I’m going to be tremendously lazy for today’s blog on authority and send you all away to read this essay on the manualist tradition by Fr. Joseph Fenton.
The reason I’ve put this in the series about “Authority” is that the theological manuals used to be widely considered as authentic interpretations of magisterial authority in the Church and hence practical sources of authentic teaching. In recent years, of course, they seem to have slipped into the shadows; but I get the feeling that this tradition is making a comeback as more and more of the faithful yearn for a deeper understanding of the deposit of faith handed on to the Church by Christ Himself.
Fr. Fenton’s article is useful in situating the manuals in the Christian tradition; but it is also very useful in pointing out particular sources for their strengths in particular areas. Many of the manuals cited are in Latin; however many of then have received English translations, so it's worth searching on the web around even if Fr. Fenton does not mention an English translation.
I must also, of course, mention again Dr.Feser’s “Scholastic’s Bookshelf” series both for its recommendations and for the links to the many online sources that are now available.
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