FAITH Magazine July – August 2011

The word synthesis implies something more than harmonious co-existence. Our regular readers would not be flabbergasted to learn that we aim for that something more when we write about science and religion. We do that because we believe in what John Paul II called the "profound and indissoluble unity between the knowledge of reason and the knowledge of faith" {Fides et Ratio, 16).

Our editorial argues, among other things, that the object of modern science is not a radically delimited subset of the physical realm, and thus that scientific methodology, properly understood, is just a part of that exercise of human reason which is ultimately in profound synthetic harmony with faith. If one attempts to reduce science to something that, for instance, has no effect upon metaphysics you undermine the dynamic interweaving of the personal actions of faith and reason, which comprise the personal relationship with God in Christ.

This thoroughgoing approach to faith and reason means that, as ever, we publish pieces that reveal what we think are aspects of the effect upon our church and society of the 20th century collapse of an agreed and coherent vision of the faith to hand on to our seminarians and our people.

Fiorella Nash shows how the ungrounded slogans of the anti-life mentality can impact upon the harrowing reality of mothers dying in childbirth. Cormac Burke shows how it is surprising that we, as a culture and even in the Church, need to be reminded of the purposes of marriage concerning procreation and mutual growth in generosity. William Oddie shows how the abuse crisis reveals a Church shamefully embroiled in a particularly decadent strand of our society, and so points to our own need of purification and penance.

Our philosophical discussion with Fr McDermott on whether the universe is ultimately rational shows a mutual, and we hope heartening, search for synthesis. Yet it also shows some of the divergent metaphysical approaches which characterise modern Catholic thought and, in as much as they put a brake upon coherent vision, also slow up the new evangelisation to which we are called. It is a further sign that we must wait upon the Lord with patience and penance.

For as John Paul II expressed it: "This unity of truth, natural and revealed, is embodied in a living and personal way in Christ... He is the eternal Word in whom all things were created, and he is the incarnate Word who in his entire person reveals the Father" [Fides et Ratio, 34].

Faith Magazine