Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

INNATE IDEAS

The theory that spiritual ideas are not acquired from sense knowledge and reason but are part of human nature. Deriving from Plato, this theory has mainly been espoused in Christian circles regarding the knowledge of God. Since many of the Fathers of the Church characterized the knowledge of God as "not learned," as "automatic," as "implanted," or as a "gift of the soul," some mistakenly concluded that it was literally infused and not acquired. St. Thomas Aquinas explains what this means by saying that the knowledge of God is said to be innate insofar as we can easily know his existence by means and principles that are innate in us (In Boethium de Trinitate, I, 3, 6).

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

A Fresh Range of Topics 7 hours ago
Through an even darker glass: On knocking the popes for socialism.... 8 hours ago
Making Moral Progress? July 3
Vatican statement clarifies duties of Catholic faithful after Obergefell decision July 2
Political battles vs. sacrificial service: The Brooks paradox revisited July 2

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope approves process for holding bishops accountable in abuse cases CWN - June 10
Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical released (includes link to full text) CWN - June 18
US Supreme Court rules all states must recognize same-sex marriage CWN - June 26
Archbishop Nienstedt, auxiliary bishop resign CWN - June 15