The first is subjective, in the sense that faith purifies reason. It recognizes only the utilitarian ends of power and pleasure (n. 47). Moral theology has perhaps an even greater need of philosophy's contribution. Qoh 1:13), whose mission it is to leave no stone unturned, though the temptation to doubt is always there. In theology too the temptations of other times have reappeared. In the first chapter of his Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul helps us to appreciate better the depth of insight of the Wisdom literature's reflection. ... John Paul wrote this encyclical to pursue the reflection on the catholic truths which are being distorted and denied. The word of God is not addressed to any one people or to any one period of history. John Paul wrote Fides et Ratio quite deliberately as a sequel to, and further development of, ... Fides et Ratio argues that any culture that ignores man’s ultimate metaphysical questions locks itself in a false and empty immanence. The beginning of the First Letter to the Corinthians poses the dilemma in a radical way. In the present situation, therefore, it is most significant that some philosophers are promoting a recovery of the determining role of this tradition for a right approach to knowledge. It can no longer approach the question of God. 28. 77. Therefore, a philosophy which shuns metaphysics would be radically unsuited to the task of mediation in the understanding of Revelation. 32. The great Pope revisited and developed the First Vatican Council's teaching on the relationship between faith and reason, showing how philosophical thinking contributes in fundamental ways to faith and theological learning.78 More than a century later, many of the insights of his Encyclical Letter have lost none of their interest from either a practical or pedagogical point of view—most particularly, his insistence upon the incomparable value of the philosophy of Saint Thomas. In acting ethically, according to a free and rightly tuned will, the human person sets foot upon the path to happiness and moves towards perfection. What was true in one period, historicists claim, may not be true in another. With a false modesty, people rest content with partial and provisional truths, no longer seeking to ask radical questions about the meaning and ultimate foundation of human, personal and social existence. Philosophical language permits theology to speak about God, the personal relations within the Trinity, God's creative activity in the world, the relationship between man and God, and Christ's identity as true God and true man, to take a few examples (n. 66). 2 Cor 4:1-2). Sir 1:14). They can continue on their way to the truth because they are certain that God has created them “explorers” (cf. Speculative dogmatic theology thus presupposes and implies a philosophy of the human being, the world and, more radically, of being, which has objective truth as its foundation. The mystery of the Incarnation will always remain the central point of reference for an understanding of the enigma of human existence, the created world and God himself. 101. Drawing on this organic vision, linked necessarily to Christian holiness and to the practice of the human and supernatural virtues, moral theology will be able to tackle the various problems in its competence, such as peace, social justice, the family, the defence of life and the natural environment, in a more appropriate and effective way. In fact they succeeded in disclosing completely all that remained implicit and preliminary in the thinking of the great philosophers of antiquity.41 As I have noted, theirs was the task of showing how reason, freed from external constraints, could find its way out of the blind alley of myth and open itself to the transcendent in a more appropriate way. These questions in fact broaden reason's scope for action. CHAPTER VI - THE INTERACTION BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY, The knowledge of faith and the demands of philosophical reason. 1 Th 2:13). The Real Jesus - Pagan and Jewish Sources The following is a paper of mine I wrote for one of my classes. Faith gives the philosopher the courage to tackle difficult questions such as the problem of evil and suffering, the personal nature of God and the metaphysical question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" The Council began with the basic criterion, presupposed by Revelation itself, of the natural knowability of the existence of God, the beginning and end of all things,63 and concluded with the solemn assertion quoted earlier: “There are two orders of knowledge, distinct not only in their point of departure, but also in their object”.64 Against all forms of rationalism, then, there was a need to affirm the distinction between the mysteries of faith and the findings of philosophy, and the transcendence and precedence of the mysteries of faith over the findings of philosophy. The interpretation of this word cannot merely keep referring us to one interpretation after another, without ever leading us to a statement which is simply true; otherwise there would be no Revelation of God, but only the expression of human notions about God and about what God presumably thinks of us. In him, the Church's Magisterium has seen and recognized the passion for truth; and, precisely because it stays consistently within the horizon of universal, objective and transcendent truth, his thought scales “heights unthinkable to human intelligence”.51 Rightly, then, he may be called an “apostle of the truth”.52 Looking unreservedly to truth, the realism of Thomas could recognize the objectivity of truth and produce not merely a philosophy of “what seems to be” but a philosophy of “what is”. Human language may be conditioned by history and constricted in other ways, but the human being can still express truths which surpass the phenomenon of language. This is the human condition vividly described by the Book of Genesis when it tells us that God placed the human being in the Garden of Eden, in the middle of which there stood “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (2:17). There is today no more urgent preparation for the performance of these tasks than this: to lead people to discover both their capacity to know the truth 124 and their yearning for the ultimate and definitive meaning of life. I have myself emphasized several times the importance of this philosophical formation for those who one day, in their pastoral life, will have to address the aspirations of the contemporary world and understand the causes of certain behaviour in order to respond in appropriate ways.84. The philosopher who learns humility will also find courage to tackle questions which are difficult to resolve if the data of Revelation are ignored—for example, the problem of evil and suffering, the personal nature of God and the question of the meaning of life or, more directly, the radical metaphysical question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?”. Then they will be able to formulate the genuine ethics which humanity needs so urgently at this particular time. In the past, the same idea emerged in positivism and neo-positivism, which considered metaphysical statements to be meaningless. 119 The result is a unique bond between teaching and living which is otherwise unattainable, since what is communicated in catechesis is not a body of conceptual truths, but the mystery of the living God. With the gift of grace and man's personal assent to God's revelation, the human wisdom known by belief is transformed by theological faith. There are a plethora of passages about Jesus from historical antiquity. It is Christ who enables the two peoples to become “one”. Given all of reason's inherent and historical limitations, it is difficult enough to recognize the inalienable powers proper to it; but it is still more difficult at times to discern in specific philosophical claims what is valid and fruitful from faith's point of view and what is mistaken or dangerous. It is neither the task nor the competence of the Magisterium to intervene in order to make good the lacunas of deficient philosophical discourse. Among these lands, India has a special place. One thing is certain: attention to the spiritual journey of these masters can only give greater momentum to both the search for truth and the effort to apply the results of that search to the service of humanity. From the moment when, through the Paschal Mystery, she received the gift of the ultimate truth about human life, the Church has made her pilgrim way along the paths of the world to proclaim that Jesus Christ is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). In the light of these considerations, the relationship between theology and philosophy is best construed as a circle. Martyrs are particularly trustworthy witnesses to the truth about human existence. When it adopts this stance, philosophy, like theology, comes more directly under the authority of the Magisterium and its discernment, because of the implications it has for the understanding of Revelation, as I have already explained. We may say, then, that culture itself has an intrinsic capacity to receive divine Revelation. In the New Testament, especially in the Letters of Saint Paul, one thing emerges with great clarity: the opposition between “the wisdom of this world” and the wisdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ. 16. Endowed as it is with an openness and originality which allow it to stand as the science of faith, theology has certainly challenged reason to remain open to the radical newness found in God's Revelation; and this has been an undoubted boon for philosophy which has thus glimpsed new vistas of further meanings which reason is summoned to penetrate. The Holy Father, in the conclusion of his encyclical, agreed Here the words of the Book of Deuteronomy are pertinent: “This commandment which I command you is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. As the result of increasing nihilism, a culture of death is replacing a culture of life. It should be stressed that the truths sought in this interpersonal relationship are not primarily empirical or philosophical. Here the words of the Book of Proverbs are pertinent: “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps” (16:9). These are the Council's words: “The philosophical disciplines should be taught in such a way that students acquire in the first place a solid and harmonious knowledge of the human being, of the world and of God, based upon the philosophical heritage which is enduringly valid, yet taking into account currents of modern philosophy”.83, These directives have been reiterated and developed in a number of other magisterial documents in order to guarantee a solid philosophical formation, especially for those preparing for theological studies. And since it leaves no space for the critique offered by ethical judgement, the scientistic mentality has succeeded in leading many to think that if something is technically possible it is therefore morally admissible. Thus for them the history of thought becomes little more than an archeological resource useful for illustrating positions once held, but for the most part outmoded and meaningless now. 75. The encyclical Fides et Ratio is concerned with the use of faith and reason and is addressed to the bishops of the Catholic Church. 11. The unity of truth, natural and revealed, is embodied in a living and personal way in Christ. Sure of her competence as the bearer of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Church reaffirms the need to reflect upon truth. I want only to state that reality and truth do transcend the factual and the empirical, and to vindicate the human being's capacity to know this transcendent and metaphysical dimension in a way that is true and certain, albeit imperfect and analogical. John E. Fagan was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and practices law in Fairfax, Virginia. At the deepest level, the autonomy which philosophy enjoys is rooted in the fact that reason is by its nature oriented to truth and is equipped moreover with the means necessary to arrive at truth. Once reason successfully intuits and formulates the first universal principles of being and correctly draws from them conclusions which are coherent both logically and ethically, then it may be called right reason or, as the ancients called it, orthós logos, recta ratio. Instead, reason is stirred to explore paths which of itself it would not even have suspected it could take. Let theologians always remember the words of that great master of thought and spirituality, Saint Bonaventure, who in introducing his Itinerarium Mentis in Deum invites the reader to recognize the inadequacy of “reading without repentance, knowledge without devotion, research without the impulse of wonder, prudence without the ability to surrender to joy, action divorced from religion, learning sundered from love, intelligence without humility, study unsustained by divine grace, thought without the wisdom inspired by God”. According to the Apostle, it was part of the original plan of the creation that reason should without difficulty reach beyond the sensory data to the origin of all things: the Creator. As St. Thomas Aquinas argued, because the light of reason and the light of faith both come from God, there can be no contradiction between them (n. 43). Others still, prompted by a mistaken notion of cultural pluralism, simply deny the universal value of the Church's philosophical heritage. Pope John Paul II informed the Bishops of the responsibity of Catholic teachers and scholars to seek bona fide knowledge and to use such in teaching the Faith. For them, the first and most urgent task was the proclamation of the Risen Christ by way of a personal encounter which would bring the listener to conversion of heart and the request for Baptism. Christian philosophy therefore has two aspects. Pope St. John Paul II. Twentieth-century Thomist philosopher Étienne Gilson wrote about faith and reason in his 1922 book Le Thomisme. The notion of the person as a spiritual being is another of faith's specific contributions: the Christian proclamation of human dignity, equality and freedom has undoubtedly influenced modern philosophical thought. Similarly, dogmatic statements, while reflecting at times the culture of the period in which they were defined, formulate an unchanging and ultimate truth. Hearing the Apostles, they asked one another: “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? This is a complex theme to ponder, since one must reckon seriously with the meaning which words assume in different times and cultures. Faith without reason withers into myth or superstition. Are precluded train reason—whether theological or philosophical—to formulate arguments seriously and scientifically ” ( 1 Cor 13:12 ). positive! 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