"... This fusion of the most sinister prospects with the most glowing aspects of the present and the future is in no way inadmissible a priori. It was not inadmissible in Jewish circles, to judge from the statements of various rabbis, that the days of the Messiah were to know more than one calamity. Khiya ben Nehemia depicts the days of the Messiah as so sad in one respect that it would be impossible to distinguish guilt from innocence. (Koheleth rabba, XII, I; but similar ideas are already to be found in the Talmud. Cf. Volz, pp. 62-63; Lagrange, Le Messianisme chez les Juifs, pp. 99-115.) The idea was to be just as familiar to Christians who referred to the Gospel.
"... Besides, in our Apocalypse itself, we have already seen the two aspects continually mingled: the beneficent Horseman of VI, 2 goes forth to conquer spiritually at the same time as the other horsemen will be spreading disaster; the elect of God, in VII, will be preserved at the same time as the great tribulation, etc. (Cf. infra, Ch. XII.) It is the quite simple transposition of the sufferings of the Messiah to the preparation for the Second Coming." E. B. Allo, L'Apocalypse de saint Jean (Paris, Gabalda, 1921), pp. 145-146.
"St. Thomas and his school, accustomed to applying the brake of reason to the emotions and to not risking an advance over the mysterious terrain of dogma without first drawing light from the beacon of already defined dogmas, asserted no less strenuously that the Mother of God, like every child of Adam, had to be really and personally redeemed by the Blood of Calvary, and that they were ready to block the way of the Mother of God even, so long as they would not consider her as unreservedly involved in the way of personal debt, the only one which motivates redemption by the blood of Jesus Christ.
"Exposed to this dual influence -- the Scotist fervor and the Thomist rudder -- the barque of the Immaculate made slow but steady progress for centuries. Without Scotus and his school it would never have moved at all, or at any rate would have made but little progress; without the intervention of St. Thomas and his disciples it would certainly have lost its way. After God and His Church, it is to Scotus and his school that we are indebted for the definition of the Immaculate Conception, but it is to St. Thomas and his disciples that we owe the definition of the true Immaculate Conception." F. Marin-Sola, L'Evolution homogène du dogme catholique, Fribourg, 1924, vol. 1, pp. 327-328.
See above all, on this question, Father del Prado's Divus Thomas et Bulla Dogmatica "Ineffabilis Deus" (Fribourg, 1919). What St. Thomas teaches (against certain erroneous ways of arguing for the Immaculate Conception) is that the Mother of the Savior was redeemed, she too, by the merits of her Son, and that we must recognize in her all degrees of purity, provided they be compatible with her redemption by Jesus Christ. All that is then required is a more explicit statement, together with the addition that this redemption was a preserving redemption (presupposing not sin, but the debitum, the personal and proximate debt remitted by the foreseen merits of Christ at the very moment of creation and infusion of the soul), for us to have the notion of the Immaculate Conception such as the Church has defined it, a notion expressed very precisely in the Oration of the Mass for the feast of December 8: "Deus . . . qui ex morte ejusdem Filii tui praevisa, eam ab omni labe praeservasti . . ." ("God, Who by the foreseen death of Thy son, preserved her from all stain.")
"Now what is it that makes theology a discipline possessing the force of a science truly worthy of the name, capable of providing, in the admirable words of Our lamented Predecessor Pope Benedict XV (Motu Proprio De Romana Sancti Thomae Academia, 1914), 'an explanation as complete as human reason permits and a victorious defense of the truth revealed by God'? It is the Scholastic philosophy, and it alone, employed under the guidance and leadership of St. Thomas Aquinas and put at the service of theology. It is it that furnishes 'that exact and solid connection of things with each other and with their principles, that order and disposition which make one think of an army drawn up in battle array, those luminous definitions and distinctions, that solidity in argument and that subtlety in controversy, all that ensemble which separates light from darkness and truth from error, and which denounces and lays bare the falsehoods of the heretics by ripping off the mask of illusions and sophisms with which they cover themselves' (Sixtus V, loc. cit.).
"They, consequently, understand wrongly the education of young clerics, who, setting aside the Scholastic method, think that one ought to give the whole theological teaching according to what is known as the positive method; and those teachers fail still more in their duty who have their whole course in theology consist of going over, in learned disquisitions, the list of dogmas and heresies. The positive method is the necessary complement of the Scholastic method, but it does not suffice by itself alone. Our clergy must be armed not only for establishing the truth of the Faith but also for explaining and defending it. But to review, in chronological order, the dogmas of the Faith and the opposed errors, is to teach ecclesiastical history, not theology." (Ibid., August 1, 1922.)
One may consult with profit the remarkable commentary on this encyclical by Father Benoit Lavaud: Saint Thomas guide des études, Paris, Téqui, 1925.
"A man is not said to know a country thoroughly if he just knows some description, even a detailed description, of it, but only if he has lived in that country for some time; so also no one acquires an intimate knowledge of God by scientific investigation alone, if he does not live likewise in an intimate union with Him."
And on the theological work of St. Thomas:
"First of all, he established apologetics on its true bases, determining clearly the distinction between the truths of reason and those of faith, between the natural order and the supernatural order. Also, when the Vatican Council defines the possibility of knowing some truths of religion by the lights of reason, the moral necessity of a divine revelation with certitude and without error, and finally the absolute necessity of a revelation if we are to know the mysteries, it employs arguments borrowed from St. Thomas only. Thomas expects that all the apologists of Catholic dogma hold as sacred this principle: 'to give assent to the truths of faith is not arbitrariness, even though they are above reason' (Contra Gent. I, 6). He shows indeed that however mysterious and obscure the truths of faith may be, the reasons at least which impel man to believe are clear and manifest, so that 'he would not believe if he did not see that it is necessary to believe' (I-II, 1, 4). He adds that, far from considering faith as an impediment or a yoke of burden imposed on humanity, we must look upon it as a most precious gift, since 'faith is in us as a kind of beginning of eternal life' (De Verit., XIV, 2).
"The second part of theology, which has to do with the explanation of dogma, is also examined by St. Thomas with exceptional richness. No one has penetrated more deeply or expounded more wisely all the sacred mysteries, especially the intimate life of God, the abyss of eternal predestination, the supernatural government of the world, the power afforded rational natures of attaining their end, the redemption of the human race effected by Jesus Christ and continued by the Church and the Sacraments, those two 'relics of the divine Incarnation,' as the holy Doctor put it.
"In morals, too, Thomas established a solid theological doctrine, aimed at directing all our acts in a manner appropriate to our supernatural end. And because he is, as We have said, the perfect theologian, he assigns the steady purposes and the rules of life which must guide not only the individual in his personal life, but also the family and civil society, which latter are the objects, respectively, of those divisions of moral science that are 'economics' and politics."
[We may observe that these few lines, affirming so unmistakably the principle of the subordination of politics to morals and to the theological light, pointed out beforehand in the doctrine of St. Thomas the remedy for the political naturalism since condemned by the Supreme Pontiff.]
"And We have then, in the second part of the Summa Theologiae, those admirable teachings on paternal or domestic govermnent, lawful power in bodies politic or nations, natural law and the law of nations, peace and war, justice and property, laws and their observance, the duty of helping individuals in their needs and of co-operating for the well-being of the political community, and this in the natural order and in the supernatural order.
"The day when, in private life, in public life and in the relationships between nations and nations, these rules would be religiously and inviolably observed, nothing else would be required for men to be assured of that 'peace in Christ through the reign of Christ' for which the whole world longs so ardently."
Thus does the Encyclical Studiorum Ducem itself describe the office of wise architect incumbent upon the Angelic Doctor in regard to the restoration of Christian culture in the modern world.
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