Saint Bonaventure held that, through universal reconciliation with every creature, Saint Francis in some way returned to the state of original innocence.
In some way, eh? State of original innocence? That would be before Adam and Eve got the heave-ho from paradise.
So maybe, in some way, the pope’s patron was cured of original sin, placing him second only to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was conceived without it! Why haven’t we heard about this before Laudato si?
Because we have not been reading our St. Bonaventure, who floats this arresting speculation in The Major Legend of Saint Francis, VIII, 1, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, New York-London-Manila, 2000, 586 — which I know from reading Laudato si footnote 40 (of Francis’s 172).
The next sentence says more:
This is a far cry from our situation today, where sin is manifest in all its destructive power in wars, the various forms of violence and abuse, the abandonment of the most vulnerable, and attacks on nature.
Pope Francis is on firm, well-traveled ground here, except that what it’s a far cry from is the state of innocence granted to St. Francis because of his universal reconciliation with every creature, which we know because the early Franciscan Bonaventure mentioned it in his Life of the saint..
So Pope Francis bolsters his argument for saving the earth with a throwaway line from a 13th-century philosopher-theologian writing a book about the revered founder of his own religious order.
One foot in the 21st century as a prophet against man-made global warming, the other in the 13th as off-the-wall homilist. That’s our pope, too easily impressed.