The Catholic University of America

 Final Examination of 

Albert Doskey

for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy



The Concept of Apostolic Tradition and Its Use in the Works of Melchior Cano

Director:  Nelson H. Minnich, Ph.D.

This dissertation, after having situated in their historical context the person and theological works of Melchior Cano, O.P., one the great scholastic theologians of sixteenth century Spain, examines his doctrine of tradition, particularly apostolic tradition.  While focusing on De locis theologicis, his magnum opus, it examines the entirety of his opera, takes what teaching is available from elsewhere in his opera, and identifies dead ends and unfruitful sources, for the first time keeping future scholars from fruitless searches.  Cano’s De locis, while systematic and careful, does not have the internal correlations and multiply checked coherence of the most precise of the manuals of the first half of the twentieth century; consequently, in examining his doctrine, the dissertation attempts to clarify it and more precisely establish it, e.g. to provide a definition of apostolic tradition secundum mentem Cani (something not given by Cano).  It also identifies defects in argumentation and presentation, e.g. the absence of any example of a dogma of the Faith revealed to the Apostles by the Holy Spirit after Christ’s ascension, a category of tradition which he definitively affirms.  Finally, it seeks to draw out and explicate certain implicit assumptions and distinctions that are key in sustaining Cano’s doctrine, e.g. the intelligibility of actions.

The dissertation also looks at the secondary literature surrounding Cano’s doctrine of tradition, presenting most of it in summary form.  It critiques that literature, both praising and criticizing it.  Finally, the dissertation presents three main critics of Cano’s doctrine of tradition.  At least in part, the three try to weaken Cano’s teaching about the existence and role of constitutive tradition.  By examining their claims and Cano’s works, the dissertation establishes that their claims, while not all without any merit, are too forceful for the evidence they marshal.

More About Doskey

Albert Edward Doskey (Gutiérrez) was born and raised in Dallas, TX.  Although he has lived many other places, it is Dallas that feels like home.  By the workings of the Holy Spirit, he lived many years with his maternal grandparents (unexpectedly a great blessing), and by the same Spirit, he was brought to the traditional Roman Rite.  Although both of these gifts of the Spirit have marked him profoundly and call for thanksgiving to God, he remains ever in need of God’s grace as supernaturalized man and sinner.

 Mr. Doskey’s professional life has been almost entirely academic with studies punctuated by full-time teaching or part-time tutoring.  He received a B.A. in Spanish Literature and Plan II (an interdisciplinary honors program) and a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.  After discerning that he had no vocation to the priesthood or religious life, he studied Latin and Philosophy at the University of Dallas to prepare for theological studies.  He earned an M.A. in Sacred Theology at Ave Maria University.

Mr. Doskey came to love the thought of 16th century Spain while living in the country during his undergraduate studies.  There he was introduced to the poetry of Fray Luis de León, a student of Melchior Cano.  While Mr. Doskey tends toward being a generalist, his theological areas of interest have for some time been tradition, liturgy, ecclesiology, Church history, and theological method and sources.  He had the great pleasure of teaching Latin and Christology at Fisher More College in Ft. Worth, TX (now closed), a bold experiment in upper education.

 After the Ph.D., as before, all depends on God’s providence.