John Kilcullen

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Tract 1:John's fictitious revocation 

Prologue: We will quote the protestation or revocation made by John XXII and comment on it passage by passage. (See also s 97 , where our author says he merely wants to reply to reasons given in the report of the consistory.)

Chapter 1: Report of the consistory in which John made his protestation/revocation. After a reading of arguments to prove that the saints in heaven do already see God, John argued that they will not see God until Judgment Day.

His arguments:

Chapter 2, argument 1: Hope is inconsistent with vision, but the souls in heaven hope.
Reply: Christ hoped, but Christ from the moment of his conception enjoyed vision of the divine essence; the angels hope, but they see God. Enjoyment of the vision is inconsistent with hoping for the vision, but not with hoping for something else (such as the resurrection of the body, for which the saint hope).  Reply to his appeal to texts of Thomas Aquinas: Thomas means that the saints who see God do not have the hope that is the theological virtue (since they possess the object of that hope), but this does not mean that they cannot hope for something else besides the vision of God.

Chapter 3, argument 2:  Souls cannot be exalted beyond vision of God, because this vision is their highest exaltation and there is nothing higher than highest. But on Judgment Day God will exalt the saints and their souls. Therefore until then they do not see God.
Reply: This argument implies heresies: (1) That a soul that sees the divine essence cannot be exalted to a higher degree of perfection. (Heretical, because in the rapture Paul saw God, but will be exalted on Judgment Day to a higher perfection. Also, because there are degrees of vision, so God can exalt someone to a higher degree.) (2) That if someone's soul sees the divine essence, the whole man, composed of the soul that sees the divine essence and a body, cannot be exalted. (Heretical, because Christ, who at all times saw the divine essence, was exalted by God after death.)  (3) That the souls of the saints do not see God face-to-face until the day of judgment. (Heretical, because in 2 Cor. 5:6 Paul desired to walk by sight and not by faith before the day of judgment.) And ambiguities: (1)  That souls cannot be exalted beyond clear vision of the divine essence.(This may mean, that the souls enjoying vision cannot be exalted to a higher degree of a perfection they now have, which is false, and is what John means; or that souls enjoying vision cannot be exalted to any higher perfection distinct in species from perfections they now have, which is true.)    (2) That clear vision is the highest exaltation of souls. (This may mean that of perfections distinct in species vision is the highest, which is disputed; or that souls enjoying God cannot be exalted to any perfection distinct in species from the perfection they now have, which is true; or that they cannot be exalted in any way, which is false and is what John means.)

Answer to argument 2: Face-to-face vision of God has degrees of clarity, hence one vision of God (e.g. Christ's) can be higher than another. At the Last Judgment the saints, composed of body and soul, will attain complete beatitude, including glorious bodies and a higher degree of vision of God, but this does not imply that their souls do not already have vision of God. (Comments on Apoc.6:9 and on the view of Bernard.) 

Chapter  4, argument 3: Those who see God know all things (according to Gregory), but the saints do not yet know all things (e.g. according to Augustine, the saints do not know what happens among the living unless they are told about it).

Reply:  It is heretical to claim that clear vision of God implies omniscience; see Eph. 3:8-10 and other texts. Gregory meant that the saints have all knowledge that makes the knower blessed, notably knowledge of the divine trinity..

Chapter 5, argument 4: The reward of vision is promised to the whole person, body and soul, not to the soul alone; this is proved by various Bible texts.

Reply:   The reward that includes glory of soul and body is promised only to whole persons, to be attained only at the Last Judgment. But vision of God has been promised to souls. Christ promised that holy souls before Judgment Day would enjoy various rewards, including being with Christ and seeing the glory of his deity. Vision is promised both to souls before Judgement Day and to complete persons afterwards.

Chapter 6, argument 5:  The reward of vision is promised for after Judgment Day; therefore before then the saints do not see God.

Reply: Some reward is promised to complete persons for after Judgment Day, but this does not prove that vision is not promised to souls for before Judgment Day. The promise to the robber (Lk 23:43) was for before Judgment Day, and it was of  a happiness that could not exist without vision. Other texts: John 17:24, 1 Cor. 13:12, Apoc. 6:11.

Chapter 7, argument 6: Judgment Day will be in vain if the souls already see God.

Reply: Judgment Day will not be in vain, because the saints will after Judgment enjoy a clearer vision and the glorification of the body. And the Last Judgment also has other purposes.

Having given his arguments, John then made his fictitious protestation or revocation:

Chapter 8: First, he says he has concerned himself with this question because the doctrine that the saints already see God would make the final judgment "verbal, empty and fictitious".

Chapter 9: Second, he says that he has been motivated by  love of truth. (All heretics, Jews and pagans hold their errors out of love of truth. Who would say that he would more willingly hold a falsity than the truth? Ignorance does not always excuse. Love of truth does not always excuse.)

Chapter 10: Third, he shows why he has wished to promulgate the aforesaid assertion of his and preach it publicly. (He tried to study  without a teacher and without academic training; not understanding rightly, he has tried to infer heresies from authorities badly understood.)

Chapter 11: Fourth, he says that he did not intend to contradict the faith and therefore makes a protestation or revocation lest he be condemned for heresy.

(1) Although some parts of the Catholic faith may be believed only implicitly, some things must be believed explicitly.
(2) Some things must be believed explicitly by all Christians, others only by some. The former include all things published among all Catholics as being Catholic. The latter include things necessary to know for persons who hold certain offices, and other things that some people happen to know to be contained in the Bible and the teaching of the Church.
(3) Knowing heretics knowingly reject the Christian faith. But some who think they are Christians are in fact unknowing heretics.
(4) Four categories: those who err against something they are bound to believe explicitly, those who err against something they are bound to believe only implictly, some of whom may be pertinacious, others ready to be corrected. 
(5) Pertinacity may be shown by words, or by deeds.
(6) There is a difference between protestation and revocation; one who discovers that he has been in error must revoke..
(7) Revocation must be unconditional.

1. John's words do not excuse him. They are a protestation, not a revocation. They are words that any heretic could use. He has erred against something he was bound to believe explicitly, and must therefore immediately be judged pertinacious.
2. Even if at some future time he is converted, nevertheless he has been a heretic. His pertinacity is also proved by his actions.
3. What sort of revocation he must make, namely he must confess his error and revoke it unconditionally. 

Chapter 12: Fifth,  he claims that he is not pertinacious, by claiming that he is happy to hear arguments against his position. (But his words are deceptive, as is shown by his actions.)

Chapter 13: Sixth, it is narrated that he sought that a public instrument of his revocation should be made. Our author's protestation.

Tract 2: Answers to certain arguments in support of John's error.

 Prologue: Bad rulers are served by flatterers, and some try to support John's errors. This tract will answer arguments of some who have supported his heresy concerning the vision of God.

1, Argument 1: Vision comes after the time of believing, but the time of believing lasts until Judgment Day.

Reply: A given person cannot have both vision and faith at the same time, but at a given time some can have vision while others have faith. While wayfarers believe, Christ, the angels and the saints see God. At Judgment Day some will be taken up from this life, so some will be in faith when they come to Judgment Day; but those have been saved who are already dead then will already have vision.  Eph. 4:11-13 does not mean that all who come together at Judgment Day will be in faith.

2, Argument 2: The Church prays for dead saints that they be granted light to see God, i.e. after Judgment Day. It is not a prayer for souls in purgatory, since it mentions that they "sleep the sleep of peace", which could not be said of souls in purgatory. The prayer is for those at peace, that they may in future see God.

Reply:  Peace has several senses; purgatory does not exclude peace in one sense, viz. reconciliation with God, so one answer to argument (2) is that the prayer is for the souls in purgatory. Another answer is that the prayer is also for saints in heaven, that they may come with their bodies to a higher peace than the one they now enjoy, which includes vision of God. After Judgment Day they will see God more clearly, will rejoice at the resumption of their bodies, at the completion of the eternal city, and other things.

3, Argument 3: Ambrose says that after death the saints see per speciem, but no species is as effective a medium as the humanity of Christ. Therefore the saints do not now see God [any more than the Apostles did during their life]. 

Reply: "Per speciem" in this context means by direct vision, and is distinguished against knowing by faith (cf. 2 Cor. 13:12). Ambrose means that after death the saints have the vision of God. If "per speciem" is taken to mean through some representation, some say that it is not true that the humanity of Christ is the most effective medium of knowledge of God, rather the whole of nature is; also, face-to-face vision (something created) is a more effective means.

4, Argument 4: Bernard says that before Judgment Day the souls of the saints see Christ's humanity but do not see God directly.

Reply: Bernard does not deny that the saints have vision before Judgment Day, though he denies that they have consummate blessedness before then. ("Blessedness" has various senses. The vision of God, in the absence of certain other goods, is not consummate blessedness, which includes not only the "robe of the soul" but also the "robe of the body".)

5, Argument 5: A gloss on 1 Cor. 9:24 says that although "one receives the prize here, in another life all receive it together", and so before Judgment Day no holy soul will have the prize of the vision of the divine essence.

Reply: Cf. the gloss to Heb. 11:39-40, according to which none of the saints "receive the promise", including beatitude of body, until they all all receive it. Both glosses mean that before Judgment Day none of the saints will receive the "robe of the body", though the saints who die before Judgment Day will receive the "robe of the soul" before Judgment Day.

6, Argument 6: 2 Tim. 4:8, "there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just judge, will render to me in that day", therefore not before Judgment Day.

Reply: In verse 6 Paul refers to the day of his death, so in verse 8 "that day" means the day of his death, when he will receive the robe of the soul.  Or, if Paul means Judgment Day, the crown is the robe of the body. Some wish to say that Paul refers to the whole person, composed of soul and body, which will not have either robe until Judgment Day [because the whole man is not reconstituted before then]. [That is, "that day" means Judgment Day, and "crown of justice" refers to both robes: but this does not imply that the soul does not have the robe of the soul before Judgment Day.]

7, Argument 7: In Apoc. 6:9 John "saw the souls of them that were slain for the word of God" "under the altar", that is, under the humanity of Christ, where they remain until Judgment Day. Even after Judgment Day they will be in subjection to Christ, so when they rise then "above the altar", that must be by the ascent of contemplation [i.e. by receiving for the first time the vision of God]..

Reply: To say that after Judgment Day they will be in subjection to Christ is inconsistent with the opinion of John XXII that Christ will not reign after Judgment Day. They truncate and misinterpret Apoc. 6:9-11, which mentions the single robe, which Gregory interprets as the vision of God; and the text does not say or imply that after Judgment Day the souls will rise above the altar. "Under the altar" in Apoc. 6:9 means that the souls are hidden from many--they see God, but they are not themselves visible to us or to those who are in purgatory or hell. On Judgment Day they will be visible to all. They will not then for the first time see God, since they will earlier receive the robe of the soul.

8: Trying to nullify texts inconsistent with his opinion, John's defenders say that if any texts and writings of the saints [i.e. holy Church writers] say that souls now see God, they are using the language of devout love, since the saints, when expressing their love, often take past for present and present for future.

Reply: Often the Saints speak of the vision of the holy souls intending to show the present truth of their vision (e.g. when Gregory says "now they enjoy the blessedness of souls only but afterwards they will also enjoy..."), and in doing this they cannot be using present tense for future.

9: To discourage ordinary people from examining the errors of John and his defenders, they tell them that ordinary people should not concern themselves with theology but should simply believe the teaching of Church authorities.

Reply: Every Christian must believe explicitly anything he is certain follows from things contained in the Bible. Others apart from the Pope and Cardinals and people instructed by them can be certain about many truths that follow from things contained in the Bible. Heretics rouse Catholics to seek truths previously unknown, not already taught by pope and cardinals. Simple people reading the Bible can notice something the pope and cardinals have not taught, and then they they ought to believe it, without clearing it first with pope and cardinals, since they ought to prefer the Bible to pope and cardinals.

If it is said that the simple are saved in the faith of the seniors, the answer is that they saved by their own faith, though with respect to many things it is enough for them to believe implicitly.

If it were true that no simple person should study the Bible, then, since a beginning student is a simple person, this would mean that no one should begin to study the Bible until he is made pope or cardinal.

It is true that simple people should not be presumptuous, but they should adhere to the Bible; the pope and cardinals are not the rule of faith.

Author's protestation.