Pope Francis on Knowledge, Faith, and Demons | Fr. James V, Schall, SJ | CWR blog
“To believe is immediately an act of the intellect, because the object of that act is the true, which pertains properly to the intellect. Consequently, faith, which is the proper principle of that act, must needs reside in the intellect.” — St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, 4, 2.
“Thus, ‘we can recite the Creed, theoretically, even without the faith.’ He (Pope Francis) said, ‘and there are many people who do so! Even the demons.’” — Pope Francis, Homily, Santa Marta, February 21, 2014.
Pope Francis’ “style” is more familiar to us. Every morning, he diligently gives a sermon that reflects on the daily readings, but can touch on just about anything that comes to his mind. Obviously, these morning reflections are prepared, but are not written so that they might someday appear in a “collection” of papal sermons. But some gathering of these lively sermons will certainly be made available. What we have in L’Osservatore Romano is a summary, with many direct quotations, of what the Pope has said that morning. Not a few of these somewhat off-handed papal comments, like his reference to Robert Hugh Benson’s novel, The Lord of the World, make morning headlines throughout the world.
Recent Mass readings were from the Epistle of James, the letter that Martin Luther did not at all like. Though many of these things have long been hashed out in Catholic-Lutheran dialogues, the initial impression was that Luther did not like James because of the latter’s insistence that faith had also to result in works. In this sense, it seemed that sola fide, faith alone, was not enough. With proper distinctions, both Catholics and Lutherans hold that both are necessary. Our faith should result in some positive action in the world, But if we have no faith, our deeds will appear to mean that we can gain heaven by just working for it on our own with no need for grace to attain our highest purpose.
Pope Francis tells us that St. James wants to explain what the faith is.