Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ite ad Thomam: "Any Ideas on How to Reconcile These? (John Paul II's Fides et ratio & the Pre-Conciliar Popes)"

My preliminary thoughts, which I posted over there:
I'm working on a more extended response at my blog, but here are some beginning reflections:

John Paul wishes to claim that there is a legitimate plurality of philosophical systems, and it is not the task or competence of the Magisterium to rectify deficiences in a system, only to judge what is compatible with the Faith and what is not.

Nonetheless, there is a core of truths that can be called implicit philosophy, which is shared by all systems to one degree or another. (This is similar to the perennial philosophy of apologists for Thomism?)

(Hence, John Paul II is able to talk about philosophy, human reason, and knowledege, and other fundamental truths.)

Although he does not say that the implicit philosophy is the philosophy of the Church, I don't think that it would be a stretch to claim that it functions as such, and provides the basis for judging the soundness and coherence of philosophical systems.

(Not that I think agree with his terminology or with the claims he makes about philosophical systems, but I'm attempting to explain his position on his own terms first.)

The question is, then, whether this implicit philosophy "large" enough that it encompasses "our philosophy" of which previous popes speak?

1 comment:

Peter said...

I find the crux of the problem more with the word 'have'. What does it mean for the Church to have a philosophy?

It can't be, as JPII says, that the Church commands faith in a certain philosophy, since that would ipso facto destroy the philosophy as such, subsuming it into theology. Since theology proceeds from the teachings of the Church as its first principles.

So what CAN the Church do? Maybe the command that it can give pertains less to faith --- "this is true, believe it" --- than it pertains to morals --- "go study St. Thomas first and foremost for your own good and the good of the Church."

There may be other distinctions in how the Church 'has' a philosophy (or any of the sciences for that matter), but this is what immediately comes to my mind.