In this text we see Austin Woodbury at his theological best! Beginning with an analysis of death, Woodbury outlines the theological reasons why all must succumb to it, and why it terminates our chance of meriting or de-meriting. He offers penetrating insights into the soul’s state upon its separation from the body and shows how the soul keeps its intellective faculties, retaining intellective knowledges and loves had from this life. It is here that Woodbury looks at the fixity of will and the moral state had by the soul in this condition.
Woodbury then looks at the Particular Judgment, which every soul undergoes immediately after death. In this, Woodbury shows how the presentation of the evidence, the pronouncement of the verdict and sentence, and the execution of this sentence is carried out. Woodbury then provides us with exquisite insights in his theological treatment of Heaven. Here he speaks of Heaven as the intuitive or “facial” vision of the divine essence—the Beatific Vision—and the joys and consequences of this vision.
After touching Heaven, Woodbury then takes us down to the theological depths of Hell. He looks at Hell’s penalties, their severities, everlastingness and inequalities. He also offers interesting insights into the Limbo of Infants before concluding his First Book by looking at Purgatory. In his Second Book Woodbury examines the Last Things of the World. He outlines the doctrine concerning Christ’s Second Coming, the resurrection of the body, the General Judgment and the renewal of the
world at the end of time. All of which are richly discussed, and thoroughly researched.
Who was Father Austin Maloney Woodbury?
Father Austin Maloney Woodbury S.M. (1899-1979) was a Marist priest and an Australian Thomistic philosopher and theologian, who in the 1920s received doctorates in both Philosophy and Theology at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in the City (the Angelicum) in Rome under the renowned Dominican theologian Father Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. (1877-1964). Woodbury founded Sydney’s Aquinas Academy in 1945, a school of Philosophy and Theology aimed at educating lay people in the rich intellectual tradition of Christianity. He headed the Academy until 1975, teaching a strictly scholastic Philosophy and Theology based on the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). In his own lifetime Woodbury was distinguished by some of his scholarly contemporaries as having penned “one of the greatest courses in philosophy ever written in the English language.”