Iota Unum

Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.

Iota Unum, written by the late Romano Amerio who passed away in 1997, is a magisterial study of change in the Catholic Church in the last century.  Amerio took his title from Christ’s statement in Matthew 5:18 that begins this post.  Amerio began the work in 1935 and published it in 1985.  Born on June 22, 1905 in Lugano, Switzerland, Amerio was a Roman Catholic theologian as well as a philologist and philosopher.  He served as a peritus (theological expert) at Vatican II and was an advisor to Cardinal Guiseppe Siri.

Intensely critical of most of the changes implemented after Vactican II, Amerio essentially became a non-person in Vatican circles after the publication of Iota Unum.  A review prepared for L’osservatore Romano, for example, in 1985 was not published.  The pontificate of Pope Benedict ushered in a change of view as to Iota Unum.  A good overview of Iota Unum and its reception, written by Father Richard Whinder, is here.  Sandro Magister has a fine article here on Iota Unum.  Here is an earlier article from 2007 by Sandro Magister when the silence about Iota Unum at the Vatican was broken.  (Hattip to Father Z.  I was unaware of the book Iota Unum until I read this post by him.)

Don Divo Barsotti, a fellow theologian and friend of Amerio summed up the contents of Iota Unum as follows:

“Amerio essentially says that the gravest evils present today in Western thought, including Catholic thought, are mainly due to a general mental disorder according to which ‘caritas’ is put before ‘veritas’, without considering that this disorder also overturns the proper conception that we should have of the Most Holy Trinity.”

Iota Unum will never be confused with light beach reading, but I think it is an important work for Catholics who wish to understand the changes ushered in by Vatican II and their relationship to the past history of the Church.  Angelus Press here has the most inexpensive copy of Iota Unum that I have been able to locate. 

  Here are some videos of readings from the book.

2 Responses to Iota Unum

  1. Phillip says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. Ordered my today from Angelus.

  2. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Phillip I am going to write a review of it in the next month. I’ll be eager to know your thoughts about it after you have read it.

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