The great moral dilemmas of our own day are vividly presented and acutely analysed in a work that clearly foresaw the moral confusion about to fall on our Western civilization. Is conscience the final arbiter of morality? How can false and upright consciences be distinguished? What is to be done in cases of doubtful morality? Can human authority provide help in the formation of conscience?
Basing himself on “the system of truth” outlined in the New Essay Concerning the Origin of Ideas, Rosmini sums up his own position in these words: “There is a light in the human being, and a light that is the human being: the light in the human being is… the law of truth; the light that is the human being is an upright conscience… we become light when we share in the law of truth by means of an upright conscience in conformity with truth”. How we become that light is the concern of this book.
Thus, the beatification of Fr. Rosmini is both the closing of an era and the beginning of a new one. The long, dark days of the “Rosminian Question” have been swept away by the light shed by the Documents of Vatican II and the subsequent statements from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, especially the “Nota” issued on 1st July 2001 by the will of John Paul II and with the signatures of the Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger and Tarcisio Bertone:
“The reasons for anxiety and doctrinal doubts that prompted the promulgation of the decree “Post Obitum” – [condemning 40 propositions taken from works published mainly after Fr. Rosmini’s death] – are now to be considered obsolete, since it is clear that what was thought to be motivation for doubts and difficulties does not belong properly to the authentic position of Rosmini”.
It has now become obvious to every unbiased Catholic philosopher or theologian that Fr. Rosmini’s vast literary production not only does not contain anything which is not in perfect accordance with the doctrines of the Church but that it actually makes a tremendous contribution for a deeper and clearer understanding based on strong and solid philosophical and theological principles.
philosophical study and reflection. Written for the most part
towards the end of his life and running to five volumes, it
was never completed. His intent is to investigate being in all
its extension and forms.
Vol. 2 Investigates trine being — being, both infinite and
finite, manifests itself in three forms: real, ideal and moral.
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity, as three in one, finds a
place in such a study.
Antonio Rosmini is the greatest, most original, prophetic Catholic thinker of the last few centuries, little known in the English-speaking world. Following the advice of Popes and Cardinals, he wrote extensively on philosophy, theology, and spirituality, and his teaching is extremely relevant to the major issues confronting the world and the Church of today. His books on spirituality are firmly rooted on Scripture from which they draw the perennial call to holiness, and the means for achieving it through the three steps of purification from sin, constant exercise of the virtues, and union with God. His books on philosophy are full of light for the enquiring mind, ranging from the problem of Truth and Epistemology, to the foundation of Morality, of Right, of Politics, of Natural Anthropology and Natural Religion, and of the Essence of the Human Soul. His work on Theosophy is a most profound study of “being”, in its three modes – ideal being, real being, moral being. Faith and Reason, for Rosmini, far from being in opposition are in fact the two wings which allow human beings to rise from the natural to the supernatural world, the one calling on the other, faith calling on reason and reason on faith. His theological masterpiece is undoubtedly the Supernatural Anthropology, which deals with grace, with the “supernatural person”, and with the Sacraments. Other important works deal with the Church, in particular with the “wounds” of the Church.