Thursday, July 8, 2010

No nature without grace

"those things that are natural to man are neither withdrawn from nor bestowed upon him by sin."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I.98.Resp.  Cf. Jean-Pierre Torrell, O.P., "Nature et grâce chez Thomas d'Aquin," Revue thomiste 101, no. 1/2 (2001): 177 (167-202).

Which means that the "state of original justice," the phrase favored by Aquinas when discussing original sin, or "innocence," the phrase favored by Aquinas in "the treatise on the creation of the first man" (Torrell, 175), is not natural, but supernatural:
such a subjection of the body to the soul and of the lower parts to reason, was not from nature; otherwise it would have remained after sin, as Dionysius declares (Div. Nom. iv). . . . the primitive subjection by virtue of which reason was subject to God was not a merely natural gift, but a supernatural endowment of grace
(Summa theologiae I.95.1.Resp., trans. FEDP; cf. Torrell, 177-178).
human nature was established in its first beginning so that the inferior powers were perfectly subject to reason, the reason to God, the body to the soul, and God was by His grace supplying what nature lacked for this arrangement
(Summa contra Gentiles IV.52.6 (=Marietti no. 3880), trans. Charles J. O'Neil; cf. Torrell, 178).  Thus, St. Thomas rejects "the opinion of those who think that sanctifying grace is not comprised in original justice":
Original justice included sanctifying grace (gratiam gratum faciens) and I do not believe that it is true that the first man was created with his natural powers alone (in puris naturalibus)
(De malo q. 4 a.2 ad 22 (Marietti, p. 531), as reproduced at Torrell, 179, who says ad 1).
Given that original justice consists principally in the submission of the human soul to God, which cannot be firm without grace, original justice could not exist without grace
(De malo q.5 a.1 ad 13 (Marietti, p. 547), as reproduced at Torrell, 179).

On pp. 174-175 Torrell reproduces In II Sent. d.30 q.1 a.1 on the distinction between human nature "according to its natural principles alone," and human nature "as it was [actually] created (instituta)", "the concrete situation of man fresh from the [(sorti des)] hands of God" (Torrell, 175).

Monday, July 5, 2010

We forbid anyone to wage war during our war

"In the fourteenth century the kings of France, wishing to concentrate their forces against the English, called upon their barons to curtail their own feuds and vendettas:  'We forbid anyone to wage war [guerre] during our war [guerre].'"

Robert J. Bartlett, "Lords of 'pride and plunder,'" a review of The crisis of the twelfth century:  power, lordship, and the origins of European government, by Thomas N. Bisson, New York review of books 57, no. 11 (June 24, 2010):  48 (47-50), on "the worrying doubt that states and kingdoms, indeed all lawfully constituted governments, are just the most successful of the robber gangs", "the thin line between the gunslinger and the sheriff," "the poignancy of the bandit turned law officer", and so forth.  I think there can be a distinction ("Nowadays, we make a sharper distinction"), but like the quote.

Were the Tudors Tudors?

"it looks as if it was David Hume who made the term [Tudor] an indispensable part of the historian's vocabulary when, in 1757, he published his History of England under the House of Tudor.  It was Hume, too, who seems to have established the modern spelling.
"'Tudor monarchs', then, did not think of themselves as such; still less did 'Tudor subjects'. . . .
". . . one of the most familiar of English historical terms had little purchase in its own era.  We must learn to do without the Tudors."

Clifford S. L. Davies, "A rose by another name:  why we are wrong to talk about 'the Tudors,'" Times literary supplement, June 13 2008, p. 15 (14-15).

Has this been sustained?

Bernard Gui and William of Tocco on the Thomistic method

"it was in those nights of prayer that he learned what he would write or dictate in the day-time. . . . It was as though the prayer of his mind never ceased, and in fact no external business could ever distract it from the thoughts in which he delighted and the revelations for which he prayed.  He never set himself to study or argue a point, or lecture or write or dictate without first having recourse inwardlybut with tearsto prayer for the understanding and the words required by the subject.  When perplexed by a difficulty he would kneel and pray and then, on returning to his writing or dictation, . . . was accustomed to find that his thought had become so clear that it seemed to show him inwardly, as in a book, the words he needed.  All this is confirmed by his own statement to brother Reginald that prayer and the help of God had been of greater service to him in the search for truth than his natural intelligence and habit of study."

Bernard Gui, Vita S. Thomae Aquinatis 15 (=Fontes Vitae S. Thomae Aquinatis, ed. D. Prümmer, vol. 3, pp. 161-263), trans. Kenelm Foster, O.P. (The life of Saint Thomas Aquinas:  biographical documents, trans. and ed. Kenelm Foster, O.P. (London:  Longmans, Green and Co; Baltimore:  Helicon Press, 1959), 37).  This theme is continued in secs. 16 (mission of Sts. Peter and Paul) and 24 (Jesus himself), as elsewhere.  Cf. chap. 30 of William of Tocco's Ystoria sancti Thome de Aquino:
like Solomon [he] asked for nothing from God but wisdom.  Hence it may easily be believed, nay the fact is manifest, that it was through the merits of his prayer and piety that he received what he taught and wrote and dictated.  This we have, too, from the mouth of brother Reginald, his socius, who was in his master's confidence and saw things that he did not reveal while the latter was still living.  But after the death of his master, when Reginald returned to Naples from Fossanova, and resumed his lecturing (for he was a lector) he spoke thus, with many tears:  'My brothers, while my master lived he would not let me reveal the wonderful things I knew about him, among which was this, that his amazing knowledge was not an effect of human intelligence but of prayer.  For always, before he studied or disputed or lectured or wrote or dictated, he would pray from the heart, begging with tears to be shown the truth about the divine things that he had to investigate. . . . And when any difficulty arose he . . . had recourse to prayer, whereupon the matter would become wonderfully clear to him.  Thus, in his soul, intellect and desire somehow contained each other, the two faculties freely serving one another in such a way that each in turn took the lead:  his desire, through prayer, gained access to divine realities, which then the intellect, deeply apprehending, drew into a light which kindled to greater intensity the flame of love'
(70n44).  Cf. Ystoria sancti Thome de Aquino de Guillaume de Tocco (1323) (=Fontes Vitae S. Thomae Aquinatis, ed. D. Prümmer, vol. 2, pp. 59-160), ed. Claire le Brun-Gouanvic, Studies and texts 127 (Toronto:  Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1996), 157-158, and in a French translation, L'histoire de saint Thomas d'Aquin, trans. Claire le Brun-Gouanvic, Sagesses chrétiennes (Paris:  Cerf, 2005), 80-81.  In German:  Das Leben des heiligen Thomas von Aquino erzählt von Wilhelm von Tocco und andere Zeugnisse zu seinem Leben, trans. Willehad Paul Eckert, Heilige der ungeteilten Christenheit dargstellt von den Zeugen ihres Lebens, ed. Walter Nigg and Wilhelm Schamoni (Düsseldorf:  Patmos-Verlag, 1965), 125-126.
Yet there was, of course, a vast ocean of insight yet to come, there being limits to what "'can be answered, in human language, by man still living in this mortal life'":
'Reginald, my son, I will tell you a secret which you must not repeat to anyone while I remain alive.  All my writing is now at an end; for such things have been revealed to me that all I have taught and written seems quite trivial to me now.  The only thing I want now is that as God has put an end to my writing, He may quickly end my life also'
(Bernard Gui, Vita 27, trans. Foster (p. 46)). Cf. chap. 47 of the Life by Tocco, chap. 24 of the Life by Calo, and most famously chap. 79 of the first inquiry into canonization (or Bartholomew of Capua), which appears on pp. 109-110 of this translation by Foster ("'all that I have written seems to me so much straw'"; "'All that I have written seems to me like straw compared with what has now been revealed to me'"). And
'You have written well, Thomas, of the sacrament of my Body; you have answered the question put to you as well as it can be answered, in human language, by man still living in this mortal life.'
(Bernard Gui, Vita 24, trans. Foster (p. 44), italics mine).
Moreover, this was as far from a tradition- or church-deprecating illuminism as it could have been.  For on this same deathbed St. Thomas is also supposed to have said, addressing Christ himself in the viaticum,
O price of my redemption and food for my pilgrimage, I receive You.  For Your sake I have studied and toiled and kept vigil.  I have preached You and taught You.  Never consciously have I said a word against You.  But if I should have said or written anything amiss on this sacrament or any of the others, I leave it all to the judgment of the holy Roman Church, in obedience to whom I desire to end my life
(Bernard Gui, Vita 39, trans. Foster (pp. 55-56)).
     See also this note here.