Thursday, August 25, 2011


In his Quodlibet II.12, Henry of Ghent was asked whether someone could obtain the halo given to Doctors in heaven if they were worthy to become professors of theology but never actually received a position.

No, it seems, for the judgment of the Church Triumphant conforms to the judgment of the Church Militant. If the Church on earth therefore doesn't see fit to honor a scholar with the rank of master, for which the halo specially belonging to Doctors is merited, neither will the Church in heaven.

Henry disagrees with this. One merits a halo in heaven (as one merits anything) on account of one's acts, not on account of public recognition of those acts or status. So a virgin will receive the halo of virginity even if her virtue is never recognized or lauded; similarly then so can someone who teaches and preaches in order to lead others to eternal life by the way of truth merit the halo of the Doctors.

Henry notes that it's not enough merely to wish to teach, a positive activity is required for merit; if one is impeded from teaching by one's locality or lack of opportunity one may receive the essential reward for one's good will, but not merit the halo. But if a qualified and worthy teacher who teaches well is not given a professorship [magisterium], this is an error on the part of the appointing body.


I have to say that I find this quaestiuncula strangely comforting and cheering, as I hope others will who may, like me, doubt whether they can reasonably hope to be granted tenure by any other university than that whose gates St Peter guards, or wonder what college might accept us onto their permanent faculty besides that which resides in Dante's Heaven of the Sun.

1 comment:

Estase said...

Look at some of the winners teaching Theology at major Catholic universities today, and this opinion makes even more sense.