Wednesday, July 27, 2011

E-mail Re: Preparing the Workshop on Faith and Reason


Theologically, read more of the simplicity and authority of Ratzinger. Philosophically, JPII is your man with the short but key article "Subjectivity and the Irreducible in the Human Person" in Person and Community Lang 209-217. I would read this, and reread it, and have Barry read it until one of you has a Eureka moment. He says the same thing in the sentence of #83 of "Fides et ratio:" "In a special way, the person constitutes a privileged locus for the encounter with being [actu essendi in the offical latin text], and hence with metaphysical enquiry."

Then add Ratzinger's summary of his habilitation thesis:

“But (Michael Schmaus) also did not like the result of my analyses. I had ascertained that in Bonaventure (as well as in theologians 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 been 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 so, the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of `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. And this again means that there can be no such thing as pure sola scripture (`by Scripture alone’), because an essential element of Scriptura is the Church as understanding subject, and with this the fundamental sense of tradition is already given. At the moment, however, the burning question was the habilitations thesis, and Michael Schmaus, who had perhaps also heard annoying rumors from some in Freising concerning the modernity of my theology, saw in these theses not at all a faithful rendering of Bonaventure’s thought (however, to this day I still affirm the contrary) but a dangerous modernism that had to lead to the subjectivization of the concept of revelation” (pp. 108-109)

[Josef Ratzinger’s “Milestones, Memoirs 1927- 1977”]

Add to that, the Word of God is the only Absolute Reality [October 8, 2008], and His Name is Yahweh: "I AM...," then the only un-mediated [beyond sense perception and concept formation] access to reality is the reception of the Word (Reality - Being) , whereby I become the Word, and I experience Being, being me, or me, being Being; then, reason achieves access to the Absolute only through Faith. That is, I know this particular thing and that (which are not absolute), and in my reason's yearning for the Absolute, I surrender myself to the Word risen from the grave. And there it is!! The experience of surrendering my "I" to the revealing "I" of the Word is removal of the "veil" of Re-vel-ation. I experience myself as the Being of being "another Christ." Voila! My reasoning "I" crosses the threshold of "things" and experiences Being. Another way to say it: I experience God [Christ] only by becoming "another Christ" since the only person I experience in the act of free self-determination is myself.

I think this is the meaning of the relation of faith and reason where reason cannot be reason (i.e. in contact with the Absolute Being) without the experience (faith) of the Word (Revelation). If this sounds like a jumble of "talk" ask Barry if he can make any sense of it.

Clearly, this is not the way to teach this to someone who is only tangentially interested, but I think the guy teaching it has to have this going on inside him. Bob

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