Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Lord of History, by Msgr. Eugene Kevane. ©2003 The Miriam Press. All Rights Reserved

Contents Directory • Next

References – Introduction

1. Vatican II, Optatam totius (Oct. 28, 1965), “Decree on the Training of Priests,” No. 14; in Austin Flannery, O.P. (Gen. Editor), Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents (New York: Costello, 1975) pp. 717-718. The official Latin of this passages reads: In ecclesiastics studiis recognoscendis eo imprimis spectandum est ut disciplinae philosophicae et theologicae aptius componantur et concordi ratione conspirent and alumnorum mentibus magis magisque aperiendum Mysterium Christi quod totam generis humani historiam afficit, in Ecclesiam iugiter influit et ministerio sacerdotali praecipue operatur. Cf. AAS (Oct. 1, 1966), p. 711. On the Decree Optatam totius, cf. The Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis: Basic Norms for Priestly Formation (Rome: Vatican Press, 1970), esp. pp. 55-57, “Studies in Philosophy and Kindred Subject.” For a general study of Optatam totius, somewhat marred by the shallowness of its time, cf. A. Laplante, La formation des prêtres: Genèse et commentaire du décret conciliare Optatam totius (Paris: Lethelleux, 1969).

2. Cf. the “Introduction” to Optatam totius in Flannery, Op. cit., p. 707: “The Council is fully aware that the desired renewal of the whole Church depends in great part upon a priestly ministry animated by the spirit of Christ and it solemnly affirms the critical importance of priestly training.” Mutatis mutandis, the desired “more effective coordination of philosophy and theology” should take place also in the training and formation of all who assist the priestly ministry, especially catechists who undertake “The Ministry of the Word,” the title of Part Two of the General Catechetical Directory (Washington: USCC, 1971), Nos. 14-35. This is particularly the case in the “Higher Institutes for Training in Pastoral Catechetics,” described in No. 109.

2-a. Cf. the General Catechetical Directory, No. 88, on “Intellectual Demands” in the catechesis of adolescents: “The adolescent…is learning how the intellect is to be used rightly… If catechesis is to be able to awaken an experience of the life of faith, it simply cannot neglect the formation of a religious way of thing.” And the Directory adds, within its text: “Cf. First Vatican Council, Constitution Dei Filius, Chapter IV.” It would be difficult to indicate more plainly that the Catholic Church considers Vatican I and Vatican II to be in full harmony, rather than in the opposition sometimes imagined in the years after Vatican II. The Directory concludes: “The intellectual building up of the faith of adolescents must by no means be considered as merely a kind of addition, but rather it should be counted as an essential need for the life of faith. The manner of teaching is of special importance. The catechist, in dialogue with the adolescent, must stimulate the mind of the adolescent.” Catechesis, in other words, has its own kind of intrinsic dependence upon Aeterni Patris and the renewal of Christian Philosophy.

2-b. Cf. “Aeterni Patris: Epistola Encyclica de Philosophia Christiana ad mentem sancti Thomae Aquinatis Doctoris Angelici in scholis Catholicis instauranda,” in Leonis XIII Pont. Maximi Acta (Romae: Ex Typographia Vaticana, 1881); Vol. I, pp. 255-284. For the English, cf. Etienne Gilson (ed.) The Church Speaks to the Modern World (New York: Doubleday Image Books, 1954), pp. 31-54. The Encyclical Aeterni Patris is dated August 4, 1879. In 1902 Leo XIII published a review of his many years as the Successor of St. Peter in which he himself listed Aeterni Patris first among “the principal acts of Our pontificate.” Cf. Gilson, ibid., p. 333.

2-c. This shift in perspective, which has become quite visible at the centenary of Aeterni Patris, seems destined to be the coming hallmark of the renewal of Christian Philosophy as this program of the teaching Church turns into its second century. This point will be discussed further in the Epilogue below.