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July 24, 2005

Ch. II. Q.12. Essential Doctrine

THE essentials of the Faith include every doctrine of the Church, known to be contained or necessarily implied in her original deposit of truth, and nothing more or less.

2. The distinction often made between essential and non-essential truth is misleading. The apparent insignificance of a truth cannot make it less essential to be believed, if it is known to have been revealed by God; nor is the obligation to hold such a central doctrine as that of the Incarnation more imperative than that of accepting any other article of the Catholic Faith. The only circumstance which warrants our calling a doctrine non-essential is that it is not certainly revealed.1

3. There are certain theories of the schools which are called pious opinions ordubia. These are non-essential because they are uncertain. They may be true or not. They cannot be proved by Holy Scripture, and the Church does not require them of any man that they should be believed as articles of the Faith.2

4. No one can be justly assailed because of his attachment to a "pious opinion," unless it can be demonstrated that that opinion is inconsistent with some portion of the Catholic Faith.

1 Hooker, Serm. ii., 32; Palmer, The Church , Pt. I., ch. v., esp. pp. 129, 130; Pusey, quoted by Liddon, Life of Pusey, Vol. IV., pp. 7, 8.

2 Palmer, Pt. I. ch. iv., § 3; Pt. IV. ch. vi.; Gore, Rom. Cath. Claims, p. 66.

Posted by Debra Bullock at July 24, 2005 09:02 PM

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