Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Launch

     The concept of friendship has an important place in the history of philosophy. This aspect is prominent in the golden era of ancient philosophy (Greek Humanism-Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) with the shift of philosophical focus from a reflection on the natural world to a reflection on man. This shift of focus enabled man to see and appreciate his connectedness to the other and the important role others play in his life.
     Medieval philosophers because of their Christian faith added a vertical dimension (God-man friendship) to the already established horizontal understanding of friendship between man and man. The new dimension is linked to man’s search for his place in the world and his search for meaning of life. The Christian faith which advocates man’s union with God as the ultimate fulfillment of life was able to answer man’s quest in search of meanings of life.
     The book, having dealt with the philosophical evolution of the notion of friendship in the medieval period which is considered the golden era of Christian philosophy and the profound ideas expounded by St. Thomas, observes the decline of the importance of friendship in the light of modern advancement of science and scientific discoveries which were more attractive to the man. This development coincided with the devaluation of many things: respect for man, respect for God and respect for nature. In the medieval period, man was seen as a creature, unlike all other creatures, created in the God’s image and likeness. Nature was seen as God’s creation, given to man as a gift.
     With the dawn of the modern era man became busy trying to domesticate nature, trying to unravel the secrets of both nature and the human. He was obsessed with success and discoveries. In such a world, the concept of friendship appears to be in a state of disarray. Contemporary cultures do not give prominent place to friendship, and contemporary mores indicate to us ‘friends’ can have numerous relationships with us: as lovers, lunch companions, colleagues, acquaintances, political allies…etc. Unfortunately, the concept of man loving another man in God has today become quite alien to the human mind. Loving someone for his own sake is also not really a quality that characterizes our relationship today.
     According to the authors, the objective of the book is to study and evaluate the Thomistic idea of caritas as amicitia (charity as friendship) in view of discovering why and how friendship is the most desirable of all goods. The book expounds the profound philosophical insights of St. Thomas, philosopher-theologian, on the subject of friendship. The book is an attempt at understanding St. Thomas’s theory of friendship and its myriad applications.

Rev. Fr. Ajith Wellington (OMI)

Fr. Ajith Wellington, a member of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), is an alumnus of the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka, Kandy, Sri Lanka. He holds a B.Ph. and a B.Th. from the Urbaniana University, Rome, a L.Ph. and a Ph.D. from the Gregorian University, Rome as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Buddhist Studies from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He has been a lecturer (2001-2003)
in Philosophy at the Charles Lwanga Major Seminary, Windhoek, Namibia and since 2004 he has been teaching Philosophy at his alma mater, the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka. At present he is also a visiting lecturer at the Department of Western Classical culture and Christian culture of the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.

 Rev Fr. Richard Wolak (OMI)

Fr. Richard Wolak, a member of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), is an alumnus of the Angelicum University, Rome. He holds a L.Th. and a Ph.D. from the Gregorian University, Rome. He has been a teacher at Michael Power H.S. in Toronto (1962-1967), a lecturer in Moral Theology at St. Charles Scholasticate, Battleford (1967-1972), at Newman College, Edmonton (1975–1994), at St. Dominic's, Lusaka, Zambia
(1995-1997), at OMI Scholasticate in Cedara, South Africa (2006–2007). Apart from his teaching career, he has also been involved in administrative work. He served as the Editor of the Magazine, “Missions Today” (1997-1999), and the Provincial Treasurer, Director, Saskatoon, SK (1999 – 2005). At present he lives in Rome working as a translator and librarian at the OMI General House.

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