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Scholasticum

“Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.” 

This is by far the most famous of Victor Hugo’s quotes.

If this quote can be applied to any “idea” that has surfaced over the last 50 years in the Universal Church, it has to be applicable to the project undertaken by a group of Italian clergy and scholars presently known as The Scholaticum

The reason that I am bringing this matter to your attention, again, dear reader is that The Scholasticum project addresses what this blogger and others have identified as the ROOT CAUSE of the distintegration of the structures of the Universal Church. I will once again quote from John Lamont and his essay Attacks on Thomism which appeared on the Rorate Caeli blog on the 1st of January 2015 (see here). In this post, John Lamont accurately addresses the ROOT CAUSE UNDERLYING THE DISINTEGRATION OF THE INSITUTIONAL CHURCH. Here is what he writes:

The substantive accusations made against this Thomism are that it unjustifiably limited theology to a particular philosophical system, that theology was forced to conform to it, and that it was not the true thought of St. Thomas. These claims play a subordinate role in the criticism of preconciliar Thomism, whose main thrust lies in accusations that Thomism was ‘abstract’, ‘rationalist’, ‘ahistorical’, ‘arid’, ‘frozen’, ‘immobile’, ‘obsessed’, ‘encouraging pure secularity’, ‘sclerotically hardened and furred theologically, spiritually and ecclesially’, ‘causing a rupture between theology and life’, a ‘wax mask’, a ‘straightjacket’ that ‘reduced theological speculation to sterility’. The essence of this villainous form of Thomism is supposed to be given by the 24 Thomistic theses developed by leading scholars and endorsed by the Sacred Congregation of Studies in 1914, as containing the principles and main pronouncements of St. Thomas’s philosophy.3

These charges however are easily refutable. Here is that key passage:

Thomism made an easy target for this propaganda, just because it is a highly developed philosophy. Any advanced field of study, such as philosophy, mathematics, or physics, can be convincingly portrayed as ‘arid’ and ‘rigid’. For most people’s tastes, this portrayal will often be true. Precise and rigorous subjects inevitably have arid components. Because it deals with fundamental questions whose answers are true always and everywhere, philosophy will be ‘ahistorical’ and ‘immutable’. It will not meet the desires and expectations of individuals or societies, because these desires and expectations are never geared towards subtle and difficult concepts. It will meet their needs – if it is true. But a demonstration of philosophical truth is a feeble counter to propaganda.

And what are the consequences (causal relationship) of the destruction of the Thomistic philosophical basis of Catholic theology and its replacement with a neo-modernist based hodge-podge of “views, which revived essential elements of the modernist heresy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries”? Here is what Mr Lamont writes:

The key to the neomodernist capture of power is however also the reason for their failure to sustain a religious culture. Neomodernism is not like Protestantism, which contains ideas with a positive content as well as being a rejection of Catholicism. These ideas – justification by faith, and the like – are not correct, but they say something substantial, and have an appeal that can give rise to an important movement. Neomodernism, however, on a religious level is a purely negative thesis. As a result it has no attractive force of its own, and ecclesiastical structures that fall into its grip eventually die away – a process now visible all over the world.

The above is an OBJECTIVELY TRUE statement.

But Thomism lives on. Here is the conclusion of the above paragraph:

This is one thing that on the natural level permitted the survival of Thomism, despite the drastic measures taken to uproot it from the Church; unlike neomodernism, it has something positive and substantial to say. Moreover, what it has to say is actually true. This is in no way a guarantee of broad success, but it ensures the continued existence of Thomism in the small constituency of good scholars who are concerned with the truth and in a position to discover it. Whether it will expand much beyond this constituency in the future is unknown, but there is no doubt that its future shows more promise than that of neomodernism.

And as you by now have figured out, Thomism in particular and Scholasticism in general has survived. And it will continue to live on. One venue where it will live on is at the Scholasticum. Here is what is key to understand about this new institution:

The Scholasticum is an institute for the study of Scholastic Theology and Philosophy, headquartered at Rome, dedicated to the promotion of the greater appreciation and understanding of Medieval Theology and Philosophy as it was taught at the University of Paris in the mid 13th century. 

What we see in the above text is a return to the fundamentals. By returning to the mid 13th century Theology and Philosophy of the University of Paris, we are returning back to treating Theology as science and studing this discipline through what is presently referred to as a scientific method.

And just to remind everyone as to the significance of this undertaking, I will end this post with a definition which we laid out in our post Settled Stupidity (see here). The definition to which I referred above is for what constitutes organic growth:

Organic Growth: reconciliation of reason with revelation, of science with faith and of philosophy with theology, SUBJECT TO: that source of our Faith that comes from divine Revelation.

For a further treatment of this matter, please go to the She Blinded Us With Science! post (see here).

Concluding, all I can say is that I pray (and fast) that this institution succeeds. If He will’s it, it cannot be different. But we also know that “God helps those who help themselves”.

So it is also up to all of us to do our bit!

Photo post by @BrAlexisBugnolo.

Source: A great sign of Hope for the Church universal…

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