“Now, as the Apostle Paul urges, this [Christian] unanimity ought to be perfect. Christian faith reposes not on human but on divine authority, for what God has revealed “we believe not on account of the intrinsic evidence of the truth perceived by the natural light of our reason, but on account of the authority of God revealing, who cannot be deceived nor Himself deceive.” It follows as a consequence that whatever things are manifestly revealed by God we must receive with a similar and equal assent. To refuse to believe any one of them is equivalent to rejecting them all, for those at once destroy the very groundwork of faith who deny that God has spoken to men, or who bring into doubt His infinite truth and wisdom. To determine, however, which are the doctrines divinely revealed belongs to the teaching Church, to whom God has entrusted the safekeeping and interpretation of His utterances. But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself. This obedience should, however, be perfect, because it is enjoined by faith itself, and has this in common with faith, that it cannot be given in shreds; nay, were it not absolute and perfect in every particular, it might wear the name of obedience, but its essence would disappear. Christian usage attaches such value to this perfection of obedience that it has been, and will ever be, accounted the distinguishing mark by which we are able to recognize Catholics. Admirably does the following passage from St. Thomas Aquinas set before us the right view: “The formal object of faith is primary truth, as it is shown forth in the holy Scriptures, and in the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the fountainhead of truth. It follows, therefore, that he who does not adhere, as to an infallible divine rule, to the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the primary truth manifested in the holy Scriptures, possesses not the habit of faith; but matters of faith he holds otherwise than true faith. Now, it is evident that he who clings to the doctrines of the Church as to an infallible rule yields his assent to everything the Church teaches; but otherwise, if with reference to what the Church teaches he holds what he likes but does not hold what he does not like, he adheres not to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will”

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Pope Leo XIII

Sapientiae Christianae, #22

Pedro Gabriel

Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.

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3 Responses

  1. Jane says:

    Someone recently said to me that it is a heresy to give to the Pope “blind obedience.” I’m wondering which heresy she is referring to, especially in light of Pope Leo xiii’s comment above. In truth, our obedience to our Pope or to anyone, must never be blind. We are giving our obedience in a very conscious, willful and free choice on our part to submit happily to the true Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth. Do you know which heresy she may be falsely referring to? Thank you for this wonderful blog and to everyone here on Where Peter is. I feel so blessed to have found you and finally feel home and at rest. God Bless you

    • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

      If that person says it is heresy, then it is incumbent upon *that* person to support her assertion, not you

      Is it heresy? Let that person prove it. Which magisterial document states: “if someone say we must give blind obedience to the Pope, let him be anathema?”

      And do not get distracted with fireworks. Only a magisterial document from a Pope or a Council or the CDF, that specifically states such a statement is heretic, will do. Everything else is not heresy.

      In the meantime, this quote from Leo XIII stands. And it is more authoritative than any interpretation from that person

      • Jane says:

        I agree wholeheartedly and will put that responsibility on her to support her assertion. In the meantime, I am loving being a daughter of Holy Mother Church and loyal to the Vicar of Christ on earth. Thank you and God Bless you

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