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'Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery'. This historic encyclical, Pope St John Paul II's thirteenth, succeeds in its stated purpose: to give the people of today fresh confidence!
The critical questions and yearnings of our age cry out from every page of this text. 'At the end of this century, one of our greatest threats is the temptation to despair'. Pope John Paul challenges us to move 'from phenomenon to foundation' and so 'lead people to discover both their capacity to know the truth and their yearning for the ultimate and definitive meaning of life'.
Why is it that our reason prefers to hold back from the truth, when it is the very nature of our reason to attain the truth? The Holy Father defends the greatness of reason. Reason finds in faith its most valued help and support, the steadfast ally which allows reason to be what it is.
This encyclical develops the Holy Father's major 1993 document Veritatis Splendor: philosophy and theology find in revelation their point of contact and comparison. Today, however, various modes of philosophy born of modern thought glorify reason's debilitation, prevent reason from being what it is, and produce a vision of the human person and of the world which gives pride of place to will-power and pragmatism. The resulting widespread scepticism which reduces everything to opinion and rests content with partial and provisional truths is the malaise of our age.