The Return of Neo-Scholasticism?: Recent Criticisms of Henri de Lubac on Nature and Grace and Their Significance for Moral Theology, Politics, and Law
- Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics
- The Society of Christian Ethics
- Volume 35, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2015
- pp. 83-100
- Additional Information
Henri de Lubac’s (1896–1991) treatment of the relationship between nature and grace helped the Catholic Church to move beyond the antagonisms that had defined its relationship with the modern nation-state. In critiquing de Lubac, some recent scholarship has presented an interpretation of Aquinas that is remarkably similar to the problems associated with the neo-Scholastic method. These approaches indicate that in order for late modern democratic states to achieve their connatural ends of justice and the common good, they must directly advert to revealed knowledge and Church teaching. This essay proposes an alternative correction to de Lubac that both maintains a distinction between nature and grace and facilitates a capacity for Christians to engage in a nuanced dialogue of affirmation and critique of the human goods sought by late modern political and legal institutions. In the conclusion, this nature-grace distinction is used to analyze the way the US Catholic Bishops have engaged in moral, political, and legal debates over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.