Magis Series on Faith and Reason

Mar 10, 2022
Saint Ignatius College Prep
1076 W Roosevelt Rd
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Free and open to the public. Presented by the Lumen Christi Institute and Saint Ignatius College Prep.

What does it mean to believe? Does one believe because of evidence? In spite of evidence? Is belief the beginning of wisdom or the opposite of science? For over two thousand years, the Catholic Church has defended the rich interrelation between faith and reason. As Pope John Paul II said in his encyclical, Fides et Ratio, "Faith and reason are like the two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth." Faith without reason leads to superstition. Reason without faith leads to nihilism and relativism. Reason needs faith; faith needs reason; we need both.

This course will be framed by Pope John Paul II's encyclical Fides et Ratio , and optional selections of the encyclical will be suggested to help frame the lectures. We will work our way forward in history beginning with ancient Greek philosophy, which Clement of Alexandria dubbed "the second Old Testament." Then we will read selections from the early church fathers and the scholastic masters of the medieval church. Finally, we will consider the question of faith and reason in modern times, with a special session devoted to faith and science. We will be able to see how questions of faith and reason have been grappled with for millennia, and how we are the inheritors of a fascinating and rich tradition.

This lecture and discussion series uses an innovative format. A lecture will be followed one week later by an optional discussion-based lunch seminar. Texts introduced during the lecture will be discussed in a low-stakes format with Fr. Bernardi over lunch.


The Two Wings of the Spirit: Traditions of Faith and Reason

  • Thursday, March 10 Faith and Reason in the Patristic Era: 'What Does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?’ with Fr. Peter Bernardi, SJ 
  • Thursday, March 31 Faith and Reason in the Medieval Era: 'Faith Seeking Understanding,' with Fr. Peter Bernardi, SJ 
The Crisis of Belief in a Secular Age: Reconciling Faith, Science, and Reason
  • Thursday, May 12 Catholic and Protestant Responses to the 'Ebbing of the Sea of Faith,' with Fr. Peter Bernardi, SJ  
  • Wednesday, May 18  "Emotion, Metaphor, and Memory: Leveraging the Tools of Science in Service of Spiritual Discernment” with guest lecturer Fr. John Kartje 


5:30 p.m. Mass optional | 6:15 p.m. Drinks & Hors d’Oeuvres | 7:00 p.m. Dinner & Lecture | 8:30 p.m. End