The dogmas of the faith
The Church’s Magisterium exercises the authority it holds
from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is,
when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an
irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revela-
tion or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a
necessary connection with these.
There is an organic connection between our spiritual life
and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they
illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright,
our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by
the dogmas of faith.
The mutual connections between dogmas, and their coher
ence, can be found in the whole of the Revelation of the mystery of
“In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or ‘hierarchy’
of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the
The supernatural sense of faith
All the faithful share in understanding and handing on
revealed truth. They have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit,
who instructs them
and guides them into all truth.
“The whole body of the faithful . . . cannot err in matters
of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural apprecia
tion of faith (
) on the part of the whole people, when,
‘from the bishops to the last of the faithful,’ they manifest a univer
sal consent in matters of faith and morals.”
“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.”
51 Cf. Vatican Council I: DS 3016:
nexus mysteriorum; LG
12; cf. St. Augustine,
De praed. sanct.
14, 27: PL 44, 980.