I’ll raise John this speech, wherein Pope Benedict explores the relationship between faith, reason, and the “dialogues of culture.” I disagree (significantly) with his pointing at the Reformation as the problem in Western Civilization, but this quote gives me chills:
We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.
Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions.
Pope Benedict is both subtle and convinced that theology can provide knowledge of reality. And as the article John pointed us to indicates, he’s even willing to posit that the reality that theology accesses can actually transform the world.