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Did you study Thomism in Catholic school?

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Paulomycin, Mar 9, 2021.

  1. Paulomycin

    Paulomycin Well-Known Member

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    And if so, what year?

    Or was it a continuous course?

    Do you recall the basic nuts & bolts of what they taught?

    I am a Protestant, but this is not a debate thread. These are honest questions. I'm very concerned with all these atheists I encounter online that claim they're "ex-catholics," but I'm not certain if the RCC has out and out abandoned Thomism and embraced fideism. . .or what?!??
     
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  2. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I started out in the public schools but went to a private but not a parochial school for high school and college. I was never 'taught' Thomism. I learned it on my own. My first exposure was by finding and reading a book by Jacques Maritain. Which I didn't really understand fully. I didn't even know he had written other books. Finally I found them and it was my first real introduction to philosophy. My college philosophy courses, except for 'Symbolic Logic' were a joke. Descartes anyone? As I studied Maritain I came to know the works of Etiene Gilson and Ralph McInerney. And I picked up a copy of the 'Summa Contra Gentiles' and studied that. Along the way I went from mush headedness to being a Thomist myself. Self-taught, and I was never a product of the Catholic educational system, so I can't speak well to that. I did send my children to a good and faithful Catholic high school and they came out practicing Catholics all of them, but there were not drills on Thomism per se. Faith was taught as rational rather than fedeistic.

    There are a lot of ex-Catholics out there. And it's the result of confused confusers in the aftermath of Vatican II. The confusion was unnecessary, and was almost overcome under popes John Paul and Benedict. But it's back with a passion now and the future is anyone's guess. But there are many heard-headed believers who are anything but Fideists and we are not changing our tune. With Covid, many of the others will be former Catholics except maybe they will cling to the Catholic name, but they will have lost the habit of darkening the doors of the parish entirely. So expect many more ex-Catholics, the sort that think they know everything there is to know about being Catholic but never had any actual faith. Be gentle with them and evangelize them as you are able. They really are as confused as anyone in the culture now, drifting and lost and only certain that they don't believe what they never actually knew.

    If you are a Thomist in the making, good for you. I have heard of a few Protestants who have found the Angelic Doctor. He's better, IMHO, than anything else out there in terms of philosophy and theology. It's worth trying to understand him. Only in a few things do you have to take him with a grain of salt.
     
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  3. PuerAzaelis

    PuerAzaelis Active Member Supporter

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    Is there a good intro to Aquinas available? I have been interest in the ST for a while now but I have still only scratched the surface
     
  4. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    'The Dumb Ox' by G. K. Chesterton is pretty good. As in excellent. Otherwise several books by Peter Kreeft introduce him well. Jacques Maritain's 'Introduction to Philosophy' is a clear explanation of classic Thomism for those of us raised on less than clear philosophies. It just made sense, and it helped the world make sense.
     
  5. PuerAzaelis

    PuerAzaelis Active Member Supporter

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    TY
     
  6. Fenwick

    Fenwick ☩ Broman Catholic ☩

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    If they’re describe themselves as “ex-Catholic” then I’d bet my bottom dollar they never had a correct understanding of the Church and it’s teachings to begin with. I think a lot of defection from the church has come from very poor catechesis over the past 60 years or so. It’s only in recent years and in (unfortunately) few places that the effort is made by any parish to catechize well.

    As far as Thomistic thinking goes, it’s alive and well in the Church but I don’t know if I’d say it’s taught at the elementary levels of the Church. Maybe in some places, but I don’t see your average parish school teaching Thomistic philosophy to juniors or to converts in RCIA. I could be wrong, but today that seems like something that Catholics by and large seek out for themselves to deepen their faith and explore complexities of Catholicism.

    I do think the Church would benefit a lot if Thomism was more broadly taught in a meaningful way. He’s not called the angelic doctor for nothing.
     
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  7. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Totally agree. Somewhere around 1965 the method and content of catechesis went down the tubes. The faith didn't change, but the teachers of it sort of forgot what it was we believed in for almost 2000 years. There was a rupture between the 'spirit of Vatican II' and the faith once delivered to the apostles. Some recovery in recent years, mostly because of the hunger of laity for scraps of truth.
    Some schools will teach a bit of philosophy, and Thomist at that. Chose wisely. More are lucky not to be teaching out and out heresy about faith and morals. And many do allow heresy, though nicely covered over. Sad to say. Such schools have no business continuing to exist.
    Agreed. Not that Thomism is the only allowable philosophy. But it is sensible, easy to comprehend, and allows for good theological conclusions most of the time. Those who have no philosophy actually do have a philosophy, but an unexamined one. And that is dangerous.
     
  8. tz620q

    tz620q Regular Member Supporter

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    I think in Catholic thought there is suspended tension between Thomism and Fideism. This is why we can understand the Reformed position on predestination and irresistible grace while seeing that at some point in the believers life there is a leap of faith from skepticism to belief. Is this leap inevitable? Perhaps from God's point of view outside time it is preordained; but from man's point of view it seems like a radical shift that was anything but sure. So a tension must exist to describe the event accurately. This same tension exists between faith and works. To us it is wrong to separate the two as we see them as both essential to perfect the Christian and prepare us for our eternal life.
     
  9. tz620q

    tz620q Regular Member Supporter

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    The evangelists that try to evangelize Catholics out of the Church don't seem to realize that a majority of those they convince to leave the Catholic Church just stop going to church entirely. 22% of the American population is Catholic and 10% of the American population is ex-Catholic.
     
  10. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They must see some success though or they'd not bother so much.
     
  11. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Can you explain this a bit more. I'm not sure if I agree or disagree.
     
  12. tz620q

    tz620q Regular Member Supporter

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    I did not want to dig through the Summa for the formal arguments; but Wiki had a fairly good synopsis here:

    "Aquinas also understands God as the transcendent cause of the universe, the "first Cause of all things, exceeding all things caused by Him," the source of all creaturely being and the cause of every other cause. Consequently, God's causality is not like the causality of any other causes (all other causes are "secondary causes"), because He is the transcendent source of all being, causing and sustaining every other existing thing at every instant. Consequently, God's causality is never in competition with the causality of creatures; rather, God even causes some things through the causality of creatures."

    One of the conclusions here could be that our faith is not our own; but is caused by God in all 4 causes.
    Material Cause - Our material bodies exist because God choose to create us.
    Formal Cause - Our essence is that which God foresaw and willed to be.
    Efficient Cause - Well one could say that our beginning started with our parents; but their beginning goes back to their parents, etc back to Adam and Eve.
    Final Cause - We know that our purpose is to return to our Creator. That purpose is from God.

    So in one sense we are solely God's and God is the primary cause of who we are. The debate begins when we start factoring man's will into this thought versus God's will. If man is a secondary cause of his own purpose, does he have the ability to be the primary cause of his salvation. Or is it all preordained by God?

    I think you were using Thomism to mean the total school of St Thomas Aquinas' philosophical thought, while I was reading into the OP's Reformed background to select only the Thomistic views on predestination. I have had discussions with other Reformed Christians on this and some of them see Aquinas as the first to clearly elucidate a philosophy that requires a consideration of predestination and salvation as God's Will through and through. To a Catholic, this contradicts our view on salvation as being a cooperative effort, not a preordained inevitability.
     
  13. Paulomycin

    Paulomycin Well-Known Member

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    So. . .am I correct in thinking this started with Thomas Aquinas >> to George Lemaître, >> and then to Father Robert Spitzer? Or is Spitzer just presenting Lemaître's take on Aquinas?

    Just looking for the latest advancements on this topic. Thanks in-advance. :sweatsmile:
     
  14. tz620q

    tz620q Regular Member Supporter

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    OK, you lost me there. The only thing I know about Lemaitre that is notable is his famous Big Bang Theory. Did he delve into Aquinas?
     
  15. Paulomycin

    Paulomycin Well-Known Member

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    I'm now seeing it as harmonious. This article here argues that the Big Bang and the Catholic concept of creation were compatible.
     
  16. tz620q

    tz620q Regular Member Supporter

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    The predominant theory before Lemaitre was Fred Hoyle's Steady State theory which envisioned the universe as a big never ending machine that always existed and would always exist. Lemaitre put God back into cosmology by pointing to an expanding universe that had a point of origin. It did not take long for experimental physicists to look at the doppler shift in light waves and map the movement of the stars. That showed that Lemaitre was right. You are right. I guess it isn't that large a stretch from Aquinas looking at nature and natural law and rooting each of those in God to Lemaitre doing the same in theoretical physics.
     
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