A Manual Of Catholic Theology, Based On Scheeben's “Dogmatik”
Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D.
With A Preface By Cardinal Manning

Vol. 1. The Sources Of Theological Knowledge, God, Creation And The Supernatural Order
Third Edition, Revised, London, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Lt.
New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, Benziger Bros.

[Pp. 138-153]


SECT. 46.—Doctrine of the Vatican council on the Understanding of Faith.

I. WE have now to consider how far we can understand the supernatural truths or mysteries which we believe on the authority of God and the Church. Rationalists and Agnostics of all times have held that no understanding is possible of things beyond the sphere of natural reason. Abelard and some theologians of the thirteenth century, and in modern times Gunther and Frohschammer, were of opinion that nothing is beyond the grasp of human reason, and, consequently, that supernatural truths can be demonstrated by reason, and that Faith can be replaced by knowledge. Other theologians allow the co-existence of Faith with knowledge, pretending that reason adds a new certitude to Faith.

II. Against these errors the Vatican Council teaches that some understanding of mysteries is possible, and it lays down its conditions and rules: “When Reason enlightened by Faith maketh diligent, pious, and sober inquiry, she attaineth, by God's gift, most fruitful knowledge of mysteries, both from the analogy of things naturally known and from the relation of mysteries with one another and with the end of man.” Then the Council sets forth that this understanding is less clear and less perfect than our understanding of things natural: “Still she (Reason) is never rendered fit to perceive them in the same way as the truths which are her own proper object. For the Divine mysteries, by their very nature, so far surpass the created intellect that, even when conveyed by Revelation and received by Faith, they remain covered by the veil of the Faith and, as it were, hidden by a cloud, as long as in this mortal life we are absent from the Lord, for we walk by faith and not by sight” (sess. iii., chap. 4).

III. Faith, then, seeking after understanding (fides quaerens intellectum) first adapts the natural notions of the mind to things Divine by determining the analogies or likenesses between the two orders. An understanding is thus obtained of the several mysteries varying in perfection with the perfection of the analogical conceptions. Further, comparing the mysteries with one another, and grouping them in the order determined by the principle of causality, the mind, enlightened by Faith, contemplates a magnificent cycle, beginning and ending with God, and constituted after the manner of a living organism. Unity is given to this noble cosmos of supernature by the terminus to which every part of it is directed — the glory of God in the Beatific Vision, which is also the last end of man.

Practical illustrations of this theory will be found in every chapter of the following treatises; for the harmony of the whole, see the Division of the work given at the end of the Introduction.

IV. The Understanding of Faith cannot lead to any independent certitude, nor can it afford any additional certitude to the certitude of Faith. Its only effect is to facilitate and strengthen the act of Faith by removing apparent difficulties, and by inducing the mind to accept truths so beautifully in harmony with one another and with the Nature of God and the nature of man. The Understanding of Faith has, therefore, a moral rather than a purely logical character, and corresponds with the pious dispositions of the will which incline to Faith. Its moral persuasiveness is felt more as regards the first principles of the supernatural order; its logical persuasiveness is more manifest in connection with inferred truths.

SECT. 47. — Theological Knowledge.

I. The immediate object of the Understanding of Faith is to present to the mind of the believer a true, distinct, and comparatively perfect notion of what he must believe. A further object is to evolve from Faith a wider and deeper knowledge rooted in Faith but not formally identical with it, and having a certitude of its own similar to the certitude of Faith, but not exactly of the same kind.

Revealed truths, just like natural truths, can be used as principles from which other truths may be logically inferred. When so used, these revealed truths are called Theological Reasons, as distinguished from human or natural reasons. In the domain of natural science, the certitude with which we adhere to the conclusion of an argument is only an extension of our certitude of the premises, and is of the same kind. But in the domain of Faith our certitude of the conclusion of an argument is the result of two distinct factors — Faith and reason, — and is therefore essentially different from and inferior to our certitude of one of the premises. This kind of certitude is called Theological Certitude. Hence Theological Knowledge differs, on the one hand, from philosophical or natural science; and, on the other hand, from the knowledge of the revealed principles from which it starts. Like natural science, it has complete scientific value only when its demonstrations are based on principles which are the real objective causes of the conclusions; in other words, only when it shows not merely that the thing is (quia est, Greek word omitted), but also why and wherefore it is (propter quid sit, Greek word omitted). But since Faith, as such, requires us to know only what its subject-matter is, we have here another difference between simple Faith and Theological Knowledge.

II. It is an open question whether the certitude of theological conclusions is supernatural or merely natural. If we consider that the conclusion cannot be stronger than the weaker of the premises, it would seem that theological conclusions are only humanly or naturally certain, On the other hand, theological conclusions are organically connected with the Understanding of Faith, from which they spring as their root, and of which they are a natural expansion. They are also supported by the pious and loving disposition to believe. The true theologian looks upon the rational minor premise less as a partial motive than as a means whereby he arrives at the full comprehension of the major premise. God, Who preserves His Church from error when she proposes theological conclusions for our belief, will likewise extend His grace to the assent which the theologian gives to similar conclusions. At any rate, all this goes to prove that the assent to theological conclusions is of a higher character than the assent of heretics and infidels founded upon human motives, and that consequently these latter can no more possess true theological science than supernatural Faith. We see, too, that Theological Knowledge, in its principles and conclusions, enjoys a more sacred and inviolable certitude than any human science, and that every human certitude not intrinsically and extrinsically perfect must give way to theological conclusions perfectly ascertained.

SECT. 48.—Scientific character of Theology.

I. A science pure and simple should be, not merely a collection of facts or truths, but a complete system organically linked together by fixed laws and reducible to objective unity. Theology fulfils these conditions in an eminent degree. Its subjective principle of cognition is one, and its subject-matter is one, viz. God, the supreme substantial unity. Created things are dealt with only in as far as they tend towards God and are factors or elements of the Divine order of things. Science, it is sometimes said, should deal only with necessary, eternal, and universal truths, not with what is contingent, temporal, and particular. This, rightly understood, would mean that science is not concerned with the transient and changeable, but with the ideas and laws that govern and connect such phenomena. In this sense also theology is eminently a science. Its primary object, God, is necessary and eternal, and rules over all things. Besides, the contingent facts of which it treats are considered in so far as they eternally exist in the all-commanding will of God, and many of them, as for instance the birth of Christ, are of lasting, nay eternal importance, and so possess as it were a universal character.

II. Theology is a distinct and separate science by reason of its peculiar principle of cognition and its peculiar subject-matter. The peculiarity of its principle of cognition makes it a science generically distinct from all other sciences. So, too, does its subject-matter, which embraces the whole supernatural order. This, however, does not prevent Theology from including in its domain many truths which also belong to the other sciences. It derives its knowledge from God's omniscience, and therefore can throw light on everything that can be known. But the supernatural is its primary, direct, and proper subject-matter. The natural belongs to theology only in certain respects and for a special purpose, viz. in so far as what is natural is related to the supernatural order. Theology, therefore, does not deal with the subject-matter of the other sciences in the same way and with the same exhaustiveness as these sciences do. See St. Thom., Contra Gentes, 1. ii., c. 4; Card. Newman, Idea of a University, p. 430.

SECT. 49.—The Rank of Theology among the Sciences.

I. Theology, by reason of the excellence of its subject-matter and of its principle of knowledge, is both subjectively and objectively the highest and noblest of all sciences. Objectively, the dignity and excellence of a science depend upon the dignity, universality, and unity of its subject- matter — three attributes which we have just shown to belong in an eminent degree to the subject-matter of Theology. Subjectively, the excellence of a science is measured by the degree of certainty which it affords. But Theology, both in its principles and conclusions, especially when they are guaranteed by the Church, possesses the highest certitude. Moreover, as it demonstrates all its contents on the ground of Eternal Reasons (rationes aeternae), i.e. of God and His eternal ideas, it is also the most profound and thorough of all the sciences. It is, indeed, inferior to some of the sciences as regards clearness and distinctness, because its evidence is not direct, and its notions are analogical. This, however, does not degrade Theology, because this defect —
if such it be — is amply atoned for by other excellences, and is even a proof of the dignity of Theology, because it is a consequence of the exalted character of supernatural knowledge. This supreme excellence may be fitly expressed by styling Theology the Transcendental Science; for, borne up by Faith and the pious boldness of Faith, it really attains what a godless and reckless modern science vainly strives after.

II. The Fathers and theologians, following the example of Holy Scripture, express the peculiar dignity of Theology by terming it Wisdom pure and simple, or Divine Wisdom (Sapientia). By this is meant a knowledge far above common knowledge, — a knowledge dealing with the highest principles and most exalted things, and yet with the greatest certitude; perfecting the mind and elevating it to God the highest Good and ultimate End of all; enabling us in the practical order to direct all our actions and tendencies towards their proper object — Eternal Beatitude. Human reason, indeed, endeavours to attain a knowledge fulfilling these conditions, wherefore Aristotle called Metaphysics “Wisdom,” because to him it was the noblest science. The wisdom of this world is styled Philosophy, that is, a love of and seeking after wisdom; but it is Theology alone that is the true Wisdom itself. Hence the name of Wisdom is given in many passages of Holy Scripture to the knowledge contained in or developed from Faith (see especially I Cor. i. and ii.).

SECT. 50.— The three great branches of Theology—Fundamental, Positive, and Speculative.

We have already mentioned the various branches of Theology (Introduction, p. xvii.). We are now in a position to speak of them in detail.

I. Theology may be said to be the science of Revelation. It tells us (1) that there is a Revelation; (2) how are to know the things that have been revealed; (3) what are the things that have been revealed; and (4) what are the relations between these things, and what the inferences that can be drawn from them. Now, it is clear 1 and 2 are the groundwork of 3 and 4; that 3 is of a positive character — that is, dealing with fact; and that 4 is more subtle and metaphysical than the others.

Hence we have three great branches of Theology: Fundamental, Positive, and Speculative.

II. The existence and attributes of God are proved in that branch of Philosophy called Natural Theology. They come within the province of unaided reason, and need no supernatural Revelation to manifest them (Rom. i. 20; ii.14, I 5; Acts xiv. 14-16; Wisd. xiii. 1-9). But God has freely bestowed upon us a higher way of knowing Him and His dealings with man. He has spoken directly by His own voice and the voice of His Son, and indirectly through Prophets, Apostles, and Inspired Writers (Heb. 1, 2). Those who originally heard God or His envoys were convinced of the Divine origin of what they heard, by the working of miracles and the fulfilment of prophecies. Those who lived in after ages had first to be convinced of the truth of the record of these sayings and doings handed down by word of mouth or by writing, and then were able to infer that these really came from God. Now it is the business of Fundamental Theology to prove the trustworthiness of these records, to examine the evidence for the various miracles and prophecies, and so to establish that God has indeed “at sundry times and in divers manners spoken in times past to the fathers by the Prophets,” and afterwards by His Son. But the evidence for the fact of Revelation is not merely a matter of history. We have before our eyes a plain proof that God has spoken, and has worked supernaturally. The Catholic Church herself, by her wonderful propagation, her eminent sanctity, and her inexhaustible fertility in all that is good, is a standing unanswerable argument of her Divine origin and mission. The dogmatic constitution published in the third session of the Vatican Council summarizes the scope and function of Fundamental Theology under four headings: (1) God the Creator of all things; (2) Revelation; (3) Faith; (4) Faith and Reason.

As soon as we know that God has spoken we naturally ask, How are we to find out the things that He has revealed? This question was the turning-point of the controversy between the Catholics and the Protestants in the sixteenth century, and was decided by the Council of Trent (sess. iv.). The branch of Theology that deals with it may be styled fundamental, inasmuch as the question concerns the very basis of our belief; but it is more usually called Polemical or Controversial Theology.

The other branch of Fundamental Theology is sometimes designated Apologetic Theology, because its function is to defend Revelation against Rationalists, Deists, Atheists, and others.

III. After having established that God has made a Revelation, and after having discovered the means of knowing the things that He has revealed, our next step is to inquire what these things are. Positive Theology takes for granted all that has been proved by Fundamental Theology, both Apologetic and Controversial. It examines the various sources of Revelation, written and unwritten; it tells us that in God there are Three Persons, that God raised man to the supernatural order, that man fell, that God the Son took flesh and died for us, and so on with the other great mysteries. Its proper function is to establish the truths of Revelation, and not to penetrate into their inner and deeper meaning and mutual relations. But those who treat of it do not restrict themselves to the former task, but make excursions into the higher region.

IV. The noblest branch of Theology is that which is concerned, not with proving the contents of Revelation, but with comparing revealed truths and entering into their very essence as far as reason, guided by Faith, will allow. Speculative Theology starts where Positive Theology ends: Positive Theology proves a dogma; Speculative Theology examines it closely, views it in connection with other dogmas, and strives thereby to get a deeper insight into it and into them. The attacks made by Protestants on the Rule of Faith, and those made by Rationalists on the very existence of Revelation, have naturally drawn off attention from this profound and sublime study. But at the present time signs are not wanting that it is once more being cultivated. The deep and many-sided insight which it gives into things Divine is itself a most desirable enrichment of the mind, enabling us to participate more fully in the blessings and fruits of the Faith. It is also of help to our Faith, not indeed by increasing its certainty, but by presenting revealed truths to better advantage in the light which they throw on one another, and in the harmony of their mutual relations. Even against heretics it is not without value. Their chief strength lies in the confusion of ideas, in the falsification of true notions, and in the abuse of logic. On all these points Speculative Theology renders great service to the truth. The great controversialists of the last three centuries have been at the same time profound speculative theologians. See Canus, 1. viii., and 1. xii., c. 2; Kleutgen, Theol., vol. iii., diss. 1 and 5.

V. An example will perhaps help us to understand the various distinctions spoken of in this section. We take the dogma of the Blessed Trinity.

1. Natural Theology, which is really a branch of Philosophy, proves to us that God exists.

2. Apologetic Theology proves that He has revealed to us truths above our reason.

3. Controversial Theology proves that the testimony and authority of the Catholic Church is the means of finding out what God has revealed.

4. Positive Theology proves that it has been revealed that there are three Persons in God.

5. Speculative Theology teaches us how One Divine Essence is possessed by Three distinct Persons, viz, that One Person possesses It as uncommunicated; a Second possesses It as communicated by knowledge; and a Third possesses It as communicated by love.

We repeat in this place that the present manual deals chiefly with Positive Theology. Occasionally we shall rise into Speculative Theology, notably in Book II., Part II, chap. iv., where we strive to penetrate into the mystery of the Trinity.

SECT. 51 —Relation between Reason and Faith.

I. Human reason, like Faith, has its own proper subject-matter and province. It also lays the foundation of Faith, and aids in the development of revealed doctrines. There is, however, a certain territory which is common to both Reason and Faith. Hence we must consider the mutual relations of the two. This subject has been clearly expounded by the Vatican Council (sess. iii., chap. 4), so that we need only quote and explain what is there laid down.

1. “If any one shall say that in Divine Revelation no mysteries properly so-called are contained, but that all the dogmas of the Faith can be understood and proved from natural principles by reason duly cultivated: let him be anathema.

2. “If any one shall say that human sciences are to be treated with such freedom that their assertions, although at variance with revealed doctrine, can be received as true, and cannot be proscribed by the Church: let him, etc.

3. “If any one shall say that it can come to pass that at some time, according to the progress of science, a meaning should be attributed to the dogmas proposed by the Church other than that which the Church hath understood and doth understand: let him,” etc.

In these three canons the principal claims of the Rationalists are condemned: (1) The right to treat of revealed truths in the same way as natural truths, that is, on purely natural principles and with purely natural certitude; (2) the right of human reason to hold its scientific conclusions, notwithstanding their opposition to revealed doctrines, and independently of the authority of the Church; and (3) the right to substitute new meanings for old ones, in the definitions of Faith. It is plain that these claims not only entirely emancipate Reason from the control of Faith, but also invade the proper domain of Faith and destroy its supernatural character.

II. The fundamental principles upon which the relations between Faith and Reason are based are stated by the Council to be the following:-

1. Reason is a principle or source of knowledge, and possesses a domain of its own. Faith, too, is a principle of knowledge, higher in dignity than reason, and likewise having its own proper domain.

2. As both Faith and Reason come from God, they cannot be opposed to each other, or arrive at contradictory conclusions.

3. From these two principles the Council infers that any conclusion or assertion opposed to illuminated (supernatural) Faith is altogether false, and only apparently reasonable. Hence a Catholic has the right and the duty to reject any such assertion or conclusion as soon as he is informed by the infallible teaching of the Church that his Faith is really illuminated. Again, Faith and Reason combine for mutual aid and support, yet in such a way that each retains its own proper character and comparative independence. Reason assists Faith by demonstrating the credibility of Faith, by contributing to the understanding of its subject-matter, and by developing it into theological science. On the other hand, Faith is of service to Reason, by rescuing it from many errors, even in the domain of human science, and by guiding it to a profounder and more comprehensive knowledge of natural truths. This influence of Faith on Reason implies, indeed, a certain weakness and dependence on the part of Reason, but does not interfere with its legitimate conclusions or legitimate freedom. It is only a false liberty or licence that is inconsistent with submission to Faith.

III. The relations between Reason and Faith can be summed up in the well-known formula: “Reason is the hand-maiden of Faith.” That is to say, Faith and its theological development are the highest science, and are the supreme object and highest end towards which the activity of man can be directed. St. Thomas expresses the same doctrine thus: “Seeing that the end of the whole of Philosophy is lower than and is ordained to the end of Theology, the latter should rule all the other sciences, and take into her service what they teach“(prol. in I. Sent. q. I. a. 1). And St. Bonaventure: “Theology takes from nature the materials to make a mirror in which Divine things are reflected, and she constructs as it were a ladder, the lowest rung of which is on earth, and the highest in Heaven” (Prol. Breviloq.). The Seraphic Doctor develops the same idea in his splendid work, Reductio artium ad Theologiam. See Dr. Clemens, De Scholasticorum sentential: Philosophiam esse ancillam Theologiae: Kleutgen, vol. iv., n. 315 sqq. Franzelin, De Trad., Append., cap. vi.: Card. Newman, Idea of a University, p. 428.

IV. Hence it follows that philosophy must be, in a certain sense, Christian and Catholic in its spirit, in its principles, and in its conclusions. Its spirit is Catholic when the philosopher is guided by the doctrines of Faith, when he aims at a fuller knowledge of the natural truths contained in Revelation, and prepares the way for the scientific development of supernatural truths. Its principles and conclusions are Catholic when they agree with Faith, or at least do not clash with it, and when they can be used in speculative theology. In other words, philosophy is Christian and Catholic when it is really true and sound philosophy. Non-Christian philosophy can indeed, to a certain extent, be true and sound; nevertheless, the nature of the science itself, and its history, prove that its proper development is dependent on its Christian spirit. In pre-Christian times, Socratic philosophy attained a high degree of perfection, and became the foundation upon which Christian philosophy is built. The Fathers recognized in this fact the Hand of God preparing the way for the science of the Gospel. By Socratic philosophy we mean the due combination of its two forms, Platonic and Aristotelian. These two correct and supplement each other, and should not be separated. (See the interesting parallel between Plato and Aristotle, in St. Thom. Opusc., De Substantiis Separatis.) Christian philosophy blends them together, although it has sometimes given more prominence to one than to the other. The use which the Church has made, and continues to make, of this combined system is a guarantee of the truth of its main principles and conclusions. Hence any attempt to substitute for it a totally new or different system must be viewed with distrust, so much the more as all modern attempts of the kind have miserably failed.

SECT. 52.—Theology as a Sacred Science.

I. A supernatural illumination of the mind is in the first place needed to assist the mind in overcoming the difficulties naturally inherent in a knowledge of supernatural things. These difficulties arise from the nature of the human mind, which draws its notions from the sensible world, and is subject to the influence of passion and prejudice. Both sorts of difficulties are alluded to by the Apostle: “The sensual (Greek word omitted) man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God: for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand: because it is spiritually (Greek word omitted) examined. But the spiritual man judgeth all things” (I Cor. ii. 14, 15). The Divine assistance required for their removal is often mentioned in Scripture, e.g. “His unction teacheth you of all things” (I John ii. 27; cf. Eph. i. 17).

Again, the action of the Holy Ghost is required, at least morally, to produce that purity of disposition and humility of heart which are indispensable for all moral and religious knowledge, and especially for a knowledge of the supernatural. This assistance is often so effective, that it contributes more to the perfection of spiritual science than the best-developed but unassisted natural abilities. Hence children and uneducated people sometimes have a clearer perception of the mysteries of the Faith than persons calling themselves philosophers. “I give thee thanks, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent (Greek word omitted), and hast revealed them to little ones” (Greek word omitted, Matt. xi. 25; cf. v. 8, and Wisd. i. 4). Card. Newman, Oxford University Sermons, xiii., “On Implicit and Explicit Reason;“ Grammar of Assent, chap. viii., § 3, “Natural Inference.”

II. The influence of the Holy Ghost on our spiritual knowledge reaches its perfection when He diffuses in our soul the supernatural life of Divine Love. This life brings us into most intimate connection with the mysteries of the Faith, keeps them continually before our mind, and, as it were, identifies us with them. Divine charity, which is fruitful of good works, is also productive of increased knowledge of spiritual things. It transforms the elementary understanding into a perfect Wisdom which is a foretaste and beginning of the Beatific Vision. Charity gives a keenness to the spiritual eye, and fixes it upon the Divine Love; Charity gives us a sense of the Divine Beauty and Sweetness; Charity likens us to God Himself, inasmuch as He is the principle of the greatest mysteries; the more we love the better we understand the love of others. The spiritual contentment produced by Charity in the soul helps us to understand the perfect harmony existing between revealed truth and the noblest aspirations of our nature. The fire of Divine Charity is naturally accompanied by a Divine light, by means of which God manifests Himself in a marvellous manner. 1 Cor. ii. 13-16; 2 Cor. iii. 16-I8; Eph. iii. 14, sqq.

SECT. 53. — Progress of Theological Science.

I. The possibility, and indeed the necessity, of progress in Theology result in general from the inexhaustible riches of revealed truths, the perfectibility of the human mind, the wise dispensation of Providence which gradually evolved Revelation, and lastly from the necessity' of combating heresy and infidelity.

II. Progress in Theology necessarily differs from progress in human sciences. Theology, for instance, can never desert the standpoint of Faith so as to substitute for it purely rational principles; it cannot give up or alter anything which has once been defined; it cannot discover any new province — except, indeed, in certain auxiliary branches of research — because its limits have already been fixed by the fact that Revelation has been closed. Positive progress is possible in three directions only: (1) what is uncertain, indefinite, or obscure may be made certain, definite, and clear; (2) erroneous opinions held by some may be corrected; and (3) demonstration and defence may be remodelled or improved. Speaking generally, progress is made chiefly in the correction of partially held erroneous opinions.

III. Progress in Theology is not as constant and steady as progress in dogma, because theology depends, much more than dogma, on the abilities of individual members of the Church. Epochs of profound theological learning have been succeeded by epochs of comparative sterility. Mathematics, the natural sciences, and history progress more steadily than Theology, because they deal with fixed formulas and facts. Nevertheless Theology advances more steadily than Philosophy, because the fundamental principles of Theology are fixed, and also because the assistance of the Holy Ghost, working through the Church, preserves it from straying far from the truth.

IV. In recent times the enemies of Theology, and even some of its less prudent friends, have tried to give sacred science a “liberal” basis. Liberalism in Theology consists in questioning its principles either categorically, that is, doubting them until natural science has proved them to be true (as Hermes did); or hypothetically, that is, accepting them, but subject to scientific ratification (Gunther). In both cases the principle of the Faith is denied, and progress in Theology is rendered as impossible as progress in a philosophy based on the negation of first principles. The only permissible doubt is Methodic Doubt. A Catholic theologian may treat of the truths which he firmly believes, as though they were still uncertain, for the purpose of discovering for his own benefit or for that of unbelievers the grounds upon which they are based. A third form of liberalism, less serious than the other two, is the rejection of the method and principles of the old scholastic theologians. (See Syllabus, prop. xiii.) To do this would be an insult to reason, to the vital power of the Church and to Divine Providence. Besides, no progress is possible except on the basis of previously acquired results. On the whole, Liberalism is opposed to authority because it looks upon authority as an obstacle to progress. It demands unlimited freedom in its methods, its principles, and its conclusions. But a comparison of the state of Theology in Germany and Spain shows that progress results not from licence but from authority. In Spain, in the sixteenth century, when the Congregation of the Index ruled supreme over theological science, theology attained an unparalleled height of splendour. In Germany, during the eighteenth century, when “freedom of thought” flourished, Theology was in a pitiable state of decay.

The true conditions of a fruitful progress in Theology are: (1) a firm adhesion to the Faith; (2) the acceptance of the progress already made; (3) a willing submission to the authority of the Church; (4) prudence in the use of auxiliary sciences hostile to the Church; and (5) exactness and thoroughness of method.

See Hist. de la Theologie Positive, par J. Turmel; La Theologie Catholique au XIX Siècle, par J. Bellamy.