Nautral and Supernatural Faith
Certainly the problem as to the distinction between natural and supernatural faith offers one of the “difficulties to be encountered in the question of faith”. Hence it should be interesting to see if Scheeben has given us an “easier solution” of it. At all events, his wontedly original approach to problems might be expected to reveal certain suggestive ideas.
As an introduction to his teaching on this more particular point, it is wholly necessary to say a word about his position on the question of the specification of supernatural acts in general(1).
It is quite characteristic of him that he refuses to argue this latter question in terms of the familiar Thomist-Molinist dichotomy. Dichotomies of any sort made him uneasy, since he was always unwilling to accept unqualifiedly either alternative(2). So also here. In his early work, the Natur und Gnade, he professes himself as dissatisfied with the Molinistic theory: “true in itself”, he says, “it does not completely fulfill the demands of science”(3). Hence he undertakes to complete it, seeking the complementary elements from Suarez(4), with whom he aligns himself against those theologians “who wish to see no difference in motive (between natural and supernatural acts), as Ripalda, Lugo, Platel and many others”(5). So much is clear. It is however quite another question just what difference in motive Scheeben wished to see; he tells us himself that he follows Suarez only “with some modifications”(6), —Scheeben “modified” every opinion he ever touched, but it is not always easy to put one’s finger on the “modifications”. Furthermore
he followed Suarez with only a very moderate degree of conviction(7), and he proceeds to establish his opinion by a mode of argumentation quite un-Suarezian. Notably he nowhere argues from the principle that was such an essential rib in the Suarezian (and Thomistic) theory, namely the principle that acts are specified by their formal object. Such a type of argument was quite foreign to his genius; he would, I feel sure, consider it an example of that “Begriffsspalterei”(8) and that playing with “Spitzfin digkeiten” that he so disliked. I mention the point to indicate that by it one has an immediate reason to limit Garrigou-Legrange’s right to invoke Scheeben’s authority in support of his beloved theory(9); whatever similarity Scheeben’s conclusions may have to those of the learned Dominican (a point not entirely clear), at any rate he certainly does not arrive at them in the same way.
The chief point however that I wish to make is this, that Scheeben definitely wished to posit a difference in formal object between natural and supernatural acts(10). The doctrine had for him a certain probability, and it seemed to fit well into his synthesis of the supernatural order. Moreover he was not a little moved to accept it by reason of his exceedingly great respect for the authority of Suarez(11).
Scheeben’s own approach to the problem was quite characteristic, and worthy of note. In the Dogmatik, for instance, when undertaking to determine the supernaturality of salutary acts “in relation to their object and end”, he expressly refuses to go into two questions “much debated by the later Scholastics, often not to the advantage of clarity”(12), —the first is the moral question as to the necessity of a supernatural intention, and the second is the metaphysical question
“whether or not the lofty objects necessary to supernatural acts can in some way or other be aimed at also by natural acts”(13). With such abstract questions he has become in his later years increasingly impatient. “He says:
The whole point is that the life of the children of God is directed to such specific objects and ends as cannot be striven for or attained, at least in a way that corresponds to their loftiness, except by acts of a supernatural perfection, that is, of a perfection unattainable by nature, —in other words, by acts which are kindred and similar to the proper life of God in its loftiness(14).
Moreover having thus limited the question, he adds that even in this form it is not to be treated “abstractly”, but rather solved by grasping the supernatural life “concretely, in its principal facets”(15). It was precisely by such a concrete handling of the problem that he thought to find a via media between Molina and Suarez.
For my purposes it will be sufficient to sketch in broad outlines the build of Scheeben’s construction of his theory on the specification of supernatural acts. I say “constructions” advisedly, since there is little strict argumentation in the thing; notably the supernatural formal object enters merely as a piece of the construction.
My sketch can be achieved with three major strokes: for Scheeben man’s new nature meant new powers and acts, new powers and acts meant new objects for those powers and their acts, and the new powers acting on their new objects meant a new union with God. To fill out these basic lines a bit. Man’s new nature is an image of the divine nature in its specific perfections,
—that is his starting point(16). One conclusion follows immediately: the new powers which flow from the new nature must themselves be “an image of the divine vital powers”(17), i.e. the specific perfection of the divine vital powers must reflect itself in their working. That is Scheeben’s “Grundanschauung”, on which rests all his theorizing about supernatural acts. In a word, to the divinization of man’s nature corresponds a divinization of his activity(18). And Scheeben is occupied wholly in drawing out the nature of this divinization and its consequences. The immediate consequence, in which I am here interested, is that man’s divinized activity must be directed to objects of the specifically divine order. The essence of Scheeben’s thought is revealed in this sufficiently characteristic passage:
If we have truly become partakers in the divine nature, and by this supernature have become most intimately akin to the divine nature.... then we are taken up into the sphere of its life; then the Godhead itself in its immediacy and in its own proper essence as it is in itself becomes the object of our activity. Then we shall know God Himself, illuminated by His light, without the mirror of creatures; then we shall love God immediately in Himself, no longer as the Creator of our nature, but as One Who communicates His own nature to us, —penetrated as we are by His fire, and made akin to Him in His divine eminence . . . In a word, if we become partakers of the divine nature, our life and our activity must be specifically similar to the divine. To this end it must’ have the same specific, formal, characteristic object as the divine activity has. Consequently
the divine essence must be the immediate determining object and motive of the supernatural activity in us(19).
This one passage, out of many(20), is sufficient to show how the theory of the supernatural object enters into Scheeben’s system, namely as a consequence of (or if you wish, as a postulate for the completion of) his favorite parallelism between the divine life of God Himself and the life of grace in His creature(21). That parallelism suggests the formula that man’s supernatural activity is “an image of the divine activity”, and this formula in turn commands on the one hand the introduction of a supernatural object (i.e. “God as He is in Himself”), and on the other hand dictates the consistent use of the term “immediate” to characterize the nature of the union with God that is effected by supernatural knowledge and love(22). In this last detail, — that supernatural activity unites the soul immediately to God, — Scheeben’s theory culminates. The idea appealed immensely to him, though practically speaking it merely means that “God as He is in Himself” is the immediate object of supernatural activity. Its contrary is that natural activity effects no immediate union with God, since it reaches God only through the medium of creatures, and not “as He is in Himself”(23).
I would note one further point. It will be seen (e.g. in the quotation just given) that Scheeben’s whole theory turns ultimately on the notion of the “kinship” (“Verwandtschaft”) that grace establishes between the soul and God. On this notion he insists often(24). I may illustrate its importance for his theory by showing his use of it in the question of supernatural love. In discussing this question he puts to himself what he regarded as the decisive objection
against the Thomistic and Suarezian theory of the “double object”: given on the one hand the nature of the will as a universal power, extending itself to all good, and on the other the possibility (in the supposition of a revelation) of natural faith in the supernatural order, he says:
Why should not the natural will also rise to the supernatural, to love God as the principle and goal of supernature? And if so, what becomes of the substantial supernaturality of love, even if one concedes a supernatural motive?(25)
Unfortunately the definiteness of his answer does not match the pointedness of the question. However he gets himself out of the difficulty by means of the “kinship” notion. Man, he says, “receives by supernature a kinship with the divine goodness that as natural spirit he has not got, and in consequence of this kinship he is attracted by this supernatural good in a way in which nature is not attracted to it”(26). The result is that supernature tends to this good in a way in which nature cannot tend to it; a supernatural tendency makes “God as He is in Himself” the term of a real and immediate union. On the contrary, the characteristic of a natural tendency is that “it does not rise to union with its object”(27), God as “bonum supernaturale”. And the reason is that the condition of union is lacking, namely the requisite “Verwandtschaft”, from which there arises “a particular type of attraction, as it were a magnitism of a peculiar kind, which is based on the particular affinity” (between faculty and object)(28). Ultimately then Scheeben’s answer receives this form: supernatural love has for its object God as the author and consummator of the supernatural order under the aspect of good in general, Conceded or
transmitted; under the aspect of a good to which it is by nature akin, Denied. The whole point of the answer is obviously in the connaturality established by grace between supernatural love and its object; it is this relation that specifies the love as supernatural, rather than the naked formality of having for its object God as the author of the supernatural order.
I introduce this objection and its answer here for three reasons. The first is that Scheeben expressly wishes this answer to have place also in the question of the distinction between natural and supernatural faith(29). Secondly, this answer shows how Scheeben preserves the most intimate sense of the Thomistic principle as to the specification of acts by their formal object. He apparently interprets the principle as does P. Huby, for example: “Quand il s’agit de connaissance, cela (i.e. the principle) revient à dire qu’il doit y avoir une certaine ‘connaturalité’, une certaine correspondence de nature entre le sujet et l’objet, entre la faculté connaissante et l’objet connu, entre la science perceptive et la science perçue”(30). Thirdly, I wish to point out that Scheeben imparts to his thought a nuance somewhat foreign to that of P. Garrigou-Lagrange, by whom his authority is invoked. P. Garrigou-Lagrange puts to himself the same objection: “Et si la foi naturelle peut atteindre le motif formel de la foi theologale, pourquoi l’amour naturel ne pourrait—il atteindre le motif formel de la charité surnaturelle, et ne serionsnous en plein pélagianisme?”(31). And to repel that horrible alternative he gives a quite unequivocal answer, unaccompanied by any distinctions: the formal object of supernatural faith and love, “Deus auctor beatitudinis supernaturalis”, is “inaccessible à la raison et à la foi naturelle”(32).
From what has been said, it is clear that Scheeben would never subscribe to such an unqualified statement. For Scheeben what is inaccessible to nature is not simply and baldly the formal object of supernatural acts, — such a doctrine seems to him such an exaggeration that he even refuses to discuss it. Rather, in his opinion what nature cannot achieve is an act, tending to a supernatural object in a particular way, —i.e. connaturally, —and effecting with it a particular union, i.e. a connatural union. And the root of this impossibility he sees not merely in the presence in the object of a certain formality that removes it utterly from the grasp of nature (as for instance, in P. Garrigou-Legrange’s picturesque illustration, the formality of “syllogism” in the pattern traced with meat before the dog(33), but rather in the defect of a necessary connaturality, kinship, — (“proportion” would be the Thomistic word), —between object and faculty, as a result of which a natural act lacks the intrinsic qualification proper to a supernatural act. For Scheeben the lack of this connaturality founds the necessity of grace, and also defines its function. Hence as regards the specification of supernatural acts, his via media would seem to be this: the act is not specified solely by its elicitive principle, nor yet again by the object, but by both; that is to say, the new elicitive principle, implying as it does an intrinsic modification of the faculty, to which it gives a new power of knowing and loving, eo ipso alters the relation of the faculty to its object, and to this extent “defines” a new object, —the whole point being that the “newness” of the object is to be considered in sensu composito with the act that attains it, since it rests wholly upon the new relation of connaturality between faculty and object(34).
I can find no more intelligible way of putting Scheeben’s position than this. Several things must be said about it, before going on to the particular question of faith, the first is that though Scheeben himself qualifies his theory as a “modified Suarezianism”, still as it develops it might better be given the name of a “modified Molinism”, since its emphasis is unmistakably on the elicitive principle as decisive for the specification of supernatural acts. So much so, that in the last analysis the “modifications” become rather unimportant, and Scheeben seems to be proposing a theory very like that of Ripalda (which he expressly rejected at the outset!), namely that supernatural acts differ from natural acts in the “ratio formalis sub qua objectum attingitur”(35). Still, against this interpretation there stands his professed allegiance to Suarez. In other words, his whole theory is extremely obscure. And certainly one of the chief reasons for the obscurity is his avoidance of the strictly metaphysical question involved. The fact is that one cannot hope to erect a theory of supernatural acts without sooner or later coming to grips with it, in all its naked abstractness. That he would not do so, occasions one of the fundamental weaknesses of Scheeben’s position. On the other hand, not the least attractive feature of his position is his unwillingness to make a preconstituted interpretation of the principle about the specification of acts by their formal objects the be all, end-all of his theorizing; by this mode of procedure one risks landing in factitiously simple systematizations, —and for them Scheeben had an abhorrence. Still, however appealing his positive, concrete, theological method, one must doubt whether, divorced from a formal appeal to sheer metaphysics, it can carry him to his goal.
Three other causes of Scheeben’s obscurity might be mentioned. The first is his more or less careless use of the terms “formal object”, “formal motive” etc. Then there is his inadequately explained use of the notion of “connaturality”, —“cette théorie”, as has been well said, “si souvent citée par les Scolastiques modernes, qui en tentent si rarement une explication”(36). Finally—and most importan —there is his apparent missing of the major point of the post Tridentine debates on the specification of supernatural acts, —namely whether a supernatural object is necessary, and admissible, as a speculative foundation for the necessity of grace(37). Suarez in explaining the Catholic dogma argues philosophically from the object to the necessity of grace, —but Scheeben argues from the fact of grace to the necessity of the object. Which is a “modified Suarezianism” indeed . . . .
* * * * *
With this much background, we can now take up the question of faith. For reasons of method, it is well to begin with the Natur und Gnade . There Scheeben’s treatment of the subject is relatively brief, —and, distinctly disappointing. One feels that he had not yet thought out a position that was satisfactory even to himself. At that, he was in possession of certain of his leading ideas, as the former chapter has showed, and he does achieve a certain consistency with himself as regards the supernaturality of faith.
He points out, first of all, that the act of supernatural faith is not to be confused with two other kinds of “faith” that bear to it a “deceptive simi larity”(38). The first is faith generated by mere reason, independent of any action of the will; the mind accepts the veracity of God, recognizes the fact of
revelation from its clear signs, takes these two truths as premises, and is by reason obliged to admit the conclusions: the revelation is true. But this is faith “only in a wider sense, since here one does not assent to the truth in order to consent with God speaking. Faith is not a mere assensus, it is essentially consensus, and it is only assensus insofar as by this assensus one achieves a consensus with a speaking mind”(39). Faith, in other words, implies the will to conform one’s intelligence to that of another; it is essentially an act of intelligent assent determined by such a will.
As is clear, Scheeben here clearly and firmly enunciates the essentially affective character of faith; but this notion, as was noted in the last chapter, is far from receiving in the Natur und Gnade the same emphasis that it will later receive in the Dogmatik; rather, in the earlier work the intellectual element of faith is rather more in the foreground; faith is “a real adherence and union between two intelligences”.
However, the mere presence of this affective element in faith does not yet solve the problem of the nature of divine faith; Scheeben admits in the most formal terms a “natural” faith in the technical sense, to which an affective element is not lacking:
It cannot be denied that nature itself, after it has by its own intellectual power come to the knowledge of the veracity of God and the fact of revelation, can of itself form the decision, indeed by a natural law must form the decision to conform itself and attach itself to the judgment of God, and thus move the reason to consent and submission. In this sense I assert that nature is capable of making an act of faith in which would be verified the full philosophical concept of faith(40).
Now then does this natural faith differ from supernatural faith? In answering the question Scheeben brings forward a number of considerations, without however welding them into a definite theory. The first consideration is rather of the dogmatic order: this faith is not “sicut oportet ad vitam aeternam”. And the proximate reason therefor is that “it can proceed from human nature, and consequently does not transcend human nature, nor elevate it”; “It is a consent whose inner value is supported only by those principles in nature which determine it”(41). In other words, this natural faith differs decisively from supernatural faith in its elicitive principle. However a certain difference in object is also suggested: this natural faith is “a submission, an act of homage which the creature offers to its Creator”(42); it is “a tribute to be paid to the divine truth”(43); in it “we hear only the voice of our Master”(44). But Scheeben does not press this distinction of object with any degree of conviction or clarity, —far less than in his general theory, or in his discussion of the virtue of love(45), or even of hope(46). He certainly seeks no assistance from a clearly formulated notion of “auctoritas Dei auctoris naturae”. Rather his answer falls back on the notion of union with God achieved in supernatural faith, but not achieved in natural faith. Whatever else the latter may be, “it is not a union, not a close and intimate attachment of (our) knowledge to the divine knowledge, by which the creature immediately and without reserve joins itself to the divine knowledge, into which it is so introduced as to be ready one day to receive it into itself in its own clarity(47)”. Hence natural faith lacks the essential characteristic of supernatural faith: “the intimate
union with which we unite ourselves to the divine knowledge”. It is precisely this union with the divine knowledge which is absolutely impossible to the powers of nature:
This is what nature can never manage to do: to attach itself immediately to, and unite itself with the divine knowledge, and thus to receive into itself the divine properties of that knowledge(48).
In other words, natural faith can never have the knowledge of God as its immediate and exclusive motive, —I say “in other words”, because it is obvious from the context that these two notions were for Scheeben correlative; in fact, he argues that supernatural faith “must” have the divine knowledge as its immediate and exclusive motive “in order to” be a union with, and participation in it.
Consequently the distinction between natural and supernatural faith comes back to the fact that the latter as an “intimate union with the divine knowledge”, has this knowledge as its unique motive, the former not so. And upon this fact Scheeben bases the necessity of a new “light” for supernatural faith. The functions of this light he describes in Scriptural terms: it is “auditus” and “revelatio interna, tractio Patris, illuminatio cordis”, —that is to say:
The lumen fidei is a grace whereby God immediately manifests Himself in the soul as the One Who speaks to her, whereby he draws the soul up to Himself, to have her rest in Him alone, and whereby He makes His truth intelligible and apprehensible in a higher way.(49).
This last notion he before explained to mean that God fills the soul with the light of His own knowledge “in order that she may grasp the lofty object (of her
faith) with a light which is akin and equal to it”. Thus the light of faith operates in the soul in similar fashion to the light of glory, which “makes present to the soul the essence of God, determines her to its vision, and renders her capable of penetrating into its depths”(50).
Such is the teaching of the Natur und Gnade with reference to the distinction between natural and supernatural faith. One must, I think, feel its lack of definiteness. On the other hand, Scheeben is consistent with himself in being unwilling to accept a mere physical, ontological specification of supernatural faith, —that is, one that is conceived only in terms of its subjective elicitive principle. He obviously wants to place supernatural faith in a different logical species than natural faith. This is clear chiefly from his description of the action of the lumen fidei; it goes beyond the action of a mere elevating principle: it confers on the object of faith a new intelligibility corresponding to a new intellective power in the subject, and brings the object into a new relation, a new “presence” to the soul. Moreover, he claims for the motive of supernatural faith a certain inaccessibility to nature, —an inaccessibility that belongs to it precisely as a motive of faith. And to this extent at least, he separates himself from the school of thought that maintains the possibility of a natural “faith of authority” resting immediately and exclusively on the authority of God, in such wise that in this respect it would exhibit no difference from supernatural faith. Such a possibility Scheeben would seem explicity to deny. On the other hand it is not easy to see just what it is that constitutes the motive of supernatural faith inaccessible to natural faith.
He does indeed talk of natural faith being the creature’s homage to its Creator, but so casually that one cannot conclude that he wishes to reduce the specification of natural faith to this, and to remove from it the possibility of apprehending God under a different and higher formality. Moreover, in general, the specifying difference in motive that he obviously wishes to posit between natural and supernatural faith cannot be seen in this, that the motive of supernatural faith actually represents God under a definite formality, under which He is inaccessible to natural faith. Such a difference he rejects when discussing the question of love. Rather the difference would seem to be in this, that supernatural faith reaches its object (which, as far as its conceptual representation goes, may be the same as the object of natural faith) in a different way, i.e. in virtue of a cognitive power “kindred” to it, that consequently effects with it a connatural union. Thus supernatural faith would be specified not exclusively by its elicitive principle, nor yet by its motive, considered objectively as a complex of notes or formalities, but rather by both, that is by a certain type of relation existing between the motive and the faculty moved. And this relation is based upon the connaturality with the divine which is conferred upon the soul by supernatural grace, whose effect is to introduce the soul to an order of objects that is new in the sense that it is now a connatural order.
In other words, Scheeben’s position as to the specification of faith by its motive would seem to be very similar to that assumed or suggested, by Rousselot:
Je crois qu’on doit dire, sur l’object formel de la foi, qu’à considerer precisement la représentation comme telle, it n’y a point per se de différence
entre les notions qu’ont de nos mystères un incrédule et un croyant; mais que, si l’on considere la representation avec l’assentiment, la faculté surnaturelle définit un nouvel objet formel. Or chez lui qui a la vertu de foi, pourvu qu’il y ait présentation suffisante, la représentation ne va pas sans l’assentiment(51).
Certainly it would seem to be precisely this that Scheeben is trying to do, namely to consider both the assent, and the object with which it brings the soul in contact, and to work out on this basis a theory as to the specification of the assent. Moreover, Rousselot’s formula: “La faculté surnaturelle définit un nouvel object formel”, is quite in the spirit of Scheeben’s thought.
One important point to be noted here is that in the Natur und Gnade Scheeben makes no attempt to explain the specification of supernatural faith and its distinction from its natural counterpart in terms of the voluntary, affective aspect of faith. From the present discussion, as well as from what was said in the foregoing chapter, it is obvious that this aspect of faith has not assumed in Scheeben’s earlier thought the same emphasis that he was later to give to it. He has not yet won through to that organic concept of faith as a compound of affective and intellectual elements, bound in an indissoluble unity, that formed the basis of his theorizing in the Dogmatik. And here, I think, is the reason for at least part of the embarassment and confusion in which Scheeben involves himself in the Natur und Gnade ; he wishes to accept a motive specific to supernatural faith, but then he attempts a specification of supernatural faith exclusively in terms of its intellectual motive, whereas the very
nature of faith as an affective cognition dictates that its ethical motivation be considered also —and even primarily—if one wishes to explain in terms of their respective motives, and with any degree of adequacy, the distinction between natural and supernatural faith, and the intimate nature of the latter.
This truth Scheeben seems to have before him when he undertakes in the Doqmatik to explain the supernaturality of faith. He was led to it by his profounder grasp of the implications contained in St. Thomas’ insistence on the notion of faith as an “actus intellectus imperatus a voluntate”, —the chief implication being that, as Scheeben often insists, “the pius credulitatis affectus belongs to the substance of faith”(52); it is a “constitutive part” of the act of faith. To a formal discussion of this point we shall return in the next chapter; it suffices for the moment to have noted it, to account for a new element in Scheeben’s explanation of the supernaturality of faith, as it unfolds itself in the Dogmatik.
He begins again by a formal admission of the possibility of natural faith in God’s supernatural revelation, —the thing which causes all the difficulty. To this natural act he opposes the real actus salutaris, with its “absolute or essential supernaturality, consisting in the inner worth and loftiness of the act itself”(53). It is the supernaturality of faith in this sense that was defined by the Council of Orange, and later by Trent. According to Scheeben, “the formulated dogma immediately teaches merely that faith is supernatural with respect to the cause, which it presupposes, and with respect to the goal, at which it is directed”(54). He is concerned consequently with deducing the theological consequences of this explicit
teaching, as they bear on the intimate nature of faith. Thus he argues:
Since the supernatural principle is the thing which gives faith the value and the significance which are demanded by its supernatural goal, it follows, as the one and only rational explanation of the dogma, that Christian faith must have in itself a peculiar supernatural essence and constitution (Wesensbeschaffenheit), by reason of which it is distinguished intrinsically from every natural act. This supernatural essence and constitution gives it its value and significance for its supernatural goal, and also demands for its genesis a supernatural principle, and determines the way in which this supernatural principle must operate upon faith(55).
I take this to mean that faith must be supernatural not merely in its quality as actus salutaris, but also in its innermost essence as actus intentionalis; that is certainly the more obvious sense of the words, and it is borne out by what follows. In fact, Scheeben demands that supernatural faith precisely as a coqnition be “intrinsically distinguished” from natural faith, in order that the dogma as to its absolute and essential supernaturality may receive its full force, since only in this supposition has one a rational explanation for the absolute necessity of a supernatural principle. So far, he has not gone beyond the ideas that governed his thought in the Natur und Gnade ; but the ensuing developments indicate the broader basis that his thinking has attained:
This supernatural essence and constitution consists in general in this, that in Christian faith we accept the revealed truth in a way which on the one
hand corresponds to our elevation to the dignity of the adopted children of God and to our destination to the immediate vision of God, — and which on the other hand corresponds to the fatherly condescension of God, Who speaks to us as to His children, and by His message wills to call and elevate us to the most intimate communion of life with Him(56).
The significance of this sentence is considerable. It reveals the approach to the act of faith which has become firmly defined in Scheeben’s mind by the thought of years. That is to say, he regards the act of faith very much in the concrete, as a definite type of intercourse with God, Who stands to us in a very definite relation. The God who speaks is no far off, abstract Deus verax, but a loving Father; the one who hears is no disembodied reason, but a child; the message spoken is no catalogue of theses, but a promise of eternal life to the vision of the Father’s face; and the child’s answer —faith—is no carefully calculated admission of what cannot be denied, but a gladly obedient acceptance of a dignity and a destiny.
Unfortunately, we shall have to say later that Scheeben did not consistently maintain this general view of faith. But at any rate it would be difficult to lay too much emphasis on the concrete approach to the problem that was Scheeben’s reaction in his later years to the “mechanical and abstract” and to him excessively rationalizing treatment accorded it by one who was in many other things his master, Kleutgen. For Scheeben, as the next chapter will show more in detail, faith was essentially a homage given to a person, not the mere acceptance of a proposition, —and in supernatural faith the Person honored is the “Pater spirituum”.
In the passage quoted, Scheeben gives the general spirit, so to speak, of his discussion of the supernaturality of faith. In what follows, his concrete concept of faith as an affective cognition—(already indicated in the same passage, in that he intimately joins the message of the Father with the promise it contains)—comes to fuller expression. He places the supernaturality of faith both in its affective and its cognitive elements:
More in particular (the supernatural nature of faith) consists in this, that 1) the “Glaubens-gesinnung”, the pius credulitatis affectus, is transformed into a childlike piety toward God, and to a striving after the supernatural end that is proportioned to its loftiness, —and that 2) borne by this sentiment, the assent of faith itself contains such an intimate and perfect union and assimilation of our knowledge with the divine that it appears as a participation in the kingdom and life of God Himself, and as an anticipation of the supernatural knowledge promised to us in the beatific vision, —hence as a certitude that is truly divine, worthy of the dignity of the word of God(57).
This statement is certainly interesting, far beyond anything we have seen in the Natur und Gnade. And the ensuing statement is still more interesting:
Both elements of the supernaturality of faith, its ethical and its intellectual supernaturality, correspond most closely one with the other, as do the two constituent parts of the act of faith itself, inasmuch as the intimate attachment of the intellect to the divine knowledge presents itself as the perfecting of the soul’s upsurge to God, to which the childlike piety of the will impels it(58).
That is certainly an extremely profound statement of the genesis and nature of faith and though, as we shall see, he was not always faithful to it, still it contains what was definitely his own most personal thought upon this whole problem. One might compare it with the view of faith proposed by de la Taille:
La foi, même en son état ordinaire, est engendrée dans l’esprit par une pression de la volonté, c’est-a-dire sous l’influence d’un amour au moins initial de la Bonté qui se promet dans la vie éternelle, amor boni repromissi. Actionée par cet amour, l’intelligence elle-même est rattachée a ce Bien suprème par une affirmation volontaire et amoureuse, ou l’OBJET est atteint en même temps comme la FIN a laquelle se rapporte l’affirmation.(59)
Given the greater precision of de la Taille, the similarity of thought is very considerable: the same organic concept of the act of faith with its double aspect; the same primacy of the affective element; the same interiority, so to speak, of the affective element in the intellectual; the same, or at least substantially the same, dynamic conception of the intellect’s assent, as the goal of the will’s impulse, in that it affects that definitive seizure of the object which is the term of the soul’s whole motion: Veritas Prima SE revelans.
A corollary of this concept of faith is Scheeben’s pointing out of the fact that in the ethical supernaturality of faith is situated its “radical supernaturality”(60). For this fact he appeals to the Council of Orange, whose whole definition, as he sees it, converges to the establishment of the doctrine that the pius credulitatis affectus does not come from nature,
but is expressly the product of grace, the work of the Holy Spirit, Who gives the necessary “suavitas in credendo et consentiendo veritati”. This, he points out, was the point denied by the Semipelagians, namely the necessity of a gratia adspirans (which Scheeben significantly takes as a grace for the will); they were not so strongly opposed to a gratia adjuvans (which he refers to the intellect)(61).
Moreover he makes it clear that the supernaturality of the pius credulitatis affectus is not to be theologically explained wholly by the fact that it is the product of grace; he makes a definite reference to its object. And his “argument” is based on the goal of faith in general:
Since this pius credulitatis affectus, transfigured by grace, is to lead to (man’s) supernatural end, and to supernatural union with God, it is natural that it should direct itself to and strive after this goal, God the author of salvation; and it is further natural that grace, by putting this striving into a proper and connatural relation with its supernatural object and goal, should thus give it its value for eternal savation. Furthermore, since God as the author of salvation enters into a paternal relation with man, consequently the term “childlike piety” affords the most apt characterization of the supernatural nobility and loftiness proper to the sentiment on which faith rests(62).
Here again, Scheeben’s concrete manner of thinking shows itself. In this context at least, he has in mind that the fundamental content of God’s supernatural message is a promise of “salvation”, even as the goal of faith, whereby man accepts that message, is itself
“salvation”. Similarly, he carries through the notion we have already met in the Natur und Gnade, namely that the function of grace is to establish a certain “connatural relation” between man’s powers and a higher order of objects, though even here he does not introduce any strking precisions of the import of that “connaturality”. He does indeed imply, as he has implied before, that the defect of that connaturality renders grace necessary and adds the further implication that in creating in man an affection of “kindliche Pietät” graces remedies that defect. And to this extent, he strengthens the impression one gets from his previous utterances, namely that he wishes grace to modify not merely the ontological reality of the act, but also its inner structure and its essential tendency to its object. The object of the pius credulitatis affectus, as he here clearly states (though he does not consistently maintain the point, as we shall see) is “God as the Author of Salvation, calling His children to union with Himself as their Father”; it is under this aspect that God generates a sentiment of filial piety in him who is approaching faith, in such wise however that at the same time He, by His elevating grace, “transforms” this sentiment, and imparts to it, even as a sentiment, a new intrinsic modification, by bringing it into a new relation with its object. In other words, in considering the “specification” of the pius credulitatis affectus one must take account not merely of its object, but also of the “connaturality” between the object and the will. This would seem to be a reasonable exegesis of Scheeben’s meaning; it is certainly consistent with his fundamental position with regard to the specification of supernatural acts, as stated before.
One further point should be noted, as being of great importance, - namely, that the grace in question, which "transforms" the pius credulitatis affectus into a genuine movement of filial piety, is not conceived by Scheeben to be the lumen fidei as such. Certainly he nowhere attributes this action to the lumen fide in or even to the grace that he calls the vocatio ad fidem. To both of these graces he assigns an action exclusively, to all appearance, upon the intellect(63). This fact cannot but strike one as strange. Certainly the grace productive of the pius credulitatis affectus is an elevating grace, and it is given precisely that the act of faith may be posited sicut oportet; furthermore the act which it engenders "belongs to the substance of faith", and by its supernaturality confers upon faith a radical supernaturality. In view of all this, one would have the right to expect that the relation of this grace to the specific grace of faith, the lumen fidei, would be definitely determined. But Scheeben certainly does not face the problem of determining it.
So much for the ethical supernaturality of faith. In discussing its intellectual supernaturality, Scheeben employs the same circle of ideas that we have met in his earlier work. The intrinsic supernaturality of the assent of faith is explained by the fact that it contains a "Vereinigung and Verähnlichung unserer Erkenntnis mit der göttlichen", and thus assumes the character of an anticipation of the beatific vision (64). This notion remained always the object of Scheeben's predilection. The relation of the assent to its motive is given in this laborious passage, which I take the liberty of giving in the original, —the English of it would be intolerable:
....der Glaubensassens ist ubernatürlich,
inwiefern der Geist nicht bloss seinerseits in irgend welcher Weise das göttliche Motiv der Glaubensgewissheit zu ergreifen sucht and es auf sich wirken lässt, resp. dasselbe in der ihm eigenen Erhabenheit unterwürfig anerkennt, sondern inwiefern die Vernunft von der Kraft Gottes getragen and über sich selbst hinausgehoben, zur Höhe des göttlichen Motives hinaufgezogen wird and sich aufschwingt, and durch die Einwirking der Kraft Gottes ihr eine der Erhabenheit des Motives entsprechende Gewissheit eingeprägt wird. Fidelis tenet ea quae sunt fidei simpliciter inhaerendo primae veritati, ad quod indiget homo adjuvari per habitum fidei; haereticus autem tenet ea propria voluntate et judicio (II–II,q. 5, a. 3 ad 1). D. h. der wahrhaft Gläubige hängt sich, von der Gnade getragen, an die prima veritas schlechthin, wie sie in sich selbst ist, so dass diese rein and voll, unabhängig von dem eigenen Wollen and Urteil des Menschen, sowohl unbehindert durch dasselbe, wie über die Kraft desselben hinaus, ihre Kraft und Wirksamkeit entfalten kann, und folglich der Gläubige in dem Anschluss an die prima veritas die veritas proprii intellectus übersteigt(65).
It is remarkable how that one sentence from St. Thomas strikes upon the ear as a clear strain of Italian melody from out all the turgid German orchestration that envelopes it. For myself, I cannot make much sense out of the orchestration, nor see how it develops the virtualities in St. Thomas’ theme. At any rate, it is reasonably clear that Scheeben wants supernatural faith to be specified by the fact that it is a direct “inhesion” (one feels that Scheeben too was puzzled by St. Thomas’use of that curious word: inhaerere) in the
Prima Veritas. Moreover he asserts, as does St. Thomas, this “inhesion” to be the work of grace, since it is impossible to nature. And he would certainly interpret St. Thomas to mean that the source of this impossibility consists in the lack of a power in the definitely intellectual order. Faith as a cognition, an intellectual act, and not merely a salutary act, transcends the intellective powers of nature. Hence the power conferred on nature by grace is a power of the intellectual order, a virtus intellectualis, which modifies and elevates the action of the intellect as a coqnitive faculty. Without such an intrinsic modification of the intellect, faith is impossible. Certainly, I think, Scheeben would not admit the possibility that a mere imperium of the will, directed at an intellect,tr,, “elevated” indeed but completely unmodified as intellect, could bring to pass an assent that would be the assent of divine faith sicut oportet.
But here again we meet one of the intrinsic dificulties of Scheeben’s position. I characterized theory before as a “modified Molinism”; nevertheless he implements it with a concept of the function of grace that is quite un-Molinistic. The distinguishing mark of the Molinistic grace, as one writer has put it, is that it effects the elevation of the “ontological substance” of the act, while leaving its “logical substance” untouched(66). The terminology is not particularly happy, I think, but the point it makes clear enough, —namely that supernatural faith, considered precisely as faith, as a particular type of cognition does not differ from natural faith. In the logical order they are to be considered as two species of the same genus, “simplex fides auctoritatis”, —their differences lying not in the line of faith as such, but in
the greater or less physical perfection and moral value of the act, according as it proceeds from grace or not. However it is clear that Scheeben took no such view of things. It would have seemed to him, as indeed the whole Molinistic system of grace did seem to him, quite superficial(67). On the other hand, he certainly achieved no very great lucidity in the statement of his own position.
Of course, the difficulty of the problem is not small. As a matter of fact, it does not seem possible for anyone to achieve lucidity when seeking a specification of the act of faith, and an explanation of the operation of the grace of faith purely in terms of faith as an intellectual assent. The interesting thing is that Scheeben in the Doqmatik does actually posit a more likely basis on which to theorize. His drive toward “concreteness” led him to insist that faith is essentially an affective cognition, an act to which an affective element is somehow interior. To correspond with this notion of faith he distinguishes a double supernaturality, ethical and intellectual; as he calls the former the “radical” supernaturality of faith, so in fidelity to his thought, I may call the latter its “formal” supernaturality. And by this concrete approach to the problem Scheeben would seem to be on the way to an interesting solution of it. Consistently with this view of the act, one would expect the motive of faith in its voluntary aspect to enter into its specification, —or better, one would expect the specifying motive of faith to be not solely the motive of the assent as such, but the motive of the assent as voluntary. Such, I say, would seem to be the consequence of Scheeben’s position that the assent of faith reaches its object and only in virtue of the
will’s “upsurge” to its goal, its new supernatural destiny, —which upsurge it “completes”, in such wise that the two tendencies fuse into the unity of a single “motus mentis in Deum”.
Unfortunately however Scheeben does not follow through the consequences of this suggestive idea. He achieves a satisfactory basis for the specification of faith, but he does not use it. It would seem that his synthetic powers somehow failed him. He does not harmonize his theories on the radical and the formal supernaturality of faith, just as he does not harmonize his theories on the genesis of faith and its supernaturality, as the following chapter will show. The prime difficulty, also to be more fully investigated in the next chapter, in his confusion and inconsistency in the motivation of the pius credulitatis affectus.
When discussing the supernaturality of faith, this motive appears as God the Father calling His children to eternal life with Him, and by His grace shaping their response to a filial acceptance both of His message and of the destiny it promises them. This profound conception opens the way to a specification of supernatural faith that would be definitely “concrete”, i.e. based on a concrete view of faith, not merely as an intellectual admission of a set of propositions, but, in Guardini’s words, as “die lebendige Bewegung auf Den hin, an den geglaubt wird.... die lebendige Antwort auf den Ruf dessen, der in der Offenbarung hervortritt, and in der Gnade den Menschen heranzieht.... die Antwort des Menschen an den in Christus kommenden Gott”(68). In this concrete view, the specific motive—and the ultimate specific motive—of faith would be its affective motive, which both impels the “upsurge” of the will and directs the movement of
the intellect toward the one term. Just as the affective element is “essential” to faith, so also its motive, the affective motive of faith, would belong essentially to the specifying motive of the concrete act. On the former fact Scheeben insists continually in the Dogmatik; to the latter he comes close when discussing the supernaturality of faith. That he did not actually grasp it was due, I say, to the fact that he failed to synthesize his theory on the supernaturality of faith with his theory on its genesis, in which latter the pius credulitatis affectus, which “belongs to the substance of faith”, was falsely motivated. But of that more later.
Another reason why Scheeben failed to use the basis for a specification of faith that he actually posited in the Dogmatik, was, I think, his uncritical obsession with the notion of faith as a “participation in the knowledge of God”. He seems to have been rather hypnotized by the formula: it fits so admirably into his system, and it “sounds” so terrifically “supernatural”, that it obscured from him its own inadequacies as the basis for a well-rounded theory as to the genesis of faith and its specification. But the fact is that, however expressive it may be of a certain mystical aspect of faith, it does not deserve the emphasis he placed on it, for it fails to give back the more intimate connotations of the act. That is to say, its connotations are not only too exclusively intellectual, but even in that respect inadequate (after all, even natural faith would be a participation in that knowlege of God in the sense that by it one would know what God knows and has revealed). One would have to render more precise what this “knowledge” of God actually is, —(primarily it must mean the knowledge God has of His
plan for His creature man, the “sacramentum voluntatis suae” Ephesians 1, 9, —a point to whch Scheeben pays too little attention); furthermore one must have some way of bringing this “participation” in God’s knowledge into line with the specifically affective dynamism of faith, —a thing which Scheeben does not even attempt. The point however that I wish to make is simply this, that Scheeben was so satisfied with his formula that he was not impelled to test its adequacy as an explanation of the supernaturality of faith, nor to undertake its completion in terms of his own “concrete” concept of that act of faith, as an affective attachment of the mind of God.
The ultimate conclusion therefore is that Scheeben leaves his whole theory too obscure in its actual developments to be more than interesting and suggestive. Interesting and suggestive, however, it surely is, and chiefly by reason of his method. He approached the problem concretely, and he handles it theologically. And his aim was to solve it in terms of the actual changes operated in human nature by the reality of grace. Moreover the concept of grace that he used has a distinctly pre-Augustinian, Greek ring to it. It has often enough been pointed out that in Western theology since the time of Augustine the accent has been put on the capacity for meritorious action that grace confers. The accent was of course the product of the Semipelagian controversy, and it reached its sharpest emphasis in post-Tridentine scholasticism. Moreover in this period, as a result of Protestant theology, it was joined by a more or less correlative accent on logical and introspective analysis of the epistemology of faith, which latter accent has grown stronger right up to our own day. In Scheeben’s theo-
logy, however, as in that of the Greek Fathers, it is the physical ontological reality of grace that receives the accent, —namely the “deiformity” conferred by grace on human nature and its powers. He is continually circling about the idea of the new immanence of God in His human creature, whereby He fashions it more closely into His own image, accomplishing in it “eine Umgestaltung in das Lichtbild der Gottheit”(69). Consistently with this central idea, his deepest view of the grace of faith is that it effects a certain divinization of the mind, thus bringing it into a kinship with the world of divine things, and establishing a parallelism, in object and operation, between it and the divine mind. And it must be admitted that in seizing this idea Scheeben has seized the theological root of the supernaturality of faith.
It must, however, be also admitted that this purely theological speculation does not suffice, as Scheeben apparently thought it did suffice, to solve the problem. It does indeed rather incline one more favorably to the Thomistic and Suarezian than to the Molinistic view, but it does not quite settle the issue between them. Even on the intellectual side of faith, two problems have yet to be faced: first, the metaphysical problem posed by the axiom: “actus specificatur ab objecto formali”; and secondly the cognate psychological problem, namely, what effects does the grace of faith operate in the genesis (and consequently in the specification) of divine faith as a cognition(70)? Scheeben does not face either problem, —both of them were rather “out of his line”. Hence at this point his thought disappears into the clouds. However, by his attempted reconciliation of Molina and Suarez, he gives two indications that would seem to
show whither his theory was heading. On the one hand he disagrees with the Molinists that the grace of faith has no effect on the human mind precisely as a mind. On the other hand he does not seem to concede to Suarez and the Thomists that the grace of faith unveils to the mind a new, hitherto unseen formality in its object. The via media he apparently aims at is this, that faith is indeed a cognitive act unique in its kind, —yet there is nothing new “seen”, there is only a new “seeing”. Consequently Scheeben’s grace of faith would introduce a new psychological factor into the workings of the human mind, is such wise however that its effects would not be, as they should be in the Thomistic-Suarezian theory, accessible to introspection. The reason is that Scheeben’s grace of faith would operate at the level of nature as such, and hence its workings would occasion an “experience” unique indeed but incommunicable, since it would lie below the shallow levels that reflex consciousness can reach. Or rather, the experience of faith could receive only one formulation: “One thing I know, that whereas before I was blind, now I see”. With such a formulation, Scheeben would, I think, be content. Philosophers may feel differently.
- This general question is treated in Natur und Gnade pp 223 ff.; Dogmatik II, 3, nn. 701–757. On the supernaturality of faith, cf. Natur und Gnade pp. 237 ff; Doqmatik I, 1, nn. 778–807. This latter is his definite treatment, incorporated into the article “Glaube” in Kirchenlexicon 2 Vol. 5, col. 653–659, and referred to in Doqmatik I, 3, n. 737, where no further discussion is given. However, the teaching of the Natur und Gnade retained always a permanent value in his eyes; it is referred to in Mysterien, Anmerk. 370, p. 822; Casini-Scheeben p. 287; Dogmatik II, 3, n. 723 (bibliography).
- For Scheeben’s view of the Thomist-Molinist controversy cf. his review of von Schäzler’s Neue Untersuchunqen, Katholik, 1868 I, pp. 698 ff. esp. pp. 717–719. (This whole article affords an excellent picture of Scheeben as a controversialist.) It seemed to him that all the argument had had the unfortunate effect of sharpening differences and obscuring the real point. He himself attempted a “reconciliation on an Augustinian-Thomistic basis”, as he calls it, in Mysterien c. 10, par. 99. pp. 667 ff; cp. also Dogmatik II, 3, nn. 948–967.
- Natur und Gnade p. 70.
- Cf. ibid. p. 70 note 1. Even in his preference for Suarez, Scheeben retained a great admiration for Ripalda and his “erudition, clarity, conciseness and richness of content” (ibid.). There is an interesting commentary on Scheeben’s times in the fact he can speak (ibid.) of Ripalda’s “once so famous work De Ente Supernaturali” as being “now so rare and almost unknown”.
- Natur und Gnade p. 258.
- Katholik 1868 I, p. 726 (review on von Schäzler’s Neue Untersuchungen). Speaking of the author’s defense of the strict Suarezian view, he says: “His reasons seem to me well-chosen and felici-
tously developed; but whether they will convince his opponents I cannot say, since I have always held and defended the same opinion, though with some modifications”. He then refers to Natur und Gnade (ed. 1) pp. 178 ff. (ed. Grabmann pp. 237 ff.)
7. He says of von Schäzler: “Furthermore the doctrine, certainly very beautiful, that supernatural acts must necessarily be distinguished in their motive from natural acts, is too strongly emphasized, as regards its certainty”. Katholik 1868 I, p. 726 note 8. Von Schäzler’s affirmations on the point were indeed quite uncompromising: cf. Neue Untersuchunqen pp. 527–531.
- Cf. Natur und Gnade p. 70.
- La vie mystique et la doctrine de S.Thomas sur la foi. La Vie Spirituelle 1 (1919) p. 370. Cf. also De Revelatione ed. 3 (1929) I, p. 497, 479 note 1. 480 note 1. In this last place he congratulates Scheeben and von Schäzler, for a correct interpretation of St. Thomas. But it must be noted that Scheeben does not completely identify his position with that of von Schäzler, nor is he interested in “interpreting” St. Thomas. I rather think that in this question he reached St. Thomas through Suarez.
- David (De objecto formali actus salutaris pp. 54–55) thinks that in the Dogmatik Scheeben altered somewhat his earlier opinions. But his contention rests on a misapprehension of Scheeben’s earlier opinions. David (p. 54) says that in the Natur und Gnade Scheeben “modified” Suarez. Again, David (ibid.) says that in the Dogmatik Scheeben “uses a method of expression that might also be used by the defenders of the negative solution of the question”. But, as we shall see, that is also true of the Natur und Gnade. As regards the quotation from the Herrlichkeiten (ed. 1, p. 247) adduced by David (p. 55 note 1), one must remember that it is found in a popular devotional book, not free from exaggerations. All in all, I am convinced that Scheeben’s opinion remained always consistent, particularly in its obscurities.
11. Cf. Natur und Gnade p. 31. Also Herrlichkeiten, Vorrede zur lsten Auflage p. ix, where he refers to Suarez as the one “whose assured doctrine I follow in almost all points”. Moroever, as we shall see in chapter IV, Scheeben’s analysis of faith is wholly Suarezian in its inspiration and construction.
- Dogmatik II, 3, 4, 730.
- Ibid. n. 732.
- <16.> Natur und Gnade p. 168, 171, 127,
- Ibid. p. 151.
- Ibid. p. 150.
- Ibid. p. 231. Substantially the same “argumentation”, occurs in Dogmatik II, 3, 4, 736.
- Cf. Natur und Gnad p. 151, where the parallelism with the Son of God is introduced.
- On this point, cf. A. Schmid, Ueber Natur und Gnade, Tub. Theol. Quartals. 44 (1862) p. 24 ff.
- One could not say that this term “immediate” is particularly felicitous, since it is open to misunderstanding; cf. Schmid, 1. c. p. 32. However, it is clear that Scheeben’s thought is free from any tinge of the ontologism that the use of the same epithet exhibits in Kuhn: cf. von Schäzler, Neue Untersuchunqen, pp. 426–499, esp. pp. 451 ff.
- Cf. Natur und Gnade pp. 229–730, 43–45, 96–101.
- Ibid. pp. 122, 178, 230, 231, 233, 234 note, 235, 242, 245, 248, 250, 254, 256, 259, 274, etc.
- Ibid. p. 255.
- Ibid. p. 257.
- Ibid. p. 256.
- Ibid. p. 256.
- Ibid. p. 257:
“Consequently as only the love which proceeds from supernature unites to God as the supernatural good, which it tastes and relishes in its own sweetness, and for this reason is drawn to it by its own proper power of attraction, so also it is this love alone which really has as its motive God as the principle and end of supernature, as we formerly said of faith”. (Italics mine).
- Miracle et lumière de la grâce , Rech. Sc. Rel. 8 (1918) p.54.
- La surnaturalitè de la foi, Rev. Thom. 22 (1914) p. 19.
- Ibid. p. 21, cp. pp. 24, 26, 29, 31.
- De Revelatione I, p. 448.
- Here I would note an important point that has already emerged, I think, from the discussion, and will continue to emerge, namely that for Scheeben the question of the necessity and function of grace was not posited nor resolved merely in terms of an act’s ontological elevation into the supernatural order, as in the Molinistic view (cf. e. g. Billot, De Virt. Inf. ed. 2, p. 80). For Scheeben grace had a function in the specifically cognitive and affective orders, and his explanation of its necessity invoked cognitive and affective elements. And in this respect he is faithful to a substantially Thomistic interpretation of the principle: “actus specificatur ab objecto formali”.
- Cf. Ripalda, De Fide, disp. 3, sect. 6, n. 71; De Ente Supernaturali, disp. 44, sect. 1, N.2; disp. 45 n. 37. Ripalda admits of course only a different “modus tendendi” for supernatural acts. Compare also Molina’s position: “Ratio sub qua objecti fidei infusae non (est) cognoscibilitas per divinam revelationem praecise tamquam per rationem assentiendi, sed cognoscibilitas non solum per divinam revelationem sed etiam simul per habitum supernaturalem, qui cum tali revelatione proportionem habet” (in S. Th. I, c. 1, a. 3, disp. 2). Which is certainly not very different from Scheeben’s view.
- Rousselot, L’Intellectualisme de S. Thomas, ed. 2, p. 71.
- Cf. A. Stolz, Glaubensqnade und Glaubenslicht pp. 3–19.
- Natur und Gnade p. 238.
- Ibid. p. 239.
- Ibid. p. 239.
- Ibid. p. 240.
- Ibid. p. 240.
- Ibid. p. 243.
- Ibid. p. 241.
- Ibid. pp. 248–250; Dogmatik II, 3, nn. 739–747.
- Natur und Gnade pp. 277–280, 343. The same distinction of object has place also in the moral virtues: cf. ibid. pp. 227–228, 271–273; Dogmatik II, 3, nn. 748–751.
- Natur und Gnade p. 240.
- Ibid. p. 241.
- Ibid. p. 242.
- Ibid. p. 242.
- Les veux de la foi, Rech. Sc. Rel. 1 (1910) p. 469, note.
- Dogmatik 2, 1, n. 684. Other texts will be given later.
- Ibid. I, 1, n. 778.
- Ibid. n. 781.
- Ibid. n. 781.
- Ibid. n. 782.
- Ibid. n. 782.
- Ibid. n. 782.
- L’oraison contemplative, Rech. Sc. Rel. 9 (1919) p. 278.
- Dogmatik I, 1, n. 785.
- Ibid. n. 785.
- Ibid. n. 783.
- A fuller discussion of Scheeben’s concept of the lumen fidei will be given in Chapter V.
- Dogmatik I, n. 782, 786.
- Ibid. n. 786.
- Pinard de la Boullaye, Notion et problèmes de la crédibilité. Rech. Sc. Rel. 14 (1914) p. 448, note. “Physical” versus “intentional” substance might be a better antithesis, if one is wanted.
- Cf. Dogmatik II, 3, nn. 767, 784. Scheeben counts Suarez (and Tanner—the disciple of Gregory of Valentia—whose work he respected greatly) among the “deeper Molinists” (n. 767).
- Vom Leben des Glaubens, pp. 34, 33.
- Mysterien p. 619; cp. pp. 362–5, 618–622, etc.
- It is precisely the reduction of the former question to this latter one that has lodged the problem of supernatural acts in a hopeless impasse, hanging the issue on a point of introspection. See this formulation:
“S’il suffit... d’une gráce ontologiquement surnaturelle pour surnaturaliser 1’acte de foi, it serait à coup sûr abusif de vouloir discerner par la seule introspection le concours naturel ou surnaturel que Dieu donne à nos actes. Au contraire, si à cette elevation entitative ou physique s’ajoute nécessairement une perception spéciale et un processus psychologique distinct du processus vulgaire, ainsi que l’enseigne le P. Gardeil, 1’expérience interne est recevable en l’espèce et son verdict suffit à dirimer le débat. Or quel converti, au moment de son premier acte de foi, quel catholique après une faute contre le foi, ont jamais observé en eux ce passage de la vision naturelle à la vision surnaturelle due motif de foi?Pinard de la Boullaye, 1. c. Rech. Sc. Rel. 4 (1913), p. 452. Similarly Lange, De Gratia p. 218, n. 310: “Si motiva objectiva assensus super naturalis et naturalis diversa essent, ex reflexione psychologica uterque actus discerni posset”. Obviously in this stage of the question the Molinists have all the better of it. And the task for some future Scheeben is to strike out a via media in which the values of the Thomist position will be so defended and developed that this appeal to internal experience will be rendered illegitimate, or at least indecisive. If the thing can be done....