Interesting piece here by a priest writer I have found quite on target in the past: Fr. Brian van Hove, S.J., "Looking Back at 'Humani Generis'" (Homiletic & Pastoral Review, December 23, 2013)Guy Noir's comment on the linked piece by Fr. Brian van Hove, S.J. on Humani Generis
I tacked on a comment at the end. [See below]
But really, to you I'd coment, what are we really reading here? I find it an an exercise in wishful thinking or maybe an unintentional whitewash.
I wonder if you asked seminary students to read Humani Generis and summarize each section in easy to understand modern phraseology, and then asked them to parallel that with modern Catholic parish attitudes towards language, evolution and Scripture... Would any one of them would say the general advice of the Pope was still given credence today?
And does anyone retain a remote appreciation for the perceived attacks that prompted the encyclical? I ask this since it amuses me that it is perceived as an artifact when it is dealing with the exact same challenges being posed today. That's why Mohler asks of TV's hit "'Downton Abbey' and the Modern Age—What Are We Really Watching?" That show is a story of what unfolded in the same period that Wilfrid Ward knew men like Belloc and palled around with guys like Huxley and von Hugel.
A fascinating article, but for me it begs a question. Why is it that the revival brought about by the New Theology finds its exponents doing things like defending de Chardin? Why did these same defenders seem so unconcerned about the erosion of Biblical authority and so naively surprised by the liturgical hijinxs that followed? They met Modernism by changing rhetoric, but not by directly answering its challenges. That is what the Papal Office sought to do.There are also a couple of good comments by John Lamont.
Honestly, not many of the masses who were put off by Latin syllogisms were much more helped by DeLubac’s or HvB’s cerebral works in the vernacular. A guy like Frank Sheed welcomed the lifting of the manualist straightjacket, but he also found the cummulative result of the progressive reforms he helped initiate so disturbing he had to ask, “Is It the Same Church?” Meanwhile, we now have Popes quoting De Chardin! Yes, Garrigou Lagrange and Merry del Val advocated an exactitude that was self-defeating, but within that advocacy there was an appreciation for the necessity of precision, clarity and plain-speaking in doctrine that would go a long way towards eliminating the confusion that now is constant. Evolution is a prime example. Check out the CCCs comment that Genesis relates a historical reality against the mantra assumed to be doctrine that is quoted by priests at the parish level based on JPIIs comments. The later cannot be squared with HG, but it can be squared with the soft edges of Nouvelle theology.
Harshness in doctrine kills, absolutely, but so does a fuzziness that reduces everything to vagaries that are suffocated in an avalanche of footnotes. That is somehow where the New Theology helped to take us, albeit unintentionally. I think it was right to point out the deficiencies of Scholasticism, but we now also need to appreciate the problems in the Nouvelle school that are very real as well. I am glad to see the reputation of Garrigou Lagrange being gradually rehabilitated (It is fascinating that he and Maritain were good friends.)
[Hat tip to JM]