Faith and Reason are intrinsically linked within the Catholic Church. The mutual link between “good” philosophy and revelation is of pivotal importance and is discussed at length in “Fides et Ratio”. Before delving too thoroughly into this subject, however an important distinction must be made about what constitutes “good” philosophy (in the context of this discussion). This is beautifully summed up in the phrase “orthós logos, recta ratio(right reason).” It is up to the magisterium of the church to guide the faithful in the relationship between faith and reason to lead the “flock” on the right path.
As humans we are “thinkers’ and have a mysterious and primitive drive for the truth: “These fundamental element of knowledge spring from the wonder awakened in them by the contemplation of creation.” (Fides et Ratio, par. 5). The human can be defined as “the one who seeks the truth” (Fides et Ratio, par. 28). It is therefore intrinsically important that trust is developed between truth seekers and dialog so that knowledge may be shared. This drive of discovery has lead to philosophy producing a “systematic body of knowledge” (Fides et Ratio, par. 5). This systematic approach is necessary for philosophy to be and remain a credible approach to the truth. Philosophy can stray from the right path when it’s chief goal is to “investigate human subjectivity” (Fides et Ratio, par. 5) which can lead to agnosticism, relativism and a ”lack of confidence in truth” (Fides et Ratio, par. 5) such an approach can lead to a lack of assurance in philosophy itself to adequately answer our questions.
In recent times unfortunately in some schools of thought there has been a separation between faith and reason which has grown steadily larger. A leading cause of this is the scepticism and mistrust in reason. “In a spirit both sceptical and agnostic, some began to voice a general mistrust, which led some to focus more on faith and others to deny its rationality altogether" (Fides et Ratio, par. 45)Blessed john Paul wastes no time in persecuting these floored systems. He firmly believes that philosophy has lost her way in this regard, no longer searching for the truth.
In our current time, like fashion, we see the return of “problems of other times, but in a new key”( Fides et Ratio, par. 55). There are a number of invalid lines of philosophy that are no longer contained in small groups, but become more widespread. A feeling of distrust of reason itself has lead in some facets of philosophy to discuss “the end of metaphysics.” (Fides et Ratio, par. 55)This problem is not however limited to philosophy, but has expanded into theology. Theologians have seen an appeal to rationalism which is largely due to a poor foundation in philosophy of the theologian, who then adopts the erroneous train of thought of the philosophers “poorly grounded in reason”. (Fides et Ratio, par. 5)
John Paul distinguishes 3 main stances of philosophy. First is “Philosophy completely independent of Gospel revelation”. This has merits as it is seeking the truth and is “open-at least implicitly- to the supernatural” (Fides et Ratio, par. 75). It is however limited by human reason. Secondly “Christian Philosophy” a "philosophical speculation conceived in dynamic union with faith" (Fides et Ratio, par. 76). This has lead to philosophical discoveries that would not have been otherwise made without Divine revelation. The third is “philosophy called upon by theology” (Fides et Ratio, par. 76). This is very useful in ecumenical discussion and for structural confirmation of revelation.
The obvious trend so far is that reason on its own can only go so far towards the truth, and that to enjoy the fullness of truth one needs the primacy and gratuitous nature of divine revelation to which we are called by faith.
Blessed John Paul II states with reference to Dei Filus (Dogmatic constitution of the faith, from Vatican I); “the…