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All About Mary

Magisterial Documents: Fides et Ratio

John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, Encyclical on the Relationship between Faith and Reason
September 14, 1998

The full document is available on the internet.

Brief Introduction

Fides et ratio argues that faith and reason are compatible since they essentially belong together. When separating faith from reason, either results in superstition or nihilism and relativism.

John Paul II "makes this strong and insistent appeal" that "faith and philosophy recover the profound unity which allows them to stand in harmony with their nature without compromising their mutual autonomy. The parrhesia of faith must be matched by the boldness of reason.” The importance of the magisterium’s interventions in philosophical and theological matters is founded in this principle.  

Core Marian Passages

108 I turn in the end to the woman whom the prayer of the Church invokes as Seat of Wisdom, and whose life itself is a true parable illuminating the reflection contained in these pages. For between the vocation of the Blessed Virgin and the vocation of true philosophy there is a deep harmony. Just as the Virgin was called to offer herself entirely as human being and as woman that God's Word might take flesh and come among us, so too philosophy is called to offer its rational and critical resources that theology, as the understanding of faith, may be fruitful and creative. And just as in giving her assent to Gabriel's word, Mary lost nothing of her true humanity and freedom, so too when philosophy heeds the summons of the Gospel's truth its autonomy is in no way impaired. Indeed, it is then that philosophy sees all its enquiries rise to their highest expression. This was a truth which the holy monks of Christian antiquity understood well when they called Mary “the table at which faith sits in thought”. In her they saw a lucid image of true philosophy and they were convinced of the need to philosophari in Maria.

May Mary, Seat of Wisdom, be a sure haven for all who devote their lives to the search for wisdom. May their journey into wisdom, sure and final goal of all true knowing, be freed of every hindrance by the intercession of the one who, in giving birth to the Truth and treasuring it in her heart, has shared it forever with all the world.


Introduction:   "Know Yourself" (1-6)

Chapter I: The Revelation of God's Wisdom (7-15)
Jesus, revealer of the Father (7-12)
Reason before the mystery (13-15)

Chapter II: Credo ut intellegam (16-23)
"Wisdom knows all and understands all" (Wis 9:11) (16-20)
"Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding" (Prov 4:5) (21-23)

Chapter III: Intellego ut credam (24-34)
Journeying in search of truth (24-27)
The different faces of human truth (28-34)

Chapter IV: The Relationship Between Faith and Reason (36-48)
Important moments in the encounter of faith and reason (36-42)
The enduring originality of the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas (43-44)
The drama of the separation of faith and reason (45-48)

Chapter V: The Magisterium's Interventions in Philosophical Matters (49-63)
The Magisterium's discernment as diakonia of the truth (49-56)
The Church's interest in philosophy (57-63)

Chapter VI: The Interaction Between Philosophy and Theology (64-79)
The knowledge of faith and the demands of philosophical reason (64-74)
Different stances of philosophy (75-79)

Chapter VII: Current Requirements and Tasks (80-99)
The indispensable requirements of the word of God (80-91)
Current tasks for theology (92-99)

Conclusion (100-108)

© This material has been compiled by Danielle M. Peters, S.T.D.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.
Most recently updated in 2019.

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