As we examine the question, How can the Via Pulchritudinis be a Response? we read the concession that philosophy is part of, but not the complete way we encounter the Way of Beauty.
The way I read it: God made human beings to be attracted by beauty. When a person responds positively to their own truth, we will be drawn to God. This is basic metaphysics.
The via pulchritudinis is a pastoral way which cannot be exhausted in a philosophical approach. Yet the metaphysician is needed to help us understand why beauty is a royal way leading to God. In suggesting to us who He is, it stimulates in us a desire to enjoy the peace of contemplation, not only because He alone can fill our minds and hearts, but because He contains in Himself the perfection of being, a harmonious and inexhaustible source of clarity and light.
A lengthy commentary from Pope John Paul II’s 1998 encyclical:
To reach it, we need to know how to make the passage from phenomenon to foundation: “Wherever men and women discover a call to the absolute and transcendent, the metaphysical dimension of reality opens up before them: in truth, in beauty, in moral values, in other persons, in being itself, in God. We face a great challenge at the end of this millennium to move from phenomenon to foundation, a step as necessary as it is urgent. We cannot stop short at experience alone; even if experience does reveal the human being’s interiority and spirituality, speculative thinking must penetrate to the spiritual core and the ground from which it rises.” [JOHN PAUL II, Fides et Ratio 83. And he adds “therefore, a philosophy which shuns metaphysics would be radically unsuited to the task of mediation in the understanding of Revelation.”]
The full document is here.
Image: the rose window at Notre Dame in Paris, By Zachi Evenor based on File:North rose window of Notre-Dame de Paris, Aug 2010.jpg by Julie Anne Workman – CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60404628