Saturday, February 15, 2014

"A saint in Heaven"

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Fr. Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange, OP, who was perhaps the greatest theologian of the 20th century.

While he is known for many things, the least of which includes directing the doctoral work of Karol Wojtyla, two of his lasting contributions to 20th century theology are his synthesis of systematic theology with spiritual theology and also his vehement defense of the scholastic tradition against modernity.

Regarding the first, Fr. Garrigou-LaGrange undertook the synthesis of Thomistic theology with the spiritual works of St. John of the Cross, showing how the two were in fact complementary. His most well-known spiritual work is entitled The Three Ages of the Interior Life, and can be found online in its entirety.

He is perhaps more well-known for the second of the two, his defense of the scholastic tradition against modernity. He is alleged to have ghost-written Pope Pius XII's great encyclical Humani generis, "Concerning Some False Opinions Threatening to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine". Fr. Garrigou-LaGrange also gives a clear, concise, and very readable treatise against the Nouvelle Theologie in his famous essay, "Where is the New Theology Leading Us?"

His book, Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought, is perhaps one of the best introductions to theology in existence, apart from the Summa itself.

While his intellectual merit is beyond dispute, Fr. Garrigou-LaGrange also lived what he taught. Asceticism was not merely an intellectual pursuit, but a way of life, the way of holiness for a humble Dominican friar. Perhaps today, then, we can ask for the intercession of Sts. Dominic and Thomas for the raising of this holy man to the altar of our Lord.

For more information on Fr. Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange, please see the biography written by Fr. Thomas Crean, O.P. to be found here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A great anti-modernist theologian, a lucid philosopher, and a saint.

Pray for us, R. G-L!