cerca nel sito Enrico Maria Radaelli
Sito di metafisica e teologia per un progetto culturale cattolico Aurea Domus Aurea Domus Aurea Domus



Enrico Maria Radaelli,
The Mystery of the blind-folded Synagogue,
Effedieffe Edizioni, Milan, December 2002, pages 436, euro 30,00.

Review by mons. prof. Antonio Livi for
Filosofia oggi », n. 27 (115-118), january-march 2004.

(Page 1).

Aurea Domus - Metafisica e teologia cattolicaI willingly speak of this book for which I also wrote an introduction (p. I-IX) because in Italy it has been strangely ignored by philosophers and theologians usually attentive to discussions on dialogue between religions. It seems as if the contents, in the way they have been dealt with, have embarrassed many – those less sensitive to recognizing the truth of the matter than to discussing it in “politically correct” terms. Personally, I consider Radaelli’s work as an opportunity for discussion between Christian believers for reestablishing dogmatic considerations at the centre of the world; while others have preferred to see it as “an attack on ecumenism” of a relativistic sort, as a final and widespread heresy against Christ and the Trinity.

Aurea Domus - Metafisica e teologia cattolicaThese latter, however, err in many ways: they confuse ecumenism (which in precise theological vocabulary indicates the dialogue between Catholics and other Christians) with the dialogue between Christians and believers of other religions, a doctrinal circle where the dialogue between Christians, Hebrews and Muslims occupies a central place. They also confuse diplomatic and political gestures and meetings in which, necessarily, personal convictions are not explicitly declared, with sincere debate on the truth revealed by God and consequently the truth about God and true religion: these represent arguments for which an agreement at all costs would be non-sense. Finally, they distort loyalty to dogma and doctrine infallibly taught by the Church by renouncing legitimate criticism regarding opinions provoked by certain exterior actions – which seem imprudent or equivocal: in this case I acknowledge that Radaelli’s polemical arguments are expressed with excessive force but this is the literary genre preferred (the classical one for controversy) which leads to certain verbal excesses but which are nothing when compared to the gravity of the actual problem.

Aurea Domus - Metafisica e teologia cattolicaFrom the point of view of the contents, Radaelli’s book is solidly anchored in Tradition, but it doesn’t seem to me to be so because of a traditionalistic prejudice but rather because of the need to criticize widespread modernistic tendencies. From the point of view of style, the book provides analytical considerations on logic and gnoseology while at the same time does not lack poetic strokes, right from the preface: « To drive man towards infinity. This is the task of each word. This is the duty of language ».
Aurea Domus - Metafisica e teologia cattolicaThe movement towards the subsequent complex theological thesis is founded on logic, that is on alethic logic, Radaelli being well aware that theos-logia and logos are, in the universe, two genres that owe their existence to a supernatural beginning, the Word Divine: « He is the nous, the intellect, but also the noumen, the thinking object from intellect, and finally He is the same nous-logia, the gnoseology: the way to thinking nous » (p. XX). Having placed the cognitive beginning in the same source from whence the unknown truths and the words (both scriptural and theological) spring, the book continues to develop as a fluid and natural consequence of the Word Creator « for whom all the vital tension of man (intellectual and affective), his creature, yearns » (cf. p. 61 ff.; p. 269, fn. 1).

Aurea Domus - Metafisica e teologia cattolicaRadaelli thus reminds us that the logical foreword of the message that comes from Jerusalem can be found in Stagira, Aristotle’s home (Stagira is the first word in the book); that the prophetic word of the Hebrew scripture gains demonstrative value when the believers use Greek syllogisms. Radaelli underlines the deep bond between reason that seeks and faith that listens, between the “sowers of words” and the Word, that is, between the two possibilities of reasoning that man can claim: that one given to him by nature and that one given by grace of Redemption. For what reason the book reminds us how Aristotle and Moses are intrinsically connected is clear from the very first pages: it is about relativism, doctrinal evolution, irenic schemes, indifference, in a word: the present day antidogmatic currents which have submerged Catholic culture. The providential work by Thomas Aquinas (for which he risked being labelled a rationalist and friend of pagans) is covered by the book, particularly where it stresses that a correct logic is strictly theoretical and the logical error is instead non theoretical. In other words, rational thought is unrelated to error insomuch as error tends to move away from it: in passio, not in ratio (cf. p. 269).

Aurea Domus - Metafisica e teologia cattolicaAs a philosopher especially interested in studies on alethic logic, I could not have ignored a discussion such as this, which in the end convinced me about what is indicated as a fundamental criterion: if error is unrelated to the nature of intellect and of reason, if – at the end of it all – error is a moral fault, a sin against light, we Christians, when we want to express correct reasons on the word of God and develop the science of Revelation, we must take care to remain free of any passion, of any interest other than the divine saving truth. On the other hand, even this concept derives from what is said above, that thought and thinking both belong solely to the Verbum (p. XX).

Aurea Domus - Metafisica e teologia cattolicaThe conviction (of a genuine gnoseological rather than theological nature) that natural discussion can only find basis in light of a supernatural origin of truth is the central theme throughout the book, as explained by many Christian philosophers, from Augustine to Thomas to Rosmini; this is particularly true regarding to Transcendence, the study of which draws its purity from the Logos, and even more so every time studies explain the value and the greatness of the message of Revelation. Radaelli is therefore right in explaining and proving that theology without coherent logic between discussions of reason and discussions of faith is worthless, and neither can theology be considered without an explicit philosophical definition in conformity with the intellectus fidei (i.e., when such definition is lacking in theology, an inadequate philosophical definition prevails, often going unnoticed). Now that the Encyclical Fides et Ratio is out, all this should be taken for granted; but, in fact, the book sadly points out how much – today – this concept is blurred, even amongst those who are responsible for the doctrine of the Church and who should be the first to adhere to the Magisterium’s teachings.

Aurea Domus - Metafisica e teologia cattolicaFaced with such a situation, the author, rather than tear his garments – an act common to those ‘Luther-like’ dissidents – prefers to use one of the more typical tools of Christian charity: that of ‘brotherly warning’ exhorted by Jesus himself, and follows it up – with the same spirit of humility and charity – with a plea to the Pope and to the Bishops of the Catholic Church. It is true that sometimes his words appear more vehement than is usually allowed a man of faith when addressing his legitimate pastors; they are however simply an echo of the words of many Fathers and Doctors of the Church (Zeno of Verona, Cyrill of Jerusalem, Barnabas, Ireneus, Bede, Augustine) which teach a christological and ecclesiological doctrine today disdained by many notable theologians (cf. especially pp. 270 ff).

Aurea Domus - Metafisica e teologia cattolicaHence the heart of the matter or, maybe, its weak point: is this a new book written by Radaelli or simply a classical collection (better yet, a vast library such as the Greek Patrologia and Migne’s Latin one) of the doctrine of Tradition? If, as it seems to me, Radaelli does not present anything new, then the lack of « continuity » between the many Scripture quotations, the Councils, the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church and present-day convictions must be taken into consideration with extreme attention. Without a doubt, if such a ‘continuity’ is ascertained, then a conclusion must be reached on the faith to be professed by today’s Christians, with today’s problems. What must follow alethic logic (the moment of recognizing truth) is a procedure (pastoral, but also political) just as coherent with the truth.
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