Appeared in Summer/Autumn/Winter 2002, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, 3, 4
The primary aim of this article is to offer an interpretation of the encyclical Fides et Ratio as it relates to the idea of “meaning” as an answer to the ultimate questions of man. The force of the metaphor used by John Paul II of the two wings of faith and reason (Introduction) lies in the picture of the human spirit attaining truth only by the simultaneous efforts of faith and reason. As a bird cannot fly with only one wing, so the spirit needs both faith and reason to arrive at truth. It is the union of faith and reason which provides us with the boldness (parrhesia) and confidence necessary to access the truth.
After an analysis of man’s “quest for meaning,” a goal only achieved by reaching the Absolute, we will investigate the two means available to us to reach that goal: faith and reason. We will then present the implications of the organic unity of faith and reason and their climax in the synthesis of Aquinas. Finally, we will examine the drama of their separation which has led to the present crisis of meaning.
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