Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q3

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Q2 Q4



Latin English
IIª-IIae q. 3 pr. Deinde considerandum est de exteriori fidei actu, qui est confessio. Et circa hoc quaeruntur duo. Primo, utrum confessio sit actus fidei. Secundo, utrum confessio sit necessaria ad salutem. Question 3. The outward act of faith Is confession an act of faith? Is confession of faith necessary for salvation?
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod confessio non sit actus fidei. Non enim idem actus pertinet ad diversas virtutes. Sed confessio pertinet ad poenitentiam, cuius ponitur pars. Ergo non est actus fidei. Objection 1. It would seem that confession is not an act of faith. For the same act does not belong to different virtues. Now confession belongs to penance of which it is a part. Therefore it is not an act of faith.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, ab hoc quod homo confiteatur fidem retrahitur interdum per timorem, vel etiam propter aliquam confusionem, unde et apostolus, ad Ephes. ult., petit orari pro se ut detur sibi cum fiducia notum facere mysterium Evangelii. Sed non recedere a bono propter confusionem vel timorem pertinet ad fortitudinem, quae moderatur audacias et timores. Ergo videtur quod confessio non sit actus fidei, sed magis fortitudinis vel constantiae. Objection 2. Further, man is sometimes deterred by fear or some kind of confusion, from confessing his faith: wherefore the Apostle (Ephesians 6:19) asks for prayers that it may be granted him "with confidence, to make known the mystery of the gospel." Now it belongs to fortitude, which moderates daring and fear, not to be deterred from doing good on account of confusion or fear. Therefore it seems that confession is not an act of faith, but rather of fortitude or constancy.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, sicut per fidei fervorem inducitur aliquis ad confitendum fidem exterius, ita etiam inducitur ad alia exteriora bona opera facienda, dicitur enim Gal. V quod fides per dilectionem operatur. Sed alia exteriora opera non ponuntur actus fidei. Ergo etiam neque confessio. Objection 3. Further, just as the ardor of faith makes one confess one's faith outwardly, so does it make one do other external good works, for it is written (Galatians 5:6) that "faith . . . worketh by charity." But other external works are not reckoned acts of faith. Therefore neither is confession an act of faith.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod, II ad Thess. I, super illud, et opus fidei in virtute, dicit Glossa, idest confessionem, quae proprie est opus fidei. On the contrary, A gloss explains the words of 2 Thessalonians 1:11, "and the work of faith in power" as referring to "confession which is a work proper to faith."
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod actus exteriores illius virtutis proprie sunt actus ad cuius fines secundum suas species referuntur, sicut ieiunare secundum suam speciem refertur ad finem abstinentiae, quae est compescere carnem, et ideo est actus abstinentiae. Confessio autem eorum quae sunt fidei secundum suam speciem ordinatur sicut ad finem ad id quod est fidei, secundum illud II ad Cor. IV, habentes eundem spiritum fidei credimus, propter quod et loquimur, exterior enim locutio ordinatur ad significandum id quod in corde concipitur. Unde sicut conceptus interior eorum quae sunt fidei est proprie fidei actus, ita etiam et exterior confessio. I answer that, Outward actions belong properly to the virtue to whose end they are specifically referred: thus fasting is referred specifically to the end of abstinence, which is to tame the flesh, and consequently it is an act of abstinence. Now confession of those things that are of faith is referred specifically as to its end, to that which concerns faith, according to 2 Corinthians 4:13: "Having the same spirit of faith . . . we believe, and therefore we speak also." For the outward utterance is intended to signify the inward thought. Wherefore, just as the inward thought of matters of faith is properly an act of faith, so too is the outward confession of them.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod triplex est confessio quae in Scripturis laudatur. Una est confessio eorum quae sunt fidei. Et ista est proprius actus fidei, utpote relata ad fidei finem, sicut dictum est. Alia est confessio gratiarum actionis sive laudis. Et ista est actus latriae, ordinatur enim ad honorem Deo exterius exhibendum, quod est finis latriae. Tertia est confessio peccatorum. Et haec ordinatur ad deletionem peccati, quae est finis poenitentiae. Unde pertinet ad poenitentiam. Reply to Objection 1. A threefold confession is commended by the Scriptures. One is the confession of matters of faith, and this is a proper act of faith, since it is referred to the end of faith as stated above. Another is the confession of thanksgiving or praise, and this is an act of "latria," for its purpose is to give outward honor to God, which is the end of "latria." The third is the confession of sins, which is ordained to the blotting out of sins, which is the end of penance, to which virtue it therefore belongs.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod removens prohibens non est causa per se, sed per accidens, ut patet per philosophum, in VIII Phys. Unde fortitudo, quae removet impedimentum confessionis fidei, scilicet timorem vel erubescentiam, non est proprie et per se causa confessionis, sed quasi per accidens. Reply to Objection 2. That which removes an obstacle is not a direct, but an indirect, cause, as the Philosopher proves (Phys. viii, 4). Hence fortitude which removes an obstacle to the confession of faith, viz. fear or shame, is not the proper and direct cause of confession, but an indirect cause so to speak.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod fides interior, mediante dilectione, causat omnes exteriores actus virtutum mediantibus aliis virtutibus, imperando, non eliciendo. Sed confessionem producit tanquam proprium actum, nulla alia virtute mediante. Reply to Objection 3. Inward faith, with the aid of charity, causes all outward acts of virtue, by means of the other virtues, commanding, but not eliciting them; whereas it produces the act of confession as its proper act, without the help of any other virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod confessio fidei non sit necessaria ad salutem. Illud enim videtur ad salutem sufficere per quod homo attingit finem virtutis. Sed finis proprius fidei est coniunctio humanae mentis ad veritatem divinam, quod potest etiam esse sine exteriori confessione. Ergo confessio fidei non est necessaria ad salutem. Objection 1. It would seem that confession of faith is not necessary for salvation. For, seemingly, a thing is sufficient for salvation, if it is a means of attaining the end of virtue. Now the proper end of faith is the union of the human mind with Divine truth, and this can be realized without any outward confession. Therefore confession of faith is not necessary for salvation.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, per exteriorem confessionem fidei homo fidem suam alii homini patefacit. Sed hoc non est necessarium nisi illis qui habent alios in fide instruere. Ergo videtur quod minores non teneantur ad fidei confessionem. Objection 2. Further, by outward confession of faith, a man reveals his faith to another man. But this is unnecessary save for those who have to instruct others in the faith. Therefore it seems that the simple folk are not bound to confess the faith.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, illud quod potest vergere in scandalum et turbationem aliorum non est necessarium ad salutem, dicit enim apostolus, I ad Cor. X, sine offensione estote Iudaeis et gentibus et Ecclesiae Dei. Sed per confessionem fidei quandoque ad perturbationem infideles provocantur. Ergo confessio fidei non est necessaria ad salutem. Objection 3. Further, whatever may tend to scandalize and disturb others, is not necessary for salvation, for the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 10:32): "Be without offense to the Jews and to the gentiles and to the Church of God." Now confession of faith sometimes causes a disturbance among unbelievers. Therefore it is not necessary for salvation.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod apostolus dicit, ad Rom. X, corde creditur ad iustitiam, ore autem confessio fit ad salutem. On the contrary, The Apostle says (Romans 10:10): "With the heart we believe unto justice; but with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation."
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod ea quae sunt necessaria ad salutem cadunt sub praeceptis divinae legis. Confessio autem fidei, cum sit quoddam affirmativum, non potest cadere nisi sub praecepto affirmativo. Unde eo modo est de necessariis ad salutem quo modo potest cadere sub praecepto affirmativo divinae legis. Praecepta autem affirmativa, ut supra dictum est, non obligant ad semper, etsi semper obligent, obligant autem pro loco et tempore et secundum alias circumstantias debitas secundum quas oportet actum humanum limitari ad hoc quod sit actus virtutis. Sic igitur confiteri fidem non semper neque in quolibet loco est de necessitate salutis, sed aliquo loco et tempore, quando scilicet per omissionem huius confessionis subtraheretur honor debitus Deo, vel etiam utilitas proximis impendenda; puta si aliquis interrogatus de fide taceret, et ex hoc crederetur vel quod non haberet fidem vel quod fides non esset vera, vel alii per eius taciturnitatem averterentur a fide. In huiusmodi enim casibus confessio fidei est de necessitate salutis. I answer that, Things that are necessary for salvation come under the precepts of the Divine law. Now since confession of faith is something affirmative, it can only fall under an affirmative precept. Hence its necessity for salvation depends on how it falls under an affirmative precept of the Divine law. Now affirmative precepts as stated above (I-II, 71, 5, ad 3; I-II, 88, 1, ad 2) do not bind for always, although they are always binding; but they bind as to place and time according to other due circumstances, in respect of which human acts have to be regulated in order to be acts of virtue. Thus then it is not necessary for salvation to confess one's faith at all times and in all places, but in certain places and at certain times, when, namely, by omitting to do so, we would deprive God of due honor, or our neighbor of a service that we ought to render him: for instance, if a man, on being asked about his faith, were to remain silent, so as to make people believe either that he is without faith, or that the faith is false, or so as to turn others away from the faith; for in such cases as these, confession of faith is necessary for salvation.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod finis fidei, sicut et aliarum virtutum, referri debet ad finem caritatis, qui est amor Dei et proximi. Et ideo quando honor Dei vel utilitas proximi hoc exposcit, non debet esse contentus homo ut per fidem suam ipse veritati divinae coniungatur; sed debet fidem exterius confiteri. Reply to Objection 1. The end of faith, even as of the other virtues, must be referred to the end of charity, which is the love of God and our neighbor. Consequently when God's honor and our neighbor's good demand, man should not be contented with being united by faith to God's truth, but ought to confess his faith outwardly.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod in casu necessitatis, ubi fides periclitatur, quilibet tenetur fidem suam aliis propalare, vel ad instructionem aliorum fidelium sive confirmationem, vel ad reprimendum infidelium insultationem. Sed aliis temporibus instruere homines de fide non pertinet ad omnes fideles. Reply to Objection 2. In cases of necessity where faith is in danger, every one is bound to proclaim his faith to others, either to give good example and encouragement to the rest of the faithful, or to check the attacks of unbelievers: but at other times it is not the duty of all the faithful to instruct others in the faith.
IIª-IIae q. 3 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, si turbatio infidelium oriatur de confessione fidei manifesta absque aliqua utilitate fidei vel fidelium, non est laudabile in tali casu fidem publice confiteri, unde dominus dicit, Matth. VII, nolite sanctum dare canibus, neque margaritas vestras spargere ante porcos, ne conversi dirumpant vos. Sed si utilitas aliqua fidei speretur aut necessitas adsit, contempta turbatione infidelium, debet homo fidem publice confiteri. Unde Matth. XV dicitur quod, cum discipuli dixissent domino quod Pharisaei, audito eius verbo, scandalizati sunt, dominus respondit, sinite illos, scilicet turbari, caeci sunt et duces caecorum. Reply to Objection 3. There is nothing commendable in making a public confession of one's faith, if it causes a disturbance among unbelievers, without any profit either to the faith or to the faithful. Hence Our Lord said (Matthew 7:6): "Give not that which is holy to dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine . . . lest turning upon you, they tear you." Yet, if there is hope of profit to the faith, or if there be urgency, a man should disregard the disturbance of unbelievers, and confess his faith in public. Hence it is written (Matthew 15:12) that when the disciples had said to Our Lord that "the Pharisee, when they heard this word, were scandalized," He answered: "Let them alone, they are blind, and leaders of the blind."

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