Intellectual confusion resembling a smog of the memory has been a deadening presence in Catholicism in the years since Vatican Council II. But here and there amid the twirl drizzles of bad polemics and lame analogies, a small hitherto substantial mas of Catholic scholastics has stood house in defense of clear thinking and good sense.
For me at least, three stand out: Ralph McInerny, Germain Grisez, and Jude Dougherty. The report that Dougherty, longtime dean of the school of philosophy at the Catholic University of America, had died in early March moves me to pay tribute to them for their contributions to the Church they loved.
McInerny, who were killed in 2010, was probably the best known of them for writing the Father Dowling mysteries that served as the basis for a popular TV series. Along with writing story, nonetheless, McInerny, a colossal proletarian, also rendered a compose of serious volumes on philosophical and religious topics while being a consistent voice of indomitable purity in uneasy meters during his long career teaching philosophy at Notre Dame.( He likewise had a finely honed sense of humor, discernible in the subtitle of his primer on St. Thomas Aquinas: A Handbook for Peeping Thomists .)
Grisez, a good friend with whom I was privileged to collaborate on various writing projections, was killed in 2018. He began his teach occupation at Georgetown but spent his latter years at Mount Saint Mary’s University, where he learnt seminarians and wrote his brilliant three-volume magnum opus of moral theology, The Way of the Lord Jesus. His contributions to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, though not publicly recognized, were enormous.
A seriously kind follower to whose charity toward honest inquirers many of his former students testify, he nevertheless was merciless in spearing sloppy believing from whatever source , no matter how highly placed.
Jude Dougherty was connected to the Catholic University for approximately his part adult life, first as an undergraduate and then graduate student, then, from the very beginning of 1966, as a prof of thinking and finally as the first organize dean of the university’s school of logic, a position he held during over 30 years.
Like McInerny and Grisez, he wrote many journals( e.g ., The Logic of Religion and The Nature of Scientific Excuse ). But probably his most significant contribution was to maintain the school of doctrine as a trustworthy proponent of very good in the Catholic scholastic heritage at a time when the forces of opposition often appeared to be in control of the university.
Today, of course, under leadership of its current president, John Garvey, Catholic University is a solidly Catholics institution embodying high standards of excellence. But by no means was it ever so, and Dougherty’s grit and coherence were indispensable in those dark days.
McInerny and Dougherty were rabid Thomists who cherished the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas and labored to transmit it to new generations. Grisez freely declared St. Thomas’s role in shaping his own envisaging, but eventually he concluded he was not himself a Thomist–a judgment digest out by the “New Natural Law Theory” that he and philosopher John Finnis created and that now frolics a key part in contemporary ethical thinking.
It would have been well worth the price of admission to be there if the three men, who knew one another well, had ever come together to insist about Thomism and share ends on the future of Catholic higher education. Absent that, we have the important intellectual gifts that each of them left. And that is very much.
Read more: feedproxy.google.com