Friday 25 October 2013

Faith, hope and love, 'informed' and 'uninformed'

Some of the ways of speaking of medieval theology sound atrocious to our ears today, as for example the doctrine of 'informed' and 'uninformed' acts of faith and hope. But reading 1 Cor 13, Paul's hymn to love, makes me realize why the medieval theologians felt compelled to talk in that way. Paul, as is well known, implies that we can have faith without love: "if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." In the systematic language of the medieval theologians, this becomes the doctrine of informed and uninformed acts: we can have acts of faith and hope even before receiving the 'theological' or 'infused' virtues of faith, hope and charity; but we can never have acts of charity without the infused virtue of charity. Or at least that is how it seems to me, on the basis of cursory reading of Lonergan's De ente supernaturali, his supplementary notes to Pere Bleau's notes on Grace. 

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