Because the important issues raised in the Encyclical "Fides et Ratio" are of interest not only to those interested in "Fides" but also to those interested in "Ratio", I post this VIS report here at the Science forum. In this way those who want to enter the field of the broader issues concerning the relationship between Faith and Reason can study them and hopefully gain a more profound insight in these matters.
POPE PRAISES THE CONSTANT RELEVANCE OF "FIDES ET RATIO"
VATICAN CITY, 16 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Ten years after the publication of John Paul II's Encyclical "Fides et Ratio", the Pontifical Lateran University in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the World Conference of Catholic University Institutions of Philosophy, has organised a conference to commemorate the anniversary.
This morning, participants in the congress were received in audience by the Holy Father who spoke of the "constant relevance" of the Encyclical, which "is characterised by its great openness to reason, especially in a period in which there is speculation about its weakness. John Paul II underlined the importance of uniting faith and reason in a reciprocal relationship, while respecting the autonomy proper to each.
"With this document", he added, "the Church interpreted an emerging need of the modern social context. She sought to defend the force of reason and its capacity to arrive at truth, while once again presenting the faith as a specific form of knowledge thanks to which we open to the truth of Revelation. The Encyclical says that we must trust in the capacity of human reason and not set overly modest goals".
"Who can deny", the Pope asked, "the contribution the great philosophical systems have made to the development of man's self-knowledge and to the progress of various cultures? Indeed, these cultures become fruitful when they open to truth, enabling those who participate in them to reach objectives that make social life ever more human".
"Nonetheless, we cannot conceal the fact that there has been a slide from a prevalently speculative form of thought to a chiefly empirical one. Research has turned to focus above all on the observation of nature in the attempt to discover its secrets. And the desire to understand nature has then been transformed into the desire to reproduce it. ... Scientific and technological progress, which 'fides' is increasingly called to confront, has altered the old concept of 'ratio'; in some way it has marginalised the reason that sought the ultimate truth of things to make way for a reason that satisfies itself with discovering the contingent truths of the laws of nature.
"Scientific research certainly has a positive value" when "the applied sciences are the fruit of reason and an expression of the intelligence with which man manages to penetrate the depths of creation. For its part, faith does nor fear scientific progress and the developments to which its achievements lead when their ultimate focus is man, his wellbeing and the progress of all humanity".
The Holy Father pointed out that "science is not capable of establishing ethical principles. ... In this context, philosophy and theology become an indispensable aid which must be taken into account to ensure that science does not advance alone along a difficult path full of pitfalls and not without risks. This does not mean limiting scientific research ... but in keeping alive the sense of responsibility which reason and faith must have towards science, to ensure it remains at the service of man".
"Reason", he went on, "discovers that beyond its own achievements and conquests there exists a truth that can never be discovered by using its own parameters, but only received as a gratuitous gift. The truth of Revelation is not superimposed on the truth achieved by reason, rather it purifies and exalts reason, enabling it to expand beyond its confines to become part of a field of research as unfathomable as the mystery itself".
Benedict XVI concluded: "The passion for truth impels us to turn into ourselves to discover the profound meaning of our lives in the interior man. True philosophy must lead people by the hand and bring them to discover how fundamental knowing the truth of Revelation is for their own dignity".
AC/FIDES ET RATIO/... VIS 081016 (640)
Encyclical "Fides et Ratio".
- Table of Contents -
INTRODUCTION - “KNOW YOURSELF”
CHAPTER I - THE REVELATION OF GOD'S WISDOM
Jesus, revealer of the Father
Reason before the mystery
CHAPTER II - CREDO UT INTELLEGAM
“Wisdom knows all and understands all” (Wis 9:11)
“Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding” (Prov 4:5)
CHAPTER III - INTELLEGO UT CREDAM
Journeying in search of truth
The different faces of human truth
CHAPTER IV - THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FAITH AND REASON
Important moments in the encounter of faith and reason
The enduring originality of the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas
The drama of the separation of faith and reason
CHAPTER V - THE MAGISTERIUM'S INTERVENTIONS IN PHILOSOPHICAL MATTERS
The Magisterium's discernment as diakonia of the truth
The Church's interest in philosophy
CHAPTER VI - THE INTERACTION BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY
The knowledge of faith and the demands of philosophical reason
Different stances of philosophy
CHAPTER VII - CURRENT REQUIREMENTS AND TASKS
The indispensable requirements of the word of God
Current tasks for theology
Integral text of the Encyclical "Fides et Ratio":