Fall 1969

Page 74

Robert L. Faricy, S.J.

The Volunlarist Tradition in Catholic Theo/ogy

The voluntarist tradition is based on the idea of the primacy of the wiU--"doing the truth" rather than "knowing the truth."

In the history of Catholic thought in the Western Church since the beginning of the Middle Ages, there are two general traditions which can be designated as the "intellectualist" tradition and the "voluntarist" tradition. The intellectualist tradition is based on the idea of the primacy of the intellect, and its highest values are the intellectual values: knowledge, truth, contemplation. It is represented by the whole broad spectrum of Thomist philosophers and theologians. Bernard Lonergan and Karl Rahner are two outstanding contemporary figures in the intellectualist tradition. For this tradition, man is primarily an intellectual being. For the voluntarist tradition, on the other hand, man is primarily a choosing and loving being; the voluntarist tradition is based on the idea of the 301