Catholicism; A Study of Dogma in relation to the Corporate Destiny of Mankind
London: Burns Oates Washbourne, 1950. First edition. Octavo, original blue cloth, blue top edge, original dust jacket. Early owner signature to blank flyleaf, neat underlining and marginal notes to early chapters, gentle toning, slight creasing and chipping to original jacket. Very good indeed. Item #1395
"REGARDED BY MANY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURIES' KEY THINKERS—WOJTYLA, RATZINGER, VON BALTHASAR—AS THE 'ONE INDISPENSIBLE TEXT'" (ROBERT ROYAL)
First edition in English of Henri de Lubac's influential study of the Fathers of the Church—a framework for the unity of the Church in the modern world. A handsome copy of a scarce and important book.
"At heart," the French Jesuit "represented a confidence in the ancient wisdom and tradition of the church and its ability, under the influence of the Spirit, to speak to the challenges of history" (Robert Ellsberg). Lubac's attempt to find a balance between individual piety and the larger ecclesial community was written in the 1930s but not translated into English until after World War II. "The organizing thesis of de Lubac's Catholicism is that the early Church, patristic sources, and great figures such as Augustine and Aquinas all speak of salvation, not in the exclusively individual terms that sometimes marked Catholic piety in the first half of the twentieth century, but in social terms that recognized the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ on its way toward its promised end" (Robert Royal).
The focus on the Fathers is apparent from the appendix, "Extracts, Mainly from Patristic Sources," which is placed before the text as a secondary table of contents, followed by de Lubac's Introduction, dated "Lyons, July 31, 1937 / Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola." The extracts from the Church Fathers provide witnesses for the text, which is divided into three parts: Part I: I. Dogma, II. The Church, III. The Sacraments, IV. Eternal Life. Part II: V. Christianity and History, VI. The Interpretation of Scripture, VII. Salvation through the Church, VIII. Predestination of the Church, IX. Catholicism. Part III: X. The Present Situation, XI. Person and Society, XII. Transcendence, Mysterium Crucis. The Extracts. With a Translator's Note by Lancelot C. Sheppard acknowledging the fourth French edition (Paris, 1947) as the source of this edition. Approbations. Ellsberg, All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time. Royal, A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century. McLean, A Bibliography of Christian Philosophy and Contemporary Issues, 103.