Tag Archives: faith and reason

“Reality holds a signature from God … we must seek to decipher”

The transcript for the talk on whether a scientist can be a believer that was given at a lecture hosted by the New York Encounter in January has just been released by the Crossroads Cultural Center. Faith and reason is being explored here. It is a great question to ask if a believer in Christ –or perhaps a Jew or Muslim adherent– can be credible, true to his or her being given a certain intellectual formation. Does belief in God forfeit our true search for the Divine? Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete’s portion of the discussion is the most interesting to me and it is noted below (emphasis mine). A believer sometime has to work overtime to convince him or herself that faith and science are compatible. The other day my attention was drawn to what a little girl said about Lent: her view of life and the simplicity by which we have to look everything realizing that we don’t make ourselves; everything is given. Albacete answers the question of the compatibility of faith and science: The answer, I propose, is not only yes he can, but, in fact, it is faith that will sustain his or her passion for investigating nature, and prevent the process itself and its results from becoming enslaved to political, economic, and religious ideology.Let me know what you think.

In such a case, is awe, wonder, and joy at scientific
discoveries possible? When I was thinking about this, a friend sent me the text
of a speech given by Msgr. Luigi Giussani about the “love of being” that is
remarkably appropriate to this reflection.  Giussani’s argument is that the truth of Christianity can be
verified by a proper consideration of the evidence
for it. Evidence, he says,
is the correct word, even if the evidence for the Christian claim is given to
us through signs
. Signs are things that can be touched, seen, and experienced. The Apostles had Jesus in front of them and this presence was a sign of His
victory over death, and therefore of His mysterious identity. But what about
us? What happens with the passage of time? What signs are there for us as
evidence of the truth of the Christian claim, of the reasonableness of the
Christian claim?


The interpretation of the signs available to us engages our
liberty, he says. In this drama, our liberty is a manifestation of our love for
being. Without this love for being we are not truly free and we will never
grasp the evidence of the signs given to us. At this point, as an example of
this love for being, Giussani invokes the Magi.

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Byran Kemper reverts to Catholicism…why?

Bryan Kemper.jpgComing to Christ –that’s what I am calling it when some comes into full communion with the Catholic Church (or Orthodoxy)– is not an easy thing for some people. Family, friends, employment, fear, and second-guessing the discernment can make “converting” all the more a royal pain. Only grace can sustain one’s move from one ecclesial body to another. A case in point has been those of the Anglican Communion coming to Catholic Church and now Byran Kemper, a baptized Catholic turn Presbyterian who founded the Stand True Ministries, among other things. Kemper is also the author of Social Justice Begins in the Womb (2010).

Why is Byran Kemper coming into full communion with the Catholic Church (he’s reverting to the Church in which he was baptized and through whom he received the pledge of future glory)?
He mentions a few factors that cradle Catholics often dismiss as important: the Liturgy, the Seven Sacraments, church authority, pro-life theology and activity, and friendship.
In the coming weeks as we move closer to the great feast of our faith, the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and where our brothers and sisters come home to Christ, add Bryan and the others in the RCIA programs around the world who will receive the Easter Sacraments at the Easter Vigil to your prayer list. Beg the Holy Spirit for the grace of fortitude.

Cardinal Burke on the truth of human sexuality & fall of Christian culture

Raymond Cardinal
Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, has been traveling lately. Most recently to Australia. There he spoke on the theme of “The Fall of the Christian West,” at a
symposium organized by the Australian Catholic Students Association, Sydney. He gave “particular attention to the witness to the truth regarding human sexuality, as fundamental to holiness of life, and to the question of conscience as the irreplaceable and secure guide in the pursuit of holiness of life.” The cardinal also reflected on martyrdom.

Among
many things said in the address the Cardinal said:

  • quoting Benedict XVI said, we “need to form our consciences, in accord with the moral teaching of the Church … ‘our responsibility to make these criteria [these moral foundations] audible and intelligible once more for people today as paths of true humanity, in the context of our paramount concern for mankind'”
  • “…our call to build anew a
    strong Catholic culture
    , in fidelity to our vocation to give witness to Christ
    and, therefore, to be martyrs for the faith”
  • “witness to the truth regarding
    human sexuality, as fundamental to holiness of life, and to the question of
    conscience as the irreplaceable and secure guide in the pursuit of holiness of
    life.”
  • “The life of the martyr for the faith finds its center and source in the
    Eucharistic sacrifice
    , in Eucharistic adoration, and in all forms of
    Eucharistic devotion, especially visits to the Blessed Sacrament and spiritual
    communion throughout the day” 
  • “The Holy Eucharist not only strengthens us
    spiritually to be true martyrs, but is the model of our martyrdom, pure and
    selfless love, without condition, to the end.”
You ought to read the entire excellent address is here: Cardinal R Burke, The Fall of the Christian West, March 11, 2011.pdf

Patrick Madrid speaking in NYC March 18 & 19

Patrick Madrid speaking pic.jpgThe Siena Forum for Faith and Culture will be hosting Patrick Madrid -of EWTN fame– at the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena (NYC) this
coming weekend!


We are delighted to have Patrick with us for the the weekend!

Madrid’s talks are very promising as I believe that they will open
new doors to knowing Christ, loving the Church, and spreading the Good News
that Christ is risen from the dead!  For those who ask the questions, “Can an educated person
be Catholic?” Or, “Why be Catholic?”, Madrid’s talks will give good
answers. Even for those of us who are consider life-long Catholics Patrick
Madrid will be helpful.

The Church of Saint Catherine of Siena is
pleased to host Patrick Madrid for a 2-day seminar based on his
book Search and Rescue: How You Can Help People Come Home to the
Church
.

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The task of science was AND remains a patient, passionate search for truth about the cosmos, nature, the constitution of the human being, Pope tells us

Pontifical Academy of Sciences.jpg

For those who think that the Catholic Church, orthodox Catholic theology, the Pope, or any right-thinking Catholic person in the 21st century is against science: think again. Take your head out of the sand; do some reading. Today, His Holiness address the distinguished members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences meeting for their plenary assembly. The theme they’ve chosen to explore is “The Scientific Legacy of the Twentieth Century.”

Two papal hopes for future scientists: “the need for an interdisciplinary approach tied with philosophical reflection” and that the work of science “always be informed by the imperatives of fraternity and peace, helping to solve the great problems of humanity, and directing everyone’s efforts towards the true good of man and the integral development of the peoples of the world.”

Benedict addressed the following text to 80 scientists:

The history of science in the twentieth century is one of
undoubted achievement and major advances. Unfortunately, the popular image of
twentieth-century science is sometimes characterized otherwise, in two extreme
ways. On the one hand, science is posited by some as a panacea, proven by its
notable achievements in the last century. Its innumerable advances were in fact
so encompassing and so rapid that they seemed to confirm the point of view that
science might answer all the questions of man’s existence, and even of his
highest aspirations. On the other hand, there are those who fear science and
who distance themselves from it, because of sobering developments such as the
construction and terrifying use of nuclear weapons.

Science, of course, is not
defined by either of these extremes. Its task was and remains a patient yet
passionate search for the truth about the cosmos, about nature and about the
constitution of the human being.
In this search, there have been many successes
and failures, triumphs and setbacks. The developments of science have been both
uplifting, as when the complexity of nature and its phenomena were discovered,
exceeding our expectations, and humbling, as when some of the theories we
thought might have explained those phenomena once and for all proved only
partial
. Nonetheless, even provisional results constitute a real contribution
to unveiling the correspondence between the intellect and natural realities, on
which later generations may build further.

The progress made in scientific
knowledge in the twentieth century, in all its various disciplines, has led to
a greatly improved awareness of the place that man and this planet occupy in
the universe. In all sciences, the common denominator continues to be the notion
of experimentation as an organized method for observing nature. In the last
century, man certainly made more progress – if not always in his knowledge of
himself and of God, then certainly in his knowledge of the macro- and
microcosms – than in the entire previous history of humanity. Our meeting here
today, dear friends, is a proof of the Church’s esteem for ongoing scientific
research and of her gratitude for scientific endeavour, which she both
encourages and benefits from
. In our own day, scientists themselves appreciate
more and more the need to be open to philosophy if they are to discover the
logical and epistemological foundation for their methodology and their
conclusions. For her part, the Church is convinced that scientific activity
ultimately benefits from the recognition of man’s spiritual dimension and his
quest for ultimate answers that allow for the acknowledgement of a world
existing independently from us, which we do not fully understand and which we
can only comprehend in so far as we grasp its inherent logic
. Scientists do not
create the world; they learn about it and attempt to imitate it, following the
laws and intelligibility that nature manifests to us. The scientist’s
experience as a human being is therefore that of perceiving a constant, a law,
a logos that he has not created but that he has instead observed
: in fact, it
leads us to admit the existence of an all-powerful Reason, which is other than
that of man, and which sustains the world. This is the meeting point between the
natural sciences and religion. As a result, science becomes a place of
dialogue, a meeting between man and nature and, potentially, even between man
and his Creator.

As we look to the twenty-first century, I would like to
propose two thoughts for further reflection. First, as increasing
accomplishments of the sciences deepen our wonder of the complexity of nature,
the need for an interdisciplinary approach tied with philosophical reflection
leading to a synthesis is more and more perceived. Secondly, scientific
achievement in this new century should always be informed by the imperatives of
fraternity and peace, helping to solve the great problems of humanity, and
directing everyone’s efforts towards the true good of man and the integral
development of the peoples of the world. The positive outcome of twenty-first
century science will surely depend in large measure on the scientist’s ability
to search for truth and apply discoveries in a way that goes hand in hand with
the search for what is just and good.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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