The Integrity of Nature in the Grace-Freedom Dynamic: Lonergan's Critique of Banezian Thomism

By Brotherton, Joshua R. | Theological Studies, September 2014 | Go to article overview

The Integrity of Nature in the Grace-Freedom Dynamic: Lonergan's Critique of Banezian Thomism


Brotherton, Joshua R., Theological Studies


Two of the hottest debates in theological anthropology today concern the precise nature of the relationship between the orders of grace and nature as exhibited in the "natural desire to see God," and the dynamic between the "helps of divine grace" and created freedom. But no one, to my knowledge, has spelled out the connection between these two issues. Henri de Lubac is famous for igniting the firestorm that is the first debate, and his primary target was the Scholastic commentator tradition, whose leading figures were Tommaso de Vio Cajetan, Domingo Banez, and Francisco Suarez. Lawrence Feingold's recent study on de Lubac's misinterpretations of Thomas Aquinas's thought and that of the commentators has received a hearty welcome from many. (1) Along with Feingold a host of so-called "neo-Thomists" have rushed to rescue the integrity of the natural order in the debate on the relationship between grace and nature. (2) More balanced approaches have also entered the debate, (3) which in any case runs deeper than what the great Doctor intended to convey on the matter (the natural desire to see God). Bernard Lonergan stands out not only as a premier interpreter of Aquinas but also as a somewhat neglected figure in this debate. (4)

On the question of how the intrinsic efficacy of grace plays out in the free enterprise of human moral action, few scholars have taken a stand against the Banezian neglect of the natural element in the dynamic, namely, created freedom. (5) The debate concerning grace and freedom is not quite as fierce now as it was in the early 20th and especially the 17th century (when Pope Clement VIII convened the congregatio de auxiliis divinae gratiae), but there is a steady return to the question. (6) The most prominent modern proponent of the (neo-) Banezian position, particularly on this second issue, is certainly "the sacred monster of Thomism," Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. (7) Francisco Suarez is probably still the most notable adherent of the Molinist position, which he revised amid his massive--many would say, disastrous--attempt to synthesize Thomistic thought with the Scotist school that dominated the Franciscan Order at the time.

Lonergan stands almost alone in defending the integrity of human nature in both debates. (8) Since "grace builds upon nature," not only does the agent intellect constitute the natural instrument through which the divine light of truth illumines the mind, but there is also in the human person a natural power or faculty (pertaining to its own nature or essence) with its own integrity by which the process of sanctification operates, namely, free will. While Banezian Thomism exhibits a tendency to overemphasize the autonomy of intellectual creatures with respect to the supernatural order--an emphasis manifest in undue speculation on "the state of natura pura"--it also undermines the dispositive role of the appetitus rationalis in the effective ordering of free creatures toward deification. Far from Pelagianism, Lonergan's position avoids the pitfalls of the two polar-opposite schools of thought in the de auxiliis controversy by his unparalleled analysis of Aquinas's developing positions on how grace and freedom interact in the intellective creature. (9) While this topic occupied his doctoral work, his subsequent De ente supernaturali also addressed the question of the relationship between grace and nature in general and in a way that again cuts a unique path between (or above) the diametrically opposed neo-Augustinianism of Henri de Lubac and the "extrinsicism" of the traditional Thomist commentators, much like his interpretation of Aquinas transcends the false dichotomy of Banezianism versus Molinism.

I do not intend here either to trace the development of Aquinas's thought regarding nature/grace and grace/freedom or to rehash the polemics surrounding de Lubac and Molina. Instead, I focus on how Lonergan's positions relate to Banezian Thomism as it stands today (i. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Integrity of Nature in the Grace-Freedom Dynamic: Lonergan's Critique of Banezian Thomism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.