20 August 2011


"To be a theologian, one must share the common fides quae, the faith of the people of God.  A theologian is not an ecclesiastical Übermensch, but is equally bound, with all Christians, by the Church's rule of faith.  He (or she) is dependent on the Church, not necessarily financially or even sociologically, but always epistemologically.  A theologian may be so gifted a writer that he can support himself without the Church's monetary aid.  He may interest so many people beyond the Church's membership that his lectures and books find an adequate audience outside the household of faith.  Yet there are aspects of his understanding which are only available to the individual because the Church's tradition makes them so.  Any scholar can study the texts of the New Testament considered simply as intriguing religious writings from the ancient Near East.  But to grasp the meaning which the Christian religion has found in these texts, it is necessary to be in touch with the fides quae, the faith of the Church." 
—  Aidan Nichols, O.P., The Shape of Catholic Theology