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Monday, 23 March 2015

Knowledge of Divine Things Twenty-Two--Fides et Ratio Thirteen

This next section applies to all of us to a certain extent, although not all are called to be theologians. We are, by our baptism, called to come to an understanding of the basics, not only for the appropriation of our own faith, but for evangelizing. This section proves to be one of the most important in the entre work. Objectvity and rationality must alway be part of the study of the structure of knowledge about sacred things, sacred words, sacred texts.

65. Theology is structured as an understanding of faith in the light of a twofold methodological principle: the auditus fidei and the intellectus fidei. With the first, theology makes its own the content of Revelation as this has been gradually expounded in Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Church's living Magisterium.88 With the second, theology seeks to respond through speculative enquiry to the specific demands of disciplined thought.
Philosophy contributes specifically to theology in preparing for a correct auditus fidei with its study of the structure of knowledge and personal communication, especially the various forms and functions of language. No less important is philosophy's contribution to a more coherent understanding of Church Tradition, the pronouncements of the Magisterium and the teaching of the great masters of theology, who often adopt concepts and thought-forms drawn from a particular philosophical tradition. In this case, the theologian is summoned not only to explain the concepts and terms used by the Church in her thinking and the development of her teaching, but also to know in depth the philosophical systems which may have influenced those concepts and terms, in order to formulate correct and consistent interpretations of them.

These skills are woefully missing in so many priests, bishops and cardinals. Theology based on philosophy will be intelligible, logically consistent, clear and not contradictory to Tradition or the Scriptures.

66. With regard to the intellectus fidei, a prime consideration must be that divine Truth “proposed to us in the Sacred Scriptures and rightly interpreted by the Church's teaching” 89enjoys an innate intelligibility, so logically consistent that it stands as an authentic body of knowledge. The intellectus fidei expounds this truth, not only in grasping the logical and conceptual structure of the propositions in which the Church's teaching is framed, but also, indeed primarily, in bringing to light the salvific meaning of these propositions for the individual and for humanity. From the sum of these propositions, the believer comes to know the history of salvation, which culminates in the person of Jesus Christ and in his Paschal Mystery. 

If a lay person, for whatever reason, cannot appropriate some truths, that person must be obedient in order to be saved. This assent of faith is a humble recognition of limitations of all sorts.

Believers then share in this mystery by their assent of faith.

Now, one of the main purposes of this entire series comes to the fore in St. John Paul II's text.

Meaning must be articulated in the form of argument, as well as in narrative. 

Going to Mass in such desert, this can be woefully not the case in too many parishes.

For its part, dogmatic theology must be able to articulate the universal meaning of the mystery of the One and Triune God and of the economy of salvation, both as a narrative and, above all, in the form of argument. It must do so, in other words, through concepts formulated in a critical and universally communicable way. Without philosophy's contribution, it would in fact be impossible to discuss theological issues such as, for example, the use of language to speak about God, the personal relations within the Trinity, God's creative activity in the world, the relationship between God and man, or Christ's identity as true God and true man. 

How beautiful it is to want to know Christ through the gifts of faith and reason. This drive is a true sign of the saint, the one who loves.

This is no less true of the different themes of moral theology, which employ concepts such as the moral law, conscience, freedom, personal responsibility and guilt, which are in part defined by philosophical ethics.

It is necessary therefore that the mind of the believer acquire a natural, consistent and true knowledge of created realities—the world and man himself—which are also the object of divine Revelation. Still more, reason must be able to articulate this knowledge in concept and argument. 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.

What an indictment these last two paragraphs are for so many clerics today, who merely think from the emotions, in the passions, and not from conceptual reflections, rational discourse, argument.

The meaning of what it means to be human ultimately gets lost in the chaos resulting from the lack of thinking.

Such is the Protestant heritage and the charismatic empahsis on the emotions......

to be continued....