Scholasticism is the systematic elaboration by means of the perennial philosophy of those truths contained within the deposit of faith. The deposit of faith is contained within the canonical books of sacred Scripture, which are preserved by divine inspiration in all their parts from all error in their literal sense (that is, the sense intended by the human author). It is also contained in the writings of the Fathers of the Church, that is, those individuals liturgically venerated as saints whose writings are of sufficient antiquity to constitute evidence independent of Scripture for the deposit of faith.
The doctrine of the fathers has the greatest weight in our understanding of the deposit, nor may sacred Scripture be interpreted contrary to the unanimous opinion of the fathers. The deposit is preserved indefectibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (that is, the bishops dispersed across the whole world), which infallibly proposes in every age all truths necessary for salvation. The proper interpreter of the deposit is the supreme magisterium of the Church which expresses itself when a pope or an ecumenical council speaks definitively in a matter of faith or morals for the whole Church. Pronouncements by the magisterium on other occasions enjoy a presumption of reliability varying in intensity according to the eminence of the one speaking and the manner and frequency with which the doctrine is proposed. The Doctors of the Church stand as the most reliable proponents of this sacred doctrine for the faithful.
It is necessary for divine revelation that there should exist accurate and permanently valid philosophical categories in which the mysteries themselves may be communicated. As sacred doctrine must be preserved in the same sense and the same understanding across the centuries from the death of the last apostle, this Perennial Philosophy must necessarily have been in existence at that time. The Church has recognized its fundamental theses in the completion and synthesis of the Socratic tradition achieved by St. Thomas Aquinas.