Reason and Faith
Since a fundamental tension between the processes of thought and the living of life, between the critical reason and the metaphysical security on which meaningful endeavor depends, may be present below the level of consciousness even in the best adjusted representative of a culture, it is not surprising to find this tension active in the context of Catholic life. Since the Church is, on one level, a human society (and it is only with that level that we are concerned throughout this study), it is inevitable that it should participate in the tensions and ambiguities of the culture in which it lives. Yet the context of Catholic life does add a new element to the general problem. For the Catholic intellectual the tension arises in a specific form, one which is to be found in every period of history and in every country. In our examination of book legislation we saw one of its obvious expressions. We must now pursue the specific Catholic aspects of the question further.
The central question with regard to the Catholic intellectual may be put in this way: Is there, for the Catholic intellectual, a conflict between reason and faith?
In the nineteenth century the prejudicial notion became common among scientists that one could not be both a Christian and a scientist; and certainly a man who was a scientist of note and a Catholic, like Pasteur, or a scientist and an orthodox Protestant sectary, like the elder Gosse,