Walter of Chatton
WALTER OF CHATTON
English Franciscan scholastic variously designated as of Catton, Caton, Cepton, Schaton, etc. b. Chatton, Northumbria, c. 1285; d. Avignon, 1343. Entering the order as a young boy [Archivum Franciscanum historicum 19 (1926) 866], he was ordained a subdeacon in 1307 by John of Halton, bishop of Carlisle. He commented on the Sentences (1322 to 1323) at Oxford, and possibly a second time, likely in England. He was in Oxford again in 1330, as 53rd regent, then in Assisi in the summer of 1332, apparently in the company of Gerard Odonis (Guiral Ot), Minister General [Archivum Franciscanum historicum 48 (1955) 292]. Next found at the papal court of Avignon in 1333, he was an active opponent of the English Dominican thomas waleys, on trial there for doctrinal errors. So notable was his role that the Dominican considered him a leader among his adversaries [T. Käpelli, Le Procès contre Thomas Waleys OP (Rome 1936), 60–63, 118, 241–246]. In September Walter was named one of the examiners of the works of durandus of saint-pourÇain as well as of the writings of Waleys [Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, ed. H. Denifle and E. Chatelain, 4 v. (Paris 1889–97), 2:418–423, n.975]. Chatton was one of the 16 theologians summoned by benedict xii in 1335 to examine the pontiff's tract "On the State of Souls Before the General Judgment" and to discuss the theological problems involved (ibid. 2:453, n.995). The following year his name is mentioned among those who had helped the pope frame new constitutions for the Friars Minor [Archivum Franciscanum historicum 30 (1937) 309–390, esp. 334]. In 1341 he was made a papal penitentiary for English-speaking visitors at Avignon; two years later he is mentioned as having given counsel in a dispute between Benedictines and Franciscans. In the same year clement vi conferred on him the Welsh See of St. Asaph, under the impression that the incumbent, David of Blethyn, had died. Walter never took possession of the see, since he died at Avignon before David, in late 1343 or early 1344[C. Eubel et al., Hierarchia Catholica medii (et recentioris) aevi 1:112].
Of Walter's scholastic writings, his Sentences have come down in two reportationes. The texts are so different as to imply that he lectured twice, at least on the prologue and part of the first book. Both the first version of 1322 to 1323 (Paris BN lat. 15887; Florence Bibl. Naz. Cod. Conv. Sopp. C.5.357) and the second (Paris BN lat.15886) reveal that Walter was one of the first to oppose the doctrines of william of ockham. Although his master was duns scotus, there are few Ockhamist theses that he does not consider in detail. In addition, Chatton cites peter aureoli, richard of campsall, henry of harclay, and others. His own position is that of a conservative Scotist. He merited the attention of Ockham in his Quodlibeta and a rebuttal by adam wodham of a lost work on indivisibles. Before he left England, Walter became interested in the controversy over poverty and wrote a Tract on Evangelical Poverty [Archivum Franciscanum historicum 24 (1931) 343–346; 25 (1932) 36–58; 210–240; cf. ibid. 11 (1918) 251–269]. Other works attributed to him have not been identified.
See Also: scotism; poverty controversy.
Bibliography: l. eldredge, "Walter of Chatillon and the Drectum of Gratian: An Analysis of Propter Zion non Tacebo" Studies in Medieval Culture 3 (Kalamazoo, Mich. 1970). g. etzkorn, "Walter Chatton and the Controversy on the Absolute Necessity of Grace," Franciscan Studies, Annual XV, 32–65. n. fitzpatrick, "Walter Chatton on the Univocity of Being: A Reaction to Peter Aureoli and William Ockham," Franciscan Studies, 31, 88–177. e. karger, "William of Ockham, Walter Chatton and Adam Wodeham on the Objects of Knowledge and Belief," Vivarium 33 (1995), 176–196. a. mcgrade, "Enjoyment at Oxford after Ockham: Philosophy, Psychology, and the Love of God," From Ockham to Wyclif (Oxford 1987) 63–88.
[i. c. brady]