(Zenit) Vatican: Priests Can’t Skip Metaphysics

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With the human ability to think under fire from relativism, priests and theologians need to study more philosophy, the Vatican says.This was one of the main points of the "Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy," which Benedict XVI approved Jan. 28 (the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas), and Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, presented Tuesday.

The cardinal explained that the Church is always adapting to respond to the needs of changing historical-cultural circumstances, and that many ecclesial institutions today are lacking in philosophical formation.

This absence is particularly noteworthy at a time "in which reason itself is menaced by utilitarianism, skepticism, relativism and distrust of reason's ability to know the truth regarding the fundamental problems of life," he reflected.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchPhilosophyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

Posted March 23, 2011 at 11:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. RMBruton wrote:

Further broadening the gap between the Romans and the vast majority of those who pass today for Anglicans.

March 23, 5:09 pm | [comment link]
2. Dan Crawford wrote:

One can only be grateful that our Roman friends still think the life of the mind is anything but a scandal in the service of the Kingdom of God.

March 23, 5:25 pm | [comment link]
3. William Witt wrote:

If biblical theology and good exegesis are tools that Roman Catholics need more of in their theology, metaphysics and philosophy is an area where too many Protestants (and especially Evangelicals) are lacking.  Theology is, in the words of Anselm, “faith seeking understanding” (fides quaerens intellectum), and one of its basic premises is that God is in himself who he is in his revelation.  Because of the unique relationship between God (as Creator) and the world as created, almost every theological affirmation has metaphysical implications, and numerous heresies are consequences of inadequate ways of thinking about the metaphysics of either God or the creation.  Moreover, any area of theology that must speak of the relation between God and creation also ventures in to metaphysics.  Just a handful of examples:

The Trinity concerns both God’s revelation in history (the economic Trinity) and God’s eternal immanent relations (the immanent Trinity).

The incarnation raises metaphysical questions about how we can predicate both divine and human properties of a single subject.  The orthodox doctrine is that Jesus is one divine person with two natures, that Jesus has no human center of identity, but he does have a complete human intellect and will.

Creation, grace, and providence all have to do with the relation between God and created realities, and how God can be present to the world in such a manner that both divine and human realities retain their integrities.

Sacramental theology is one particular area in which different understandings of the relation between divine and human realities have tremendous implications.

The list goes on and one.  To the extent that Christians neglect metaphysics and philosophy, they often unintentionally embrace heresy.  For example, way too many “orthodox” Christians are either unintentional monophysites, tritheists, or modalists.  Every time one hears the “average joe or jane” make statements like “That may be true for you but it is not true for me,” one is hearing the (not too well thought out) articulations of a fundamental philosophical stance about reality, epistemology, and metaphysics.

March 23, 7:35 pm | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.

Next entry (above): Census 2010: Detroit population plummets to 713,777, lowest since 1910

Previous entry (below): (Living Church) 20 Bishops Gather for Springfield Consecration

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)