Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Celebrating Blessed John Duns Scotus

I was pleased to see that there were many celebrations yesterday for the feast of the Blessed John Duns Scotus, the Subtle Doctor, son of Scotland, Oxford Alumnus, defender of the Franciscan thesis on the Incarnation and champion of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. In the video above, Fr Maximilian Mary Dean FI gives an introduction to the key idea of the Franciscan thesis, namely the absolute primacy of Christ. (search result for other videos on the Primacy of Christ)

Pope Benedict spoke about Scotus at the General Audience of 7 July 2010. The Holy Father summarised one of the Subtle Doctor's great contributions to theological debate:
First of all he meditated on the Mystery of the Incarnation and, unlike many Christian thinkers of the time, held that the Son of God would have been made man even if humanity had not sinned. He says in his "Reportatio Parisiensis": "To think that God would have given up such a task had Adam not sinned would be quite unreasonable! I say, therefore, that the fall was not the cause of Christ's predestination and that if no one had fallen, neither the angel nor man in this hypothesis Christ would still have been predestined in the same way" (in III Sent., d. 7, 4). This perhaps somewhat surprising thought crystallized because, in the opinion of Duns Scotus the Incarnation of the Son of God, planned from all eternity by God the Father at the level of love is the fulfilment of creation and enables every creature, in Christ and through Christ, to be filled with grace and to praise and glorify God in eternity. Although Duns Scotus was aware that in fact, because of original sin, Christ redeemed us with his Passion, Death and Resurrection, he reaffirmed that the Incarnation is the greatest and most beautiful work of the entire history of salvation, that it is not conditioned by any contingent fact but is God's original idea of ultimately uniting with himself the whole of creation, in the Person and Flesh of the Son.
Most websites which mention Bl John Duns Scotus focus on his defence of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception which was finally vindicated in the definition of Blessed Pius IX in 1854.

Some links of Scotistic interest:
Pope Benedict XVI Apostolic Letter to Cardinal Meisner and participants in the International Congress marking the 7th centenary of the death of Bl John Duns Scotus
Franciscan archive on Bl John Duns Scotus
Air Maria is having a Month of Scotus from the feast day until the feast of the Immaculate Conception
EWTN has a short Life of Bl John Duns Scotus
St Mungo music even has a hymn to John Duns Scotus, son of Scotland
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