The Maritains and Rome

Conference Description:

These talks comprise the first of the Study Days for the 50th Anniversary of the Death of Jacques Maritain that took place on May 11-12, 2023 at the Angelicum in Rome, Italy. The conference was conducted in French with simultaneous translations in English.

Baptized in Protestantism, raised in agnosticism, married to a young woman of the Jewish faith, Jacques Maritain grew up far from the vital center of the militant Church that is Rome. From the moment of his conversion, however, his gaze turned to the Eternal City, where he made his first trip in 1918. From the beginning of his Christian life, he was attentive to the teaching of the successors of Peter, even if some of his theses were discussed in Roman circles. A committed actor in the civil society of his time, he also held the position of ambassador to the Holy See from 1945 to 1948 and played a role on the cultural level by founding the Centre Saint-Louis de France.

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Jacques Maritain’s death – a date that has been included in the list of national commemorations of the Institut de France – it seemed appropriate to take advantage of this rich bibliography and the contributions of new archival sources to broaden and deepen the perspectives already opened.

The first of two colloquia (the first in 2023 and the second in 2024) focus on the Roman period of the Maritain couple. The series approaches the subject from a historical point of view – looking back at the Maritains’ actions in Rome, Jacques Maritain’s choices as ambassador, the links the couple forged in the Vatican and in Italy – but also from a philosophical point of view: what was the influence of the Roman period and of the Roman encounters on J. Maritain’s thought? How did the encounter with the Eternal City influence the philosopher’s aesthetic?

This opening on the more philosophical aspects of the Roman stay of the Maritains will make the link with the second colloquium. This second colloquium, planned for 2024, will focus on Maritain’s personalism and its reception: how has Maritain’s thought been received in different geographical areas? How does it allow us to face contemporary challenges?

Finally, there will be a reflection on Maritain’s ecclesiological thought, so valuable in the synodal context. The contributions of the two colloquia will be gathered in a publication to be published in 2025, the year that marks the 80th anniversary of the creation of the Centre Saint-Louis de France by J. Maritain.