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From Physics to Metaphysics, by Fr Francis J. Selman

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 Contents - Jun 2003AD2000 June 2003 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Three Feasts: Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity - Peter Westmore
Liturgy: John Paul's new encyclical on the Eucharist targets liturgical abuses - Michael Gilchrist
AD2000 staff members awarded federation Centenary Medals - AD2000
News: The Church Around the World - AD2000
Interview: Vatican II and the liturgy, 40 years later - Zenit News Service
Events: Corpus Christi Procession - Brisbane, 22 June 2003
The environment: rediscovering the balanced Catholic perspective - Michael Casanova
Laity: The role of lay Catholics in a time of crisis - Mary Ann Glendon
Those dreadful old Catholic hymns? - Fr Fabian Duggan OSB
The seal of confession: how a priest put his life on the line - Clem Lack
Letters: Eucharistic encyclical and the priesthood (letter) - John Kelly
Letters: Requirements fulfilled (letter) - John Young
Letters: Four conditions (letter) - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Holy Orders (letter) - Francis Vrijmoed
Letters: Brisbane Synod (letter) - Alistair Barros
Letters: Catechetics (letter)
Letters: Teilhard de Chardin (letter) - Grahame Fallon
Letters: Latin Mass (letter) - Philip Robinson
Letters: Death by 'nice blokes' (letter) - Lisa-Maree
Letters: Abortion (letter) - Betty Griffin
Letters: Prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel (letter) - Marie E. Curtin
Books: Culture and the Thomist Tradition : After Vatican II, by Tracey Rowland - Fr Peter Joseph STD (reviewer)
Books: From Physics to Metaphysics, by Fr Francis J. Selman - Michael Casanova
Books: The Story of Christianity : 2000 Years of Faith - Anthony Cappello (reviewer)
Books: Family in the Bible, edited by Richard H. Hess and M. Danial Carroll - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Books: Our books are the cheapest!
Reflection: Church scandals: focus on the message, not just the messengers - Fr Kevin Brannelly

by Fr Francis J Selman

(The Saint Austin Press, 2001, 156pp, $34.30 plus postage. Available from Saint Austin Press, PO Box 180, Sumner Park, Qld 4074, tel (07) 3279 7415)

For those who admire Pope John Paul's Theology of the Body and are seeking a framework for following, understanding and learning, not only his own powerful teachings, but also the depths of the Church's theological and social doctrines, then there is nothing for it but to begin learning Christian metaphysics.

Father Francis Selman's book, From Physics to Metaphysics, meets the call Pope John Paul II made, in his encyclical Faith and Reason, for a return to metaphysics as a foundation for teaching theology.

Even this year, while meeting with students of the major seminary of the Rome Diocese in March, John Paul spontaneously recalled his secret studies of metaphysics during the Nazi occupation: "I saw that metaphysics, Christian philosophy, gave me a new vision of the world, a more profound penetration of reality. With metaphysics, with philosophy, I found the key, a key to understanding and penetration of the world" (Zenit, 3 March 2003).

From Physics to Metaphysics is especially aimed at students who need to know philosophy in order to study theology, but is also helpful for anyone looking for a philosophy that aids in understanding the Catholic Faith, for it presents an outline of classical metaphysics, built on an examination of the five basic concepts of form, substance, existence, cause and nature.

Philosophy tradition

Special features of the book include: firstly - and its chief claim to fame - its logical discovery of metaphysics from the beginning point of physics; clear answers to the question "what are nominalism, idealism and realism?"; the fact that this book draws on the whole tradition of philosophy, from the ancients to contemporary writers.

From Physics to Metaphysics devotes considerable attention to the criticisms of Hume and Kant. It provides a simple explanation of Kant's basic philosophy, which will be useful to students: oils ain't oils, and neither will any old philosophy serve those who wish to think in the high-performance way that John Paul II thinks. (The discernment of good oils is the very point behind the call of the Code of Canon Law for seminaries to teach dogmatic theology "with St Thomas [Aquinas] in particular as their teacher" (Can 252, 3).

How important is Christian metaphysics? What cost of time spent in study and contemplation is worth the loss of TV time? "During my eight-hour shift in the factory, either at night or during the day, I would take some books," John Paul said to the seminarians in Rome. He risked life, and gained the ability to penetrate the mysteries of life.

Fr Selman teaches at the seminary of the Archdiocese of Westminster and at the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham. He has also written St Thomas Aquinas (T&T Clark, 1994).

Michael Casanova is a Victorian State Officer of the National Civic Council.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 5 (June 2003), p. 17

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