University of Surrey Catholic Chaplaincy
Catholics have been tackling philosophical and theological problems for hundreds of years, and the methods and institutions founded and developed by them, including universities, dialectic inquiry, logic and the scientific method, form the bedrock of modern academia.

Influential Christian thinkers have been around since Christianity's very earliest days. St Paul and St Peter wrote letters explaining the Faith to the early Christians, and these are treated as divinely inspired by all Christian denominations. However, there were dozens of highly significant thinkers in the first few centuries AD that don't appear in the New Testament - these are called the Church Fathers. They include St Jerome, who translated the entire Bible into Latin, the common language of the time; St Augustine of Hippo; St Ambrose; Pope St Gregory the Great, and Tertullian. This period saw a transition from pagan thought to the nascent Christian faith. St Augustine was particularly important; his book City of God marked the end of Roman paganism, and he wrote several books that informed Catholic theology in the following centuries.

As the only structure in Western Europe that survived the fall of the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church became the guardian of knowledge and learning. Throughout the dark ages, the Church maintained libraries and the knowledge of reading and writing. Monks were highly literate, and before the invention of the printing press had the vitally important role of scribes for both religious and secular purposes.

In the 13th century, the Greek classics became available again to the West, which greatly expanded the intellectual horizon of the time. With the new learning came the development of a scientific method (Roger Bacon, William of Ockham, Albertus Magnus), and the works of Euclid were an example of mathematical reasoning from first principles. Armed with these ideas, theologians such as St Thomas Aquinas and St Bonaventure sought out the foundations of the Catholic Faith, and their reasoned approach to faith informs the Catholic Church to this day. For all of these scholars, faith and reason were perfectly harmonious: reason informs faith and faith guides reason, since both come from the same search for Truth.

Some helpful links:

Beauty in Education
Fr Ray Blake
Papal Encyclicals
The Catholic Thing
The Faith Movement
The Hermeneutic of Continuity
Second Spring
The Vatican
What does the Prayer Really Say



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The Roman Catholic Chaplaincy to the University of Surrey is provided by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton
The Arundel and Brighton Trust is a Registered Charity No. 252878

This website was last updated on 9th October 2015