Servants of the truth

Discourse of Pope John Paul II to members of the Ammerican Philospohical Society and the Italian 'Accademia dei Lincei', 21 May 1996

The quest for knowledge, which includes philosophical reflection on the deeper meaning of reality, is as important today as ever it was. Knowledge is the lamp which enlightens the path of our human journey. In fulfilling her mission on behalf of the human family, the Church is a willing partner in that deep and respectful dialogue between science and faith which makes us all servants of the truth which sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32).

In an age marked by an unprecedented explosion of scientific and technological knowledge, the old ideal of striving for the unification of knowledge by reconciling all the elements of truth obtainable from the natural, human and sacred sciences no longer seems feasible. Nevertheless, if a simple synthesis of present-day knowledge is unthinkable, there remains the task of pursuing a necessary integration of knowledge, in order to avoid the pitfalls of a too pragmatic fragmentation and over-specialization and, most importantly, to offer the possibility of a truly human culture, a genuine "humanitas". By defending and upholding the essential value of rational discourse on all aspects of reality, you effectively contribute to man's search for understanding, wisdom and ultimate meaning.

Text from L'Osservatore Romano, 22 May 1996, p.2. Web publishing, with permission, by the Newman Center at California Institute of Technology

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