Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The long shadow of Prof. Maritain


In last Sunday’s Sydney Catholic Weekly I read an obituary, which appeared originally in The Sydney Morning Herald, of the late Prof. Jerzy Zubrzycki. The obituary contained the following interesting tidbit:

Karol Wojtyla, later John Paul II, and Zubrzycki attended a students' summer camp together in 1938, seeking solutions for a world on the brink of war. They were influenced by Jacques Maritain, a leftish French philosopher who tried to apply the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas to modern problems, leaving room at the apex of the sciences for Christian theology.
The late Mr. Michael Davies had a trenchant exposition of the socio-political errors of Maritainism in his excellent The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty. For Maritainists, the State is not a juridical and moral person; it is just a specialised portion of society which is entrusted with the care of the public peace, and possibly also of natural morality (but not of truths of Faith knowable only by supernatural Revelation), while leaving the populace directly responsible for the elements (the spiritual elements, at least) of the common good not contained in what Dignitatis Humanæ called the ‘just public order’. Maritainism was influential for Paul VI and Dignitatis Humanæ itself has a strongly Maritainist flavour. Yet Maritainism is a utopian philosophy which is at odds with the Traditional body of doctrine on socio-political matters.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Columba, Abbot, A.D. 2009

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