Articles of Faith
(Greek, arthron ; Latin, articulus , joint).
Certain revealed supernatural truths such as those contained in the symbol of the Apostles. The terms were not used by the Fathers or by ecclesiastical writers in the early Middle Ages. St. Bernard and Richard of St. Victor employed them, the latter applying them to truths having God for their object and so explicitly stated as to compel assent. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the article of faith is any revealed supernatural truth which is distinct in itself from other such truths but which unites with them to form the organic whole of Christian teaching. Thus the articles of the Creed announce truths which are in themselves distinct from one another but parts of a complete summary of the truths which have been revealed to help us to gain our last end. They are for Christian theology what fundamental principles are for a science. Not every revealed truth is an article of faith, nor are theologians agreed on what constitutes any truth an article of faith. Some would limit these articles to the contents of the Apostles' Creed. Others say that every truth defined by the Church, or in any other manner explicitly proposed for our belief, is an article of faith. De Lugo describes them as the principal or primary truths which are the basis of other revealed truths or principles. In the Catechism of the Council of Trent (p. 1, c. 1, q. 4), the truths of the Apostles' Creed are called "articles" by a sort of simile frequently used by our forefathers; for as the members of the body are divided by joints ( articuli ) so also in the profession of faith whatever is to be believed by us distinctly and separately from anything else we properly and appositely call an article".
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online