Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
Hesitation of mind between contradictory views, accompanied by a fear of error. In methodical doubt a person is in a state of certainty but abstracts from this fact in order to critically examine the truth of some matter. It is the opposite of a real doubt. In practical doubt the mind is uncertain about a prudent course of action or the moral certitude about something to be done here and now. In speculative doubt there is uncertainty either about the mere truth or error of something or the merely abstract goodness of a course of action. Universal doubt is a state of suspended assent about any and every truth. In voluntary doubt the will enters to withhold assent even in the presence of sufficient evidence. (Etym. Latin dubium, doubt, deliberation; from dubitare.)