Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or FrBMullady@aol.com
This course explains why modern European ideas both within and outside the Catholic Church have led to the conclusion that faith is contrary to reason; examines the relationship of theology, the science of faith, to reason, emphasizing why theology is the queen of the sciences identifying its nature and method; and shows the nature of the act of faith itself and how it relates to other kinds of human knowledge.
You will need to listen to the audio lectures assigned for each week. The corresponding Internet lecture notes refer to the audio lectures. You should compare the topics with the notes and the assigned texts when preparing your discussion board posts and 3-page papers and when studying for your final exam.
Choose one question from any of the lessons 1-4 and post a 300-word response. Also, post a 50-word response to the post of one of your classmates.
Paper Topic: How does the solution of the St. Thomas to the problem of the natural desire to see God touch the doctrine of the necessity of revelation for human fulfillment and its relationship to both the Catholic theology and European philosophy of the last 400 years?
Paper Topic: Explain the correct understanding of the formal and material object of theology and how this relates to the methodology of this science
Choose one question from any of the lessons 10-13 and post a 300-word response. Also, post a 50-word response to the post of one of your classmates
The course requires in addition to the final that you write and send me three papers. These papers are to be three pages, double-spaced, 12-point font (New Times Roman or Arial is fine). Footnotes or end notes should be used, plus a Title page at the beginning. Proper academic format should be used. The page limit is important in your practicing the succinct presentation of your arguments, so do make the effort to stay within this parameter. Though the MLA Style Sheet and Chicago Manual of Style permit parenthesis and short references within the text, I want you to use foot or endnotes as this is an academic paper.
Please send in either Microsoft Word or Rich Text format to: FrBMullady@aol.com.
The audio lectures and notes should be clear enough for the papers. What you are to demonstrate on these papers is that you have understood the material presented by the professor. It would be good to quote from either lectures or notes.
If you do not receive word from me that I received your paper within a few days of your sending it, I did not get it. If you do not get the corrected paper back within a week, or I did not remember to attach it, please advise me. If you cannot make the deadline, please inform me of the reason. The study questions at the end of the lessons are for the purpose of both private study and creating a distance learning community experience.
The required reading for this class may be found in the notes: under the Course Documents tab on the left you will find the Lessons, Lesson Reviews, and Review Questions.
Two voluntary discussion areas have been made available to you in this course:
Water Cooler - this is for you to communicate with your fellow students about personal and spiritual matters not related to the course. I will not monitor this forum, so feel free to discuss anything important to you but to also not place items needing my response in this forum.
General Discussion - this is for course-related discussion. You may post questions about the materials and topics, your thoughts and comments about the course concepts, etc. Be sure to respond to the postings of your fellow students, the same, as you would do in a traditional classroom. I will monitor this forum, but please do not expect me to comment on all postings.
Do please use the General Discussion forum for all course-related questions that you would like to ask of me, for if you have a question, chances are some of your fellow students have the same question and will be able to join in the response. You may also contact me directly as I do not check the General Discussion every day. Specific personal questions regarding your grades, extensions for due dates, and private matters should be sent to me in an email: FrBMullady@aol.com. Questions regarding the manner and method of the final exam should be addressed to Bob Mish in the distance learning office: email@example.com. I will do my best to respond to you within 48-hours, but as noted below, I may be out-of-range of Internet access for several days at a time.
In addition to the two general discussion areas, three required discussion forums, designed to correspond to the three papers this course requires, have been created for the purpose of assignment submission and peer review. Within each module, you are to choose one question from among the lessons offered in that period and post a 300-word response in the designated container. You are also to pick one answer to a question posted by one of your classmates and write a 50-word response to that answer. This may be done by Saturday midnight following the deadline on the 300-word post. I will monitor and comment once on all the questions and answers, and this should help you to orient your mind to the material within the module as you begin the process of writing your papers.
Faith and Revelation – CDs by Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P. ($100)
All of Fr. Brian Mullady’s CD’s must be order directly from the Rosary Center. Please order your materials before the course begins to allow time for delivery. The contact information is as follows:
Rosary Center at Phone: +1(503)236-8393
The general website is www.rosary-center.org
PO Box 3617, Portland, OR 97208 USA
Note: If you are ordering CD’s for the course Introduction to Theology, please order the CD’s label Faith and Revelation.
All the resources but two should be available for free on the Internet.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae I,1 and 12; II-II, 1-9; Summa Contra Gentiles, I, cc 1-10; III, cc 25-63; Vatican II, Dei Verbum; John Paul II, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason.
Thomas Aquinas, Faith, Reason and Theology, Translated with introduction and notes by Armand Maurer. MST 32. 1987. xxxviii, 127 pp. ISBN 978–0–88844–282–6 ($10.95); see http://www.pims.ca/publications/catalogue1.html for ordering details; and (2) Brian Mullady, Man’s Desire for God, ISBN is: 978-1403399342 ($12.50) on Amazon.com.
(Basis of evaluation with explanation regarding the nature of the assignment and the percentage of the grade assigned to each item below)
A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 D 60-69; F 59 and below
The primary problem of this course is nature and purpose of both divine revelation and faith. There is knowledge besides reason which is necessary for the fulfillment of man. Both Scripture and philosophy affirm this conclusion.
The Book of Genesis is clear that the supernatural order breathes through creation as is seen in the first few verses where the Father is God, the Son speaks, and the Holy Spirit is the source of its goodness. The Gospel according to St. John completes this scenario by proclaiming that The Word was in the beginning and this Word is at the origin and fulfillment of the whole human race. Adam and Eve were created in the state of grace and so had a pure faith by which they experienced intimacy with God. The Original Sin ends this but not the necessity of the intimate experience with God.
Aristotle noticed the same truth. In his Metaphysics, he makes clear that the first philosophers wondered about the causes of the world. They had a intuition of the truth that this cause was one. But because they were materialists, they assigned this cause to something material. As philosophers progressed, they realized that nothing material can be the explanation for all things. This cause must be spiritual. Moreover, the desire of all men to know cannot be stilled by merely knowing God as the cause of the world. The mind seeks to penetrate to his essence and man cannot be stilled until the essence of God is known. The supernatural order is essential for human perfection.
How does the book of Genesis point to the necessity of revelation and faith for man? How does Aristotle in his Metaphysics make the point that there is knowledge besides reason necessary for human fulfillment?
Aristotle said that the first philosophers wondered at the causes of the world and this led them to try to discover the ultimate explanation for all things. They first tried the material cause, but his could not explain things completely. Then there were drawn by the truth to posit the final purpose of cause for the world and finally the efficient, but these too were insufficient to explain all motions. It was only when they happened on the formal cause that the explanation because clear. There is a being which does not depend on matter for its existence of definition and is not composed of matter and form or act and potency which is the origin of the whole cosmos. Aristotle was clear that the mind of man has a dynamism which cannot be stilled with just knowing about the existence of this cause. The essence of the cause must be known also which cannot happen by human power or in this life. There must then be other kinds of knowledge besides reason which are necessary for human perfection of the intellect.
St. Thomas enumerates four kinds of human knowledge of God. They are: confused knowledge which the whole human race has without investigation; reason, which is the knowledge enjoyed by the philosophers; faith- which is knowledge of the Trinity supernaturally induced by grace; and glory, which is the knowledge of God in which we finally see him in the face in heaven. Grace is necessary for the latter two types and it is only in these that man can find his ultimate fulfillment.
The presence of grace is also the touchstone which divides the various states of human nature enjoyed by men. They are: Integral nature, enjoyed by Adam and Eve before the sin when they had grace but no sin; Fallen nature, which is the nature the human race is in now after the sin unredeemed; Redeemed nature, which is that enjoyed by Christians in the state of grace; and Glorified nature, which is that enjoyed by human beings in heaven.
Explain how the first philosophers little by little advanced to the knowledge of God using the four causes. What are the four kinds of knowledge of God? Explain the four states of human nature.
European philosophy for the last three hundred years has basically reduced faith to sentiment and completely unseated the necessity of knowledge to that of reason for human fulfillment. This began with the divorce of the senses from the intellect in Descartes and a “turn to the subject” as the origin of truth. It was strengthened in the Enlightenment by three basic movements: rationalism, romanticism and Kantianism. Kantianism is still with us today.
According to the rationalists, God was so perfect that he could not create a world less perfect than himself so this was the “best of all possible worlds”. As a result, God imparted human reason to man which was basically the same as his reasoning. The more man could discover and control the universe, the less need he had for God. Human reason became exalted as the only true and perfect human knowledge and faith was relegated to the medieval world of superstition and darkness.
When human reason could not solve the problem of evil, thinkers turned to the sentiments. Reason became the enemy to the divine spark of intuitive feeling in man. When man could get in touch with his feelings, this again made him perfect. All exterior restraints to sentiment were looked upon as alien to the human spirit. Again, there was no supernatural knowledge necessary for human perfection and if one did posit faith, it was just sentiment.
Kant bridged the two schools of thought. He affirmed human reason but thought investigation through the senses insufficient to discover all the truth. In fact, there were no universal truths in the world as such. In this he agreed with rationalism up to a point. Still, as a pious man, he was certain there were spiritual realities and absolute truths. He reformed thinking by reducing these to sentiment and basically saying that man’s feelings created the absolute truths of the world. He interpreted faith as without content and just a feeling of dependence on the Supreme Being whose nature was merely a projection of human need. Again, there was no need for a further knowledge than human reason and sentiment.
Discuss the problem of rationalism with the necessity and nature of faith and revelation. Discuss the problem of romanticism with the necessity and nature of faith and revelation. Discuss the problem of Kant with the necessity and nature of faith and revelation.
A similar difficulty is found in the development of Catholic theology since the Renaissance. The primary source of this problem is the famous commentary of Cardinal Cajetan on the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas in which he examines the possibility of the relation of man to the vision of God and so to grace and faith. According to him, man could hypothetically have been completely fulfilled in a state of pure nature with only knowing God through reason. Thus faith and grace are not absolutely necessary to human nature given the nature of human powers. They become necessary because man is created in grace. This was because he placed the natural desire in the will and thought God would be forced by justice to give man grace if there were a natural desire to see God.
In the 20th century, a number of theologians expressed great dissatisfaction with this solution which is philosophically impossible. The principal ones among these were DeLubac and Rahner. Rahner tried to resolve this question by making a further distinction between nature and grace with a third condition called the supernatural existential intervening in which man would be ordered to grace as an individual. This begs the question of nature and implodes nature as a universal idea since he did not think you could define nature without grace. Again these thinkers were very nominalistic, not affirming real universals and placing the natural desire in the will.
In fact, St. Thomas has a long discussion of the natural desire to see God culminating in six arguments drawn from reason alone. Man’s creation in the state of grace is not mentioned and the desire is placed in the intellect, not the will. It is a metaphorical desire. St. Thomas’ doctrine can be summarized in his sentence, “Man is called to an end by nature which he cannot attain by nature but only by grace and that because of the exalted character of the end.” This natural desire of reason demands another source of knowledge and experience of knowing than human reason for human fulfillment which is revelation and faith.
Explain the problem of Cajetan and the hypothetical state of pure nature for the necessity and nature of revelation and faith. What are the six arguments for the natural desire to see God and where is it found? Explain the problem of Rahner with the necessity and nature of revelation and faith. Why is the affirmation of the natural desire so important for the necessity and nature of faith and revelation?
Every science is divided into a formal and material object of the study of a specific aspect of the world. The material object is what the science is about. For example, ethics is about human actions. The formal object is the light under which the thing being examined is known. For example, ethics is known under the light of human reason.
Since in Kant, God became a projection of human need, the modern science of faith begins with man, the subject. The science then seeks to examine what human needs are fulfilled by God. The only objectivity there is concerns the attempt to define human need itself. But there is no necessary objective being which man must discover who is higher than himself. Man rather creates the Supreme Being by needing it.
The study of religion is changed from an examination of propositions about a person, to an examination of the human values which demand the expressions of truth found in the articles of the Creed. The articles of any given creed are largely immaterial provided that man is having his need to depend on a higher power met. Theology is anthropology; the study of God is the study of man and human need and begins with him.
What is the formal and material object of a science? Explain the modern ideal of the material and formal object of the science of theology.
The tradition view of the nature and object of theology are quite different from the modern view. The material object of this science is God and the things of God and the light under which it is known is an objective light of revelation which comes directly from God and is necessary for us to arrive at heaven, or the direct knowledge of God. The proper response to this divine light is faith which is assent in the intellect caused by the movement of the will.
Theology is a true science because it involves ordered intellectual assent and inquiry. But it is a subalternate science in that it is a participation in a higher knowledge and receives its principals from that science. This is like music receives its principles from mathematics or architecture from geometry. That science is the knowledge of God the blessed have of him in heaven. Theology or the science of revelation teaches both truths for which revelation is absolutely necessary like the Trinity and those which revelation makes easier like the existence of God. The latter can and has been discovered by reason, but only by a few, with a mixture or error in their old age.
In philosophy one ascends to this knowledge of God and can only know God in a limited way. In theology one begins with God and descends to know the world as God knows it. They both teach many of the same truths but from a different point of view. Reason cannot conflict with faith. Theology is thus the queen of the sciences both because of its subject matter which is the noblest, God and the source of its certainty which is God’s revealing who can neither deceive nor be deceived.
What is the difference in the traditional idea of the material and formal object of theology and the modern one? Why does St. Thomas call theology a subalternate science? What is the difference between the truths taught and the manner of teaching in philosophy and theology concerning God? Why can theology be truly called a science? Why is it the queen of the sciences?
The knowledge of theology depends on faith. In ordinary human knowledge we derive knowledge from sense experience and the light of reason allows us to abstract on these experiences to enter into and share truly in the being of natural things. Faith perfects both these experiences. The light of God from revelation strengthens the light received from the senses and goes beyond it and the union we experience is with the persons of the Trinity through this light. We experience a real objective union and elevation of our nature to know as God knows and to love as God loves within our nature.
Faith then is the beginning of our salvation and must be perfected in the other two theological virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The knowledge of reason, though true, is insufficient for man to fulfill his soul and there must be another science besides philosophy and knowledge of God for man to be complete. The prime revelation of Christ and by the assent of faith one participates in the person of Christ and through that in the other persons of the Trinity. Knowing him through faith does not still our love and desire for him and for the vision of God, but is the origin of that love and sets it on fire even more. Reason demands faith, faith demands vision.
Why is faith a proper response to revelation? What sort of union do we have as a result of the assent of faith? How is faith a preparation for the vision of God’s essence? How does faith strengthen the human intellect in its quest for science?
Since the light under which theology is known is divine revelation, theology properly studies all things which fall under divine revelation. Unlike philosophy which is limited in its matter to a certain individual type of being, theology covers everything in the cosmos as God knows it. Since its matter is also God and the things of God, God is seen as the primary analogate for everything treated in this science. This science is nobler than other sciences both regarding its subject matter which is God and its certitude which comes from divine revelation and God revealing who can neither deceive nor be deceived. This science is not practical in the sense that its purpose is not being as done. It is rather a speculative science as it is sought for its own sake. Of course, there are practical fruits of the study of theology, especially in morals, but it is not judged by its practice. The modern tendency to replace orthodoxy of knowing with proper practice as witnessed in liberation theology is not the traditional idea of theology. Theology is distinguished from the gift of wisdom because in itself this gift does not involve an ordered study. Still, theology is generally wisdom in the sense that all of reality is viewed from God’s point of view which is the most correct way of understanding it since it results from his knowledge.
Is theology the study of all things? What provides the unity of its subject matter? Is it speculative or practical? Is theology wisdom?
There can be no proper definition of God. In theology some effect of God by nature or grace is employed in place of the definition. There are motives of credibility like miracles to give us a certain reason for holding a proposition. Theology is about propositions but more about persons. It is inadequate to play off persons against propositions as the propositions. Theology as a science makes use of syllogistic reasoning only unlike regular science it begins with the conclusion from faith and seeks to discover the middle term which allows the conclusion to be true. As the object of faith is something we can never exhaust since it is infinite, the discussion of the middle term is very open-ended. The only thing one cannot do is deny the conclusion. Since the conclusion comes from faith, authority is the strongest argument in theology. Scripture and Tradition which came before Scripture are the primary authorities in this science. The Magisterium or the Pope and the Pope together with the bishops are the authentic servants of both Scripture and Tradition. Theology also makes use of metaphors because men come to truths through the senses and if one can find a comparison for deep truths with sense experience, they are more accessible to human beings.
As a science, does theology make use of syllogisms? Which is the strongest argument, reason or authority in theology and how does this differ from philosophy? What are the primary authorities in theology? Does theology use metaphor?
Faith is the essence of things unseen, the substance of things to be hoped for. The formal object is the first truth itself; the material object is God and the things of God. Because we can never exhaust all there is to know about God and because knowledge of his own inner nature is a grace, the object of knowledge in faith is never completely known to us to make it our own. As a result, faith is the only kind of scientific knowledge which must be found in both the intellect and the will. The intellect assents because the will is drawn to the person revealing as giving true testimony. Faith without love is dead then, though there can be no divine love without faith.
Doubt is when one has equal reason to affirm or deny two contrary propositions. Faith is not like this as one affirms one. Opinion is when one affirms one proposition but with fear the other one may be true. Faith affirms with certainty. Science occurs when one firmly holds a proposition but because the intellect is convinced by evidence. Faith is not like that because the evidence is inconclusive.
Since the intellect firmly assents in faith because the will moves it to, and the object is never totally understood, the intellect and will run together and assent though it give certainly does not put an end to discourse.
What are the formal and material objects of the act of faith? In which powers is faith found and why? Distinguish between doubt, opinion, ordinary human science and faith. Why do assent and discourse run together in faith with assent not putting an end to discourse?
Faith is defined as: the habit of mind by which eternal life begins within us and makes our intellect assent to things which are not evident. In this definition one can find all four of the causes and so it is an authentic definition.
Since the will spurred on by the motives of credibility is the source of the intellect’s assent, the will must be as perfect as the intellect. For this reason, charity is necessary for the fullness of the virtue of faith. Faith is also necessary for salvation as one cannot desire heaven unless one knows about the truths of the mysteries of God and the means necessary to arrive there. The possibility of the salvation of those who are not Catholic is addressed by St. Paul under the rubric of implicit faith in Christ. The minimum one must believe to be saved is that God exists and that he rewards good deeds and punish wicked ones. More explicit faith is necessary depending on where one exists in the order and history of salvation. Also, God never condemns those who do what they can and so if the pagans and Jews are not responsible for their inability of have more explicit faith, then they cannot be condemned for it.
Define faith and explain the definition. Why is charity necessary for formed faith? Is faith necessary for salvation? What about the pagans and the Jews, are they cut off from salvation? Were they?
The document on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, is one of the two prime documents of Vatican II since it is a dogmatic constitution. Vatican II affirms the possibility of proving the existence of God from nature which the Catholic tradition has always affirmed. It also affirms that a further light is necessary which is God’s speech or divine revelation. Scripture and Tradition are equally the sources of knowing this revelation. The prime revealer and the prime revelation is Jesus Christ whose nature can be known only by faith.
The Magisterium is the servant of Scripture and Tradition and is necessary to interpret both which are equally sources of revelation. One cannot affirm one at the expense of the other. Vatican II also mandated more emphasis on the study of Scripture so that Catholics might participate more deeply in divine revelation. This study though must include more than the historical critical method which can be helpful to place the text of Scripture in its historical context. However, since it is based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, it begs the question that metaphysical knowledge is a part of the literal sense of Scripture. This is not Catholic and must be criticized.
According to Vatican II, what are the prime revealer and the prime revelation? Is faith merely an assent to propositions or union with a person or both? How do Scripture and Tradition relate to Revelation? What is the role of the Magisterium in relation to revelation? According to Cardinal Ratzinger, what is the basic problem with the form critical method for evaluating Holy Scripture?
Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.
Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.
In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own. At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.
Students, where applicable:
Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required, per the federal standards, to be in class three 50-minute sessions (or 2.5 hours a week) and prepare for class discussions six 50-minute sessions (or 5 hours) a week. Expect to devote at least nine 50-minute sessions (or 7.5 quality hours) a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.
An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.
To request an incomplete, distance-learning students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.
Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.
Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.
A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.
You may reach me at FrBMullady@aol.com. I am here to help you. You can contact me at any time, but I travel a lot because I have a new job preaching parish missions and retreats. Sometimes, I am not within plugging distance of the Internet (believe it or not, there are still places like that), so you may not be able to contact me for a few days. I only take care of the papers and grading the tests. For dates about tests and other things, please contact Bob Mish, the Distance Learning Coordinator for Holy Apostles.
Fr. Brian Thomas Becket Mullady, O.P., is the son of an Air Force officer and was raised throughout the United States. He entered the Dominican Order in 1966 and was ordained in Oakland, California, in 1972. He has been a parish priest, high school teacher, retreat master, mission preacher, and university professor. He received his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) from the Angelicum University in Rome, Italy and was professor there for six years. He has taught at several colleges and seminaries in the United States. He is an academician of the Catholic Academy of Science. He was most recently a Professor of Theology at Campion College in San Francisco. He is currently a mission preacher and retreat master for the Western Dominican Province. He also teaches two months of the year at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, CT. He has had five series on Mother Angelica's EWTN television network. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and writes the Answer column in Homiletic and Pastoral Review.
 Thomas Aquinas, In Boeth. De Trinitate, 6,4, ad 5.