Scholars Discuss Predestination and Thomism

Scholars Discuss Predestination and Thomism

Last week, the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal and the Thomistic Institute hosted a theological symposium on “Thomism and Predestination” at Ave Maria University. The three-day symposium peaked with Tuesday evening’s keynote address by Fr. Serge-Thomas Bonino, OP, “Contemporary Thomism Through the Prism of the Theology of Predestination.”

[Left to Right: Michael Timmis (Chairman of the Board, Ave Maria University),  Francis Rooney (former US Ambassador to the Holy See), and Michael Novak (former US Ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights).] 

The conference opened in the morning on Monday, January 25th, with a graduate student panel featuring Matthew Briel (University of Scranton), Matthew Kuhner (Ave Maria University), and Taylor O’Neill (Ave Maria University). Fr. Cajetan Cuddy, OP, of the Thomistic Institute moderated the morning panel.

“Presenting on Monday morning was an immense honor,” Kuhner said in reflection. “Not least because of the many world-class scholars in attendance. Discussing one’s work with these men and women afforded an incomparable opportunity for growth as a student and scholar.  As for the remainder of the Symposium,” he went on, “what a rich exploration of such a complex and important topic!”

Monday afternoon, Dr. Charles Raith (John Brown University) moderated a panel featuring Ave Maria University professors Roger Nutt and Michael Dauphinais, who presented papers on “St. Thomas on the Predestination of Christ” and “The Revelation of Sonship: Notes on Predestination from Aquinas’ Commentary on Ephesians,” respectively.

Summarizing the events last week, Dr. Dauphinais, Associate Professor and Chair of Theology at AMU, said that the symposium “collected faithful Catholic scholars who drew upon the rich sources of the theological tradition.” These sources, he continued, included “Scripture, St. Thomas Aquinas, later saints such as St. Francis de Sales, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and St. Louis de Montfort, and the recent magisterial teachings of the Church.”

On Monday afternoon and Tuesday, the following three panels also took place:

Monday, January 25th 

Panel 2: Dr. Michael Pakaluk (Ave Maria University), moderator

Dr. Lawrence Feingold (Kenrick-Glennon Seminary), “The Role of Operative and Cooperative Graces in Predestination”

Dr. Thomas Osborne (University of St. Thomas, Houston), “Why Sin Escapes God’s Premotion: The Contribution of Diego Alvarez and Tomas de Lemos” 

 Tuesday, January 26th 

Panel 3: Dr. W. Matthews Grant (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota), moderator

Fr. Romanus Cessario, OP (St. John’s Seminary), “The Grace of Predestination” 

Dr. Joseph Trabbic (Ave Maria University), “Why the Thomistic Doctrine of Praemotio Physica Doesn’t Compromise Divine Transcendence”

Fr. Christopher Cullen, SJ (University of Fordham), “The Thomism of St. Ignatius and the Spiritual Exercises”

Panel 4: Fr. Cajetan Cuddy (Thomistic Institute), moderator 

Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP (Dominican House of Studies), “Catholic Predestination: The Omnipotence and Innocence of Divine Love” 

Dr. Steven Long (Ave Maria University), “St. Thomas Aquinas, Divine Causality, and the Mystery of Predestination” 

Read about the rest of the Symposium events and an account of Fr. Bonino’s keynote address here.