Freemason Handshake? Pope Francis and ...
"[T]he [Kantian/Modernist] Blondelian schema holds that justification for the
faith is to be found by turning inwards to the personal experience of
the human subject. This turn to the subject is characteristic of modern
philosophy, from Descartes right up to the Idealism of Kant and Hegel
and beyond, and presented a major challenge to the traditional Catholic
apologetics... If it were the case that inner experience justified the
faith, if each person was to find the proof of God’s existence within
their own life, then what would be the basis for the teaching authority
of the Church?"
- Liberal AnthonyCarroll [https://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20090724_1.htm]
Scholar Douglas Flippen in the philosophical article "Was John Paul II a Thomist or a [Kantian] Phenomenologist?" gives an intellectual history of Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla). He shows how Kantian philosophy mostly in the form of the Kantian philosopher Max Scheler's phenomenology became important to him.
After reading Flippen and other scholars it appears that Wojtyla's attempt to mix Thomist's metaphysics of objective reality and being with the Kantian Scheler subjectivist thought lead to things like the disastrous "ecumenical" Assisi "prayer meeting" and many of the other problematic actions of his pontificate.
Flippin shows the Kantian influences on Wojtyla:
"Father Wojtyla lived at the Belgian college in Rome and the center for... Transcendental Thomism... so called because its approach to the thought of St. Thomas is influenced by the transcendental system of philosophy of Immanuel Kant..."
" ... After earning a second doctorate with a thesis on the ethics of the [Kantian] phenomenologist Max Scheler, Father Wojtyla was appointed in 1954 to the philosophy department of the Catholic University of Lublin..." [https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8105]
Scholar Flippen gives an exact time when Wojtyla started thinking that Kantian philosophy became possibly as important as Thomism. He thought that Scheler's Kantian thought could make up for "a certain lack in the approach of " Thomism. The supposedly solid Thomist Etienne Gilson so-called "historic or existential Thomis[m]," it appears, may have helped turned him towards Kant through Scheler:
"It seems likely that at this time Father Wojtyla would have become more aware of different approaches to the thought of St. Thomas. The reason for this is not only the fact that he was studying at the Angelicum with Father Garrigou-Lagrange, called a traditionalist Thomist for his approach to Thomas through the tradition of the commentaries of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas, but also because Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson, the two most famous [supposed] Thomists of the twentieth century, had been active in promoting the thought of Thomas since the 1920s, and this would hardly have escaped notice at the Angelicum. Both Gilson and Maritain, but especially Gilson, could be called historic or existential Thomists because of their interest in recovering the authentic thought of Thomas and because of their conviction that the historic thought of Thomas centered itself on the act of existing as being at the heart of reality..."
"... Father, and then Bishop, Wojtyla lectured at Lublin from 1954 until 1961. In this period of time his understanding and appreciation of the metaphysical approach of St. Thomas increased. This was due not only to his own continuing work on St. Thomas, but also to his interaction with a colleague named Stefan Swiezawski. As George Weigel notes in his biography of John Paul II, "Through faculty colleagues at KUL, and especially Stefan Swiezawski, Wojtyla had his first serious encounter with Etienne Gilson's historical rereading of Thomas Aquinas and with Jacques Maritain's modern Thomistic reading of Catholic social ethics."8 During this period, Father Wojtyla published a number of essays, many of them taking into account the thought of St. Thomas and comparing it favorably with modern thinkers. And yet there is a change of tone in his treatment of the thought of St. Thomas during this period. In the beginning, his praise of Thomas seems unqualified. Toward the end we find criticisms of a certain lack in the approach of Thomas and an emphasis on a positive contribution coming from the phenomenological movement. (Was John Paul II a Thomist or a Phenomenologist?: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8105)
Wikipedia gives a very rough (not exact) idea of what so-called "existential Thomists" such as Gilson and Henri de Lubac meant when they falsely claimed "the historic thought of Thomas centered itself on the act of existing as being at the heart of reality":
"The proposition that existence precedes essence (French: l'existence précède l'essence) is a central claim of existentialism, which reverses the traditional philosophical view that the essence (the nature) of a thing is more fundamental and immutable than its existence (the mere fact of its being). To existentialists, human beings—through their consciousness—create their own values and determine a meaning for their life because the human being does not possess any inherent identity or value. That identity or value must be created by the individual. By posing the acts that constitute them, they make their existence more significant.
"The idea can be found in the works of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in the 19th century, but was explicitly formulated by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in the 20th century. The three-word formula originated in his 1945 lecture "Existentialism Is a Humanism", though antecedent notions can be found in Heidegger's Being and Time." [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence_precedes_essence]
Sadly, Wojtyla trusted that dishonest "existential Thomist" Gilson's "rereading of Thomas Aquinas" was true. It was not Thomism. Renowned Thomist Dr. Ralph McInerny shows in detail in his book ""praeambula fidei : Thomism and the God of the Philosophers" the deception of Gilson:
"Gilson's... passage of [Thomist] Cajetan... when Thomas says that esse [existence] is the actuality of all things, even of forms. Gilson asserts that this is a novelty, unknown to Aristotle... Gilson's attack on Cajetan is one aspect of his criticism of Aristotle... is seen from the angle of Gilson's increasingly inventive interpretation of esse [existence]... it is... painfully clear that he is out to make a case against [Thomist] Cajetan and fairness to the great commentator [of Thomas] will not characterize his criticism... For now, consider what he stresses: a substance as Thomas understands it can only be the term of generation, as it is, because it has its own act of existing... Being is the term of a generation; that which is generated exists thanks to that process of generation. Surely, Gilson does not mean to suggest that something is generated and then receives an act of existence. Or is he suggesting that existent things are not the terms of generation for Aristotle... "
"... the Gilsonian attack on Cardinal Cajetan... is embarrassing to read this... attack [on] one of the giants of the Thomistic school... Cajetan... [and Thomist] Garrigou-Lagrange is demonized by Gilson and Maritain... It is possible that those he criticized got it right [on Thomas] and that he got it wrong..."
"...Gilson makes his own the
position of Kant that existence is not a predicate... Gilson
wrote...'Being,' Kant says 'is evidently not a predicate or a concept
of something that can be added to a thing'... What is the
Thomististicity of Gilson's claim..."
"... [W]hat he [Gilson] is attributing to Thomas is not found in Thomas... 'No Thomist,' Gilson concedes, 'aiming to express it, should write that existence (esse) is not known by a concept.' Coming from a historian [Gilson] who has been so severe on other interpreters of Thomas [such as Cajetan and Garrigou-Lagrange], it is somewhat disarming to be told that 'historically speaking, our [Gilson's] formulas are inaccurate' and that he should have made clear that he was not using the language of Saint Thomas." ("praeambula fidei : Thomism and the God of the Philosophers," page 52-54,68, 152-153)
The deceptive Gilson who is called by many "the chief scholar of Aquinas in the 20th century" not only mislead John Paul II, but most of the orthodox (even some traditionalists) Catholics to accept the equally dishonest or simply poor scholar Henri de Lubac who made the false claim that Thomas Aquinas didn't make a distinction between nature and the supernatural grace.
As one reads the scholar McInerny's "praeambula fidei" it is obvious that he considers Gilson a real scholar who was dishonest in his discourses on Cajetan and Aquinas while he doesn't, it seems, appear to consider de Lubac "orthodox" or much of a scholar:
"'Supernatural' brought de Lubac... silenced... eventually De Lubac learned that it had been other Jesuits, not Dominicans, who had questioned the the orthodoxy of his views... If de Lubac got Cajetan's reading of St. Thomas wrong, what is to be said of De Lubac's own understanding of Thomas." ("praeambula fidei," Pages 70, 84)
The point is, as McInerny shows in his book, that Gilson and de Lubac were a team who worked to discredit Cajetan and ultimately St. Thomas' real teachings. The poor scholar de Lubac needed Gilson's reputation as a honest scholar to cover for his "question[able]... orthodoxy" and dishonest or poor scholarship.
It can be argued that part of what the nouvelle theologian de Lubac's teaching has done is replace the infallible teachings of the Church with Kantian/Modernist teaching in which all human experience (pagan, heretical, mundane, etc...) is equal to the redemption, grace and teachings given to us by Jesus Christ's Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection as taught and administered through the Sacraments by the Church He established:
"The rejection of the proportionate human nature separate de Lubac more decisively from St. Thomas than anything else, doubtless because this rejection is at the basis of his thought... Grace, as the words suggests, is gratuitous, unowed, above and beyond what our nature is naturally ordered to. The supernatural, as the word suggests, is added onto natural... In de Lubac's account... [it] is almost as if for him the supernatural replaces the natural." ( "praeambula fidei," Pages 85-86)
It might better be said that de Lubac's teachings replaced the supernatural with the natural.
Thomist scholar Taylor Marshall, in the best paragraph of his book "Infiltration," summarized what nouvelle theologians like de Lubac did:
"They [nouvelle theologians] sought to make everything grace, and by doing so, they, in fact, reduced everything to the natural, so that the natural longings [human experiences] of every human became the means of salvation. Hence, all human nature itself is 'open' to attaining salvation. This means that liturgy should be less supernatural and that other religions are 'open' as means of salvation. This theology necessitates a new liturgy, a new ecumenism, and a new form of Catholicism. It is Freemasonic naturalism cloaked with quotations of the Church Fathers. The nouvelle theologie was a frontal attack on Thomas Aquinas." ("Infiltration," Page 135)
Pope John Paul II's Vatican II attempt to mix Aquinas' metaphysics of objective reality with the semi-Kantian/Modernist subjectivist thought lead to things like the disastrous "ecumenical" Assisi "prayer meeting" and many of the other problematic actions of his pontificate, but kept intact, for the most part, the moral and dogmatic teachings of the Church despite the Vatican II ambiguities and lack of clear definition in that council's documents as Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre pointed out during and after Vatican II.
Unfortunately, Francis' apparently unambiguous pure Kantian/Modernist subjectivist theology unmixed with Thomist's metaphysics is bringing about "a new form of Catholicism. It is Freemasonic naturalism cloaked with quotations of the Church Fathers... a frontal attack on Thomas Aquinas." This theology appears to be leading to his attack on the moral and dogmatic teachings of the Church such as Communion for adulterers and other errors.
Pray an Our Father now for reparation for the sins committed because of Francis's Amoris Laetitia.