Taken from:I. Salaverri SJ. Tractatus de Ecclesia, 3rd ed., Madrid, BAC 1955, 846ff.
Thesis 21. The consensus of theologians in matters of faith and morals is a certain criteria of divine Tradition.
A. Dogmatic Value of this Thesis. It is:
1. Catholic Doctrine. (From the teaching of Pius IX )
2. Theologically Certain. (From the practice of Trent & Vatican I.)
B. Proof of the Thesis
1. Major Premise. The consent of theologians in matters of faith and morals is so intimately connected with the teaching Church that an error in the consensus of theologians would
necessarily lead the whole Church into error.
2. Minor Premise. But the whole Church cannot err in faith and morals. (The Church is infallible.)
3. Conclusion. The consensus of theologians in matters of faith and morals is a certain criteria of divine Tradition.
C. Proofs of the Major Premise.
1. Citation of Theological Works. Popes, bishops, etc., from the 8th century onwards taught material which they drew from the teaching of theologians.
2. Supervision. From the 12-16th centuries, the Church founded, directed, and watched over all theological schools.
3. Legislation. From the time of Trent, theological works were used in seminaries which were supervised by bishops and popes.
4. Consultation. Church used theologians as her consultors for doctrinal matters.
5. Implicit Approval. The Church implicitly approves the contents of theologians’ works by not censuring them, which she is obliged to do in case of theological errors.
6. Recommendation. The writings of various theological schools are praised by popes and held out as examples to imitate.
ADDENDUM:Those Who Reject the Common Teaching of Approved Theologians
Opponents to Authority of Theologians.
A. Humanists. (Rejected supernatural principles. Put man at center
B. Protestants. (Rejected doctrines theologians defended.)
1. Luther. Scholastic theology is “ignorance of the truth and
2. Melancthon. Scholastic theology is “the Gospel obscured,
the faith extinguished.”
C. Jansenists. (Claimed that theologians “obscured revealed doctrine.”)
D. Modernists, liberals rationalists. (Reject the immutable nature of Truth).
“The teachings of theologians were responsible for the doctrinal errors of Vatican II. Because these theologians erred and we reject their teachings, we are also therefore free to reject the teaching of earlier theologians if a teaching ‘does not make sense’ to us.”
Response: The group of European modernist theologians primarily responsible for the Vatican II errors were enemies of traditional scholastic theology and had been suspect of heresy by the Holy Office and otherwise censured or silenced byChurch authority: Murray, Schillebeeckx, Congar, de Lubac, Teilhard, Ratzinger, Kung,etc. When the strictures were removed under John XXIII, they were able to spread their errors freely. If anything, the fact that they had been previously silenced demonstrates the Church’s vigilance against error in the writings of her theologians.