The True Life, Sociology of the Supernatural by Luigi Sturzo (review)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS 103 will agree with the impartiality and good judgment generally shown by the editor. This compilation can be highly recommended to all who are genuinely interested in a lasting peace, for "the reader who tempts to draw the plan of a good peace without consideration of the moral realities which are treated in this volume, has not a right understanding of the nature and sub­ stance of a good peace.” The book again proves that the Roman Pontiffs are faithful representatives of the Prince of Peace. T h eo d o re R o e m e r , O. F. M. Ca p. St. Lawrence College, Mount Calvary, Wis. The True Life, Sociology of the Supernatural. By Luigi Sturzo. (Washington, D. G : The Catholic University of America Press; Paterson, N. J.: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1943. Pp. 312. $3 00.) Don Sturzo’s latest work will not generally be accepted as of sociological significance by the highpriests of American Sociology. Except by such men as Sorokin and the few Christian and Catholic thinkers in the craft, The True Life will probably be relegated to scientific oblivion — on the ground that it betrays an a priori theological fixation, and hence is scientifically inhibiting. To those who seek genuinely realistic approaches to the study of society it will, however, be a godsend. Sociology as "the study of society in the concrete” must analyze and synthesize all elements of social living. With that premise most sociologists will agree. But their concurrence is based on their peculiar connotation of the term "concrete.” For Sturzo "society in the concrete” embraces the living community of persons acting, reacting, and interacting on and with one another, and undergoing conditioning from material and spiritual forces of whatever provenance. The author sees human life, and hence social life, thoroughly compenetrated with the divine. To study social relationships and processes, he points out, one must recognize the subject — man in his social environment — as tied to God, as being turned and led by God, Whose magnetism most insistently attracts and affects mankind’s direction. Taking this realistic stand, Father Sturzo traces a broad pattern of social behavior trailing from the dim past to the present historic moment, and through it all he points out the finalism of a divine plan. Consciously or not, all men (whether as individuals, groups, associations, nations or civilizations) who press on after the true and the good are in reality seeking the fulfil­ ment and enrichment of their finite selves in God. They seek the true life. There has been no moment of history but when the supernatural and the natural interweave. The first social beings were placed on a supernatural plane, and mankind was restored to that level by the Incarnate God, Christ, the Firstborn and Climax of creation. From Christ the cosmos takes on its meaning. Chris­ tianity is a natively conditioning factor of society, for man, originally en­ dowed with grace and later forfeiting that higher life, has been immersed in an historic struggle to regain communion with God. It is a social factor, the social force. 104 FRANCISCAN STUDIES The author has little patience with the materialists who painstakingly re­ fuse the finalistic curve delineating the historic process of all peoples and civilizations. Such direction to the movements of society cannot be laid to any immanent or deterministic monism (as Hegel, Marx, and Spengler would have it) whether idealistic or materialistic; this direction unreels psychologi­ cally from the common human striving for satisfaction in truth and goodness, metaphysically from the creational connection between man’s personality and his proper object, whether God Himself or His works. Different races God has used as His tools in the long history of civilizational and cultural change, e. g., Jews, Egyptians, Greeks, Latins. Nations have destinies as vessels of honor or vessels of divine wrath. Though the groups, tribes, and nations assume the aspect of collectivities manipulated instrumentally by God, the real activating forces are the individuals who respond to their vocation. Society is the matrix, as well as the touchstone, designed by God as the proper culture to develop personality and attain vocation. Sanctification, the final subjective aim, is attached to a...


pdf