Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Doctor

There is going to be a new Doctor of the Church.  Scotus? No, Hildegard. Huh. Apparently Albert was also declared doctor before being canonized.  So there is no reason why Scotus couldn't be as well.  So why hasn't he?  Oh right, thanks radical orthodoxy, Brad Gregory, Fr. Robert Barron, 99% of Catholic intellectuals.


Michael Sullivan said...

I approve of more mediaeval doctors. And I suppose people want another woman. But do more people actually read Hildegard than Scotus? Is the demand for her based on the value of her writings or on the symbolism associated with her? Maybe this will help keep her from being co-opted by New Agies and pagans? I honestly don't know; I enjoy her musical compositions but haven't read any of her books. Thought about it - but they're expensive, etc.

Still I can't help thinking that if they're going to name a popular blessed a doctor, Newman is the obvious choice. And if they don't care about popularity, then Scotus is.

Lee Faber said...

I acquired the ordo virtutum boxed set for a dollar at a library booksale and found it rather tedious and irritating. I admit I like some of the chants associated with her.

plus, I just am not interested in visionary writing and don't see why that qualifies one as a doctor but actual theology apparently does not.

But I agree, the more medieval doctors the better.

Brandon said...

I'm a little puzzled about the problem with canonization; Hildegard is listed in the Roman Martyrology as Saint Hildegard, which is usually considered equivalent to canonization.

Brandon said...

Doing some refreshing of my memory, I'm more and more puzzled at the claim that Hildegard is merely a Blessed; she very definitely is treated liturgically as a Saint, and liturgically is all that matters. I think maybe a confusion has come about because

(1) She lived on the cusp of the change between informal and formal paths to canonization -- she was one of the earliest to have a formal canonization inquiry, but, ironically, is in the Martyrology by way of the informal path, since her formal inquiry was never completed.

(2) She's one of the saints in the Martyrology that has no feastday on the universal calendar. (This is a true of a number of them, the most famous of whom is Boethius.) So like the beatified, she's only celebrated in some local calendars (Germany and the Benedictines, I think).

I've read Scivias and selections of other works; and I've always put her on my list of possible candidates for the title. If there's anything to the rumor, I suspect that the Pope is interested in having another German on the list; and there are few other real German candidates, and he's spoken highly of her before.

Asello Guzman said...

A link to a brief article about the latest Doctor of the Church, along with a list of possible future candidates:

Frankly, I don't understand why a number are on the list, nor why St. John of Avila or St. Hildegard von Bingen qualify. Maybe I should read more of their writings in order to see why. Notice that I say "St." Hildegard. So does Pope Benedict XVI in his general audience about her:

Lee Faber said...

Thanks, Asello. Still no Scotus, I see. Apparently founding one of the three main medieval viae and one of only two to survive Trent, being the first major defender of the immaculate conception does not qualify him as 'eminens doctrina'.

but perhaps they are just waiting for his complete works to be edited.

Brandon said...

St. John of Avila was a pretty obvious choice, I think; I called him as the most obvious next candidate as far back as 2007. His correspondence is an extraordinary treasure of moral counsel and he is one of the major figures responsible for the Spanish revival that included both St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, both of whom were influenced by him. Scholastic theology, biblical commentary, polemic, hymnody, direction of prayer, and catechesis were already well-represented, but pastoral counsel was one of the modes of teaching only weakly represented by the Doctors of the Church already on the slate. So a saint with a reputation for distinctively high quality of pastoral counsel, and who by it benefited the whole Church, was always a likely candidate. Hildegard, if it comes about, is a bit more of a surprise, I think. Personally, I would have bet on St. Jeanne de Chantal as the next woman Doctor.

Scotus may still be waiting, but he has nothing on St. Gregory of Nyssa, who incontrovertibly meets all the requirements and yet somehow manages to be the only Cappadocian Father without the recognition.

berenike said...

Bitter much?


Thanks for this blog in general, much food for thought.

Hardy Har har said...

Hegel on scholastix, in the AM"""The study of the scholastic philosophy is a difficult one, even if its language only be considered. The Scholastics certainly make use of a barbaric Latin, but this is not the fault of the Scholastics but of their Latin culture. Latin forms a quite unsuitable instrument for applying to philosophic categories such as these, because the terms which the new culture adopts could not possibly be expressed by this language without unduly straining it; the beautiful Latin of Cicero is not adapted for use in profound speculations. It cannot be expected of anyone to know at first hand this philosophy of the Middle Ages, for it is as comprehensive and voluminous as it is barren and ill-expressed.

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Michael Sullivan said...

This is foolish. It's not as though Hegel's German is any better. Besides, Bonaventure writes an elegant and beautiful Latin, Thomas a workmanlike and serviceable, Ockham a clear one (I don't defend Scotus' style); while 20th century philosophical English or French can be just as jargonish, dense, and barbaric as any scholastic. Elizabethan English is no more naturally adapted to profound speculation than Ciceronian Latin; should no one therefore philosophize in English? Complaints such as these are merely an excuse to write off a thousand years of thought without reading it.

" It cannot be expected of anyone to know at first hand this philosophy of the Middle Ages,"

Fine. But it can then be expected that the ignorant refrain from criticizing it.

Anonymous said...


It's just J/Perezoso/01010010/aka, that guy you banned, again.

Michael Sullivan said...

I figured it was.

Editor said...

It seems that often Duns Scotus is assumed to be a Doctor since he is famously the Subtle Doctor. He appears to have been understood a Doctor and then later was looked upon with more skepticism and so not included in the official list nor officially proclaimed a Doctor.

Even if he does have some questionable points of teaching, so do the other Doctors, still in general his works seem matching the higher Orthodoxy and I believe that Thomas Aquinas would have agreed with a great amount of positions that he advanced.Some of them are positions in Thomas Aquinas which seem to have been misinterpreted by later writers.

And of course everyone agrees he was most accurate with the defense of the Immaculate Conception.

Among other works besides her music and interpretations of Benedict's rule, the treatise on virtues, Prologue on the Gospel of John and writings on medicine, Hildegaard of Bingen has written numerous letters to bishops and Abbots and various religious houses.

Lee Faber said...


All the scholastics were known as a doctor of some kind. You can google the lists. John of ripa was the 'doctor supersubtilis', Petrus Thomae the 'doctor proficuus, invincibilis' and so on. but none of these were ever considered 'doctors of the church'. Scotus was never considered such either.

Pesadillo said...

typical neo-scholastic non sequitur--he sees a paragraph of Hegel, and Paddy then insists Hegel's complex detailed discussion --100 pages or so-- on scholastic errors is worthless.

Michael Sullivan said...

I wasn't dismissing 100 pages, but responding to the single paragraph you posted. I didn't insist on anything about a complex detailed discussion. Res ipsa loquitur, you said; well, I answered rem ipsam tantum.

Any further comment calling me "Paddy" will be deleted without response. Learn some manners.