Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Second Circle: Faith and Modern Science

Three Circles of Questions Answered by Vatican II:

1- The Relation of Church and the Modern State (seen on the July 4, 2006 blog)
2- Epistemology of Faith and Modern Science
3- Catholicism as the One Church of Jesus Christ, and Tolerance of World Religions


Vatican II: Not Yet Understood and Assimilated by the Church:

The acknowledged goal of Benedict XVI is the understanding and assimilation of Vatican II with and through the 14 encyclicals of John Paul II. He remarked on Polish television, October 16, 2005: “I forgot to mention the many documents that he left us -- 14 encyclicals, many pastoral letters, and others. All this is a rich patrimony that has not yet been assimilated by the Church. My personal mission is not to issue many new documents, but to ensure that his documents are assimilated, because they are a rich treasure, they are the authentic interpretation of Vatican II. We know that the Pope was a man of the Council, that he internalized the spirit and the word of the Council. Through these writings he helps us understand what the Council wanted and what it didn’t. This helps us to be the Church of our times and of the future.”

In Murcia, Spain, December 4, 2002, Cardinal Ratzinger was asked:

Q: It has been said that it is necessary to convoke a Vatican III so that the Church will adapt to the new times. What do you think?
Cardinal Ratzinger: "First of all, I would say it is a practical problem. We have not implemented sufficiently the legacy of Vatican II. We are still working to assimilate and interpret this legacy, as vital processes take time. A technical measure can be applied rapidly, but life has paths that are much longer. Time is needed to grow a forest; time is needed for a man to grow. Thus, these spiritual realities, such as the assimilation of a council, are ways of life, which have need of a certain duration and cannot be completed from one day to the next. That is why the time has not yet arrived for a new council."

From Subjectivism (Consciousness) to Subjectivity (Being)

"2- Epistemology of Faith and Modern Science:"

Benedict XVI offered that “three circles of questions had formed which then, at the time of the Second Vatican Council, were expecting an answer. First of all, the relationship between faith and modern science had to be redefined. Furthermore, this did not only concern the natural sciences but also historical science for in a certain school the historical-critical method claimed to have the last word on the interpretation of the Bible and, demanding total exclusivity for its interpretation of sacred Scripture, was opposed to important points in the interpretation elaborated by the faith of the Church.”[1]


The Similarity between the New Physics and Theological Epistemology

The Subject Knowing is Part of What is Known

Ratzinger observed:

“When one looks at the history of the dogma of the Trinity as it is reflected in a present-day manual of theology, it looks like a graveyard of heresies, whose emblems theology still carries round wit it, like the trophies from battles fought and won. But such a view does not represent a proper understanding of the matter, for all the attempted solutions which in the course of a long struggle were finally thrown out as dead-ends and hence heresies are not just mere gravestones to the vanity of human endeavor, monuments which confirm how often thinking has come to grief and at which we can now look back in retrospective – and in the last analysis fruitless – curiosity. On the contrary, every heresy is at the same time the cipher for an abiding truth, a cipher which we must now preserve with other simultaneously valid statements, separated from which it produces a false impression. In other words, all these statements are not so much gravestones as the bricks of a cathedral, which are of course only useful when they do not remain alone but are inserted n something bigger, just as even the positively accepted formulas are only valid if they are at the same time aware of their own inadequacy.

“The Jansenist Saint-Cyran once made the thought-provoking remark that faith consists of a series of contradictions held together by grace. He thereby expressed in the realm of theology a discovery which today in physics, as the law of complementarity, belongs to the realm of scientific thought. The physicist is becoming increasingly aware today that we cannot embrace given realities – the structure of light, for example, or matter as a whole – in one form of experiment and so in one form of statement; that on the contrary from different sides we glimpse different aspects, which cannot be traced back to each other. We have to take the two together – say the structure of corpuscle and wave – without being able to find any all-embracing aspect – as a provisional assessment of the whole, which is not accessible to us as a unified whole because of the limitations implicit in our point to of view. What is true here in the physical realm as a result of the deficiencies in our vision is true in an incomparably greater degree of the spiritual realities and of God. Here too we can always look from one side and so grasp only one particular aspect, which seems to contradict the other, yet only when combined with it is a pointer to the whole which we are incapable of stating or grasping. Only by circling round, by looking and describing from different, apparently contrary angles can we succeed in alluding to the truth, which is never visible to us in its totality.

“The intellectual approach of modern physics may offer us more help here than the Aristotelian philosophy was able to give. Physicists know today that one can only talk about the structure of matter I approximations starting from various different angles. They know that the position of the beholder at any one time affects the result of his questioning of nature. Why should we not be able to understand afresh, on this basis, that in the question of God we must not look, in Aristotelian fashion, for an ultimate concept encompassing the whole, but must be prepared to find a multitude of aspects which depend on the position of the observer and which we can no longer survey as a whole but only accept alongside each other, without being able to make any statement about the ultimate truth? We meet here the hidden interplay of faith and modern thought. That present-day physicists are stepping outside the structure of Aristotelian logic and thinking in this way is surely an effect already of the new dimension which Christian theology has opened up, of its need to think in `complementarities.’
“In this connection I should like to mention briefly two other aids to thought provided by physics. E. Schrödinger has defined the structure of matter as `parcels of waves’ and thereby fallen upon the idea of a being that has no substance but is purely actual, whose apparent `substantiality’ really results only from the pattern of movement of superimposed waves.
[2] In the realm of matter such a suggestion may well be physically, and in any case philosophically, highly contestable. But it remains an exciting simile for the actualitas divine, for the absolute `being-act’ of God, and for the idea that the densest being – God- can subsist only in a multitude of relations, which are not substances by simply `waves,’ and therein form a perfect unity and also the fullness of being….

“But first let me mention the second aid to understanding provided by science. We know today that in a physical experiment the observer himself enters into the experiment and only by doing so can arrive at a physical experience. This means that there is no such thing as pure objectivity even in physics, that even here the result of the experiment, nature’s answer, depends on the question put to it. In the answer there is always a bit of the question and a bit of the questioner himself; it gives back something of man, of our individuality, a bit of the human subject.”

Let’s stop here for a moment. Let’s recall the initial insight of Josef Ratzinger in his thesis on St. Bonaventure that was criticized and partly rejected by Michael Schmaus. With regard to understanding of Christian faith, we find an almost exact parallel with what he is describing here in the new physics. To wit:

“I had ascertained that in Bonaventure (as well as in theologicans of the thirteenth century) there was nothing corresponding to our conception of `revelation,’ by which we are normally in the habit of referring to all the revealed contents of the faith: it has become a part of linguistic usage to refer to Sacred Scripture simply as `revelation.’ Such an identification would have been unthinkable in the language of the High Middle Ages. Here, `revelation’ is always a concept denoting an act. The word refers to the act in which God shows himself, not to the objectified result of this act. And because this is o, the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of `revelation.’ Where there is no one to perceive `revelation,’ no re-vel-ation has occurred, because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it. These insights, gained through my reading of Bonaventure, were later on very important for me at the time of the conciliar discussion on revelation, Scripture, and tradition. Because, if Bonaventure is right, then revelation precedes Scripture and becomes deposited in Scripture but is not simply identical with it. This in turn means that revelation is always something greater than what is merely written down. And this again means that there can be no such thing as sola scripture (`by Scripture alone’), because an essential element of Scripture is the Church as understanding subject, and with this the fundamental sense of tradition as already given.”[4]

Ratzinger goes on in “Introduction to Christianity:”

“There is not such thing as pure objectivity [emphasis mine].One can even say that the higher an object stands in human terms, the more it penetrates the centre of individuality, and the more it engages the beholder’s individuality, then the smaller the possibility of the mere distancing involved in pure objectivity. Thus, wherever an answer is presented as unemotionally objective, as a statement that finally goes beyond the prejudices of the pious and provides purely factual, scientific information, then it has to be said that the speaker has here fallen a victim to self-deception. This kind of objectivity is quite simply denied to man. He cannot ask and exists as a merge observer. He who tries to be a mere observer experiences nothing. Even the reality `God’ can only impinge on the vision of him who enters into the experiment with God – the experiment that we call faith. Only by entering does one experience; only by co-operating in the experiment does one ask at all, and only he who asks receives an answer.”[5]

To confirm this entrance of the “observer” or “believer” into the “experiment” to be known, consider the “theological epistemology”[6] presented in many previous blogs, including that of St. Gregory of Nyssa:

“I do not think these words mean that God will be seen face to face by the man who purifies the eye of his soul. Their sublime import is brought out more clearly perhaps in that other saying of the Lord’s: The kingdom of God is within you. This teaches us that the man who cleanses his heart of every created thing and every evil desire will see the image of the divine nature I the beauty of his own soul. I believe the lesson summed up by the Word in that short sentence was this: You men have within you a desire to behold the supreme Good. Now when you are told that he majesty of God is exalted above the heavens, that his glory is inexpressible, his beauty indescribable, and his nature transcendent, do not despair because you cannot behold the object of your desire. If by a diligent life of virtue you wash away the film of dirt that covers your heart, then the divine beauty will shine forth in you."[7]

Then, reconsider Ratzinger’s presentation of “theological epistemology.” That is, we can know the Person of the Logos, who is pure relation to the Father, only by becoming relational ourselves, and this because “like is known by like.” If the incarnation of the “Word” reveals that the Person of Christ is prayer, and that “we see who Jesus is if we see him at prayer,”[8] then “The Christian confession of faith (“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” [Mt. 16, 15]) comes from participating in the prayer of Jesus, from being drawn into his prayer and being privileged to behold it; it interprets the experience of Jesus’ prayer, and its interpretation of Jesus is correct because it springs from a sharing in what is most personal and intimate to him.”[9]

It must be kept in mind that God experientially transcends our facultative powers of knowing through sensation and reason. Hence, Nyssa, Bonaventure and Benedict are at pains to insist that knowledge of God must come from the experience of self-transcendence as God is Self-transcendence. One must become Christ in order to know Christ, and one must know Christ in order to know the Father. And “to know” means Intellegere = ab intus legere (to read from within oneself).

This resonates with remarks of Heisenberg and Bohr on the new physics. Heisenberg remarked: “We know from the stability of matter that Newtonian physics does not apply to the interior of the atom; at best it can occasionally offer us a guideline. It follows that there can be no descriptive account of the structure of the atom; all such accounts must necessarily be based on classical concepts which, as we saw, no longer apply. You see that anyone trying to develop such a theory is really trying the impossible. For we intend to say something about the structure of the atom but lack a language in which we can make ourselves understood.”[10] Heisenberg continued: “Bohr’s remark reminded me… that atoms were not things. For although Bohr believed that he knew a great many details about the inner structure of atoms, he did not look upon the electrons in the atomic shell as 'things,’ in any case not as things in the sense of classical physics, which worked with such concepts as position, velocity, energy and extension. I therefore asked him: `If the inner structure of the atom is as closed to descriptive accounts as you say, if we really lack a language for dealing with it, how can we ever hope to understand atoms?’
“Bohr hesitated for a moment, and then said: `I think we may yet be able to do so. But in the process we may have to learn what the word `understanding’ really means’”[11] (bold mine).

This applies to what Cardinal Ratzinger remarked in New York in 1988 with regard to the "scientific" interpretation of Sacred Scripture:

“At the heart of the historico-critical method lies the effort to establish in the field of history a level of methodological precision which would yield conclusions of the same certainty as in the field of the natural sciences. But what one exegete takes as definite can only be called in question by other exegetes. This is a practical rule which is presupposed as plainly and self-evidently valid. Now, if the natural science model is to be followed without hesitation, then the importance of the Heisenburg principle should be applied to the historical-critical method as well. Heisenburg has shown that the outcome of a given experiment is heavily influenced by the point of view of the observer. So much is this the case that both the observer’s questions and observations continue to change themselves in the natural course of events. When applied to the witness of history, this means that interpretation can never be just a simple reproduction of history’s being, `as it was.’ The word inter-pretation gives us a clue to the question itself: Every exegesis requires an `inter,’ an entering in and a being `inter’ or between things; this is the involvement of the interpreter himself. Pure objectivity is an absurd abstraction. It is not the uninvolved who comes to knowledge; rather, interest itself is a requirement for the possibility of coming to know.

“Here, then, is the question: How does one come to be interested, not so that the self drowns out the voice of the other, but in such a way that one develops a kind of inner understanding for things of the past, and ears to listen to the word they speak to us today?

“This principle which Heisenburg enunciated for experiments in the natural sciences has a very important application to the subject-object relationship. The subject is not to be neatly isolated n a world of its own apart from any interaction.”

Overarching Preface to the above: Vatican II

The Crisis of the Age: The Absence of God. Since God is existing Subject, and we have abstracted out the subject as unreal consciousness in the cartesian "cogito," and all the rest of which we call "reality" to be object and material, then God becomes methodologically unreal.

God is “absent” because He cannot be sensed exteriorly, and we are permitted to accept as real only what can be sensed. Hence, we are caught in a dualism of measured sensation where “knowledge” only admits of probabilities of fact, and abstract consciousness that is untethered to reality and hence relativist. The total picture is called “subjectivism.” There are no absolutes and “knowledge” is about probabilities of fact and opinion. Cardinal Ratzinger called this “the dictatorship of relativism.” On the one hand, there are data bases of fact; on the other, there is the subject as consciousness. This subjectivism leads to nihilism with regard to God, the absoluteness of the human person, and values. Freedom in such a society, national or global, has no ordering truth, and can be ultimately contained only by an extrinsic, totalitarian force.

Causes of Subjectivism: The progressive loss of the experience of the self in the act of self-transcendence that is living faith. When we lose the experience of the anthropology of self-mastery that is the preliminary operation to self-possession and therefore to self-gift, the self becomes imprisoned in a static and languid self-complacency that was called acedia. It is basically the loss of the experience and therefore consciousness of the self, and, since the self is the image and likeness of God Who is ever in act as Self-gift, there is the loss of the consciousness of God. This is the basic reason why to know self truly is to know God, and vice versa. Hence, in this languid state of non-giftedness that is the result ultimately of disobedience, the self has ensconced itself as “god” in a kind of practical atheism. The self is then “beyond good and evil” being the whimsical arbiter of value insofar as it “pleases” self.
This is the basic reason why the loss of experience of radical self-gift in the laity has left the Church without the consciousness of sanctity for them, and thus the absence of the conceptual theology and legal canonical structures prior to the Second Vatican Council. Hence, St. Josemaria Escriva remarked: “For those who knew how to read the Gospel, how clear was that general call to holiness in ordinary life, in one’s profession, without leaving one’s own environment! But for many centuries most Christians did not understand this: there was no evidence of the ascetical phenomenon of many people seeking sanctity in this way, staying where they were, sanctifying their work and sanctifying themselves in their work. And soon, by dint of not practicing it, the doctrine was forgotten.”[13]
This lack of experience of self-mastery, self-possession, self-gift has left (at least) the West in a state of abstraction where consciousness, and not Being, has enveloped the meaning of the self. Not only is the self exercising itself by activities that are only accidental performances, and not self-gifts (there is a huge difference in the relation of persons), but the relatively easy success in the mastery of matter by science and technology - where knowing has been reduced to abstract conceptualization - has directed our attention and hope exclusively to the experience of the external senses, leaving the self as totally identical with a vapid consciousness and unencumbered by any “truth” beyond itself.

Karol Wojtyla on Cartesian Subjectivism:
The human person is "disguised" as consciousness. Wojtyla's thrust: See through it, consider the inner consciousness of freedom, responsibility, peace, guilt, anxiety, etc., describe these inner experiences realizing that we are dealing with an acting, and therefore existing person, and become aware that we are in direct and unmediated contact with the self as Being and the meaning of all meanings. Wojtyla remarked:

“A hallmark of Descartes’[14] view in his splitting of the human being into an extended substance (the body) and a thinking substance (the soul), which are related to one another in a parallel way do not form an undivided whole, one substantial compositum humanum. We can observe in philosophy a gradual process of a kind of hypostatization of consciousness: consciousness becomes an independent subject of activity, and indirectly of existence, occurring somehow alongside the body, which is a material structure subject to the laws of nature, to natural determinism. Against the background of such parallelism, combined with a simultaneous hypostatization of consciousness, the tendency arises to identify the person with consciousness. The person is primarily – if not exclusively – consciousness, a consciousness that is in some way subsistent, existing against the background of the organism, which Descartes regarded as a special kind of mechanism. Consciousness is an object of inner experience, of introspection, whereas the body, like all other bodies in the natural world, is accessible to observation and external experience. This view lacks a sufficient basis for including the body, the organism, within the structural whole of the person’s life and activity; it lacks the notion of a spiritual soul as the substantial form of that body and as the principle of the whole life and activity of the human being.

“The modern view of the person proceeds by way of an analysis of the consciousness, and particularly the self-consciousness, that belongs to the human being. Along with consciousness, freedom is also emphasized, but this freedom, which is conceived in an indeterministic way as total independence, is more of a postulate than a property. Freedom as a property of the person, freedom as an attribute of the will, disappears completely from the subjectivistic view of the person that, in various forms, we encounter in modern philosophy. And this is perhaps the most characteristic feature of such philosophy: its subjectivism, its absolutizing of the subjective element, namely, lived experience, together with consciousness as a permanent component of such experience. The person is not a substance, an objective being with its own proper subsistence – subsistence in a rational nature. The person is merely a certain property of lived experiences and can be distinguished by means of those experiences, for they are conscious and self-conscious experiences; hence, consciousness and self-consciousness constitute the essence of the person.”

The Achievement of Wojtyla:
He perceives the human person through the “disguise” and “camouflage” of consciousness as Being by considering the person not from the perspective of thought, but from the experience of the moral act. He discovers the person to be subject and being by means of the consciousness[16] of the experience of self-determination.[17] This is Wojtyla’s supreme contribution to philosophy. It makes possible the recovery of the person-subject, now not as consciousness, but as Being, in fact, the “privileged locus for the encounter with actu essendi.”[18] This is the absolute core of the contribution of reason to the development of doctrine that took place in the Second Vatican Council. The meaning of person as subject and being is faith seeking understanding. The meaning of person as relation – self-gift – is understanding seeking faith (as revelation). Wojtyla had declared that the supreme focus of the Father of Vatican II was the following: “If we study the Conciliar magisterium as a whole, we find that the Pastors of the Church were not so much concerned to answer questions like `What should men believe?’ `What is the real meaning of this or that truth of faith?’ and so on, but rather to answer the more complex question: What does it mean to be a believer, a Catholic and member of the Church?”[19]
This means that the question was not discover objective truth as concept, but to discover the truth of the subject as acting person. The former is intellectual, abstract and objectified. The latter is existential, concrete as subject: “I” making the gift of myself as faith.
This philosophic achievement is a critical part of what Benedict XVI has outlined as the task of Vatican II which has not been understood nor assimilated. I repeat the challenge of Benedict from a previous blog concerning the recovery of the subject from the entire Enlightenment period, but, purifying it = ontologizing it by discovering the experience of the "I" as acting (relational) person. He is speaking here particularly about the Enlightenment’s turn to the subject:

“Here is the problem: Ought we to accept modernity in full, or in part? Is there a real contribution? Can this modern way of thinking be a contribution, or offer a contribution, or not? And if there is a contribution from the modern, critical way of thinking, in line with the Enlightenment, how can it be reconciled with the great intuitions and the great gifts of the faith?
“Or ought we, in the name of the faith, to reject modernity? You see? There always seems to be this dilemma: either we must reject the whole of the tradition, all the exegesis of the Fathers, relegate it to the library as historically unsustainable, or we must reject modernity.
“And I think that the gift, the light of the faith, must e dominant, but the light of the faith has also the capacity to take up into itself the true human lights, and for this reason the struggles over exegesis and the liturgy for me must be inserted into this great, let us call it epochal, struggle over how Christianity, over how the Christian responds to modernity, to the challenge of modernity”…
“And it seems to me… that his was the true intention of the Second Vatican Council, to g beyond an unfruitful and overly narrow apologetic to a true synthesis with the positive elements of modernity, but at the same time, let us say, to transform modernity, to heal it of its illnesses, by means of the light and strength of the faith.
“Because it was the Council Fathers’ intention to heal and transform modernity, and not simply to succumb to it or merge with it, the interpretations which interpret the Second Vatican Council in the sense of de-sacralization or profanation are erroneous.”[20]

Cardinal Ratzinger then gave a most apposite example in Augustine’s relation to Plato and Virgil as to what we have to do with regard to the Enlightenment:

“Augustine, as you know, was a man who, on the one hand, had studied in great depth the great philosophies, the profane literature of the ancient world.
“On the other hand, he was also very critical of the pagan authors, even with regard to Plato, to Virgil, those great authors whom he loved so much.
“He criticized them, and with a penetrating sense, purified them.
“This was his way of using the great pre-Christian culture: purify it, heal it, and in this way, also, healing it, he gave true greatness to this culture. Because in this way, it entered into the fact of the incarnation, no? And became part of the Word’s incarnation.
“But only by means of the difficult process of purification, of transformation, of conversion.
“I would say the word `conversion’ is the key word, one of the key words, of St. Augustine, and our culture also has a need for conversion. Without conversion one does not arrive at the Lord. This is true of the individual, and this is true of the culture as well…”

The Cause of the Absence of God: The Abstractive Epistemology of the Enlightenment

The great discovery of the Enlightenment was subjectivity. Its great misfortune was to miss the experience of subjectivity as real moral being and get lost in the consciousness that makes the experience possible, but disguises it if one is not perceptive. Once lost, the subject is identified and confused with consciousness, with no other north than itself. This results in that the only objective reality the self can know is the empiricism of the external senses. The philosophic positivism of the scientific method becomes supreme and the irresolvable dualism – the San Andreas fault line of Walker Percy – is established between abstract thought, that is intrinsically relativistic because subjectivistic, and the hard data of the sensible, and therefore, measurable, real.

[1] Benedict XVI, “Interpreting Vatican II,” Origins January 26, 2006 Vol. 35, No. 32, 537.
[2] “An idea that appeared again in our century in modern physics is here anticipated: that there is pure act-being. We know that in our century the attempt has been made to reduce matter to a wave, to a pure act of streaming. What may be a questionable idea in the context f physics was asserted by theology in the fourth and fifth century about the person in God, namely that they are noting but the act of relativity toward each other. In God, person is the pure relativity of being turned toward the other; it does not lie on the level of substance – the substance is one – but on the level of dialogical reality, of relativity toward the other…. Relation is here recognized as third specific fundamental category between substance and accident, the two great categorical form of thought in Antiquity. Again we encounter the Christian newness of the personalistic idea in all its sharpness and clarity. The contribution offered by faith to human thought becomes especially clear and palpable here. It was faith that gave birth to this idea of pure act, of pure relativity, which does not lie on the level of substance and does not touch or divide substance; and it was faith that thereby brought the personal phenomenon into view;” J. Ratzinger, “Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology,” Communio 17 (Fall, 1990) 444-445.
[3] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius, (1990) 122-125.
[4] J. Ratzinger, “Milestones,” Ignatius (1997) 108-109.
[5] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction…” op. cit. 125.
[6] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One:” Thesis 3: Ignatius (1986) 25-27.
[7] St. Gregory of Nyssa, Homily, Orat. 6 De Beatitudinibus: PG 44, 1270-1271.
[8] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 19.
[9] Ibid. 19.
[10] W. Heisenberg, “`Understanding’ in Modern Physics,” Physics and Beyond, 40-41.
[11] Ibid. 41
[12] J. Ratzinger, “Foundations and Approaches of Biblical Exegesis,” Origins February 11, 1988, vol. 17: No. 35. 596.
[13] Fernando Ocariz, “Vocation to Opus Dei as a Vocation in the Church,” Opus Dei in the Church, Scepter (1994) 91.
[14] Recall Karl Stern’s observation that Descartes, in effect, had no mother (she having died when he was one), and therefore, no loving affirmation as a child and adolescent: “Our search leads us still further into the past. And there we find that Descartes lost his mother when he was little more than a year old. She died in childbirth, and her newborn baby died with her. We can visualize the sickly schoolboy, with his chronic chest ailments, his need for prolonged sleep… and his general melancholia, which he later claimed to have overcome by an optimistic philosophy. The bereavement and grief of infancy impregnated his life with the permanence of a scent.” As a result, “Descartes’ celebrated friendships with women were lofty, intellectual and platonic. But he kept a life-long affection, an attachment of the heart, for his wet-nurse, to whom he paid a yearly allowance and for whom he secured in his will continued support after his death. And the only woman with whom we know he had an affair, Helena Jans, seems to have been a domestic servant. From her he had a daughter, Francine, who died at the age of five. Thus we see in his life something which we shall encounter again in Goethe… something not infrequent in the lives of great men – the apparently total cleavage between the carnal and the spiritual in the image of woman…. The certainty of the flesh which is the foundation of all certainty had to be conjured away – because it was here where the terror and pain of abandonment lurked. To the man who was to make an act of doubt the basis of all inquiry, doubt had supplanted trust a long time before conceptual thinking…. Reality, perceived primarily through the flesh, meant dread, and therefore ratiocination, the pure cogito, became an impenetrable armor… `As we have once upon a time been children and have judged the things presented ot our senses in various ways, while we had not the entire use of our reason, many judgements thus precipitately formed prevent us from arriving at the knowledge of the truth, and apparently there seems to be no way in which we can deliver ourselves from these, unless we undertake once in our lives to doubt all things in which the slightest trace of uncertitude can be found’” (bold mine); Karl Stern, “Flight From Woman,” Paragon House (1985) 91-101.
[15] Karol Wojtyla, “Thomistic Personalism,” Person and Community (1993) 169-170.
[16] Consciousness for Wojtyla is not “concept” as intentional knowing since the former grasps the experience of the “I” as “I” while the latter objectifies the “I” as object. See “The Acting Person” pp. 41-50: “In fact, the essential function of consciousness is to form man’s experience and thus to allow him to experience in a special way his own subjectiveness… Consciousness allows us not only to have an inner view of our actions (immanent perception) and of their dynamic dependence on the ego, but also to experience these actions as actions and as our own.
“It is in this sense that we say man owes to consciousness the subjectivation of the objective. Subjectivation is to some extent identifiable with experiencing; at least it is in experience that we become aware of it… (T)he acting person, owing to his consciousness, also becomes `subjectified’ to the extent to which consciousness conditions his experience of the action being performed by him as the person, and thereby secures the experience had of the person in its dynamically efficacious relation to action” (43).
[17] It is Seifert, in reviewing The Acting Person, who extols the originality of the non-reductive character of the book and the entire intellectual achievement of John Paul. He remarked, “The philosophical originality of the work manifests itself especially in the deliberate attempt to overcome a one-sidedness in the philosophical approach to the person which has dominated philosophy since Descartes, but which actually goes back to Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. The one-sidedness in question lies in approaching the person primarily through knowledge and cognition. The book `The Acting Person’ tries to correct this one-sidedness by viewing the person primarily as he manifests himself in action, and action as it reveals the person. This approach itself is highly original; so are those philosophical investigations in the book which elucidate the essence of freedom and of `man-acts;’” (Josef Seifert, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla [Pope John Paul II] As Philosopher And The Cracow/Lublin School Of Philosophy, Aletheia Vol. II [1981] 134).
[18] John Paul II, “Fides et Ratio,” #83.
[19] Karol Wojtyla, “Sources of Renewal,” Harper and Row (1981) 17.
[20] “The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI `Let God’s Light Shine Forth,’” ed. Robert Moynihan, Doubleday (2005) 34-35.
[21] Ibid. 35-36.

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