Sunday, April 25, 2010

Aeterni Patris-Pope Leo XIII

Many Catholics are not strong in their faith because they simply do not take the time to read about it. They are like ships without a sail being tossed about the waves being propelled only by the current of our tumultuous times and the changing winds of the day. Catholics need to take the time to learn about their faith on their own time. In the this age of information, their is no reason a Catholic should not understand their faith. Here is a link to an Encyclical written by Pope Leo XIII called Aeterni Patris, which should be read by all Catholics today. It is not a long one, and you can read it in about 20 minutes or so. It will give you an insight into how important right reason is in this age of modernism. A sound philosophical mindset will allow you to understand your faith better, and it will allow you to communicate it to others in an effective manner.
If you are interested in learning Thomistic philosophy in a formal online setting I recommend The Sapientis Institute.  

Excerpt from the Encyclical-
2. Whoso turns his attention to the bitter strifes of these days and seeks a reason for the troubles that vex public and private life must come to the conclusion that a fruitful cause of the evils which now afflict, as well as those which threaten, us lies in this: that false conclusions concerning divine and human things, which originated in the schools of philosophy, have now crept into all the orders of the State, and have been accepted by the common consent of the masses. For, since it is in the very nature of man to follow the guide of reason in his actions, if his intellect sins at all his will soon follows; and thus it happens that false opinions, whose seat is in the understanding, influence human actions and pervert them. Whereas, on the other hand, if men be of sound mind and take their stand on true and solid principles, there will result a vast amount of benefits for the public and private good. We do not, indeed, attribute such force and authority to philosophy as to esteem it equal to the task of combating and rooting out all errors; for, when the Christian religion was first constituted, it came upon earth to restore it to its primeval dignity by the admirable light of faith, diffused "not by persuasive words of human wisdom, but in the manifestation of spirit and of power",(3) so also at the present time we look above all things to the powerful help of Almighty God to bring back to a right understanding the minds of man and dispel the darkness of error.(4) But the natural helps with which the grace of the divine wisdom, strongly and sweetly disposing all things, has supplied the human race are neither to be despised nor neglected, chief among which is evidently the right use of philosophy. For, not in vain did God set the light of reason in the human mind; and so far is the super-added light of faith from extinguishing or lessening the power of the intelligence that it completes it rather, and by adding to its strength renders it capable of greater things.

1 comment:

Nick said...

That was a good quote. The problem is really a step above the masses, to that of priestly formation. Many priests either due to neglect or ignorance are not passing this information on. On the flip side, with the growth of 'literacy rates' and the information age, the average layman can and should educate themself. It is quite ironic that while more people in this age can read than every before, most don't read at all or don't read anything of any value (e.g. take the millions of people who flocked to read the multi-volume harry potter series, each book being a few hundred pages, yet they don't have the time/care to read a few noteworthy Encyclicals).

But thanks be to God, things are turning around for the better, and Catholics at all levels are starting to take genuine interest in their faith.