2011–Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy




I. The Current Situation

1. In her work of evangelizing the world, the Church follows attentively and discerningly the rapid cultural changes at work, which influence both her and society as a whole. Among the changes of the predominant culture, some particularly profound ones regard the concept of truth. In fact, there is often mistrust in the capacity of human intelligence to arrive at objective and universal truth – a truth by which people can give direction to their lives. Furthermore, the force of the human sciences, as well as the consequences of scientific and technological developments, stimulate new challenges for the Church.

2. With his Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, Pope John Paul II wished to emphasize the need for philosophy, so as to advance in the knowledge of the truth and to render earthly existence ever more human. In fact, philosophy “is directly concerned with asking the question of life’s meaning and sketching an answer to it.”[1] This question arises both from the wonder that man experiences in his encounter with others and with the cosmos, and from the painful and tragic experiences that assail his life. Philosophical knowledge, therefore, is seen as being “one of the noblest of human tasks.”[2]

II. The “Original Vocation” of Philosophy

3. Philosophical trends have multiplied in the course of history, showing the richness of the various rigorous, sapiential searches for truth. While ancient wisdom contemplated being from the perspective of the cosmos, patristic and medieval thought offered a deeper, purified vision, identifying the cosmos as the free creation of a God who is wise and good (cf. Wis 13,1-9; Acts17, 24-28). Modern philosophies have particularly emphasized human freedom, the spontaneity of reason, and its capacity to measure and dominate the universe. Recently, a certain number of contemporary schools of thought, being more sensitive to the vulnerability of our knowledge and our humanity, have focused their reflection on the mediating roles of language[3] and culture. Finally, moving beyond Western thought, how could one forget the numerous and sometimes remarkable efforts to understand man, the world and the Absolute made by different cultures, for example Asian and African cultures? This generous exploration of thought and language, however, must never forget that it is rooted in being. “The metaphysical element is the path to be taken in order to move beyond the crisis pervading large sectors of philosophy at the moment, and thus to correct certain mistaken modes of behaviour now widespread in our society.”[4] From this perspective, philosophers are invited energetically to reclaim philosophy’s “original vocation”:[5] the search for truth, and its sapiential and metaphysical characteristic.

4. Wisdom considers the first and fundamental principles of reality, and seeks the ultimate and fullest meaning of life, thus allowing it to be “the decisive critical factor which determines the foundations and limits of the different fields of scientific learning”, as well as “the ultimate framework of the unity of human knowledge and action, leading them to converge towards a final goal and meaning.”[6]The sapiential characteristic of philosophy implies its “genuinely metaphysicalrange, capable, that is, of transcending empirical data in order to attain something absolute, ultimate and foundational in its search for truth”,[7] even if only gradually known through the course of history. In fact, metaphysics, i.e. first philosophy, deals with being and its attributes, and, in this way, raises itself up to the knowledge of spiritual realities, seeking the First Cause of all.[8] Nevertheless, to emphasize its sapiential and metaphysical characteristic must not be understood as concentrating exclusively on the philosophy of being, inasmuch as all the different areas of philosophy are necessary for a knowledge of reality. Indeed, for each area, the proper field of study and the specific method must be respected, in the name of consonance with reality and the variety of human ways of knowing.

III. Philosophical Formation within the Perspective of an Open Reason

5. Faced with “the segmentation of knowledge” which, “with its splintered approach to truth and consequent fragmentation of meaning, keeps people today from coming to an interior unity,” the following words of Pope John Paul II resound emphatically: “taking up what has been taught repeatedly by the Popes for several generations and reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council itself, I wish to reaffirm strongly the conviction that the human being can come to a unified and organic vision of knowledge. This is one of the tasks which Christian thought will have to take up through the next millennium of the Christian era.”[9]

6. From a Christian perspective, truth cannot be separated from love. On the one hand, the defence and promotion of truth are an essential form of charity: “To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity.”[10] On the other hand, only truth permits true charity: “Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity.”[11] Finally, truth and the good are closely connected: “Yet truth means more than knowledge: the purpose of knowing the truth is to know the good. This is also the meaning of Socratic enquiry: What is the good which makes us true? The truth makes us good and the good is true.”[12] By offering an organic vision of knowledge that is not separated from love, the Church can make a specific contribution of her own – one capable of effecting change, including of cultural and social endeavours.[13]

7. That is why philosophy nurtured within the Universitas is called upon, first of all, to take up the challenge of exercising, developing and defending a rationality with ‘broader horizons’, showing that “it again becomes possible to enlarge the area of our rationality […], to link theology, philosophy and science between them in full respect […] of their reciprocal autonomy, but also in the awareness of the intrinsic unity that holds them together.”[14] On an institutional level, to rediscover “this great logos”, “this breadth of reason”, is precisely “the great task of the university.”[15]

IV. Philosophical Formation in Ecclesiastical Institutions of Higher Learning

8. The Church has always cared deeply about philosophy. In fact, reason – with which creation has endowed every human being – is one of the two wings on which man rises towards the contemplation of truth, and philosophical wisdom forms the summit that reason can reach.[16] In a world rich in scientific and technical knowledge, but threatened by relativism, only the “sapientialhorizon”[17] carries an integrating vision, as well as a trust in the capacity that reason has to serve the truth. That is why the Church strongly encourages a philosophical formation of reason that is open to faith, while neither confusing nor disconnecting the two.[18]

9. Moreover, philosophy is indispensable for theological formation. “Theology in fact has always needed and still needs philosophy’s contribution.”[19] By helping to deepen the revealed Word of God, with its character of transcendent and universal truth, philosophy avoids stopping at the level of religious experience. It has rightly been observed that “the crisis of postconciliar theology is, in large part, the crisis of philosophical foundations […]. When philosophical foundations are not clarified, theology loses its footing. Why is it therefore not clearer up to what point man really knows reality, and what are the bases from which he can start to think and speak?”[20]

10. Finally, philosophical preparation is, in a particular way, a “crucial stage of intellectual formation” for future priests: “only a sound philosophy can help candidates for the priesthood to develop a reflective awareness of the fundamental relationship that exists between the human spirit and truth, that truth which is revealed to us fully in Jesus Christ.”[21] In fact, “the study of philosophy is fundamental and indispensable to the structure of theological studies and to the formation of candidates for the priesthood. It is not by chance that the curriculum of theological studies is preceded by a time of special study of philosophy.”[22]

11. Within Ecclesiastical academic institutions, a suitable philosophical formation must involve both intellectual “habitus” (plural) and contents.

With the acquisition of intellectual, scientific and sapiential “habitus”, reason learns to know more than empirical data. In a particular way, the intellectual debate in pluralistic societies, which are strongly threatened by relativism and ideologies, or in societies without authentic freedom, demands that the students in Ecclesiastical Faculties acquire a solid philosophical forma mentis. These “habitus” make it possible to think, know and reason with precision, and also to dialogue with everyone incisively and fearlessly.

The “habitus” are, though, connected with the assimilation of firmly acquired contents. In other words, they derive from the knowledge and deepening of the most important truths gained by philosophical labour, sometimes with the help of Divine Revelation. To arrive at a rigorous and coherent knowledge of man, the world and God,[23] the “habitus” require that the teaching of philosophy be rooted in “the eternally valid philosophical heritage”, developed over time, and, at the same time, be open to accepting the contributions that philosophical research has provided and continues to provide.[24] Among those fundamental truths, some are of central importance and are particularly relevant today: the capacity to reach objective and universal truth as well as valid metaphysical knowledge;[25] the unity of body and soul in man;[26] the dignity of the human person;[27] relations between nature and freedom;[28] the importance of natural law and of the “sources of morality,”[29] particularly of the object of the moral act;[30] and the necessary conformity of civil law to moral law.[31]

12. The philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas is important both for the acquisition of intellectual “habitus” and for the mature assimilation of the philosophical heritage. He knew how to place “faith in a positive relation with the dominant form of reason of his time.”[32] For this reason, he is stilled called the “apostle of truth.”[33] “Looking unreservedly to truth, Thomas’ realism was able to recognize the objectivity of truth and produce not merely a philosophy of ‘what seems to be’ but a philosophy of ‘what is’.”[34] The Church’s preference for his method and his doctrine is not exclusive, but “exemplary”.[35]

V. The Current Reform of Philosophical Studies

13. In its commitment to rendering the Church’s guidelines ever more productive, in view of a greater efficacy in evangelization, the Congregation for Catholic Education now feels the need to update some points of the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia christiana and of the Ordinationes of this Dicastery.[36] This reform of Ecclesiastical studies of philosophy aims to help Ecclesiastical Institutions of Higher Learning offer a suitable contribution to the ecclesial and cultural life of our time.

14. A clear distinction should be made between, on the one hand, studies in Ecclesiastical Faculties of Philosophy and, on the other hand, the course of philosophy that forms an integral part of the studies in a Theology Faculty or in a seminary. In an institution which simultaneously has both an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy and a Faculty of Theology, when the philosophy courses that are part of the five-year first-cycle of theology are taken at the Faculty of Philosophy (according to their specific nature and the existing norms), the authority who makes decisions regarding the programme is the dean of the Faculty of Theology, who will make those decisions in conformity with the law in force, and while favouring close collaboration with the Faculty of Philosophy.

This course in philosophy, being directed towards theological formation and structured according to that need, does not allow the student to obtain a academic degree in philosophy that is canonically valid. Instead, the course concludes with a certificate of the philosophical studies completed, which is devoid of value as an academic degree. The certificate merely attests, in keeping with the new norms, what courses have been attended and what credits have been obtained in the area of philosophical studies.

15. The reform has three fields of implementation:

a) Ecclesiastical Faculties of Philosophy

In 1979, when restructuring the three cycles of the Faculty of Philosophy,[37] the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia christiana confirmed a duration of two years for the first cycle.[38] The experience of over thirty years has gradually led to the realization that three years of formation are required to achieve more completely the objectives indicated for philosophy in the aforementioned Apostolic Constitution, and especially in order for the student to reach “a solid and coherent synthesis of doctrine.”[39] In fact, a certain number of Faculties and institutes have already taken the initiative to offer a formation that concludes with the Ecclesiastical Baccalaureate in philosophy after three years. In this context, all Ecclesiastical Faculties of Philosophy are now required to participate in this practice, including as regards the duration of academic degrees, so that the three-year course of philosophical studies may be the conditio sine qua non for acquiring an academically recognized first degree in philosophy.

The second cycle continues to consist of two years of specialization, after which the Licentiate is issued. The third cycle, the research Doctorate, lasting at least three years, is mainly aimed at those who are preparing to teach in higher education, where research forms an essential element, including with a view to developing one’s capacities as a teacher.

b) Philosophical formation in Faculties of Theology and Seminaries

One has already established the duration of philosophical formation, as an integral part of theological studies in Faculties of Theology or in seminaries. Without losing its autonomy, this philosophical formation, required for theological knowledge,[40] allows the student, who has acquired the correct philosophical and theological methodology and hermeneutic, accurately to undertake strictly theological studies, and to arrive at his or her own point of synthesis at the end of the philosophical and theological studies.

An excessive mixing of philosophical and theological subjects – or , indeed, of subjects of another sort – ends up giving the students a defective formation in the respective intellectual “habitus”, and introduces confusion between the methodologies of the various subjects and their specific epistemological configurations. In order to avert the increased risk of fideism, and to avoid either a manipulation or fragmentation of philosophy, it is highly preferable that the philosophy courses be concentrated in the first two years of philosophical-theological formation. Within this two-year period, these philosophical studies, which are undertaken in view of theology studies, will be integrated with the introductory theology courses.

All that concerns the duration, number of credits and contents of the study of philosophy are also to be applied in those countries where the study of “philosophy” is integrated within a Baccalaureate programme in a Catholic Institute of Higher Education, outside the context of an Ecclesiastical Faculty.

c) Qualifications of the Teachers

The serious responsibility of ensuring a philosophical formation for students demands that the teachers have academic degrees obtained from Ecclesiastical institutions (Ecclesiastical Faculties of Philosophy and of Theology, as well as affiliated and aggregated Institutes) and with a suitable scholarly preparation, who are capable of an updated presentation of the rich heritage of the Christian tradition.[41]

16. In consideration of all these various observations, the articles of the Apostolic ConstitutionSapientia christiana and the respective Ordinationes of the Congregation for Catholic Education are being updated with regard to:

• the number of years for obtaining a Baccalaureate in Philosophy;

• the content of first-cycle studies in an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy;

• the cursus studiorum in philosophy that forms an integral part of the first cycle in a Faculty of Theology or in a seminary, or is within a programme of university formation (q.v. supra, 15 b);

• the defining of some regulations concerning the teaching faculty;

• the affiliation of a three-year period in philosophy.

Part II: 
NORMS of the Apostolic Constitution
 Sapientia christiana 

The parts of the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia christiana which remain unchanged are quoted in italics.

Articles 72 a, 81, 82 and 83 are revised as following:

Art. 72. a) [Curriculum of Studies in the Faculty of Theology]

The curriculum of studies of the Faculty of Sacred Theology comprises:

a) the first cycle, fundamentals, which lasts for five years or ten semesters, or else, when a previous two-year philosophy course is an entrance requirement, for three years.

The first two years must be primarily dedicated to a solid philosophical formation, which is necessary for undertaking correctly the study of theology. The Baccalaureate obtained in an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy substitutes for first-cycle philosophy courses in Theology Faculties. A Baccalaureate in Philosophy obtained in a non-Ecclesiastical Faculty does not give grounds for dispensing a student completely from the first-cycle philosophy courses in Theology Faculties.

The theological disciplines must be taught in such a way that what is presented is an organic exposition of the whole of Catholic doctrine, together with an introduction to theological scientific methodology.

The cycle ends with the academic degree of Baccalaureate or some other suitable degree as the Statutes of the Faculty determine.

Art. 81 [The Curriculum of Studies in an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy]

a) the first cycle, basics, in which for three years or six semesters an organic exposition of the various parts of philosophy is imparted, which includes treating the world, man, and God. It also includes the history of philosophy, together with an introduction into the method of scientific research;

b) the second cycle, the beginning of specialization, in which for two years or four semesters through special disciplines and seminars a more profound consideration is imparted in some sector of philosophy;

c) the third cycle, in which, for a period of at least three years, philosophical maturity is promoted, especially by means of writing a doctoral dissertation.

Art. 83 [Diplomas Required of the Students]

To enroll in the first cycle of a Faculty of Philosophy, the student must have done the previous studies called for in accordance with Article 32 of the Constitution.

If a student, who has successfully completed the regular philosophy courses in the first cycle of a Theology Faculty, wants to continue philosophical studies in order to obtain the Baccalaureate in an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy, due account must be taken of the courses that the student has attended during the aforementioned studies.


Art. 51. 1° a) [Curriculum of Studies in a Faculty of Theology]

The obligatory disciplines are:

1° In the first cycle:

a) – The philosophical disciplines needed for theology, which are above all systematic philosophy and the history of philosophy (ancient, medieval, modern, contemporary). Besides a general introduction, the systematic teaching must include the main areas of philosophy: 1) metaphysics (understood as philosophy of being and natural theology), 2) philosophy of nature, 3) philosophy of man, 4) moral and political philosophy, 5) logic and philosophy of knowledge.

– Excluding the human sciences, the strictly philosophical disciplines (q.v. Ord., Art. 60, 1° a) must constitute at least 60% of the number of credits in the first two years. Each year must include a number of credits suited to one year of full-time university studies.

– It is highly preferable that the philosophy courses be concentrated in the first two years of philosophical-theological formation. Within this two-year period, these philosophical studies, which are undertaken in view of theology studies, will be integrated with the introductory theology courses.

Art. 52

In the five-year basic cycle, diligent care must be exercised that all the disciplines are taught with order, fullness, and with correct method, so that the student receives harmoniously and effectively a solid, organic, and complete basic instruction in theology, which will enable him either to go on to the next cycle’s higher studies or to exercise some office in the Church.

Art. 52 bis [Qualifications of the Professors of Philosophy in a Faculty of Theology]

The number of professors who teach philosophy must be at least three, who have the required degrees in philosophy (q.v. Ord., Art. 17 e 61, b). They must be dedicated full-time to the teaching of philosophy and to research in that field.

Art. 59 [Aims of an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy]

§ 1.The research and teaching of philosophy in an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy must be rooted in the “philosophical patrimony which is perennially valid”,[42] which has developed throughout the history, with special attention being given to the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas. At the same time, the philosophy taught in an Ecclesiastical Faculty must be open to the contributions that more recent research has provided and continues to offer. One must emphasize the sapiential and metaphysical dimensions of philosophy.

§ 2. In the first cycle, philosophy is to be taught in such a way that the students in the basic cycle will come to a solid and coherent synthesis of doctrine, will learn to examine and judge the different systems of philosophy, and will also gradually become accustomed to personal philosophical reflection. If students of the first cycle of theological studies attend first-cycle courses in the Faculty of Philosophy, care must be taken to safeguard the specific nature of the content and purpose of each educational track. At the end of the philosophical formation, an academic degree in philosophy is not awarded (q.v. Sap. Chr., Art. 72 a), but the students can ask for a certificate attesting to the courses they have attended and the credits they have obtained.

§ 3. The formation acquired in the first cycle can be completed in the successive cycle, where one begins to specialize via greater concentration on one area of philosophy and greater dedication of the student to philosophical reflection.

§ 4. It is appropriate to distinguish clearly between, on the one hand, studies in Ecclesiastical Faculties of Philosophy and, on the other hand, the philosophical courses that form an integral part of the studies in a Faculty of Theology or in a seminary. In an institution which has, at the same time, both an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy and a Faculty of Theology, when the philosophy courses that are part of the five-year first-cycle of theology are taken at the Faculty of Philosophy, the authority who makes decisions regarding the programme is the dean of the Faculty of Theology, who will make those decisions in conformity with the law in force, and while favouring close collaboration with the Faculty of Philosophy.

Art. 60 [Curriculum of Studies in an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy]

The disciplines taught in various cycles are:

1° In the first cycle:

a) The obligatory basic subjects:

– A general introduction which aims, in particular, at showing the sapiential dimension of philosophy.

– The main philosophical disciplines: 1) metaphysics (understood as philosophy of being and natural theology), 2) philosophy of nature, 3) philosophy of man, 4) moral and political philosophy, 5) logic and philosophy of knowledge. Given the particular importance of metaphysics, an adequate number of credits must be accorded to this discipline.

– The history of philosophy: ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary. Careful examination of the various currents of thought are to be accompanied, when possible, by the reading of texts of the more important authors. Depending on requirements, a study of local philosophies is to be added.

The obligatory basic subjects must constitute at least 60% and must not exceed 70% of the number of credits of the first cycle.

b) The supplementary obligatory subjects:

– A study of the relationship between reason and Christian faith – that is, between philosophy and theology – from a systematic and historical point of view, paying attention to safeguarding both the autonomy of each field as well as their interconnection.[43]

– Latin, so as to be able to understand the philosophical works (especially of Christian authors) written in that language. The student’s knowledge of Latin must be verified within the first two years.

– A modern language other than one’s mother-tongue, the knowledge of which must be verified before the end of the third year.

– An introduction to the methodology of study and of scientific research, which serves also as an introduction to the use of research tools and the practice of argumentative discourse.

c) The optional additional subjects:

– Principles of literature and the Arts;

– Principles of some of the human sciences or some of the natural sciences (for example, psychology, sociology, history, biology or physics). In a particular way, care must be taken to establish a connection between the sciences and philosophy.

– Some other optional philosophical disciplines: for example, philosophy of science, philosophy of culture, philosophy of arts, philosophy of technology, philosophy of language, philosophy of law or philosophy of religion.

2° In the second cycle:

– the special disciplines established in various sections, according to the diverse specializations offered, along with practical exercises and seminars, including writtenLicentiate thesis.

– Beginners or advanced ancient Greek, or a second modern language other than that required for the first cycle or an advanced study of the same.

3° In the third cycle:

The Statutes are to determine if special disciplines are to be taught and which ones, together with the practical exercises and seminars. It is necessary to acquire a knowledge of another language, or to acquire an advanced knowledge of one of the languages previously studied.

Art. 61 [Teachers in an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy]

a) The faculty must employ, on a full-time basis, at least seven duly qualified teachers, who thus can ensure the teaching of each of the obligatory basic subjects (q.v. Ord., Art. 60, 1°; Art. 45, § 1, b).

In particular, the first cycle must have at least five full-time teachers allotted as follows: one in metaphysics, one in philosophy of nature, one in philosophy of man, one in moral philosophy and politics, one in logic and philosophy of knowledge.

For the other obligatory and optional subjects, the Faculty can ask the help of other teachers.

b) A teacher is qualified to teach in an Ecclesiastical institution if he or she has obtained the necessary academic degrees from an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy (q.v. Ord., Art. 17).

c) If the teacher possess neither a canonical Doctorate nor a canonical Licentiate, he or she may be appointed as full-time teacher only on the condition that his/her philosophical training is consistent with the content and method that is set forth in an Ecclesiastical Faculty. In evaluating candidates for teaching positions in an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy, the following must be considered: the necessary expertise in their assigned subject; an appropriate openness to the whole of knowledge; adherence, in their publications and teaching, to the truth taught by the faith; an adequately deepened knowledge of the harmonious relationship between faith and reason.

d) It is necessary to ensure always that, in an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy, the majority of full-time teachers holds an ecclesiastical Doctorate in philosophy, or else an ecclesiastical Licentiate in a sacred science together with a Doctorate in philosophy obtained in a non-Ecclesiastical University.

Art. 62 [Some Special Norms for Ecclesiastical Faculties of Philosophy and Affiliated Institutes]

In general, so that a student can be admitted to the second cycle in philosophy, it is necessary that he or she has obtained the Ecclesiastical Baccalaureate in philosophy.

If a student has studied philosophy in a non-Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy at a Catholic University or in another Institute of Higher Studies, he or she can be admitted to the second cycle only after having demonstrated, by means of an appropriate examination, that his/her preparation is compatible with that which is set forth in an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy, and after having filled any gaps with respect to the years and curriculum foreseen for the first cycle as established in the present Ordinationes. The choice of courses must foster a synthesis of the subjects taught (q.v.Sap. Chr., Art. 81, a). At the end of these supplementary studies, the student will be admitted to the second cycle without receiving the Ecclesiastical Baccalaureate in philosophy.

Art. 62 bis
[Adaptation of the Norms of Affiliation and Philosophical Aggregation]

§ 1. Given the reform of the three-year first cycle of ecclesiastical philosophical studies, which concludes with the Baccalaureate in philosophy, the philosophical affiliation must be in conformity with what has been decreed for the first cycle regarding the number of years and the curriculum (q.v. Ord., Art. 60, 1°). The number of full-time teachers in an affiliated Institute of philosophy must be at least five, with the required qualifications (q.v. Ord., Art. 61).

§ 2. Given the reform of the two-year second cycle of ecclesiastical philosophical studies, which concludes with the Licentiate in philosophy, the philosophical aggregation must be in conformity with what has been decreed for the first and second cycles regarding the number of years and the curriculum (q.v. Sap. Chr., Art. 72 a and b; Ord., Art. 60). The number of full-time teachers in an aggregated Institute of philosophy must be at least six, with the required qualifications (q.v. Ord., Art. 61).

[Adaptation of the Norms regarding the Philosophy Course as Part of the First Cycle of an Affiliated Institute of Theology]

§ 3.Given the reform of the philosophy course as part of the first cycle of philosophy-theology studies, which concludes with the Baccalaureate in theology, the philosophy formation given in an affiliated Institute of theology must be in conformity with what has been decreed with regard to the curriculum (q.v. Ord., Art. 51, 1°). The number of full-time teachers of philosophy must be at least two.

Provisional Norms

Art. 65. With the enactment of this Decree, articles 72, 81 and 83 of the Apostolic ConstitutionSapientia christiana and articles 51, 52, 59, 60, 61 and 62 of the Ordinationes are abrogated.

Art. 66. All Ecclesiastical academic institutions of theology and philosophy must conform to this Decree, beginning with the opening of the academic year 2012-2013.

Quæ hoc decreto statuuntur, Summus Pontifex Benedictus XVI, in Audientia infrascripto Cardinali Præfecto recenter concessa, rata habuit et confirmavit, innovatos autem articulos 72, 81 et 83 Constitutionis Apostolicæ Sapientia christiana in forma specifica approbavit, contrariis quibuslibet non obstantibus, atque publici iuris fieri iussit.

Datum Romæ, ex ædibus eiusdem Congregationis, in memoria sancti Thomæ Aquinatis, die XXVIII mensis Ianuarii, A. D. MMXI.

Zenon Card. Grocholewski

Ioannes Ludovicus Brugues, O.P.
a Secretis

[1] Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio (14 September 1998), AAS 91 (1999), pp. 5-88, n. 3. In the Letter, John Paul II concentrates attention on the theme of truth and its foundation in relation to faith, continuing the reflection already made in the Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor (6 August 1993) regarding truth on the moral level (cf. Fides et ratio, n. 6), which also embraces some fundamental rational truths.

[2] Fides et ratio, n. 3.

[3] Cf. Fides et ratio, n. 84.

[4] Fides et ratio, n. 83.

[5] Cf. Fides et ratio,n. 6.

[6] Fides et ratio, n. 81

[7] Fides et ratio, n. 83.

[8] Cf. St Thomas Aquinas, Comment on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, Introduction; cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus caritas est (25 December 2005), AAS 98 (2006), pp. 217-252, n. 9.

[9] Fides et ratio, n. 85.

[10] Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate (29 June 2009), OR (8 July 2009), pp. 4-5, n. 1.

[11] Caritas in veritate, n. 3.

[12] Benedict XVI, Lecture prepared for La Sapienza University in Rome, 17 January 2008, OR(17 January 2008), pp. 4-5.

[13] Cf. Caritas in veritate, n. 5.

[14] Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants of the Fourth National Ecclesiastical Convention, Verona, 19 October 2006, OR (20 October 2006), pp. 6-7.

[15] Benedict XVI, Meeting with the Representatives of Science in the Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg (12 September 2006), AAS 98 (2006), pp. 728-739.

[16] “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth” (Fides et ratio, Opening words).

[17] Fides et ratio, n. 106.

[18] Cf. Fides et ratio, n. 77; cf. Deus caritas est, nn. 10, 29.

[19] Fides et ratio, n. 77.

[20] Joseph Ratzinger, “L’unità di missione e persona nella figura di Giovanni Paolo II [The Unity of the Mission and Person in the Figure of John Paul II]”, 1998, in Id., Giovanni Paolo II. Il mio amato predecessore [John Paul II, My Beloved Predecessor], Vatican City and Cinisello Basalmo, 2007, p. 16 (unofficial translation).

[21] John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis (25 March 1992),AAS 84 (1992), pp. 657-804, n. 52.

[22] Fides et ratio, n. 62; cf. Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis (19 March 1985), nn. 59-61.

[23] Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decr. Optatam totius, n. 15.

[24] CIC, can. 251; cf. Sacred Congregazione for Catholic Education, The Study of Philosophy in Seminaries (20 January 1972), III, 2, Rome, 1972, pp. 12-14.

[25] Cf. Fides et ratio, nn. 27, 44, 66, 69, 80, etc.

[26] Cf. Veritatis splendor,nn. 48-49, AAS 85 (6 August 1993), pp. 1133-1228.

[27] Cf. Fides et ratio, nn. 60, 83, etc.; cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Past. Const.Gaudium et spes, nn. 12-22.

[28] Cf. Veritatis splendor, nn.46-47.

[29] Cf. Veritatis splendor, nn. 43-44, 74; cf. International Theological Commission, The Search for Universal Ethics. A New Look at Natural Law, 27 March 2009.

[30] Cf. Veritatis splendor, n. 72.

[31] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae (25 March 1995), AAS 87 (1995), pp. 401-522, nn. 68-74; cf. Deus caritas est, n. 28.

[32] Benedict XVI, Christmas Address to the Roman Curia, 22 December 2005, OR (23 December 2005), pp. 4-6.

[33] Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Lumen Ecclesiae (20 November 1974), 10, AAS 66 (1974), pp. 673-702.

[34] Fides et ratio, n.44; cf. John Paul II, Speech at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (17 November 1979), OR (19-20 November 1979) pp. 2-3, n. 6.

[35] John Paul II, Address to Participants at the International Thomistic Congress (13 September 1980), OR (14 September 1980), pp. 1-2, n. 2.

[36] John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Sapientia christiana, Art. 93, AAS 71 (1979), pp. 469-499.

[37] Cf. Art. 81; cf. Pius XI, Apostolic Constitution Deus scientiarum Dominus (24 May 1931),AAS 23 (1931), pp. 241-262, Art. 41-46.

[38] Cf. Sapientia christiana, Art. 81a.

[39] Congregation for Catholic Education, Norms of Application in the Apostolic ConstitutionSapientia christiana, 29 April 1979, AAS 71 (1979), pp. 500-521, Art. 59, § 1.

[40] Cf. Fides et ratio, n. 77.

[41] Cf. Fides et ratio,n. 105.

[42] Cf. CIC, can. 251 and Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decr. Optatam totius, n. 15.

[43] Cf. Fides et ratio, n. 75, which rejects “the theory of so-called ‘separate’ philosophy” that “claims for philosophy not only a valid autonomy, but a self-sufficiency of thought,” re-affirming also a sort of independence: “philosophy’s valid aspiration to be an autonomous enterprise, obeying its own rules and employing the powers of reason alone”.