Fortes in Fide, Vol. 1, No. 1
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Fr. Peter Morgan:

Four Roman Catholic Priests:
     Catholics, beware!

Fr. Noël Barbara:
     The New Ordo Missæ

     "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a Gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema."
(Galatians 1, 8)

     "If anyone shall assert it to be possible that sometimes, according to the progress of science, a sense is to be given to doctrines propounded by the Church different from that which the Church has understood and understands; let him be anathema."
(Vatican Council 1, Session 3, chap. 4 "Of Faith and Reason", Can 3, Denz. 1818)


     I am very happy to introduce the English edition of FORTES IN FIDE, not only because I had some part in originating this venture; but also because, in the present state of the "post-conciliar Church", the Catholic faithful have truly become "sheep without a shepherd."
     As though a spirit of madness had entered into the whole body of churchmen, innumerable priests and bishops seem no longer to be certain of anything.  They are now all "searching for the truth."  And these "seekers" are astonished, and some are even scandalised, should a traditionalist Catholic calmly affirm the truth.
     When this state of things first became evident, many people were inclined to laugh because there were so many "searchers" who never arrived at any certitude.  But soon, since evil grows more easily than good, many who had at first stood firm were touched by the contagion, and found themselves beginning to have doubts as well.  Was it really possible that all these bishops, all these priests, and so many of the faithful could be mistaken, that they were in error, and that the small minority of traditional Catholics alone remained in possession of the truth?  Could the minority be right when the certainties of the faith were under attack, not from the enemies of the Church, but from the very ones who were charged with teaching the flock?
     At this point many of the faithful became aware of the urgent need to learn more about their faith and to complete their doctrinal formation, so as not to be "carried about with every wind of doctrine."  But how to do this, or where, or from what publications?  All the official was contaminated and sowed the seeds of doubt.
     Providence brought to my notice the bi-monthly review Forts dans la Foi, a French catechetical publication designed for adults, which provided an excellent answer to the needs of the hour.  All the numbers I have seen have pleased me particularly because of the clarity of exposition and solidity of doctrine in them.  Reading them I thought: "Here is something which would do much good among the Catholics of the British Isles."  The Director of this review, Father Noël Barbara, does not shrink from tackling the most delicate questions, such as one does not ordinarily find dealt with in catechetical courses designed for adults.
     Before expressing my desire for an English version to the Director of the French review, however, I looked at other papers and magazines, but none seemed to me more necessary or better adapted to the needs of our troubled times than Forts dans la Foi.  For this reason, I could only be most grateful when I learned that Father Barbara had yielded to my demand and was preparing an English language edition, and my joy was all the greater for another most agreeable surprise.
     For to ask for an English edition because our faithful people had need of it was one thing, but who was going to pay the costs of launching it?  This problem was much greater than our small numbers could manage.
     The solution was found by Father Barbara, before our difficulties had even been put to him: he had decided that the French edition, then in its sixth year, would cover the expenses of launching the English edition.  I here express my deepest gratitude for his zeal.
     I am convinced that this course of studies of Catholic doctrine, because of its absolute orthodoxy, will bring light on the fundamental problems of our holy religion to many souls of good will; it will strengthen our convictions and will help us to remain "strong in the faith", which is the meaning of the review's title in both languages.
     After it is launched, however, the English edition of FORTES IN FIDE will depend financially entirely on its subscribers, and the good hoped for from its appearance will, thus, only be done if English-speaking Traditionalist Catholics support the venture.  I therefore strongly urge all who are attached to the age-old Faith of our fathers in Great Britain, the United States of America, Australia and southern Africa, to give the necessary support by taking out a subscription, and by making the venture known to their friends.
     I am sure that all who will read and think seriously about the doctrinal matters which will be treated in the review, will be greatly helped to preserve their faith.
     Courage!  Put your trust in Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has over-come the world.  With Him we need fear nothing.


"As therefore you have received Jesus Christ, the Lord, walk ye in him."
(Col. II. 6)

"Therefore brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle."
(II Thess, II. 14)


     The great neo-modernist heresy transforms and destroys insidiously the certain and fundamental facts of our Faith.
     The Catholic press gives you a continuous stream of untruths ... anything opposed to Faith and Morals becomes acceptable and valid for it.  Too often Preaching and the new Pastoral practice sabotage the essential values of Christianity: prayer, the interior life, devotions, virtues, penance and attachment to the unique Truth.
     In the name of a "post-conciliar spirit", denounced even by Paul VI, in the name of evolution of minds and structures, or under the pretext of oecumenism,


     Doubt is knowingly insinuated into men's hearts.  At the expense of Faith and of the Love of God there is preached to you, through the medium of futile ideas, the exaltation of the world and of the cult of man.
     And yet the ultimate exhortation of the Master is explicit: "Teaching them to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you."  "He that believeth not shall be condemned."  (Matt. XXVIII, 20) - (Mark XVI, 16)
     Again did not Jesus say: "What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? (Matt. XVI, 26)

*    *    *

    Given this state of affairs, we, Priests of the Holy Catholic Church, truly convinced that the integrity of the Faith takes precedence over an opening up to the world or oecumenism, declare publicly our Faith, and we urge you, brethren, to keep yours intact, to live it completely and, if God gives you the grace, to profess it publicly, without arrogance, but with pride.
     We believe and profess all the truths which the Church believes and teaches.  In particular:(1)
     We believe in the existence of one God in three Persons equal and distinct, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
     We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, consubstantial with the Father, took a human nature exactly like ours, with the exception of sin, and that He possesses two natures in one person, the second Person of the Holy Trinity.
     We believe in the Holy Ghost, Who is also God, and proceeds from the Father and the Son.
     We believe in the birth in time of Christ, of a Mother always a Virgin and full of grace, Immaculate in her Conception and glorious in Heaven in her body and soul.
     We believe that the triune God made everything which exists for man, but that He created man for Himself: so that man might know Him, love Him, serve Him and by this means merit the eternal happiness of Heaven.
     We believe that the human race descended from a single couple: the first man and woman whom we call Adam and Eve.
     We believe that Adam, the head of mankind committed a real sin which deprived him of God's friendship.  This sin, "which is the death of the soul", is transmitted by generation to all the children of Adam who, because of this, the Blessed Virgin Mary excepted, are born in a state of sin, that is to say "spiritually dead."  This is original sin.
     We believe that little children, even though born of Christian parents, must be baptised to obtain Eternal Life, and that they should be baptised as soon as possible.
     We believe in the sorrowful Passion, the Death and the bodily Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who ascended to the right hand of the Father, from whence He will come in glory to judge the living and the dead.
     We believe that at the coming of the Glorious Christ, all men will rise from the dead with their bodies, and that each one will render an account of his own acts.  Those who have done good will enter eternal Life and those who have done evil will go into eternal fire.
     We believe in the existence of Angels and we believe that they watch over the Church and over every man.  We believe also that the unfaithful angels, Satan and the demons, personal beings, prowl in the world and against the Church for the ruin of souls.
     We believe in the existence of eternal Hell which was made for Satan and his angels, where those who die whilst not in a state of grace, are punished.
     We believe that the evil in the world does not come from unexplained antagonisms but, in truth, from original sin and our own sins.
     We believe that man possesses a spiritual and immortal soul which continues to exist after the destruction of the body and which, whilst awaiting the resurrection of the body, will go either to Heaven, Purgatory or Hell, according to what it has merited.
     We believe all the truths contained in the Holy Scriptures and in Tradition, including the historical character of the accounts of the hidden life of Jesus (the Gospels recording His infancy) and of His miracles.
     We believe that we must venerate the Saints and honour their images, and we believe in their intercession.
     We believe in the reality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which Jesus Christ, really and substantially present with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, offers Himself to God the Father, as He did on the Cross, for our sins.
     We believe that the term "transubstantiation" is so perfectly fitted to describe the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, that there is no need to look for a new formula for this mystery of Faith.  (Cf. Pope Paul's Encyclical Mysterium Fidei.)

     We believe that the Real Corporal Presence of Jesus Christ remains in the Eucharist as long as the sacramental species remain after Communion, or in the Host reserved in the Tabernacle.
     We believe that the Sacrament of Penance blots out our sins by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, provided that the required dispositions are present.
     We believe in the reality of the divine action through the seven sacraments, the rites of which have been entrusted to the Church.
     We believe that Jesus Christ, Our Lord, founded a Church which He called "My Church", to distinguish it from the churches which are not "His."  It is "the House of God, the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the Truth." (Matt. XVI, 18; 1 Tim III, 15)
     This Church God has provided with certain marks of her institution by which she can be recognized as the Guardian and Mistress of the Revealed Word.  And we believe that the Roman Catholic Church alone possesses these wonderful marks which indicate her origin: unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity.
     We believe that the Church of Christ is visible and hierarchical and that she teaches with God's authority, all that Jesus has revealed to us (see Matt. XXVIII, 20).  At the summit of the hierarchy Christ has established Peter and his successors, Bishops of Rome, with direct jurisdiction over the whole universal Church, over all the Bishops, Priests, and faithful and over each one of them.
     We believe that the unity of the Church is not something yet to be achieved: it has existed from the beginning and will never cease to exist.  It is a mark which distinguishes her from other churches and is one of the Truths of our Credo.  "Credo ... et UNAM Ecclesiam."
     We believe that those who are separated from her, have objectively the obligation, in order to ensure their salvation, to come back into the sole Church of Jesus Christ, and that we have the duty to facilitate their return but without changing thereby the Catholic Faith.
     We believe that the Church of Jesus Christ, although composed of sinners, is a HOLY Church.  Holy in her Head, Jesus Christ, Holy in her doctrine, Holy in her Sacraments, Holy in her members: those in Heaven, those in Purgatory, and those on earth who are in a state of grace.
     We believe that the Church of Jesus Christ is APOSTOLIC
because the Priesthood, and the jurisdiction of her Hierarchy comes from the Apostles by a direct and unbroken succession.
     We believe that the Church of Jesus Christ was founded on Peter.  She was entrusted to the care of Peter and to the Bishops united with him.  This is the Roman Catholic Church, because only the Bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter.
     We believe in the permanence of the traditional doctrine taught by the Church, in the objective meaning of the formulas which express her Dogmas, and in the Truth which she teaches.
     We  believe that the truths of Faith remain absolutely independent  of the way men think or live, because Truth comes from God, by  tradition through the Church, and not from the religious instinct of the masses.
     We  reject also that spirit of inquiry which, under the pretext of a better formulation of doctrine, ends by changing the Truths which we have believed until now.
     With the Apostle we think that "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions." (I Tim VI, 3 and 4)
     There, Brethren, is what we believe and what we profess: EVERYTHING WHICH THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH BELIEVES AND TEACHES.  And we believe it and hold it to be true because God has revealed it to us and He, and the Church which teaches us through her infallible Magisterium, can neither be deceived nor deceive.
     We have been baptized in this Catholic Faith.
     It is this Catholic Faith which we professed on the day of our Confirmation.
     It is this Catholic Faith which the Church, our Mother, made us promise to preserve before imposing her hands on us.
     May God preserve us from being perjurers.  May Mary, Mother of the Church, and Mother of God, and all the Angels and Saints obtain for us the grace to live and die in and for the Catholic Faith.  Amen.

*    *    *

     Brethren, let us remember our spiritual Leaders who have transmitted to us the Word of God: the Apostles, the Martyrs, the great Popes, Doctors and Confessors.  Let us consider what their lives were like, and imitate their Faith.
     And "though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema." (Gal. I, 8)
     Even more, "if any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house, nor say to him: God speed you.  For he that sayeth unto him, God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works." (2 St. John I, 10, 11)
     When we tell you not to receive and not to greet those who do not bring this doctrine, with the Apostle we are not thinking of non-Christians, but of those who, whilst bearing the name of brethren (Catholics) or of Father (priests), have no longer "the Faith nor Catholic unity, the unique means of salvation" (Gregory XVI).  Those who reject explicitly and obstinately a single truth of faith, or who wilfully doubt, receive these no longer (see 1 Cor. V, 10, 11).
     Our Fathers in the Faith sacrificed their lives in bloody martyrdom to keep intact this gift from God.  At present, thousands and thousands of Christians, with Priests and Bishops, are in Soviet or Chinese convict prisons suffering for their Faith.  Why?  Because they have taken the Gospel seriously and they know that "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. XI, 6), and that "those who do not believe will be condemned" (Mark XVI, 16).
     Yes, Brethren, we entreat you, renew your courage.  The truth cannot change, "Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today, and the same forever" (Heb. XIII, 8).  Immerse yourselves in this article of our Faith that "WHOEVER WISHES TO BE SAVED MUST, ABOVE ALL, KEEP THE CATHOLIC FAITH WHICH EVERYONE MUST PRESERVE INVIOLATE IN ITS INTEGRITY, UNDER PAIN, WITHOUT ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER, OF ETERNAL DAMNATION." (Creed of St. Athanasius)

Father Noël Barbara.  Directeur de Forts dans la Foi.
Father Louis Coache.  Curé de Montjavoult, 60240 Chaumont-en-Vexin.
Mgr. Francois Ducaud-Bourget.  27, avenue de Tourville, 75007 Paris.
Father Peter Morgan.  S. Pius V Information Centre, 6 Forest Side, Worcester Park, Surrey KT4 7PB.

*    *    *

     "O Lord, Almighty God, from the heart of the turmoil which separates so many souls from Thy Majesty, we voice our feelings of profound adoration and our trusting and reverent devotion.
     "Jesus, our Master and our Friend, through Thy Heart pierced for us, help us to live strong and heroic lives of Faith, to carry our cross with love, to remain humble and gentle, certain that Thou wilt save Thy Church.
     "O Holy Ghost, the Comforter, purify our hearts and sanctify them in the truth.  Enlighten and strengthen the souls of priests and faithful who no longer know where they are.  Tell all the baffled Christians, that the Gospel of their childhood remains the only true Word, and that there is no other God but Thee.  O Lord, grant that they may not be dragged into the subtle currents of the great modernist heresy, but rather through the strength obtained by prayer and penance, give them the grace boldly to erect a barrier against the reign of Satan.
     "Holy Virgin Mary, bulwark against heresies, thee whom we
venerate as Queen of Heaven and Mother of the Church, be our
Light and Advocate.  Keep us in the truth, as loving sons of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and place in our hearts a great love, and a burning zeal which will enable us to scorn the things of earth, that we may seek only the will of thy Divine Son.  Amen."


     On the 23 March 1949, when receiving in audience the Parish Priests and Preachers of Rome, the great Pope Pius XII, said to them, amongst other things:
     "Meditate, dear sons, on the words of Our Lord on the eve of His Passion, which He addressed to the Apostle Peter: "Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat", words of great significance at this moment in which we are living.  They apply not only to the shepherds but also to all the flock.  In the formidable religious controversies which we are witnessing, we can only truly count on the faithful who pray and who strive, even at the cost of great sacrifices, to conform their lives to the divine law.  All the others in the spiritual order, and it concerns this order, offer themselves uncovered to the attacks of the enemy."
     In this declaration of the Pope we would like to emphasize two points:
     - the tremendous religious controversies which Pius XII witnessed;
     - the fact that the words of Our Lord to Peter had a tremendous importance for Pius XII.

*    *    *

     What were the religious controversies during the reign of Pius XII?
     This great Pope spoke of them especially in his Encyclical Humani Generis of 12 August 1950, in which he dealt with "some false views which threaten (that is in 1950) to undermine the foundation of the Catholic Church."  "And these views", the Pope specified "are not only to be found among the clergy, secular and regular, in the seminaries and religious institutions, but also among the laity, among those especially who are engaged in teaching."
     Twelve years later, on the occasion of the Second Vatican Council, the evil wrought by "these false opinions" could be clearly seen among the ranks of the secular and regular clergy, and among the laity engaged in the teaching profession as well.  From then on we can no longer speak of "risk" but of "disaster", because the foundations of the Catholic Church are shaken and many of her institutions have fallen to the ground.

Satan's action sifting the Church militant

     Whatever may be the perversity of men in face of the enormous evils which are shaking the foundations of the Church militant, in the suddenness of their appearance in the full light of day, the rapidity of their growth and the cohesion of their attacks, we are forced to recognize the hand of the devil, "the smoke of Satan", who helps, directs and co-ordinates all of this subversion installed in the holy place.

*    *    *

     A warning, however.  "To see the devil everywhere is an error", Mgr. A. de Boismenu wrote to his missionaries, "but not to see him anywhere is worse, all very well for the carnal man, but bad for the spiritual man."  The Bishop of Papua, New Guinea, added this: "A Priest above all must know that, from the most cruel and terrifying persecutions, to favours or the most playful mischief, are all used by the devil to seduce and ruin souls; and, for my part, I see very clearly that the infinite Goodness of God allows, or even orders these manifestations, so as to expose the enemy and to impel souls towards their only refuge." (Fr. Barbara, Catechism of Marriage, p. 544)  Here, then is one of the reasons why God allows the enemy to act in order to impel souls towards their only refuge, the Church."

*    *    *

     Satan has thus claimed, and Jesus has given us to understand,  that God has allowed him to sift His Church militant as wheat is sifted.
     To sift, means to separate, to sort out by means of brusque shaking, repeated without truce or mercy, just as is done with wheat to preserve only the finest kind of grain.
     And it is because Pope Pius XII realised that "the formidable religious controversies" which he witnessed, were the consequence of such a permission given by God to Satan to sift the Church, that these words of the Master appeared to him to have such moving meaning.  How is it, then, that we are not moved, we who see no longer the sign but the reality of this ordeal, souls shaken, scandalized, and in great danger of being lost for all eternity?
     In this terrible and fearful trial, as Pope Pius XII warned us in those words of his, "we can only truly count on the faithful who pray and who strive, even at the cost of great sacrifices, to conform their lives to the divine law." "The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away." (Matt. XI, 12)  The violent are those who strive, even at the price of great sacrifices, to conform their lives according to God's law.
     Gone is the time, if there ever was one, for a peaceful life for easy-going Christians; henceforth, the crisis from which we suffer compels us to take up the fight, to renounce ourselves and to make efforts, even violent efforts, to live according to the law of God.

*    *    *

     "Man's life on earth is a battle", and that being so, as the Apostle said: "Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places."  These are the fallen angels who inspire not only the fomenters of heresy and schism, but also those who persecute us and our brethren."  Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect."  The trials, temptations, vexations and even persecutions matter little; the essential thing is to stand firm, not to be discouraged, and to resist until the end.  "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice."  The loins were considered to be the seat of an athlete's strength; the strength of the soldier of Christ lies in the truth, which is the word of God, authentically taught by the infallible Church, that is to say, in Catholic doctrine and the traditional catechism.  As for the "breastplate of justice", it is none other than "the wedding garment", the state of grace, the friendship of God.
     Having, in the words of the Apostle, "feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace" means possessing a living fervour to serve the cause of God.  "In all things taking the shield of faith, whereby you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one."  Above all, in the midst of the combat, the Christian, a soldier of God, lives by faith, that theological virtue which enables him to adhere to the words of God, Who despite all appearances to the contrary, will enable him to believe, as true and certain, the truths revealed by God and traditionally taught by the infallible Church.  It is this theological virtue which will protect him and help him to overcome the attacks of the devil.  "And take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  By all prayer and supplication, praying at all times in the Spirit and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints."  The Apostle Paul insists on the absolute necessity of prayer, for without the help of God, we can do nothing and this help is obtained by persevering prayer.
     "And for me, that speech may be given, that I may open my mouth with confidence, to make known the mystery of the Gospel." (Eph. VI, 11-19)  These are the words which St. Paul used to recommend himself to the prayers of those to whom his letter was addressed.  May I likewise do the same for myself, and ask my English readers not to forget me in their prayers and to ask God to give me the right words with which to announce the mystery of the Gospel with assurance and strength, having in mind only God's Glory and the salvation of the souls.

*    *    *

     In this time of affliction Christians must remember:
1. That in the Church militant they are faced with diabolical powers.
2. That it is, therefore, on the supernatural plane that the struggle must take place.
3. That the two great weapons at their disposal are prayer and faith.

     It is certainly necessary for them to fight and to organize in order to stand firm, but they will make the most careful plans and establish the most promising organizations in vain, if they do not begin by being converted themselves and by leading a life of intense prayer.  "We ought always to pray, and not to faint", for we know only too well that "the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh weak", and even more is this so when the days are evil.
     First of all then, pray, and then live by faith, for we must not forget that it is with faith, on the supernatural level, that we must fight the Lord's battles.

*    *    *

     With the object of helping those who wish to read our publication, Forts dans la Foi, we are proposing to produce an English edition.
     Fortes in Fide (the title of the English edition), is a Catechetical magazine and it was originally started to meet the urgent needs of the present time.
     In the recent past, practising Catholics felt certain of their salvation in the Church.  Each Sunday the priest's sermon reminded them of and explained Catholic doctrine, that is truths to be believed and moral teachings to be practised, accompanied by such exhortations as his zeal suggested to him to stimulate the indifferent.  At different times during the year, at Advent, or Lent, or for some great feast, a special preacher might come to give a parish retreat which stirred up the ardour of devotion and which was always, of course, truly orthodox.  In addition, in case of need, for example to settle some doubt, the faithful could always go to their priests knowing that these would teach them nothing but the doctrine of their Mother, the Roman Catholic Church.
     Now everything is different.  The faithful have become "like a flock without a shepherd"; in the majority of their churches, even the most certain truths are questioned by the very ones who ought to be strengthening their faith, and it is no longer rare for the "new-style pastors" openly to teach heresy and immorality.
     Not being able any more to trust their "reprogrammed priests, Catholics have an obligation to enlighten their faith by studying Catholic doctrine.  It was in order to help them to do this that we started to produce our magazine Forts dans la Foi.
     The subjects we propose to study in the first number of the English edition are Faith and Revelation, since it is faith in the revealed word of God which is the great means whereby we are able to "stand firm."
     In subsequent issues we will take up the study of the Church.  It is an underlying fact of the present crisis that there are many Catholics who are no longer Catholics; since they no longer accept the Magisterium of the Church, they are like Protestants.  We will therefore deal with the foundation by Jesus Christ of a visible, hierarchical and infallible Church which is charged with teaching us, in His name, the whole of the Revelation which He has given to mankind.
     We will see afterwards what is the value of this teaching and, thus enlightened by the true Catholic doctrine about Christ's Church, we will be able to tackle the study of the Subversion which has been introduced and is installed in the Church militant, and to indicate a line of practical conduct to help those who wish to follow it, to remain in the one Church of Christ, the Roman Catholic Church, "outside of which there is no salvation"; thus enabling them to protect themselves from "the ravening wolves" who have come into the Sheepfold "in the clothing of sheep."
     We hope to be able to produce six numbers of the review a year, on the terms set out in the accompanying leaflet.



     What is Faith?
     This is a first question which comes to the mind of anyone wishing to study the theological virtue, and to acquire a clearer awareness of his faith.  In this first article we will try to answer this initial question.
     Later on we will show how faith is an absolutely free gift of God, yet absolutely indispensable for salvation.
     This gift, which can unhappily be rejected, is capable of growth, especially by the exercise of it.
     In conclusion, we will see how the man who becomes a Christian is exalted by his faith.

Faith is a knowledge which rests on the testimony of another

     There exist some realities which we ourselves are unable to verify, either because we have no sense experience of them (we cannot see, touch, hear, feel or taste them), or because our intelligence is not capable of grasping them through a process of reasoning.  We can only know them if someone, who has grasped them reveals them to us.
     The fact of accepting such a revelation made to us, of holding it to be true, of believing the testimony of the master who teaches us, of having faith in him, allows us to know the reality in question, of which we previously did not know the existence.
     What is the certitude engendered by this knowledge received on the testimony of another?
     The degree of certitude arising from belief in another's testimony corresponds to the standing of the person who expresses the truth.  If anyone who asks for our belief is a practical joker, or a liar, an excited or a mentally deranged person, his testimony will have no value.  If, on the other hand, he is perfectly honest, disinterested, balanced, and very competent in the matter in question, his testimony will produce certainty in the minds of those who accept it.
     In all of this it is a question of human faith.


     In addition to realities in the natural order, there are also realities in the supernatural order: realities, the knowledge of which cannot, by any created intelligence, be acquired directly, nor as a result of a process of reasoning, the existence of which can neither be proved nor verified.  Even though hidden and unknown, these realities exist nonetheless and are knowable since they are real.  How then can they be known when they are hidden from created intelligences?  They can be known if God, Who alone knows them, is willing to reveal them to us.
     And God has revealed such truths to us.  He has made known to us the secrets of His own divine life.
     To accept this divine revelation, to hold it as true and certain, to believe the testimony of God, is to have faith in Him.  Such belief is no longer a matter of human faith, but of divine faith.


     As faith rests on the worth of the person whose testimony we believe, it is easy to understand that supernatural or theological faith, which is the adherence of our intelligence to the testimony of God, Who is absolute Truth, infinite and perfect, gives us knowledge of realities with maximum certainty.
     In no other realm of knowledge can there be greater certitude than that which comes from supernatural faith, that is to say, by the acceptance of God's word.
     St. Paul, to whom the Church owes its fundamental teaching on the Catholic doctrine of faith, writes in the Epistle to the Hebrews: Est autem fides sperandum substantia rerum, argumentum non apparentium, that is, "Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not." (Hebrews XI, 1)
     Such is Faith.  It is both a PROOF and a GUARANTEE.  In what does this "proof" and "guarantee" consist?  In the word of God, Who reveals to us those things which we hope for and do not see.
     Thus, we hope among other things, for the forgiveness of sins repented of, the grace of final perseverance if we keep God's commandments, the happiness of eternal life, etc.  What guarantee do we have of obtaining all these good things which we hope for?
     The word of God: He has told us so.
     We do not see divine grace in a soul regenerated by baptism neither do we see the powers of an ordained Christian priest, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, etc.  What proof have we for these things which we do not see? The word of God: He has told us so.
     To possess supernatural faith is to believe that God has revealed some truth.  It is to accept His word as true and certain.  It is to accept His word as a guarantee of things He has promised us, and as a proof of those realities which He has revealed to us, although we have no means of checking them.
     The firmness of this "guarantee" of the things the believer hopes for, and the "proof", one could almost say the anticipated possession of the realities which are not seen, comes from the presence in his soul of the Holy Ghost "Who is the pledge of our inheritance." (Ephesians 1, 14.  See also 11 Cor. 1, 22 and V, 5)


     If faith is the consequence of the presence in the believer of the Holy Ghost, Who enables him to hold as certain and true whatever God has revealed, then faith is not arrived at by a process of reasoning, but is a gift of God.
     When Peter, by faith, discovered in Jesus of Nazareth "the Christ, the Son of the living God", Jesus used this to reveal that the faith that had caused him to discover this truth, divinity in his Master, which he confessed though he could not see it, came "because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in Heaven." (Matt. XVI, 16-17)
     Yes, faith is a gift of God.  "No man can come to me, except the Father, Who hath sent me, draw him." (Jn. VI, 44)  And St John expresses this truth at the beginning of his Gospel: "As many as received Him ... to them that believe in His name ... are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (I, 12-13)
     Faith, the gift of God, is an absolutely free grace.  Here is the teaching of the first Vatican Council: "But though the assent of faith is by no means a blind action of the mind, still no man can assent to the Gospel teaching, as is necessary to obtain salvation, without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Ghost, Who gives to all men sweetness in assenting to and believing in the truth.  Wherefore faith itself, even when it does not work by charity (see Gal. V, 6), is in itself a gift of God, and the act of faith is a work appertaining to salvation, by which man yields voluntary obedience to God Himself, by assenting to and co-operating with His grace, which he is able to resist." (Denz. 1791)


     We have seen that, by divine or theological faith, we are guaranteed truths for which we have no evidence.
     There being no evidence, these truths cannot CONSTRAIN our intelligence to hold them as true; that is why the believer's act of faith is free.(2)
     We can accept and hold as true this revelation which God gives to us, but we can also reject it.
     If I make an act of faith, if I believe, that is to say, if I accept revelation, if I hold it to be true and certain, it is not because of the evidence for its truth, which I do not perceive, but UNIQUELY because of the absolute, infinite and perfect veracity of God Who has revealed this truth to me.
     Let us not forget that grace does not destroy nature but elevates it whilst respecting its mode of action.  Elevated, man remains free.  Predisposed by the grace of God, which urges him to act, the believer accepts God's grace in such a way that, as St. Paul says: "By grace you are saved through faith, and not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God." (Ephes. II, 8)
     But this acceptance, which puts me in harmony with God, I could have refused, for grace respects my nature which remains free, but I have given it: I have given it freely, and that is why it is meritorious.
     If, on the other hand, I do not make the act of faith, if I do not believe, that is to say, if I reject revelation, if I hold it as neither true nor certain, it is the testimony of God Himself revealing that I reject and refuse.
     And, if being able to accept this testimony, I have rejected it, I have done so because I have willed to reject it; I have rejected it freely, and I am therefore culpable.


     The "motive" for believing, the "formal object of faith", as the theologians call it, that which brings about the adherence of the mind of the believer, is always God's testimony.  Whether this testimony is direct, as we read of it the Bible, where God Himself spoke to Abraham and to Moses, or whether it comes to us by means of chosen heralds sent by Him: the Prophets, Jesus Christ or the Apostles, the mode of transmission makes no difference to the divine testimony, nor to the motive for believing it.  "When you had received of us the word of the hearing of God, you received it not as the word of men, but (as it is indeed) the word of God." (I Thess II, 13)
     Here is the teaching of the first Vatican Council: "And the Catholic Church teaches that this faith, which is the beginning of man's salvation, is a supernatural virtue, whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because the intrinsic truth of the things is plainly perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, Who reveals them, and Who can neither be deceived nor deceive." (Denz. 1789)
     This doctrine we express in the formula which we have learned, and which we recite: "My God, I firmly believe all the truths which Thou hast revealed to us, and which Thy Church teaches, because it is Thou, Truth itself, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived, Who hast revealed them."


     This supernatural virtue, which makes us to hold as true and certain God's revelation, is absolutely necessary for salvation.  "Sine fide impossibile est placere Deo."  "Without faith it is impossible to please God", because it is necessary that "he who cometh to God must believe that He is, and is a rewarder to them that seek Him." (Heb. XI, 6)
     "What must I do, that I may be saved?" the jailor asked
Paul and Silas, and they replied to him: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved." (Acts XVI, 30-31)  This is the Master's teaching, Who has stated: "He that believeth not shall be condemned." (Mark XVI, 16)
     The first Vatican Council formulating on this precise point the doctrine of the Church taught: "Man being wholly dependent upon God, as upon his Creator and Lord, and created reason being absolutely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound to yield to God, by faith in His revelation, the full obedience of our intelligence and will." (Denz. 1789)  And in refusing to accept the autonomy of human reason the same Council declared: "If anyone shall say that human reason is so independent that faith cannot be enjoined upon it by God; let him be anathema." (Denz. 1810)(3)
     The same Council was careful to explain this obligation to believe; let us listen to it: "All those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal teaching (magisterium), proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed." (Denz. 1792)
     "And since without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. XI. 6), and to attain to the fellowship of His children, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification; nor will anyone obtain eternal life, unless he shall have persevered in faith unto the end." (Matt. X, 22; XXIV, 13)  And that we may be able to satisfy the obligation of embracing the true faith and of constantly persevering in it, God has instituted the Church through His only-begotten Son, and has bestowed on it manifest marks of that institution, that it may be recognized by all men as the guardian and teacher of the revealed Word; for to the Catholic Church alone belong all those many and admirable tokens which have been divinely established for the evident credibility of the Christian Faith.  Nay, more, the Church itself, by reason of its marvelous extension, its eminent holiness(4) and its inexhaustible fruitfulness in every good  thing, its Catholic unity and its invincible stability, is a great and perpetual motive of credibility, and an irrefutable witness of its own divine mission." (Denz. 1793, 1794)
     "And thus, like a standard set up unto the nations (Is. XI, 12), it both invites to itself those who do not yet believe, and assures its children that the faith which they profess rests on the most firm foundation.  And its testimony is efficaciously supported by a power from on high.  For our most merciful Lord gives His grace to stir up and to aid those who are astray, that they may come to a knowledge of the truth (I Tim. II, 4); and to those whom He has brought out of darkness into His own admirable light (I Peter II, 9), He gives His grace to strengthen them to persevere in that light, deserting none who desert not Him." (Denz. 1794)


     Although it is a gift of God, theological faith is an act of the intelligence.  The first Vatican Council said clearly that "the assent of faith is by no means a blind action of the mind" but on the contrary "a homage in conformity with our reason."  In effect, the motive for faith being the authority of God revealing, in order to believe, assurance is necessary, in the first place, that God has spoken.  And as divine revelation is accompanied by signs which are most certain and within the reach of every intelligence, man can, with the aid of his reason, study and recognize these signs, and convince himself that it is reasonable to believe.
     St. Thomas in fact says, that "man would not believe if he did not see that a thing was CREDIBLE, either because of the evidence of miracles or of something similar." (Ia, IIae, q, 4, A.1)  Faith is therefore not, as some imagine it to be, an absurd exercise, for as Pascal said, "the things of faith are above reason, but they are not contrary to it."
     Far from diminishing the stature of the believer, faith enriches his intelligence by allowing him to see things as God sees them: having satisfied himself on the evidence for belief, it stands to reason that the assent of faith is truly a matter of seeing things as God sees them.
     The reasons which lead him to affirm that it is reasonable to believe are, as the First Vatican Council said, "above all the miracles and the prophecies", and also the Catholic Church.


     Let us note this carefully: neither the reasons for believing nor the most convincing proofs, could, in any way, produce faith.  For faith is a pure gift from God.
     The reasons for belief only prepare the ground for faith, and make it possible and rational.  In studying the many proofs of the truth of Christianity, of the divine origin of Revelation, the intelligence admits: "This doctrine is credible" and, having pursued its study and reflection concludes, that "this doctrine should be believed."  These are the preliminaries of faith which theologians call "grounds of credibility" and "motives for believing."
     Of what value are the grounds for believing which lead to these judgements of "credibility" (that a thing is believable), and of "obligation to believe" (that I must believe)?
     In themselves "the external proofs of His revelation, to wit, divine facts, and especially miracles and prophecies ... are most certain proofs of His divine revelation (which are) adapted to the intelligence of all men." (Denz. 1790)
     But what is the position of the believer?  If there exists an obligation to believe, since "without faith it is impossible to please God", there is no obligation for each person to convince himself, by personal research, of the existence of God and of the divine origin of revelation.  Also, of course, in different believers, the reasons for believing vary.  They range from convictions resulting from the close study of the most varied proofs of apologetics, to the simple knowledge received from another by an act of purely natural faith, as happens in the case of simple people, of children, or of those who have not done any studies.  These are led to believe simply because their parish priest, their father, or some such person who has their confidence, has told them to believe.
     In all cases we have, however, only the motive for the affirmations: "it is reasonable to believe", and "it is necessary to believe."  If, whatever the reason they have for believing, they attain to faith, they will believe in and hold for certain the object of their faith not because of the intrinsic truth which their reasons for belief have put before them, but SOLELY because it is God who has revealed it, and He can neither deceive nor be deceived.
     It follows from this, and it is very important to note it, that if "it is a grave duty of pastors to present anew and unceasingly to Christians whose faith is in danger, reasons for credibility adapted to their time and situation" (Bartmann), it remains no less true that the certitude of faith is independent of the degree, more or less great, more or less changeable, of the reasons for belief.
     The theological faith of a child or of an unlettered person, who has no other reason for believing than the word of his father or the parish priest, produces the same degree of certainty, as theological faith produces in the scholar who has studied in depth all the most convincing proofs of apologetics.  On the social plane the scholar's faith will constitute a testimony, a reason for believing, of a superior value to that given by an unlettered person; but in themselves the scholar's faith and that of the unlettered are both the same theological faith, which gives to every one possessing it the same absolute certitude, since the faith of each has; the same motive: God, Who is absolute, infinite and perfect Truth.
     What is more, if a person who has very learned reasons for believing, lives his faith very little, making very few acts of faith, his theological virtue will be less developed than that of an unlettered person who, though having very uncertain reasons for belief, nevertheless, lives continually a life of faith, and multiplies acts of faith all day long.
     Finally, we must remark that the enlightened faith of a scholar who is in a state of mortal sin resembles the faith of "the devils who also believe and tremble" (James II, 19): it is a dead faith.  On the other hand, the faith of a simple person who is in a state of grace, is a faith rooted in charity (Gal. V, 6), which will bring him to the possession of eternal life. (John III, 36)


     Yes, faith can be "lost", but not in the way that a wallet or hat is lost, either unintentionally or without noticing the loss.  Faith is lost, as the divine life in the soul is lost, by a mortal sin (therefore with knowledge and consent), that is, by a mortal sin against faith.  In other words, faith is REJECTED rather than lost.
     We would like to throw some light here on a problem which troubles many, but above all Christian parents; we wish to speak of the loss of faith among the young and among the people in general.
     We said earlier that the reasons for belief cannot, in any way, produce faith, for this is a pure gift from God.  The reasons for belief, we stated, only prepare the ground for faith; they make reasonable the acceptance of God's gift.  In the same way nothing nor anyone can snatch faith away from our souls.  We alone have the sad responsibility of rejecting it by a mortal sin against this virtue.
     However, without being able to take it from us, there are circumstances, situations, conditions of life, environments, and social outlooks which are prejudicial to faith, and which can put us in danger of rejecting it.
     In the same way that the reasons for believing prepare the ground, so this harmful, sociological climate sterilizes the soil, prevents grace from penetrating it and dries up the seed which has been planted there (Luke VIII, 5, 6).  And this is what unfortunately we see only too often happening around us.
     How does "this sliding away into irreligion from among our own ranks" happen? (Pius XII).  How does this rejection of faith come about?

a) First of all amongst intellectuals?

     Most young people who have lost the faith admit to having lost it in the course of their education, when pursuing their studies and above all whilst studying philosophy.  In the face of this fact, which is becoming more and more evident, many people think that science is opposed to faith.  It is not true, and this opinion is false.  True science has never contradicted true religion, for the same God who made all the laws which are the objects of scientific knowledge, is the origin of the revelation which is the object of faith.  In God there is no possible contradiction.  But, if contradiction is not possible in God, it is not only possible, but inevitable, between God, Who is Being ("I am who I am" Exod. III, 14), and non-being.
     Now, all the so-called idealistic philosophies, which are being taught in our schools and universities, are philosophies of non-being.
     The human intelligence, it can never be repeated too often, is made for Truth, which is none other than the knowledge of Being.  It is therefore clear that those who bend their efforts to assimilate the pseudo-philosophy of nothingness, literally cause disorder in the mind.
     A comparison will help us to understand this elementary truth better.  Not every student can aspire to become a psychiatrist because, in order to do this special work without risk, in addition to the indispensable intellectual qualities needed for study, a perfect mental equilibrium is required; otherwise the unfortunate psychiatrist is in great danger of ending his medical career by joining the unhappy people who are his patients.  Ordinary common sense is explicit: "Tell me what company you keep, and I will tell you who you are."  To mix with mad people without being balanced in mind and taking the necessary precautions, is to end up by oneself sinking into madness.
     Likewise, in order to study these false philosophies of non-being, of doubt, of absurdity and of despair, it is necessary not only to have intellectual qualities but also, and above all, a perfectly balanced judgment which can only be acquired by those who have assimilated the true philosophy, that of common sense: otherwise, here too, is it surprising to find so very many young people, who immerse themselves in error, corrupt their minds, wreck their judgment and reject the truth?  This is one of the principal reasons which explains why, in an age swarming with false ideas, so many of the baptized lose their faith.
     In a cholera epidemic would it be surprising if scavengers, despising the elementary rules of hygiene, were to contract the terrible disease?  Why, then, is it surprising if we see so many intellectuals rejecting faith, which is the adherence of the intelligence to Truth, when they ignore the most elementary rules of mental hygiene, and come into contact with this veritable "syphilis" of the mind, which this false philosophy is?
     Instead of expending a lot of effort in trying to discover how to convey efficaciously the Christian revelation to the intellectuals of our day, we think it better to fight the evil by attacking its roots:
     - at the sources of intellectual infection which mislead the minds of the young;
     - by cleansing the disordered judgments of infected individuals;
     - by inoculating beginners in philosophy, and giving them a solid foundation of authentic philosophy, which is rooted in reality.
     Without this preliminary cleansing of the mind we will have no more success than if we attempted to preach the gospel to the inhabitants of a mental asylum.

b) Let us now see how the rejection of faith happens among the people and the poor.

     Here, the situation is to a terrible degree more painful, because it is at the expense of the little ones, the humble and the poor.  How easy it is to understand the terrible curse of Christ, against those who "scandalize these little ones."  It is in the scandal of an apostate society that the principal reason for the loss of faith among the people must be sought.(5)
     Social life is natural to man.  God, the Creator, willed him to live in society, the family, the clan, the city, the nation, the various trade associations.  And these different societies cannot but impress their stamp on those who compose them.  Every one's behaviour forms the social climate which he breathes, and which influences, without the members realizing it, their mentality and their actions.
     Jesus knew what the repercussions of the social environment in which He left them could be on the religious behaviour of his disciples; so He prayed to His Father, not to withdraw them from the world, but to protect them from the Evil one, who is the Prince of this world.
     We must admit that, without a civil society which is Christian, the poor can hardly be evangelized at all.(6)
     When society, family, political, civil, corporate, etc., by its laws, customs and traditions conforms to the spirit of Christ, and holds in check the Prince of this world, it creates and maintains a sociological climate which disposes the simple, the humble, and the little ones to receive the faith.
     In the same way when society, whether the family, political, civil or corporative, etc., makes laws, establishes customs, or maintains traditions which conform, not to Christ, but to His enemy, the Prince of this world, - and neutrality is a booby-trap - Jesus was definite on this point: "He that is not with Me, is against Me."  (Luke XI, 23) - it creates a sociological climate which dries up and sterilizes, in the simple, in the humble and the little ones, the soil in which faith was planted and, consequently, scandalized by godless institutions, irreligious laws, profane festivals and the apostacy of those who should lead them, these poor people are drawn to reject faith.
     Let it be noted, the people will reject faith almost without realizing it.  They will do so either by ceasing to practise it, out of human respect, or by ceasing to pray, or again by giving way to pride, or to a foolish vanity in order to show their emancipation.  Unfortunately, there is culpability in all this.  And if the people who lose their faith are guilty, what must be said of the guilt of those who have contributed to making them lose their faith, by the scandal of their lives, or that of their institutions?(7)
     It is to help the humble and the little ones to preserve this gift of God that the Church, "Mater et Magistra", has multiplied the public manifestations of faith, from the raised steeples of her churches, and the dress of her ministers(8) to processions and pilgrimages where the multitudes gather.(9)
     It is, thus, an apostolic work of very great charity to labour, according to the expression of St. Pius X, to "instaurare omnia in Christo", which should be translated as, to Christianize society by christianizing its institutions.
     Among the sins which denote the loss of faith let us highlight apostacy, which is a total rejection of the faith received in baptism heresy, a rejection of one or more articles of faith; wilful doubt, concerning a truth of faith.  This last is not to be confused with difficulties which can be met with in the study of truth.  To associate with persons or read books or irreligious reviews which attack the faith, constitutes a sin, probably not against faith, but certainly against charity, because it is a grave sin to expose oneself to the possible loss of faith, even if one does not in fact lose it.


     Faith, like the other infused virtues, increases in intensity in us as the divine life, the state of grace, grows in us.  It increases in strength by the frequent repetition of acts of faith, for although, inasmuch as it is a virtue, faith comes from God, its exercise depends on the human will.



     Faith being man's response to God's revelation, the believer's first duty is to be full of concern about this revelation, to seek to know it, to study it, to meditate on it, to make an inventory, as it were, of his religion.  Just as the human intelligence, that faculty which enables us to grasp the truth of things, develops by study, so theological faith, that supernatural power which enables us to grasp divine truth, is enlightened by study of religion.
     Jesus has left a Church charged with the duty of teaching us to observe all things which He has commanded us (Matt. XXVIII, 20).  Faith therefore requires union with the Church, and complete submission to her Magisterium in studying ALL that God has revealed.
     The first duty of the believer is, therefore, to study  his catechism, which is none other than the word of God officially taught by the infallible Church.


     The believer, however, must not only enlighten his faith, he must develop it by exercising it and must make frequent acts of faith: comprehensive acts of faith in all the truths which God has revealed, and particular acts of faith in individual truths.
     There is an obligation for anyone assailed by serious temptations to doubt any point of doctrine, to safeguard his faith by making an act of faith in this particular doctrine.  Jesus said: "Every one therefore that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father Who is in Heaven.  But he that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father Who is in Heaven." (Matt. X, 32-33)  From this comes the duty of the believer to confess his faith in words, that is, by making a profession of faith, or in act, that is, by acting in conformity with his faith.  There is no objective reason which can justify a denial of faith, nor even of only seeming to do so.
     "Having been reborn as sons of God (the faithful) are obliged to profess before men the faith which they have received from God through the Church." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 11)
     The believer also develops his faith by living it, and through living by it.  Living his faith means accepting as true and certain all the words of God, and acting accordingly: "Why call you Me: Lord, Lord; and do not the things which I say." (Luke VI, 46; see also Matt. VII, 21-22)  Living his faith means allowing himself to be led solely by the principles of faith.  Whatever may be the appearances and the contradictions, the denials, apostacies and scandals, in the most troublous times of his life, the believer who holds the word of God to be true and certain, will allow himself to be guided by it, and will not be shaken by the contradictions with which he meets.  He lives by faith.


     Since theological faith, the "source and root of justification is the most precious of man's gifts, the apostolate compels the believer to make the revelation which he holds known to all men who do not know it, to teach them the Catholic faith, and to help them to practise it, (See Matt. XXVIII, 19-20)  This apostolate is the highest charity and the greatest act of love for men.  There is in the world a hunger, which though ignored in silence, is neither less severe, nor less widespread, nor cries less to heaven, than that of the poor in the underdeveloped countries: it is the hunger for God of all the spiritually undeveloped.
     "The burden of spreading the faith, according to his ability, weighs on every disciple of Christ." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 17)
     "For each other, for their children, as well as for the larger family circle, Christian husbands and wives have a part to play in communicating grace and witnessing to the faith.  They are the first messengers and teachers of their children's faith." (Vatican II, Apostolicam Actuositatem 11)
     "Thus, the position is not compatible with the true attitude required by the "Kingdom of grace and truth", of those who "from a love of religious peace", would have us renounce every effort to bring heretics and unbelievers to the true faith."  Only culpable indifference, or complete incomprehension could tax all missionary ardour with being "inopportune proselytism" (Häring, p. 66)


     "I have kept the faith" (II Tim. IV, 7).  Every believer will have the assurance which St. Paul had, on two conditions:
a) If he protects his faith from everything which could constitute for him a dangerous occasion of losing it.
b) If he faithfully obeys the Church.

a)  Protecting the faith.

     By this we do not only mean that the believer must defend his right to profess it freely, but we would above all remind him of the duty laid on him to defend the integrity of the deposit of revealed truth, which is the object of faith, especially at a time such as ours when "the faith is in peril even in the very heart of the Church." (Mgr. Adam, Bishop of Sion)

     This defence will take three forms:

     1°  Avoiding occasions, (people, reading, meetings) where faith could be injured.  Here the danger is so common that in indicating a line of conduct, we suggest the recommendation of St. Paul to the Corinthians: "I wrote to you in an epistle, not to keep company with fornicators.  I mean not with the fornicators of this world ... otherwise you must needs go out of this world.  But now I have written to you, not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother, be a fornicator ... with such a one, not so much as to eat." (I Cor. V, 9-11)
     It is in this sense that, in this period of crisis, we do no tell you to have no relations with anyone who attacks the Catholic faith, but only with those who call themselves Catholics (and with stronger reason Catholic priests), who make such an attack, or who put in doubt or trouble our Catholic faith.  We should have nothing to do with persons such as these.
     With the same object of defending his faith, a Catholic will abstain from assisting at the ceremonies in places of worship, even in Catholic churches, where his instinct of faith is troubled, and he will in the same way abstain from taking part in an ambiguous form of worship.

     2°  As far as he is able, by prayer, alms, and sacrifice, a faithful Catholic will assist those who have undertaken some direct action to fight against the agents of the subversion introduced into the Church militant, against those wolves in sheep's clothing who have entered the sheepfold to falsify the deposit of faith.

     3°  By praying to God to help us to keep the faith, a grace which must be asked for with perseverance; by begging Him to preserve it also in the Catholic Hierarchy: "Ut dominum Apostolicum et omnes ecclesiasticos ordines in sancta religions conservare digneris.  Te rogamus audi nos. - That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve our Apostolic prelate, and all orders of the Church in holy religion, we beseech Thee, hear us." (Litany of Saints); and by imploring Him to raise up and help the defenders of the faith.  Finally, by asking God to humble the enemies of His Holy Church: "Ut inimicos sanctae Ecclesiae humiliate digneris.  Te rogamus, audi nos. - That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of Holy Church, we beseech Thee, hear us."

b)  To obey Holy Church.

     The Church, as we shall have the opportunity later on to recall, is the Mystical Body of Christ.  She is holy and infallible.  She is "Mater et Magistra", that is, the Mother and Mistress of the faith.  Do we not say in the well-known prayer: "My God, I firmly believe all the truths ... that Thou dost teach us through Thy Church."  And so if anyone, whether it be an Angel, or one of the clergy, should teach us something which is not in accordance with the traditional teaching of the Church, (see Col. I, 8-9) then to defend our faith, we must obey the Church, in her traditional teaching, and, following the counsel of the Apostle, we will anathematize this angel or this churchman.


     Faith, of which we have given some account, does not destroy man's intelligence, and the believer, far from being diminished thereby, is exalted by his faith.(10)  In effect, in comparison with someone without it, the Christian with his faith, is in the position of an educated and cultured man, compared to an uncultured and ignorant man.
     The cultured man is enriched by all the knowledge which his teachers have imparted to him in their instruction; and this knowledge has enabled him to develop and Enlighten his intelligence.  Knowledge does not diminish men.
     The believer is enriched by the knowledge which God has communicated to him by His Revelation, and this knowledge has enabled him to develop his intelligence, by guarding him from error and enlightening him still further.  Far from diminishing him, faith exalts him.
     We meet men who are very intelligent but who are without culture, because they have not had an opportunity to study.  The fact of being uncultured gives them no superiority.  Doubtless, even without culture, they will not be less intelligent, but it is only too evident that knowledge would certainly have caused a great expansion of their specifically human faculties.
     In the same way, we know of very intelligent and cultured men who are without faith, because they have not had the opportunity to encounter the true God; unless, of course, they are men who "loved darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil." (John III, 19)  About this we will know in eternity.  The fact, however, of being unbelievers gives them no superiority, and it remains true that, here too, faith could not but have helped their intelligence to expand yet more.
     The believer is a man who sees with more truth and further than other men, since he sees things from the standpoint of God.
     Consequently, let us be proud to possess faith. The mentality of the believer should not be that of someone who is downtrodden, but that of a true "son of the family", heir to a great name, descended from a line of heroes and saints, who tried to preserve and develop the qualities which were transmitted to them by their ancestors.  Privilege entails responsibility, "noblesse oblige"!
     "But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood; we are heirs indeed of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." Regenerated by baptism we are made partakers of the divine nature." (I Peter II, 9; Rom VIII, 17; II Peter I, 4)
     Should we glory in it!  Certainly, (see Rom. V, 2 and XV, 17) but not with conceit nor arrogance, because "what hast thou, that thou hast not received?  And if thou, hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it." (I Cor IV, 7)
     Here also, because of his privilege, the believer must shoulder his obligation to strive, with God's grace, to acquire the mentality of the divine family into which he has entered (see Gal IV, 5-7), and to recover a clearer knowledge of his faith, to revive, purify it, confirm it and proclaim it.  This is an urgent necessity at the present time.



     Faith is man's response to the revelation made by God.
     As we did in relation to the theological virtue of faith, let us now examine what revelation is.


     The word "REVELATION" comes from the verb "to reveal" which etymologically means "to lift the veil", "to disclose."  It has taken on the meaning of "to make known."
     Revelation is the manifestation of something which was hidden, up till then, by obscurity, by secrecy, or by ignorance.  This manifestation comes about, according to the circumstances, either by the illumination of what was obscure, the lifting of secrecy or, again, by instruction.


     Revelation can be made by men who disclose to their fellow-men something which was hidden from them.  This is what happens in all schools where masters teach or reveal to their pupils truths unknown to them.  This is also what happens when someone reveals a secret to us, about his intimate life, for example.  Without such a revelation it is impossible to know about the intimate life or the secret thoughts of anyone.


     Can a revelation be made by God?  Can He reveal to us hidden things, hidden either because of our ignorance, or because something obscures our intelligence, or because they are mysteries?
     The answer must be yes.  Because if men are capable of instructing other men, we can certainly not see what could hinder God from Himself instructing us by revealing to us things which He knows.


     By reflecting on the possibility of a divine revelation, we are lead to the conclusion that not only is such a revelation possible, but more, that it is most fitting, and in certain cases, necessary.
     In effect, although man is capable, by the natural light of reason alone, through created things to rise to the knowledge of God; even though he may arrive with certainty at a knowledge of the spiritual nature of his soul and of his own freedom, he experiences, nevertheless, real difficulties in resolving these problems correctly, and human history shows us numerous peoples, who may in other respects be cultured, who do not know the true God, but adore idols; numerous and cultured peoples who are unable to discern clearly the natural law, and who live in vice; numerous and cultured peoples who make gods of their passions, and indulge in criminal and obscene rites.
     A study of the history of mankind makes us realize how fitting God's revelation is.  Reflection compels us to acknowledge its necessity.
     We have mentioned above that it is not possible to know the intimate life of anyone, not even that of our best friend, unless he decides himself to reveal it to us.  How much more radical and absolute, then, is the impossibility for any creature at all to know, by personal study, the intimate life of God, His nature, His designs and His will for us.  If God did not take the initiative and reveal to us His intimate life, we would never know it, we could not possibly know it.  In the realm of supernatural realities, divine revelation proves to be absolutely necessary.
     And this is the Church's doctrine, taught by Pope Pius IX in his allocution "Singulari quadam", of December 1854:
     "And the clients, or rather devotees, of human reason, who set it up as their unerring teacher and promise themselves every success under its guidance, have surely forgotten what a deep and severe wound was inflicted on human nature through the sin of our first parent; for darkness has clouded the mind and the will has been made prone to evil.  This is the reason why the most famous philosophers of antiquity, in spite of their many splendid writings, have contaminated their doctrines with very serious errors; this is the reason for that ceaseless struggle that we are conscious of within ourselves and about which the Apostle speaks: "But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind." (Rom. VII, 23)" (Denz. 1643)

     And the Pope continues: "In reality, since it is certain that the light of reason has been dimmed, and that the human race has fallen miserably from its former state of justice and innocence because of original sin, which is communicated to all the descendants of Adam, can anyone still think that reason by itself is sufficient for the attainment of truth?  If anyone is to avoid slipping and failing in the midst of such great dangers, and in the face of such weakness, dare he deny that divine religion and heavenly grace are necessary for salvation?  To be sure, God most generously gives these helps to those who humbly and prayerfully request them - for it is written: "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." (James IV, 6)  And for that very reason Christ our Lord turned to His Father on one occasion, and declared that the deepest secrets of truth are not manifested to the prudent and wise men of this world, who are proud of their own talent and learning, and are unwilling to render the submission implied in faith, but rather to the humble and simple men, who rely upon the revelation of divine faith for their strength and conviction. (See Matt. XI, 25; Luke X, 21)" (Denz. 1644)
     This same doctrine was taken up again by the First Vatican Council: "It is owing to this divine revelation, assuredly, that even in the present condition of the human race, those religious truths which are by their nature accessible to human reason can easily be known by all men with solid certitude and with no trace of error.  This, however, is not the reason why revelation is to be called absolutely necessary; but because God of His infinite goodness, has ordained man to a supernatural end, viz., to be a sharer of divine blessings which utterly exceed the intelligence of the human mind: "For eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him." (I Cor. II, 9)" (Denz. 1786)
     And, in a Canon, the Fathers of the First Vatican Council defined Catholic faith on this matter: "If anyone says that it is impossible or useless for man to be taught through divine revelation about God and the worship to be rendered to Him, let him be anathema." (Denz. 1807)
     And this same doctrine, it could not be otherwise, has been restated by the second Vatican Council: "By divine revelation God willed to make known and to communicate Himself, and the eternal decrees that are willed by Him in regard to men's salvation, "that they may be sharers of those divine blessings which utterly exceed the intelligence of the human mind"."
     "The sacred Council declares that: "God, the beginning and end of all things, may be certainly known by the natural light of human reason." (See Rom. I, 20; Denz. 1785)  It teaches, however, that one must attribute to His revelation that "even in the present condition of the human race, those religious truths which are by their nature accessible to human reason can easily be known by all men with solid certitude and with no trace of error." (Denz. 1786) (Dei Verbum 6)


     This divine revelation, which has been seen to be possible, useful and even necessary, has it happened, or is it only an unrealised dream ?
     Let us at once say, yes, it has happened.  God has revealed Himself.  He has revealed to us the mystery of His intimate life, and His loving plans for us.
     This divine revelation is a historical fact.  We encounter it in the history of mankind.  It is spread over very many centuries, and shows itself to us in the form of the marvelous events which make up the history of the Patriarchs, of the Prophets, of Israel, of Jesus Christ, God made man, and of the Catholic Church.
     Although spread over so many centuries, these marvelous events are connected one with another, and the chain they form together is the indisputable mark of the direct intervention of God in mankind's history, made in order to reveal His will for us.
     Here is the teaching or the Second Vatican Council on the subject: "That He might make known unto us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Him" (Eph. I, 9), whereby men through Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, have access to the Father in the Holy Ghost, and become partakers of the divine nature. (See Eph. II, 18; II Peter I, 4)  By this revelation the invisible God (See Col. I, 15; I Tim. I, 17) out of the abundance of His love, speaks to men, as to friends (See Ex. XXXIII, 11; John XV, 14-15), and is conversant with them (Bar. III, 38) that He may invite them to share His company and admit them to it.  The divine plan of revelation is realized in deeds and words that are closely interconnected, so that the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and reinforce the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and cast light upon the mystery contained in them.  The profound truth conveyed by this revelation, whether it concerns God or man's salvation, shines forth for us in Christ Who is at once the Mediator and the fullness of revelation in its entirety." (Dei Verbum. 2)


     From the data of human history we can establish certain
     1. In this marvelous history of revelation God manifests Himself in two ways:
          a)  In a direct way, as when He reveals His mind to someone directly, either Himself or through an Angel;
          b)  In an indirect way, as when he uses a man chosen by Him to reveal His mind to other men.
     2. This revelation made by God is concerned with:
          a) Truths of the natural order which man could discover by the natural light of reason alone;
          b) Truths of the absolutely supernatural order, which man is not only incapable of discovering by himself, but is also incapable of verifying or understanding when they have been revealed to him.
     3. This divine revelation:
          a) Is only found among the Patriarchs, from Adam to Abraham, in Israel up to the coming of Jesus Christ, and in the Catholic Church;
          b) It progressed in its historical development;
          c) It came to an end with the Apostles.
     4. In all this history of revelation, the Prophets who were sent to bring to men the divine revelation, all presented themselves as coming "by the will of Yahweh."
     "The Lord took me when I followed the flock", said Amos to Amasias, priest of the king of Israel, "and the Lord said to me: 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel'." (Amos VII, 15)
     Isaias heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him: "Whom shall I send?  And who shall go for us?"  "Lo, here I am, send me", replied Isaias.  And the Lord said: "Go, and thou shalt say to this people ... " (Isaias VI, 8-9)
     There was the same mission for Jeremias: "For thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I shall command thee, thou shalt speak." (Jeremias I, 7)
     Ezechial explained: "And I heard him speaking to me, and
saying: 'Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious people, ... and they to whom I send thee are children of a hard face, and of an obstinate heart, and thou shalt say to them, thus saith the Lord God'
." (Ezechial II, 2-4)
     These texts and other similar ones are evidence that these messengers had not only an intimate conviction that they were doing God's work, but also an objective certainty of a mandate received from the Lord himself.
     And thus their words, sometimes moving, must not be considered, as "explosions of their religious consciousness, or of their subconscious minds", in the modernist sense or as "the elaboration of their fervent and turbulent religious outlook."  Their words must be taken for what they were in reality, namely, the authentic echoes of Yahweh.
     The economy of salvation announced, narrated and explained by the sacred authors, appears then in the books of the Old Testament as the true word of God.  For this reason, these divinely inspired books have an imperishable value: "For, what things soever were written, were written for our learning: that through patience and the comfort of the scriptures, we might have hope." (Rom. XV, 4)
     "The sacred Council, devoutly attentive to the word of God and confident in proclaiming it, pays homage to the words of St. John when he says: "We declare unto you the Life eternal, which was with the Father, and hath appeared to us:  that which we have seen and have heard we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." (I John I, 2-3)" (Dei Verbum 1)

*    *    *


     Our intelligence can, in fact, only receive and understand ideas expressed in words of human speech.
     This is why God adapted Himself to the human intelligence of His Prophets in revealing to them His mysteries.  The Greek Fathers called this adaptation "Synkatabasis", meaning that God condescends to reveal the truth to us in terms adapted to this end.  It would clearly be absurd to think that the God Who made us, could not instruct us.
     "In holy Scripture, therefore, God's truthfulness and holiness being always safeguarded, there is made known the wonderful "condescension" of the eternal Wisdom "that we may be able to apprehend God's ineffable generosity whereby, in His providential care for human nature, He has adapted His speech to our needs." (St. John Chrysostom)  God's words expressed in human language are made like to human discourse, as formerly the eternal Father's Word, having taken upon Himself the weakness of a human nature, was made like unto men." (Dei Verbum 13)


     In the earlier discussion on faith we saw that, faced with divine revelation, man must adhere to it by faith.  But there is a problem here.
     We can easily understand, in the case of an immediate revelation, that the beneficiary of it will find in the manifestation itself, of which he is the object, certainty of its reality.  At the same time that it enlightens his mind, the divine communication establishes very great certitude in the recipient.  Never have any doubts crossed the minds of those who have received such divine communications.
     But, in the case of indirect revelation, that is, when God reveals Himself to men through the intermediary of a prophet (who is one who speaks in the name of another), how will men know for certain that the supposed prophet has truly spoken in God's name?
     It is only too obvious that, if faith is the only reasonable attitude man can adopt before God, caution, reserve and prudence are absolutely necessary in the case of anyone who claims to come in the name of God.  But this prudence, reserve and caution are not an insult to God.  Quite the contrary.  Rather they witness to the natural feeling which we have for God's infinite wisdom, Who would not send a prophet without giving him some external signs, both certain and adapted to every intelligence, of his divine mission.
     And such is, indeed, God's way of doing things.  We read of it in the Bible from the sending of His very first messenger to men (Exodus IV, 1-10).  In the Gospels, Jesus invokes these same signs to underline the guilt of those who had not received Him (See John XV, 24; V, 36; X, 25).  In the First Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on Faith, the Church teaches us: "In order that the obedience of our faith might be in harmony with reason (See Rom. XII, 1) God willed that to the interior help of the Holy Ghost there should be joined exterior proofs of His revelation, to wit, divine facts, and especially miracles and prophecies, which, as they manifestly display the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are most certain proofs of His divine revelation adapted to the intelligence of all men." (Denz. 1790)
     In two canons the Fathers of the Council give us the teaching of the Church on this important point: "If anyone shall say that divine revelation cannot be made credible by outward signs, and therefore that men ought to be moved to faith solely by the internal experience of each, or by private inspiration; let him be anathema." (Denz. 1812)
     "If anyone shall say that miracles are impossible, and therefore that all the accounts regarding them, even those contained in Holy Scripture, are to be dismissed as fabulous or mythical; or that miracles can never be known with certainty, and that the divine origin of Christianity is not rightly proved by them; let him be anathema." (Denz. 1813)


     The Church, taking into account the requirements of common sense, tells us that the signs are at once:
     - external, that is, subject to the senses and thus verifiable;
     - most certain, leaving no room for doubt;
     - adapted to the intelligence of all.  For, when God sends a prophet to an entire people, all the people must be able to be convinced that the prophet comes from God.
     These exterior signs, very certain and adapted to all intelligences, are prophecies, miracles, the history of Israel, the life of Jesus Christ, the expansion and perennial character of the Church.


     By prophecy must be understood, the announcement made in advance of a free future event.
     It is clear that the announcement of an inevitable future event, that is of an event resulting from the causes which produce it, is necessarily excluded.  Such a prophecy would prove the ability of the person who makes it, but would not prove that it was an intervention of God.  It is sufficient, in fact, simply to know the causes in order to forecast and so announce, even a long time in advance, a future event which will necessarily take place.  It is so, for example, with the announcement of an eclipse of the sun, the passage of a meteor, or a weather forecast.
     But, if the future event is not determined by its causes, if it could very well happen by some other means than it does happen, if it depends on an absolutely free decision, then the foreknowledge and announcement of such an event would be absolutely impossible for any creature, and possible only to God, for Whom the future is as much present as the present time is.  It is prophecy, understood in this way, which we hold to be an external sign, most certain and within the reach of every intelligence.


     By miracles are to be understood those "marvelous" acts, (that is, acts which surprise, astonish and compel attention) which, being the work of God, show forth His almighty intervention.  Miracles, thus understood, are divided into two categories, according to the degree of certainty which they engender:

First category
     Miracles of this category are acts which, of their nature, cannot be the work of any creature.  They demand divine omnipotence.  Their verification creates an absolute certainty of God's intervention.
     Into this first category come the miracles where something is created which previously did not exist, such as the multiplication of the loaves; the instantaneous changing of one substance into another, without chemical or other intervention, such as the changing of water into wine at Cana; the raising to life of a dead man, when death has really taken place.

Second category
     The miracles in this category are those which, by their nature, do not require the omnipotence of God, but which being contrary to the laws of nature entitle us to conclude God has intervened.
     The verification of such acts, which are contrary to the laws of nature, also creates a certainty of God's intervention, but not in such an absolute manner as in the case of miracles of the first category.


     Divine revelation is not the teaching to us of some philosophical discovery, a discovery which would be of necessity imperfect because of human origin, and thus perfectible by human methods.
     By divine revelation it is the very mind of God which we know, and this, perfect in itself, cannot change.  Such is the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church on this point.
     Modernist error, on the other hand, affirms: "The dogmas which the Church teaches as revealed are not truths which come from heaven, but are an interpretation of religious facts, which the human mind has acquired by laborious efforts."  This proposition has been condemned (Denz. 2022); and the contrary is, therefore, true: The dogmas which the Church teaches as revealed are truths which have come from heaven, and are not an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious efforts.
     Through the First Vatican Council, the Church taught: "The doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention, to be perfected by human ingenuity; but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ, to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared.  Hence, also, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our holy Mother the Church has once declared; nor is that meaning ever to be departed from, under the pretence or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them." (Denz. 1800)  Also:
     "If anyone shall assert it to be possible that sometimes, according to the progress of science, a sense is to be given to doctrines propounded by the Church different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema. (Denz. 1818)


     We repeat again the teaching of the First Vatican Council: "The doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention, to be perfected by human ingenuity; but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ, to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared."
     In 1950, in his encyclical Humani Generis, the great Pope Pius XII took up again this traditional doctrine and reaffirmed it when he spoke of "the Church, (which) by our Lord Christ's own appointment, is authorized to guard and to interpret the whole deposit of divine revelation." (Denz. 2315)
     In its dogmatic constitution on the Church, the First Vatican Council presents the Church as the faithful guardian of the word of God, and as the permanent and visible proof of the divinity of revelation: "And that we may be able to satisfy the obligation of embracing the true faith and of constantly persevering in it, God has instituted the Church through His only-begotten Son, and has bestowed on it manifest marks of that institution, that it may be recognized by all men as the guardian and teacher of the revealed Word; for to the Catholic Church alone belong all those many and admirable tokens which have been divinely established for the evident credibility of the Christian Faith." (Denz. 1793, 1794)
     Theologians have, without doubt an important role to play in the Church.  Pius IX indicated their responsibility "to show how and where the teaching given by the Living Voice of the Church is contained in Scripture and in our sacred tradition, be it explicitly or implicitly." (Pius IX, Inter gravissimas, 1870)  But, in order to fulfil this task fruitfully, theologians must themselves give interior assent to the teachings of the Church's magisterium (see Denz. 1683) and, moreover, they must in their own research, be guided by the same magisterium.  This magisterium must be for every theologian, in matters of faith and morals, the proximate and universal rule of truth.  For side by side with these hallowed sources (that is, Scripture and Tradition), God has given His Church a Living Voice; thus He would make clear to us, unravel for us, even what was left obscure in the deposit of faith and only present there implicitly." (See Denz. 2313, 2314)
     On this subject, the Second Vatican Council said: "God in His supreme kindness so disposed that the truths He had revealed for the salvation of all peoples, should persist forever in their entirety, and should be handed on to all future generations.  Therefore, Christ Our Lord, in Whom the complete revelation of the most high God is fully accomplished (see 2 Cor. I, 30; III, 16; IV, 6), gave command to His Apostles that the Gospel, first promised by the Prophets, and later fulfilled by Him and promulgated by His own lips, should be preached by them to all men as the source of all saving truth, and of all instruction in morals, thus communicating the divine gifts to their hearers.  This work was faithfully performed, first by the Apostles, who by their oral preaching, their examples and their institutions handed on what they had received either from Christ's lips, from their association with Him, and from His work, or from what they had learned from the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  Later, the work was carried on by those Apostles and members of the apostolic circle, who under the inspiration of the same Holy Ghost set down the message of redemption in writing.
     "In order that the whole living Gospel might be forever preserved in the Church, the Apostles left as their successors, the Bishops "entrusting to them their own position as a teaching body" (St. lrenaeus).  Hence sacred tradition and the Holy Scriptures of each of the two Testaments resemble a mirror in which the Church, during her journeyings on earth, contemplates God, from whom she receives all things, until she may be brought to see Him, face to face, as He is (see 1 John III, 2)
." (Dei Verbum, 7)


     Among revealed truths there are some which are essentially supernatural.  God alone knows them in His divine intelligence; for us, with our human intelligence, they are necessarily incomprehensible.
     What part will our human intelligence play in our adherence to the revelation of essentially supernatural truths?
     It will be threefold:
     1. In receiving the revelation.  It is our human intelligence which receives the announcements by means of which God communicates to us His knowledge of these truths.
     2. In trying to reach some understanding of these truths.  Even though revealed, these truths remain mysteries to us, being completely incomprehensible to our created intelligence, though we can nevertheless, arrive at some understanding of them.  First of all, by understanding the meaning of the words and the statements formulating these mysteries; then, thanks to analogies with things known naturally, we are able to reach some measure of understanding of them.
     "True and sound philosophy rightfully occupies a distinguished position, since philosophy should diligently seek truth and correctly and thoroughly cultivate and enlighten human reason which, though darkened by the sin of the first man, has by no means been destroyed.  Moreover, philosophy's task is to ascertain the object of rational knowledge and many truths, to understand them well, and to look to their progress.  By means of arguments sought from reason's own principles, philosophy should demonstrate, vindicate, and defend a large number of these truths which faith also proposes for belief; such as, the existence of God, His nature, and His attributes.  In this fashion, philosophy must prepare the way for a more correct grasp of these dogmas by faith, and also for some sort of rational understanding of those more hidden dogmas, which can be known originally only by faith." (Denz. 1670)
     "Reason, indeed, enlightened by faith, when it seeks earnestly, piously and calmly, attains by a gift from God some, and that a very fruitful understanding of mysteries; partly from the analogy of those things which it naturally knows, partly from the relations which the mysteries bear to one another and to the last end of man: but reason never becomes capable of apprehending mysteries as it does those truths which constitute its proper object.  For the divine mysteries by their own nature so far transcend the created intelligence that, even when delivered by revelation and received by faith, they remain covered with a veil of faith itself, and shrouded in a certain degree of darkness, so long as we are pilgrims in this mortal life, not yet with God: for we walk by faith, and not by sight (II Cor. V, 6 et seq)." (Vat. Council I, Denz. 1796)
     3. In defending the deposit of faith.  This is one of the most important works which Christian thought must do: it must preserve the knowledge given by God Himself concerning His own intimate life, and about His mysterious designs in our regard, and must keep watch to see that nothing happens to corrupt or alter it.
     "The great councils of the 4th and 5th centuries, writes Georges Goyau, may be accused of subtlety, for fixing these truths in certain formulas which aim, not at making the doctrine of the Trinity comprehensible, but rather at keeping free of any adulteration what the blessed Trinity had made known about Itself.  Mankind, however, owes to these councils all that it can glimpse of God's intimate life and, in this work, they were assisted by the Holy Ghost, God thus continuing, through their agency, to speak of Himself." (Catholicisme, p. 11)
     "The Old Testament", said St. Gregory of Nazianzus, "preached clearly the Father, and more obscurely the Son.  The New Testament has manifested the Son, and has indicated the divinity of the Holy Ghost.  Now, the Holy Ghost dwells in us, and manifests Himself to us more clearly." (Orat. XXXI, cited by Goyau)


     It is evident that faced with the fact of religion, which will sooner or later necessarily confront him, the normal man will try to deal with the problem of revelation in his life.
     Catholic doctrine teaches that man has an obligation to enquire into this problem, and to study, with the care given to solving important matters, the many proofs which accompany divine revelation, and to adhere to it by faith.
     "To guard against any deception and error in so important a matter, human reason should undoubtedly inquire with all diligence into the fact of divine revelation, to make sure that God has spoken, and to be able to pay Him a reasonable service, as the Apostle so wisely teaches (see Rom. XII, 1)." (Pius IX, Denz. 1637)
     "Man being wholly dependent upon God, as upon his Creator and Lord, and created reason being absolutely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound to yield to God, by faith in His Revelation, the full obedience of our intelligence and will." (Vatican I, Denz. 1789)
     "If anyone shall say that human reason is so independent that faith cannot be enjoined upon it by God; let him be anathema. (Vatican I, Denz. 1810)
     The study of divine revelation concerns not only those who are in error outside the way of salvation.  It is necessary also for the sons of the Church who, so that they may render to God a "reasonable service" (Rom. XII, 1) must study, each according to his ability, all that the Church proposes for their belief, with divine and Catholic faith, as having been divinely revealed. (See Vatican 1, Denz. 1792)

Father Noël BARBARA.


(1)  We mention here only the most important or most debated truths.
(2)  If anyone shall say that the assent of Christian faith is not a free act, but necessarily produced by the arguments of human reason; or that the grace of God is necessary for that Living Faith only which worketh by charity (Gal. V, 6) let him be anathema.  Vatican Council I. Denz. 1814.
(3)  To God, as revealer, is to be given the "obedience of faith" (Rom. XVI, 26; cf. also Rom. 1, 5; 11 Cor. X, 5-6), whereby man abandons himself freely and entirely to God, yielding to Him "the full obedience of intelligence and will", and voluntarily assenting to the revelation given by Him.  In order that this faith may be forthcoming there is need for God's prevenient and assisting grace, together with the interior aid of the Holy Ghost to move the heart and turn it towards God, open the eyes of the mind, and bestow upon all "sweetness in consenting to and believing the truth." (Council of Orange II, can: 7; Denz. 180, and Vatican Council I, Denz. 1791)
(4)  The Holiness of the Church is a dogma of faith: "Credo in unam SANCTAM catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam."  But this Holy Church is made up of sinners and, too often, OUR sins - ours and not those attributed to our Mother, which cannot have any since she is Holy - are such that they obscure to the point of almost totally hiding, this Holiness of the Church of Christ, especially from the eyes of those outside her.
(5)  "All of you who live In a society which, for many reasons puts your faith to the test, you are like those who navigate in a stormy sea: a tempest of incredulity, irreligion, diversity of opinions, liberty and licence given to spectacles which are contrary to your beliefs, to the Christian way of living, to God, to Christ, to the Church.  Nothing afflicts us so much as to see mounted the attacks, ambushes and other perils against the stability and salvation of our sons.  He who has the heart of a brother or of a father, as the Pastor of souls must have, lives and suffers in a continual and sincere anxiety, an anxiety which grows in proportion to the violence, the extension and subtlety of errors, the spiritual and moral seductions encompassing us." (Paul VI, Audience of 12 April 1967)
(6)  "On the form given to society, conformed or otherwise to divine law, depends the good or evil of souls: that is, whether men, who are all called to live by the grace of Christ, breathe, in the earthly conditions of their lives, the healthy and life-giving air of the truth and the moral virtues, or whether, on the contrary, they take in the deadly, often fatal germ, of error and depravity.  In such circumstances and expectations, how could the Church, a Mother so loving and solicitous for the good of her children, be permitted to remain indifferent at the sight of the dangers facing them, or keep silent, or behave as if she did not see or understand the social conditions which, voluntarily or not, make it arduous or in practice impossible for them to live a Christian life in conformity with the commandments of the Sovereign Lawgiver." (Pius XII, Radio message, 1 June 1941)
(7)  "Secularization is used to impede belief, hope and love.  It drives souls to damnation...
    "How I tremble for you, politicians, who have not the courage to stand up against secularization, you, who are the docile slaves of secularism.  When the Supreme Judge demands of you an account of your private and public life, when He reproaches you with having lost these souls, what will you reply in the midst of the flames and tortures of hell?" (Fr. Janvier, Discourse at Nancy, 5 April 1926)
(8)  "It is clear that the priest is a man chosen and set apart from others ... and to this first consideration, must be added that of the witness to God and Our Saviour, which the priest must give before the world.  'Et eritis mihi testes' - 'You will be My witnesses'.  Witness is a word which often recurs on the lips of Our Lord.  As He was a witness of His Father, so we too must be witnesses of Him.
     "This witness must be seen and understood without difficulty by everyone: 'Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all.'
     "The priest's cassock serves these two ends, clearly and unambiguously the priest is in the world but not of it, he is separate from the world even whilst living in it, and he is also thus protected from evil." (Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre, Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers, "Letter on the subject of wearing the cassock", 11 February 1963)
(9)  "The second object of the feast of Corpus Christi is instruction.  The Church wishes, in celebrating Corpus Christi with such solemnity, to teach us to reflect on, to value, and to honour the Blessed Eucharist, because of the importance which It has, not only in Itself from a theological point of view, but also for the importance It has for us, especially from the SPIRITUAL AND SOCIAL point of view." (Paul VI, 25 May 1967)
(10)  The faith of false religions, being nothing more than an adherence to error, can only raise man to the extent that it communicates to him that fragment of truth which it has retained; for common sense recognizes that in all error there is some element of truth.

incorrectly called the "New Mass"

     To be able fully to understand the harmfulness of this new rite, we must never forget that it has been compiled at a time when the Church is infected with neo-modernism.
     Whatever were the motives of its authors, the text which they have given us perverts the nature of Holy Mass.  How is this so?
     It makes of the Holy Sacrifice a simple memorial of the Last Supper.  The new rite no longer effects the real bodily Presence of Christ, and without this corporal Presence there is no Sacrifice: without the Sacrifice, there is no longer a Mass.
     That which is incorrectly called the "New Mass", is really nothing more than a Protestant Lord's Supper, a commemorative meal or memorial.  The proof of this is set forth in a new study written by Father N. Barbara, and published at the end of 1974 in No. 36 of the French review, - Forts dans la Foi -.  An English translation is in preparation and will be available shortly.
     This study has taken as its point of departure the final judgement made by Pope Leo XIII in another matter, which has many similarities, namely the question of the Anglican Ordinal.  In his Apostolic Letter - Apostolicæ Curæ -, of 13 September 1896, Pope Leo declares that orders conferred by means of the Anglican Ordinal are invalid by reason both of defect of form and defect of intention.  Father Barbara establishes the same points with regard to the new ordo missæ: that eucharistic celebrations according to the new rite are invalid, that is, that there is no longer a Mass, for the same reasons of defect of intention and defect of form.
     It is the first time that this document of Leo XIII has been used to elucidate this important question.  Read and study this work and make it known, especially among priests.
     To facilitate distribution a special booklet is being prepared which will contain, not only the above-mentioned study on the new ordo missæ in the light of Apostolicæ Curæ, but also, by the same author, another in which the liturgical reforms, of Lutheran inspiration, of Cranmer in England in 1549, are compared with those imposed upon us at the present time in the post-conciliar Church.
     Those interested in obtaining copies of these essays are asked to indicate their requirements on the form provided.  The cost is expected to be about 50p, post free.  No money should be sent until subscribers are notified that the booklet is ready.

[NOTE (1998):  The order form is omitted as the text is available on this Web site as Fortes in Fide, Volume 1, Number 4.]

     "Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.  For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy IV, 2-4)

     "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.  Which except every man keep whole and inviolate, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly."  (Creed of St. Athanasius)

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