As Pope Benedict XVI was presented with the Italian versions of the works by Jesuit Father Bernard J.F. Lonergan, a Canadian expert on human intelligence, the L’Osservatore Romano published an interview emphasizing the important contribution of the Jesuit priest to research in this field.
Father Lonergan, who is a brilliant but unknown scholar, has a reputation for his “commitment of service to the Church. And, above all, for his openness. I remember he was attentive to his students and gave suggestions and clarifications to each one,” said Jesuit Father Natalino Spaccapelo, who is curator of the “Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan.”
Father Spaccapelo told LOR that Father Lonergan “is probably one of the most studied authors in the world, especially so in the socio-economic sphere.”
In “Insight,” Father Lonergan’s most important work, he did not propose a theory, “but rather he returned to the definition and clarification of the human structure, a structure of thought that can be traced back not to a certain historical period or to a certain society, but rather to the whole human being. ‘Insight’ is the instrument for understanding how intelligence operates in different fields of knowledge, to which he has dedicated himself with amazing meticulousness.”
“Starting from the concept that conscience is a melody that is articulated in the different contexts of human life, Lonergan has put forth research on studying how human intelligence operates—always with the same structure—in the scientific, humanist, philosophical, historical and theological methods,” Father Spaccapelo continued.
He went on to note that Father Lonergan’s works are very popular at Catholic universities in Italy. One particular teaching of Longeran’s that has gained traction “holds that the modern world has formulated knowledge on the basis of concepts, when what is needed is for knowledge to be reformulated on the basis of what precedes concepts,” as “building knowledge on concepts makes it immobile, while building it on intelligence makes it dynamic and forward progress.”