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Faith, Reason, and the Two Camps

Ethika Politika has featured much debate about Catholic Social Teaching (CST), the extent of its authority, and dissent from it. Apart from very few places on the web and in public discourse, there seems to be little awareness that these subjects comprise a problem worth debating. This fact, presumably, in turn owes to the fact that CST itself is hardly known: Conservatives, even when otherwise religiously orthodox, tend to view it with suspicion and to deny its authority, and most others wouldn’t bother to read texts from the Church’s magisterium anyway. Thomas Storck has thrown much light on this situation, in my view.

I share Storck’s astonishment: it is strange indeed to see how people professing the importance of Christian values will defend a laissez-faire economic liberalism, which apparently acknowledges hardly any ethical limits to economic activity, except that private property must be respected and contracts fulfilled. Often, the right of states to provide for the common good is denied (as Pope Francis has emphasized), and taxes, social security, or redistribution of wealth are viewed with skepticism, if not rejected outright. Trade unions, “indispensable” according to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (n. 305), seem only to be viewed as disturbances for an ideal, frictionless working of the economy. Environmental protection is likewise often dismissed as a kind of neo-pagan aberration, and the scientific consensus about the gravity of the ecological mess we are in is often flatly dismissed. The situation is astonishing, since the social teaching of the Church provides no basis for unbridled economic liberalism or for a rejection of the things mentioned above and which our conservative contemporaries seem to find so suspect.

Now, of course there are excesses in all these areas of which conservatives are understandably wary: There are indeed exaggerations of the social state, of bureaucracy and state interventions that override or abrogate the personal responsibility of the individual. Taxation sometimes is unjust. Free markets and entrepreneurship are indeed indispensable to the common good, so that it would be wrong to denounce free competition across the board as “capitalism.” Trade unions, like all human realities, can become corrupt. And there is a form of environmentalism that fails to acknowledge man’s place and role in the universe, and sometimes borders on the misanthropic.

But then many in the conservative camp do seem to throw the baby out with the bathwater, forgetting that abusus non tollit usum, and accepting CST only where it says something good about free markets. Moreover, a fundamental requirement of social justice is often bypassed, or even denied: the fact that the worker is entitled to a living wage for himself and for his family. Not only is this right a core element of CST, but it is also a rather basic result of natural law, and is acknowledged in the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights (art. 23). The basis of the worker’s right to a living wage is the right to life itself, which is arguably the most important principle of natural law theory and which lies at the foundation of CST. Conservative Catholic thinkers have been among the foremost advocates of the right to life of the unborn, and have often made most praiseworthy efforts against a relativistic culture of death. However, when conservative authors affirm the right to life in general, but ignore or reject the right to a living wage, something is clearly wrong with the premises that they employ.

Whence this situation? It arises in the wider context of the rough sociological divide with which we are all familiar, i.e. the one between the people in favor of traditional values, family, free markets, safety from crime, and all that, on the one hand, and those who like social justice, peace and development, equal opportunities, immigrants, environmental protection, and all that, on the other. If, as John Paul II once remarked, “a divided community fosters a fragmented vision of the world,” the skepticism against CST can be read as a symptom of such a divide.

But I believe that there is another crucial cause: the fact that the relationship between reason and faith is still ill (although there are signs of recovery). For if this relationship is strained, on the one hand faith will shy the light of reason, and we fall into a fideism that does not admit that reason and science can prove anything; on the other, reason will close itself to faith, thereby limiting the horizon of man, and stifling his quest for the infinite.

What should all this have to do with the observation that CST is so often ignored by the (otherwise) orthodox, and doesn’t get through to a wider public? There are two principal reasons for assuming that such a connection exists.

First, CST as formulated in the social encyclicals is marked by a two-wings approach, as opposed to a sola fide one. Its ingredients are not only “faith-resources” like Scripture and Tradition. Philosophical ethics enter into it, as does a careful attention to the results of social and economic sciences, which are indispensable for giving adequate responses to the challenges of any age. All this, under the guidance of the Spirit of Truth, enables the magisterium to give reliable guidance about social, economic, and environmental questions. But in a fideistic intellectual climate, out of tune with a two-wings one, such an approach will fail to be understood and simply won’t resonate, but will rather be ignored shruggingly.

Second, quite a lot of CST is simply natural law and can in principle be known by the use of reason alone. The Church then acts as an advocate for ethical truths that we could also come to know without her, and adds her weight in their favor. Prohibition of the killing of the innocent, or the worker’s right to a just wage, are examples of such truths. But that is not to say that all of CST can be derived through reason alone; much of it relies on faith as its foundation, e.g. the precept of observing Sunday. In either case, a consistent pro-life ethic is at work, which defends the right to existence of every human being, called to unfold her activity according to her nature.

But of course, saying that reason can arrive at a certain knowledge of some ethical truths will strike most of our contemporaries as a quaint medieval idea at best, one that nobody seriously believes. One is then left with either religious sources of evidence or intuition and feeling as the principal foundation of ethics. Both approaches are indeed most valuable and often lead to an admirable commitment to just causes. But when conjoined with a weak view of the role of reason in ethics, there is also the danger of a certain one-sidedness or even inconsistency. Such a dynamic could explain why many conservatives reject large parts of CST, or why some people committed to causes of social justice or environmental protection on the other hand support the availability of abortion, as though that were a sign of social progress.

If the two-camps divide and the poor resonance of CST are importantly due to the crisis of the relationship between faith and reason, then not only will it be necessary to “evangelize the counterculture and enlighten our fellow Catholics,” as Storck says, although that is clearly required. The solution will also lie in fostering a fruitful interaction between reason and faith, in supporting a realistic view of reason and science that recognizes its ability to attain certainty about some questions, without thereby falling into a rationalistic scientism that pretends that all of reality could be crammed into our brains, and that confuses nature with our models of it. Enabling such an interaction is of course a colossal task, which requires a lot of collaboration and, to borrow a phrase from Seneca, “the diligence of a longer age” (naturales quaestiones, 7, 25, 4). This task can be likened to that undertaken in the High Middle Ages by the scholastics who engaged with the then cutting-edge Aristotelian science brought to Europe through the Muslim conquests.

An optimistic view of reason is also a safeguard against attempts to theocratically impose a social order based on faith principles. Benedict XVI’s speech before the German Bundestag made it quite clear that “nature and reason,” not revelation, are the basis of legislation. The social magisterium acknowledges that its job is not to engage in politics, and that it is not competent to give answers to technical questions. It cannot tell us what level of income tax is adequate, let alone for which party to vote. But recognizing this limit is not the same as falling into the relativism that effectively tells ethics to keep out of the economy. Just wages or the protection of the natural environment are not “technical issues,” so that the Church does not overstep the limits of her competence when she demands that these requirements be respected.

 

Readers are invited to discuss essays in argumentative and fraternal charity, and are asked to help build up the community of thought and pursuit of truth that Ethika Politika strives to accomplish, which includes correction when necessary. The editors reserve the right to remove comments that do not meet these criteria and/or do not pertain to the subject of the essay.

  • Gus

    The reason “Conservatives, even when otherwise religiously orthodox, tend to view it [CST] with suspicion and to deny its authority . . .” is because liberals and socialists have made it into something it is not. See the article “Conservatives and Social Justice” at America Thinker — http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2013/12/conservatism_and_social_justice.html

    Just wages and the protection of the natural environment ARE technical issues. The Church rightly leaves it up to society and the free market to set wages and to determine how best to safeguard the environment. The problem, as I have commented here at EP before, is that all of society is not made up of good, virtuous Catholics. There are greedy and unscrupulous people in the world for whom the dollar is king, and some of these people will even use ’causes,’ such as environmental concerns, for their own ends. Crony capitalism exists at both ends of the political spectrum. Relativism, individualism, and modernism, as a number of Popes have now pointed out, are the real problems. The blatant lying that takes place every day in politics (and especially during elections) is proof that integrity and ethics are becoming less and less important all the time.
    Ayn Rand did get one thing right — there are makers and takers and the takers are taking over society.

    • Thomas Storck

      “Just wages and the protection of the natural environment ARE technical
      issues. The Church rightly leaves it up to society and the free market
      to set wages and to determine how best to safeguard the environment.”

      While I agree with you that the setting of a just wage is a technical matter (as well as a moral matter), please reference authoritative Church teaching that says the setting of a just wage should be left to the free market.

      • Gus

        I think the authoritative Church teaching you are looking for
        in found in Centesimus Annus. Pope St. John Paul II, interpreting Rerum Novarum says,

        “If Pope Leo XIII calls upon the State to remedy the condition of the poor in accordance with justice, he does so because of his timely awareness that the State has the duty of watching over the common good and of ensuring that every sector of social life, not excluding the economic one, contributes to achieving that good, WHILE RESPECTING THE AUTONOMY OF EACH SECTOR.” [Emphasis added]

        He goes on to say in Part II:

        “15. Rerum novarum is opposed to State control of the means of production, which would reduce every citizen to being a “cog” in the State machine. It is no less forceful in criticizing a concept of the State which completely excludes the economic sector from the State’s range of interest and action. There is certainly a legitimate sphere of autonomy in
        economic life which the State should not enter. The State, however, has the task of determining the juridical framework within which economic affairs are to be conducted, and thus of safeguarding the prerequisites of a free economy, which presumes a certain equality between the parties, such that one party would not be so powerful as practically to reduce the other to subservience.

        “In this regard, Rerum novarum points the way to just reforms which can restore dignity to work as the free activity of man. These reforms imply that society and the State will both assume responsibility, especially for protecting the worker from the nightmare of unemployment. Historically, this has happened in two converging ways: either through economic policies aimed at ensuring balanced growth and full employment, or through unemployment insurance
        and retraining programmes capable of ensuring a smooth transfer of workers from crisis sectors to those in expansion.

        “Furthermore, society and the State must ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his family, including a certain amount for savings. This requires a continuous effort to improve workers’ training and capability so that their work will be more skilled and productive, as well as careful controls and adequate legislative measures to block shameful forms of exploitation, especially to the disadvantage of the most vulnerable workers, of immigrants and of those on the margins of society. The role of trade unions in negotiating minimum salaries and working conditions is decisive
        in this area.

        “Finally, “humane” working hours and adequate
        free-time need to be guaranteed, as well as the right to express one’s own personality at the work-place without suffering any affront to one’s conscience or personal dignity. This is the place to mention once more the role of trade unions, not only in negotiating contracts, but also as “places” where workers can express themselves. They serve the development of an authentic culture of work and help workers to share in a fully human way in the life of
        their place of employment.

        “The State must contribute to the achievement of these goals both directly and indirectly. Indirectly and according to the principle of subsidiarity, by creating favourable conditions for the free exercise of economic activity, which will lead to abundant opportunities for employment and
        sources of wealth. Directly and according to the principle of solidarity, by defending the weakest, by placing certain limits on the autonomy of the parties who determine working conditions, and by ensuring in every case the necessary minimum support for the unemployed worker.”

        John Paul II expands on this in Part IV (Sections 33-35) and
        makes it clear that economic injustice exists today primarily in third world countries.

        And In Section 48 he says:

        “Another task of the State is that of overseeing and
        directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However, primary responsibility in this area belongs not to the State but to individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up society. The State could not directly ensure the right to work for all its citizens unless it controlled every aspect of economic life and restricted the free initiative of individuals. This does not mean, however, that the State has no competence in this domain, as was claimed by those who argued against any rules in the
        economic sphere. Rather, the State has a duty to sustain business activities by creating conditions which will ensure job opportunities, by stimulating those activities where they are lacking or by supporting them in moments of crisis.”

        • Thomas Storck

          Well, aside from other passages in Centesimus that I could cite, the very ones you cite here tell against your thesis. E.g., “”Furthermore, society and the State must ensure wage levels adequate for
          the maintenance of the worker and his family, including a certain
          amount for savings” or “”The State must contribute to the achievement of these goals both
          directly and indirectly…. Directly… by placing certain
          limits on the autonomy of the parties who determine working conditions,
          and by ensuring in every case the necessary minimum support for the
          unemployed worker.”

          Now this doesn’t mandate minimum wage laws, to be sure. There are other methods of achieving wage justice, e.g., strong unions or worker ownership or participation in management. But if you meant what is usually meant in the U.S. by the “free market” setting wage rates, I’m afraid you won’t find any passages to support your thesis. Moreover, Centesimus should not be seen as a “super social encyclical” negating all previous ones, any more than the Second Vatican Council should be seen as a “super council” negating all previous councils.

          • Gus

            I guess I took it for granted that Catholic teaching on
            Social Justice is the basis for my thesis. It says that society “ensures social justice when it provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation.”

            Society provides these conditions through the mechanism called the State. As CA points out, the State, “has the task of determining the juridical framework within which economic affairs are to be conducted, and thus of safeguarding the
            prerequisites of a free economy . . .” While both society and the state can do certain things to foster social justice and a sound economy, they must also respect “the autonomy of each sector.” John Paul emphasizes this when he says, “There is certainly a legitimate sphere of autonomy in economic life which the State should not enter.”

            He then says, “Society and the State [both, together] must ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his family, including a certain amount for savings.” But since wages are a function of the economy or economic activity,
            which is a function of society more so than a political function, the state needs to be very careful about taking too active a role in anything that has to
            do with wages. At the same time CA says that the state does have has some specific tasks in this respect, such as making “a continuous effort to improve workers’ training and capability so that their work will be more skilled and productive, as well as careful controls and adequate legislative measures to block shameful forms of exploitation,
            especially to the disadvantage of the most vulnerable workers, of immigrants and of those on the margins of society.” It also mentions things like unemployment insurance.

            CA then goes on to says that “The role of trade unions in negotiating minimum salaries and working conditions is decisive . . .” when it comes to wages. So once again, John Paul is emphasizing that wages are something best left up society, working within the economic sector. Couple this, again, with Catholic teaching on Social Justice, which says that, ”Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which a ‘a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity within the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good’. “ And, “Socio-Economic problems can be resolved only with the help of all forms of solidarity: solidarity of the poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves, between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among the nations and peoples.”

            When taken in total all of this makes it pretty clear that the Church says the state has a very limited role to play in the free market, and, as such, it is up to society and the autonomy of the free market, employing the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, to determine what is a fair wage in any given community.

          • Thomas Storck

            First of all, you’re taking Centesimus as essentially the only document of the social magisterium. Then, you’re taking quotes from that (admittedly complex) document that you think support your thesis. What exactly does the autonomy of the economic sector mean? Freedom from non-economic modes of regulation, either by the state or by intermediate groups? Not if one looks at the entire tradition of Catholic social teaching, or even at Centesimus as a whole. E.g., there’s this from Centesimus, #40, “It is the task of the State to provide for the defense and preservation of common goods such as the natural and human environments, which cannot be safeguarded simply by market forces.”

            or this, #42, “…there is a risk that a radical capitalistic ideology could spread which refuses even to consider these problems, in the a priori belief that any attempt to solve them is doomed to failure, and which blindly entrusts their solution to the free development of market forces.”

            But trading quotes is not a good way to argue, and comboxes are a poor place to have a discussion, I’m afraid.

          • Gus

            I agree that comboxes are not made for debating, but just to clarify, I am not “taking Centesimus as essentially the only document of the social magisterium.” I am simply saying the CA is the latest and greatest thinking/teaching on what now is a truly global market.

            Each encyclical since Rerum Novarum has built on and clarified those that preceeded it, as required by an ever changing world. RN addressed the issues of the post-industrial revolution society, just as Quadragesimo Anno addressed the issues society
            faced following the effects of a world-wide depression where capital in Europe became
            concentrated in the hands of a few. Populorum
            Progressio built on/clarified the teaching in QA because the world had changed again, and CA did the same.

            The world in 2014 is not the same world Leo XIII and Pius XI were writing about, just as the world Francis is addressing in Evangeli Guadium is different than the world in 1991. (The Internet, cell phones, computer trading, and technology in general have brought about dramatic changes in society and in how business is conducted in the global market in just the 23 years since CA.)

            Life in Marquette MI is quite different than life
            in New York City, just as life in Aviano Italy is different than life in Tokyo Japan. Wage controls have always been a bad idea and given the complexities of today’s global market they will only cause more problems than they will solve. Virtuous business people are the answer to our problems, not more central government interference.

          • Thomas Storck

            “Virtuous business people are the answer to our problems, not more central government interference.”

            Government action in the economy should not be called “interference,” as if it had no proper role there. Moreover, our choices are not limited to government regulation or awaiting the appearance of virtuous businessmen. In Catholic tradition regulation by lower and intermediate bodies, such as occupational groups (guilds), has an important place.

          • Gus

            Government oversteps its proper role and interferes in the market, to the market’s and society’s detriment, all the time. I would agree, however, that “regulation by lower and intermediate bodies” is much preferred to regulation by a central government, but resurrecting guilds is a complete waste of time and effort. Guilds would only end up competing with unions since unions currently get to define apprenticeship periods, what qualifies a worker to be a journeyman or a master, etc. Various trade organizations also offer different certifications, and usually the more certifications a tradesperson has the higher the individual’s wage. The only real role a guild might be able to play today would be in price regulation, and in a free market price regulations are never a good idea.

          • Thomas Storck

            There is a lot of mythology surrounding the notion of a free market, by which I mean a market free or relatively free from regulation by outside actors, e.g., governments, guilds, etc. In fact, all markets are constructs in that someone must make the rules, and are manipulated and controlled by those with power, economic or political. The notion that outside interference with market mechanisms by non-market actors distorts a generally beneficial action is a myth. There is nothing sacred about market forces and they are regularly manipulated by those with economic power, e.g., corporations. I realize that there are passages in Centesimus which speak highly of a free market, but there are other passages which contend that the market must be regulated and directed by the state and society. That encyclical is very easy to proof-text from, so it must be read in the context of the entire tradition. Also, it is not the latest social encyclical, as you’re forgetting Benedict’s Caritas in Veritate, which made clear (if there was any doubt) that it’s a mistake to pit one document of the social magisterium against another.

          • Gus

            Well, CV was primarily commenting on Populorum Progresso, but I’m glad you brought it up, because Chapter 3 does comment at length on economics. Benedict even notes that, “Admittedly, the market can be a negative force, not because it is so by nature, but because a certain ideology can make it so. It must be remembered that the market does not exist in the pure state. It is shaped by the cultural configurations which define it and give it direction. Economy and finance, as instruments, can be used badly when those at the helm are motivated by purely selfish ends. Instruments that are good in themselves can thereby be transformed into harmful ones. But it is man’s darkened reason that produces these consequences, not the instrument per se. Therefore it is not the instrument that must be called to account, but individuals, their moral conscience and their personal and social responsibility.”

          • Thomas Storck

            Well, here’s my last reply. If you think that the thrust of Catholic
            social doctrine is to trust market forces to justly govern an economy, then all I can think is that
            you aren’t reading the documents or you are reading them through an
            ideological lens. Sure there are passages which can be twisted to
            support that view,especially from Centesimus. But as Benedict said in
            Caritas in Veritate, “there is a single teaching, consistent and at the same time ever new. It is one thing to draw
            attention to the particular characteristics of one Encyclical or
            another, of the teaching of one Pope or another, but quite another to
            lose sight of the coherence of the overall doctrinal corpus.” #12.

  • Thank you for reminding your readers, about the truths of CST contained in the Catechism.

    We Americans think that more technology is always the answer to our problems, problems which were created by technology. Our true faith is most vigorously worshiped, through restraint and refusal against the false imperatives, and overarching ambitions, created by our technocracy.

  • lyle

    TecNOlogy is a great delusion of Granduer the addiction/vice, that proves knowledge without wisdom is a dangerous animal..
    In the US it will now take fifty years estimated for wages to double, and recognize the worlds poor and enslaved are the working people who endure a 17 trillion dollar national debt defuncting the US economicly, and leave only one solution, righting off the US national debt is the moral anwswer. AS our fore fathers learning in the blunders of Russia, Europe and fleed from, we fail to recognize their wisdom. It is the encumbant of every generation to payall of their debts, with that will be one half of all wars…
    and to have no foreign ties so what ever..
    writing the national debt off, acceptance to a defunct government is the answer, and refuting of todays great superstition of looking to a superstition as a false god to save us, back to looking to the True God of eternal salvation…

    • Hallelujah… The self interested purveyors of neoliberalism can’t even admit that it has failed within their own country. Instead of cleaning up the carnage, they hunt the planet in search of fresh meat, urging other elites to take the same path, that of fleecing and indenturing their common people. So they cannot even take the first rational step, to monetary reconciliation, such an admission of failure would ruin their latest con games…

      However they have missed reality again… Governments in South America and Africa are ignoring them and taking localized paths, and the American people who cannot pay back all manner of onerous liens, are simply refusing to work in the immoral, corrupt economy. After all what is debt, except the valuation of your life by others (Graeber, Debt: The First 5000 Years).

  • lyle

    borrowing of money, and insurance–calculated gambling, WERE all seen as against the Catholic faith, up to time of reformation.. today, the failures of reformation live on, that answer to how does one come to be the slave of others? Borrowing of money.

  • Gary Houchens

    What I do not get is how so many writers on this topic (especially here at Ethika Politika) keep resorting to the straw man fallacy in laying out the “two camps” on the issue of CST. Granted, libertarianism is faddish these days, but how many serious people make arguments about public policy based on a strictly libertarian faith in a “nightwatchman state?” CST is clear: we must be concerned about issues like a living wage and the state may have a role to play in directing the economy toward higher wages, but that leaves a LOT of room for debate and discussion. A reasonable person can argue that increasing the minimum wage might not ultimately accomplish the well-intended goal of supporting and sustaining a living wage for vulnerable workers. Such a person is probably NOT an anarchist, and could still be well within the bounds of CST. So why repeatedly portray anyone who questions policy proposals like raising the minimum wage as libertarian ogres who don’t care for the poor and who oppose CST?

  • Ralph Coelho

    You state about” the poor resonance of CST
    are importantly due to the crisis of the relationship between faith and reason,”

    I have a different view. The Catholic
    social teaching is based on acknowledging the dignity of the human person
    created male and female in the image of God. Priest and clergy restricted themselves
    to promoting man as a creature of God and therefore subject to his will. The same teaching established the authority of
    Rulers and feudal society. This was essentially the Old Testament model selectively
    enlightened by the New Testament. This continued even after Vatican II and the
    issue of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    It contributed to the rise of Liberation Theology
    that has been officially rejected by the church rescue it emphasises the love of
    the poor (Not even neighbour) to the detriment of love of God.

  • Mike Trevelline

    Thank you Mr. Saudek for your perceptive thoughts. Indeed, why so many Catholics cannot grasp Catholic anthropology and dismiss it out of hand in favor of neoliberalism is an important topic. I have two observations that perhaps would prompt further articles for thinkers like yourself and Mr. Storck.
    First, in Evangelum Vitae, John Paul II devotes almost one-fifth of the numbers to a thoughtful discussion of what social practices lead to a mentality where the unborn, handicapped and the elderly are seen as expensive, inconvenient problems. The market-based society contributes mightily to this mentality. This type of Scholastic and Thomistic emphasis on how to instill virtue is apparently incomprehensible to the neoconservatives/neoliberals. As loyal sons of the Church who express such concern about abortion, one would expect American-Catholic public intellectuals to take up the theme and develop it for an American audience. Other than Charles Rice (The Winning Side) and Patrick Deneen (Front Porch Republic), not a word has been written–complete silence from Weigel, Novak, Sirico, etc. Such thinking appears largely invisible to Americans, invisible since not fitting the social narrative of Herbert Spenser and An Rand. Thoughts on why the traditional approach of the Church is so incomprehensible would be worthwhile. In my experience, most of us have imbibed the view that Herbert Spenser and An Rand’s principles serve to solve all problems, although most have imbibed their thinking unawares and might not even be aware of their names. As well, the writers I mention are too well-schooled to employ these names knowing their thought as technically incompatible with Catholicism, but working with an emotional and historic narrative based on them.
    Second, you touch upon the neoliberal argument that abortion and contraceptive are intrinsic evils so that any other considerations (such as those expressed by John Paul II) are so different as hardly to be given serious thought. I know that David L. Schindler (JPII Institute) has spoke to this, but believe this is an important issue deserving much thought since it seems to go to the heart of the issue. (I saw the other day the idea that such a dichotomy by the neoliberals is arguing the Cartesian epistemology of the value of certainty in knowing over and against quite a different epistemology.)