On Friday, April 1st, and Saturday, April 2nd, the Cornelio Fabro Cultural Project, together with the Catholic Unrsity of America, held the first ever Fabro Symposium here in the United States.
The Symposium began with an introduction by Dr. John McCarthy, dean of the School of Philosophy, given to a standing-room only crowd at the Aquinas Auditorium. The dean expressed his amazement at the number of people who turned out, not only religious of both branches of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, but also a number of professors and graduate students from a number of schools at the Catholic University of America, Georgetown University, the Dominican House of Studies, and Bocconi University in Milan. We were particularly blessed by the presence of Prof. Gabriella Maesano, who studied with and was a friend of Fabro’s. Prof. Maesano came from Italy just for the Symposium.
The talks began with an introductory panel: Fr. Nathaniel Dreyer, IVE, presented “A Brief Biography of Cornelio Fabro,” Fr. Gianluca Trombini, IVE, on “Cornelio Fabro’s Intellectual Trajectory,” and Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS, on “Cornelio Fabro, A Stigmatine Devoted to His Founder.” Fr. Henchey, who currently works as an adjunct spiritual director at Mundelein Seminary, knew Fabro personally from his time in Rome, and was able to recount a number of stories as well as to give some insights into Stigmatine spirituality and the impact it had on Fabro’s life.
The following talk was given by Msgr. John Wippel, of the Catholic University of America. Msgr. Wippel, renown for his expertise in Thomistic metaphysics, presented on “Cornelio Fabro on Participation and Aquinas’s ‘Quarta via.’” With Dr. Papa unable to attend due to illness, Msgr. Wippel’s talk was followed by that of Dr. Gregory Doolan, also of the Catholic University of America. His work, “Fabro’s Double Participation and Aquinas’s Double Exemplarism,” dealt with a controversial aspect presented in Fabro’s La nozione metafisica di partecipazione, one that has aroused debate in Thomistic circles.
The following day, Fr. Jason Mitchell of Gannon University presented on “Thomas Aquinas and Cornelio Fabro: The Metaphysics of Participation and the Theology of Grace,” which was followed by lively discussions that continued well into the break. His presentation was followed by that of Dr. Joshua Furnal of Radboud University Nijmegen, who discussed “The Impact of Søren Kierkegaard on Cornelio Fabro.” He focused his attention primarily on Fabro’s article “Faith and Reason in Kierkegaard’s Dialectic,” and explained how Fabro gave a thoughtful and attentive reading of Kierkegaard. Lastly, though unable to attend as a result of illness, Dr. Patricia Pintado submitted her talk, “God in Exile: An Introduction to Cornelio Fabro’s Appraisal of Modern Thought,” to be read. With that, the Symposium was concluded.
It’s worth noting the great interest in Cornelio Fabro at the Catholic University of America: many of the graduate students commented that they were preparing theses on Fabro, and had read a great number of Fabro’s works. Other students were overwhelmed at the sight of so many texts, and many, students and professors alike, expressed their gratitude for those who organized the event.
The event was made all the more special with the publication and release of the first volume of the Selected Works of Cornelio Fabro: Selected Articles of Metaphysics and Participation. Many professors and students asked to buy copies, and the volume was received very enthusiastically. At the same time, copies of Introduction to Cornelio Fabro, an English translation of the work In Memoriam by Fr. Elvio Fontana, IVE, were also available and in demand. Both are available through the IVE Press website at https://www.ivepress.org/cornelio-fabro.html.
We give thanks to God for this opportunity and pray that it will be the first of many such events and spark a renewed appreciation for the work of the great Stigmatine philosopher and theologian.
Fr. Nathaniel Dreyer, IVE; Coordinator, English Language Division of the Cornelio Fabro Cultural Project.