Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Broaden Reason

Ongoing Challenge of Benedict[1]

“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.”

His Solution
: “And I think that the gift, the light of the faith, must be dominant, but the light of the faith has also the capacity to take into itself the true human limits, 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 this was the true intention of the Second Vatican Council, to go 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 Father’s 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.

“That is, Vatican II must not be interpreted as desiring a rejection of the tradition and an adapting of the Church to modernity and so causing the Church to become empty because it loses the word of faith.

“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 conversions. 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 Proposal

To take the positive contributions of modern thought and purify them with Christian Faith.

The Act of Faith is the Act of Being: Self Gift
Faith as Anthropological Act

Christian Faith: The Experience of Acting Humanly in One’s Whole Self.
This is the center-piece of the entire study: Faith as ontological-anthropological act.
Vatican II: Dei Verbum:

· “Thus, as the centuries go by, the Church is always advancing towards the plenitude of divine truth, until eventually the words of God are fulfilled in her” (Dei Verbum 8). There is, therefore, a development of experience and consciousness in the assimilation of Revelation. Hence, the faith is not reducible to a series of concepts as intellectual snapshots that can be placed in a book. “Faith is a lived knowledge of Christ, a living remembrance of his commandments, and a truth to be lived out. A word, in any event, is not truly received until it passes into action, until it is pout into practice. Faith is a decision involving one’s whole existence. It is an encounter, a dialogue, a communion of love and of life between the believer and Jesus Christ, the Way, and the Truth, and the Life (cf. Jn. 14, 6). It entails an act of trusting abandonment to Christ, which enables us to live as he lived (cf. Gal. 2, 20)…”[3]

· Faith is act of the whole person: “The obedience of faith (Rom. 16, 26; cf. Rom. 1, 5; 2 Cor. 10, 5-6) must be given to God as he reveals himself. By faith man freely commits his entire self to God, making ‘the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals’” (Dei Verbum 5).[4]
John Paul II Comments: “Faith, as these words show, is not merely the response of the mind to an abstract truth. Even the statement, true though it is, that this response is dependent on the will does not tell us everything about the nature of faith. ‘The obedience of faith’ is not bound to any particular human faculty but relates to man’s whole `personal structure and spiritual dynamism
“Man’s proper response to God’s revel-revelation consists in self-abandonment to God. This is the true dimension of faith, in which man does not simplyt accept a particular set of propositions, but accepts his own vocation and the sense of his existence. This implies, at least in principle and as an existential premises, that man has the free disposal of himself, since by means of faith he ‘abandons himself wholly to God.’ This dimension of faith is supernatural in the strict sense of the word.”[5]

To complete the above anthropological notion of faith with the Christological notion of “revelation” as developed by Benedict XVI in his habilitation thesis:
Ratzinger’s Retrieval of the Pristine Meaning of Revelation and Faith:
Benedict understands revelation to the very Person of Christ Himself. Therefore, to “understand” Scripture one must “know” the Person of Christ. And one can “know” the Person of Christ only by experiencing Him in the ontological subjectivity of the self. This is achieved by faith as self-gift.

Josef Ratzinger said: “I had ascertained that in Bonaventure… 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: … 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 so, 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 thorough my reading of Bonaventure, were later on very important fort 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 is 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 pure sola scriptura…, because an essential element of Scripture is the Church as understanding subject, and with this the fundamental sense of tradition is already given.”[6]

The “Being” of the Self is Recovered in the Act of Faith

Let us pay attention to another level of experience.
1) John Paul II’s announcement of two levels of experience:

“The fact that human knowledge is primarily a sensory knowledge surprises no one. Neither Plato nor Aristotle nor any of the classical philosophers question this. Cognitive realism, both so-called naïve realism and critical realism, agrees that ‘nihil est in intellectu, quod prius non fuerit in sensu’ (‘nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses’). Nevertheless, the limits of these ‘senses’ are not exclusively sensory. We know, in fact, that man not only knows colors, tones, and forms; he also knows objects globally – for example, not only all the parts that comprise the object ‘man’ but also man in himself (yes, man as a person). He knows, therefore, extrasensory truths or, in other words, the transempirical. In addition, it is not possible to affirm that when something is transempirical it ceases to be empirical.

“It is therefore possible to speak from a solid foundation about human experience, moral experience, or religious experience. And if it is possible to speak of such experiences, it is difficult to deny that, in the realm of human experience, one also finds good and evil, truth and beauty, and God. God Himself certainly is not an object of human empiricism; the Sacred Scripture, in its own way, emphasizes this: "No one has ever seen God" (cf. Jn 1:18). If God is a knowable object--as both the Book of Wisdom and the Letter to the Romans teach -- He is such on the basis of man's experience both of the visible world and of his interior world. This is the point of departure for Immanuel Kant's study of ethical experience in which he abandons the old approach found in the writings of the Bible and of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Man recognizes himself as an ethical being, capable of acting according to criteria of good and evil, and not only those of profit and pleasure. He also recognizes himself as a religious being, capable of putting himself in contact with God. Prayer--of which we talked earlier--is in a certain sense the first verification of such a reality…[7]
“And we find ourselves by now very close to Saint Thomas, but the path passes not so much through being and existence as through people and their meeting each other, through the "I" and the "Thou." This is a fundamental dimension of man's existence, which is always a co-existence…[8] Such co-existence is essential to our Judeo-Christian tradition and comes from God’s initiative. This initiative is connected with and leads to creation, and is at the same time – Saint Paul teaches - `the eternal election of man in the Word who is the Son (cf. Eph. 1, 4).”[9]
2) Benedict XVI: a) On the two levels: a) the meeting of Christ and Nathanael: words alone do not suffice to know Jesus as the Christ; one must “come and see.”[10]
b) Theological epistemology: The two major theses concerning accessing the “I” of Jesus Christ beyond the sensible phenomenon of Jesus of Nazareth:

The Supreme Act of Faith
: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16, 16).

How to know the Person of Jesus Christ? (when Mt. 11, 27 says that only the Father knows the Son, and only the Son knows the Father): Become “another Christ.”
“According to the testimony of Holy Scripture, the center of the life and person of Jesus is his constant communication with the Father:” “We see who Jesus is if we see him at prayer. The Christian confession of faith 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 whets is most personal and intimate to him.”[11]
“Since the center of the person of Jesus is prayer, it is essential to participate in his prayer if we are to know and understand him.”
- Like is known by like.
- Since Christ is prayer, one must pray and approach the habitus of prayer in order to be “like” Him (become one being with Him).
- Since we are ontologically made in the image of God, and Jesus is the perfect image of the Father (Col. 1, 15), if we experience ourselves to be “like” Him, we “know” (intellegere: to read from within) Him.
c) Samaritan Woman: The following reveals the mind of Benedict XVI concerning the supreme crisis of the present day, the absence of God; and b) it is vintage Ratzinger in its depth, clarity and simplicity as portrayal of the transition from the objectified “horizon” of “thing” (water) to the “horizon” of “I” as disclosed by the act of sincerity (self-gift). This revealing of God’s presence among us, “I who speak with thee am he,” is compelling. Of incalculable importance is Benedict’s assertion below: “In general, we can reduce what is happening to the formula: one must know oneself as one really is if one is to know God. The real medium, the primordial experience of all experiences, is that man himself is the place in which and through which he experiences God.”
“It [John 4] opens with the meeting of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in the context of a normal, human, everyday experience – the experience of thirst, which is surely one of man’s most primordial experiences. In the course of the conversation, the subject shifts to that thirst that is a thirst for life, and the point is made that one must drink again and again, must come again and again to the source. In this way, the woman is made aware of what in actuality she, like every human being, has always known but to which she has not always adverted: that she thirsts for life itself and that all the assuaging that she seeks and finds cannot slake this living, elemental thirst. The superficial `empirical’ experience has been transcended.
“But what has been revealed is still of this world. It is succeeded, therefore, by one of those conversations on two levels that are so characteristic of John’s technique of recording dialogue, the Johannine `misunderstanding,’ as it is called by the exegetes. From the fact that Jesus and the Samaritan woman, though they use the same words, have in mind two very different levels of meaning and, separated thus by the ambiguity of human speech, are speaking at cross-purposes, there is manifested the lasting incommensurability of faith and human experience however extensive that experience may be. For the woman understands by `water’ that of which the fairy tales speak: the elixir of life by virtue of which man will not die and his thirst for life will be entirely satisfied. She remains in the sphere of bios
[7], of the empirical life that is familiar to her, whereas Jesus wants to reveal to her the true life, the Zoë.
“In the next stage, the woman’s full attention has been attracted to the subject of a thirst for life. She no longer asks for something, for water or for any other single thing, but for life, for herself. This explains the apparently totally unmotivated interpolation by Jesus: `Go and call your husband!’ (Jn. 4, 16). It is both intentional and necessary, for her life as a whole, with all its thirst, is the true subject here. As a result, there comes to light the real dilemma, the deep-seated waywardness, of her existence: she is brought face to face with herself. In general, we can reduce what is happening to the formula: one must know oneself as one really is if one is to know God. The real medium, the primordial experience of all experiences, is that man himself is the place in which and through which he experiences God. Admittedly, the circle could also be closed in the opposite direction: it could be said that it is only by first knowing God that one can properly know oneself.
"But we anticipate. As we have said, the woman must come first to the knowledge of herself, to the acknowledgement of herself. For what she makes now is a kind of confession: a confession in which, at last, she reveals herself unsparingly [emphasis mine]. Thus a new transition has occurred – to preserve our earlier terminology, a transition from empirical and experimental to `experiential’ experience, to `existential experience.’ The woman stands face to face with herself. It is not longer a question now of something but of the depths of the I itself and, consequently, of the radical poverty that is man’s I-myself, the place where this I is ultimately revealed behind the superficiality of the something. From this perspective, we might regard the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman as the prototype of catechesis (underline mine) It must lead from the something to the I. Beyond every something it must ensure the involvement of man himself, of this particular man. It must produce self-knowledge, and self-acknowledgment so that the indigence and need of man’s being will be evident.“But let us return to the biblical text! The Samaritan woman has achieved this radical confrontation with her own self. In the moment in which this occurs, the question of all questions arises always and of necessity; the question about oneself becomes a question about God. It is only apparently without motivation but in reality inevitable that the woman should ask now: How do things stand with regard to adoration, that is, with regard to God and my relationship to him? (cf. Jn. 4, 20). The question about foundation and goal makes itself heard. Only at this point does the offering of Jesus’ true gift become possible. (underline mine). For the `gift of God’ is God himself, God precisely as gift – that is, the Holy Spirit (cf. verses 10 and 24). At the beginning of the conversation, there seemed no likelihood that this woman, with her obviously superficial way of life, would have any interest in the Holy Spirit. But once she was led to the depths of her own being [underline mine], the question arose that must always arise if one is to ask the question that barns in one’s soul. Now the woman is aware of the real thirst by which she is driven. Hence she can at last learn what it is for which this thirst thirsts.

“It is the purpose and meaning of all catechesis to lead to this thirst. For one who knows neither that there is a Holy Spirit nor that one can thirst for him, it cannot begin otherwise than with sensory perception. Catechesis must lead to self-knowledge, to the exposing of the I, so that it lets the masks fall and moves out of the realm of something into that of being. Its goal is conversio, that conversion of man that results in his standing face to face with himself. Conversio (`conversion,’ metanoia) is identical with self-knowledge, and self-knowledge is the nucleus of all knowledge. Conversio is the way in which man finds himself and thus knows the question of all questions: How can I worship God? It is the question that means his salvation; it is the raison d’etre of catechesis.”[12]

Enter Wojtyla’s Phenomenological Metaphysics:
The Phenomenology of the Act of Faith Yields “I” as Being
Since faith is an act of metaphysical anthropology, it musts be able to be examined phenomenologically as a real action, concretely, the gift of oneself: the spousal act. As such, if we could describe the internal “experiences” of potency and act, we would be able to reach the “I” as Being since consciousness is not susceptible of yielding such an experience. This is the achievement of the metaphysical phenomenology of Karol Wojtyla.

Wojtyla’s phenomenology of the experience of self-determination:

“The basis for understanding the human being must be sought in experience – in experience that is complete and comprehensive and free of all systematic a priori’s. The point of departure for an analysis of the personal structure of self-determination is the kind of experience of human action that includes the lived experience of moral good and evil as an essential and especially important element; this experience can be separately defined as the experience of morality. These two experiences – the experience of the human being and the experience of morality – can really never be completely separated
[13], although we can, in the context of the overall process of reflection, focus more on one or the other. In the case of the former, philosophical reflection will lead us in the direction of anthropology; in the case of the latter, in the direction of ethics.

“The experience of human action refers to the lived experience of the fact `I act.’ This fact is in each instance completely original, unique, and unrepeatable… The lived experience of the fact `I act’ differs from all facts that merely `happen’ in a personal subject. This clear difference between something that `happens’ in the subject and `activity’ or action of the subject allows us, in turn, to identify an element in the comprehensive experience of the human being that decisively distinguishes the activity or action of a person from all that merely happens in the person. I define this element as self-determination.

(…) “`I act’ means `I am the efficient cause’ of my action and of my self-actualization as a subject, which is not the case when something merely `happens’ in me, for then I do not experience the efficacy of my personal self. My sense of efficacy as an acting subject in relation to my activity is intimately connected with a sense of responsibility for that activity…”

“Self determination as a property of human action that comes to light in experience directs the attention of one who analyzes such action to the will. The will is the person’s power of the self-determination….

“When I say that the will is the power of self-determination, I do not have in mind the will all alone, in some sort of methodical isolation intended to disclose the will’s own dynamism. Rather, I necessarily have in mind here the whole person. Self-determination takes place through acts of will, through this central power of the human soul. And yet self-determination is not identical with these acts in any of their forms, since it is a property of the person as such… My analysis, however brief, shows that self-determination is a property of the person, who, as the familiar definition says, is a naturae rationalis individual substantia. This property is realized through the will, which is an accident. Self-determination – or, in other words, freedom – is not limited to the accidental dimension, but belongs to the substantial dimension of the person: it is the person’s freedom, and not just the will’s freedom…”

“I” as Potency and Act: Cause of Action

Since things happen to man, and that he also is the cause of his own action, there is a different dynamic at work. In the one case, he is in potency to be acted on; in the other he is the cause and agent. “Potency… may be define\d as something that is in preparation , is available, and even ready at hand but is not actually fulfilled. The act… is the actualization of potentiality, its fulfillment.

“As is to be seen, the meanings of both concepts are strictly correlated and inhere in the conjugate they form rather than in each of them separately. Their conjugation reveals not only the differentiated, though mutually coincident states of existence, but also the transitions from one to the other. It is these transitions that objectivize the structure of all dynamism inherent in being, in being as such, which constitutes the proper subject of metaphysics, and at the same time in every and any being… We may with justice say that at this point metaphysics appears as the intellectual soil wherein all the domain of knowledge have their roots. Indeed, we do not seem to have as yet any other conceptions and any other language which would adequately render the dynamic essence of change – of all change whatever occurring in any being – apart from those that we have been endowed with by the philosophy of potency and act. By means of this conception we can grasp and describe precisely any dynamism that occurs in any being. It is to them we also have to revert when discussing the dynamism proper to man.”[15]

“Man is thus in a wholly experiential way the cause of his acting. There is between person and action a sensibly experiential, causal relation, which brings the person, that is to say, every concrete human ego, to recognize his action to be the result of his efficacy; in this sense he must accept his actions as his own property and also, primarily because of their moral nature, as the domain of his responsibility. Both the responsibility and the sense of property invest with a special quality the causation itself and the efficacy itself of the acting person.”

We should not here that Newman makes the same affirmation: “The assent which we give to the proposition, as a first principle, that nothing happens without a cause, is derived, in the first instance, from what we know of ourselves; and we argue analogically from what is within us to what is external to us. One of the first experiences of an infant is that of his willing and doing; and as time goes on, one of the first temptations of the boy is to bring home to himself the fact of his sovereign arbitrary power, though it be at the price of waywardness, mischievousness, and disobedience. And when he parents, as antagonists of this willfulness, begin to restrain him, and to bring his mind and conduct into shape, then he has a second series of experiences of cause and effect, and that upon a principle or rule. Thus the notion of causation is one of the first lessons which he learns from experience that experience limiting it to agents possessed of intelligence and will. It is the notion of power combined with a purpose and an end. Physical phenomena, as such, are without sense; and experience teaches us nothing about physical phenomenal as causes.”

In a word, causality as an experience does not come to us through the senses, but in the experience of ourselves as agents of our own free actions. The consciousness of that experience is then extrapolated to the phenomena which we take in through the external senses. David Hume was correct in stating that causality is not senses but experienced in self and then extended outside. In agreement with this, Wojtyla writes: “The students of the problems of causality, on the one hand, and psychologists, on the other, often note that human acting is in fact the only complete experience of what has been called by Aristotle ‘efficient causation.’… Efficacy itself as the relation of cause and effect leads us to the objective order of being and existence and is thus of an existential nature. In this case efficacy is simultaneously an experience. There lies the source of the specific empirical significance of human efficacy related with acting.”[18]

The Absolute

After discovering that the “I” is Being, it is critical to understand that it is the unmediated access to reality as absolute. It is here that we access conscience.
Consider what Benedict said in Brazil in 2007:

“What is real? Are only material goods, social, economic and political problems "reality"? “This was precisely the great error of the dominant tendencies of the last century, a most destructive error, as we can see from the results of both Marxist and capitalist systems. They falsify the notion of reality by detaching it from the foundational and decisive reality which is God. Anyone who excludes God from his horizons falsifies the notion of "reality" and, in consequence, can only end up in blind alleys or with recipes for destruction….
“(W)ho knows God? How can we know him? (…) For a Christian, the nucleus of the reply is simple: only God knows God, only his Son who is God from God, true God, knows him. And he "who is nearest to the Father’s heart has made him known" (John 1:18). Hence the unique and irreplaceable importance of Christ for us, for humanity. If we do not know God in and with Christ, all of reality is transformed into an indecipherable enigma; there is no way, and without a way, there is neither life nor truth.
To see in terms of the absolute, restores meaning to factual and contingent knowing. Consider the enlightenment of Helen Keller as presented and commented on by Walker Percy. She experienced herself as “I” in the act of naming the water (similar to the exegesis of Adam naming the animals done by John Paul II in TOB):

“We walked down the path to the well-house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered. Someone was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand, she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motion of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten – a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that `w-a-t-e-r’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away.

I left the well-house eager to learn. Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. As we returned to the house every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life. That was because I saw everything with the strange, new sight that had come to me. On entering the door I remembered the doll I had broken. [She had earlier destroyed the doll in a fit of temper.] I felt my way to the dearth and picked up the pieces. I tried vainly to put them together. Then my eyes filled with tears; for I realized what I had done, and for the first time I felt repentance and sorrow.”[19]

Walker Percy comments: “What had happened? Helen had exercised her subjectivity as cause by “throwing” (βαλέιν) the “likeness” (sym): w-a-t-e-r at the wet flowing object. She had experienced herself as cause, and therefore came to a consciousness of herself as “self.” Percy comments: “before, Helen had behaved like a good responding organism. Afterward, she acted like a rejoicing symbol-mongering human. Before, she was little more than an animal. Afterward, she became wholly human. Within the few minutes of the breakthrough and the several hours of exploiting it Helen had concentrated the months of the naming phase that most children go through somewhere around their second birthday.”[20]

Ratzinger on Conscience:

Conscience: the Experience of Being Human as Image of God:

In Texas in 1988 Ratzinger said: “The first so-called ontological level of the phenomenon conscience consists in the fact that something like an original memory of the good and true (both are identical) has been implanted in us, that there is an inner ontological tendency within man, who is created in the likeness of God, toward the divine. From its origin, man’s being resonates with some things and clashes with others. This anamnesis of the origin, which results from the godlike constitution of our being is not a conceptually articulated knowing, a store of retrievable contents. It is so to speak an inner sense, a capacity to recall, so that the one whom it addresses, if he is not turned in on himself, hears an echo from within. He sees: That‘s it! That is what my nature points to and seeks.
“This anamnesis of the Creator, which is identical with the ground of our existence, is the reason that mission is both possible and justified. The Gospel may and indeed must be proclaimed to the pagans, because this is what they are waiting for, even if they do not know this themselves (see Isa. 42, 4).”

Conclusion: the ultimate ground of all moral action is not “nature” as the result of the epistemology of sensible perception and intellectual abstraction. “Natural Law” is not the law of nature. Natural Law, as understood in the development that has taken place in Vatican II is the “Law of the Person:” “At this point the true meaning of the natural law can be understood: it refers to man’s proper and primordial nature, the ‘nature of the human person,’ which is the person himself in the unity of soul and body, in the unity of his spiritual and biological inclinations and of all the other specific charactertistics necessary for the pursuit of his end”
(Veritatis Splendor #50).

[1] Cfi. David Walsh, “The Third Millennium: Reflections on Faith and Reason,” Georgetown University Press (1999)
[2] Robert Moynihan, “Let God’s Light Shine Forth,” Doubleday (2005) 34-36.
[3] John Paul II, “Veritatis Splendor,” #88.
[4] John Paul II, “Sources of Renewal”
[5] Karol Wojtyla, “Sources of Renewal” Harper and Row, 1979) 20.
[6] Ibid. 108-109.
[7] John Paul II, “Crossing the Threshold of Hope,” Knopf (1994) 34
[8] Ibid 36.
[9] Ibid
[10] “Philip told this Nathanael that he had found "him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (Jn 1: 45).… "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (Jn 1: 46). In its own way, this form of protestation is important for us…. Nathanael's reaction suggests another thought to us: in our relationship with Jesus we must not be satisfied with words alone. In his answer, Philip offers Nathanael a meaningful invitation: "Come and see!" (Jn 1: 46). Our knowledge of Jesus needs above all a first-hand experience.” Benedict XVI Sept. 6, 2006.
[11] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 15-27.

[12] J. Ratzinger, “Principles of Catholic Theology,” Ignatius (1987)353-355.

[13] The deep reason for this is that the “I” images God Who alone is “good.” To experience one’s being as image is to experience that one is good. This is the supreme triumph of realist ethics over relativism. It has been the centuries long challenge from Hume to the present moment concerning how factual, empirical “is” can be the ground of moral “ought.” The challenge was to explain how one can deduce (since obligation must come from the prius of Cartesian consciousness) “ought” from “is.” The failure to answer that provoked Kant’s so-called “transcendental” philosophy both theoretical and practical to save the absolute. Absent the phenomenology of the experience of the “I” as real Being, there was no escape. Either is was empiricist relativism of self as mere consciousness, or it was the ungrounded apriori categories of Kant. But since they were both mere consciousness, there was no escape from subjectivism and relativism. Wojtyla’s “discovery” of the experience of the “I” changes the entire “thoughtscape” if we understand it. See John Paul II’s VS ##9-11.
[14] Karol Wojtyla, “The Personal Structure of Self-Determination,” Person and Community (1993) 189-190
[15] K. Wojtyla, “The Acting Person,” Reidel (1979) 66.
[16] Ibid 67.
[17] J. H. Newman, “A Grammar of Assent” UNDP (1992) 70.
[18] K. Wojtyla, “The Acting Person,” ibid. 68.
[19] Ibid 34-35.
[20] Ibid 38.
[21] J. Ratzinger, “Conscience and Truth,” Values in a Time of Upheaval Ignatius (2006) 92.

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