In his papal encyclical, Fides et Ratio, St. John Paul II calls attention to the crucial need for the collaborative efforts of faith and reason. So mutually necessary are such efforts that the Holy Father compares them to two wings enabling one to “soar” towards truth. Implied in his image is an interdependence between Christian faith and human reason. By the latter, he has in mind a reason that can in its sphere progress in seeing things deeply, broadly, and truly. In elaborating further, he also observes that faith deprived of reason can devolve into mere emotion and that faith tied to weak reasoning “runs the grave risk of withering into myth or superstition.” At the same time, however, each “without the other is impoverished and enfeebled.”
Still more particularly in Fides et Ratio, St. John Paul II evinces an awareness of “the great tradition,” points to its importance, and urges a rootedness in it. He is also aware of the existence of ancient and modern dimensions in our tradition and that Western thought as a whole is not monolithic. Moreover, while ancient and modern thought are to be approached with respect, it is also appropriate and even necessary to do so with a critically discerning eye as well as a sympathetic heart. Lastly, both St. John Paul II and his successor, Benedict XVI (Regensburg Address), alert their audiences to the existence of high-order contemporary crises brought on by a diminished understanding of the reach and power of human reason.
For both pontiffs, especially desirable is an education informed by an awareness of the “grandeur of reason”, a sapiential approach to learning, and studies aimed at a broad overview and integrated grasp of those matters that are of surpassing importance to human beings. The Honors College at Belmont Abbey invites you to explore in the company of friends and in collaboration with dedicated teachers works in History, Science, Literature, Philosophy, and Theology which have profoundly affected contemporary life.
Through the Honors College, students will:
- Experience playful camaraderie and high friendship in an atmosphere conducive to piety and principled living.
- Grow in awareness of the foundational impacts of Classical, Christian, and Modern thought.
- Enter into the far-reaching disputes and controversies among some of history’s greatest minds.
We have been knocking on the doors of great and hidden questions.