The Catholic Thing
Faith is an intellectual virtue Print E-mail
By James V. Schall, S.J.   
Thursday, 07 August 2014

What is the relation between Plato’s wonder about whether the world was made in justice and the issue of the immortality of the soul? How and why does this consideration relate to the resurrection of the body? This relationship comes up surprisingly in a context of political philosophy, something Benedict pointed out in Spe Salvi. To illustrate his point about resurrection, he surprisingly used, not Christian or Aristotelian sources, but Marxist ones. The fact is that revelation is directed to reason when it is being most reasonable, when it is most careful in stating what it sees and knows. Revelation is not some sort of irrational assumption or concocted story. It is not just poetry, even when it is expressed in poetic form. Joseph Pieper’s Platonic Myths points out just how closely Plato is related to revelation. But reason will never recognize revelation unless it (reason) is what it claims it is, that is, reason. In a Catholic view, one cannot argue from reason to revelation. To do this would mean that the mind is already God. But nothing prevents God from communicating with us. God is also Logos. I have dealt with this issue in my book, The Regensburg Lecture, where Benedict brings up the central place Athens played in early Christianity. It is precisely this issue that gets us into the most modern of questions, namely the voluntarist mind of both modern political philosophy and Islam. But for philosophy to be capable of recognizing that something is addressed to it as mind—faith is an intellectual virtue—that mind has to know what is possible for it to know by itself. Revelation does not bother to explain what the human mind can figure out on its own. This is why the New Testament is not a book of politics. Aristotle already had written on this topic, so it was not necessary to repeat it. It is precisely when reason recognizes that there are questions that, at its best, it cannot answer that philosophy as a search for the whole, in Strauss’s terms, cannot exclude the intelligibility that is found in revelation and how it relates to what the mind knows and does not know in its own reflections on what is. - See more at:    



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