Posted by: L. E. Barnes | May 7, 2012

Monday Message

One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about the Catholic Church is that it doesn’t demand a strict “either/or” approach to faith and reason. In contrast, I’ve known of — and even encountered — many evangelicals and fundamentalists who had a tendency to denigrate reason, at least when it came to religious matters. Some of them would react against what they called “intellectualizing” the Bible (though I suspect if you backed them into a corner they wouldn’t have even been able to define exactly what they meant by “intellectualizing”). Or I’ve heard some say that we need “kneeology” (i.e., spending time in prayer) rather than theology. Granted, evangelical Protestantism and fundamentalism have produced their share of highly educated people, and there is an element of truth in the concerns of the “kneeology, not theology” crowd (i.e., that all the theological studies in the world are worthless without a vibrant personal relationship with God).

But the Catholic Church readily embraces both faith and reason, rather than seeing the two as mutually exclusive. In the following short video, Fr. Robert Barron elaborates on this issue:

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Responses

  1. As usual, Father Barron makes good, clear points. Pope JP II’s 1998 encyclical, Fides et Ratio (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html) is a great work, contributed to in great part by Pope Benedict XVI.

    “Kneelology” without reason runs a large risk of creating the Jesus we invent rather than Jesus as He revealed Himself to us in the Gospel. We need the balance.

    • Exactly! People can easily confuse euphoria and pious feelings for a genuine relationship with God. As C.S. Lewis pointed out in “Mere Christianity,” the problem with such experiences is that, by themselves, they don’t lead anywhere. We need clear maps so that we can navigate the oceans across which our destination lies. God gave us an intellect and we should use it!

  2. I agree with what Barb said above. And of course, Fr Barron always explains things so well.


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