Catholic Culture Series on "Faith and Reason"

May 15, 2024
Ruth Lake Country Club
6200 South Madison Street
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Matthew GaetanoHillsdale College

The West Suburban Catholic Culture Series returns in 2024 to continue its series on
"Faith and Reason as the Two Wings:
The History and Enduring Importance of Catholic Philosophy




(Business casual attire encouraged. For questions, please email Marial Corona at

Schedule: 6:30 p.m. Drinks | 7:00 p.m. Dinner, Lecture, & Q&A | 8:30 p.m. End 


May 15:
The Bond of All Creation: Renaissance Humanism and the Incarnate Word
Matthew Gaetano (Hillsdale College)

The Italian Renaissance rarely plays a central role in our understanding of the story of Catholic theology, even though many of us love Renaissance art and literature. In this talk, Dr. Gaetano will show how philosophers, poets, and painters of this era saw faith and reason as “two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” Key figures of the Italian Renaissance such as Petrarch, Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico, and Raphael went back to the sources in Greek antiquity and found in Plato a yearning for the divine Logos or Word, a Word only fully revealed in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.



In his 2006 Regensburg Address, Pope Benedict XVI argued that "it is necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian Faith."

Christianity shared a sense of "reason" with Greek philosophy. Jesus himself was the Word (Logos), the Greek word for reason and speech.  St. Paul himself reminded us that Christian worship is "reasonable worship" (logike latreia) (Rom. 12:1), and while love "transcends" knowledge and can perceive more than thought alone, it remains the love of the God who is Logos (Eph. 3:19).

Faith and reason support one another; however, many have tried to tear them asunder. The Reformation tried to get to a “pure” faith without reason; modern atheism has claimed that nothing can be “known” about God. When faith and reason are pulled apart, we lose sight of God and of ourselves, since we are made to know and love God.

In this year’s WSCCS, we will challenge the all-too-common assumption that the Church’s faith stands in opposition to reason. Join us as we examine the philosophical, monastic, and artistic geniuses who have borne the Church aloft through their engagement and enrichment of worldly wisdom.

Each month, we will gather at Ruth Lake Country Club. Over dinner, we will listen to a sophisticated yet accessible lecture offered by accomplished academics. The lectures will introduce insights from the treasure house of the Church's intellectual tradition and their bearing on contemporary themes and issues, presenting faithful Catholic teaching in a way that avoids the acrimony of the culture wars.



September 13: Golden Calf: Philosophy and Theology in the Early Church
Kenneth Calvert (Professor of History, Director of the Oxford Program, Hillsdale College)

October 4: The One Thing Necessary: Monasticism and Philosophy
Prior Peter Funk, OSB (Monastery of the Holy Cross)

November 9: Integrity, Creation, and a Restless Heart: Augustine's Contribution to Philosophy
Jared Ortiz (Professor of Theology, Founder and Executive Director of the St. Benedict Institute, Hope College)

March 20: Catholic Women in the Arts and Sciences: An Underappreciated Tradition
Bronwen McShea (Professor of History, Augustine Institute)

April 10: Is Free Will an Illusion? St. Thomas Aquinas and Human Action
Fr. Stephen Brock (Professor of Medieval Philosophy, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross)

May 15: The Bond of All Creation: Renaissance Humanism and the Incarnate Word
Matthew Gaetano (Professor of History, Hillsdale College)



Matthew Gaetano