Monday, June 11, 2012

False Emancipation

This quote, from the then-Joseph Ratzinger, underscores the erroneous philosophical background rooted in Enlightenment philosophical presuppositions of current topics of debate such as abortion and the attempt to redefine the institution of marriage:

“The attack on tradition became, with them (the French Encyclopedists), ever more fundamental, more conscious, more intense. This movement increased its scope during the age of technical reason. The idea of emancipation is understood today as the radical antithesis of the idea of tradition. All previous value systems are to be unmasked; in his rationality, man becomes the creator not only of himself but also of a world constructed according to his own designs; he forms himself and reality anew in the unconditioned transparency of his own rationality. Philosophically, this concept is expressed in the theory that man was not created according to a preconceived design and is, consequently, free (and, at the same time, obligated by this freedom) to design himself—to determine what man is to be like in the future. This liberation of man from the soil of the earth, from the foreordination to which he owes his existence, is most evident in the notion of perfect dominion over life and death and in elimination of the distinction between man and woman.”

Friday, June 08, 2012

Thomas Aquinas And Mystical Theology

"Several authors, struck by the difference which they find between the writings of the great mystical theologians (such as Dionysius, Richard of St. Victor, St. Bonaventure, Tauler, St. John of the Cross) and the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, are surprised that we should expect to find in St. Thomas’ writings the principles of mystical theology. Some even consider St. Thomas, not a great theologian who from a supernatural point of view used Aristotle for the defense and explanation of the divine truths of faith, but rather a philosopher of genius who gave us an interpretation of the Gospel, a Christian Aristotle, as later on Malebranche was a Christian Plato.
    Anyone who accepts this view must lack an intimate knowledge of the writings of St. Thomas, especially his treatises on the Trinity, the incarnation, the Holy Eucharist, grace, the theological virtues, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Certainly such a person never read St. Thomas’ commentaries on St. Paul, St. John, the Psalms, and the Canticle of Canticles. He must be ignorant of St. Thomas’ short treatises on piety, his prayers, his office of the Blessed Sacrament; and he must be unacquainted with the saint’s life, his nights spent before the tabernacle, his ecstasies, the eminent gift of contemplation which made him refer to his Summa as being only straw in comparison with what he beheld."