« Last post by trad123 on Yesterday at 11:16:24 PM »
. . . the original promulgation is the remote Rule of Faith, and the continuous promulgation by the Teaching Body is the proximate Rule.
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. . .the Catholic Rule of Faith may be ultimately reduced to the sovereign teaching authority of the Holy See.
. . .this sacred Office of Teacher in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth. . .
The Church has been at all times, and will forever be, necessarily visible, so that each person may always be able to learn from his pastor the true doctrine regarding the dogmas of faith ... to receive the Sacraments, to be directed in the way of salvation, and to be enlightened and corrected should he ever fall into error. For, were the Church in any time hidden and invisible, to whom would men have recourse in order to learn what they are to believe and to do? ... It was necessary that the Church and her pastors be obvious and visible, principally in order that there might be an infallible judge ... to resolve all doubts, and to whose decision everyone should necessarily submit. Otherwise, there would be no sure rule of faith by which Christians could know the true dogmas of faith and the true precepts of morality, and among the faithful there would be endless disputes and controversies ... "And Christ gave some apostles, and others pastors and doctors, that henceforth we be no more children tossed to-and-fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:11-14)
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In a word, take away the authority of the Church, and neither Divine Revelation nor natural reason itself is of any use, for each of them may be interpreted by every individual according to his own caprice
. . .the rule of faith means something extrinsic to our faith, and serving as its norm or measure.
(. . .)
. . .the Bible and Divine tradition must be the rule of our faith; since, however, these are only silent witnesses and cannot interpret themselves, they are commonly termed "proximate but inanimate rules of faith". Unless, then, the Bible and tradition are to be profitless, we must look for some proximate rule which shall be animate or living.
The rule of faith.
It seems timely to add here a few remarks on the rule of faith. This term signifies the standard or norm according to which each individual Christian must determine what is the material object of his faith.
Protestants claim that the written Word of God, Holy Scripture, and that alone, is the one rule of faith. Catholics, on the other hand, even though they, too, admit that our faith must be regulated in the final analysis by the Word of God — including tradition as well as Scripture — hold that the proximate and immediate rule of faith — that rule to which each of the faithful and each generation of the faithful must look directly — is the preaching of the Church. And so, according to Catholics, there exists a twofold rule of faith: one remote and one proximate. The remote rule of faith is the Word of God (handed down in writing or orally), which was directly entrusted to the Church's rulers that from it they might teach and guide the faithful. The proximate rule of faith, from which the faithful, one and all, are bound to accept their faith and in accordance with which they are to regulate it, is the preaching of the ecclesiastical magisterium.(27) The following assertions concern the proximate rule of faith.
1. The Church's preaching was established by Christ Himself as the rule of faith. This can be proved from Matthew 28:19—20 and Mark 16:15—16; the command to teach all nations certainly implies a corresponding duty on the part of the nations to believe whatever the apostles and their successors teach, On the other hand, there is no notice anywhere of Christ's having commanded the apostles to give the people the doctrine of salvation in writing, and never did He command the faithful as a whole to seek their faith in the Bible.
2. The Church's preaching is a rule of faith which is nicely accommodated to people's needs. For (a) it is an easy rule, one that can be observed by all alike, even the uneducated and unlettered. What could be easier than to give ear to a magisterium that is always at hand and always preaching? (b) It is a safe rule, for the Church's teaching office is infallible in safeguarding and presenting Christ's doctrine. (c) It is a living rule, in accordance with which it is possible in any age to explain the meaning of doctrines and to put an end to controversies.
Attention is focused on the “magisterium of the Church” because it was established in the treatise on the Church that the preaching of the Church’s magisterium is the proximate rule of faith for each person in the age in which he lives. Consequently, Scripture—setting aside the question of its being the only source of revelation—is at any rate only the remote rule of faith.
The necessary attributes of a rule of faith are to be found only in the teaching office of the Catholic Church. From what we have said it follows that there must be another rule of faith different from Scripture and tradition — an authority to direct us in the understanding of these sources of our faith. The attributes of a rule of faith must be determined by its object, which is
chiefly the preservation of the deposit of faith and of the unity of the Church. The Church and the faith are in most intimate connection with the salvation of man; and, consequently, another object of the rule of faith is the securing of the salvation of the individual.
1. A rule of faith must be visible.
Its object is to remove the difficulties which endanger the true faith and the Church's unity. But this is possible only in case, that, being consulted by doubting or contending parties, its voice may be heard. Besides, in every society, in addition to the written law, there is a living,visible authority which applies the law in given cases and dispenses justice between litigant parties. Now, if the Church is a visible society, it must naturally have a visible authority to settle doubts and disputes in matters of faith.
2. A rule of faith must, as the supreme authority, be such as to compel submission to its decision, for it must be the means of maintaining unity.
This cannot be done unless its verdict decides all questions and removes all doubts. A final decision, that renders further opposition unavailing, can be given only by such supreme authority as commands the unqualified submission of all.
3. A rule of faith must be infallible.
An infallible authority, alone, can in all cases decide in matters of faith in such a way as not to endanger the integrity of the deposit of faith; an infallible authority, alone, can maintain unity of faith; for the obligation to believe exists only when one is morally certain that what is proposed to his belief is really of divine revelation. Only an infallible authority can give this assurance.
4. A rule of faith must be of divine institution.
In matters of religion, we must consult, not man's pleasure, but God's ordination. From what we have said, it clearly shows that the teaching authority of the Catholic Church possesses all these attributes.Though in many cases it might remain uncertain what is the teaching of the Church dispersed throughout the world —what the Church proposes as revealed truth in its ordinary preaching: yet, there are more ways than one of interrogating this authority, and when the importance of the matter demands, the Church has diverse means of giving a public and final decision in all cases.