Antonio Rosmini: A Thinker Vindicated

Defenders Hoping to Start Cause of Beatification

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ROME, NOV. 24, 2005 ( A 19th-century priest whose writings were once condemned by the Holy Office is now a possible candidate for beatification.

The process of beatification might begin for Antonio Rosmini Serbati (1797-1855), a profound thinker. Some of his works were condemned because of erroneous interpretations promoted by a few of his followers.

Ordained a priest in 1821, he went on in 1830 to found the Institute of Charity, a religious congregation recognized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI.

Despite his absolute fidelity to Pope Pius IX, in 1849 the ecclesiastical authorities placed two of Father Rosmini’s works on the Index of banned books. Condemned later with the doctrinal decree «Post Obitum» were 40 of his propositions, taken especially from posthumous works and others published in his lifetime.

It was not until July 1, 2001, that a note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, signed by the then prefect, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, removed every shadow doubt about Father Rosmini.

Genuine posture

Father Vito Nardin, provincial superior of the Italian Rosminians from 1997 to 2003, said in statements to ZENIT that he believes the cause of beatification of Father Rosmini might begin before July, to mark the 150th anniversary of his death.

Explaining why the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation lifted the ban on Father Rosmini’s writings, Father Nardin explained that «the serious and rigorous scientific publications demonstrate that the interpretations contrary to the faith do not correspond with Rosmini’s genuine posture.»

The conclusion, he said, is that «the reasons for concern and prudence and the doctrinal difficulties which determined the promulgation of the ‘Post Obitum’ decree of condemnation of the Forty Propositions, taken from Antonio Rosmini’s works, can be considered surmounted.»

«The condemnation continues to be valid for those who read them outside the context of Rosmini, … with a meaning contrary to the Catholic faith and doctrine,» clarified the priest.

Papal praise

In his encyclical «Fides et Ratio,» Pope John Paul II presented Rosmini as one of the thinkers who effected a fruitful encounter between philosophic learning and the Word of God.

«In words that are comprehensible to all it can be expressed thus: ‘The accused has not committed the deed,'» said Father Nardin.

He also noted the «humility» of Father Rosmini, which «led him to accept condemnations and bans.»

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