Fall 1964

Page 94

208 Chicag<> Strulie•


There is a third reason why the Church insists on equipping her priests with secular knowledges: History indicates that, without the challenge of secular knowledges revealing ever new aspects of reality, theology hardens into crystallized verbal forn1lllations. Such paralysis make the communication previously described more and more confusing, less and less effective, since the verbal formulations are only partially, and sometimes merely superficially, understood. But if secular disciplines are actively present in the priest, then these knowledges, especially philosophy, can help him in two ways. First, he can see precisely what the theologian is pointing at when the latter discusses grace or sacramental causality or poverty or living wage or love or population control. Secondly, the priest can observe reality from the new angle provided by the secular knowledge. He can then rethink his theology in terms of this new understanding. In this way Christian wisdom is kept relevant to contemporary culture and aggiornamenlo occurs within the Church. SECULAR KNOWLEDGES AND THEOLOGY

This integration of secular knowledges with theology - at once the most difficult and the most important feat performed by the priest-expert-is not a Bonaventurean Reductio Artium ad Theologiam. It is not the absorption of all knowledges into an imperialistic theology. Rather, it is a complex judgmental process (called sacra doctrina by St. Thomas) • In this process the various contributing secular and theological knowledges, always retaining their distinct autonomy, are focused according to the light of faith on the single existential situation so as to reveal the elements of revelation present there. For example, the focusing of experimental psychology, psychiatry, phenomenological.philosophy, and biochemistry on the problem of human freedom within decisions has enabled the moral theologian to situate more exactly the force of grace in pastoral counselling. Because he already possesses a nuanced knowledge of grace, the moral theologian is able to recognize the impact which these new insights from the above-mentioned secular knowledges have on the