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4 - Sensus Fidei, the Magisterium, and the Formation of Conscience

from Part I - Themes in Understandings of Conscience in Christianity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 June 2021

Jeffrey B. Hammond
Affiliation:
Faulkner University
Helen M. Alvare
Affiliation:
George Mason University, Virginia
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Summary

Christian Brugger treats a question of Catholic theology: the sensus fidei (the sense of the faith) in relation to conscience. Some theologians have claimed that when a significant number of the faithful conclude about a matter of faith or morals, they are expressing the sensus fidei, which merits recognition. Thus, such a conclusion can unfailingly inform the conscience. The sensus fidei has a long history but was noticeably used in Lumen Gentium from the Second Vatican Council. There it concerned the capacity of the baptized to know the truths of the faith, by the Holy Spirit. It is an intellectual power, however many false ideas about it followed the Council. Properly understood, the sensus fidei is inclusive of the teachings of Jesus and the Church about right and wrong. It is about the Church as a whole and is witnessed by consent of the whole Church – lay, hierarchy and religious. It can be blunted by poor liturgy and formation. It is limited to matters of faith and morals, and attendant to building up the Church. When properly exercised, it is one of the ways the Church can speak infallibly about what is to be believed.

Type
Chapter
Information
Christianity and the Laws of Conscience
An Introduction
, pp. 71 - 90
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Recommended Reading

Alszeghy, Z.The Sensus Fidei and the Development of Dogma.” In Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-Five Years After (1962–1987), vol. 1, edited by Latourelle, René, 138–56. New York, ny: Paulist Press, 1988.Google Scholar
Angelini, Giuseppe. “The Sensus Fidelium and Moral Discernment.” In Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, edited by Keenan, James F., 202–9. New York, ny: Continuum, 2007.Google Scholar
Burkhard, John J.Sensus fidei: Meaning, Role and Future of a Teaching of Vatican II,” Louvain Studies 17 (1992): 1834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Burkhard, John J.Sensus Fidei: Recent Theological Reflection (1990–2001): Part I.” Heythrop Journal 46 (2005): 450–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Burkhard, John J.Sensus Fidei: Recent Theological Reflection (1990–2001): Part II.” Heythrop Journal 47 (2006): 3854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Congar, OP, Yves. Lay People in the Church: A Study for a Theology of Laity. Translated by Attwater, Donald. Westminster, md: The Newman Press, 1967.Google Scholar
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian (Donum Veritatis). 1990.Google Scholar
Curran, Charles E., and Fullam, Lisa A.. The Sensus Fidelium and Moral Theology. Readings in Moral Theology 18. New York, ny: Paulist Press, 2017.Google Scholar
Ekpo, Anthony. “The Sensus Fidelium and the Threefold Office of Christ: A Reinterpretation of Lumen Gentium No. 12.” Theological Studies 76, no. 2 (2015): 330–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
International Theological Commission. Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church (2014).Google Scholar
Newman, John Henry. On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine. New York, ny: Sheed & Ward, 1961.Google Scholar
Rush, Ormond. “Sensus Fidei: Faith ‘Making Sense’ of Revelation,” Theological Studies 62 (2001): 231–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Second Vatican Council. Lumen Gentium. 1965.Google Scholar
Thompson, W. M.Sensus Fidelium and Infallibility.” American Ecclesiastical Review 167 (1973): 450–86.Google Scholar
Tillard, J. M. R.Sensus Fidelium.” One in Christ 11 (1975): 229.Google Scholar

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