Although the Society of Jesus was no stranger to local suppressions and banishments that had studded its history from the beginning, the Jesuit crises that broke out between the 1750s and 1768—the expulsion from Portugal and the Bourbon States (France, Spain, King of Naples, and Duchy of Parma)—culminated in a dramatic event of far more enduring global impact: the suppression of the order by Pope Clement XIV with a specific brief (Dominus ac Redemptor, 1773). During the age of suppression (1773–1814), many Jesuits managed to maintain a memory of their former identity while carving out successful new careers or continued, relatively untroubled, with their existing intellectual and religious endeavors. Some of these gave a crucial contribution to Europe’s intellectual and cultural life between the 1770s and 1820s. The worldwide restoration of the Society took place on August 7, 1814, when Pius VII signed the bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum.
Throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, there was a noticeable decline in the influence of two major players in twentieth-century American life: Roman Catholicism and the mass-market newsweekly. Beginning with the clergy sexual abuse crisis in 2001, the Roman Catholic Church suffered a blow to its credibility as never before experienced. For a third of the nation's history (from the founding of the first newsweekly in the 1920s through the alleged end of the era of the newsweekly in 2010), the covers of the most influential magazines—Time, Life, and Newsweek—acted not only as windows into the soul of the nation but also as the stained glass of the newsstand. The place of religion in these peculiar products of American media is noteworthy in general. Despite the newsweeklies' eagerness to exploit the church's fall from grace, they have been slow to recognize that the mass-market media has suffered potentially fatal wounds from the same slings and arrows endured by the church.
This chapter provides a cultural rather than a theological reading of the Annunciation story, locating it historically from its beginnings in Luke to the pre-Enlightenment, and then, by interrogating that history, speculating about why for a millennium and a half (and beyond), the Gospel’s story of Gabriel’s appearance to Mary (Luke 1: 26–38) has had such a powerful hold over the Western imagination. The early modern period saw the discovery of multiple versions of the Annunciation story, and from Ersamus onwards, the emergence of critical history calling into question the historicity of the Gospel accounts.
Until recently anti-Jesuitism was considered to be exclusively related to controversies having to do with the existence of the Society of Jesus and was therefore studied as the key to understanding disputes between the antagonists and apologists of that religious order. In recent years, however, it has become a historiographical argument to all intents and purposes. Several studies have highlighted its semantic versatility and the consequent need to study it from different perspectives: historical diachronic, literary, rhetorical, iconographic. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze anti-Jesuitism in a global perspective studying its transnational dimension, looking not only at Europe but also at colonial contexts—Latin America and Asian.
David M. Lantigua
The reception of Aquinas’ thought in early modern Renaissance Spain directly contributed to the emergence of moral theology as a pastorally grounded practical science distinct from dogmatic theology and canon law. At the centre of the moral renewal of Spanish theology was the ‘School of Salamanca’ and its unique blend of Thomism, humanism, and law. This chapter isolates Aquinas’ influence on Spanish late scholastic moral thought in the three interrelated areas of theological method, the sacrament of penance, and economic and political ethics. Strong appropriations of Aquinas’ moral teachings on human acts, law, and justice sparked innovative Spanish scholastic ideas about conscience, commerce and money, and natural rights and political order to address current social issues.
Aquinas’ teaching on nature, grace and the moral life in the Summa theologiae outlines the graced movement of the rational creature from God to God, by perfection in the likeness of God. Reflection on causality, trinitarian exemplarity, and the communication of divine goodness shapes his thought. The human person, made to the image of God for knowledge and love of God, is elevated by grace to the supernatural end by a participation in the divine nature that assimilates the intellect and will to the trinitarian persons. This deification by grace, taking the form in the creature of the created habitus of infused charity and wisdom, makes the adopted child of God a new principle of activities directed towards supernatural beatitude and constantly moved by divine auxilium. The predestined human person, led in freedom by the Holy Spirit, manifests the divine goodness in the graced journey to union with God in eternal life.
This chapter reviews Aquinas’ reception in contemporary metaphysics as it is practised today in the analytic tradition, focusing on issues that make this reception problematic. I identify the main trouble spots based on the historical development of the analytic tradition. The discussion will target those major conceptual hurdles inherent in the analytic tradition that Aquinas’ genuine reception faces regarding his metaphysical notions of being and essence and his conception of the hylomorphic composition of material substances. This strategy will allow me to introduce an ‘analytically acceptable’ sketch of the metaphysical foundations of Aquinas’ unique position on the ontological status of the human intellective soul, which places it on a razor-thin borderline between the material and purely spiritual realms of reality, running right across our very being. I conclude with a summary of the conceptual prerequisites of a genuine and full reception of Aquinas’ thought in contemporary metaphysical discourse.
This chapter examines the character of Catholic theology in the Asian context. It argues that Asian theologies rely on the fundamental principles of universal Christian theology even though, in their reflections on these principles in the light of their lived experience, they arrive at conclusions that are unique but not contradictory to universal theology. The chapter proceeds by examining six fundamental principles shared by Asian theologies: God is actively present in all his creation; pluralistic diversity necessarily demands a dialogical existence; the lived reality of harmony is an essential Asian theological concept; theology occurs in and through lived contexts; the kingdom preached by Jesus is wider than the visible Church; and theology needs to bring total, integral human liberation.
Luís Miguel Carolino
Jesuit scholars took part in all the major scientific controversies in the field of astronomy and cosmology, and taught generations of philosophers in Europe. Jesuit missionaries disseminated novelties of Western astronomy as far as China and Japan. Historians have tended to perceive Jesuit astronomers as a homogeneous group, unified by a common religious program. This chapter challenges that view and argues that Jesuit scholarship evolved from defending a traditional Aristotelian-Ptolemaic worldview to advocacy of a Tychonic cosmology, and eventually supporting, in some cases, a Newtonian view of the universe. Jesuit astronomers and philosophers also disagreed among themselves on fundamental questions. In a word, there was no “Jesuit astronomy”. However, this learned community was particularly affected by official efforts to maintain doctrinal uniformity, as the debate on Copernicanism demonstrates. Although those institutional constraints did not fossilize Jesuit astronomical learning, they contributed to diverting it away from the scientific mainstream.
This chapter treats Catholic biblical interpretation since Pius XII’s encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu (1943). At the heart of the chapter is Vatican II’s teaching in its constitution Dei verbum. This text promoted an account of revelation as a multifaceted reality, and outlined a rounded account of biblical interpretation that endorsed some styles of modern historical critical analysis while insisting that Scripture should be interpreted in the light of a knowledge of what God intended to convey through Scripture. The chapter then considers how two key documents of the Pontifical Biblical Commission develop this teaching, and ways in which post-conciliar debates have continued to explore persistent challenges and tensions. Significant space is given to Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections on these debates. A final section suggests an agenda for the future development of Catholic exegesis.
This chapter considers the thirteenth-century Franciscan and theologian St Bonaventure. After outlining his life, the chapter explores Bonaventure’s theology through an exploration of his Breviloquium. Placing all in the context of Bonaventure’s Trinitarianism, the heart of the chapter explores Bonaventure’s conception of salvation history and the role of Christ at the centre of that history. A detailed account of Bonaventure’s account of the graceful and sacramental elevation of humanity follows. Particular attention is paid to the interrelated roles of Christ and the Spirit in this process. The final section of the chapter comments briefly on Bonaventure’s influence, referring especially to those figures who have found his work an important resource in the modern context.
Mary B. Cunningham
Liturgical homilies in honour of the Virgin Mary, Theotokos (‘God-bearer’) were composed in Greek from about the early fifth century
William Henn OFMCap
The chapter begins by affirming the ‘irrevocable’ commitment of the Catholic Church to the ecumenical movement, noting that such a commitment represents a substantial change from the Catholic Church’s initial estimation and response. It then explains the initially negative reaction, gives an account of the factors leading up to the transformation in attitude, and documents by means of official teachings the positive reassessment and enthusiastic step that took place at the time of the Second Vatican Council, especially by means of the council’s decree on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio. A final section summarizes some of the more important Catholic contributions to the ecumenical movement and identifies some particular gifts that the Catholic Church may be said to have received and to have offered in the course of its participation.
Medi Ann Volpe
This chapter concerns Catholic moral anthropology. After beginning by emphasizing the centrality of the teaching that human beings are created in the image of God, the chapter shows that human beings, as a union of soul and body, are ordered towards beatitude, towards a true freedom that imitates and participates in divine freedom. The status of being in the image of God is a gift to all persons: even the most seriously intellectually disabled persons still bear this image in its fullness. The architecture of the moral life is then considered, by examining the passions and importance of an educated conscience. The chapter ends by showing that Catholic moral anthropology emphasizes the communal nature of the moral life.
In the early modern age, for the first time in history, moral theology became a ground of bitter strife within the Roman Catholic Church. After the Council of Trent, it evolved as a specialized discipline with its own methodology, which became increasingly identified with casuistry. The theoretical underpinning of this development was probabilism, the system according to which, when there are two opposite opinions as to the morality of a course of action, one is allowed to follow the less probable one. From about 1650, first of all in Belgium and France, both probabilism and casuistry came under attack as favoring laxity. Rigorism, which was linked to but by no means synonymous with doctrinal Jansenism, progressively spread to the entire Church. The papacy, whose pronouncements on moral matters became increasingly important, shared in this reaction but was careful to preserve theological pluralism.
Matthew T. Gaetano
In the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Catholic theologians debated how to reconcile God’s predestination and grace with human free choice. The de auxiliis controversy had as its touchstones the works of the Dominican Domingo Báñez and the Jesuit Luis de Molina. Pope Paul V concluded the debates in Rome on these questions, the Congregatio de auxiliis (1597–1607), by prohibiting the accusation of heresy from either side in this quarrel. Dominicans, initially accused of Calvinism, and Jesuits, charged at first with semi-Pelagianism, generally claimed that their conclusions were at least consistent with Thomas Aquinas’ principles. But key notions in this controversy, such as physical predetermination, middle knowledge, and efficacious grace, are not found in Aquinas’ corpus, which encouraged theologians to account for the appearance of novelty. In the aftermath of these debates, Thomism was associated with these soteriological questions, and many Catholic theologians envisioned Thomas Aquinas as Augustine’s faithful disciple.
This essay provides an account of the historical and thematic features of Catholic sacramental theology during the Baroque age. Its intent is primarily bibliographic, and hopes to introduce readers to the wide range of sources by which theologians of this time period constructed their grand syntheses, including the renewed traditions of scholasticism, polemical theology, mystical and devotional literature, liturgical studies, and the newly emergent Tridentine curia. Some of these developments will be outlined in three sections: (1) a brief bibliographic survey of the sources for early modern Roman Catholic sacramental theology; (2) an outline of some of its main scholastic controversies; and (3) a corresponding outline of the various attempts of the Holy Office to answer questions that arose in sacramental theology between the years 1500 and 1800.
David Matzko McCarthy
This essay considers the modern tradition of Catholic social teaching (CST). CST finds its roots in the biblical, patristic, and medieval periods, but was inaugurated in particular by Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum novarum (1891) and has been sustained by a range of papal encyclicals and conciliar documents since. The documents of CST emphasize that human beings are created for mutual cooperation and a pursuit of common good in social, economic, and political life. The essay considers first CST’s developing account of how social relations may be governed by Christian charity. It then considers the nature of property within economic relations as conceived within CST. The final section considers CST’s reflections on political life, which is understood as primarily personal and dependent on relations of mutual rights and responsibilities that are directed to the common good.
Chad C. Pecknold
This chapter explores Catholic teaching on life in the political realm. It explores first how the contours of debate were set in the early Church. Augustine’s notion of the two cities’ provided a basic foundation for later Latin Catholic thought, presenting the city of God on pilgrimage towards the heavenly city—and yet united already to it as Christ’s body. The city of man is founded on humanity’s turn away from right desire for God, and it is from within the city of God that we learn to view the relative integrity and value of all other human social order. The middle sections of the chapter explore the development of this vision in the medieval period. Later sections examine transformations across the Reformation period, ending with a treatment of these questions at Vatican II and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.