What Can and Cannot Be Reformed In the Church
by Fr. Michael Mueller, 1875
Q. What follows from the fact that the holy Roman Catholic Church can never be destroyed by any created power?
A. That it would be the sin of heresy for any one to say that a reform of the doctrine or the constitution of the Roman Catholic Church could ever become necessary.
Q. Can anyone change the doctrine of Jesus Christ, or the articles of faith, the commandments, or the sacraments?
A. To think so and to attempt to do so would be as foolish as it would be for one to attempt to reform the visible world and the laws which God has established to preserve and maintain it.
Q. Could some new doctrine, new commandment, or new sacrament be added; or could some of the articles of faith, some of the commandments, or some of the sacraments be left out?
A. By no means.
Q. Why not?
A. Because not even the Apostles themselves had power from Christ to add to, or leave out, any portion of Christ's doctrine.
Q. How do we know this?
A. Because Jesus Christ said to the Apostles: "Go and teach all nations, teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
Q. In what other words has our Blessed Saviour assured us that His holy doctrine will never suffer any change?
A. In these words: "Amen, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled." Matt. v. 18. "Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass." Matt. xxiv. 35.
Q. What does St. Paul say to assure us that nothing whatsoever can be added to, or left out of the doctrine of Jesus Christ?
A. He says: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before so now I say again: if any one preach to you a gospel besides that which you have received, let him be accursed." Gal. i. 8, 9.
Q. Is there nothing in the Catholic Church that may be reformed?
A. Nothing in the doctrine which was delivered to her from the beginning to teach, but the manners of such of her pastors and children as fail to live up to her teachings, may and ought to be reformed.
Q. May Priests and even Bishops, nay, even a Pope, fail to live up to Christ's holy doctrine?
A. They may, indeed; and certain periods of the lives of some of them have been very disedifying.
Q. How can we easily account for this?
A. Because one can know and teach the true doctrine of Christ without practising it.
Q. What, then, is the answer to those who object to our religion because the lives of certain pastors of the Church have been disedifying?
A. The lives of the scribes and the Pharisees were very disedifying. Nevertheless our blessed Saviour told the multitudes and His disciples that "they have sitten on the chair of Moses. All things, therefore, whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not: for they say and do not." Matt. xxiii. 2.
Q. Does the Lord make use of apostate Catholics, such as Martin Luther, Calvin, John Knox, Henry VIII., King of England, to reform the manners of the people?
A. The thought is absurd. The lives of those men were evil, and it is only the devil that makes use of them to pervert the people still more. The Lord makes use of His saints, such as a St. Francis of Assisium, a St. Dominick, a St. Ignatius, a St. Alphonsus, to convert the people and reform their evil manners by explaining to them the truths of faith, the commandments, and the necessity of receiving the sacraments with proper dispositions, and by setting them in their own lives the loftiest example of faith, purity, and all Christian virtues.
Q. Is it possible to reform men in any other way?
A. Since the coming of the Redeemer it has never been heard that men were reformed and made virtuous by any other means than those which Jesus Christ left to His Church.
Q. What do the words "I believe" mean?
A. They mean that I hold to be true that which another tells me.
Q. What must we know of a person to believe firmly all his words?
A. That he is truthful and knows well the things which he tells us.
Q. Is God truthful?
A. "He is Truth itself." Rom. iii. 4.
Q. Does God know all things well?
A. "He knows all things as they are." 1 John iii. 20.
Q. Why, then, must we firmly believe all that God has made known?
A. Because He can neither deceive nor be deceived. "God is not as a man, that he should lie." Numb. xxiii. 19.
Q. What is to believe God?
A. It is to believe, without doubting, that whatever God has said is infallibly true.
Q. Can we of ourselves have this firm faith?
A. No; it is a particular gift and light of God. "By grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God." Eph. ii. 8.
Q. What does this gift bring about in the soul?
A. It enlightens the understanding, and moves the will of man to believe without doubting all that God has made known. "Faith is the evidence of things that appear not." Heb. xi. 1.
Q. To whom did God make known all that we must believe and do?
A. Only to the Roman Catholic Church.
Q. From whom, then, must all men learn that they must believe and do?
A. From the Roman Catholic Church, because she alone was appointed by God to teach the truths of salvation to all nations.
Q. Is to believe what the Roman Catholic Church teaches not the same as to believe God Himself?
A. It is, indeed.
A. Because Jesus Christ has said to the pastors of the Church: "He who heareth you heareth me, and he who despiseth you despiseth me."
Q. What, then, is the faith of the Roman Catholic?
A. It is a grace and light of the Holy Ghost, which enables him to believe most firmly all that God teaches him by His Church.
Q. Is this faith of the Roman Catholic a divine or human faith?
A. It is divine faith.
Q. Why is it divine?
A. Because, by the light of grace, the Catholic knows for certain that the pastors of the Church are commissioned by God Himself to teach all men, in His name, authoritatively and infallibly, all the sacred and immutable truths of salvation, and, therefore, he feels himself bound in conscience to believe them without hesitation.
Q. Is this divine faith absolutely necessary for salvation?
A. Yes; because it is only by divine faith that we can please God.
Q. Who assures us of this?
A. Jesus Christ Himself.
Q. What are His words?
A. "Go and teach all nations.--He that believeth not shall be condemned." Mark xvi.
Q. What does St. Paul say of those who do not believe God, when He speaks to them through those whom He appointed to teach men?
A. That "it is impossible to please God without faith." Heb. xi.
Q. What, then, is the rule of faith which Jesus Christ gave to all men?
A. To listen to His living voice, speaking through the pastors of His Church, and to believe them.
Q. Can men possibly have divine faith out of the Catholic Church?
A. Out of the Catholic Church there can be none but human faith.
Q. What do you mean by human faith?
A. To believe a man on his own authority.
Q. Do those who are out of the Church, and teach and preach to the people, teach and preach on their own authority?
A. They do; because they are not sent by God, nor have they received any mission from His Church.
Q.What follows from this?
A. That those who believe them do not believe God, but man, and, therefore, their faith is only human, which availeth them nothing unto salvation.
Qualities of Faith
Q. When is our faith quite pleasing to God?
A. When it is strong, lively, entire, and sound.
Q. When is our faith strong?
A. When we believe without the least doubt, and choose to lose all, even our life, rather than fall away from it.
Q. When is our faith lively?
A. When we practise what our faith teaches.
Q. When is our faith entire?
A. When we believe all the truths which the Catholic Church teaches, as contained in the Holy Scripture or tradition.
Q. When is our faith sound?
A. When we avoid not only open heresy, but also diligently shun, and in our hearts dissent from, those errors which approach it more of less closely, and religiously observe those constitutions and decrees whereby such evil opinions, either directly or indirectly, have been proscribed and prohibited by the Holy See.
Q. What do you mean by Holy Scripture?
A. A collection of books which were written by holy men, inspired by the Holy Ghost, and acknowledged by the Catholic Church to be the written Word of God.
Q. How is Holy Scripture divided?
A. Into the books of the Old and the New Testament; or, of the Old and the New Law.
Q. What are we told in the books of the Old Testament?
A. In the books of the Old Testament we are told those truths which God made known before the coming of Christ.
Q. What are we told in the books of the New Testament?
A. Some of the truths which God made known through Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
Q. Is it easy for everyone to understand the Holy Scripture?
A. There is nothing more difficult than to understand the true meaning of every passage of the Scripture.
Q. How do we know this?
A. From Holy Scripture itself, which says that "there are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest to their own destruction." 2 Peter iii. 16.
Q. May not everyone explain the Bible in his own private manner?
A. "No prophecy of the Scripture," says St. Peter, "is made by private interpretation." 2 Peter i. 20.
Q. To whom belongs the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures?
A. To the Catholic Church alone.
A. "Because the Apostles carefully entrusted the Scriptures to their successors; and to whom the Scriptures were entrusted, to them also was committed the interpretation of Scripture." St. Irenaeus.
Q. How does the Church make known the meaning of any passage of Scripture?
A. She makes it known either directly by a solemn definition, or by the universal consent of the Church dispersed throughout the world; and she makes it known indirectly when she tells us that we are to interpret Scripture in such a way that our interpretation shall be in harmony with her teaching upon all other points of Christian doctrine.
Q. Have any great evils followed from the unrestricted private interpretation of the Bible?
A. Yes; numberless heresies and impieties.
Q. What have the chief pastors of the Church done to guard the faithful against corrupted Bibles, and against erroneous interpretations of the Bible?
A. They have decreed--1. That, with regard to reading the Bible in the vernacular, we should have the learning and piety requisite for it. 2. That the translation should be approved by the Holy See, or accompanied with explanations by a Bishop.
Q. Why did you say that in the New Testament we are told some of the truths, and not all the truths which God made known through Jesus Christ and the Apostles?
A. Because all the truths preached by Jesus Christ and the Apostles are not recorded in the Bible.
Q. How do we know this?
A. From the Bible itself, which says: "Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of His disciples, which are not written in this book." John xx. 30.
Q. Why did the Apostles not write down all that Jesus had taught?
A. Because Jesus Christ had not commanded them to write, but to preach His doctrine. "Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature." Mark xvi.15.
Q. What is the unwritten doctrine of Jesus Christ and the Apostles called?
Q. How did the unwritten doctrine of Jesus Christ come down to us?
A. The Apostles took great care to instruct their disciples thoroughly, and make them capable of so instructing others. Thus their pure doctrine was delivered to the first Bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Church. By these, it was in like manner handed down to their successors; and so on, unimpaired, to those who, at the present time, teach in the Catholic Church.
Q. How do we know this?
A. We know it from what St. Paul writes in his Second Epistle to the Bishop Timothy (chap. 11.2), and from the early Fathers of the Church.
Q. What does St. Paul write?
A. "And the things which thou hast heard of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also."
Q. Which of the early Fathers of the Church writes, when speaking of the ninety-first heresy: "All things are not found in the Holy Scripture, for the Apostles have taught us some by tradition, some by writing"?
A. St. Epiphanius.
Q. Who is it that writes: "Of the many truths of faith held by the Church, some have been received from the inspired writings, others from tradition; both sources are equally pure and certain"?
A. St. Basil, in his treatise on the Holy Ghost. Chap. xxvii.
Q. Is that which was taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles, but which is not written, less true than that which is written?
A. The one is just as true as the other.
A. Because the Apostles taught the true doctrine of Jesus Christ not less by their preaching, than by their writings, and the Holy Ghost expressed His will, as well by their tongues as by their pens.
Q. What follows from this?
A. That we must believe the unwritten Word of God as firmly as the written.
Q. Who assures us most emphatically of this?
A. St. Paul, in these words: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our Epistle." 2 Thess. 11. 14.
Q. Was this also the belief of the Fathers of the Church?
A. It was; for St. John Chrysostom writes, in his 4th homily on the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Thessalonians: "Therefore it is evident that the Apostles taught many things without writing, which we must believe as firmly as those which are written."
Q. Name some of those truths of which the Bible does not speak, but which we believe from tradition?
A. We know only from tradition--1. That little children are to be baptized. 2. That we must keep holy the Sunday instead of the Saturday. 3. We know only from tradition those books which are divine, and contain the written word of God.
Q. But was it not possible that those truths which were taught by the Apostles, but were not written, might easily be corrupted, or forgotten altogether, because not recorded in Holy Scripture?
A. No; because God himself took care that what He had taught should not be forgotten, but be handed down to us uncorrupted.
Q. Was there any written Word of God for two thousand years, from Adam down to Moses?
A. There was not.
Q. How then did all that God spoke to Adam, Noah, etc., come down uncorrupted to Moses, who was the first to write down the Word of God?
A. By tradition; that is, God took care that the Patriarchs, His faithful servants, should hand down by word of mouth His doctrine uncorrupted from generation to generation.
Q. Could not, and did not God do the same from the time of the Apostles down to us?
A. He could, and did, by means of the faithful pastors of His Church.
Q. How did the pastors of His Church hand down to us the unwritten doctrine of the Apostles?
A. Partly by word of mouth and partly by their writings, in which they explain the doctrine of the Apostles, written and unwritten.
Q. What do we understand from this?
A. That, for example, the faith of the Catholic Church in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament would have been at all times precisely what it is, had it pleased God that the passages in Holy Scripture, relating to it, had never been written; and so with all the rest of the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Q. Are the doctrines of the Catholic Church then entirely independent of Scripture?
A. They are; because she taught her doctrines, and they were believed by the early Christians before the New Testament was written--centuries, indeed, before the Bible was collected into its present form; and she would have done so, in precisely the same manner, had they never been written.
Q. What, then, do we mean when we say: "I believe the Holy Catholic Church"?
A. We mean that we firmly believe in the fact that Jesus Christ has established a visible church, endless in her duration, and infallible in her doctrine, which we must believe and obey without reserve, if we would obtain eternal salvation; and that this Church is no other than the Roman Catholic Church.
Q. How do people come to lose this faith?
A. 1. By want of instruction.
2. By neglect of prayer and other religious duties.
3. By worldliness and a wicked life.
4. By reading bad books.
5. By intercourse with scoffers at religion.
6. By mixed marriages.
7. By becoming members of secret societies.
8. By pride and subtle reasoning on the mysteries of our religion.
9. By want of submission to the Church.
10. By godless education.
What is Dogma?
by William Edward Addis, 1893
Dogma, in its theological sense, is a truth contained in the Word of God, written or unwritten--i.e. in Scripture or Tradition--and proposed by the Church for the belief of the faithful. Thus dogma is a revealed truth, since Scripture is inspired by the Holy Ghost, while tradition signifies the truths which the Apostles received from Christ and the Holy Spirit, and handed down to the Church.
From this definition, it follows that the Church has no power to make new dogmas. It is her office to contend for the faith once delivered, and to hand down the sacred deposit which she has received without adding to it or taking from it. At the same time, the Church may enunciate fully and impose dogmas or articles of faith contained in the Word of God, or at least deduced from principles so contained, but as yet not fully declared and imposed. Hence with regard to a new definition--such, e.g., as that of Transubstantiation, Christians have a twofold duty. They are obliged to believe, first, that the doctrine so defined is true, and next that it is part of the Christian revelation received by the Apostles. Again, no Christian is at liberty to refuse assent to any dogma which the Church proposes. To do so involves nothing less than shipwreck of the faith, and no Catholic can accept the Protestant distinction between "fundamental and non-fundamental articles of faith." It is a matter of fundamental importance to accept the whole of the Church's teaching. True, a Catholic is not bound to know all the definitions of the Church--but, if he knowingly and wilfully contradicts or doubts the truth of any one among them, he ceases to be a Catholic.
This arbitrary distinction between essential and non-essential articles has led by natural consequence to the opinion that dogmatic belief, as such, matters little provided a man's life is virtuous and his feelings are devout. A religion of this kind is on the very face of it different from the religion of the Apostles and their successors. St. Paul anathematises false teachers, and bids his disciples shun heretics; St. John denounces the denial of the Incarnation as a mark of Antichrist. If God has made a revelation, then both duty and devotional feeling must depend on the dogmas of that revelation, and be regulated by them.
There Can be No New Dogmas
or Progress in Church Teachings
"The Church of Christ, zealous and cautious guardian of the dogmas deposited with it, never changes any phase of them. It does not diminish them or add to them; it neither trims what seems necessary nor grafts things superfluous; it neither gives up its own or usurps what does not belong to it. But it devotes all its diligence to one aim: to treat tradition faithfully and wisely; to nurse and polish what from old times may have remain unshaped and unfinished; to consolidate and strengthen what already was clear and plain; and to guard what already was confirmed and defined."
(St. Vincent of Lerins, 5th century A.D.)
"'Guard.' he says, 'what has been committed.' What does it mean, 'what has been committed'? It is what has been faithfully entrusted to you, not what has been discovered by you; what you have received, not what you have thought up; a matter not of ingenuity, but of doctrine; not of private acquisition, but of public Tradition; a matter brought to you, not put forth by you, in which you must not be the author but the guardian, not the founder but the sharer, not the leader, but the follower. 'Guard,' he says, 'what has been committed.' Keep the talent [see Mt. 25:14-30] of the Catholic Faith inviolate and unimpaired. What has been faithfully entrusted, let it remain in your possession, let it be handed on by you. You have received gold, so give gold. For my part, I do not want you to substitute on thing for another; I do not want you imprudently to put lead in place of gold, or fraudulently, brass. I do not want the appearance of gold, but the real thing. O Timothy, O priest, O interpreter, O teacher, if a divine gift has made you suitable in genius, in experience, in doctrine to be the Bezalel [i.e. skilled craftsman] of the spiritual tabernacle, cut out the precious gems of divine dogma, shape them faithfully, ornament them wisely, add splendor, grace and beauty to them! By your expounding it, may that now be understood more clearly which formerly was believed even in its obscurity. May posterity, be means of you, rejoice in understanding what in times past was venerated without understanding. Nevertheless, teach the same that you have learned, so that if you say something anew, it is not something new that you say."
(St. Vincent of Lerins, c. 434 A.D.)
"What then should a Catholic do if some part of the Church were to separate itself from communion with the universal Faith? What other choice can he make but to prefer to the gangrenous and corrupted member the whole of the body that is sound. And if some new contagion were to try to poison no longer a small part of the Church, but all of the Church at the same time, then he will take the greatest care to attach himself to antiquity which, obviously, can no longer be seduced by any lying novelty."
(St. Vincent of Lerins, c. 434 A.D.)
"Hold firmly that your faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church."
(St. Thomas Aquinas)
"There being an imminent danger for the Faith, prelates must bequestioned, even publicly, by their subjects. Thus, St. Paul, who was a subject of St. Peter, questioned him publicly on account of an imminent danger of scandal in a matter of Faith. And, as the Glossa of St. Augustine puts it (Ad Galatas 2.14), 'St. Peter himself gave the example to those who govern so that if sometime they stray from the right way, they will not reject a correction as unworthy even if it comes from their subjects . . . .
(St. Thomas Aquinas)
The reprehension was just and useful, and the reason for it was not light: there was a danger for the preservation of Gospel truth . . . . The way it took place was appropriate, since it was public and manifest. For this reason, St. Paul writes: 'I spoke to Cephas,' that is, Peter, 'before everyone,' since the simulation practiced by St. Peter was fraught with danger to everyone.
(St. Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae, Q. 33, A. 4)
"Some say that fraternal correction does not extend to the prelates either because man should not raise his voice against heaven, or because the prelates are easily scandalized if corrected by their subjects. However, this does not happen, since when they sin, the prelates do not represent heaven, and, therefore, must be corrected. And those who correct them charitably do not raise their voices against them, but in their favor, since the admonishment is for their own sake.... For this reason, according to other [authors], the precept of fraternal correction extends also to the prelates, so that they may be corrected by their subjects."
(St. Thomas Aquinas: IV. Sententiarum, D. 19, Q. 2, A. 2))
With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas.
(St. Pope Pius X., "Lamentabili Sane", 1907 A.D.)
CONDEMNED: "Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to continuous and indefinite progress, which corresponds to the progress of human reason."
(Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.)
"If anyone rejects any written or unwritten tradition of the church, let him be anathema."
(Second Council of Nicaea 787 A.D.)
"O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you, shunning profane novelties of words;" 1 Timothy 6:20 and again, "if any man preach unto you other than you have received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:9
Therefore all those who dare to think or teach anything different, or who follow the accursed heretics in rejecting ecclesiastical traditions, or who devise innovations, or who spurn anything entrusted to the church (whether it be the gospel or the figure of the cross or any example of representational art or any martyr's holy relic), or who fabricate perverted and evil prejudices against cherishing any of the lawful traditions of the catholic church, or who secularize the sacred objects and saintly monasteries, we order that they be suspended if they are bishops or clerics, and excommunicated if they are monks or lay people.
(Second Council of Nicaea 787 A.D.) "Just as it is licit to resist a Pontiff who attacks the body, so it is licit to resist him who attacks souls, or who disturbs the civil order. or. above all, him who tries to destroy the Church. It is licit to resist him by not doing what he order and by impeding the execution of his will."
(St. Robert Bellermine Doctor of the Church, De Romano Pontifice, Book II, Chapter II, Chapter 29) "Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith."
(St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597)
"Urge them never to allow themselves to be deceived and led into error by men who have become abominable in their pursuits. These men attempt to destroy faith on the pretext of human progress, subjecting it in an impious manner to reason and changing the meaning of the words of God. Such men do not shrink from the greatest insults to God Himself, who cares for the good and the salvation of men by means of His heavenly religion."
(Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)
"Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain 'restoration and regeneration' for [the Church] as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune. Indeed these authors of novelties consider that a 'foundation may be laid of a new human institution,' and what Cyprian detested may come to pass, that what was a divine thing 'may become a human church.'"
(Pope Gregory XVI, "Mirari Vos", 1832 A.D.)
"To announce, therefore, to Catholic Christians something other than that which they have received is never permitted, is nowhere permitted, and never will be permitted. And to anathematize those who announce anything other than that which has been received once and for all has never been unnecessary, is nowhere unnecessary, and never will be unnecessary"
(St. Vincent of Lerins, c. 434 A.D.)
"For the Church of Christ, watchful guardian that she is, and defender of the dogmas deposited with her, never changes anything, never diminishes anything, never adds anything to them; but with all diligence she treats the ancient documents faithfully and wisely; if they really are of ancient origin and if the faith of the Fathers has transmitted them, she strives to investigate and explain them in such a way that the ancient dogmas of heavenly doctrine will be made evident and clear, but will retain their full, integral, and proper nature, and will grow only within their own genus - that is, within the same dogma, in the same sense and the same meaning."
(Pope Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus", 1854 A.D.)
"For the teaching authority of the Church, which in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact forever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men, and which is daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him, has also the office of defining, when it sees fit, any truth with solemn rites and decrees, whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or more clearly and in greater detail to stamp the minds of the faithful with the articles of sacred doctrine which have been explained. But in the use of this extraordinary teaching authority no newly invented matter is brought in, nor is anything new added to the number of those truths which are at least implicitly contained in the deposit of Revelation, divinely handed down to the Church: only those which are made clear which perhaps may still seem obscure to some, or that which some have previously called into question is declared to be of faith."
(Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928)
"It is with no less deceit, venerable brothers, that other enemies of divine revelation, with reckless and sacrilegious effrontery, want to import the doctrine of human progress into the Catholic religion. They extol it with the highest praise, as if religion itself were not of God but the work of men, or a philosophical discovery which can be perfected by human means... Our holy religion was not invented by human reason, but was most mercifully revealed by God; therefore, one can quite easily understand that religion itself acquires all its power from the authority of God who made the revelation, and that it can never be arrived at or perfected by human reason."
(Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)