Friday, 15 September 2006

Faith, reason and the university: Benedict XVI

As noted on Insight Scoop, this week Pope Benedict XVI gave an address at the University of Regensburg entitled “Faith, Reason and the University.”

It’s an excellent address that deserves attentive reading. After offering a critique of the rise of modern reason, the Holy Father says:

“The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvellous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which reflects one of the basic tenets of Christianity.

“The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.”

4 Comments:

byron said...

Not having time right now to read it, does he offer an alternative account of reason, a new way?

Thom said...

Noticed while waiting in line to buy coffee this morning that this address must have caused some stir in the Islamic community. Headline read: Pope Apologizes for Speech. Please allow me to plug my blog, as well, since I posted some thoughts on the speech Benedict XVI praises logos.

dan said...

A bit of a tangent:

One section of the quotation -- "While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them" -- reminds me of a similar quotation from Wendell Berry.

Berry writes:

"The smartest and most educated people are the scientists, for they have already found solutions to all our problems and will soon find solutions to all the problems resulting from their solutions to all the problems we used to have."

Now Berry is no scientist but I think that's a pretty astute observation.

byron said...

Wow, this speech has really exploded now.

I've also read it now.

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