“Where is the New Theology Leading Us?”

by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

In a recent book, Conversion et gràce chez S. Thomas d’Aquin1 (“Conversion and Grace in St. Thomas Aquinas”), Father Henri Boulliard writes, “Since spirit evolves, an unchanging truth can only maintain itself by virtue of a simultaneous and co-relative evolution of all ideas, each proportionate to the other. A theology which is not current [does not keep changing — SMR] will be a false theology.”2

And in the pages preceding and following [the above quotation], the author demonstrates that the theology of St. Thomas, in several of its most important sections, is not current. For example, St. Thomas’ idea of sanctifying grace was as a form (a basic principle of supernatural operations which the infused virtues and the seven gifts have as their principle). “The ideas employed by St. Thomas are simply Aristotelian notions applied to theology.”3

And further: “By renouncing the Aristotelian system, modern thought abandoned the ideas, design and dialectical opposites which only made sense as functions of that system.”4 Thus modern thought abandoned the notion of form.

How then can the reader evade the conclusion, namely that, since it is no longer current, the theology of St. Thomas is a false theology?

But then why have the Popes so often instructed us to follow the doctrine of St. Thomas? Why does the Church say in her Code of Canon Law, Can. 1366, n.2:

“The professors should by all means treat of the rational philosophy and theology, and the training of the students in these subjects according to the method, doctrine and principles of the Angelic Doctor (Aquinas), and should hold these as “sacred”?5

Further, how can “an unchanging truth” maintain itself if the two notions united by the verb to be, are essentially variable or changeable?

An unchangeable relationship can only be conceived of as such if there is something unchangeable in the two terms that it unites. Otherwise, for all intents and purposes, it’s like saying that the waves of the sea can be stapled together.

Of course, the two ideas that are united in an unchangeable affirmation are sometimes at first confused and then distinguished one from the other, such as the ideas of nature, of person, substance, accident, transubstantiation, the Real Presence, sin, original sin, grace, etc. But if these are not fundamentally unchangeable, how then will the affirmation which unites them by the verb “to be” be unchangeable? How can one hold that the Real Presence of the substance of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist requires transubstantiation if the ideas are fundamentally variable? How can one assert that original sin occurred in us through a willed fault of the first man, if the notion of original sin is essentially unstable? How can one hold that the particular judgment after death is eternally irrevocable, if these ideas are said to change? Finally, how can one maintain that all of these propositions are invariably true if the idea of truth itself must change, and if one must substitute for the traditional definition of truth (the conformity of judgment to intuitive reality and to its immutable laws) what has been proposed in recent years by the philosophy of action: the conformity of judgment to the exigencies of action, or to human life, which is always evolving? More of this excellent refutation by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

As I read this article I was struck by the idea, false idea, that truth changes(!) Truth being God. This supposition suggests that God changes, and that things which were sins say in the middle ages are no longer sinful. So these who then died in a state of mortal sin then were lost to hell, but now that the "New Theology" allows that these things are now accepted and one can be saved. This mistaken belief that abortion, homosexuality and other "previously" unacceptable acts are now acceptable therefore do not have to be forgiven. What a boon for satan!


Editor’s note: Catholic Family News proudly presents its exclusive English translation of Father Garrigou-Lagrange’s landmark work, “La nouvelle théologie où va-t-elle?”, which was first published in 1946 in Rome’s Angelicum, one of the most prestigious theological journals in the world. Father Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. one of the greatest Thomistic theologians of this century, warned that the “New Theology” of Maurice Blondel, Henri de Lubac, etc. is nothing more than a revitalized Modernism. This same new theology was subsequently deounced by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis. This article, because of its in-depth nature, is meant not only to be read, but studied. It is hoped that the publication of this work will help dispel the widespread confusion of our time, especially since, by admission of its own adherents, this modernist “new theology” has become “the official theology of Vatican II”. (See Si Si No No series "They Think They Have Won" on “The New Theology”)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You have hit the nail squarely on the head yet again, my friend. Both theologians and theistic philosophers alike virtually to a man (and woman) hold to the notion that the way in which we act and live and organise ourselves from faith practice to morality and ethics are not fixed, static modes of conduct but organic, dynamic and evolving. I would recommend you take a look at works such as 'the land Ethic' by A. Leopold, penned back in 1948 and the like to truly grasp the 'post modernist' way of thinking. they propose that societal organisation etc is evolutionary/eccological in nature from a mode of ancient times in which the individual was drawn to conform to societal norms, to one in which (through democracy) society is constrained to aford the individual his rights and freedoms free of 'oppressive' and 'biggoted accretions from the past that are obscelete, culminating in a third phase in which all conform to the needs of the land.

Fixed truth bad, relativism and dynamism good (even in fields such as linguistics wherein those who hold to decent grammer and word usage are labelled overly constraining and prescriptive).

Enter now into the arena of latter 20th century theological thought and one soon encounters commentators who either discount the notion of hell and satan altogether as folk/cultural constructs, or as von Balthasar himself believed, that hell exists but is very probably empty. This is being pedalled from almost all faculties of theology within the Catholic university setting – I have encountered it often.

Re Holy Scripture, the favourite model is that of the documentary hypothesis/historic-critical method or even more lately, complete divorce of Holy Scripture from any Divine inspiration whatsoever (this is the sort of thing pushed from Trinity University in Ireland throughout vast swathes of the theological world. Only someone solidly grounded in Christian truth and Holy Scripture can undergo study under these oppressive systems and remain standing faith-wise (with help from the Holy Spirit to endure and help from fabulous young chaplains dedicated to truth who through the Holy Spirit still win souls to Christ even from such hostile ground.

This is the new reality against which Benedict XVI is battling. God Help him and the Church; moreover, god help the poor souls sacrificed on the altar of narcesistic, feel-good false theology!!