Works By John Courtney Murray, S.J.

Woodstock Home | Woodstock Theological Center Library | Bibliography

[p. 20]

The Root of Faith

The Doctrine of M. J. Scheeben


In M. l'Abbé Aubert's recent monumental thesis on the act of faith there are barely a dozen scattered references to the work of Matthias Joseph Scheeben in this field.1 Scheeben receives brief praise for his reaction against the abstract intellectualism and naturalism of certain nineteenth-century theories of faith, and for his revival of interest in the supernaturality of faith and in the quality of homage essential to it. Perhaps these aspects of his thought merit fuller exposition.2 Scheeben's theories have found one severe critic, Kleutgen,3 and one enthusiastic admirer, Eschweiler,4 but no expositor. In a sense, this is not surprising. His theory of faith is not his best piece of work: Christology and Mariology were subjects better suited to his genius, which was not, I think, metaphysical. His theory of faith, as a theory, does not stand up under analysis; his promise of an "easier solution of the difficulties to be found in the question of faith"5 remains unfulfilled. On the other hand, his thought has an historical importance. Perhaps alone among nineteenth-century thinkers on the problem, he escaped the nineteenth-century mentality; and for this reason, his other promise, of "a more adequate concept of the lofty nature of faith," is rather satisfyingly fulfilled. Curiously enough, he exercised no verifiable, direct influence on later theologians, perhaps because of the formidable language in which he wrote. Nonetheless, he is their forerunner, in certain aspects of their method, and in certain emphases they have chosen to make. He deserves, therefore, something more than passing notice by the historian.

[p. 21]

A full exposition of Scheeben's theory of faith would, I think, have to be constructed in such a way as to bring out, not the validity of his synthesis, which is dubious, but the fertility of his individual ideas, which is real enough. This would be its outline. One would begin by setting forth his concept of the relations between faith and the beatific vision; this would be the best introduction to his doctrine of the supernaturality of faith. On its intellectual side, faith was for Scheeben a participation in the knowledge of God, operated by God's own light. With the entrance of this light into the soul is begun its transformation into a "child of light," image and heir of the "Father of lights." And by effecting in the soul a likeness to God's power of knowing Himself, the light of faith confers upon it an anticipation of heaven's blessed vision.6 In this way, Scheeben introduces into his theology of faith the central idea of his whole theology of the supernatural—the divinization of the soul by grace. By this insistence on the mystical nature of faith, as a union with God, and an enrichment of the mind through an anticipatory grasp of the ultimate riches of the beatific vision, Scheeben counterpoises his later insistence on the sterner aspect of faith as the sacrificium intellectus.

Secondly, one would consider his doctrine on the distinction between natural and supernatural faith,7 in the light of his general theory of supernatural acts. In accord with his characteristic conciliating tendency, he attempts to work out a via media between the Thomist and Molinist theories on the specification of supernatural acts.8 The attempt is vain, I think. But the intuition of the organic unity between the intellectual and affective aspects of faith, that leads Scheeben to make the attempt, is interesting and valuable. This intuition is the premise from which he proceeds in his explanation of the supernaturality of faith; he places the supernaturality of faith both in its affective and in its cognitive elements. As an assent of intellect, faith is supernatural because it "contains such an intimate and perfect assimilation and union of our knowledge with the divine that it appears as . . . an anticipation of the supernatural knowledge promised in the

[p. 22]

beatific vision";9 as a consent of the will, faith is supernatural because it is a motion of "childlike piety,"10 responding to the fatherly condescension of God in calling us to the most intimate communion of life with Him. And, Scheeben insists,

Both elements of the supernaturality of faith, its ethical and its intellectual supernaturality, correspond most closely one with the other, as do the two constituent parts of the act of faith itself, inasmuch as the intimate attachment of the intellect to the divine knowledge presents itself as the perfecting of the soul's up-surge to God, to which the childlike piety of the will impels it.11

All Scheeben's theorizing on the supernaturality of faith is based on this concrete, organic, and—one may add—highly religious concept of the act. I fear that a careful analysis of the theory would reveal that the warm and genial rhetoric in which it is couched cloaks serious deficiencies; unfortunately, Scheeben's gifts of religious intuition and dogmatic synthesis were not matched by comparable talent for philosophical speculation. Nevertheless, the concept of faith that inspired the theory merits further study.

Hence one would go on to consider first, the "root" of faith as found by Scheeben in its affective aspect, and secondly, the assent of faith and its relation to its intellectual motive; here, too, one would present Scheeben's personal solution to the famous problem of the analysis of faith. Finally, one would have to investigate his concept of the functions of the light of faith, which he conceived as a certain emanation and image of the divine power of intelligence—a notion that would bring one, full circle, back to his central idea of faith as a deification of the human mind.

This, I suggest, would be a fitting framework for a full exposition of Scheeben's doctrine on faith; it would afford opportunity to do justice to his preoccupations, his method, the particular genius of his thought, and its particular limitations. However, I shall undertake here to present only that part of his doctrine which deals with the "root" of faith. It is interesting in itself; and the emphasis that he laid on it was, paradoxically enough, both an answer to a need present to him in the nineteenth century, and an anticipation of a direction that many twentieth-century theories would take.

[p. 23]

In Scheeben's concrete concept of faith, I said, "the intimate attachment of the intellect to the divine knowledge presents itself as the completion of the soul's upsurge to God, to which the childlike piety of the will impels it." This "upsurge" is the "root" of faith. We may therefore ask: What is the intimate nature of this "upsurge"? And how is it motivated? And how is it organically united to the assent of faith, its "completion"? These are the questions that concern us here.

A new emphasis on the voluntary aspect of faith is characteristic of Scheeben's mature thought, as presented in the Dogmatik. He carries through indeed, and even develops, in perfect fidelity to his earlier thought, his mystical concept of the intellectual aspect of faith; but now this concept is dominated by a new prominence accorded to faith's voluntary aspect. In the Natur and Gnade, faith appears above all as an anticipation of the vision of God; in the Dogmatik, it is still that, but it is more emphatically an obedience to the voice of God. In the Natur and Gnade, faith was essentially the divinization of the intellect; it remains that in the Dogmatik, but it is more insistently presented as the sacrifice of intellect.

With the years, Scheeben was led to give increasingly powerful expression to his fundamental intuition of faith as a wholly unique and supernatural participation in the knowledge of God; a survey of the formulas in the Dogmatik would be interesting in this regard.12 The intuition receives its most vivid statement in the metaphor, proper to the Dogmatik, that faith is "eine Überpflanzung der göttlichen Erkenntnis in die Seele."13 The metaphor expresses both the mystical nature of faith in its relation to the divine knowledge, and the mystical character of its genesis. The Dogmatik strongly accentuates this mystical element in faith, by metaphors reminiscent of the so-called "romantic theology," drawn as they are from the source dear to the romantics—organic life, and more particularly sexual life. For instance, Scheeben plays on the double meaning of "Überzeugung";14 he speaks of the

[p. 24]

genesis of faith as "eine Erzeugung göttlicher, d.h. gottähnlicher Erkenntis in der Seele aus göttlichem Lichte";15 in fact, he constantly speaks of the action of divine grace and the light of faith in terms of an "Erzeugung."16 And this metaphor is further pointed by another, wherein he finds the most exact analogical expression of the relations between reason and faith—the metaphor of a "Vermählung,"17 or a "Braut-Bräutigam" relationship.18

However, the dominant accent in the Dogmatik falls elsewhere; it falls on the notion of faith as an obedience. And to understand the new accent, it is necessary to take account of Scheeben's own development, and his engagement with the problems of his time, between 1861 (Natur and Gnade) and 1873 (first part of the Dogmatik).


One might perhaps best characterize these years by calling them the period in which the one great theological hate of Scheeben's life was kindled to flaming intensity—his hate of rationalistic and naturalistic religious Liberalism. It may seem strange to speak of hate in connection with a man of Scheeben's quiet temper; however, the passion does show itself in the texts in which he attacks this particular error.19 Liberalism was a system whose "superficiality" he despised,20 and whose pernicious effects he abhorred. And he saw the culminating evil of the system in the "corruption and dissolution of the nature of Catholic faith" which it had brought about.21 Consequently, in his endeavor to restore to faith its full meaning and dignity it was chiefly against this error that he turned his pen, somewhat sharply.

Obviously, this is not the place to review the religious history of Germany from the days of the Syllabus to those of the Vatican Coun-

[p. 25]

cil.22 Suffice it to say that Scheeben, like every great theologian, was fully engaged with the movements in the thought of his day. He was in contact with the Zeitgeist, and with the common people as well as the learned world;23 and he was aware of the ravages being wrought, in the form of an "attenuatio sensus catholici," by the virus of religious Liberalism.24 To his mind, there was only one remedy, "the full doctrine of the supernatural in its significance for Christian learning and for Christian life."25 Scheeben never wished to see learning and life separated. "Where there is no vision," Irving Babbitt was fond of quoting, "the people perish." And he used to add: "But where the vision is false, they perish the faster." Scheeben would have approved the addition. Hence from his earliest years he set himself to blast the false vision that was dazzling so many German minds—the vision of a learning and a life in which the sacrificium intellectus would have no part. He strove to substitute the full splendor of the Catholic vision, whose framework is given in the old adage, "Sine Petro nulla vita." For him the doctrine of the supernatural was erected on two fundamental principles, and he made himself the prophet of both, in defiance of the prophets of his time. Against the naturalistic moralism of the Aufklärungstheologie, he extolled the doctrine of God's real indwelling in man; and against the rationalistic Liberalism everywhere pervasive, he became the apostle of the principle of authority.

During the first ten years of his literary activity, it was chiefly this latter principle that was at stake. The lack of an adequate concept of the living magisterium had already shown itself in German opposition on historical grounds to the definition of the Immaculate Conception, and in the lengthy obstinacy of the Hermesians. Thence unrolled in all its bitterness the "Germanismus-Romanismus" controversy. German chagrin and irritation at the "intransigence" of Rome, and German contempt for the "sterility" of Rome grew increasingly strong as German thought was sent proudly over the Alps, to

[p. 26]

come back on the Index. There was growing impatience of doctrinal authority, desire to withdraw Wissenschaft from beneath its supposedly crippling hand, restlessness even under the restraints of the Catholic philosophical tradition, shown, for instance, in German opposition to the revival of Scholasticism. And all the rumbling dissensions broke into a roar at the announcement of the Vatican Council, in which, as was instantly anticipated, the question of papal infallibility would be raised.

Scheeben was keenly alive to the underlying cause of all these highly emotional disputes; it was a refusal to acknowledge any cathedra that dared set itself up against the university chair.26 Behind the refusal was the spirit of Liberalism, that had destroyed the concept of authority in social life, and would do the same in the Church. The drive was to substitute for faith the "cult of religious opinion," over which the "priesthood of historical science" would benignly preside.27 The pretensions of this self-ordained priesthood reached their logical, tragi-comical absurdity in the objection to papal infallibility which Scheeben records as having been advanced in all seriousness—that Pius IX could not possibly be infallible, since "he has had a most precarious scientific training, and above all never studied at a German university."28 The conclusion is laughable, but, as Scheeben well saw, its premise was of a menacing seriousness. The fundamental tenet of Liberalism, "the absolute freedom of the individual," was in fact identical with the Formalprinzip of heresy; and the spirit of heresy, "the spirit of disobedience," had its echo in the spirit of Liberalism.29 It is not, therefore, surprising that Scheeben hated Liberalism with his whole Rhineland and Roman soul.

I say all this because it was in 1868, just when the shadow of the coming Vatican Council was beginning to fall athwart the Liberal camp, that Scheeben first set his hand to the Dogmatik.30 The follow-

[p. 27]

ing year he took over the editorship and almost undivided authorship of the periodical devoted to the discussions connected with the Council, Das Ökumenische Concil vom Jahre 1869. And his work on it went pari passu with the composition of the first part of the Dogmatik, "Die theologische Erkenntnislehre," all in the atmosphere of conflict engendered by Peter's assertion of his right to feed with knowledge and doctrine the flock to which other pastures seemed more luscious. On his own testimony, Scheeben hammered out much of the thought of the Dogmatik on the anvil of the articles he was writing for the periodical;31 these articles, therefore, and especially the brilliant but

[p. 28]

little-known commentaries on the Vatican Constitutions,32 have a special interest and value. One sees in them his analysis of the errors of his time, in the light of which the emphases in his own exposition of Catholic doctrine took on sharper definition. I must give one passage, out of many, in which he sums up the essence of religious Liberalism:

[The Liberal] measures divine and Catholic faith with the standard of human faith; he regards it, consequently, as an act of free trust and sovereign approbation whereby one accepts and makes his own a truth that is seen to be sufficiently attested. The testimony of another appears to him as authority only insofar as he allows himself freely to be influenced and moved by it; but it is not authority in the sense that the testimony, as an imperious, absolutely binding judgment, necessitates him to an obedient acceptance of its content. According to, this theory, faith, insofar as it is referred formally to the word of God as to its source, is not an act of obedience and submissive homage, but the simple acknowledgment that God has spoken the truth.33

From Scheeben's thought as contained in Das Ökumenische Concil three points are cardinal: first, the concept of revelation as "ein Machtgebot des absolutes Herrn unseres Geistes"; 34 secondly, the correlative concept of God's authority as peremptory, imperious, imposing as a strict duty the acceptance of His testimony; thirdly, the consequent concept of faith as a costly but precious obedience, the sacrificium intellectus. It is important, too, to note that Scheeben gives these three ideas as an interpretation of the Vatican Council, whose emphases he wishes to make his own.

He carried over into the Dogmatik these three emphases; they have their counterpoises in its larger framework, but they are definitely marked. And it was their genesis that I wished to account for, in terms of an apologetic preoccupation. Whether this preoccupation ultimately operated to the detriment of consistency in Scheeben's theology of faith is a question to be answered later.


The doctrine of faith in the Dogmatik requires for its understanding a word on the complementary concept of revelation. Scheeben assigns to it two notes : it is a creative principle of supernatural, infallible

[p. 29]

knowledge, and it is a sovereign, imperious law imposed on the mind by the King of Truth. In the First Book of the Dogmatik, the latter note receives the greater stress; and out of it Scheeben develops in brilliant fashion the whole structure of the teaching mission of the Church.35 The emphasis was adopted in opposition to Liberalism and its primacy of reason and science, which required that stress be put "on the sovereign right of God to faith, and consistently with this, on the effective enforcement of revelation; only in this way does the full and clear concept of authority in the realm of faith come to the fore."36 Faith, revelation, authority—each of these three notions receives a similarly colored and accented analysis at Scheeben's hands.

Moreover, it is to be noted that, in Scheeben's time, it was the teaching authority of the Church that was challenged or misunderstood by the Liberals, notably by Döllinger and the school of Munich. Consequently, Scheeben wanted most particularly to set the Church's authority in its full light; and this desire undoubtedly colored his development of the notion of revelation as a "command" and of faith as an "obedience." However, one may ask whether he was not thereby led into a certain confusion of thought. The proposition of revelation by the Church is indeed intimately linked to the revelation itself as given by God; nevertheless the acknowledgment of the former as authoritative is not altogether identical with the acceptance of the latter as true, nor are they identically motivated. One's ethical attitude toward the Church as the depository of revelation does not exactly coincide with one's ethical attitude toward God manifesting Himself as man's supernatural last end; the former may be qualified as an obedience more readily than the latter. I say this to suggest, antecedently to fuller discussion, that, in endeavoring to bring to the fore the "clear and full concept of authority in the realm of faith," by insisting on the power behind the "effective enforcement of revelation," Scheeben is exposing himself to the danger of exaggerating the obediential quality of faith, in consequence of false perspectives.

We may turn now to the doctrine of the Dogmatik on the intimate

[p. 30]

nature of act of faith, its "root," and the internal unity of its double element.


Scheeben's approach to the problem is personal. He observes that all theologians are in agreement as regards the individual elements that make up the act of faith, but they differ in details of their syntheses, and above all in their emphases. Against one particular emphasis he protests—one that gives "too mechanical and abstract" an idea of faith, and that "overlooks or attenuates the living organism of it.37

In these words, Kleutgen saw the announcement of an "attack" upon himself.38 In reply, Scheeben objects to the word "attack";39 however, the fact is that the Lugonian theory of faith, of which Kleutgen was at the time the chief defender, did seem to him abstract and mechanical. His antagonism to it is explained by its "rationalism," the very quality that made it attractive to other minds of the nineteenth century. "In this theory," he says, "it is not so much God who generates faith by His authority, as reason by its own insight."40 His rejection of the theory was a sort of prolongation of his reaction against the Hermesian theory, which made of faith "an ice-cold, mechanical operation of reason."41 He admitted, of course, that Lugo "somehow or other" satisfied all the theological values of the act of faith—its supernaturality and its freedom. But he saw a methodological error, that to him smacked of rationalism, in Lugo's forcing of the parallel between human and divine faith,42 and in his attempt to explain the latter in

[p. 31]

terms of a "Schlussverfahren."43 To put the root of faith in any sort of theoretic principle (e.g., "What a trustworthy witness testifies to, is true"44) was, he thought, to take an altogether too abstract, logical, mechanical view of the act, to rupture its organic unity, and to reduce the explanation of its genesis to an unreal juxtaposition of propositions.

Against this conception he posits his own fundamental principle: faith is not primarily concerned with propositions; the act is made by a person, in a person:

The assent, on the testimony of another intelligence, to a truth that is not directly evident to us merits the name of faith only when it is a voluntary acceptance of a communication made to us. The assent must be evoked and supported by the striving to meet, with a respect and regard due to his rational and moral nature, the advances of the person who makes the communication, to attach oneself to him, and to enter upon a commerce of spirit with him.45

The affective element enters into faith and assumes the primacy in its genesis because faith is a matter of a personal relationship: "faith is no purely logical act of cognition, but in its totality also a moral act, to such a degree that the assent of the understanding is the work of the will."46 Faith is a compound act. Obviously, the concept is a theological commonplace; for the freedom of faith is defined doctrine. However, peculiar to Scheeben in his time is the effort to establish and explain the intimate unity between the intellectual and affective elements of faith. He insists, of course, that the intellectual assent "forms the genuine substance and essence of faith";47 but he insists far more on the inseparability of the intellect's action from the motion of the will, both in the genesis of faith and in its internal constitution. His characteristic formula is that the pius credulitatis affectus "belongs to the substance of faith,"48 is a "constituent part of faith,"49 "an essential element of faith."50

What, then, is this pius credulitatis affectus, or, as he calls it, "der gläubige Wille,"51 "die gläubige Gesinnung,"52 "pia affectio voluntatis."53 The term is applied by theologians to the actus voluntatis imperans fidem, though not seldom it is taken to mean, more widely,

[p. 32]

the general affective dispositions of the soul approaching faith. However, Scheeben expressly distinguishes "the will's decision to make the act of faith" from the "act of the will which belongs to the substance of faith and forms its root.”54 He terms this latter the pius credulitatis affectus, and distinguishes it from the more remote moral preparations for faith, which certainly do not belong to its substance. Moreover, at times he seems to suggest that the pius affectus is not so much an act as an attitude; whereas at other times it appears as an act, that "evokes" the assent of faith.55 We shall have later to define the nature of this act, or attitude, by examining its motive.

For the moment, it is enough to note that the fundamental feature of Scheeben's thought on the relations between the intellectual and affective aspects of faith comes to expression in his favorite and frequently repeated metaphor—the pius affectus is the "root" of faith.56 Constitutionally, therefore, it belongs to the substance of faith as the root belongs to the substance of the plant; genetically, it is the productive power that brings the assent into being, as the plant springs from the root. In this metaphor, therefore, there appears that living organic concept of faith, and that primacy of the affective element that Scheeben urged against the "abstract and mechanical" conceptions of other theorists. His main criticism of the Lugonian theory is that it fatally overlooks this "peculiar psychological and organic development of faith in general and of divine faith in particular out of the pius credulitatis affectus."57


Scheeben's concept of the living organism of faith and the function of the will within it may perhaps be profitably developed a bit by considering his discussion of the freedom of faith. The whole purpose of this discussion, he says, is to show how faith is, "as hardly any other act is, a deed of the whole man; it is man as such who is engaged in it, with all the powers proper to his nature, especially with his in-

[p. 33]

terior and lofty powers, in virtue of which he makes the act as the living actuation of his freedom.”58

He objects to a merely negative view of the freedom of faith—a view that would place the necessity for the will's intervention simply in the fact that the reasons for belief lack necessitating force. This view would make the action of the will too accidental and the freedom of faith simply an imperfection. On the contrary, he says:

... the freedom of faith is to be conceived in positive fashion, as a specific perfection proper to faith, which corresponds to the nature of faith, and is the result of the essential part that the will has in it, on its affective side. The lack of necessitating force in the arguments can and should offer merely the occasion for the fuller revelation of the freedom that lies in its very nature.59

Consequently, Scheeben distinguishes a "formal, primary, specific, and essential freedom of faith," and a "material, secondary, and accidental freedom."60 And he laments the fact that a "confusing one-sidedness" should have led "many theologians of former and more recent times" to treat only the second, or at least to put it in the foreground.

The formal and specific freedom of faith, according to Scheeben, lies in the fact that it is a "plenum revelanti Deo intellectus et voluntatis obsequium"; these words of the Vatican Council are the "foundation of this view" and the starting point of its explanation. And the explanation implies an organic concept of faith. Faith, he says, is not any sort of assent to God's teaching; it is an assent that is at the same time a "libere moveri in Deum," the Tridentine phrase which he sees (rightly or wrongly?) "more exactly explained" by the Vatican Council's phrase, "libere praestare Deo obedientiam." "Faith is a living striving toward God as the principle, object, and goal of revelation; more in particular, it is an acceptance, or better, a seizure of the content of revelation that comes about through a surrender and a submission to the authority of God, and through an intimate attachment to His eternal truth."61

In consequence, man must do more than merely weigh the motives of credibility and lay himself open intellectually to their impact; his will has a positive and essential function. First, faith in its genesis

[p. 34]

is "intrinsically bound to, and supported by," a command and impulse of the will; and secondly, its very existence is conditioned by the fact that it is essentially a product of the will's pietas, its "exalted respect for, and trust in, God," its love for, and inclination toward, the truth and God who is the source of all truth."62 Here again we have the notion of the pius affectus as the root of faith. "Accordingly," Scheeben concludes, "in the act of faith man is engaged wholly, with his whole interior self and all the spiritual part of his nature, with mind and feeling and heart and will." In this respect, faith is a unique act:

Over and above mere acts of cognition faith has this property, that it is not merely a passive conception, but an affective and therefore living seizure of the object known; over and above mere acts of the will it has another property, that it is not a mere affection, and consequently does not merely tend to its object but at the same time grasps it with the mind.63

In this fashion, Scheeben explains the act of faith as "essentially and intrinsically voluntary and free."64 The affective part of it is of its very nature, and is required not merely that there may be an acceptance of the truth presented, but primarily that this acceptance may have the specific character of faith. The role of the will is not merely to permit the intellect to give itself to the evaluation of the motives of credibility, standing umpire, as it were, over the mind's debate with God; nor is it merely to administer the coup de grâce when these motives are found insufficient to determine an assent, thus awarding, as it were, the victory to God and imposing on the mind the consequences of its own defeat—the submission of faith. In this hypothesis, faith "would be merely connected with an act of freedom" ;65 and the result would be extrinsecism. The true situation is that the free act of the will is "essentially and intrinsically" required; for unless there is a free motion at the interior of faith itself, the act will not be a plenum intellectus et voluntatis obsequium. In a word, it will not be faith, but some contrefaçon thereof. It is to the formula of the Vatican Council that Scheeben constantly returns, as from it he started.


The key question, then, is to know what meaning Scheeben assigned to the Vatican formula. And the answer is quite clear: he considered

[p. 35]

it to mean that faith is a formal obedience. More exactly, the pius credulitatis affectus, the will's adhesion to God that is the root of faith and of its very substance, is for him a movement of obedience. And it is in the notion of faith as an obedience that he wishes to find the solution to the problem of its genesis, and the explanation of its inner unity. Consequently, this notion must now be examined. One can, I think, best get at it through Scheeben's notion of authority, to which corresponds the obedience of faith.

Scheeben begins his analysis of authority by calling attention to an element in the concept "that is commonly overlooked, but that is definitely present and by all means to be emphasized." He says: "In general, we understand by authority the moral power and dignity of an individual, in virtue of which he is in a position to determine other individuals in their thinking and conduct, or to demand of them that they allow themselves to be so determined and influenced."66 And this general note of authority is found in the authority that is the motive of faith: "As a matter of fact, the speaker impels us to belief primarily by the fact that he expressly or implicitly makes upon us a demand for faith, and by the fact that this demand receives a moral power from the dignity of the speaker."67 The demand is contained at least implicitly in language that is, to use Scheeben's antithesis, "eine Ansprache," and not merely "eine Aussprache von Gedanken."

It is evident that the authority of the speaker, in this sense, and the consequent moral effectiveness of his demand for faith, depend on the relation of superiority in which he stands to the hearer. There are, therefore, three degrees of authority. The lowest is that of the simple witness; his personal worth can invite faith in his word but not strictly demand it. A step higher is the authority of the teacher over his pupils; by reason of his intellectual superiority and the dignity of his chair his utterances command not merely attention but also reverence. One's acceptance of them therefore acquires the quality of an honorific subordination of one's own judgment to his; nevertheless, the teacher is not in a position to exact from his pupils an absolute and formal submission of mind. The highest degree of authority is that possessed by one who is really auctor of another's being, so that the other stands to him in a relation of strict dependence. This is authority in the

[p. 36]

most proper sense. Scheeben concedes it to two persons—to the Creator over His creatures, and to parents over their children of minor age. (In parental authority he consistently sees the closest earthly analogy to the divine authority of God.)

This authority can do more than merely invite faith; it can imperiously demand it, make it a duty of obedience, stamp upon it inwardly the character of obedience and submission. Consequently, the power and purpose of this authority is not merely to complete the knowledge of the one subject to it, where his own intelligence fails; it further necessitates him to the submission and sacrifice of his own judgment formed out of what lights he personally may have, to the judgment of the authority in question. 68

It is this authority in the strict sense that Scheeben conceives to be the force creative of that initial moral attitude in which faith originates; it is the motive of the will to believe, which is the root of all faith, human or divine.

The other qualities of the speaker, his knowledge and veracity, also go to make up his authority. However, they operate toward the production of faith only in and through their conjunction with this "fundamental element of authority." They form its specific attributes, which determine it to be "faith-authority," but they are not to be "forthwith identified with, nor by themselves alone defined as, authority." Rather, they should be taken as constituting the speaker's credibility. Between credibility and authority as such, especially in the case of God, there obtains an inadequate distinction, based on the fact that "authority has an independent action, alongside and ahead of these attributes, so that they come into full play only in and through it."69 In this sense, therefore, Scheeben constantly speaks of "die gebietende Autorität Gottes über unseren Geist.” 70 And he conceives it as a moral power that binds the will and motivates the pius credulitatis affectus:

The motive of the act of the will, the so-called pius credulitatis affectus, which, as the root of faith, belongs to its substance—consequently the formal motive and also the formal object of faith on its ethical side—is the authority of God in the sense of His absolute majesty, His mastery over our minds, in virtue of which He instils [sic] into us an absolute respect and reverence, and demands of us obedience and trust, and so commands the acceptance of His word by faith. In accordance with this motive, faith is fashioned, intrinsically and essentially, into an act of obedient

[p. 37]

and submissive homage to God and of unlimited surrender to Him; in other words, into an act of religiosity, a species of latreutic worship, and moreover an act of worship that is particularly lofty and pleasing to God, since it is the religiositas mentis, the sacrificium intellectus.71

From this text it can be seen why I said above that Scheeben makes the pius credulitatis affectus essentially a movement of obedience, in fact, of formal obedience; for its object is a strict command, on two counts. First, revelation is conceived as a "Machtgebot des absolutes Herrn unseres Geistes," and secondly, its imperiousness derives from its source in God's majesty, the absolute superiority of His will. Thus the obediential character of the pius affectus, which is the root of faith, stamps upon faith itself the character of an obedience.

Obviously, Scheeben's idea of authority and his concept of the obedience of faith that depends on it present certain originalities. One must therefore inquire into his substantiation of them.

He evidently saw his theory expressed, or at least implied, in the Constitutions of the Vatican Council. It is a question whether the Council actually furnished him with his distinction between authority in the strict sense and credibility, or whether he simply sought in the Council confirmation of a theory already conceived. At any rate, the distinction makes its first appearance in his commentary on the "Constitution on Divine Faith." He says, for instance:

the Council declares in canon 2 that the nature of divine faith, as contrasted with natural knowledge, demands that `the revealed truth be believed on the authority of God revealing'; thus it rejects the view that considers—the testimony of God as a mere means of proof in the service of our own independent thinking. On the contrary, the Council demands an assent that proceeds from a reverential attachment to God, to which attachment one is determined by the will, out of reverence for God. And this is not all. According to canon 1, the divine authority, to which faith corresponds, essentially manifests itself as authority in the strictest sense of the word, as imperious authority (gebietende Autorität). Consequently, the words, `to believe on the authority of God revealing,' have the same sense as `to be determined to an assent to the truth in question out of obedience to God and reverence for Him, in consequence of His command and testimony, which have absolute binding force and are worthy of all respect.'72

[p. 38]

In the Dogmatik, too, where his distinction between the two kinds of authority is given finer point, Scheeben is clearly following what he conceives to be an inspiration from the Vatican Council decrees:

From this characteristic of the divine authority in its relation to faith [i.e., from the notion of authority as God's absolute mastery over the mind] the Vatican begins its teaching on the nature of faith, in that it defines faith as an homage of intellect and will given to God—an homage that we owe Him because we depend absolutely on Him as our Creator, and because created reason is completely subordinate to uncreated Truth.73

And he sees the reason for the Council's procedure in the necessity of combating naturalistic and rationalistic views. It would seem, then, that he considered his theory of authority and of faith as an obedience to be a legitimate development of the Council's condemnation of Liberalism.

His next appeal is to the scriptural doctrine on faith as an obedience; in two places he exploits these texts.74 He acknowledges that the Gospels often advance, as the motive of faith, God's testimony sine addito; but he adds: "often enough, too, in and with this testimony the imperious authority of God is emphasized, notably in the texts which deal with the institution and mission of the teaching apostolate." However, his chief support is in St. Paul, by whom "faith is consistently portrayed as an obedience, and infidelity as a disobedience." He makes no effort at an exegesis of the precise meaning of St. Paul's "obedience of faith"; the fact that St. Paul used the word seems to have been enough for him.

When it comes to finding support for his position in the Scholastic tradition, Scheeben is rather at a loss. He seizes, of course, upon William of Paris, who "most decisively and thoroughly stressed the nature of the obedience of faith, to such an extent indeed that later theologians suspected him of having regarded this imperium of God as the formal object also of the intellectual assent of faith." The implic-

[p. 39]

ation there is that Scheeben himself did not share this suspicion; his interpretations were indeed always benign. And there is an indication of the fineness of his theological and historical sense in the fact that this milder view of William's doctrine (with which Kleutgen emphatically disagreed) has come to be espoused by several able theologians of late years.75 Apart from William of Paris, Scheeben can cite no other Scholastic authority; but he has this to say about the Scholastic tradition in general:

The other Scholastics as a rule speak of the authority of God, in the stricter sense, in connection with the motive of the intellectual act, in that they put as the motive of faith the Prima Veritas. The word `Prima' indicates that God demands and determines faith precisely in His character as uncaused principle of all knowledge and all intellectual beings, and consequently as Sovereign of all minds. In a word, as the Vatican says, the whole man and particularly the ratio creata is subject to Him as the Prima Veritas, and consequently as the Creator and Dominus.76
It is interesting to note that Scheeben here makes the authority on which faith rests an attribute of God as Lord and Master; similarly he seems to imply that the submission of faith is made simply to God as Creator—hardly a wide enough concept of it, I should think.

These, then, are the theological arguments advanced by Scheeben in support of his theory of authority, and his correlative theory of the motivation of the pius credulitatis affectus, in virtue of which it emerges as a formal obedience, moving the intellect to its assent.


Certain initial values in Scheeben thought should be acknowledged. There is, first, its apologetic value against Liberalism, to which the idea of faith as an obedience was and is quite foreign. There is, secondly, its value from the standpoint of religious psychology. One remembers Newman: "Once a man believes in God, the greatest obstacle to belief in revelation has been got out of the way—the proud, self-sufficient spirit." By acceptance of the reality of God, he explains, a man inwardly bows to one who is Creator and Judge, and thus

[p. 40]

recognizes that he is not himself the measure of all things nor the master of his own destiny. In this sense, Scheeben is right in insisting that reverence and submission to God as Creator are necessary to instil [sic] in the heart that sense of utter dependence that is essential for the further submission of faith. Finally, also valuable from a psychological standpoint is Scheeben's stress on the fact that faith is an affair between persons, in which the concrete relationship of superiority in which the speaker stands to the hearer is of capital importance. By refusing to grant even this, and by arguing for an abstract and minimist concept of faith, Kleutgen vitiates a large part of his criticism.77 Scheeben's concreteness is far closer to the psychological realities of the case. And it has the added advantage of pointing the fact that divine faith has only analogies in the natural order, in that God's superiority admits no human parallels.

Granted all this, it remains true that Scheeben's vigorous reaction against Liberalism carried him a bit off balance, and led him to exaggerate or misconceive the notion of faith as an obedience and to disturb the inner consistency of his own doctrine. First of all, his appeal to the Vatican Council fails of effect. The Council never intended to give a complete treatise on divine faith, its genesis and nature; its decrees left many things unsaid; and they were indeed accented in the direction of a condemnation of religious Liberalism. In taking this accent as the key to a full theological theory of faith, Scheeben is led to push the Vatican doctrine to limits that are more than doubtfully legitimate. To this fact we have an excellent witness in the person of Kleutgen, who actually wrote the decree in substantially the form approved by the Fathers.78 Kleutgen dismisses Scheeben's appeal to the Vatican Council with the curt remark: "Indessen was man einmal für wahr halt, findet man leicht in den Worten anderer."79 A severe remark, but substantially just.

The whole foundation of Scheeben's theory on the motivation of the pius affectus is in the Council's sentence: "Cum homo a Deo tamquam

[p. 41]

a Domino suo totus dependeat, et ratio creata veritati increatae penitus subjecta sit, plenum revelanti Deo intellectus et voluntatis obsequium fide praestare tenemur."80 The scope of this sentence was explained by Conrad Martin, Bishop of Paderborn:

The first paragraph in its first part connects this chapter with the preceding one . [Hence this sentence has only the value of a transition and introduction.] In the first part of the chapter, then, the intention was not to explain each and every one of the motives of faith; what had to be indicated was simply the root, or the fundamental reason, of the obligation of giving faith to God revealing. This root . . . is clearly put in the fact that God is supreme author, etc. 81

This, however, is very considerably less than what Scheeben asserts. The fundamental and initial reason for believing is one thing; the proximate, formal motive of the will to believe, which culminates in the actual assent of faith, is quite another. God, and His supreme dominion as Creator and Lord, is indeed the fundamental reason for the obligation of charity or religion or any virtue whatsoever; but the formal motive of each remains to be determined. To use a concept developed by Gardeil, the Vatican Council in the sentence quoted is actually giving simply the motive of "foi avant la foi."82

Again, Scheeben rests his contention on the sentence: "actus (fidei) est opus ad salutem pertinens, quo homo liberam praestat ipsi Deo obedientiam." But the purpose of the phrase was to define the freedom of faith against the Hermesians;83 one cannot, therefore, forthwith interpret the term "obedience" in a formal sense. As a matter of fact, as St. Thomas says, even charity "cannot exist without obedience" (II-II, q. 104, a. 3), but its act is not therefore a formal act of obedience.

Nor are Scheeben's Scripture texts any more conclusive for his purpose. St. Thomas, for instance, gives this exegesis of Rom. 1:5:

Obedience has place in things that we can do voluntarily; but we consent to the things of faith in virtue of a will to do so, since they are above reason; no one be-

[p. 42]

lieves unless he wills to do so, as St. Augustine says; consequently, what is said below in 6:17 is applicable to faith: `You have been obedient from the heart to that form of doctrine to which you were committed.'84

In other words, there is an element of obedience in faith inasmuch as it is free; and its freedom, at least as giving entrance to the element of obedience, derives from the obscurity of the assent. The assent is indeed a submission of intellect to a magisterial authority; and the will determines the intellect to this submission. However, the actual nature of that will to believe, and its formal motivation, still remain to be determined. Finally, it is to be noted that St. Thomas refers the notion of obedience to the intellect rather than to the will. The assent is an obedience, not the will to make the assent, as Scheeben would have it.

There is a further difficulty. One must ask whether the pius credulitatis affectus, conceived as a formal obedience, can actually be, as Scheeben wants it to be, the voluntary motion that is "of the substance of faith," intrinsic to it. The difficulty is clear. As a formal obedience, the pius affectus would have as its proper formal object the created good inherent in submission to a divine precept; and only mediately would it be directed to God Himself, the uncreated good, man's last end. But such is not the voluntary motion that could be "of the substance" of an act of theological virtue, which is by definition a motion that terminates immediately, and in its totality, at God Himself. Consequently, if the pius affectus is conceived as a formal obedience, it would indeed specify faith as an act of rational virtue, but it could not confer on faith its unique specification as a voluntary, inchoative ordination of oneself to one's supernatural last end. By so conceiving it, Scheeben fails to explain—in fact, makes it impossible to explain—how the pius affectus is constitutive of faith, interior to it, part of its concrete, totality.

Similarly, he fails to explain how the pius affectus is generative of faith, its "root," joined to the assent in an organic unity. He had hold of the right problem—how the assent of the intellect is the "completion" of the will's upsurge to God, in such wise that the two distinct motions unite in the unity of a single libere moveri in Deum. But his principle of solution—the pius affectus as formal obedience—was

[p. 43]

wrong. By a curious paradox, Scheeben, who shrank from rationalistic explanations of faith, himself so "rationalized" the pius affectus as to divest it of its quality of an "upsurge" to God that would carry the intellect to a seizure of God Himself. Ultimately, he turns the motion of the will towards earth and its created goods, not towards God and the heavenly vision of which he would make faith an anticipation. His insight into the mystical nature of faith, which is so strong when he contemplates the assent of faith, somehow fails him when he turns to consider its voluntary aspect. It was clouded, I think, by his apologetic preoccupations. And what he ultimately explains is not the "root" of faith, but rather its "soil," the sense of dependence on God as Creator, utter reverence for Him as Lord, born of a profound conviction of His transcendent reality, and of man's personal relation to Him as Master of human destiny, whose word, if spoken, must be heeded.

Scheeben saw most truly that faith demands the sacrifice of man's inmost pride, that is the stronger in proportion as the spirit itself is strong—I mean the pride to which Newman confessed, in his well-known verse: "I was not always thus, nor prayed/ That Thou shouldst lead me on/ I loved to choose and see my path." However, faith demands that this pride of choosing and seeing one's path be put to the knife before the will can make that last "upsurge" to God that is completed by the assent of faith. Faith, in the still, silent, perhaps almost unnoticed moment that it stirs in the soul, is not man's formal farewell to human pride and to the earthly destinies that it may conjure up for its own striving; rather, it is the formal welcome given to a divine promise of a destiny that even human pride could not have conceived as really open to man. The obedience of faith is not that of Moses, flat on the earth of Sinai, hearkening to the thunders of Jehovah's law; it is rather the obedience of Abraham, afoot, face turned from the land of Ur, going out from country and hearth and kin into a new land, which had been promised him, to which he had been called, but of which he would have no vision till he set foot on it.

Perhaps the most curious thing is that Scheeben actually had, but failed to use, a sounder basis for an explanation of the genesis of faith and the organic unity of its two aspects, through an explanation of the pius affectus as the root of faith. He indicates it when he is dealing

[p. 44]

with the supernaturality of faith, especially the supernaturality of its affective aspect. Against Lugonian theorists, he insists on a concrete view of faith, more intimately scriptural, more sharply-drawn in its portrayal of the personal relationships between God and man that enter into it. The God who speaks is no far-off, abstract Deus verax, but a loving Father, who enters by His word into the very heart; the one who hears is no disembodied, critical reason, but a child; the message spoken is no catalogue of theses, but a promise of eternal life in the vision of the Father's face; and the child's answer, faith, is no carefully calculated admission of what cannot reasonably be denied, but a gladly obedient acceptance of a new dignity and destiny.85 In this universe of discourse, constructed in his moments of more purely theological inspiration, Scheeben puts, as the motive of the pius credulitatis affectus, God as man's supernatural last end, and author of his salvation, calling His children to intimate union with Himself, through Christ, as their Father. The child's answer to the call is a motion of kindliche Pietät, a turning towards, and a striving for, the high thing promised, the supernatural destiny offered. What evokes it is the amor boni repromissi; and what it evokes is the assent: "This is my highest good; this is my destiny; this promise is made to me! I accept it; freely I affirm, by my assent, the goal itself and the motion of my being towards it."86

These data came within the grasp of Scheeben's highly intuitive mind, when he was dealing with the supernaturality of faith. It is, though he does not present it as such, the idea enshrined in the Tridentine formula, "fides est humanae salutis initium." It is the same idea that is central in St. Thomas' thought: faith is "habitus mentis, quo inchoatur vita aeterna in nobis."87 Scheeben had the idea, in a sense;

[p. 45]

but he failed to work it out. He failed to synthesize his theory on the supernaturality of faith with his theory of its genesis, as he also failed to synthesize his intuition of the central meaning of the intellectual aspect of faith with his intuition that faith has its "root" in the will. The reason, I think, was his lack of the two instruments necessary for constructing a full and harmonious theory of faith as initium salutis, inchoatio vitae aeternae.88 One is a strongly structured metaphysic of

[p. 46]

finality; the other is a grasp of the data of religious psychology. However, it was not Scheeben's fault that he lived in the nineteenth century.


1 Le problème de l'acte de foi (Louvain: Warny, 1945), pp. vi, 138, 227, 235, 245, 557, 590, 648, 697, 724, 731.

2 In a note at the end of this article I give a complete list of Scheeben's writings that deal with the problem of faith, together with the abbreviations used in citing them.

3 J. Kleutgen, Beilagen zu den Werken über die Philosophic and Theologie der Vorzeit, Heft III, Abt. 2, "Zur Lehre vom Glauben" (Münster, 1875).

4 K. Eschweiler, Die zwei Wege der neuern Theologie: Georg Hermes, Matthias Joseph Scheeben (Augsburg, 1926).

5 Dogm., II, Vorrede, p. vii.

6 Cf. NuGn, pp. 237 ff.; the same idea is stressed in Dogm., cf. infra, note 12.

7 Cf. NuGn, pp. 237 ff.; Dogm., I, 778–807; this latter is his definitive treatment; it is incorporated in "Glaube," and referred to in Dogm., II, 737.

8 Chiefly in NuGn, pp. 70 ff.; in his later years he grew a bit impatient with such questions: cf. Dogm., II, 730.

9 Dogm., I, 782.                     

10 Ibid., 783.                           

11 Ibid., 782.

12 Cf. Dogm., 631, 633, 650, 659, 660, 661, 677, 681, 689, 695, 713, 717, 782, 786, 792: "geheimnisvolle Berührung and Verbindung mit der ewigen Wahrheit.'' (It was this last text that particularly aroused the ire of Kleutgen, who warns those "on whom this way of talking makes a great impression" against "the intoxicating effects of such fanciful drink"; Beilagen, III, 191.)

13 Dogm., I, 793; cf. 640, 678, 805.

14 Ibid., 793.

15 Ibid., 804.

16 Ibid., 793, 805, 819; "Glaube," 626. It is interesting to note that Möhler, the last of the Romantiker, uses the same play on words: "Der Erzeugung (des göttlichen Lebens) sollte eine Überzeugung durch die lebendige Traditionsein" (Einheit der Kirche, ed. Vierneisel, Mainz, 1925, p. 9). Scheeben not seldom cites Mahler; however, by temperament and training he had little in common with the Romantiker, save a synthetic gift and a feeling for the life in things, which are, in effect, the endowments of any genius.

17 Dogm., I, 8045.  

18 Ibid., 993.

19 Ibid., 76977, 101823; in n. 769 there is a clear reference to Döllinger, with whom Scheeben broke more than one lance.

20 Ibid., 120.                                                  

21 Ibid., 769.

22 Cf. G. Goyau, L'Allemagne religieuse, Le Catholicisme (Paris, 1908), IV, c. 6: "Les crises intellectuelles"; c. 7: "L'Allemagne et le Concile de Vatican."

23 Cf. H. Brosch, "Das Werden des jungen Scheeben," Stimmen der Zeit, CXXIII (1932), 4056.

24 Dogm., I, 64: Concil, II, 13031.

25 This is Grabmann's formula for Scheeben's theological lifework; cf. his Introduction to NuGn, p. 9. It is also the title of an early article by Scheeben.

26 Concil, I, 22942; 41630; 50546; III, 21263.

27 Scheeben takes these two phrases from Döllinger's famous speech at the Munich assembly of 1863; cf. Kleinere Schriften von J. J. Döllinger, hrsg. von Reusch (Stuttgart, 1890), p. 184; cf. also Concil, I, 118, 126; Dogm., I, 1010.

28 Concil, II, 421.

29Ibid., pp. 53946.

30 Some interesting details about the composition of the Dogmatik are to be had from the Scheeben-Herder correspondence in the Herder archives, Freiburg im Breisgau. Some of them have been brought out by Dr. Julius Dorneich in an article in the Tübinger Theologische Quartalschrift, 1936, pp. 142, "Matthias Joseph Scheeben and Benjamin Herder." Dr. Dorneich, one of the editors and directors of Herder, kindly placed all the letters at my disposal on the occasion of a visit to Freiburg some years ago. The following are the salient points. Scheeben's decision to write a dogmatic manual was made in 1867, after he had given up his original plan to write a moral textbook. Some time in 1868 the "first stone" was laid. Progress was made only in spurts, owing to sickness, other duties (with Der Katholik, and the diocesan Pastoralblatt), but chiefly owing to "the Konzilskrieg, into which I have been drawn against my expectations and wishes" (letter of Nov. 12, 1870). However, in January 1869, he had hoped to have the first part finished by Easter of that year; in April the date was pushed forward to autumn; in September he reports that a section could be got ready for printing in January, but thinks it advisable to wait "until the dogmatic development in the Council, at least in its general nature, can be judged, in order to see whether anything important for the finished part is to be expected from the Council" (letter of Nov. 26, 1869). But from that time on the Periödische Blätter (first named Das Ökumenische Concil vom Jahre 1869) claimed his whole time, until January, 1871. In November, 1871, he reports that "the first half of Book I" could be ready for press by January. However, sickness again hindered the work. And in May, 1872, he writes: "My whole earlier work displeased me on closer examination, and I have begun to do the whole thing over almost entirely" (letter of May 28, 1872). It was not until March, 1873, that he sent in the first batch of manuscript. The Erste Abtheilung was finally finished in December, 1873. All in all, one's impression is that Scheeben must have been a prodigious worker; the sheer volume of writing he turned out in the five years, 1868-1873, is astonishing. Apparently he wrote quickly; but he also was a stem critic of his own work, and revised incessantly. For instance, he rewrote the whole section on the teaching office of the Church "three and in part four times" (letter of 1872, undated). Other parts of the Dogmatik received similar treatment, as he wrote himself into larger, more synthetic views, for which he was always searching.

31 When Herder objected to the interruption of the Dogmatik, Scheeben answered: "The Dogmatik must be put aside for a while, because I must write the Periödische Blätter all by myself. However, this work is of substantial value in that it will later help me to do a large part of the Dogmatik in more perfect and more up-to-date fashion, and make its composition easier" (undated letter, doubtless from 1870). Similar testimony is in a letter of January 5, 1871.

32 Concil, II, 11838; 21785.

33 Ibid., III, 232.

34 Ibid., II, 241.

35 This idea must have been that "new view of the whole doctrine of the teaching Church" which "began to dawn" on Scheeben toward the end of 1872, and led him to re-write that whole section of the Dogmatik; cf. Dorneich, Tub. Th. Quartals., 1936, p. 24."

36 Dogm., I, 64.

37 Ibid., 630; cf. 681.                                

38 Beilagen, III, 49, 52.

39 Dogm., II, p. vi; Scheeben apparently meditated a full reply to Kleutgen's criticism, but it is as well that he never wrote it. Their differences, as Gutberlet pointed out at the time (Literarische Rundschau, 1877, n. 4, Sp. 109), were not the kind that would have yielded to argument. However, in preparing his article, "Glaube," for the second edition of the Kirchenlexicon, he had Kleutgen's critique in mind; and he concludes the first part of it—which alone is newly done, the rest (cols. 634 ff.) being merely a reprint of the corresponding sections of the Dogmatik—with these words: "In the somewhat modified form here given it, my theory holds even against the extensive attack made on it by Kleutgen." Repeated readings failed to reveal to me any modifications; there is a certain tempering of expression, and perhaps some blurring of the Dogmatik's very sharp emphasis on the voluntary character of faith, as a response to authority.

40 Dogm., I, 689.

41 Concil, II, 252.

42 This parallelism does indeed seem to have been Lugo's basic principle; cf. De Fide, disp. I, sect. 7, n. 117.

43 Dogm., I, 681. 

44Ibid., I, 647.

45 Ibid., 631.

46 Ibid., 633.

47 Ibid., 785.

48 Ibid., 667, 670, 684.

49 Ibid., 782.

50 Ibid., 815.

51 Ibid., 748.

52 Ibid., 782.

53 Ibid., 651.

54This distinction does not appear verbally in "Glaube"; the metaphor of "root" appears only once; however, the idea in it is developed in cols. 61922, 630, 633.

55 Dogm., 632, 651, et al.

56 Ibid., 648, 649, 651, 667, 670, 689, 771, 785; cf. 700, where the metaphor changes to "Triebfeder."

57Ibid., 689.

58 Ibid., 809.   

59 Ibid., 811.

60 Ibid., 819.   

61 Ibid., 812.

62 Loc. cit.

63 Loc. cit. 

64 Ibid., 813.

65 Loc. cit.

66 Ibid., 634; cf. 71.

67 Loc. cit.

68 Ibid., 636.

69Ibid., 638.

70Ibid., 700, 672, et al.

71 Ibid., 670.

72 Concil, II, 245–46; cf. 233, 239, 241; this last text is interesting, in that Scheeben is here explaining the obedience of faith in the light of the doctrine on papal infallibility—a somewhat dubious procedure, when seeking the motive and nature of the pius credulitatis affectus.

73 Dogm., I, 671; cf. Concil, II, 239–40: "In the first paragraph, the Council handles the concept and nature of faith in the closest connection with the duty of eliciting it; and precisely in the peculiar character which the obligatory nature of faith gives it the Council finds both the starting point for the determination of its nature. . .and one of the most important elements which must be emphasized today." This, again, is forcing the thought of the Council.

74 Dogm., 672, 815.

75 Cf. Gardeil, DTC, III, 2274; A. Lang, Die Wege der Glaubensbegründung, Beitr. z. Gesch. d. Phil. u. Theol. d. MA, XXX, 56; G. Engelhardt, Die Entwicklung der Glaubens-psychologie, ibid. pp. 281 ff.

76 Dogm., I, 673.

77 Cf. Beilagen, III, 5369.

78 Kleutgen was the "certain theologian" mentioned in the minutes of the third session of the Deputation on Faith; cf. Coll. Lac., VII, 1647, and Granderath, Histoire du Concile du Vatican (Bruxelles, 1911), II, 12.

79 Beilagen, III, 105.

80 On the history of this phrase, cf. Coll. Lac., VII, 7273 (first schema); p. 87 (relation of Simor); pp. 15657 (emendations 316); pp. 16670 (relation of Martin on emendations); p. 193 (second schema). Subsequently only two emendations were proposed (nn. 61 and 101; cf. ibid., pp. 226 and 229), and both were rejected (ibid., p. 241, relation of Gasser).

81 Coll. Lac., VII, 166.

82 Cf. Aubert, op. cit., pp. 68387.

83 Coll. Lac., VII, 87 (relation of Simor on the scope of Martin's schema).

84 In Epist. ad Rom., c. I, lect. 4.

85 Cf. Dogm., I, 782.

86 Cf. De la Taille, "L'oraison contemplative," Rech. d. Sc. Rel., IX (1919), 278: "La foi, même en son état ordinaire, est engendrée dans l'esprit par une pression de la volonté, c'est-à-dire sous l'influence d'un amour au moins initial de la Bonté qui se promet dans la vie éternelle, amor boni repromissi. Actionée par cet amour, l'intelligence elle-même est rattachée à ce Bien suprème par une affirmation volontaire et amoureuse, où l'objet est atteint en même temps comme la fin à laquelle se rapporte 1'affirmation."

87 II-II, q.4, a.1; cf. De Ver., q.14, a.2; In Epist. ad Hebr., c XII, lect. 1; and In Eph. c. XIII, lect. 5: "Jam in nobis res sperandas per modum cujusdam inchoationis (fides) facit subsistere."

88 Scheeben constantly uses the formula, "anticipation of the beatific vision," which is not found in St. Thomas; once (In loan. c. VI, lect. 8, n. 1) he speaks of faith as "seminarium visionis," a thought that is in harmony with De Ver., q. 14, a. 2, where the prima principis rationis are called "semina quaedam sapientiae." Curiously, Scheeben does not cite the Thomistic texts for his other formula, "participation in the divine knowledge"; cf. In Boeth. de Trin., q. 2, a. 2; I-II, q. 110, a. 4; De Ver., q. 14, a. 8. Moreover, Scheeben's two formulas are to him obviously equivalent; hence he takes "anticipation of the beatific vision" in a purely intellectual and static sense; whereas St. Thomas' formula, "habitus quo inchoatur vita aeterna in nobis," is definitely dynamic and affective in its connotations; it has the philosophic background of a metaphysic of final causality, applied to the problem of human beatitude. In sum, I think it can be said that what Chenu has called "theologically the chief truth" about faith, its relation to the beatific vision ("La psychologie de la foi dans la théologie du xiii siècle," Études d'histoire littéraire et doctrinale du xiii siècle, II, 172), captured Scheeben's religious imagination; but his intelligence, which was not speculative in the philosophic sense, failed to penetrate it. At that, he stands alone among nineteenth-century theologians in his seizure and exten-sive use of this idea; and this is greatly to his credit.

NOTE.—The following is a catalogue of Scheeben's writings that deal directly or indirectly with the problem of faith; I add the manner of their citation in the foregoing article.

Natur und Gnade. Versuch einer systematischen Darstellung der natürlichen und übernaturlichen Lebensordnung im Menschen. Hrsg. mit einem Vorwort von M. Grabmann. Munchen, 1922. (Cited as NuGn.)

Handbuch der katholischen Dogmatik. Freiburg i. Br., 1873 (Band I), 1878 (Band II). (Cited as Dogm., (n.) 785.)

"Glaube," Kirchenlexicon, Wetzer and Welte, 2. Aufg., V (1888), Sp. 61674. (Cited as" Glaube," (col.) 623.)

Das Ökumenische Concil vom Jahre 1869: Periödische Blätter zur Mitteilung und Besprechung der Gegenstände, welche sich auf die neueste Kirchenversammlung beziehen. Bände IIII. Regensburg, 187071. (Cited as Concil, I, (p.) 234.) This periodical was continued under the title: Periödische Blätter zur Besprechung der grossen religiösen Fragen der Gegenwart. Bände IVXI. Regensburg, 187282. The following articles may be noted:

"Das allgemeine Concilium and die Wissenschaft," I (1869), 10018.

"Die Infallibilitätshetze," I (1869), 22942.

"Die dogmatische Constitution de fide catholica," 11(1870), 11838.

"Erläuterungen zu der dogmatischen Constitution de fide catholica," II (1870), 21785.

"Die erste dogmatische Constitution über den Primat," II (1870), 30333; 34187.

"Die Bewegung gegen den päpstlichen Unfehlbarkeit in Deutschland," II (1870), 416-30.

"Die theologische und praktische Bedeutung des Dogmas von der Unfehlbarkeit des Papstes, besonder in seiner Beziehung auf die heutige Zeit: 2. Die Unfehlbarkeit des Papstes and der katholische Glaube," III (1871), 50446.

"Beiträge zur Characteristik der modernen Häresie und der durch dieselbe bedingten Aufgabe der Kirche in unserer Zeit," IV (1872), 114; 5375; 12941; 22841.

"Der Liberalismus als System vom theologischen Gesichtspunkt betrachtet," VII (1875), 17292; 25882; 289302; 44972.

"Gedanken über das christliche Autoritätsprinzip und seine Bedeutung für unsere Zeit," X (1878), 19; 4964; 97112; 15568; 20420; 24167.

(I was not able to establish with certainty Scheeben's authorship of the three last-named articles; but they are undoubtedly his.)

Some of Scheeben's contributions—articles and reviews—to the periodical, Der Katholik, would be of interest in a study of his doctrine on the supernatural; of value for his early ideas on faith is the article, "Über den Unterschied and das Verhältnis von Philosophie und Theologie, Vernunft and Glauben," Katholik (1863, I), 64165; (1863, II), 267300.

Search the Murray Collection: