The following chapters converge on one central point: the crucial need to return to the actual teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas with respect to the distinction within unity of nature and grace. Never has the phrase of Jacques Maritain, “distinguish in order to unite”, been more necessary, yet seemingly more desolate and forgotten. Many contemporary Roman Catholic theologians — to the degree that they engage this question — incline to accept an account of the relation of nature and grace that dissolves the entire structure of human nature and its proportionate end into a pure posit or limit concept. Because concrete nature exists in the context of the call to grace — inserted in the narrative of creation in grace, the fall, and the redemption — it is therefore thought that the proportionate natural end either does not exist or does exist but in a fashion so permeated by grace and sin as to be unintelligible in its own right.
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