Catholic Probabilism - Probabiliorism


Probabiliorism, which held that it is not lawful to act on the less safe opinion unless it is more probable than the safe opinion and which was in vogue before the time of Medina, was renewed in the middle of the seventeenth century as an antidote against Laxism. Its revival was principally due to the efforts of popes Alexander VII and Innocent XI. In 1656, a general chapter of the Dominicans urged all members of the order to adopt Probabiliorism. Though previously Dominican theologians like Medina, Ledesma, Domingo Banez, Alvarez and Ildephonsus were probabilists, subsequently the Dominicans in the main were Probabiliorists. In 1700, the Gallican clergy, under Bossuet, accepted Probabiliorism. The Franciscans as a rule were Probabiliorists, and in 1762 a general chapter of the order at Mantua ordered its members to follow Probabiliorism. In 1598, a general chapter of the Theatines adopted Probabiliorism. The Augustinians, Carmelites, Trinitarians and many Benedictines were also Probabiliorists.

Probabiliorism was also held by many Jesuits. Thyrsus Gonzalez, a Jesuit professor at the University of Salamanca, favoured Probabiliorism in his Fundamentum Theologiae Moralis (1670–72). When the book was sent to the Jesuit General Oliva in 1673, permission for publication was refused. Pope Innocent XI favoured Gonzalez and, in 1680, sent a decree through the Holy Office to Oliva ordering that liberty be given to the members of the order to write in favour of Probabiliorism and against probabilism. Gonzalez was elected general of the order in 1687, but his book was not published until 1694.

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