"Why do priests study philosophy?" An article

The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education wrote that “philosophy is indispensable for theological formation.”

Philosophy has helped theologians better to understand problems such as the existence of evil, free will, and the existence of the soul, and then to apply their findings to theology, as can be seen through their writings.

Philosophy already dealt with issues such as those, requiring deep thought and logic


Dont be deceived.

It’s a pretty lame article.

Philosophy was my major in undergrad 30 years ago, and, while I remained lapsed-Catholic during that time, I returned the prodigal son around 15 years ago.

It’s obvious a Priest is going to need to know external belief systems in order to evangelize people with respect to counter-cultural issues between our faith and the beliefs of others.

But the language and phraseology in the article is too breezy and colloquial to really be heeded without criticism from both Catholics - and more sadly - more disciplined secular philosophers, alike.

The worst part is, the bottom line of the article tends to tout philosophy as somehow so important that Theology can’t exist without it…

On the contrary - man created philosophy; but it was God who created the world - the world in which God’s creature, the man, created philosophy…

So - which is greater - the creature of the creature, the creature itself, or the Creator?

Theology can do very well without philosophy.

St Bernadette of Soubirous and St Faustina - as uneducated as the they - spoke far more eloquently in the revelations they brought forth from their simple, uneducated child-like faith in God… than some of the abstreuse and vain ramblings many pretentious and highly educated philosophers like to ponder…

It was faith in God that sent the Apostles on mission, not because they had read Artistotle or Plato…Even St Augustine, who was well-school and highly articulate, admits he would rather be repentant than simply knowledgeable…

Yeah, we have to know some knowledge to talk with others, but the idea isnt to become so enchanted with philosophy it outwits the simple truths of our faith… which is how that article seems to sound at times… if philosophy did override Theology as such, it would make Theology its slave…

But that will never happen… so why phrase the article so heavily in favor of an ancillary science…?

They both exist for a reason and they both serve a good purpose. God created us with reason, so it is God’s will that we make intelligible sense of our experiences. And i’m not sure that theology as a discipline is completely devoid of a need for philosophy since we have to make intelligible sense of what we believe.

Really? What’s your take on the nuclear arms race? And do you think Putin would agree?

Well, okay, I was speaking of philosophy with respect to evangelization, yet you took it in the absolute religious sense, which wasn’t what I really meant… If God (Theology and Religion), created the world (including the people who created all its many Philosophies), then - since God doesnt need man, or since man serves God, you’d have to set philosophy as subservient to God, not to the other way around…

The basis of what I said was…

Competing “philosophies” exist, and many can be done without. Hence, yes, we have a need for diplomacy.

But dont let the fact that just because something is intelligible (i.e. can be perceived), reasonable (makes sense) - deceive you. When we judge by appearances, then, something may make intelligible and reasonable sense - but it could also just be a flat out lie serving a bad purpose.

You are naive, but well-intended. I admire your goodness of soul. But just take care - when evangelizing sinners - recall an old episode of Andy Griffith…

Once Andy arrested a gang of four highly dangerous, most wanted crooks, and he put them in jail.

Barney Fife decided to rehabilitate them while they were in jail. To do so, Barney bought them: a woodworking set, a leather working set, a metalworking set and a Mr Potato Head.

Barney then ran an errand.

As soon as he left, they used the metal kit to make a key, and they escaped.

So… In religious terms, adore Jesus, who is the highest wisdom, and you will be a great philosopher… It doesn’t take a PhD…

And, yet, when you observe Luke 16:8-9… just dont forget that the unjust steward was fired for a reason…

What’s so wrong with philosophy? It’s worth anyone’s time to engage in “natural theology”, which is philosophy. It’s how we learn to understand God apart from divine revelation.

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