to perplexity and indecision. The sensus fidei is the form that the instinct which accompanies every virtue takes in the case of the virtue of faith.
As a result, they react spontaneously on the basis of that participated divine nature, in the same way that living beings react instinctively to what does or does not suit their nature.
Unlike theology, which can be described as scientia fidei, the sensus fidei fidelis is not a reflective knowledge of the mysteries of faith which deploys concepts and uses rational procedures to reach its conclusions. The sensus fidei fidelis is infallible in itself with regard to its object: the true faith. Not all the ideas which circulate among the People of God are compatible with the faith.
The sensus fidei fidelis flows from the theological virtue of faith. The expression is meant to stand for the following principle: 'Procreation ought to involve no action or actions other than the conjugal act performed by husband and wife that would per se etfect the generation of progeny.
Any acceptable techniques must be consistent with man's divine vocation with respect to the gift oflove and to the gift oflife ["ad donum amoris atque ad donum vitae"]. The document says that, given the principles set out in the previous paragraph, any techniques of artificial fertilization that take the piace of the conjugal act-the Latin word used is subrogantes and so might be translated, "which act as sur- rogates for the conjugal act" -are by no means to be adopted?
On the other hand, continues the document, techniques which "have the character of a help to properly completing the conjugal act and to the same act's fertility" are per- mitted. This second criterion is connected with what 6 Emphasis added.
The fuller passage in Donum vitae runs as follows: "Morale igitur momentum nexus intercedentis inter significationes actus coniugalis et bona matrimonii, itemque unitas humanae creaturae atque dignitas eius originis, id poscunt ut humanae personae procreatio habeatur veluti fructus actus coniugalis, qui est nota propria mutui coniugum amoris" [Donum vitae, II, B, 4, p.
In Donum vitae, II, B, 7, p. The official translation reads: "On the other hand, techniques which act as an aid to the conjugal act and its fertility are permitted.
At this point, the document once again quotes Donum vitae to the effect that the role of a medicai doctor is not to judge whether the human person-and therefore also the conjugal act-are t o be respected in their dignity but rather to minister to them. It reads: "Homologous artificial insemination within the context of marriage cannot be admitted except in the case in which the technical device does not substitute for the conjugal act but serves as a help in order that the act's natura!
For the quotation upon which this translation is based, see below, note Her com- mentary is useful for its technical clarity an d its precise articulation of relevant moral principles. She reiterates at the beginning of her remarks principles b and c , mentioned above: that "the unity of marriage" demands "reciproca! Since Donum vitaewas promulgated in , it is clear that none ofthe presenters was involved at an authoritative leve! It is not the parents who give life but a medicai doctor or a biologist: a presence this last not accidental but determinant.
Non sono i genitori a dare la vita, ma un medico o un biologo: una presenza-quest'ultima-non accidentale, ma determinante" for the source, see note In this procedure, a man's sperm obtained by means of a Semen Collection Device and a woman's oocyte or oocytes are "washed" and then placed via a catheter directly into the woman's fallopian tube; fertilization occurs inside the woman's body. The conjugal act occurs, of course, well before the act of reinserting the gametes into the woman's body.
As a human action, the conjugal act receives its species from its object: the deposit of sperm in the vagina. The end point of the conjugal act is quite precisely identifiable: once the sperm is depos- ited, the act is finished. One cannot deny that the procedure conducted in the laboratory is a separate and distinct act or set of acts bringing about fertiliza- tion; and, where there is a separate and distinct act, there is an agent in this case, a "third active factor".
Allow me to use a couple of rather bizarre examples which will help me to bring the pertinent issues into relief. Imagine a wind machine blowing beach balls toward a target. If there were some man n11dging the balls past obstacles so that they could continue toward the target, the action causing the balls to get to the target would be that of the machine; the helper's action would be a facilitation of the machine's action. If the machine were too weak to get the balls to the target and the man were to kick them to the target, he would become the cause of their getting there.
The example of the machine an d the beach balls does not in fact correspond to what occurs in the conjugal act. Sperm are not like beach balls because the impetus getting them to their target does not come from the male partner in the conjugal act.
His part in the act gets things going, of course, but the sperm have their own movements about which particular movements the male knows nothing and which he cannot affect. Aristotle, by the way, got this wrong: he thought that insemination was a matter of the male's originai impetus continu- ing until the embryo began moving on its own.
It is more like a man's releasing a bunch of small animals dogs, let's say in the direction of a target. The act of the keeper does help along the generai project of the person originally releasing the dogs, but it is not a facilitating of that originai act of releasing the dogs.
It is the keeper who now releases the dogs towards the target. This is a new releasing; the originai releasing is over and done with. GIFT can be compared to this latter case. The keeper is doing what the other man hoped to accomplish-and in that sense he is "helping"-but what he is do- ing is a distinct act. What the technicians in the lab are doing is helping the sperm to swim to their target; the technicians are not facilitating the conjugal act, which is not tied in any essential way to the action of sperm.
A man can complete a conjugal act even if his semen contains no active sperm.
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Now someone might argue that, as Dignitas personae and Donum vitae both suggest, the procedure known as GIFT should be understood as helping the con- jugal act to achieve its natura[ end, which is the fertilization of an oocyte.
In other words, the perfection or completion of the act in this sense can occur after the conjugal act itself has been completed-and procedures such as GIFT can be understood as helping toward achieving that perfection. If esotericism and its attendant danger of sexual antinomianism basically the only antinomianism that ever really counts became xed as a neuralgic issue from the second century on, the next major chapter in the conict between mysticism and magisterium reveals another facet of the story.
Later condemnations followed, including at Ephesus in Church historians and dogmatic writers, such as Epiphanius c. Columba Stewart identies ten key issues of belief and practice that emerge from a comparison of these lists. The Messalians were accused of claiming that there is a demon indwelling in the human heart error 1 that cannot be expelled by baptism error 2 , but only by ceaseless prayer error 3 to the detriment of the duties of work and Christian practice errors 7 and 9.
Such charges of over-reliance on individual prayer and neglect of the sacra- 43 Irne Hausherr,Lerreur fontamentale et la logique du messalianisme, Orientalia Christiana Periodica, 1 , Of the ten themes, the rst ve concern doctrine and the last ve practice: 1 the presence of an indwelling demon; 2 the inefcacy of baptism for the expulsion of the demon; 3 the sole power of prayer for the expulsion; 4 the coming of the Holy Spirit or the heavenly Bridegroom; 5 liberation from passions apatheia ; 6 claims about visions and prophecies; 7 avoidance of work; 8 excessive sleep and the claim that dreams are prophetic; 9 disregard for ecclesiastical communion and church ordinances;and 10 denial,perjury,and prevarication.
Caner, op. Who exactly were the Messalians? Some aspects of the language the orthodox took exception to, if not the most egregious positions themselves, can be found in both the Syriac Book of Ascents Liber graduum from the late fourth century, and also in the contemporary Fifty Spiritual Homilies pseudonymously ascribed to Macarius the Great, sermons that were widely read and much praised, not only in the Christian East but also in the West.
Stewart notes,The Messalians, as such, have no recoverable history. But ideas and texts associated with them certainly do have a history, whoever may have been tagged with them at various points throughout the controversy.
The creation of Messalianism as a category of mystical heresy illustrates another of the neuralgic points in the history of the relation of mysticism and magisterium. The history of mystical heresy in Western Christendom, though historically discontinuous with the quarrels in the early Church, is still theologically connected, not only due to the inuence of patristic writers, but also through the persistence of the issues of esotericism, antinomianism, anti-sacramentalism, and suspect forms of prayer.
There were, however, new elements inducing suspicion that emerged in the long arc of Western mystical heresy in the period between c. Among these the notion of personal annihilation took a central role,not For a recent survey of these two works, see Caner, op. John Meyendorff,Messalianism or Anti-Messalianism?
Graneld and J. Jungmann 2 vols. Although there were mystics, such as Catherine of Genoa, John of the Cross, Benet Caneld, and Pierre de Brulle, who were able to employ annihilation language without incurring censure, this was a difcult task and a rare achievement. Given the relational model of the interaction between mysticism and magisterium suggested here, it was not just the emergence of new forms of mysticism in the thirteenth century, but also changes in the institutional fabric of the Church and the ways in which it sought to preserve orthodoxy that were at work in the debates over mysticism that stretched out for more than four centuries.
Without the organization of inquisitorial pursuit of heresy inquisitio hereticae pravitatis , the story of this conict would have doubtless looked quite different.
Nevertheless, the application of the inquisitional method i. Although the de iure rights of heretical inquisitors did not generally differ from those of other inquisitional judges, in practice de facto , heretical trials became a special world.
In the large literature on heretical inquisition, see especially Richard Kieckhefer, Repression of Heresy in Medieval Germany Philadelphia, , chap. On academic investigations for heretical teaching, see Thijssen, op. The method of taking extracts out of context was a source of dissatisfaction even in the medieval period, as can be seen from Thijssen, op.
Eventually Benedict XIV in the Constitution Sollicita of July 9, , was to order that authors should not be condemned unless their whole works were read. For this text,see Heinrich Seuse Denie, O. Learned theologians, like Meister Eckhart, strongly protested this approach, insisting on the intention of the author of suspect passages.
The conicts between mysticism and magisterium that began around were rooted not only in the mechanisms of control evident in late medieval Christianity, but also in social aspects of the new mysticism that emerged around Paradoxically, although these aspects of the new mysticism would seem to counteract the suspicion of esotericism inherent in earlier magisterial attitudes toward mysticism, they actually fomented these fears because they were seen as allowing dangerous ideas wider dissemination among strata of society that, unlike enclosed religious, were less subject to everyday supervision.
As long as mysticism was largely the purview of monastic elites it was deemed a relatively safe phenomenon. When it moved out into what John XXII called the uneducated crowd, it became automatically more dangerous to the guardians of orthodoxy. As suspicions of mystical heresy smoldered in the thirteenth century to burst into ame in the fourteenth,many of the nodes of conict were strikingly familiar; but if we return to the accusations against Marguerite Porete, we can see new sources of conict as well.
The rst of the three articles known to pertain to the dossier drawn up against the beguine reads:The annihilated soul takes leave of the virtues and is no longer in their service, because it does not possess them insofar as use is concerned,but the virtues obey [the soul] at command. On the use of formularies, see Kieckhefer, op. Verdeyen, p. This article is probably drawn from Marguerites Mirror, chap. Only three of the articles extracted from the Mirror can be known with certainty.
The attempt by Edmund Colledge and Romana Guarnieri to reconstruct eleven more articles from the glosses of the Middle English translation of M.
Another article, cited in a contemporary chronicle, highlights antinomianism:The soul that is annihilated in love of its Creator can and ought give to nature whatever it wants or desires without qualm or remorse of conscience. Although some have seen claims to mystical identity with God, as distinct from the more traditional category of mystical uniting of two distinct entities in love,58 as the key to late medieval mystical heresy, expressions of merging into identity with God were not unknown in the earlier Christian tradition.
For many of the new mystics it was not enough that the sinful will be purged; rather, the will, precisely insofar as it is created, must be destroyed in order to attain union with God. This article appears to be drawn from the Mirror, chap.
The word in brackets does not appear in the manuscripts, but was added by Luc dAchry, the rst editor of the text. Giving nature what it demands without remorse of conscience is found several times in the Mirror; see, e. In each case Marguerite explains that giving nature its due is not to be understood in an antinomian way. The same was true of many mystics who were not condemned. Where the soul once was, God himself becomes the place where divine action ows into the world.
Meister Eckhart describes this annihilation in the language of poverty of spirit Mt.
Magisterium: The Golden Tower
If he nds a person as poor as this, then God performs his own work, and the person is in this way suffering God to work, and God is his own place to work in, and so God is his own worker in himself. For example, in the early fteenth century Jean Gerson, a stern opponent of all forms of suspect mysticism, says that he once met a prophetess and miracle worker acclaimed by many.
She said and ordered written down, Gerson avers,that in contemplating God her spirit had been truly annihilated and then recreated. And when she was asked how she knew this had happened, she answered that she had experienced it. The root of this mystical identity and its dangers, per62 Meister Eckhart, Pr. Palemon Glorieux Paris, , II, Haec tandem dixit et scribi jussit quod spiritus suus contemplando Deum fuerat annihilatus vera annihilatione, dehinc recreatus.
Et dum quaereretur qualiter hoc scire potuerat, respondebat se expertam.
See also nos. Mystical annihilation, also called mystical death in some of these articles, is most fully expressed in art. This is not the place to speculate on how and why the mysticism of annihilation emerged in the thirteenth century, nor to try to mount a defense that at least in some of its adherents, such as Meister Eckhart, it may be a theologically defensible position.
My point is only to note that along with such pressure points as esotericism, antinomianism, and anti-sacramentalism that had emerged in patristic quarrels between mystics and the guardians of orthodoxy, the new mysticism of the late Middle Ages, whose nal heirs are to be found among the Quietists of the seventeenth century, produced a new neuralgic issue: mystical annihilation.
Insofar as some mystics were seen to support a teaching that the created self must be destroyed in order to attain union with God, conict with teaching authority seems fated to occur. But this threat did not deter mystics, like Marguerite Porete, who were convinced that the limitations of created being could only be overcome by allowing God to be all in all.
As she once put it:Since I am total wretchedness and He is total goodness,it is necessary for me to have the totality of his goodness before my wretchedness can be ended.In the sixteenth century, the popes not only rejected the idea that capital punishment is evil but also advocated its legitimacy and even appropriateness in some cases. The revelation of Jesus Christ as a Friend, Guide and Model, capable of being admired but also imitated; the revelation of this message which provides an answer to the fundamental questions, the revelation of the loving plan of Christ the Savior as the incarnation of the only authentic love and as the possibility of uniting the human race - all this can provide the basis for genuine education in faith.
I felt like the ending was a total copout. The People of God have thus continued for almost 2, years to educate themselves in the faith in ways adapted to the various situations of believers and the many different circumstances in which the Church finds herself. Washburn The New Natural Lawyers, Contraception, Capital Punishment, and the Infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium In the years following Humanae Vitae, the encyclical enjoyed little support from Catholic theologians; but a few moral theologians, led by Germain Grisez, heroically came to its defense.
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