Issue 101/4 (2020) of the magazine “Gregorianum” is available, quarterly published by the Gregorian University. To purchase individual items:

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Ľuboš Rojka, S.I., The Sempiternity of God and Cosmic Time

Abstract - The concept of a sempiternal God in Open Theism has considerable advantages in comparison with the classical timeless conception. The problem is that it requires presentism and absolute time which causes difficulties in the ontology of time and contemporary cosmology, especially in its integration with Minkowski space-time. Cosmological theories tend naturally towards eternalism. D. M. Woodruff argues that the existence of the future in Minkowski space-time is unwarranted and D. Zimmerman that its time-dimension is not real time. W. L. Craig defends more problematic neo-Lorentzian relativity with a unique cosmic time and Newtonian concept of absolute time. The advantage is that Craig has a much broader vision extended from science (Relativity and Quantum Theory) to metaphysics and theology, which can serve as a guideline for a sempiternalist and which indicates the topics of possible improvement in dialogue with new developments in science.

Keywords: God, time, sempiternity, eternity, cosmology


Robert Theis, Christian Wolff: Von der Ontologie zur Theologie – und zurück

Abstract - Die nachzuweisende These des Beitrags besteht darin, dass der Grundbegriff der Wolff’schen Ontologie, nämlich der Begriff des Möglichen die ontologische und metaphysische Bedingung seiner Möglichkeit in etwas Wirklichem, spezieller in einer höchsten Wirklichkeit hat. Nachdem in einem ersten Schritt Begriff und Struktur der Metaphysik nach Wolff geklärt worden sind, steht in einem zweiten Schritt die Rekonstruktion des Begriffs des Möglichen im Mittelpunkt. In einem dritten Schritt wird gezeigt, dass der Grundbegriff des Möglichen selber mit Notwendigkeit auf eine theologische Voraussetzung führt. Auf diese Weise soll, viertens, aufgewiesen werden, inwiefern das Mögliche, obwohl es, in der Ordnung des Erkennens, erste ontologische Bestimmung des Seienden ist, in der Ordnung des Seins in etwas wirklich Existierendem als der Bedingung seiner ontologischen Möglichkeit gründet.

Schlüsselwörter: Ontologie – Metaphysik –Mögliches –Wirkliches – Theologie


Riccardo Campa – Christopher Corbally – Margaret Boone Rappaport, Electronic persons. It is premature to grant personhood to machines but never say never

Abstract - The proposal by the Committee on Legal Affairs (CLA) of the European Parliament to create a specific legal status for robots, aimed at granting the status of ‘electronic persons’ to the most sophisticated autonomous ones, has triggered a discussion on whether machines can achieve self-consciousness and free will. In particular, several Catholic thinkers have expressed perplexity about this hypothesis. Their criticism is often based on the postulates of Thomistic philosophical anthropology. In this article, after showing the magnitude of the debate by means of scientometric tools, we argue that it is premature to grant personhood rights to intelligent machines, but we also underline that, given the rapid development of artificial intelligence, we should consider the plausibility of this scenario in the future. This is the case because contemporary sciences – in particular biology and computer science – pose a serious challenge to Thomistic anthropology and its modern derivations. We are also persuaded that the Catholic tradition is rich enough to make room for less rigid ideas about personhood and human nature. It seems advantageous to take into account the evolutionary perspective elaborated by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, in particular, his idea of the ‘Noosphere’, that is, of a thinking planet that emerges thanks to the symbiotic evolution of humanity and machines, opening the door to the recognition of non-human persons and entrusting the mission of co-creators to human beings.

Keywords: Electronic persons, artificial consciousness, Thomistic anthropology, mechanical phyla, Noosphere.


Gabriel Mmassi, S.I., A centenary of ecclesiological itinerary at the Pontifical Gregorian University (Part 1). From the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ to the Post-conciliar Church: a view by Sebastian Tromp and Angel Anton

Abstract - This commemorative article, develope in two main parts, and still part of the centenary of the Gregorianum, surveys the contributions of a number of ecclesiologists at the Pontifical Gregorian University. The current piece draws on Sebastian Tromp and Angel Anton, and, as such, is basically reflective of pre- and post- Vatican II ecclesiological perspectives respectively. If the former dwells largely on the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ, the latter brings out powerfully the budding post-conciliar ecclesiological debate. Consequently, the reflection envisages nuances, which, while holding the two positions together, clearly holds them apart on a number of issues, thus projecting an intricate ecclesiological thinking.

Keywords: ecclesiology, Sebastian Tromp, Angel Anton


Ana Petrache, (Fausse) Eschatologie et théologie politique         

Abstract - This paper focuses on the concept of false eschatology, as it appears in the work of Carl Schmitt, Gaston Fessard and Johan Baptist Metz. So far, no study has been done concerning the polemical concept of false eschatology. Zooming in on the concept of false eschatology, based on a progressive philosophy of history, refusing the idea of an end of time and appearing in three different models of political theology, this paper argues that eschatological imagery is essential in the construction of political theology and, moreover that, a false eschatology might be responsible for false political theologies. Through the mediation of the Hegelian Aufhebung, secularization is to be understood as a dialectic process, who immanentizes the eschaton in different political theologies. While the three authors agree concerning the meaning of secularization, they disagree concerning eschatological imagery and these differences may explain different political theologies.

Keywords: eschatology, political theology, dialectic, secularization, progress, Aufhebung.


Aaron Pidel, S.I., Jerome Nadal’s Apologia for Interreligious Spiritual Exercises and its Contemporary Implications

Abstract - This article argues that the Jesuit Jerome Nadal’s Apologia for the Spiritual Exercises (c.1555) provides a positive yet limited precedent for giving the Spiritual Exercises interreligiously. Responding to criticisms that the Exercises’ election process requires a quasi-Lutheran certainty regarding the exercitant’s state of grace, Nadal replies that the Exercises could be extended to those in whom sanctifying grace cannot be safely presumed, especially Jews and Muslims. He recommends distilling various exercises to their natural-law principles while waiting for a probable sign, in the form of spiritual consolation, of the operation of supernatural charity in the exercitant. Nadal’s position on giving the Exercises interreligiously thus differs from the strategies proposed in the contemporary Anglophone conversation, as evident in the writings of Reiser, Haight, and Cline.

Keywords: Jerónimo Nadal, Ignatius Loyola, Roger Haight, William Reiser, Erin Cline, Spiritual Exercises, Interreligious, Nature, Grace


Marc Rastoin, S.I., Antijudaism and European nationalism – The case of the Society of Jesus under Acquaviva

Abstract - In 1593, the Society of Jesus adopted the Spanish statutes of purity of blood which Saint Ignatius and his successors had opposed since the foundation of the Society. European nationalism was on the rise and is partly responsible for the decision. How and why the Society did changed its policy on such a delicate matter? And why on that particular year? In France, opposition to Spain was a big argument of the party supporting Henri IV and it was a common slur that Spaniards were «all Jews». In 1590, graffiti was found written on Paris wall: ‘Pereat Societas Iudaica cum gente ibera’. In Spanish ruled Portugal, it was very convenient to foster anti-converso feelings in order to oppose Spain. In Spain itself, the party pushing for discrimination felt it got top political support. In Italy moreover, there had been for over twenty years a growing dissatisfaction against Spanish superiors. Father General Acquaviva used this heterogeneous coalition to secure his grip on power. The old trick did it again: anti-Judaism was used to crush opposition, ironically, however, in Portugal, Spain and France, Jews were officially outlaws.

Keywords: Society of Jesus, Conversos, Acquaviva, 5th GC, nationalism.



Neil Ormerod, Method in Theology: «all my work has been introducing history into Catholic theology»

Abstract – Many people who read Bernard Lonergan’s Method in Theology are aware of the concerns that led its author to produce his work. Those concerns revolved around the best way in which to integrate history into theology. Lonergan struggled with this question from his first doctoral studies, to the breakthrough that made the writing of Method possible. This paper traces the development of his thought with particular attention to material from his graduate seminars on theological method from his years at the Gregorian University. This is a narrative of struggle, insight and breakthrough culminating in his final settled position in Method.

Keywords: Lonergan, history, theological method, Aquinas, doctrine, systematic theology


Valter Danna, Bernard Lonergan e papa Francesco: incontro di orizzonti aperti sul futuro del Cristianesimo

AbstractThe text highlights fundamental nuclei of the thought and pastoral practice of Pope Francis in the light of the thought of Bernard Lonergan. Lived in later periods, both seek to formulate an effective process of thought and action in the present and future of the Church and humanity. The Pontiff speaks often of the importance of conversion and reform in the Church, as a requirement for fulfilling its mission. On this matter, he quotes the Word of God, while stressing also the importance of discerning the signs of the times. It is possible to read this challenge in the light of Bernard Lonergan’s categories of subject, horizon and intentionality. This attentiveness to interiority allows theology to be attentive to the transformations of culture in the contemporary world and to respond to these in an evangelical way. Bernard Lonergan, therefore, can be considered an ally of Pope Francis in activating those «processes of people building» that can transform the Church and society.

Keywords: Pope Francis, Bernard Lonergan, mission and reform of the Church, mission and reform of theology, discernment, signs of the times


Robert M. Doran, S.I., Redemption as End and Redemption as Mediation

Abstract – This article explores the distinction between redemption as end and redemption as mediation introduced by Bernard Lonergan in lectures delivered at the Pontifical Gregorian University between 1955-1965. Regarding redemption as end, the author states: «it is the redemption of human history itself in the reign of God in accord with the social grace that is manifest whenever, and to the extent that, the scale of values is realized in history». Regarding redemption as mediation, the author focuses on the person of Jesus Christ and the events of the crucifixion and resurrection. He states: «These events are redemptive mediation. They are also revelatory events displaying a universal pattern through which the reign of God is advanced, a pattern of returning good for evil and so transforming the evil into a greater good». He comments on how Pope Francis helps to model the evangelical role of the Church, both in encyclicals such as Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si’ and in a pastoral practice: «which continues to mediate the reign of good through the suffering that returns good for evil».

Keywords: Bernard Lonergan, redemption, law of the cross, scale of values, social grace, history, church.


Randall S. Rosenberg, Theology as a sapiential way of life: Hadot and Lonergan

Abstract – This essay highlights Pierre Hadot’s recovery of ancient philosophy through the lens of spiritual exercises. As the love of wisdom, philosophy provided a set of practices which nurtured a commitment to ongoing conversion from the causes that disrupt human flourishing. Mindful of Hadot’s challenge, this essay draws on the work of Bernard Lonergan to present an account of theology as a sapiential way of life. It argues that one way of contributing to this sapiential challenge is to reframe philosophical and theological wisdom as a praxis of anthropological, cosmological, and soteriological meaning.

Keywords: Pierre Hadot, Bernard Lonergan, wisdom, theology, philosophy, praxis, law of the cross, conversion



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