Faith and reason equals truth

By  Peter Grbac, Youth Speak News
  • January 28, 2008

It is muzzled, ignored and ridiculed by some professors and students of the most esteemed academic institutions of the world. Pitted against secular society and struggling to manifest itself against a backdrop of persecution, truth has become an enemy, and its pursuit, an erupting war on university campuses.

In an age of unprecedented opportunity and growth in the academic world, it comes as a surprise that many would argue that faith has no role in the pursuit of truth. This is quite appalling, considering the Catholic Church founded some of the greatest universities in Western Europe, such as the University of Paris, and encouraged the development of great minds, including St. Thomas Aquinas.

Only in university classrooms where the pursuit of truth involves both faith and reason can truth be considered authentic and meaningful.

In Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio, he describes faith and reason as “two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth — in a word, to know himself — so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”

In an article by Fr. Raymond DeSouza’s published in The National Post, he defined Pope John Paul II as the “world’s champion of reason.” What a fitting title for a man who has fought time and time again that truth can only be known through a synthesis of faith and reason.

Most recently Pope Benedict XVI created a flurry of media activity by declining to speak at La Sapienza, or the Università di Roma, due to what the Pope’s secretary of state called a lack of the “prerequisites for a dignified and tranquil welcome.”

His speech, designed to advise the university community to seek truth and goodness, was never heard, compliments of 100 vocal students and more than 60 professors. It is ironic that a university founded by Pope Boniface VIII in 1303 and whose name translates into “wisdom” would not embrace the opportunity to listen to one of the world’s foremost leaders in theological thought.

However, Pope Benedict’s call for action in the pursuit of truth did not fall on deaf ears. An increased crowd attendance at his Sunday blessing affirms that Catholics around the world support the need for both faith and reason in the discovery of truth.

The Pope defines his role in this discovery as an invitation to “always invite reason to seek out truth, goodness and God, and on this path urge it to see the useful lights that emerged during the history of the Christian faith and perceive Jesus Christ as the light that illuminates history and helps find the way towards the future.”

His call to all people, especially youth, to embrace truth is daunting. As Catholic students are silenced and labelled “judgmental” because of their desire to speak out against abortion, same-sex marriage and anything else that contradicts truth, the call for action resonates louder now, more than ever.

It is time that truth be recognized for what it really is ­— the synthesis of faith and reason.

(Grbac, 17, is a Grade 12 student at St. Michael’s College School.)

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