Catholic teaching recognizes the complementarity of faith and reason.
As Catholics, we believe our faith is rational, and not in conflict with the material world around us. We believe combining faith and reason connects the most vital components of our human experience.
Reason is a gift God gives us to interpret and understand the material world and be proper stewards of its resources. It requires us to ask questions and seek answers. It has the capacity to create a foundation for our faith, and faith and reason together can illuminate our lives through the decisions we make that apply their unique power.
This teaching extends to our daily personal lives as well as to the public arena, where decisions directly affect the common good.
The history of our commitment to the relationship of faith and reason is extensive and spans centuries. It has created remarkable achievements in the realms of physical, natural and social science, technology, medicine, law and education. Applying the combination to human challenges advanced the pursuit of both and created the framework for a more just and humane society. Their integration helped us better honor our obligation to one other, particularly the marginalized and defenseless.
Examples in more recent history continue to reveal the power of faith and reason in defense of the vulnerable, as positions taken in the pro-life arena as a moral obligation of our faith, for example, are grounded in scientific evidence.
Today, a commitment to the gifts of faith and reason is as relevant as ever. They are a measure of God’s love for us and utilizing both, together, can elevate our contribution to the public debate. The combination can insure human progress while preserving protections for the lives and dignity of all.