Video – Conferences #113: Newman Scotus – Fr. Ed Ondrako – Anticipate Modern Christianity

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Ave Maria!

The final lecture for the Newman-Scotus Symposium is given by Rev. Dr. Edward Ondrako, OFMConv. titled: Intuition and Certitude: Newman and Scotus Anticipate Liberal Christianity and Modern Voluntarism

Fr Edward Ondrako explores how Scotus anticipated the theology and thinking of Newman and both of them anticipated [and gave an orthodox rebuttal to] much of modern theology. He ties this to the balance that Pope Benedict is advocating between a continuity with the doctrinal tradition on the one hand and the relating it to the modern culture on the other.


He shows that Scotus is not the stepping stone to Kant and Hegel but that he anticipated many of their main points and answered them in an orthodox way long before their arrival.

Newman too was very critical of Hegel and Kant even very early in his career. Fr. Ed also contrasts Scotus and Newman to Suarez, that he is an eclectic that is closer to Thomas than Scotus.

Properly understood both Newman and Scotus are, in fact, the great antidote to modern skepticism and the exaggerated separation of faith and reason. This is in line with Pope Benedict when in England during the same trip when he beatified Newman where he asked all scholars to reunite scholarship with sanctification.

Fr Ed traces three different schools of theological thought which represent the major influences today.

Caveats - Modernism is both seductive and subtle. So the subtle doctor is likely to have the answer but so too they will likely be misunderstood because of this very subtlety, especially when he mentions the same problems that the modernists do.

Scotus fought against the major precursors to Kant and Hegel of his day, Joachim of Fiores and others.

Pope to Abp. Rowan

Contribution of Scotus in formal distinction of will and intellect, recognizing the difference between the two but also the close relation between them.

Newman - to alter the type is to corrupt the type and this is not development. He cites his mistakes but also his unflagging effort to resist liberalism in religion and it subjectivism and relativism that guts the truths of the religions and sacred revelation. Thus he is the antidote to post Vatican II relativism and personal interpretation. Newman clearly outlines all these problems long before they became the great problem they are today.


Be Catholic. Be intellectual. Be holy. Explore the causes of the radical separation of will from intellect.

Development of doctrine must preserve the type. Must preserve the distinction between Creator and creature but still be related.

Three competing schools:

  1. Aristotle Thomas

  2. Ockham, Hume, Kant

  3. St. Bonaventure, Scotus

and his point is that Newman fits into the third more than the first two.

Question 1

Fr Ed recommends Benedetto Ippolito (video on AirMaria) . Fr Tedesco has something to say but needs to be interpreted in the interiorizing idea not in the sense of mere personal interpretation.


Bl. Scotus anticipated the modern sense that the world is rigged against Christianity. This is not to be pessimistic but a realist. In the modern situation this is due to Locke's ethics that reduce objective truth to little or no value. Pope says this, as well,  and asks the Dominican and Franciscans to do the hard work of establishing the basis for avoiding over rigidity on the one hand and hopelessly arbitrary relativism on the other.

Ave Maria!

For more of this Symposium

For the book that is the final fruit of this Symposium:

Audio (MP3)


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