Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Edward Feser, Scholastic’s Bookshelf, Part I
AICN: Another BRIDGET JONES Movie, + Blanchett's In Another Historical Epic!!
Sandro Magister, Grand Returns. "Iota unum" and "Stat veritas" by Romano Amerio (via Fr. Z)

Regarding the act of religion

After thinking about this topic for the past few days, I've reached some tentative conclusions:

Looking through ST II II question 81 again, I see that when Aquinas speaks of the subjection of our mind to God with respect to the virtue of religion, he is referring to religion’s direction of our actions to God as our last end. So in this case, subjection is just giving what is due to God as First Principle and Lord of all things; it is subjection in a rather limited sense. Hence it is possible to be subject to God in this way, by rendering to Him what is due (honor and worship), and yet be in rebellion against him (i.e. being in the state of sin).

So at this point I am inclined to think that acts of religion are possible for those who are in the state of sin, but the possibility of acquiring the virtue to some degree is even less than that of the other moral virtues, given the proximity of religion to God. With that being the case, one could still argue that the state should not compel acts of religion.

I'll have to look at the earlier paper I wrote about acts of religion; I think I argued that acts of religion should not be commanded by the state, but the justification for this was that the state did not have the competency to compel one to do what required grace. While an act of religion may not require grace, to expect someone in the state of sin to develop that virtue, while persisting in sin, seems to be unreasonable.
Alasdair MacIntyre has a new book out: God, philosophy, universities: A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition. Can intellectual history be well-written? Only if one takes advantage of the latest scholarship, and even that may not be sufficient as one tries to recreate the intellectual milieu of an age.

How difficult is it to determine a theologian's influence at a university or within a religious order? Tracing a school of thought to its founder(s) may be simple enough; but to show that this school had an impact on those who were not members? Can this be done, especially if they are not contemporaneous?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some discussion of the primary end of marriage here. Compare with the United States Catechism for Adults.

From an article by Robert T. Miller criticizing Msgr. Alberto Bonandi:
More specifically, Bonandi argues that there are two ends of marriage—the unitive and the procreative—and if the Church permits the divorced and remarried to pursue one of these ends (the unitive), "consistency would require" that the Church also permit such persons to pursue the other (the procreative), and so to have sexual intercourse. But these "ends" are not the ends of "marriage," no matter what theologians or popes may have carelessly said; they are the ends, rather, of marriage acts, that is, of sexual acts. In contemporary Catholic moral doctrine, a sexual act is licit if, among other things, it is appropriately ordered to these two ends; that is, it is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition of the moral liceity of a sexual act that it be of a kind that is (a) fit to produce a certain kind of emotional intimacy between the spouses, and (b) fit to be procreative. Thus sexual acts incompatible with either the unitive end (some people mention in vitro fertilization) or the procreative end (e.g., masturbation) are morally wrong. The reason, incidentally, that adulterous sexual acts are wrong is that, while they may be ordered to the unitive end, they are incompatible with the procreative end because an adulterous relationship is not a reasonable one in which to rear the children that the act may produce.

Bonandi takes these ends, which govern the moral quality of sexual acts, and converts them into norms governing human relationships generally: For Bonandi, if a relationship is fostering the unitive end, then that relationship may (perhaps ought to) foster the procreative end as well. The implications of this are rather shocking. For if, as Bonandi says, a man and a woman sharing a life together and rearing children are pursuing the unitive end and so may pursue the procreative end as well, then a widower who invites his own mother into his home to assist in the rearing of his children will be pursuing the unitive end with her and so may have sexual intercourse with her as well, which is worse than absurd. In truth, we pursue the unitive end with different people in different ways all the time. This does not license us to pursue the procreative end as well.