R.I.P. Ralph McInerny (1929-2010)

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"Thomas understands theology as a unified science. The contemporary student of theology is normally introduced to a compartmentalized approach to revelation: one that encourages a separation of dogma from Scripture, morality from dogma, and spirituality from the rule of faith. For Aquinas, all of theology is unified under a common object: God. Furthermore, Thomas assures us that the principles of this sacred science are more certain than any human science, since they derive their certitude from the light of divine truth, not from the insight of a particular theologian." -- Joseph R. Upton

McInerny Selected Writings: Thomas Aquinas John of St. Thomas McInerny Aquinas Analogy Praeambula Averroists Glance

Ralph McInerny on Saint Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) lived at a critical juncture of western culture when the arrival of the Aristotelian corpus in Latin translation reopened the question of the relation between faith and reason, calling into question the modus vivendi that had obtained for centuries. This crisis flared up just as universities were being founded. Thomas, after early studies at Montecassino, moved on to the University of Naples, where he met members of the new Dominican Order. It was at Naples too that Thomas had his first extended contact with the new learning. When he joined the Dominican Order he went north to study with Albertus Magnus, author of a paraphrase of the Aristotelian corpus. Thomas completed his studies at the University of Paris, which had been formed out of the monastic schools on the Left Bank and the cathedral school at Notre Dame. In two stints as a regent master Thomas defended the mendicant orders and, of greater historical importance, countered both the Averroistic interpretations of Aristotle and the Franciscan tendency to reject Greek philosophy. The result was a new modus vivendi between faith and philosophy which survived until the rise of the new physics. Thomas's theological writings became regulative of the Catholic Church and his close textual commentaries on Aristotle represent a cultural resource which is now receiving increased recognition.

Ralph McInerny on Charles De Koninck: Man of Faith, Philosopher of Science

An Introduction to Metaphysics by Ralph McInerny


Aristotelian Thomism

'St. Thomas would find the contemporary fragmentation of theological inquiry "very odd" and "would be repelled by the cacophony of competing truth claims advanced by point-of-view theologians claiming hegemonic expertise in one or another theological discipline" [Romanus Cessario, A Short History of Thomism, p.9]. Interestingly, this fragmentation has recently been on display in the academic reviews, even the sympathetic ones, of Joseph Ratzinger's Jesus of Nazareth (Doubleday, 2007). Reviewers strain to classify this remarkable work, which combines, in the manner of the Summa Theologiae, scriptural exegesis, rabbinic and patristic commentaries on various parts of Scripture, insight into Jewish, Greek, and Roman history and culture, the history of Catholic doctrine, metaphysics, moral theory, philosophical anthropology, and the fruits of thousands of hours of mental and contemplative prayer. "After all," they protest in effect, "no one can be an up-to-date expert in all the relevant sub-disciplines, and so this must be some sort of 'popular' or 'catechetical' tract rather than a serious work of theology."
'Something has surely gone amiss when the very idea of an integrated theoretical and practical wisdom baffles many of the 'scientific' theologians of our day. And, mutatis mutandis, the same sort of fragmentation and loss of direction afflict philosophy, too, as a contemporary academic discipline. In fact, to my mind one of the most destructive effects of academic fragmentation among Catholic thinkers is the sharp dichotomy many presuppose between being a philosopher and being a theologian and between the academic disciplines of philosophy and systematic theology. In short, we need St. Thomas now more than ever, both for his teaching and for his method.' -- Alfred J. Freddoso

The University of Notre Dame
Thomistic Institute

2004 St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law

2003 Ethics Without God?



1999 Fides et Ratio

1998 Science, Philosophy, and Theology

1997 Science, Philosophy, and Theology

Dumb Ox Books

De Int In An Post Phys De Anima Sensu Memoria Metaphysics NE Pol Epistles Hebrews
Veritas Divina Intro Metaphysics Socratic Logic