Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira


Developing a Catholic Sense








Legionário, Sao Paulo, October 1, 1933

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Catholic doctrine is one thing and Catholic sense another. There are several points where Catholic doctrine is applied with great advantage when it is aided by Catholic sense.

Catholic doctrine is perfectly compatible with the early organization of the Church, in which some ecclesiastical posts were filled through election by the faithful among themselves. But Catholic sense, while understanding the advantage of this system in other times, today intransigently defends the present organization of the Church, the only one compatible with the circumstances of our times.

Catholic doctrine does not oblige the Holy Father to surround himself in the Vatican with all the splendor of the papal court. But Catholic sense perfectly understands the need for this splendor as the human manifestation of the hallowed dignity of the Holy Pontiff.

In short, knowledge of Catholic doctrine is for us as necessary as it is, for a navigator, to know the position of the stars as he watches the skies to orient his route. For its part, Catholic sense represents the practical knowledge of the pilot who, mindful of the treacherous reefs and sandbanks, turns his eyes not only to the skies but also to the sea, looking for the dangers he must avoid.

Without both things, that is, knowledge of the stars and the obstacles hidden in the sea, navigation is impossible.

Likewise, without a serious knowledge of Catholic doctrine and a keen Catholic sense, it is impossible to navigate safely through this stormy ocean in which we sail.

Therefore, it is not sufficient to respect minimal points of Catholic doctrine. It is necessary for Catholic sense to permeate everything so as to enable us, in its own way, to resolve our multiple difficulties.

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