Dr. Arnella Francis Clamor, Associate Professor of Theology in Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) emphasized that faith goes beyond sentiment and rational acts during the second regular Ignatian conversation held at the Finster Auditorium.
“Act of faith is not just mere sentiment, it’s not just a rational act, it’s not just reason,” she said, stressing that religious emotion cannot take the place of doctrine.
The said event primarily aimed to prepare the Ateneo community as well as partner institutions for the incoming canonization as a saint of Blessed John Henry Newman.
According to Clamor, Newman was a “giant of a thinker who was way too advanced for his generation.”
The talk also proposed to walk the Ateneans through the stages of Newman’s conversion.
Clamor discussed salient points of his life, particularly how people should embody his acts of faith and conscience in their own lives.
“For example, you are thinking of having a vocation, you are not going to wait until you’re 60 to enter whatever you want to enter. Or you want to marry, you don’t wait until you’re 50 to say ‘okay, if I tell you I want to marry you.’ It’s too late,” she said.
“The same principle applies to our believing in the mysteries of faith. We make an act of faith in mysteries that they can never absolutely prove,” Clamor added.
The professor also accentuated that a certain conscience must influence decisions from a transcendent being which enables people to love and fear God rightly.
“The conscience heart gives us this capacity that enables us to fear God properly and to love him… In your personal life, your decisions have to be guided by a conscience, which is the voice of a transcendent being exterior to you. In the life of the church, the decisions of the church will have to be guided by an infallible authority, which is the expression of a voice exterior to the church,” she said.
In relation to this, Clamor also mentioned that the formation of conscience must be based on a life of virtue, and it is the character that first forms conscience.
She further stated that regular acts of freedom form a life of virtue.
The forum entitled, “From Oxford to Rome — Blessed John Henry Newman: The Story of a Conversion” was a joint effort of the Theology and Philosophy departments of AdDU. It was held last Wednesday, September 18.