Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Warning to Those Who Oppose Saint Thomas and Scholasticism

I think these two paragraphs are a good rule of thumb to use when seeking out your Catholic reading material. Long live the happy memory of Pope Saint Pius X! We should hope that all today would hear and obey his words.

45. In the first place, with regard to studies, We will and ordain that scholastic philosophy be made the basis of the sacred sciences. It goes without saying that if anything is met with among the scholastic doctors which may be regarded as an excess of subtlety, or which is altogether destitute of probability, We have no desire whatever to propose it for the imitation of present generations (Leo XIII. Enc. Aeterni Patris). And let it be clearly understood above all things that the scholastic philosophy We prescribe is that which the Angelic Doctor has bequeathed to us, and We, therefore, declare that all the ordinances of Our Predecessor on this subject continue fully in force, and, as far as may be necessary, We do decree anew, and confirm, and ordain that they be by all strictly observed. In seminaries where they may have been neglected let the Bishops impose them and require their observance, and let this apply also to the Superiors of religious institutions. Further let Professors remember that they cannot set St. Thomas aside, especially in metaphysical questions, without grave detriment.

46. On this philosophical foundation the theological edifice is to be solidly raised. Promote the study of theology, Venerable Brethren, by all means in your power, so that your clerics on leaving the seminaries may admire and love it, and always find their delight in it. For in the vast and varied abundance of studies opening before the mind desirous of truth, everybody knows how the old maxim describes theology as so far in front of all others that every science and art should serve it and be to it as handmaidens (Leo XIII., Lett. ap. In Magna, Dec. 10, 1889). We will add that We deem worthy of praise those who with full respect for tradition, the Holy Fathers, and the ecclesiastical magisterium, undertake, with well-balanced judgment and guided by Catholic principles (which is not always the case), seek to illustrate positive theology by throwing the light of true history upon it. Certainly more attention must be paid to positive theology than in the past, but this must be done without detriment to scholastic theology, and those are to be disapproved as of Modernist tendencies who exalt positive theology in such a way as to seem to despise the scholastic.


Alan Aversa said...

You would love Fr. Lumbreras, O.P., S.T.Lr., Ph.D.'s introduction, which contains the best parts of Popes Leo XIII's and Pope St. Pius X's pro-Thomism documents, to his commentary on the 24 Thomistic Theses.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Awesome! Thanks Alan!

Matthew Bellisario said...

Alan, is his entire work available somewhere? Can a hard copy be found?

Matthew Bellisario said...

I just love this quote of Pius X: "The chief doctrines of St. Thomas' philosophy cannot be regarded as mere opinions—which anyone might discuss pro and con, but rather as a foundation on which all science of both natural and divine things rests. If they are taken away, or perverted in any way, then this necessarily follows: that the students of sacred studies will not perceive even the meaning of those words whereby the divinely revealed dogmas are uttered by the teaching of the Church."

Alan Aversa said...

You would also love Msgr. Fenton's "Background of the Oath Against Modernism." It contains more powerful pro-Thomism quotes of Pope St. Pius X, e.g., that Catholic teachers much submit to their bishop their course plans, textbooks, etc., and that they must renew the Oath at the beginning of every academic year. Also, Pope St. Pius X wrote:

"Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty! God hates the proud and the obstinate mind. In the future the doctorate in theology or in canon law must never be conferred on anyone who has not first of all made the regular course in scholastic philosophy. If such a doctorate be conferred, it is to be held as null and void."

It's worth remembering the Latin of the first two sentences; it makes an awesome Pope St. Pius X quote: "Procul, procul este a sacro ordine novitatum amor: superbos et contumaces animos odit Deus!"

Alan Aversa said...

Oh, yes, you quote "Doctoris Angelici;" I like how he said "The chief doctrines of St. Thomas' philosophy" are "a foundation on which all science of both natural and divine things rests."

Also, Fr. Lumbreras, O.P., S.T.Lr., Ph.D.'s commentary is entirely that page I linked to in my first comment above. It comes from a 1923 Homiletic & Pastoral Review issue.

Alan Aversa said...

You'd enjoy:
Thomism at Vatican II
by Fr. Komonchak (who translated some of the Vatican II Preparatory Commission's schemas)

Here're some quotes from it.