In his beautiful reflection on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition given at Regensburg, Pope Benedict affirms the “profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the Biblical understanding of faith in God.” He points to this “profound harmony” at work in the beginning of John’s Gospel. “In the beginning was the logos.” This logos, he explains, “means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason.” The Catholic Tradition, then, affirms that the independence of human reason, in its will to embrace truth according to the inherent logic of its various modes of understanding, is essential to the response that God desires from man. By giving his own reason to us, not as simple authority or power, but “precisely as reason,” God reveals his desire to relate to human understanding, not as a master to a slave, but as a partner in the action of truth.
By implication, the ways of knowing inherent in the Western Intellectual Tradition – poetic, philosophic, theological – have an essential calling to develop as independent disciplines co-equal in the action of truth. Only when the reason is free to question, to doubt, and to engage the truth according to its natural order will Faith become that dialogue of mutual love and understanding to which God invites his creature. The precious dignity of human things is protected, then, when properly situated within the context of the Catholic Faith. And it is precisely that protection of human dignity which gives the University of Dallas its unique beauty among universities today. Its dedication to inquiring into the divine order of creation and history as reason fosters the reading of poetry as poetry, of philosophy as philosophy, and affirms the distinct and precious mode of each of the liberal arts without which no human life can be complete. I hope to pursue my study in the IPS program, then, because with Pope Benedict I believe that only by entering into free and independent dialogue, with God and with each other, can we realize his commandment to love.