1.   Proœmium
  2.   Caput 1
  3.   Caput 2
  4.   Caput 3
  5.   Caput 4
  6.   Caput 5
  7.   Caput 6
  8.   Caput 7
  9.   Conclusio
  10.   Annotationes

Venerabiles in Episcopatu Fratres,
salutem et Apostolicam Benedictionem!
My Venerable Brother Bishops,
Health and the Apostolic Blessing!
FIDES ET RATIO binæ quasi pennæ videntur quibus veritatis ad contemplationem hominis attollitur animus.  Deus autem ipse est qui veritatis cognoscendæ studium hominum mentibus insevit, suique tandem etiam cognoscendi ut, cognoscentes Eum diligentesque, ad plenam pariter de se ipsis pertingere possint veritatem (cfr Ex 33,18 ;  Ps 27[26],8-9 ;  63[62],2-3 ;  Jo 14,8 ;  1 Jo 3,2). Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth;  and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth — in a word, to know himself — so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves (cf. Ex 33:18;  Ps 27:8-9;  63:2-3;  Jn 14:8;  1 Jn 3:2).


« Nosce te ipsum » “KNOW YOURSELF”
1.  Fieri quidem potest ut, tam in Orientis orbe quam in Occidentis solis plaga, iter quoddam dignoscatur quod, progredientibus sæculis eo usque hominum genus perduxerit ut cum veritate paulatim congrediatur, seque cum illa componat.  Hoc quidem iter sic explicatum est — neque aliter accidere potuit — intra prospectum quendam singularis hominum conscientiæ :  quo namque plenius res orbemque cognovit homo, eo magis ipsemet cognoscit se unica in sua natura, eodemque tempore instans fit interrogatio de significatione rerum suæque ipsius exsistentiæ.  Quicquid se nobis objicit veluti cognitionis nostræ argumentum, hanc ipsam ob causam evadit vitæ nostræ elementum.  Admonitio illa Γνῶθι σεαυτόν in superliminari inscripta erat Delphis in templo, principalem ut veritatem testificaretur quæ minima omni homini sumenda erat regula quicunque inter res creatas se extollere cupiebat veluti « hominem » scilicet « sui ipsius cognitorem ». 1.  In both East and West, we may trace a journey which has led humanity down the centuries to meet and engage truth more and more deeply.  It is a journey which has unfolded — as it must — within the horizon of personal self-consciousness:  the more human beings know reality and the world, the more they know themselves in their uniqueness, with the question of the meaning of things and of their very existence becoming ever more pressing.  This is why all that is the object of our knowledge becomes a part of our life.  The admonition Know yourself was carved on the temple portal at Delphi, as testimony to a basic truth to be adopted as a minimal norm by those who seek to set themselves apart from the rest of creation as “human beings,” that is as those who “know themselves.”
Candidus intuitus veteres in annales luculenter aliunde demonstrat, variis in orbis regionibus multiplici humano distinctis cultu, exsistere eodem tempore principales illas interrogationes quibus vita designatur hominum :  Quis egomet sum ?  Unde venio ?  Quoque vado ?  Cur mala assunt ?  Quid nos manet hanc post vitam ?  Hæc quæsita reperiuntur in sacris Israëlis scriptionibus, at insunt etiam scriptis Veda necnon Avesta ;  detegimus ea in operibus Confutii atque Lao-Tze, quemadmodum in prædicatione virorum Tirthankara ipsiusque Buddhæ ;  exsistunt similiter ex Homeri carminibus ac tragœdiis Euripidis et Sophoclis, perinde ac philosophicis in Platonis et Aristotelis tractatibus.  Hæ nempe interrogationes sunt quæ ex illa communi profluunt inquisitione de sensu ipso quo nunquam non hominis animus inqujetatur :  ex responsione vero, quæ talibus redditur rogationibus, directio pendet quæ vitæ humanæ est imprimenda. Moreover, a cursory glance at ancient history shows clearly how in different parts of the world, with their different cultures, there arise at the same time the fundamental questions which pervade human life:  Who am I?  Where have I come from and where am I going?  Why is there evil?  What is there after this life?  These are the questions which we find in the sacred writings of Israel, as also in the Veda and the Avesta; we find them in the writings of Confucius and Lao-Tze, and in the preaching of Tirthankara and Buddha; they appear in the poetry of Homer and in the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles, as they do in the philosophical writings of Plato and Aristotle.  They are questions which have their common source in the quest for meaning which has always compelled the human heart.  In fact, the answer given to these questions decides the direction which people seek to give to their lives.
2.  Aliena sane non est Ecclesia, neque esse potest, hoc ab inquirendi opere.  Ab eo enim tempore, quum intra Paschale Mysterium postremam accepit de hominis vita veritatem uti donum, facta est illa vicissim peregrina per semitas orbis ut Christum Jesum esse prædicet “viam, veritatem et vitam” (cfr Jo 14,6).  Diversa inter officia, quæ hominibus ea offerat oportet, unum illud nimirum esse intellegit sibi plane proprium :  Veritatis diaconiam.{1}  Hoc officium, una ex parte, facit ut credens ipsa communitas particeps evadat communis illius operæ qua homines attingere student veritatem ;{2}  altera vero ex parte, obstringitur communitas illa officio ut nuntia fiat rerum certarum quas cognovit, licet sibi conscia sit omnem veritatem captam unam dumtaxat stationem esse plenam ad illam veritatem quæ ultima in Dei revelatione ostendetur :  « Videmus enim nunc per speculum in ænigmate, tunc autem facie ad faciem ;  nunc cognosco ex parte, tunc autem cognoscam, sicut et cognitus sum » (1 Cor 13,12). 2.  The Church is no stranger to this journey of discovery, nor could she ever be.  From the moment when, through the Paschal Mystery, she received the gift of the ultimate truth about human life, the Church has made her pilgrim way along the paths of the world to proclaim that Jesus Christ is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6).  It is her duty to serve humanity in different ways, but one way in particular imposes a responsibility of a quite special kind:  the diakonia of the truth.{1}  This mission on the one hand makes the believing community a partner in humanity’s shared struggle to arrive at truth;{2}  and on the other hand it obliges the believing community to proclaim the certitudes arrived at, albeit with a sense that every truth attained is but a step towards that fullness of truth which will appear with the final Revelation of God:  “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part;  then I shall understand fully” (1 Cor 13:12).
3.  Multiplices sunt facultates quibus uti potest homo ut veritatum cognoscendarum foveat progressionem, unde exsistentiam suam humaniorem reddat.  Inter has philosophia eminet, quæ recta adjuvat ut et interrogatio ponatur de vitæ sensu et ei responsio jam adumbretur :  quapropter unum ipsa reperitur nobiliorum hominis munerum.  « Philosophiæ » vox Græcam ad originem « sapientiæ amorem » designat.  Etenim nata philosophia est atque eo tempore enucleata quo cœpit se ipsum homo interrogare de rerum causis finibusque.  Diversis quidem formis modisque demonstrat philosophia ad ipsam hominis naturam pertinere veritatis cupiditatem.  Innata est ejus menti illa proprietas ut de rerum percontetur causis etiamsi responsiones paulatim inde redditæ in formam quandam ingrediuntur quæ diversas cultus humani species inter se complere manifesto ostendit. 3.  Men and women have at their disposal an array of resources for generating greater knowledge of truth so that their lives may be ever more human.  Among these is philosophy, which is directly concerned with asking the question of life’s meaning and sketching an answer to it.  Philosophy emerges, then, as one of noblest of human tasks.  According to its Greek etymology, the term philosophy means “love of wisdom.”  Born and nurtured when the human being first asked questions about the reason for things and their purpose, philosophy shows in different modes and forms that the desire for truth is part of human nature itself.  It is an innate property of human reason to ask why things are as they are, even though the answers which gradually emerge are set within a horizon which reveals how the different human cultures are complementary.
Impulsio vehemens illa, quam ad efformationem progressionemque culturæ in orbe Occidentali adhibuit philosophia, facere haud debet ut obliviscamur quatenus ipsa quoque pervaserit vias etiam humanæ vitæ concipiendæ ex quibus Orientalis etiam vivit orbis.  Cuique enim populo nativa est atque pristina sapientia quæ, tanquam verus animi culturarum thesaurus, eo tendit ut exprimatur et rationibus potissimum philosophicis maturetur.  Quam sit hoc verum inde etiam comprobatur quod principalis quædam philosophicæ scientiæ figura, nostris etiam temporibus, deprehendi potest in eis postulatis quibus leges Nationum et civitatum informantur ad socialem vitam moderandam. Philosophy’s powerful influence on the formation and development of the cultures of the West should not obscure the influence it has also had upon the ways of understanding existence found in the East.  Every people has its own native and seminal wisdom which, as a true cultural treasure, tends to find voice and develop in forms which are genuinely philosophical.  One example of this is the basic form of philosophical knowledge which is evident to this day in the postulates which inspire national and international legal systems in regulating the life of society.
4.  Quicquid autem id est, notetur oportet sub uno nomine diversas latere significationes.  Prævia igitur explicatio necessaria evadit.  Concupiscens extremam vitæ veritatem homo adipisci, illas universales studet comparare cognitiones quæ ei facultatem dant melius se comprehendendi ulteriusque progrediendi ad se perficiendum.  Fundamentales hæ notiones illa ex admiratione emanant quam rerum creatarum contemplatio in eo excitat :  rapitur enim homo stupens quod se in rerum universitatem videt insertum cum aliis sui similibus consociatum quibuscum etiam communicat sortem.  Iter hinc incipit quod illum pervehet ad novos usque cognitionis orbes detegendos.  Nisi obstupescens miraretur homo, in repetitionem quandam sterilem recideret ac, paulatim, facultatem amitteret vitæ reapse personalis ducendæ. 4.  Nonetheless, it is true that a single term conceals a variety of meanings.  Hence the need for a preliminary clarification.  Driven by the desire to discover the ultimate truth of existence, human beings seek to acquire those universal elements of knowledge which enable them to understand themselves better and to advance in their own self-realization.  These fundamental elements of knowledge spring from the wonder awakened in them by the contemplation of creation:  human beings are astonished to discover themselves as part of the world, in a relationship with others like them, all sharing a common destiny.  Here begins, then, the journey which will lead them to discover ever new frontiers of knowledge.  Without wonder, men and women would lapse into deadening routine and little by little would become incapable of a life which is genuinely personal.
Speculandi potestas, quæ humani propria est intellectus, adjuvat ut, philosophicam per industriam, figura enucleetur exactæ cogitationis sicque ordinata exstruatur disciplina logico affirmationum consensu atque solido doctrinarum contextu distincta.  Hanc propter rationem, variis in cultus humani formis diversisque pariter ætatibus, fructus percepti sunt qui elaborandis veris cogitationum modis profuerunt.  Ad historiæ fidem factum est ut istud induceret ad unam dumtaxat philosophiæ viam confundendam cum tota philosophica disciplina.  Constat vero, his in casibus, certam quandam exsistere « superbiam philosophicam » quæ suos attollere audeat oculos longe prospicientes at imperfectos ad interpretationem aliquam universalem.  Re vera quodque philosophiæ corpus, quantumvis reverendum sua in summa et amplitudine sine ullis abusibus, agnoscere debet principatum philosophicæ cogitationis, ex qua et suam ducit originem et cui congruenter serviat necesse est. Through philosophy’s work, the ability to speculate which is proper to the human intellect produces a rigorous mode of thought;  and then in turn, through the logical coherence of the affirmations made and the organic unity of their content, it produces a systematic body of knowledge.  In different cultural contexts and at different times, this process has yielded results which have produced genuine systems of thought.  Yet often enough in history this has brought with it the temptation to identify one single stream with the whole of philosophy.  In such cases, we are clearly dealing with a “philosophical pride” which seeks to present its own partial and imperfect view as the complete reading of all reality.  In effect, every philosophical system, while it should always be respected in its wholeness, without any instrumentalization, must still recognize the primacy of philosophical inquiry, from which it stems and which it ought loyally to serve.
Hoc modo, quamquam mutantur tempora cognitionesque progrediuntur, agnosci licet quasi nucleum quendam philosophicarum notionum, quæ nonnunquam assunt in hominum cogitantium historia.  Cogitentur verbi gratia, principia non contradictionis, finalitatis ac causalitatis nec non cogitatum personæ veluti subjecti liberi et intellegentis ejusque facultas Deum veritatem bonumque cognoscendi ;  cogitentur pariter nonnullæ normæ morales præcipuæ quæ omnium item sunt communes.  Hæc aliaque argumenta demonstrant, variis doctrinarum prætermissis scholis, corpus exsistere cognitionum in quibus introspici potest genus quoddam spiritalis hominum patrimonii.  Ita fit ut ante oculos quasi philosophiam implicitam reperiamus cujus principia quisque homo se possidere sentiat, tametsi sub forma omnino universali neque conscia.  Quoniam communicantur hæ notiones quadamtenus ab omnibus, ipsæ efficere debent medium quoddam punctum quo diversæ philosophicæ scholæ confluunt.  Quotiens ratio percipere valet atque exprimere prima et universalia vitæ principia indeque recte consectaria propria deducere ordinis logici et deontologici, totiens appellari potest ratio recta sive, quemadmodum antiqui loquebantur, ὀρθὸς λόγος. Although times change and knowledge increases, it is possible to discern a core of philosophical insight within the history of thought as a whole.  Consider, for example, the principles of non-contradiction, finality and causality, as well as the concept of the person as a free and intelligent subject, with the capacity to know God, truth and goodness.  Consider as well certain fundamental moral norms which are shared by all.  These are among the indications that, beyond different schools of thought, there exists a body of knowledge which may be judged a kind of spiritual heritage of humanity.  It is as if we had come upon an implicit philosophy, as a result of which all feel that they possess these principles, albeit in a general and unreflective way.  Precisely because it is shared in some measure by all, this knowledge should serve as a kind of reference-point for the different philosophical schools.  Once reason successfully intuits and formulates the first universal principles of being and correctly draws from them conclusions which are coherent both logically and ethically, then it may be called right reason or, as the ancients called it, orth(o-)s logos, recta ratio
5.  Sua ex parte facere non potest Ecclesia quin magni officium rationis æstimet ad proposita illa consequenda unde ipsa hominum vita dignior reddatur.  Etenim in philosophia viam ipsa conspicatur cognoscendi principales veritates hominum vitam tangentes.  Eodem tempore, philosophiam judicat instrumentum pernecessarium ut fidei intellectus altius inquiratur atque Evangelii veritas eis impertiatur qui eam nondum cognoverunt. 5.  On her part, the Church cannot but set great value upon reason’s drive to attain goals which render people’s lives ever more worthy.  She sees in philosophy the way to come to know fundamental truths about human life.  At the same time, the Church considers philosophy an indispensable help for a deeper understanding of faith and for communicating the truth of the Gospel to those who do not yet know it.
Similia igitur Decessorum Nostrorum cœpta prosecuti, cupimus etiam Nos ad hoc peculiare rationis humanæ opus convertere oculos.  Eo præsertim impellimur quod novimus his maxime temporibus veritatis ultimæ inquisitionem sæpius obscuratam videri.  Haud dubitatur quin philosophiæ recentiori laudi tribuatur quod mentes jam in hominem ipsum intenduntur.  Hinc initio facto, quædam ratio interrogationum plena ulterius propulit hominis cupiditatem plus plusque cognoscendi atque singula multo altius.  Ita doctrinarum formæ implexæ exstructæ sunt quæ suos variis in cognitionis provinciis protulerunt fructus, progressui nempe faventes tum culturæ tum historiæ.  Anthropologia, logica disciplina, scientiæ naturales, historia et sermo…, immo quodam modo universitas cognitionis humanæ est assumpta.  Effectus re percepti suadere aliunde non debent ut obscuretur quod ipsa ratio, ad investigandum uno solo ex latere hominem uti subjectum intenta, videtur esse omnino oblita eundem hominem semper invitari ut ad veritatem se transcendentem progrediatur.  Deficiente habitudine ad illam, quisque homo exponitur arbitrio soli suo atque ipsius velut personæ condicio in eo est ut regulis unis pragmaticis æstimetur quæ suapte natura experimentis innituntur, quum perperam credatur technicam artem necessario debere reliquis rebus dominari.  Sic sane accidit ut, quum melius hanc intentionem ad veritatem exprimere deberet, gravata contra onere tot notitiarum ratio humana in se replicaretur atque de die in diem minus intuitum suum attollere in altiora posset ut veritatem exsistentiæ consequi auderet.  Recentior philosophia, omittens suas perquisitiones in ipsum « esse » dirigere, opus suum in cognitionibus hominum collocavit.  Non ergo extulit facultatem quæ homini data est veritatis cognoscendæ, sed extollere ejus limites maluit et condiciones. Therefore, following upon similar initiatives by my Predecessors, I wish to reflect upon this special activity of human reason.  I judge it necessary to do so because, at the present time in particular, the search for ultimate truth seems often to be neglected.  Modern philosophy clearly has the great merit of focusing attention upon man.  From this starting-point, human reason with its many questions has developed further its yearning to know more and to know it ever more deeply.  Complex systems of thought have thus been built, yielding results in the different fields of knowledge and fostering the development of culture and history.  Anthropology, logic, the natural sciences, history, linguistics and so forth — 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.
Multiplices hinc enatæ sunt agnosticismi et relativismi formæ quibus eo usque provecta est philosophica investigatio ut jam in mobili veluti scepticismi universalis tellure pererraret.  Recentius præterea variæ invaluerunt doctrinæ illuc tendentes ut etiam illæ veritates imminuantur quas homo se jam adeptum esse putaverat.  Licita sententiarum varietas jam indistincto concessit pluralismo, principio niso omnes opinationes idem prorsus valere :  unum hoc est signorum latissime disseminatorum illius diffidentiæ de veritate, quam hodiernis in adjunctis deprehendi passim licet.  In idem diffidens judicium incidunt etiam quædam vitæ notiones ex Oriente profectæ ;  in eis, enim, veritati negatur propria ejus indoles, quum pro concesso sumatur pari modo veritatem diversis indicari in doctrinis, vel inter se contradicentibus.  Hoc in rerum prospectu cuncta ad opinationem quandam rediguntur.  Percipitur quasi motus quidam fluctuans :  quum hinc philosophica investigatio jam in illam viam se inserere potuit, quæ propiorem eam reddit ad hominum vitam ejusque formas expressas, illinc tamen eadem inquisitio explicare jam vult deliberationes exsistentiales, hermeneuticas vel linguisticas quæ alienæ sunt a fundamentali hac quæstione de veritate cujusque hominis vitæ, exsistentiæ atque Dei ipsius.  Quapropter in homine nostræ ætatis, neque tantummodo quosdam apud philosophos, jam emerserunt affectus alicujus diffidentiæ passim disseminatæ nulliusque fiduciæ de permagnis hominum cognoscendi facultatibus.  Falso cum pudore quis contentus fit veritatibus ex parte et ad tempus, quin interrogationes radicales ponere jam contendat de sensu extremoque vitæ humanæ fundamento, in singulis hominibus et in ipsa societate.  Brevi :  spes jam interiit fieri posse ut talibus interrogationibus decretoriæ responsiones reddantur. This has given rise to different forms of agnosticism and relativism which have led philosophical research to lose its way in the shifting sands of widespread scepticism.  Recent times have seen the rise to prominence of various doctrines which tend to devalue even the truths which had been judged certain.  A legitimate plurality of positions has yielded to an undifferentiated pluralism, based upon the assumption that all positions are equally valid, which is one of today’s most widespread symptoms of the lack of confidence in truth.  Even certain conceptions of life coming from the East betray this lack of confidence, denying truth its exclusive character and assuming as a given that truth reveals itself equally in different doctrines, even if they contradict one another.  On this understanding, everything is reduced to opinion;  and there is a sense of being adrift.  While, on the one hand, philosophical thinking has succeeded in coming closer to the reality of human life and its forms of expression, it has also tended to pursue issues — existential, hermeneutical or linguistic — which ignore the radical question of the truth about personal existence, about being and about God.  Hence we see among the men and women of our time, and not just in some philosophers, attitudes of widespread distrust of the human being’s great capacity for knowledge.  With a false modesty, people rest content with partial and provisional truths, no longer seeking to ask radical questions about the meaning and ultimate foundation of human, personal and social existence.  In short, the hope that philosophy might be able to provide definitive answers to these questions has dwindled.
6.  Ecclesia vigens auctoritate illa, quæ ei obtingit quod Revelationis Jesu Christi est custos, confirmare cupit hujus meditationis necessitatem super veritate.  Hanc ipsam ob causam in animum induximus appellare tum vos Veneratos in Episcopatu Fratres quibuscum annuntiandi communicamus munus « in manifestatione veritatis » (2 Cor 4,2) tum etiam philosophos atque theologos quorum est diversos veritatis perscrutari aspectus, tum etiam homines omnes adhuc quærentes, ut nonnullas participemus cogitationes de itinere quod conducit ad veram sapientiam, ut quicunque in pectore amorem ipsius habeat, rectam ingredi valeat viam ut eam consequatur, in eaque qujetem reperiat suis a laboribus spiritalemque lætitiam. 6.  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 labors and joy for their spirit.
Ad hoc inceptum Nos adducit conscientia imprimis quæ verbis Concilii Vaticani II significatur quum Episcopos esse affirmat « divinæ et catholicæ veritatis testes ».{3}  Testificandæ igitur veritatis officium est concreditum nobis Episcopis, quod deponere haud possumus quin simul ministerium acceptum deseramus.  Fidei veritatem confirmantes, nostræ ætatis hominibus reddere possumus veram fiduciam de propriis cognoscendi facultatibus ipsique philosophicæ disciplinæ præbere provocationem ut suam plenam recuperare valeat explicareque dignitatem. 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.
Alia Nos quoque permovet causa ut has perscribamus deliberationes.  Litteris in Encyclicis Veritatis splendor inscriptis animorum intentionem direximus ad quasdam « doctrinæ catholicæ fundamentales veritates quæ in periculo versantur deformationis vel negationis ob rerum adjuncta ætatis nostræ ».{4}  His Litteris pergere cupimus easdem meditationes ulterius persequi, mente videlicet conversa ad argumentum ipsius veritatis ejusque fundamentum quod spectat ad fidem.  Etenim negari non potest hoc celerium et implicatarum mutationum tempore juniores præsertim, ad quos pertinet ventura ætas et de quibus ea pendet, illi exponi sensui sive persuasioni se certis privari fundamentalibus principiis ad quæ referantur.  Necessitas alicujus solidi firmamenti, in quo vita singulorum hominum societatisque exstruatur, vehementius persentitur præsertim quotiens necesse est comprobare partialem naturam propositorum quæ res transeuntes ad gradum alicujus ponderis tollunt, dum decipiunt potestatem ipsam assequendi verum vitæ sensum.  Ita profecto evenit ut multi suam vitam ad ipsum præcipitii marginem producant, nescientes interea quid ultra maneat.  Inde hoc nempe accidit quod nonnunquam ii, quos munus fere proprium obstringebat ut culturæ formis fructus proferrent suarum deliberationum, oculos a veritate abstraherent, quum laboris successum subitum præferrent patientis inquisitionis labori earum rerum quæ vivendo sunt experiendæ.  Strenue igitur pristinam suam vocationem recuperare debet philosophia cujus grave est officium cogitationem humanam informare nec non humanum ipsum cultum, perpetuo revocando homines ad veritatis perquisitionem.  Hac omnino de causa non solam necessitatem sensimus, verum etiam morale officium ut de hoc argumento eloqueremur, ut hominum genus, limen tertii millenni christiani ætatis supergressurum, magis conscium sibi facultatum magnarum reddatur quæ illi sunt concessæ seque renovato animi fervore dedat salutis explendo consilio in quod ipsius est inserta historia. There is a further reason why I write these reflections.  In my Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, I drew attention to “certain fundamental truths of Catholic doctrine which, in the present circumstances, risk being distorted or denied.”{4}  In the present Letter, I wish to pursue that reflection by concentrating on the theme of truth itself and on its foundation in relation to faith.  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.  The need for a foundation for personal and communal life becomes all the more pressing at a time when we are faced with the patent inadequacy of perspectives in which the ephemeral is affirmed as a value and the possibility of discovering the real meaning of life is cast into doubt.  This is why many people stumble through life to the very edge of the abyss without knowing where they are going.  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 inquiry 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.


Jesus Patris Revelator Jesus, revealer of the Father
7.  Omni meditationi quam perficit Ecclesia subjacet conscientia apud ipsam nuntium depositum esse qui suam trahat originem ex Deo ipso (cfr 2 Cor 4,1-2).  Haud ex propria consideratione provenit hæc conscientia etiam profundissima quam hominibus ea præbet, verum ex verbi Dei in fide receptione (cfr 1 Thess 2,13).  Ad vitæ nostræ uti credentium originem congressio quædam, sui generis unica, invenitur quæ mysterii a sæculis absconditi designat illuminationem (cfr 1 Cor 2,7; Rom 16,25-26), quod autem nunc aperitur :  « Placuit Deo in sua bonitate et sapientia seipsum revelare et notum facere sacramentum voluntatis suæ (cfr Eph 1,9), quo homines per Christum, Verbum carnem factum, in Spiritu Sancto accessum habent ad Patrem et divinæ naturæ consortes efficiuntur ».{5}  Hoc est plane gratuitum opus quod a Deo proficiscitur et ad homines pervenit ut illi salvi fiant.  Tanquam amoris fons Deus se cupit cognosci atque cognitio quam illius habet homo omnem perficit aliam notitiam quam mens ejus assequi potest de propriæ exsistentiæ sensu. 7.  Underlying all the Church’s thinking is the awareness that she is the bearer of a message which has its origin in God himself (cf. 2 Cor 4:1-2).  The knowledge which the Church offers to man has its origin not in any speculation of her own, however sublime, but in the word of God which she has received in faith (cf. 1 Th 2:13).  At the origin of our life of faith there is an encounter, unique in kind, which discloses a mystery hidden for long ages (cf. 1 Cor 2:7; Rom 16:25-26) but which is now revealed:  “In his goodness and wisdom, God chose to reveal himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of his will (cf. Eph 1:9), by which, through Christ, the Word made flesh, man has access to the Father in the Holy Spirit and comes to share in the divine nature.”{5}  This initiative is utterly gratuitous, moving from God to men and women in order to bring them to salvation.  As the source of love, God desires to make himself known;  and the knowledge which the human being has of God perfects all that the human mind can know of the meaning of life.
8.  Doctrinam fere verbatim repetens, quam Concilii Vaticani I Constitutio Dei Filius exhibet, rationemque ducens principiorum in Concilio Tridentino propositorum Constitutio Concilii Vaticani II Dei Verbum ulterius produxit sæculare iter intellectus fidei, Revelationem ad doctrinæ biblicæ institutionisque totius patristicæ lucem ponderando.  Concilii Vaticani I participes supernaturalem revelationis divinæ extulerunt indolem.  Negabat censura rationalistica, quæ eo ipso tempore adversus fidem movebatur secundum falsas lateque disseminatas opinationes, omnem cognitionem quæ rationis naturalium potestatum non esset consecutio.  Hoc quidem Concilium induxit ut vehementer inculcaret ultra omnem rationis humanæ cognitionem, quæ suapte natura ad Conditorem usque agnoscendum progredi valeret, cognitionem etiam reperiri quæ fidei propria esset.  Hæc cognitio veritatem exprimit quæ fundamentum invenit in Deo sese revelante quæque veritas est certissima quandoquidem Deus nec fallit nec fallere cupit.{6} 8.  Restating almost to the letter the teaching of the First Vatican Council’s Constitution Dei Filius, and taking into account the principles set out by the Council of Trent, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution Dei Verbum pursued the age-old journey of understanding faith, reflecting on Revelation in the light of the teaching of Scripture and of the entire Patristic tradition.  At the First Vatican Council, the Fathers had stressed the supernatural character of God’s Revelation.  On the basis of mistaken and very widespread assertions, the rationalist critique of the time attacked faith and denied the possibility of any knowledge which was not the fruit of reason’s natural capacities.  This obliged the Council to reaffirm emphatically that there exists a knowledge which is peculiar to faith, surpassing the knowledge proper to human reason, which nevertheless by its nature can discover the Creator.  This knowledge expresses a truth based upon the very fact of God who reveals himself, a truth which is most certain, since God neither deceives nor wishes to deceive.{6}
9.  Docet itaque Concilium Vaticanum I veritatem ex philosophica deliberatione perceptam atque Revelationis veritatem non confundi neutramque earum alteram reddere supervacaneam :  « Duplicem esse ordinem cognitionis non solum principio, sed objecto etiam distinctum :  principio quidem, quia in altero naturali ratione, in altero fide divina cognoscimus ;  objecto autem, quia præter ea, ad quæ naturalis ratio pertingere potest, credenda nobis proponuntur mysteria in Deo abscondita, quæ, nisi revelata divinitus, innotescere non possunt ».{7}  Quæ Dei testimonio innititur fides atque supernaturali gratiæ utitur adjumento, re vera ad alium pertinet ordinem ac philosophicæ cognitionis.  Sensuum enim hæc perceptioni adnititur nec non experientiæ ac se sub intellectus solius lumine movet.  Philosophia atque scientiæ in naturalis rationis versantur ordine, dum contra a Spiritu illuminata et gubernata fides agnoscit in ipso salutis nuntio « gratiæ et veritatis plenitudinem » (cfr Jo 1,14) quam per historiam patefacere decrevit Deus semelque in sempiternum per Filium suum Jesum Christum (cfr 1 Jo 5,9; Jo 5,31-32). 9.  The First Vatican Council teaches, then, that the truth attained by philosophy and the truth of Revelation are neither identical nor mutually exclusive:  “There exists a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards their source, but also as regards their object.  With regard to the source, because we know in one by natural reason, in the other by divine faith.  With regard to the object, because besides those things which natural reason can attain, there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, cannot be known.”{7}  Based upon God’s testimony and enjoying the supernatural assistance of grace, faith is of an order other than philosophical knowledge which depends upon sense perception and experience and which advances by the light of the intellect alone.  Philosophy and the sciences function within the order of natural reason;  while faith, enlightened and guided by the Spirit, recognizes in the message of salvation the “fullness of grace and truth” (cf. Jn 1:14) which God has willed to reveal in history and definitively through his Son, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Jn 5:9; Jn 5:31-32).
10.  In Concilio Vaticano II, Patres, intendentes in Jesum Revelatorem mentes, voluerunt naturam revelationis Dei salutiferam collustrare in historia, cujus hoc modo proprietatem ita significaverunt :  « Hac itaque revelatione Deus invisibilis (cfr Col 1,15; 1 Tim 1,17) ex abundantia caritatis suæ homines tanquam amicos alloquitur (cfr Ex 33,11; Jo 15,14-15) et cum eis conversatur (cfr Bar 3,38), ut eos ad societatem secum invitet in eamque suscipiat.  Hæc Revelationis œconomia fit gestis verbisque intrinsece inter se connexis, ita ut opera, in historia salutis a Deo patrata, doctrinam et res verbis significatas manifestent ac corroborent, verba autem opera proclament et mysterium in eis contentum elucident.  Intima autem per hanc Revelationem tam de Deo quam de hominis salute veritas nobis in Christo illucescit, qui mediator simul et plenitudo totius revelationis exsistit ».{8} 10.  Contemplating Jesus as revealer, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council stressed the salvific character of God’s Revelation in history, describing it in these terms:  “In this Revelation, the invisible God (cf. Col 1:15; 1 Tim 1:17), out of the abundance of his love speaks to men and women as friends (cf. Ex 33:11; Jn 15:14-15) and lives among them (cf. Bar 3:38), so that he may invite and take them into communion with himself.  This plan of Revelation is realized by deeds and words having an inner unity:  the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them.  By this Revelation, then, the deepest truth about God and human salvation is made clear to us in Christ, who is the mediator and at the same time the fullness of all Revelation.”{8}
11.  In tempus propterea inque historiæ annales se interserit Dei revelatio.  Immo evenit Jesu Christi incarnatio « in plenitudine temporis » (cfr Gal 4,4).  Duobus ideo milibus annorum post illum eventum necesse esse rursus asseverare istud arbitramur :  « Christiana in fide præcipuum habet pondus tempus ».{9}  Intra tempus namque profertur in lucem totum creationis ac salutis opus at imprimis elucet per Filii Dei incarnationem vivere nos et jam nunc id antecapere quod ipsius temporis erit complementum (cfr Heb 1,2). 11.  God’s Revelation is therefore immersed in time and history.  Jesus Christ took flesh “in the fullness of time” (Gal 4:4); and two thousand years later, I feel bound to restate forcefully that “in Christianity time has a fundamental importance.”{9}  It is within time that the whole work of creation and salvation comes to light;  and it emerges clearly above all that, with the Incarnation of the Son of God, our life is even now a foretaste of the fulfilment of time which is to come (cf. Heb 1:2).
Quam veritatem homini Deus concredidit de eo ipso ejusque vita in tempus itaque se introducit nec non in historiam.  Semel quidem in perpetuum enuntiata est in mysterio Jesu Nazareni.  Hoc eloquentibus quidem verbis edicit Constitutio Dei Verbum :  « Postquam vero multifariam multisque modis Deus locutus est in Prophetis, “novissime diebus istis locutus est nobis in Filio” (Heb 1,1-2).  Misit enim Filium suum, æternum scilicet Verbum, qui omnes homines illuminat, ut inter homines habitaret eisque intima Dei enarraret (cfr Jo 1,1-18).  Jesus Christus […], Verbum caro factum, “homo ad homines” missus, “verba Dei loquitur” (Jo 3,34), et opus salutare consummat quod dedit ei Pater faciendum (cfr Jo 5,36; 17,4).  Quapropter Ipse, quem qui videt, videt et Patrem (cfr Jo 14,9), tota sui ipsius præsentia ac manifestatione, verbis et operibus, signis et miraculis, præsertim autem morte sua et gloriosa ex mortuis resurrectione, misso tandem Spiritu veritatis, Revelationem complendo perficit ».{10} The truth about himself and his life which God has entrusted to humanity is immersed therefore in time and history;  and it was declared once and for all in the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth.  The Constitution Dei Verbum puts it eloquently:  “After speaking in many places and varied ways through the prophets, God ‘last of all in these days has spoken to us by his Son’ (Heb 1:1-2).  For he sent his Son, the eternal Word who enlightens all people, so that he might dwell among them and tell them the innermost realities about God (cf. Jn 1:1-18).  Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, sent as ‘a human being to human beings’, ‘speaks the words of God ’ (Jn 3:34), and completes the work of salvation which his Father gave him to do (cf. Jn 5:36; 17:4).  To see Jesus is to see his Father (Jn 14:9).  For this reason, Jesus perfected Revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making himself present and manifesting himself:  through his words and deeds, his signs and wonders, but especially though his death and glorious Resurrection from the dead and finally his sending of the Spirit of truth.”{10}
Efficit itaque populo Dei historia hæc iter quoddam ex toto percurrendum, ita ut revelata veritas omnem suam plene aperiat continentiam ob Spiritus Sancti continuam actionem (cfr Jo 16,13).  Id rursus Constitutio Dei Verbum docet quum affirmat :  « Ecclesia, volventibus sæculis, ad plenitudinem divinæ veritatis jugiter tendit, donec in ipsa consummentur verba Dei ».{11} For the People of God, therefore, history becomes a path to be followed to the end, so that by the unceasing action of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13) the contents of revealed truth may find their full expression.  This is the teaching of the Constitution Dei Verbum when it states that “as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly progresses towards the fullness of divine truth, until the words of God reach their complete fulfilment in her.”{11}
12.  Locus ita evadit historia ubi comprobare possumus Dei acta pro hominibus.  Nos enim attingit ille in eis quæ nobis maxime sunt familiaria et ad demonstrandum facilia, quia cottidiana nostra constituunt adjuncta — quibus summotis, haud possemus nosmet ipsos intellegere. 12.  History therefore becomes the arena where we see what God does for humanity.  God comes to us in the things we know best and can verify most easily, the things of our everyday life, apart from which we cannot understand ourselves.
Permittit Dei Filii incarnatio ut perennis ac postrema summa videatur completa quam ex se profecta hominum mens nunquam fingere sibi valuisset :  Æternum ingreditur tempus ;  Quod est Omne, absconditur in parte ;  Deus hominis suscipit vultum.  Christi in Revelatione igitur expressa veritas jam nullis circumscribitur artis locorum et culturarum finibus, verum cuivis viro et feminæ aperitur quæ eam complecti voluerit veluti sermonem penitus validum qui vitæ tribuat sensum.  In Christo omnes homines jam accessum habent ad Patrem ;  sua namque morte ac resurrectione Ipse vitam æternam dono dedit quam primus respuerat Adamus (cfr Rom 5,12-15).  Hanc per Revelationem, ultima exhibetur homini de propria vita veritas deque historiæ sorte :  « Reapse nonnisi in mysterio Verbi incarnati mysterium hominis vere clarescit » asseverat Constitutio Gaudium et spes.{12}  Extra hunc rerum conspectum mysterium vitæ singulorum hominum manet ænigma insolubile.  Ubi reperire valet homo responsiones illis permoventibus interrogationibus — verbi gratia de dolore atque innocentis cruciatu ac de morte, nisi illo sub lumine quod ex mysterio passionis mortis resurrectionis Christi profluit ? In the Incarnation of the Son of God we see forged the enduring and definitive synthesis which the human mind of itself could not even have imagined:  the Eternal enters time, the Whole lies hidden in the part, God takes on a human face.  The truth communicated in Christ’s Revelation is therefore no longer confined to a particular place or culture, but is offered to every man and woman who would welcome it as the word which is the absolutely valid source of meaning for human life.  Now, in Christ, all have access to the Father, since by his Death and Resurrection Christ has bestowed the divine life which the first Adam had refused (cf. Rom 5:12-15).  Through this Revelation, men and women are offered the ultimate truth about their own life and about the goal of history.  As the Constitution Gaudium et Spes puts it, “only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light.”{12}  Seen in any other terms, the mystery of personal existence remains an insoluble riddle.  Where might the human being seek the answer to dramatic questions such as pain, the suffering of the innocent and death, if not in the light streaming from the mystery of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection?
Coram arcano - ratio Reason before the mystery
13.  Non tamen oblivisci licebit Revelationem mysteriis abundare.  Sane quidem cuncta sua ex vita Jesus vultum Patris revelat utpote qui venerit ut intima Dei enarraret ; {13}  verumtamen quam habemus talis vultus cognitio semper designatur incompleta quadam ratione atque etiam nostræ comprehensionis finibus.  Sinit una fides nos in mysterium ingredi intimum, cujus congruentem fovet intellectum. 13.  It should nonetheless be kept in mind that Revelation remains charged with mystery.  It is true that Jesus, with his entire life, revealed the countenance of the Father, for he came to teach the secret things of God.{13}  But our vision of the face of God is always fragmentary and impaired by the limits of our understanding.  Faith alone makes it possible to penetrate the mystery in a way that allows us to understand it coherently.
Docet Concilium quod « Deo revelanti præstanda est “obœditio fidei” ».{14}  Perbrevi hac sed densa affirmatione principalis quædam fidei christianæ declaratur veritas.  Dicitur, imprimis, fidem esse obœdientiæ responsionem Deo.  Id poscit ut Ille sua agnoscatur in divinitate, sua in transcendentia supremaque libertate.  Deus qui facit ut Ipse cognoscatur ob suæ absolutæ transcendentiæ auctoritatem, secum etiam affert credibilitatem eorum quæ revelat.  Sua fide assensum suum hujusmodi testificationi divinæ tribuit homo.  Hoc significat eum plene integreque agnoscere rerum revelatarum veritatem, quoniam Ipse se pignus illarum exhibet Deus.  Veritas hæc, quæ homini conceditur neque ab eo exigi potest, in contextum se introducit cujusdam communicationis singularis inter personas rationemque ipsam humanam impellit ut ei se aperiat ejusque altam percipiat significationem.  Hanc ob causam actus ille, quo nos Deo committimus, semper ab Ecclesia tanquam tempus habitus est cujusdam electionis fundamentalis, qua tota involvitur persona.  Usque ad extremum intellectus ac voluntas exercent spiritalem suam naturam, ut subjecto humano permittatur actum perficere quo uniuscujusque libertas pleno modo vivatur.{15}  In fide proinde non adest dumtaxat præsens libertas :  etiam postulatur.  Immo, ipsa fides unicuique facultatem dat suam enuntiandi meliore ratione libertatem.  Aliis verbis :  libertas non in electionibus contra Deum impletur.  Quomodo enim verus libertatis usus judicari posset nulla sese aperiendi voluntas ad id quod sinit homines se totos explicare ?  Credendo namque persona humana actum suæ vitæ significantissimum complet ;  hic enim veritatis certitudinem assequitur veritas, in eaque vivere decernit. The Council teaches that “the obedience of faith must be given to God who reveals himself.”{14}  This brief but dense statement points to a fundamental truth of Christianity.  Faith is said first to be an obedient response to God.  This implies that God be acknowledged in his divinity, transcendence and supreme freedom.  By the authority of his absolute transcendence, God who makes himself known is also the source of the credibility of what he reveals.  By faith, men and women give their assent to this divine testimony.  This means that they acknowledge fully and integrally the truth of what is revealed because it is God himself who is the guarantor of that truth.  They can make no claim upon this truth which comes to them as gift and which, set within the context of interpersonal communication, urges reason to be open to it and to embrace its profound meaning.  This is why the Church has always considered the act of entrusting oneself to God to be a moment of fundamental decision which engages the whole person.  In that act, the intellect and the will display their spiritual nature, enabling the subject to act in a way which realizes personal freedom to the full.{15}  It is not just that freedom is part of the act of faith:  it is absolutely required.  Indeed, it is faith that allows individuals to give consummate expression to their own freedom.  Put differently, freedom is not realized in decisions made against God.  For how could it be an exercise of true freedom to refuse to be open to the very reality which enables our self-realization?  Men and women can accomplish no more important act in their lives than the act of faith;  it is here that freedom reaches the certainty of truth and chooses to live in that truth.
In rationis adjumentum, quæ mysterii quærit intellectum, etiam signa præsentia in Revelatione occurrunt.  Adjuvant ea ut altius perquiratur veritas, utque mentem ex sese intra mysterium scrutari valeat.  Quicquid id est, signa hæc, si altera ex parte majorem tribuunt rationi humanæ vim quia sinunt eam propriis viribus, quarum ipsa est invidiosa custos, intra mysterium investigare, ex altera vero parte eam incitant ut eorum veluti signorum naturam transgrediatur ut ulteriorem percipiat significationem eorum quæ in se continent.  In eis ideoque jam abscondita subjacet veritas, ad quam dirigitur mens et a qua sejungi non potest quin simul signum ipsum illi præbitum deleatur. To assist reason in its effort to understand the mystery there are the signs which Revelation itself presents.  These serve to lead the search for truth to new depths, enabling the mind in its autonomous exploration to penetrate within the mystery by use of reason’s own methods, of which it is rightly jealous.  Yet these signs also urge reason to look beyond their status as signs in order to grasp the deeper meaning which they bear.  They contain a hidden truth to which the mind is drawn and which it cannot ignore without destroying the very signs which it is given.
Quadamtenus revertimur ad sacramentalem Revelationis rationem atque, nominatim, ad eucharisticum signum ubi individua unitas inter rem ipsam ejusque significationem permittit ut mysterii capiatur altitudo.  In Eucharistia revera præsens adest ac vivus Christus, suo cum Spiritu operatur, sed, quemadmodum præclare Sanctus Thomas edixit, « Quod non capis, quod non vides, animosa firmat fides, præter rerum ordinem.  Sub diversis speciebus, signis tantum, et non rebus, latent res eximiæ ».{16}  Refert idem philosophus Blasius Pascal :  « Sicut Christus Jesus ignotus inter homines fuit, ita manet veritas ejus, communes inter opinationes, sine ulla exteriore distinctione.  Sic etiam Eucharistia restat inter panem communem ».{17} In a sense, then, we return to the sacramental character of Revelation and especially to the sign of the Eucharist, in which the indissoluble unity between the signifier and signified makes it possible to grasp the depths of the mystery.  In the Eucharist, Christ is truly present and alive, working through his Spirit;  yet, as Saint Thomas said so well, “what you neither see nor grasp, faith confirms for you, leaving nature far behind;  a sign it is that now appears, hiding in mystery realities sublime.”{16}  He is echoed by the philosopher Pascal:  “Just as Jesus Christ went unrecognized among men, so does his truth appear without external difference among common modes of thought.  So too does the Eucharist remain among common bread.”{17}
Fidei cognitio, demum, mysterium non exstinguit ;  illud evidentius dumtaxat reddit demonstratque veluti necessarium vitæ hominis elementum :  Christus Dominus « in ipsa Revelatione mysterii Patris Ejusque amoris, hominem ipsi homini plene manifestat eique altissimam ejus vocationem patefacit »,{18} quæ nempe ea est ut vitæ trinitariæ Dei particeps fiat.{19} In short, the knowledge proper to faith does not destroy the mystery;  it only reveals it the more, showing how necessary it is for people’s lives:  Christ the Lord “in revealing the mystery of the Father and his love fully reveals man to himself and makes clear his supreme calling”{18}, which is to share in the divine mystery of the life of the Trinity.{19}
14.  Verum novitatis prospectum recludunt ipsi scientiæ philosophicæ doctrinæ binorum Conciliorum Vaticanorum.  In hominum historiam inducit Revelatio necessitudinis punctum quoddam quo carere non potest homo, si ad suæ vitæ comprehendendum mysterium pervenire voluerit ;  aliunde vero hæc cognitio continenter ad Dei refertur mysterium quod plane exhaurire mens non valet, sed dumtaxat percipere et in fide complecti.  Intra hæc duo tempora peculiare habet ratio humana spatium suum unde investigare ei licet atque comprehendere, quin tamen nulla alia re circumscribatur nisi finita natura suæ indolis coram Dei infinito mysterio. 14.  From the teaching of the two Vatican Councils there also emerges a genuinely novel consideration for philosophical learning.  Revelation has set within history a point of reference which cannot be ignored if the mystery of human life is to be known.  Yet this knowledge refers back constantly to the mystery of God which the human mind cannot exhaust but can only receive and embrace in faith.  Between these two poles, reason has its own specific field in which it can inquire and understand, restricted only by its finiteness before the infinite mystery of God.
Quapropter in historiam nostram Revelatio infert aliquam veritatem, universalem atque ultimam, quæ hominis mentem incitat ne unquam consistat ;  immo vero, eam impellit ut suæ cognitionis fines perpetuo dilatet, donec ea omnia se perfecisse intellegat quæ in ipsius erant potestate, nulla prætermissa parte.  Ad hanc autem deliberationem adjuvare nos festinat unus ex fecundissimis ingeniis maximeque significantibus in generis hominum historia, ad quem virum honorifice se convertunt tam philosophia quam theologia :  Sanctus Anselmus.  Ille Cantuariensis Archiepiscopus sic sententiam suo in Proslogion eloquitur :  « Ad quod quum sæpe studioseque cogitationem converterem atque aliquando mihi videretur jam capi posse quod quærebam, aliquando mentis aciem omnino fugeret, tandem desperans volui cessare, velut ab inquisitione rei, quam inveniri esset impossibile.  Sed quum illam cogitationem, ne mentem meam frustra occupando, ab aliis, in quibus proficere possem, impediret, penitus a me vellem excludere, tunc magis ac magis, nolenti et defendenti se cœpit cum importunitate quadam ingerere. […] Sed heu !  me miserum, unum de aliis miseris filiis Evæ, elongatis a Deo !  Quid incœpi ?  Quid effeci ?  Quo tendebam ?  Quo deveni ?  Ad quid aspirabam ?  In quibus suspiro ?  […] Ergo, Domine, non solum es id quo majus cogitari nequit, sed es quiddam majus quam cogitari possit.  Quoniam namque valet cogitari esse aliquid hujusmodi ;  si tu non es hoc ipsum, potest cogitari aliquid majus te :  quod fieri nequit ».{20} Revelation therefore introduces into our history a universal and ultimate truth which stirs the human mind to ceaseless effort;  indeed, it impels reason continually to extend the range of its knowledge until it senses that it has done all in its power, leaving no stone unturned.  To assist our reflection on this point we have one of the most fruitful and important minds in human history, a point of reference for both philosophy and theology:  Saint Anselm.  In his Proslogion, the Archbishop of Canterbury puts it this way:  “Thinking of this problem frequently and intently, at times it seemed I was ready to grasp what I was seeking;  at other times it eluded my thought completely, until finally, despairing of being able to find it, I wanted to abandon the search for something which was impossible to find.  I wanted to rid myself of that thought because, by filling my mind, it distracted me from other problems from which I could gain some profit;  but it would then present itself with ever greater insistence…  Woe is me, one of the poor children of Eve, far from God, what did I set out to do and what have I accomplished?  What was I aiming for and how far have I got?  What did I aspire to and what did I long for?…  O Lord, you are not only that than which nothing greater can be conceived (non solum es quo majus cogitari nequit), but you are greater than all that can be conceived (quiddam majus quam cogitari possit)…  If you were not such, something greater than you could be thought, but this is impossible.”{20}
15.  Revelationis christianæ veritas, quæ cum Jesu Nazareno congreditur, quemlibet hominem percipere sinit propriæ vitæ « mysterium ».  Dum perinde ac suprema ipsa veritas observat illam autonomiam creaturæ libertatemque ejus, illam etiam obstringit ut ad transcendentiam sese aperiat.  Hæc conjunctio libertatis ac veritatis maxima evadit, planeque Domini intellegitur sermo :  « Cognoscetis veritatem, et veritas liberabit vos » (Jo 8,32). 15.  The truth of Christian Revelation, found in Jesus of Nazareth, enables all men and women to embrace the “mystery” of their own life.  As absolute truth, it summons human beings to be open to the transcendent, whilst respecting both their autonomy as creatures and their freedom.  At this point the relationship between freedom and truth is complete, and we understand the full meaning of the Lord’s words:  “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32).
Verum veluti astrum conductorium christiana Revelatio fit homini qui inter condiciones progreditur mentis cujusdam immanentisticæ nec non logicæ technocraticæ angustias ;  extrema est facultas quæ a Deo præbetur ut pristinum amoris consilium, creatione ipsa incohatum, denuo plene reperiatur.  Hominibus verum cognoscere cupientibus, si ultra se adhuc prospicere valent et intuitum suum extra propria proposita attollere, potestas tribuitur veram necessitudinem cum sua vita recuperandi, viam persequendo veritatis.  Ad hunc rerum statum bene dicta libri Deuteronomii adhiberi licet :  « Mandatum hoc, quod ego præcipio tibi hodie, non supra te est neque procul positum nec in cælo situm, ut possis dicere :  “Quis nobis ad cælum valet ascendere, ut deferat illud ad nos, et audiamus atque opere compleamus ?”.  Neque trans mare positum, ut causeris dicas :  “Quis nobis transfretare poterit mare et illud ad nos usque deferre, ut possimus audire et facere quod præceptum est ?”.  Sed juxta te est sermo valde in ore tuo et in corde tuo, ut facias illum » (30,11-14).  Quam notionem quasi vocis celebris imagine refert sententia sancti philosophi et theologi Augustini :  « Noli foras ire, in te ipsum redi.  In interiore homine habitat veritas ».{21} Christian Revelation is the true lodestar of men and women as they strive to make their way amid the pressures of an immanentist habit of mind and the constrictions of a technocratic logic.  It is the ultimate possibility offered by God for the human being to know in all its fullness the seminal plan of love which began with creation.  To those wishing to know the truth, if they can look beyond themselves and their own concerns, there is given the possibility of taking full and harmonious possession of their lives, precisely by following the path of truth.  Here the words of the Book of Deuteronomy are pertinent:  “This commandment which I command you is not too hard for you, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven that you should say, ‘Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear and do it?’ But the word is very near you;  it is in your mouth and in your heart, that you can do it” (30:11-14).  This text finds an echo in the famous dictum of the holy philosopher and theologian Augustine:  “Do not wander far and wide but return into yourself.  Deep within man there dwells the truth” (Noli foras ire, in te ipsum redi.  In interiore homine habitat veritas).{21}
His prælucentibus deliberationibus prima jam imponitur conclusio :  quam nobis Revelatio cognoscere permittit, veritas non fructus est maturus neque summus alicujus cogitationis apex ratione humana enucleatæ.  Illa contra cum proprietatibus se exhibet gratuiti muneris, gignit notiones poscitque ut amoris tanquam declaratio suscipiatur.  Hæc veritas revelata locus jam anticipatus in hominum historia est illius postremæ ac decretoriæ Dei visionis, quæ eis destinatur quotquot credunt eumque animo conquirunt sincero.  Ultimus propterea singulorum hominum vitæ finis tum philosophiæ studium exstat tum etiam theologiæ.  Utraque, licet instrumentis diversis ac doctrinis, hanc “viam vitæ” (cfr Ps 16 [15],11) respicit quæ, perinde ac præcipit nobis fides, novissimum repperit suum egressum plena in lætitia ac perpetua ex Dei Unius ac Trini contemplatione. These considerations prompt a first conclusion:  the truth made known to us by Revelation is neither the product nor the consummation of an argument devised by human reason.  It appears instead as something gratuitous, which itself stirs thought and seeks acceptance as an expression of love.  This revealed truth is set within our history as an anticipation of that ultimate and definitive vision of God which is reserved for those who believe in him and seek him with a sincere heart.  The ultimate purpose of personal existence, then, is the theme of philosophy and theology alike.  For all their difference of method and content, both disciplines point to that “path of life” (Ps 16:11) which, as faith tells us, leads in the end to the full and lasting joy of the contemplation of the Triune God.



« Sapientia scit omnia et intellegit » (cfr Sap 9,11) “Wisdom knows all and understands all”  (Wis 9:11)
16.  Quam sit inter fidei cognitionem ac scientiam rationis alta junctura jam Sacris in Litteris significatur mirabilibus quibusdam perspicuitatis affirmationibus.  Hoc comprobant Libri Sapientiales potissimum.  Hoc quidem ferit oculos in hac lectione sine præjudicatis opinationibus facta harum Scripturæ paginarum, quod his in locis non sola Israëlis concluditur fides, verum etiam thesaurus societatum et culturarum interea exstinctarum.  Veluti ex peculiari quodam consilio Ægyptus et Mesopotamia faciunt ut sua iterum audiatur vox ac communes quædam proprietates culturarum antiqui Orientis in his paginis revocentur ad vitam, quæ nempe conceptionibus insigniter altis abundant. 16.  Sacred Scripture indicates with remarkably clear cues how deeply related are the knowledge conferred by faith and the knowledge conferred by reason;  and it is in the Wisdom literature that this relationship is addressed most explicitly.  What is striking about these biblical texts, if they are read without prejudice, is that they embody not only the faith of Israel, but also the treasury of cultures and civilizations which have long vanished.  As if by special design, the voices of Egypt and Mesopotamia sound again and certain features common to the cultures of the ancient Near East come to life in these pages which are so singularly rich in deep intuition.
Non fortuito fit ut, quum hominem describere sapientem vult auctor sacer, eum depingat ut diligentem quærentemque veritatem :  « Beatus vir, qui in sapientia morabitur et qui in justitia sua meditabitur et in sensu cogitabit circumspectionem Dei ;  qui excogitat vias illius in corde suo et in absconditis suis intellegens, vadens post illam quasi investigator et in viis illius consistens ;  qui respicit per fenestras illius et in januis illius audiens ;  qui requiescit juxta domum illius et in parietibus illius figens palum, statuet casulam suam ad manus illius et requiescet in deversorio bonorum per ævum.  Statuet filios suos sub tegmine illius et sub ramis ejus morabitur ;  protegetur sub tegmine illius a fervore et in gloria ejus requiescet » (Eccli 14,22-27). It is no accident that, when the sacred author comes to describe the wise man, he portrays him as one who loves and seeks the truth:  “Happy the man who meditates on wisdom and reasons intelligently, who reflects in his heart on her ways and ponders her secrets.  He pursues her like a hunter and lies in wait on her paths.  He peers through her windows and listens at her doors.  He camps near her house and fastens his tent-peg to her walls;  he pitches his tent near her and so finds an excellent resting-place;  he places his children under her protection and lodges under her boughs;  by her he is sheltered from the heat and he dwells in the shade of her glory” (Sir 14:20-27).
Uti patet, scriptori inspirato præbetur cognoscendi cupiditas tanquam proprietas simul omnium hominum communis.  Propter intellectum cunctis, tum credentibus tum etiam non credentibus, facultas tribuitur « aquam profundam » cognitionis exhauriendi (cfr Prv 20,5).  Procul dubio, apud antiquum Israëlem orbis ejusque ostenta cognoscebantur non abstracta a rebus cogitatione, quemadmodum philosopho accidebat Ionico vel sapienti Ægyptio ;  tanto minus comprehendebat bonus tunc Israëlita cognitionem humanam eis ipsis modis qui recentioris proprii sunt ætatis, quum magis ad scientiæ partitionem tenditur.  Nihilo tamen minus in latissimam provinciam totius cognoscendi rationis fecit orbis biblicus ut peculiares suæ confluerent partes. For the inspired writer, as we see, the desire for knowledge is characteristic of all people.  Intelligence enables everyone, believer and non-believer, to reach “the deep waters” of knowledge (cf. Prov 20:5).  It is true that ancient Israel did not come to knowledge of the world and its phenomena by way of abstraction, as did the Greek philosopher or the Egyptian sage.  Still less did the good Israelite understand knowledge in the way of the modern world which tends more to distinguish different kinds of knowing.  Nonetheless, the biblical world has made its own distinctive contribution to the theory of knowledge.
Quales denique ?  Proprietas ea, qua textus biblicus signatur, in eo consistit quod persuadetur altam et continuam exsistere conjunctionem inter rationis cognitionem atque fidei.  Mundus eaque omnia quæ in illo contingunt, perinde ac historia variique populi eventus, res quidem sunt respiciendæ explorandæ et judicandæ propriis rationis instrumentis, fide tamen ab hoc processu haudquaquam subtracta.  Ipsa non ideo intercedit ut autonomiam rationis dejiciat aut ejus actionis regionem deminuat, sed tantummodo ut homini explicet his in eventibus visibilem fieri agereque Deum Israëlis.  Fieri itaque non potest ut funditus mundus percipiatur eventaque historiæ, nisi simul fides in Deum proferatur qui in illis operatur. What is distinctive in the biblical text is the conviction that there is a profound and indissoluble unity between the knowledge of reason and the knowledge of faith.  The world and all that happens within it, including history and the fate of peoples, are realities to be observed, analysed and assessed with all the resources of reason, but without faith ever being foreign to the process.  Faith intervenes not to abolish reason’s autonomy nor to reduce its scope for action, but solely to bring the human being to understand that in these events it is the God of Israel who acts.  Thus the world and the events of history cannot be understood in depth without professing faith in the God who is at work in them.
Acuit interiorem intuitum fides dum mentem ipsam recludit ad operantem detegendam Providentiæ præsentiam in progredientibus eventis.  Libri Proverbiorum enuntiatio multum hac in re significat :  « Cor hominis disponit viam suam, sed Domini est dirigere gressus ejus » (16,9).  Quod est :  homo rationis lumine collustratus suam novit repperire viam, eam vero percurrere facile valet expediteque sine obicibus usque ad extremum, si recto animo inquisitionem suam in fidei inseruerit prospectum.  Quam ob rem segregari ratio ac fides non possunt quin simul homini ipsa facultas deficiat mundum Deumque et seipsum congruo modo cognoscendi. Faith sharpens the inner eye, opening the mind to discover in the flux of events the workings of Providence.  Here the words of the Book of Proverbs are pertinent:  “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps” (16:9).  This is to say that with the light of reason human beings can know which path to take, but they can follow that path to its end, quickly and unhindered, only if with a rightly tuned spirit they search for it within the horizon of faith.  Therefore, reason and faith cannot be separated without diminishing the capacity of men and women to know themselves, the world and God in an appropriate way.
17.  Nihil igitur causæ est cur inter se ratio ac fides æmulentur :  in altera enim altera invenitur et proprium utraque habet spatium sui explicandi.  Proverbiorum rursus liber in hanc nos dirigit partem quum exclamat :  « Gloria Dei est celare verbum, est gloria regum investigare sermonem » (25,2).  Collocantur suo quisque in orbe Deus et homo quasi unica in necessitudine.  Omnium rerum origo reponitur in Deo in Eoque mysterii colligitur plenitudo :  quod ipsius efficit gloriam ;  ad hominem officium pertinet veritatem sua ratione pervestigandi, quod ejus profecto constituit nobilitatem.  Alia hoc ad musivum opus additur tessella a Psalmista quum precatur « mihi autem nimis pretiosæ cogitationes tuæ, Deus ;  nimis gravis summa earum.  Si denumerabo eas, super arenam multiplicabuntur ;  si ad finem pervenerim, adhuc sum tecum » (139[138],17-18).  Cognoscendi cupiditas ita magna est secumque talem infert dynamicam vim ut hominis animus, licet terminum experiatur quem prætergredi par non est, ad infinitam tamen aspiret ubertatem quæ ultra jacet, quoniam in ea jam percipit responsionem custodiri consentaneam cuilibet quæstioni cui adhuc non est responsum. 17.  There is thus no reason for competition of any kind between reason and faith:  each contains the other, and each has its own scope for action.  Again the Book of Proverbs points in this direction when it exclaims:  “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out” (Prov 25:2).  In their respective worlds, God and the human being are set within a unique relationship.  In God there lies the origin of all things, in him is found the fullness of the mystery, and in this his glory consists;  to men and women there falls the task of exploring truth with their reason, and in this their nobility consists.  The Psalmist adds one final piece to this mosaic when he says in prayer:  “How deep to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  If I try to count them, they are more than the sand.  If I come to the end, I am still with you” (139:17-18).  The desire for knowledge is so great and it works in such a way that the human heart, despite its experience of insurmountable limitation, yearns for the infinite riches which lie beyond, knowing that there is to be found the satisfying answer to every question as yet unanswered.
18.  Quocirca affirmari licet sua meditatione scivisse Israëlem suæ rationi viam ad mysterium pandere.  In Dei Revelatione potuit altitudinem pertemptare, quousque ratione sua pertingere studebat non autem eo perveniens.  Ex hac altiore cognitionis forma profectus, intellexit populus ille electus rationem quasdam observare oportere regulas præcipuas in quibus propriam naturam melius declararet.  Prima in eo consistit regula ut ratio habeatur hujus veritatis :  in itinere constitutum esse hominem quod interrumpi non possit ;  secunda ex conscientia nascitur, neminem hanc in viam introire superbo animo ejus qui omnia propriarum virium effecta esse arbitretur ;  consistit tertia in « timore Dei », cujus supremam agnoscere debet ratio transcendentiam, simulque providum in gubernandis rebus amorem. 18.  We may say, then, that Israel, with her reflection, was able to open to reason the path that leads to the mystery.  With the Revelation of God Israel could plumb the depths of all that she sought in vain to reach by way of reason.  On the basis of this deeper form of knowledge, the Chosen People understood that, if reason were to be fully true to itself, then it must respect certain basic rules.  The first of these is that reason must realize that human knowledge is a journey which allows no rest;  the second stems from the awareness that such a path is not for the proud who think that everything is the fruit of personal conquest;  a third rule is grounded in the “fear of God” whose transcendent sovereignty and provident love in the governance of the world reason must recognize.
Quotiens ab hisce receditur regulis, periculo objicitur homo ne deficiat deveniatque in « stulti condicionem ».  Ad Bibliæ sententiam huic stultitiæ inest minatio vitæ.  Se enim decipit stultus plura cognoscere, verum non potest reapse animum in res necessarias intendere.  Hoc etiam eum impedit quominus suam recte ordinet mentem (cfr Prv 1,7) rectumque affectum sumat de se deque rebus circumsistentibus.  Quum asseverat deinde « non est Deus » (cfr Ps 14[13],1) clarissime in posterum demonstrat quatenus sua cognitio desit et quam procul ipse a veritate rerum plena absit de rebus, de earum origine atque sorte. In abandoning these rules, the human being runs the risk of failure and ends up in the “condition of the fool.”  For the Bible, in this foolishness there lies a threat to life.  The fool thinks that he knows many things, but really he is incapable of fixing his gaze on the things that truly matter.  Therefore he can neither order his mind (Prov 1:7) nor assume a correct attitude to himself or to the world around him.  And so when he claims that “God does not exist” (cf. Ps 14:1), he shows with absolute clarity just how deficient his knowledge is and just how far he is from the full truth of things, their origin and their destiny.
19.  Magni momenti loci qui plus hoc super argumentum lucis effundunt in Libro Sapientiæ inveniuntur.  Inibi loquitur sacer auctor de Deo qui per ipsam rerum naturam sese demonstrat.  Penes antiquos naturalium scientiarum studium maxima ex parte cum philosophica cognitione consonabat.  Postquam asseveravit sacer textus hominem sui intellectus virtute scire posse « dispositionem orbis terrarum et virtutes elementorum, […] anni cursus et stellarum dispositiones, naturas animalium et iras bestiarum » (Sap 7,17.19-20), paucis verbis, philosophari eum valere, ulterius gressum facit et quidem præcipuum :  repetens philosophiæ Græcæ notionem, ad quam hoc loco res referri videtur, affirmat auctor hominem omnino super natura ratiocinantem posse ad Deum ascendere :  « A magnitudine enim et pulchritudine creaturarum cognoscibiliter potest Creator horum videri » (Sap 13,5).  Primum ideo agnoscitur divinæ Revelationis stadium quod mirabilis constituit « liber naturæ », quo perlegendo homo rationis suæ instrumentis ad Creatoris pertingere potest cognitionem.  Si porro intellectu suo non eo usque advenit homo ut Deum omnium Conditorem cognoscat, hoc non tam deficienti instrumento est tribuendum, quantum potius impedimento libera ipsius voluntate ac peccatis propriis interjecto. 19.  The Book of Wisdom contains several important texts which cast further light on this theme.  There the sacred author speaks of God who reveals himself in nature.  For the ancients, the study of the natural sciences coincided in large part with philosophical learning.  Having affirmed that with their intelligence human beings can “know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements… the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars, the natures of animals and the tempers of wild beasts” (Wis 7:17, 19-20)—in a word, that he can philosophize — the sacred text takes a significant step forward.  Making his own the thought of Greek philosophy, to which he seems to refer in the context, the author affirms that, in reasoning about nature, the human being can rise to God:  “From the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator” (Wis 13:5).  This is to recognize as a first stage of divine Revelation the marvellous “book of nature,” which, when read with the proper tools of human reason, can lead to knowledge of the Creator.  If human beings with their intelligence fail to recognize God as Creator of all, it is not because they lack the means to do so, but because their free will and their sinfulness place an impediment in the way.
20.  Hoc sub prospectu bene æstimatur ratio, sed nimium non existimatur.  Quicquid assequitur illa verum esse potest, at plenam suam consequitur significationem tum solum quum notiones ampliorem in rerum prospectum projiciuntur, nempe ipsius fidei :  « A Domino diriguntur gressus viri ;  quis autem hominum intellegere potest viam suam ?  » (Prv 20,24).  Apud Vetus itaque Testamentum rationem fides liberat quatenus ei congruenter attingere permittit proprium cognitionis objectum idque in supremo reponere ordine ubi omnia suum habent sensum.  Brevi :  veritatem ratione consequitur homo, quoniam fide collustratus altum rerum omnium detegit sensum ac nominatim suæ exsistentiæ.  Jure igitur ac merito auctor sacer veræ cognitionis initium plane collocat in Dei timore :  « Timor Domini principium scientiæ » (Prv 1,7; cfr Eccli 1,14). 20.  Seen in this light, reason is valued without being overvalued.  The results of reasoning may in fact be true, but these results acquire their true meaning only if they are set within the larger horizon of faith:  “All man’s steps are ordered by the Lord:  how then can man understand his own ways?” (Prov 20:24).  For the Old Testament, then, faith liberates reason in so far as it allows reason to attain correctly what it seeks to know and to place it within the ultimate order of things, in which everything acquires true meaning.  In brief, human beings attain truth by way of reason because, enlightened by faith, they discover the deeper meaning of all things and most especially of their own existence.  Rightly, therefore, the sacred author identifies the fear of God as the beginning of true knowledge:  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov 1:7; cf. Sir 1:14).
« Posside sapientiam, posside prudentiam » (Prv 4, 5) “Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding”  (Prov 4:5)
21.  Non conditur, pro Veteris Testamenti hominibus, cognitio in observatione dumtaxat hominis et orbis et historiæ, verum insolubilem poscit etiam conjunctionem cum fide cumque Revelationis doctrinis.  Hic inveniuntur illæ provocationes quibus occurrere populus electus debuit reddereque responsum.  Hanc suam perpendens condicionem, homo biblicus perspexit se intellegere non posse nisi « conjunctum » secum et cum populo, cum reliquo orbe ac cum Deo ipso.  Hæc ad mysterium patefactio, quæ ex Revelatione ipsi contingebat, tandem fons illi veræ cognitionis exstitit quæ permisit rationi ejus ut se in infinita spatia propelleret et sic comprehendere posset modis antehac omnino insperatis. 21.  For the Old Testament, knowledge is not simply a matter of careful observation of the human being, of the world and of history, but supposes as well an indispensable link with faith and with what has been revealed.  These are the challenges which the Chosen People had to confront and to which they had to respond.  Pondering this as his situation, biblical man discovered that he could understand himself only as “being in relation” — with himself, with people, with the world and with God.  This opening to the mystery, which came to him through Revelation, was for him, in the end, the source of true knowledge.  It was this which allowed his reason to enter the realm of the infinite where an understanding for which until then he had not dared to hope became a possibility.
Non deerat inquisitionis impetus, pro auctore sacro, ab illo labore qui oriebatur ex conflictione cum rationis humanæ limitibus.  Animadvertitur illud, verbi gratia, eis in vocibus quibus Proverbiorum liber fatigationem enarrat qua quis intellegere arcana Dei consilia conatur (cfr 30,1-6).  Verumtamen, quantumvis opus fatiget, credens manus non dat.  Virtus illa, qua iter suum ad veritatem persequi potest, ei ex certa persuasione obtingit :  Deum ipsum veluti « exploratorem » (cfr Eccle 1,13) creavisse ejusque munus esse nihil intemptatum relinquere, licet dubia perpetuo ei minitentur.  Deo innixus, protenditur semper et ubique ille adversus ea omnia quæ pulchra sunt, bona et vera. For the sacred author, the task of searching for the truth was not without the strain which comes once the limits of reason are reached.  This is what we find, for example, when the Book of Proverbs notes the weariness which comes from the effort to understand the mysterious designs of God (cf. 30:1-6).  Yet, for all the toil involved, believers do not surrender.  They can continue on their way to the truth because they are certain that God has created them “explorers” (cf. Qoh 1:13), whose mission it is to leave no stone unturned, though the temptation to doubt is always there.  Leaning on God, they continue to reach out, always and everywhere, for all that is beautiful, good and true.
22.  Primo in epistulæ ad Romanos capite adjuvat nos Sanctus Paulus quo melius percipiamus quam sit acuta Librorum Sapientialium deliberatio.  Populari sermone argumentationem quandam philosophicam enodans Apostolus altam testificatur veritatem :  per creata possunt « oculi mentis » ad Deum cognoscendum advenire.  Nam ipse per creaturas facit ut ratio humana « virtutem » suam ac « divinitatem » intueatur (cfr Rom 1,20).  Hominis rationi ergo illa assignatur facultas quæ excedere videtur ipsos ejus naturæ limites :  non tantum intra sensuum cognitionem non circumscribitur, quoniam de eis critico judicio meditari valet, sed de sensuum notitiis ratiocinando causam etiam tangere potest quæ omnium rerum sensibilium subjacet origini.  Philosophicis vocibus dici licet in pergravi loco illo Paulino potestatem hominis metaphysicam affirmari. 22.  In the first chapter of his Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul helps us to appreciate better the depth of insight of the Wisdom literature’s reflection.  Developing a philosophical argument in popular language, the Apostle declares a profound truth:  through all that is created the “eyes of the mind” can come to know God.  Through the medium of creatures, God stirs in reason an intuition of his “power” and his “divinity” (cf. Rom 1:20).  This is to concede to human reason a capacity which seems almost to surpass its natural limitations.  Not only is it not restricted to sensory knowledge, from the moment that it can reflect critically upon the data of the senses, but, by discoursing on the data provided by the senses, reason can reach the cause which lies at the origin of all perceptible reality.  In philosophical terms, we could say that this important Pauline text affirms the human capacity for metaphysical inquiry.
In prisco creationis proposito, judicante Apostolo, rationis humanæ prævisa erat facultas facile sensuum cognitiones excedendi ut ipsa omnium origo reperiretur :  Creator.  Propter inobœdientiam, qua maluit homo plena et absoluta libertate sese illi opponere qui eum condiderat, defecit hæc potestas ad conditorem Deum revertendi. According to the Apostle, it was part of the original plan of the creation that reason should without difficulty reach beyond the sensory data to the origin of all things:  the Creator.  But because of the disobedience by which man and woman chose to set themselves in full and absolute autonomy in relation to the One who had created them, this ready access to God the Creator diminished.
Figuris vivis describit Liber Genesis hanc hominis condicionem, narrans Deum eum collocavisse in hortis Eden quibus in mediis situm erat « lignum scientiæ boni et mali » (cfr 2,17).  Luculenta est figura :  non valebat homo pervidere ex seque statuere quid bonum esset quidve malum, at superius quoddam ad principium se referre debebat.  Superbiæ cæcitas protoparentes nostros ita fefellit ut se supremos esse crederent suique plane juris et posse idcirco excludere cognitionem a Deo profectam.  Sua prima inobœditione viros mulieresque omnes illi implicaverunt atque rationi humanæ vulnera intulerunt quæ progressionem illius ad plenam veritatem erant impeditura.  Facultas humana veritatis cognoscendæ jam obscurata erat repudiatione Ejus qui fons est veritatis atque origo.  Iterum Apostolus aperit quantopere cogitationes hominum, propter peccatum, « vanæ » factæ sint ipsæque eorum ratiocinationes detortæ ad falsumque ordinatæ (cfr Rom 1,21-22).  Mentis oculi jam non poterant perspicue videre :  paulatim facta est ratio humana sui ipsius captiva.  Christi dein adventus salutis eventus fuit quo sua ex infirmitate erepta est ratio atque impedimentis liberata quibus ipsa sese omnino incluserat. This is the human condition vividly described by the Book of Genesis when it tells us that God placed the human being in the Garden of Eden, in the middle of which there stood “the tree of knowledge of good and evil ” (2:17).  The symbol is clear:  man was in no position to discern and decide for himself what was good and what was evil, but was constrained to appeal to a higher source.  The blindness of pride deceived our first parents into thinking themselves sovereign and autonomous, and into thinking that they could ignore the knowledge which comes from God.  All men and women were caught up in this primal disobedience, which so wounded reason that from then on its path to full truth would be strewn with obstacles.  From that time onwards the human capacity to know the truth was impaired by an aversion to the One who is the source and origin of truth.  It is again the Apostle who reveals just how far human thinking, because of sin, became “empty,” and human reasoning became distorted and inclined to falsehood (cf. Rom 1:21-22).  The eyes of the mind were no longer able to see clearly:  reason became more and more a prisoner to itself.  The coming of Christ was the saving event which redeemed reason from its weakness, setting it free from the shackles in which it had imprisoned itself.
23.  Postulat idcirco Christiani habitudo ad philosophiam fundamentale quoddam judicium.  In Novo Testamento, potissimum in Sancti Pauli epistulis, illud manifestum elucet :  « hujus mundi sapientia » sapientiæ a Deo in Christo Jesu patefactæ opponitur.  Revelatæ sapientiæ altitudo consuetos nostros deliberationum terminos perrumpit, utpote qui consentaneo modo eam exprimere nequeant. 23.  This is why the Christian’s relationship to philosophy requires thorough-going discernment.  In the New Testament, especially in the Letters of Saint Paul, one thing emerges with great clarity:  the opposition between “the wisdom of this world” and the wisdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ.  The depth of revealed wisdom disrupts the cycle of our habitual patterns of thought, which are in no way able to express that wisdom in its fullness.
Funditus hanc difficultatem imponit initium Primæ Epistulæ ad Corinthios.  Crucifixus Dei Filius ipse historicus est eventus ad quem eliditur omnis mentis conatus exstruendi defensionem de exsistentiæ sensu congruam ex humanis dumtaxat ratiocinationibus.  Verus enim nodus, quo omnis philosophia lacessitur, est Jesu Christi mors in cruce.  Hic namque omne conamen redigendi Patris salutiferum consilium in humanam logicam puram ad interitum destinatur. « Ubi sapiens ?  Ubi scriba ?  Ubi conquisitor hujus sæculi ?  Nonne stultam fecit Deus sapientiam hujus mundi ?  », instanter percontatur Apostolus (1 Cor 1,20).  Ad hæc quæ efficere cogitat Deus non amplius sola hominis sufficit prudentis sapientia, verum gressus decretorius quidam efflagitatur ad rem prorsus complectendam novam :  « Quæ stulta sunt mundi, elegit Deus, ut confundat sapientes […] ignobilia mundi et contemptibilia elegit Deus, quæ non sunt, ut ea quæ sunt, destrueret » (1 Cor 1,27-28).  Renuit hominis sapientia contueri sua in infirmitate fundamentum suæ fortitudinis ;  at Sanctus Paulus affirmare non hæsitat :  « Quum enim infirmor, tunc potens sum » (2 Cor 12,10).  Non valet percipere homo quo pacto vitæ fons amorisque mors esse possit, verumtamen ut sui salutis perficiendæ consilii mysterium aperiret instituit Deus id quod humana ratio « stultitiam » et « scandalum » appellat.  Sermone philosophorum suorum æqualium usus, Sanctus Paulus attingit culmen magisterii sui atque illius paradoxi quod enuntiare cupit :  « Elegit Deus, quæ non sunt ut ea, quæ sunt, destrueret » (1 Cor 1,28).  Amoris demonstrati in cruce Christi gratuitam indolem ut declaret, nihil quidem dubitat Apostolus sermonem multo efficaciorem adhibere quam philosophi usurpabant ipsi suis in disceptationibus de Deo.  Vacuefacere non potest ratio humana mysterium amoris quod crux exhibet, quum ex contrario eadem crux præbere potest rationi humanæ responsum extremum quod ea conquirit.  Non sane verborum sapientiam sed Verbum Sapientiæ Paulus recenset veluti veritatis regulam simulque salutis. The beginning of the First Letter to the Corinthians poses the dilemma in a radical way.  The crucified Son of God is the historic event upon which every attempt of the mind to construct an adequate explanation of the meaning of existence upon merely human argumentation comes to grief.  The true key-point, which challenges every philosophy, is Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross.  It is here that every attempt to reduce the Father’s saving plan to purely human logic is doomed to failure. “Where is the one who is wise?  Where is the learned?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor 1:20), the Apostle asks emphatically.  The wisdom of the wise is no longer enough for what God wants to accomplish;  what is required is a decisive step towards welcoming something radically new:  “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise…; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not to reduce to nothing things that are” (1 Cor 1:27-28).  Human wisdom refuses to see in its own weakness the possibility of its strength;  yet Saint Paul is quick to affirm:  “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).  Man cannot grasp how death could be the source of life and love;  yet to reveal the mystery of his saving plan God has chosen precisely that which reason considers “foolishness” and a “scandal.”  Adopting the language of the philosophers of his time, Paul comes to the summit of his teaching as he speaks the paradox:  “God has chosen in the world… that which is nothing to reduce to nothing things that are” (cf. 1 Cor 1:28).  In order to express the gratuitous nature of the love revealed in the Cross of Christ, the Apostle is not afraid to use the most radical language of the philosophers in their thinking about God.  Reason cannot eliminate the mystery of love which the Cross represents, while the Cross can give to reason the ultimate answer which it seeks.  It is not the wisdom of words, but the Word of Wisdom which Saint Paul offers as the criterion of both truth and salvation.
Crucis sapientia igitur omnem culturæ limitem transgreditur quem ei aliunde imponere nitantur atque imperat ut quisque se aperiat universali veritatis naturæ quam in se ipsa gerit.  Qualis rationi nostræ objicitur provocatio, qualemve inde percipit utilitatem si se dederit !  Philosophia, quæ jam ex se agnoscere potest perpetuum hominis ascensum adversus veritatem, adjuvante fide potest se recludere ad recipiendum in « stultitia » Crucis criticum judicium eorum qui falso arbitrantur se veritatem possidere, dum eam angustiis sui philosophici instituti involvunt.  Inter fidem et philosophiam necessitudo in Christi crucifixi ac resuscitati prædicatione scopulum offendit ad quem naufragium facere potest ;  sed ultra quem patescere potest infinitum veritatis spatium.  Hic liquido indicatur inter rationem ac fidem limes ;  at locus similiter clarus elucescit ubi ambæ ipsæ congredi possunt. The wisdom of the Cross, therefore, breaks free of all cultural limitations which seek to contain it and insists upon an openness to the universality of the truth which it bears.  What a challenge this is to our reason, and how great the gain for reason if it yields to this wisdom!  Of itself, philosophy is able to recognize the human being’s ceaselessly self-transcendent orientation towards the truth;  and, with the assistance of faith, it is capable of accepting the “foolishness” of the Cross as the authentic critique of those who delude themselves that they possess the truth, when in fact they run it aground on the shoals of a system of their own devising.  The preaching of Christ crucified and risen is the reef upon which the link between faith and philosophy can break up, but it is also the reef beyond which the two can set forth upon the boundless ocean of truth.  Here we see not only the border between reason and faith, but also the space where the two may meet.


In via veritatem ad inquirendam Journeying in search of truth
24.  Lucas Evangelista in Actibus Apostolorum narrat Paulum, varia inter missionis itinera, Athenas pervenisse.  Urbs illa, philosophorum sedes, simulacris affluebat, quæ diversa idola ostentabant.  In altare quoddam repente mentem intendit quare cito exordium sumpsit ad statuendum elementum commune unde nuntium kerigmaticum iniret :  « Viri Athenienses, — ait — per omnia quasi superstitiosiores vos video ;  præteriens enim et videns simulacra vestra inveni et aram, in qua scriptum erat :  “Ignoto Deo”.  Quod ergo ignorantes colitis, hoc ego annuntio vobis » (Act 17, 22-23). 24.  In the Acts of the Apostles, the Evangelist Luke tells of Paul’s coming to Athens on one of his missionary journeys.  The city of philosophers was full of statues of various idols.  One altar in particular caught his eye, and he took this as a convenient starting-point to establish a common base for the proclamation of the kerygma. “Athenians,” he said, “I see how extremely religious you are in every way.  For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’  What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:22-23).
Inde exorsus Paulus de Deo loquitur tanquam Creatore, de Eo nempe qui omnia superat et omnia vivificat.  Sermonem dein ita prosequitur :  « Fecitque ex uno omne genus hominum inhabitare super universam faciem terræ, definiens statuta tempora et terminos habitationis eorum, quærere Deum si forte attrectent eum et inveniant, quamvis non longe sit ab unoquoque nostrum » (Act 17, 26-27). From this starting-point, Saint Paul speaks of God as Creator, as the One who transcends all things and gives life to all.  He then continues his speech in these terms:  “From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him — though indeed he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27).
Apostolus in luce collocat veritatem quam Ecclesia uti thesaurum habere consuevit ;  in latebris cordis hominis flagrans Dei desiderium est seminatum.  Quod vehementer recolit liturgia Feriæ VI in Parasceve, quum, in precibus pro non credentibus, nos invitat ad orandum :  « Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui cunctos homines condidisti, ut te semper desiderando quærerent et inveniendo quiescerent… ».{22}  Iter igitur quoddam exstat quod homo sua ex voluntate emetiri potest :  quod quidem initium sumit quum ratio facultate ditatur sese ultra res contingentes extollendi ut in infinitum peregrinetur. The Apostle accentuates a truth which the Church has always treasured:  in the far reaches of the human heart there is a seed of desire and nostalgia for God.  The Liturgy of Good Friday recalls this powerfully when, in praying for those who do not believe, we say:  “Almighty and eternal God, you created mankind so that all might long to find you and have peace when you are found.”{22}  There is therefore a path which the human being may choose to take, a path which begins with reason’s capacity to rise beyond what is contingent and set out towards the infinite.
Diversa ratione ac diversa quoque ætate homo penitum hoc desiderium exprimere scivit.  Litteræ, ars musica, pictura, sculptura, architectura aliique fructus ejus fecundæ mentis instrumenta facta sunt quibus significatur desiderium investigandi.  Philosophia hunc motum peculiarem in modum in se collegit et, per sua instrumenta et secundum proprios usus scientificos, enuntiavit hoc universale hominis desiderium. In different ways and at different times, men and women have shown that they can articulate this intimate desire of theirs.  Through literature, music, painting, sculpture, architecture and every other work of their creative intelligence they have declared the urgency of their quest.  In a special way philosophy has made this search its own and, with its specific tools and scholarly methods, has articulated this universal human desire.
25. « Omnes homines scire volunt »{23} et hujus desiderii objectum veritas est.  Ipsa vita cottidiana ostendit quantum studium inducat unumquemque nostrum ut, præter ea quæ tantum ex auditu percipiuntur, cognoscere valeat quomodo res vere se habeant.  Homo solus est in universo visibili qui non solum facultate pollet sciendi, verum novit etiam se scire, atque hac de causa intendit animum authenticæ veritati rerum quæ illi obversantur.  Nemo indifferens manere potest coram suæ scientiæ veritate.  Si quid falsum homo invenit, eo ipso id respuit ;  si vero veritatem detegere potest, satiatum se sentit.  Hanc doctrinam profitetur Sanctus Augustinus scribens :  « Multos expertus sum, qui vellent fallere, qui autem falli, neminem ».{24}  Persona merito dicitur adultam ætatem attigisse tantum quum, pro viribus, vera a falsis diiudicare potest, constituens ita proprium judicium de authentica rerum veritate.  In hoc consistit tot vestigationum causa, præsertim in ambitu scientiarum, quæ novissimis sæculis tantos obtinuerunt exitus, ut authenticæ progressioni totius humanæ societatis faverent. 25. “All human beings desire to know,”{23} and truth is the proper object of this desire.  Everyday life shows how concerned each of us is to discover for ourselves, beyond mere opinions, how things really are.  Within visible creation, man is the only creature who not only is capable of knowing but who knows that he knows, and is therefore interested in the real truth of what he perceives.  People cannot be genuinely indifferent to the question of whether what they know is true or not.  If they discover that it is false, they reject it;  but if they can establish its truth, they feel themselves rewarded.  It is this that Saint Augustine teaches when he writes:  “I have met many who wanted to deceive, but none who wanted to be deceived.”{24}  It is rightly claimed that persons have reached adulthood when they can distinguish independently between truth and falsehood, making up their own minds about the objective reality of things.  This is what has driven so many inquiries, especially in the scientific field, which in recent centuries have produced important results, leading to genuine progress for all humanity.
Non minus ponderis quam theoretica habet investigatio practica :  dicimus veritatis investigationem ad bonum implendum intentam.  Persona quidem, ethico more se gerens, si secundum liberum et rectum arbitrium operatur, viam beatitudinis ingreditur atque ad perfectionem intendit.  Hoc quoque in casu agitur de veritate.  Hanc sententiam confirmavimus in Litteris Encyclicis Veritatis splendor :  « …sine libertate non datur moralitas…  Si jus datur ut quisque observetur in itinere ad inquirendam veritatem, est tamen antea unicuique perquirendæ veritatis gravis moralis obligatio eidemque cognitæ adhærescendi ».{25} No less important than research in the theoretical field is research in the practical field — by which I mean the search for truth which looks to the good which is to be performed.  In acting ethically, according to a free and rightly tuned will, the human person sets foot upon the path to happiness and moves towards perfection.  Here too it is a question of truth.  It is this conviction which I stressed in my Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor:  “There is no morality without freedom…  Although each individual has a right to be respected in his own journey in search of the truth, there exists a prior moral obligation, and a grave one at that, to seek the truth and to adhere to it once it is known.”{25}
Valores igitur, selecti et propriis viribus comparati, veri sint oportet, quandoquidem dumtaxat valores veri perficere possunt personam ejusque naturam ad effectum deducere.  Hanc valorum veritatem homo invenit non in se ipse se recludens sed sese aperiens ad eam accipiendam etiam in modis humanam naturam excedentibus.  Hæc necessaria est condicio ut quisquis ipse sit et adolescat uti adultam et sapientem decet personam. It is essential, therefore, that the values chosen and pursued in one’s life be true, because only true values can lead people to realize themselves fully, allowing them to be true to their nature.  The truth of these values is to be found not by turning in on oneself but by opening oneself to apprehend that truth even at levels which transcend the person.  This is an essential condition for us to become ourselves and to grow as mature, adult persons.
26.  Veritas ab exordiis instar interrogationis homini proponitur :  Habetne vita sensum ?  Quo illa cursum suum tendit ?  Prima inspectione, exsistentia personalis ostendi posset sensu radicitus destituta.  Necesse non est philosophos adire qui absurdum profitentur nec confugere ad provocatorias quæstiones quæ inveniuntur in Libro Job ut dubitetur de vitæ sensu.  Cottidiana doloris experientia, sive propria sive aliorum, nec non cognitio tot casuum qui sub lumine rationis inexplicabiles videntur, sufficiunt ut quæstio adeo dramatica de sensu vitæ vitari nequeat.{26}  Huc addendum est quod prima veritas absolute certa nostræ exsistentiæ, præter quam quod jam exsistimus, est inevitabilis mortis nostræ condicio.  Hac obstupescenti re præhabita, exhaustum responsum quæratur oportet.  Unusquisque optat — immo tenetur — cognoscere veritatem de proprio fine.  Scire vult utrum mors sit definitiva conclusio ejus exsistentiæ an sit aliquid quod mortem prætergrediatur ;  utrum liceat illi in vita ulteriore spem reponere necne.  Non absque re mens philosophica cursum decretorium recepit inde ab obitu Socratis quo plusquam duo millennia sic est insignita.  Nec casu fit ut philosophi, ob mortis eventum, hanc quæstionem simul cum quæstione de vita deque immortalitate iterum atque iterum sibi proponant. 26.  The truth comes initially to the human being as a question:  Does life have a meaning?  Where is it going?  At first sight, personal existence may seem completely meaningless.  It is not necessary to turn to the philosophers of the absurd or to the provocative questioning found in the Book of Job in order to have doubts about life’s meaning.  The daily experience of suffering — in one’s own life and in the lives of others — and the array of facts which seem inexplicable to reason are enough to ensure that a question as dramatic as the question of meaning cannot be evaded.{26}  Moreover, the first absolutely certain truth of our life, beyond the fact that we exist, is the inevitability of our death.  Given this unsettling fact, the search for a full answer is inescapable.  Each of us has both the desire and the duty to know the truth of our own destiny.  We want to know if death will be the definitive end of our life or if there is something beyond — if it is possible to hope for an after-life or not.  It is not insignificant that the death of Socrates gave philosophy one of its decisive orientations, no less decisive now than it was more than two thousand years ago.  It is not by chance, then, that faced with the fact of death philosophers have again and again posed this question, together with the question of the meaning of life and immortality.
27.  Has interrogationes nemo fugere potest, nec philosophus nec homo plebejus.  Ex responsis quæ eisdem dantur suprema pendet investigationis pars :  utrum fieri possit ut perveniatur necne ad veritatem universalem et absolutam.  Ex se, quævis veritas, etsi non integra, si est authentica, universalis exhibetur et absoluta.  Quod verum est, pro omnibus et semper verum esse debet.  Hanc præter universalitatem, tamen, homo quærit aliquid absolutum quod responsum ferre possit et sensum ad omnia quæ vestigantur :  ens quoddam supremum quod fundamentum exstet cujusque rei.  Ut aliis utamur verbis, homo quærit definitivam dilucidationem, valorem quendam supremum, ultra quem nec sint nec esse possint interrogationes aut ulteriora addenda.  Opiniones animos allicere possunt, non vero illis satisfacere.  Momentum adventat pro omnibus, quo, sive admittitur sive non, necesse est ut propria exsistentia sustentetur veritate absoluta, quæ certitudinem pariat nec amplius dubio subjiciatur. 27.  No-one can avoid this questioning, neither the philosopher nor the ordinary person.  The answer we give will determine whether or not we think it possible to attain universal and absolute truth;  and this is a decisive moment of the search.  Every truth — if it really is truth — presents itself as universal, even if it is not the whole truth.  If something is true, then it must be true for all people and at all times.  Beyond this universality, however, people seek an absolute which might give to all their searching a meaning and an answer — something ultimate, which might serve as the ground of all things.  In other words, they seek a final explanation, a supreme value, which refers to nothing beyond itself and which puts an end to all questioning.  Hypotheses may fascinate, but they do not satisfy.  Whether we admit it or not, there comes for everyone the moment when personal existence must be anchored to a truth recognized as final, a truth which confers a certitude no longer open to doubt.
Similem veritatem, per sæculorum decursum, philosophi detegere et exprimere curarunt, quandam condendo doctrinam seu scholam philosophicam.  Præter doctrinas philosophicas, tamen, sunt aliæ expressiones quibus homo intendit suam « philosophiam » constituere :  agitur de suasionibus vel experientiis privatis, de familiæ culturæque traditionibus vel de viis exsistentiæ propriis, in quibus quisque alicujus magistri auctoritati se committit.  In singulis his indiciis semper flagrans permanet studium assequendi certitudinem veritatis ejusque absoluti valoris. Through the centuries, philosophers have sought to discover and articulate such a truth, giving rise to various systems and schools of thought.  But beyond philosophical systems, people seek in different ways to shape a “philosophy” of their own — in personal convictions and experiences, in traditions of family and culture, or in journeys in search of life’s meaning under the guidance of a master.  What inspires all of these is the desire to reach the certitude of truth and the certitude of its absolute value.
Diversæ de homine veritatis facies The different faces of human truth
28.  Veritatis investigatio non semper — quod nobis est agnoscendum !  — simili ostenditur perspicuitate et congruentia.  Naturalis limitatio rationis et animi jactatio investigationem cujusque hominis obumbrant sæpeque avertunt.  Aliæ personales diversæ indolis utilitates obruere possunt veritatem.  Fieri quoque potest ut homo vitet eam statim ut incipit illam cognoscere, quia ejus postulationes metuit.  Quo non obstante, etiam quum eam fugit, ipsa illius exsistentiam permovet.  Nunquam enim ille propriam vitam dubio, incertitudine vel mendacio fulcire posset ;  ejusmodi exsistentia metu et anxietate infestaretur.  Homo igitur definiri potest ille qui veritatem quæritat. 28.  The search for truth, of course, is not always so transparent nor does it always produce such results.  The natural limitation of reason and the inconstancy of the heart often obscure and distort a person’s search.  Truth can also drown in a welter of other concerns.  People can even run from the truth as soon as they glimpse it because they are afraid of its demands.  Yet, for all that they may evade it, the truth still influences life.  Life in fact can never be grounded upon doubt, uncertainty or deceit;  such an existence would be threatened constantly by fear and anxiety.  One may define the human being, therefore, as the one who seeks the truth.
29.  Cogitari nequit, investigationem, tam radicitus in hominis natura confirmatam, prorsus inutilem et inanem evadere.  Ipsa quærendi veritatem facultas et interrogandi, ex se, primum jam constituit responsum.  Homo quærere non inciperet quod prorsus ignoraret aut impervium duceret.  Tantummodo spes perveniendi ad quoddam responsum potest eum perducere ad primum ferendum gradum.  Hoc quidem re accidit in scientifica pervestigatione :  quum doctus vir, perspicientia ejus quadam præhabita, cujusdam phænomeni explicationem logicam et probabilem quærit, jam ab initio firmam nutrit spem responsum inveniendi, neque animo frangitur præ rebus male gestis.  Inanem non considerat originalem intuitum tantummodo ex eo quod scopum non attigit ;  merito potius dicere poterit se æquum responsum nondum invenisse. 29.  It is unthinkable that a search so deeply rooted in human nature would be completely vain and useless.  The capacity to search for truth and to pose questions itself implies the rudiments of a response.  Human beings would not even begin to search for something of which they knew nothing or for something which they thought was wholly beyond them.  Only the sense that they can arrive at an answer leads them to take the first step.  This is what normally happens in scientific research.  When scientists, following their intuition, set out in search of the logical and verifiable explanation of a phenomenon, they are confident from the first that they will find an answer, and they do not give up in the face of setbacks.  They do not judge their original intuition useless simply because they have not reached their goal;  rightly enough they will say that they have not yet found a satisfactory answer.
Idem dicendum est de perquisitione veritatis in novissimarum quæstionum contextu.  Veritatis sitis ita cordi hominis est insita ut, necessitas quædam eam prætermittendi, propriam exsistentiam in discrimen adducat.  Sufficit ut inquiratur in vitam cottidianam ut probetur quo modo demum unusquisque in seipso patiatur illam sollicitudinem quæ fluit de quibusdam essentialibus quæsitis et simul quo modo in mente adumbrationem servet saltem illarum responsionum.  Agitur de responsionibus, de quarum veritate conscii sumus, quoniam patet eas quoad substantiam non differre a responsionibus ad quas alii plures pervenerunt.  Haud dubie quidem non quælibet veritas quæ acquiritur eodem fruitur pondere.  Ex latis attamen exitibus simul sumptis confirmatur hominis facultas perveniendi, in universum, ad veritatem. The same must be equally true of the search for truth when it comes to the ultimate questions.  The thirst for truth is so rooted in the human heart that to be obliged to ignore it would cast our existence into jeopardy.  Everyday life shows well enough how each one of us is preoccupied by the pressure of a few fundamental questions and how in the soul of each of us there is at least an outline of the answers.  One reason why the truth of these answers convinces is that they are no different in substance from the answers to which many others have come.  To be sure, not every truth to which we come has the same value.  But the sum of the results achieved confirms that in principle the human being can arrive at the truth.
30.  Nunc expedit ut hæ diversæ veritatum formæ properato percurrantur.  Numerosiores quidem sunt veritates quæ immediata nituntur evidentia vel experimento confirmantur ;  hæ veritates cottidianam vitam scientificamque pervestigationem respiciunt.  Alio sub gradu inveniuntur veritates indolis philosophicæ, quas homo per speculativam intellectus facultatem attingit.  Sunt denique veritates religiosæ, quarum fundamenta quodammodo etiam in philosophia ponuntur.  Hæ continentur in responsionibus, quas diversæ religiones, suas secundum cujusque traditiones, novissimis offerunt interrogationibus.{27} 30.  It may help, then, to turn briefly to the different modes of truth.  Most of them depend upon immediate evidence or are confirmed by experimentation.  This is the mode of truth proper to everyday life and to scientific research.  At another level we find philosophical truth, attained by means of the speculative powers of the human intellect.  Finally, there are religious truths which are to some degree grounded in philosophy, and which we find in the answers which the different religious traditions offer to the ultimate questions.{27}
Quod ad philosophicas attinet veritates, notandum est eas non circumscribi solis doctrinis, interdum evanidis, eorum qui philosophiam profitentur.  Omnis homo, ut dictum est, quodam sub modo philosophus est et suas possidet philosophicas notiones, quibus vitam gubernat suam :  aliter atque aliter universum quisque sibi efformat conspectum responsumque de propriæ exsistentiæ sensu :  hoc sub lumine rem personalem interpretatur atque sese gerendi modum gubernat.  Ibidem interrogandum est de habitudine quæ inter veritates philosophico-religiosas intercedit et veritatem in Christo Jesu revelatam.  Priusquam huic quæstioni respondeatur, ulterior philosophiæ cognitio perpendatur oportet. The truths of philosophy, it should be said, are not restricted only to the sometimes ephemeral teachings of professional philosophers.  All men and women, as I have noted, are in some sense philosophers and have their own philosophical conceptions with which they direct their lives.  In one way or other, they shape a comprehensive vision and an answer to the question of life’s meaning;  and in the light of this they interpret their own life’s course and regulate their behavior.  At this point, we may pose the question of the link between, on the one hand, the truths of philosophy and religion and, on the other, the truth revealed in Jesus Christ.  But before tackling that question, one last datum of philosophy needs to be weighed.
31.  Homo creatus non est ut vitam degat solus.  Ipse nascitur et crescit in familiæ sinu, atque annorum decursu industria sua in societatem cooptatur.  Itaque ab incunabulis variis inseritur traditionibus, ex quibus non tantum loquelam et culturæ institutionem accipit, verum etiam plurimas veritates, quibus, quasi innata ratione, credit.  Nihilominus adulescentia et personæ maturatio efficiunt ut hæ veritates in dubio collocentur et expurgentur per singularem criticam intellectus actionem.  Quod non impedit quominus, post hunc transitum, hæ eædem veritates « recuperentur », sive per experientiam ex eisdem factam, sive per subsequentem ratiocinationem.  Attamen, in vita hominis veritates simpliciter creditæ numerosiores exstant quam illæ quas ille obtinet per personalem recognitionem.  Quisnam vero stricte cribrare potest innumeros scientiarum exitus, quibus hodierna nititur vita ?  Quis sua sponte inspicere potest cumulum notitiarum quas ex diversis orbis regionibus cottidie accepimus et quæ, generaliter, uti veræ habentur ?  Quis tandem potest iterum terere experientiæ et cogitationis vias, per quas tot thesauri sapientiæ et religiosi sensus humanæ societatis sunt coacervati ?  Homo, ille nempe qui quærit, est igitur etiam ille qui vivit alteri fidens. 31.  Human beings are not made to live alone.  They are born into a family and in a family they grow, eventually entering society through their activity.  From birth, therefore, they are immersed in traditions which give them not only a language and a cultural formation but also a range of truths in which they believe almost instinctively.  Yet personal growth and maturity imply that these same truths can be cast into doubt and evaluated through a process of critical inquiry.  It may be that, after this time of transition, these truths are “recovered” as a result of the experience of life or by dint of further reasoning.  Nonetheless, there are in the life of a human being many more truths which are simply believed than truths which are acquired by way of personal verification.  Who, for instance, could assess critically the countless scientific findings upon which modern life is based?  Who could personally examine the flow of information which comes day after day from all parts of the world and which is generally accepted as true?  Who in the end could forge anew the paths of experience and thought which have yielded the treasures of human wisdom and religion?  This means that the human being — the one who seeks the truth — is also the one who lives by belief.
32.  Unusquisque, in credendo, fidem ponit in cognitionibus quas aliæ personæ sunt adeptæ.  Hac in re agnoscenda est quædam significans intentio :  una ex parte, cognitio ex fiducia videtur imperfecta cognitionis forma, quæ paulatim per evidentiam singillatim comparatam perfici debet ;  alia ex parte, fiducia divitior sæpe exstat quam simplex evidentia, quoniam secum fert necessitudinem interpersonalem atque in discrimen committit non tantum personales intellectus facultates, verum etiam penitiorem facultatem sese aliis personis confidendi, validiorem et intimiorem cum illis necessitudinem statuendo. 32.  In believing, we entrust ourselves to the knowledge acquired by other people.  This suggests an important tension.  On the one hand, the knowledge acquired through belief can seem an imperfect form of knowledge, to be perfected gradually through personal accumulation of evidence;  on the other hand, belief is often humanly richer than mere evidence, because it involves an interpersonal relationship and brings into play not only a person’s capacity to know but also the deeper capacity to entrust oneself to others, to enter into a relationship with them which is intimate and enduring.
Expedit ut in luce ponatur veritates in hac interpersonali relatione adeptas ad rerum gestarum vel philosophiæ ordinem non attinere.  Quod potius petitur est ipsa personæ veritas :  nempe id quod ipsa est et quicquid intimæ suæ condicionis ostendit.  Hominis enim perfectio non ponitur tantum in sola comparanda cognitione abstracta veritatis, verum stat etiam in vivificanti consuetudine deditionis et fidelitatis erga alterum.  Hac in fidelitate, cujus vi homo se dedere novit, plenam invenit certitudinem et animi firmitatem.  Eodem tamen tempore, cognitio per fiduciam, quæ existimatione interpersonali nititur, non datur quin ad veritatem referatur :  homo, credendo, veritati quam alter ostendit committitur. It should be stressed that the truths sought in this interpersonal relationship are not primarily empirical or philosophical.  Rather, what is sought is the truth of the person — what the person is and what the person reveals from deep within.  Human perfection, then, consists not simply in acquiring an abstract knowledge of the truth, but in a dynamic relationship of faithful self-giving with others.  It is in this faithful self-giving that a person finds a fullness of certainty and security.  At the same time, however, knowledge through belief, grounded as it is on trust between persons, is linked to truth:  in the act of believing, men and women entrust themselves to the truth which the other declares to them.
Quot exempla proferri possunt ad illustranda quæ diximus !  Cogitatio autem Nostra statim vertitur ad martyrum testimonium.  Martyr, enim, integerrimus testis est veritatis de exsistentia.  Bene novit ille se invenisse, coram Christo Jesu, veritatem de sua vita, quam certitudinem nemo ab eo abstrahere potest.  Nec dolor nec sæva mors eum sejungere poterunt a veritate quam detegit quum obviam Christo occurrit.  En ratio cur martyrum testimonium ad hodiernum diem admirationem moveat, auditionem inveniat et uti exemplum sumatur.  Hæc est causa cur eorum verbo confidatur :  in illis invenitur evidentia illius amoris qui diuturnis colloquiis non indiget ad persuadendum, eo quod unicuique nostrum de eo quod penitus percepit uti verum et jam diu quæsitum loquitur.  Martyr denique, altam in nobis excitat fiduciam, quoniam declarat quicquid nos percepimus et evidens reddit quod nos quoque æqua vi exprimere velimus. Any number of examples could be found to demonstrate this;  but I think immediately of the martyrs, who are the most authentic witnesses to the truth about existence.  The martyrs know that they have found the truth about life in the encounter with Jesus Christ, and nothing and no-one could ever take this certainty from them.  Neither suffering nor violent death could ever lead them to abandon the truth which they have discovered in the encounter with Christ.  This is why to this day the witness of the martyrs continues to arouse such interest, to draw agreement, to win such a hearing and to invite emulation.  This is why their word inspires such confidence:  from the moment they speak to us of what we perceive deep down as the truth we have sought for so long, the martyrs provide evidence of a love that has no need of lengthy arguments in order to convince.  The martyrs stir in us a profound trust because they give voice to what we already feel and they declare what we would like to have the strength to express.
33.  Ita intellegere possumus diversas hujus quæstionis partes paulatim perfici.  Homo ex natura sua veritatem perscrutatur.  Hæc perscrutatio non tantum destinatur acquisitioni veritatum quarundem partium quæ ex eventibus pendent vel scientiis ;  homo non quærit tantummodo verum bonum pro singulis suis consiliis.  Ejus perscrutatio in ulteriorem intenditur veritatem quæ sensum vitæ dilucidare possit ;  quapropter de illa agitur perscrutatione, quæ exitum invenire potest tantum in absoluto.{28}  Per facultates in mente insitas, homo similem veritatem et invenire et perspicere potest.  Quatenus hæc veritas vitalis est et essentialis ad ejus exsistentiam, attingitur non tantum per viam rationis, sed etiam per fidentem relictionem in manibus eorum, qui certitudinem et authenticitatem ejusdem veritatis in tuto collocare possint.  Facultas et selectio committendi semet ipsos propriamque vitam aliis constituunt sane, secundum anthropologiam, actum significantiorem et expressiorem inter plurimos. 33.  Step by step, then, we are assembling the terms of the question.  It is the nature of the human being to seek the truth.  This search looks not only to the attainment of truths which are partial, empirical or scientific;  nor is it only in individual acts of decision-making that people seek the true good.  Their search looks towards an ulterior truth which would explain the meaning of life.  And it is therefore a search which can reach its end only in reaching the absolute.{28}  Thanks to the inherent capacities of thought, man is able to encounter and recognize a truth of this kind.  Such a truth — vital and necessary as it is for life — is attained not only by way of reason but also through trusting acquiescence to other persons who can guarantee the authenticity and certainty of the truth itself.  There is no doubt that the capacity to entrust oneself and one’s life to another person and the decision to do so are among the most significant and expressive human acts.
Meminisse liceat quoque rationem in sua perquisitione fidenti dialogo et authentica amicitia esse sustentandam.  Suspicionis et diffidentiæ aura, quæ aliquando speculativam circumplectitur perquisitionem, facit ut in oblivionem detur doctrina priscorum philosophorum qui tenebant amicitiam esse inter contextus magis idoneos ad recte philosophandum. It must not be forgotten that reason too needs to be sustained in all its searching by trusting dialogue and sincere friendship.  A climate of suspicion and distrust, which can beset speculative research, ignores the teaching of the ancient philosophers who proposed friendship as one of the most appropriate contexts for sound philosophical inquiry.
Ex hucusque dictis colligitur hominem quodam in itinere versari perquisitionis, quæ humano sensu finiri nequit :  est perquisitio veritatis et cujusdam personæ cui se committere possit.  Christiana fides obviam venit ut ei offerat concretam facultatem contemplandi hujus inquisitionis impletionem.  Postquam enim gradus simplicis fidei superatur, hæc hominem inserit in ordinem gratiæ ut Christi mysterium participare possit, cujus vi vera et cohærens Dei Unius et Trini cognitio offertur illi.  Ita in Christo Jesu, qui est ipsa Veritas, fides agnoscit novissimam vocationem quæ vertitur ad humanam societatem, ut implere possit id quod percipit uti flagrans desiderium. From all that I have said to this point it emerges that men and women are on a journey of discovery which is humanly unstoppable — a search for the truth and a search for a person to whom they might entrust themselves.  Christian faith comes to meet them, offering the concrete possibility of reaching the goal which they seek.  Moving beyond the stage of simple believing, Christian faith immerses human beings in the order of grace, which enables them to share in the mystery of Christ, which in turn offers them a true and coherent knowledge of the Triune God.  In Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, faith recognizes the ultimate appeal to humanity, an appeal made in order that what we experience as desire and nostalgia may come to its fulfilment.
34.  Hæc veritas, quam Deus in Christo Jesu nobis revelat, minime opponitur veritatibus quæ per philosophiam assumuntur.  Immo, duo cognitionis gradus ducunt ad veritatis plenitudinem.  Unitas veritatis est jam fundamentalis postulatus humanæ rationis, qui principio non-contradictionis exprimitur.  Revelatio offert certitudinem hujus unitatis, ostendendo Deum Conditorem esse etiam Deum historiæ salutis.  Ipse idemque Deus, qui condit et vindicat facultatem intellegendi et ratiocinandi naturalem rerum ordinem, quo docti fidenter nituntur,{29} idem est qui revelatur Pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi.  Hæc unitas veritatis, naturalis et revelatæ, viventem et personalem identitatem suam invenit in Christo, uti Apostolus memorat :  « Veritas quæ est in Jesu » (Eph 4,21; cfr Col 1,15-20).  Ille est Verbum æternum, in quo omnia creata sunt, simulque est Verbum incarnatum, qui in sua integra persona{30} revelat Patrem (cfr Jo 1,14.18).  Quicquid humana ratio « ignorans » (cfr Act 17,23) perscrutatur, tantummodo per Christum inveniri potest :  quod enim in Ipso revelatur est « plenitudo veritatis » (cfr Jo 1,14-16) cujusque creaturæ quæ in Ipso et per Ipsum creata est, et ita in Ipso constat (cfr Col 1,17). 34.  This truth, which God reveals to us in Jesus Christ, is not opposed to the truths which philosophy perceives.  On the contrary, the two modes of knowledge lead to truth in all its fullness.  The unity of truth is a fundamental premise of human reasoning, as the principle of non-contradiction makes clear.  Revelation renders this unity certain, showing that the God of creation is also the God of salvation history.  It is the one and the same God who establishes and guarantees the intelligibility and reasonableness of the natural order of things upon which scientists confidently depend,{29} and who reveals himself as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This unity of truth, natural and revealed, is embodied in a living and personal way in Christ, as the Apostle reminds us:  “Truth is in Jesus” (cf. Eph 4:21; Col 1:15-20).  He is the eternal Word in whom all things were created, and he is the incarnate Word who in his entire person{30} reveals the Father (cf. Jn 1:14, 18).  What human reason seeks “without knowing it” (cf. Acts 17:23) can be found only through Christ:  what is revealed in him is “the full truth” (cf. Jn 1:14-16) of everything which was created in him and through him and which therefore in him finds its fulfilment (cf. Col 1:17).
35.  In contextu hujus summi prospectus, penitus inspiciatur oportet relatio inter veritatem revelatam et philosophiam.  Hæc relatio duplicem secumfert animadversionem, eo sensu quod veritas quæ a Revelatione fluit, veritas est quæ simul sub rationis lumine est intellegenda.  Hoc duplici præhabito sensu, æquam necessitudinem revelatæ veritatis cum cognitione philosophica definire licebit.  Qua de re primum perpendamus relationes per sæculorum decursum habitas inter fidem et philosophiam.  Hinc igitur quædam detegi poterunt principia quæ constituunt aspectus ad quos referendum est ut inter hos duos gradus cognitionis recta relatio suscipiatur. 35.  On the basis of these broad considerations, we must now explore more directly the relationship between revealed truth and philosophy.  This relationship imposes a twofold consideration, since the truth conferred by Revelation is a truth to be understood in the light of reason.  It is this duality alone which allows us to specify correctly the relationship between revealed truth and philosophical learning.  First, then, let us consider the links between faith and philosophy in the course of history.  From this, certain principles will emerge as useful reference-points in the attempt to establish the correct link between the two orders of knowledge.



Præcipui gressus in occursu fidei rationisque Important moments in the encounter of faith and reason
36.  Ut Actus Apostolorum testantur, nuntius christianus inde ab exordiis cum doctrinis philosophicis illius ætatis est collatus.  Idem Liber narrat disceptationem quam Paulus Athenis habuit cum quibusdam philosophis Epicureis et Stoicis (17,18).  Exegeticum examen illius sermonis ad Areopagum habiti in luce posuit usitatas mentiones de variis opinionibus populi præsertim ex origine Stoica.  Hoc quidem non fortuito factum est.  Primi Christiani, ut a paganis recte perciperentur, in suis sermonibus auditores dumtaxat « ad Moysen et prophetas » remittere non poterant ;  niti quoque tenebantur naturali Dei cognitione et voce conscientiæ moralis cujusque hominis (cfr Rom 1,19-21; 2,14-15; Act 14,16-17).  Quum autem hæc cognitio naturalis apud paganos in idololatriam prolapsa esset (cfr Rom 1,21-32), Apostolus censuit sapientius esse sermonem conjungere cum doctrina philosophorum qui ab initio fabulis et cultibus mystericis opponebant conceptus divinam transcendentiam magis reverentes. 36.  The Acts of the Apostles provides evidence that Christian proclamation was engaged from the very first with the philosophical currents of the time.  In Athens, we read, Saint Paul entered into discussion with “certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers” (17:18); and exegetical analysis of his speech at the Areopagus has revealed frequent allusions to popular beliefs deriving for the most part from Stoicism.  This is by no means accidental.  If pagans were to understand them, the first Christians could not refer only to “Moses and the prophets” when they spoke.  They had to point as well to natural knowledge of God and to the voice of conscience in every human being (cf. Rom 1:19-21; 2:14-15; Acts 14:16-17).  Since in pagan religion this natural knowledge had lapsed into idolatry (cf. Rom 1:21-32), the Apostle judged it wiser in his speech to make the link with the thinking of the philosophers, who had always set in opposition to the myths and mystery cults notions more respectful of divine transcendence.
Ex præcipuis propositis quæ philosophi doctrinæ classicæ sunt amplexi, consilium exstitit expurgandi a formis mythologicis notionem quam homines de Deo profitebantur.  Ut omnibus patet, etiam religio Græca, non aliter ac pleræque religiones cosmicæ, polytheismum ita profitebatur, ut vel res et eventus naturæ in deorum numerum deferret.  Conatus hominis ad cognoscendam deorum originem et in eis universi originem, primam suam significationem invenerunt in arte poëtica.  Deorum origines primum hactenus habentur testimonium hujus humanæ investigationis.  Munus fuit Parentum philosophiæ efficere ut vinculum ostenderetur inter rationem et religionem.  Illi quidem contuitum dilatantes ad principia usque universalia, non amplius acquieverunt fabulis antiquis, sed voluerunt ut eorum fides de divinitate fundamento rationali sustentaretur.  Ita susceptum est iter quod, relictis antiquis traditionibus particularibus, se immisit quandam in progressionem quæ congruebat cum postulationibus rationis universalis.  Scopus ad quem hæc progressio tendebat erat criticum judicium rerum in quas credebatur.  Prima hoc in itinere utilitatem tulit divinitatis notio.  Superstitiones uti tales sunt recognitæ et religio, saltem partim, per rationalem recognitionem est expurgata.  Hoc suffulti fundamento, Patres Ecclesiæ fecundum instituerunt colloquium cum antiquis philosophis, iter aperientes ad nuntium et ad cognitionem Dei Christi Jesu. One of the major concerns of classical philosophy was to purify human notions of God of mythological elements.  We know that Greek religion, like most cosmic religions, was polytheistic, even to the point of divinizing natural things and phenomena.  Human attempts to understand the origin of the gods and hence the origin of the universe find their earliest expression in poetry;  and the theogonies remain the first evidence of this human search.  But it was the task of the Fathers of philosophy to bring to light the link between reason and religion.  As they broadened their view to include universal principles, they no longer rested content with the ancient myths, but wanted to provide a rational foundation for their belief in the divinity.  This opened a path which took its rise from ancient traditions but allowed a development satisfying the demands of universal reason.  This development sought to acquire a critical awareness of what they believed in, and the concept of divinity was the prime beneficiary of this.  Superstitions were recognized for what they were and religion was, at least in part, purified by rational analysis.  It was on this basis that the Fathers of the Church entered into fruitful dialogue with ancient philosophy, which offered new ways of proclaiming and understanding the God of Jesus Christ.
37.  Dum mentionem facimus de hoc motu quo Christiani ad philosophiam accesserunt, merito memorari decet statum circumspectionis quem apud Christianos concitabant alia culturæ paganæ elementa, uti, exempli gratia, doctrina « gnostica ».  Philosophia, tanquam sapientia practica et schola vitæ, facile misceri poterat cum cognitione indolis superioris, arcanæ, paucis perfectis reservatæ.  Absque dubio Paulus ad hoc genus speculationum arcanarum mentem vertit, quum Colossenses ita admonet :  « Videte, ne quis vos deprædetur per philosophiam et inanem fallaciam secundum traditionem hominum, secundum elementa mundi et non secundum Christum » (2,8).  Quam hujus ætatis propria sunt Apostoli verba, si ea ad diversas arcanæ doctrinæ formas remittimus, quæ hodie etiam mentes pervadunt quorundam fidelium qui debito critico sensu carent.  Sancti Pauli vestigia sectantes, alii auctores I sæculi, præsertim S. Irenæus et Tertullianus, vicissim exceptiones posuerunt circa excogitationem culturalem quæ veritatem Revelationis interpretationi philosophorum subjicere intendebat. 37.  In tracing Christianity’s adoption of philosophy, one should not forget how cautiously Christians regarded other elements of the cultural world of paganism, one example of which is gnosticism.  It was easy to confuse philosophy — understood as practical wisdom and an education for life — with a higher and esoteric kind of knowledge, reserved to those few who were perfect.  It is surely this kind of esoteric speculation which Saint Paul has in mind when he puts the Colossians on their guard:  “See to it that no-one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe and not according to Christ” (2:8).  The Apostle’s words seem all too pertinent now if we apply them to the various kinds of esoteric superstition widespread today, even among some believers who lack a proper critical sense.  Following Saint Paul, other writers of the early centuries, especially Saint Irenaeus and Tertullian, sound the alarm when confronted with a cultural perspective which sought to subordinate the truth of Revelation to the interpretation of the philosophers.
38.  Christianismi igitur cum philosophia conventio nec immediata nec facilis exstitit.  Usus philosophiæ et frequentatio scholarum primis Christianis conturbatio visa sunt potius quam lucrum.  Primum et urgens eorum munus erat nuntius Christi a mortuis exsuscitati, qui singulis proponendus erat hominibus, unde illi ad mentis conversionem et ad Baptismi petitionem conducerentur.  Quod tamen non significat eos munus ignoravisse perspiciendi cognitionem fidei ejusque causarum.  Prorsus aliter !  Iniqua ergo et simulata evadit exprobratio Celsi qui Christianum « imperitissimum quemque et rusticissimum »{31} accusare ausus est.  Causa hujus contemptionis initialis aliunde est perquirenda.  Revera, lectio Evangelii responsum ferebat tam satisfaciens quæstioni de vitæ sensu, illactenus nondum solutæ, ut philosophorum frequentatio res præterita videretur et, quodammodo, superata. 38.  Christianity’s engagement with philosophy was therefore neither straightforward nor immediate.  The practice of philosophy and attendance at philosophical schools seemed to the first Christians more of a disturbance than an opportunity.  For them, the first and most urgent task was the proclamation of the Risen Christ by way of a personal encounter which would bring the listener to conversion of heart and the request for Baptism.  But that does not mean that they ignored the task of deepening the understanding of faith and its motivations.  Quite the contrary.  That is why the criticism of Celsus — that Christians were “illiterate and uncouth”{31} — is unfounded and untrue.  Their initial disinterest is to be explained on other grounds.  The encounter with the Gospel offered such a satisfying answer to the hitherto unresolved question of life’s meaning that delving into the philosophers seemed to them something remote and in some ways outmoded.
Quod quidem hodie clarius videtur, si ratio habeatur de contributione Christianismi vindicantis jus universale accedendi ad veritatem.  Dejectis repagulis stirpis, ordinis socialis et sexus, Christianismus inde ab exordiis nuntiavit æqualitatem omnium hominum coram Deo.  Primum hujus conceptus consectarium respexit argumentum de veritate.  Ita aperte superata est notio altioris societatis, cui apud antiquos perquisitio veritatis erat reservata.  Quandoquidem accessus ad veritatem bonum est quod ducit ad Deum, omnibus patere debuit hæc via percurrenda.  Viæ quæ ducunt ad veritatem multiplices perstant ;  attamen, eo quod christiana veritas vim salvificam possidet, unaquæque harum viarum percurri potest ea tamen condicione ut ad extremam metam conducant, videlicet ad Jesu Christi revelationem. That seems still more evident today, if we think of Christianity’s contribution to the affirmation of the right of everyone to have access to the truth.  In dismantling barriers of race, social status and gender, Christianity proclaimed from the first the equality of all men and women before God.  One prime implication of this touched the theme of truth.  The elitism which had characterized the ancients’ search for truth was clearly abandoned.  Since access to the truth enables access to God, it must be denied to none.  There are many paths which lead to truth, but since Christian truth has a salvific value, any one of these paths may be taken, as long as it leads to the final goal, that is to the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Inter principes viros qui positivum nexum cum doctrina philosophica fovent, etsi cauta discretio sit habenda, memorandus est Sanctus Justinus :  qui, licet summam professus est existimationem erga Græcam philosophiam, vehementer ac dilucide asseruit se in Christianismo « solam certam et frugiferam philosophiam »{32} invenisse.  Pariter Clemens Alexandrinus Evangelium appellavit « veram philosophiam »,{33} et philosophiam interpretatus est finitimam Legi Moysis instar præviæ institutionis ad fidem christianam{34} et præparationis ad Evangelium.{35}  Quoniam « philosophia illam appetit sapientiam quæ est in probitate animæ et verbi atque in integritate vitæ, bene præparatur ad sapientiam, et omni ope annititur ad eam assequendam.  Apud nos philosophi dicuntur ii qui diligunt illam sapientiam quæ omnia condit et docet, id est, cognitionem Filii Dei ».{36}  Primum philosophiæ Græcæ propositum, secundum auctorem Alexandrinum, non est perficere vel confirmare veritatem christianam ;  potius munus ejus est fidem tueri :  « Est quidem per se perfecta et nullius indiga Servatoris doctrina, quum sit Dei virtus et sapientia.  Accedens autem Græca philosophia veritatem non facit potentiorem ;  sed quum debiles efficiat sophistarum adversus eam argumentationes, et propulset dolosas adversus veritatem insidias, dicta est vineæ apta sæpes et vallus ».{37} A pioneer of positive engagement with philosophical thinking — albeit with cautious discernment — was Saint Justin.  Although he continued to hold Greek philosophy in high esteem after his conversion, Justin claimed with power and clarity that he had found in Christianity “the only sure and profitable philosophy.”{32}  Similarly, Clement of Alexandria called the Gospel “the true philosophy,”{33} and he understood philosophy, like the Mosaic Law, as instruction which prepared for Christian faith{34} and paved the way for the Gospel.{35}  Since “philosophy yearns for the wisdom which consists in rightness of soul and speech and in purity of life, it is well disposed towards wisdom and does all it can to acquire it.  We call philosophers those who love the wisdom that is creator and mistress of all things, that is knowledge of the Son of God.”{36}  For Clement, Greek philosophy is not meant in the first place to bolster and complete Christian truth.  Its task is rather the defence of the faith:  “The teaching of the Saviour is perfect in itself and has no need of support, because it is the strength and the wisdom of God.  Greek philosophy, with its contribution, does not strengthen truth;  but, in rendering the attack of sophistry impotent and in disarming those who betray truth and wage war upon it, Greek philosophy is rightly called the hedge and the protective wall around the vineyard.”{37}
39.  Hac currente progressione, inspicere licet disputatores christianos cogitationem philosophicam stricto sensu sumpsisse.  Prima inter exempla quæ inveniri possunt, certe significantius exstat illud Origenis.  Adversus impugnationes philosophi Celsi, Origenes ad argumenta responsaque eidem ferenda Platonica usus est philosophia.  Memorans haud pauca doctrinæ Platonicæ elementa, rudimenta theologiæ christianæ excogitare cœpit.  Ipsum quidem nomen, una cum theologiæ notione tanquam rationalis sermonis de Deo, ad illud tempus origini Græcæ colligabatur.  Verbi gratia, secundum Aristotelis philosophiam, nomen nobiliorem partem et verum culmen sermonis philosophici significabat.  Sub lumine christianæ Revelationis vero, id quod prius doctrinam generatim de deorum natura significabat, sensum prorsus novum assumpsit, eo quod descripsit considerationem quam fidelis faciebat ad veram de Deo doctrinam exhibendam.  Hæc nova christiana notio, quæ jam diffundebatur, philosophia nitebatur, eodemque tamen tempore paulatim curabat ut sese ab illa secerneret.  Historia docet eandem Platonicam doctrinam in theologia assumptam profundas subiisse mutationes, præsertim quod attinet ad notiones de immortalitate animæ, de deificatione hominis et origine mali. 39.  It is clear from history, then, that Christian thinkers were critical in adopting philosophical thought.  Among the early examples of this, Origen is certainly outstanding.  In countering the attacks launched by the philosopher Celsus, Origen adopts Platonic philosophy to shape his argument and mount his reply.  Assuming many elements of Platonic thought, he begins to construct an early form of Christian theology.  The name “theology” itself, together with the idea of theology as rational discourse about God, had to this point been tied to its Greek origins.  In Aristotelian philosophy, for example, the name signified the noblest part and the true summit of philosophical discourse.  But in the light of Christian Revelation what had signified a generic doctrine about the gods assumed a wholly new meaning, signifying now the reflection undertaken by the believer in order to express the true doctrine about God.  As it developed, this new Christian thought made use of philosophy, but at the same time tended to distinguish itself clearly from philosophy.  History shows how Platonic thought, once adopted by theology, underwent profound changes, especially with regard to concepts such as the immortality of the soul, the divinization of man and the origin of evil.
40.  Hoc in processu quo doctrina Platonica et Neoplatonica paulatim christianæ redduntur, peculiarem in modum memoria digni sunt Patres Cappadoces, Dionysius dictus Areopagita ac maxime Sanctus Augustinus.  Magnus Doctor occidentalis colloquia instituere valuit cum diversis scholis philosophicis, a quibus tamen omni spe est destitutus.  Quum vero christianæ fidei veritas apparuit illi, tunc fortitudine roboratus est ad absolutam explendam conversionem, ad quam philosophi, crebro ab ipso frequentati, eum inducere nequiverant.  Cujus causam ipsemet narrat :  « Ex hoc tamen quoque jam præponens doctrinam catholicam, modestius ibi minimeque fallaciter sentiebam juberi ut crederetur quod non demonstrabatur (sive esset quid, sed cui forte non esset ;  sive nec quid esset), quam illic temeraria pollicitatione scientiæ credulitatem irrideri ;  et postea tam multa fabulosissima et absurdissima, quia demonstrari non poterant, credenda imperari ».{38}  Augustinus ipsos Platonicos, de quibus præcipuo jure mentionem facere consueverat, exprobravit, qui, quamvis scirent terminum ad quem tendere tenebantur, ignoraverant tamen viam illuc ducentem, nempe Verbum incarnatum.{39}  Episcopus Hipponensis edere potuit primam summam synthesim doctrinæ philosophicæ et theologicæ, in quam confluxerant opiniones doctrinæ Græcæ et Latinæ.  In Ipso quoque summa scientiæ unitas, quæ biblica doctrina fulciebatur, summitate doctrinæ speculativæ confirmari et sustentari potuit.  Synthesis quam Sanctus Augustinus ad rem perduxit, per sæcula habita est altissima speculationis philosophicæ et theologicæ methodus apud mundum Occidentalem.  Propriis vitæ gestis firmatus sanctimoniæque spiritu suffultus, inserere etiam potuit in scripta sua innumera argumenta, quæ, experientiæ respectu habito, futuram quarundam doctrinarum philosophicarum progressionem portendebant. 40.  In this work of christianizing Platonic and Neo-Platonic thought, the Cappadocian Fathers, Dionysius called the Areopagite and especially Saint Augustine were important.  The great Doctor of the West had come into contact with different philosophical schools, but all of them left him disappointed.  It was when he encountered the truth of Christian faith that he found strength to undergo the radical conversion to which the philosophers he had known had been powerless to lead him.  He himself reveals his motive:  “From this time on, I gave my preference to the Catholic faith.  I thought it more modest and not in the least misleading to be told by the Church to believe what could not be demonstrated — whether that was because a demonstration existed but could not be understood by all or whether the matter was not one open to rational proof — rather than [from the Manichees] to have a rash promise of knowledge with mockery of mere belief, and then afterwards to be ordered to believe many fabulous and absurd myths impossible to prove true.”{38}  Though he accorded the Platonists a place of privilege, Augustine rebuked them because, knowing the goal to seek, they had ignored the path which leads to it:  the Word made flesh.{39}  The Bishop of Hippo succeeded in producing the first great synthesis of philosophy and theology, embracing currents of thought both Greek and Latin.  In him too the great unity of knowledge, grounded in the thought of the Bible, was both confirmed and sustained by a depth of speculative thinking.  The synthesis devised by Saint Augustine remained for centuries the most exalted form of philosophical and theological speculation known to the West.  Reinforced by his personal story and sustained by a wonderful holiness of life, he could also introduce into his works a range of material which, drawing on experience, was a prelude to future developments in different currents of philosophy.
41.  Diversi ergo fuerunt modi per quos Patres Orientales et Occidentales convenerunt cum scholis philosophicis.  Hoc tamen non significat illos materiam nuntii eandem reddidisse ac systemata quæ memorabant.  Tertulliani interrogatio :  « Quid ergo Athenis et Hierosolymis ?  Quid Academiæ et Ecclesiæ ?  »,{40} evidens judicium est conscientiæ criticæ, qua christiani disputatores jam ab initio quæstionem experti sunt de habitudine inter fidem et philosophiam, summatim simul aspectus considerantes sive utilitatis sive limitationis.  Non erant incauti disputatores.  Quoniam materiam fidei impense vivebant, altiores speculationis formas attingere sciebant.  Quapropter prorsus improbum est eorum operam ad solam translationem veritatum fidei in categorias philosophicas redigere.  Immo plura adhuc fecerunt !  Curarunt ut in plenam lucem orirentur omnia quæ adhuc manebant implicita et propedeutica in priscorum philosophorum doctrina.{41}  Hi enim, uti diximus, munus habuerunt docendi methodum qua mens, externis vinculis liberata, exire poterat ab angustiis fabularum et ad modum excedentem accommodatius sese aperire.  Mens igitur purgata et justa se extollere poterat ad altiores gradus meditationis, validum tribuens fundamentum ad intellegentiam creaturarum, entis transcendentis et absoluti. 41.  The ways in which the Fathers of East and West engaged the philosophical schools were, therefore, quite different.  This does not mean that they identified the content of their message with the systems to which they referred.  Consider Tertullian’s question:  “What does Athens have in common with Jerusalem?  The Academy with the Church?”{40}  This clearly indicates the critical consciousness with which Christian thinkers from the first confronted the problem of the relationship between faith and philosophy, viewing it comprehensively with both its positive aspects and its limitations.  They were not naive thinkers.  Precisely because they were intense in living faith’s content they were able to reach the deepest forms of speculation.  It is therefore minimalizing and mistaken to restrict their work simply to the transposition of the truths of faith into philosophical categories.  They did much more.  In fact they succeeded in disclosing completely all that remained implicit and preliminary in the thinking of the great philosophers of antiquity.{41}  As I have noted, theirs was the task of showing how reason, freed from external constraints, could find its way out of the blind alley of myth and open itself to the transcendent in a more appropriate way.  Purified and rightly tuned, therefore, reason could rise to the higher planes of thought, providing a solid foundation for the perception of being, of the transcendent and of the absolute.
Hic vere inseritur novitas a Patribus excogitata.  Illi in plenitudine acceperunt rationem apertam ad absolutum atque Revelationis divitias inseverunt in eam.  Conjunctio facta est non tantum in ambitu culturarum, quarum altera alterius fascinationem passa est ;  illa contigit in intima animorum natura et conjunctio data est inter creaturam ejusque Creatorem.  Ipsum prætergrediens finem versus quem inconscie ex natura sua tendebat, ratio summum bonum et summam veritatem in persona Verbi incarnati attingere potuit.  Quod attinet ad philosophias, Patres non timuerunt agnoscere sive elementa communia sive diversitates quas illæ ostendebant quod ad Revelationem.  Hujus confluentiæ conscientia recognitionem diversitatum in eis non obscuravit. It is here that we see the originality of what the Fathers accomplished.  They fully welcomed reason which was open to the absolute, and they infused it with the richness drawn from Revelation.  This was more than a meeting of cultures, with one culture perhaps succumbing to the fascination of the other.  It happened rather in the depths of human souls, and it was a meeting of creature and Creator.  Surpassing the goal towards which it unwittingly tended by dint of its nature, reason attained the supreme good and ultimate truth in the person of the Word made flesh.  Faced with the various philosophies, the Fathers were not afraid to acknowledge those elements in them that were consonant with Revelation and those that were not.  Recognition of the points of convergence did not blind them to the points of divergence.
42.  In theologia scholastica munus rationis ad philosophiam institutæ luculentius efficitur sub impulsu Anselmianæ interpretationis de intellectu fidei.  Secundum sanctum Cantuariensem Archiepiscopum, primatus fidei certare non intendit cum investigatione rationis propria.  Hæc enim non vocatur ut judicium ferat de materia fidei ;  id facere non potest, quia idoneitate caret.  Potius ejus munus est invenire sensum, detegere causas quæ homines omnes ducere possint ad quandam fidei doctrinam intellegendam.  Sanctus Anselmus lucide asserit intellectum investigare teneri quicquid diligat ;  quo plus diligit, eo plus cognoscere cupit.  Qui pro veritate vivit protenditur ad quandam cognitionis formam quæ magis magisque amore incenditur erga ea quæ cognoscit, quamvis concedere teneatur se non fecisse omnia quæ in suis votis fuerunt :  « Ad te videndum factus sum ;  et nondum feci propter quod factus sum ».{42}  Desiderium itaque veritatis rationem impellit ad amplius progrediendum ;  quæ, immo, quasi obruitur conscientia propriæ facultatis quæ in dies latior fit quam id quod attingit.  Hic tamen et nunc ratio detegere potest ubinam iter suum perficiatur :  « Sufficere namque debere existimo rem incomprehensibilem indaganti, si ad hoc ratiocinando pervenerit ut eam certissime esse cognoscat ;  etiamsi penetrare nequeat intellectu, quomodo ita sit. […] Quid autem tam incomprehensibile, tam ineffabile, quam id quod supra omnia est ?  Quapropter, si ea quæ de Summa Essentia hactenus disputata sunt necessariis rationibus sunt asserta — quamvis sic intellectu penetrari non possint ut et verbis valeant explicari —, nullatenus tamen certitudinis eorum nutat soliditas.  Nam, si superior consideratio rationabiliter comprehendit incomprehensibile esse, quomodo eadem Summa Sapientia sciat ea quæ fecit, […] quis explicet quomodo sciat aut dicat seipsam, de qua aut nihil, aut vix aliquid ab homine sciri possibile est ?  ».{43} 42.  In Scholastic theology, the role of philosophically trained reason becomes even more conspicuous under the impulse of Saint Anselm’s interpretation of the intellectus fidei.  For the saintly Archbishop of Canterbury the priority of faith is not in competition with the search which is proper to reason.  Reason in fact is not asked to pass judgement on the contents of faith, something of which it would be incapable, since this is not its function.  Its function is rather to find meaning, to discover explanations which might allow everyone to come to a certain understanding of the contents of faith.  Saint Anselm underscores the fact that the intellect must seek that which it loves:  the more it loves, the more it desires to know.  Whoever lives for the truth is reaching for a form of knowledge which is fired more and more with love for what it knows, while having to admit that it has not yet attained what it desires:  “To see you was I conceived;  and I have yet to conceive that for which I was conceived (Ad te videndum factus sum;  et nondum feci propter quod factus sum)”.{42}  The desire for truth, therefore, spurs reason always to go further;  indeed, it is as if reason were overwhelmed to see that it can always go beyond what it has already achieved.  It is at this point, though, that reason can learn where its path will lead in the end:  “I think that whoever investigates something incomprehensible should be satisfied if, by way of reasoning, he reaches a quite certain perception of its reality, even if his intellect cannot penetrate its mode of being…  But is there anything so incomprehensible and ineffable as that which is above all things?  Therefore, if that which until now has been a matter of debate concerning the highest essence has been established on the basis of due reasoning, then the foundation of one’s certainty is not shaken in the least if the intellect cannot penetrate it in a way that allows clear formulation.  If prior thought has concluded rationally that one cannot comprehend (rationabiliter comprehendit incomprehensibile esse) how supernal wisdom knows its own accomplishments…, who then will explain how this same wisdom, of which the human being can know nothing or next to nothing, is to be known and expressed?”{43}
Fundamentalis concordia inter cognitionem philosophicam et fidei cognitionem iterum confirmatur :  fides postulat ut objectum suum auxilio rationis comprehendatur ;  ratio, culmen investigationis attingens, necessarium ducit quicquid fides ostendit. The fundamental harmony between the knowledge of faith and the knowledge of philosophy is once again confirmed.  Faith asks that its object be understood with the help of reason;  and at the summit of its searching reason acknowledges that it cannot do without what faith presents.
Perennis Sancti Thomæ Aquinatis sententiarum novitas The enduring originality of the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas
43.  Locus omnino singularis hoc in longo itinere Sancto Thomæ reservatur, non tantum ob ea quæ in ejus doctrina continentur, verum etiam ob habitudinem dialogicam quam ille tunc temporis interserere scivit cum Arabica et Hebraica doctrina.  Illa quidem ætate, qua christiani disputatores reperiebant veteres thesauros philosophiæ, et immediatius philosophiæ Aristotelicæ, summum ejus exstitit meritum quod eminere fecerit concordiam inter rationem et fidem.  Utriusque lumen, rationis scilicet et fidei, a Deo procedit, ille ratiocinatus est, idcirco inter se opponere nequeunt.{44} 43.  A quite special place in this long development belongs to Saint Thomas, not only because of what he taught but also because of the dialogue which he undertook with the Arab and Jewish thought of his time.  In an age when Christian thinkers were rediscovering the treasures of ancient philosophy, and more particularly of Aristotle, Thomas had the great merit of giving pride of place to the harmony which exists between faith and reason.  Both the light of reason and the light of faith come from God, he argued;  hence there can be no contradiction between them.{44}
Thomas adhuc acrius denotat naturam, objectum proprium philosophiæ, ad intellegentiam divinæ revelationis conferre posse.  Fides igitur rationem non metuit sed eam quærit fiduciamque in ipsa collocat.  Quemadmodum gratia supponit naturam eamque perficit,{45} ita fides supponit et perficit rationem.  Quæ, fidei lumine illustrata, eximitur a fragilitate et a limitatione quæ ex peccati commissione proveniunt, et necessariam invenit fortitudinem, qua in cognitionem mysterii Dei Unius et Trini se sublevet.  Etsi in luce vehementer ponit supernaturalem fidei indolem, Doctor Angelicus non est oblitus ipsius rationabilitatis præstantiam ;  immo, penitus descendere scivit et sensum illius sapientiæ circumscribere.  Fides quidem quodam modo est « exercitium cogitationis »; ratio hominis nec abrogatur nec minuitur, quum fidei veritatibus assentit ;  hæ tamen veritates ex libera et conscia selectione attinguntur.{46} More radically, Thomas recognized that nature, philosophy’s proper concern, could contribute to the understanding of divine Revelation.  Faith therefore has no fear of reason, but seeks it out and has trust in it.  Just as grace builds on nature and brings it to fulfilment,{45} so faith builds upon and perfects reason.  Illumined by faith, reason is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God.  Although he made much of the supernatural character of faith, the Angelic Doctor did not overlook the importance of its reasonableness;  indeed he was able to plumb the depths and explain the meaning of this reasonableness.  Faith is in a sense an “exercise of thought”; and human reason is neither annulled nor debased in assenting to the contents of faith, which are in any case attained by way of free and informed choice.{46}
Hac quidem de causa jure meritoque Sanctus Thomas ab Ecclesia Magister doctrinæ constanter est habitus et exemplum quod ad modum theologiam tractandi.  Nos juvat in memoriam revocare ea quæ Dei Servus Decessor Noster Paulus VI scripsit septimo occurrente centenario ab obitu Doctoris Angelici :  « Maxima profecto fuerunt S. Thomæ et audacia in veritate quærenda, et spiritus libertas in novis tractandis quæstionibus, et illa mentis probitas, eorum propria qui, dum nullo modo patiuntur christianam veritatem contaminari profana philosophia, hanc tamen a priori minime respuunt.  Quare, in christianæ doctrinæ historia ejus nomen in numerum refertur præcursorum, quibus novus philosophiæ atque scientiæ universalis cursus debetur.  Caput autem et quasi cardo doctrinæ, qua ipse, ut summa et quasi prophetica ingenii acie præditus erat, quæstionem dissolvit de novis mutuis relationibus inter rationem et fidem, in eo positum est, quod mundi sæcularitatem cum arduis ac severis Evangelii postulatis composuit ;  atque hoc modo sese subduxit ab inclinatione, naturæ aliena, ad mundum ejusque bona contemnenda, neque tamen descivit a supremis et indeclinabilibus principiis supernaturalis ordinis ».{47} This is why the Church has been justified in consistently proposing Saint Thomas as a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology.  In this connection, I would recall what my Predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI, wrote on the occasion of the seventh centenary of the death of the Angelic Doctor:  “Without doubt, Thomas possessed supremely the courage of the truth, a freedom of spirit in confronting new problems, the intellectual honesty of those who allow Christianity to be contaminated neither by secular philosophy nor by a prejudiced rejection of it.  He passed therefore into the history of Christian thought as a pioneer of the new path of philosophy and universal culture.  The key point and almost the kernel of the solution which, with all the brilliance of his prophetic intuition, he gave to the new encounter of faith and reason was a reconciliation between the secularity of the world and the radicality of the Gospel, thus avoiding the unnatural tendency to negate the world and its values while at the same time keeping faith with the supreme and inexorable demands of the supernatural order.”{47}
44.  Præcipuas inter perceptiones Sancti Thomæ illa est quæ missionem respicit quam Spiritus Sanctus explicat quum humanam scientiam maturat in sapientia.  Jam a primis paginis Summæ Theologiæ{48}  Aquinas Doctor primatum docere voluit illius sapientiæ quæ est donum Spiritus Sancti et quæ ad divinarum rerum cognitionem ducit.  Ejus theologia nos docet sapientiæ proprietatem in ejus arta conglutinatione cum fide et cognitione divina.  Illa cognoscit per connaturalitatem, fidem præsumit et efficit ut concipiatur rectum judicium suum, initium sumens a veritate ipsius fidei :  « …sapientia quæ ponitur donum differt ab ea quæ ponitur virtus intellectualis acquisita.  Nam illa acquiritur studio humano :  hæc autem est “de sursum descendens”, ut dicitur Jac. 3,15.  Similiter et differt a fide.  Nam fides assentit veritati divinæ secundum seipsam :  sed judicium quod est secundum veritatem divinam pertinet ad donum sapientiæ ».{49} 44.  Another of the great insights of Saint Thomas was his perception of the role of the Holy Spirit in the process by which knowledge matures into wisdom.  From the first pages of his Summa Theologiae,{48}  Aquinas was keen to show the primacy of the wisdom which is the gift of the Holy Spirit and which opens the way to a knowledge of divine realities.  His theology allows us to understand what is distinctive of wisdom in its close link with faith and knowledge of the divine.  This wisdom comes to know by way of connaturality;  it presupposes faith and eventually formulates its right judgement on the basis of the truth of faith itself:  “The wisdom named among the gifts of the Holy Spirit is distinct from the wisdom found among the intellectual virtues.  This second wisdom is acquired through study, but the first ‘comes from on high’, as Saint James puts it.  This also distinguishes it from faith, since faith accepts divine truth as it is.  But the gift of wisdom enables judgement according to divine truth.”{49}
Primatus tamen huic sapientiæ tributus non inducit Doctorem Angelicum ut duas alias additicias formas sapientiæ obliviscatur :  formam nempe philosophicam, quæ fulcitur facultate qua intellectus, intra proprios limites, instruitur ad res investigandas ;  et formam theologicam, quæ ex Revelatione pendet et fidei veritates scrutatur, ipsum Dei mysterium attingendo. Yet the priority accorded this wisdom does not lead the Angelic Doctor to overlook the presence of two other complementary forms of wisdom—philosophical wisdom, which is based upon the capacity of the intellect, for all its natural limitations, to explore reality, and theological wisdom, which is based upon Revelation and which explores the contents of faith, entering the very mystery of God.
Intime persuasus de eo quod « omne verum a quocumque dicatur a Spiritu Sancto est »,{50} Sanctus Thomas nulla adductus utilitate, veritatem dilexit.  Quæsivit eam ubicumque ea exprimi potuit, universalem ejus indolem quam maxime illustrando.  Magisterium Ecclesiæ in ipso vidit et æstimavit ardens veritatis studium ;  doctrina illius, eo quod universalem, objectivam et transcendentem veritatem semper asseruit, attigit culmina « quibus attingendis impar humana intellegentia est ».{51}  Merito quidem ille appellari potest « apostolus veritatis ».{52}  Quoniam indubitanter ad veritatem animum attendebat, revera objectivum ejus sensum agnoscere scivit.  Ejus vere est philosophia essendi et non apparendi dumtaxat. Profoundly convinced that “whatever its source, truth is of the Holy Spirit” (omne verum a quocumque dicatur a Spiritu Sancto est){50}  Saint Thomas was impartial in his love of truth.  He sought truth wherever it might be found and gave consummate demonstration of its universality.  In him, the Church’s Magisterium has seen and recognized the passion for truth;  and, precisely because it stays consistently within the horizon of universal, objective and transcendent truth, his thought scales “heights unthinkable to human intelligence.”{51}  Rightly, then, he may be called an “apostle of the truth.”{52}  Looking unreservedly to truth, the realism of Thomas could recognize the objectivity of truth and produce not merely a philosophy of “what seems to be” but a philosophy of “what is.”
Sejunctæ a ratione fidei tragœdia The drama of the separation of faith and reason
45.  Primis conditis studiorum universitatibus, theologia propius cum aliis formis investigationis et scientificæ cognitionis conferri potuit.  Sanctus Albertus Magnus et Sanctus Thomas, quamquam asserebant exsistentiam cujusdam compagis inter theologiam et philosophiam, primi fuerunt viri docti qui necessariam agnoverunt autonomiam qua philosophia et scientiæ indigebant ut singulæ argumentis propriæ investigationis incumberent.  Attamen, inde ab exeunte Medio Ævo legitima distinctio inter has duas cognitionis areas paulatim in nefastum discidium mutata est.  Post nimiam animi rationalistarum cupiditatem, quorundam disputatorum propriam, sententiæ talia posuerunt fundamenta, ut pervenirent ad philosophiam sejunctam et omnino autonomam quod ad fidei veritates.  Varia inter consectaria hujus sejunctionis, diffidentia quædam exstitit in dies validior quod attinet ad ipsam rationem.  Quidam generalem, scepticam et agnosticam diffidentiam profiteri cœperunt, vel ad majus spatium fidei tribuendum, vel ad quamcunque evertendam de eadem mentionem rationalem. 45.  With the rise of the first universities, theology came more directly into contact with other forms of learning and scientific research.  Although they insisted upon the organic link between theology and philosophy, Saint Albert the Great and Saint Thomas were the first to recognize the autonomy which philosophy and the sciences needed if they were to perform well in their respective fields of research.  From the late Medieval period onwards, however, the legitimate distinction between the two forms of learning became more and more a fateful separation.  As a result of the exaggerated rationalism of certain thinkers, positions grew more radical and there emerged eventually a philosophy which was separate from and absolutely independent of the contents of faith.  Another of the many consequences of this separation was an ever deeper mistrust with regard to reason itself.  In a spirit both sceptical and agnostic, some began to voice a general mistrust, which led some to focus more on faith and others to deny its rationality altogether.
Ut breviter dicamus, quicquid doctrina Patrum doctorumque Medii Ævi cogitaverat atque exsecuta erat veluti profundam unitatem, causam cognitionis accommodatæ ad altissimas speculationis formas, omnino reapse deletum est ope doctrinarum faventium defensioni cognitionis rationalis a fide sejunctæ eamque substituentis. In short, what for Patristic and Medieval thought was in both theory and practice a profound unity, producing knowledge capable of reaching the highest forms of speculation, was destroyed by systems which espoused the cause of rational knowledge sundered from faith and meant to take the place of faith.
46.  Extremæ opinationes, quæ magis valent, in occidentali præsertim historia, perbene noscuntur et videntur.  Nihil est immodestiæ edicere philosophicam disciplinam recentioris temporis magna ex parte esse progressam a christiana Revelatione gradatim disjunctam, eo usque opposita palam attingeret.  Præterito sæculo hic motus suum fastigium attigit.  Quidam « idealismi » asseclæ multifarie fidem ejusque elementa, vel Jesu Christi mortem ac resurrectionem, in dialecticas structuras ratione intellegibiles immutare contenderunt.  Huic opinioni variæ humanismi athei species, philosophice elucubratæ, obstiterunt, quæ fidem reputarunt perniciosam atque progressum plenæ rationalitatis prohibentem.  Haud veritæ sunt ipsæ ne novas religiones sese exhiberent quorundam consiliorum fulcimento utentes, quæ in politica ac sociali ratione, in systemata quædam evaserunt omnia complectentia humanitati exitiosa. 46.  The more influential of these radical positions are well known and high in profile, especially in the history of the West.  It is not too much to claim that the development of a good part of modern philosophy has seen it move further and further away from Christian Revelation, to the point of setting itself quite explicitly in opposition.  This process reached its apogee in the last century.  Some representatives of idealism sought in various ways to transform faith and its contents, even the mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, into dialectical structures which could be grasped by reason.  Opposed to this kind of thinking were various forms of atheistic humanism, expressed in philosophical terms, which regarded faith as alienating and damaging to the development of a full rationality.  They did not hesitate to present themselves as new religions serving as a basis for projects which, on the political and social plane, gave rise to totalitarian systems which have been disastrous for humanity.
In rebus scientificis vestigandis mens positivistica adolevit, quæ non modo discessit ab omni significatione opinationis christianæ de mundo, verum etiam, ac potissimum, omnia indicia metaphysicæ moralisque rationis prolabi sivit.  Inde factum est ut quidam scientiæ periti, ethica mente omnino carentes, in periculo versati sint ne amplius persona ejusque tota vita medium teneret studii locum.  Immo quidam illorum, de viribus technicæ artis progressus plane conscii, concedere videntur sollicitationi, præter mercatus rationes, demiurgicæ potestati in naturam ac in ipsum hominem. In the field of scientific research, a positivistic mentality took hold which not only abandoned the Christian vision of the world, but more especially rejected every appeal to a metaphysical or moral vision.  It follows that certain scientists, lacking any ethical point of reference, are in danger of putting at the centre of their concerns something other than the human person and the entirety of the person’s life.  Further still, some of these, sensing the opportunities of technological progress, seem to succumb not only to a market-based logic, but also to the temptation of a quasi-divine power over nature and even over the human being.
Veluti consequens discriminis rationalismi tandem nihilismus crevit.  Quatenus philosophia nullius rei, pro hominibus nostræ ætatis quandam suam habet pellicientem vim.  Ejus fautores inquisitionem putant in se ipsam conclusam, nulla data spe neque facultate adipiscendi veritatis metam.  In nihilismi opinatione, exsistentia dat tantum copiam quiddam sentiendi et experiendi, qua in re evanida primas agunt partes.  Ex nihilismo illa opinio orta est de nullo officio definitive tenendo, quandoquidem fugacia et temporaria sunt omnia. As a result of the crisis of rationalism, what has appeared finally is nihilism.  As a philosophy of nothingness, it has a certain attraction for people of our time.  Its adherents claim that the search is an end in itself, without any hope or possibility of ever attaining the goal of truth.  In the nihilist interpretation, life is no more than an occasion for sensations and experiences in which the ephemeral has pride of place.  Nihilism is at the root of the widespread mentality which claims that a definitive commitment should no longer be made, because everything is fleeting and provisional.
47.  Non est obliviscendum, ceterum, in hodierna cultura philosophiæ partes esse immutatas.  Ex sapientia et universali scientia, in unam quamlibet e multis scientiæ provinciis redacta est ;  immo, quibusdam ex rationibus, partes omnino supervacanæ eidem dumtaxat tribuuntur.  Aliæ interea rationalitatis formæ magis magisque increbuerunt, quæ philosophicæ disciplinæ leve pondus manifeste tribuerunt.  Pro veritatis contemplatione atque finis ultimi sensusque vitæ inquisitione, formæ hæ rationalitatis diriguntur — vel saltem sunt convertibiles — veluti « rationes instrumentales », quæ inserviant utilitatis propositis, voluptatibus vel dominationi. 47.  It should also be borne in mind that the role of philosophy itself has changed in modern culture.  From universal wisdom and learning, it has been gradually reduced to one of the many fields of human knowing;  indeed in some ways it has been consigned to a wholly marginal role.  Other forms of rationality have acquired an ever higher profile, making philosophical learning appear all the more peripheral.  These forms of rationality are directed not towards the contemplation of truth and the search for the ultimate goal and meaning of life;  but instead, as “instrumental reason,” they are directed — actually or potentially — towards the promotion of utilitarian ends, towards enjoyment or power.
Quam lubricum sit hanc viam decurrere inde a Nostris primis Litteris Encyclicis editis ediximus, quum scripsimus :  « Nostræ ætatis homo semper urgeri videtur eis ipsis rebus, quas efficit, nempe proventu operis manuum suarum et magis etiam laboris mentis et voluntatum propensionum.  Fructus hujus multiformis industriæ humanæ obnoxii sunt — nimis celeriter quidem ac sæpe tali modo, qui prævideri non possit — « alienationi », quatenus illis, qui eos protulerunt, simpliciter auferuntur :  hoc non solum fieri contigit nec tanta ratione, quanta, saltem ex parte, in quodam ambitu ex eorum effectibus consequenter et oblique enato, iidem fructus contra hominem ipsum convertuntur.  Hæc videtur esse summa acerbissimæ condicionis exsistentiæ hominum nostri temporis, prout maxima et universali amplitudine patet.  Quare homo majore in dies afficitur timore.  Metuit enim, ne fructus sui, non omnes quidem neque plerique, sed nonnulli et ii sane, qui singularem partem habent ingenii ejus et industriæ, contra se ipsum convertantur ».{53} In my first Encyclical Letter I stressed the danger of absolutizing such an approach when I wrote:  “The man of today seems ever to be under threat from what he produces, that is to say from the result of the work of his hands and, even more so, of the work of his intellect and the tendencies of his will.  All too soon, and often in an unforeseeable way, what this manifold activity of man yields is not only subject to ‘alienation’, in the sense that it is simply taken away from the person who produces it, but rather it turns against man himself, at least in part, through the indirect consequences of its effects returning on himself.  It is or can be directed against him.  This seems to make up the main chapter of the drama of present-day human existence in its broadest and universal dimension.  Man therefore lives increasingly in fear.  He is afraid that what he produces — not all of it, of course, or even most of it, but part of it and precisely that part that contains a special share of his genius and initiative — can radically turn against himself.”{53}
His culturæ immutationibus præpositis, nonnulli philosophi, veritatem ipsius causa inquirere desistentes, sibi hoc unum statuerunt ut objectivam certitudinem practicamve utilitatem obtinerent.  Proximum fuit ut vera rationis dignitas offunderetur, quæ nempe facultatem amisit verum cognoscendi et absolutum vestigandi. In the wake of these cultural shifts, some philosophers have abandoned the search for truth in itself and made their sole aim the attainment of a subjective certainty or a pragmatic sense of utility.  This in turn has obscured the true dignity of reason, which is no longer equipped to know the truth and to seek the absolute.
48.  Quod in postrema hac historiæ philosophiæ parte eminet, pertinet, igitur, ad contemplatam progredientem fidei a philosophica ratione distractionem.  Omnino verum est quod, res attente cogitanti, in philosophica quoque cogitatione eorum qui operam dederunt spatio inter fidem et rationem dilatando, magni pretii germina cogitationum nonnunquam ostenduntur, quæ penitus excussa et recta mente cordeque exculta, efficiunt ut veritatis iter reperiatur.  Hæc cogitationis germina inveniri possunt, exempli gratia, in perpensis explicationibus de perceptione experientiaque, de specierum summa deque irrationali personalitate deque intersubjectivitate, de libertate bonisque, de tempore historiaque.  Mortis quoque argumentum graviter unumquemquem philosophum compellare potest, ut in se ipse germanum suæ vitæ sensum reperiat.  Id autem non sibi vult præsentem inter fidem et rationem necessitudinem subtilem judicii conatum non postulare, quandoquidem tum ratio tum fides sunt extenuatæ et sunt factæ altera alteri debiles.  Ratio, Revelatione nudata, devia itinera decucurrit, quæ eandem in discrimen inferunt haud cernendi ultimam metam.  Fides, ratione carens, animi sensum et experientiam extulit, atque sic in periculo versatur ne amplius sit universalis oblatio.  Fallax est cogitare fidem, coram infirma ratione, plus posse ;  ipsa, contra, in grave periculum incidit ne in fabulam ac superstitionem evadat.  Eodem modo ratio, quæ fidei firmatæ non obversatur, ad novitatem et radicalitatem ipsius « esse » contuendas non lacessitur. 48.  This rapid survey of the history of philosophy, then, reveals a growing separation between faith and philosophical reason.  Yet closer scrutiny shows that even in the philosophical thinking of those who helped drive faith and reason further apart there are found at times precious and seminal insights which, if pursued and developed with mind and heart rightly tuned, can lead to the discovery of truth’s way.  Such insights are found, for instance, in penetrating analyses of perception and experience, of the imaginary and the unconscious, of personhood and intersubjectivity, of freedom and values, of time and history.  The theme of death as well can become for all thinkers an incisive appeal to seek within themselves the true meaning of their own life.  But this does not mean that the link between faith and reason as it now stands does not need to be carefully examined, because each without the other is impoverished and enfeebled.  Deprived of what Revelation offers, reason has taken side-tracks which expose it to the danger of losing sight of its final goal.  Deprived of reason, faith has stressed feeling and experience, and so run the risk of no longer being a universal proposition.  It is an illusion to think that faith, tied to weak reasoning, might be more penetrating;  on the contrary, faith then runs the grave risk of withering into myth or superstition.  By the same token, reason which is unrelated to an adult faith is not prompted to turn its gaze to the newness and radicality of being.
Ne importuna igitur videatur gravis firmaque Nostra compellatio, ut fides et philosophia artam illam conjunctionem redintegrent, quæ eas congruas efficiat earum naturæ, autonomia vicissim servata.  Fidei parrhesiæ respondere debet rationis audacia. This is why I make this strong and insistent appeal — not, I trust, untimely — that faith and philosophy recover the profound unity which allows them to stand in harmony with their nature without compromising their mutual autonomy.  The parrhesia [παρρησία, bold and unrestrained speech] of faith must be matched by the boldness of reason.



Magisterii prudens discretio
uti veritati præstitum officium
The Magisterium’s discernment
as diakonia of the truth
49.  Suam ipsius philosophiam non exhibet Ecclesia, neque quamlibet prælegit peculiarem philosophiam aliarum damno.{54}  Recondita hujus temperantiæ causa in eo reperitur quod philosophia, etiam quum necessitudinem instituit cum theologia, secundum suam rationem suasque regulas agere debet ;  nullo modo alioquin cavetur ut illa ad veritatem vergat et ad eam per cursum ratione perpendendum tendat.  Levis auxilii esset quædam philosophia quæ non procederet ratione gubernante secundum sua ipsius principia peculiaresque methodologias.  Quod hujus rei caput est, autonomiæ radix, qua philosophia fruitur, in eo invenitur quod ratio natura sua ad veritatem vergit ipsaque præterea ad eam consequendam necessaria habet instrumenta.  Philosophia hujus « statuti constitutivi » sibi conscia facere non potest quin servet necessitates quoque et perspicuitates veritatis revelatæ proprias. 49.  The Church has no philosophy of her own nor does she canonize any one particular philosophy in preference to others.{54}  The underlying reason for this reluctance is that, even when it engages theology, philosophy must remain faithful to its own principles and methods.  Otherwise there would be no guarantee that it would remain oriented to truth and that it was moving towards truth by way of a process governed by reason.  A philosophy which did not proceed in the light of reason according to its own principles and methods would serve little purpose.  At the deepest level, the autonomy which philosophy enjoys is rooted in the fact that reason is by its nature oriented to truth and is equipped moreover with the means necessary to arrive at truth.  A philosophy conscious of this as its “constitutive status” cannot but respect the demands and the data of revealed truth.
Historia tamen demonstravit declinationes et errores in quos haud semel recentiore potissimum ætate philosophicæ opinationes inciderint.  Munus non est Magisterii neque officium opem ferre ad lacunas philosophicæ cogitationis mancæ implendas.  Ejus est, contra, palam et strenue obsistere, quum philosophicæ sententiæ dubiæ periculum injiciunt ne revelatio recte intellegatur nec non quum falsæ factiosæque effunduntur opiniones, quæ graves errores disseminant, exturbantes Dei populi simplicitatem et fidei sinceritatem. Yet history shows that philosophy — especially modern philosophy — has taken wrong turns and fallen into error.  It is neither the task nor the competence of the Magisterium to intervene in order to make good the lacunas of deficient philosophical discourse.  Rather, it is the Magisterium’s duty to respond clearly and strongly when controversial philosophical opinions threaten right understanding of what has been revealed, and when false and partial theories which sow the seed of serious error, confusing the pure and simple faith of the People of God, begin to spread more widely.
50.  Ecclesiæ ideo Magisterium, sub fidei lumine suum judicium criticum de philosophicis opinationibus ac sententiis, quæ cum doctrina christiana contendunt, ex auctoritate proferre potest ac debet.{55}  Ad Magisterium imprimis pertinet judicare quæ præsumptiones philosophicæ et consecutiones veritati revelatæ aversentur, pariterque postulata significare quæ sub lumine fidei a philosophia requiruntur.  In philosophicæ præterea scientiæ progressu complures philosophantium scholæ sunt ortæ.  Etiam plures hæ disciplinæ Magisterium compellant ad judicium officiose enuntiandum an primigenia principia, quibus hæ scholæ nituntur, cum postulatis Dei verbi ac theologicæ cogitationis propriis componi possint necne. 50.  In the light of faith, therefore, the Church’s Magisterium can and must authoritatively exercise a critical discernment of opinions and philosophies which contradict Christian doctrine.{55}  It is the task of the Magisterium in the first place to indicate which philosophical presuppositions and conclusions are incompatible with revealed truth, thus articulating the demands which faith’s point of view makes of philosophy.  Moreover, as philosophical learning has developed, different schools of thought have emerged.  This pluralism also imposes upon the Magisterium the responsibility of expressing a judgement as to whether or not the basic tenets of these different schools are compatible with the demands of the word of God and theological inquiry.
Ecclesia quippe demonstrare debet id quod fidei alienum oriri potest in quadam philosophica disciplina.  Complures namque philosophicæ cogitationes, ut opiniones de Deo, de homine, de ejus libertate deque ejus ethica agendi ratione, Ecclesiam recta compellant, quandoquidem veritatem revelatam quam ipsa tuetur contingunt.  Quum hoc judicium enuntiamus, nos Episcopi « testes veritatis » esse debemus in diaconia sustinenda humili sed tenaci, quæ singulis philosophis æstimanda est, in commodum « rectæ rationis », rationis videlicet quæ de vero congruenter cogitat. It is the Church’s duty to indicate the elements in a philosophical system which are incompatible with her own faith.  In fact, many philosophical opinions — concerning God, the human being, human freedom and ethical behaviour— engage the Church directly, because they touch on the revealed truth of which she is the guardian.  In making this discernment, we Bishops have the duty to be “witnesses to the truth,” fulfilling a humble but tenacious ministry of service which every philosopher should appreciate, a service in favour of recta ratio, or of reason reflecting rightly upon what is true.
51.  Hoc autem judicium non quædam infitiatio intellegi primo debet, proinde quasi Magisterium auferre vel imminuere quaslibet actiones velit.  Immo ejus cohortationes volunt imprimis philosophicas vestigationes lacessere, promovere, incitare.  Philosophi ceterum primi necessitatem percipiunt se ipsos judicandi, errores, si qui sunt, corrigendi necnon nimis angustos fines transgrediendi in quibus eorum philosophica cogitatio gignitur.  Illud præcipuum est considerandum, unam esse veritatem, quamvis ejus significationes historiæ vestigia exhibeant atque, insuper, e ratione humana propter peccatum sauciata et hebetata oriantur.  Inde constat nullam historicam philosophiæ formam legitime sibi vindicare posse facultatem totam veritatem complectendi, neque plene explanandi hominem, mundum, hominis necessitudinem cum Deo. 51.  This discernment, however, should not be seen as primarily negative, as if the Magisterium intended to abolish or limit any possible mediation.  On the contrary, the Magisterium’s interventions are intended above all to prompt, promote and encourage philosophical inquiry.  Besides, philosophers are the first to understand the need for self-criticism, the correction of errors and the extension of the too restricted terms in which their thinking has been framed.  In particular, it is necessary to keep in mind the unity of truth, even if its formulations are shaped by history and produced by human reason wounded and weakened by sin.  This is why no historical form of philosophy can legitimately claim to embrace the totality of truth, nor to be the complete explanation of the human being, of the world and of the human being’s relationship with God.
Hodiernis porro temporibus, quum systemata, rationes, opinationes ac argumenta philosophica sæpe minutatissime digesta multiplicentur, magis magisque sub fidei lumine acumen judicii deposcitur.  Quod judicium est arduum, quia, si quidem jam est laboriosum ingenitas ac non alienabiles facultates rationis agnoscere, finibus constitutivis et historicis additis, multo incertius interdum erit judicium discernendi, in singulis philosophicis notionibus, id quod, sub fidei respectu, validum et frugiferum exhibent, pro eo quod præbent falsum et periculosum.  Ecclesia utique scit thesauros sapientiæ et scientiæ in Christo abscondi (cfr Col 2,3);  quocirca operam dat ut philosophica inquisitio evolvatur, ne via intercludatur, quæ ad mysterium agnoscendum ducit. Today, then, with the proliferation of systems, methods, concepts and philosophical theses which are often extremely complex, the need for a critical discernment in the light of faith becomes more urgent, even if it remains a daunting task.  Given all of reason’s inherent and historical limitations, it is difficult enough to recognize the inalienable powers proper to it;  but it is still more difficult at times to discern in specific philosophical claims what is valid and fruitful from faith’s point of view and what is mistaken or dangerous.  Yet the Church knows that “the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are hidden in Christ (Col 2:3) and therefore intervenes in order to stimulate philosophical inquiry, lest it stray from the path which leads to recognition of the mystery.
52.  Recentioribus non modo temporibus Ecclesiæ Magisterium suam mentem de quibusdam philosophicis doctrinis patefecit.  Ut quædam supponamus exempla, sufficit ut memorentur sæculorum decursu declarationes de opinionibus quibusdam quæ affirmabant animas præexsistere,{56} itemque de variis idolatriæ esoterismique superstitiosi obnoxiis formis quæ in astrologicis enuntiationibus{57} continentur ;  ne obliviscamur scripta magis systematica adversus averroismi Latini sententias, quæ christianæ fidei aversantur.{58} 52.  It is not only in recent times that the Magisterium of the Church has intervened to make its mind known with regard to particular philosophical teachings.  It is enough to recall, by way of example, the pronouncements made through the centuries concerning theories which argued in favour of the pre-existence of the soul,{56} or concerning the different forms of idolatry and esoteric superstition found in astrological speculations,{57} without forgetting the more systematic pronouncements against certain claims of Latin Averroism which were incompatible with the Christian faith.{58}
Si Magisterii verbum crebrius a superiore inde sæculo exauditum est, id accidit quod illa ætate non pauci Catholici suum esse officium putarunt suam philosophiam opponere opinionibus recentiorum philosophorum.  Tunc autem Ecclesiæ Magisterium omnino coactum est ad vigilandum ne hæ philosophicæ doctrinæ vicissim in formas falsas et negatorias transgrederentur.  Sunt idcirco censura æquabiliter affecti hinc fideismus{59} et traditionalismus radicalis,{60} propter eorum diffidentiam naturalium rationis facultatum, illinc rationalismus,{61} et ontologismus,{62} quandoquidem rationi naturali id tribuebant, quod solummodo fidei lumine cognosci potest.  Quæ valida in his disceptationibus continebantur Constitutione dogmatica Dei filius recepta sunt, qua primum Concilum Œcumenicum quoddam, Vaticanum scilicet I, sollemniter inter Revelationem ac fidem necessitudinem pertractavit.  Doctrina quæ in documento illo continetur penitus et salubriter philosophicam complurium fidelium inquisitionem affecit atque hodiernis quoque temporibus quiddam perstat præceptivum ad quod tendere debemus ad justam congruentemque Christianam hac de re inquisitionem consequendam. If the Magisterium has spoken out more frequently since the middle of the last century, it is because in that period not a few Catholics felt it their duty to counter various streams of modern thought with a philosophy of their own.  At this point, the Magisterium of the Church was obliged to be vigilant lest these philosophies developed in ways which were themselves erroneous and negative.  The censures were delivered even-handedly:  on the one hand, fideism{59} and radical traditionalism,{60} for their distrust of reason’s natural capacities, and, on the other, rationalism{61} and ontologism{62} because they attributed to natural reason a knowledge which only the light of faith could confer.  The positive elements of this debate were assembled in the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, in which for the first time an Ecumenical Council — in this case, the First Vatican Council — pronounced solemnly on the relationship between reason and faith.  The teaching contained in this document strongly and positively marked the philosophical research of many believers and remains today a standard reference-point for correct and coherent Christian thinking in this regard.
53.  Potius quam de singulis philosophorum sententiis, Magisterii effata de necessitate cognitionis naturalis atque, ideo, novissime philosophicæ pro fide intellegenda tractaverunt.  Concilium Vaticanum I, summatim referendo et sollemniter doctrinam confirmando quam ordinarium in modum constanterque fidelibus Magisterium pontificium ministravit, lucide edixit quam inseparabiles sint simulque plane sejunctæ naturalis Dei cognitio et Revelatio, ratio et fides.  Concilium ex præcipua postulatione sumpsit initium, quam ipsa Revelatio præsumebat, Deum scilicet esse naturaliter cognosci posse, rerum omnium principium et finem,{63} atque sollemni illa jam memorata enuntiatione desiit :  « Duplicem esse ordinem cognitionis, non solum principio, sed objecto etiam distinctum ».{64}  Asseverare ideo contra omnes rationalismi species oportebat fidei mysteria a philosophicis inventis separari, illaque hæc præcedere et transcendere ;  altera ex parte adversus proclivia ad fidem blandimenta, necesse fuit ut veritatis unitas confirmaretur ideoque etiam efficax emolumentum quod rationalis cognitio tribuere potest ac debet fidei cognitioni :  « Verum etsi fides sit supra rationem, nulla tamen unquam inter fidem et rationem vera dissensio esse potest :  quum idem Deus, qui mysteria revelat et fidem infundit, animo humano rationis lumen indiderit, Deus autem negare se ipsum non possit, nec verum vero unquam contradicere ».{65} 53.  The Magisterium’s pronouncements have been concerned less with individual philosophical theses than with the need for rational and hence ultimately philosophical knowledge for the understanding of faith.  In synthesizing and solemnly reaffirming the teachings constantly proposed to the faithful by the ordinary Papal Magisterium, the First Vatican Council showed how inseparable and at the same time how distinct were faith and reason, Revelation and natural knowledge of God.  The Council began with the basic criterion, presupposed by Revelation itself, of the natural knowability of the existence of God, the beginning and end of all things,{63} and concluded with the solemn assertion quoted earlier:  “There are two orders of knowledge, distinct not only in their point of departure, but also in their object.”{64}  Against all forms of rationalism, then, there was a need to affirm the distinction between the mysteries of faith and the findings of philosophy, and the transcendence and precedence of the mysteries of faith over the findings of philosophy.  Against the temptations of fideism, however, it was necessary to stress the unity of truth and thus the positive contribution which rational knowledge can and must make to faith’s knowledge:  “Even if faith is superior to reason there can never be a true divergence between faith and reason, since the same God who reveals the mysteries and bestows the gift of faith has also placed in the human spirit the light of reason.  This God could not deny himself, nor could the truth ever contradict the truth.”{65}
54.  Nostro quoque sæculo, Magisterium plus quam semel hanc rem agitavit, admonens de rationalismi blanditiis.  Hoc in prospectu Pii PP. X est consideranda opera, qui animadvertit modernismi fundamentum illas esse philosophicas notiones, quæ phænomenismum, agnosticismum et immanentismum redolebant.{66}  Neque momentum pondusve obliviscendum Catholicæ detrectationis Marxistarum philosophiæ atque Communismi athei.{67} 54.  In our own century too the Magisterium has revisited the theme on a number of occasions, warning against the lure of rationalism.  Here the pronouncements of Pope Saint Pius X are pertinent, stressing as they did that at the basis of Modernism were philosophical claims which were phenomenist, agnostic and immanentist.{66}  Nor can the importance of the Catholic rejection of Marxist philosophy and atheistic Communism be forgotten.{67}
Pius PP. XII deinceps vocem suam intendit quum, in Litteris illis Encyclicis quarum titulus Humani generis, de erratis sententiis moneret, quæ cum evolutionismi, exsistentialismi et historicismi opinionibus nectebantur.  Idem Pontifex clarius edixit placita hæc non a theologis esse elucubrata ac prolata, sed « extra ovile Christi »{68} originem traxisse ;  simul addidit tales errores non simpliciter ejiciendos, sed judicio critico ponderandos :  « Jamvero theologis ac philosophis Catholicis, quibus grave incumbit munus divinam humanamque veritatem tuendi animisque inserendi hominum, has opinationes plus minusve e recto itinere aberrantes neque ignorare neque neglegere licet.  Quin immo ipsi easdem opinationes perspectas habeant oportet, tum quia morbi non apte curantur nisi rite præcogniti fuerint, tum quia nonnunquam in falsis ipsis commentis aliquid veritatis latet, tum denique quia eadem animum provocant ad quasdam veritates, sive philosophicas sive theologicas, sollertius perscrutandas ac perpendendas ».{69} Later, in his Encyclical Letter Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII warned against mistaken interpretations linked to evolutionism, existentialism and historicism.  He made it clear that these theories had not been proposed and developed by theologians, but had their origins “outside the sheepfold of Christ.”{68}  He added, however, that errors of this kind should not simply be rejected but should be examined critically:  “Catholic theologians and philosophers, whose grave duty it is to defend natural and supernatural truth and instill it in human hearts, cannot afford to ignore these more or less erroneous opinions.  Rather they must come to understand these theories well, not only because diseases are properly treated only if rightly diagnosed and because even in these false theories some truth is found at times, but because in the end these theories provoke a more discriminating discussion and evaluation of philosophical and theological truths.”{69}
Postremo etiam Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, peculiare suum explens officium pro universali Romani Pontificis magisterio,{70} iterum de periculo monuit in quo versari possunt quidam theologiæ liberationis theologi sumendo sine judicii acumine principia et rationes a Marxismo mutuata.{71} In accomplishing its specific task in service of the Roman Pontiff’s universal Magisterium,{70} the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has more recently had to intervene to re-emphasize the danger of an uncritical adoption by some liberation theologians of opinions and methods drawn from Marxism.{71}
Superioribus igitur temporibus identidem ac diversimode de re philosophica judicium discernendi exercuit Magisterium.  Quod autem Decessores Nostri recolendæ memoriæ attulerunt, magni pretii existimatur — subsidium quod oblivione obruere haudquaquam licet. In the past, then, the Magisterium has on different occasions and in different ways offered its discernment in philosophical matters.  My revered Predecessors have thus made an invaluable contribution which must not be forgotten.
55.  Si hodiernas condiciones consideramus, animadvertimus pristinas restitui quæstiones, easdemque proprietatibus novis.  Non agitur tantum de quæstionibus quæ singulas personas cœtusve complectuntur, sed de cogitationibus inter homines serpentibus ita ut quodammodo in mentem communem jam convertantur.  Talis est, exempli gratia, radicalis de ratione diffidentia, quam recentes multarum inquisitionum philosopharum explicationes ostendunt.  Hac de re compluribus ex partibus audita est vox de « interitu metaphysicæ » :  est voluntas ut philosophia tenuioribus muneribus contenta sit, quæ tantum versetur in factis intepretandis vel in vestigationibus de quibusdam certis argumentis humanæ cognitionis vel ejusdem de structuris. 55.  Surveying the situation today, we see that the problems of other times have returned, but in a new key.  It is no longer a matter of questions of interest only to certain individuals and groups, but convictions so widespread that they have become to some extent the common mind.  An example of this is the deep-seated distrust of reason which has surfaced in the most recent developments of much of philosophical research, to the point where there is talk at times of “the end of metaphysics.”  Philosophy is expected to rest content with more modest tasks such as the simple interpretation of facts or an inquiry into restricted fields of human knowing or its structures.
In ipsa theologia quædam præteriti temporis iterum emergunt sollicitationes.  In nonnullis hujus ætatis theologicis scholis, exempli gratia, quidam rationalismus progreditur, præsertim quum placita, quæ philosophice habentur valida, præceptiva ad theologicam inquisitionem agendam judicantur.  Id potissimum accidit quum theologus, scientiæ philosophicæ expers, sine judicio sententiis jam in communem loquelam cultumque receptis, at satis rationali fundamento carentibus, temperatur.{72} In theology too the temptations of other times have reappeared.  In some contemporary theologies, for instance, a certain rationalism is gaining ground, especially when opinions thought to be philosophically well founded are taken as normative for theological research.  This happens particularly when theologians, through lack of philosophical competence, allow themselves to be swayed uncritically by assertions which have become part of current parlance and culture but which are poorly grounded in reason.{72}
Neque desunt qui in fideismum periculose regrediantur, quippe qui rationalis cognitionis philosophicæque scientiæ pondus ad fidem intellegendam, immo ad ipsam facultatem possidendam in Deum credendi, non agnoscat.  Hodie pervagata opinio hujus fideisticæ propensionis est « bliblicismus », qui Sacrarum Litterarum lectionem earumque explicationem unicum arbitratur veridicæ congruentiæ caput.  Sic evenit ut Dei verbum cum sola Sacra Scriptura æquetur, hoc modo Ecclesiæ doctrinam perimendo, quam Concilium Œcumenicum Vaticanum II palam confirmavit.  Constitutio Dei Verbum postquam commonefecit simul in Sacris Libris simul in Traditione{73} inesse Dei verbum, graviter edicit :  « Sacra Traditio et Sacra Scriptura unum verbi Dei sacrum depositum constituunt Ecclesiæ commissum, cui inhærens tota plebs sancta cum Pastoribus suis adunata, in doctrina Apostolorum et communione, fractione panis et orationibus jugiter perseverat (cfr Act 2,42) ».{74}  Non ad Sacram Scripturam dumtaxat igitur sese refert Ecclesia.  Etenim « suprema fidei ejus regula »{75} ex unitate oritur quam inter Sacram Traditionem, Sacram Scripturam et Ecclesiæ Magisterium posuit Spiritus, quæ sic mutuo implicantur, ut hæc tria sejunctim nullo modo esse possint.{76} There are also signs of a resurgence of fideism, which fails to recognize the importance of rational knowledge and philosophical discourse for the understanding of faith, indeed for the very possibility of belief in God.  One currently widespread symptom of this fideistic tendency is a “biblicism” which tends to make the reading and exegesis of Sacred Scripture the sole criterion of truth.  In consequence, the word of God is identified with Sacred Scripture alone, thus eliminating the doctrine of the Church which the Second Vatican Council stressed quite specifically.  Having recalled that the word of God is present in both Scripture and Tradition,{73} the Constitution Dei Verbum continues emphatically:  “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture comprise a single sacred deposit of the word of God entrusted to the Church.  Embracing this deposit and united with their pastors, the People of God remain always faithful to the teaching of the Apostles (cfr Act 2,42).”{74}  Scripture, therefore, is not the Church’s sole point of reference.  The “supreme rule of her faith”{75} derives from the unity which the Spirit has created between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church in a reciprocity which means that none of the three can survive without the others.{76}
Non est porro subæstimandum periculum quod inest in proposito quodam Sacræ Scripturæ veritatem eruendi ex una tantum adhibita methodologia, necessitate neglecta latioris exegesis, quæ una cum tota Ecclesia ad textus plene intellegendos accedere sinat.  Quotquot in Sacræ Scripturæ studium incumbunt, præ se usque ferre debent varias methodologias explanatorias in aliqua ipsas etiam inniti opinatione philosophica :  est illa acumine pensitanda antequam sacris scriptis aptetur. Moreover, one should not underestimate the danger inherent in seeking to derive the truth of Sacred Scripture from the use of one method alone, ignoring the need for a more comprehensive exegesis which enables the exegete, together with the whole Church, to arrive at the full sense of the texts.  Those who devote themselves to the study of Sacred Scripture should always remember that the various hermeneutical approaches have their own philosophical underpinnings, which need to be carefully evaluated before they are applied to the sacred texts.
Aliæ absconditi fideismi formæ agnosci possunt eo quod theologia speculativa parvi æstimatur ac pariter philosophia classica despicatui habetur, ex cujus notionibus sive fidei intellectus sive dogmaticæ ipsæ formulæ verba exceperunt.  Pius PP. XII, felicis recordationis, de hac traditionis philosophicæ oblivione necnon de desertis translaticiis locutionibus monuit.{77} Other modes of latent fideism appear in the scant consideration accorded to speculative theology, and in disdain for the classical philosophy from which the terms of both the understanding of faith and the actual formulation of dogma have been drawn.  My revered Predecessor Pope Pius XII warned against such neglect of the philosophical tradition and against abandonment of the traditional terminology.{77}
56.  Aliquo modo, postremo, effatis omnia complectentibus et absolutis diffidunt, ii potissimum qui arbitrantur ex consensu, non ex intellectu objectivæ realitati obnoxio depromi veritatem.  Certe illud intellegi potest, in mundo qui in multas peculiaresque partes dispertitur, eum complexivum ultimumque vitæ sensum difficulter agnosci, quem translaticia philosophia quæsivit.  Verumtamen sub lumine fidei quæ in Christo Jesu hunc ultimum sensum agnoscit, facere non possumus quin philosophos, Christianos vel non Christianos, incitemus ut rationis humanæ facultati confidant neque metas in philosophandi arte nimis mediocres præ se ferant.  Hujus jam ad finem vergentis millenni historica lectio testatur hanc esse calcandam viam :  oportet veritatis ultimæ cupido vestigationisque desiderium non amittantur, quæ cum audacia novos cursus detegendi conjunguntur.  Fides ipsa rationem lacessit ad omnem secessionem deserendam et ad omnia periclitanda, ut persequatur quæ pulchra, bona veraque sunt.  Fides sic rationis fit certus atque suadens advocatus. 56.  In brief, there are signs of a widespread distrust of universal and absolute statements, especially among those who think that truth is born of consensus and not of a consonance between intellect and objective reality.  In a world subdivided into so many specialized fields, it is not hard to see how difficult it can be to acknowledge the full and ultimate meaning of life which has traditionally been the goal of philosophy.  Nonetheless, in the light of faith which finds in Jesus Christ this ultimate meaning, I cannot but encourage philosophers — be they Christian or not — to trust in the power of human reason and not to set themselves goals that are too modest in their philosophizing.  The lesson of history in this millennium now drawing to a close shows that this is the path to follow:  it is necessary not to abandon the passion for ultimate truth, the eagerness to search for it or the audacity to forge new paths in the search.  It is faith which stirs reason to move beyond all isolation and willingly to run risks so that it may attain whatever is beautiful, good and true.  Faith thus becomes the convinced and convincing advocate of reason.
Ecclesia philosophiæ studiosa The Church’s interest in philosophy
57.  Magisterium, utcunque, in erroribus notandis doctrinisque philosophorum aberrantibus non se continuit.  Pari cura præcipua principia ad germanam philosophicæ cogitationis renovationem assequendam confirmavit, definita demonstrando etiam curricula, quæ sunt tenenda.  Hac in re, Leo PP. XIII, Litteris suis encyclicis Æterni Patris, vere historicæ significationis fecit illam pro Ecclesiæ vita progressionem.  Id scriptum ad hoc usque tempus unum exstat documentum pontificium illius gradus, quod philosophiæ totum dicatur.  Concilii Vaticani I eximius ille Pontifex doctrinam de necessitudine inter fidem et rationem repetiit atque amplificavit, idemque philosophicas cogitationes fidei ac theologicæ scientiæ summo esse auxilio demonstravit.{78}  Uno plus post sæculo complura illius scripti indicia sive re sive pædagogico usu nihil amiserunt utilitatis ;  primum ex omnibus est id quod ad incomparabilem Sancti Thomæ philosophiæ præstantiam spectat.  Doctoris Angelici doctrina restituta Leoni PP. XIII optima videbatur semita ad illum philosophiæ usum recuperandum, quem postulabat fides.  Sanctus Thoma — scripsit ille — « rationem, ut par est, a fide apprime distinguens, utramque tamen amice consocians, utriusque tum jura conservavit, tum dignitati consuluit ».{79} 57.  Yet the Magisterium does more than point out the misperceptions and the mistakes of philosophical theories.  With no less concern it has sought to stress the basic principles of a genuine renewal of philosophical inquiry, indicating as well particular paths to be taken.  In this regard, Pope Leo XIII with his Encyclical Letter Æterni Patris took a step of historic importance for the life of the Church, since it remains to this day the one papal document of such authority devoted entirely to philosophy.  The great Pope revisited and developed the First Vatican Council’s teaching on the relationship between faith and reason, showing how philosophical thinking contributes in fundamental ways to faith and theological learning.{78}  More than a century later, many of the insights of his Encyclical Letter have lost none of their interest from either a practical or pedagogical point of view — most particularly, his insistence upon the incomparable value of the philosophy of Saint Thomas.  A renewed insistence upon the thought of the Angelic Doctor seemed to Pope Leo XIII the best way to recover the practice of a philosophy consonant with the demands of faith. “Just when Saint Thomas distinguishes perfectly between faith and reason,” the Pope writes, “he unites them in bonds of mutual friendship, conceding to each its specific rights and to each its specific dignity.”{79}
58.  Quæ feliciter consecuta sit hæc Pontificis invitatio, omnes noverunt.  Sancti Thomæ de doctrina inquisitiones, nec non aliorum scholasticorum auctorum, novum impetum habuerunt.  Historica studia valde excitata sunt et hanc ob rem mediævalium philosophorum iterum sunt repertæ divitiæ, quæ tunc temporis fere ignorabantur, atque novæ Thomisticæ scholæ ortæ sunt.  Historica adhibita methodologia, Sancti Thomæ operum cognitio admodum progressa est atque innumeri fuerunt vestigatores qui animose in rerum philosophicarum theologicarumque disputationes illius ætatis thomisticam traditionem induxerunt.  Catholici theologi hujus sæculi auctoritate præstantiores, quorum cogitationibus et vestigationibus multum debet Concilium Œcumenicum Vaticanum II, hujus renovationis philosophiæ Thomisticæ filii sunt.  Ecclesia, sæculo vertente XX, valida philosophorum turma uti sic potuit, qui Angelici Doctoris in schola sunt instituti. 58.  The positive results of the papal summons are well known.  Studies of the thought of Saint Thomas and other Scholastic writers received new impetus.  Historical studies flourished, resulting in a rediscovery of the riches of Medieval thought, which until then had been largely unknown;  and there emerged new Thomistic schools.  With the use of historical method, knowledge of the works of Saint Thomas increased greatly, and many scholars had courage enough to introduce the Thomistic tradition into the philosophical and theological discussions of the day.  The most influential Catholic theologians of the present century, to whose thinking and research the Second Vatican Council was much indebted, were products of this revival of Thomistic philosophy.  Throughout the twentieth century, the Church has been served by a powerful array of thinkers formed in the school of the Angelic Doctor.
59.  Thomistica utcunque et neothomistica renovatio, philosophicæ repetitæ cogitationis in cultura christianæ indolis non fuit solum signum.  Jam antea, atque una cum Leoniana invitatione, non pauci catholici philosophi exstiterant qui, recentioribus philosophantium cogitationibus innitentes, propria utentes methodologia, magnæ auctoritatis duraturique momenti opera philosophica ediderant.  Fuerunt qui sic altas summas composuerunt ut nihil ab his esset invidendum maximis idealismi commentis ;  alii porro ad fidem nova ratione tractandam, lumine præfulgente renovati intellectus conscientiæ moralis, epistemologica fundamenta jecerunt ;  alii quandam induxerunt philosophiam quæ, ab immanentia vestiganda sumpto initio, ad transcendentiam aditum reseravit ;  alii tandem in phænomenologicæ provinciam methodologiæ, fidei postulata inserere contenderunt.  Diversis denique rationibus formæ philosophicarum cogitationum sunt effectæ, quæ præclaram christianæ doctrinæ traditionem in fidei rationisque unitate vitalem servaverunt. 59.  Yet the Thomistic and neo-Thomistic revival was not the only sign of a resurgence of philosophical thought in culture of Christian inspiration.  Earlier still, and parallel to Pope Leo’s call, there had emerged a number of Catholic philosophers who, adopting more recent currents of thought and according to a specific method, produced philosophical works of great influence and lasting value.  Some devised syntheses so remarkable that they stood comparison with the great systems of idealism.  Others established the epistemological foundations for a new consideration of faith in the light of a renewed understanding of moral consciousness;  others again produced a philosophy which, starting with an analysis of immanence, opened the way to the transcendent;  and there were finally those who sought to combine the demands of faith with the perspective of phenomenological method.  From different quarters, then, modes of philosophical speculation have continued to emerge and have sought to keep alive the great tradition of Christian thought which unites faith and reason.
60.  Concilium Œcumenicum Vaticanum II autem pro parte sua de philosophia locupletissimam ac fertilissimam exhibet doctrinam.  Oblivisci non possumus, his potissimum consideratis Litteris Encyclicis, Constitutionis Gaudium et spes integrum quoddam caput anthropologiæ biblicæ esse quasi compendium, idemque exstare pro philosophia quoque consilii fontem.  Illis in paginis de humanæ personæ valore agitur, quæ ad imaginem Dei creata est, ejus dignitatis et præstantiæ præ ceteris creaturis ratio affertur atque ejus rationis transcendens facultas ostenditur.{80}  Atheismi quoque quæstionem Gaudium et spes considerat et illius philosophicæ opinationis errorum apposite afferuntur causæ, non alienabili præsertim personæ spectata dignitate ac libertate.{81}  Procul dubio altam philosophicam significationem habent illarum paginarum sententiæ, quas Nos in Nostras primas Litteras Encyclicas Redemptor hominis rettulimus, quæque veluti firmum quoddam constituunt ad quod Nostra doctrina costanter convertitur :  « Reapse nonnisi in mysterio Verbi incarnati mysterium hominis vere clarescit.  Adam enim, primus homo, erat figura futuri (Rom 5,14), scilicet Christi Domini.  Christus, novissimus Adam, in ipsa revelatione mysterii Patris ejusque anoris, hominem ipsi homini plene manifestat eidemque altissimam ejus vocationem patefacit ».{82} 60.  The Second Vatican Council, for its part, offers a rich and fruitful teaching concerning philosophy.  I cannot fail to note, especially in the context of this Encyclical Letter, that one chapter of the Constitution Gaudium et Spes amounts to a virtual compendium of the biblical anthropology from which philosophy too can draw inspiration.  The chapter deals with the value of the human person created in the image of God, explains the dignity and superiority of the human being over the rest of creation, and declares the transcendent capacity of human reason.{80}  The problem of atheism is also dealt with in Gaudium et Spes, and the flaws of its philosophical vision are identified, especially in relation to the dignity and freedom of the human person.{81}  There is no doubt that the climactic section of the chapter is profoundly significant for philosophy;  and it was this which I took up in my first Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis and which serves as one of the constant reference-points of my teaching:  “The truth is that only in the mystery of the Incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light.  For Adam, the first man, was a type of him who was to come (Rom 5,14), Christ the Lord.  Christ, the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling.”{82}
Concilium de philosophia quoque discenda tractavit, cui ad sacerdotium candidati operam dare debent ;  quæ cohortationes in universum sunt ad christianam totam institutionem convertendæ.  Affirmat enim Concilium :  « Philosophicæ disciplinæ ita tradantur ut alumni imprimis ad solidam et cohærentem hominis, mundi et Dei cognitionem acquirendam manuducantur, innixi patrimonio philosophico perenniter valido, ratione quoque habita philosophicarum investigationum progredientis ætatis ».{83} The Council also dealt with the study of philosophy required of candidates for the priesthood;  and its recommendations have implications for Christian education as a whole.  These are the Council’s words:  “The philosophical disciplines should be taught in such a way that students acquire in the first place a solid and harmonious knowledge of the human being, of the world and of God, based upon the philosophical heritage which is enduringly valid, yet taking into account currents of modern philosophy.”{83}
Hæc præcepta etiam atque etiam sunt confirmata, nec non in aliis Magisterii documentis explicata, ut solida philosophica institutio præstetur, eis præsertim qui ad theologicas disciplinas se comparant.  Ipsi autem sæpenumero hujus institutionis pondus ostentavimus eis qui, in pastorali vita, aliquando cum hodierni mundi necessitatibus contendere et causas aliquorum morum intellegere debebunt, prompta responsa daturi.{84} These directives have been reiterated and developed in a number of other magisterial documents in order to guarantee a solid philosophical formation, especially for those preparing for theological studies.  I have myself emphasized several times the importance of this philosophical formation for those who one day, in their pastoral life, will have to address the aspirations of the contemporary world and understand the causes of certain behavior in order to respond in appropriate ways.{84}
61.  Si quidem compluribus temporibus necesse habuimus, hanc questionem iterum attingere, cogitationum Doctoris Angelici vim confirmavimus atque ut ejus philosophia comprehenderetur institimus, id ex eo ortum est quod Magisterii præscripta haud semper optanda animi promptitudine servata sunt.  In catholicis scholis multis, annis post Concilium Œcumenicum Vaticanum II finitum, hujus rei quædam visa est hebetatio propterea quod minoris æstimata est non modo philosophia scholastica, verum etiam in universum tota philosophica disciplina.  Mirantes ac dolentes animadvertimus haud paucos theologos esse participes hujus neglegentiæ philosophicæ disciplinæ. 61.  If it has been necessary from time to time to intervene on this question, to reiterate the value of the Angelic Doctor’s insights and insist on the study of his thought, this has been because the Magisterium’s directives have not always been followed with the readiness one would wish.  In the years after the Second Vatican Council, many Catholic faculties were in some ways impoverished by a diminished sense of the importance of the study not just of Scholastic philosophy but more generally of the study of philosophy itself.  I cannot fail to note with surprise and displeasure that this lack of interest in the study of philosophy is shared by not a few theologians.
Diversæ numerantur rationes quæ alienæ huic voluntati subsunt.  Diffidentia de ratione apprime est referenda, quam hujus ætatis philosophia magnam partem ostendit, quippe quæ metaphysicam de ultimis hominis quæstionibus inquisitionem late deserat, ut proprium studium in peculiaria regionaliaque negotia convertatur, quæ nonnunquam mere sunt formalia.  Huic rei præterea accedit erratum judicium quod circa præsertim « scientias humanas » exstitit.  Concilium Œcumenicum Vaticanum II sæpe probandum pondus scientificæ inquisitionis confirmavit, ut hominis mysterium altius intellegeretur.{85}  Si quidem theologi ad has scientias cognoscendas easdemque recte in suis inquisitionibus adhibendas invitantur, id tamen intellegi non debet ipsis implicite dari potestatem philosophiam segregandi vel amovendi in pastorali institutione ac « fidei præparatione ».  Oblivisci denique non potest in fidei inculturationem reciperatum studium.  Vita præsertim novensilium Ecclesiarum effecit ut, una cum præclaris cogitationis formis, intellegeretur compluras inesse popularis sapientiæ manifestationes, quæ verum patrimonum culturæ et traditionum constituunt.  Harum tamen consuetudinum inquisitio una cum philosophiæ vestigatione procedere debet.  Hæc ipsa sinet ut probanda popularis sapientiæ lineamenta exsistant, dum necessario illa cum Evangelio enuntiando conjungit.{86} There are various reasons for this disenchantment.  First, there is the distrust of reason found in much contemporary philosophy, which has largely abandoned metaphysical study of the ultimate human questions in order to concentrate upon problems which are more detailed and restricted, at times even purely formal.  Another reason, it should be said, is the misunderstanding which has arisen especially with regard to the “human sciences.”  On a number of occasions, the Second Vatican Council stressed the positive value of scientific research for a deeper knowledge of the mystery of the human being.{85}  But the invitation addressed to theologians to engage the human sciences and apply them properly in their inquiries should not be interpreted as an implicit authorization to marginalize philosophy or to put something else in its place in pastoral formation and in the praeparatio fidei. A further factor is the renewed interest in the inculturation of faith.  The life of the young Churches in particular has brought to light, together with sophisticated modes of thinking, an array of expressions of popular wisdom;  and this constitutes a genuine cultural wealth of traditions.  Yet the study of traditional ways must go hand in hand with philosophical inquiry, an inquiry which will allow the positive traits of popular wisdom to emerge and forge the necessary link with the proclamation of the Gospel.{86}
62.  Firmiter confirmare placet philosophiæ disciplinam præcipuum habere momentum quod abstrahi non potest in studiorum theologicorum ratione et in alumnorum apud Seminaria institutione.  Haud igitur inconsiderate studiorum theologicorum curriculum antecedat temporis quoddam spatium, quo peculiare philosophiæ ediscendæ prævideatur opus.  Electio hæc, quam Concilium Lateranense V confirmavit,{87} in experientia radices agit quam Media Ætas est adepta, quum convenientia inter philosophicam et theologicam disciplinam conspicuum obtinuit locum et momentum.  Hæc studiorum ratio affecit, juvit et curavit, quamvis oblique, maximam partem promotionis recentioris philosophiæ.  Conspicuum exemplum exhibet beneficium, quod contulerunt Francisci Suarez Disputationes metaphysicæ, quæ etiam in Studiorum Universitatibus Germaniæ Lutheranis reperiebantur.  Hæc autem methodologia relicta sive in sacerdotali institutione sive in theologica inquisitione grave detrimentum attulit.  Conspiciatur, exempli gratia, cogitationis et hodiernæ culturæ indiligentia, quæ effecit ut omnes dialogi formæ tollerentur vel omnes philosophiæ sine judicio susciperentur. 62.  I wish to repeat clearly that the study of philosophy is fundamental and indispensable to the structure of theological studies and to the formation of candidates for the priesthood.  It is not by chance that the curriculum of theological studies is preceded by a time of special study of philosophy.  This decision, confirmed by the Fifth Lateran Council,{87} is rooted in the experience which matured through the Middle Ages, when the importance of a constructive harmony of philosophical and theological learning emerged.  This ordering of studies influenced, promoted and enabled much of the development of modern philosophy, albeit indirectly.  One telling example of this is the influence of the Disputationes Metaphysicae of Francisco Suárez, which found its way even into the Lutheran universities of Germany.  Conversely, the dismantling of this arrangement has created serious gaps in both priestly formation and theological research.  Consider, for instance, the disregard of modern thought and culture which has led either to a refusal of any kind of dialogue or to an indiscriminate acceptance of any kind of philosophy.
Magna Nos tenet spes has difficultates sublatum iri, prudenti intercedente philosophica et theologica institutione, quæ nunquam in Ecclesia desinere debet. I trust most sincerely that these difficulties will be overcome by an intelligent philosophical and theological formation, which must never be lacking in the Church.
63.  Has propter rationes, Nobis visum est instantem esse rem, his Nostris Litteris Encyclicis, acre studium confirmare, quod philosophiæ tribuit Ecclesia — immo artam conjunctionem, qua theologicum opus et philosophica inquisitio nectuntur.  Inde Magisterii officium oritur philosophicam scientiam discernendi et concitandi, quæ fidei minime aversetur.  Nostrum est quædam principia et indicia exhibere, quæ necessaria arbitramur, ut ordinata necessitudo et efficax inter theologiam et philosophiam instituatur.  Eorum sub lumine clarius judicari poterit an qualemve necessitudinem cum diversis philosophicis scholis opinationibusque instituere debeat theologia, quas hodiernus mundus exhibet. 63.  For the reasons suggested here, it has seemed to me urgent to re-emphasize with this Encyclical Letter the Church’s intense interest in philosophy — indeed the intimate bond which ties theological work to the philosophical search for truth.  From this comes the Magisterium’s duty to discern and promote philosophical thinking which is not at odds with faith.  It is my task to state principles and criteria which in my judgement are necessary in order to restore a harmonious and creative relationship between theology and philosophy.  In the light of these principles and criteria, it will be possible to discern with greater clarity what link, if any, theology should forge with the different philosophical opinions or systems which the world of today presents.


Fidei scientia
atque philosophicæ rationis postulata
The knowledge of faith
and the demands of philosophical reason
64.  Dei verbum singulis hominibus omni tempore et in omnibus terrarum orbis locis destinatur ;  et homo est naturaliter philosophus.  Theologia autem, quatenus repercussa et scientifica elaboratio intellectus hujus verbi sub fidei lumine, seu quasdam suas propter rationes seu ad peculiaria munia obeunda, facere non potest quin necessitudinem cum philosophicis scholis instituat, quæ reapse annorum decursu invaluerunt.  Peculiaribus methodologiis theologis haud significatis (quod quidem ad Magisterium non pertinet), quædam munia theologiæ propria memorare potius volumus, in quibus ad philosophicas cogitationes ipsam propter naturam revelati Verbi est decurrendum. 64.  The word of God is addressed to all people, in every age and in every part of the world;  and the human being is by nature a philosopher.  As a reflective and scientific elaboration of the understanding of God’s word in the light of faith, theology for its part must relate, in some of its procedures and in the performance of its specific tasks, to the philosophies which have been developed through the ages.  I have no wish to direct theologians to particular methods, since that is not the competence of the Magisterium.  I wish instead to recall some specific tasks of theology which, by the very nature of the revealed Word, demand recourse to philosophical inquiry.
65.  Theologia veluti scientia fidei ordinatur duobus statutis principiis methodologicis, quæ sunt :  auditus fidei et intellectus fidei.  Altero principio ipsa Revelationis depositum obtinet, quemadmodum id pedetemptim collustraverunt Sacra Traditio, Sacræ Litteræ et vivum Ecclesiæ Magisterium.{88}  Altero, theologia cogitationis postulatis respondere vult per speculativam ratiocinationem. 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 inquiry to the specific demands of disciplined thought.
De congrua auditus fidei comparatione, philosophia theologiæ suam peculiarem affert opem quum cognitionis personalisque communicationis structuram considerat atque nominatim varias species et officia loquelæ.  Æquum pariter est pondus quod confert philosophia ut ecclesialis Traditio, Magisterii effata nec non eximiorum theologiæ magistrorum sententiæ aptius intellegantur :  hi enim mentem suam patefaciunt sæpe per cogitata formasque cogitationis, quæ a certa quadam philosophica traditione mutuo suscipiuntur.  Hac in re theologus rogatur ut non modo significet notiones vocabulaque, quibus Ecclesia cogitat suamque doctrinam definit, verum etiam ut penitus philosophicas opinationes intellegat quæ forte tam notiones quam nomina affecerint, ut ad rectas congruasque significationes perveniatur. 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.
66.  Si vero intellectus fidei ponderatur, animadvertendum est apprime divinam Veritatem « propositam nobis in Scripturis Sacris secundum doctrinam Ecclesiæ intellectis »{89} propria frui intellegibilitate tam logice congruenti ut proponatur veluti germana sapientia. Intellectus fidei hanc veritatem clarius recludit, non modo logicas intellectivasque structuras percipiens enuntiationum quibus Ecclesiæ doctrina componitur, verum etiam, et imprimis, salutis sensum extollens quem tales enuntiationes pro singulis et pro humanitate continent.  Per has nimirum enuntiationes simul sumptas, fidelis ad salutis historiam cognoscendam pervenit, cujus fastigium in persona Christi ejusdemque paschali mysterio reperitur.  Fidei assentiendo fit ipse hujus mysterii particeps. 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”{89} enjoys 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.  Believers then share in this mystery by their assent of faith.
Theologia dogmatica, ex parte sua, facultatem possidere debet adipiscendi universalem sensum mysterii Dei Unius et Trini atque œconomiæ salutis simul per rationem narrationis, simul, potissimum per formam ratiocinationis.  Id efficere debet, profecto, intellectivis adhibitis notionibus quæ critico judicio effinguntur cum omnibus communicabili.  Etenim absque philosophiæ adjumento res theologicæ illustrari non possunt, quales exempli gratia, sermo de Deo, personales intra Trinitatem relationes, actio Dei in mundo creantis, necessitudo inter Deum et hominem, Christi identitas qui est verus Deus et verus homo.  Idem in diversis theologiæ moralis argumentis viget, ubi quædam notiones immediate usurpantur, veluti lex moralis, conscientia, libertas, personalis responsalitas, culpa, et similia, quæ ad philosophicæ ethicæ rationem definiuntur. 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.  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.
Necesse est ideo ut fidelis ratio naturalem habeat, veram congruentemque cognitionem de rebus creatis, de mundo et de homine, quas res etiam revelatio divina tractat ;  magis etiam, ipsa facultatem habere debet moderandi hanc cognitionem per modum intellectionis et argumentationis.  Quapropter theologia dogmatica speculativa præsumit et complectitur philosophiam hominis, mundi atque, altius, ipsius « esse », quæ quidem in objectiva veritate innititur. 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.
67. Theologia fundamentalis, suam propter disciplinæ indolem quæ officium sustinet rationem fidei reddendi (cfr 1 Pt 3,15), munus in se recipere debebit comprobandi et enodandi necessitudinem inter fidem et philosophicam scientiam.  Concilium jam Vaticanum I, doctrinam resumens Pauli (cfr Rom 1,19-20), in id jam animos converterat, quasdam scilicet exstare veritates quæ naturaliter, ideoque phlosophice, cognosci possunt.  Earum cognitio necessario anteponitur ad Dei revelationem suscipiendam.  In revelatione ejusque credibilitate vestiganda una cum consentaneo fidei actu, theologia fundamentalis demonstrare debet, sub cognitionis per fidem lumine, quasdam eminere veritates, quas jam ratio suo in autonomo vestigationis itinere percipit.  Eisdem plenitudinis sensum tribuit Revelatio, dum eas ad divitias dirigit mysterii revelati, in quo ultimum finem reperiunt.  Cogitetur, exempli gratia, de naturali Dei cognitione, de facultate divinam revelationem ab aliis phænomenis secernendi vel de ejus credibilitate agnoscenda, de humana loquela habili, facta ad loquendum, significanti veroque modo, de illis etiam rebus quæ humanam experientiam prægrediuntur.  Omnibus ex his veritatibus mens ducitur ad exsistentiam agnoscendam cujusdam viæ quæ est fidei reapse præparatoria, quæ in revelationem accipiendam recidere potest, propriis principiis propriaque autonomia haud declinatis.{90} 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 inquiry, 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}
Simili modo theologia fundamentalis intimam convenientiam ostendere debebit inter fidem ejusque præcipuam necessitatem sese explicandi per rationem, quæ maxima cum libertate consentire potest.  Fides poterit hoc modo « iter plene demonstrare rationi illi, quæ sincere veritatem requirit.  Sic fides, Dei donum, quamvis ratione haudquaquam innitatur, nullo pacto ea carere potest ;  similiter exstat necessitas, ut ratio ex fide vim sumat, novosque fines consequatur, ad quos sola pervenire non potest ».{91} 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}
68. Theologia moralis fortasse etiam majore indiget philosophiæ auxilio.  In Novo Fœdere enim humana vita multo minus temperatur quam in Vetere Testamento.  Vita in Spiritu fideles ducit ad libertatem responsalitatemque quæ ipsam Legem transgrediuntur.  Evangelium utcunque et apostolica scripta sive universalia christiane agendi principia ministrant sive doctrinam præceptaque singularia.  Ut eadem peculiaribus vitæ individualis et socialis condicionibus accommodentur, oportet Christianus suam conscientiam funditus obstringere possit suique ratiocinii vim.  Aliis verbis, id requirit ut theologia moralis recto philosophico prospectu utatur sive quod ad naturam humanam societatemque spectat sive quod ad ethicæ deliberationis principia universalia. 68.  Moral theology has perhaps an even greater need of philosophy’s contribution.  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.
69.  Quispiam fortasse objiciat in præsenti condicione theologo esse deveniendum ut opem recipiat, potius quam a philosophia, ab aliis humanæ scientiæ formis quæ sunt historia ac potissimum scientiæ, quarum omnes homines singulares mirantur recentiores progressus.  Alii autem, post auctum de necessitudine inter fidem et culturam sensum, affirmant theologiam esse convertendam potius ad translaticias sapientias quam ad philosophiam quæ ex Græcia orta est quæque Eurocentrica dicitur.  Alii denique, initium ex falsa culturarum pluralismi opinatione sumentes, universale plane respuunt patrimonii philosophici bonum, quod recepit Ecclesia. 69.  It might be objected that the theologian should nowadays rely less on philosophy than on the help of other kinds of human knowledge, such as history and above all the sciences, the extraordinary advances of which in recent times stir such admiration.  Others, more alert to the link between faith and culture, claim that theology should look more to the wisdom contained in peoples’ traditions than to a philosophy of Greek and Eurocentric provenance.  Others still, prompted by a mistaken notion of cultural pluralism, simply deny the universal value of the Church’s philosophical heritage.
Hæ æstimationes, quæ ceterum in conciliari doctrina reperiuntur,{92} aliquam veritatem præ se ferunt.  Eo quod ratio fit ad scientias, quæ ratio compluribus in casibus utilis est quandoquidem pleniorem de objecto vestigando cognitionem præbet, necessaria tamen non est obliviscenda pars quam agit cogitatio proprie philosophica, critica et in universalem rem vergens, quæ ceterum a feraci culturarum permutatione requiritur.  Illud proprie confirmare cupimus in uno certoque casu non esse consistendum, princeps munus neglegendo, ostendendi videlicet universalem indolem objecti fidei.  Hoc præterea non est obliviscendum :  quod philosophica cogitatio peculiariter confert, intellegere sinit tum in diversis vitæ opinationibus tum in culturis, « non quid homines senserint, sed qualiter se habeat veritas rerum ».{93}  Non variæ hominum opiniones, sed veritas dumtaxat theologiæ opitulari potest. There is some truth in these claims which are acknowledged in the teaching of the Council.{92}  Reference to the sciences is often helpful, allowing as it does a more thorough knowledge of the subject under study;  but it should not mean the rejection of a typically philosophical and critical thinking which is concerned with the universal.  Indeed, this kind of thinking is required for a fruitful exchange between cultures.  What I wish to emphasize is the duty to go beyond the particular and concrete, lest the prime task of demonstrating the universality of faith’s content be abandoned.  Nor should it be forgotten that the specific contribution of philosophical inquiry enables us to discern in different world-views and different cultures “not what people think but what the objective truth is.”{93}  It is not an array of human opinions but truth alone which can be of help to theology.
70.  Peculiariter autem est ponderandum argumentum, quod convenientiam tangit inter culturas, etiamsi necessario de ea re penitus non edisseratur, propter implicationes quæ inde sive in re philosophica sive in re theologica oriuntur.  Quod Ecclesia convenit culturas et cum eisdem contendit, id usque ab Evangelii prædicati initio experta est Ecclesia.  Christi præceptum discipulis datum lustrandi omnia loca, « usque ad ultimum terræ » (Act 1,8), ut ab Eo revelata Veritas transmitteretur, copiam communitati christianæ dedit probandi continuo nuntii universalitatem atque impedimenta ex culturarum diversitate inducta.  Locus epistulæ Sancti Pauli ad Ephesios efficacem opem fert, ut intellegatur quemadmodum primæva christiana communitas hoc negotium egerit.  Apostolus scribit :  « Nunc autem in Christo Jesu vos, qui aliquando eratis longe, facti estis prope in sanguine Christi.  Ipse est enim pax nostra, qui fecit utraque unum, et medium parietem maceriæ solvit » (2,13-14). 70.  Because of its implications for both philosophy and theology, the question of the relationship with cultures calls for particular attention, which cannot however claim to be exhaustive.  From the time the Gospel was first preached, the Church has known the process of encounter and engagement with cultures.  Christ’s mandate to his disciples to go out everywhere, “even to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), in order to pass on the truth which he had revealed, led the Christian community to recognize from the first the universality of its message and the difficulties created by cultural differences.  A passage of Saint Paul’s letter to the Christians of Ephesus helps us to understand how the early community responded to the problem.  The Apostle writes:  “Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the wall of hostility” (2:13-14).
Ejusmodi scripto ob oculos habito, nostra cogitatio latius panditur et mutationem attingit quæ facta est postquam Gentiles ad fidem pervenerunt.  Pro divitiis salutis, quam Christus attulit, decidunt impedimenta quæ varias culturas dissociant.  Dei repromissio in Christo fit nunc donatio universalis :  non amplius circumscripta cujusdam populi proprietatibus, ejus sermone et moribus, sed cunctis destinatur ut patrimonium ex quo quisque haurire libere potest.  Locis ex diversis ac consuetudinibus omnes in Christo ad unitatem participandam familiæ filiorum Dei vocantur.  Christus ipse sinit ut duo populi « unum » sint.  Qui erant « longinqui », novitatis beneficio quam paschale mysterium attulit, « proximi » fiunt.  Jesus divisionis parietes diruit et peculiari consummatoque modo per participationem sui mysterii unitatem efficit.  Hæc unitas tam est alta ut cum Sancto Paulo effari possit Ecclesia :  « Ergo jam non estis extranei et advenæ, sed estis concives sanctorum et domestici Dei » (Eph 2,19). In the light of this text, we reflect further to see how the Gentiles were transformed once they had embraced the faith.  With the richness of the salvation wrought by Christ, the walls separating the different cultures collapsed.  God’s promise in Christ now became a universal offer:  no longer limited to one particular people, its language and its customs, but extended to all as a heritage from which each might freely draw.  From their different locations and traditions all are called in Christ to share in the unity of the family of God’s children.  It is Christ who enables the two peoples to become “one.”  Those who were “far off” have come “near,” thanks to the newness brought by the Paschal Mystery.  Jesus destroys the walls of division and creates unity in a new and unsurpassed way through our sharing in his mystery.  This unity is so deep that the Church can say with Saint Paul:  “You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are saints and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19).
Hac tam simplici enuntiatione luculenta veritas significatur :  fidei concursus cum diversis culturis reapse effecit novam rem.  Culturæ, quum altius radices in natura humana agunt, testimonium secum ferunt illius apertionis ad universalitatem et transcendentiam quæ propria est hominis.  Ipsæ ideo exhibent diversas ad veritatem accessiones, quæ perutiles sunt homini, cui valores præbent qui magis magisque humanam reddere valent ejus exsistentiam.{94}  Eo quod culturæ antiquarum consuetudinum repetunt valores, ipsæ secum ferunt — etiamsi implicite, sed hanc propter rationem haud minus vere — indicium quod remittit ad Deum in natura sese manifestantem, sicut antea demonstratum est quum de sapientialibus scriptis et de Sancti Pauli doctrina sermo factus est. This simple statement contains a great truth:  faith’s encounter with different cultures has created something new.  When they are deeply rooted in experience, cultures show forth the human being’s characteristic openness to the universal and the transcendent.  Therefore they offer different paths to the truth, which assuredly serve men and women well in revealing values which can make their life ever more human.{94}  Insofar as cultures appeal to the values of older traditions, they point — implicitly but authentically — to the manifestation of God in nature, as we saw earlier in considering the Wisdom literature and the teaching of Saint Paul.
71.  Culturæ, quippe quæ cum hominibus eorumque historia arte conjungantur, eosdem communicant cursus ad quos humanum tempus manifestatur.  Immutationes ideo progressionesque recensentur, inductæ a congressionibus quas homines inter se convenientes effecerunt quasque mutuæ communicationes eorum vitæ exemplarium pepererunt.  Culturæ aluntur bonorum communicatione, earumque vis vitalis ac diuturnitas pendent ex facultate patendi novitatibus suscipiendis.  Quomodo hi motus explicantur ?  Quisque homo in quadam cultura illigatur, ex ea pendet, eandemque magnopere afficit.  Ipse est simul filius perinde ac pater culturæ in qua defigitur.  In omnibus vitæ significationibus, is aliquid secum comportat quod eum inter creaturas denotat :  id est, duratura ad mysterium apertio ejusque inexplebile cognitionis desiderium.  Quapropter unaquæque cultura habet in se et patefacit inustam intentionem in aliquam consummationem.  Itaque dici potest culturam habere in se facultatem suscipiendi divinam revelationem. 71.  Inseparable as they are from people and their history, cultures share the dynamics which the human experience of life reveals.  They change and advance because people meet in new ways and share with each other their ways of life.  Cultures are fed by the communication of values, and they survive and flourish insofar as they remain open to assimilating new experiences.  How are we to explain these dynamics?  All people are part of a culture, depend upon it and shape it.  Human beings are both child and parent of the culture in which they are immersed.  To everything they do, they bring something which sets them apart from the rest of creation:  their unfailing openness to mystery and their boundless desire for knowledge.  Lying deep in every culture, there appears this impulse towards a fulfillment.  We may say, then, that culture itself has an intrinsic capacity to receive divine Revelation.
Ratio ipsa, secundum quam Christiani suam fidem experiuntur, cultura imbuitur illius loci qui proximus est et efficit vicissim ut ejusdem natura procedente tempore effingatur.  Unicuique culturæ Christiani immutabilem Dei veritatem præbent, quam Ipse in populi historia et cultura revelavit.  Sæculorum sic decursu ille repetitur eventus cujus testes fuerunt peregrini qui die illo Pentecostes Hierosolymis astabant.  Quum Apostolos audivissent, rogaverunt :  « Nonne ecce omnes isti, qui loquuntur, Galilæi sunt ?  Et quomodo nos audimus unusquisque propria lingua nostra, in qua nati sumus ?  Parthi et Medi et Elamitæ, et qui habitant Mesopotamiam, Judæam quoque et Cappadociam, Pontum et Asiam, Phrygiam quoque et Pamphyliam, Ægyptum et partes Libyæ, quæ est circa Cyrenem, et advenæ Romani, Judæi quoque et proselyti, Cretes et Arabes, audimus loquentes eos nostris linguis magnalia Dei » (Act 2,7-11).  Evangelium diversis in culturis enuntiatum, dum a singulis quibus destinatur fidei adhæsionem requirit, non impedit quominus ii suam culturalem proprietatem retineant.  Id nullam discretionem gignit, quandoquidem baptizatorum populus illa universalitate distinguitur, quæ omnes humanos cultus recipit — progressum juvando illius rei quæ in ea implicatur, ad plenam in veritate explicationem consequendam. Cultural context permeates the living of Christian faith, which contributes in turn little by little to shaping that context.  To every culture Christians bring the unchanging truth of God, which he reveals in the history and culture of a people.  Time and again, therefore, in the course of the centuries we have seen repeated the event witnessed by the pilgrims in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.  Hearing the Apostles, they asked one another:  “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God ” (Acts 2:7-11).  While it demands of all who hear it the adherence of faith, the proclamation of the Gospel in different cultures allows people to preserve their own cultural identity.  This in no way creates division, because the community of the baptized is marked by a universality which can embrace every culture and help to foster whatever is implicit in them to the point where it will be fully explicit in the light of truth.
Quapropter id quod est cultura nunquam fieri potest judicandi norma, minus ac minus norma veritatis novissima pro Dei revelatione.  Huic illive culturæ non aversatur Evangelium, proinde quasi, eam conveniens, id quod ad eam pertinet eripere velit eandemque cogat extrarias formas et alienas sumere.  Nuntius contra, quem in mundum atque in culturas defert fidelis, vera est liberationis forma ab omni perturbatione a peccato effecta, itemque est vocatio ad plenam veritatem.  Hac in conspiratione, non modo culturæ nulla re exuuntur, sed concitantur potius ut sese ad veritatem evangelicam aperiant, unde incitamenta ad alios progressus assequendos nanciscantur. This means that no one culture can ever become the criterion of judgment, much less the ultimate criterion of truth with regard to God’s Revelation.  The Gospel is not opposed to any culture, as if in engaging a culture the Gospel would seek to strip it of its native riches and force it to adopt forms which are alien to it.  On the contrary, the message which believers bring to the world and to cultures is a genuine liberation from all the disorders caused by sin and is, at the same time, a call to the fullness of truth.  Cultures are not only not diminished by this encounter;  rather, they are prompted to open themselves to the newness of the Gospel’s truth and to be stirred by this truth to develop in new ways.
72.  Eo quod evangelizationis missio suo in cursu philosophiam Græcam primam convenit, id haudquaquam significat ceteros aditus excludi.  Hodie, quotiescunque Evangelium culturæ ambitus attingit ad quos christiana doctrina antea non accessit, nova exsurgunt inculturationis opera.  Eædem fere quæstiones, quas primæva ætate enodare debuit Ecclesia, hodiernis hominibus afferuntur. 72.  In preaching the Gospel, Christianity first encountered Greek philosophy;  but this does not mean at all that other approaches are precluded.  Today, as the Gospel gradually comes into contact with cultural worlds which once lay beyond Christian influence, there are new tasks of inculturation, which mean that our generation faces problems not unlike those faced by the Church in the first centuries.
Cogitationes Nostræ sua sponte ad orientales plagas convertuntur, quæ perantiquis pietatis philosophiæque traditionibus locupletantur.  Inter eas India conspicuum obtinet locum.  Grandis spiritalis impetus Indianam impellit mentem ad eam experientiam adipiscendam quæ, temporis spatiique impedimentis animo expedito, absolutum bonum attingat.  In hujus liberationis exquirendæ processu, præcipuæ metaphysicæ scholæ ponuntur. My thoughts turn immediately to the lands of the East, so rich in religious and philosophical traditions of great antiquity.  Among these lands, India has a special place.  A great spiritual impulse leads Indian thought to seek an experience which would liberate the spirit from the shackles of time and space and would therefore acquire absolute value.  The dynamic of this quest for liberation provides the context for great metaphysical systems.
Hujus temporis Christianorum est, præsertim Indianorum, locupleti ex ejusmodi patrimonio elementa illa depromere quæ cum illorum fide conjungi possunt, ita ut christiana doctrina ditior fiat.  Hac in discretione agenda, quæ ex conciliari Declaratione Nostræ ætate sumit consilium, quasdam judicandi normas ii ob oculos habebunt.  Prima norma est humani spiritus universalitas cujus postulata in diversissimis culturis eadem reperiuntur.  Altera, quæ ex prima oritur, hæc est :  quum Ecclesia majoris momenti convenit culturas antea haud attactas, id, quod per inculturationem Græcæ et Latinæ disciplinæ adepta est, posthabere non potest.  Talis si repudiaretur hereditas, providum Dei consilium oppugnaretur, qui per temporis historiæque semitam suam ducit Ecclesiam.  Hæc, ceteroqui, judicandi lex propria est Ecclesiæ omnium ætatum, etiam subsequentis, quæ se persentiet divitem factam eis ex rebus quas adepta erit per orientalium culturarum hodiernum accessum, et in hac hereditate nova indicia reperiet, ut frugifer instituatur dialogus cum culturis illis, quas humanitas juvabit ut prosperent in suo ad futuram ætatem itinere.  Tertio, cavebitur ne legitima proprietatis singularitatisque Indianæ philosophiæ expostulatio cum sententia illa confundetur, culturalem scilicet traditionem sua in diversitate concludi debere eamque per dissidentiam cum ceteris traditionibus emergere, quod quidem naturæ humani spiritus ipsi est contrarium. In India particularly, it is the duty of Christians now to draw from this rich heritage the elements compatible with their faith, in order to enrich Christian thought.  In this work of discernment, which finds its inspiration in the Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate, certain criteria will have to be kept in mind.  The first of these is the universality of the human spirit, whose basic needs are the same in the most disparate cultures.  The second, which derives from the first, is this:  in engaging great cultures for the first time, the Church cannot abandon what she has gained from her inculturation in the world of Greco-Latin thought.  To reject this heritage would be to deny the providential plan of God who guides his Church down the paths of time and history.  This criterion is valid for the Church in every age, even for the Church of the future, who will judge herself enriched by all that comes from today’s engagement with Eastern cultures and will find in this inheritance fresh cues for fruitful dialogue with the cultures which will emerge as humanity moves into the future.  Thirdly, care will need to be taken lest, contrary to the very nature of the human spirit, the legitimate defense of the uniqueness and originality of Indian thought be confused with the idea that a particular cultural tradition should remain closed in its difference and affirm itself by opposing other traditions.
Quod de India dictum est, ascribitur patrimonio præstantium culturarum Sinensium et Japonensium aliarumque Asiæ Nationum itemque refertur thesauro culturarum Africæ translaticiarum, quæ verbis potissimum sunt transmissæ. What has been said here of India is no less true for the heritage of the great cultures of China, Japan and the other countries of Asia, as also for the riches of the traditional cultures of Africa, which are for the most part orally transmitted.
73.  His rebus consideratis, necessitudo quæ inter theologiam et philosophiam opportune institui debet notam habebit cujusdam circularis progressionis.  Theologiæ initium atque primigenius fons est Dei verbum in historia revelatum, dum ultimum propositum necessario erit ipsius intellectio quæ sensim est perspecta succedentibus ætatibus.  Quandoquidem autem Dei verbum est Veritas (cfr Jo 17,17), fieri non potest quin ad ejusdem aptiorem intellectum opem conferat humanæ veritatis inquisitio, philosophans scilicet mens, quæ suis servatis legibus explicatur.  Non agitur de hac vel illa notione vel parte cujusdam systematis philosophici in theologico sermone simpliciter adhibenda ;  decretorium est quod fidelis ratio suæ cogitationis facultatem exerceat ad verum reperiendum quendam intra motum, qui, initium ex Dei verbo sumens, consequi conatur pleniorem ejusdem comprehensionem.  Omnino porro liquet, agendo has intra duas res — Dei verbum scilicet altioremque ejus cognitionem — rationem pæne percipi et quodammodo gubernari, ut semitas illas vitet quæ extra Veritatem revelatam eandem perducant ac, tandem, simpliciter extra ipsam veritatem ;  immo ea incitatur ad explorandas semitas, quas sola ne suspicatur quidem se illas decurrere posse.  Hoc ex circulari motu cum Dei verbo philosophia locupletior evadit, quia novos et inexspectatos attingit fines. 73.  In the light of these considerations, the relationship between theology and philosophy is best construed as a circle.  Theology’s source and starting-point must always be the word of God revealed in history, while its final goal will be an understanding of that word which increases with each passing generation.  Yet, since God’s word is Truth (cf. Jn 17:17), the human search for truth — philosophy, pursued in keeping with its own rules — can only help to understand God’s word better.  It is not just a question of theological discourse using this or that concept or element of a philosophical construct;  what matters most is that the believer’s reason use its powers of reflection in the search for truth which moves from the word of God towards a better understanding of it.  It is as if, moving between the twin poles of God’s word and a better understanding of it, reason is offered guidance and is warned against paths which would lead it to stray from revealed Truth and to stray in the end from the truth pure and simple.  Instead, reason is stirred to explore paths which of itself it would not even have suspected it could take.  This circular relationship with the word of God leaves philosophy enriched, because reason discovers new and unsuspected horizons.
74.  Ubertatis comprobatio hujus necessitudinis exhibetur personalibus eventibus clarorum theologorum christianorum, qui ut philosophi etiam eximii enituerunt, qui scripta sic altæ speculativæ præstantiæ reliquerunt, ut jure antiquæ philosophiæ æquarentur doctoribus.  Id tum de Ecclesiæ Patribus dici potest, inter quos saltem Sanctus Gregorius Nazianzenus atque Sanctus Augustinus annumerantur, tum de Doctoribus mediævalibus, inter quos trias illa elucet quam constituunt Sancti Anselmus, Bonaventura et Thomas Aquinas.  Fecunda illa philosophiæ verbique Dei consociatio etiam ex magnanima emergit investigatione a recentioribus doctis provecta, in quibus memorare placet ex orbe occidentali homines veluti Joannem Henricum Newman, Antonium Rosmini, Jacobum Maritain, Stephanum Gilson, Edith Stein simulque ex orientali orbe studiosos ut Vladimirum S. Solov’ev, Paulum A. Florenskij, Petrum K. Caadaev, Vladimirum N. Lossky.  Uti paret, hi quum memorantur auctores, quibuscum alia pariter proferri possunt nomina, non omnem eorum doctrinæ æstimationem prodere cupimus, verum exempla quædam præstantiora illius efferre itineris investigationum philosophicarum ad quod beneficia singularia comparatio attulit cum fidei doctrinis.  De hoc autem non est ambigendum :  horum doctorum spiritalis itineris contemplatio non poterit quin progredienti veritatis inquisitioni proficiat atque usui consectariorum in hominum utilitatem.  Sperari oportet hanc eximiam philosophicam-theologicam traditionem nunc et futuro de tempore suos successores necnon pro Ecclesiæ humanitatisque bono cultores esse inventuram. 74.  The fruitfulness of this relationship is confirmed by the experience of great Christian theologians who also distinguished themselves as great philosophers, bequeathing to us writings of such high speculative value as to warrant comparison with the masters of ancient philosophy.  This is true of both the Fathers of the Church, among whom at least Saint Gregory of Nazianzus and Saint Augustine should be mentioned, and the Medieval Doctors with the great triad of Saint Anselm, Saint Bonaventure and Saint Thomas Aquinas.  We see the same fruitful relationship between philosophy and the word of God in the courageous research pursued by more recent thinkers, among whom I gladly mention, in a Western context, figures such as John Henry Newman, Antonio Rosmini, Jacques Maritain, Étienne Gilson and Edith Stein and, in an Eastern context, eminent scholars such as Vladimir S.  Soloviev, Pavel A.  Florensky, Petr Chaadaev and Vladimir N.  Lossky.  Obviously other names could be cited;  and in referring to these I intend not to endorse every aspect of their thought, but simply to offer significant examples of a process of philosophical inquiry which was enriched by engaging the data of faith.  One thing is certain:  attention to the spiritual journey of these masters can only give greater momentum to both the search for truth and the effort to apply the results of that search to the service of humanity.  It is to be hoped that now and in the future there will be those who continue to cultivate this great philosophical and theological tradition for the good of both the Church and humanity.
De diversis philosophiæ statibus Different stances of philosophy
75.  Quemadmodum patet ex historia necessitudinum inter fidem et philosophiam sicut supra paucis dictum est, diversi philosophiæ status præ fide christiana distingui possunt.  Primus status philosophiam a Revelatione evangelica penitus distractam complectitur :  philosophiæ est condicio quæ ætatibus illis ante Redemptorem natum historice exstitit atque post Eum in regionibus nondum ab Evangelio contactis.  Hac in condicione philosophia legitime affectat se sui juris esse inceptum, quæ videlicet secundum suas ipsius leges agit, quæ suis unis viribus innititur.  Quamvis de gravibus limationibus conscii simus, quæ ingenitæ humanæ debilitati ascribuntur, hæc affectatio est sustentanda et roboranda.  Philosophicum namque studium, prout ad veritatem intra naturalem provinciam perquirendam tendit, saltem implicite rei supernaturali patens est. 75.  As appears from this brief sketch of the history of the relationship between faith and philosophy, one can distinguish different stances of philosophy with regard to Christian faith.  First, there is a philosophy completely independent of the Gospel’s Revelation: this is the stance adopted by philosophy as it took shape in history before the birth of the Redeemer and later in regions as yet untouched by the Gospel.  We see here philosophy’s valid aspiration to be an autonomous enterprise, obeying its own rules and employing the powers of reason alone.  Although seriously handicapped by the inherent weakness of human reason, this aspiration should be supported and strengthened.  As a search for truth within the natural order, the enterprise of philosophy is always open — at least implicitly — to the supernatural.
Immo magis :  etiam quum theologicus ipse sermo philosophicis notionibus et argumentationibus utitur, cogitationis rectæ autonomiæ necessitas est servanda.  Etenim argumentatio, quæ secundum strictas normas rationales evolvitur, effecta quædam universaliter valida consequitur et præstat.  Etiam hic viget principium, secundum quod gratia non destruit, sed perficit naturam :  fidei assensus, qui tum intellectum tum voluntatem obstringit, liberum arbitrium cujusque fidelis rem revelatam suscipientis haud dissolvit sed perficit. Moreover, the demand for a valid autonomy of thought should be respected even when theological discourse makes use of philosophical concepts and arguments.  Indeed, to argue according to rigorous rational criteria is to guarantee that the results attained are universally valid.  This also confirms the principle that grace does not destroy nature but perfects it:  the assent of faith, engaging the intellect and will, does not destroy but perfects the free will of each believer who deep within welcomes what has been revealed.
Ex hoc congruo postulato penitus opinio illa digreditur sic dictæ philosophiæ « sejunctæ », quam complures philosophi recentiores persequuntur.  Potius quam ut æquam philosophandi autonomiam affirmet, ipsa sibi arrogat jus quidlibet sua in provincia excogitandi, quod quidem, ut patet, illegitimum est :  veritatis adjumenta respuere, quæ ex divina revelatione oriuntur, idem est ac aditum intercludere ad altiorem veritatem cognoscendam, ipsius philosophiæ detrimento contingente. It is clear that this legitimate approach is rejected by the theory of so-called “separate” philosophy, pursued by some modern philosophers.  This theory claims for philosophy not only a valid autonomy, but a self-sufficiency of thought which is patently invalid.  In refusing the truth offered by divine Revelation, philosophy only does itself damage, since this is to preclude access to a deeper knowledge of truth.
76.  Alter philosophiæ status locutione philosophiæ christianæ a multis designatur.  Hæc appellatio legitima est, dummodo ipsa in ambiguum ne detrahatur :  id enim non significat Ecclesiam philosophiam publicam suam habere, quandoquidem fides qua talis non est philosophia.  Hac locutione ars designatur christiane philosophandi — meditatio scilicet philosophica quæ vitaliter cum fide conjungitur.  Non agitur ideo simpliciter de philosophia quadam a christianis philosophis confecta, qui suis in inquisitionibus aliquid contra fidem dicere noluerunt.  Quum de philosophia christiana sermo fit, omnes comprehendi debent præstantes illi progressus philosophicæ disciplinæ, qui nunquam contigissent nisi opem directe vel oblique christiana fides attulisset. 76.  A second stance adopted by philosophy is often designated as Christian philosophy.  In itself, the term is valid, but it should not be misunderstood:  it in no way intends to suggest that there is an official philosophy of the Church, since the faith as such is not a philosophy.  The term seeks rather to indicate a Christian way of philosophizing, a philosophical speculation conceived in dynamic union with faith.  It does not therefore refer simply to a philosophy developed by Christian philosophers who have striven in their research not to contradict the faith.  The term Christian philosophy includes those important developments of philosophical thinking which would not have happened without the direct or indirect contribution of Christian faith.
Duæ ergo sunt christianæ philosophiæ species, quarum altera est subjectiva, secundum quam fides purificat rationem.  Ut theologalis virtus, ipsa rationem a nimia confidentia exsolvit, ad quam illecebram facile philosophi inclinant.  Jam Sanctus Paulus Ecclesiæque Patres, atque nobis proximi philosophi veluti Pascal et Kierkegaard, censura quadam id notarunt.  Humiliter animum colligit philosophus ut quasdam quæstiones tractet, quas difficulter explicare valet, haud consideratis Revelationis elementis.  Puta, exempli gratia, mali dolorisque quæstiones, personalem Dei identitatem atque interrogationem de vitæ sensu vel, strictius, quæstionem metaphysicam radicalem :  « Cur est aliquid ?  ». Christian philosophy therefore has two aspects.  The first is subjective, in the sense that faith purifies reason.  As a theological virtue, faith liberates reason from presumption, the typical temptation of the philosopher.  Saint Paul, the Fathers of the Church and, closer to our own time, philosophers such as Pascal and Kierkegaard reproached such presumption.  The philosopher who learns humility will also find courage to tackle questions which are difficult to resolve if the data of Revelation are ignored — for example, the problem of evil and suffering, the personal nature of God and the question of the meaning of life or, more directly, the radical metaphysical question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?”
Pars exinde adest objectiva, quæ ad ipsam materiam spectat :  lucide quasdam exhibet veritates Revelatio, quas tametsi attingere potest ratio, nunquam tamen easdem repperisset si suis unis viribus innixa esset.  Hoc in rerum prospectu quæstiones ponuntur, veluti notio Dei personalis, liberi et creatoris, quæ ad philosophicæ cogitationis progressum tantum pondus habuit, potissimum quod spectat ad philosophiam respicientem « esse ».  Ad hanc provinciam ipsa peccati realitas quoque pertinet, quemadmodum ipsa fidei lumine manifestatur, quæ quidem operam dat ut quæstio de malo congruenti ratione philosophice ponatur.  Persona quoque, quæ veluti spiritale quiddam consideratur, est peculiaris fidei proprietas :  dignitatis christianus nuntius, æqualitatis ac libertatis hominum procul dubio vim habuit in philosophica cogitata, quæ recentiores philosophi pepererunt.  Ad propiora tempora accedentes, id memorare debemus quod agnitum est momentum quod induit etiam pro philosophia historicus eventus, christianæ Revelationis culmen.  Non casu ille cujusdam historiæ philosophiæ factus est cardo, qui veluti novum veritatis humanæ inquisitionis caput exhibetur. The second aspect of Christian philosophy is objective, in the sense that it concerns content.  Revelation clearly proposes certain truths which might never have been discovered by reason unaided, although they are not of themselves inaccessible to reason.  Among these truths is the notion of a free and personal God who is the Creator of the world, a truth which has been so crucial for the development of philosophical thinking, especially the philosophy of being.  There is also the reality of sin, as it appears in the light of faith, which helps to shape an adequate philosophical formulation of the problem of evil.  The notion of the person as a spiritual being is another of faith’s specific contributions:  the Christian proclamation of human dignity, equality and freedom has undoubtedly influenced modern philosophical thought.  In more recent times, there has been the discovery that history as event — so central to Christian Revelation — is important for philosophy as well.  It is no accident that this has become pivotal for a philosophy of history which stakes its claim as a new chapter in the human search for truth.
Inter objectiva philosophiæ christianæ elementa necessitas quoque annumeratur perquirendi rationalitatem nonnullarum veritatum, quæ in Sacris Scripturis significantur, veluti supernaturalis vocationis hominis possibilitas atque peccatum ipsum originale.  Hæc munia rationem lacessunt ad agnoscendum quiddam inibi inesse veri rationalisque, longe multumque ultra illos angustos fines quibus ipsa se conclusura erat.  Argumenta hæc reddunt re rationis provinciam laxiorem. Among the objective elements of Christian philosophy we might also place the need to explore the rationality of certain truths expressed in Sacred Scripture, such as the possibility of man’s supernatural vocation and original sin itself.  These are tasks which challenge reason to recognize that there is something true and rational lying far beyond the straits within which it would normally be confined.  These questions in fact broaden reason’s scope for action.
Has agitantes rationes, philosophi haud facti sunt theologi, propterea quod fidei veritatem intellegere et collustrare non studuerunt sumpto initio a Revelatione.  Sua in ipsorum provincia, via meraque ratione sua usi agere perrexerunt, sed suam inquisitionem ad novos veri ambitus explicaverunt.  Asseverare licet quod, sine hac Dei verbi acri opera, philosophiæ recentioris ac recentissimæ magna pars haud exsisteret.  Res suum præcipuum habet momentum, quamvis christianam orthodoxiam a compluribus novissimorum horum sæculorum philosophis deseri observetur. In speculating on these questions, philosophers have not become theologians, since they have not sought to understand and expound the truths of faith on the basis of Revelation.  They have continued working on their own terrain and with their own purely rational method, yet extending their research to new aspects of truth.  It could be said that a good part of modern and contemporary philosophy would not exist without this stimulus of the word of God.  This conclusion retains all its relevance, despite the disappointing fact that many thinkers in recent centuries have abandoned Christian orthodoxy.
77.  Alius philosophiæ significans status habetur quum ipsa theologia ad philosophiam provocat.  Theologia reapse semper philosophico indiguit adjumento atque indiget.  Quum sub fidei lumine rationis criticæ sit opera, theologica inquisitio rationem cognitionibus et argumentationibus excultam et figuratam tota in sua vestigatione præsumit atque deposcit.  Theologia porro philosophia indiget quacum pæne dialogum instituat, ut comprobet intellegibilitatem universalemque principiorum suorum veritatem.  Non casu accidit ut philosophiæ non christianæ susciperentur ab Ecclesiæ Patribus et mediævalibus theologis explicandi causa.  Hæc historica res præstantiam demonstrat autonomiæ quam etiam hoc in suo tertio statu servat philosophia, sed necessarias præcipuasque immutationes pariter ostendit, quas ipsa pati debet. 77.  Philosophy presents another stance worth noting when theology itself calls upon it.  Theology in fact has always needed and still needs philosophy’s contribution.  As a work of critical reason in the light of faith, theology presupposes and requires in all its research a reason formed and educated to concept and argument.  Moreover, theology needs philosophy as a partner in dialogue in order to confirm the intelligibility and universal truth of its claims.  It was not by accident that the Fathers of the Church and the Medieval theologians adopted non-Christian philosophies.  This historical fact confirms the value of philosophy’s autonomy, which remains unimpaired when theology calls upon it;  but it shows as well the profound transformations which philosophy itself must undergo.
Hoc ipsum propter necessarium insigneque adjumentum a Patrum usque ætate ancilla theologiæ vocitata est philosophia.  Nomen istud minime usurpatum est ad subjectionem servitutemque quandam significandam vel munus demonstrandum meræ functionis philosophiæ in theologiam collatum.  Locutio potius significatione adhibita est qua usus est Aristoteles, quum de scientiis experimentalibus quasi de « ancillis primæ philosophiæ » dissereret.  Ejusmodi locutio, quæ difficulter hodie propter autonomiæ principia, quemadmodum supra dictum est, adhibetur, sæculorum decursu juvit ut necessaria inter duas scientias necessitudo significaretur earumque dissociationis impossibilitas. It was because of its noble and indispensable contribution that, from the Patristic period onwards, philosophy was called the ancilla theologiae.  The title was not intended to indicate philosophy’s servile submission or purely functional role with regard to theology.  Rather, it was used in the sense in which Aristotle had spoken of the experimental sciences as “ancillary” to “prima philosophia.”  The term can scarcely be used today, given the principle of autonomy to which we have referred, but it has served throughout history to indicate the necessity of the link between the two sciences and the impossibility of their separation.
Si autem theologus recusaret philosophia uti, periculum esset ne ipse inscius philosopharetur seque concluderet structuris cogitationis fidei intellegendæ parum aptis.  Philosophus, ex parte sua, si quodlibet excludendum esse cogitaret cum theologia commercium, per se fidei christianæ principia capessere suum esse sentiret, sicut nonnullis recentioribus philosophis contigit.  In utroque casu periculum exstaret ne delerentur primaria autonomiæ principia, quæ omnis scientia servare vult. Were theologians to refuse the help of philosophy, they would run the risk of doing philosophy unwittingly and locking themselves within thought-structures poorly adapted to the understanding of faith.  Were philosophers, for their part, to shun theology completely, they would be forced to master on their own the contents of Christian faith, as has been the case with some modern philosophers.  Either way, the grounding principles of autonomy which every science rightly wants guaranteed would be seriously threatened.
Hic philosophiæ status quem consideravimus, quandoquidem in Revelatione intellegenda implicatur, una cum theologia sub Magisterii ejusque judicii auctoritate strictius ponitur, sicut antea demonstravimus.  Ex fidei namque veritatibus quædam necessitates derivant, quas philosophia servare debet quum necessitudinem instituit cum theologia. When it adopts this stance, philosophy, like theology, comes more directly under the authority of the Magisterium and its discernment, because of the implications it has for the understanding of Revelation, as I have already explained.  The truths of faith make certain demands which philosophy must respect whenever it engages theology.
78.  His præpositis cogitationibus, probe intellegitur cur subinde laudaverit Magisterium Sancti Thomæ philosophiæ merita eundemque putaverit ductorem atque theologicæ disciplinæ exemplar.  Nihil intererat philosophicas quasdam quæstiones complecti, neque imperare peculiares opinationes ut tenerentur.  Magisterii propositum erat, atque est, significare quemadmodum Sanctus Thomas germanum sit exemplar illorum qui veritatem perquirunt.  Ejus enim in meditatione rationis postulata et fidei vis altissimam invenerunt summam ex eis quæ humana cogitatio unquam attigit, quippe qui Revelationis proprietatem radicitus tuitus sit, proprium rationis cursum nunquam deprimendo. 78.  It should be clear in the light of these reflections why the Magisterium has repeatedly acclaimed the merits of Saint Thomas’ thought and made him the guide and model for theological studies.  This has not been in order to take a position on properly philosophical questions nor to demand adherence to particular theses.  The Magisterium’s intention has always been to show how Saint Thomas is an authentic model for all who seek the truth.  In his thinking, the demands of reason and the power of faith found the most elevated synthesis ever attained by human thought, for he could defend the radical newness introduced by Revelation without ever demeaning the venture proper to reason.
79.  Clarius quæ antea edixit Magisterium ostendentes, novissima hac in parte quædam postulata enuntiare volumus, quæ theologia — immo, antehac Dei verbum — philosophicæ cogitationi ac recentioribus philosophicis hodie exhibet.  Quemadmodum supra dictum est, ad suas regulas agere suisque principiis inniti debet philosophus ;  nisi una tamen esse non potest veritas.  Revelatio et quæ in ea continentur rationis inventa ejusque legitimam autonomiam nunquam comprimere possunt ;  at ratio, ex parte sua, sese interrogandi et percontandi facultatem nunquam amittere debet, sibi omnino conscia se absolutum quiddam propriumque non esse.  Veritas revelata, clare id quod est collustrando, sumens initium ex splendore quem efficit Id quod per se Est, philosophicæ cogitationis iter illuminabit.  Revelatio christiana verus fit, itaque, locus ubi philosophica et theologica disciplina, mutuam necessitudinem instituentes, conjunguntur et reciprocantur.  Optandum igitur est ut theologi ac philosophi a sola veritatis auctoritate temperentur ita ut philosophia cum Dei verbo congruens contexatur.  Philosophia hæc locus erit ubi humani cultus et christiana fides convenient, consensionis erit sedes inter fideles et non fideles.  Opem feret ut fideles sibi sint altius conscii altitudinem sinceritatemque fidei juvari dum nectitur cum cogitatione, dumque eam non recusat.  Patrum rursus doctrina in hanc nos persuasionem perducit :  « Et ipsum credere, nihil aliud est, quam cum assensione cogitare […] Omnis qui credit, et credendo cogitat, et cogitando credit […] quoniam fide si non cogitatur nulla est ».{95}  Et etiam :  « Si tollatur assensio, fides tollitur, quia sine assensione nihil creditur ».{96} 79.  Developing further what the Magisterium before me has taught, I intend in this final section to point out certain requirements which theology — and more fundamentally still, the word of God itself — makes today of philosophical thinking and contemporary philosophies.  As I have already noted, philosophy must obey its own rules and be based upon its own principles;  truth, however, can only be one.  The content of Revelation can never debase the discoveries and legitimate autonomy of reason.  Yet, conscious that it cannot set itself up as an absolute and exclusive value, reason on its part must never lose its capacity to question and to be questioned.  By virtue of the splendor emanating from subsistent Being itself, revealed truth offers the fullness of light and will therefore illumine the path of philosophical inquiry.  In short, Christian Revelation becomes the true point of encounter and engagement between philosophical and theological thinking in their reciprocal relationship.  It is to be hoped therefore that theologians and philosophers will let themselves be guided by the authority of truth alone so that there will emerge a philosophy consonant with the word of God.  Such a philosophy will be a place where Christian faith and human cultures may meet, a point of understanding between believer and non-believer.  It will help lead believers to a stronger conviction that faith grows deeper and more authentic when it is wedded to thought and does not reject it.  It is again the Fathers who teach us this:  “To believe is nothing other than to think with assent…  Believers are also thinkers:  in believing, they think and in thinking, they believe…  If faith does not think, it is nothing.”{95}  And again:  “If there is no assent, there is no faith, for without assent one does not really believe.”{96}



Verbi Dei postulationes haud renuntiandæ The indispensable requirements of the word of God
80.  Continent Sacræ Litteræ, tam explicito quam modo implicito, complura elementa ex quibus haurire licet claram cujusdam philosophicæ crassitudinis æstimationem hominis orbisque.  Gradatim conscii facti sunt Christiani eis in paginis sacris divitem concludi thesaurum.  Inde quidem elucet id quod experimur non esse absolutum, non esse increatum neque ex se ipso generatum.  Deus est Absolutus unus.  De Bibliorum paginis præterea manifesto apparet species hominis veluti Dei imaginis, quæ certa præ se fert indicia de ejus essentia ac libertate nec non animæ immortalitate.  Quandoquidem orbis creatus non sibi solus sufficit, omnis deceptio autonomiæ, quæ creaturas omnes a Deo suapte natura pendere proindeque hominem etiam negaverit, ad calamitates perducit quæ rationabilem harmoniæ inquisitionem sensusque humanæ vitæ delent. 80.  In Sacred Scripture are found elements, both implicit and explicit, which allow a vision of the human being and the world which has exceptional philosophical density.  Christians have come to an ever deeper awareness of the wealth to be found in the sacred text.  It is there that we learn that what we experience is not absolute:  it is neither uncreated nor self-generating.  God alone is the Absolute.  From the Bible there emerges also a vision of man as imago Dei.  This vision offers indications regarding man’s life, his freedom and the immortality of the human spirit.  Since the created world is not self-sufficient, every illusion of autonomy which would deny the essential dependence on God of every creature — the human being included — leads to dramatic situations which subvert the rational search for the harmony and the meaning of human life.
Mali pariter moralis quæstio, quod omnium est tristissimum, in Bibliis agitatur, ubi illud dicitur haud posse ad aliquod vitium materiæ debitum redigi, verum vulnus potius esse quod ex inordinata libertatis humanæ affirmatione proficiscitur.  Verbum Dei, denique, quæstionem providet de ipsius vitæ sensu suumque præbet responsum dum ad Christum Jesum, incarnatum Dei Filium, dirigit hominem qui vitam humanam plenissime complet.  Aliæ similiter rationes enucleari possunt ex textus sacri lectione ;  attamen repudiatio inde elucet cujuslibet formæ relativismi, materialismi, pantheismi. The problem of moral evil — the most tragic of evil’s forms — is also addressed in the Bible, which tells us that such evil stems not from any material deficiency, but is a wound inflicted by the disordered exercise of human freedom.  In the end, the word of God poses the problem of the meaning of life and proffers its response in directing the human being to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, who is the perfect realization of human existence.  A reading of the sacred text would reveal other aspects of this problem;  but what emerges clearly is the rejection of all forms of relativism, materialism and pantheism.
Primaria hujus « philosophiæ » in Bibliis repositæ persuasio hæc est :  humana vita et mundus ipse aliquid significant et ordinantur ad sui perfectionem quam in Christo Jesu inveniunt.  Incarnationis mysterium manebit semper veluti medium punctum ad quod quis referatur ut comprehendere possit arcanum vitæ humanæ, orbis conditi et Dei ipsius.  Hoc in mysterio extremæ fiunt philosophiæ provocationes, quoniam incitatur ratio humana ut suam efficiat logicam viam ad deruendos muros quibus periculum est ne ipsa circumdetur.  Hic, vero, tantummodo vitæ humanæ sensus in summum evadit.  Intima enim Dei hominisque essentia intellegibilis redditur :  in Verbi Incarnati mysterio, divina natura atque humana cum suis cujusque proprietatibus servantur simulque declaratur necessitudo singularis qua colligantur in conjunctione mutua sine permixtione.{97} The fundamental conviction of the “philosophy” found in the Bible is that the world and human life do have a meaning and look towards their fulfilment, which comes in Jesus Christ.  The mystery of the Incarnation will always remain the central point of reference for an understanding of the enigma of human existence, the created world and God himself.  The challenge of this mystery pushes philosophy to its limits, as reason is summoned to make its own a logic which brings down the walls within which it risks being confined.  Yet only at this point does the meaning of life reach its defining moment.  The intimate essence of God and of the human being become intelligible:  in the mystery of the Incarnate Word, human nature and divine nature are safeguarded in all their autonomy, and at the same time the unique bond which sets them together in mutuality without confusion of any kind is revealed.{97}
81.  Animadverti oportet inter significantiora hodiernæ nostræ condicionis elementa esse « discrimen significationis ».  Judicia, sæpe indolis scientificæ, de vita et mundo eatenus sunt multiplicata ut præbeatur nobis re vera species aliqua divisarum notitiarum.  Istud efficit ut difficulter ac nonnunquam frustra sensus sive significatio rerum conquiratur.  Immo vero — id quod magis animum obturbat — in hac datorum factorumque congerie quibus hodie vivitur et quæ videntur condere ipsius vitæ viam, sunt qui interrogent utrum adhuc interrogare attineat de ipso rerum sensu.  Opinationum multitudo inter quas disputatur cui sit respondendum, aut etiam variæ rationes interpretandi et contemplandi mundum hominisque vitam, nihil aliud perficiunt nisi ut exsecutam efficiant intimam hanc dubitationem quæ facile in scepticismi atque indifferentiæ affectionem transit vel etiam varias in nihilismi indicationes. 81.  One of the most significant aspects of our current situation, it should be noted, is the “crisis of meaning.”  Perspectives on life and the world, often of a scientific temper, have so proliferated that we face an increasing fragmentation of knowledge.  This makes the search for meaning difficult and often fruitless.  Indeed, still more dramatically, in this maelstrom of data and facts in which we live and which seem to comprise the very fabric of life, many people wonder whether it still makes sense to ask about meaning.  The array of theories which vie to give an answer, and the different ways of viewing and of interpreting the world and human life, serve only to aggravate this radical doubt, which can easily lead to scepticism, indifference or to various forms of nihilism.
Hinc autem consequitur ut hominum animus quadam forma ambiguæ cogitationis occupetur, quæ eo illos permovet ut magis etiam in se concludantur intra propriæ immanentiæ fines, nulla habita transcendentis ratione.  Philosophia quæ caret omni interrogatione de vitæ humanæ significatione magno objicitur periculo ne humana ratio in usum dumtaxat alicujus instrumenti reducatur, omni vero veritatis inquirendæ studio sublato. In consequence, the human spirit is often invaded by a kind of ambiguous thinking which leads it to an ever deepening introversion, locked within the confines of its own immanence without reference of any kind to the transcendent.  A philosophy which no longer asks the question of the meaning of life would be in grave danger of reducing reason to merely accessory functions, with no real passion for the search for truth.
Ut autem verbo Dei conveniat, necesse imprimis est philosophia suam reperiat sapientialem amplitudinem quærendi novissimum ac omnia complectentem sensum vitæ.  Hæc prima necessitas, si res bene ponderantur, ipsi philosophiæ addit perutile incitamentum ut suæ ipsius naturæ accomodetur.  Id agens, enim, non erit dumtaxat decretoria quædam et critica postulatio quæ diversis scientiæ partibus earum fundamentum ac limitem designat, verum proponetur etiam veluti extrema facultas colligandi totam scientiam actionemque hominum, dum ad unum finem eos concurrere cogit adque sensum ultimum.  Hæc sapientialis amplitudo eo magis hodie poscitur quia amplior technicæ humani generis potentiæ auctus renovatam peracutamque petit bonorum supremorum conscientiam.  Si technica hæc instrumenta forma alicujus ordinationis ad finem non solum utilitatis deficiant, cito videri illa possint inhumana, immo in generis humani potentiales eversores aliquando se convertere.{98} To be consonant with the word of God, philosophy needs first of all to recover its sapiential dimension as a search for the ultimate and overarching meaning of life.  This first requirement is in fact most helpful in stimulating philosophy to conform to its proper nature.  In doing so, it will be not only the decisive critical factor which determines the foundations and limits of the different fields of scientific learning, but will also take its place as the ultimate framework of the unity of human knowledge and action, leading them to converge towards a final goal and meaning.  This sapiential dimension is all the more necessary today, because the immense expansion of humanity’s technical capability demands a renewed and sharpened sense of ultimate values.  If this technology is not ordered to something greater than a merely utilitarian end, then it could soon prove inhuman and even become potential destroyer of the human race.{98}
Ultimum hominis finem patefacit verbum Dei universalemque addit sensum ipsius actionibus in terris.  Hanc ob causam philosophiam illud hortatur ut se dedat reperiendo naturali sensus hujus fundamento, qui nempe religiosa cujusque hominis constitutio est.  Quæcunque philosophia negare voluerit hunc ultimum et universalem sensum reperiri posse, erit non modo impar verum etiam erronea. The word of God reveals the final destiny of men and women and provides a unifying explanation of all that they do in the world.  This is why it invites philosophy to engage in the search for the natural foundation of this meaning, which corresponds to the religious impulse innate in every person.  A philosophy denying the possibility of an ultimate and overarching meaning would be not only ill-adapted to its task, but false.
82.  Ceterum, hoc sapientiæ munus non potest aliqua philosophia explere quæ ipsa vicissim non est vera solidaque scientia, quæ scilicet non tantum dirigitur ad elementa peculiaria et relativa — sive functiones tangunt sive formas vel utilitates — rerum ipsarum, sed ad totam ultimamque earum veritatem, id est ad essentiam ipsam objectorum cognitionis.  Ecce itaque secunda postulatio :  ut hominis comprobetur facultas adipiscendæ veritatis cognitionis ;  quæ, ceterum, cognitio objectivam attingat veritatem, per illam adæquationem rei et intellectus quam Scholasticæ disciplinæ doctores appellaverunt.{99}  Hæc postulatio, fidei plane propria, explicatis verbis in Concilio Œcumenico Vaticano II est rursus inculcata :  « Intellegentia enim non ad sola phænomena coarctatur, sed realitatem intellegibilem cum vera certitudine adipisci valet, etiamsi, ex sequela peccati, ex parte obscuratur et debilitatur ».{100} 82.  Yet this sapiential function could not be performed by a philosophy which was not itself a true and authentic knowledge, addressed, that is, not only to particular and subordinate aspects of reality — functional, formal or utilitarian — but to its total and definitive truth, to the very being of the object which is known.  This prompts a second requirement:  that philosophy verify the human capacity to know the truth, to come to a knowledge which can reach objective truth by means of that adaequatio rei et intellectus to which the Scholastic Doctors referred.{99}  This requirement, proper to faith, was explicitly reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council:  “Intelligence is not confined to observable data alone.  It can with genuine certitude attain to reality itself as knowable, though in consequence of sin that certitude is partially obscured and weakened.”{100}
Philosophia prorsus phænomenorum aut rerum æquivocarum haud idonea erit quæ hoc suppeditet auxilium divitiis verbi Dei altius perscrutandis.  Etenim, pro concesso semper Sacra Scriptura habet hominem, licet falsitatis sit reus fallaciæque, cognoscere tamen posse et comprehendere perlucidam simplicemque veritatem.  Libris Sacris ac præsertim Novo Testamento, insunt loci et affirmationes indolis omnino ontologicæ.  Veras enim declarationes potuerunt proferre auctores inspirati, quæ nempe res denotarent objectivas.  Dici non potest Traditionem catholicam ullo modo erravisse quum dicta quædam Sancti Joannis ac Sancti Pauli accepit velut sententias de ipsa Christi essentia.  Quum his affirmationibus et intellegendis et exponendis dat operam, theologia subsidio proinde indiget alicujus philosophiæ quæ facultatem cognitionis objective veræ non neget, quantumvis perfici illa possit.  Hoc pariter de conscientiæ moralis valet judiciis, quæ Sacræ Litteræ concedunt esse posse objective vera.{101} A radically phenomenalist or relativist philosophy would be ill-adapted to help in the deeper exploration of the riches found in the word of God.  Sacred Scripture always assumes as a given that the individual, even if guilty of duplicity and mendacity, can know and grasp the clear and simple truth.  The Bible, and the New Testament in particular, contains texts and statements which have a genuinely ontological content.  The inspired authors intended to formulate true statements, capable, that is, of expressing objective reality.  It cannot be said that the Catholic tradition erred when it took certain texts of Saint John and Saint Paul to be statements about the very being of Christ.  In seeking to understand and explain these statements, theology needs therefore the contribution of a philosophy which does not disavow the possibility of a knowledge which is objectively true, even if not perfect.  This applies equally to the judgements of moral conscience, which Sacred Scripture considers capable of being objectively true.{101}
83.  Priores hæ postulationes tertiam secum important :  opus est philosophia naturæ vere metaphysicæ, quæ excedere nempe valeat empirica indicia ut, veritatem conquirens, ad aliquid absolutum ultimum, fundamentale pertingat.  Hæc postulatio jam implicita reperitur in cognitionibus indolis sapientialis tum etiam analyticæ ;  est necessitas præsertim cognitionum de bono morali cujus extremum fundamentum est Bonum supremum, Deus ipse.  Nolumus hic loqui de metaphysica re tanquam de peculiari schola aut particulari consuetudine historica.  Affirmare id dumtaxat interest realitatem ac veritatem transcendere facta et elementa empirica ;  refert etiam defendere hominis potestatem cujus vi hanc rationem transcendentem ac metaphysicam percipiat modo vero certoque, licet imperfecto et analogico.  Ita quidem metaphysica disciplina non respicienda est tanquam anthropologiæ opposita, quandoquidem metaphysica ipsa sinit solide stabiliri dignitatis personæ conceptum ex ejus spiritali natura.  Persona, nominatim, locum constituit præcipuum ut quis congrediatur cum actu essendi ac, propterea, cum meditatione metaphysica. 83.  The two requirements already stipulated imply a third:  the need for a philosophy of genuinely metaphysical range, capable, that is, of transcending empirical data in order to attain something absolute, ultimate and foundational in its search for truth.  This requirement is implicit in sapiential and analytical knowledge alike;  and in particular it is a requirement for knowing the moral good, which has its ultimate foundation in the Supreme Good, God himself.  Here I do not mean to speak of metaphysics in the sense of a specific school or a particular historical current of thought.  I want only to state that reality and truth do transcend the factual and the empirical, and to vindicate the human being’s capacity to know this transcendent and metaphysical dimension in a way that is true and certain, albeit imperfect and analogical.  In this sense, metaphysics should not be seen as an alternative to anthropology, since it is metaphysics which makes it possible to ground the concept of personal dignity in virtue of their spiritual nature.  In a special way, the person constitutes a privileged locus for the encounter with being, and hence with metaphysical inquiry.
Ubicunque præsentem quandam appellationem ad absolutum et transcendens detegit homo, inibi ei aperitur indicatio metaphysicæ rerum interpretationis :  in veritate ac pulchritudine, in bonis moralibus ac personis ceteris, in esse ac in Deo.  Magna manet nos provocatio hoc exeunte millennio, ut nempe transitum facere sciamus tam necessarium quam urgentem a phænomeno ad fundamentum.  Non ideo licet in sola experientia consistere ;  etiam quotiens hæc exprimit et ostendit interiorem hominis naturam ejusque spiritalitatem, necesse est speculativa ponderatio spiritalem substantiam attingat nec non fundamentum cui innititur.  Philosophica notio ideo quæ omne metaphysicum spatium negaverit ex se prorsus inepta erit, nec idonea ut officium congruum expleat mediationis ad Revelationem comprehendendam. Wherever men and women discover a call to the absolute and transcendent, the metaphysical dimension of reality opens up before them:  in truth, in beauty, in moral values, in other persons, in being itself, in God.  We face a great challenge at the end of this millennium to move from phenomenon to foundation, a step as necessary as it is urgent.  We cannot stop short at experience alone;  even if experience does reveal the human being’s interiority and spirituality, speculative thinking must penetrate to the spiritual core and the ground from which it rises.  Therefore, a philosophy which shuns metaphysics would be radically unsuited to the task of mediation in the understanding of Revelation.
Perpetuo se verbum Dei ad ea refert quæ experientiam prætergrediuntur atque etiam hominum cogitationem ;  at hoc « mysterium » patefieri non posset neque theologia illud quadamtenus intellegibile efficere valeret,{102} si humana cognitio artis experientiæ sensuum limitibus circumscriberetur.  Quocirca metaphysica exsistit tanquam quædam intercessio præstans in theologica inquisitione.  Theologia quidem, prospectu metaphysico destituta, ultra experientiæ religiosæ investigationem progredi non poterit neque permittere ut intellectus fidei congruenter universalem veritatis revelatæ transcendentemque vim significet. The word of God refers constantly to things which transcend human experience and even human thought;  but this “mystery” could not be revealed, nor could theology render it in some way intelligible,{102} were human knowledge limited strictly to the world of sense experience.  Metaphysics thus plays an essential role of mediation in theological research.  A theology without a metaphysical horizon could not move beyond an analysis of religious experience, nor would it allow the intellectus fidei to give a coherent account of the universal and transcendent value of revealed truth.
Si metaphysicæ partes tantopere extollimus, hoc ideo accidit quod persuasum Nobis habemus necessariam hanc esse viam ad statum discriminis superandum, in quo hodie philosophia magna ex parte omnino versatur, et ad quosdam improbos nostra in societate diffusos emendandos mores. If I insist so strongly on the metaphysical element, it is because I am convinced that it is the path to be taken in order to move beyond the crisis pervading large sectors of philosophy at the moment, and thus to correct certain mistaken modes of behavior now widespread in our society.
84.  Manifestius etiam elucet metaphysici operis pondus si progressus expenduntur quos hodie scientiæ hermeneuticæ jam efficiunt nec non variæ sermonis humani pervestigationes.  Consectaria quæ his effluxerunt ex studiis utilissima esse possunt ad fidei intellectum, quatenus structuram cogitationis humanæ sermocinationisque patefaciunt atque omnem sensum in sermone inclusum.  Verumtamen earundem disciplinarum cultores sunt qui suis inquisitionibus eo dumtaxat adveniunt ut explicent quo pacto intellegatur et quo modo exprimatur rerum universitas, non tamen rationis humanæ facultatem probant ut rerum essentia detegatur.  Quomodo non dispici potest hoc in affectu confirmatio illius discriminis fiduciæ, quod ætas nostra patitur, de rationis humanæ potestate ?  Quum vero, ex præmissis quibusdam gratuitis, hæ sententiæ jam fidei doctrinam obscurant ejusve universalem denegant virtutem, tunc non modo rationem demittunt, verum sese ipsas omnino excludunt.  Fides etenim luculenter postulat ut hominum sermo via quadam universali — etiam vocibus analogicis, tamen non ideo minus significantibus — realitatem divinam ac transcendentem [exprimere possit].{103}  Res nisi ita se haberent, Dei verbum, quod semper divinum est — licet lingua humana contineatur —, nihil de Deo significare posset.  Hujus Verbi interpretatio non huc illuc ab explicatione alia in aliam explicationem conjicere nos potest, ad nullam nos adducens affirmationem simpliciter veram ;  alioquin nulla esset Dei revelatio, sed tantummodo significatio humanarum notionum de Deo et de eis quæ existimatur ille de nobis cogitare. 84.  The importance of metaphysics becomes still more evident if we consider current developments in hermeneutics and the analysis of language.  The results of such studies can be very helpful for the understanding of faith, since they bring to light the structure of our thought and speech and the meaning which language bears.  However, some scholars working in these fields tend to stop short at the question of how reality is understood and expressed, without going further to see whether reason can discover its essence.  How can we fail to see in such a frame of mind the confirmation of our present crisis of confidence in the powers of reason?  When, on the basis of preconceived assumptions, these positions tend to obscure the contents of faith or to deny their universal validity, then not only do they abase reason but in so doing they also disqualify themselves.  Faith clearly presupposes that human language is capable of expressing divine and transcendent reality in a universal way — analogically, it is true, but no less meaningfully for that.{103}  Were this not so, the word of God, which is always a divine word in human language, would not be capable of saying anything about God.  The interpretation of this word cannot merely keep referring us to one interpretation after another, without ever leading us to a statement which is simply true;  otherwise there would be no Revelation of God, but only the expression of human notions about God and about what God presumably thinks of us.
85.  Probe novimus postulata hæc, a philosophia ipsi Dei verbo injuncta, videri posse ardua multis qui hodiernam investigationis philosophicæ experiuntur condicionem.  Hanc omnino ob causam, ea omnia Nostra facientes quæ jam complures annos Summi Pontifices docere non desistunt, quæque rursus inculcavit Concilium Œcumenicum Vaticanum II, vehementer confitemur Nobis esse persuasum, hominem visionem unicam et ordinatam scientiæ assequi posse.  Hoc unum officiorum est quod christiana cogitatio proximo quidem christianæ ætatis millennio in se recipere debebit.  Multiplex scientiæ humanæ partitio, quatenus partim tantum ad veritatem accedere sinit, ideoque etiam sensum ipsum perfringit, interiorem hominis hodierni impedit unitatem.  Quare de his omnibus non potest sollicitari Ecclesia ?  Hoc sapientiæ munus in ejus pastores recta via ex Evangelio defluit, neque ipsi se subducere possunt officio illius muneris explendi. 85.  I am well aware that these requirements which the word of God imposes upon philosophy may seem daunting to many people involved in philosophical research today.  Yet this is why, taking up what has been taught repeatedly by the Popes for several generations and reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council itself, I wish to reaffirm strongly the conviction that the human being can come to a unified and organic vision of knowledge.  This is one of the tasks which Christian thought will have to take up through the next millennium of the Christian era.  The segmentation of knowledge, with its splintered approach to truth and consequent fragmentation of meaning, keeps people today from coming to an interior unity.  How could the Church not be concerned by this?  It is the Gospel which imposes this sapiential task directly upon her Pastors, and they cannot shrink from their duty to undertake it.
Quotquot hodie veluti philosophi respondere cupiant illis postulationibus quas cogitationi humanæ Dei verbum imponit, eos credimus omnino suum debere explicare sermonem secundum easdem postulationes, nec non continuam cohærentiam cum diuturna illa traditione quæ, ab antiquis profecta, transit per Ecclesiæ Patres atque scholasticæ disciplinæ magistros, ut tandem ad intellegendos cogitationis recentioris atque hujus æqualis temporis præcipuos fructus adveniat.  Philosophus si hanc traditionem usurpare noverit seque ex ea dirigere, certe non poterit ipse fidelem se non demonstrare ipsi necessitati autonomiæ philosophicarum investigationum. I believe that those philosophers who wish to respond today to the demands which the word of God makes on human thinking should develop their thought on the basis of these postulates and in organic continuity with the great tradition which, beginning with the ancients, passes through the Fathers of the Church and the masters of Scholasticism and includes the fundamental achievements of modern and contemporary thought.  If philosophers can take their place within this tradition and draw their inspiration from it, they will certainly not fail to respect philosophy’s demand for autonomy.
Hoc sensu plurimum id significat, quod nempe quidam philosophi hodiernis in adjunctis se exhibeant fautores iterum detecti pergravis ponderis traditionum ad rectam cognitionis formam.  Appellatio enim ad traditionem non sola præteriti temporis recordatio est ;  agnoscit potius illa patrimonium culturæ quod pertinet omnes ad homines.  Par immo est dicere, nos ad traditionem pertinere, neque licere statuere de ea uti velimus.  Hinc plane, quod radices in ipsam traditionem aguntur, permittitur nobis hodie ut cogitationem aliquam primam et novam et de futuro tempore providam enuntiemus.  Eadem hæc appellatio magis etiam pertinet ad theologiam.  Non solum quia vivam Ecclesiæ Traditionem ipsa possidet tanquam primigenum rerum fontem,{104} verum etiam quod idcirco theologia posse debet tum revocare altam traditionem theologicam quæ priora sæcula signavit, tum perennem illius philosophiæ traditionem quæ novit spatii temporisque fines excedere suam ob sapientiam. In the present situation, therefore, it is most significant that some philosophers are promoting a recovery of the determining role of this tradition for a right approach to knowledge.  The appeal to tradition is not a mere remembrance of the past;  it involves rather the recognition of a cultural heritage which belongs to all of humanity.  Indeed it may be said that it is we who belong to the tradition and that it is not ours to dispose of at will.  Precisely by being rooted in the tradition will we be able today to develop for the future an original, new and constructive mode of thinking.  This same appeal is all the more valid for theology.  Not only because theology has the living Tradition of the Church as its original source,{104} but also because, in virtue of this, it must be able to recover both the profound theological tradition of earlier times and the enduring tradition of that philosophy which by dint of its authentic wisdom can transcend the boundaries of space and time.
86.  Inculcata hæc necessitas solidi vinculi continuationis deliberationum philosophicarum cum inquisitionibus traditionis christianæ illuc spectat ut prævertatur periculo quod quibusdam hodie latius diffusis sententiis subest.  Quamquam breviter, opportunum censemus immorari eis in sententiis quarum ostendantur errores, indeque pericula philosophicæ industriæ intenta. 86.  This insistence on the need for a close relationship of continuity between contemporary philosophy and the philosophy developed in the Christian tradition is intended to avert the danger which lies hidden in some currents of thought which are especially prevalent today.  It is appropriate, I think, to review them, however briefly, in order to point out their errors and the consequent risks for philosophical work.
Eorum quidem primum (periculum) voce eclecticismi nuncupatur, quo nomine illius hominis describitur affectio qui, in investigando, in docendo et in argumentatione theologica, singulas notiones accipere solet diversis perceptas ex philosophiis, nulla earum habita ratione cohærentiæ neque ordinatæ conjunctionis nec historicæ collocationis.  Hoc pacto ita se præbet ut veritatis partem in aliqua notione distinguere ab aliis erratis vel imperfectis rebus nequeat.  Extrema eclecticismi dispici potest forma etiam rhetorico in abusu vocabulorum philosophicorum quæ aliqui theologi interdum usurpant.  Non utilis est similis abusus inquisitioni veritatis ;  neque mentem sive theologicam sive philosophicam instituit ut modo serio doctoque argumentetur.  Grave et altum doctrinarum philosophicarum studium — tum etiam proprii earum sermonis et contextus ex quo sunt enatæ —, multum adjuvat ut eclecticismi pericula vincantur, permittitque aptam in earum argumentationes theologicas ingressionem. The first goes by the name of eclecticism, by which is meant the approach of those who, in research, teaching and argumentation, even in theology, tend to use individual ideas drawn from different philosophies, without concern for their internal coherence, their place within a system or their historical context.  They therefore run the risk of being unable to distinguish the part of truth of a given doctrine from elements of it which may be erroneous or ill-suited to the task at hand.  An extreme form of eclecticism appears also in the rhetorical misuse of philosophical terms to which some theologians are given at times.  Such manipulation does not help the search for truth and does not train reason — whether theological or philosophical — to formulate arguments seriously and scientifically.  The rigorous and far-reaching study of philosophical doctrines, their particular terminology and the context in which they arose, helps to overcome the danger of eclecticism and makes it possible to integrate them into theological discourse in a way appropriate to the task.
87.  Error ipsius methodi est eclecticismus, qui tamen in se opinationes etiam historicismi contegere potest.  Recte ut præteriti temporis comprehendatur doctrina, ea necesse est sua in historiæ atque culturæ inseratur adjuncta.  Primaria historicismi sententia, ex contrario, ea est ut philosophiæ cujusdam veritas sustineatur natura propria sua ad aliquod certum tempus aptata, aut ad definitum historicum munus.  Ita quidem, saltem implicite, perennis veri virtus negatur.  Id quod aliqua ætate valebat ut verum, potest cessare id esse alio tempore, uti defendet historicista.  Notionum humanarum historia, demum, ad ejus judicium paulo plus est quam archæologicum inventum, ex quo haurire licet ut sententiæ prioris temporis demonstrentur jam maximam partem prætermissæ et in præsentia omni significatione carentes.  Contra, potius reminiscendum est, etiamsi ipsa veritatis formula temporibus quadamtenus et culturæ formis vinciatur, veritates vel errores inibi repertos posse nihilominus agnosci et uti tales æstimari, quantumvis spatio temporeve distent. 87.  Eclecticism is an error of method, but lying hidden within it can also be the claims of historicism.  To understand a doctrine from the past correctly, it is necessary to set it within its proper historical and cultural context.  The fundamental claim of historicism, however, is that the truth of a philosophy is determined on the basis of its appropriateness to a certain period and a certain historical purpose.  At least implicitly, therefore, the enduring validity of truth is denied.  What was true in one period, historicists claim, may not be true in another.  Thus for them the history of thought becomes little more than an archeological resource useful for illustrating positions once held, but for the most part outmoded and meaningless now.  On the contrary, it should not be forgotten that, even if a formulation is bound in some way by time and culture, the truth or the error which it expresses can invariably be identified and evaluated as such despite the distance of space and time.
Intra theologicam meditationem plerumque se præbet historicismus quadam sub ratione « modernismi ».  Dum enim quis merito studet sermonem theologicum accommodum et pervium reddere æqualibus suis, affirmationibus et dictionibus philosophicis tantummodo recentioribus utitur, criticis neglectis judiciis quæ ad traditionis lumen tandem aliquando proferenda sunt.  Hæc modernismi via, quoniam veritatem præsenti pro utilitate permutat, haud idonea reperitur ad veritatis satisfaciendum postulatis, quibus respondeat theologia oportet. In theological inquiry, historicism tends to appear for the most part under the guise of “modernism.”  Rightly concerned to make theological discourse relevant and understandable to our time, some theologians use only the most recent opinions and philosophical language, ignoring the critical evaluation which ought to be made of them in the light of the tradition.  By exchanging relevance for truth, this form of modernism shows itself incapable of satisfying the demands of truth to which theology is called to respond.
88.  Aliud expendendum est periculum, nempe scientismus.  Hæc philosophiæ notio respuit tanquam validas omnes cognitionis formas alienas eis quæ sunt scientiarum positivarum propriæ atque in provinciam solorum phantasmatum rejicit tum religiosam et theologicam cognitionem tum ethicam et æstheticam scientiam.  Præteritis temporibus eadem notio intra positivismum et neo-positivismum declarabatur, qui sensu destitutas judicabant affirmationes metaphysicæ indolis.  Censura epistemologica omnem huic sententiæ abstulit fidem, sed ecce, novo renascitur sub scientismi vestitu.  Hoc sub prospectu, bona ad animi motuum dumtaxat effecta rediguntur atque « essendi » notio præteritur ut aliquid spatii nudis et simplicibus tribuatur factis.  Sese igitur scientia præparat ut per technologicos progressus omnibus dominetur vitæ humanæ partibus.  Felices qui nullo modo possunt negari successus scientificæ investigationis, nec non horum temporum technologiæ, plurimum adjuverunt ut mens scientistica disseminaretur quæ nullis jam videtur finibus circumscribi, quum in varias jam intraverit culturæ formas et mutationes fundamentales ibi quoque effecerit. 88.  Another threat to be reckoned with is scientism.  This is the philosophical notion which refuses to admit the validity of forms of knowledge other than those of the positive sciences;  and it relegates religious, theological, ethical and aesthetic knowledge to the realm of mere fantasy.  In the past, the same idea emerged in positivism and neo-positivism, which considered metaphysical statements to be meaningless.  Critical epistemology has discredited such a claim, but now we see it revived in the new guise of scientism, which dismisses values as mere products of the emotions and rejects the notion of being in order to clear the way for pure and simple facticity.  Science would thus be poised to dominate all aspects of human life through technological progress.  The undeniable triumphs of scientific research and contemporary technology have helped to propagate a scientistic outlook, which now seems boundless, given its inroads into different cultures and the radical changes it has brought.
Pro dolor, quod ad interrogationem pertinet de vitæ sensu, notandum est a fautoribus scientismi eandem haberi quæstionem tanquam propriam orbis irrationalis aut omnino ficti.  Non minus autem deludit hujus mentis tractatio magnis de aliis philosophiæ quæsitis quæ, si jam non omnino prætermittuntur, aliqua deliberatione agitantur quæ similitudinibus apparentibus fulcitur, fundamento carentibus omnino rationali.  Hoc humanam rerum ponderationem reddit pauperiorem, cui fundamentales quæstiones illæ subtrahuntur quas rationale animal, inde suis ab initiis in terra, perpetuo sibi proposuit.  Postquam, hanc secundum sententiam, criticum judicium ex ethica æstimatione est omissum, scientistarum doctrina efficere valuit ut plures sibi persuaderent, id quod technica ratione fieri possit, hanc ipsam ob causam morali ratione accipi posse. Regrettably, it must be noted, scientism consigns all that has to do with the question of the meaning of life to the realm of the irrational or imaginary.  No less disappointing is the way in which it approaches the other great problems of philosophy which, if they are not ignored, are subjected to analyses based on superficial analogies, lacking all rational foundation.  This leads to the impoverishment of human thought, which no longer addresses the ultimate problems which the human being, as the animal rationale, has pondered constantly from the beginning of time.  And since it leaves no space for the critique offered by ethical judgement, the scientistic mentality has succeeded in leading many to think that if something is technically possible it is therefore morally admissible.
89.  Haud minorum periculorum prænuntius est ipse pragmatismus, qui animi affectus ad eum maxime pertinet qui, suis in electionibus, usum recusat deliberationum theoreticarum vel existimationum ethicis principiis innitentium.  Insignia sunt practica consectaria quæ ab ejusmodi mentis opinatione profluxerunt.  Nominatim vero eo deventum est ut popularis regiminis opinatio proferretur quæ nullo modo ad fundamenta ordinis officiorum et debitorum referretur ac propterea immutabilia :  honestas vel inhonestas quorundam morum secundum majoris partis suffragia in senatibus statuitur.{105}  Patent autem hujusmodi judicationis consectaria :  præcipuæ morales sententiæ sive pronuntiationes paulatim disputationibus subduntur quorundam institutorum.  Præterea :  ipsa anthropologica disciplina graviter afficitur, proposita una dumtaxat hominis visione, a qua longe absunt ethicæ dubitationes nec non vitales explicationes de sensu doloris ac sacrificii, vitæ et mortis. 89.  No less dangerous is pragmatism, an attitude of mind which, in making its choices, precludes theoretical considerations or judgements based on ethical principles.  The practical consequences of this mode of thinking are significant.  In particular there is growing support for a concept of democracy which is not grounded upon any reference to unchanging values:  whether or not a line of action is admissible is decided by the vote of a parliamentary majority.{105}  The consequences of this are clear:  in practice, the great moral decisions of humanity are subordinated to decisions taken one after another by institutional agencies.  Moreover, anthropology itself is severely compromised by a one-dimensional vision of the human being, a vision which excludes the great ethical dilemmas and the existential analyses of the meaning of suffering and sacrifice, of life and death.
90.  Hucusque recensitæ opinationes perducunt vicissim ad latiorem quandam notionem quæ hodie efficere videtur communem multarum philosophiarum prospectum quæ jam a sensu essendi recesserunt.  Loquimur enim de interpretatione nihilista quæ simul omnis fundamenti repudiationem continet, omnisque veritatis objectivæ negationem. Nihilismus est humanitatis hominis ipsius negatio et ejus proprietatis, prius quam adversetur postulationibus et doctrinis verbi Dei propriis.  Etenim haud oblivisci licet neglectum ipsius « esse » necessario secum etiam longinquitatem afferre ab objectiva veritate ac, proinde, ab ipso fundamento illo quod hominis sustinet dignitatem.  Fieri sic potest ut de vultu hominis illæ summoveantur partes et species quæ similitudinem Dei patefaciunt, unde paulatim aut ad destructivam potentiæ cupiditatem adducitur aut solitudinis ad desperationem.  Amota enim semel hominis veritate, omnino quis decipitur, se liberum illum facere contendens.  Nam veritas atque libertas aut conjunguntur simul aut simul misere amittuntur.{106} 90.  The positions we have examined lead in turn to a more general conception which appears today as the common framework of many philosophies which have rejected the meaningfulness of being.  I am referring to the nihilist interpretation, which is at once the denial of all foundations and the negation of all objective truth.  Quite apart from the fact that it conflicts with the demands and the content of the word of God, nihilism is a denial of the humanity and of the very identity of the human being.  It should never be forgotten that the neglect of being inevitably leads to losing touch with objective truth and therefore with the very ground of human dignity.  This in turn makes it possible to erase from the countenance of man and woman the marks of their likeness to God, and thus to lead them little by little either to a destructive will to power or to a solitude without hope.  Once the truth is denied to human beings, it is pure illusion to try to set them free.  Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery.{106}
91.  Explanantes principia sententiarum modo propositarum noluimus integram præbere descriptionem hodiernæ philosophiæ condicionis :  ceterum difficulter redigi illa potest unicam ad æstimationem.  Asseverare Nostra potius interest hæreditatem scientiæ ac sapientiæ revera pluribus locupletari in regionibus.  Satis memorare est logicam, sermonis philosophiam, epistemologiam, naturæ philosophiam, anthropologiam, altiorem investigationem affectuum cognitionis, existentialem accessum ad libertatis explicationem.  E contrario, principii immanentiæ affirmatio, quæ veluti media subjacet postulatis rationalistis, jam a priore sæculo responsiones excitavit quibus altissima dubitatio inducta est de aliis postulatis de quibus eo usque disputatum non erat.  Enatæ ita sunt sententiæ irrationales — simulque criticum judicium aperuit manifesto vacuam omnino postulationem absoluti dominii rationis. 91.  In discussing these currents of thought, it has not been my intention to present a complete picture of the present state of philosophy, which would, in any case, be difficult to reduce to a unified vision.  And I certainly wish to stress that our heritage of knowledge and wisdom has indeed been enriched in different fields.  We need only cite logic, the philosophy of language, epistemology, the philosophy of nature, anthropology, the more penetrating analysis of the affective dimensions of knowledge and the existential approach to the analysis of freedom.  Since the last century, however, the affirmation of the principle of immanence, central to the rationalist argument, has provoked a radical requestioning of claims once thought indisputable.  In response, currents of irrationalism arose, even as the baselessness of the demand that reason be absolutely self-grounded was being critically demonstrated.
A quibusdam subtilioribus auctoribus ætas nostra uti tempus « post-modernum » est designata.  Vocabulum istud, sæpius quidem adhibitum de rebus inter se dissidentibus, indicat emergentem quandam elementorum novorum summam quæ sua amplitudine et efficacitate graves manentesque perficere potuerunt mutationes.  Ita verbum idem primum omnium adhibitum est de notionibus ordinis æsthetici et socialis et technologici.  In provinciam deinde philosophiæ est translatum, at certa semper ambiguitate signatum, tum quia judicium de eis quæ uti « post-moderna » appellantur nunc affirmans nunc negans esse potest, tum quia nulla est consensio in perdifficili quæstione de variarum ætatum historicarum terminis.  Verumtamen unum illud extra omnem dubitationem invenitur :  rationes et cogitationes quæ ad spatium post-modernum referuntur congruam merentur ponderationem.  Secundum enim quasdam earum opinationes, certitudinum tempus dicitur jam sine remedio transiisse et homini ipsi jam discendum esse in rerum quodam prospectu vivere ubi nullus reperiatur sensus — sub nomine, nempe, rerum fugientium ac temporariarum.  Omnem certitudinem judicio suo delentes, complures auctores, necessariis neglectis distinctionibus, in dubium etiam fidei certitudines deducunt. Our age has been termed by some thinkers the age of “postmodernity.”  Often used in very different contexts, the term designates the emergence of a complex of new factors which, widespread and powerful as they are, have shown themselves able to produce important and lasting changes.  The term was first used with reference to aesthetic, social and technological phenomena.  It was then transposed into the philosophical field, but has remained somewhat ambiguous, both because judgement on what is called “postmodern” is sometimes positive and sometimes negative, and because there is as yet no consensus on the delicate question of the demarcation of the different historical periods.  One thing however is certain:  the currents of thought which claim to be postmodern merit appropriate attention.  According to some of them, the time of certainties is irrevocably past, and the human being must now learn to live in a horizon of total absence of meaning, where everything is provisional and ephemeral.  In their destructive critique of every certitude, several authors have failed to make crucial distinctions and have called into question the certitudes of faith.
Quadamtenus confirmatur hic nihilismus in terrifica malorum experientia quibus ætas nostra est distincta.  Ante calamitosum hujus experimenti casum, optimismus rationalista, qui in historia deprehendebat victricem rationis progressionem, felicitatis libertatisque fontem, haud restitit ita ut jam, ex maximis periculis et minis hujus exeuntis sæculi, invitatio sit ad desperationem. This nihilism has been justified in a sense by the terrible experience of evil which has marked our age.  Such a dramatic experience has ensured the collapse of rationalist optimism, which viewed history as the triumphant progress of reason, the source of all happiness and freedom;  and now, at the end of this century, one of our greatest threats is the temptation to despair.
Verum nihilominus est certum, quandam mentem positivistam etiam nunc fidem tribuere deceptioni, cujus vi, propter reperta scientifica et technica, homo veluti demiurgus assequi ex se solo possit, sibique obtinere plenum suam in fortunam dominatum. Even so, it remains true that a certain positivist cast of mind continues to nurture the illusion that, thanks to scientific and technical progress, man and woman may live as a demiurge, single-handedly and completely taking charge of their destiny.
Hodierna theologiæ officia Current tasks for theology
92.  Quatenus est Revelationis intellegentia, variis in historiæ ætatibus theologia semper cognovit sibi diversarum culturarum postulationes esse suscipiendas, ut intra eas, consentanea cum doctrinæ explicatione, fidei elementa tradere posset.  Hodie quoque duplex ad eam pertinet munus.  Altera ex parte opus explicet illa oportet quod Concilium Œcumenicum Vaticanum II suo tempore ei commisit :  suas ut proprias renovaret docendi rationes quo evangelizationi efficacius inserviret.  Hac in re quis recordari non potest de verbis a Summo Pontifice Joanne XXIII prolatis dum aperiret Concilium ?  Dixit enim tunc :  « Oportet ut, quemadmodum cuncti sinceri rei christianæ, catholicæ, apostolicæ fautores vehementer exoptant, eadem doctrina amplius et altius cognoscatur, eaque plenius animi imbuantur atque formentur ;  oportet ut hæc doctrina certa et immutabilis, cui fidele obsequium est præstandum, ea ratione pervestigetur et exponatur quam tempora postulant nostra ».{107} 92.  As an understanding of Revelation, theology has always had to respond in different historical moments to the demands of different cultures, in order then to mediate the content of faith to those cultures in a coherent and conceptually clear way.  Today, too, theology faces a dual task.  On the one hand, it must be increasingly committed to the task entrusted to it by the Second Vatican Council, the task of renewing its specific methods in order to serve evangelization more effectively.  How can we fail to recall in this regard the words of Pope John XXIII at the opening of the Council?  He said then:  “In line with the keen expectation of those who sincerely love the Christian, Catholic and apostolic religion, this doctrine must be known more widely and deeply, and souls must be instructed and formed in it more completely;  and this certain and unchangeable doctrine, always to be faithfully respected, must be understood more profoundly and presented in a way which meets the needs of our time.”{107}
Ex altera vero parte oculos theologia intendat necesse est ultimam in veritatem quam ei commendat Revelatio ipsa, neque sibi satis esse existimet in mediis consistere intervallis.  Decet enim reminisci theologum opus suum respondere « ad vim dynamicam quæ in ipsa fide inest », suæque inquisitionis argumentum id esse :  « Veritas, Deus vivus ejusque salutis consilium per Jesum Christum revelatum ».{108}  Hoc munus, quod ante omnia afficit theologiam, simul quidem philosophiam provocat.  Quæstionum enim multitudo, quæ hodie premunt, communem poscit operam, etiamsi multiplicibus rationibus illa expletur, ut cognoscatur denuo veritas atque exprimatur.  Veritas quæ Christus est, ubique auctoritate universali se imponit quæ gubernat, incitat et prosperat tum theologiam tum etiam philosophiam. On the other hand, theology must look to the ultimate truth which Revelation entrusts to it, never content to stop short of that goal.  Theologians should remember that their work corresponds “to a dynamism found in the faith itself” and that the proper object of their inquiry is “the Truth which is the living God and his plan for salvation revealed in Jesus Christ.”{108}  This task, which is theology’s prime concern, challenges philosophy as well.  The array of problems which today need to be tackled demands a joint effort — approached, it is true, with different methods — so that the truth may once again be known and expressed.  The Truth, which is Christ, imposes itself as an all-embracing authority which holds out to theology and philosophy alike the prospect of support, stimulation and increase (cf. Eph 4:15).
Quod creditur veritatem ubique validam cognosci posse, haud prorsus inde oritur intolerantia ;  condicio, contra, necessaria est ad verum sincerumque inter homines dialogum.  Hac sola condicione fieri potest ut discidia vincantur et iter ad unam integram veritatem percurratur secundum eas semitas quas solus Domini resuscitati Spiritus cognoscit.{109}  Nunc ipsum cupimus explicare quo pacto unitatis necessitas hodie in re conformetur, inspectis præsentibus theologiæ officiis. To believe it possible to know a universally valid truth is in no way to encourage intolerance;  on the contrary, it is the essential condition for sincere and authentic dialogue between persons.  On this basis alone is it possible to overcome divisions and to journey together towards full truth, walking those paths known only to the Spirit of the Risen Lord.{109}  I wish at this point to indicate the specific form which the call to unity now takes, given the current tasks of theology.
93.  Propositum princeps quod explere vult theologia in eo consistit, ut Revelationis intellectus præbeatur, fideique doctrina.  Media propterea ipsius pars, ac veluti centrum ejus deliberationum, erit mysterii ipsius Dei Unius et Trini contemplatio.  Huc per mysterii Incarnationis Filii Dei ponderationem acceditur :  eo quod ipse factus est homo ac deinde occuccurrit passioni et morti, quod mysterium in gloriosam ejus resurrectionem atque ascensionem ad dexteram Patris evasit, unde veritatis Spiritum misit suam ad constituendam et animandam Ecclesiam.  Hoc in rerum prospectu, principale theologiæ munus fit Dei kenosis intellectus, quod magnum humanæ menti restat mysterium quæ vix credibile opinatur dolorem mortemque posse amorem illum declarare qui, nihil vicissim expetens, sese dono concedit.  Hac autem in re, primaria quædam necessitas injungitur urgensque simul locorum ipsorum intenta pervestigatio :  imprimis Sacrarum Litterarum, deinde eorum quibus viva Ecclesiæ Traditio profertur.  Hic autem hodie nonnullæ emergunt quæstiones, ex parte dumtaxat novæ, quibus addi non potest solutio, neglectis philosophiæ officiis. 93.  The chief purpose of theology is to provide an understanding of Revelation and the content of faith.  The very heart of theological inquiry will thus be the contemplation of the mystery of the Triune God.  The approach to this mystery begins with reflection upon the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God:  his coming as man, his going to his Passion and Death, a mystery issuing into his glorious Resurrection and Ascension to the right hand of the Father, whence he would send the Spirit of truth to bring his Church to birth and give her growth.  From this vantage-point, the prime commitment of theology is seen to be the understanding of God’s kenosis, a grand and mysterious truth for the human mind, which finds it inconceivable that suffering and death can express a love which gives itself and seeks nothing in return.  In this light, a careful analysis of texts emerges as a basic and urgent need:  first the texts of Scripture, and then those which express the Church’s living Tradition.  On this score, some problems have emerged in recent times, problems which are only partially new;  and a coherent solution to them will not be found without philosophy’s contribution.
94.  Respicit prima difficilis quæstio necessitudinem inter significationem et veritatem.  Quemadmodum omnibus aliis in textibus accidit, ita etiam fontes, quos interpretatur theologus, ante omnia aliquam transmittunt significationem quæ illuminanda est atque explananda.  Nunc vero se exhibet hæc significatio tanquam de Deo veritatem, quæ a Deo ipso sacrum per textum traditur.  Quocirca hominum in sermone incorporatur Dei sermo, qui suam veritatem communicat, ea admirabili « indulgentia » quæ logicam Incarnationis rationem refert.{110}  Revelationis ideo interpretans fontes oportet theologus se ipse interroget quæ alta et germana sit veritas quam Scripturarum loci aperire volunt etiam intra sermonis limites. 94.  An initial problem is that of the relationship between meaning and truth.  Like every other text, the sources which the theologian interprets primarily transmit a meaning which needs to be grasped and explained.  This meaning presents itself as the truth about God which God himself communicates through the sacred text.  Human language thus embodies the language of God, who communicates his own truth with that wonderful “condescension” which mirrors the logic of the Incarnation.{110}  In interpreting the sources of Revelation, then, the theologian needs to ask what is the deep and authentic truth which the texts wish to communicate, even within the limits of language.
Ad Bibliorum quod attinet locos ac præsertim Evangeliorum, minime quidem redigitur eorum veritas in eventuum dumtaxat historicorum narrationem vel in factorum nudorum patefactionem, perinde ac positivismus historicista contendit.{111}  Hi ex contrario loci proponunt eventus quorum veritas ponitur ultra simplicem historiæ casum :  in eorum significatione in et pro salutis historia reperitur.  Plene hæc explicatur veritas illo ex perenni usu quem Ecclesia fecit illorum textuum sæculorum decursu, pristinam eorundem servando significationem.  Pernecessarium itaque est ut etiam philosophice de necessitudinis ratione interrogetur quæ inter factum ejusque significatum intercedit ;  hæc necessitudo proprium historiæ efficit sensum. The truth of the biblical texts, and of the Gospels in particular, is certainly not restricted to the narration of simple historical events or the statement of neutral facts, as historicist positivism would claim.{111}  Beyond simple historical occurrence, the truth of the events which these texts relate lies rather in the meaning they have in and for the history of salvation.  This truth is elaborated fully in the Church’s constant reading of these texts over the centuries, a reading which preserves intact their original meaning.  There is a pressing need, therefore, that the relationship between fact and meaning, a relationship which constitutes the specific sense of history, be examined also from the philosophical point of view.
95.  Non uni populo neque ætati uni destinatur Dei verbum.  Dogmaticæ similiter pronuntiationes, quantumvis temporis illius culturam referant quo eduntur, constantem tamen et decretoriam efferunt veritatem.  Hinc ergo quæstio exsistit quomodo inter se concilientur absoluta universalisque veritatis indoles atque inevitabiles historiæ culturæque condiciones earum formularum quibus eadem significatur veritas.  Uti superius jam diximus, historicismi opinationes haud possunt defendi.  Usus autem disciplinæ hermeneuticæ, quæ ad metaphysicæ scientiæ patet postulata, demonstrare valet quo pacto ex adjunctis historicis et incertis, in quibus textus sacri maturuerunt, ad veritatem transitus fiat ibidem patefactam, quæ easdem illas prætergreditur condiciones. 95.  The word of God is not addressed to any one people or to any one period of history.  Similarly, dogmatic statements, while reflecting at times the culture of the period in which they were defined, formulate an unchanging and ultimate truth.  This prompts the question of how one can reconcile the absoluteness and the universality of truth with the unavoidable historical and cultural conditioning of the formulas which express that truth.  The claims of historicism, I noted earlier, are untenable;  but the use of a hermeneutic open to the appeal of metaphysics can show how it is possible to move from the historical and contingent circumstances in which the texts developed to the truth which they express, a truth transcending those circumstances.
Suo historico circumscriptoque sermone licet homini veritates expromere quæ linguarum transcendunt usum.  Etenim nunquam potest nec tempore nec aliqua culturæ forma coarctari veritas ;  intra historiam cognoscitur at historiam ipsam egreditur. Human language may be conditioned by history and constricted in other ways, but the human being can still express truths which surpass the phenomenon of language.  Truth can never be confined to time and culture;  in history it is known, but it also reaches beyond history.
96.  Sinit hæc consideratio nos alterius jam difficultatis providere solutionem :  de perpetua agitur auctoritate et vi sermonum conceptuumque adhibitorum in conciliorum definitionibus.  Venerabilis jam Noster Decessor Pius XII hanc eandem quæstionem suis Encyclicis Litteris Humani generis pertractavit.{112} 96.  To see this is to glimpse the solution of another problem:  the problem of the enduring validity of the conceptual language used in Conciliar definitions.  This is a question which my revered predecessor Pius XII addressed in his Encyclical Letter Humani Generis.{112}
Hoc de argumento non facile disceptatur, quandoquidem serio animo ratio habeatur oportet ipsius significationis, quam variis in culturæ regionibus temporumque ætatibus verba sibi sumpserunt.  Cogitationis humanæ historia utcunque luculenter comprobat, per progressionem varietatemque culturarum, quasdam principales notiones universalem suam asservare cognoscendi vim, proindeque veritatem earum affirmationum quam recludunt.{113}  Res ita si non sese haberent, philosophia atque scientiæ inter se haud quicquam communicare valerent, neque percipi apud culturas diversas ab eis a quibus excogitatæ sunt et elaboratæ.  Restat propterea hermeneutica quæstio, at solvi potest.  Ceterum, multarum notionum vera vis non prohibet quin imperfecta sit earum significatio ;  qua in re, philosophica disceptatio multum efficere potest.  Optatur, idcirco, ut peculiari studio conjunctio pervestigetur inter sermonem intellectivum et veritatem, atque etiam proponantur apta itinera ad rectam ejus intellegentiam. This is a complex theme to ponder, since one must reckon seriously with the meaning which words assume in different times and cultures.  Nonetheless, the history of thought shows that across the range of cultures and their development certain basic concepts retain their universal epistemological value and thus retain the truth of the propositions in which they are expressed.{113}  Were this not the case, philosophy and the sciences could not communicate with each other, nor could they find a place in cultures different from those in which they were conceived and developed.  The hermeneutical problem exists, to be sure;  but it is not insoluble.  Moreover, the objective value of many concepts does not exclude that their meaning is often imperfect.  This is where philosophical speculation can be very helpful.  We may hope, then, that philosophy will be especially concerned to deepen the understanding of the relationship between conceptual language and truth, and to propose ways which will lead to a right understanding of that relationship.
97.  Si grave theologiæ officium est fontium interpretatio, aliud etiam et majoris prudentiæ necessitatisque est revelatæ veritatis perceptio sive intellectus fidei explicatio.  Sicut jam superius innuimus, intellectus fidei postulat, ut philosophia essendi, partes quæ imprimis sinant ut theologia dogmatica consentaneo modo expleat sua munia.  Dogmaticus primorum annorum hujus sæculi pragmatismus, ad quem fidei veritates nihil aliud quam morum normæ esse dicuntur, jam redargutus est atque rejectus ; {114} nihilominus semper quis allicitur ut has intellegat veritates modo plane functionali.  Tunc enim res recidet in rationem quandam prorsus inopportunam, reductivam, ac necessaria gravitate speculativa destitutam.  Verbi causa, Christologia, quæ « de basi » dumtaxat proficiscatur, quemadmodum hodie dicere consueverunt, vel ecclesiologia ad societatis civilis exemplum solummodo composita, talis reductionis periculum declinare non possent. 97.  The interpretation of sources is a vital task for theology;  but another still more delicate and demanding task is the understanding of revealed truth, or the articulation of the intellectus fidei.  The intellectus fidei, as I have noted, demands the contribution of a philosophy of being which first of all would enable dogmatic theology to perform its functions appropriately.  The dogmatic pragmatism of the early years of this century, which viewed the truths of faith as nothing more than rules of conduct, has already been refuted and rejected;{114}  but the temptation always remains of understanding these truths in purely functional terms.  This leads only to an approach which is inadequate, reductive and superficial at the level of speculation.  A Christology, for example, which proceeded solely “from below,” as is said nowadays, or an ecclesiology developed solely on the model of civil society, would be hard pressed to avoid the danger of such reductionism.
Si traditionis theologicæ universos complecti vult intellectus fidei thesauros, ad philosophiam essendi decurrere debet.  Hæc, enim, necessario quæstionem essendi rursus proponet secundum postulationes atque totius traditionis philosophicæ — etiam recentioris — utilitates allatas, omni omissa opportunitate, in superatas jam philosophicas rationes futiliter recidendi.  Intra metaphysicæ christianæ traditionis prospectum, philosophia essendi est philosophia actuosa seu dynamica quæ ipsis in suis ontologicis, causalibus et communicativis structuris præbet veritatem.  Impetum suum ac perennem impulsum in eo reperit quod actu ipso « essendi » sustentatur, unde plena et generalis permittitur ad solidam rerum universitatem patefactio, omnibus excessis terminis ut Ille, qui rebus omnibus consummationem tribuit, attingatur.{115}  Ea in theologia quæ sua ex Revelatione desumit principia tanquam a novo cognitionis fonte, hæc omnino confirmatur indicandi ratio intimum secundum illud vinculum inter fidem et metaphysicam rationalitatem. If the intellectus fidei wishes to integrate all the wealth of the theological tradition, it must turn to the philosophy of being, which should be able to propose anew the problem of being — and this in harmony with the demands and insights of the entire philosophical tradition, including philosophy of more recent times, without lapsing into sterile repetition of antiquated formulas.  Set within the Christian metaphysical tradition, the philosophy of being is a dynamic philosophy which views reality in its ontological, causal and communicative structures.  It is strong and enduring because it is based upon the very act of being itself, which allows a full and comprehensive openness to reality as a whole, surpassing every limit in order to reach the One who brings all things to fulfillment.{115}  In theology, which draws its principles from Revelation as a new source of knowledge, this perspective is confirmed by the intimate relationship which exists between faith and metaphysical reasoning.
98.  Explicari similes possunt deliberationes etiam ratione habita moralis theologiæ.  Philosophiæ redintegratio postulatur etiam ut intellegatur fides ad credentium vitam actionemque spectans.  Ante oculos constitutis provocationibus hodiernis in re sociali, œconomica, in re politica ac scientifica, ethica hominis conscientia confunditur.  In Litteris Encyclicis Veritatis splendor docuimus Nos complures in orbe nostro exsistentes difficultates inde oriri quod est « crisis circa veritatem.  Amissa notione veritatis universalis de bono quod ab humana mente percipi potest, necessario de conscientia opinio est immutata, quæ jam suo in primigenio statu non consideratur, tanquam scilicet actus intellectus personæ cujus est adhibere universalem cognitionem boni in peculiari quadam condicione et judicium facere de honesto eligendo hic et nunc ;  eo tenditur ut personæ conscientiæ privilegium tribuatur statuendi autonoma ratione normam boni malique, indeque agendi.  Mens hæc arte conjungitur cum individualistica ethica, secundum quam quisque cum sua confertur veritate, quæ ab aliorum veritate differt ».{116} 98.  These considerations apply equally to moral theology.  It is no less urgent that philosophy be recovered at the point where the understanding of faith is linked to the moral life of believers.  Faced with contemporary challenges in the social, economic, political and scientific fields, the ethical conscience of people is disoriented.  In the Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, I wrote that many of the problems of the contemporary world stem from a crisis of truth.  I noted that “once the idea of a universal truth about the good, knowable by human reason, is lost, inevitably the notion of conscience also changes.  Conscience is no longer considered in its prime reality as an act of a person’s intelligence, the function of which is to apply the universal knowledge of the good in a specific situation and thus to express a judgment about the right conduct to be chosen here and now.  Instead, there is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly.  Such an outlook is quite congenial to an individualist ethic, wherein each individual is faced with his own truth different from the truth of others.”{116}
Totas per easdem Encyclicas Litteras præcipuas extulimus partes attinentes ad veritatem morali in provincia.  Veritas hæc de plerisque ethicis quæstionibus, quæ magis hodie premunt, a theologia morali intentam exposcit meditationem quæ ejus in Dei verbo radices illuminet.  Suum ut expleat hoc munus, debet ideo moralis theologia uti ethica philosophiæ disciplina, quæ bonorum veritatem respicit ;  ethica videlicet utatur oportet disciplina quæ neque subjectiva sit neque utilitati soli serviat.  Hæc postulata ethica ratio importat atque ante flagitat philosophicam anthropologiam nec non metaphysicam bonorum tractationem.  Hanc unicam rerum judicationem adhibens quæ cum christiana vitæ sanctitate virtutumque humanarum et supernaturalium exercitatione cohæret, moralis theologia diversas sua in regione quæstiones agitare poterit — cujus generis sunt pax socialisque justitia, familia, vitæ defensio locorumque naturæ custodia — multo quidem efficacius et plenius. Throughout the Encyclical I underscored clearly the fundamental role of truth in the moral field.  In the case of the more pressing ethical problems, this truth demands of moral theology a careful inquiry rooted unambiguously in the word of God.  In order to fulfil its mission, moral theology must turn to a philosophical ethics which looks to the truth of the good, to an ethics which is neither subjectivist nor utilitarian.  Such an ethics implies and presupposes a philosophical anthropology and a metaphysics of the good.  Drawing on this organic vision, linked necessarily to Christian holiness and to the practice of the human and supernatural virtues, moral theology will be able to tackle the various problems in its competence, such as peace, social justice, the family, the defence of life and the natural environment, in a more appropriate and effective way.
99.  Theologicum Ecclesiæ opus ad fidem et catechesim imprimis nuntiandam deputatur.{117}  Nuntiatio sive « kerygma » ad conversionem vocat, Christi proponendo veritatem quæ ejus consummatur paschali in Mysterio :  in Christo, enim, uno veritatis agnosci potest plenitudo quæ homines salvat (cfr Act 4,12; 1 Tim 2,4-6). 99.  Theological work in the Church is first of all at the service of the proclamation of the faith and of catechesis.{117}  Proclamation or kerygma is a call to conversion, announcing the truth of Christ, which reaches its summit in his Paschal Mystery:  for only in Christ is it possible to know the fullness of the truth which saves (cf. Acts 4:12; 1 Tm 2:4-6).
Hinc probe pariter intellegitur cur præter theologiam sibi etiam catechesis assumat majus quoddam pondus :  in se enim hæc complectitur philosophica aliqua consectaria fidei sub lumine vestiganda.  Doctrina intra catechesim tradita aliquid certe ad instituendam personam humanam confert.  Debet catechesis, quæ etiam communicatio est facta per verba, Ecclesiæ Magisterium tota ex ipsius integritate præbere,{118} conjunctionem illius etiam cum credentium vita demonstrans.{119}  Unicum ita efficitur doctrinam inter et vitam vinculum quod aliter attingi non potest.  Non sane veritatum intellectivarum corpus in catechesi traditur, verum viventis Dei mysterium.{120} In this respect, it is easy to see why, in addition to theology, reference to catechesis is also important, since catechesis has philosophical implications which must be explored more deeply in the light of faith.  The teaching imparted in catechesis helps to form the person.  As a mode of linguistic communication, catechesis must present the Church’s doctrine in its integrity,{118} demonstrating its link with the life of the faithful.{119}  The result is a unique bond between teaching and living which is otherwise unattainable, since what is communicated in catechesis is not a body of conceptual truths, but the mystery of the living God.{120}
Plurimum æquabiliter philosophica disputatio confert ad necessitudinem collustrandam inter veritatem et vitam, inter eventum et doctrinalem veritatem ac, præsertim, rationem inter transcendentem veritatem et sermonem qui humanitus intellegi potest.{121}  Mutua consociatio inter disciplinas theologicas et exitus variis ex opinationibus philosophicis perceptos exprimet, itaque, veram fecunditatem in fide communicanda altiusque in ea comprehendenda. Philosophical inquiry can help greatly to clarify the relationship between truth and life, between event and doctrinal truth, and above all between transcendent truth and humanly comprehensible language.{121}  This involves a reciprocity between the theological disciplines and the insights drawn from the various strands of philosophy;  and such a reciprocity can prove genuinely fruitful for the communication and deeper understanding of the faith.


100.  Quandoquidem jam transierunt plus quam centum anni quum Leonis XIII Litteræ Encyclicæ Æterni Patris prodierunt, quas sæpenumero hoc in Nostro scripto commemoravimus, necessarium Nobis visum est de necessitudine inter fidem et philosophiam distinctius sermonem repetere.  Omnino manifestum est momentum quod habet philosophica cogitatio in cultura explicanda et in personalibus socialibusque moribus temperandis.  Ipsa multum potest — quod haud semper clare percipitur — etiam circa theologiam ejusdemque diversas disciplinas.  Has propter causas consentaneum necessariumque esse judicavimus vim confirmare quam philosophia pro fidei intellectu finibusque habet, quibus ipsa occurrit quum obliviscitur vel Revelationis veritates denegat.  Ecclesia enim persuasissimum habet fidem et rationem « opem sibi mutuam » ferre,{122} dum utraque simul judicium criticum et purificatorium exercet, simul stimulum admovet ad inquisitionem producendam et altius perscrutandas res. 100.  More than a hundred years after the appearance of Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Æterni Patris, to which I have often referred in these pages, I have sensed the need to revisit in a more systematic way the issue of the relationship between faith and philosophy.  The importance of philosophical thought in the development of culture and its influence on patterns of personal and social behavior is there for all to see.  In addition, philosophy exercises a powerful, though not always obvious, influence on theology and its disciplines.  For these reasons, I have judged it appropriate and necessary to emphasize the value of philosophy for the understanding of the faith, as well as the limits which philosophy faces when it neglects or rejects the truths of Revelation.  The Church remains profoundly convinced that faith and reason “mutually support each other”;{122}  each influences the other, as they offer to each other a purifying critique and a stimulus to pursue the search for deeper understanding.
101.  Si autem opinationum historiam respicimus, in occidentali potissimum parte, commode percipiuntur divitiæ quæ ad hominum progressum a philosophiæ et theologiæ occursu atque ab earum ipsarum acquisitionum permutationibus manarunt.  Theologia, quæ dono apertionem recepit proprietatemque quarum vi tamquæ fidei scientia exsistere valet, rationem certe lacessivit ut radicali novitati pateret, quam Dei revelatio secum fert.  Hoc sine dubio philosophiæ fuit utilitati, quæ hoc modo novos prospectus in alias significationes comparere vidit, quæ rationi altius sunt perscrutandæ. 101.  A survey of the history of thought, especially in the West, shows clearly that the encounter between philosophy and theology and the exchange of their respective insights have contributed richly to the progress of humanity.  Endowed as it is with an openness and originality which allow it to stand as the science of faith, theology has certainly challenged reason to remain open to the radical newness found in God’s Revelation;  and this has been an undoubted boon for philosophy which has thus glimpsed new vistas of further meanings which reason is summoned to penetrate.
His quidem consideratis rebus, quemadmodum confirmavimus theologiæ esse sinceram cum philosophia necessitudinem redintegrare, ita similiter iterare debemus philosophiæ pro cogitationis bono et progressu recuperandam esse cum theologia necessitudinem.  Reperiet in ea non singulorum hominum cogitationem, quæ, quamvis alta locuplesque sit, unius personæ tamen limitibus et lineamentis circumscribitur, sed communis cogitationis divitias.  Theologia namque in veritate perquirenda, sua natura, nota ecclesialitatis{123} sustentatur, itemque Dei Populi traditione cum multiformitate sapientiæ et culturarum in fidei unitate. Precisely in the light of this consideration, and just as I have reaffirmed theology’s duty to recover its true relationship with philosophy, I feel equally bound to stress how right it is that, for the benefit and development of human thought, philosophy too should recover its relationship with theology.  In theology, philosophy will find not the thinking of a single person which, however rich and profound, still entails the limited perspective of an individual, but the wealth of a communal reflection.  For by its very nature, theology is sustained in the search for truth by its ecclesial context{123} and by the tradition of the People of God, with its harmony of many different fields of learning and culture within the unity of faith.
102.  In momento et philosophicæ cogitationis vera magnitudine hoc modo innitens, Ecclesia tum hominis dignitatem tum evangelicum nuntium tuetur.  Nihil hodie plus quam hæc præparatio instat, perducendi scilicet homines ad eorum detegendam facultatem cognoscendi verum{124} inveniendique anhelitum versus summam consummatamque exsistentiæ significationen.  Harum altarum rationum in prospectu, quas Deus in hominum natura inscripsit, liquidius humana apparet significatio Dei verbi, quod humaniores reddit homines.  Philosophiæ beneficio, quæ etiam vera facta est sapientia, hujus temporis homo sic agnoscet se tanto esse humaniorem quanto plus, Evangelio confidendo, Christo pateat. 102.  Insisting on the importance and true range of philosophical thought, the Church promotes both the defence of human dignity and the proclamation of the Gospel message.  There is today no more urgent preparation for the performance of these tasks than this:  to lead people to discover both their capacity to know the truth{124} and their yearning for the ultimate and definitive meaning of life.  In the light of these profound needs, inscribed by God in human nature, the human and humanizing meaning of God’s word also emerges more clearly.  Through the mediation of a philosophy which is also true wisdom, people today will come to realize that their humanity is all the more affirmed the more they entrust themselves to the Gospel and open themselves to Christ.
103.  Philosophia, præterea, est tanquam speculum in quod populorum cultus repercutitur.  Philosophia, quæ, theologicis necessitatibus impellentibus, una cum fide concorditer progreditur, particeps est illius « culturæ evangelizationis », quam Paulus VI inter præcipua evangelizationis proposita annumeravit.{125} 103.  Philosophy moreover is the mirror which reflects the culture of a people.  A philosophy which responds to the challenge of theology’s demands and evolves in harmony with faith is part of that “evangelization of culture” which Paul VI proposed as one of the fundamental goals of evangelization.{125}
Dum autem novæ evangelizationis necessitatem iterare nunquam intermittimus, philosophos compellamus, qui altius veri, boni et pulchri granditatem vestigent, quibus Dei verbum aditum patere sinit.  Id magis instat, si provocationes expenduntur, quas novum millennium secum ferre videtur :  ipsæ peculiari ratione regiones antiquæque traditionis christianæ culturas afficiunt.  Hæc quoque consideratio veluti præcipuum originaleque ad novam evangelizationem persequendam habendum est adjumentum. I have unstintingly recalled the pressing need for a new evangelization; and I appeal now to philosophers to explore more comprehensively the dimensions of the true, the good and the beautiful to which the word of God gives access.  This task becomes all the more urgent if we consider the challenges which the new millennium seems to entail, and which affect in a particular way regions and cultures which have a long-standing Christian tradition.  This attention to philosophy too should be seen as a fundamental and original contribution in service of the new evangelization.
104.  Philosophica in disciplina sæpe solummodo invenitur consensus, et dialogus instituitur, cum illis qui nostram fidem haud communicant.  Hodiernus philosophicus motus postulat ut philosophi attente periteque, fideles, agant partes facultatibusque polleant ea percipiendi quæ hodiernis temporibus exspectantur, recluduntur et agitantur.  Dum secundum rationem ejusque regulas argumentatur, christianus philosophus, qui illo semper intellectu dirigitur quem Dei verbum sumministrat, quandam ratiocinationem agere potest quæ etiam ab illis, qui nondum omnem veritatem capiunt quam divina Revelatio ostendit, intellegi et sensu percipi potest.  Provincia hæc in qua consensus ac dialogus reperiuntur eo plus habet momenti propterea quod quæstiones quæ impensius humanitati opponuntur — puta quæstionem œcologicam, pacis quæstionem vel convictum stirpium et culturarum — communi opera eaque perspicua et sincera Christianorum et asseclarum aliarum religionum expediri possunt, necnon illorum quibus, quamvis nullius sint religionis, cordi est hominum renovatio.  Id quidem confirmavit Concilium Œcumenicum Vaticanum II :  « Desiderium talis colloquii, quod sola caritate erga veritatem ducatur, servata utique congrua prudentia, ex nostra parte neminem excludit, neque illos qui præclara animi humani bona colunt, eorum vero Auctorem nondum agnoscunt, neque illos qui Ecclesiæ opponuntur eamque variis modis persequuntur ».{126}  Philosophia illa, in qua aliquid Christi veritatis splendet, qui est humanarum quæstionum una ac postrema responsio,{127} fulcimentum erit illius ethicæ veræ simulque omnem orbem complectentis, qua hodiernus homo indiget. 104.  Philosophical thought is often the only ground for understanding and dialogue with those who do not share our faith.  The current ferment in philosophy demands of believing philosophers an attentive and competent commitment, able to discern the expectations, the points of openness and the key issues of this historical moment.  Reflecting in the light of reason and in keeping with its rules, and guided always by the deeper understanding given them by the word of God, Christian philosophers can develop a reflection which will be both comprehensible and appealing to those who do not yet grasp the full truth which divine Revelation declares.  Such a ground for understanding and dialogue is all the more vital nowadays, since the most pressing issues facing humanity — ecology, peace and the co-existence of different races and cultures, for instance — may possibly find a solution if there is a clear and honest collaboration between Christians and the followers of other religions and all those who, while not sharing a religious belief, have at heart the renewal of humanity.  The Second Vatican Council said as much:  “For our part, the desire for such dialogue, undertaken solely out of love for the truth and with all due prudence, excludes no one, neither those who cultivate the values of the human spirit while not yet acknowledging their Source, nor those who are hostile to the Church and persecute her in various ways.”{126}  A philosophy in which there shines even a glimmer of the truth of Christ, the one definitive answer to humanity’s problems,{127} will provide a potent underpinning for the true and planetary ethics which the world now needs.
105.  His Litteris encyclicis finem imponentibus, Nobis placet quumprimis ad theologos mentem Nostram postremo convertere, qui peculiari animi intentione philosophicas Dei verbi implicationes observent ac cogitationes in illa re defigant, unde speculativa ac practica scientiæ theologicæ granditas emergat.  De ecclesiali opera eis gratias agere cupio.  Artus inter sapientiam philosophicam et theologicam disciplinam nexus in singularissimis christianæ traditionis divitiis de revelata veritate vestiganda ponitur.  Quapropter eosdem cohortamur, ut recipiant et veritatis metaphysicam rationem clarius extollant, ad criticum et impellentem dialogum instituendum, sive cum nostræ ætatis philosophia sive cum omni philosophica traditione quæ cum Dei verbo concinat aut dissonet.  Ob oculos continenter habeant sententiam præclari cogitationis spiritalitatisque magistri, Sancti Bonaventuræ scilicet, qui legentem suum in Itinerarium mentis in Deum introducens, eundem monet « ne forte credat, quod sibi sufficiat lectio sine unctione, speculatio sine devotione, investigatio sine admiratione, circumspectio sine exsultatione, industria sine pietate, scientia sine caritate, intellegentia sine humilitate, studium absque divina gratia, speculum absque sapientia divinitus inspirata ».{128} 105.  In concluding this Encyclical Letter, my thoughts turn particularly to theologians, encouraging them to pay special attention to the philosophical implications of the word of God and to be sure to reflect in their work all the speculative and practical breadth of the science of theology.  I wish to thank them for their service to the Church.  The intimate bond between theological and philosophical wisdom is one of the Christian tradition’s most distinctive treasures in the exploration of revealed truth.  This is why I urge them to recover and express to the full the metaphysical dimension of truth in order to enter into a demanding critical dialogue with both contemporary philosophical thought and with the philosophical tradition in all its aspects, whether consonant with the word of God or not.  Let theologians always remember the words of that great master of thought and spirituality, Saint Bonaventure, who in introducing his Itinerarium Mentis in Deum invites the reader to recognize the inadequacy of “reading without repentance, knowledge without devotion, research without the impulse of wonder, prudence without the ability to surrender to joy, action divorced from religion, learning sundered from love, intelligence without humility, study unsustained by divine grace, thought without the wisdom inspired by God.”{128}
Mens quoque Nostra ad eos dirigitur quorum est sacerdotibus institutionem tradere, tam academicam quam pastoralem, ut peculiari studio philosophicam præparationem curent illorum qui hodiernis hominibus Evangelium enuntiare debebunt, ac magis illorum qui theologiæ perquirendæ et docendæ operam dabunt.  Ad Concilii Œcumenici Vaticani II præscripta{129} et subsequentia præcepta operari contendant, ex quibus instans officium oritur, quod a nemine posthaberi potest, quodque nos omnes alligat, ut opem sincere profundeque feramus ad fidei veritatem communicandam.  Grave porro officium non est obliviscendum magistrorum antea convenienterque instituendorum, qui in Seminariis et ecclesiasticis Institutis philosophiam tradant.{130}  Necesse est hoc docendi opus congruentem scientificam institutionem secum ferat, ordinatam rationem exhibeat, magnum traditionis christianæ suppeditando patrimonium, efficiaturque denique debito judicio, hodiernis spectatis Ecclesiæ mundique necessitatibus. I am thinking too of those responsible for priestly formation, whether academic or pastoral.  I encourage them to pay special attention to the philosophical preparation of those who will proclaim the Gospel to the men and women of today and, even more, of those who will devote themselves to theological research and teaching.  They must make every effort to carry out their work in the light of the directives laid down by the Second Vatican Council{129} and subsequent legislation, which speak clearly of the urgent and binding obligation, incumbent on all, to contribute to a genuine and profound communication of the truths of the faith.  The grave responsibility to provide for the appropriate training of those charged with teaching philosophy both in seminaries and ecclesiastical faculties must not be neglected.{130}  Teaching in this field necessarily entails a suitable scholarly preparation, a systematic presentation of the great heritage of the Christian tradition and due discernment in the light of the current needs of the Church and the world.
106.  Ad philosophos præterea Nos convertimus et eos qui philosophiam docent, ut, ob oculos philosophica traditione usque probabili habita, animose repetant sinceræ sapientiæ veritatisque, metaphysicæ etiam, philosophicæ disciplinæ rationes.  Se illis interrogari patiantur postulationibus, quæ e Dei verbo effluunt ac strenue suam ratiocinationem et argumentationem agant ut ei interrogationi respondeatur.  Ad veritatem usque tendant atque ad bonum quod verum continet sint intenti.  Hoc modo sinceram illam ethicam effingere poterunt, qua homines, his potissimum annis, omnino indigent.  Ecclesia attente et amabiliter eorum inquisitiones spectat ;  pro certo ideo habeant eam justam eorum scientiæ autonomiam colere.  Credentibus præsertim animum addere volumus, qui in philosophica provincia agunt, ut varios ambitus humanæ industriæ per rationem illam collustrent quæ securior acriorque fit propter adjumentum quod fides ministrat. 106.  I appeal also to philosophers, and to all teachers of philosophy, asking them to have the courage to recover, in the flow of an enduringly valid philosophical tradition, the range of authentic wisdom and truth — metaphysical truth included — which is proper to philosophical inquiry.  They should be open to the impelling questions which arise from the word of God and they should be strong enough to shape their thought and discussion in response to that challenge.  Let them always strive for truth, alert to the good which truth contains.  Then they will be able to formulate the genuine ethics which humanity needs so urgently at this particular time.  The Church follows the work of philosophers with interest and appreciation;  and they should rest assured of her respect for the rightful autonomy of their discipline.  I would want especially to encourage believers working in the philosophical field to illumine the range of human activity by the exercise of a reason which grows more penetrating and assured because of the support it receives from faith.
Facere denique non possumus quin scientiæ peritos alloquamur, qui suis inquisitionibus de mundo in universum plus plusque cognitionum præbent deque incredibili varietate ipsius elementorum, tum animalium tum inanimorum, quæ multiplices structuras atomicas et moleculares exhibent.  Hoc potissimum sæculo ii tam progressi sunt ac tales attigerunt metas, ut admiratione nos subinde afficiamur.  Dum admiramur ac simul incitamus hos scientificæ inquisitionis vestigatores principes, quibus multum præsentis prosperitatis debet humanitas, eos cohortemur oportet, ut suos labores usque persequantur, semper in illa sapientiæ provincia manentes, in qua cum scientiæ technicæque artis fructibus bona philosophica et ethica conjunguntur, quibus peculiariter et artissimo vinculo persona humana significatur.  Scientiæ cultor prorsus sibi est conscius veritatis vestigationem nunquam desinere, etiam quum ad quandam finitam mundi hominisve partem spectat ;  ad quiddam rejicit enim, quod locatur supra proxima studiorum objecta, ad interrogationes scilicet quæ Mysterii aditum recludunt.{131} Finally, I cannot fail to address a word to scientists, whose research offers an ever greater knowledge of the universe as a whole and of the incredibly rich array of its component parts, animate and inanimate, with their complex atomic and molecular structures.  So far has science come, especially in this century, that its achievements never cease to amaze us.  In expressing my admiration and in offering encouragement to these brave pioneers of scientific research, to whom humanity owes so much of its current development, I would urge them to continue their efforts without ever abandoning the sapiential horizon within which scientific and technological achievements are wedded to the philosophical and ethical values which are the distinctive and indelible mark of the human person.  Scientists are well aware that “the search for truth, even when it concerns a finite reality of the world or of man, is never-ending, but always points beyond to something higher than the immediate object of study, to the questions which give access to Mystery.”{131}
107.  Omnes rogamus ut penetralia contueantur hominis, quem Christus suo in amoris mysterio servavit, quique usque veritatem sensumque perquirit.  Complures philosophicæ scholæ, eum fallentes, ei persuaserunt ipsum absolutum esse sui dominum, qui de fortuna sua deque eventura sorte per se decernere possit, sibimet ipsi suisque dumtaxat fidens viribus.  Nunquam hæc erit hominis præstantia.  Illud tantum eum efficiet quod in veritatem se inseri eligit, sub Sapientiæ umbra suum struens domicilium ibique inhabitans.  Hoc solummodo in veritatis prospectu, intelleget plane exprimi suam libertatem ac suam ad dilectionem Deique cognitionem vocationem, veluti summam sui explicationem. 107.  I ask everyone to look more deeply at man, whom Christ has saved in the mystery of his love, and at the human being’s unceasing search for truth and meaning.  Different philosophical systems have lured people into believing that they are their own absolute master, able to decide their own destiny and future in complete autonomy, trusting only in themselves and their own powers.  But this can never be the grandeur of the human being, who can find fulfilment only in choosing to enter the truth, to make a home under the shade of Wisdom and dwell there.  Only within this horizon of truth will people understand their freedom in its fullness and their call to know and love God as the supreme realization of their true self.
108.  Postremam Nostram cogitationem ad Eam convertimus, quæ Ecclesiæ deprecatione Sedes Sapientiæ invocatur.  Ipsius vita vera est parabola quæ collustrare poterit quæ antea a Nobis dicta sunt.  Etenim inter vocationem Beatæ Virginis et veræ philosophiæ, strictam consonantiam prospicere licet.  Quemadmodum namque ad suam humanitatem et femininam naturam tradendam ipsa vocata est, unde Dei Verbum carnem sumere posset fieretque unus ex nobis, sic ad operam sustinendam, rationalem videlicet et criticam, vocatur philosophia, ut theologia, veluti fidei intellectio, fecunda sit et efficax.  Atque sicut Maria, Gabrielis nuntio assentiendo, nihil suæ veræ humanitatis ac libertatis amisit, sic philosophica disciplina, in his accipiendis quæ Evangelii veritas suppeditat, nihil suæ autonomiæ amittit, sed omnes suas inquisitiones ad summam perfectionem propelli experitur.  Hanc quidem veritatem plane intellexerunt sancti antiquitatis christianæ monachi, a quibus Maria « fidei mensa intellectualis »{132} appellabatur.  Ipsam congruentem veræ philosophiæ effigiem respiciebant, sibique erant conscii se debere cum Maria philosophari. 108.  I turn in the end to the woman whom the prayer of the Church invokes as Seat of Wisdom, and whose life itself is a true parable illuminating the reflection contained in these pages.  For between the vocation of the Blessed Virgin and the vocation of true philosophy there is a deep harmony.  Just as the Virgin was called to offer herself entirely as human being and as woman that God’s Word might take flesh and come among us, so too philosophy is called to offer its rational and critical resources that theology, as the understanding of faith, may be fruitful and creative.  And just as in giving her assent to Gabriel’s word, Mary lost nothing of her true humanity and freedom, so too when philosophy heeds the summons of the Gospel’s truth its autonomy is in no way impaired.  Indeed, it is then that philosophy sees all its inquiries rise to their highest expression.  This was a truth which the holy monks of Christian antiquity understood well when they called Mary “the table at which faith sits in thought.”{132}  In her they saw a lucid image of true philosophy and they were convinced of the need to philosophari in Maria.
Sedes Sapientiæ eis, qui sapientiæ vestigandæ dependunt vitam, portus sit tutus.  Ad sapientiam iter — quod est postremum sincerumque omnis scientiæ propositum — ab omnibus impedimentis expediat, intercedendo Ea quæ, Veritatem parturiens eandemque in corde servans, in sempiternum tota cum humanitate ipsam communicavit. May Mary, Seat of Wisdom, be a sure haven for all who devote their lives to the search for wisdom.  May their journey into wisdom, sure and final goal of all true knowing, be freed of every hindrance by the intercession of the one who, in giving birth to the Truth and treasuring it in her heart, has shared it forever with all the world.
Datum Romæ, apud S. Petrum, die XIV mensis Septembris, in festo Exaltationis Sanctæ Crucis, anno MCMXCVIII, Pontificatus Nostri vicesimo. Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 14 September, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, in the year 1998, the twentieth of my Pontificate.



1Jam primis Nostris in Litteris Encyclicis Redemptor hominis inscriptis ediximus :  « Inde hujus muneris Christi, prophetæ, participes facti sumus et ex eodem munere cum eo servimus veritati divinæ in Ecclesia.  Officium circa hanc veritatem assumptum etiam idem valet atque eam amare et curare, quo penitius cognoscatur, ita ut ad eam, cum tota vi salvifica, qua pollet, cum splendore, quo nitet, cum profunditate simul et simplicitate, quibus distinguitur, propius accedamus ».  N. 19 :  AAS 71 (1979), 306.In my first Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis, I wrote: “We have become sharers in this mission of the prophet Christ, and in virtue of that mission we together with him are serving divine truth in the Church. Being responsible for that truth also means loving it and seeking the most exact understanding of it, in order to bring it closer to ourselves and others in all its saving power, its splendor and its profundity joined with simplicity”: No. 19: AAS 71 (1979), 306.
2Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. past. de Ecclesia in mundo hujus temporis Gaudium et spes, 16.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 16.
3Const. dogm. de Ecclesia Lumen gentium, 25.Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 25.
4N. 4 :  AAS 85 (1993), 1136.No. 4: AAS 85 (1993), 1136.
5Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. dogm. de divina Revelatione Dei Verbum, 2.Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 2.
6Cfr Const. dogm. de fide catholica Dei Filius, III :  DS 3008.Cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, III: DS 3008.
7Ibid., IV :  DS 3015; memoratum etiam in Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. past. de Ecclesia in mundo hujus temporis Gaudium et spes, 59.Ibid., IV: DS 3015; quoted also in Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 59.
8Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. dogm. de divina Revelatione Dei Verbum, 2.Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 2.
9Litt.  Ap. Tertio millennio adveniente (10 Novembris 1994), 10 :  AAS 87 (1995), 11.Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (10 November 1994), 10: AAS 87 (1995), 11.
10N. 4.No. 4.
11N. 8.No. 8.
12N. 22.No. 22.
13Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. dogm. de divina Revelatione Dei Verbum, 4.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 4.
14Ibid., 5.Ibid., 5.
15Concilium Vaticanum I, ad quod superior hæc prolata refertur sententia, docet fidei obœditionem opus postulare tum intellectus tum voluntatis :  « Quum homo a Deo tanquam creatore et Domino suo totus dependeat et ratio creata increatæ Veritati penitus subjecta sit, plenum revelanti Deo intellectus et voluntatis obsequium fide præstare tenemur » (Constitutio dogm. de fide catholica Dei Filius, III; DS 3008).The First Vatican Council, to which the quotation above refers, teaches that the obedience of faith requires the engagement of the intellect and the will: “Since human beings are totally dependent on God as their creator and Lord, and created reason is completely subject to uncreated truth, we are obliged to yield through faith to God the revealer full submission of intellect and will” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, III: DS 3008).
16Sequentia in sollemnitate Sanctissimi Corporis et Sanguinis Domini.Sequence for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord.
17Pensées, 789 (ed.  L.  Brunschvicg).Pensées, 789 (ed. L. Brunschvicg).
18Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. past. de Ecclesia in mundo hujus temporis Gaudium et spes, 22.Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22.
19Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. dogm. de divina Revelatione Dei Verbum, 2.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 2.
20Proœmium et nn. 1. 15 :  PL 158, 223-224.226; 235.Proemium and Nos. 1, 15: PL 158, 223-224; 226; 235.
21De vera religione, XXXIX, 72 :  CCL 32, 234.De Vera Religione, XXXIX, 72: CCL 32, 234.
22« Ut te desiderando quærerent et inveniendo quiescerent » :  Missale Romanum.Ut te semper desiderando quaererent et inveniendo quiescerent”: Missale Romanum.
23Aristoteles, Metaphysica, I, 1.Aristotle, Metaphysics, I, 1.
24Confessiones, X, 23, 33 :  CCL 27, 173.Confessions, X, 23, 33: CCL 27, 173.
25N. 34 :  AAS 85 (1993), 1160-1161.No. 34: AAS 85 (1993), 1161.
26Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Litt.  Ap. Salvifici doloris (11 Februarii 1984), 9 :  AAS 76 (1984), 209-210.Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris (11 February 1984), 9: AAS 76 (1984), 209-210.
27Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Declaratio de Ecclesiæ habitudine ad religiones non-christianas Nostra ætate, 2.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Declaration on the Relations of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, 2.
28Hæc est ratiocinatio cui jam dudum studemus quamque sæpius exprimimus :  « “Quid est homo, quis defectus, et quæ est utilitas illius ?  Et quid est bonum, aut quid nequam illius ?” (Eccli 18, 7). […] Queste domande sono nel cuore di ogni uomo, come ben dimostra il genio poëtico di ogni tempo e di ogni popolo, che, quasi profezia dell’umanità, ripropone continuamente la domanda seria che rende l’uomo veramente tale.  Esse esprimono l’urgenza di trovare un perché all’esistenza, ad ogni istante, alle sue tappe salienti e decisive così come ai suoi momenti più comuni.  In tali questioni è testimoniata la ragionevolezza profonda dell’esistere umano, poiché l’intelligenza e la volontà dell’uomo vi sono sollecitate a cercare liberamente la soluzione capace di offrire un senso pieno alla vita.  Questi interrogativi, pertanto, costituiscono l’espressione più alta della natura dell’uomo ;  di conseguenza la risposta ad esse misura la profondità del suo impegno con la propria esistenza.  In particolare quando il perché delle cose viene indagato con integralità alla ricerca della risposta ultima e più esauriente, allora la ragione umana tocca il suo vertice e si apre alla religiosità.  In effetti, la religiosità rappresenta l’espressione più elevata della persona umana, perché è il culmine della sua natura razionale.  Essa sgorga dall’aspirazione profonda dell’uomo alla verità ed è alla base della ricerca libera e personale che egli compie del divino » :  Udienza Generale, 19 ottobre 1983, 1-2 :  Insegnamenti VI, 2 (1983), 814-815.This is a theme which I have long pursued and which I have addressed on a number of occasions.  “‘What is man and of what use is he?  What is good in him and what is evil?’ (Sir 18:7)….  These are questions in every human heart, as the poetic genius of every time and every people has shown, posing again and again — almost as the prophetic voice of humanity — the serious question which makes human beings truly what they are.  They are questions which express the urgency of finding a reason for existence, in every moment, at life’s most important and decisive times as well as more ordinary times.  These questions show the deep reasonableness of human existence, since they summon human intelligence and will to search freely for a solution which can reveal the full meaning of life.  These enquiries, therefore, are the highest expression of human nature; which is why the answer to them is the gauge of the depth of his engagement with his own existence.  In particular, when the why of things is explored in full harmony with the search for the ultimate answer, then human reason reaches its zenith and opens to the religious impulse.  The religious impulse is the highest expression of the human person, because it is the highpoint of his rational nature.  It springs from the profound human aspiration for the truth and it is the basis of the human being’s free and personal search for the divine”:  General Audience (19 October 1983), 1-2:  Insegnamenti VI, 2 (1983), 814-815.
29« [Galilée] a declaré explicitement que les deux vérités, de foi et de science, ne peuvent jamais se contredire, “L’Ecriture sainte et la nature procédant également du Verbe divin, la première comme dictée par l’Esprit Saint, la seconde comme exécutrice très fidèle des ordres de Dieu”, comme il l’a écrit dans sa lettre au Père Benedetto Castelli le 21 décembre 1613.  Le Concile Vatican II ne s’exprime pas autrement ;  il reprend même des expressions semblables lorsqu’il enseigne :  “Ideo inquisitio methodica in omnibus disciplinis, si… juxta normas morales procedit, nunquam fidei revera adversabitur, quia res profanæ et res fidei ab eodem Deo originem ducunt” (Gaudium et spes, n. 36).  Galilée ressent dans sa recherche scientifique la présence du Créateur qui le stimule, qui prévient et aide ses intuitions, en agissant au plus profond de son esprit ».  Joannes Paulus II, Discorso alla Pontificia Accademia delle Scienze, 10 Novembris 1979 :  Insegnamenti, II, 2 (1979), 1111-1112.“[Galileo] declared explicitly that the two truths, of faith and of science, can never contradict each other, “Sacred Scripture and the natural world proceeding equally from the divine Word, the first as dictated by the Holy Spirit, the second as a very faithful executor of the commands of God,” as he wrote in his letter to Father Benedetto Castelli on 21 December 1613.  The Second Vatican Council says the same thing, even adopting similar language in its teaching:  “Methodical research, in all realms of knowledge, if it respects… moral norms, will never be genuinely opposed to faith:  the reality of the world and of faith have their origin in the same God” (Gaudium et Spes, 36).  Galileo sensed in his scientific research the presence of the Creator who, stirring in the depths of his spirit, stimulated him, anticipating and assisting his intuitions”:  John Paul II, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (10 November 1979):  Insegnamenti, II, 2 (1979), 1111-1112.
30Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. dogm. de divina Revelatione Dei Verbum, 4.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, 4.
31Origenes, Contra Celsum, 3, 55 :  SC 136, 130.Origen, Contra Celsum, 3, 55: SC 136, 130.
32Dialogus cum Tryphone Judæo, 8, 1 :  PG 6, 492.Dialogue with Trypho, 8, 1: PG 6, 492.
33Stromata I, 18, 90, 1 :  SC 30, 115.Stromata I, 18, 90, 1: SC 30, 115.
34Cfr ibid. I, 16, 80, 5 :  SC 30, 108.Cf. ibid., I, 16, 80, 5: SC 30, 108.
35Cfr ibid.  I, 5, 28, 1 :  SC 30, 65.Cf. ibid., I, 5, 28, 1: SC 30, 65.
36Ibid. VI, 7, 55, 1-2 :  PG 9, 277.Ibid., VI, 7, 55, 1-2: PG 9, 277.
37Ibid. I, 20, 100, 1 :  SC 30, 124.Ibid., I, 20, 100, 1: SC 30, 124.
38S. Augustinus, Confessiones VI, 5, 7 :  CCL 27, 77-78.Saint Augustine, Confessions, VI, 5, 7: CCL 27, 77-78.
39Cfr ibid., VII, 9, 13-14 :  CCL 27, 101-102.Cf. ibid., VII, 9, 13-14: CCL 27, 101-102.
40De præscriptione hæreticorum, VII, 9 :  SC 46, 98 :  “Quid ergo Athenis et Hierosolymis ?  Quid academiæ et ecclesiæ?”.De Præscriptione Hæreticorum, VII, 9: SC 46, 98:  “Quid ergo Athenis et Hierosolymis ?  Quid academiæ et ecclesiæ?”.
41Cfr Congregatio de Institutione Catholica, Instructio de Patrum Ecclesiæ studio in sacerdotali institutione (10 Novembris 1989), 25 :  AAS 82 (1990), 617-618.Cf. Congregation for Catholic Education, Instruction on the Study of the Fathers of the Church in Priestly Formation (10 November 1989), 25: AAS 82 (1990), 617-618.
42S. Anselmus, Proslogion, 1 :  PL 158, 226.Saint Anselm, Proslogion, 1: PL 158, 226.
43Id., Monologion, 64 :  PL 158, 210.Idem, Monologion, 64: PL 158, 210.
44Cfr Summa contra Gentiles I, VII.Cf. Summa contra Gentiles, I, 7.
45Cfr Summa Theologiæ, I, 1, 8 ad 2 :  « cum enim gratia non tollat naturam sed perficiat ».Summa Theologiæ, I, 1, 8 ad 2: “cum enim gratia non tollat naturam sed perficiat”.
46Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Allocutio ad participes IX Congressus Thomistici Internationalis (29 Septembris 1990) :  Insegnamenti, XIII, 2 (1990), 770-771.Cf. John Paul II, Address to the Participants at the IX International Thomistic Congress (29 September 1990): Insegnamenti, XIII, 2 (1990), 770-771.
47Litt.  Ap. Lumen Ecclesiæ (20 Novembris 1974), 8 :  AAS 66 (1974), 680.Apostolic Letter Lumen Ecclesiae (20 November 1974), 8: AAS 66 (1974), 680.
48Cfr ibid., I, 1, 6 :  « Præterea, hæc doctrina per studium acquiritur.  Sapientia autem per infusionem habetur, unde inter septem dona Spiritus Sancti connumeratur ».Cf. I, 1, 6: “Præterea, hæc doctrina per studium acquiritur.  Sapientia autem per infusionem habetur, unde inter septem dona Spiritus Sancti connumeratur”.
49Ibid., II, II, 45, 1 ad 2; cfr etiam II, II, 45, 2.Ibid., II-II, 45, 1 ad 2; cf. also II-II, 45, 2.
50Ibid. I, II, 109, 1 ad 1 ubi notam Ambrosiastri In 1 Cor 12, 3 dictionem resumit :  PL 17, 258.Ibid., I-II, 109, 1 ad 1, which echoes the well-known phrase of the Ambrosiaster, In Prima Cor 12:3: PL 17, 258.
51Leo XIII, Litt. Encycl. Æterni Patris (4 Augusti 1879) :  ASS 11 (1878-1879), 109.Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Æterni Patris (4 August 1879): ASS 11 (1878-79), 109.
52Paulus VI, Litt.  Ap. Lumen Ecclesiæ (20 Novembris 1974), 8 :  AAS 66 (1974), 683.Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Lumen Ecclesiae (20 November 1974), 8: AAS 66 (1974), 683.
53Litt.  Encycl. Redemptor hominis (4 Martii 1979), 15 :  AAS 71 (1979), 286.Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis (4 March 1979), 15: AAS 71 (1979), 286.
54Cfr Pius XII, Litt.  Encycl. Humani generis (12 Augusti 1950) :  ASS 42 (1950), 566.Cf. Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Humani Generis (12 August 1950): AAS 42 (1950), 566.
55Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  I, Const. dogm. de Ecclesia Christi Pastor æternus :  DS 3070; Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. dogm. de Ecclesia Lumen gentium, 25 c.Cf. First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ Pastor Æternus: DS 3070; Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 25 c.
56Cfr Synodus Constantinopolitana, DS 403.Cf. Synod of Constantinople, DS 403.
57Cfr Concilium Toletanum I, DS 205; Concilium Bracarense I, DS 459-460; Xystus V, Bulla Cæli et terræ Creator (5 Januarii 1586); Bullarium Romanum 4/4, Romæ 1747, 176-179; Urbanus VIII, Inscrutabilis judiciorum (1 Aprilis 1631) :  Bullarium Romanum, 6/1, Romæ 1758, 268-270.Cf. Council of Toledo I, DS 205; Council of Braga I, DS 459-460; Sixtus V, Bull Coeli et Terrae Creator (5 January 1586): Bullarium Romanum 44, Rome 1747, 176-179; Urban VIII, Inscrutabilis judiciorum (1 April 1631): Bullarium Romanum 61, Rome 1758, 268-270.
58Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Viennense, Decr. Fidei catholicæ, DS 902; Conc. Œcum.  Laternanese V, Bulla Apostolici regiminis, DS 1440.Cf. Ecumenical Council of Vienne, Decree Fidei Catholicae, DS 902; Fifth Lateran Ecumenical Council, Bull Apostoli Regiminis, DS 1440.
59Cfr Theses a Ludovico Eugenio Bautain jussu sui Episcopi subscriptæ (8 Septembris 1840), DS, 2751-2756; Theses a Ludovico Eugenio Bautain ex mandato S. Congr.  Episcoporum et Religiosorum subscriptæ (26 Aprilis 1884), DS 2765-2769.Cf. Theses a Ludovico Eugenio Bautain jussu sui Episcopi subscriptae (8 September 1840), DS 2751-2756; Theses a Ludovico Eugenio Bautain ex mandato S. Cong. Episcoporum et Religiosorum subscriptae (26 April 1844), DS 2765-2769.
60Cfr S. Congr.  Indicis, Decr. Theses contra traditionalismum Augustini Bonnetty (11 Junii 1855), DS 2811-2814.Cf. Sacred Congregation of the Index, Decree Theses contra Traditionalismum Augustini Bonnetty (11 June 1855), DS 2811-2814.
61Cfr Pius IX, Breve Eximiam tuam (15 Junii 1857), DS 2828-2831; Breve Gravissimas inter (11 Decembris 1862) DS 2850-2861.Cf. Pius IX, Brief Eximiam Tuam (15 June 1857), DS 2828-2831; Brief Gravissimas Inter (11 December 1862), DS 2850-2861.
62Cfr S. Congr.  S. Officii, Decr. Errores ontologistarum (18 Septembris 1861), DS 2841-2847.Cf. Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, Decree Errores Ontologistarum (18 September 1861), DS 2841-2847.
63Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  I, Cost. dogm. de fide catholica Dei Filius, II :  DS 3004; et can. 2,1 :  DS 3026.Cf. First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, II: DS 3004; and Canon 2, 1: DS 3026.
64Ibid., IV :  DS 3015, memoratum in Conc.  Vat.  II, Const. past. de Ecclesia in mundo hujus temporis Gaudium et spes, 59.Ibid., IV: DS 3015, cited in Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 59.
65Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  I, Const. dogm. de fide catholica Dei Filius, IV :  DS 3017.First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, IV: DS 3017.
66Cfr Litt.  Encycl. Pascendi dominici gregis (8 Septembris 1907) :  ASS 40 (1907), 596-597.Cf. Encyclical Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis (8 September 1907): ASS 40 (1907), 596-597.
67Cfr Pius XI, Litt.  Encycl. Divini Redemptoris (19 Martii 1937) :  AAS 29 (1937), 65-106.Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Divini Redemptoris (19 March 1937): AAS 29 (1937), 65-106.
68Litt.  Encycl. Humani generis (12 Augusti 1950) :  AAS 42 (1950), 562-563.Encyclical Letter Humani Generis (12 August 1950): AAS 42 (1950), 562-563.
69Ibid., l.m., 563-564.Ibid., loc. cit., 563-564.
70Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Const.  Ap. Pastor Bonus (28 Junii 1988), artt. 48-49 :  AAS 80 (1988), 873 :  Congr. de Doctrina Fidei, Istructio de ecclesiali theologi vocatione Donum veritatis (24 Maji 1990), 18 :  AAS 82 (1990), 1558.Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus (28 June 1988), Arts. 48-49: AAS 80 (1988), 873; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian Donum Veritatis (24 May 1990), 18: AAS 82 (1990), 1558.
71Cfr Instr. de quibusdam aspectibus « theologiæ liberationis » Libertatis nuntius (6 Augusti 1984), VII-X :  AAS 76 (1984), 890-903.Cf. Instruction on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation” Libertatis Nuntius (6 August 1984), VII-X: AAS 76 (1984), 890-903.
72Concilium Vaticanum I claris jam verbis et auctoritate hunc errorem jam condemnavit « Hanc vero fidem […] Ecclesia catholica profitetur, virtutem esse supernaturalem, qua, Dei aspirante et adjuvante gratia, ab ea revelata esse credimus, non propter intrinsecam rerum veritatem naturali rationis lumine perspectam, sed propter auctoritatem ipsius Dei revelantis, qui nec falli nec fallere potest » :  Const. dogm. Dei Filius, III :  DS 3008, et can. 3.2 :  DS 3032.  Ceterum idem Concilium sic judicat :  « ratio nunquam idonea redditur ad ea percipienda instar veritatum, quæ proprium ipsius objectum constituunt » :  ibid., IV :  DS 3016.  Sic hæc conclusio :  « Quapropter omnes christiani fideles hujusmodi opiniones, quæ fidei doctrinæ contrariæ esse cognoscuntur, maxime si ab Ecclesia reprobatæ fuerint, non solum prohibentur tanquam legitimas scientiæ conclusiones defendere, sed pro erroribus potius, qui fallacem veritatis speciem præ se ferant, habere tenentur omnino » :  ibid., IV :  DS 3018.In language as clear as it is authoritative, the First Vatican Council condemned this error, affirming on the one hand that “as regards this faith…, the Catholic Church professes that it is a supernatural virtue by means of which, under divine inspiration and with the help of grace, we believe to be true the things revealed by God, not because of the intrinsic truth of the things perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God himself, who reveals them and who can neither deceive nor be deceived”:  Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, III: DS 3008, and Canon 3, 2: DS 3032. On the other hand, the Council declared that reason is never “able to penetrate [these mysteries] as it does the truths which are its proper object”:  ibid., IV:  DS 3016. It then drew a practical conclusion:  “The Christian faithful not only have no right to defend as legitimate scientific conclusions opinions which are contrary to the doctrine of the faith, particularly if condemned by the Church, but they are strictly obliged to regard them as errors which have no more than a fraudulent semblance of truth”:  ibid., IV:  DS 3018.
73Cfr nn. 9-10.Cf. Nos. 9-10.
74Ibid., 10.Ibid., 10.
75Ibid., 21.Ibid., 21.
76Cfr ibid., 10.Cf. ibid., 10.
77Cfr Litt.  Encycl. Humani generis (12 Augusti 1950) :  AAS 42 (1950), 565-567 :  571-573.Cf. Encyclical Letter Humani Generis (12 August 1950): AAS 42 (1950), 565-567; 571-573.
78Cfr Leo XIII, Litt.  Encycl. Æterni Patris (4 Augusti 1879) :  ASS 11 (1878-1879), 97-115.Cf. Encyclical Letter Æterni Patris (4 August 1879): ASS 11 (1878-1879), 97-115.
79Ibid., l.m. 109.Ibid., loc. cit., 109.
80Cfr nn. 14-15.Cf. Nos. 14-15.
81Cfr ibid., 20-21.Cf. ibid., 20-21.
82Ibid., 22; cfr Joannes Paulus II, Litt.  Encycl. Redemptor hominis (4 Martii 1979), 8 :  AAS 71 (1979), 271-272.Ibid., 22; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis (4 March 1979), 8: AAS 71 (1979), 271-272.
83Decr. de institutione sacerdotali Optatam totius, 15.Decree on Priestly Formation Optatam Totius, 15.
84Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Const.  Ap. Sapientia christiana (15 Aprilis 1979), art. 79-80 :  AAS 71 (1979), 495-496; Adhort.  Ap. postsynodalis Pastores dabo vobis (25 Martii 1992), 52 :  AAS 84 (1979), 750-751.  Cfr quoque quædam S. Thomæ de philosophia commenta :  Discorso al Pontificio Ateneo Internazionale Angelicum (17 Novembris 1979) :  Insegnamenti II, 2 (1979), 1177-1189; Discorso ai partecipanti dell’VIII Congresso Tomistico Internazionale (13 Septembris 1980) :  Insegnamenti III, 2 (1980), 604-615); Discorso ai partecipanti al Congresso Internazionale della Società « San Tommaso » sulla dottrina dell’anima in S. Tommaso (4 Januarii 1986) :  Insegnamenti IX, 1 (1986), 18-24.  Præterea S. Congr. pro Educatione Catholica, Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis (6 Januarii 1970), 70-75 :  ASS 62 (1970), 366-368; Decr. Sacra Theologia (20 Januarii 1972) :  AAS 64 (1972), 583-586.Cf. Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana (15 April 1979), Arts. 79-80: AAS 71 (1979), 495-496; Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (25 March 1992), 52: AAS 84 (1992), 750-751. Cf. also various remarks on the philosophy of Saint Thomas: Address to the International Pontifical Athenaeum “Angelicum” (17 November 1979): Insegnamenti II, 2 (1979), 1177-1189; Address to the Participants of the Eighth International Thomistic Congress (13 September 1980): Insegnamenti III, 2 (1980), 604-615; Address to the Participants at the International Congress of the Saint Thomas Society on the Doctrine of the Soul in Saint Thomas (4 January 1986): Insegnamenti IX, 1 (1986), 18-24. Also the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis (6 January 1970), 70-75: AAS 62 (1970), 366-368; Decree Sacra Theologia (20 January 1972): AAS 64 (1972), 583-586.
85Cfr Const. past. de Ecclesia in mundo hujus temporis Gaudium et spes, 57; 62.Cf. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 57; 62.
86Cfr ibid., 44.Cf. ibid., 44.
87Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Lateranense V, Bulla Apostolici regiminis sollicitudo, Sessio VIII :  Conc. Œcum.  Decreta, 1991, 605-606.Cf. Fifth Lateran Ecumenical Council, Bull Apostolici Regimini Sollicitudo, Session VIII: Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta, 1991, 605-606.
88Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. dogm. de Divina Revelatione Dei Verbum, 10.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 10.
89S. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiæ II-II, 5, 3 ad 2.Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiæ, II-II, 5, 3 ad 2.
90« Eo quod condiciones perquiruntur in quibus homo per se ipse præcipuas quæstiones de vitæ sensu, de fine ad eam tribuendo atque de ea re quæ post mortem erit, interrogat, id pro theologia fundamentali constituit necessarium exordium, ut hodiernis quoque temporibus fides plene iter ipsi rationi ostendat, quæ sincere veritatem requirit ».  Joannes Paulus PP. II, Lettera ai partecipanti al Congresso internazionale di Teologia Fondamentale a 125 anni dalla « Dei Filius » (30 Septembris 1995), 4 :  L’Osservatore Romano (3 Octobris 1995), p. 8.“The search for the conditions in which man on his own initiative asks the first basic questions about the meaning of life, the purpose he wishes to give it and what awaits him after death constitutes the necessary preamble to fundamental theology, so that today too, faith can fully show the way to reason in a sincere search for the truth”:  John Paul II, Letter to Participants in the International Congress of Fundamental Theology on the 125th Anniversary of “Dei Filius” (30 September 1995), 4:  L’Osservatore Romano, 3 October 1995, 8.
92Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. past. de Ecclesia in mundo hujus temporis Gaudium et spes, 15; Decr. de activitate missionali Ecclesiæ Ad gentes, 22.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 15; Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity Ad Gentes, 22.
93S. Thomas Aquinas, De Cælo, 1, 22.Saint Thomas Aquinas, De Caelo, 1, 22.
94Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. past. de Ecclesia in mundo hujus temporis Gaudium et spes, 53-59.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 53-59.
95S. Augustinus, De prædestinatione sanctorum, 2, 5 :  PL 44, 963.Saint Augustine, De Prædestinatione Sanctorum, 2, 5: PL 44, 963.
96Id., De fide, spe et caritate, 7 :  CCL 46, 61.Idem, De Fide, Spe et Caritate, 7: CCL 64, 61.
97Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Chalcedonense, Symbolum, Definitio :  DS 302.Cf. Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, Symbolum, Definitio: DS 302.
98Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Litt.  Encycl. Redemptor hominis (4 Martii 1979), 15 :  AAS 71 (1979), 286-289.Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis (4 March 1979), 15: AAS 71 (1979), 286-289.
99Cfr verbi causa S. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiæ, I, 16,1; S. Bonaventura, Coll. in Hex., 3,8,1.Cf., for example, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, 16, 1; Saint Bonaventure, Coll. In Hex., 3, 8, 1.
100Const. past. de Ecclesia in mundo hujus temporis Gaudium et spes, 15.Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 15.
101Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Litt.  Encycl. Veritatis splendor (6 Augusti 1993), 57-61 :  AAS 85 (1993), 1179-1182.Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor (6 August 1993), 57-61: AAS 85 (1993), 1179-1182.
102Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  I, Const. dogm. de fide catholica Dei Filius, IV :  DS 3016.Cf. First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, IV: DS 3016.
103Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Lateranense IV, De errore abbatis Joachim, II :  DS 806.Cf. Fourth Lateran Ecumenical Council, De Errore Abbatis Ioachim, II: DS 806.
104Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. dogm. de divina Revelatione Dei Verbum, 24; Decr. de institutione sacerdotali Optatam totius, 16.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 24; Decree on Priestly Formation Optatam Totius, 16.
105Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Litt.  Encycl. Evangelium vitæ (25 Martii 1995), 69 :  AAS 87 (1995), 481.Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae (25 March 1995), 69: AAS 87 (1995), 481.
106Eandem in sententiam primis Nostris in Litteris Encyclicis, quum Evangelii Sancti Joannis exponeremus dictionem « cognoscetis veritatem, et veritas liberabit vos » (8,32), sic elocuti sumus :  « Hæc verba principalem in se necessitatem continent simulque admonitionem :  necessitatem videlicet animi honesti erga veritatem uti condicionis veræ libertatis ;  admonitionem pariter, ut declinetur quævis simulata tantum libertas, quælibet levis unique tantum parti favens libertas, omnis demum libertas, quæ totam veritatem de homine ac mundo non permeet.  Etiam hodie, duobus annorum milibus post, Christus nobis comparet tanquam ille, qui homini libertatem in veritate innixam affert, ille, qui hominem ab omnibus liberat, quæ istam libertatem coarctant, minuunt et quasi perfringunt ipsis in ejus radicibus, nempe in hominis anima, corde, conscientia » :  Litt.  Encycl. Redemptor hominis (4 Martii 1979), 12 :  AAS 71 (1979), 280-281.In the same sense I commented in my first Encyclical Letter on the expression in the Gospel of Saint John, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (8:32):  “These words contain both a fundamental requirement and a warning:  the requirement of an honest relationship with regard to truth as a condition for authentic freedom, and the warning to avoid every kind of illusory freedom, every superficial unilateral freedom, every freedom that fails to enter into the whole truth about man and the world.  Today also, even after two thousand years, we see Christ as the one who brings man freedom based on truth, frees man from what curtails, diminishes and as it were breaks off this freedom at its root, in man’s soul, his heart and his conscience”:  Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis (4 March 1979), 12: AAS 71 (1979), 280-281.
107Allocutio qua Concilium est incohatum (11 Octobris 1962) :  AAS 54 (1962), 792.Address at the Opening of the Council (11 October 1962): AAS 54 ( 1962), 792.
108Congr. pro Doctrina Fidei, Instr. de vocatione ecclesiali theologi Donum veritatis (24 Maji 1990), 7-8 :  AAS 82 (1990), 1552-1553.Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian Donum Veritatis (24 May 1990), 7-8: AAS 82 (1990), 1552-1553.
109In Litteris Encyclicis Dominum et vivificantem explicantes locum Jo 16,12-13 scripsimus :  « Jesus Paraclitum, Spiritum veritatis, exhibet ut eum qui “docebit et suggeret”, ut eum qui ei “testimonium perhibebit”;  nunc vero ait “deducet vos in omnem veritatem”.  Locutio “deducet vos in omnem veritatem”, prout ad ea refertur, quæ Apostoli “non possunt portare modo”, imprimis necessario conjungitur cum exinanitione Christi, passione et Cruce peracta, quæ eo tempore, quo has protulit voces, jam impendebat.  Postea tamen patefit illud “deducere in omnem veritatem” necti non solum cum scandalo Crucis, sed etiam cum eis omnibus, quæ Christus « fecit et docuit » (Act 1,1).  Re enim vera mysterium Christi, ut totum, postulat fidem, quum hæc hominem in mysterii revelati “realitatem” opportune inducat.  Illud ergo “deducere in omnem veritatem” in fide et per fidem ad effectum adducitur :  quod Spiritus veritatis operatur, idque ex ejus actione in homine promanat.  Hac in re Spiritus Sanctus est hominis summus magister, est lux spiritus humani », n. 6 :  AAS 78 (1986), 815-816.In the Encyclical Letter Dominum et Vivificantem, commenting on Jn 16:12-13, I wrote: “Jesus presents the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, as the one who ‘will teach’ and ‘bring to remembrance’, as the one who ‘will bear witness’ to him.  Now he says:  ‘he will guide you into all the truth’.  This ‘guiding into all the truth’, referring to what the Apostles ‘cannot bear now’, is necessarily connected with Christ’s self-emptying through his Passion and Death on the Cross, which, when he spoke these words, was just about to happen.  Later, however, it becomes clear that this ‘guiding into all the truth’ is connected not only with the scandalum Crucis, but also with everything that Christ ‘did and taught’ (Acts 1:1).  For the mysterium Christi taken as a whole demands faith, since it is faith that adequately introduces man into the reality of the revealed mystery.  The ‘guiding into all the truth’ is therefore achieved in faith and through faith:  and this is the work of the Spirit of truth and the result of his action in man. Here the Holy Spirit is to be man’s supreme guide and the light of the human spirit”:  No. 6:  AAS 78 (1986), 815-816.
110Cfr Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Const. dogm. de divina Revelatione Dei Verbum, 13.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 13.
111Cfr Pontificia Commissio Biblica, Instr. de historica Evangeliorum veritate (21 Aprilis 1964) :  AAS 56 (1964), 713.Cf. Pontifical Biblical Commission, Instruction on the Historical Truth of the Gospels (21 April 1964): AAS 56 (1964), 713.
112« Liquet etiam Ecclesiam non cuilibet systemati philosophico, brevi temporis spatio vigenti, devinciri posse :  sed ea quæ communi consensu a catholicis doctoribus composita per plura sæcula fuere ad aliquam dogmatis intellegentiam attingendam, tam caduco fundamento procul dubio non nituntur.  Nituntur enim principiis ac notionibus ex vera rerum creatarum cognitione deductis ;  in quibus quidem deducendis cognitionibus humanæ menti veritas divinitus revelata, quasi stella, per Ecclesiam illuxit.  Quare mirum non est aliquas hujusmodi notiones a Conciliis Œcumenicis non solum adhibitas, sed etiam sancitas esse, ita ut ab eis discedere nefas sit » :  Litt.  Encycl. Humani generis (12 Augusti 1950) :  AAS 42 (1950), 566-567; cfr Commissio Theologica Internationalis, docum. Interpretationis problema (Octobre 1989) :  Ench.  Vat. 11, nn. 2717-2811.“It is clear that the Church cannot be tied to any and every passing philosophical system. Nevertheless, those notions and terms which have been developed though common effort by Catholic teachers over the course of the centuries to bring about some understanding of dogma are certainly not based on any such weak foundation. They are based on principles and notions deduced from a true knowledge of created things. In the process of deduction, this knowledge, like a star, gave enlightenment to the human mind through the Church. Hence it is not astonishing that some of these notions have not only been employed by the Ecumenical Councils, but even sanctioned by them, so that it is wrong to depart from them”: Encyclical Letter Humani Generis (12 August 1950): AAS 42 (1950), 566-567; cf. International Theological Commission, Document Interpretationis Problema (October 1989): Enchiridion Vaticanum 11, 2717-2811.
113« Ipse autem sensus formularum dogmaticarum semper verus ac secum constans in Ecclesia manet, etiam quum magis dilucidatur et plenius intellegitur.  Christifideles ergo se avertant oportet ab opinione secundum quam […] formulæ dogmaticæ (aut quædam earum genera) non possint significare determinate veritatem, sed tantum ejus commutabiles approximationes, ipsam quodammodo deformantes seu alterantes ».  S. Congr.  Pro Doctrina Fidei, Decl. circa Catholicam Doctrinam de Ecclesia contra nonnullos errores hodiernos tuendam Mysterium Ecclesiæ (24 Junii 1973), 5 :  AAS 65 (1973), 403.“As for the meaning of dogmatic formulas, this remains ever true and constant in the Church, even when it is expressed with greater clarity or more developed. The faithful therefore must shun the opinion, first, that dogmatic formulas (or some category of them) cannot signify the truth in a determinate way, but can only offer changeable approximations to it, which to a certain extent distort or alter it”: Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration in Defence of the Catholic Doctrine on the Church Mysterium Ecclesiae (24 June 1973), 5: AAS 65 (1973), 403.
114Cfr Congr.  S. Officii, Decr. Lamentabili (3 Julii 1907), 26 :  ASS 40 (1907), 473.Cf. Congregation of the Holy Office, Decree Lamentabili (3 July 1907), 26: ASS 40 (1907), 473.
115Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Allocutio apud Pontificium Athenæum « Angelicum » (17 Novembris 1979), 6 :  Insegnamenti, II, 2 (1979), 1183-1185.Cf. John Paul II, Address to the Pontifical Athenaeum “Angelicum” (17 November 1979), 6: Insegnamenti, II, 2 (1979), 1183-1185.
116N. 32 :  AAS 85 (1993), 1159-1160.No. 32: AAS 85 (1993), 1159-1160.
117Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Adhort.  Ap. Catechesi tradendæ (16 Octobris 1979), 30 :  AAS 71 (1979), 1302-1303; Congr. pro Doctrina Fidei, Instr. de vocatione ecclesiali theologi Donum veritatis (24 Maji 1990), 7 :  AAS 82 (1990), 1552-1553.Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae (16 October 1979), 30: AAS 71 (1979), 1302-1303; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian Donum Veritatis (24 May 1990), 7: AAS 82 (1990), 1552-1553.
118Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Adhort.  Ap. Catechesi tradendæ (16 Octobris 1979), 30 :  AAS 71 (1979), 1302-1303.Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi Tradendae (16 October 1979), 30: AAS 71 (1979), 1302-1303.
119Cfr ibid., 22, l.m., 1295-1296.Cf. ibid., 22, loc. cit., 1295-1296.
120Cfr ibid., 7, l.m., 1282.Cf. ibid., 7, loc. cit., 1282.
121Cfr ibid., 59, l.m., 1325.Cf. ibid., 59, loc. cit., 1325.
122Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  I, Const. dogm. de fide catholica Dei Filius, IV :  DS 3019.First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, IV: DS 3019.
123« Nemini idcirco licet theologiam tractare, quasi de quibusdam agatur notionum ejus collectaneis :  sed quivis sciat oportet se arcte conjunctum esse debere cum hoc munere docendi, cum hoc munere veritatem docendi, quod Ecclesiæ ipsi incumbat ».  Joannes Paulus II, Litt.  Encycl. Redemptor hominis (4 Martii 1979), 19 :  AAS 71 (1979), 308.“Nobody can make of theology as it were a simple collection of his own personal ideas, but everybody must be aware of being in close union with the mission of teaching truth for which the Church is responsible”:  John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis (4 March 1979), 19: AAS 71 (1979), 308.
124Cfr.  Conc. Œcum.  Vat.  II, Declaratio de libertate religiosa Dignitatis humanæ, 1-3.Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae, 1-3.
125Cfr Adhort.  Ap. Evangelii nuntiandi (8 Decembris 1975), 20 :  AAS 68 (1976), 18-19.Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December 1975), 20: AAS 68 (1976), 18-19.
126Const. past. de Ecclesia in mundo hujus temporis Gaudium et spes, 92.Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 92.
127Cfr ibid., 10.Cf. ibid., 10.
128Prologus, 4 :  Opera omnia, Firenze 1891, t.  V, 296.Prologus, 4: Opera Omnia, Florence, 1891, vol. V, 296.
129Cfr Decr. de institutione sacerdotali Optatum totius, 15.Cf. Decree on Priestly Formation Optatam Totius, 15.
130Cfr Joannes Paulus II, Const.  Ap. Sapientia christiana (15 Aprilis 1979), artt. 67-68 :  AAS 71 (1979), 491-492.Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana (15 April 1979), Arts. 67-68: AAS 71 (1979), 491-492.
131Joannes Paulus II, Discorso all’Università di Cracovia per 600º anniversario dell’Alma Mater Jagellonica (8 Junii 1997), 4 :  L’Osservatore Romano, 9-10 Junii 1997, p. 12.John Paul II, Address to the University of Krakow for the 600th Anniversary of the Jagiellonian University (8 June 1997), 4: L’Osservatore Romano, 9-10 June 1997, 12.
132« he noerà tés písteos trápeza » (ἡ νοερὰ τῆς πίστεως τράπεζα = “ Intellectualis fidei mensa ”) :  S.P.N. EPIPHANIUS, Homilia in laudes Sanctæ Mariæ Deiparæ :  PG 43, 493.he noerà tés písteos trápeza” (ἡ νοερὰ τῆς πίστεως τράπεζα = “ The noetic [dining] table of faith ”) :  Pseudo-Epiphanius, Homily in Praise of Holy Mary, Mother of God: PG 43, 493.
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