Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 (202) 541-3250


 This material
 may not
 be published,
 rewritten or
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

 CNS Story:

VATICAN-PHILOSOPHY Mar-22-2011 (360 words) With photos. xxxi

Vatican says church philosophy studies must combat suspicion of truth

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski talks about new norms for the ecclesiastical studies of philosophy. (CNS/Alessandro Serrano, Catholic Press Photo)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When training priests and educating students in philosophy, the Catholic Church must combat a widespread sensation that there really is no such thing as permanent, objective truths, a new Vatican document said.

Because so many students are influenced by the cultural suspicion of truth, the Vatican said it will require an extra year of study before a student can earn a church-recognized bachelor's degree in philosophy.

The "Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy," released March 22 at the Vatican, updated norms issued in 1979. The decree was signed and presented by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

The decree's introduction said the reform is needed primarily because of a shift in the cultural understanding of "the concept of truth. In fact, there is often mistrust in the capacity of human intelligence to arrive at objective and universal truth -- a truth by which people can give direction to their lives."

The document said people must realize that unless there is such a thing as truth, there is no such thing as real charity or love.

The study of philosophy helps people recognize the importance of human reason and helps them hone the ability to reason in order to discern the truth, the document said. At the same time, philosophy studies prepare them for the study of theology by helping them see that knowledge and truth are not limited to what they can see and touch, it said.

The new document sets a minimum of three years of philosophy studies -- instead of two -- for an ecclesiastical bachelor's degree in philosophy. The second degree, a license that allows a graduate to teach in a seminary, continues to be a two-year program after the bachelor's, and a doctoral program must include at least three years of additional research, it said.

The decree also included a broad outline of what must be taught in the bachelor's program; a brief explanation of the philosophy study needed before studying theology; and requirements such as the number of professors a department must have before the Vatican will recognize it as an ecclesiastical faculty of philosophy.


Copyright (c) 2011 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250