Rorate Caeli

The truth must be proposed without compromise

A papal reminder to the Catholic Church in India, where the temptation to syncretism is particularly strong:

...In helping the spiritual, intellectual and moral faculties of their students to mature, Catholic schools should continue to develop a capacity for sound judgment and introduce them to the heritage bequeathed to them by former generations, thus fostering a sense of values and preparing their pupils for a happy and productive life (cf. Gravissimum Educationis, 5). I encourage you to continue to pay close attention to the quality of instruction in the schools present in your Dioceses, to ensure that they be genuinely Catholic and therefore capable of passing on those truths and values necessary for the salvation of souls and the up-building of society.

Of course, Catholic schools are not the only means by which the Church seeks to instruct and to edify her people in intellectual and moral truth. As you know, all of the Church’s activities are meant to glorify God and fill his people with the truth that sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32). This saving truth, at the heart of the deposit of faith, must remain the foundation of all the Church’s endeavours, proposed to others always with respect but also without compromise. The capacity to present the truth gently but firmly is a gift to be nurtured especially among those who teach in Catholic institutes of higher education and those who are charged with the ecclesial task of educating seminarians, religious or the lay faithful, whether in theology, catechetical studies or Christian spirituality. Those who teach in the name of the Church have a particular obligation faithfully to hand on the riches of the tradition, in accordance with the Magisterium and in a way that responds to the needs of today, while students have the right to receive the fullness of the intellectual and spiritual heritage of the Church. Having received the benefits of a sound formation and dedicated to charity in truth, the clergy, religious and lay leaders of the Christian community will be better able to contribute to the growth of the Church and the advancement of Indian society. The various members of the Church will then bear witness to the love of God for all humanity as they enter into contact with the world, providing a solid Christian testimony in friendship, respect and love, and striving not to condemn the world but to offer it the gift of salvation (cf. Jn 3:17). Encourage those involved in education, whether priests, religious or laity, to deepen their faith in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. Enable them to reach out to their neighbours that, by their word and example, they may more effectively proclaim Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6).

Benedict XVI
September 8, 2011


  1. For those philosphically inclined, I recommend:


    While not denying a development of Tradition per Blessed Newman,
    Pieper writes:

    "The "traditum" is something that in the accomplishment of the process of tradition precisely does NOT grow." [original italized]

  2. Anonymous8:18 PM

    More nice words from His Holiness. But where is the action?

  3. students have the right to receive the fullness of the intellectual and spiritual heritage of the Church.

    How many adults who grew up after Vatican II could say that that, as students, they received the fullness of the intellectual and spritual heritage of the Church?

  4. Gratias1:44 AM

    The Holy Father has given us real action with his Summorum Pontificum legislation. Catholic education is essential. The decision that each parish should have its own school is what made the Catholic Church powerful in America. On to India!

  5. Anonymous12:40 PM

    After reading this thread my thoughts turned to another meeting two days hence with another bishop and I beg to share these thoughts with you.

    The Awesome Will and Intellect of Almighty God

    In considering the meeting between Bishop Fellay and Cardinal Levada two days hence and the wish by many that God’s Will be done with respect to this meeting, I pondered what it means to contemplate the Will of God. The thought came into my mind that all the smartest intellects of all the geniuses that have ever lived, both in the Church and outside of it, are nothing but grains of sand in the ocean when compared to Almighty God.

    What an incredible God that is our God and how absolutely powerful He is. He can bring something into or out of existence with not even an act but merely a thought from His Divine Will. Imagine that – just a thought and His Will is done. And, to think that this Almighty Being pays attention to us and our humble petitions shows just how much He loves us, cares for us and wishes us only the best in our sojourn here on this earth. So it us that I willingly accept whatever is the Will of God in this matter and all else.


  6. Alex Benziger G1:54 PM

    Pope Benedict XVI has correctly said, but nobody bother. In India, the catholics are secondary citizens in admissions in the catholic institutions. Many catholics are leaving the Church because the attitude of the Pasters. Bishops and priests are running after money. Holy See have no ears. The lay catholics are just fools in India. DEO GRATIAS.

  7. Let us commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Regensberg Lecture.

    The Regensberg Lecture has definitely been the most pivotal speech so far in Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate. It beats even the Christmas 2005 speech to the Roman Curia (the “hermeneutic of continuity speech”), although that one, too, discusses faith and reason.

    His solution to the faith and reason problem is, in its details, self-defeating; as his “Hermeneutic of Continuity Speech” said:

    The steps the Council took towards the modern era which had rather vaguely been presented as “openness to the world”, belong in short to the perennial problem of the relationship between faith and reason that is re-emerging in ever new forms. The situation that the Council had to face can certainly be compared to events of previous epochs.

    In his First Letter, St Peter urged Christians always to be ready to give an answer (apo-logia) to anyone who asked them for the logos, the reason for their faith (cf. 3: 15).

    This meant that biblical faith had to be discussed and come into contact with Greek culture and learn to recognize through interpretation the separating line but also the convergence and the affinity between them in the one reason, given by God.

    When, in the 13th century through the Jewish and Arab philosophers, Aristotelian thought came into contact with Medieval Christianity formed in the Platonic tradition and faith and reason risked entering an irreconcilable contradiction, it was above all St Thomas Aquinas who mediated the new encounter between faith and Aristotelian philosophy, thereby setting faith in a positive relationship with the form of reason prevalent in his time [So he thinks human reason evolves over time?]. There is no doubt that the wearing dispute between modern reason and the Christian faith, which had begun negatively with the Galileo case, went through many phases, but with the Second Vatican Council the time came when broad new thinking was required.

    Its content was certainly only roughly traced in the conciliar texts, but this determined its essential direction, so that the dialogue between reason and faith, particularly important today, found its bearings on the basis of the Second Vatican Council.

    The problem with this is that Pope Benedict XVI thinks there needs to be a new St. Thomas Aquinas to reconcile our faith with "modern reason," viz., with what Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius X, respectively, condemned: Catholicism is compatible with modern civilization (Syllabus of Errors, 80.) and Catholicism is incompatible with true science (Lamentabili Sane, 65.); hence, modern civilization and true science are incompatible. Therefore, Pope Benedict XVI's hope for a new St. Thomas Aquinas and a reconciliation with "modern reason" is futile.

    Cf. also “Faith Imperiled by Reason.”

  8. Nathaniel12:49 PM

    The Regensburg Lecture is indeed a problematic one, and illustrates the inconsistency of thought (given the background of his Address to the Bishops of India on September 7th) which has plagued this Pontificate from the beginning.

    I quote from the 2005 work, “The Sacred Monster of Thomism: An Introduction to the Life and Legacy of Reginald Garrigou Lagrange, O.P.” (pp. 125-126):

    “The mechanistic and subjectivist ‘a prioris’ of modern philosophy, along with a whole set of reductionisms in contemporary philosophy, simply do not provide a solid enough grounding for the Christian faith.

    “In some presentations of the question, one is given the impression that St. Thomas chose the philosophy of Aristotle because it was the most avant-garde of the day. Or, that he chose it because it was the most ‘actuelle’ – the philosophy most holding sway in his milieu. The implication in all of this is the supposition that fidelity to St. Thomas in any age consists in forging a theological synthesis with the philosophy or the philosophies most current in one’s time and place – notwithstanding overt hostilities toward Christian faith in these schools of thought.

    “St. Thomas’s choice of Aristotle came from his Christian intuition that Aristotle’s thought would help Christ be better known and loved. It is simply wrong to think that he felt the need to create a theological synthesis with the wildest and woolliest philosophy he could find. St. Thomas was convinced of the basic truth of Aristotle’s metaphysics; he believed that Aristotle’s thought was in fundamental conformity with the way things really are."

  9. [So he thinks human reason evolves over time?]

    That would depend, I suppose, on what one means by "human reason," "form of reason," and "evolves."

  10. Anonymous3:33 PM

    If the truth must be proposed without compromise, then there is no room for the thesis-antithesis-synthesis theory in dealing with the truth. Absolutes must be recognized and proclaimed - i.e., that Christ in His human form really did die a death, resurrected on the third day, went to a place called Heaven and sits at the right hand of His Father from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. The only question is: Does Pope Benedict XVI hold to these absolutes? IMO he must in order to be the validly-elected Successor to St. Peter and Vicar of Christ on earth.


  11. @Nathaniel: Yes, I thought St. Thomas's time was very intellectually eclectic. Aristotle wasn't "the philosophy most holding sway in his milieu" or the predominant "form of reason prevalent in his time," was he? Also, St. Thomas refers to Aristotle as "The Philosopher" only where Aristotle is right; otherwise, he refers to him as "Aristotle."


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