Jacques Maritain
#1
From July, 1952 issue of The Point, edited under Fr. Leonard Feeney, M.I.C.M.

All issues of The Point can be downloaded from the link in my signature.

Good Night, Sweet Princeton!

Maritainism is a system of thought which allows Catholics to be both Catholic and acceptable in the drawing rooms of Protestant and Jewish philosophers. Maritainism is not a seeking and a finding of the Word made flesh. It is a perpetual seeking for un-fleshed truth in an abstract scheme called Christianity. Maritainism is the scrapping of the Incarnation in favor of a God Whose overtures to us never get more personal or loving than the five rational proofs for His existence. This plot to encourage only pre-Bethlehem interest in God takes its name from its perpetrator, that highly respected religious opportunist, Jacques Maritain.

The slightest acquaintance with Maritain’s history is sufficient to indicate how awry he must be in his Catholicism. He is a former Huguenot who married a Jewish girl named Raïssa. During their student days in Paris, both Jacques and Raïssa felt a double pull in the general direction of belief. Intellectually they were attracted to the religious self-sufficiency of a Jewish intuitionist named Henri Bergson. Sociologically they were attracted to the spurious Catholicism of Leon Bloy, a French exhibitionist who made a liturgy of his own crudeness and uncleaness and tried to attach it to the liturgy of the Church. At some point in their association with an unbaptized Bergson and an unwashed Bloy, the Maritains figured out that there was a promising future ahead of them in Catholicism.

Jacques Maritain is noted for his solemn-high, holier-than-thou appearance. For this reason, more than one priest reports that by the time a Maintain lecture is over, any priest who is present has been made to feel that the Roman collar is around the wrong neck and that perhaps he, the priest, ought to put on a necktie and kneel for Maritain’s blessing.

One explanation of Maritain’s distant expression is that he fancies himself to be the Drew Pearson of the Christian social order. Judging by Maritain’s passion for the abstract, the fulfillment of all his prophecies will come in an era when mothers can sing such songs as “Rock-a-bye Baby, on the Dendrological Zenith,” and children recite such bedtime prayers as “The Hail Mariology.”

Jacques Maritain prefers Thomism to Saint Thomas Aquinas and, similarly, he much prefers the notion of the papacy to the person of the Pope. He could not, however, turn down the prestige of an appointment as French ambassador to the Vatican. Maritain went to Rome, but he protected himself against over exposure to Italian faith by visits to Dr. George Santayana. In Maritain, Santayana recognized a brother, the kind of European intellectual cast-off that is annually being grabbed-up by American Universities.

That Jacques Maritain should now be found preaching at Princeton University is not so strange. It did not require too much insight on Princeton’s part to see that a Catholic who hates Franco, speaks at Jewish seminaries, and favors “theocentricity” in place of Jesus, would be a bizarre, but harmless, addition to anybody’s faculty club.

Perhaps Princeton realized also that a Catholic’s admirers are a good measure of his militancy. Among Maritain’s more prominent sympathizers are John Wild, Charles Malik and Mortimer Adler, who are, respectively, an Anglican, a Greek schismatic, and a Jew. Naturally Maritain could not insult intellectuals like these by telling them that although they are outside the Church they can get into Heaven because of their “invincible ignorance.” It was necessary that Maritain concoct a new way of getting around the dogma, “No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church.”

After a lot of abstract deliberation, Maritain decided that a man could be “invisibly, and by a motion of his heart, a member of the Church, and partake of her life, which is eternal life.” According to Maritain’s new covenant, the important salvation-actions in our world are no longer a head bowed to the waters of Baptism, a hand raised in Absolution, a tongue outstretched to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. “A motion of his heart,” says Maritain, is all that is required before a man may partake of eternal life.

The Sacred Heart might have saved Himself a lot of inconvenience had He only known this, one Friday afternoon on Calvary.
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#2
I can only reply that I have read one of Maritain's books :- (he was recommended by a NO gatholic priest) and it's effect on me was like a charge of static electricity:- all the hairs on my body seemed to stick straight out and abraid my clothes. I admit that I only read it once and that it may have been used to light the home fire. The only other thing that affected me so badly was Cardinal Cassaroli's writings in L'Osservatore Romano around 1980. I'd even managed to read some of Teilhard de Chardin without the adverse reactions- thinking that "this is so silly that no-one would take it seriously". [I was wrong about that]. But the ground had been prepared by the modernists so well that deChardin took off like a rocket.
Ah bugger! No-one knows or cares about any of these things anymore.
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#3
Oops!
It was Villot that frightened me out of the seminary, not Cassaroli.
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#4
Wasn't this man's ideas condemned before the Second Vatican Council?
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#5
(10-25-2009, 08:32 PM)CatholicThurifer Wrote: Wasn't this man's ideas condemned before the Second Vatican Council?

Teilhard's were but I've never heard that Maritain's were. Indeed he was a prominent Thomist philosopher during the period, IIRC.

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#6
Yes indeed!
Maritain was said to be a Thomist and I think that Paul VI revered him as such. However, it seemed to me that he was trying to graft modernism into Thomism: rather like Karl Rahner, Ed Schillebeex (not the right spelling of his name), Hans Kung and myriad others. We've got to give them credit for being clever since they have been undeniably successful.
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#7
Maritain wrote some fruitloop paper arguing the possibility that the damned will achieve 'reconciliation' with God at the end of time. That is, whilst they would never be admitted to the Beatific Vision, other punishments would be 'lifted', i.e.: the pain of sense.

Seems rather similar to the approach of Balthasar, and the Limbo-deniers and so on. Only grab onto the bear ''esentials'' of what has been ''defined'' (oftentimes a nit-picky minimilist reading even of such solemn definitions), and work your way around ''the rest''.

Haven't seen the paper I read this on wikipedia on his bio. page some time back.
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#8
I think that it's not the "loopy" stuff that's the threat but all that which is tailored to seem orthodox but which is cleverly engineered to cast doubt on the orthodox. Rahner was something of an expert. As one reviewer I read about 35 years ago put it: " Rahner walks around the doctrine biting his finger and leveling all criticisms (of the doctrine) then retreats saying "but Rome says........" ".
It' a very successful ploy: just about all the purveyors of subtle nonsense use it.
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#9
10 bucks says none of you have read Maritain, or Rahner (not that I would recommend it without having taken Tylenol beforehand).
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#10
It should be noted on Mortimer Adler's behalf that he converted to Catholicism near the end of his life.
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