Magis Series on Faith and Reason

Mar 10, 2022
Saint Ignatius College Prep
1076 W Roosevelt Rd
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Peter Bernardi, SJLumen Christi Institute

Fr. John KartjeMundelein Seminary/University of Saint Mary of the Lake

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


Fr. Peter Bernardi, SJ is scholar-in-residence at the Lumen Christi Institute and Associate Professor Emeritus of Theology at Loyola University of Chicago, where he taught from 2010 to 2020. Before coming to Chicago he taught at Loyola University New Orleans from 1996 to 2010. Fr. Bernardi holds an Honors B.A. in Classical Languages from Xavier University (Cincinnati), an MA in Philosophy from the University of Detroit, a Master of Divinity from Regis College of the Toronto School of Theology, an STL from the Weston School of Theology with a thesis concerning soteriology, and a PhD in Systematic Theology from the Catholic University of America. His areas of interest include modern Christian thought; John Henry Newman, Maurice Blondel, and the Renewal of Catholic Theology; Theology of Vatican II; Christology & Soteriology. He is the author of Maurice Blondel, Social Catholicism and Action Française: The Clash over the Church’s Role in Society During the Modernist Era (CUA Press, 2009).  His most recent scholarly publications are "Blondel, Maurice (1861–1949)" in the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers (2020), "Louis Cardinal Billot, S.J. (1846–1931): Thomist, Anti-Modernist, Integralist" in the Journal of Jesuit Studies 8 (2021): 585-616, and "Maurice Blondel's diagnosis of extrinsicist 'Monophorism': An enduring critique of Christian Integralism," in Pesando-Revista de Filosofia. Vol 13, No 30 (2022) Dossie Maurice Blondel, 100-113.

Father John Kartje was appointed as rector/president of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in 2015. A native of East Chicago, Indiana, Father Kartje was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2002. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 1987 from the University of Chicago. In 1995, the University of Chicago’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics conferred a Ph.D. degree on Father Kartje. In addition, he earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of America’s Department of Biblical Studies in 2010. Father Kartje has served as a faculty member at both the seminary and the Institute for Priestly Formation since 2009. He previously served as the director and chaplain of the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University from 2009 to 2013, at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Washington, D.C. from 2004 to 2009, and as associate pastor at St. Benedict Parish in Chicago from 2002 to 2004