Lost in the Desert
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Flirting with Fideism

Flirting with Fideism

In America magazine John J. Conley, S.J., of Loyola University argues in effect that we need a new synthesis of faith and reason given that “the world [of neo-scholastic philosophy] has disappeared”.

He invites us to make “the synthetic passage through both Athens and Jerusalem that each Christian generation must undertake”, modelled by “Augustine’s Platonism and Aquinas’s Aristotelianism.” Instead the church is experiencing a “crisis” in which “the Catholic academy bears the stamp of marginality … [which] has encouraged some Catholics to abandon philosophy as a central component of the church’s discourse.”

He goes on to argue that

“the project of a nonphilosophical Catholicism is fraught with peril.… Without a substantial philosophical formation, the teaching of the church on faith and morals becomes incomprehensible. …. Pope Emeritus Benedict repeatedly reminded his listeners that the church’s Hellenic philosophical impetus cannot be sliced off from an illusory pristine Gospel.….. For all their ecclesiastical contributions, the social sciences simply cannot engage the properly philosophical questions of the nature of truth or the destiny of the human soul. .. It is hard to see how a church liberated from philosophical interrogation can avoid wandering into ecclesiastical positivism or the shifting dunes of relativism.”

Faith Magazine

January - February 2018 2018

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