- Christian Spirituality and the Culture of Modernity: The Thought of Louis Dupré ed. by Peter J. Casarella, George P. Schner, S.J. (review)
- The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 64, Number 1, January 2000
- pp. 149-153
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS 149 and Tradition" and "Theological Reflections." Curiously, chapter 3, on chastity, is not so divided. There are a number of similar peculiarities of organization that distract the reader or make following the line of argument difficult. More puzzling are the unusual "words" employed throughout the text, for example capacitated (16), intercomplimentarity (21), and misassumed (42). This distraction is compounded by the odd use of hyphenated expressions, for example, part-mysteries (12), birth-event (16), mission-activity (24), charity-love (65), and Tri-personal (169), which are oxymoronic at best. Some ofthe expressions project a slightly naive image ofthe authors. Their optimism about the future of consecrated life in the preface lacks an exegesis of cultural awareness and evaluation (e.g., the numbers of vocations in developing countries must be examined in the light of human cultural advancement and existing resourcesfor proper religious formation ). Many readers may find the laudatory comments about the theological contribution of John Paul II somewhat hyperbolic (39). A seasoned veteran of the consecrated life might question the uniqueness of this text, but to post-Vatican II Catholics it represents an important link with the tradition. For younger members of institutes of consecrated life and prospective candidates, Christian Totality recapitulates the classical teaching on the vows, community life, the apostolate, and the meaning of consecration, in harmonious continuity with recent ecclesial insights and developments. This is a book worthy of note and could well serve as a basic text in any formation program. It draws together many strands of the tradition and successfully relates them to current magisterial teaching on the consecrated life. The authors have provided a great service at a time when religious life in so many parts of the world is at a crossroads. GABRIEL B. O'DONNELL, 0.P. St. Mary's Priory New Haven, Connecticut Christian Spirituality and the Culture of Modernity: The Thought of Louis Dupre. Edited by PETER}. CASARELLA and GEORGEP. SCHNER, S.J. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998. Pp. xii+ 352. $28.00 (paper). ISBN 0-8028-4590-8. Louis Dupre has written on an impressively wide variety of philosophical, cultural, and religious topics. His intellectual portfolio includes Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Rhenish and other varieties of mysticism, Scholastic and post-Scholastic philosophy, the relation between aesthetic and religious 150 BOOK REVIEWS experience, the ethical enormity of abortion, and that amorphous continent of puzzles he has called "the shape of modernity!' Throughout this gamut, however, run three leitmotifs. One is the theme of transcendence-another large, amorphous topic that, as Dupre noted in his book The Other Dimension (1972), assumes "various meanings in different contexts." Dupre has devoted himself particularly to the erosion of religious transcendence that, depending on how one approaches the issue, is either the motor for or an expression of modernity and the triumph of scientific rationality. "Our predicament," he wrote in Transcendent Selfhood (1976), is due not to a lack of faith but to a lack of inwardness. To profess a belief in God and to observe certain rules of ritual and moral conduct is not sufficient to regain it. Faith itself is permeated by objectivism. What is needed is a conversion to an attitude in which existing is more than taking, acting more than making, meaning more than function-an attitude in which there is enough leisure for wonder and enough detachment for transcendence. The nature of that desired attitude brings us to the second leitmotif in Dupre's work: the theme of passivity, what Heideggerians call Gelassenheit ("letting be") and the rest of us might approach by talking about "grace." Throughout Dupre's work we find the conviction that "in denying passivity and dependence we have excluded a deeper !eve! of existence." What we might call the active side of this return to passivity expresses itself in a revolt against objectivism-against the attitude that nature, including human nature, is material to be formed and manipulated according to human designs. Descartes gave classic expression to this attitude in his Discourse on Method when he promised that his "practical philosophy" would uncover the basic mechanical principles of natural phenomena and thereby render mankind "the masters and possessors of nature." Descartes...