Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Pope on St. Thomas

Sr. Helena sent me these thoughts from John Paul on his philosophy and how it relates to St. Thomas:

"My personal philosophical outlook moves, so to speak, between two poles: Aristotelian Thomism and phenomenology. ...
"So there were two stages in my intellectual journey: In the first I moved from literature to metaphysics, while the second led me from metaphysics to phenomenology.

"When Schema 13 was being studied--later to become the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World--and I spoke on personalism, Father de Lubac came to me and said, encouragingly: 'Yes, yes, yes, that's the way forward,' and this meant a great deal to me, as I was relatively still young."

--Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way

"If we wish to speak rationally about good and evil, we have to return to St. Thomas Aquinas, that is, to the philosophy of being. With the phenomenological method, for example, we can study experiences of morality, religion, or simply what it is to be human, and draw from them a significant enrichment of our knowledge. Yet we must not forget that all these analyses implicitly presuppose the reality of the Absolute Being and also the reality of being human, that is, being a creature. If we do not set out from such 'realist' presuppositions, we end up in a vacuum."

--Memory and Identity


Barbara said...

JPII's philosophy is very odd in this polyglotness - and, frankly, this may be what makes his writing so hard to follow. Generaly, the Thomists and the Phenomenologists are opposed to one another. I know stories of Catholic colleges where one group couldn't rest until it had completely routed the other from the campus grounds.

Alan Aversa said...

I heard his Memory and Identity quote from this excellent talk: Aquinas & Theology of the Body. It is so amazing to see that he recognized personalism/phenomenology's limitations. I honestly think his appreciation for St. Thomas comes directly from his thesis advisor Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., at the Angelicum. May God bless them both!

Alan Aversa said...

You can read the full quote online here.