Thursday, August 19, 2010

On the Modernist as Reformer

"It is abundantly clear how great and how eager is the passion of such men (modernists) for innovation. In all Catholicism, there is absolutely nothing on which it does not fasten. They wish philosophy to be reformed, especially in the ecclesiastical seminaries. They wish the scholastic philosophy to be relagated to the history of philosphy and to be classed among absolute systems, and the young men to be taught modern philosphy which alone is true and suited to the times in which we live. They desire the reform of theology: rational theology is to have modern philosophy for its foundation, and positive theology is to be founded on the history of dogma. As for history, it must be written and taught only according to their methods and modern principles. Dogmas and their evolution, they affirm, are to be harmonized with science and history. In the Catechism, no dogmas are to be inserted except those that have been reformed and are within the capacity of the people. Regarding worship, they say, the nuber of external devotions is to be reduced, and steps must be taken to prevent their further increase, though, indeed, some of the admirers of symbolism are disposed to be more indulgent on this head. They cry out that ecclesiatical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments. They insist that inwardly and outwardly it must be brought into harmony with the modern conscience, which now wholly tends towards democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy, and even to the laity, and authority, which is too much concentrated, should be decentralized. The Roman Congregations, and especially the Index and the Holy Office, must be likewise modified. The ecclesiasticl authority must alter its line of conduct in the social and political world, while keeping outside its political organizations, it must adapt itself to them, in order to penetrate them with its spirit. With regards to morals, they adopt the principle of the Americanists, that the active virtues are more important than the passive, and are to be more encouraged in practice. They ask that the clergy should return to their primitive humility and poverty, and in that their ideas and action they should admit the principles of Modernism; and there are some, who, gladly listening to the teaching of their Protestant masters, should desire the suppression of the celibacy of the clergy. What is left in the Church which is not to be reformed by them and according to their principles?"

Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Sept. 8, 1907, 38.

The reformist ideas of Modernists which St. Pius X condemned in 1907 seem to be the "stuff" which the "reform" of the Church today is made of. The question is: Should we really adapt the Church to the trends of modernity? Should it rather not be the Church elevating the modern world to the realm of the Gospels that we have received from Christ and the Apostles? When the Church proclaims to the Gentiles, should the teachings of Christ conform with the spirit of the world? Shouldn't it be rather that the world abandons its worldly spirit and take upon itself the image of Christ?

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