In MacIntyre’s After Virtue, which was written in 1981, he argued that even though modern thinkers continued to possess a “simulacra of morality” they had actually “very largely, if not entirely” lost the theoretical and practical comprehension of morality. Indeed, Kantian deontologism and Enlightenment philosophy have both done their part to hinder modern man from an appreciation of the role of virtue and teleology. Thankfully, though, as virtue ethics has become more popular and as Thomists have begun to reassert the foundational role the human desire for happiness has in the moral life (by turning, time and again, to the beginning of the Secunda Pars), some of us moderns have found ourselves on the correct path. Nevertheless, despite the relative proliferation of works on the virtues since the time After Virtue was written, there has not been much work done on the beatitudes, which are, for Thomas, “acts of perfect virtue” (see II-II, q. 29 a. 4 ad 1 and q. 79 aa. 1 & 3) that are distinguished from virtues “not as habit from habit, but as act from habit” (I-II, q. 69 a. 1). It’s good to see that Fr. Anton ten Klooster is taking steps to fill this lacuna.
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