The Crisis of Faith | By Father John Hardon, S.J.
Every rational human being believes. When we believe we accept the word of another person. Someone knows that something is true, either from experience or reason, and we accept what he tells us because we trust that he knows what he is talking about and is not deceiving us.
On this basis the only unbeliever would be a person who is completely out of his mind. We believe that the persons whom we call our father and mother are our parents. We believe that what we are buying is what the store tells us is worth paying for. We believe that the lessons we learned in childhood are true. Who would even enter marriage unless both partners believed in the spouse with whom they were entering matrimony?
In a word, faith is part of our very nature as rational human beings. However, it is one thing to believe in other people and something else to believe in God. To believe in what people tell us is called human faith. To believe in what God has revealed is called Divine faith. To be still more clear, Divine faith properly so called is the assent of our intellect to what God has revealed, not because we comprehend what God tells us it true, but only because we accept a truth on His authority who can neither deceive, or be deceived.
God cannot deceive because He is all good and therefore cannot tell a lie. He cannot be deceived because He knows all things and therefore can never be wrong.
St. John the Evangelist raises one of the most embarrassing questions in the Bible. How is it, he asked, that we who are so ready to believe in men are so slow to believe in God? The answer is painfully obvious. We are so slow to believe in God because what He demands of us is nothing less than to accept incomprehensible mysteries which are beyond our human capacity even to conceive before they are revealed, and beyond our grasp to fully penetrate even after they are revealed.
We see that faith and revelation are related as cause and effect. God reveals Himself, who He is and what He wants; if we respond we believe.
All of this has been a prelude to the real message of this article, for the present crisis in the Catholic Church is really a crisis of faith.
What is the Crisis?