St. Edmund Campion Catechism Group - Series 2 Lesson 4

Dogma on the soul

Podcast: Catholic Dogma on the Soul
Podcast: Notes
Catechism: Q3-12
My Catholic Faith: Chapters 7, 8, 9, & 10
Bible: Sirach 17:7
Catholic Encyclopedia: Dogma
Aquinas 101: The image of God
Summa Theologica: 1aQ93 
Aquinas on the "imago Dei" by Dr. Stephen Loughlin
Companion to the Summa - nothing this week


1. Recap: By reason we deduce that

  • the soul is spiritual
  • it can exist apart from the body (and is therefore immortal)
  • the separation of body and soul at death is unnatural

2. What is Catholic Dogma?

  • Definition: a truth appertaining to faith or morals, revealed by God, transmitted from the Apostles in the Scriptures or by tradition, and proposed by the Church for the acceptance of the faithful. It might be described briefly as a truth revealed by God, taught by the Church as such.
  • A dogma therefore implies a twofold relation: to Divine revelation and to the authoritative teaching of the Church.

3. Why is Catholic Dogma necessary?

  • We know most things on faith rather than reason.
  • God reveals Himself to us through the Church.
  • We need the highest level of certitude.


4. What is the Catholic Dogma on the soul?

  • Man has a material body and a spiritual soulde fide (4th Lateran Council, 1215)
  • The rational soul is the form of the body – de fide (Council of Vienne, 1311)
  • Each person has an individual soulde fide (5th Lateran Council, 1515)
  • The human soul is immortalde fide (Scripture, e.g. Mt 10:28; Mt 25:46)
  • The individual soul is created ex nihilo by God – sententia certa (Pius XII’s Humani Generis, 1950)

5. What does "To be in the image and likeness of God" mean?

  • "To be in the image and likeness of God" means to possess those characteristics which may be found in God. In this case: to have a spiritual nature, to have an intellect and to have a will.
  • St. Augustine: By his body, man is a vestigium Dei; by his soul, man is the imago Dei; by sanctifying grace, man is similitudo Dei.