Friday, 14 May 2010

Fr Aidan Nichols Again

A little while ago I noticed that the website of the academic journal Nova et Vetera had had a makeover.

Although I don't subscribe to this journal, it does look a very interesting one, and is tempting in its Thomism. A little bit of wandering through the website will lead you to some sample articles.

Who should we find amongst the authors of these sample articles but our very own Fr. Aidan Nichols? He has produced an article entitled “What is Happening on the Intellectual Scene in England?” (pdf file).

Rather than having me attempt to précis Fr. Aidan’s fine article, let me commend a full reading of this short romp through the study of theology, philosophy and history in the intellectual life of our country and the connections between the intellectual and the Catholic. Fr. Nichols has a delightfully cultured way of adumbrating what I would describe simply as a shocking decline into mediocrity.

Here are a few choice words and phrases.

“It is typical of high culture in England to be allergic to the notion of an intelligentsia...”

“The formal study of philosophy and theology (unlike that of history) carries little kudos.”

“The word theological has attracted connotations of remoteness and impracticality, just as doctrinal and dogmatic have come to mean doctrinaire and carelessness of evidence. This suggests not only the anti-metaphysical bent of the culture but also the intellectual weakness of the historically dominant form of Christianity, Anglicanism, which, with some few exceptions, has been feeble in systematic thinking (though strong on historical theology).”

“Academic theology in English universities is on the defensive at the present time.”

“The lack of an adequate institutional base for Catholic theology in England is striking.”

“Among the general population there is an increasing vacuum where historical knowledge of England’s past should be.”

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