Freely admitting that his "outlook as a new Catholic convert [going on two decades ago] was largely shaped by Richard Neuhaus, Michael Novak and George Weigel -- appreciators of John Courtney Murray, SJ -- and as such, participants in an ongoing debate with Dr. Rowland, David Schindler, Alisdair MacIntyre that has been characterized by Dr. Rowland herself a conflict between "Whig Thomists and Augustinian Thomists."
Helpfully, he encourages readers unfamiliar with Rowland to read her two-part interview with Zenit:
- Part I: Benedict XVI, Vatican II and Modernity: Tracey Rowland on the Pope's Interpretation of the Council (July 24, 2005).
- Part II: Benedict XVI, Thomism and Liberal Culture: Tracey Rowland on the Church's Response to Modernity (July 25, 2005).
According to Rowland, the Whig Thomists maintain that the Thomist tradition can be reconciled with the culture of modernity and that "liberalism is the logical outgrowth of the classical-theistic synthesis", while Augustinian Thomists contend that "the liberal tradition represents its mutation and heretical reconstruction, and they tend to agree with Samuel Johnson that the devil -- not Thomas Aquinas -- was the first Whig." (For a more substantial examination of the precise sense in which Thomas was heralded as the harbinger of "Catholic Whiggery", see: Aquinas:"First Whig?" Religion and Liberty September 21, 2005).Read more >
So, as you can see, possessing this bias I was not predisposed to like Rowland. Nonetheless, I did find it to be stimulating reading and a text I'll return to time and again in future explorations of this debate.