Quick Lessons from the Catechism: Faith and Reason

I might be beating dead horse with today’s blog post, but still want to make the point that Faith and Science (Reason) do not contradict each other. I know there is a crowd of people in the world today that try to prove the point that faith and reason do contradict, but if you study these two elements closely, you shall see that their arguments are clearly false. Proving this with the eloquence we are use to with his writings, in the beginning of his great encyclical on faith and reason (Fides et Ratio), Pope St. John Paul II said,

“Faith and reason are like 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 (cf. Ex 33:18; Ps 27:8-9; 63:2-3; Jn 14:8; 1 Jn 3:2).”

If you have never read the aforementioned encyclical, I would encourage you to do so, but I warn that many should approach it with great ease since it is steeped heavily in philosophy. In the encyclical, the Pope Saint focuses on the important relationship between faith and reason, the magisterium’s intervention in philosophical matters, the interaction between faith and reason, and current situations such as the distortion of evil and a list of certain “isms” that plague society today.

Faith and Science - DSMME

Now that we mentioned this, let us turn to read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church states the topic –

In paragraph 159, the subtopic of faith and science states: “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.” “Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”

Furthering this understanding, in paragraph 286, it states: human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins. The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason, even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.”

To continue to see that faith and science (reason) do not contradict each other, I would encourage you to read an article in the Catholic Answers Magazine titled – Fathers of Science. Here you will see that many of the great scientists of Western Civilization were Catholic priests and still others are counted among the Saints. This yet again proves that faith and reason are not opposites but “are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.”

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