“Catholic communion is the true life according to reason, in the sense that it makes present, in the most comprehensive way in which an earthly life can, the (enfleshed) Reason ‘through’ whom ‘all things were created.’”
1. Whose Realism? Which Rationality?2
What is the proof that it is reasonable to believe the Church’s teaching concerning Christ, along with everything else bound up with it? The main proof—the quintessence of every individual proof—is the Church itself. Hence the thesis suggested by the title of my article: Catholic communion is itself the true life according to reason.3
What does it mean to be reasonable? How we answer this question depends on how we answer a prior one: What does it mean to be realistic? This is not just an anthropological question, but a metaphysical one as well: What is to ontôs on, what is the “really real”?
Modernity claims, implicitly or explicitly, that the good doesn’t constitute the really real as such.4 Rather, the really real is initially indifferent to the good, which is added to the really real at a later date, some time after its initial constitution—in the form of man’s own self-given purposes.5 In this sense, George Grant (following Heidegger) is right to call technology the “ontology of the age,"6 the (tendentially) encompassing “package deal” in which we understand and live our lives.7
Grant’s account of technology as an ontological “package deal” helps us understand why we—committed Catholic intellectuals—have such difficulty actually convincing any modern non-believers that Catholicism is true. For, Grant suggests, we may (think we) think as Christians explicitly, but implicitly we largely think as technologists. The problem with what we say has its root in a problem with the logos of the Lebensform in which we say it.
Put another way, general reflections about the relationship between faith and reason, or academic engagements with this or that modern thinker, will lack any real power to convince (even ourselves) if they do not emanate from, and bear witness to, and become part of, the radiant integrity of a form of life that turns what we do with and in our bodies, in our immediate neighborhood, into a living proof that, in Christ, “all things stand together in being” (Col 1:17).
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