Saturday, February 6, 2016

There is no conception of the "modern specification of secular autonomy" in either St. Augustine or St. Thomas

"for Gelasius there was a distinction between the auctoritas of the Church, and the mere executive potestas of the imperiumso that while Church members were subordinate to the secular arm in worldly affairs, nonetheless the potestas remained subject to the ultimate judgement of the auctoritas, as the body of Christ himself."

     John Milbank, citing Yves Congar's L’ecclĂ©siologie du haut moyen-age (Paris:  Editions du Cerf, 1968), 249-259, the historical work with which the systematic work of Lay people in the Church was not ultimately consistent.  Theology and social theory:  beyond secular reason, 2nd ed. (Malden, MA:  Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 229.  "For Gelasius, and for St. Augustine, the imperial order remained outside the Church because it was only partially redeemed.  For Thomas Aquinas one can recognize the naturalness of the spheres of the family and of political life, yet both must now be pervaded by the law of charity.  For modern thought, however, there is a closed circle of secular norms and practices.  Compared to modernity, Augustine and Aquinas are in essential agreement:  there can be no true fulfillment of natural justice and natural peace without reference to the Church and the workings of grace" (229-230, italics mine).

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