Prejean continues to regale us with his own homegrown brand of theology:
“Likewise, it [faith] faces inherent limitations, in that it must always return to these sensory concepts that are necessarily inadequate, which convey truth only analogically according to the creature/Creator distinction.”
i) This takes empiricism for granted, and uses that as a theological filter on God-talk.
ii) Even if we were to grant his theory of knowledge, it isn’t obvious why sensory concepts would be “inadequate.” We use analogical reasoning all the time.
iii) I don’t believe that Thomism restricts all God-talk to analogical predication. As I recall, the transcendentals are univocal.
iv) There are other problems with Prejean’s grasp of Thomism, but since he hasn’t bothered to defend Thomism in the first place, there’s no particular reason to discuss him many misunderstandings.
“Concepts are used only instrumentally in this sort of faith as a kind of means to sustain the principle of right action, so they do not convey knowlege in the scientific sense, but a sort of practical wisdom…This is also the Catholic view of Scripture. Inspiration is fundamentally a practical kind of knowledge, with the author (or angel) guided by a principle of right action, but not in the anthropomorphic sense of some conceptual content being communicated to him as in human speech. The inspired agent remains an agent, not a mouthpiece, guided by wisdom and faith. Thus, they are not communicating concepts delivered to them by God; rather, they are through their own proper action expressing this practical wisdom guiding them to act.”
i) Notice the false antithesis between “agent” and “mouthpiece,” as if the inspired writer cannot be an “agent” in case the Lord conveys certain concepts to his mind.
ii) Apparently, Prejean rejects propositional revelation. In that event, the Bible doesn’t convey factual information about the church or the papacy or the Virgin Mary or the sacraments or any of those other dogmas which Catholic theologians claim to find, at least implicitly, in the pages of Holy Writ.
iii) Observe that Prejean simply issues his armchair theory of inspiration without any reference to the self-understanding of Scripture.
Let’s take the category of visionary revelation. Not only does this include visions, but it often includes auditions as well. The seer will hear God or an angel or a heavenly saint speaking words to him.
This is far stronger than planting raw concepts in his mind. Rather, fully verbalized concepts are planted in his mind. He doesn’t even have to articulate the ideas, in his own words, but simply quote what he heard in his vision. Not all verbal revelation has to be that direct, but it illustrates the principle.
Yet Prejean’s arbitrary and a priori theory of inspiration has no room for this phenomenon, even though it’s a major category of divine revelation in Scripture. It would be beneath Prejean to consult revelation for a model of revelation. It would be beneath Prejean to consult the Bible for a theory of Biblical inspiration. Instead, he sits in his room with the shades drawn and intuits theology.