Fides et Ratio colloquium held

by Bro. Ioannes Arong

Baguio City—With either one of them missing, “both faith and reason would become impoverished.”

This was how Prof. Mark Joseph Calano summed up the contents of the papal encyclical “Fides et Ratio” (Faith and Reason) during a lecture he delivered at Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary mini-theater last Sept. 14, 2018.

“Faith and reason are needed together,” said Prof. Calano, a full-time faculty member of the Ateneo de Manila University. “You cannot dispense one and choose the other” — an error, he added, which is committed by contemporary thinkers.

The lecture, organized by the Office of the Dean of Studies and Senior High School Principal, was held on the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the publication of the encyclical by St. John Paul II which clarified once and for all the relationship between faith and reason in the pursuit of truth.

The professor said contemporary philosophies are plagued by two (2) characteristic ailments: 1) excessive pessimism on the power of reason to attain the truth, and 2) emphasis on the limitation of the human knowing — the results of man’s setting aside faith and relying solely on his rational powers.

This was the reason why the Church had to intervene by coming up with the encyclical, he said.

“It is the duty of the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church to make clear when there is a confusing philosophical error that could destroy simple faith,” he said. He also added that it’s a pity nowadays that “there are a lot of highly educated people yet poorly educated in faith.”

He said in Catholicism, truth isn’t simply an idea. “The fullness of the truth is the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the answer to all philosophical inquiries, yet this is based on our faith, and faith can’t satisfy the mind. Only reason does,” he said.

Left on its own, however, the mind will wander far from the truth and will not comprehend transcendental truths otherwise it could not fathom on its own — the very thing which is happening in philosophy today.

“It is faith that sheds light on reason so that it can remain on the right track towards truth.” Therefore, he said, it is necessary that faith and reason go hand in hand in the philosophical enterprise, citing the first sentence of the encyclical which goes: “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of the truth.”

To drive home the point, Prof. Calano even cited the experience of St. Augustine in his search for the truth. He said that even if Augustine was filling his head with reasons from Cicero and the Neoplatonics, he didn’t arrive at the truth without the faith of Monica and Ambrose.

Dr. Danilo Alterado, a philosophy professor of Saint Louis University, in his reaction to the lecture, said that in the postmodern era, the truth is no longer universal but relative. This heightens the culture of disbelief, he said, so that philosophy, succumbing to the impossibility of knowledge, reverts back to skepticism — a tragic contemporary phenomenon.

The encyclical, he added, recovers the sapiential dimension of the search for the truth by making as springboards of human inquiries — faith and reason.

The Seminary Dean of Studies and SHS Principal, Fr. Anthony Irineo, OAR, said John Paul II was prophetic when he released the encyclical 20 years ago, warning philosophy enthusiasts of the dangers of not integrating faith with reason in philosophizing.

He added that this year’s first year seminarians — the first batch who enrolls in the new curriculum — will have a subject called “Faith and Reason” wherein the encyclical will be used as the primary text of instruction. This was the result of the determination of the updated “Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis” (The Gift of the Priestly Vocation), a Vatican document meant to provide guidelines for the formation of priests and religious.

7 Friars make Solemn Profession amidst Typhoon Ompong

Mira-Nila Homes, QUEZON CITY— Despite the supertyphoon Ompong devastating the northern part of the Philippines, the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines celebrated the scheduled Solemn Profession of Vows of seven friars at the Our Lady of Consolation Parish last September 15, 2018. Those who made their definitive ‘yes’ to God and incorporation to the Order were: Fray Jorr Rabacal, OAR, Fray Benjamin Monday Edobor, OAR, Fray Maximillian Ifeanyichukwu Omem, OAR, Fray Jovy Gallego, OAR, Fray Andrie Pugate, OAR, Fray Tomokatsu Yamaguchi, OAR, and Fray Jessriel Marcha, OAR.

Presiding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the rite of of the Solemn Profession was Rev. Fr. Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR, Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno. Among the other concelebrating priests were Rev. Fr. Lauro Larlar, OAR, prior/rector of the Recoletos Formation Center, and Rev. Fr. Kenneth Joseph Onda, OAR, Master of the Professed. Two deacons, Rev. Keneth Pahamutang, OAR and Rev. Paul Demiliones, OAR, assisted in the altar.

In his homily, the Prior Provincial exhorted the candidates to recall their personal encounter with God and the moment they responded to His calling. Further, he admonished the candidates relative to the imminent challenges and difficulties lurking in their chosen path.  He also consoled them not to back out but persevere instead for they have the Word of God to depend on. Fr. Selma reminded them not to fear because God sends persons as instruments to guide us.” Delivering the message of gratitude on behalf of the newly-professed was Fray Tomokatsu Yamaguchi, OAR.

Prior to their solemn profession of vows, last September 13, 2018, the community of Recoletos Formation Center witnessed the Rite of Renunciation of these seven candidates.  Held at Sto. Thomas Villanova Chapel, the Rite of Renunciation was officiated by Rev. Fr. Lauro V. Larlar and Rev. Fr. Kenneth Joseph Onda, OAR who acted as the witness.  In the said ceremony, candidates answered the inquiry of impediments and publicly made the oath of renunciation before the community. The ceremony was then put into conclusion by Father Prior’s short exhortation and final blessing. (Fray Ramon Bitangcor, III, OAR)


Pre-Novices break through Farm Exposure

Alfonso, CAVITE—Ten Pre-Novices of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno completed their four-week Farm Exposure experience in Pililla, Rizal and Alfonso, Cavite on the 19th of July 2018.

Farm Exposure is one of the major activities of the Pre-Novitiate Program of St. Ezekiel Moreno Novitiate-Recoletos. It is considered as the commencement activity of the Pre-Novitiate stage of Formation. In this exposure, the formands are sent to Recoletos Farms, particularly in Pililla, Rizal and Alfonso, Cavite to work and assist the caretakers for four weeks. The formands here are left on their own, with no formators to watch over them, for them to practice and improved the more self-discipline, simplicity and community living. They are just given an accommodation, a weekly budget and the rest relies on how they spend it and find ways for their sustenance. This scenario is also obliged for them to develop basic household and labor skills.

In this year’s Farm Exposure, the Pre-Novices were sent to Pililla, Rizal from June 21-28, 2018, and Alfonso, Cavite from July 1-19, 2018. The Pre-Novices themselves admitted that this, once-upon-experience for a Formand, is indeed a “worth-it experience” since it really contributed much in their Physical and Human formation. This is considered as one of those which contributed the essence of Pre-Novitiate Life that without which, the Formation of Pre-Novices will not be complete. Farm Exposure has already been part of the Formation of the OAR Formands in the Philippines for two decades and counting already. (Br. Joseph Neil E. Baygan)