Whether the Divine Nature Suffers in Christ’s Crucifixion?

May 31, 2007

This is an ongoing question in contemporary protestant theology. However, it has already been answered. I knew for instance that Thomas Aquinas and John Damascene had already answered the question by appealing to the distinction between the divine and the human persons natures. The human nature suffers, the divine one does not, being impassible. Today, however, I was reading some old skool conciliar decisions and came across this little gem:



Si quis dixerit, quod in passione crucis dolorem sentiebat Deus, et non caro cum anima, quam induerat–forma servi, quam sibi acceperat, sicut ait Scriptura–Filius Dei Christus: non recte sentit.

Which, being translated, is:


If someone were to say that in the passion of the cross God felt pain and not the flesh with the soul, which he had put on–the form of a slave, which he himself had taken, as the Scriptures say: he does not think correctly.

This comes from Pope St. Damasius I (366-384) and it records the decisions of the Council of Rome (382). The reference is to Denzinger (1937), #72. It is also worth noting that the decision only says that this is an error, not outright heresy, since every other mistaken proposition about Christ in the list is anathematized. This one is just wrong.


Henry of Ghent’s Doctrine of Analogy: Its Origins and Interpretations

May 29, 2007

Whoo boy! Feels good to finally finish my Master’s Thesis. If for some reason the preceding post didn’t slake your thirst, you can read the whole thing here:

Henry of Ghent’s Doctrine of Analogy

Let’s all just hope that it passes!


Thomas Aquinas’s Doctrine of Analogy

May 26, 2007

[I’ve been busy finishing up my Master’s thesis, so posts here have been sparse. I’m almost done, so expect more stuff here soon. In the mean time here’s a taste of some of what I’ve been working on to slake your thirst for medieval theology. This is the second half of my second chapter, so if you see something obviously wrong–let me know. Unfortunately the tasty, tasty footnotes did not survive the transition to HTML.]

2.2 Thomas Aquinas

This second half of chapter two briefly investigates two aspects of Thomas’s thought crucial for the interpretation of Henry of Ghent. The first is Thomas’s elaboration of the doctrine of analogy. The second aspect of Thomas’s thought important for Henry is Thomas’s response to Avicenna’s circularity objection and his reduction of Avicenna’s ens commune to created being.

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Thing of which to take note!

May 23, 2007

I hereby link Per Caritatem, the blog of Cynthia Nielsen, who has started a series discussing the relation of scripture and tradition in the patristic and medieval periods, drawing on the work of Heiko Oberman.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

In other news, I think this is the last catholicism-related post for a while. I need to get back to my academic work and catholic/protestant debates aren’t the primary focus of this blog.

Damnable Heresies

May 21, 2007

The Papal Bull Exsurge Domine was given by Leo X in 1520 to answer Martin Luther and the nascent reformation. The bull includes a long list of heretical propositions put forward by Luther, one of which caught my eye:

L: “That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.”

Pope Leo says, with reference to this proposition:

“We have therefore held a careful inquiry, scrutiny, discussion, strict examination, and mature deliberation with each of the brothers, the eminent cardinals of the holy Roman Church, as well as the priors and ministers general of the religious orders, besides many other professors and masters skilled in sacred theology and in civil and canon law. We have found that these errors or theses are not Catholic, as mentioned above, and are not to be taught, as such; but rather are against the doctrine and tradition of the Catholic Church, and against the true interpretation of the sacred Scriptures received from the Church.”

In other words, it’s against the catholic faith to hold that heretics ought not to be burned. The burning of heretics is an essential part of the doctrine of the catholic church, according to Leo X. Now, I’d like to ask my catholic friends, is this just a personal opinion of the Pope’s, or is the necessity of heretic burning a part of the infallible ordinary and universal magisterium of the church?


What Does the Council of Trent Say about Scripture and Tradition?

May 21, 2007

Pardon the departure from scholastic thought per se. I post this because I’m in a catholic moral theology class whose professor has loud and long lamented the loss of biblical reflection in catholic moral theology. I have been attempting to argue to some catholic colleagues concerned for my conversion that this is not a coincidence. There’s a good reason that most catholics didn’t really read the Bible much less engage in serious exegesis before the 60’s–because the church didn’t want them to. This post is meant to corroborate some of those claims as well as to bring forward some historical texts for our consideration.

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Handmaiden or Dominatrix?

May 19, 2007

Because I’m going to be offline for the next two weeks or so desperately trying to finish a longish text before deadline, I thought I would point interested readers to a really great article by Fordham’s Gyula Klima called Ancilla Theologiae v. Domina Philosophorum: St. Thomas Aquinas, Latin Averroism and the Autonomy of Philosophy.

Roughly speaking, Latin Averroism championed by Siger of Brabant and other arts masters in Paris held (among other things) that the conclusions of philosophy and theology could be contradictory and yet simultaneously true. This is sometimes referred to as a “double truth” theory. I sometimes wonder if the modern dialectical theology isn’t a resurfacing of Latin Averroism.

At any rate, I commend Thomas’s response as expounded by Klima to those interested in the question of the role and nature of Christian philosophy.