Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Faith

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

I. THE MEANING OF THE WORD

( Pistis , fides). In the Old Testament , the Hebrew means essentially steadfastness , cf. Exod., xvii, 12, where it is used to describe the strengthening of Moses' hands; hence it comes to mean faithfulness , whether of God towards man ( Deuteronomy 32:4 ) or of man towards God (Ps. cxviii, 30). As signifying man's attitude towards God it means trustfulness or fiducia . It would, however, be illogical to conclude that the word cannot, and does not, mean belief or faith in the Old Testament for it is clear that we cannot put trust in a person's promises without previously assenting to or believing in that person's claim to such confidence. Hence even if it could be proved that the Hebrew does not in itself contain the notion of belief, it must necessarily presuppose it. But that the word does itself contain the notion of belief is clear from the use of the radical, which in the causative conjugation, or Hiph'il , means "to believe ", e.g. Gen., xv, 6, and Deut., i, 32, in which latter passage the two meanings -- viz. of believing and of trusting -- are combined. That the noun itself often means faith or belief , is clear from Hab., ii, 4, where the context demands it. The witness of the Septuagint is decisive; they render the verb by pisteuo , and the noun by pistis ; and here again the two factors, faith and trust, are connoted by the same term. But that even in classical Greek pisteuo was used to signify believe , is clear from Euripides (Helene, 710), logois d'emoisi pisteuson tade , and that pistis could mean " belief " is shown by the same dramatist's theon d'ouketi pistis arage (Medea, 414; cf. Hipp., 1007). In the New Testament the meanings "to believe " and " belief ", for pisteon and pistis , come to the fore; in Christ's speech, pistis frequently means "trust", but also " belief " (cf. Matthew 8:10 ). In Acts it is used objectively of the tenets of the Christians, but is often to be rendered " belief " (cf. xvii, 31; xx, 21; xxvi, 8). In Romans, xiv, 23, it has the meaning of "conscience" -- "all that is not of faith is sin " -- but the Apostle repeatedly uses it in the sense of " belief " (cf. Romans 4 and Galatians 3 ). How necessary it is to point this out will be evident to all who are familiar with modern theological literature; thus, when a writer in the "Hibbert Journal", Oct., 1907, says, "From one end of the Scripture to the other, faith is trust and only trust ", it is hard to see how he would explain 1 Cor. xiii, 13, and Heb., xi, 1. The truth is that many theological writers of the present day are given to very loose thinking, and in nothing is this so evident as in their treatment of faith. In the article just referred to we read: "Trust in God is faith, faith is belief, belief may mean creed, but creed is not equivalent to trust in God." A similar vagueness was especially noticeable in the "Do we believe ?" controversy- one correspondent says- "We unbelievers, if we have lost faith, cling more closely to hope and -- the greatest of these -- charity" ("Do we believe ?", p. 180, ed. W. L. Courtney, 1905). Non- Catholic writers have repudiated all idea of faith as an intellectual assent, and consequently they fail to realize that faith must necessarily result in a body of dogmatic beliefs. "How and by what influence", asks Harnack, "was the living faith transformed into the creed to be believed, the surrender to Christ into a philosophical Christology ?" (quoted in Hibbert Journal, loc. cit.).

II. FAITH MAY BE CONSIDERED BOTH OBJECTIVELY AND SUBJECTIVELY

Objectively, it stands for the sum of truths revealed by God in Scripture and tradition and which the Church (see FAITH, RULE OF) presents to us in a brief form in her creeds, subjectively, faith stands for the habit or virtue by which we assent to those truths. It is with this subjective aspect of faith that we are here primarily concerned. Before we proceed to analyze the term faith, certain preliminary notions must be made clear.

(a) The twofold order of knowledge. -- "The Catholic Church ", says the Vatican Council, III, iv, "has always held that there is a twofold order of knowledge, and that these two orders are distinguished from one another not only in their principle but in their object; in one we know by natural reason, in the other by Divine faith; the object of the one is truth attainable by natural reason, the object of the other is mysteries hidden in God, but which we have to believe and which can only be known to us by Divine revelation ."

(b) Now intellectual knowledge may be defined in a general way as the union between the intellect and an intelligible object. But a truth is intelligible to us only in so far as it is evident to us, and evidence is of different kinds; hence, according to the varying character of the evidence, we shall have varying kinds of knowledge. Thus a truth may be self-evident -- e.g. the whole is greater than its part -- in which case we are said to have intuitive knowledge of it; or the truth may not be self-evident, but deducible from premises in which it is contained -- such knowledge is termed reasoned knowledge ; or again a truth may be neither self-evident nor deducible from premises in which it is contained, yet the intellect may be obliged to assent to it because It would else have to reject some other universally accepted truth ; lastly, the intellect may be induced to assent to a truth for none of the foregoing reasons, but solely because, though not evident in itself, this truth rests on grave authority -- for example, we accept the statement that the sun is 90,000,000 miles distant from the earth because competent, veracious authorities vouch for the fact. This last kind of knowledge is termed faith, and is clearly necessary in daily life. If the authority upon which we base our assent is human and therefore fallible, we have human and fallible faith; if the authority is Divine, we have Divine and infallible faith. If to this be added the medium by which the Divine authority for certain statements is put before us, viz. the Catholic Church, we have Divine-Catholic Faith (see FAITH, RULE OF).

(c) Again, evidence, whatever its source, may be of various degrees and so cause greater or less firmness of adhesion on the part of the mind which assents to a truth. Thus arguments or authorities for and against a truth may be either wanting or evenly balanced, in this case the intellect does not give in its adherence to the truth, but remains in a state of doubt or absolute suspension of judgment; or the arguments on one side may predominate; though not to the exclusion of those on the other side; in this case we have not complete adhesion of the intellect to the truth in question but only opinion. Lastly, the arguments or authorities brought forward may be so convincing that the mind gives its unqualified assent to the statement proposed and has no fear whatever lest it should not be true ; this state of mind is termed certitude, and is the perfection of knowledge. Divine faith, then, is that form of knowledge which is derived from Divine authority, and which consequently begets absolute certitude in the mind of the recipient

(d) That such Divine faith is necessary, follows from the fact of Divine revelation. For revelation means that the Supreme Truth has spoken to man and revealed to him truths which are not in themselves evident to the human mind. We must, then, either reject revelation altogether, or accept it by faith; that is, we must submit our intellect to truths which we cannot understand, but which come to us on Divine authority.

(e) We shall arrive at a better understanding of the habit or virtue of faith if we have previously analysed an act of faith; and this analysis will be facilitated by examining an act of ocular vision and an act of reasoned knowledge. In ocular vision we distinguish three things: the eye, or visual faculty the coloured object, and the light which serves as the medium between the eye and the object. It is usual to term colour the formal object ( objectum formale quod ) of vision, since it is that which precisely and alone makes a thing the object of vision, the individual object seen may be termed the material object, e.g. this apple, that man, etc. Similarly, the light which serves as the medium between the eye and the object is termed the formal reason ( objectum formale quo ) of our actual vision. In the same way, when we analyze an act of intellectual assent to any given truth, we must distinguish the intellectual faculty which elicits the act the intelligible object towards which the intellect is directed, and the evidence whether intrinsic to that object or extrinsic to it, which moves us to assent to it. None of these factors can be omitted, each cooperates in bringing about the act, whether of ocular vision or of intellectual assent.

(f) Hence, for an act of faith we shall need a faculty capable of eliciting the act, an object commensurate with that faculty, and evidence -- not intrinsic but extrinsic to that object -- which shall serve as the link between faculty and object. We will commence our analysis with the object:-

III. ANALYSIS OF THE OBJECT OR TERM IN AN ACT OF DIVINE FAITH

(a) For a truth to be the object of an act of Divine faith, it must be itself Divine, and this not merely as coming from God, but as being itself concerned with God. Just as in ocular vision the formal object must necessarily be something coloured, so in Divine faith the formal object must be something Divine -- in theological language, the objectum formale quod of Divine faith is the First Truth in Being, Prima Veritas in essendo -- we could not make an act of Divine faith in the existence of India.

(b) Again, the evidence upon which we assent to this Divine truth must also be itself Divine, and there must be as close a relation between that truth and the evidence upon which it comes to us as there is between the coloured object and the light; the former is a necessary condition for the exercise of our visual faculty, the latter is the cause of our actual vision. But no one but God can reveal God ; in other words, God is His own evidence. Hence, just as the formal object of Divine faith is the First Truth Itself, so the evidence of that First Truth is the First Truth declaring Itself. To use scholastic language once more, the objectum formale quod , or the motive, or the evidence, of Divine faith is the Prima Veritas in dicendo .

(c) There is a controversy whether the same truth can be an object both of faith and of knowledge. In other words, can we believe a thing both because we are told it on good authority and because we ourselves perceive it to be true ? St. Thomas, Scotus, and others hold that once a thing is seen to be true, the adhesion of the mind is in no wise strengthened by the authority of one who states that it is so, but the majority of theologians maintain, with De Lugo, that there may be a knowledge which does not entirely satisfy the mind, and that authority may then find a place, to complete its satisfaction. -- We may note here the absurd expression Credo quia impossibile , which has provoked many sneers. It is not an axiom of the Scholastics, as was stated in the "Revue de Metaphysique et de Morale" (March, 1896, p. 169), and as was suggested more than once in the "Do we believe ?" correspondence. The expression is due to Tertullian, whose exact words are: "Natus est Dei Filius; non pudet, quia pudendum est: et mortuus est Dei Filius; prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est; et sepultus, resurrexit; certum est, quia impossibile" (De Carne Christi, cap. v). This treatise dates from Tertullian's Montanist days, when he was carried away by his love of paradox. At the same time it is clear that the writer only aims at bringing out the wisdom of God manifested in the humiliation of the Cross; he is perhaps paraphrasing St. Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 1:25 .

(d) Let us now take some concrete act of faith, e.g. "I believe in the Most Holy Trinity." This mystery is the material or individual object upon which we are now exercising our faith, the formal object is its character as being a Divine truth, and this truth is clearly inevident as far as we are concerned; it in no way appeals to our intellect, on the contrary it rather repels it. And yet we assent to it by faith, consequently upon evidence which is extrinsic and not intrinsic to the truth we are accepting. But there can be no evidence commensurate with such a mystery save the Divine testimony itself, and this constitutes the motive for our assent to the mystery, and is, in scholastic language, the objectum formale quo of our assent. If then, we are asked why we believe with Divine faith any Divine truth, the only adequate answer must be because God has revealed it.

(e) We may point out in this connexion the falsity of the prevalent notion that faith is blind. "We believe ", says the Vatican Council (III, iii), "that revelation is true, not indeed because the intrinsic truth of the mysteries is clearly seen by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Who reveals them, for He can neither deceive nor be deceived." Thus, to return to the act of faith which we make in the Holy Trinity , we may formulate it in syllogistic fashion thus: Whatever God reveals is true but God has revealed the mystery of the Holy Trinity therefore this mystery is true. The major premise is indubitable and intrinsically evident to reason ; the minor premise is also true because it is declared to us by the infallible Church (cf. FAITH, RULE OF), and also because, as the Vatican Council says, "in addition to the internal assistance of His Holy Spirit, it has pleased God to give us certain external proofs of His revelation, viz. certain Divine facts, especially miracles and prophecies, for since these latter clearly manifest God's omnipotence and infinite knowledge, they afford most certain proofs of His revelation and are suited to the capacity of all." Hence St. Thomas says: "A man would not believe unless he saw the things he had to believe, either by the evidence of miracles or of something similar" (II-II:1:4, ad 1). The saint is here speaking of the motives of credibility.

IV. MOTIVES OF CREDIBILITY

(a) When we say that a certain statement is incredible we often mean merely that it is extraordinary, but it should be borne in mind that this is a misuse of language, for the credibility or incredibility of a statement has nothing to do with its intrinsic probability or improbability; it depends solely upon the credentials of the authority who makes the statement. Thus the credibility of the statement that a secret alliance has been entered into between England and America depends solely upon the authoritative position and the veracity of our informant. If he be a clerk in a government office it is possible that he may have picked up some genuine information, but if our informant be the Prime Minister of England, his statement has the highest degree of credibility because his credentials are of the highest. When we speak of the motives of credibility of revealed truth we mean the evidence that the things asserted are revealed truths. In other words, the credibility of the statements made is correlative with and proportionate to the credentials of the authority who makes them. Now the credentials of God are indubitable, for the very idea of God involves that of omniscience and of the Supreme Truth. Hence, what God says is supremely credible, though not necessarily supremely intelligible for us. Here, however, the real question is not as to the credentials of God or the credibility of what He says, but as to the credibility of the statement that God has spoken. In other words who or what is the authority for this statement, and what credentials does this authority show? What are the motives of credibility of the statement that God has revealed this or that?

(b) These motives of credibility may be briefly stated as follows: in the Old Testament considered not as an inspired book, but merely as a book having historical value, we find detailed the marvellous dealings of God with a particular nation to whom He repeatedly reveals Himself; we read of miracles wrought in their favour and as proofs of the truth of the revelation He makes; we find the most sublime teaching and the repeated announcement of God's desire to save the world from sin and its consequences. And more than all we find throughout the pages of this book a series of hints, now obscure, now clear, of some wondrous person who is to come as the world's saviour; we find it asserted at one time that he is man, at others that he is God Himself. When we turn to the New Testament we find that it records the birth, life, and death of One Who, while clearly man, also claimed to be God, and Who proved the truth of His claim by His whole life, miracles, teachings, and death, and finally by His triumphant resurrection. We find, moreover, that He founded a Church which should, so He said, continue to the end of time, which should serve as the repository of His teaching, and should be the means of applying to all men the fruits of the redemption He had wrought. When we come to the subsequent history of this Church we find it speedily spreading everywhere, and this in spite of its humble origin, its unworldly teaching, and the cruel persecution which it meets at the hands of the rulers of this world. And as the centuries pass we find this Church battling against heresies schisms, and the sins of her own people-nay, of her own rulers -- and yet continuing ever the same, promulgating ever the same doctrine, and putting before men the same mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of the world's Saviour, Who had, so she taught, gone before to prepare a home for those who while on earth should have believed in Him and fought the good fight. But if the history of the Church since New-Testament times thus wonderfully confirms the New Testament itself, and if the New Testament so marvellously completes the Old Testament, these books must really contain what they claim to contain, viz. Divine revelation. And more than all, that Person Whose life and death were so minutely foretold in the Old Testament, and Whose story, as told in the New Testament, so perfectly corresponds with its prophetic delineation in the Old Testament, must be what He claimed to be, viz. the Son of God. His work, therefore, must be Divine. The Church which He founded must also be Divine and the repository and guardian of His teaching. Indeed, we can truly say that for every truth of Christianity which we believe Christ Himself is our testimony, and we believe in Him because the Divinity He claimed rests upon the concurrent testimony of His miracles, His prophecies His personal character, the nature of His doctrine, the marvellous propagation of His teaching in spite of its running counter to flesh and blood, the united testimony of thousands of martyrs, the stories of countless saints who for His sake have led heroic lives, the history of the Church herself since the Crucifixion, and, perhaps more remarkable than any, the history of the papacy from St. Peter to Pius X.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

(c) These testimonies are unanimous; they all point in one direction, they are of every age, they are clear and simple, and are within the grasp of the humblest intelligence. And, as the Vatican Council has said, "the Church herself, is, by her marvellous propagation, her wondrous sanctity, her inexhaustible fruitfulness in good works, her Catholic unity, and her enduring stability, a great and perpetual motive of credibility and an irrefragable witness to her Divine commission" (Const. Dei Filius ) . "The Apostles ", says St. Augustine, "saw the Head and believed in the Body; we see the Body let us believe in the Head" [Sermo ccxliii, 8 (al. cxliii), de temp., P.L., V 1143]. Every believer will echo the words of Richard of St. Victor, "Lord, if we are in error, by Thine own self we have been deceived- for these things have been confirmed by such signs and wonders in our midst as could only have been done by Thee!" (de Trinitate, 1, cap. ii).

(d) But much misunderstanding exists regarding the meaning and office of the motives of credibility. In the first place, they afford us definite and certain knowledge of Divine revelation ; but this knowledge precedes faith; it is not the final motive for our assent to the truths of faith- as St. Thomas says, "Faith has the character of a virtue, not because of the things it believes, for faith is of things that appear not, but because it adheres to the testimony of one in whom truth is infallibly found" (De Veritate, xiv, 8); this knowledge of revealed truth which precedes faith can only beget human faith it is not even the cause of Divine faith (cf. Francisco Suárez, be Fide disp. iii, 12), but is rather to be considered a remote disposition to it. We must insist upon this because in the minds of many faith is regarded as a more or less necessary consequence of a careful study of the motives of credibility, a view which the Vatican Council condemns expressly: "If anyone says that the assent of Christian faith is not free, but that it necessarily follows from the arguments which human reason can furnish in its favour; or if anyone says that God's grace is only necessary for that living faith which worketh through charity, let him be anathema " (Sess. IV). Nor can the motives of credibility make the mysteries of faith clear in themselves, for, as St. Thomas says, "the arguments which induce us to believe, e.g. miracles, do not prove the faith itself, but only the truthfulness of him who declares it to us, and consequently they do not beget knowledge of faith's mysteries, but only faith" (in Sent., III, xxiv, Q. i, art. 2, sol. 2, ad 4). On the other hand, we must not minimize the real probative force of the motives of credibility within their true sphere- "Reason declares that from the very outset the Gospel teaching was rendered conspicuous by signs and wonders which gave, as it were, definite proof of a definite truth " ( Leo XIII, Æterni Patris ).

(e) The Church has twice condemned the view that faith ultimately rests on an accumulation of probabilities. Thus the proposition, "The assent of supernatural faith . . is consistent with merely probable knowledge of revelation " was condemned by Innocent XI in 1679 (cf. Denzinger, Enchiridion, 10th ed., no. 1171); and the Syllabus Lamentabili sane (July, 1907) condemns the proposition (XXV) that "the assent of faith rests ultimately on an accumulation of probabilities." But since the great name of Newman has been dragged into the controversy regarding this last proposition, we may point out that, in the Grammar of Assent (chap. x, sect. 2), Newman refers solely to the proof of faith afforded by the motives of credibility, and he rightly concludes that, since these are not demonstrative, this line of proof may be termed "an accumulation of probabilities". But it would be absurd to say that Newman therefore based the final assent of faith on this accumulation- as a matter of fact he is not here making an analysis of an act of faith, but only of the grounds for faith; the question of authority does not come into his argument (cf. McNabb, Oxford Conferences on Faith , pp. 121-122).

V. ANALYSIS OF THE ACT OF FAITH FROM THE SUBJECTIVE STANDPOINT

(a) The light of faith. -- An angel understands truths which are beyond man's comprehension; if then a man were called upon to assent to a truth beyond the ken of the human intellect, but within the grasp of the angelic intellect, he would require for the time being something more than his natural light of reason, he would require what we may call "the angelic light". If, now, the same man were called upon to assent to a truth beyond the grasp of both men and angels, he would clearly need a still higher light, and this light we term "the light of faith" -- a light, because it enables him to assent to those supernatural truths, and the light of faith because it does not so illumine those truths as to make them no longer obscure, for faith must ever be "the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not" ( Hebrews 11:1 ). Hence St. Thomas ( De Veritate , xiv, 9, ad 2) says: "Although the Divinely infused light of faith is more powerful than the natural light of reason, nevertheless in our present state we only imperfectly participate in it; and hence it comes to pass that it does not beget in us real vision of those things which it is meant to teach us; such vision belongs to our eternal home, where we shall perfectly participate in that light, where, in fine, in God's light we shall see light' (Ps. xxxv, 10)."

(b) The necessity of such light is evident from what has been said, for faith is essentially an act of assent, and just as assent to a series of deductive or inductive reasonings, or to intuition of first principles, would be impossible without the light of reason, so, too assent to a supernatural truth would be inconceivable without a supernatural strengthening of the natural light "Quid est enim fides nisi credere quod non vides?" (i.e. what is faith but belief in that which thou seest not?) asks St. Augustine; but he also says: "Faith has its eyes by which it in some sort sees that to be true which it does not yet see- and by which, too, it most surely sees that it does not see what it believes " [Ep. ad Consent., ep. cxx 8 (al. ccxxii), P.L., II, 456].

(c) Again, it is evident that this "light of faith" is a supernatural gift and is not the necessary outcome of assent to the motives of credibility. No amount of study will win it, no intellectual conviction as to the credibility of revealed religion nor even of the claims of the Church to be our infallible guide in matters of faith, will produce this light in a man's mind. It is the free gift of God. Hence the Vatican Council (III, iii;) teaches that "faith is a supernatural virtue by which we with the inspiration and assistance of God's grace , believe those things to be true which He has revealed". The same decree goes on to say that "although the assent of faith is in no sense blind, yet no one can assent to the Gospel teaching in the way necessary for salvation without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, Who bestows on all a sweetness in believing and consenting to the truth ". Thus, neither as regards the truth believed nor as regards the motives for believing, nor as regards the subjective principle by which we believe -- viz. the infused light -- can faith be considered blind.

(d) The place of the will in an act of faith. -- So far we have seen that faith is an act of the intellect assenting to a truth which is beyond its grasp, e.g. the mystery of the Holy Trinity. But to many it will seem almost as futile to ask the intellect to assent to a proposition which is not intrinsically evident as it would be to ask the eye to see a sound. It is clear, however, that the intellect can be moved by the will either to study or not to study a certain truth, though if the truth be a self-evident one -- e.g., that the whole is greater than its part -- the will cannot affect the intellect's adhesion to it, it can, however, move it to think of something else, and thus distract it from the contemplation of that particular truth. If, now, the will moves the intellect to consider some debatable point-e.g. the Copernican and Ptolemaic theories of the relationship between the sun and the earth -- it is clear that the intellect can only assent to one of these views in proportion as it is convinced that the particular view is true. But neither view has, as far as we can know, more than probable truth, hence of itself the intellect can only give in its partial adherence to one of these views, it must always be precluded from absolute assent by the possibility that the other view may be right. The fact that men hold much more tenaciously to one of these than the arguments warrant can only be due to some extrinsic consideration, e.g. that it is absurd not to hold what the vast majority of men hold. And here it should be noted that, as St. Thomas says repeatedly, the intellect only assents to a statement for one of two reasons: either because that statement is immediately or mediately evident in itself -- e.g. a first principle or a conclusion from premises -- or because the will moves it to do so. Extrinsic evidence of course comes into play when intrinsic evidence is wanting, but though it would be absurd, without weighty evidence in its support, to assent to a truth which we do not grasp, yet no amount of such evidence can make us assent, it could only show that the statement in question was credible, our ultimate actual assent could only be due to the intrinsic evidence which the statement itself offered, or, failing that, due to the will. Hence it is that St. Thomas repeatedly defines the act of faith as the assent of the intellect determined by the will (De Veritate, xiv, 1; II-II, Q. ii, a. 1, ad 3; 2, c.; ibid., iv, 1, c., and ad 2). The reason, then, why men cling to certain beliefs more tenaciously than the arguments in their favour would warrant, is to be sought in the will rather than in the intellect. Authorities are to be found on both sides, the intrinsic evidence is not convincing, but something is to be gained by assenting to one view rather than the other, and this appeals to the will, which therefore determines the intellect to assent to the view which promises the most. Similarly, in Divine faith the credentials of the authority which tells us that God has made certain revelations are strong, but they are always extrinsic to the proposition, " God has revealed this or that", and consequently they cannot compel our assent; they merely show us that this statement is credible. When, then, we ask whether we are to give in our free assent to any particular statement or not, we feel that in the first place we cannot do so unless there be strong extrinsic evidence in its favour, for to believe a thing merely because we wished to do so would be absurd. Secondly, the proposition itself does not compel our assent, since it is not intrinsically evident, but there remains the fact that only on condition of our assent to it shall we have what the human soul naturally yearns for, viz., the possession of God, Who is, as both reason and authority declare, our ultimate end; "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved", and "Without faith it is impossible to please God." St. Thomas expresses this by saying: "The disposition of a believer is that of one who accepts another's word for some statement, because it seems fitting or useful to do so. In the same way we believe Divine revelation because the reward of eternal life is promised us for so doing. It is the will which is moved by the prospect of this reward to assent to what is said, even though the intellect is not moved by something which it understands. Hence St. Augustine says (Tract. xxvi in Joannem, 2): Cetera potest homo nolens, credere nonnisi volens' [i.e. other things a man can do against his will but to believe he must will]" (De Ver., xiv, 1).

(e) But just as the intellect needed a new and special light in order to assent to the supernatural truths of faith, so also the will needs a special grace from God in order that it may tend to that supernatural good which is eternal life. The light of faith, then, illumines the understanding, though the truth still remains obscure, since it is beyond the intellect's grasp; but supernatural grace moves the will, which, having now a supernatural good put before it, moves the intellect to assent to what it does not understand. Hence it is that faith is described as "bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ" ( 2 Corinthians 10:5 ).

VI. DEFINITION OF FAITH

The foregoing analyses will enable us to define an act of Divine supernatural faith as "the act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God " (St. Thomas, II-II, Q. iv, a. 2). And just as the light of faith is a gift supernaturally bestowed upon the understanding, so also this Divine grace moving the will is, as its name implies, an equally supernatural and an absolutely gratuitous gift. Neither gift is due to previous study neither of them can be acquired by human efforts, but "Ask and ye shall receive."

From all that has been said two most important corollaries follow:

  • That temptations against faith are natural and inevitable and are in no sense contrary to faith, "since", says St. Thomas, "the assent of the intellect in faith is due to the will, and since the object to which the intellect thus assents is not its own proper object -- for that is actual vision of an intelligible object -- it follows that the intellect's attitude towards that object is not one of tranquillity, on the contrary it thinks and inquires about those things it believes, all the while that it assents to them unhesitatingly; for as far as it itself is concerned the intellect is not satisfied" (De Ver., xiv, 1).
  • (b) It also follows from the above that an act of supernatural faith is meritorious, since it proceeds from the will moved by Divine grace or charity, and thus has all the essential constituents of a meritorious act (cf. II-II, Q. ii, a. 9). This enables us to understand St. James's words when he says, "The devils also believe and tremble" (ii, 19) . "It is not willingly that they assent", says St. Thomas, "but they are compelled thereto by the evidence of those signs which prove that what believers assent to is true, though even those proofs do not make the truths of faith so evident as to afford what is termed vision of them" (De Ver., xiv 9, ad 4); nor is their faith Divine, but merely philosophical and natural. Some may fancy the foregoing analyses superfluous, and may think that they savour too much of Scholasticism. But if anyone will be at the pains to compare the teaching of the Fathers, of the Scholastics, and of the divines of the Anglican Church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with that of the non-Catholic theologians of today, he will find that the Scholastics merely put into shape what the Fathers taught, and that the great English divines owe their solidity and genuine worth to their vast patristic knowledge and their strictly logical training.

Let anyone who doubts this statement compare Bishop Butler's Analogy of Religion , chaps. v, vi, with the paper on "Faith" contributed to Lux Mundi . The writer of this latter paper tells us that "faith is an elemental energy of the soul ", "a tentative probation", that "its primary note will be trust ", and finally that "in response to the demand for definition, it can only reiterate: "Faith is faith. Believing is just believing' ". Nowhere is there any analysis of terms, nowhere any distinction between the relative parts played by the intellect and the will; and we feel that those who read the paper must have risen from its perusal with the feeling that they had been wandering through -- we use the writer's own expression -- "a juggling maze of words."

VII. THE: HABIT OF FAITH AND THE LIFE OF FAITH

(a) We have defined the act of faith as the assent of the intellect to a truth which is beyond its comprehension, but which it accepts under the influence of the will moved by grace and from the analysis we are now in a position to define the virtue of faith as a supernatural habit by which we firmly believe those things to be true which God has revealed. Now every virtue is the perfection of some faculty, but faith results from the combined action of two faculties, viz., the intellect which elicits the act, and the will which moves the intellect to do so; consequently, the perfection of faith will depend upon the perfection with which each of these faculties performs its allotted task; the intellect must assent unhesitatingly, the will must promptly and readily move it to do so.

(b) The unhesitating assent of the intellect cannot be due to intellectual conviction of the reasonableness of faith, whether we regard the grounds on which it rests or the actual truths we believe, for "faith is the evidence of things that appear not"; it must, then, be referred to the fact that these truths come to us on Divine infallible testimony. And though faith is so essentially of "the unseen" it may be that the peculiar function of the light of faith, which we have seen to be so necessary, is in some sort to afford us, not indeed vision, but an instinctive appreciation of the truths which are declared to be revealed. St. Thomas seems to hint at this when he says: "As by other virtuous habits a man sees what accords with those habits, so by the habit of faith a man's mind is inclined to assent to those things which belong to the true faith and not to other things" (II-II:4:4, ad 3) . In every act of faith this unhesitating assent of the intellect is due to the motion of the will as its efficient cause, and the same must be said of the theological virtue of faith when we consider it as a habit or as a moral virtue, for, as St. Thomas insists (I-II, Q. lvi, ), there is no virtue, properly so called, in the intellect except in so far as it is subject to the will. Thus the habitual promptitude of the will in moving the intellect to assent to the truths of faith is not only the efficient cause of the intellect's assent, but is precisely what gives to this assent its virtuous, and consequently meritorious, character. Lastly, this promptitude of the will can only come from its unswerving tendency to the Supreme Good. And at the risk of repetition we must again draw attention to the distinction between faith as a purely intellectual habit, which as such is dry and barren, and faith resident, indeed, in the intellect, but motived by charity or love of God, Who is our beginning, our ultimate end, and our supernatural reward. "Every true motion of the will", says St. Augustine, "proceeds from true love " (de Civ. Dei, XIV, ix), and, as he elsewhere beautifully expresses it, " Quid est ergo credere in Eum? Credendo amare, credendo diligere, credendo in Eum ire, et Ejus membris incorporari. Ipsa est ergo fides quam de nobis Deus exigit- et non invenit quod exigat, nisi donaverit quod invenerit. " (Tract. xxix in Joannem, 6. -- "What, then, is to believe in God ? -- It is to love Him by believing, to go to Him by believing, and to be incorporated in His members. This, then, is the faith which God demands of us; and He finds not what He may demand except where He has given what He may find.") This then is what is meant by "living" faith, or as theologians term it, fides formata , viz., "informed" by charity, or love of God. If we regard faith precisely as an assent elicited by the intellect, then this bare faith is the same habit numerically as when the informing principle of charity is added to it, but it has not the true character of a moral virtue and is not a source of merit. If, then, charity be dead -- if, in other words, a man be in mortal sin and so without the habitual sanctifying grace of God which alone gives to his will that due tendency to God as his supernatural end which is requisite for supernatural and meritorious acts -- it is evident that there is no longer in the will that power by which it can, from supernatural motives, move the intellect to assent to supernatural truths. The

More Volume: F 396

Filter 396 entries by typing in the 'Search' box below. Click/Touch the letter below to view encyclopedia articles within that volume.

Article
Félix, Célestin Joseph

Celestin Joseph Felix

French Jesuit, b. at Neuville-sur-l' Escaut (Nord), 28 June 1810; d. at Lille, 7 July, 1891. He ...
Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe-

Francois Fenelon

A celebrated French bishop and author, b. in the Château de Fénelon in ...
Féval, Paul-Henri-Corentin

Paul-Henri-Corentin Feval

Novelist, b. at Rennes, 27 September, 1817; d. in Paris, 8 March 1887. He belonged to an old ...
Förster, Arnold

Arnold Forster

German entomologist; b. at Aachen, 20 Jan., 1810; d. in the same city, 12 Aug., 1884. His father ...
Führich, Joseph

Joseph Fuhrich

(Born 1800; died 1876.) Joseph Führich was as Catholic in his art as in his life. He was ...
Fünfkirchen

Fuenfkirchen

( Hungarian PÉCS, QUINQUE ECCLESIENSIS) Located in Hungary, in the ecclesiastical ...
Fürstenberg, Franz Friedrich Wilhelm von

Franz Friedrich Wilhelm von Furstenberg

A statesman and educator, b. 7 August, 1729, at Herdringen in Westphalia ; d. 16 September, 1810, ...
Façade

Facade

The face or front of any building. In ecclesiastical architecture the term is generally used to ...
Faa di Bruno, Francesco

Francesco Faa di Bruno

An Italian mathematician and priest, born at Alessandria, 7 March, 1825; died at Turin, 26 ...
Faber, Felix

Felix Faber

German writer, born about 1441 at Zurich, of a famous family commonly known as Schmid; died in ...
Faber, Frederick William

Frederick William Faber

Oratorian and devotional writer, b. 28 June, 1814, at Calverley, Yorkshire, England ; d. in ...
Faber, Johann

Johann Faber

Theologian, b. at Leutkirch, in Swabia, 1478; d. in Vienna, 21 May, 1541. He studied ...
Faber, Johann

Johann Faber

Johann Faber of Heilbronn, controversialist and preacher; b. 1504, at Heilbronn in Wittenberg ; ...
Faber, Johann Augustanus

Johann Augustanus Faber

Theologian, born at Fribourg, Switzerland, c. 1470; died about 1531. He entered the Dominican ...
Faber, Matthias

Matthias Faber

Writer and preacher, born at Altomünster, Germany, 24 February, 1586; died at Tyrnau, 26 ...
Faber, Peter, Saint

Peter Faber

Born 13 April, 1506, at Villaret, Savoy ; died 1 Aug., 1546, in Rome. As a child he tended his ...
Faber, Philip

Philip Faber

(Or Fabri.) Theologian, philosopher and noted commentator of Duns Scotus ; born in 1564, at ...
Fabian, Pope Saint

Pope Saint Fabian

(FABIANUS) Pope (236-250), the extraordinary circumstances of whose election is related by ...
Fabiola, Saint

St. Fabiola

A Roman matron of rank, died 27 December, 399 or 400. She was one of the company of noble Roman ...
Fabre, Joseph

Joseph Fabre

Second Superior General of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, born 14 November, 1824, at Cuges, ...
Fabri, Honoré

Honore Fabri

(Lefèvre.) Jesuit, theologian, b. about 1607 in the Department of Ain, France ; d. at ...
Fabri, Philip

Philip Faber

(Or Fabri.) Theologian, philosopher and noted commentator of Duns Scotus ; born in 1564, at ...
Fabriano and Matelica

Fabriano and Matelica

Diocese of Fabriano and Matelica (Fabrianensis et Mathelicensis). Fabriano, a city in the ...
Fabrica Ecclesiæ

Fabrica Ecclesiae

A Latin term, meaning, etymologically, the construction of a church, but in a broader sense the ...
Fabricius, Hieronymus

Hieronymus Fabricius

(Surnamed ab Aquapendente ). Distinguished Italian anatomist and surgeon, b. in the little ...
Fabyan, Robert

Robert Fabyan

English chronicler, died 28 February, 1513. He was a London clothier, a member of the Drapers' ...
Facciolati, Jacopo

Jacopo Facciolati

Lexicographer and philologist, b. at Torreglia, near Padua, Italy, 4 Jan., 1682; d. at Padua, 26 ...
Fact, Dogmatic

Dogmatic Fact

(1) Definition By a dogmatic fact , in wider sense, is meant any fact connected with a dogma ...
Faculties of the Soul

Faculties of the Soul

I. MEANING Whatever doctrine one may hold concerning the nature of the human soul and its ...
Faculties, Canonical

Canonical Faculties

( Latin Facultates ) In law, a faculty is the authority, privilege, or permission, to ...
Facundus of Hermiane

Facundus of Hermiane

A sixth-century Christian author, Bishop of Hermiane in Africa, about whose career very little ...
Faenza

Faenza

DIOCESE OF FAENZA (FAVENTINA) Diocese in the province of Ravenna (Central Italy ), suffragan ...
Fagnani, Prospero

Prospero Fagnani

Canonist, b. in Italy, place and date of birth uncertain; d. in 1678. Some writers place his ...
Fagnano, Guilio Carlo de' Toschi di

Guilio Carlo De' Toschi Di

Mathematician, born at Sinigaglia, Italy, 26 September, 1682; died there 18 May, 1766. He made ...
Faillon, Etienne-Michel

Etienne-Michel Faillon

Historian, born at Tarascon, France, 3 January, 1800; died at Paris, 25 October, 1870. He studied ...
Faith

Faith

I. THE MEANING OF THE WORD ( Pistis , fides). In the Old Testament , the Hebrew means ...
Faith, Hope, and Charity (Saints)

Sts. Faith, Hope and Charity

The names of two groups of Roman martyrs around whom a considerable amount of legendary lore has ...
Faith, The Rule of

The Rule of Faith

The word rule ( Latin regula , Gr. kanon ) means a standard by which something can be ...
Faithful, The

The Faithful

( Latin fideles , from fides , faith.) Those who have bound themselves to a religious ...
Falco, Juan Conchillos

Juan Conchillos Falco

Painter, b. at Valencia of an ancient noble family in 1641; d. 14 May, 1711. He was a pupil of ...
Faldstool

Faldstool

(Latin faldistorium ; also facistorium, faudestolus, faudestola ). A movable folding ...
Falkner, Thomas

Thomas Falkner

Born 6 Oct., 1707; died 30 Jan., 1784. He was the son of Thomas Falkner, a Manchester ...
Fall River

Fall River

DIOCESE OF FALL RIVER (RIVERORMENSIS), U.S.A. A suffragan see of the Province of Boston ; ...
Fallopio, Gabriello

Gabriello Fallopio

Anatomist, "one of the most important of the many-sided physicians of the sixteenth century" ...
Falloux du Coudray

Vicomte de Falloux du Coudray

Frédéric Alfred Pierre, Vicomte de Falloux du Coudray Born at Angers, 7 March, ...
False Decretals

False Decretals

(The Decretals of the Pseudo-Isidore) False Decretals is a name given to certain apocryphal ...
Falsity

Falsity

( Latin Falsitas .) A perversion of truth originating in the deceitfulness of one party, and ...
Famagusta

Famagusta

A titular see in the Island of Cyprus. The name appears to be derived from the Greek ...
Familiars

Familiars

Strictly speaking, seculars subject to a master's authority and maintained at his expense. In this ...
Family

Family

A term derived from the Latin, famulus , servant, and familia , household servants, or the ...
Fano

Fano

(FANENSIS.) Fano, the ancient Fanum Fortunæ, a city of the Marches in the province of ...
Fanon

Fanon

A shoulder-cape worn by the pope alone, consisting of two pieces of white silk ornamented with ...
Faraud, Henri

Henri Faraud

Titular Bishop of Anémour and first Vicar Apostolic of Athabasca-Mackenzie , Canada ; ...
Farfa, Abbey of

Abbey of Farfa

Situated about 26 miles from Rome, not far from the Farfa Sabina Railway station. A legend in the ...
Fargo

Fargo

(FARGUS; FARGENSIS) Diocese ; suffragan of St. Paul, U.S.A., embracing the whole of the State ...
Faribault, George-Barthélemy

George-Barthelemy Faribault

An archaeologist, b. at Quebec, Canada, 3 Dec., 1789; d. 1866. He was a first cousin of ...
Faribault, Jean-Baptiste

Jean-Baptiste Faribault

A trader with the Indians and early settler in Minnesota, U.S.A.; b. 19 October, 1774, at ...
Farinato, Paolo

Paolo Farinato

An Italian painter, b. at Verona 1524; d. there, 1606. He belonged to the old Florentine ...
Faringdon, Blessed Hugh

Bl. Hugh Faringdon

( Vere COOK). English martyr ; b. probably at Faringdon, Berkshire, date unknown; d. at ...
Farlati, Daniele

Daniele Farlati

An ecclesiastical historian, b. at San Daniele del Friuli in the present Italian province of ...
Farnese, Alessandro

Alessandro Farnese

The name of two cardinals. For the elder see POPE PAUL III. The young Alessandro Farnese -- ...
Faro

Faro (Portugal)

(PHARENSIS) A suffragan of Evora, Portugal, and extending over the province of Algarve. The ...
Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Geography and Statistics A group of Danish islands rising from the sea some four hundred miles ...
Fast

Fast

In general abstinence from food or drink, a term common to the various Teutonic tongues. Some ...
Fatalism

Fatalism

Fatalism is in general the view which holds that all events in the history of the world, and, in ...
Fate

Fate

( Latin fatum, from fari, to tell or predict ). This word is almost redundant in the ...
Fathers of Mercy, The

The Fathers of Mercy

A congregation of missionary priests first established at Lyons, France, in 1808, and later at ...
Fathers of the Church

Fathers of the Church

The Appeal to the Fathers Classification of Patristic Writings Apostolic Fathers and the Second ...
Fathers, The Apostolic

The Apostolic Fathers

Christian writers of the first and second centuries who are known, or are considered, to have had ...
Faunt, Lawrence Arthur

Lawrence Arthur Faunt

A Jesuit theologian, b. 1554, d. at Wilna, Poland, 28 February, 1590-91. After two years at ...
Fauriel, Charles-Claude

Charles-Claude Fauriel

A historian, b. at St-Etienne, France, 27 October, 1772; d. at Paris,15 July, 1844. He studied ...
Faustinus and Jovita, Saints

Sts. Faustinus and Jovita

Martyrs, members of a noble family of Brescia ; the elder brother, Faustinus, being a priest, ...
Faustus of Riez

Faustus of Riez

Bishop of Riez ( Rhegium ) in Southern Gaul (Provence), the best known and most distinguished ...
Faversham Abbey

Faversham Abbey

A former Benedictine monastery of the Cluniac Congregation situated in the County of Kent ...
Faye, Hervé-Auguste-Etienne-Albann

Herve-Auguste-Etienne-Albans Faye

An astronomer, b. at Saint-Benoît-du-Sault (Indre, France ), Oct., 1814; d. at Paris, 4 ...
Fear (from a Moral Standpoint)

Fear (From a Moral Standpoint)

(CONSIDERED FROM A MORAL STANDPOINT.) Fear is an unsettlement of soul consequent upon the ...
Fear (in Canon Law)

Fear (In Canon Law)

(IN CANON LAW.) A mental disturbance caused by the perception of instant or future danger. ...
Feast of Fools

Feast of Fools

A celebration marked by much license and buffoonery, which in many parts of Europe, and ...
Feasts, Ecclesiastical

Ecclesiastical Feasts

( Latin Festum ; Greek heorte ). Feast Days, or Holy Days, are days which are celebrated in ...
Febronianism

Febronianism

The politico-ecclesiastical system outlined by Johann Nikolaus von Hontheim, Auxiliary Bishop of ...
Feckenham, John de

John de Feckenham

Last Abbot of Westminster, and confessor of the Faith ; b. in Feckenham Forest, ...
Feder, Johann Michael

Johann Michael Feder

A German theologian, b. 25 May, 1753, at Oellingen in Bavaria ; d. 26 July, 1824, at ...
Feilding, Rudolph William Basil

Rudolph William Basil Feilding

The eighth Earl of Denbigh, and ninth Earl of Desmond, b. 9 April, 1823; d. 1892. He was educated ...
Feilmoser, Andreas Benedict

Andreas Benedict Feilmoser

A theologian and Biblical scholar, b. 8 April, 1777, at Hopfgarten, Tyrol; d. at Tübingen, ...
Felbiger, Johann Ignaz von

Johann Ignaz von Felbiger

A German educational reformer, pedagogical writer, and canon regular of the Order of St. ...
Felician and Primus, Saints

Sts. Primus and Felician

Suffered martyrdom about 304 in the Diocletian persecution. The "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" ...
Felician Sisters, O.S.F.

Felician Sisters, O.S.F.

Founded 21 November, 1855, at Warsaw, Poland, by Mother Mary Angela, under the direction of ...
Felicissimus

Felicissimus

A deacon of Carthage who, in the middle of the third century, headed a short-lived but dangerous ...
Felicitas and Perpetua, Saints

Sts. Felicitas and Perpetua

Martyrs, suffered at Carthage, 7 March 203, together with three companions, Revocatus, Saturus, ...
Felicitas, Saint

St. Felicitas

MARTYR. The earliest list of the Roman feasts of martyrs, known as the "Depositio Martyrum" ...
Felix and Adauctus, Saints

Sts. Felix and Adauctus

Martyrs at Rome, 303, under Diocletian and Maximian. The Acts, first published in Ado's ...
Felix and Nabor, Saints

Sts. Nabor and Felix

Martyrs during the persecution of Diocletian (303). The relics of these holy witnesses to the ...
Felix I, Pope Saint

Pope St. Felix I

Date of birth unknown; d. 274. Early in 269 he succeeded Saint Dionysius as head of the Roman ...
Felix II

Felix II

Pope (more properly Antipope ), 355-358; d. 22 Nov., 365. In 355 Pope Liberius was ...
Felix III (II), Pope Saint

Pope St. Felix III

(Reigned 483-492). Born of a Roman senatorial family and said to have been an ancestor of ...
Felix IV (III), Pope Saint

Pope Felix IV

(Reigned 526-530). On 18 May, 526, Pope John I died in prison at Ravenna, a victim of the ...
Felix of Cantalice, Saint

St. Felix of Cantalice

A Capuchin friar, b. at Cantalice, on the north-western border of the Abruzzi; d. at Rome, 18 ...
Felix of Nola, Saint

St. Felix of Nola

Born at Nola, near Naples, and lived in the third century. After his father's death he ...
Felix of Valois, Saint

St. Felix of Valois

Born in 1127; d. at Cerfroi, 4 November, 1212. He is commemorated 20 November. He was surnamed ...
Felix V

Felix V

Regnal name of Amadeus of Savoy, Antipope (1440-1449). Born 4 December, 1383, died at ...
Feller, François-Xavier de

Francois Xavier de Feller

An author and apologist, b. at Brussels 18 August, 1735; d. at Ratisbon 22 May, 1802. He ...
Feneberg, Johann Michael Nathanael

Johann Michael Nathanael Feneberg

Born in Oberdorf, Allgau, Bavaria, 9 Feb., 1751; died 12 Oct., 1812. He studied at Kaufbeuren and ...
Fenn, John

John Fenn

Born at Montacute near Wells in Somersetshire; d. 27 Dec., 1615. He was the eldest brother of Ven. ...
Ferber, Nicolaus

Nicolaus Ferber

A Friar Minor and controversialist, born at Herborn, Germany, in 1485; died at Toulouse, 15 ...
Ferdinand II

Ferdinand II

Emperor, eldest son of Archduke Karl and the Bavarian Princess Maria, b. 1578; d. 15 February, ...
Ferdinand III, Saint

St. Ferdinand III

King of Leon and Castile, member of the Third Order of St. Francis, born in 1198 near ...
Ferdinand, Blessed

Blessed Ferdinand

Prince of Portugal, b. in Portugal, 29 September, 1402; d. at Fez, in Morocco, 5 June, 1443. He ...
Ferdinando, Luigi, Count de Marsigli

Luigi Ferdinando, Count de Marsigli

Italian geographer and naturalist, b. at Bologna 10 July, 1658; d. at Bologna 1 Nov., 1730. He ...
Ferentino, Diocese of

Ferentino

(FERENTINUM) In the province of Rome, immediately subject to the Holy See. The town was in ...
Fergus, Saints

Sts. Fergus

St. Fergus Cruithneach Died about 730, known in the Irish martyrologies as St. Fergus ...
Feria

Feria

( Latin for "free day"). A day on which the people, especially the slaves, were not obliged ...
Ferland, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine

Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Ferland

A French Canadian historian, b. at Montreal, 25 December, 1805; d. at Quebec, 11 January, ...
Fermo, Archdiocese of

Fermo

(FIRMANA). In the province of Ascoli Piceno (Central Italy ). The great antiquity of the ...
Fernández de Palencia, Diego

Diego Fernandez de Palencia

A Spanish conqueror and historian; b. at Palencia in the early part of the sixteenth century. ...
Fernández, Antonio

Antonio Fernandez

A Jesuit missionary; b. at Lisbon, c. 1569; d. at Goa, 12 November, 1642. About 1602 he was ...
Fernández, Juan

Juan Fernandez

A Jesuit lay brother and missionary; b. at Cordova ; d. 12 June, 1567, in Japan. In a letter ...
Ferns

Ferns

DIOCESE OF FERNS (FERNENSIS). Diocese in the province of Leinster ( Ireland ), suffragan of ...
Ferrara

Ferrara

A RCHDIOCESE OF F ERRARA (F ERRARIENSIS ). Archdiocese immediately subject to the Holy ...
Ferrari, Gaudenzio

Gaudenzio Ferrari

An Italian painter and the greatest master of the Piedmontese School, b. at Valduggia, near ...
Ferraris, Lucius

Lucius Ferraris

An eighteenth-century canonist of the Franciscan Order. The exact dates of his birth and death ...
Ferre, Vicente

Vicente Ferre

Theologian, b. at Valencia, Spain ; d. at Salamanca in 1682. He entered the Dominican Order ...
Ferreira, Antonio

Antonio Ferreira

A poet, important both for his lyric and his dramatic compositions, b. at Lisbon, Portugal, in ...
Ferrer, Rafael

Rafael Ferrer

A Spanish missionary and explorer; b. at Valencia, in 1570; d. at San José, Peru, in ...
Ferrer, Saint Vincent

St. Vincent Ferrer

Famous Dominican missionary, born at Valencia, 23 January, 1350; died at Vannes, Brittany, 5 ...
Ferrières, Abbey of

Abbey of Ferrieres

Situated in the Diocese of Orléans , department of Loiret, and arrondissement of ...
Ferstel, Heinrich, Freiherr von

Heinrich, Freiherr von Ferstel

Architect; with Hansen and Schmidt, the creator of modern Vienna ; b. 7 July, 1828, at Vienna ; ...
Fesch, Joseph

Joseph Fesch

Cardinal, b. at Ajaccio, Corsica, 3 January, 1763; d. at Rome, 13 May, 1839. He was the son of a ...
Fessler, Josef

Josef Fessler

Bishop of St. Polten in Austria and secretary of the Vatican Council ; b. 2 December, 1813, at ...
Fetherston, Blessed Richard

Bl. Richard Fetherston

Priest and martyr ; died at Smithfield, 30 July, 1540. He was chaplain to Catharine of Aragon ...
Feti, Domenico

Domenico Feti

An Italian painter ; born at Rome, 1589; died at Venice, 1624. He was a pupil of Cigoli ...
Fetishism

Fetishism

Fetishism means the religion of the fetish. The word fetish is derived through the Portuguese ...
Feuardent, François

Francois Feuardent

A Franciscan, theologian, preacher of the Ligue, b. at Coutanees, Normandy, in 1539; d. at ...
Feuchtersleben, Baron Ernst von

Baron Ernst von Feuchtersleben

An Austrian poet, philosopher, and physician; born at Vienna, 29 April, 1806; died 3 September, ...
Feudalism

Feudalism

Etymology This term is derived from the Old Aryan pe'ku , hence Sanskrit pacu , "cattle"; ...
Feuillants

Feuillants

The Cistercians who, about 1145, founded an abbey in a shady valley in the Diocese of Rieux ...
Feuillet, Louis

Louis Feuillet

(FEUILLÉE) Geographer, b. at Mane near Forcalquier, France, in 1660; d. at Marseilles ...
Feyjóo y Montenegro, Benito Jerónimo

Benito Jeronimo Feyjoo y Montenegro

A celebrated Spanish writer, b. at Casdemiro, in the parish of Santa Maria de Molias, Galicia, ...
Fiacc, Saint

St. Fiacc

(Lived about 415-520.) A poet, chief bishop of Leinster, and founder of two churches. His ...
Fiacre, Saint

St. Fiacre

Abbot, born in Ireland about the end of the sixth century; died 18 August, 670. Having been ...
Ficino, Marsilio

Marsilio Ficino

A philosopher, philologist, physician, b. at Florence, 19 Oct., 1433; d. at Correggio, 1 Oct, ...
Ficker, Julius

Julius Ficker

(More correctly Caspar von Ficker). Historian, b. at Paderborn, Germany, 30 April, 1826; d. at ...
Fideism

Fideism

(Latin fides , faith). A philosophical term meaning a system of philosophy or an ...
Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Saint

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Born in 1577, at Sigmaringen, Prussia, of which town his father Johannes Rey was burgomaster; ...
Fiesole

Fiesole

DIOCESE OF FIESOLE (FÆSULANA). Diocese in the province of Tuscany, suffragan of Florence. ...
Figueroa, Francisco de

Francisco de Figueroa

A celebrated Spanish poet, surnamed "the Divine", b. at Alcalá de Henares, c. 1540, d. ...
Figueroa, Francisco García de la Rosa

Francisco Garcia de la Rosa Figueroa

Franciscan, b. in the latter part of the eighteenth century at Toluca, in the Archdiocese of ...
Fiji, Vicariate Apostolic of

Vicariate Apostolic of Fiji

Comprising the islands belonging to the Fiji Archipelago. This archipelago forms the central ...
Filby, Blessed William

Blessed William Filby

Blessed William Filby Born in Oxfordshire between 1557 and 1560; suffered at Tyburn, 30 May, ...
Filelfo, Franscesco

Francesco Filelfo

A humanist, b. at Tolentino, 25 July, 1398; d. at Florence 31 July, 1481. He studied grammar, ...
Filial Church

Filial Church

(Latin filialis , from filia , daughter), a church to which is annexed the cure of souls , ...
Filicaja, Vincenzo da

Vincenzo Da Filicaja

Lyric poet; born at Florence, 30 December, 1642; died there 24 September, 1707. At Pisa he was ...
Filioque

Filioque

Filioque is a theological formula of great dogmatic and historical importance. On the one ...
Fillastre, Guillaume

Guillaume Fillastre (Philastrius)

French cardinal, canonist, humanist, and geographer, b. 1348 at La Suze, Maine, France ; d. at ...
Filliucci, Vincenzo

Vincenzo Filliucci

Jesuit moralist; b. at Sienna, Italy, 1566; d. at Rome 5 April, 1622. Having entered the Society ...
Filliucius, Felix

Felix Filliucius

(Or, as his name is more often found, in its Italian form, FIGLIUCCI). An Italian humanist, a ...
Final Perseverance

Final Perseverance

( Perseverantia finalis ). Final perseverance is the preservation of the state of grace till ...
Finan, Saint

St. Finan

Second Bishop of Lindisfarne ; died 9 February, 661. He was an Irish monk who had been ...
Finbarr, Saint

St. Finbarr

(Lochan, Barr). Bishop and patron of Cork, born near Bandon, about 550, died at Cloyne, 25 ...
Finch, Ven. John

Ven. John Finch

A martyr, b. about 1548; d. 20 April, 1584. He was a yeoman of Eccleston, Lancashire, and a ...
Finglow, Ven. John

Ven. John Finglow

An English martyr ; b. at Barnby, near Howden, Yorkshire; executed at York, 8 August, 1586. He ...
Finland

Finland

Note: This article was taken from the 1909 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia, and is presented ...
Finnian of Moville, Saint

St. Finnian of Moville

Born about 495; died 589. Though not so celebrated as his namesake of Clonard, he was the ...
Finotti, Joseph M.

Joseph M. Finotti

Born at Ferrara, Italy, 21 September, 1817; died at Central City, Colorado, 10 January, 1879. ...
Fintan, Saints

Sts. Fintan

St. Fintan of Clonenagh A Leinster saint, b. about 524; d. 17 February, probably 594, or at least ...
Fioretti di San Francesco d'Assisi

Fioretti di San Francesco d'Assisi

Little Flowers of Francis of Assisi , the name given to a classic collection of popular legends ...
Fire, Liturgical Use of

Liturgical Use of Fire

Fire is one of the most expressive and most ancient of liturgical symbols. All the creeds of ...
Firmament

Firmament

(Septuagint stereoma ; Vulgate, firmamentum ). The notion that the sky was a vast solid ...
Firmicus Maternus

Firmicus Maternus

Christian author of the fourth century; wrote a work "De errore profanarum religionum". Nothing ...
Firmilian

Firmilian

Bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, died c. 269. He had among his contemporaries a reputation ...
First-Born

First-Born

The word, though casually taken in Holy Writ in a metaphorical sense, is most generally used by ...
First-Fruits

First-Fruits

The practice of consecrating first-fruits to the Deity is not a distinctly Jewish one (cf. ...
Fiscal Procurator

Fiscal Procurator

( Latin PROCURATOR FISCALIS). The duties of the fiscal procurator consist in preventing ...
Fischer, Antonius

Antonius Fischer

Archbishop of Cologne and cardinal, b. at Julich, 30 May, 1840; d. at Neuenahr, 30 July, 1912. ...
Fish, Symbolism of the

Symbolism of the Fish

Among the symbols employed by the primitive Christians, that of the fish ranks probably first in ...
Fisher, Philip

Philip Fisher

(An alias , real name THOMAS COPLEY) Missionary, b. in Madrid, 1595-6; d. in Maryland, U. ...
Fisherman, The Ring of the

The Ring of Fisherman

The earliest mention of the Fisherman's ring worn by the popes is in a letter of Clement IV ...
Fitter, Daniel

Daniel Fitter

Born in Worcestershire, England, 1628; died at St. Thomas' Priory, near Stafford, 6 Feb., 1700. ...
Fitton, James

James Fitton

Missionary, b. at Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. , 10 April, 1805; d. there, 15 Sept., 1881. His ...
Fitz-Simons, Thomas

Thomas Fitz-Simons

American merchant, b. in Ireland, 1741; d. at Philadelphia, U.S.A. 26 Aug., 1811. There is no ...
Fitzalan, Henry

Henry Fitzalan

Twelfth Earl of Arundel, b. about 1511; d. in London, 24 Feb., 1580 (O.S. 1579). Son of William, ...
FitzGibbon, Catherine

Sister Irene (Catherine Fitzgibbon)

(Catherine FitzGibbon.) Born in London, England, 12 May, 1823; died in New York, 14 August, ...
Fitzherbert, Anthony, Sir

Sir Anthony Fitzherbert

Judge, b. in 1470; d. 27 May, 1538. He was the sixth son of Ralph Fitzherbert of Norbury, ...
Fitzherbert, Maria Anne

Maria Anne Fitzherbert

Wife of King George IV; b. 26 July, 1756 (place uncertain); d. at Brighton, England, 29 March, ...
Fitzherbert, Thomas

Thomas Fitzherbert

Born 1552, at Swynnerton, Staffs, England ; died 17 Aug., 1640, at Rome. His father having died ...
Fitzpatrick, William John

William John Fitzpatrick

Historian, b. in Dublin, Ireland, 31 Aug., 1830; d. there 24 Dec., 1895. The son of a rich ...
Fitzralph, Richard

Richard Fitzralph

Archbishop of Armagh, b. at Dundalk, Ireland, about 1295; d. at Avignon, 16 Dec., 1360. He ...
Fitzsimon, Henry

Henry Fitzsimon

(Fitz Simon). Jesuit, b. 1566 (or 1569), in Dublin, Ireland ; d. 29 Nov., 1643 (or 1645), ...
Fixlmillner, Placidus

Placidus Fixlmillner

Astronomer, b. at Achleuthen near Kremsmünster, Austria, in 1721; d. at Kremsmünster, ...
Fizeau, Armand-Hippolyte-Louis

Armand-Hippolyte-Louis Fizeau

Physicist, b. at Paris, 23 Sept., 1819; d. at Nanteuil, Seine-et-Marne, 18 Sept., 1896. His ...
Fléchier, Esprit

Esprit Flechier

Bishop; b. at Pernes, France, 1632; died at Montpellier, 1710; member of the Academy, and ...
Flórez, Enrique

Enrique Florez

Spanish theologian, archeologist, and historian; born at Valladolid, 14 February, 1701; died at ...
Flabellum

Flabellum

The flabellum, in liturgical use, is a fan made of leather, silk, parchment, or feathers ...
Flaccilla, Ælia

Aelia Flaccilla

( Plakilla ) Empress, wife of Theodosius the Great , died c. A. D. 385 or 386. Like ...
Flagellants

Flagellants

A fanatical and heretical sect that flourished in the thirteenth and succeeding centuries, Their ...
Flagellation

Flagellation

The history of the whip, rod, and stick, as instruments of punishment and of voluntary penance, ...
Flaget, Benedict Joseph

Benedict Joseph Flaget

First Bishop of Bardstown (subsequently of Louisville ), Kentucky, U.S.A. b. at Contournat, ...
Flanagan, Thomas Canon

Thomas Canon Flanagan

Born in England in 1814, though Irish by descent; died at Kidderminster, 21 July, 1865. He was ...
Flanders

Flanders

(Flemish VLAENDEREN; German FLANDEREN; French FLANDRE). Designated in the eighth century a ...
Flandrin, Jean-Hippolyte

Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin

French painter, b. at Lyons, 23 March, 1809; d. at Rome, 21 March, 1864. He came of a family of ...
Flathead Indians

Flathead Indians

A name used in both Americas, without special ethnologic significance, to designate tribes ...
Flathers, Ven. Mathew

Ven. Mathew Flathers

( Alias Major). An English priest and martyr ; b. probably c. 1580 at Weston, Yorkshire, ...
Flavia Domitilla

Flavia Domitilla

A Christian Roman matron of the imperial family who lived towards the close of the first ...
Flavian, Saint

St. Flavian

Bishop of Constantinople, date of birth unknown; d. at Hypæpa in Lydia, August, 449. ...
Flavias

Flavias

A titular see of Cilicia Secunda. Nothing is known of its ancient name and history, except that ...
Flavigny, Abbey of

Abbey of Flavigny

A Benedictine abbey in the Diocese of Dijon, the department of Côte-d'Or, and ...
Flaviopolis

Flaviopolis

A titular see in the province of Honorias. The city, formerly called Cratia, originally belonged ...
Flemael, Bertholet

Bertholet Flemael

(The name was also spelled FLEMALLE and FLAMAEL). Painter, b. at Liège, Flanders, in ...
Fleming, Patrick

Patrick Fleming

Franciscan friar b. at Lagan, Couny Louth, Ireland, 17 April, 1599; d. 7 November, 1631. His ...
Fleming, Richard

Richard Fleming

(FLEMMING, FLEMMYNGE). Bishop of Lincoln and founder of Lincoln College, Oxford; b. of a ...
Fleming, Thomas

Thomas Fleming

Archbishop of Dublin, son of the Baron of Slane, b. in 1593; d. in 1665. He studied at thy ...
Fletcher, John

John Fletcher

A missionary and theologian, b. at Ormskirk, England, of an old Catholic family ; educated at ...
Flete, William

William Flete

An Augustinian hermit friar, a contemporary and great friend of St. Catherine of Siena ; the ...
Fleuriot, Zénaide-Marie-Anne

Zenaide-Marie-Anne Fleuriot

A French novelist, b. at Saint-Brieuc, 12 September, 1829; d. at Paris, 18 December, 1890. She ...
Fleury, Abbey of

Abbey of Fleury

( More completely FLEURY-SAINT-BENOÎT) One of the oldest and most celebrated ...
Fleury, André-Hercule de

Andre-Hercule de Fleury

Born at Lodève, 26 June, 1653; died at Paris, 29 January, 1742. He was a ...
Flodoard

Flodoard

(Or FRODOARD) French historian and chronicler, b. at Epernay in 894; d. in 966. He was ...
Flood of Noah

Deluge

Deluge is the name of a catastrophe fully described in Genesis 6:1 - 9:19 , and referred to in the ...
Floreffe, Abbey of

Abbey of Floreffe

Pleasantly situated on the right bank of the Sambre, about seven miles southwest of Namur, ...
Florence

Florence

(Latin Florentia ; Italian Firenze ). ARCHDIOCESE OF FLORENCE (FLORENTINA). Located in ...
Florence of Worcester

Florence of Worcester

English chronicler; all that is known of his personal history is that he was a monk of ...
Florence, Council of

Council of Florence

The Seventeenth Ecumenical Council was, correctly speaking, the continuation of the Council of ...
Florentina, Saint

St. Florentina

Virgin ; born towards the middle of the sixth century; died about 612. The family of St. ...
Florian, Jean-Pierre Claris, Chevalier de

Jean-Pierre Claris, Chevalier de Florian

Born at the château of Florian (Gard), 6 March, 1755; died at Sceaux, 13 September, 1794. An ...
Florians, The

The Florians

(Floriacenses), an altogether independent order, and not, as some consider, a branch of the ...
Florida

Florida

The Peninsular or Everglade State, the most southern in the American Union and second largest east ...
Florilegia

Florilegia

Florilegia (Lat., florilegium, an anthology) are systematic collections of excerpts (more or ...
Florus

Florus

A deacon of Lyons, ecclesiastical writer in the first half of the ninth century. We have no ...
Floyd, John

John Floyd

English missionary, wrote under the names Flud, Daniel à Jesu, Hermannus Loemelius, George ...
Fogaras

Fogaras

ARCHDIOCESE OF FOGARAS (FOGARASIENSIS). Archdiocese in Hungary, of the Greek-Rumanian Rite. It ...
Foggia

Foggia

DIOCESE OF FOGGIA (FODIANA). Diocese in the province of the same name in Apulia (Southern ...
Foillan, Saint

St. Foillan

( Irish FAELAN, FAOLAN, FOELAN, FOALAN.) Represented in iconography with a crown at his ...
Folengo, Teofilo

Teofilo Folengo

An Italian poet, better known by his pseudonyrn MERLIN COCCALO or COCAI; b. at Mantua in 1496; ...
Foley, Henry

Henry Foley

Born at Astley in Worcestershire, England, 9 Aug., 1811; died at Manresa House, Roehampton, 19 ...
Foligno

Foligno

DIOCESE OF FOLIGNO (FULGINATENSIS). Diocese in the province of Perugia, Italy, immediately ...
Foliot, Gilbert

Gilbert Foliot

Bishop of London, b. early in the twelfth century of an Anglo-Norman family and connected ...
Folkestone Abbey

Folkestone Abbey

Folkestone Abbey -- more correctly FOLKESTONE PRIORY -- is situated in the east division of ...
Fonseca Soares, Antonio da

Antonio Da Fonseca Soares

(ANTONIO DAS CHAGAS). Friar Minor and ascetical writer; b. at Vidigueira, 25 June, 1631; d. at ...
Fonseca, José Ribeiro da

Jose Ribeiro da Fonseca

Friar Minor ; b. at Evora, 3 Dec., 1690; d. at Porto, 16 June, 1752. He was received into the ...
Fonseca, Pedro Da

Pedro da Fonseca

A philosopher and theologian, born at Cortizada, Portugal, 1528; died at Lisbon, 4 Nov., 1599. ...
Fontana, Carlo

Carlo Fontana

An architect and writer; b. at Bruciato, near Como, 1634; d. at Rome, 1714. There seems to be no ...
Fontana, Domenico

Domenico Fontana

A Roman architect of the Late Renaissance, b. at Melide on the Lake of Lugano, 1543; d. at ...
Fontana, Felice

Felice Fontana

Italian naturalist and physiologist, b. at Pomarolo in the Tyrol, 15 April, 1730; d. at Florence, ...
Fontbonne, Jeanne

Jeanne Fontbonne

In religion Mother St. John, second foundress and superior-general of the Sisters of St. Joseph ...
Fonte-Avellana

Fonte-Avellana

A suppressed order of hermits, which takes its name from their first hermitage in the Apennines. ...
Fontenelle, Abbey of

Abbey of Fontenelle

(Or ABBEY OF SAINT WANDRILLE). A Benedictine monastery in Normandy ...
Fontevrault, Order and Abbey of

Order and Abbey of Fontevrault

I. CHARACTER OF THE ORDER The monastery of Fontevrault was founded by Blessed Robert ...
Fonts, Holy Water

Holy Water Fonts

Vessels intended for the use of holy water are of very ancient origin, and archaeological ...
Fools, Feast of

Feast of Fools

A celebration marked by much license and buffoonery, which in many parts of Europe, and ...
Foppa, Ambrogio

Ambrogio Foppa

Generally known as CARADOSS0. Italian goldsmith, sculptor, and die sinker, b. at Mondonico in ...
Forbes, John

John Forbes

Capuchin, b. 1570; d. 1606. His father, John, eighth Lord Forbes, being a Protestant, and his ...
Forbin-Janson, Comte de Charles-Auguste-Marie-Joseph

Comte de Forbin-Janson

A Bishop of Nancy and Toul, founder of the Association of the Holy Childhood , born in Paris, ...
Forcellini, Egidio

Egidio Forcellini

Latin lexicographer, b. at Fener, near Treviso, Italy, 26 Aug., 1688; d. at Padua, 4 April, ...
Ford, Blessed Thomas

Bl. Thomas Ford

Born in Devonshire; died at Tyburn, 28 May, 1582. He incepted M.A. at Trinity College, Oxford, 14 ...
Fordham University

Fordham University

Fordham University developed out of Saint John's College, founded by Bishop Hughes upon the old ...
Foreman, Andrew

Andrew Foreman

A Scottish prelate, of good border family ; b. at Hatton, near Berwick-on-Tweed; d. 1522. His ...
Forer, Laurenz

Laurenz Forer

Controversialist, b. at Lucerne, 1580; d. at Ratisbon, 7 January, 1659. He entered the Society ...
Foresters, Catholic Orders of

Catholic Orders of Foresters

I On 30 July, 1879, some members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Boston, Massachusetts, ...
Forgery, Forger

Forgery, Forger

If we accept the definition usually given by canonists, forgery ( Latin falsum ) differs very ...
Forli

Forli

(FOROLIVIENSIS) Diocese in the province of Romagna (Central Italy ); suffragan of Ravenna. ...
Form

Form

(Latin forma; Greek eidos, morphe, he kata ton logon ousia, to ti en einai : Aristotle) ...
Formby, Henry

Henry Formby

Born 1816; died at Normanton Hall, Leicester, 12 March, 1884. His father, Henry Grenehalgh Formby, ...
Formosus, Pope

Pope Formosus

(891-896) The pontificate of this pope belongs to that era of strife for political supremacy ...
Formularies

Formularies

(LIBRI FORMULARUM) Formularies are medieval collections of models for the execution of ...
Forrest, William

William Forrest

Priest and poet; dates of birth and death uncertain. Few personal details are known of him. He ...
Forster, Fobrenius

Frobenius Forster

Prince-Abbot of St. Emmeram at Ratisbon, b. 30 Aug., 1709, at Königsfeld in Upper Bavaria ...
Forster, Thomas Ignatius Maria

Thomas Ignatius Maria Forster

Astronomer and naturalist, b. at London, 9 Nov., 1789; d. at Brussels, 2 Feb., 1860. His literary ...
Fort Augustus Abbey

Fort Augustus Abbey

St. Benedict's Abbey, at Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, is at present the only monastery for ...
Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne

DIOCESE OF (WAYNE CASTRENSIS). The Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana, U.S.A. established in ...
Fortaleza, Diocese of

Fortaleza

(FORTALEXIENSIS) The Diocese of Fortaleza is co-extensive with the State of Ceará in ...
Fortescue, Blessed Adrian

Bl. Adrian Fortescue

Knight of St. John, martyr, b. about 1476, executed 10 July, 1539. He belonged to the Salden ...
Fortitude

Fortitude

(1) Manliness is etymologically what is meant by the Latin word virtus and by the Greek andreia ...
Fortunato of Brescia

Fortunato of Brescia

Morphologist and Minorite of the Reform of Lombardy ; b. at Brescia, 1701; d. at Madrid, ...
Fortunatus

Fortunatus

Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus A Christian poet of the sixth century, b. ...
Forty Hours' Devotion

Forty Hours' Devotion

Also called Quarant' Ore or written in one word Quarantore , is a devotion in which continuous ...
Forty Martyrs

Forty Martyrs

A party of soldiers who suffered a cruel death for their faith, near Sebaste, in Lesser Armenia, ...
Forum, Ecclesiastical

Ecclesiastical Forum

That the Church of Christ has judicial and coercive power is plain from the constitution given ...
Fossano

Fossano

DIOCESE OF FOSSANO (FOSSANENSIS). Fossano is a town in the province of Cuneo, in Piedmont, ...
Fossombrone

Fossombrone (Forum Sempronii)

DIOCESE OF FOSSOMBRONE (FOROSEMPRONIENSIS). Diocese in the province of Pesaro, Italy, a ...
Fossors

Fossors

(Latin fossores , fossarii from fodere , to dig). Grave diggers in the Roman ...
Foster, John Gray

John Gray Foster

Soldier, convert, b. at Whitfield, New Hampshire, U.S.A. 27 May, 1823; d. at Nashua, New ...
Fothad, Saint

St. Fothad

Surnamed NA CANOINE ("of the Canon"). A monk of Fahan-Mura, County Doneval, Ireland, at the ...
Fouard, Constant

Constant Fouard

An ecclesiastical writer b. at Elbeuf, near Rouen, 6 Aug. 1837; his early life was a ...
Foucault, Jean-Bertrand-Léon

Jean-Bertrand-Leon Foucault

A physicist and mechanician, b. at Paris, 19 Sept., 1819; d. there 11 Feb., 1868. He received ...
Foulque de Neuilly

Foulque de Neuilly

A popular Crusade preacher, d. March, 1202. At the end of the twelfth century he was ...
Foundation

Foundation

( Latin fundatio; German Stiftung ) An ecclesiastical foundation is the making over of ...
Foundling Asylums

Foundling Asylums

Under this title are comprised all institutions which take charge of infants whose parents or ...
Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey

A monastery of the Cistercian Order situated on the banks of the Skell about two and a half ...
Fouquet, Jehan

Jehan Fouquet

(Or J EAN F OUQUET ) French painter and miniaturist, b. at Tours, c. 1415; d. about 1480. ...
Four Crowned Martyrs

Four Crowned Martyrs

The old guidebooks to the tombs of the Roman martyrs make mention, in connection with the ...
Four Masters, Annals of the

Annals of the Four Masters

The most extensive of all the compilations of the ancient annals of Ireland. They commence, ...
Fowler, John

John Fowler

Scholar and printer, b. at Bristol, England, 1537; d. at Namur, Flanders, 13 Feb., 1578-9. He ...
Foxe's Book of Martyrs

Foxe's Book of Martyrs

John Foxe was born at Boston in Lincolnshire, England, in 1516, and was educated at Magdalen ...
Fréchette, Louis-Honoré

Louis-Honore Frechette

Born at Notre-Dame de Lévis, P.Q., Canada, 16 November, 1839; died 30 May, 1908. He ...
Fréjus

Frejus

DIOCESE OF FRÉJUS (FORUM JULII). Suffragan of Aix ; comprises the whole department of ...
Fra Angelico

Fra Angelico

A famous painter of the Florentine school, born near Castello di Vicchio in the province of ...
Fractio Panis

Fractio Panis

(BREAKING OF BREAD.) The name given to a fresco in the so-called "Capella Greca" in the ...
France

France

The fifth in size (usually reckoned the fourth) of the great divisions of Europe. DESCRIPTIVE ...
Frances d'Amboise, Blessed

Bl. Frances d'Amboise

Duchess of Brittany, afterwards Carmelite nun, b. 1427; d. at Nantes, 4 Nov., 1485. The daughter ...
Frances of Rome, Saint

St. Frances of Rome

(Bussa di Leoni.) One of the greatest mystics of the fifteenth century; born at Rome, of a noble ...
Franceschini, Marc' Antonio

Marc' Antonio Franceschini

Italian painter ; b. at Bologna, 1648; d. there c. 1729; best known for the decorative works he ...
Franchi, Ausonio

Ausonio Franchi

The pseudonym of CRISTOFORO BONAVINO, philosopher ; b. 24 February, 1821, at Pegli, province of ...
Francia

Francia

(FRANCESCO RAIBOLINI) A famous Bolognese goldsmith, engraver, and artist, b. about 1450; d. in ...
Francis Borgia, Saint

Francis Borgia

(Spanish F RANCISCO DE B ORJA Y A RAGON ) Francis Borgia, born 28 October, 1510, was the ...
Francis Caracciolo, Saint

St. Francis Caracciolo

Co-founder with John Augustine Adorno of the Conregation of the Minor Clerks Regular ; b. in Villa ...
Francis de Geronimo, Saint

St. Francis de Geronimo

(Girolamo, Hieronymo). Born 17 December, 1642; died 11 May, 1716. His birthplace was ...
Francis de Sales, Saint

St. Francis de Sales

Bishop of Geneva, Doctor of the Universal Church ; born at Thorens, in the Duchy of Savoy, 21 ...
Francis I

Francis I

King of France ; b. at Cognac, 12 September, 1494; d. at Rambouillet, 31 March, 1547. He was the ...
Francis Ingleby, Venerable

Ven. Francis Ingleby

English martyr, born about 1551; suffered at York on Friday, 3 June, 1586 (old style). According ...
Francis of Assisi, Saint

St. Francis of Assisi

Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in 1181 or 1182 -- the exact year ...
Francis of Fabriano, Blessed

Bl. Francis of Fabriano

Priest of the Order of Friars Minor ; b. 2 Sept., 1251; d. 22 April, 1322. His birth and ...
Francis of Paula, Saint

St. Francis of Paula

Founder of the Order of Minims; b. in 1416, at Paula, in Calabria, Italy ; d. 2 April, 1507, at ...
Francis of Vittoria

Francis of Vittoria

A Spanish theologian ; b. about 1480, at Vittoria, province of Avila, in Old Castile ; d. 12 ...
Francis Regis Clet, Blessed

Bl. Francis Regis Clet

A Lazarist missionary in China ; b. 1748, martyred, 18 Feb., 1820. His father was a merchant ...
Francis Solanus, Saint

St. Francis Solanus

South American missionary of the Order of Friars Minor ; b. at Montilla, in the Diocese of ...
Francis Xavier, Saint

St. Francis Xavier

Born in the Castle of Xavier near Sanguesa, in Navarre, 7 April, 1506; died on the Island of ...
Francis, Rule of Saint

Rule of Saint Francis

As known, St. Francis founded three orders and gave each of them a special rule. Here only the ...
Franciscan Crown

Franciscan Crown

( Or Seraphic Rosary.) A Rosary consisting of seven decades in commemoration of the seven ...
Franciscan Order

Franciscan Order

A term commonly used to designate the members of the various foundations of religious, whether men ...
Franck, Kasper

Kasper Franck

A theologian and controversialist; b. at Ortrand, Saxony, 2 Nov., 1543; d. at Ingolstadt, 12 ...
Franco, Giovanni Battista

Giovanni Battista Franco

(Frequently known as IL SEMOLIE) Italian historical painter and etcher, b. at Udine in ...
Frank, Michael Sigismund

Michael Sigismund Frank

Catholic artist and rediscoverer of the lost art of glass-painting; b. 1 June, 1770, at ...
Frankenberg

Graf von Frankenberg

JOHANN HEINRICH, GRAF VON FRANKENBERG. Archbishop of Mechlin (Malines), Primate of ...
Frankfort, Council of

Council of Frankfort

Convened in the summer of 794, by the grace of God, authority of the pope, and command of ...
Frankfort-on-the-Main

Frankfort-on-the-Main

Frankfort-on-the-Main, formerly the scene of the election and coronation of the German emperors, ...
Franks, The

The Franks

The Franks were a confederation formed in Western Germany of a certain number of ancient ...
Franzelin, Johann Baptist

Johann Baptist Franzelin

Cardinal and theologian ; b. at Aldein, in the Tyrol, 15 April, 1816; d. at Rome, 11 Dec., ...
Frascati

Frascati

DIOCESE OF FRASCATI (TUSCULANA). One of the six suburbicarian (i.e. neighbouring) dioceses ...
Frassen, Claude

Claude Frassen

A celebrated Scotist theologian and philosopher of the Order of Friars Minor ; b. near ...
Fraternal Correction

Fraternal Correction

Fraternal correction is here taken to mean the admonishing of one's neighbor by a private ...
Fraticelli

Fraticelli

(Or F RATRICELLI ) A name given to various heretical sects which appeared in the fourteenth ...
Fraud

Fraud

In the common acceptation of the word, an act or course of deception deliberately practised with ...
Fraunhofer, Joseph von

Joseph von Fraunhofer

Optician, b. at Straubing, Bavaria, 6 March, 1787; d. at Munich, 7 June, 1826. He was the tenth ...
Frayssinous, Denis de

Denis de Frayssinous

1765-1841, Bishop of Hermopolis in partibus infidelium , is celebrated chiefly for his ...
Fredegarius

Fredegarius

The name used since the sixteenth designate the supposed author of an anonymous historical ...
Fredegis of Tours

Fredegis of Tours

(Fridugisus or Fredegisus). A ninth-century monk, teacher, and writer. Fredegis was an ...
Frederick I (Barbarossa)

Frederick I

German King and Roman Emperor, son of Frederick of Swabia (d. 1147) and Judith, daughter of Henry ...
Frederick II

Frederick II

German King and Roman Emperor, son of Henry VI and Constance of Sicily; born 26 Dec., 1194; died ...
Fredoli, Berenger

Berenger Fredoli

Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati ; b. at Vérune, France, c. ú d. at Avignon, 11 June, ...
Free Church of Scotland

Free Church of Scotland

(Known since 1900 as the UNITED FREE CHURCH) An ecclesiastical organization in Scotland ...
Free Will

Free Will

RELATION OF THE QUESTION TO DIFFERENT BRANCHES OF PHILOSOPHY HISTORY Free Will in Ancient ...
Free-Thinkers

Free-Thinkers

Those who, abandoning the religious truths and moral dictates of the Christian Revelation, and ...
Freeman, Ven. William

Ven. William Freeman

A priest and martyr, b. at Manthorp near York, c. 1558; d. at Warwick, 13 August, 1595. His ...
Freemasonry

Masonry (Freemasonry)

The subject is treated under the following heads: I. Name and Definition;II. Origin and Early ...
Fregoso, Federigo

Federigo Fregoso

Cardinal ; b. at Genoa, about 1480; d. 22 July, 1541; belonged to the Fregosi, one of the four ...
Freiburg

Freiburg

City, archdiocese, and university in the Archduchy of Baden, Germany . THE CITY Freiburg in ...
Fremin, James

James Fremin

Jesuit missionary to the American Indians ; b. at Reims, 12 March, 1628; d. at Quebec, 2 July, ...
French Academy, The

The French Academy

The French Academy was founded by Cardinal de Richelieu in 1635. For several years a number of ...
French Catholics in the United States

French Catholics in the United States

The first Bishop of Burlington, the Right Reverend Louis de Goesbriand, in a letter dated 11 ...
French Concordat of 1801, The

Concordat of 1801

This name is given to the convention of the 26th Messidor, year IX (July 16, 1802), whereby Pope ...
French Literature

French Literature

Origin and Foundations of the French Language When the Romans became masters of Gaul, they imposed ...
French Revolution

French Revolution

The last thirty years have given us a new version of the history of the French Revolution, the ...
French, Nicholas

Nicholas French

Bishop of Ferns, Ireland, b. at Ballytory, Co. Wexford, in 1604, his parents being John ...
Freppel, Charles-Emile

Charles-Emile Freppel

Born at Ober-Ehnheim, Alsace, 1 June, 1827; died at Paris, 22 Dec., 1891. He was Bishop of ...
Frequent Communion

Frequent Communion

Without specifying how often the faithful should communicate, Christ simply bids us eat His Flesh ...
Fresnel, Augustin-Jean

Augustin-Jean Fresnel

Physicist; b. at Broglie near Bernay, Normandy, 10 May, 1788; d. at Ville d'Avray, near Paris, ...
Friar

Friar

[From Lat. frater , through O. Fr. fredre, frere, M. E. frere; It. frate (as prefix ...
Friars Minor, Order of

Order of Friars Minor

(Also known as FRANCISCANS.) This subject may be conveniently considered under the following ...
Fribourg, University of

University of Fribourg

From the sixteenth century, the foundation of a Catholic university in Switzerland had often ...
Fridelli, Xavier Ehrenbert

Xavier Ehrenbert Fridelli

(Properly FRIEDEL.) Jesuit missioner and cartographer, b. at Linz, Austria, 11 March, 1673; ...
Frideswide, Saint

St. Frideswide

(FRIDESWIDA, FREDESWIDA, French FRÉVISSE, Old English FRIS). Virgin, patroness of ...
Fridolin, Saint

St. Fridolin

Missionary, founder of the Monastery of Säckingen, Baden (sixth century). In accordance with ...
Friedrich von Hausen

Friedrich von Hausen

(HUSEN) Medieval German poet, one of the earliest of the minnesingers; date of birth ...
Friends of God

Friends of God

( German G OTTESFREUNDE ). An association of pious persons, both ecclesiastical and lay, ...
Friends, Society of

Society of Friends (Quakers)

The official designation of an Anglo - American religious sect originally styling themselves ...
Frigolet, Abbey of

Abbey of Frigolet

The monastery of St. Michael was founded, about 960, at Frigolet, by Conrad the Pacific, King ...
Fringes (in Scripture)

Fringes

This word is used to denote a special kind of trimming, consisting of loose threads of wool, silk, ...
Fritz, Samuel

Samuel Fritz

A Jesuit missionary of the eighteenth century noted for his exploration of the Amazon River and ...
Froissart, Jean

Jean Froissart

French historian and poet, b. at Valenciennes, about 1337, d. at sentence -->Chimay early ...
Fromentin, Eugène

Eugene Fromentin

French writer and artist; b. at La Rochelle, 24 October, 1820; d. at Saint-Maurice, near La ...
Frontal, Altar

Altar Frontal

The frontal ( antipendium, pallium altaris ) is an appendage which covers the entire front of ...
Frontenac, Louis de Baude

Count Louis de Buade Frontenac

A governor of New France, b. at Paris, 1622; d. at Quebec, 28 Nov., 1698. His father was captain ...
Frowin, Blessed

Bl. Frowin

Benedictine abbot, d. 11 March, 1178. Of the early life of Frowin nothing is known, save that he ...
Fructuosus of Braga, Saint

St. Fructuosus of Braga

An Archbishop, d. 16 April, c. 665. He was the son of a Gothic general, and studied in Palencia. ...
Fructuosus of Tarragona, Saint

St. Fructuosus of Tarragona

A bishop and martyr ; d. 21 January, 259. During the night of 16 January, he, together with ...
Fuchs, Johann Nepomuk von

Johann Nepomuk Fuchs

A chemist and mineralogist, b. at Mattenzell, near Bremberg, Lower Bavaria, 15 May, 1774; d. at ...
Fulbert of Chartres

Fulbert of Chartres

Bishop, b. between 952 and 962; d. 10 April, 1028 or 1029. Mabillon and others think that he was ...
Fulcran, Saint

St. Fulcran

Bishop of Lodève; d. 13 February, 1006. According to the biography which Bernard Guidonis, ...
Fulda

Fulda

DIOCESE OF FULDA (FULDENSIS). This diocese of the German Empire takes its name from the ...
Fulgentius Ferrandus

Fulgentius Ferrandus

A canonist and theologian of the African Church in the first half of the sixth century. He was ...
Fulgentius, Saint

St. Fulgentius

A Bishop of Ecija (Astigi), in Spain, at the beginning of the seventh century. Like his brothers ...
Fulgentius, Saint

Saint Fulgentius

(FABIUS CLAUDIUS GORDIANUS FULGENTIUS). Born 468, died 533. Bishop of Ruspe in the province ...
Fullerton, Lady Georgiana Charlotte

Lady Georgiana Charlotte Fullerton

Novelist; born 23 September, 1812, in Staffordshire, died 19 January, 1885, at Bournemouth. She ...
Fullo, Peter

Peter Fullo

Intruding Monophysite Patriarch of Antioch ; d. 488. He received the Greek surname Gnapheus ...
Fumo, Bartolommeo

Bartolommeo Fumo

A theologian, b. at Villon near Piacenza ; d. 1545. At an early age he entered the Dominican ...
Funchal

Funchal

(FUNCHALENSIS.) Diocese in the Madeira Islands. Both in neo-Latin and in Portuguese the name ...
Fundamental Articles

Fundamental Articles

This term was employed by Protestant theologians to distinguish the essential parts of the ...
Funeral Dues

Funeral Dues

The canonical perquisites of a parish priest receivable on the occasion of the funeral of any of ...
Funeral Pall

Funeral Pall

A black cloth usually spread over the coffin while the obsequies are performed for a deceased ...
Funk, Franz Xaver von

Franz Xaver von Funk

Church historian, b. in the small market town of Abtsgemünd in Würtemberg, 12 October, ...
Furness Abbey

Furness Abbey

Situated in the north of Lancashire about five miles from the town of Ulverston. Originally a ...
Furni

Furni

A titular see in Proconsular Africa, where two towns of this name are known to have existed. One ...
Furniss, John

John Furniss

A well-known children's missioner, born near Sheffield, England, 19 June, 1809; at Clapham, ...
Fursey, Saint

St. Fursey

An Abbot of Lagny, near Paris, d. 16 Jan., about 650. He was the son of Fintan, son of Finloga, ...
Fussola

Fussola

A titular see in Numidia. It was a fortified town, inhabited for the most part by Donatists ...
Fust, John

John Fust

( Or FAUST.) A partner of Gutenberg in promoting the art of printing, d. at Paris about ...
Fytch, William Benedict

William Benedict Fytch

An English Franciscan friar ot the Capuchin Reform, whose family name was Filch; b. at ...

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.