In this document from the International Theological Commission, a controversial and often misused term is addressed. At different times in the history of the Church, the instinct of the faithful for the truth of the Gospel has protected the doctrine and practice of the Church while at others, the ‘sensus fidei’ has been invoked to call for change. This document explores the origin of the term, its true meaning and use and its value in the new evangelisation.
‘The sensus fidei is the instinct that all the faithful have for the truth of the Gospel, an instinct, given by the Holy Spirit, that also prompts their Christian witness and proclamation in daily life. It’s a great resource for the new evangelisation, a key to the mature and effective collaboration of all the Church’s members, which is so much needed and wanted. However, like all spiritual gifts it needs to be carefully nurtured and discerned. It isn’t at all necessarily the same thing as popular opinion or the majority view. So how should it be understood and applied? This document tries to respond to those questions.’ Mgr Paul McPartlan (president of the subcommission of the ITC that prepared the document)