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Questions on Lonergan

Ever since 1978, in two summers out of three, Bill Mathews (former dean and professor of philosophy in the Milltown Institute) has accepted an invitation to take part in the Lonergan Workshop in Boston College, USA. Bill’s contributions are distinctive: he has maintained his focus on Bernard Lonergan, while doing justice to the evolution both in his own thinking and in Lonergan’s.

The workshop, this year on Vatican II and Pope Francis, was intellectually strenuous, involving the 60-odd participants for over twelve hours for each of five days. Bill has learned from Progoff’s journaling to get a grip on the growth principle of human meaning. In the page of Lonergan quotations which he circulated to his listeners, each entry represents an advance in the horizon of his constitutive meaning.

A major shift in Lonergan’s underlying anthropology – to a more concrete, meaningful in-this-world concept of the human – happened during Vatican Two when he was in Rome. Now that Bernard has joined the saints, Bill’s intellectual growth continues. He is concerned with the tension between natural, behavioural and cultural (Geisteswissenschaften) sciences, and the meaning of meaning, and a complex of questions which he summed up in Boston as “The measure of human reality” – the title of his paper and of a projected book.