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Nicolás López Martínez e-mail(Inicie sesión)

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Nicolás López Martínez e-mail(Inicie sesión)


The author examines the reception of Aeterni Patris and its influence on the plan of studies of the Conciliar Seminary of Burgos.

Considering the people who were then in overall control of the Seminary - the archbishop, D. Anastasio Rodrigo Yusto, and the Rector, Dr. Manuel González Peña - one would have expected the encyclical to have had more of an impact. Indeed, the archbishop - a thomist and a trained theologian - gives the Encyclical a warm welcome in his presentation of the document in the ecclesiastical Bulletin. And shortly afterwards, in a letter to Leo XIII, he expresses his agreement with the project of intellectual renewal, under the sign of the doctrine of St. Thomas.

González Peña - a figure of considerable prestige in the Church in Burgos - was known for his "genuine thomism, insofar as this implies going back to Aquinas' philosophy, not to reproduce literally the doctrine of the mediaeval scholastics, but rather to enrich it with the great scientific achievements of modern times."

Nevertheless, history does not confirm the hopes to which this situation could have given rise. The Encyclical found the Burgos seminary in the final phase of a long period of difliculty, just as it was overcoming the vocational and economic crises. But, on the intellectual level, there was still felt a considerable adverse influence due to State influence which to a great extent controlled the academic syllabus and the text-books. The basic texts were Liberatore for Philosophy and Perrone for Theology; seme use was made of Balmes' Fundamental Philosophy. And if we add to this scheme of rote learning from manuals the fact that a good part of the philosophy course consisted in studying mathematics, physics and chemistry, one readily sees that the "Thomism" of this syllabus was a long way from the spirit of the Aeterni Patris.

The academies of philosophy and theology were the only hope of providing a counter-balance to the rote learning, but the thomism taught there was equally doubtful.

It would however be unjust to conclude that Aeterni Patris was simply ignored: it caused a certain concern to ensure a good philosophical preparation of the students, and the general trend of the teaching - especially towards the end of the century - was thomist. But it is clear that the encyclical did not provoke a concern to introduce strictly thomistic education, although one could not say that other schools of thought held dominant positions. The academic authorities probably considered that the education imparted was already sufficiently thomistic to comply with the demands and recomendations of Leo XIII.


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Detalles del artículo

I. Estudios históricos