At a time when the Catholic Church is being invited to greater humility by the Plenary Council and greater synodality by Pope Francis it may be prudent to acknowledge both the richness and limitations of human knowing, especially when it comes to matters concerning ultimate reality. A progressive understanding of the nature of knowledge will enable the Church to tell its story with boldness and humility. It will also enhance its capacity to honour the wisdom of other faith traditions and, indeed, of other important disciplines.
In the religious sphere the mystical tradition had a nuanced understanding of knowing within the spiritual realm. It posits three dimensions of the soul: intellect, will and memory. Each dimension has an ambiguous quality insofar that it reveals and veils reality at the same time. In this short article the function of the intellect, its relationship to the holy and its role in revelation are considered.