In this 3rd talk of the Newman-Scotus Symposium presented by the Conventual Franciscans at the Washington Theological Union on Oct 22-24, 2010, Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner gives a talk titled “Scotus and Newman in Dialogue – Scotus Metaphysician – Newman Phenomenologist.” He points out that Newman agreed and even specifically refers to Scotus’ opinion of the motive for the incarnation, that is, the Franciscan Thesis, the Absolute Primacy of Christ, that Christ would have come even if Adam had not sinned. And in regard to the Immaculate Conception, which Scotus was so prominent in giving a theological basis, is key to understanding the difference between Protestants and Catholics and why Catholics are orthodox. Also, both Scotus and Newman have been accused by Harold Weatherby of being the seeds of later heresy and in the same way as Hegel was. Fr. Peter argues, as many others are doing, that Scotus and Newman are in fact the antidote to the Modern errors of Hegel. Fr. Peter is saying that Weatherby correctly sees the affinity between Scotus and Newman but misinterprets the common teaching of both and points out how.
Prominent in his talk is the stages of intellectual process that are common between Scotus and Newman which gets short circuited by modernism. And the element of internalizing of the process, how the heart factors into the intellectual process.
The critical question of how we achieve certainty is determined by both the object and so derives the certainty but also a personal note that involves the will which is not (as both rationalists and pietists insist) radically opposed to the intellect and reason.
Affectio Justitio of Scotus is also akin to the benevolence Newman derived from the idea that God loves himself both because it is reasonable and also most appealing and this is how we are able to love others as ourselves as our intellect becomes sanctified and so begins to function more like God’s.
Fr. Peter also refers to Carl Balic, who was the foremost scholar of Scotus in his day and who wrote the first draft of the eighth chapter of Lumen Gentium on the Virgin Mary. Balic suggested the affinity of Scotus and Newman to Fr. Peter and thought this would be a great way for modern men to understand Scotus better. Here Fr. Peter brings this suggestion to full fruition.