Charlemagne and St. Joan of Arc’s Traditional Faith

January 3, 2019

By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

I just wanted to mention one point that it is untrue, to say that someone only has true faith when they have studied apologetics and know how to answer giving all the reasons for the true Faith.

For example, if we were to ask St. Joan of Arc the true reasons why she was Catholic, would she know how to give proofs of the existence of God like St. Thomas Aquinas? Would she know how to prove the authenticity of the Gospels? Would she know how to prove, with Gospel in hand, that Our Lord Jesus Christ was God? Would she know how to prove that the cures and religious facts that the Gospel narrates and that Our Lord performed were facts that did not have a natural explanation but only a supernatural one? She was almost illiterate! Could Charlemagne prove all of this?

They had a traditional Faith. And is it not true that the traditional Faith is the only true Faith? It is true that the Faith is an object of reason but there are a slew of imponderable reasons—true ones though—which lead someone to believe in the Catholic Church without all these studies.

And that is why the Church never demanded, as a condition to be considered Catholic, that they answer rationally all the points of Faith. They are Catholic all the same. They have true Faith. They truly believe, they just do not know how to justify it entirely.

Why? Because the sanctity of the Church and the divinity of the Church are more or less intuitive. An upright heart, an upright soul sees the sanctity of the Church more or less like I am seeing you. In other words, you just have to open your eyes and see. You see that She is perfect. You see that She could only be produced by God and is the transmitter of the spirit of God.

You do not need to have studied all of these things. It is highly recommended to study them. That is a different issue. But this traditional Faith is also a “rationabilem obsequium.” The faith of a charcoal maker, of an ignorant man who truly believes in the Church is true Faith because he finds in the ambience of the Church the arguments which prove that the Church is true—in an instinctive, profound way. It is subconscious, but profound.

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