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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Saint Antoninus: a possible revival ?

Lorenzo Lotto (1480, d. 1556)
The Alms of St Anthony
1542
Oil on wood, 332 x 235 cm
Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice


The scene above shows Saint Antoninus of Florence (1389-1459) who is regarded as one of the founders of modern moral theology and Christian social ethics

He was one of the most powerful and influential Archbishops of Florence in medieval times.

A Dominican monk, his life story and achievements are fascinating. There is a movement to have him declared a Doctor of the Church.

See Sant` Antonino ("Wee Anthony")

His Summa moralis is a pioneering work in moral theology, of interest for its treatment of commercial ethics and the morality of banking St. Antoninus was one of the first teachers of the Church to take away the stigma of the profession of commerce and, instead, point to the potential for spiritual growth in that profession. In his Summa Theologica, he even explained the mechanisms for the merchant to grow in perfection: he is to grow in the virtues and conduct all his business in a virtuous manner

The latest Papal Encyclical Caritas in Veritate has a large section devoted to Ethics in Business.

Is it time to dust down and consult again his Summa moralis ?