Nobody can “baptize” the devil; nobody need try to baptize doctrines inspired by him, thereby repudiating truths directly inspired by God.”
(The Theological Virtues- On Faith: R. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.)
I was reading through my new copy of Fr. Garrigou Lagrange’s ‘The Theological Virtues’ today and I enjoyed his comments on wether or not modern philosophical systems were of any use to the virtue of faith. We have all heard the dubious claims that just as St. Thomas “baptized” Aristotelian philosophy, the new theologians have likewise done the same with the likes of Hegel and Kant. Many “New Theologians” such as Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Karl Rahner hailed themselves as being pioneers in the realm of using modernist philosophical systems to further understand the Church’s teachings. As we all know, this experiment has been a huge failure, just as the six popes, Pius IX through Pius XII told us it would be. Likewise, the brilliant and unshakable theologian Father Garrigou Lagrange expounded upon this madness in his commentary work on the Summa. In his commentary concerning the question of unbelief, he gives a striking description of how ludicrous it is to try and “baptize” these modern, subjective philosophical systems of thought. It is really nothing short of trying to overthrow what God has given us in His creation, the natural law.
“Positive unbelief originates in pride. It is the disaster of those who will not bend their minds to carry out or to comply with the rules of faith, or to profit by the intelligence of the Fathers. St. Gregory calls it “vainglory rich in presumptuousness through the fascination for novelties.” The position or condition is a vice of many degrees ranging from unmixed pertinacity down to dwindling, colorless mental levity. The crumbling facade is masked with boastful airs of being wedded to scientific progress. Books are decorated with “new opinions,” so alleged but they are baseless. They are presented today and cast aside tomorrow, according as awakening applause and surprising popularity are presumed to be calling for new and enlarged editions thoroughly revised. Certain writers have no qualms in ignoring what ought to be a first principle, namely, to work expressly toward the truth and to stick to it in all circumstances. Their exclusive aim is progress-up or down hill makes no difference. If opinions are new, their patrons are convinced they must be an improvement. Hegelianism reasons that way. The door is flung wide open for absolute optimism, which is logically inseparable from pantheistic evolutionism.
No wonder that sheer dupes of this progeny conceive the idea of baptizing all systems. Through utter blindness to error as error, they seek to star with Aquinas, who “baptized Aristotelianism,” by themselves baptizing positivism, Kantism, and even Hegalianism. No need for them to consider that the principles of Aristotelianism are intrinsically conformable to natural reason; whereas the permanent anchorage of principles based on natural reason directly, with the objective firmness they possess, are degraded to naught by the arbitrary rulings of positivism, Kantism and Hegelianism. Believe it or not, the proper reply to these fantastic philosophers should be: Nobody can “baptize” the devil; nobody need try to baptize doctrines inspired by him, thereby repudiating truths directly inspired by God.” (The Theological Virtues- On Faith: R. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.)