November 4, 2009.
Pope Benedict XVI continues the discussion over the debate on faith versus reason during the general audience.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we continue our comparison of the monastic and scholastic approaches to theology which we began last week, by looking again at Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, this time in comparison with Abelard. Both of them considered theology as "faith seeking understanding"; but whereas Bernard placed the accent of "faith", Abelard emphasized "understanding". Bernard, for whom the aim of theology was to have a living experince of God, cautioned against intellectual pride which makes us think we can grasp fully the mysteries of faith. Abelard, who strove to apply the insights of philosophy to theology, saw in other religions the seeds of an openness to Christ. The respective approached of Bernard and Abelard-one a "theology of the heart" and the other a "theology of reason"-were not without tension. They therfore illustrate the importance of healhty theological discussion and humble obedience to ecclesial authority. Theology must respect the principles it received from revelation as it uses philosophy to interpret them. Whenever a theological dispute arises, everyon, and in a particular way the Magisterium, has a responsibility to safeguard the integrityof the faith. As we strive to deeepend our understanding of the Gospel, may God strengthen us to extol its truth in charity.
I am pleased to welcome the English-speaking pilgrims present at today's Audience. I particularly greet priests from the dioceses of England and Wales celebrating Jubiless, pilgrims from the Diocese of Wichita, students and teachers from Catholic schools in Denmark, and Catholic nurses from the United States. God's blessings upon you all!