15. To whom is the deposit of faith entrusted?
(Comp 15) The Apostles entrusted the deposit of faith to the whole of the Church. Thanks to its supernatural sense of faith the people of God as a whole, assisted by the Holy Spirit and guided by the Magisterium of the Church, never ceases to welcome, to penetrate more deeply and to live more fully from the gift of divine revelation.
(CCC 99) Thanks to its supernatural sense of faith, the People of God as a whole never ceases to welcome, to penetrate more deeply and to live more fully from the gift of divine Revelation.
To deepen and explain
(CCC 84) The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei) (DV 10 § 1; cf. 1 Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 1:12-14 Vulg.), contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. "By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful" (DV 10 § 1; cf. Acts 2:42 (Gk); Pius XII, apostolic constitution, Munificentissimus Deus, November 1, 1950: AAS 42 (1950), 756, taken along with the words of St. Cyprian, Epist. 66, 8: CSEL 3, 2, 733: "The Church is the people united to its Priests, the flock adhering to its Shepherd"). (CCC 91) All the faithful share in understanding and handing on revealed truth. They have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who instructs them (Cf. 1 Jn 2:20, 27) and guides them into all truth (Cf. Jn 16:13). (CCC 857) The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways: - she was and remains built on "the foundation of the Apostles" (Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14); the witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself (Cf. Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Gal 1:1; etc.); - with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching (Cf. Acts 2:42), the "good deposit," the salutary words she has heard from the apostles (Cf. 2 Tim 1:13-14); - she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, "assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor" (AG 5): You are the eternal Shepherd who never leaves his flock untended. Through the apostles you watch over us and protect us always. You made them shepherds of the flock to share in the work of your Son…. (Roman Missal, Preface of the Apostles I).
(CCC 94) Thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the understanding of both the realities and the words of the heritage of faith is able to grow in the life of the Church: - "through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts" (DV 8 § 2; cf. Lk 2:19, 51); it is in particular "theological research [which] deepens knowledge of revealed truth" (GS 62 § 7; cf. GS 44 § 2; DV 23; 24; UR 4). - "from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which [believers] experience" (DV 8 § 2), the sacred Scriptures "grow with the one who reads them" (St. Gregory the Great, Hom. in Ezek. 1, 7, 8: PL 76, 843D). - "from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth" (DV 8 § 2).
(Next question: To whom is given the task of authentically interpreting the deposit of faith?)