It is a pleasure to introduce students to Monsignor Ricardo Coronado-Arrascue and in particular to his excellent article below on the relationship of human nature to God, otherwise known as Christian anthropology. In this article (click here to read the article in full) the Monsignor traces the history of the Catholic doctrine of the relationship between free will and grace, and the various extreme positions on either side of that doctrine. Few students – few Catholics – understand the Catholic position well. Yet misunderstanding it profoundly affects one’s behavior and happiness.
Students will be familiar with the notion of the golden mean, which is the desirable middle between two extreme positions, one of excess, one of defect, which Aristotle used to highlight the virtue in the middle of two vices. For example, courage is a virtue balanced between the vices of foolhardiness (excess) and cowardice (defect). In Chinese thought a similar concept, the doctrine of the mean, was propounded by Confucius – a position of precise balance between good and evil. The Romans had a similar concept: Auream quisquis mediocritatem diligit, tutus caret obsoleti sordibus tecti, caret invidenda, sobrius aula. (He who chooses the golden mean safely avoids both the hovel and the palace). – Horace (Odes II – 10)
In the article, Monsignor Ricardo utilizes the foregoing notion of the golden mean – the balanced, harmonious position between extreme views – to delineate the Catholic teaching and distinguish it from errors on both sides. Modern unbelief has actually succeeded in combining both extreme positions regarding free will and grace – thereby combining the worse of both worlds as it were. This is set forth in the article.
– Patrick S.J. Carmack