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The encyclical Fides Et Ratio was written by Pope John Paul II to his fellow bishops in to address the relationship between faith and. Intended audience of the encyclical: The Bishops of the Catholic Church, Cautionary note: The English translation of Fides et Ratio is not always what it should . for exposing the weakness of reason: “The beginning of the First Letter to the. Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio, published only last week, I wished to defend the capacity of human reason to know the truth. This confidence in reason is an.

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Dogmatic systematic theologyhe says, would be impossible without philosophy, since it must articulate the faith “through concepts formulated in a critical and universally communicable way” It shows how biblical thought, accepting this unity, is convinced that a sure path to the knowledge of the truth encycical be found.

Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason)

This plan of Revelation is realized by deeds and words having an inner unity: But “the knowledge proper to faith does not destroy the mystery” For the ancients, the study of the natural sciences coincided in large part with philosophical learning. This text finds an echo in the famous dictum of the holy philosopher and theologian Augustine: The book offers many applications for priests and writers as a sourcebook and summary of the late Pope’s teaching, and for lay persons who desire to better their understanding of the restatement of Catholic teaching ushered in by Pope John Paul II on the eve of the third millennium.

Therefore, following upon similar initiatives by my Predecessors, I wish to reflect upon this special activity of human reason. 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.

Fides et Ratio (14 September ) | John Paul II

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.


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. The Second Vatican Council, for its part, offers a rich and fruitful teaching concerning philosophy.

But before tackling that question, one last datum of philosophy needs to be weighed. Pope John Paul II. Recent times have seen the rise to prominence of various doctrines which tend to devalue even the truths which had been judged encyclicall.

Without wonder, men and women would lapse into deadening routine and little by little would become incapable of a life which is genuinely personal. Deprived of reason, faith has stressed feeling and experience, and so run the risk of no longer being a universal proposition. The most influential Catholic theologians of encyclicql present century, to whose thinking and research the Second Vatican Council was much indebted, were products of this lettet of Thomistic philosophy.

In the nihilist interpretation, life is no more than an occasion for sensations and experiences in which the ephemeral has pride of place” Superstitions were recognized for what they were and religion was, at least in part, purified by rational analysis.

It is unthinkable that a search so deeply rooted in human nature would encgclical completely vain and useless. 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.

So Sacred Scripture values human reason without overvaluing it: We may say, fldes, that Israel, with her reflection, was able to open to reason the path that leads to the mystery.

It shows how, with their ever-enquiring reason, men and women can attain the truth, which is by its nature universal, valid for all people at all times. Sacred Scripture always assumes that the individual, even if guilty of duplicity and mendacity, can know and grasp the clear and simple truth” Faith sharpens the inner eye, opening the mind to discover in the flux of events the workings of Providence. 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.


Dt 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: He pursues her like a hunter and lies in wait on her paths.

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” Does life have a petter This circular relationship with the word of God leaves philosophy enriched, because reason discovers new and unsuspected horizons.

Synthesis of the encyclical “Fides et ratio”

It is precisely philosophical inquiry which can discern objective truth in different world-views and cultures. 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. Here we pass beyond mere trust to the order of grace. Faith ‘surrounds’ reason with two reference cides, the meaning of human life and the mystery of God, both of which are revealed in their fulness by Christ.

From this comes the Magisterium’s duty to discern and promote philosophical thinking which is not at odds with faith.

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.