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Carol Lynn MillerOctober 3, 20192 min read

St. Pope John Paul II on Why We Need Both Faith and Reason

“Faith and Reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of Truth.” 

These are the opening words of “Fides et Ratio,” St. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical on faith and reason. In his encyclical, St. John Paul II addresses the vitally important role of both faith and reason in the pursuit of Truth. In a previous post on intellectual conversion, I mentioned that Truth is the object of the intellect. Aristotle sheds light on our attraction to Truth in his “Metaphysics,” proclaiming:

 “All men by nature desire to know.” -Aristotle

Built in our very nature is a desire to know about the world around us so that, ultimately, we may rise to an understanding of Him who is Truth itself. 

In “Fides at Ratio,” St. John Paul II explains that the search for Truth begins when we start to ask important questions, such as, Who am I? Where have I come from, and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life? 

He also says these questions pervade human life and are inescapable. Every person, by their very nature, desires to know the ultimate meaning of life and, in turn, also has a right to know. God the Father understands the human heart and desired to make himself known by entering history and becoming man. 

Now with Jesus Christ, the incarnation of Truth, we have a person to look to in our pursuit of Truth. Christ helps us see how Truth is not just an objective function of reason, but also the mysterious and loving power of faith. 

If you are interested in deepening your intellectual conversion, then “Fides et Ratio” can offer a guiding light and a helping hand. Within the encyclical, St. John Paul II will define and analyze faith and reason, proclaim why faith and reason must never be separated, and explain the role we must all play in salvation history with regard to proclaiming Truth to the world. 

You can read “Fides et Ratio” for free, here

In their respective worlds, God and the human being are set within a unique relationship. In God there lies the origin of all things, in him is found the fullness of the mystery, and in this his glory consists; to men and women there falls the task of exploring truth with their reason, and in this their nobility consists. -St. John Paul II, “Fides et Ratio”

Read Also:

The 3 Levels of Conversion: Intellectual Conversion

The Miracles that made Pope John Paul II a Canonized Saint

Scrupulosity Is An Obstacle to Truth