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Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II (Routledge Radical Orthodoxy) 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415305273
ISBN-10: 0415305276
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'This ... is an extremely important book, and no serious student of theology or pastor of souls can afford to ignore it.' - Laudetur

'This study...deserves a wide readership...[Rowland's] powers of elucidation and clarification of tangled issues are in full stride in this sustained and persuasive argument.' - David Forest, Nova et Vetera

'For anyone interested in contemporary Thomism or the future of Vatican II's theology, there is much of interest here. ... There is no doubt that anyone interested in current thinking on Vatican II would gain from reading this book. The argument is impressive, challenging, and expressed with clarity and force.' - Theology


'Tracey Rowland's compelling new book ... [is] impressive in many respects.' - FCS Quarterly

About the Author

Tracey Rowland is Dean and Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and Continental Theology at the John Paul II Institute (Melbourne), a member of the Centre for Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham and a member of the editorial board of the English language edition of "Communio", founded, among others, by Joseph Ratzinger. She is the author of "Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II" (2003) and "Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Benedict XVI" (2008).
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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Radical Orthodoxy
  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 20, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415305276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415305273
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,388,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alcuin Reid on October 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
To live in the aftermath of an Ecumenical Council appears never to have been easy. In our own age, we who have grown up in the shadow of Vatican II need to remember this. We probably suffer from having been told "Vatican II changed all that" in respect of all aspects of Church life, and we may well have looked on whilst those who questioned such `changes' were consigned to perdition.
Such is the deference with which we have been taught that we must speak about Vatican II and all its works that I was astonished to read in Aidan Nichols' The Theology of Joseph Ratzinger an account of Ratzinger's substantial criticisms of the Council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes. Surely this was the document of the Council par excellence? How could it be subject to such informed criticism?
The answer is that most of the documents of Vatican II contain reformable prudential judgements made in contingent circumstances; they are not dogmatic definitions to which one owes the assent of faith, but rather, largely, they seek to chart pastoral policy for the Church (eg, one can be a Catholic in good faith and believe that the Council was silly to call for the introduction of bidding prayers into the Mass-the decision is simply a matter of judgement, not doctrine). Once this is understood, it is perfectly reasonable for a peritus of the Council, as Joseph Ratzinger was, to engage in a critical evaluation of these judgements and policies.
Today, it is, surely, no less appropriate that critical evaluation should continue, particularly in the light of the almost forty years' experience since, for, even if the policies of the Council were apposite, the pastoral policies appropriate to the Church today may well not be identical to those of forty years ago.
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This book is scholarly and academic but it is not a dry commentary on the Vatican II document on culture. It is well written and readable, critical and is not very long. Its' critique should be of acute interest to lay Catholics concerned with the total loss we seem to be at with what is happening to the present culture we find in our Church, which has taken upon itself to preempt the proper culture of the Church and which we generally deal with by uncritical surrender believing that otherwise we will be disobedient to our life in Christ in the Church. I mean to say it can direct our energies towards a constructive faith based solution by applying the Thomistic method to where lies the root of the problem in the thinking and documents of Vatican II on culture.

Consider this interesting nugget contained in the book: who would have thought that the future Benedict XVI, a radical theologian of the time of Vatican II and a valuable assistant to those who shaped it, would first publicly respond to the document on culture by criticizing it for its dependence on pagan language and thought to express culture; yet that is what he did; it gives one a sense of how shocking it must have been to read it to those more numerous but less influential Catholics well versed in the faith and living outside the pagan like circle of thinkers who formulated the document in secret.

There is much that could be added as an aside to the history of Vatican II. But that is not the subject of the book;and that is not taken up in this book. Rather in many important regards this book provide some important factual context to: the document;its implications;and about the thinking of those who shaped it and those that would reform it.
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Format: Paperback
Tracey Rowland has written an excellent critique of the classical liberal assumptions that still dominate thought in much of the West. She is especially effective in dispelling the ideology of "human rights" by comparison to the classically conceived theory of right. However, there is much in this book that is baffling to me.

First, it is not clear to which "thomist tradition" she refers in the title. Certainly, the authors she criticizes, the "whig thomists" as she calls them, do not represent the main current of Thomism. And "analytical Thomism" is hardly what I think of when I hear "thomist tradition". On the other hand, the authorities she invokes, Pope John Paul II, Ratzinger, Schindler, De Lubac, Kaspar, Schmitz, and MacIntyre, are certainly not thomists in any traditional sense. They are original thinkers who vary greatly in their fidelity to Saint Thomas, freely contradicting him when it suits them. Alone of this group would I have recognized MacIntyre as a thomist, and he is no conventional one. It seems that among Catholic intellectuals "thomist" has become a designator of personal approval rather than objective doctrinal content. To be a "thomist" one does not have to agree with St. Thomas on fundamentals; it's enough to invoke his name. It is no wonder then that there are only a few references in this work to St. Thomas' own writings. None of St. Thomas' works even appear in the bibliography.

Second, there are some serious problems with her solution. She maintains that the "identities in relation" logic of the Trinity needs to be applied to the person as such, so that what constitutes us as persons is not only substantiality, but also relatedness. But St. Thomas makes it clear that only in God are persons subsistent relations.
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