Battle in the air

More work on an airplane. Reading about the battle of the “ressourcement” theologians with “neo-Thomists”.

I find Chinese music goes well with this sort of thing, don’t you?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. wanda says:

    You are too much, Fr. Z.! I don’t know what any of that means, but, I have prayed for you & your fellow travelers safe flight.

  2. arotron theou says:

    Irony of the day: St. Thomas himself was a “ressourcement” theologian.

  3. jbalza007 says:

    Is this the same Chinese music we hear on some z-chat sessions?

  4. robtbrown says:

    What was the name of the article/book?

  5. robtbrown says:

    Irony of the day: St. Thomas himself was a “ressourcement” theologian.
    Comment by arotron theou

    Every Thomist has to be ressourcement theologian.

    Of course, as JRatzinger pointed out, the problem with the ressourcement theologians is that they conveniently forgot to consider the theology of the Middle Ages.

  6. jbalza007: Not quite the same. This stuff was a little more … challenging.

  7. robtbrown says:

    should read: some of them conveniently forgot to consider the theology of the Middle Ages.

  8. Mike says:

    Looks like you’re reading Tracey Rowland’s “Ratzinger’s Faith.”

  9. seanl says:

    Sounds like it calls for the soundtrack from a good kung-fu movie!

  10. cuaguy says:

    Father, when will you be doing that long awaited (at least by me and you) only Chinese Opera Z-Chat? I am looking forward to something like that!

  11. Random Friar says:

    A good Thomist will discriminate between what is good and what is not so good in any source of any age for the service of the unchanging yet inexhaustible Truth.

    That said, the only good thing about some texts is the very fine printsetting.

  12. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr. I certainly hope you’re using earphones. I’d hate to hear that they threw you out of the exit doors over what we all know is your “wonderful, ahem” chinese music.

  13. merrydelval says:

    Fr Z, I am starting my dissertation on this topic. Can you tell us what you are reading?
    Fr Smith

  14. jmcj says:

    I would love to know what book you are reading. I am very interested in this topic.

  15. arotron theou says:

    robtbrown and RandomFriar, I agree with you both. The best theologians, regardless of camp or training, love the Truth, always and everywhere. Good Thomists and solid Patristic thinkers both reach the same conclusions about dogmata. Just as neo-Thomism errs if it neglects the Fathers, so Patristic ressourcement fails if it neglects Scholasticism.

    In other words, we all need to be good Boethians…

  16. Jack Hughes says:

    I do think St Thomas is a genius, as regards the Chinese music I may have to listen to some as I may be teaching in a Catholic school in Hong Kong next accademic year.

  17. Timbot2000 says:

    Did you every study Chinese at the U of M? That was where I got my degree in the same lo many years ago.

  18. robtbrown says:

    Two points about St Thomas:

    1. What distinguishes the theology of St Thomas, making it unique, is that theology is always primarily speculative, that it is always done primarily to know Truth, not as a plan of action. All theology, even moral theology, is primarily about God (theocentric).

    On the other hand, it is never purely speculative–it always has a practical aspect. hat is why implicit in St Thomas’ method is human experience. In fact, a common complaint against the pre Vat II neo-Scholastic theology is that it .

    Acc to St Thomas, theology is not primarily about salvation, either of the individual or the community. And so the concepts of dogmatic theology (what someone must believe) and moral theology (what someone must do and avoid) are not adequate as a foundation for theology. Further, Counter Reformation Theology, Liberation Theology, Ecumenical Theology, etc., can never be adequate expressions of theology, only of some aspect of it.

    2. In so far as it deals with Relevation, theology must always be grounded in Christ (Christocentric) not on the Church (Ecclesiocentric). I have mentioned before that St Thomas’ Sacramental Theology is a division of his Christology. The Sacraments flow directly from Christ, not from some legislative authority that Christ gave to the Church.

    The efforts to reestablish the notion of the Church as Mystical Body began before Vat II (cf Pius XII) and extended into the Council. Unfortunately, certain theologians simply went from a legalistic Ecclesiocentric theology to a sociological one, e.g., the Schillebeeckx disconnection of the priesthood from Apostolic succession.

    To paraphrase Forrest Gump, that’s all I’ll say about that.

  19. robtbrown says:

    Contra Forrest, let me add that St Thomas’ concept of theology as primarily speculative, but never purely so means that his method is going to both ascend from the particulars of human experience and descend from universal principles.

    For those interested, I highly recommend Garrigou LaGrange’s The One God, especially the introduction where he explains St Thomas’ method and the commentary on Question I of the Summa.

  20. VetusMores says:

    D’oh — when I viewed the display on your iPhone/pod/pad, I thought I saw “Wang Chung.” Now [i]that’s[/i] ressourcement!

  21. VetusMores says:

    … and so much for the BBcode …

  22. MAJ Tony says:

    Regarding Ressourcement Theology and Thomism, I read Ressourcement Theology, Aggiornamento,and the Hermeneutics of Tradition by Dr. D’Ambrosio at and while this was my first foray into the realm of “Ressourcement Theology” I found it, on it’s face at least, to be a reasonable concept, if not abused. In the article, it is explained that some of the Jesuit theologians from Fourvière were in fact themselves Thomists. What they found, according to the article, is that Aquinas is really more traditional in the mold of the Early Fathers than is neo-Thomism/neo-Scholasticism, once you dig into his writings first-hand. That was just what I gathered from a reading of the article.

  23. robtbrown says:

    I do not agree that there were Thomists in La Fourvière. De Lubac opposed certain Counter Reformation tendencies, but from what I have read, he seems more like a neo-Augustinian than a Thomist.

  24. dmwallace says:

    Father Z is reading Tracey Rowland’s, Ratzinger’s Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI. He has shown us a glimpse of page 21.

  25. arotron theou says:

    Robtbrown, aside from method, in what do you see the differences between St. Thomas and St. Augustine? Or am I reading too much into your comment about De Lubac, in which I seem (perhaps quite wrongly) to see a disparagement of “neo-Augustinian” ressourcement?

  26. Jason Keener says:

    Some of you might also be interested in the Fergus Kerr book called “Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians,” which does a good job explaining the transition we have seen from Neo-Thomism to Ressourcement theology. I personally think the Church should enthusiastically embrace both Neo-Thomism AND Ressourcement theology. In the end, how can any one theology whether it be Neo-Thomism or Ressourcement theology explain the full Mysteries of God and His relationship with us? Being able to understand the metaphysical proofs for God’s existence (Neo-Thomism) and returing to the study of Scriptures and realizing that God calls us to deep personal communion with Him and all other people (Ressourcement theology) are both equally important and valid approaches to theology.

    The SSPX crowd will sometimes say that Neo-Thomism is the only good theology and that new theology is all modernist rubbish. Baloney! On the other hand, the New Theologians will sometimes say that Neo-Thomism is dry and irrelevant. Baloney! The Church needs both Neo-Thomism AND Ressourcement theology. Just as there is legitimate diversity between the expressions of worship in the Western and Eastern Catholic autonomous ritual Churches, so should there also be a healthy legitimate diversity of theologies in the Catholic Church, with each theology helping us to understand better some aspect of the Mysteries of God that another theology might not shed as much light upon.

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