Church Councils and Faith

St. Francis de Sales lived during the time that the Council of Trent was implementing its resolutions. While we have had two Councils since then, his approach toward decisons and articles of faith declared within Councils remains acceptable.

Ultimately resolutions made by Church authority need to seep into the faith lives of  laity and religious alike, and more importantly that faith needs to lead our hearts to love that  faith and its practises.

St Francis de Sales wrote in his Treatise on the Love of God, Book 2, Chapter 14, about authority, faith and love, ”

“In general councils there are great disputations and inquiries made about truth by discourse, reasons and theological arguments, but the matters being discussed, the Fathers, that is, the bishops, and especially the Pope who is the chief of the bishops, conclude, resolve and determine; and the determination being once pronounced, every one fully accepts it and acquiesces in it, not in consideration of the reasons alleged in the preceding discussion and inquisition, but in virtue of the authority of the Holy Ghost, who, presiding invisibly in councils, has judged, determined and concluded, by the mouth of his servants whom he has established pastors of Christianity.

 The inquisition then and the disputation are made in the priests’ court by the doctors, but the resolution and acquiescence are formed in the sanctuary, where the Holy Ghost who animates the body of his Church, speaks by the mouth of its chiefs, as Our Lord has promised.

 In like manner the ostrich lays her eggs upon the sands of Libya, but the sun alone hatches her young ones; and doctors by their inquiry and discourse propose truth, but only the beams of the sun of justice give certainty and acquiescence.

 To conclude then, Theotimus, this assurance which man’s reason finds in things revealed and in the mysteries of faith, begins by an amorous sentiment of complacency which the will receives from the beauty and sweetness of the proposed truth; so that faith includes a beginning of love, which the heart feels towards divine things.”


How have I incorporated the teachings of Vatican II into my life?



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