Page 2, 22nd September 1961

22nd September 1961
Page 2
Page 2, 22nd September 1961 — 'SCHOLASTIC PHILOSOPHY'

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Organisations: Challoner Club
People: Victor White
Locations: London


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Is it Essential to the Church

SIR. 1. Endeavours seem to be made from time to time, to discredit the value of scholastic philosophy. Such appeared to be the case in your article, "Scholasticism and the Perennial Philosophy'', by G. F. Pollard (July 7).

However, as Pius XII made clear in his Encyclical on "The Priestly Life," the basic teaching and principles of that philosophy are irrefragabie. So

that every endeavour to discredit its value can sooner or later, be refuted,

2, I have verified from the writer of the article "Scholasticism and the Perennial Philosophy", that by the hitter term, he does not mean the philosophy which derives from the Angelic Doctor, though it has been understood to refer to that philosphy from the time that Leo XIII called it the philosophia perennis. Nor was he referring to the philosophy of St. Augustine, but "rather that mystical tradition or the Church which has been handed down to us from the earliest times".

However scholastic philosophy is rightly called the philosophia perennis, because whilst both scholasticism and sound mysticism are of permanent theological value, it is the specific aim ot scholasticism to embrace all theological wisdom accessible to man, whereas it is not of the specific nature of mysticism to aim at the acquisition of such theological wisdom as can be attained through Else natural light of human reason.

3. The latter kind of wisdom. i.e. natural theological wisdom, is in fact what scholastic philosophy is: which philosophy is indispensable to the thorough study, exposition and defence of the Christian revelation. Thus Pius XII said of it-"It is essential to the future priest. It will help him to a thorough understanding of dogma. It will effectively forearm him against modern errors of whatever sort. It will sharpen his mind to distinguish truth from falsehood. It will form him to habits of intellectual clearness so necessary in any studies or problems of the future. It will give him a great superiority over others whose mere erudition perhaps, is wider but who lack philosophical training", Then Pius XII said of it, for the purpose of training priests -"One thing is clearly established by the long eepetience of the ages-that S't. Thomas' philosophical system is an unrivalled method, either for putting the beginner through his paces or for the investigation of the most lecondite truths": and he pointed out that Scholasticism is very effective "in establishing the perfect congruity and harmony which obtains among • the truths of the sacred deposit" and that those who abandon its beaten track thereby 'open the way for errors and ambiguities as experience proves".

4. In the letter published on July 14, under the heading Religion Must Control Blind Impulse of Libido". the name of the late Fr. Victor White O.P. was invoked apparently in support of a contention that a new theology is eatJled for.

However Fr. Victor While was himself an ardent advocate of Scholasticism. For instance lie evidently attributed various psychological troubles. and the loss of their faith by many Catholics, to the failure to spread and follow scholastic ethical teaching.

Tiles in the Chapter on "Psychotherapy and Ethics" in his book "God and the Unconscious", he says -"this loss of the traditional pre-Reformation Catholic moral theology, is a veritable breeding ground of psychological conflict, frustration. psycho-neurosis and leakage'." And a little further on, he speaks of the "vacuum left by the abandonment" of "the 'intellectualist' ethics of the phi I oso phio perennis, which ethical teaching he describes as "this precioue heritage."

J. M. Croucher.

The Challoner Club, .

61 Pont Street, London, S.W.I.

Fr, T. Corbishfey. &ISuperior of Farm Street, said in a recent' public speech: "There is, Or strict truth, no Christian philosophy, although by what is more than an his:mired accident, Christian leaching has been stated traditionally in Ads:median leornitt0i00.--EDIT0R, "

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