Skip to main content

De Lubac's critique of Thomistic neo-scholasticism and what he dubbed the "baroque theology of grace" was adopted wholesale to the extent that he is credited with having "created the intellectual climate that made possible the Second Vatican Council"


A Brief Introduction to the Debate / Controversy

The debate originates with the publication of Henri De Lubac's Surnaturel in 1946 and the controversy that ensued, in which he charged Thomistic theologians (chiefly from Cajetan onwards) had misunderstood -- and consequently misrepresented, to detrimental effect -- man's relationship to God as a "two tiered" system of nature and the supernatural existing in isolation to each other. According to De Lubac, the theological exchange of the "natural / moral" paradigm for that of "natural / supernatural"; the theoretical consideration of man's "natural end" or state of pure nature [natura pura] as distinct from his calling to the beatific vision, negatively reinforced man's sense of secular autonomy and modernity's abandonment of the divine.

It is important to note here that De Lubac's concern was born of good intentions: horrified with first, French Catholic massive support of the fascist movement Action Francaise in the 1930's, and secondly its collaboration with the Petain’s Vichy regime during the Second World War, which had deported six thousand Jews to Germany from 1941-1945. This was the historical context under which De Lubac developed his theology. Hans Boersma explains (Nouvelle Théologie and Sacramental Ontology):

As de Lubac came to see it, the French cultural and political situation was intimately tied up with the theological question of the relationship between nature and the supernatural. The reason, he believed, why so many accommodated uncritically the fascist neo-paganism of the Vichy regime was the long-standing separation between nature and the supernatural, as if the two formed two hermetically sealed compartments. Such separation, de Lubac believed, granted the realm of nature a nearly autonomous status in relation to the supernatural. In no way related to the supernatural, the realm of nature could move in its own, self-chosen direction, unencumbered by a higher call that the gospel, Jesus Christ, or the Church might issue.
De Lubac's thesis was subjected to fierce criticism from neo-scholastic Thomists like Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, while he was in turn defended by Etienne Gilson, Hans urs von Balthasar and members of the nouvelle theologie. (For a detailed historical review of the surnatural controversy and De Lubac's relationship with Etienne Gilson, see chapter 11: "Ecclesial Cold War", pp. 227-243 in Art and Intellect in Philosophy of Étienne Gilson).;

Eventually, however, De Lubac's critique of Thomistic neo-scholasticism and what he dubbed the "baroque theology of grace" was adopted wholesale to the extent that he is credited with having "created the intellectual climate that made possible the Second Vatican Council" (Oxford Dictionary of the Catholic Church). De Lubac was also publicly vindicated in 1983 with his elevation to Cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

That being said, the fundamental questions of the surnaturel controversy have never been satisfactorily resolved. Within the past decade, a number of American Thomistic theologians have renewed criticism of De Lubac's position on nature and grace, beginning in large part with the publication of the magisterial work by Lawrence Feingold: The Natural Desire to See God According to St. Thomas and His Interpreters (Catholic University of America Press, 2nd ed., 2004).


Popular posts from this blog

My good friend ( now deceased ), Mother Teresa of the Still River Mass convent , called me years before the McLucas story broke. Latest Comments 2Vermont JULY 30, 2019 I think the only thing I would add here is what seems like MV’S obsession with things of a sexual nature. Tom A JULY 30, 2019 He, like many, defend the institution with the zeal that should be used to defend the Faith. Sad. What Mr. Voris fails to admit is that it is the institution of the conciliar fake church that is the biggest enemy of the Faith. Lynda JULY 30, 2019 Blinded by secular values and prestige of man. coastalfarm JULY 30, 2019 Please see the article “Unmarked building, quiet legal help for accused priests” Dryden, Mich. (AP) for the priest Mr. Voris defends, Rev.Eduard Perrone of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church also known as Assumption Grotto, is co-founder of Opus Bono Sacerdotii. This non-profit organization takes in accused priests and gives them shelter, legal defense, transportation, etc. Opus Bono claims to have helped over 8,000 priests and has raised over $8 million 2002-201

Might Biden be a Liar & Predator like McCarrick?

September 15, 2020   Everyone knows that sexual predator ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick is a liar. His whole life was a lie of betrayal of the most sacred vows he took and the violation of the moral tenets of the Catholic faith which he desecrated. Most people don't realize that part of this desecration of lies included lying for "gravely sinful" Democrats like Joe Biden. McCarrick protected Biden when then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later to be Pope Benedict XVI) wrote that bishops were not to admit to Communion politicians like "gravely sinful" Biden who supports the killing of unborn babies. McCarrick lied for politicians like Biden by ignoring the important parts of the Ratzinger letter and told bishops not to ignore the Catholic Church law.  Last year, Fr. Robert Morey denied Holy Communion to the “gravely sinful” Biden following a "2004 decree signed jointly by the bishops of

The Biben Lying Machine: "Joe , do you know what else is a Sin besides Killing Babies? Lying... "

October 09, 2020   It appears that Joe Biden was even a lying machine in 2008 according to the post " Media Ignores Biden Repeatedly Lies During 'Meet the Press' Interview" on the Weasel Zippers website: Joe Biden Repeatedly Lies During "Meet the Press" Interview, Claims he Doesn't Support Taxpayer Funded Abortions.....   Joe, do you know what else is a sin besides killing babies? Lying... ... Joe Biden repeatedly made the claim in a Sunday interview on the NBC political show "Meet the Press" that he opposes taxpayer funding of abortions. However, a look at his voting record over the years reveals numerous instances where Barack Obama's pro-abortion running mate did exactly that. "I don't support public, public funding. I don't, because that flips the burden. That's then telling me I have to accept a different view," he said on the program. As recently as February, Biden voted against an amendmen