Friday, April 9, 2010

Take the Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange Challenge!

I am convinced that the reason many Catholics today do not understand their Catholic faith very well is that the philosophical and theological principles of Saint Thomas Aquinas have largely been abandoned in recent years. It is the reason why guys like Mark Shea do not know how to make distinctions regarding Catholic moral theology. It also the reason why many bishops are now duped into buying into this exaggerated definition of "human dignity" and end up falling into false crusades against the death penalty and crusades that focus on social justice, all the while neglecting the ultimate end we are all hoping for with God in eternity.

There is a cure for this sickness and his name Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. He is known as Saint Thomas' ultimate mouthpiece of the 20th century. He was born in 1877 in France and lived until 1964. He was a thorn in the liberal dissenters sides for years! Fr. Lagrange like Saint Thomas before him would be a great theologian, and not only would he advance the cause of orthodoxy, he would be a staunch defender of every modernist attack that would occur on Church soil in his time! Lagrange exposed the errors of the "New Theologians" like Henri de Lubac, Maurice Blondel, Karl Rahner, Edward Schillebeeckx and Hans Urs von Balthasar among others. These "New Theologians" laid the snares of bad philosophy, which ultimately skewed their theological understanding of the Church.

As we know, Saint Thomas has been championed by the Church since the 13th century. But one quote will suffice to make my point on how important it is that every Catholic takes the time to study Saint Thomas.

"27. Again, if we are to avoid the errors which are the source and fountain-head of all the miseries of our time, the teaching of Aquinas must be adhered to more religiously than ever. For Thomas refutes the theories propounded by Modernists in every sphere, in philosophy, by protecting, as We have reminded you, the force and power of the human mind and by demonstrating the existence of God by the most cogent arguments; in dogmatic theology, by distinguishing the supernatural from the natural order and explaining the reasons for belief and the dogmas themselves; in theology, by showing that the articles of faith are not based upon mere opinion but upon truth and therefore cannot possibly change; in exegesis, by transmitting the true conception of divine inspiration; in the science of morals, in sociology and law, by laying down sound principles of legal and social, commutative and distributive, justice and explaining the relations between justice and charity; in the theory of asceticism, by his precepts concerning the perfection of the Christian life and his confutation of the enemies of the religious orders in his own day. Lastly, against the much vaunted liberty of the human reason and its independence in regard to God he asserts the rights of primary Truth and the authority over us of the Supreme Master. It is therefore clear why Modernists are so amply justified in fearing no Doctor of the Church so much as Thomas Aquinas." (Studiorum Ducem-Pope Pius XI, June 29,1923)
It is true that there are many books available today on Saint Thomas, and I have listed some of them in earlier blog posts. But the more I read and learn, I believe that Fr. Lagrange is the best place to start to really get an idea of what true Thomism is. Here are a few books that I think should be part of every Catholic's library for immediate consumption. It is important that we properly order our intellects towards God. In order to defeat the modernist mentality that pervades the Church today, it will take a serious ground roots Thomistic revival.  Fr. Garrigou Lagrange is a great place to start the revival! You can find most of these books on Amazon, or some other place on the net. The order I posted the books  is a good order to buy them in, but you can judge for yourself based on my descriptions.

The first book, Reality, is a good summary of the work and thinking of Saint Thomas. Fr Lagrange goes through and explains many of St. Thomas' work and gives you a firm grounding in Thomistic philosophy and theology.

The second book, Christian Perfection and Contemplation, is an exposition on traditional Catholic teaching regarding the spiritual life of grace and perfection. He covers the basics of how to live the Christian life and how to understand the basics of Catholic theology. This is a must for every Catholic.

The third book, The Sacred Monster of Thomism, is a biography on Fr. Lagrange. It is excellent and gives you some insight into the time in which Fr. Lagrange lived and the the evil forces of modernism that he battled around him.

Finally, the fourth book, Our Savior and His Love for Us, is another spiritual guide on the interior life, focusing on Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The book focuses on Christ, His incarnation, the priesthood and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass among other topics. 

If we can read and digest these four works, we will be well on our way to changing the intellect of the Church back to a firm foundation grounded in reality.

1. Reality

2. Christian Perfection and Contemplation

3. The Sacred Monster of Thomism

4. Our Savior and His Love For Us


Alexander said...

Let's not forget about his work on Predestination.

Tony Trear said...

I also recommend Providence--especially for these times! Many of the texts to his hard to find books are available free online. Just do a google search under his name.

Tony Trear said...

I re-posted this because it got lost when I signed up...

Good article and spot on in its prescription for spiritual health, regeneration of the Church and protection from the evils besetting us in the modern world. I might add a suggestion for one other of Father Reginald's books, specifically for these times, in the context of the temporal evils we face economically and in fulfilling our duties as providers for big Catholic families (or any size for that matter): Providence. It not only clearly lays out Catholic doctrine on this subject, from the basis of Providence, which is the existence and attributes of God; but also comforts the soul in its exegesis of the love and care God has for creation and His creatures, especially those who do their best to "seek first the Kingdom of God...".

Matthew Bellisario said...

Thanks for the additional recommendations. You really can't go wrong with any of his works.

Don Paco said...

Nice post, although I would add that the MOST important work by Garrigou for us to read is his Three Ages of the Interior Life (2 vols.), or at least the small, one-volume compendium, The Three Conversions of the Spiritual Life. But unlike some of the other theological treatises that he wrote, these are meant more to move the heart than to illumine the intellect.

Alan Aversa said...

All Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's works that I know of that are online are available here.

Alan Aversa said...

Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P.'s Reason with Piety: Garrigou-Lagrange in the service of Catholic thought is an excellent complement to Fr. Peddicord's Sacred Monster of Thomism. Having had to lecture on a "post-Tridentine Catholic theology" course at Oxford for the first time at Oxford, Fr. Nichols quickly became a Fr. G.-L. convert, never having read him before. Fr. Nichols masterfully and concisely describes Modernism and introduces Fr. G.-L.'s philosophical and theological responses to it. While Fr. Peddicord focused more on Fr. G.-L.'s spirituality, Fr. Nichols concentrates on his philosophy and theology. Fr. Nichols' book is like a concise "Reality: A Synthesis of Garrigouvian Thought." I highly recommend it.

Here's the link for the book from Ave Maria University's Sapientia Press.

Also, a couple more tidbits about Fr. Nichols's biography:

He considers Dieu, son existence et sa nature "Garrigou's most important work" which "deserves recognition as a classic."

Fr. Nichols's book's 2nd most common work cited is the 2nd edition of De Revelatione, which apparently was substantially truncated in subsequent editions.

Lastly, when my computer is one, you can get nearly all of Fr. G.-L.'s writings in multiple languages here.

Alan Aversa said...

Check out this new translation of a Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange work: The Essence & Topicality of Thomism.

Fr. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., explains why Thomism is the solution to the present crisis of Modernism in the Church.

The problem:
The indications of the current crisis in the Church have “been not of a crisis of faith, but of a very grave malady of the intellect, which conducts itself on the tracks of liberal Protestantism and through relativism to absolute skepticism.”

Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s solution: Thomism.
“Thomism corresponds to the profound needs of the modern world because it restores the love of truth for the sake of truth itself. Now, without this love of truth for itself, it is not possible to obtain true infused charity, the supernatural love of God for the sake of God Himself, nor to arrive at the infused contemplation of God sought for Himself, that is, at the contemplation that proceeds from the living faith enriched by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, first of all, knowledge and wisdom.”

Stephen Notman said...

Has De Revelatione (2nd edition) been translated into English?