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Friday, 20 March 2015

Knowledge of Divine Things Part Nine Fides et Ratio Two

....the whole universe of knowledge has been involved in one way or another. Yet the positive results achieved must not obscure the fact that reason, in its one-sided concern to investigate human subjectivity, seems to have forgotten that men and women are always called to direct their steps towards a truth which transcends them. Sundered from that truth, individuals are at the mercy of caprice, and their state as person ends up being judged by pragmatic criteria based essentially upon experimental data, in the mistaken belief that technology must dominate all. It has happened therefore that reason, rather than voicing the human orientation towards truth, has wilted under the weight of so much knowledge and little by little has lost the capacity to lift its gaze to the heights, not daring to rise to the truth of being. Abandoning the investigation of being, modern philosophical research has concentrated instead upon human knowing. Rather than make use of the human capacity to know the truth, modern philosophy has preferred to accentuate the ways in which this capacity is limited and conditioned.

Obviously, the neglect of seeing philosophy and reason as bringing us to understand what it means to be a human and a human in relationship to God, interferes with many other aspects of one's life. Again, St. John Paul II's words are in italics.

The saint points out that relativism, agnosticism and the distrust of reason have led people to set aside the asking of the really important questions of life, The denial of objective truth leads to this lack of thinking.

It is the duty of bishops to call all to the truth through study: here is an eloquent plea.

Sure of her competence as the bearer of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Church reaffirms the need to reflect upon truth. This is why I have decided to address you, my venerable Brother Bishops, with whom I share the mission of “proclaiming the truth openly” (2 Cor 4:2), as also theologians and philosophers whose duty it is to explore the different aspects of truth, and all those who are searching; and I do so in order to offer some reflections on the path which leads to true wisdom, so that those who love truth may take the sure path leading to it and so find rest from their labours and joy for their spirit.

The love of truth leads to God.

I feel impelled to undertake this task above all because of the Second Vatican Council's insistence that the Bishops are “witnesses of divine and catholic truth”.3 To bear witness to the truth is therefore a task entrusted to us Bishops; we cannot renounce this task without failing in the ministry which we have received. In reaffirming the truth of faith, we can both restore to our contemporaries a genuine trust in their capacity to know and challenge philosophy to recover and develop its own full dignity.

That truth lies in the deposit of faith has been forgotten by so many bishops, and cardinals, as we have seen in recent days, indeed, in this week.

Here is the crunch statement, which I have called the missing framework of the two generations below me. Sadly not only the young, but some of those in authority in the Church, including moral theologians and canon lawyers have lost this persepective.

For it is undeniable that this time of rapid and complex change can leave especially the younger generation, to whom the future belongs and on whom it depends, with a sense that they have no valid points of reference.

Today, a friend told me that people do not want to take time to study or reflect, especially in America. They want "quick fixes" and want to DO things, like sign petitions and put out brush fires rather than get to the meaning behind the fires.

I said in this discussion that nothing will change in the Church unless the basics are re-discovered.

Here is John Paul II:  At times, this happens because those whose vocation it is to give cultural expression to their thinking no longer look to truth, preferring quick success to the toil of patient enquiry into what makes life worth living. With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation. This is why I have felt both the need and the duty to address this theme so that, on the threshold of the third millennium of the Christian era, humanity may come to a clearer sense of the great resources with which it has been endowed and may commit itself with renewed courage to implement the plan of salvation of which its history is part.

So, this was written in 1998, a long time ago in the life of generations. What did people do to change this lack of enquiry? Nothng, except for the few involved in renewing classical education.

The seminaries where forced by Benedict to increase philosophical studies, but I still see priests under forty with great darkness in the area of rational discourse. Not all have learned how to think, how to reflect. how to study.

to be continued...and postscript..this is not going to be a mini-series but a maxi-series!