Faith-Reason Harmony Praised in Duns Scotus

Pope Recalls Franciscan Theologian on 7th Centennial of Death

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 22, 2008 ( Benedict XVI is proposing the Franciscan theologian Blessed John Duns Scotus as a model for believers and nonbelievers alike, due to his search for harmony between faith and reason.

Scotus, who died in 1308, was the subject of a papal letter sent in October to Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, where the theologian was born. The Holy Father’s statement was sent on the occasion of a conference on the theologian held in November. The Latin-language letter was made public Saturday.

The Pontiff referred to Scotus, currently in the process of canonization, as the «subtle doctor» who, «associating piety with scientific investigation, with his refined and deeply penetrating ingenuity into the secrets of natural and revealed truth, became a light and example for the entire Christian people.»

«Firm in the Catholic faith, he labored to understand, explain and defend the truths of faith in the light of human reason,» the Pope continued. «He labored especially to demonstrate the consonance of natural and supernatural truths, which emanate from the same source.»

Benedict XVI emphasized both the theologian’s fidelity and submission to the magisterium and his love for the Virgin Mary — he was one of those who defended the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Holy Father also noted Blessed Scotus’ concept of theology as «more like contemplation than speculation.»

Scotus, he said, was a «great preacher of God as love,» a truth that «should be delved into and taught especially in our times.»

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