Antonio Rosmini: Once Under a Cloud, Now Blessed Print
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 19 November 2007 06:55
A new blessed with a fascinating story: Antonio Rosmini (1797 - 1855)

"He was a priest, a religious and the founder of two religious Orders (the Institute or Society of Charity and the Sisters of Providence). He was an encyclopaedic thinker, author of more than a hundred works, constituting a type of summa totius christianitatis [a summa of the whole of Christianity] both philosophical and theological (Michele Federico Sciacca’s analogy). He was the embodiment of charity (which for him meant love of God) on all levels, temporal (he supported the poor of all types), intellectual (he provided intellectual nourishment) and spiritual (he helped the spiritually needy). . .

In order to fulfil his evangelical mission of intellectual charity Rosmini chose a language and method more in harmony with the times, but he remained solidly anchored to the genuine values, of authentic Christian tradition: he fostered the essence of the faith in Augustine and Thomas, and in drawing on it, he enriched it, but he initiated a method which can be summarised by saying that while preceding schools had started with God to arrive at man, I have started with man to reach God.


The new language, the upside down method, his interest in democratic movements, together with appropriate ideas, which later turned out to be prophetic, aroused some apprehension in traditional Catholic circles, in which we clearly see today both the short sightedness of his adversaries’ views and the confusion between the message and the new means in which it was communicated. They feared that the teaching of Rosmini would lead to a distortion in Catholic dogma and attempt to introduce democracy into the Church."


The result was a 152 year seesaw:

1849: his two books Le cinque piaghe della santa Chiesa [The Five Wounds of Holy Church] and La Costituzione secondo la giustizia sociale [The Constitution according to Social Justice] were put on the Index of prohibited books.

1854: After a thorough examination under Pius IX, his works were declared free from ecclesiastical censure.

"After the death of Pius IX Rosmini’s adversaries got his works examined a second time. This time the outcome satisfied them because it carried a condemnation, though precautionary, of forty propositions taken from many of his works, with the explanation that “they did not appear to be in harmony with Catholic truth”.

the 60's: In Vatican Council II some bishops hailed him as a prophetic figure. The Popes who followed Pius XII all spoke of him with esteem and appreciation, until the time came for the pontifical commissions to re-examine his works.

2001: "After three commissions, each lasting about two years, there came the outcome of the Nota of the Congregation of July 2001. This officially canceled the reservations established in 1888. Basically it said that the forty propositions had been prohibited as a precautionary measure because it was necessary that time and study should clarify their exact meaning."

This is what comes of being part of a communion that takes the lo-o-o-o-o-ong view.

A century and a half was needed in order that the person of Rosmini, removed from the passions and partisan views of the time, might be seen as a clear and holy thinker, while no one who had experienced it ever hesitated to doubt his holiness.

Which is a good reminder for us who are definitely caught up in a time of "passions and partisan views".