New guidelines for seminary studies in philosophy
March 22, 2011
The Vatican has issued new guidelines for the teaching of philosophy to seminary students.
At a March 22 press conference in Rome, officials of the Congregation for Catholic Education explained the new Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy. The decree modifies three articles of Sapientia Christiana, the apostolic constitution on the same topic by Pope John Paul II.
The reform—the product of a process that began in 2004—was an effort by the Vatican to address “shortcomings in philosophical formation at many ecclesiastical institutions,” said Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
Another factor, the cardinal said, was the argument advanced by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Fides et Ratio, which stresses the role of metaphysics in the study of philosophy. That encyclical, Cardinal Grocholewski said, helped to nurture an “awareness that philosophy is indispensable for theological formation.” He explained that the key point is to pursue the “original” goal of philosophy: “the search for truth and its sapiental and metaphysical dimension.” Bishop Jean-Louis Brugues, the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, added that the reform calls for adding to the curriculum a course in logic, and emphasizing the study of metaphysics.
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