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Catholic Dictionary

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.

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THEOLOGICAL NOTES

Degrees of certainty in the acceptance of religious doctrine. In theology several grades of certitude are recognized. the highest degree of certitude is attached to immediately revealed truths. they are to be believed with divine faith (fides divina) and if they are also defined by the Church, then with defined divine faith (fides divina definita). If the Church defines a doctrine that is not immediately revealed, it is to be believed with ecclesiastical faith (fides ecclesiastica). A doctrine that theologians generally regard as a truth of revelation, but that has not been finally promulgated by the Church, is said to be proximate to faith (proxima fidei), and if such a truth is guaranteed as the logical conclusion from a revealed doctrine, it is called theologically certain (theologice certa). Below this level are many graces of certainty, ranging from common teaching (sententia communis), when Catholic theologians responsive to the Church's authority agree on some historical event as having occurred through the miraculous intervention of God.