DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     July 1, 1998     vol. 9, no. 127

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, today issued a clarification regarding the profession of faith which is sworn by Catholic leaders and theologians.

          The cardinal's statement came in conjunction with a new apostolic letter, put forth by Pope John Paul II, regarding the obligations of theologians to honor that Profession of Faith.

          The formula for the Profession of Faith, which has been in effect since 1989, has not been changed by the new apostolic letter, Cardinal Ratzinger said. Rather, he indicated the need to understand three different types of truths outlined in the oath.

          The Profession of Faith requires theologians to accept doctrines which have been proclaimed "definitively" by the Church. In that category, Cardinal Ratzinger listed the primacy of Peter, the exclusively male priesthood, and the intrinsic immorality of euthanasia and fornication. He also observed that the legitimacy of a papal election, and decrees of the canonization of saints, are definitive statements.

          The cardinal explained that these and other definitive teachings which have been handed down by Scripture and Revelation are "by a solemn judgment, defined as divinely revealed truths" by the Pope speaking ex cathedra and/or by ecumenical councils of bishops in communion with the Roman Pontiff.

          A second category of truths, he continued, include those which are explicitly mentioned in the Credo. Such doctrines include the teachings that Jesus was born of a virgin, that He instituted the sacraments, and that He is present in the Eucharist. Rejection of these truths is formal heresy.

          A third category of Church teachings includes those truths which have been set forth consistently, but never solemnly defined, by Church authority. While they are not definitively formulated, he notes, these teachings too demand "the religious submission of the will," and any direct contradiction of these teachings would be an error-- and potentially a grave danger to the good of the faithful.

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July 1, 1998       volume 9, no. 127


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