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January 4, 1999
SECTION ONE vol 10, no. 1
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Intelligent philosophical and theological formation must never be lacking in the Church.
On the feast of one of the first women Doctors of the Church Saint Teresa of Jesus, the Holy Father issued his 13th encyclical on the foundations of faith and reason entitled Fides et Ratio. Today we continue with the tenth part of this lengthy and important encyclical in installments spread out over several issues. The twelfth installment continues the fifth chapter The Magisterium's interventions in philosophical matters focusing on The Church's interest in philosophy in which the Holy Father continues to cite the wisdom of that angelic Doctor of the Church Saint Thomas Aquinas and adds to it the sage direction of Pope Leo XIII in his encyclicals. For those wanting to read the entire encyclical, go to Fides et Ratio For the twelfth installment, click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS.
POPE JOHN PAUL II'S 13TH ENCYCLICAL ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FAITH AND REASON RELEASED OCTOBER 16, 1998
NEXT WEEK: CHAPTER VI: THE INTERACTION BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY
Part Twelve of FIDES ET RATIO: CHAPTER V:
THE MAGISTERIUM'S INTERVENTIONS IN PHILOSOPHICAL MATTERS
The Church's interest in philosophy
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 enquiry, 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. 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. 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. 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, 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
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)
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 behaviour in order to
respond in appropriate ways.(84)
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.
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 enquiries 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 enquiry, an enquiry which will allow the positive traits of popular
wisdom to emerge and forge the necessary link with the proclamation of the
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.
I trust most sincerely that these difficulties will be overcome by an intelligent
philosophical and theological formation, which must never be lacking in the
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.
The knowledge of faith and the demands of philosophical reason
(78) Cf. Encyclical Letter Æterni Patris (4 August 1879): ASS 11 (1878-1879), 97-115.
(79) Ibid., loc. cit., 109.
(80) Cf. Nos. 14-15.
(81) Cf. ibid., 20-21.
(82) Ibid., 22; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis (4 March 1979), 8: AAS 71
(83) Decree on Priestly Formation Optatam Totius, 15.
(84) 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.
(85) Cf. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 57; 62.
(86) Cf. ibid., 44.
(87) Cf. Fifth Lateran Ecumenical Council, Bull Apostolici Regimini Sollicitudo, Session VIII:
Conciliorum Oecumenicorum Decreta, 1991, 605-606.
"For all of my children call upon St. Joseph and seek his powerful intercession."
Those words above from the Blessed Virgin Mary in Message #333 were imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart on the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker on May 1, 1993 in which Our Lady beseeches all to imitate her "beloved earthly chaste spouse" in these dire times. In her Message #332 preceding this on April 29, the Blessed Mother does not mince words in warning her little ones of the wiles of the world and satan. For the messages 332 and 333, click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."
Messages Three Hundred-Thirty-Two and Three Hundred-Thirty-Three
Message Three Hundred-Thirty-Two, April 29, 1993
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
(Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena)
Beloved Hidden Flower, I again say to all of my children: Convert your hearts now! O! You have such weak faith! You do not see the Hand of God in your life. You see only what man has achieved, and thus man has become god!
O! I weep. For so great is the apostasy, schism and heresy that rips at my Divine Son's Church. This has caused so many to become dead tombs, sealed in their own self-will.
How little you have understood my words! How lukewarm is your response! Yet I solemnly tell you that in the ensuing persecution when many of my dear priest-sons shall no longer be obedient to the Vicar of Christ, my beloved Pope John Paul II; when countless of my little ones shall fall prey to modernism and humanism, you shall not withstand the persecutions, but rather be swept into the evil one's plot to establish a one world religion.
Do not doubt. These plans have long been in progress. The fruition will come much sooner than you think. The antichrist will rule, and only then will he reveal himself for the hideous monster he is.
Beloved, the moment has come. Stand firm! Cling to my Divine Son's Cross. Reverence and honor Him always in the Blessed Sacrament. Believe in the True Presence, and do not be dissuaded from utmost reverence by those who shall declare to you that there are no abominations committed against my Divine Son. O! Everyday the atrocities grow more abundant. Justice shall come.
Therefore, pray for Divine Mercy. Seek this Mercy and from this Mercy will come the necessary Light you must have if you will persevere.
I love and bless you. O! I love you, all of my children. In all things put aside self and seek only the Divine Will. The Holy Spirit shall be your guide, for He is the Sanctifier.
Thank you for responding to my Call!
Message Three Hundred-Thirty-Three, May 1, 1993
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart)
[Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker]
Beloved Hidden Flower, I am with you. Today I beseech all of my children to look upon my most chaste spouse and see in him, chosen to be the foster father of my Divine Son, the beauty of all heavenly virtues.
For all of my children call upon St. Joseph and seek his powerful intercession. So often I have asked you to be silent - to speak less and pray more.
Read Sacred Scripture. This is what my beloved chaste spouse did throughout his life. Pray and ask him to help you become silent and still within. O! I urge all to do this. Then you will be able to caress the Divine Infant just as Joseph did, and my Divine Son will speak to your heart and be your strength.
Little ones, draw closer still to my Divine Son, Learn from Him. Imitate Him. You cannot do this if you remain turned into your materialistic world. Now, as never before, I beseech you to turn off the world, to become detached from all earthly pleasures.
This month of May begins with the Feast of St. Joseph. It is also a month dedicated to me, the Mother of God. Ponder upon the Holy Family, and our journey upon earth, and follow in our footsteps. Then shall you understand in the fullness of God's time all I have spoken to you in obedience to the Divine Will.
These days are vital for you to increase your faith, for soon the evil one shall seek to destroy all of my chosen ones, my messengers. There will be confusion, doubt and severe persecution. Be not afraid but remain steadfast. Know that the Hour of my Immaculate Heart's Triumph is approaching. You do not see clearly, yet God continually gives you many signs.
Therefore, rededicate and consecrate yourselves to my Immaculate Heart and to my Divine Son's Sacred Heart.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
LITURGY OF THE DAY
Today is the Feast of the first American-born saint Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, known affectionately to all as "Mother Seton" who left her mark from sea to shining sea as the founder of the American Daughters of Charity and as a religious educator. Tomorrow we celebrate another educator, the American Bishop Saint John Neumann. For the readings, liturgy, meditations and vignettes on these two saints, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Monday, January 4, 1998
Monday January 4:
Tenth Day of Christmas
Feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious founder and educator
First Reading: 1 John 3: 22-24; 4: 1-6
Psalms: Psalm 2: 7-8, 10-11
Gospel Reading: Matthew 4: 12-17, 23-25
Feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious founder and educator
Considered the first American-born saint, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, known as Mother Seton, went on to found numerous schools throughout the eastern seaboard. Born Elizabeth Ann Bayley on August 28, 1774 in New York City, she was raised an Episcopalian and married William Magee Seton at the age of 20. While raising five children, Elizabeth founded the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children when she was only 23. In 1803, having lost their income and becoming poor themselves, the family went to stay with Catholic friends in Pisa, Italy both for economic and health reasons. While there William died leaving Elizabeth a widow. Influenced by her Italian friends, she returned to New York in 1805 and converted to Catholicism. Though she was ostracized by her own family and friends, the director of St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore offered her the opportunity to open a school in that city. At the age of 35 she, along with four other widows, founded the Sisters of St. Joseph and began a Catholic school in Emmitsburg, Maryland exclusively for poor kids who could not afford tuition. The new nuns' rule was approved by Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore in 1812 and a year later, having been elected Mother Superior, Mother Seton took vows with eighteen others on July 19, 1813. It officially signaled the beginning of the Order of the Sisters of Charity in America, the first religious society formed in the United States and patterned after the rule of Saint Vincent de Paul. Mother Seton not only opened schools, training teachers herself, but also wrote most of the textbooks for the children. When she died on January 4, 1821 in Emmitsburg, there were already 20 communities and schools established. Pope John XXIII beatified her in 1963 and his successor Pope Paul VI canonized her in 1975 as the first American-born saint. Her legacy lives on. Founding the Catholic school concept she did signaled the advent of the Catholic parochial school system that would become the backbone of the Church in America until after Vatican II, when the new-age concept of "Total Catholic Education" spawned by satan himself, would not only infiltrate every diocese, but kill the long respected tradition of each parish and parent taking an active interest in the young Catholic leaders of tomorrow through their selfless time, talents, and treasures. In a time of great need, the sisters of every Order disappeared and the government began dictating what should and shouldn't be taught; the very reason Mother Seton began her schools in the first place, so that Catholicism would be at the root of any education. Ironically, loyal Catholics, when faced with today's alternatives have turned back to the very way Mother Seton herself was first educated - at home, through home schooling where the parents take total charge of their children as the Church teaches. Maybe it is no coincidence that the leader in Catholic home schooling today is called the Mother Seton Home Study!
Tuesday, January 5, 1998
Tuesday January 5:
Feast of Saint John Neumann, Bishop and Religious Educator
First Reading: 1 John 4: 7-10
Psalms: Psalm 72: 1-4, 7-8
Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 34-44
Feast of Saint John Neumann, Bishop and Religious Educator
The practice of Forty Hours Devotion in the United States can be attributed to a Czechoslovakian in the
nineteenth century who came to our shores to become a Redemptorist priest and foster Catholic schools
and education throughout the U.S.A. This man was Saint John Neumann, born on March 28, 1811 and
ordained in 1936. In 1852 he was appointed bishop of Philadelphia where he worked tirelessy to establish
the Catholic school system in America. He labored especially with European immigrants in mind. He spoke
twelve languages fluently and wrote numerous books and two catechisms as well as a Bible History for the
students. His was a life of firsts, becoming the first Redemptorist to make his profession in America and
the first bishop from America to be ordained a saint. He died on January 5, 1860 just as the Civil War was
breaking out, but he was not forgotten and his legacy has served many a college student through the years
with almost each college campus throughout the country providing a Catholic oasis for the students known
as "Neumann clubs." He was ordained in 1977 by Pope Paul VI.
PRAYER & DEVOTIONS
Today's Prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer for the Mass honoring Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Lord God, You blessed Mother Elizabeth Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to your people. Through her example and prayers may we learn to express our love for You in love for our fellow men and women.
Events in Church History
On this date in 236 Pope Saint Eutychian was elected as the 27th successor of Peter during a time of great persecution under the Roman Emperor Aurelian. He introduced the vestment "Dalmatic" into the Roman rite. For more on that, see CATHOLIC CANVAS. For other events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today. Click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for January 4:
Election of Pope Saint Eutychian, 27th successor of Peter. During his eight-year pontificate he would order that martyrs' remains should be covered with the "Dalmatic" similar to the cloak worn by the Roman Emperors and representing the sacred vestments worn by deacons at solemn Masses and religious functions today. It was Eutychian who would institute the blessing of the crops. He, too, would die as a martyr on December 7, 283 at the hands of Aurelian.
Christopher Columbus embarks on his return trip to Spain from the New World.
Death of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious foundress of the American Daughters of Charity. She became the first North American-born saint when Pope Paul VI canonized her in 1975. For more on her, see LITURGY OF THE DAY.
Daily Dose of curious contents of the Church
The "Dalmatic", introduced by Pope Saint Eutychian is an outer liturgical vestment with short open sleeves, an opening for the head, and open at the sides from the hem to the shoulders and is worn over the alb and stole. It is so named since it was originally made of Dalmatian wool. It reaches to or below the knees and is worn by the deacon at solemn Mass or religious functions. (source: The Catholic Encyclopedia, Thomas Nelson, Publishers)
December 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! In this Christmas joy I desire to bless you with my blessing. In a special way, little
children, I give you the blessing of little Jesus. May He fill you with His peace. Today, little children, you do not have peace and yet you yearn for it. That is why, with my Son Jesus, on this day I call you to pray, pray, pray, because without prayer you do not have joy or peace or a future. Yearn for peace and seek it, for God is true peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.
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January 4, 1999 volume 10, no. 1 DAILY CATHOLIC