Cardinal Joseph Siri. Gethsemane: The Origins and Rise of the Intellectual Revolution in the Church. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2022. Paperback $19.95. Ebook $9.99. Available from the publisher.
This watershed work sifts through heresies and affirms true Catholic teaching. In a time with so much disunity, Cardinal Siri’s words remind us that we need a new evangelization.
In his review of this definitive book, Marcel Clement wrote "Under the influence of thinkers whose names are familiar and whom one believes to be without impact because they have been dead a long time (Vico, Kant), modern or quite contemporary theologians have interpreted and distorted the knowledge that Christ communicated about himself. While keeping the words of the Gospel, explanatory theories have been built which change the content of these words. Thanks to a large number of fictitious arguments, a direct or indirect contestation, hidden or admitted, of the integral reality of the 'Son of God' has been raised in the Christian consciousness.” ("L'Homme Nouveau.")
Cardinal Siri exposes errors in Christology, as promulgated by theologians such as Henri de Lubac, Jacques Maritain, Karl Rahner, and Hans Kung. In so doing, he emphasizes the import of the supernatural and natural order.
Here, in one book, the faithful have theological and philosophical explanations about what the Church actually teaches and how to share it with others. They will be able to refute misconceptions that led to modernism, subjectivism, and secularization, along with an array of other untruths.
Cardinal Siri affirms dogmas, such as the Incarnation, Hypostatic Union, and Immaculate Conception. He lays out how to retain teachings regarding creation, grace, and salvation. Readers will learn important truths like why it is imperative to recognize original sin and man’s need for salvation.
Most importantly, Cardinal Siri reminds readers to adore God and remain small before the mystery of the Divine Essence. "It is only in Gethsemane's enclosure that theology can be divested of all vain, intellectual dilection, of all dead letter and of all the schemes of congealed thought, of all dryness of heart.”
Marcel Clement continues, enthusing that this book is “a privileged example of that new strength of the Church, wise and sovereign critique and fully apt at exercising her discernment as regards the different 'novelties.' Some of the causes which engendered the 'crisis of the Church' especially in the intellectual order—I mean theological—have not yet been able to be put in sufficient light. . . . Cardinal Siri gives to all Catholics, and more broadly to all Christians, an instrument of culture which is absolutely unique. Those in the Church who exercise a responsibility which requires discernment regarding the theological currents of our times must read, or rather meditate these pages. In the service of the Gospel, this work—relatively easy reading moreover—can cause those who complete it to gain several years. Sooner or later certainly, the light diffused by this work will spread in the whole Church.”
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