Sunday, May 18, 2008

Garrigou-Lagrange on the 'Theology' of Heretics

From On Revelation, V. I, pp. 16-17:

C. Whether Sacred Theology is a supernatural habit. [...]

a) Sacred Theology is not an entitatively or intrinsically supernatural habit, for "it is acquired through human effort," as St. Thomas says in ST II-II.45.1 ad 2 and I.1.6 ad 3; it differs thus from the gift of Wisdom, which is given by the Holy Ghost through infusion. No entitatively and intrinsically supernatural habit is acquired through human effort, through the exercise of reason; rather, it demands per se a supernatural cause.

b) Sacred Theology is nonetheless a radically and originatively supernatural habit, because it deals with conclusions that are to be deduced from the principles of the Faith, and depends per se on the supernatural habit of Faith, in which it is contained as in its root. Hence, the 'theology' of heretics is not true Theology and is different in species from Catholic Theology, because these do not have the same formal motive, namely, virtual revelation.

The formal heretic does not deduce conclusions from principles believed by Divine Faith, for, insofar as he pertinaciously rejects the authority of God and of the Church regarding one article, he does not conserve Divine Faith regarding the other articles, but only human faith or opinion based on his own judgment and will (ST II-II.5.3). Therefore, the Faith being absent, Sacred Theology is necessarily destroyed; certain theological concepts remain materially coordinated in the heretical theologian, but without the light of Faith from which their formal connection proceeds--just as, when the soul has left [the body], the parts of the human body remain materially ordered for a certain time in the corpse, but it is no longer a human body, [for] the substantial form is lacking. Therefore, in formal heretics there can only be the corpse of Sacred Theology, or better a sophistical dialectic that mixes itself with divine things; for, the exterior authority of God and of the Church having been rejected, and the interior light of Faith having been abandoned, heretics lack the rule and cognitive principle for making judgments regarding the things of the Faith, and therefore, they often confuse the supernatural with the natural and, thus, frequently err.* Nor is it surprising, then, that they say that theology is not a science, but a collection of opinions, for truly their own theology is nothing other than that.

*Even if the formal heretic can sometimes attain to true theological conclusions, and to write about them without error, nevertheless he only knows those conclusions materially, not in the same way as the Catholic theologian. For in a theological conclusion, the formal link between subject and predicate depends on the light of the Revelation as it is proposed by the Church and on the interior light of Faith; but the formal heretic abandons the light of Faith, and believes only the dogmas that are pleasing to him according to his own judgment and will.
(Trans. Francisco Romero-Carrasquillo)

Ex De Revelatione, T. I, pp. 16-17:

C. An S. Theologia sit habitus supernaturalis. [...]

a) Sacra Theologia non est habitus entitative seu intrinsice supernaturalis, nam "acquiritur studio humano," ut dicit S. Thomas II.a q. 45, a. 1, ad 2 et I.a q. 1, a. 6, ad 3, sic differt a dono Sapientiae, quod datur a Spiritu Sancto per infusionem. Nullus autem habitus entitative et intrinsice supernaturalis acquiritur studio humano, per exercitum rationis, sed per se petit causam supernaturalem.

b) Sacra Theologia tamen est habitus radicaliter et originative supernaturalis, quia versatur circa conclusiones deducendas ex principiis fidei, et per se dependet ab habitu supernaturali fidei, in quo tanquam in radice continetur. Unde theologia haereticorum non est vera Theologia et specie distinguitur a Theologia catholica, quia non habet idem motivum formale, scilicet revealationem virtualem.

Haereticus enim formalis non deducit conclusiones ex principiis fide divina creditis, nam dum reiicit pertinaticter auctoritatem Dei et Ecclesiae circa unum articulum, non conservat fidem divinam de aliis articulis, sed solum fidem humanam seu opinionem ex proprio iudicio et propria voluntate (II.a q. 5, a. 3). Proinde pereunte fide, Sacram Theologiam destrui necesse est; remanent quidem in theologo haeretico conceptus theologici materialiter coordinati sed sine lumine fidei ex quo procedit eorum formalis connexio, sicut recedente anima remanent certo tempore in cadavere partes corporis humani materialiter ordinatae, sed non est amplius corpus humanum, deest forma substantialis. Non potest igitur esse in haereticis formalibus nisi cadaver Sacrae Theologiae, seu melius dialectica sophistica rebus divinis sese immiscens; nam, reiecta externa auctoritate Dei et Ecclesiae, et amisso interno lumine fidei, haeretici carent regula et principio cognoscitivo ad recte iudicandum de rebus fidei, ideoque saepe confundunt supernaturalia cum naturalibus, et frequenter errant.* Nec proinde mirum est quod dicant theologiam non esse scientiam, sed collectionem opinionum, nam revera nihil aliud est eorum theologia.

*Etsi haereticus formalis possit pervenire quandoque ad veras conclusiones theologicas, et de eis sine errore scribere; attamen non cognoscit conclusiones nisi materialiter, non eodem modo ac theologus catholicus. In conclusione enim theologica nexus formalis inter subiectum et praedicatum pendet a lumine revelationis ab Ecclesia propositae et a lumine interno fidei. Haereticus autem formalis amisit lumen fidei, et credit solum dogmata quae sibi placent ex proprio iudicio et propria voluntate.


Anselm said...

Dear Professor Romero,

Thank you very much for that snippet. I'm a tremendous admirer of Garrigou-Lagrange, and I only attend the Latin mass. What are your thoughts on the late Charles De Konninck (sp?) of Laval? Notre Dame is set to release a volume of his collected works next month (they had said April, but I called, and they say mid to late June is the projected date).

Your site would have been a God-send if I'd known about it earlier. Thank you so much for providing information on the true tradition of St. Thomas and his commentators.


Don Paco said...

Unfortunately, I don't know much about De Koninck. If you drop me an email ( I'll send you an invitation to the Forum, where we are planning to put together posts on the different Thomists so that we all can become familiar with them.

Recently, I've put up posts on Doronzo and Ramirez (two of my personal favorites), but I'm looking forward to seeing other people's posts on other Thomists with whom I'm less familiar.

Duns said...

Very helpful selection. Thanks.

Don Paco said...

Thesis patet ratione:

1) Theologia est 'fides quaerens intellectum', ut dicit Anselmus.
2) Haereticus non habet fidem.
C) Ergo, nec habet theologiam.