Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Bishop Egan on Lumen Fidei

Bishop Egan has published a pastoral message on Lumen Fidei by Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

You can read this here, but this is an excerpt...

'We believe that faith and reason go together. They are two forms of knowing and essentially there is no conflict between them since each in their own way is needed. Indeed, in every form and activity of human knowing, reason and belief are blended together in varying degrees and manners, from pure maths to systematic theology, from using a computer to loving your spouse.

All our knowing is social; it involves elements of faith, trust and belief. Think of education and how we have to trust our parents and teachers. Or think of daily life and how we have to rely on what experts such as doctors and lawyers advise us. We believe others and trust them, at least until they show themselves to be unreliable or misleading, and our trust blends in with, and assists our own judgments and decisions. Something I find distressing nowadays is the widespread yet mistaken belief that science gives us the truth, the facts, or at least the most certain knowledge available, whilst faith-knowledge is mere conjecture, personal opinion or in some cases an ideology leading to fanaticism. 

The media and in particular the BBC reinforce this myth by constantly giving air-time to scientists who dabble in amateur philosophy and shift too easily from science, on which they are well-qualified to speak, into matters of philosophy, theology and the meaning and purpose of life, in which they may have little competence. The result is that even many of our Catholic children, once they reach 12 or 13, wrongly believe that science and religion are inalienably opposed and that they have to choose one over the other. Yet the briefest glance at our Catholic Tradition with its thousands of brilliant scientists - let us leave aside for now the complex politics of the notorious Galileo case - reassures us that this is a nonsense.

I hope that the study of Lumen Fidei will once and for all knock on the head such false perceptions about faith and reason and enable us, as people of Christian faith, not only to take fresh heart but also to offer others in our society a much-needed corrective. We cannot allow 'scientism' (the mistaken belief that the only secure knowledge is that derived from experimental data) to dominate the air - waves and thus to distort human endeavours by 'privatising' religion and driving it out of the public domain. We need reason/science and religion/spirituality to be in a public conversation, to be in dialogue with each other, so that both can collaborate for human betterment.

The social consequences of scientism will be disastrous. Scientism raises the frightening spectre of experimentation without moral parameters, last seen during the Nazi terror and now seen increasingly in bio-medical research. Scientism will lead to a devaluation of human life and a diminished respect for the individual, not least for the elderly, the unborn child, the handicapped and the mentally ill. Since God's gifts of faith, hope and love go together, scientism will rob our children and grandchildren not only of their faith and trust but also of their hope and love, and thus deprive them of happiness.

I know some of you will think that what I saying here is extreme, but take care to reflect. What we are currently experiencing in Britain in this early 21C is an epic clash of values. There is a battle going on for the control of our hearts and minds, as society becomes more secularised and forgets its Christian patrimony, its traditional beliefs and values. We must not allow this to happen. As Catholics, we have a humanitarian mission: to witness to the natural way of life that in Christ is supernatural. It is the only way to true, genuine, lasting human happiness and fulfilment. For it is the Way which is Christ, the way of authentic humanism, the way that leads to heaven...'

Bingo. May God be praised that He has sent to England a Bishop who understands exactly what is at stake for modern man. May God bless abundantly this caring and wise Shepherd. Bishop Egan is one of a very small minority of Bishops willing to speak the truth to power and who can see the new eugenic/genetics developments for what they are.


Andrew said...

Wow! There's still hope.

Thank you Lawrence for posting this, and thank you Bishop Egan for saying it in the first place.

Terry said...

Why can't the majority (don't want to be too greedy) of our bishops be like him?

Nicolas Bellord said...

The Jewish writer Simone Weill in "L'Enracinement" written in WWII saw Hitler as being unique in taking scientism to its ultimate conclusion - that force was all that mattered.

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