What We Should Believe About Saint Joseph

From: https://virtueconnection.com/fr-calloway-what-you-didnt-know-about-st-joseph/. This picture is also found in Father Donald Calloway’s Book Consecration to Saint Joseph: the Wonders of Our Spiritual Father, and Consecration to Saint Joseph actually gives the following information about this painting: “St. Joseph, Terror of Demons by Bernadette Carstensen (2019). Commissioned by Fr. Donald H. Calloway, MIC.”

Many years ago I was given a copy of the book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Doctor Ludwig Ott as a gift, which I considered to be a great blessing, in part because it was actually one of the catalysts that influenced my decision to pursue further studies in theology, and not philosophy. The other reason why I considered my possession of this classic Dogmatic Theology book to be a true blessing is because of the nature of the book. Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma — as I said above — is a Dogmatic Theology book, the branch of the science of theology which treats of “the theoretical truths of Revelation concerning God and His activity” to quote Ott’s definition.[1]

After defining what Dogmatic Theology is and in what way it is a science in light of theology’s general scientific definition, Ott in his book goes on to present, define, and explain the various theological grades of certainty[2] — sometimes called the theological notes of certainty[3] — and their corresponding theological censures.[4] Theological grades or notes of certainty and theological censures are important to discuss in Dogmatic Theology — indeed in theology in general — because they tell Catholics positively the degree of assent in their intellects that they are required to give to certain propositions or teachings that the Church presents for belief which vary in their level of certitude, and the theological censures negatively reinforce the level of intellectual assent that a Catholic is required to give to the various propositions or teachings that the Church presents for belief as theological grades.[5] Ott then goes on to give a systematic presentation of various teachings in Dogmatic Theology, listing the theological grade that belongs to each teaching.[6] Aside from a few minor errors in this book,[7] Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma is an excellent book to have[8] because — as I said above —it systematically presents the various teachings of Dogmatic Theology and the theological grades that belong to them, making this book an excellent guide or reference for both the Catholic and for the theologian.

However — speaking as a josephologist — one important thing that Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma is lacking is the omission of the various theological grades that are assigned to certain teachings in Josephology.[9] For in book three of this book, contained in the part entitled The Doctrine of God the Redeemer, part one and part two present various doctrines in Christology[10] and their assigned theological grades,[11] and part three presents the various teachings of Mariology[12] and their theological notes,[13] and yet there is no part four in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma treating of the various doctrines or teachings about Saint Joseph in Josephology and the theological grades of certainty that belong to them. There is no treatment of Saint Joseph in the part of Ott’s book which deals with the mystery of the Redemption, in spite of the fact that Joseph contributed significantly to our Redemption.[14] Therefore, a section on Josephology would merit treatment in this part of Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma because of Saint Joseph’s connection to the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption, and the fact that there is no such section for Josephology is, to my mind, a serious imperfection in Ott’s book.

Further, there exists two more reasons for why no section on Josephology is a flaw in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma: 1) Josephology, as Father Francis Filas tells us, is a part of Dogmatic Theology, since it is a subdivision of Mariology and a further subdivision of Christology.[15] Hence, the fact that Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma has no section on Josephology and the theological grades attached to teachings about Saint Joseph is an omission of a significant and integral part of Dogmatic Theology; 2) Scholastic Theologians and modern day theologians have actually assigned various theological grades or notes of certainty to various propositions touching on Josephology, and thus it puzzling why Ott would not mention such propositions about Saint Joseph and their theological grades in his book if they already existed long before its publication. Given these reasons, it is very surprising that a book with a caliber as high as that which Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma possesses does not have a section on Josephology, since this book is quite an excellent book, and indeed is a must-have for every Catholic and theologian. Nonetheless, it is not my intention to generate a harsh critique of this fantastic book, but rather to point out an essential thing that is missing from it which would make it that much better, not just for Catholics and theologians in general, but especially for josephologists. This article will provide a presentation of the various teachings about Saint Joseph in Josephology, the theological grades of certainty attached to them, and their accompanying theological censures.

However, first it is necessary to draw attention to a certain group of theological notes that are within the entire group of theological grades of certainty. This group is called theological opinions, and these are “free views on aspects of doctrines concerning Faith and morals, which are neither clearly attested in Revelation nor decided by the Teaching Authority of the Church.”[16] These types of theological grades range — from the highest to the lowest — from the sententia communis or the “common teaching” or the “common opinion,” to the sententia bene fundata or the “well-founded opinion,” to the sententia probabilior or the “more probable opinion,” to the sententia probabilis or the “probable opinion,” to the sententia pia or the “pious opinion,” all the way down to the opinio tolerata or the “tolerated opinion.”[17] Concerning these theological opinions, one must bear in mind the following: I) what separates the various degrees of theological opinion or determines the rank of each of these theological opinions are three criteria, which are: 1) the amount of Scholastic Theologians or Scholastics proposing or adhering to the theological opinion;[18] 2) the strength of the argument or reasons for the theological opinion;[19] 3) the attitude or stance that the Church takes on the theological opinion;[20] II) while a sententia pia and an opinio tolerata are not binding for a Catholic to believe and a Catholic has complete liberty to either accept or reject theological opinions which are sententiae piae or opiniones toleratae, the higher theological opinions — viz., the sententia probabilis, the sententia probabilior, the sententia bene fundata, and the sententia communis — actually have various degrees of binding status, such that unless there is a substantive or sufficient reason for rejecting teachings which have the status of these higher theological opinions, Catholics are required to believe or should believe the things which are proposed anywhere from a sententia probabilis to a sententia communis.[21] With these things in mind, we proceed to the theological grades or notes of certainty assigned to teachings or propositions in Josephology.

Saint Joseph’s rank in Heaven as being the second greatest saint after Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary and his entitlement to the cultus of ProtoduliaProtodulia meaning “first reverence,” from the Greek adjective πρῶτος, -η, -ον which means “first” and from the Greek noun δουλεία, -ας, ἡ and from the Latin noun dulia, -ae, f., which mean “veneration, reverence” — is a sententia communis.[22] The reasons that make this teaching on Saint Joseph to be a sententia communis are on account of the three criteria given above for determining the rank of a theological opinion: 1) as to the number of Scholastics proposing the theological opinion, since a sententia communis is a near consensus or near unanimous acceptance by the Scholastic Theologians of the truth or certitude of a Church doctrine with only a few of the Scholastics not holding said Church teaching,[23] this teaching on Saint Joseph is held to be certain or true by nearly all of the Scholastics except for a few, its proponents including Francisco Suarez,[24] John Gerson,[25]  Isidore de Isolanis,[26] Saint Francis de Sales,[27] Étienne Binet,[28] Joseph Patrigani,[29] Saint Bernadine of Siena,[30] Saint Teresa of Avila,[31] Saint Alphonsus Liguori,[32] P. Paolo Segneri,[33] Bernardine de Bustis,[34] and Giovanni di Cartagena[35] to name some of them; 2) as to the strength of the argument or reasons for the theological opinion, the basic reasoning that is used by all the Scholastics is the following: quoting a theological principle that Saint Thomas Aquinas lays down in his Summa Theologiae, which states that “[i]n every genus, the nearer a thing is to the principle, the greater the part which it has in the effect of that principle,” and since Jesus Christ is the principle of grace,[36] this means that since Saint Joseph was closer to Jesus Christ than any other Saint aside from the All-Holy Mother of God — be it Abraham, Moses, King David, the prophet Jeremiah, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Peter, or Saint Paul — this means that Saint Joseph received more grace than any other saint, and hence was holier than any other saint, and thus Saint Joseph is entitled to a veneration above all saints, and this veneration is that of Protodulia;[37] 3) the attitude or stance that the Church takes on Saint Joseph’s rank in Heaven and his entitlement to the cultus of Protodulia is evident in Pope Leo XIII’s papal encyclical Quamquam Pluries. Here, Leo XIII confirms this teaching about Saint Joseph when he writes the following:

In truth, the dignity of the Mother of God is so lofty that naught created can rank above it. But as Joseph has been united to the Blessed Virgin by the ties of marriage, it may not be doubted that he approached nearer than any to the eminent dignity by which the Mother of God surpasses so nobly all created natures.[38]

Now, Leo XIII establishes in this quotation that Saint Mary is clearly the greatest saint in Heaven when he writes the following, “[i]n truth, the dignity of the Mother of God is so lofty that naught created can rank above it.” Next, Leo XIII affirms that Saint Joseph has the second highest place in Heaven after Our Lady and thus that Saint Joseph is the second greatest saint. Thus, the Pope writes that “it may not be doubted that he [viz., Saint Joseph] approached nearer than any to the eminent dignity by which the Mother of God surpasses so nobly all created natures.” Thus, since Saint Joseph is the second greatest saint in Heaven, this means that Saint Joseph is also entitled to the veneration or cultus of Protodulia. A denial of this proposition would incur the theological censures of propositio erronea or an “erroneous proposition” and an error theologicus or a “theological error.”[39]

Saint Joseph’s prenatal sanctification in which he was cleansed from Original Sin in the womb of his mother is also a sententia communis[40] for the following reasons: 1) there is a near consensus or unanimous acceptance of this teaching on Saint Joseph by the Scholastics, being held by Theologians such as Suarez,[41] Gerson,[42] Isidore de Isolanis,[43] Cornelius à Lapide,[44] and Segneri,[45] while only a few Scholastics do not affirm Saint Joseph’s prenatal sanctification; 2) the reasoning for this doctrine is very solid. For if the prophet Jeremiah and Saint John the Baptist also had the grace of experiencing a prenatal sanctification, then since Saint Joseph is closer to Jesus Christ and has a more important role in salvation history than both these prophets do for the precise reason that Saint Joseph was the father of the Son of God, this means that Saint Joseph would also have the grace of experiencing a prenatal sanctification.[46] Hence, since Saint Joseph’s prenatal sanctification is a sententia communis, a denial of this proposition would also incur the theological censures of propositio erronea and error theologicus.[47]

Saint Joseph’s freedom from the fomes peccati or concupiscence is a sententia bene fundata[48] for the following reasons: 1) what distinguishes a sententia communis from a sententia bene fundata is that in the former there is a near consensus of the Scholastics on a theological doctrine, while in the latter there are a fair number of Scholastics who accept a theological teaching, but not enough for there to be a near consensus. Thus, while there are a fair number of Scholastics who acknowledge that Saint Joseph was free from concupiscence, such as Suarez,[49] Gerson,[50] Echius,[51]  and Segneri,[52] the number of Scholastics who hold this teaching concerning Saint Joseph is not enough for this doctrine to be a sententia communis because there is not near consensus or unanimity by the Scholastics on Saint Joseph’s freedom from the fomes peccati; 2) the reasoning for this teaching is very strong — which is a defining feature that both the sententia communis and the sententia bene fundata have over the lower theological opinions — because the reasoning is that since Saint Joseph was always in the presence of the most beautiful and holiest woman to ever exist, viz., the Immaculate Conception herself, this means that Saint Joseph would have been tempted to violate her virginal purity if he experienced concupiscence. Hence, it was necessary for Saint Joseph to be free from the fomes peccati in order for him to co-exist and live with his spouse.[53] To deny that Saint Joseph possessed freedom from concupiscence and to affirm instead that he experienced the fanning of the fomes peccati incurs the theological censure of a propositio temeraria.[54]

Saint Joseph’s confirmation in grace from at least the time of his marriage with Saint Mary — which is to say that Saint Joseph was free from all mortal and venial sin at least from the time that he was betrothed to the Queen of Heaven and more probably from the time that he was sanctified from Original Sin in his mother’s womb[55] — is also a sententia bene fundata.[56] This is for the following two reasons: 1) this doctrine is accepted by a fair amount of Scholastics, such as Suarez,[57] Isidore de Isolanis,[58] and Segneri,[59] but there is not near unanimity or consensus on this reality of Saint Joseph by the Scholastics as would be possessed by a sententia communis, making Saint Joseph’s confirmation in grace a sententia bene fundata; 2) the reasoning for this conclusion is also very characteristically strong of a sententia bene fundata. For children learn by implicit learning — which is the process by which children learn how to do things by watching their parents do things — and since — aside from the transmission of Original Sin — implicit learning is one of the main ways that children contract sin from their parents for the reason that children watch how their parents sin and them imitate the sins of their parents. Therefore, Saint Joseph would need to be completely free from all mortal sin and all venial sin at least by the time that he was betrothed to his immaculate spouse because Jesus Christ — being fully human — would also have learned through implicit learning, and if Saint Joseph were a sinful man, even having the slightest spot of venial sin on his soul, then Jesus Christ would have through implicit learning contracted personal sin from watching his earthly father Joseph sin. Therefore, to prevent this transmission of sin, it was necessary for Saint Joseph to be free from all personal sin — both mortal and venial — and thus Joseph would be confirmed in grace at least from the time of his betrothal.[60] To deny that Saint Joseph was confirmed in grace would incur the theological censure of a propositio temeraria.[61]

Saint Joseph’s perpetual virginity is a sententia probabilior,[62] and this is because of two reasons: 1) it is held by some Scholastics, such as Saint Thomas Aquinas,[63] Saint Albert the Great,[64] Gerson,[65] Saint Bernardine of Siena,[66] Isidore de Isolanis,[67] Saint Francis de Sales,[68] and Suarez,[69] but it is certainly not held unanimously by the Scholastics;[70] 2) what distinguishes a sententia communis and a sententia bene fundata from a sententia probabilior and a sententia probabilis is that the sententia communis and the sententia bene fundata have stronger reasoning which is based on argumentation from necessity, while the sententia probabilior and the sententia probabilis have weaker reasoning which is based on argumentation from fittingness. Hence, the reason that Saint Joseph’s perpetual virginity is a sententia probabilior is that the reasoning used by Scholastics for it is based on arguments from fittingness rather than from necessity. For the argument for Saint Joseph’s perpetual virginity is based on the virginity of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Saint John the Evangelist, and it runs thus: if Jesus Christ and His mother were perpetual virgins, and if Jesus Christ entrusted His mother to Saint John the Evangelist who was also a perpetual virgin, then it seems fitting that Saint Joseph was also a perpetual virgin due to his connection with these persons.[71] A denial of Saint Joseph’s perpetual virginity would incur the theological censure of a propositio temeraria.[72]

Saint Joseph’s bodily assumption is a sententia pia,[73] and the reason that this is a sententia pia is because there has not been enough theological discussion by the Scholastics on this doctrine,[74] and hence this is why one is free to accept or deny Saint Joseph’s bodily assumption free from pain of sin and without incurring a theological censure.[75]

In summary, the purpose of this article is to help Catholics to realize that the realities belonging to Saint Joseph which were presented and discussed in this article – excluding Saint Joseph’s bodily assumption – are actually teachings that are binding for Catholics to believe in varying degrees; in other words, Catholics should believe these realities connected with Saint Joseph. It is my sincere hope that more Catholics will come to know, hold, and love these great realities about Saint Joseph, in part so that Saint Joseph will no longer be forgotten by Catholics like Joseph the Patriarch was forgotten when he was thrown into prison,[76] but also so that all Catholics will see all of the glory, splendor, and majesty of Saint Joseph the Greatest of all the Patriarchs by recognizing these wonderous realities about him as true as the whole world recognized the greatness of Joseph the Patriarch after his elevation to his positions as steward, prime minister, and priest of Pharaoh.[77] For the sooner that all Catholics recognize the truth of these glories of Saint Joseph, the sooner these realities about Saint Joseph will be raised by the Church from their current theological grade and beyond the realm of theological opinion to the status of de fide definita dogmas of the faith, and when this happens, Mary’s Immaculate Heart will triumph, which shall commence the beginning of the prophesied restoration of Christendom in the Age of Peace.[78]

Endnotes:

[1] Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, ed. James Canon Bastible, D.D., trans. Patrick Lynch, Ph.D. (Charlotte: TAN Books, 1974), 3.

[2] Ibid., 9-10; For a definition of what a theological note or grade of certainty is, see, Fr. Chad Ripperger, The Binding Force of Tradition (Sensus Traditionis Press, 2013), 35: “A theological note is the name given by which the certitude of the particular doctrine is known or we may say that different doctrines have different degrees of certitude based upon author, Church pronouncements, etc. and the degree of the certitude of the doctrine is known as its theological note.”

[3] Father Chad Ripperger and Ryan Grant, “The Theological Notes of the Church ~ Fr Ripperger w/ Ryan Grant,” Sensus Fidelium, February 4, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4hIgDR29bg.

[4] Ibid; Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 10. For a definition of a theological censure, see Ibid: “By a theological censure is meant the judgement which characterizes a proposition touching Catholic Faith or Moral Teaching as contrary to Faith or at least as doubtful.”

[5] Father Chad Ripperger and Ryan Grant, “The Theological Notes of the Church ~ Fr Ripperger w/ Ryan Grant,” Sensus Fidelium, February 4, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4hIgDR29bg; Ripperger, The Binding Force of Tradition, 35-40, 42 and 44.

[6] Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 13-496.

[7] Father Chad Ripperger and Ryan Grant, “The Theological Notes of the Church ~ Fr Ripperger w/ Ryan Grant,” Sensus Fidelium, February 4, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4hIgDR29bg, 8:10-8:28.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Josephology is the subdivision of Dogmatic Theology and the further subdivision of Christology and Mariology which treats of the theological study of Saint Joseph. See Francis L. Filas, S.J., S.T.D., Joseph Most Just: Theological Questions about St. Joseph (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1956), 1-4; see also Joshua Francis Filipetto, “The Nature and Extent of Josephology,” Catholic Insight, December 28, 2021, https://catholicinsight.com/the-nature-and-extent-of-josephology/.

[10] Christology is the subdivision of Dogmatic Theology which treats of the theological study of Jesus Christ.

[11] Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 125-195.

[12] Mariology is the subdivision of Christology and the further subdivision of Dogmatic Theology which treats of the theological study of Saint Mary.

[13] Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 196-216.

[14] Filas, Joseph Most Just, 101: “Next to the Blessed Virgin no one more than St. Joseph co-operated in preparing for the Redemption. Jesus took His human nature within the bonds of Joseph’s virginal marriage to our Lady, and this was a necessary prelude according to God’s plans. Jesus was reared to full manhood by St. Joseph. This vocation of Joseph was directly chosen by God to fit into the divine plan of the Redemption also.” See also John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos (On the Person and Mission of St. Joseph in the Life of Christ and of the Church) (Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1989), https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_15081989_redemptoris-custos.html, para. 8, (emphasis mine). “A Deo est Sanctus Iosephus arcessitus ut Iesu recta via munerique eius per suae paternitatis exsecutionem famularetur: eo ipso prorsus modo ille in temporis plenitudine magno redemptionis mysterio adiutricem praestitit operam reque vera ‘salutis minister’ exsistit (Cfr. S. IOANNIS CHRYSOSTOMI In Matth. Hom., V, 3: PG 57, 57s.). Concreta autem ratione paternitas illius inde declarata est ‘quod sua ex vita ministerium effecit ac sacrificium ipsi incarnationis mysterio necnon redimendi officio ei inhaerenti, quod legis auctoritate utebatur quam iure in sacram habebat Familiam ut sui ipsius et vitae suae et sui operis inde donationem illi Familiae praeberet, quod humanam suam domesticum ad amorem vocationem transfiguravit is idem in oblationem vires humanas excedentem sui cordisque sui et omnis facultatis, in amorem ministerio Messiae destinatum iam domi suae generatum’ (Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, IV (1966) 110).”

[15] Filas, Joseph Most Just, 4; Joshua Francis Filipetto, “The Nature and Extent of Josephology,” Catholic Insight, December 28, 2021, https://catholicinsight.com/the-nature-and-extent-of-josephology/.

[16] Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 9.

[17] Ibid., 10; Father Chad Ripperger and Ryan Grant, “The Theological Notes of the Church ~ Fr Ripperger w/ Ryan Grant,” Sensus Fidelium, February 4, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4hIgDR29bg.

[18] Ripperger, The Binding Force of Tradition, 38; Father Chad Ripperger and Ryan Grant, “The Theological Notes of the Church ~ Fr Ripperger w/ Ryan Grant,” Sensus Fidelium, February 4, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4hIgDR29bg, 50:46-54:27.

[19] Ibid; Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 9.

[20] Ibid; Ripperger, The Binding Force of Tradition, 39; Father Chad Ripperger and Ryan Grant, “The Theological Notes of the Church ~ Fr Ripperger w/ Ryan Grant,” Sensus Fidelium, February 4, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4hIgDR29bg, 50:46-54:27.

[21] Ibid., 40:50-41:43 and 50:46-54:27; Ripperger, The Binding Force of Tradition, 35-40, 42 and 44: “Again, unless there is a sufficient reason [to not believe the teachings of the Church which are proposed within the realm of theological opinion], we are bound to hold even those [teachings] of lower theological notes [viz., the theological notes that are within the realm of theological opinion, more specifically the sententia probabilis, the sententia probabilior, the sententia bene fundata, and the sententia communis].

[22] Edward Healy Thompson, M.A., The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph: Husband of Mary, Foster-Father of Jesus, and Patron of the Universal Church (Charlotte: TAN Books, 1888), 48-49, emphasis mine: “If, then, it be now the common opinion of Doctors that Joseph in his dignity, in his ministry, and in holiness surpassed all the angels and saints.

[23] Father Chad Ripperger, “What is Predestination? ~ Fr Ripperger,” Sensus Fidelium, April 13, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AG0uYd9a6I, 3:57-4:49.

[24] Franciscus Suarez, De Incarnatione: Pars Secunda (1645), disp. 8, sect. 2; Franciscus Suarez, Mysteria Vitae Christi, in Opera Omnia, Tomus Decimus Nonus, Editio Nova (Paris, 1760), disp. 8, sec. 1, resp. (125), https://archive.org/details/rpfranciscisuare19suar/page/n5/mode/2up?view=theater.

[25] Joannes Gersonius, Sermo de Nativitate Gloriosae Virginis Mariae, Et de commendatione Virginei Sponsi ejus Joseph, quarta consideratio, in Opera Omnia Joannis Gersonii Doctoris Theologi & Cancellarii Parisienis (Antwerpia: Sumptibus Societatis, 1706), 1355-1356.

[26] Fr. Isidorus de Isolanis, O.P., Summa de Donis Sancti Joseph (1603), Denuo Edita Berthier, (Rome: S.C. de Propaganda Fide, 1887), pars tertia, cap. xvii, 230-233.

[27] Saint Francis de Sales, The True Spiritual Conferences of Saint Francis of Sales, Internet Archive, accessed July 18, 2022, https://archive.org/details/truespiritualco00salegoog/page/n8/mode/2up, conference 19.

[28] Père Binet, S.J., The Divine Favors Granted to St. Joseph, trans. M.C.E. from the edition of the Rev. Fr. Jennesseaux, S.J. (Charlotte: TAN Books, 1983), 116.

[29] Father Joseph Patrignani, S.J., A Manual of Practical Devotion to the Glorious Patriarch St. Joseph (Charlotte: TAN Books, 1982), 20, 22-23, 27-29.

[30] Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, The Mother of the Savior and Our Interior Life (Charlotte, NC: TAN Books, 1993), 277-290, in Donald H. Calloway, MIC, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father (Stockbridge: Marian Press, 2020), 271.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid., 272.

[33] Thompson, The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph, 49-50.

[34] Ibid., 50.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, trans. Fr. Laurence Shapcote, O.P., ed. John Mortensen and Enrique Alarcón (Lander: The Aquinas Institute for the Study of Sacred Doctrine, 2012), III, q. 27, a. 5, co., https://aquinas.cc/la/en/~ST.I: “[Q]uanto aliquid magis appropinquat principio in quolibet genere, tanto magis participat effectum illius principii…Christus autem est principium gratiae, secundum divinitatem quidem auctoritative, secundum humanitatem vero instrumentaliter.”

[37] Thompson, The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph, 47-48; Suarez, Mysteria Vitae Christi, disp. 8, sec. 1, resp. (125).

[38] Leo XIII, Quamquam Pluries, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, August 15, 1889, https://www.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15081889_quamquam-pluries.html, para. 3, emphasis mine: “Certe matris Dei tam in excelso dignitas est, ut nihil fieri maius queat. Sed tamen quia intercessit Iosepho cum Virgine beatissima maritale vinculum, ad illam praestantissimam dignitatem, qua naturis creatis omnibus longissime Deipara antecellit, non est dubium quin accesserit ipse, ut nemo magis.

[39] Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 10.

[40] Thompson, The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph, 42, emphasis mine: “The mind of the Doctors of the Church has been so freely expressed on this point [of Saint Joseph’s Prenatal Sanctification in the Womb] that [Saint Joseph’s Prenatal Sanctification in the Womb] may be reckoned as a common opinion.”

[41] Suarez, De Incarnatione: Pars Secunda, disp. 8, sect. 2.

[42] Gersonius, Sermo de Nativitate Gloriosae Virginis Mariae, Et de commendatione Virginei Sponsi ejus Joseph, secunda consideratio, 1349-1350.

[43] Isidorus, Summa de Donis Sancti Joseph, pars prima, cap. ix, 31-35.

[44] Thompson, The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph, 45.

[45] Ibid., 50.

[46] Ibid., 39-45.

[47] Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 10.

[48] Thompson, The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph, 50, emphasis mine: “[W]e may well conclude with very solid grounds of probability, that [Joseph] was…exempted from all malice.

[49] Suarez, De Incarnatione: Pars Secunda, disp. 8, sect. 2.

[50] Gersonius, Sermo de Nativitate Gloriosae Virginis Mariae, Et de commendatione Virginei Sponsi ejus Joseph, tertia consideratio, 1349-1350.

[51] Thompson, The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph, 47-48.

[52] Ibid., 49-50.

[53] Thompson, The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph, 47.

[54] Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 10.

[55] “Saint Joseph: The Model of Manhood,” Sensus Fidelium, March 19, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OXUfeFFjXg, 3:29-4:21: “The great theologian Father Reginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange — he’s written a number of books — he was basically the last of the neo-thomist theologians in Rome before the Second Vatican Council. He writes about Saint Joseph and he says — this was in the 50’s, late 50’s early 60’s — he says that the general consensus among Josephologists — and a Josephologist is a theologian who specializes in Saint Joseph — he says that the general consensus is that at least from the time of the marriage between Our Lady and Saint Joseph that Saint Joseph did not commit any sin — no venial sins at all; and that’s at least from that time, probably from before then.”

[56] Father Chad Ripperger and Ryan Grant, “The Theological Notes of the Church ~ Fr Ripperger w/ Ryan Grant,” Sensus Fidelium, February 4, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4hIgDR29bg, 1:00:18-1:01:15; Thompson, The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph, 50, emphasis mine: “[W]e may well conclude with very solid grounds of probability, that [Joseph] was…confirmed in grace.

[57] Suarez, De Incarnatione: Pars Secunda, disp. 8, sect. 2.

[58] Isidorus, Summa de Donis Sancti Joseph, pars tertia, cap. xv, 224.

[59] Thompson, The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph, 49-50.

[60] Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins, “St. Joseph in the Church since 1917 – Msgr. Calkins, Fatima Centennial Conference – October 7, 2017,” franciscanfriars, October 10, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rAJaFIly2I, 22:02-23:34.

[61] Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 10.

[62] Florent Raymond Bilodeau, “The Virginity of Saint Joseph in the Latin Fathers and Medieval Ecclesiastical Writers,” (STL diss., St. Mary’s University, 1957), Conclusion, para. 10, https://osjusa.org/st-joseph/church-fathers/, emphasis mine: “If we were to characterize the teaching in favor of Joseph’s virginity, perhaps the best note we could give to this doctrine is that it is at least very probable.” One way to translate a sententia probabilior is “very probable,” and hence since Florent Raymond Bilodeau classifies the doctrine of Saint Joseph’s perpetual virginity as being “very probably,” this means that he is classifying Saint Joseph’s perpetual virginity as a sententia probabilior.

[63] Ibid., c. III, sec. c; Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III, q. 28, a. 3, ad 1; Ibid., a. 4, co: “Postmodum vero, accepto sponso [viz., Sancto Josepho], secundum quod mores illius temporis exigebant, simul cum eo votum virginitatis emisit.” Saint Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Sentences, trans. Beth Mortensen, STD, ed. and annot. Michael Bolin, PHD, Jeremy Holmes, PHD, and Peter Kwasniewski, PHD (Aquinas Institute for the Study of Sacred Doctrine), IV, d. 30, q. 2, a. 3, ad 4, https://aquinas.cc/la/en/~Sent.I: “Joseph, qui etiam virgo fuit.”

[64] Bilodeau, “The Virginity of Saint Joseph in the Latin Fathers and Medieval Ecclesiastical Writers,” c. III, sec. c.

[65] Ibid., sec. d.

[66] Ibid.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Ibid; Suarez, Mysteria Vitae Christi, disp. 7, sec. 1, no. 9 (117): “Eadem autem revelatione intellexit B. Virgo suum sponsum libenter in perpetuam virginitatem fuisse consensurum, nullumque detrimentum perfectioni suae virginitatis allaturum.”

[70] Bilodeau, “The Virginity of Saint Joseph in the Latin Fathers and Medieval Ecclesiastical Writers,” Conclusion, para. 9-10, emphasis mine: “We can also say that, on this point, there is no general tradition which clearly reaches back to antiquity… Thus, today, this opinion has gained ‘all but the universal agreement of theologians.’”

[71] Ibid., sec. c. and d.

[72] Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 10; Bilodeau, “The Virginity of Saint Joseph in the Latin Fathers and Medieval Ecclesiastical Writers,” Conclusion, para. 9: “We may safely say, with regard to Saint Joseph’s perpetual virginity, that today it would be rash to deny this doctrine or to speak against it.” Since the direct translation of a propositio temeraria is “a temerarious proposition,” and since the adjective “temerarious” is a synonym for “rash,” and since Bilodeau says that “it would be rash to deny [Saint Joseph’s perpetual virginity] or to speak against it,” this means that the theological censure that he is assigning to a denial of Saint Joseph’s perpetual virginity is a propositio temeraria.

[73] Father Chad Ripperger and Ryan Grant, “The Theological Notes of the Church ~ Fr Ripperger w/ Ryan Grant,” Sensus Fidelium, February 4, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4hIgDR29bg, 1:03:40-1:03:45.

[74] Ibid., 1:02:53-1:03:30.

[75] Ibid., 1:03:40-1:03:45.

[76] Genesis 39:20.

[77] Genesis 41:37-57; John Bergsma, Jesus and the Old Testament Roots of the Priesthood (Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2021), 46-47.

[78] Joshua Francis Filipetto, “The Nature and Extent of Josephology,” Catholic Insight, December 28, 2021, https://catholicinsight.com/the-nature-and-extent-of-josephology/; Joshua Filipetto, “Speaking Out: Go to Joseph before it’s too late,” The Catholic Register, November 3, 2021, https://www.catholicregister.org/ysn/youthcolumn/item/33671-speaking-out-go-to-joseph-before-it-s-too-late; “St. Joseph: Patron of the Triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart,” Sensus Fidelium, September 20, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu-DVXd7PtU, 15:08-18:52; “Lenten Mission on St. Joseph: Patron of An Age of Peace,” Sensus Fidelium, May 21, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9jdgBpI17A, 11:26-17:12; “Lenten Mission on St. Joseph: Joseph and the End Times,” Sensus Fidelium, May 22, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5t_uGBgts0, 20:59-25:35; “Lenten Mission on St. Joseph: All Powerful Intercession,” Sensus Fidelium, May 23, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HwDNEuDI70&t=2610s, 43:30-44:03; Dr. Taylor Marshall, “GREAT FRENCH MONARCH of the End Times: Who is he? 14 Prophecies,” YouTube, May 22, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWRRHCrAhYY; Dr. Taylor Marshall, “Reign of Mary before Antichrist (from St Louis de Montfort),” YouTube, May 22, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-P1J4LIpSU.

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Joshua Francis Filipetto is an alumnus of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry's Bay, Ontario. Joshua graduated with a Bachelor of Catholic Studies undergraduate degree with a concentration in Philosophy, Summa cum Laude. His research areas of interest are Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy, as well as Thomistic and Josephite theology. Joshua is pursuing graduate studies in Theology with the hope of teaching seminarians. He can be followed on Instagram at "joshuafilipetto".