The Method of Theology Discussion 4
Archival Number: CD/mp3 327
Author: Lonergan, B.
CD/mp3 327, fourth discussion in the 1962 Institute 'The Method of Theology.' Sponsored by Regis College Jesuit Community, Toronto. (1) Where precisely does freedom come in the act of faith? (2) The Church has commited to theory, Scholasticism, and St Thomas. Are these three one in your mind? (3) What is the relationship between theology as systematized in biblical concepts and theology as systematized in nonbiblical concepts? (4) A seven-year-old on his first communion day: analyze his praeambula fidei, and so on. The freedom of the act of faith: First, distinguish freedom in causa and an essential freedom. Freedom in causa: one chooses to go to a Catholic rather than a secular university. Implicit in that choice are the influences one will undergo. The act of faith is largely a matter of freedom in causa. The ultimate decision is free, yes, but the process is also free. The mere fact that one stays interested is a sign one is exercising one's freedom. But there is an essential freedom in the act of faith itself. There follows a discussion of the relation of natural and supernatural in the act of faith and its object and motive. The subsequent discussion covers much of Lonergan's position on faith as expressed in 'Analysis fidei.' (At the beginning of track 31 there is a hiatus not picked up on the tape, in a question regarding the nature of freedom.) With regard to the seven-year-old, he/she in making an act of faith has some apprehension of God. Prior to any written history there is an existential history that is the possibility of a society. It is transmitted without being noticed. The child apprehends the whole tradition in his/her mother, for example. That tradition is the continuity of the initial deposit of faith. Dogma, Scholasticism, St Thomas: There are beginnings of theoretical elements that are de fide definita, e.g., the consubsantiality of the Son. There is no impossibility of theoretical elements becoming objects of faith. They are not different truths from what was revealed in scripture. What is different is the context. Scholasticism is a certain type of approach, representing the transition from the world of community to the world of theory. The authority of St Thomas does not mean that all his statements are binding. There is a difficult question regarding the authority. There is a minimum sense of infallibility defined in Vatican I. The further extension, if there is one, is not infallibly defined, and there is a reluctance on the part of the central government to state what is settled for all time. It is difficult for the theologian to call for a greater clarity. There are certainly superannuated documents. But it is difficult for a theologian to clarify some points, and the theologian is not the teaching church. Dogmatic theology and biblical theology: In general, there are several views on biblical theology, but the best one is that the biblical theologian's job is to understand the scriptures from the standpoint of the time and situation inw hich they were written (Descamps). That task progresses indefinitely. The dogmatic theologian does not start where the biblical theologian leaves off, but with what is held by the church to be true. Does biblical theology pertain to the world of theory? That is a complex question. Fundamentally, no, but it too has a Wendung zur Idee. Descamps attempts to avoid that further step.
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Audio restoration by Greg Lauzon
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