No philosophical position has been more detrimental to the Catholic faith than that of rationalism, it has formed the minds of countless of human beings convincing their spirits of the futility of faith and of the obscurantism of religion. It can be argued, that, Plato was himself a rationalist, one who believed in the powers of reason and of its capacity to elevate beyond the world of the gods and of their reality. But from the point of view of Western civilization, of Christendom, that is, it is in actuality from the Protestant Reformation that rationalism took its impetus, originating a new attitude of religion that divorced faith from life, and human reason from the Magisterium. It has been the teaching of the faith, that, faith and reason are reconciled in the fusion between faith and life: as reason is the highest faculty of man, it necessitates faith in order to purify its vision from mental error and augment its capacity to see the essential, elevating its power to the realm of the Eternal, that spiritual sphere of reality where there exists no shadow, nor alteration caused by change. With rationalism, the human person seems to have arrived at mature age, no longer satisfied with the myth of religion, nor the story of spirituality, but rather, he seeks to comprehend the fact of nature and the purpose incarnate in sensible reality in order for the enlightenment of man and the assertion of the rights of the temporal condition of the human existence.
The period of the Enlightenment certainly reveals the triumph of man over Church and State, the revolutionary declaration of man’s right to pose as his own savior, his own person with natural rights and a dignity endowed as mentioned, by his Creator. But the century presents with the contradictory attempt to completely naturalize and secularize the Catholic Church, by assuming it into the machinery of the State and the eventual cult of the Supreme Being of Deism, Reason, that is responsible for the Masonic plan of world domination. The Enlightenment reveals the human disaffection for the religious element and the attempt to relegate all religious faith to a relic of the past, no longer fit for the present age, but rather, a contradictory force that actually holds back the forces of progress – for progress, that transposition of the Catholic belief in the spiritual purpose present within history into the temporal sphere, is in its essence, the faith of modernity, the certainty that man by divesting his being from the patrimony of religion can arrive at the final state of Civilization and the realizations of humanity in the bonds of common brotherhood and Peace. A century that evidences the lengths to which a reason separated from faith can take its revolutionary sentiment: the total deconstruction of society, faith, and morals and its reconstruction according to the natural canons of reason that recognizes no transcendent principle that would limit its power and hold it in check, but rather, it attempts in its Leviathan conquest for the will to power to unseat even all principles of authority.
Rationalism leads in the end, to the apostasy of reason, the limitation of its rational vision to the temporal condition, unaware as it is. of the existence of a more permanent world that in actuality, justifies its existence and its power and would provide for the bond of its unity. The rationalist seeks to explain every real phenomenon according to the natural powers of reason, as a result, he limits himself only to the sensible world, to that which can be quantified, dissected, and analyzed leaving aside, Divine Reason, that actually is the principle of all rationality.
“From the beginning, Christianity has understood itself as the religion of the Logos, as the religion according to reason… It has always defined men, all men without distinction, as creatures and images of God, proclaiming for them…the same dignity. In this connection, the Enlightenment is of Christian origin and it is no accident that it was born precisely and exclusively in the realm of the Christian faith….It was and is the merit of the Enlightenment to have again proposed these original values of Christianity and of having given back to reason its own voice… Today, this should be precisely [Christianity’s] philosophical strength, in so far as the problem is whether the world comes from the irrational, and reason is not other than a ‘sub-product,’ on occasion even harmful of its development—or whether the world comes from reason, and is, as a consequence, its criterion and goal…In the so necessary dialogue between secularists and Catholics, we Christians must be very careful to remain faithful to this fundamental line: to live a faith that comes from the Logos, from creative reason, and that, because of this, is also open to all that is truly rational.”
– Pope Benedict XVI