Tuesday, December 09, 2008
THE INFLUENCE OF JACQUES MARITAIN, AND THE SOURCE THAT INFLUENCED HIM
Jacques Maritain (18 November 1882–28 April 1973) was a French Catholic philosopher. He was a convert to Catholicism and the author of more than 60 books. He is responsible for reviving St. Thomas Aquinas for modern times and is a prominent drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Pope Paul VI presented his "Message to Men of Thought and of Science" at the close of Vatican II to Maritain, his long-time friend and mentor.
From Cross Currents:
Six years after the closing of Vatican II, when the Pope placed in the hands of Jacques Maritain the Council's message to the intellectuals of the world, and two years before his death at ninety-one, the aging philosopher published his last book On the Church of Christ. This book is a free and loving meditation on the Mystery of the Church, from his own perspective as a philosopher and an "inveterate" layman, as he liked to call himself. In the first half of his book, the author meditates on the "Person" of the Church because he felt that it was only after having shed a clear light on the supernatural "personality" of the Spouse of Christ that he could turn, in the second half of the book, to making the necessary distinction between the "Person" of the Church and its "Personnel." The title Maritain chose for the first chapter of the second half of his book is "The Person of the Church is Indefectibly Holy; Her Personnel is Not." He defined the "Personnel" of the Church as "that body of men who, by the fact that they belong to the secular or the regular clergy, are the officially appointed servants of the Church, and in particular those among them who, from the top to the bottom of the hierarchy, have the responsibility of authority over the Christian people." This Personnel, he writes, is neither indefectibly holy nor always free from error.
Jacques Maritain, French philosopher and intellectual, played a crucial role in the revival of Thomistic philosophy early in the twentieth century, as well as in reconciling the Catholic church and democratic institutions. Today conservatives commonly regard Maritain as a model of a docile Catholic intellectual.
Maritain was influenced by Leon Bloy.
Léon Bloy (Périgueux, July 11, 1846 - Bourg-la-Reine, November 3, 1917) was a French novelist, essayist, pamphleteer and poet. His works reflect a deepening devotion to the Roman Catholic Church and most generally a tremendous craving for the Absolute. His devotion to religion resulted in a complete dependence on charity; he acquired his nickname ("the ungrateful beggar") as a result of the many letters requesting financial aid from friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers, all the while carrying on with his literary work, in which his eight-volume Diary takes an important place. He was a friend of the author Joris-Karl Huysmans, the painter Georges Rouault, and the philosopher Jacques Maritain, and was instrumental in reconciling these intellectuals with Roman Catholicism.
From the Standord Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
In 1901, Maritain met Raïssa Oumansoff, a fellow student at the Sorbonne and the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. Both were struck by the spiritual aridity of French intellectual life and made a vow to commit suicide within a year should they not find some answer to the apparent meaninglessness of life. Bergson's challenges to the then-dominant positivism sufficed to lead them to give up their thoughts of suicide, and Jacques and Raïssa married in 1904. Soon thereafter, through the influence of the writer Léon Bloy, both Maritains sought baptism in the Roman Catholic Church (1906).
From a blog dedicated to Bloy:
Jacques Maritain wrote in December, 1949:
The French writer Léon Bloy, who called himself the Pilgrim of the Absolute, and who was a dear friend of mine...
From the Acton Institute:
Maritain was born in Paris in 1882 and later studied at the University of Paris. There he came under the influence of the philosopher Henri Bergson, who destroyed his philosophical skepticism, and the essayist and novelist Leon Bloy, who shared his Catholic faith with him. He married Raíssa Oumansoff in 1904, and together in 1906 they entered the Catholic Church.
From Leon Christiani, EVIDENCE OF SATAN IN THE MODERN WORLD:
Not long ago it would have seemed almost sacrilegious or, at least, an intolerable affront, even to suggest a possible connection between the ex-Abbe Boullan and the frenzied exaltations of the Mariavites, and the well-known author, Leon Bloy.none other than Lucifer in person..
But in 1957 there appeared an astonishing work by R. Barbeau, under the somewhat aggressive title: LEON BLOY: A PROPHET OF LUCIFER (Paris, Editions Montaigne, Aubier). For more than three years, says the author, he was a member of the 'Cercle Leon Bloy', of Montreal, which was led by Fr. Guy Corteau, S.J. Fr. Courteau considered that Bloy was the most suitable person to startle the 'bourgeois' from their apathy, and to lead the intellectuals back into the arms of the Church. We know of course, that at the beginning of the century Bloy's influence was considerable, and that persons of the intellectual quality of Jacques Maritain (and his wife), Pierre van der Meer, Leopold Levaux, Walcheren, and others, publicly proclaimed that their conversion was due to him....
His own illumination was derived, not from the Catholic Church as such, but from a poor woman, a prostitute by the name of Anne-Marie Roule, the Veronica of his novel LE DESESPERE.
He lived with her, and affirmed that he had converted her. She had supernatural visions before becoming completely unbalanced and ending her days in a mental hospital. Relying on this woman's faith, and on the revelations he believed to be contained in the Secret of Melanie Calvat, the mystic of La Salette, he declared himself convinced of the imminence of the Parousia, the end of the world. And this end of the world would consist of the coming of the Paraclete, who would be
Such extravagance falls little short of the most intolerable blasphemy. Yet the whole of Barbeau's book tends to show that this was the central and dominant concept in Bloy's mind, a concept which he considered as his own 'secret', which he therefore dissimulated, although it secretly inspired all his writing.
Constantly disappointed at not being able to be present at the event for which he felt it his mission to pave the way, he wrote in his BIOGRAPHY (published for Joseph Bollery by Albin-Michel, 1947): 'All that I can find in myself is a bitter, savage resentment against a God who has shown himself so cold and ungrateful....I should be ashamed to treat the mangiest of curs in the way God treats me' (I. 428-429).
He believed, in fact, that God the Father was an imperious and pitiless master, that God the Son could do no more than make good the work in which the Father had so lamentably failed, and that the Holy Ghost alone would inaugurate the reign of universal Love.
Leon Bloy was, after his own fashion, remodeling the fantasies of Satan with the Holy Ghost which is so shocking.
Leon Bloy is immensely proud of having been the only one--he was so often in this unique position--to have understood Satan's true nature. From the moment he realised that Satan was the Third Person of the Trinity, it is not surprising to find him crediting him with enormous powers....
'He, [Satan] is between our lips and in our cups; he takes his seat at our banquets and feeds us full of horrors in the midst of our triumphs; he lurks in the obscurest depths of the marriage bed; he ravages and sullies every feeling, every hope, all whitness, all virginity and all glory. His chosen throne is the golden calyx of love in flower, and his sweetest balm the purple hearth of love in flame. (pp. 188-190)
And finally from Lucio Mascarenhas:
When we consider the two versions of the lives of Guenon ("Rene Guenon and Roman Catholicism" & "The Occult World of Rene Guenon"), both provided by Mr. William H. Kennedy, it becomes obvious that Guenon, at least, was self-centered and an egoist, which is why he quarreled with his Jesuit teachers, and then began to dabble in, and be open to various heterodox influences. It is also true that Guenon formally became a Freemason, and that he cooperated with a Theosophist — Gerard Encausse aka Papus — from 1906 until Papus' death in 1916. By contrast, Guenon's collaboration with Jacques Maritain in "refuting" Theosophy came rather late in the day—1921!