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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Knowledge of Divine Things Three

Part of my review of the basics will be examining Fides et Ratio. As the Pope Emeritus noted, reason incompatible with faith is not reason, and faith opposed to rationality is not faith. I shall also look at Caritas in Veritate. 

We have been given for years all we need to combat the evils which now are so obvious in the Church. But, too many lay people and priests have allowed themselves to be distracted from what they should be studying and contemplating. Apparition and false seer chasers have set aside reason, and therefore, their faith suffers to the point where they not only rely on the comforts of the emotions, but move themselves out of the Church.

A quotation from Benedict, via TAC website, and another repost to get going.

“In his encyclical Fides et Ratio, my venerated predecessor, Pope John Paul II recalled that ‘the Church has been justified in consistently proposing St. Thomas a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology’ (No. 43).
“It is not surprising that, after St. Augustine, among the writers mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas is quoted more than any other — some 61 times! He was also called the Doctor Angelicus, perhaps because of his virtues, in particular the loftiness of his thought and purity of life.
“In short, Thomas Aquinas showed there is a natural harmony between Christian faith and reason. And this was the great work of Thomas, who in that moment of encounter between two cultures — that moment in which it seemed that faith should surrender before reason — showed that they go together, that what seemed to be reason incompatible with faith was not reason, and what seemed to be faith was not faith, in so far as it was opposed to true rationality; thus he created a new synthesis, which shaped the culture of the following centuries.”

and from another blog 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Rethinking The New Evangelization

The call to new evangelization cannot be a static one. As 

Catholics, we have a duty to know our audience, our target 
groupings. And, I am convinced we are not addressing the 
youth of today in the mode which they need.

Too often, evangelization either is too banal, that is, 
watered down to the lowest common denominator; or it is 
an attempt to bring people out of serious sin by attacking 
the sins; or it is the speaking of Jesus as Saviour again 
outside of context of the larger perspective of what is 
means to be human and what it means to know a particular 

I have been thinking about St. Augustine and his 
importance to our Catholic world today. He wrote in a 
similar time-the great destruction of a civilization which had 
endured for hundreds of years. He also bought a 
philosophical approach to all that chaos.

The Hebrews experienced much the same situation over 
and over and over. Either they were destroying old 
civilizations, or their own was being destroyed by 
whatever conqueror was the most powerful.

The reason for my ruminations is that we need, desperately, Catholic minds which can stop 

addressing the moral questions, stop addressing the ethical questions, and go back further to the 
basic questions of the existence of God and the nature of what it is to be human.
Now, obviously, we need the ethical discussion, 
so prominent among good Thomists, as Aquinas, 
like Aristotle, who dealt with vice, virtue, law and so on, 
but the world we are dealing with now is one of agnosticism 
and atheism. Those people deserve better discussions than what we have been able to give. 
Starting with morals is not the way to converse with 
atheists or agnostics, who lack a moral structure and may not even believe in one, except relativism. 

There are few great Catholic minds which can address the basic questions youth ask today. 

Here are a few of those questions. 

Is there a God?

What would be the meaning of being human?

What is the relationship between men and God?

Why are we here?

Do you ever doubt?

Why do you want to be a Catholic?

Augustine wrote his City of God in direct response to pagans, agnostics, and even atheists who were 

blaming Catholics for the fall of Rome. Hey, folks, this will happen again and I do not see the 
bright spark, a new Augustine, who can address the entire question of the nature of man, 
the City of God and the secular city in terms of basic principles. Phenomenology is too 
personalistic for this discussion. We need to revisit the Greeks,the Romans, all part of our heritage. 
We need to go back to the basics, or we shall continue to lose yet another generation and the Church
in the places where we live.

Apologetics has been so slanted towards ethics, towards morality, that it has set aside the first 

principles. As humans and as Catholics, we must be able to discuss metaphysics at this level. 
Aristotle, Aquinas, the neo-Thomists, even educators, such as Montessori, all of whom are part 
of my mindset, my history, used the scientific method of rational discourse.

This is no longer accepted by many, and we cannot meet physicists, politicians, academics of any 

kind with language they no longer accept.

We must go back further. And, I do not mean Duns Scotus, who was more popular than Aquinas 

for a very long time. Nominalism is limited as well. We must go back and ask the basic questions of 
believing, of the supernatural, of God Himself. We must evangelize at this level, and not merely 
the moral or ethical one. But the moral comes out of rational discourse.Those Millennials who 
ask the basic questions have no framework for morality because they have no philosophical 

Benedict, the Pope Emeritus, was the man of the time, reminding us that Augustine 
was not only a theologian, but a philosopher. We need to look at 
him again in that light, and at those Doctors of the Church who 
helped the Church develop doctrine from the basic principles.

The reason we must think in different terms is that we are 
witnessing the chaos of the death of Western Civilization and to 
speak in any terms purely from moral or ethical viewpoints will 
not speak to the hearts of those completely at a loss, at sea in 

That is what the Moslems do - speak only in ideological, so-called
moral terms. This type of approach does not speak to the very 
essence of who a person is and who God is. Imposing law without 
the reasons for such begs the question of religion.

I read and hear too many high-ranking priests, bishops, 
theologians, especially moral theologians, who do not have the 
proper perspective of the problem of basic principles, because 
their own training was so limited. Try and find excellent 
philosophers in seminaries who are orthodox and can engage 
at this level of thinking.

When one answers the questions of who man is and Who God is, then the moral and ethical 

questions fall into place

I hope God raises up some great metaphysical minds in this era. I hope and pray that both clergy and 

laity can learn to evangelize from basic principles.