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Washington D.C., Sep 20, 2013 / 04:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At a recent talk on Pope Francis’ encyclical “Lumen Fidei,” Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore emphasized that faith is not opposed to reason, but rather is necessary for understanding truth.
“This encyclical letter…is a great gift – not only to the Church, but to all people of good will, to everybody seeking the truth,” Archbishop Lori said Sept. 17 at Washington D.C.’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where he spoke as part of the Year of Faith lecture series.
“In a very skeptical world, it turns out that Faith believes in Reason. Faith believes in the capacity of reason for truth,” he reflected.
Archbishop Lori explained that the nature of faith is often misunderstood, seen as superstition rather than “a part of the search for knowledge.”
Faith is commonly considered to be “not a friend of reason, but its enemy; it’s thought to be unreasonable, anti-rational.” Because of this misconception, the archbishop said, the Enlightenment placed misplaced trust in the absolute power of reason alone to discover the truth.
When this mindset was not able to withstand the tragedies and atrocities that have occurred in the 20th century, rationalism gave way to skepticism, “abandoning the search to make sense out of human nature and history.”
Without truth, Archbishop Lori said, reason came “to be thought as a dimmer light – something that can help us find our way moment by moment or trend by trend, but not something that can help us find our ultimate way.”
Therefore, the world “fell into confusion” about the nature of humanity, reality, and truth itself.
Faith, the archbishop said, is the “one thing capable of illuminating every aspect of our existence.”
Because of Christ’s being both true God and true Man – his being both eternally transcendent and sharing our human nature – Archbishop Lori explained, “faith in Christ really does illuminate every aspect of our humanity, including our sufferings, including our tragedies.”
This link with Christ also “opens us to a love greater than ourselves, a love that can save us, a love that can transform us from within.”
“Through faith, we can love as Jesus loves,” the archbishop continued, and this love “opens our minds to the truth that is greater than ourselves, and our hearts to a love greater than ourselves.”
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