Did Problematic Ideas within Franciscan Theology possibly help bring about Francis’s Amoris Laetitia?
The Washington Post called Francis “A Franciscan Jesuit for pope.”
Did certain problematic ideas within Franciscan theology such as “voluntarism” (“emphasis on will over intellect”) help bring about the loss of natural law and help bring about Francis’s Amoris Laetitia?
Thomist Edward Feser’s book, The Last Superstition,on pages 167, 168, and 170 seems to say that the Franciscan theologians John Duns Scotus’s and William of Ockham’s “tendency toward voluntarism” may have helped bring about the present denial of natural law and ethics:
– “John Duns Scotus (c. 1266-1308) and William of Ockham (c. 1287-1347), who, though scholastics, rejected Aquinas’s synthesis of Aristotelianism and Christian theology. Their reasons for doing so anticipate certain key themes of modern philosophy . . . [these ideas] led to the undoing of the Scholastic tradition, which had reached its apex in Aquinas’s thought.”
– “Both Scotus and Ockham denied the possibility of the sort of knowledge of God Aquinas claimed could be had through reason…”
– “The motivation for Scotus’s skepticism was an excessive emphasis (as Thomists see it) on God’s will over His intellect. Aquinas, in Scotus’s estimation, makes God and His actions too comprehensible, too rational, too open to our puny philosophical investigations. So radically free is God’s will, in Scotus’s view, that we simply cannot deduce from the natural order either His intentions or any necessary features of the things He created, since He might have created them in any number of ways, as His inscrutable will directed.”
– “Meanwhile, Scotus’s and Ockham’s tendency toward voluntarism (i.e. their emphasis on will over intellect), and the related idea that morality derives from arbitrary divine commands, became secularized in the notion that all law rests ultimately on the sheer will of a sovereign, rather than in a rationally ascertainable natural order. Combine these themes and you are not far from Thomas Hobbes’s view that man’s “natural” condition is to be at war with his fellowman, and that this unhappy situation can be remedied only by agreeing to submit to the will of an absolute ruler.”
Moreover, the pro-Amoris Laetitia website Where Peter Is apparently supports certain ideas of Scotus:
“Duns Scotus and his Franciscan school of theology successfully defended the Absolute Primacy of Christ. God did not send His Son into the world as a consequence of sin but “by reason of His very great love”. (Eph. 2:4)” [https://wherepeteris.com/who-art-thou-o-immaculata/]
The independent scholar James Larson explained to me in an email exchange the problem with this and other ideas of Scotus:
I am very far from being an expert on Scotus, and have no desire to be so. But I would offer the following:
Employing “univocity” in relation to any terms used of both God and His creation necessarily terminates in some type of pantheistic-gnostic mush. Strictly speaking God is the only Being, in the sense of possessing Being of Himself. It is true that, in relation to created things, we do distinguish the category of substantial being from all the categories of accidental being by saying that it is something suited to exist “in itself”. But this is a definition necessary to distinguish the category of relative, created, substance from accidens, which are suited to exist only as inhering in substance. Without understanding the principle of analogy between all created things and God, we necessarily end up confusing the Thomistic concept of creative “participation” in being with the idea that creative things are somehow “part” of God. In other words, we destroy Catholic ontology (and all that is contained in the concept creation ex nihilo), and ultimately everything which is intimately connected to this ontology. Even sanctifying grace, and the entire concept of possessing the life of God in our souls, must be considered a created gift of God.
In regard to the so-called Franciscan doctrine which is usually now termed the “Absolute Primacy of Christ“.
St. Thomas, while certainly being clear that the question has not been given final determination by the Church, yet declares his tentative opposition to this notion because Holy Scripture never offers any other reason for Christ’s Incarnation other than that supreme Divine Love which “bends over” towards man in order to merit our redemption from sin. Christ Himself says, “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). To attempt to assert therefore that through the proposed doctrine of “Absolute Primacy of Christ”(the notion that Incarnation would have occurred even without sin) they somehow possess a greater and deeper understanding of the primacy of Christ and the greatness of His love is indeed a “walking on thin ice”.It smacks ultimately of placing some sort of “necessity” in God in relation to His creation.
Interestingly enough, Mary of Agreda (herself a Franciscan Conception), in the City of God, claims endorsement of this Franciscan theory as a private revelation from Christ (Vol. I, p.77). But even more interesting, she places “necessity” in God in relation to creation. Thus, she writes:
“The Majesty of God, beholding the nature of his infinite perfection, their virtue and efficacy operating with magnificence, saw that it was just and most proper, and, as it were, , a necessity, to communicate Himself, and to follow the inclination of imparting and exercising his liberality and mercy, by distributing outside of Himself with magnificence, the plenitude of the infinite treasures, contained in the Divinity. For, being Infinite in all things, it is much more natural, that He communicate gifts and graces, than that fire should ascend, or the stone should gravitate toward its center, or that the sun should diffuse light.” (ibid. p. 52)
So much for the total gratuitousness and freedom of God in relation to all of His gifts to man.
You might also be interested in reading my two-part fictional work The Mind of Antichrist, which is here:
http://rosarytotheinterior.com/the-mind-of-antichrist/That said, I want to apologize for possibly not being clear above that I respect Scotus who is a blessed and a great theologian despite the above problematic ideas. But, I think as the Church (Pope Leo XIII and other popes) teaches that St.Thomas is the most important Doctor of the the Church. On the other hand, Scotus paved the way for the Immaculate Conception dogma of the Church and showed Thomas can be wrong in some issues. Ockham is another story. He is a disaster as the great Thomist Feser shows: Moreover, even such morality as Ockham leaves us with is radically transformed. As Pinckaers argues, in the absence of any conception of an end toward which the will is naturally directed, the focus of moral reflection tends to turn toward the individual act, isolated from considerations about the overall character of the moral agent or the way the action might promote or impede the agent’s flourishing or happiness. When coupled with Ockham’s grounding of morality in arbitrary divine commands, moral theory was thus bound to come to emphasize law as such rather than the realization of a good defined in terms of our natural end, and obligation as such rather than the virtues which facilitate our realization of that good. In short, just as Ockhamism, when shorn of its theological commitments, prefigures Hume in metaphysics, so too does it prefigure Kant – that “catastrophic spider” – in ethics.And that is only the beginning. As Michael Allen Gillespie argues in his recent book The Theological Origins of Modernity, the Renaissance humanists’ revolution in culture, Luther’s revolution in theology, Descartes’ revolution in philosophy, and Hobbes’s revolution in politics also have their roots in Ockhamism. With the humanists this was manifested in their emphasis on man as an individual, willing being rather than as a rational animal. In Luther’s case, the prospect of judgment by the terrifying God of nominalism and voluntarism – an omnipotent and capricious will, ungoverned by any rational principle – was cause for despair. Since reason is incapable of fathoming this God and good works incapable of appeasing Him, faith alone could be Luther’s refuge. With Descartes, the God of nominalism and voluntarism opened the door to a radical doubt in which even the propositions of mathematics – the truth of which was in Descartes’ view subject to God’s will no less than the contingent truths of experience – were in principle uncertain. And we see the moral and political implications of nominalism in the amoral, self-interested individuals of Hobbes’s so-called “state of nature,” and in the fearsome absolutist monarch of his Leviathan, whose relationship to his subjects parallels that of the nominalist God to the universe. [http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/03/razor-boy.html?m=1] Stop for a moment of silence, ask Jesus Christ what He want you to do next. Make this a practice. By doing this you are doing more good than reading anything here or anywhere else on the Internet
– Doctor of the Church St. Francis de Sales totally confirmed beyond any doubt the possibility of a heretical pope and what must be done by the Church in such a situation:
“[T]he Pope… WHEN he is EXPLICITLY a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church MUST either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See.”
(The Catholic Controversy, by St. Francis de Sales, Pages 305-306)
Saint Robert Bellarmine, also, said “the Pope heretic is not deposed ipso facto, but must be declared deposed by the Church.”
– “If Francis is a Heretic, What should Canonically happen to him?”: http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2020/12/if-francis-is-heretic-what-should.html
– “Could Francis be a Antipope even though the Majority of Cardinals claim he is Pope?”: http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2019/03/could-francis-be-antipope-even-though.html
– LifeSiteNews, “Confusion explodes as Pope Francis throws magisterial weight behind communion for adulterers,” December 4, 2017:
The AAS guidelines explicitly allows “sexually active adulterous couples facing ‘complex circumstances’ to ‘access the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.'”
– On February 2018, in Rorate Caeli, Catholic theologian Dr. John Lamont:
“The AAS statement… establishes that Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia has affirmed propositions that are heretical in the strict sense.”
– On December 2, 2017, Bishop Rene Gracida:
“Francis’ heterodoxy is now official. He has published his letter to the Argentina bishops in Acta Apostlica Series making those letters magisterial documents.”
Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church by the bishops by the grace of God.
– Intel Cryptanalyst-Mathematician on Biden Steal: “212Million Registered Voters & 66.2% Voting,140.344 M Voted…Trump got 74 M, that leaves only 66.344 M for Biden” [http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2020/12/intel-cryptanalyst-mathematician-on.html?m=1]
– Will US be Venezuela?: Ex-CIA Official told Epoch Times “Chávez started to Focus on [Smartmatic] Voting Machines to Ensure Victory as early as 2003”: http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2020/12/will-us-be-venezuela-ex-cia-official.html– Tucker Carlson’s Conservatism Inc. Biden Steal Betrayal is explained by “One of the Greatest Columns ever Written” according to Rush: http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2021/01/tucker-carlsons-conservatism-inc-biden.html?m=1 – A Hour which will Live in Infamy: 10:01pm November 3, 2020:
http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2021/01/a-hour-which-will-live-in-infamy-1001pm.html?m=1 What is needed right now to save America from those who would destroy our God given rights is to pray at home or in church and if called to even go to outdoor prayer rallies in every town and city across the United States for God to pour out His grace on our country to save us from those who would use a Reichstag Fire-like incident to destroy our civil liberties. [Is the DC Capitol Incident Comparable to the Nazi Reichstag Fire Incident where the German People Lost their Civil Liberties?: http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2021/01/is-dc-capital-incident-comparable-to.html?m=1 and Epoch Times Show Crossroads on Capitol Incident: “Anitfa ‘Agent Provocateurs‘”:
Pray an Our Father now for the grace to know God’s Will and to do it.