|Incidentally, he was one of the most implacable opponents of the mendicant friars, though his opposition was paradoxical in view of the fact that he looked theologically to Augustinian mendicants such as the two theologians and Priors General, Giles of Rome O.S.A. and William of Cremona O.S.A.
FitzRalph objected strenuously and publically to privileges and canonical and financial exemptions given to the mendicant orders, on the argument that their less than virtuous life made their positions illegitimate and thus rendered their receipt of privileges and exemptions null and void.
He expressed his views clearly in a work written about 1340, ‘As far as I can judge, no man in a state of mortal sin has true lordship over other creatures in God's sight. He ought rather to be called a tyrant, a thief or a robber, though he keep the name of king or prince or lord by reason of possession or hereditary succession or the approval of the people subject to him, or by some other human law.'
At the end of the fourteenth century, those views on dominion and grace were taken up by a notable English theologian and teacher at Oxford University, John Wyclif who, after his death, was officially classed by the church as a heretic. Wyclif, with relentless logic, applied the doctrine not merely to temporal but also to spiritual rulers. A bishop or a pope or a priest in the state of sin is not a legitimate ruler or guide of souls. The doctrine was taken up by John Hus, the religious leader in Bohemia and, even though he died at the stake at the Council of Constance in 1414 as a heretic, his views were carried across Europe.
When in the next century Martin Luther came to his break with the Church of Rome, one of his sources was Hus and one of his doctrines was that the pope and many of the Catholic bishops and priests and religious were in the state of sin and had no right to direct or to rule souls. It was, and is, the theology of revolt and can be, and has been, used in revolts against civil governments as well as against popes and bishops.
Thus, by the most refined of paradoxes, the very doctrine of dominion and grace, which had been formulated by Giles of Rome and William of Cremona in defence of the papacy was now used against the Church of Rome; and, to crown the paradox, the man who propounded it in the sixteenth century was also an Augustinian friar, Martin Luther.