The Caroline Chisholm Library

The Caroline Chisholm Library is a Catholic theological lending and reference library situated in central Melbourne (Level 3, 358 Lonsdale St - opposite St Francis Church). Opening Hours are 11am - 5pm Monday to Friday.

All members of the public are welcome to browse the library, use it for reference purposes or attend lectures. Persons interested in borrowing books can become library members (membership forms are avaliable at the Library).

The library catalogue is available online at the Library's website at

This blog will give details of events at the library, text of talks given at the library as well as reviews of books in the library collection.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Review of Aidan Nichol's latest book: "The Chalice of God"

In early July, the Caroline Chisholm Library hosted a talk by Fr. Aidan Nichols OP on his latest book "The Chalice of God". Fr Aidan Nichols was visiting Australia as a guest of the Australian Catholic Students Assocuiation. Here is a review by Library member, Anthony Krohn, of Fr Nichol's new book:

"The Chalice of God" (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2012) is an extraordinary book. It is brief, yet lucid, profound, of a vast scope, and illustrated by glorious icons.

Father Aidan Nichols O.P., eminent English Dominican theologian, and a Master of Sacred Theology in his Order – a very rare and eminent degree - has constantly been writing and teaching and publishing eminent, scholarly and creative theology for over thirty years. He has now written a brief, but profound, systematic theology which is also a guide to the theological themes of all his work.

Father Aidan’s introduction to The Chalice of God explains "its governing metaphor – the ‘Chalice’ of the World, filled by the libation of God."

In his introduction, Fr Aidan also makes plain his place in the history and tradition of catholic theology. He speaks of his fundamental commitment to high mediaeval scholasticism and ressourcement – the project of enriching theology by rediscovering the wisdom of the early Fathers and doctors of the Church. He says "my masters are S. Thomas [Aquinas] in relation to the Fathers and Hans Urs von Balthasar in relation to both at once." He is opposed to nominalism and modernism as lacking ontological order, and to post modernism as a decentring cure for modernism which is worse than the disease.

Father Aidan’s aim is "to explore the riches if Tradition so as to present the faith as an organic whole…characterized by divine-human truth, beauty and goodness." He therefore insists on the reality and the importance of the "transcendentals" – truth, beauty and goodness, our philosophical legacy from Plato.

In the book he has a chapter, and an icon, for each of the following:

1. Basic concepts of theology and order;

2. Ontology ( or metaphysics) as suited to theology;

3. Christology and Biblical History;

4. Tradition as the transmission of Revelation;

5. Mystery and Christian Existence;

6. The Trinity.

This is a glorious book, which is not only for theologians, but is for everyone who is willing to read carefully and to think patiently about God, the world and everything. It is at once an overview of the whole of one man’s work, and a guide to the whole of Catholic Christian theology. The reader needs to think; one is often stretched and simultaneously refreshed, e.g. by Nichols’ surprising use of words such as "contuition" or "enmanment", but the reader is never treated as other than an equal brother or sister in God’s Chalice. Headings make navigating this deep work an easy task. Buy it, read it, recommend it, use it as a guide to the riches of Christian thought – and love.

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