Monday, June 09, 2008

Sensus Fidelium

The Vatican and the Pope will often speak to the issues of the day, with the supposed authority that comes from Apostolic Succession, but any teaching of the Church that is not accepted by the faithful is invalid.

A very important event in the Church today is the re-emergence of an understanding of the Sensus Fidelium, what the Christian people believe, accept, and reject. It is here, the Sensus Fidelium, wherein resides the promise of Christ to protect us from error with the guidance of the Spirit. Church hierarchy (the rulers) have taught what to believe, accept, and reject, but always with acceptance or a corrective response by theologian (experts) and the faithful even from the very beginning. (Acts 15)

And it is the voice of the faithful that reforms the Church, and "Ecclesia semper Reformanda" (The church must always be reformed).

The Pope recently reiterated that the priesthood is for men only; that teaching is false, as it is in conflict with Sensus Fidelium. Over 70% of the faithful endorse the ordination of women priests.

The Church continues to hold that the use of artificial contraception is a sin; that teaching is false, as it is in conflict with Sensus Fidelium. The vast majority of the faithful do not accept this teaching.

As to the acceptance of gay relationships, I will admit the faithful are not there yet, but the trend is ongoing and positive.

When the Church's teaching conflicts with one's conscience; one's conscience shall dictate.

“Over the Pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority.”

Cardinal Ratzinger, Doctrine of Vatican II, volume V, page 134
Our service is to be to our fellow man, and our guiding light is the Christ, not the Church.



Alan said...

Christ cannot be separated from His Church, which is His Mystical Body (see the Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis of Pope Pius XII).

Sensus fidelium? Understand this term correctly. From La Salette Journey:
A proper understanding of the sensus fidelium

What do we mean by the sensus fidelium? For an understanding of this concept, we need look no further than to my good friend Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. In The Catholic Catechism - A Contemporary Catechism of the Teachings of the Catholic Church, Fr. Hardon explains that:

"Those who believe, and insofar as they believe, are one community not only or mainly because they subjectively believe but because what they believe is objectively true, indeed is the Truth that became man and dwelled among us. Against this background, it is easier to see what universal agreement among the faithful must mean. They are faithful insofar as they are agreed on the truth, where the source of their agreement is not a semantic use of the name 'Christian' or 'Catholic,' but the deeply interior adherence to what God has revealed.

Consequently, whether they realize it or not, all who agree on the revealed truth, under the guidance of the sacred magisterium, belong to the faithful. Their agreement on the truth and allegiance to the magisterium gives them universality, i.e., spiritual unity. The truth interiorly possessed gives them consensus, and not the other way around, as though their consensus on some doctrine made it true." (pp. 226-227).

There are those within the Church, however, who would appeal to the sensus fidelium in an attempt to justify dissent. Their argument is that if a significant portion of those who identify themselves as Catholics hold or adhere to a dissenting opinion, the Holy Father and Bishops should submit their minds and wills to that group's opinion. In other words, such people would have us believe that the sensus fidelium is something independent of the Magisterium.

But such an attitude is in direct opposition to the teaching of Vatican II:

"The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One (cf. Jn 2:20, 27), cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole people's supernatural discernment in matters of faith when 'from the bishops down to the last of the lay faithful' they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the People of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the Word of God (cf. 1 Thes. 2:13). Through it, the People of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints (cf. Jude 3), penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life." (Lumen Gentium, No. 12; citing St. Augustine, De Praed. Sanct. 14, 27:PL 44, 980).

Moreover, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, had this to say:

"Although theological faith as such then cannot err, the believer can still have erroneous opinions since all his thoughts do not spring from faith. Not all the ideas which circulate among the People of God are compatible with the faith. This is all the more so given that people can be swayed by a public opinion influenced by modern communications media" (No. 35).

Those who attempt to justify their dissent by referring to the sensus fidelium would do well to meditate upon these passages as well as Lumen Gentium, No. 25.

John said...

So what you're saying is no dissent is permitted, and the Pope is wrong.

Paul Jamieson said...

no he's saying you have a better chance of seeing God than trying to use the church rules against the church

Just do like Martin Luther did and start your own religion

Its easy and its been done before.

Don't try and ruin Catholicism for the rest of us.

Look what the selfish Gene Robinson has done to the Episcopal denomination. Its in ruins.

Just like marriage - go do your civil union and stop whining.

John said...

The Episcopal Church will emerge stronger for Bishop Robinson's courage.

And the RCC will eventually rescind those doctrines which are invalid.

Ryan Charisma said...

so leave the Catholic Church?

why not?

everyone else is doing it.

Paul Jamieson said...

"The Episcopal Church will emerge stronger for Bishop Robinson's courage"

There is no more Epicopal Church in the US. Its split.

Did you forget your meds John?

John said...

I attended a service just last week at St. Peter's Episcopal Church.

I have seen no changes.

Thomas Ritter said...

The Episcopal church is dying a quick death because of its desertion of Gospel truths. It has become irrelevant.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Life is about change and growth. You cannot have growth without change, the two go hand and hand. Those regimes that feel they already have all the answers in spite of new challenges are doomed to the same fate as all the rest who fall to hubris.

If anything people like Bishop Robinson breathe new life and faith into those who have fallen away or have had little exposure to the love of Christ. I'll take courage and inclusion over fear and exclusion any day, whether GLBT people are the topic or not.

Sooner or later people will see all forms of discrimination as wrong. The philosophies of today are the social policies of tomorrow.

Paul Jamieson said...

Yeahh but the problem with that Hosty is you alienate way more people than you accomodate. I know you like to "stir the pot" and "change" the dialogue, but its really a fantasy to think that a major religion such as Catholicism would change such a fundemental doctrine on account of such a small minority.

It will never happen.

Ryan Charisma said...


and that's why churches & schools are closing.

people are turning thier back on "such a fundemental doctrine".

Alan said...

There is where you are wrong. The Catholic Church in Ameica - and around the world - is growing. And in places such as China, it is virtually exploding.

The Catholic Church is indestructible. And immutable as the Popes have taught. That means she cannot change her teaching to suit the preferences of people who cannot and will not accept Jesus' Commandments.

Change isn't always good. The government in 1920's Germany changed to National Socialism. Was that a good thing? Atheistic Humanism brought change as well and more than 100 million people wre murdered by it in the 20th century alone.

We need truth, not propaganda. We need, therefore, the Church.

John said...

The Church often changes it's teaching, naturally.

Very little is true forever.

Ryan Charisma said...

"We need truth, not propaganda. We need, therefore, the Church."

Ha ha ha ha ha

oh that is rich. It really is.

Ha ha ha ha ha

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Paul you make a great point, and I have thought the same thing too. Then I remember the times when I wanted to be a priest and how the politics of the body play out. The religion is a business, first and foremost. They have already proven that they would cover their tracks even at the expense of their parishoners rather than have it impede business. This was how they covered up for pediphile priests.

Once they have lost enough money to the persecution of GLBT people they will open the gates of acceptance. This is expected of the new Pope.