The Eucharist as the Church’s only ordo theologiae

The proper and ineluctable ordo of Roman Catholic theology is the Eucharistic covenant as it thrives in the Church. All theological principles and categories must submit to and be subsumed under this one triune matrix of actual, substantial, concrete, and free––because historical––communion in and through the μια σαρχ (One Flesh).

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Welcome, and happy Feast of St. Augustine!

This blog is in the making as group blog for Catholic philosophers. Several of my friends, erstwhile colleagues, and would-be colleagues have already agreed to come on board and contribute. You can read about them on the About page. But as the idea for this blog originated with me, the chief responsibility for administering it has fallen to me.

I thought it peculiarly appropriate to launch on the liturgical feast day of St. Augustine, who was a philosopher before he became a Catholic. Once he underwent his conversion, a process so eloquently documented in that classic of Western literature known as his Confessions, Augustine adopted a different set of priorities for his thought.  He became a Catholic first, a theologian second; soon enough he became a bishop in a very contentious region; and as for philosophy—well, he gradually abandoned philosophical inquiry for its own sake.  He prayed, he preached, he meditated, he theologized; but philosophizing for its own sake, he came to suspect, was something only pagans did.

Some philosophers think that meant he ceased to be a philosopher; some believers think he didn’t leave philosophy nearly far enough behind. On my own account as a Catholic, I’d say that I do philosophy for the sake of understanding myself, the world, even God better than I would if I didn’t do philosophy.  I know by long experience that studying philosophy in depth, and constructing serious philosophical arguments which do not require any divinely revealed truth as premises, is an excellent discipline even for committed believers.

That good philosophy is intrinsically valuable remains so even for those of us who believe that, in the final analysis, our response to divine revelation and grace, as manifest in how we are thereby transformed as persons, is far more important than philosophy as an academic discipline. Divine revelation is for everybody, after all—as is philosophy in the original sense of the Greek term, which means “love of wisdom.” Everybody who comes to love God and neighbor comes to love wisdom too. But philosophizing in a systematic way is for the (relatively) few. I think most of my contributors would agree with that. Of course they would have qualifications to add, and probably wouldn’t say it the way I have, but that’s a philosopher for you. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Look for more. We’ll be here. And we’ll have much of substance to say as time goes on. St. Augustine, pray for us.