THE ONLY WAY TO UNDERSTAND THE AMBIGUITIES OF POPE FRANCIS IS THAT HE USES INDUCTIVE REASONING RATHER THAN DEDUCTIVE REASONING OF HIS PREDECESSORS AND MOST BISHOPS
Inductive reasoning (as opposed to deductive reasoning or abductive reasoning) is reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying strong evidence for the truth of the conclusion. While the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given.
Many dictionaries define inductive reasoning as the derivation of general principles from specific observations, though some sources disagree with this usage.
The philosophical definition of inductive reasoning is more nuanced than simple progression from particular/individual instances to broader generalizations. Rather, the premises of an inductive logical argument indicate some degree of support (inductive probability) for the conclusion but do not entail it; that is, they suggest truth but do not ensure it. In this manner, there is the possibility of moving from general statements to individual instances (for example, statistical syllogisms, discussed below).
This is from an off the cuff interview from October but only now being communicated. It shows Pope Francis to be an inductive reasoner not deductive:
The pope urged the Jesuits to be on the side of “inculturation,” resisting forces that impose uniformity in faith, ideas or culture. Regretting the “centralist type of hermeneutic” behind colonization, he said the Church now had to “interpret things differently, valuing each people, their culture, their language.”
Repeating a call he made in a meeting with the Jesuits in Poland in the summer, he urged them to help form the next generation of priests in the art of discernment of spirits, which is at the heart of the Jesuits’ ‘method’.
He warned that a number of seminaries these days had reverted to legalism and rigidity which was the opposite of discernment, leading to a casuistic conception of morality with black-and-white prescriptions.
“I am very afraid of this,” he said, likening it to the “decadent scholasticism” which priests of his generation - i.e. prior to the Second Vatican Council - had been taught.
“The whole moral sphere was restricted to ‘yes you can,’ ‘you cannot,’ ‘up to here yes but not here,'” he said, describing it as “a morality very foreign to discernment.”
While avoiding any risk of falling into an anything-goes “situationalism,” in which there is no objective morality, Francis said it was “necessary to bring forward again the great wealth contained in the dimension of discernment” which was characteristic of the “great scholasticism” of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure.
He said their scholastic method - holding fast to general principles, but nuancing and modifying them without changing the principle faced with real-life situations - was the one underlying both the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.
That exhortation, which asks priests to accompany remarried couples in a discernment about their situation, was written, Francis said, following “the discernment made by the whole Church through the two synods.”
Asked about the study of theology in a “real-life context” Francis said that there needed to be “academic study, contact with real life not only at the periphery but at the boundary of the periphery, prayer and personal and community discernment.”
“When one of those things is missing,” he said, “I start to worry.”
Turning to a question about vocations, Francis blamed clericalism for suffocating the call to priestly and religious life.
“Clericalism does not allow growth, it does not allow the power of baptism to grow,” he said, adding that “vocations exist - you just have to know how to propose them, and how to attend to them.”
Vocations are the subject of the next synod of bishops in 2018.
“If the priest is always in a hurry, if he is involved in a thousand administrative things, if we do not convince ourselves that spiritual direction is not a clerical charism but a lay charism (which the priest can also develop), and if we do not call upon the laity in vocational discernment, it is evident that we will not have vocations,” he said.
He added that young people can be demanding and tiring but need to be listened to, and to be invited to work on projects rather than spend time in endless meetings.
In his strongest words yet on the topic, Francis described a failure to promote vocations as “suicide,” likening it to a form of sterilization, because the Church is a mother. “Not promoting vocations is an ecclesial tubal ligation,” he said, because “it does not allow that mother to have her children.”