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Question: Does the Catholic Church teach that the Catholic faith is demonstrably (with certainty) true? Please provide references.

Thanks for any help.

  • Please explain down-vote. – Thom Aug 28 at 22:33
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    Wasn't me but questions should show effort. Google does provide you already with decent starting points. – luchonacho Aug 28 at 23:01
  • @luchonacho I know Pius X condemned the proposition: "The assent of faith ultimately rests on a mass of probabilities". But I am not sure that the thesis of my question can be deduced from that. As for Google, I did not succeed to find any satisfying answer. Also, many web pages provide claims without reference, so I do not know are they worthy of belief. Also, from listening to what priests around me say, there is also no clear answer. – Thom Aug 28 at 23:06
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    But you seems to be on the mood of: Question: blah blah. Thanks. That is poor quality for SE standards. At least mention what research you did. How are we to know you had a look on google? – luchonacho Aug 28 at 23:10
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    Great philosophical question. – Ken Graham Aug 29 at 0:54
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No, not all the truths of the faith are demonstrable.

First Vatican Council, Dei Filius IV canon 1 on faith & reason:

  1. If any one shall say that in divine revelation there are no mysteries, truly and properly so called, but that all the doctrines of faith can be understood and demonstrated from natural principles, by properly cultivated reason: let him be anathema.

    [Cdl. Manning's transl. of:] Si quis dixerit, in revelatione divina nulla vera et proprie dicta mysteria contineri, sed universa fidei dogmata posse per rationem rite excultam e naturalibus principiis intelligi et demonstrari: anathema sit.

Some truths of the faith cannot be demonstrated, such as the Trinity, although they can be shown not to be contrary to human reason. St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest Doctor of the Church, said in his Summa Theologica I q. 32 a. 1 c.:

It is impossible to attain to the knowledge of the divine persons of the Trinity by natural reason.

impossibile est per rationem naturalem ad cognitionem Trinitatis divinarum personarum pervenire.

Thus, faith is necessary to understand "what belongs to the distinction of the persons," St. Thomas continues, and "by natural reason we can [only] know what belongs to the unity of the essence [of God]."

See the first chapters of St. Thomas's Summa contra Gentiles book 1, esp. these:

  1. On the way in which divine truth is to be made known
  2. That the truth about God to which the natural reason reaches is fittingly proposed to men for belief
  3. That the truths the human reason is not able to investigate are fittingly proposed to men for belief
  4. That to give assent to the truths of faith is not foolishness even though they are above reason
  5. That the truth of reason is not opposed to the truth of the Christian faith
  6. How the human reason is related to the truth of faith

Even Aristotle realized that not all truths are demonstrable.

  • Great answer as always! However, I think we can distinguish between divinely revealed truths not knowable by reason, and the veracity of the Catholic worldview in general which involves such, no? That is, one can prove that the Catholic faith is worth believing in its entirety (read: is true in its entirety) due to the fact that what can be known by reason demands we do so. – Sola Gratia Aug 29 at 21:39
  • @SolaGratia Yes, certainly. To "prove that the Catholic faith is worth believing in its entirety" is the goal of apologetics. – Geremia Sep 1 at 15:40

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