Saturday, September 30, 2006

Interview with Serge-Thomas Bonino, O.P.

Interview with Serge-Thomas Bonino, O.P.

Some excerps:
Whom do you consider to be your most important teacher in your thomistic education?

During my first years of Dominican religious life, I was fortunate to meet two masters in Thomism: Father M.-M. Labourdette, who is the author of a monumental commentary on the whole of the Secunda Pars and Father M.-V. Leroy, who taught dogmatic theology, but who, unfortunately, wrote very little. Both of them were profoundly marked by the friendship and the intellectual influence of ´Jacques´, that is, of Jacques Maritain. They have passed on to me and to my Dominican fellow brothers from Toulouse, the doctrinal and institutional heritage of the venerable Thomistic school of Saint-Maximin. It is, in my view, a great privilege to be able to join in this way a living doctrinal tradition. It is true that the masters of Saint-Maximin - without being hostile to it - were hardly sensitive to the historical approach to the works of Saint Thomas. While working in Fribourg (Switzerland) with Father Jean-Pierre Torrell and Professor Rudi Imbach, whose assistant I had the chance to be for one year, I become more and more convinced of the importance of the application of the historical method to saint Thomas.

What is the importance of Aquinas-research for our times (especially in your discipline)?

It seems to me that Saint Thomas offers today an adequate model concerning the way of doing theology. Five points seem to me of special importance:
(1) the privileged instrument of the intellectus fidei is a philosophy of being
(2) Theology is the work of intelligence. It does not fear to have recourse to the concept
(3) The theologian elaborates his own doctrine in an ongoing confrontation with the preceding theological tradition. Contrary to the artificial opposition between the quid homines senserunt and the veritas rerum which a certain kind of Thomism wanted to establish, the theological practice of saint Thomas attests that the quid homines senserunt is the privileged way to the veritas rerum.
(4) Theology has a sapiential vocation. The intellectus fidei aims at a contemplative synthesis that is not content with the fragmentation of theological disciplines.
(5) Doing theology presupposes a permanent contact with the living sources of faith (Scripture, Tradition, the life of the Church…) and shows itself to be a source of spiritual life.

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