Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friedrich von Hugal On Cardinal Juan de Lugo, The 17th Century Spanish Jesuit

Cardinal Juan de Lugo, S.J.
We all greatly require criticism, stimulation, reproof, of our most intimate and cherished convictions; and it is our reciprocal duty, with tact and restraint, to try to serve our fellows similarly. Hegel, perhaps most probingly among all Protestant philosophers, has exposed in general this impoverishing formalism of Kant "the Philosopher of Protestantism." But I believe the true scheme, as concerns religion, to have been best developed by Cardinal Juan de Lugo, the Spanish Jesuit, who wrote in Rome under the eyes of Pope Urban VIII., at the end of the seventeenth century. De Lugo first lays down that, according to Catholic doctrine, God gives light, sufficient for its salvation, to every soul that attains to the use of reason in this life. He next asks,  What is the ordinary method by which God offers and renders possible this salvation and he answers that, though God doubtless can work moral miracles, these do not appear to be the rule, and are not in strictness necessary; that the human soul, in all times and places, has a certain natural affinity for, and need of, truth; and again, that the various philosophical schools and religious bodies throughout mankind all contain and hand down, amid various degrees of human error and distortion, some truth, some gleams and elements of divine truth. Now what happens as a rule is simply this: the soul that in good faith seeks God, His truth and love, concentrates its attention, under the influence of grace, upon these elements of truth, be they many or few, which are offered to it in the sacred books and religious schools and assemblies of the Church, Sect, or Philosophy in which it has been brought up. It feeds upon these elements, the others are simply passed by; and divine grace, under cover of these elements, feeds and saves this soul. I submit that this view admirably combines a sense of  man's profound need of tradition, institution, training, with full justice to the importance of the dispositions and acts of the individual soul, and, above all, with a keen sense of the need of special graces offered by God to the several souls. And such a view in no way levels down or damps the missionary ardour. Buddhism does not become equal to Mohammedanism, nor' Mohammedanism to Judaism, nor Platonism to Christianity, nor Socinianism, or even Lutheranism, to Catholicism. It merely claims that everywhere there is some truth; that this truth comes originally from God; and that this truth, great or little, is usually mediated to the soul, neither by a spiritual miracle nor by the sheer efforts of individuals, but by traditions, schools and churches. We thus attain an outlook, generous, rich, elastic; yet also graduated, positive, unitary, and truly Catholic.
Link (here) to read the portion of the book entitled,  Essays and Addresses on the Philosophy of Religion by Austrian Catholic writer and apologist Friedrich von Hügel

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