Interpretation of the Faith Heritage

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified

« prev : next »

Faithful to the Teaching (84)

By adhering to this Tradition, the people remain faithful to the apostolic teaching. Thus, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful.

An Authentic Interpretation (85-87)

Giving an authentic interpretation of God's Word (written or oral) belongs to the teaching office of the Church, that is, to the bishops in communion with the Pope, who exercise their authority in Jesus' name.

This Magisterium is not superior to God's Word, because the Church teaches what has been handed down by the Spirit, expounding God's Word from the single deposit of faith.

By their docility to their pastors, the faithful hear the words of Christ: "He who hears you, hears me" (Lk 10:16).

Dogmas - Proposed Truths (88-90)

The Church proposes truths which are actually contained in or have a necessary connection with Divine Revelation. The faithful must adhere to these dogmas by faith.

Dogmas and the spiritual life are connected because dogma illuminates the path of holiness. The person should welcome this light.

All dogmas are connected and coherent. They have a "hierarchy" since they vary in their relationship to the Church's foundation.

Inability to Err (91-93)

All the faithful, anointed by the Spirit, can understand and hand on these truths.

When the bishops and the faithful, by their supernatural appreciation of faith (sensus fidei) manifest a universal consent in matters of faith or morals, the whole body of the faithful cannot err.

The People of God, guided by Church's Magisterium, can adhere to these truths and apply them in daily living.

Ways of Growing in Faith (94-95)

Faith grows by the study of believers, by theological research, by reading the Scriptures and by preaching.

Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected that one cannot stand without the others.

God Uses Words to Speak (101-104)

Just as the Lord Jesus took the nature of man, so God speaks to us in the words of men.

Throughout Sacred Scripture, God speaks one Word which expresses himself completely. "One and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture. One and the same utterance resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers" (St. Augustine).

Therefore, the Church venerates the Scripture as she does the Lord's Body. She feeds all the faithful from the one table of God's Word and Christ's Body.

Written by God (105)

God is the author of Sacred Scripture because it has been written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Church accepts as sacred and canonical all of the books of the Old and New Testament, whole and entire, with all their parts.

Who Used Human Authors (106-108)

God chose and inspired certain men who used their own powers in writing. The Spirit showed them what he wanted written and no more. They were still true authors.

Because all that the human author wrote was affirmed by the Spirit, these books teach faithfully and without error what God wanted to reveal for our salvation.

Nevertheless, the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book" but of the living Word of God (Jesus).

« prev : next »