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INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM FR. LLANE BRIESE Introduction to Fundamental Theology.

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Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM FR. LLANE BRIESE Introduction to Fundamental Theology."— Presentation transcript:

1 INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM FR. LLANE BRIESE Introduction to Fundamental Theology

2 Key Vocabulary Divine Revelation Experience Private revelations Apologetics Existence of God Problem of Evil Theodicy Sacred Scripture Tradition Canonicity Principles for Interpreting Scripture Charism Magisterium

3 What is Fundamental Theology Fundamental Theology is one of several sub-disciplines in professional theology which seeks to understand the reality of Divine Revelation itself. For this course, we will limit ourselves to three questions:  What is Divine Revelation?  Is it credible?  How is it handed on in the Church?

4 LESSON ONE What is Divine Revelation?

5 Revelation: from Latin revelare (“to unveil”) Divine Revelation refers to God’s self- disclosure throughout history in which he gives Himself to humanity through concrete experiences. CCC 50:  “Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. […] God has fully revealed this plan [of loving goodness] by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.”

6 How do we know anything? Brief Discussion

7 How Does God Reveal Himself? God reveals himself through experiences because humans know through experience. Biblical Examples:  the liberation from Egypt  the messages of the prophets  the coming of Christ as man (most important) Crucial Point: Divine Revelation is first and foremost a PERSONAL encounter with the Triune God, not just a list of PROPOSITIONS to be believed!

8 The Stages of Revelation (CCC 51-73) Occurred progressively throughout history (e.g. in creation, through Noah, Abraham, and the people of Israel in the Old Testament). Reached its fulfillment in the coming of Christ:  “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; 2 in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe […]” (Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 nd reading—Christmas Mass during the Day)

9 Christ: Fullness of Revelation CCC 65:  “Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father’s one, perfect, and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one.” Christ is the final word in Revelation. Private revelations: Possible, but must always (1) be discerned by the Church and (2) be in conformity with public Revelation.

10 LESSON TWO Apologetics and the Credibility of Divine Revelation

11 Apologetics: Defending the Faith Apologetics: From Greek apo + logos = “a word away from”, a defense. Defending the Faith (apologetics): An essential aspect of evangelization. Attitudes Which Are Contrary to Faith Catholic Apologetics vs. Other Christian Apologetics

12 Proofs for the Existence of God St. Thomas Aquinas: Five Ways (ST I, q. 2, a. 3):  Argument from Motion  Argument from Causes  Argument from Necessity  Argument from Perfection  Argument from Design A Fundamental Choice: Either submit to our innate hunger for the infinite/perfect/eternal, or close in and trust only in ourselves.

13 The Problem of Evil The Problem Posed Logically: If an all-good God existed, then no evil would exist. But evil does exist. Therefore, an all-good God does not exist. Christian Response (= Theodicy):  God permits suffering because humans have free will; it is a consequence of sin.  God finds a way to bring good out of evil.  The Cross, the ultimate theodicy.

14 LESSON THREE The Transmission of Revelation:

15 Two Modes of Transmission In order for Revelation to continue for all time, God wills for it to be transmitted in the Church. Christ => Gospel => Fullness of Revelation 2 Modes of Revelation from 1 Source (CCC 80):  ORAL:Sacred Tradition  WRITTEN:Sacred Scripture Catholics believe that BOTH are of equal value.

16 What is Tradition? Tradition: “comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.” (CCC 83) Distinct from various practical traditions (e.g. liturgical, devotional, etc.).

17 Scripture and Tradition Christ = Fullness of Revelation Oral Form Scripture Written Form Tradition

18 Relation of Scripture and Tradition Oral Tradition Dynamic: Existed before the New Testament Written Scripture Static: Serves to Ground Tradition

19 The Interpretation of Scripture Canonicity: The property of biblical books that makes them part of the Bible.  Canon: From Greek kanōn, meaning “standard, measuring stick” Scripture is both inspired (written by the Holy Spirit) and human (written by human beings). All Scripture is true (but not to be interpreted naively).

20 Rules for Biblical Interpretation Must attend to the human authors’ intentions by studying “their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current.” (CCC 110) Must also respect the Holy Spirit’s authorship (CCC 111-114):  1. “Be especially attentive ‘to the content and unity of the whole Scripture.’”  2. “Read the Scripture within ‘the living Tradition of the whole Church.’”  3. “Be attentive to the analogy of faith.”

21 The Role of the Magisterium To safeguard Divine Revelation, Christ gave it not just to individuals, but to the Pope and Bishops who has a special grace from the Holy Spirit (or charism) to authoritatively teach the Faith and protect the Christian people from error in matters of faith and morals. Mt 16:18— “You are Peter (Petros) and on this rock (petra), I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against you.” This teaching authority, or “mastery”, is called the Magisterium.

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