Sunday, 1 August 2010

The CDF on doctrine, authority, assent and dissent

The Italian-language blog Messa in Latino, which is always an interesting read, had a particularly interesting post yesterday. It was the text of a doctrinal commentary by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, dating from 1998. You may already be familiar with the document, but I thought it was worth publishing here, for those of us who were not aware of it.

The document was linked to the publication of a new Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity, which were to be made by those assuming any office that is to be exercised in the name of the Church. The profession and oath, which superseded earlier forms, were issued to conform to Pope John Paul II’s Ad tuendam fidem.

This may at first sight seem a little dry, but in fact it was a treasure trove. It set out - in a remarkably concise way for so complex a subject - the sources of the Church’s teaching, and of Her authority to teach, the various categories of Her teaching, the assent that is required on the part of all the faithful, and the position of those who do not assent.

My initial dismay at the thought of battling through such a long translation was soon dispelled when I realised that an English version must already exist somewhere on the internet. And so it does, thanks to EWTN.

Here is the doctrinal commentary.

Here are the Profession of Faith and the Oath of Fidelity.

This is a very helpful summary of the categories of belief, prepared – I think – by EWTN.

And finally, Ad tuendam fidem.

There is a good deal of reading matter here, for those of you who are interested; but fortunately it is broken up into quite manageable chunks. Take your time; no rush! I hope you will find it useful.

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