Friday, 14 December 2012

Interpretation, violence and gift

Heidegger's phrase keeps coming to mind this morning: "Man is the violent in the midst of the overpowering." I think the phrase is from What is Metaphysics? and the context is interpretation. Interpretation - or understanding - is an act of violence, and the Overpowering here is Being. There seems to be a double violence here, or at the very least, Being does not seem benevolent.

Lonergan would, of course, think of the event of understanding as a happening, a pati, something not completely under our control, something that cannot be commanded by an act of will, though it can certainly be made more or less probable by what we do or fail to do. Understanding and interpretation here is, therefore, something that we are gifted with, something we receive, something that we are not masters of. A quite different approach, though one that certainly finds echoes in Heidegger's lifelong efforts to decentre the subject and to pinpoint or evoke the complex way in which the human being exists and acts.

Gift is emerging as a great theme in the contemporary West, thanks to the work of Marcel Mauss, but also thanks to John Paul II's stress on oblative self-sacrificing love. If life is gift, then the deepest meaning of being is self-giving. (I need to check the Blackwell Companion to Postmodern Theology for other echoes.)

But is there a streak of violence in proportionate being at least? Nature red in tooth and claw, as someone has said?

And is there a way of connecting gift with freedom, the type of freedom that John of the Cross talks about when he says, Ni temer las fieras, ni coher las flores? The freedom that characterizes Jesus, walking tall in the midst of the pains and the joys of human life? 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Note taking

Sertillanges: don't take too many notes, jot down the essentials. 

Driving it underground

"rationalism did not destroy myth but drove it underground, degraded it from Paradise Lost to South Pacific, from Aphrodite to the pin-up girl." [Lonergan 1964 Georgetown PB 355 6.]

This is related to the previous blog entry on pinning things down in words, images and affectivity. The human need for myth going underground - into the psyche. Contemporary advertisement as a new form of myth. 

Pinning things down in words

An amazing and not very well known sentence from Lonergan:

"It would seem that the human psyche floats with the weightlessness of images on the caprices of affectivity and aggressivity until it can pin things down in words." [Lonergan 1964 Georgetown PB 355 5.]

The significance then of language: from elemental meaning which is diffuse and vague, to clarity ... But also to loss of power compensated by gain in a certain control ...

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Faith and simplicity

Under the rubric 'faith and simplicity' Ratzinger cites abundantly from The Imitation of Christ, St Francis of Assisi, and Holy Scripture itself.
Let it be our highest study to become absorbed in meditation on the life of Jesus Christ. (The Imitation of Christ I, 1, 3)
Even if you knew by heart the whole Bible and the sayings of all the philosophers, what would it profit you without the love of God and his grace? (I, 1, 10)
Everyone has a natural craving for knowledge, but of what avail is knowledge without the fear of God? (I, 2, 1)
An unlearned person who serves God is surely better than a learned one who proudly searches the heavens while neglecting himself. (I, 2, 2)
Give up your excessive desire for learning. Therein are to be found only illusion and inner emptiness. (I, 2, 5)
Francis, who refers to himself as simple and ignorant, without knowledge and ignorant:
Let us be on our guard against the wisdom of this world and the prudence of the flesh; for the fleshly spirit tries by all means to have the word but it is little concerned with carrying it out; it seeks not for inner religion and sanctity, but for that which will be seen by men. (from the so-called First Rule)
And Scripture:
1 Cor 1:21-25, with its roots in Jesus' praise of the simple: I bless you Father, Lord of heaven and earth  for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children... (Mt 11:25)

Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology. Tr. Mary Frances McCarthy. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987. Part 3: The Formal Principles of Christianity and the Method of Theology. Ch. 2: The Anthropological Element in Theology. A. Faith and Education. 335-6.

Teilhard's influence on Vatican II

Teilhard's influence on Vatican II: see Wolfgang Klein, Teilhard de Chardin und das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil (Paderborn: Schoeningh, 1975). Cited in Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology. Tr. Mary Frances McCarthy. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987. Part 3: The Formal Principles of Christianity and the Method of Theology. Ch. 2: The Anthropological Element in Theology. A. Faith and Education. 334n3.

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Christian faith and truth

“Martin Buber has pointed out that, for Christian faith, the act of conversion and, with it, the act of ‘holding as true’ are fundamental. However much we may criticize his reflections in other respects he is undoubtedly right when he says that affirmation – saying Yes – is a constant element of Christian faith; that it is true that Christian faith, in its most basic form, has never been a formless trust but always a trust in a particular Someone and in his word – that is, an encounter with truth that must be affirmed in its content. Precisely this marks its unique position in the history of religion.” [325.] [Though I would have thought Judaism and Islam share this uniqueness in different ways.]

(Ratzinger, Joseph. Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology. Tr. Mary Frances McCarthy. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987. Part 3: The Formal Principles of Christianity and the Method of Theology. Ch. 1. Questions about the Structure of Theology. B. The Church and Scientific Theology.)

An assumption of the 'enlightened'

"Absolutism is an invention, an inner consequence, of the Enlightenment. Advised by enlightened minds and himself at the pinnacle of the Enlightenment, the king knew the needs of the unenlightened people better than they did themselves. Therefore, he canceled their freedoms and the rights of the social classes that limited his powers in order thus to give full sway to the demands of that reason of which he was the representative. The absolutist / claim to power is not, as it were, a relic of the Middle Ages; it is a product of the Enlightenment and is represented symbolically by the Sun King." (324-5)

(Ratzinger, Joseph. Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology. Tr. Mary Frances McCarthy. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987. Part 3: The Formal Principles of Christianity and the Method of Theology. Ch. 1. Questions about the Structure of Theology. B. The Church and Scientific Theology.)

Is this not the temptation of our Indian upper classes - the temptation to think of the simple rural folk as unenlightened, as unable to think and judge and decide for themselves? The unspoken assumption: Let the missionaries work in the towns and cities where we, enlightened people, know how to resist their guile. Let them not work in the villages where they run the risk of converting poor, unsuspecting people.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Reversing the counterposition

Perhaps an example of Ratzinger engaging in developing a position / reversing a counterposition:

Before taking a position, Ratzinger pauses to shed light on the problem as a whole. The problem: differences re the object of theology.
These differences are linked to a variety of methodological orientations and to different concepts of the goal to be attained.
Concisely characterized by the key words of the 13th century controversy:
1. Thomistic view: theology is a scientia speculativa.
2. Franciscan: scientia practica.
See how current these are: the post-conciliar key words orthodoxy and orthopraxis.

But now a controversy that would have been inconceivable in the Middle Ages. If the word orthopraxis is pushed to its radical meaning [this is dialectic! Developing positions, reversing counterpositions] it presumes that no truth exists prior to praxis; truth can be established only on the basis of correct praxis. Praxis creates meaning out of and in the face of meaninglessness. [Very Nietzschean.] On this count, theology is merely a guide to action, which by reflecting on praxis continually develops new modes of praxis. “If not only redemption but truth as well is regarded as ‘post hoc’, then truth becomes the product of man. At the same time, man, who is no longer measured against truth but produces it, becomes himself a product.” [How?] “Granted, the most extreme positions occur but rarely.” [This is clearly a developing of a position; and if it is a counterposition, probably the attempt to show how it must be reverse. An extending ad absurdum of a position to reveal it as a counterposition. But: counterposition or error here? A counterposition is a truth clothed in a faulty or defective context.] [318.]

(Ratzinger, Joseph. Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology. Tr. Mary Frances McCarthy. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987. Part 3: The Formal Principles of Christianity and the Method of Theology. Ch. 1. Questions about the Structure of Theology. A. What is Theology?)

Evangelization of the intellect, more or less

"The Catholic religion not only transformed the world of community and the world if interiority  It has assumed the mission of transforming the world of theory as well. And if it's attempt to do that, you mustn't be a phony and try to pass something else off in place of it. You have to meet theoretical exigences...." (Lonergan, CWL 22:322 Regis 1962)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The notion of dogmatic development

New in Coelho, "Bernard Lonergan's Universal Viewpoint and its Transcultural Possibilities," ed. Cloe Taddei-Ferretti 228: the 'notion of dogmatic development' (see the Way to Nicea) as a further determination of the theologically transformed universal viewpoint and the notion of levels and sequences of expression.

Earlier, of course, there is the 'notion of speculative development' (see Gratia Operans).

Both are diachronic, whereas the technique of psychological introspection is synchronic.

The notion of the universal viewpoint is both synchronic and diachronic. The two notions listed above are further specifications of the notion of the universal viewpoint.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Ormerod's 'Introducing Contemporary Theologies'

I found this with one of our students: Neil Ormerod. Introducing Contemporary Theologies: The What and the Who of Theology Today. Enlarged and revised. Maryknoll: Orbis, 1997.

Part A: The What of Theology
What is Theology
Philosophy and Theology
Contemporary Theologies Compared with Previous Theology
Method in Theology

Part B: The Who of Theology
Kung, Moore, Schillebeeckx, Pannenberg, Rahner, Lonergan, Metz, Moltmann, Gutierrez, Boff, E. Schussler Fiorenza, Ruether, E. Johnson, Soelle, Meyendorff.

Both Rahner and Lonergan are listed as Transcendental Theology. The Liberationists are obvious, so are the Feminists. Meyendorff - Orthodox Theology. Soelle: A Contemporary Theodicy. Moore, interestingly, Psychological Theology. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Religious experience as experiential and as explanatory

I have been forgetting the distinction between experiential and explanatory conjugates, in the study of Ratzinger / Balthasar. The distinction is tricky, especially in Lonergan's later phase, when the basic terms and relations are experiential. However, one can use experiential terms and relations in an explanatory way, and in a non-explanatory way, I suppose. How exactly do Balthasar and Ratzinger use them?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Ratzinger on person and relation

An earlier jotting re Ratzinger's article on the Person:

  1. Substance (Boethius) vs existence (Richard of St Victor)
  2. Augustine makes the link person = relation, but encompasses God within the mind in his analogy
  3. Aquinas limits relation to God; does not extend it to man
  4. Aquinas separates the doctrine of one God from the doctrine of God as Trinity
  1. Ratzinger is not aware of how Aquinas modifies Boethius, esp. intellect as open to all reality
  2. Ratzinger is not systematic (at least in this article). He gives large openings
  3. Ratzinger gives references to Conrad-Martius, von Balthasar, B. Welte. Perhaps these are more systematic. Perhaps Conrad-Martius' Das Sein might provide a Begrifflichkeit.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Person and Relation, for a conclusion

For a conclusion to my paper on Person and Relation.

Augustine made the link between person and relation, and introduced the category of pure relation into thought. His failure, at least according to Ratzinger, was that he did not see how this category carried over into the human person.

Aquinas saw that the person has to be on the level of existence (esse) rather than substance or essence, but restricted this to God, and failed, again according to Ratzinger, to transfer this to the rest of reality, and especially to human persons. He also treated Christ as an ontological exception. Christ is, instead, the pattern and model for human persons.

De Smet and Lonergan see the intellectual nature of the person as actually opening all persons, including human persons, to relationship. They also see the property of incommunicability as involving relationship and communication. De Smet observes that this intrinsically social nature of the person was lost in the modern period of the West, though this loss had roots in Duns Scotus.

From the turn to the subject in the modern period - a turn about which Balthasar is deeply suspicious - Lonergan gets inspiration to make a shift from metaphysics to method, or rather, to a general method which includes metaphysics, not however as primary and basic.

All three are open to learning from the contemporary period. Lonergan integrates considerations of Existenz into his discussions of the human person. He sees clearly that our emergence as persons is a process of mutual self-mediation with other persons and with society and tradition. Ratzinger probably uses contemporary insights to find that the concept of person, which emerged under the impact of revelation, was dialogical from the beginning. He also sees that we grow as persons in mediation, in interaction with other persons, and ultimately in interaction with the Other that is God. He sees in Christ the ultimate instance of this. And he clearly recognizes that the Christian revelation pushes us to recognize not merely an I-Thou relationship between God and human beings, but a We-We relationship. Christ is the space where the We of human beings is gathered into the We of God. This helps us find leads in Lonergan...

But above all, Lonergan might challenge the excessive suspicion that people like Balthasar have about the turn to the subject, to consciousness. He would at least oblige us to ask: what is the notion of consciousness, and of knowing, being, objectivity, that this particular theologian has? 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Tritvam saranam gacchami

Tritvam saranam gacchami: "taking refuge in the eternal subjects." A pregnant phrase found in Lonergan's The Triune God: Systematics (CWL12: 409)

More completely: there are also obstacles to the achievement of authenticity, among them the ambivalence that marks both the belief and the friendship of temporal subjects. Because of this, “we must take refuge in the eternal divine subjects. Let our belief, then, be in the eternal Word made flesh, let our friendship be in the Holy Spirit; and in the Spirit through the Son let us dare to cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (The Triune God, CWL 12:409) 

Myron Pereira on De Smet

Email to me from Myron Pereira, SJ, 9 Oct 2012

Dear Ivo,
                  You may remember me from a brief visit to Divyadaan several years ago to address your students of philosophy. We met briefly then; you went on later to become provincial; and I see that now you’ve returned to your first love, philosophy.

I’m writing to compliment you for your biographical note on Father Richard de Smet SJ (Divyadaan, vol. 23/ 1). I came upon your article by sheerest chance, browsing in the reading room of a local seminary, and moved by curiosity I went it through it at one sitting. You have been very thorough, not just in noting his academic accomplishments and his intellectual contributions, but also in recording the details of his personal life much of which I was unaware of, even though I always had a great affection for him. For he was a significant influence on me as a young Jesuit several decades ago.

I was Fr De Smet’s student during my years at JDV (then the Athenaeum), 1964 to 1967, as an uncomfortable student of philosophy. But somehow we struck up a relationship right from my first year, and I would love to listen to him talk and ask his opinion on various issues. In this, as I realize now, he was filling in the role of mentor, of the Jesuit teacher, something which has always been a glorious part of our tradition. Fr De Smet too acknowledged this himself, speaking of his early years as a schoolboy under Father Rene Debauche,  “the most gifted Jesuit teacher I have ever met”.

Incidentally, the excerpt about his teacher quoted by you from Jivan, was sent by him to me, sometime in 1991, when as editor of  that magazine, I had requested an article from him on ‘Excellence’  Simultaneously I had also asked for a contribution from Father Josef Neuner, and both Neuner’s and De Smet’s autobiographical details are memorable: De Smet spoke of Debauche (“Subjugated by his excellence, I became a Jesuit.”), and Neuner spoke of the young Karl Rahner who taught him for one memorable year in the juniorate  (“he encouraged us to ask him many questions…”).

Not for the first time, the influence of the Jesuit teacher on a young mind and heart made all the difference. It was like that with me and De Smet, and though our paths diverged completely after I left Poona, the memory of those times has never faded.

You rightly locate De Smet within the grand tradition of  Christian  approaches to  Hindu philosophy and theology, a tradition which began with De Nobili, Beschi, Coeurdoux and others, and whose more recent mainstay was the ‘Calcutta School’, Belgians all of them -- Johanns and Dandoy, Antoine and Fallon, and  others. In this Richard De Smet, erudite, polymath, but always accessible, was the true jnana-yogi. Today as you pointed out, with the rise of ‘subaltern studies’, such classicist approaches interest us less and less.

This is why I’m grateful that you chose to remember De Smet and record his accomplishments, when so many of his own Jesuit brethren have failed to do either.


Myron J. Pereira SJ

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Balthasar's rejection of the psychological analogy

From Neil Ormerod I learnt something new this morning:
Hans Urs von Balthasar has been particular scathing of the approach of the psychological analogy. [18] According to Hunt, Balthasar “eschews a consideration of human consciousness as primary analogy for the Trinity of divine persons, and is deeply suspicious of any kind of turn tothe subject”.  Balthasar rejects any analogy based on “the human mind and its acts of intellect and will” since “both processions must be understood as processions of love”. [19] For Balthasar, “only love is credible”.  In its place Balthasar seeks to find analogies for the Trinity in the paschal mystery, in the death, descent into hell and resurrection of the Son. [N. Ormerod, "The Psychological Analogy for the Trinity: At Odds with Modernity," Pacifica 14 (Oct 2001) 286-87. See as of 2 Oct 2012.]
Perhaps Ratzinger's remarks on the person need to be understood also in the light of Balthasar's rejection fo the psychological analogy.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Lonergan and Ratzinger on person and relation

I had the impression that Lonergan would be totally caught up in the Thomist definition of person. He does give a great deal of space to it, in his Latin works of the 1960s, and he does say that Richard of St Victor's definition is "merely of historical interest," but I was happy to see several openings. As for example when he lists the various phases in the history of the term person: the term; the metaphysical definition; the gnoseological definition; and then the personalist-existentialist attempts. Then he says: we need to take what is good from the phenomenological and personalist-existentialist attempts, without abandoning the metaphysical definition. So integration.

And then, in Method in Theology, I think he truly enters into something new, that might be called the sought after integration of phenomenology, personalist existentialist thinking and what was still valid in the old.

So that is promising.

And perhaps Ratzinger's contribution might not be so strange after all.

And De Smet.

And there is also McPartlan.

So there is hope for person and relation. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Person and relation

Jose Kuttianimattathil has asked me to contribute to a Festschrift for Dominic Veliath. The topic suggested is Person and Relation - perhaps because of the Brahman and Person book. I have been collecting matter, mostly from the encyclopedias, on Person, before tacking De Smet and Lonergan.

Something very surprising and unexpected has turned up: Ratzinger criticizing both Augustine and Aquinas for sort of excluding the idea of relation from the definition of the human person - or not allowing the idea of relation, which pervades the concept of divine persons in God, its full and proper generality. Person as intrinsically relational, or, as Zizoulas, an Orthodox theologian, says: Being as Communion.

This makes things interesting and even exciting. What might Lonergan and De Smet, both of whom are soundly Thomist and, as far as I know, do not depart from Thomas, what might they have to say to the provocations of Ratzinger?

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anything more substantial in Ratzinger than his “Zum Personverst√§ndnis in der Dogmatik” (1966), published as  “Zum Personbegriff in der Theologie" in  Dogma und Verk√ľndigung (1973, 4th ed. 2005) and in English translation as "On the Understanding of ‘Person’ in Theology" in Dogma and Preaching: Applying Christian Doctrine to Daily Life (2011). 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Uttam Kamble

Tony George mentioned two important books by Uttam Kamble (who gave a talk long ago, during the Youth Adhiveshan held in Divyadaan - at that time he was Editor of the Nashik edition of Sakala). The books:

Vata tudavatana
Ai samjhuna ghetana [Or: aai samjun ghetana. Translated as Ilanda's Story].

Bhaurao Bagul

I have just posted in Indian Christian Writings a note on Prof. Nazareth Misquitta, Principal of St Joseph's College, Rajodi, Virar. I want to note here that Prof. Misquitta is also an expert on Bhaurao Bagul, a Dalit writer, perhaps the Father of Dalit Literature in Marathi. Misquitta holds a doctorate on Bagul from the Mumbai University. He has published several books on Bagul.

Monday, 30 July 2012

The natural and the supernatural in the religions

Joaquim’s paper Jacques Maritain e la mistica natural Indiana,” a reworked version of the article we printed in DJPE, makes very clear the position of Maritain: Christian mysticism is supernatural; Indian mysticism is really an experience of the self, and purely natural. However, he does admit that there could be ‘mixtures’ – mystical experiences that have ‘touches’ of the supernatural. How, I have to read further to understand.
I was asking myself: how does this position compare with that of Lonergan? Perhaps this way. In his earlier writings, Lonergan would talk of natural, relatively supernatural and absolutely supernatural solutions to the problem of evil. In his later position, he would take the clear (Christian) stand that the actually realized dispensation is absolutely supernatural. He would go further and state that the absolutely supernatural gift of God’s love is given to all, and therefore is available / given in all religions. He would say clearly that, in their positive moments, all religions are fruits of the gift of the Spirit.
I am thinking now that even in his earlier position, on the hypothesis / faith assertion that the actually realized dispensation is the absolutely supernatural one, he might have envisaged such a position. It is not said, and he does not say clearly, that any religion is natural. Hoever, he does talk / imply that Islam has no place for the supernatural mysteries. But then the mysteries regard the content of faith, perhaps? That position, in that case, would not really exclude the possibility of a truly supernatural gift of God’s love given even in Islam.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Gandhi and Lonergan

In the context of Richard Howards and Joanna Swanger's forthcoming book, Gandhi and the Future of Economics: Imaginary Dialogues between Gandhi and Some Indian Intellectuals, I was thinking of a future dialogue between Gandhi and Lonergan. If Lonergan could contribute a spine of hardcore economic theory to Gandhian intuitions, we might have a viable alternative to support obvious good will (I am thinking here of Singh). I was thinking this morning: here is a government whose survival depends on controlling the prices; yet it seems unable to do it. So perhaps it does not know how to. What if someone were to say how? What is an economic science focused on prices were barking up the wrong tree? What if we need to recognize productivity as the generator engine of economic growth, distinguish two types of product, and systematically work out its implications?

Saturday, 21 July 2012

From substance to subject in Christ

Another anomaly: from substance to subject in Christ Jesus (see Lonergan, "Existenz and Aggiornamento," 1964), or from the vegetative living of being temples of the Spirit, members of Christ, adoptive children of the Father, to conscious living, spontaneous living, deliberate living, which is growth in prayer. [Lonergan, "The Mediation of Christ in Prayer," Philosophical and Theological Papers 1958-1964, CWL 6 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996) 179.]

The anomaly is this: does not Lonergan say elsewhere, and most of the time, that the gift of God's grace is itself conscious, even if not known?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sanctifying grace and charity

So what really is the question now? I thought it was regarding the place of consent in religious conversion, but that seems to be rapidly clarifying, though perhaps one or two details still need to be clarified.

The question really is: does the distinction between sanctifying grace and the virtue of charity carry over into a properly methodical theology, one which has overcome faculty psychology?

The religions - natural as well as supernatural

The anomaly has been, I think, satisfactorily resolved. The question now is, what has been gained, apart from the infinitesimal contribution to Lonergan exegesis?

I think: a clarification of the natural-supernatural debate about religions. Are some the religions merely natural? Are they supernatural? The traditionalists tend to say they are merely natural. The others tend to regard them as supernatural. Lonergan has this contribution to make: they are all of them fruits, at least in their positive moments, of the gift of the Spirit, which is the gift of God's love. As far as their beliefs are concerned, they might well be natural. In crude terms, we could say that the religions might represent a range of combinations of natural and supernatural, with the proviso that, "in the present order," all would be, at least in some sense if not in all their dimensions, absolutely supernatural. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

Charity, person, relation

Charity, and person, and relation: deeply connected.
problems with one will lead to problems with the others.
So: India knows the use of the category of love for the Supremely Beloved, but also relativizes this love, this devotion, this bhakti, because of the belief in the impersonality of the Supreme, or the Supremacy of the Impersonal.
But if the use of the translation impersonal is a mistake, as De Smet says it is, a new way might be opened up.
Surely there is the passion for the Infinite in India; and what is passion if not love? But the personal categories tend to go missing.  

Friday, 8 June 2012

Discovering one is in love

"The man or woman in love discovers that he or she is in love when all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies and actions regard the beloved"
i.e., one becomes aware / knows what is happening
so the effects lead to the discovery
the effects: spontaneous and deliberate tendencies and actions
what is discovered?
That which makes these (tendencies and actions) possible: the conjugate form, the habit
The habit itself is a new spontaneity
Which gives rise to deliberate tendencies and actions

This is significant for the dynamic between gift and response.
One responds, one moves into the state of being in love, or perhaps one is gifted into that state, and then one discovers...
Already in Insight.

Remember that there need not be a temporal gap between grace as operative and as cooperative.

Love, agape + eros

All spontaneous and deliberate tendencies…
Lonergan is speaking here of a man or woman in love
And uses this to illustrate our love for God
This kind of love is more than agape? What I mean is that it somehow involves everything, the whole person: all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies and actions
I would imagine, also the feelings
So this is not the love where there is no particular feeling
Or else, we have to go with Benedict XVI who insists that (God’s) love is agape + eros eros which delights in the existence of this particular, singular person: How wonderful that you are!
Is this ultimately the model of all love?
Are we, am I, called to love each brother and sister thus, with a love that reaches the particularity of the person?
The answer is yes.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

"all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies"

“[A] man or woman knows that he or she is in love by making the discovery that all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies and actions regard the beloved.” [Lonergan, Insight CWL 3:720-21.]
(Just noticed the 'discovery' here...)
A habit of charity is a new spontaneity, a new set of laws.
But: deliberate tendencies?

Perhaps we need studies of the experience of love.
There is already a being in love that arises from falling in love – even before the response, which no doubt leads to a new stage in loving. But it may not be the beginning of being in love.
This being in love is not yet mutual, but “all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies and actions regard the beloved.”
What then if the Latin tag (Nihil amatum nisi cognitum) were violated?
In the human case, even if it is love at first sight, the sight precedes.
In God’s case: he is not bound by the tag.
So: we find ourselves in love (with God)?
We discover first, and only then perhaps we can decide?
What do we discover? That all spontaneous and deliberate tendencies regard the Beloved?

Read Aquinas on the habit of charity.
It is one of the grounds from which Lonergan’s thinking arises.
I am trying to understand how the habit of charity can be mutual, can be friendship.
What is mutuality?
What is friendship?

Before and afer the infusion of a mutual love (!) there are acts of consent.
But what about: no acts of charity before the infusion of the virtue? (READ!)
Surely there is natural love, besides meritorious love of God?
But, from experience, I would say that seen as process, there would be actual operative and cooperative graces, and therefore consent, before and after the infusion of sanctifying grace.
Even after, a failure to correspond can lead to the death of sanctifying grace.

To be loved is - to change?

I ask myself: are there instances where to be loved is to be changed?
Not always, perhaps: a declaration of love can be sometimes rebuffed, rejected, not accepted.
But there are instances when we have felt loved, when we have been loved into loving. The gift has become a response. And this, before any proper act of consent.
Subsequently there will be place for such acts.
This, more especially when the gift is conscious but not known. When there is an exception to the Latin tag, Nihil amatum nisi cognitum.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Natural and supernatural in the religions: in fieri

The paper is proving to be a long haul.

Section 1

I began with the gnawing little question, what I have been calling the anomaly, arising from chapter 20 of Insight: how can a natural solution to be problem of evil be somehow supernatural?

Or perhaps not even that question was quite so clear. The question arose rather from the fact that I had identified the 3 specializations of the general heuristic structure of the solution with 3 types of religion: natural, relatively supernatural, and absolutely supernatural. While I had not been so rash as to give examples, I might have implied that there are religions - perhaps Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism - that might easily fit into a natural theology as far as their teachings were concerned.

A raid of the references to 'supernatural' in the Lonergan corpus turned up odd hints, mainly having to do with different meanings or senses of supernatural: the strict sense (absolutely supernatural), and the broad sense (quoad modum) (entitatively natural, but coming from God); virtually and formally supernatural.

Also different possibilities, thanks to the consideration of the formal object quod and the formal object quo, or more simply, object and motive. You have acts where both object and motive are absolutely supernatural, and these acts are themselves absolutely supernatural. Then there are acts where both object and motive are natural, and these acts are natural. Then there are acts whose object is known to be absolutely supernatural; the motive cannot be less (the principle cannot be less than the resultant), and so has to be absolutely supernatural, making the act itself the same.

But the interesting possibility is that of acts whose motive is ASN and object N: these are ASN.

In the context of the praeambula fidei, per se there is no need of ASN acts. Given, however, our fallen state, there could de facto be acts that are ASN. There is a further reason: since the process is heading towards a SN end, some theologians holds that de facto all graces in this process are supernatural.

But the nuance in Lonergan's answer: the hypothetical possibility of God revealing only natural truths. Here it is possible that he could have restricted himself to an assistance that is supernatural only quoad modum.

This opened up a way of accounting for the anomaly: a natural solution that was in some sense supernatural, supernatural quoad modum. The formal object quod would be natural; divine assistance would be there, but it would be supernatural quoad modum. The acts would be entitatively natural, but supernatural quoad modum.

But these considerations opened up an interesting possibility: supernatural acts with natural objects and supernatural motives. The early Lonergan restricts this to Christians. We might be forgiven for asking: could it be extended to non-Christians? How? By postulating that absolutely supernatural grace is given to all?

Section 2

The second part of the paper proved to be difficult, most probably because the question I was trying to answer was not clear.

In a sense, my original question had been answered: how to make sense of the anomaly in ch. 20 of Insight. I could have stopped with that. For some reason I thought it fit to open up the second section. Perhaps because the first had opened up to this possibility, with "supernatural acts with natural objects and supernatural motives."

At any rate, work on this section originally took the form of trying to establish an equivalence between the the largely metaphysical categories of section 1, and the methodical-experiential categories of Method in Theology.

This endeavour quickly led me to Doran's work. Perhaps because among the few articles I had managed to access were one of Crowe's, and a couple of Doran's. Perhaps my thinking developed this way: Doran (I had one of his latest papers) identified the Gift of God's Love (Gift from now on) with Sanctifying Grace (SG from now now), and the dynamic State of Being in Love with God (= State) with the infused virtue or habit of Charity (= C). Of course he was reflecting on the famous four-point hypothesis that he found in DDT and in an earlier set of notes, the Supplement to SG, I think it was. And so he correlated Gift with SG and Active Spiration (AS), and State with C and Passive Spiration (PS).

I had two questions or difficulties with this: (1) Lonergan in Method does not seem to distinguish clearly between Gift and State; in fact, he seems to use them interchangeably; (2) does C, which I presumed is operative grace, involve the act of consent?

There followed a period of reading of works which I had not read properly before: De ente supernaturali, the Supplement to SG. Or perhaps I was dipping into them with the help of the Index. At any rate, this was a learning experience: the meaning of SG, supernatural, justification, the infused virtues, and so on. I had to go back once again to Grace and Freedom, because I thought I had to get clear about how exactly grace and freedom held together. Perhaps I did not have to but I did. Or perhaps it was just part of the effort to locate consent.

From here, to other papers of Doran, mainly after coming across Hefling which was dramatic and enlightening.

Tentatively: I see that the habit of charity involves mutual love, love of friendship. I am not so sure that the habit as infused, if there is such a habit, involves our free consent. I am not, therefore, sure I can agree with Doran when he talks about "acts of loving coalescing into a habit of charity." I need to check whether we can have acts of charity before the infusion of the habit. I thought not. My impression is that acts of charity can never be uninformed, unlike acts of faith and hope. So the problem remains: how is the habit of charity a mutual loving, if consent is only subsequent?

Back to section 1

Since all this work was still not cohering with section 1, I found myself having to go back to section 1, to clarify things left hanging: things like the natural virtue of religion, gratia elevans and sanans. I remember coming across the remark somewhere that ch. 20 of Insight was all about gratia sanans. I now remember Lonergan also saying it was about the supernatural. At any rate, this kind of clarification was needed, and was good.

Now I have to rework section 1, and then section 2.

the new thing that has opened up: the natural solution is probably gratia sanans. The question was whether gratia sanans was supernatural quoad substantiam, or only quoad modum.

The major problem: how to link the two sections.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Doran gives examples of transpositions from Lonergan himself:
What is agent intellect? The unrestricted desire to know.
What is an intelligible species? An idea. [Doran, Essay 25:2n4.]

I remember being delighted when I first discovered the first transposition here. The light of the intellect and agent intellect meant almost nothing to me till that discovery. 

Ormerod on Milbank

Milbank's radical orthodoxy rejects the significance of the general categories. [Doran, Essay 25:10n16.]

The "challenging if not devastating critique by Neil Ormerod": "'It is Easy to See': The Footnotes of John Milbank." Philosophy and Theology 11/2 (1999) 257-64. [Doran, Essay 25:10n16.]

Hefling in conversation with Doran

Just finished reading Charles Hefling's response to Doran's use of the four-point hypothesis as the starting point of his new systematic theology. Electrifying - not only because Hefling is a masterly writer and scholar, but because of the way his text met questions which had arisen for me.

I try to note down these at random:

1. What is the implication of the fact that, of the 4 divine relations, only 3 are real, and one not?
2. Is the gift of God's love really distinct from the state of being in love with God, in Method in Theology? What of the fact that Lonergan uses them randomly and interchangeably? Did Lonergan want to distinguish them?
3. What to make of the fact that, even when he acknowledged the amalgamation in the Workshop of 1974, he did not sound apologetic - that instead, he pointed out to the need to overcome faculty psychology?

One point that I did not come across in Hefling's text is my dis-ease with the way Doran associates the state of being in love with God with the response to God's love. But on almost every other point, Hefling meets my spontaneous - therefore not studied - approbation.

Hefling in conversation with Doran: is this not really dialectic, in some sense at least? 

The state, the consent, and the religions

Why am I spending so much time on Doran's thesis?
Or: in what way is it relevant to my paper on the Natural and the Supernatural in the Religions: Lonergan's Evolution?

Perhaps it can form a separate paper, with an identity of its own.
Certainly it is relevant to the questions I have had since 1988, about the gift of God's love, and the state of being in love with God: the suspicion that, in a very real sense, God loves us into loving him.

Habitual grace as operative - as a technical way of speaking about God plucking out the heart of stone and putting in the heart of flesh - seemed fascinating and full of promise in this direction. As Lonergan says somewhere, the heart of stone does not want to be replaced!

Also, the reversal of the priority of knowing over loving - or the major exception to Nihil amatum nisi cognitum - this also seemed promising. God stealing a march over our knowing. God loving us into loving him, "before we know what's happening" - and before even the moment of our freedom, our free response.

But, we might ask: is this kind of love - in which we are loved into loving someone - is this truly love? Is not freedom a constitutive part of loving?

On the other hand: is it not true that we are, even in our ordinary human experience, sometimes loved into loving? Not always, it is true. Sometimes people love us, and we are absolutely unmoved. But there are some cases when the love of someone overwhelms us, and we find ourselves loved into loving, and that loving is something we find ourselves in, rather than a product of our choosing. Certainly after this we can still choose to accept and confirm or to reject.

Encouraging remark of Doran's:
Before I close this paper, may I suggest that we must turn to human love to find the analogy by which we are able to reach some further understanding, albeit imperfect, of the reality of grace as we have presented it here. The positive dimensions of the analogy would be at least twofold. First, the reception of the love of another person for us changes us in such a way as to enable us to perform operations and experience states which previously were not within our capacity. I have made some initial forays into expressing this in chapter 8 of Theology and the Dialectics of History. Second (and this I still have to work out even in incipient fashion), the love of another person for us is somehow constitutive of us (without, of course, involving the indwelling of that other person in the same manner as the divine indwelling), and not in the manner of a formal cause, but in the manner of inviting us into a relation to the one who loves us, who would thus be one term of the relationship. [Essay 1:34.]
So how is all this relevant to my paper?

Charity and the response to God's love, again

I have searched several of Doran's articles (Essays 42, 39, 32 and 1, in that order) for the reasoning or exegesis behind his identification of 'the dynamic state of being in love with God' with the infused habit of charity. Perhaps the best, and maybe the first, attempt is Essay 1.

I just want to record my impressions here.

That Lonergan amalgamated SG and charity in MT: true.
But: is it gift = SG + charity?
Or: state = SG + charity?
Or are we asking a wrong question? Perhaps MT does not clearly differentiate and distinguish the gift and the state?

That Lonergan distinguished SG and charity as remote and proximate principles of acts of charity in his early Latin theology: true.
That we can identify SG with the gift, and charity with the state: possibly; provided that the gift and the state are indeed distinct in MT.

That charity = response to God's love: I am not so sure.
That charity = principle from which responses to God's love (operations or acts of love) flow: yes, and Doran in Essay 1 does talk like this, though my impression is that he does not always talk like this in his later essays. In his later essays he tends to simply identify charity with our response to God's love.

That charity = mutual love of benevolence between God and us: yes, Lonergan says this clearly, taking it from Aquinas.

My tentative conclusion:
There is a mutuality in charity which cannot be ignored.
Can we say: in charity as operative grace, there is already this mutuality? In that case, the mutuality - or response if you wish - is purely gift. We have no part in it in the sense that we are here mota and non movens.
That we can say: charity as cooperative grace, as principle of acts of love, is a response to God's love: I think so. Here we are certainly et mota et movens.

[For the Essays, see]

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The virtue of charity as involving a response to God's love

The infused virtue of charity is a secondary immanent formal effect of sanctifying grace.
Distinct from it are the acts that habitual grace gives rise to: here are the acts of consent, movements of free will.
The former is operative grace.
As principle of the latter, grace becomes cooperative.
So it would seem that it is not possible to call the infused virtue of charity a "response to God's love", or to identify it with the "state of being in love with God."

On the other hand, it is precisely the same habitual grace that is operative as well as cooperative. It is one and the same grace, but different in its effects. In its formal effects, it is operative. As leading to effects in the field of effective causality, it is cooperative.
So perhaps we can say that the virtue of charity, precisely as principle of acts of choice, is cooperative.

So in this way we might be able to make sense of the fact that the virtue of charity is described in terms of friendship with God, mutual love, in which not only God loves us, but we also love God. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Grace and sinfulness

Sometimes I wonder how, despite the sacramental bestowal of grace, our human nature remains weak as ever. Does not Thomas say that grace is the bestowal of a habit, and should not that habit take the place of earlier, sinful habits?

Here is an amazing psychological observations from Lonergan and Aquinas. In Grace and Freedom, Lonergan notes that according to Aquinas, the supernatural virtues not merely give the possibility of a type of action, but also make it spontaneous and connatural. However, there remains the objection from experience that the infused virtues do not always seem to make right action prompt, easy and agreeable. Thomas' answer: neither acquired nor infused virtues totally eliminate the evil inclinations of passion. Still, both operate against such inclinations, though in different ways. Acquired virtues make evil tendencies less sensible. The more rarefied infused virtues may not have this effect at all, but they do break the dominion of sin over us. Nor is the persisting sensible difficulty contrary to the nature of a virtue, for as even Aristotle acknowledged, the pleasure proper to virtuous action may be, at time, no more than the absence of regret. Perhaps the more radical answer to the objection may be that readiness, ease and pleasure are the signs, the external consequences, of the virtues, such secondary effects may be covered over by other factors. (Grace and Freedom, CWL 1:49)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Identity of knower and known

In the area of human cognition, confrontationism, or transferred empiricism, was flourishing. Its principal axiom was that an object is prior to an act concerning that object. (Aristotle and Aquinas distinguished between the sensible, the intelligible, sense, intellect, in potency, in act; they asserted the identity of the knower in act and the known in act; but Scotus and his predecessors and followers taught the identity of the known in potency and the known in act.)
From this there can be no 'intelligible in sensible data,' no 'quiddity in corporeal matter'; and if there is understanding [of the intelligible in the sensible], it is an illusion." (Supplementary Notes on Sanctifying Grace CWL 19:567)

The new relationship between philosophy and theology

As early as 1957, we find Lonergan saying:
“We have the meaning of ‘philosophy’ as concerned with truths that can be known by the natural light of reason, but when the Catholic philosopher moves to the consideration of things existentially, he finds that things as they exist in all their concreteness cannot be completely illuminated without a consideration of the supernatural.” … [Mathematical Logic and Existentialism 1957 CWL 18:297.]
Then again in 1959:
“Again, the natural and the supernatural are really distinct, as distinct as matter and form, soul and body, but in the concrete order of divine providence in this world they are united dynamically….” [Topics in Education 1959 CWL 10:70.]

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sanctifying grace and the habit of charity

Doran insists on the distinction between sanctifying grace and the habit of charity, even going to the extent of saying that Lonergan in Method in Theology does not always distinguish them.

In Method, Lonergan says: the gift of God's love "really is sanctifying grace but notionally differs from it." [MT 107.] In filling out what he means by that statement, says Doran, Lonergan conflates the gift of God's love with the dynamic state of being in love with God, and so amalgamates what in his earlier work he had distinguished as sanctifying grace (the gift of God's love) and charity (the dynamic state of being in love with God as a response to that gift). [Doran 15.]

In a question-answer session (the fifth) at the 1974 Lonergan Workshop at Boston College, Doran points out, Lonergan admitted this amalgamation. (Transcripton at at 81500DTE070.)
"I have for nearly twenty years regarded this amalgamation as a slight step backward on Lonergan's part, away from explanatory terms and relations to commonsense description. Obviously, if the hypothesis about active spiration and passive spiration being participated in and imitated by, respectively, sanctifying grace and charity is to be preserved, then just as active spiration and passive spiration are really distinct relations in God, so sanctifying grace and charity must be really distinct bases of really distinct relations in us.... I am suggesting that there are distinct special basic relations in human consciousness that correspond to the realities named in metaphysical terms 'sanctifying grace' and the 'habit of charity,' and I'm suggesting that those are the gift of God's love and loving God in return." [Doran 15.] 

In De ente supernaturali Lonergan does distinguish sanctifying grace and the habit of charity as remote and proximate principles, when he says: the theologian affirms “not only charity in the justified and the beatific vision in the blessed, but also a habit of charity, the light of glory, and the remote principle of both of these, sanctifying grace.” [CWL 19:77.]

In other words: the remote principle: sanctifying grace
Proximate principles: habit of charity; light of glory
Acts: of charity in the justified, and charity and beatific vision in the blessed.

In the following also the distinction between sanctifying grace and the (act of) charity is implied: "Charity is received only in one who has been justified. For charity is the love that is friendship, which can only exist between friends; but it is through the reception of sanctifying grace, from which flow the other infused virtues, that we become friends of God." [CWL 19:163. The paragraph clearly speaks of supernatural acts, not habits.]

Monday, 9 April 2012

Patrick H. Byrne on Lonergan

Some useful articles of Pat Byrne:

Byrne, Patrick H. 1982. "The Thomist Sources of Lonergan's Dynamic World-View" The Thomist 46.1 (January 1982), 108-145.

Byrne, Patrick H. 1986. "The Fabric of Lonergan's Thought" Lonergan Workshop v., ed. by Frederick Lawrence. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1-84.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Gelassenheit is borrowed from Eckhart: see Carlo Angelino, “Il religioso nel pensiero di Martin Heidegger,” in Martin Heidegger, L’abbandono, tr. Adriano Fabris (Genova: Il Melangolo, 1986) 19.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

From Lonergan's 'Verbum'

"For Aquinas, the second procession grounding real relations is not the procession of the act of love from the will, nor the procession of something else from the act of love within the will, but the procession in the will of the act of love from the inner word in the intellect." (VB CWL 2:109)

Actus imperfecti: movement.
Actus perfecti: act. E.g. sensation, understanding, willing. The 'operatio sensus iam facti in actu per suam speciem.' (CWL 2:114-116)

"The Latin term species translates Aristotle's term eidos and shares it ambiguity. It may mean a form, and then it includes neither common nor individual matter; and it may mean a universal, and then it includes common but not individual matter." (CWL 2:133)

Operatio and actio sometimes mean simply act or being in act, and sometimes mean the exercise of efficient causality. but the precision of trinitarian theory led Aquinas to distinguish exactly between these two meanings w.r.t. the operation or action of intellect: "when that operation is meant in the sense of act, it is termed intelligere; but when by operation is meant that one act is grounding another, it is termed dicere." (CWL 2:136)

"Again, meeting the objection that the divine essence cannot be the object of created knowledge because the judged is to the judge as passive, he answered that on the contrary the sensible and intelligible objects are to sense and intellect as agent inasmuch as sentire and intelligere are a pati quoddam." (CWL 2:142)

And something to be explored further:
"and incidentally, we may ask whether this neglect of natural potency has not some bearing on unsatisfactory conceptions of obediential potency." (CWL 2:149)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The relationality of humans, world and language

In his chapter on Heidegger Arthos has the following rather dense sentence:
The relationality of humans, world, and language is saturated with the frailty and possibility of human finitude, and so constructed out of a generative-destructive dynamic the continual loop [the Moebius strip] does not have, simultaneously withdrawing into abysms and accreting by revelation. (Arthos, The Inner Word 208)
When I alight from the bus and face the fields and the hills of home in the green distance, the 'relationality of humans, world, and language' comes alive to me. Those green hills are not just green hills. They are the interpenetration of humans, world and language. They mean something to me. To this I who is part of a We, a family, a people, a culture, a history.

And this relationality is penetrated by human finitude: "the frailty and possibility of human finitude." It is constructed out of a generative-destructive dynamic that the simple eternity or endlessness of the Moebius loop cannot represent.

Heidegger here has in mind the withdrawal and manifestation of Being. But I am thinking not so much of this dialectic, but of the other, the dialectic of joy and sorrow, much of which cannot be Said when the Time is not Ripe.  

Thinking and time

Sometimes I find myself thinking: if only I had the time, I would be able to do more, think more, write more. Like I did this morning: for some reason, I thought of taking Arthos' The Inner Word to my room, and relaxing with it there. It did work: allowing the mind to enter more fully, more slowly, into the matter. So perhaps: if I had more time, more leisure, I might have...

But then no: if I did not have any work, any commitments, to structure my time, I would probably waste my time. Thinking does not happen in a vacuum. It happens in the midst of a world, my world.

But didn't Heidegger have leisure, all the leisure in the world, to think, to write? Those long stays in the little hut in the Black Forest, those long walks along impossibly beautiful and solitary mountain paths.... How wonderful, I find myself thinking.

But then no: even the solitary Heidegger was actually thinking within the constraints of his situation. His impossibly constricted situation. His situation in which he had made his faux pas, his irretrievable step, which had then cast its shadow upon the rest of his life. It was within those very real constraints, his situation, his thrownness, that he was thinking.

There is no thinking in the abstract. 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Heidegger and the inner word

Sean J. McGrath. "Heidegger and Duns Scotus on truth and language." The Review of Metaphysics (Dec. 2003). See;col1

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Heidegger's formale Anzeige or formal indication

Volume 30, Number 4, 413-430, DOI: 10.1023/A:1004250206794
Heidegger's formal indication: A question of method in Being and Time
Ryan Streeter

For Heidegger, phenomenological investigation is carried out by formal indication, the name given to the methodical approach he assumes in Being and Time. This paper attempts to draw attention to the nature of formal indication in light of the fact that it has been largely lost upon American scholarship (mainly due to its inconsistent translation). The roots of the concept of formal indication are shown in two ways. First, its thematic treatment in Heidegger's 1921/22 Winter Semester course, Phenomenological Investigations into Aristotle, is examined to make clear what Heidegger silently assumes in Being and Time. Second, Heidegger's adaptation of Husserl's use of the term, indication, is outlined to clarify the concept even more. The enhanced understanding of formal indication granted by these two points leads to a better grasp of Heidegger's concept of truth, for formal indication and truth are mutually implied for Heidegger. Finally, it is suggested that the reader of Being and Time, on the basis of what formal indication demands, approach the work not as a doctrine to be learned but as a task always requiring further completion.

I need to understand better Heidegger's formale Anzeige. Reading Arthos, it appears to be suspiciously like Lonergan's heuristic structure. Arthos says it is akin to Gadamer's Richtungssinn. [Arthos, The Inner Word in Gadamer's Hermeneutics 283.]