Choose a topic from Part 2B:

10. Unbelief

1. The unbelief of a person who refuses to hear the truthsof faith, or who despises these truths, is a sin.

2. Unbelief, like faith, is in the intellect as its propersubject. It is also in the will, inasmuch as every human act is inthe will as its principle. Unbelief in the intellect, accepted orat least unrejected by the will, is sinful unbelief.

3. Apart from the sins directly opposed to the othertheological virtues (that is, hope and charity), unbelief is thegreatest of sins, because it severs a man completely from God andfalsifies his very notion of God. Unbelief is the greatest of sinsagainst faith.

4. Great as the sin of unbelief is, it does not makesinful every human act of the unbeliever, but only such human actsas proceed from it as from their principle.

5. There are three main types of unbelief: that of paganswho resist the faith; that of the chosen people; that ofheretics.

6. The unbelief of pagans who resist the truefaith is not so great a sin as the unbelief of heretics or Jews whoreject the faith.

7. Arguing or disputing about the faith is sometimesjustified; indeed, it is sometimes necessary. Such disputation mustnever be a manifestation of doubt or weakness in the faith. And itmust never be of a nature unsuited to the capacity of those whohear it.

8. A person who has not the faith cannot be compelled byhuman means or authority to accept it. Yet such a person should becompelled by human means not to interfere with the faithful, not toscandalize them by blasphemy, not to bring persecution upon them.Those who have lapsed from the faith, as apostates and heretics,might justly be compelled to consider their error and theirbreaking of their promises.

9. We should not be on familiar terms with those whosinfully reject the faith. Nor can we have any part in the falseworship of apostates or heretics. Those who are strong in thefaith, and are equipped for solid discussion, should try to winback unbelievers who have rejected the faith, but never in such away as to scandalize the more simple-minded among the faithful.

10. Unbelievers are not to be permitted to set upauthority over the faithful. But in governments alreadyestablished, unbelievers in office have authority over thefaithful, apart from matters of divine law.

11. The religious rites of unbelievers are to betolerated, since these are lesser evils than those that would ariseby reason of an effort to forbid or eradicate such rites. Inthemselves, the rites of unbelievers are sinful, for they are notof divine origin, but are in conflict with divine ordinance. Yetthese rites are not recognized as evil by those who honestly usethem; hence, they are not formally sinful, but only materially so.To tolerate such rites seems to be the best way of winning the goodwill of the user of them, and so obtaining opportunity to instructhim in the true faith.

12. Children of Jews and unbelievers are not to bebaptized against the will of their parents.

"The greatest glory we can give to God is to do his will in everything."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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"Try to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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