Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange OP (French: [gaʁigu lagrɑ̃ʒ]; 21 February 1877 – 15 February 1964) was a French Catholic theologian. He has been noted as a leading neo-Thomist of the 20th century, along with Jacobus Ramírez, Édouard Hugon, and Martin Grabmann.[1] He taught at the Dominican Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum, in Rome from 1909 to 1960. There he wrote his magnum opus, The Three Ages of the Interior Life (Les Trois Ages de la Vie Interieure) in 1938.

In 1918 Garrigou initiated courses in sacred art, mysticism, and aesthetics at the Angelicum[2] influencing future liturgical artists such as Marie Alain Couturier, who studied theology there from 1930 to 1932.[3]

Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Garrigou-Lagrange as a young priest
Gontran-Marie Garrigou Lagrange

21 February 1877
Died15 February 1964 (aged 86)
Other namesGontran-Marie Garrigou-Lagrange
EducationUniversity of Bordeaux (medicine), Sorbonne (philosophy)
ChurchLatin Church
Writingssee below


He was born Gontran-Marie Garrigou Lagrange on 21 February 1877 in Auch, near Toulouse, France. While studying medicine at Bordeaux he experienced what he described as a religious conversion after reading Life, Science, and Art by the Breton writer Ernest Hello (1828–85). He joined the French Dominicans and studied and taught at Le Saulchoir before moving to Rome, where he lectured at the Angelicum from 1909 until his retirement in 1960. In 1917 a special professorship in ascetical and mystical theology was created for him at the Angelicum, the first of its kind anywhere in the world.[4]


He is best known for his spiritual theology. His magnum opus in the field is The Three Ages of the Interior Life (Les Trois Ages de la Vie Interieure),[5] in which he propounded the thesis that infused contemplation and the resulting mystical life are in the normal way of holiness of Christian perfection. This influenced the section entitled "Chapter V: The Universal Call to Holiness in the Church" in the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium.[6]

His great achievement was to synthesise the highly abstract writings of St Thomas Aquinas with the experiential writings of St. John of the Cross, attempting to show they are in perfect harmony with each other.[7]

Father Garrigou-Lagrange, the leading proponent of "strict observance Thomism", attracted wider attention when in 1946 he wrote against the Nouvelle Théologie theological movement, criticising it as Modernist.[8] He is also said to be the drafter of Pope Pius XII's 1950 encyclical Humani generis, subtitled "Concerning Some False Opinions Threatening to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine".[9]


The Osservatore Romano of 9-10 December 1950 lists Garrigou-Lagrange among the names of the preparatory commission for the definition of the Assumption of Mary.[10]

Garrigou-Lagrange taught many eminent Catholic theologians during his academic career at the Angelicum. He also supervised the doctoral research of Marie-Dominique Chenu, who was ordained in 1919 and completed his doctorate in theology in 1920 with a dissertation entitled De contemplatione.[11] In the period between World War II and the Cold War Garrigou-Lagrange was the "torchbearer of orthodox Thomism" against Modernism.[12] In 1926 he served as the definitive consulter to Pope Pius XI in declaring John of the Cross a doctor of the church.[13]

He is commonly held to have influenced the decision in 1942 to place the privately circulated book Une école de théologie: le Saulchoir (Étiolles 1937) by Marie-Dominique Chenu, O.P., on the Vatican's "Index of Forbidden Books" as the culmination of a polemic within the Dominican Order between the Angelicum supporters of a speculative scholasticism and the French revival Thomists who were more attentive to historical hermeneutics.[14]

Garrigou-Lagrange gave the retreat in Paris which attracted Yves Congar to leave the diocesan seminary in order to join the Dominicans.[15] Later, Congar's methodology was suspected of Modernism because it seemed to derive more from religious experience than from syllogistic analysis.[16]

Garrigou-Lagrange also supervised the doctoral research of Maurice Zundel who completed his dissertation in 1927 with a dissertation entitled L'Influence du nominalisme sur la pensée chrétienne.[17]

Perhaps the most famous of his students was the future Pope John Paul II, who was supervised by Garrigou-Lagrange for his doctoral research in the mid-1940s at the Angelicum, and whose encyclical Fides et Ratio is attributed to his training under the learned Dominican.

He died on 15 February 1964 in Rome. The International Dominican Foundation (IDF) established Réginald de Rocquois Foundation in his memory at Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas where he taught most of his career, which grants annual Réginald de Rocquois scholarships.[18]


He produced 28 books and hundreds of articles. Among the most famous works are:

Commentaries on the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas
Theological works
  • Christian Perfection and Contemplation according to St Thomas Aquinas and St John of the Cross (1923)
  • God, His Existence and Nature: A Thomistic Solution of Certain Agnostic Antinomies (1914)
Marian works
  • The Mother of the Saviour and our Interior Life (1948)
Philosophical works
Works in Latin (originals)
  • De Revelatione per Ecclesiam Catholicam proposita – Theologia Fundamentalis secundum S. Thomae Doctrinam (Volume I & Volume II)
Works in Spanish (translated)

See also


  1. ^ Romero Carrasquillo, Francisco J. (2007-06-16). "Maritain's Thought and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange". Ite ad Thomam: "Go to Thomas!". Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  2. ^ Christopher J. Renz (September 2009). In This Light Which Gives Light: A History of the College of St. Albert the Great (1930-1980). Dominican School. pp. 44–. ISBN 978-1-883734-18-3.
  3. ^ Accessed 4 Dec., 2014
  4. ^ Michael L. Coulter; Richard S. Myers; Joseph A. Varacalli (2012). Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy: Supplement. Scarecrow Press. pp. 124–. ISBN 978-0-8108-8266-9.
  5. ^ The Three Ages of the Interior Life Online text.
  6. ^ Mullady, Brian, O.P.. "Rehabilitation of Garrigou-Lagrange". Retrieved 2012-07-26.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "A saint in Heaven", by Fr. Thomas Crean, Accessed 4-10-2012
  8. ^ See “Where is the New Theology Leading Us? Archived 2013-10-04 at the Wayback Machine.” See also his later article "The structure of the encyclical Humani generis" and
  9. ^ Carrasquillo, Francisco J. Romero (2010-10-23). "Quaeritur: Who are the Post-Conciliar Traditional Catholic Thomists?". Ite ad Thomam: "Go to Thomas!". "Maritain's Thought and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange". Retrieved 2011-06-19.
  10. ^ Accessed 2-6-2013
  11. ^ Praeambula Fidei: Thomism And the God of the Philosophers, Ralph McInerny, 2006, Accessed May 24, 2012; Nouvelle Théologie and Sacramental Ontology: A Return to Mystery, Hans Boersma, 2009, 136 Accessed May 24, 2012
  12. ^'Italia)/ Accessed 10 September 2013
  13. ^ Accessed 17 Feb., 2014
  14. ^'Italia)/ Accessed 10 September 2013; Y. Congar, Chrétiens désunis. Principes d’un œcuménisme catholique, Paris 1937; The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, 304, Accessed November 13, 2012; Accessed 10 September 2013
  15. ^ Fergus Kerr, Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians, (Blackwell, 2007), p10.
  16. ^'Italia)/ Accessed 10 September 2013; Y. Congar, Chrétiens désunis. Principes d’un œcuménisme catholique, Paris 1937; The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, 304, Accessed November 13, 2012
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-25. Retrieved 2013-08-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Accessed 26 August 2013
  18. ^ "IDF Serving the Dominican Order and the Church" (PDF). IDF News, International Dominican Foundation. July 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  19. ^ The server is not always on, so if the link times out, try again later.

Further reading

External links

1877 in France

Events from the year 1877 in France.

1964 in France

Events from the year 1964 in France.

Catholic moral theology

Catholic moral theology is a major category of doctrine in the Catholic Church, equivalent to a religious ethics. Moral theology encompasses Roman Catholic social teaching, Catholic medical ethics, sexual ethics, and various doctrines on individual moral virtue and moral theory. It can be distinguished as dealing with "how one is to act", in contrast to dogmatic theology which proposes "what one is to believe".

Divine providence

In theology, divine providence, or just providence, is God's intervention in the Universe. The term Divine Providence (usually capitalized) is also used as a title of God. A distinction is usually made between "general providence", which refers to God's continuous upholding of the existence and natural order of the Universe, and "special providence", which refers to God's extraordinary intervention in the life of people. Miracles generally fall in the latter category.

Ellen Organ

Ellen Organ or "Little Nellie of Holy God" (August 24, 1903 – February 2, 1908) was an Irish child, venerated by some in the Roman Catholic Church for her precocious spiritual awareness and alleged mystical life. Particularly dedicated to the Eucharist, the story of her life inspired Pope Pius X to admit young children to Holy Communion. In 1910, Pope Pius X issued the decree Quam singulari, which lowered the age of Holy Communion for children from 12 years to around 7.

Humani generis

Humani generis is a papal encyclical that Pope Pius XII promulgated on 12 August 1950 "concerning some false opinions threatening to undermine the foundations of Catholic Doctrine". Theological opinions and doctrines known as Nouvelle Théologie or neo-modernism and their consequences on the Church were its primary subject. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange (1877–1964), professor of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas Angelicum, is said to have been a dominant influence on the content of the encyclical.

Interior locution

An interior locution is a mystical concept used by various religions. An interior locution is a form of private revelation, but is distinct from an apparition, or religious vision. An interior locution may be defined as "A supernatural communication to the ear, imagination, or directly to the intellect."

Lagrange (surname)

Lagrange, la Grange or La Grange is a French surname that may refer to

La Grange (actor) (1635–1692), French actor

Étienne de La Grange (died 1388), French politician

Georges Lagrange (1928–2004), translator to and writer in Esperanto

Georges Lagrange (bishop) (1929–2014), French Catholic bishop

Henri Albert de La Grange d'Arquien (1613–1707), French nobility

Henry-Louis de La Grange (1924–2017), French musicologist

Joseph Lagrange (soldier) (1763–1836), French infantry general

Joseph-Louis Lagrange (1736–1813) was a mathematician and astronomer

Ken La Grange (1923–2001), South African Olympic boxer

Kyla La Grange (born 1986), English singer and songwriter

Léo Lagrange (1900–1940), French minister

Louis André Lagrange (1804–1861), French naval commissioner, twice acting governor of Martinique

Magdelaine de La Grange (1641–1679), French fortune-teller involved in the Affair of the Poisons

Marcus la Grange (born 1977), South African sprinter

Marie-Joseph Lagrange (1855–1938), Catholic priest in the Dominican Order

Nicolas La Grange (1707–1767), French playwright and translator

Oscar Hugh La Grange (1837–1915), Union Army colonel at the Battle of West Point, American Civil War

Pierre Lagrange (born 1962), Belgian hedge fund manager

Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange (1877–1964), Dominican Thomist theologian and philosopher

René de Béthoulat de La Grange-Fromenteau, governor of Saint-Christophe from 1638 to 1639.

Zelda La Grange (born 1970), secretary to the South African President Nelson Mandela

List of Catholic philosophers and theologians

This is a list of Catholic philosophers and theologians whose Catholicism is important to their works. The names are ordered by date of birth in order to give a rough sense of influence between thinkers.

List of ethicists

List of ethicists including religious or political figures recognized by those outside their tradition as having made major contributions to ideas about ethics, or raised major controversies by taking strong positions on previously unexplored problems.

All are known for an ethical work or problem, but a few are primarily authors or satirists, or known as a mediator, politician, futurist or scientist, rather than as an ethicist or philosopher. Some controversial figures are included, some of whom you may see as bad examples. A few are included because their names have become synonymous with certain ethical debates, but only if they personally elaborated an ethical theory justifying their actions.

List of philosophers of religion

This is a list of philosophers of religion.



Peter Abelard

Jacob Abendana

Joseph ben Abraham

Isaac Alfasi

Babasaheb Ambedkar

Jacob Anatoli

Anselm of Canterbury

St. Thomas Aquinas

Benedict Ashley, OP

Augustine of Hippo


AJ Ayer


Jedaiah ben Abraham Bedersi

Walter Benjamin


Sergei Bulgakov

Cardinal Thomas Cajetan, OP

Isaac Canpanton

Isaac Cardoso

Isaac Orobio de Castro

G. K. Chesterton

Stephen R.L. Clark


William Lane Craig

Brian Davies

Joseph Solomon Delmedigo

Charles De Koninck

Jacques Derrida

Mircea Eliade

Aaron ben Elijah


Shem-Tov ibn Falaquera

José Faur

Antony Flew


Pavel Florensky

Solomon ibn Gabirol

Hai Gaon

Saadia Gaon

Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP



Étienne Gilson

Fethullah Gulen

Eugene Halliday

Johann Georg Hamann

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

John Hick

David Hume

William James

Jeshua ben Judah

Isaac Nathan ben Kalonymus

Immanuel Kant

Søren Kierkegaard

David Kimhi

Isaac ibn Latif

Yeshayahu Leibowitz

Leon of Modena

Aleksei Losev

Salomon Maimon


Jacques Maritain

Ralph McInerny

Guru Nanak

Elia del Medigo

Dmitry Merezhkovsky

J.P. Moreland

David ibn Merwan al-Mukkamas

Moses Narboni

Robert Cummings Neville

David Nieto

Friedrich Nietzsche


William Paley

Bahya ibn Paquda

Whitall Perry

Alvin Plantinga

Robert M. Price

Yiḥyah Qafiḥ

Vasily Rozanov

Friedrich Schleiermacher

Frithjof Schuon

John Duns Scotus

Adi Shankara

Isaac ben Sheshet

Hoter ben Shlomo

Huston Smith


Vladimir Solovyov

Baruch Spinoza

Walter Terence Stace

Melville Y. Stewart

John of St. Thomas (John Poinsot)

Emanuel Swedenborg

Richard Swinburne

Samuel ibn Tibbon

Paul Tillich

Lao Tzu

Joseph ibn Tzaddik

Said Nursi





Muhammad Alief Roslan


Hossein Nasr

Luis de Molina

Luis de Molina (; 29 September 1535, Cuenca, Spain – 12 October 1600, Madrid, Spain) was a Spanish Jesuit priest and scholastic, a staunch defender of free will in the controversy over human liberty and God's grace. His theology is known as Molinism.

Marie-Dominique Chenu

Marie-Dominique Chenu (7 January 1895, Soisy-sur-Seine, Essonne – 11 February 1990, Paris) was a progressive Roman Catholic theologian and one of the founders of the reformist journal Concilium.

Peter Kreeft

Peter John Kreeft (; born 1937) is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College. He is the author of over a hundred books on Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics. He also formulated, together with Ronald K. Tacelli, "Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God".

Romano Guardini

Romano Guardini (17 February 1885 – 1 October 1968) was an Italian-born German Catholic priest, author, and academic. He was one of the most important figures in Catholic intellectual life in the 20th century.

Spiritual dryness

In Catholic spirituality, spiritual dryness or desolation is a lack of spiritual consolation in one's spiritual life. It is a form of spiritual crisis experienced subjectively as a sense of separation from God or lack of spiritual feeling, especially during contemplative prayer. Paradoxically, it is thought that spiritual dryness can lead to greater love of God.

The Three Ages of the Interior Life

The Three Ages of the Interior Life : Prelude of Eternal Life (Les Trois Ages de la Vie Interieure) is a book written by French theologian Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, published in 1938 and 1939 in two volumes, while teaching at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome from 1909 to 1960.

Three Ages (disambiguation)

Three Ages may refer to:

Three Ages, a black-and-white American comedy film

The Three Ages of Man and Death, a 16th-century painting by Hans Baldung

Three-age system, a series of ages defined by the use of stone, bronze and iron

The three stages of human progress, a progression proposed by Lewis H. Morgan in Ancient Society

Three Ages of Buddhism, three time divisions of the religion

The Three Ages of the Interior Life, a book by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

The Three Ages before and during the events of Lord of the Rings, in Tolkien's legendarium.

Édouard Hugon

Édouard Hugon (25 August 1867 – 7 February 1929), Roman Catholic Priest, French Dominican, Thomistic philosopher and theologian trusted and held in high esteem by the Holy See, from 1909 to 1929 was a professor at the Pontificium Collegium Internationale Angelicum, the future Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum, as well as a well-known author of philosophical and theological manuals within the school of traditional Thomism.

Early Church
Early Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
Mysticism and reforms
19th century
20th century
21st century

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