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Vatican newspaper pays tribute to Thomism’s ‘Roman school’ in article by Gaudium et Spes critic

Catholic World News - March 25, 2010

The March 25 edition of L’Osservatore Romano includes an article by Msgr. Brunero Gherardini paying tribute to the Roman school of Thomism that flourished in the wake of Aeterni Patris, Pope Leo XIII’s 1879 encyclical on Christian philosophy.

Msgr. Gherardini states that like the German theologian Father Matthias-Joseph Scheeben (1835-88), the members of the Roman school were not “barren repeaters” of St. Thomas, but rather used the teaching of the Angelic Doctor to confront the intellectual challenges of the day, including “influences of German thought” and the “modernist danger.” Among the leading figures of the Roman school to whom Msgr. Gherardini pays tribute are Father Riccardo Tabarelli (1851-1909), Msgr. Antonio Piolanti (1911-2001), Cardinal Pietro Parente (1891-1986), and above all Father Cornelio Fabro (1911-95).

Now in his mid-80s, Msgr. Gherardini has served as a canon of St. Peter's Basilica, undersecretary of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, professor emeritus at the Pontifical Lateran University, and postulator of the canonization cause of Blessed Pope Pius IX. Last year, he published Vatican Council II: An Open Discussion, in which he wrote:

Should somebody ask me whether modernism was ultimately let into the very fabric of the Council’s documents to the point that the Fathers themselves were infected by it, my answer would be yes and no.

No, because the supernatural spirit is not at all absent from the Council thanks to its open profession of the Faith in the Trinity, the Incarnation, the universal redemption of the Word, along with its deep conviction about the universal calling to sanctity, its acceptance [of] and faith in the sanctifying effect of the sacraments, its particularly high regard for the liturgical and Eucharistic worship, the sanctifying role of the Church and a theologically nourished devotion to Mary.

My answer is also yes, because modernistic ideas still can be found in several Council documents, notably in Gaudium et Spes, and a few prominent Council Fathers were openly sympathetic to old and new modernitsts.

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