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Monday, 23 March 2015

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

This post may help readers understand most succinctly the entire purpose of this series.

St. John Paul IL neatly explains the three types of theology he wants to emphasize.

In the last post, he referred to dogmatic theology as needing a basis of rational discourse. This is obvious.

In fundamental and moral theology, the same basis must be the basis of learning and application. This section of the encyclical must be some of the most beautiful words in the entire text.

Fundamental theology is that which examines God in Revelation to the Catholic Church, specifically as the keeper of the truth as set down by Christ. Fundamental theology deals with the very foundations of the faith, such as the call of Peter to be the first Pope, and so on.

Dogmatic theology, referred to in the last post, has to do with the formal teachings of the Church, the dogmas, It is a science of the interpretation of dogma.

Moral theology, (and we have a dire lack of superb moral theologians at this time), deals with ethics of all types: sexual, social, medical and so on.

67. With its specific character as a discipline charged with giving an account of faith (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), the concern of fundamental theology will be to justify and expound the relationship between faith and philosophical thought. Recalling the teaching of Saint Paul (cf.Rom 1:19-20), the First Vatican Council pointed to the existence of truths which are naturally, and thus philosophically, knowable; and an acceptance of God's Revelation necessarily presupposes knowledge of these truths. In studying Revelation and its credibility, as well as the corresponding act of faith, fundamental theology should show how, in the light of the knowledge conferred by faith, there emerge certain truths which reason, from its own independent enquiry, already perceives. Revelation endows these truths with their fullest meaning, directing them towards the richness of the revealed mystery in which they find their ultimate purpose. Consider, for example, the natural knowledge of God, the possibility of distinguishing divine Revelation from other phenomena or the recognition of its credibility, the capacity of human language to speak in a true and meaningful way even of things which transcend all human experience. From all these truths, the mind is led to acknowledge the existence of a truly propaedeutic path to faith, one which can lead to the acceptance of Revelation without in any way compromising the principles and autonomy of the mind itself.90

Similarly, fundamental theology should demonstrate the profound compatibility that exists between faith and its need to find expression by way of human reason fully free to give its assent. Faith will thus be able “to show fully the path to reason in a sincere search for the truth. Although faith, a gift of God, is not based on reason, it can certainly not dispense with it. At the same time, it becomes apparent that reason needs to be reinforced by faith, in order to discover horizons it cannot reach on its own”.91

Moral theology has perhaps an even greater need of philosophy's contribution. 

Hence the problems in the synod....

In the New Testament, human life is much less governed by prescriptions than in the Old Testament. Life in the Spirit leads believers to a freedom and responsibility which surpass the Law. Yet the Gospel and the Apostolic writings still set forth both general principles of Christian conduct and specific teachings and precepts. In order to apply these to the particular circumstances of individual and communal life, Christians must be able fully to engage their conscience and the power of their reason. In other words, moral theology requires a sound philosophical vision of human nature and society, as well as of the general principles of ethical decision-making.

I state that all the misconceptions of the relationship between men and women in marriage and the lack of understanding regarding sin in homosexual relations which was expressed last October in Rome stem from this very problem of the lack of a sound philosophical vison of human nature and society, as well as of the general principles of ethical decision-making.

to be continued...