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MODERNISM


415


MODERNISM


(mathematics, natural sciences, and chemistrj'), schools of pharmacy, of veterinary medicine, and of obstetrics.

It numbers 51 instructors with 12 assistants, who treat 95 different subjects; the attendance in 1908, was 431; in 1909, 422. Annexed to the university are the museum of experimental physics, founded, in 1760, by Fra Mario Morini; the chemical laboratory and cabinet founded by Michele Rosa; the museum of natural history founded, in 1786, by a bequest of Giuseppe M. Fogliani, Bishop of Modena; the mu- seum of anatomy founded by Torti in 1698, and Ant. Scarpa in 1774; the cabinet of maieria medica founded in 1773 by Gius. M. Savanti; the laborato- ries of pathological anatomy, experimental physics, and pharmaceutical chemistrj'; the botanical garden founded by Francis III in 1765; an observatorj', a veterinary iiLstitute and museum, climes, and a li- bran,'. Besides those already mentioned, the follow- ing professors of this university have attained high distinction: Virginio Xatta, 0"P., O. Gherii, O.P., Scozia (afterwards minister to Francis IV), Girolamo Tiraboschi (historian of Italian letters), Agostino Paradisi, Guiliano Cassiani, Padre Pompilio Pozzetti, the Abbate Spallanzani, Bonaventura Curti, G. B. Venturi, Bernardino Ramazzini (seventeenth cen- turj'), Gio. Cinelli. Luigi Emiliani, Paolo Gaddi, and the later deceased Galvagni.

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Modernism. — Origin of the Word. — Etymologi- cally, modernism means an exaggerated love of what is modem, an infatuation for modem ideas, "the abuse of what is modern", as the Abbf Gaudaud explains (La Foi cathohque, I, 1908, p. 248). The modern ideas of which we speak are not as old as the period called "modern times". Though Protestant- ism has generated them little by little, it did not understand from the beginning that such would be its sequel. There even exists a conser\'ative Protestant party which is one with the Church in combating modernism. In general we may say that modernism aims at that radical transformation of human thought in relation to God, man, the world, and life, here and hereafter, which was prepared by Humanism and eighteenth-century philosophy, and solemnly promul- gated at the French Revolution. J. J. Rousseau, who treated an atheistical philosopher of his time as a modernist, seems to have been the first to use the word in this sense (" Correspondance a M. D.", 15 Jan.. 1769). Littre (Dictionnaire), who cites the pas- sage, explains: " Modernist, one who esteems modern times above antiquity". After that, the word seems to have been forgotten, till the time of the Catholic pub- licist Perin (1815-1905), professor at the University of Louvain, 1844-1889. This writer, whilst apologizing for the coinage, describes "the humanitarian tenden- cies of contemporary society" as modernism. The term itself he defines as "the ambition to eliminate God from all social life". With this absolute modern- ism he associates a more temperate form, which he declares to be nothing less than "liberalism of every degree and shade" ("Le Modernisme dans I'Eglise d'apr^s les lettres in^dites de Lamennais", Paris, 1881).

During the early years of the present century, espe- cially about 1905 and 1906, the tendency to innovation which troubled the Italian dioceses, and especially the ranks of the young clergy, was taxed with modernism. Thus at Christmas, 1905, the bishops of the ecclesias- tical provinces of Turin and V'crcelli, in a circular let- ter of that date, uttered grave wariiiiigs against what


they called "Modernismo nel clero" (Modernism amongthe clergy). Several pa,storal letters of the year 1906 made use of the same term ; among others we may mention the Lenten charge of Cardinal Nava, Archbishop of Catania, to his clergv, a letter of Cardi- nal Bacilieri, Bishop of Verona, dated 22 .luly, 1906, and a letterof Mgr Rossi, Archbishop of Acerenza and Matera. "Modernismo e Modemisti", a work by Abbate Cavallanti which was published towards the end of 1906, gives long extracts from these letters. The name "modernism" was not to the liking of the reformers. The proprietj' of the new term was dis- cussed even amongst good Catholics. When the De- cree "Lamentabili" appeared, Mgr Baudrillart ex- pressed his pleasure at not finding the word "modern- ism" mentioned in it (Revue pratique d'apologetique, IV, p. 578). He considered the term "too vague". Besides it seemed to insinuate "that the Church con- demns everything modern". The Encyclical "Pas- cendi" (8 Sept., 1907) put an end to the discussion. It bore the official title, "De Modernistarum doc- trinis". The introduction declared that the name commonly given to the upholders of the new errors was not inapt. Since then the modernists themselves have acquiesced in the use of the name, though they have not admitted its propriety (Loisy, "Simples reflexions sur le decret 'Lamentabili' et sur I'ency- cUque 'Pascendi' du 8 Sept., 1907", p. 14; "II pro- gramma dei modernisti": note at the beginning).

Theory of Theological Moderxism. — (1) The essential error of Moijentism. — A full definition of modernism would be rather difficult. First it stands for certain tendencies, and secondly for a body of doctrine which, if it has not given birth to these ten- dencies (practice often precedes theory), serves at any rate as their explanation and support. Such tenden- cies manifest themselves in different domains. They are not united in each individual, nor are they always and everywhere found together. Modernist doctrine, too, may be more or less radical, and it is swallowed in doses that vary with each one's likes and di.slikes. In the Encyclical "Pascendi", Pius X says that modernism embraces every heresy. M. Loisy makes practically the same statement when he writes that "in reahty all Catholic theology, even in its funda- mental principles, the general philosophy of religion. Divine law, and the laws that govern our knowledge of God, come up for judgment before this new court of assize" (Simples reflexions, p. 24). Modernism is a composite system: its assertions and claims lack that principle which unites the natural faculties in a living being. The Ijucyclical " Pascendi " was the first Catho- lic synthesis of the subject. Out of scattered materials it built up what looked like a logical system. Indeed friends and foes alike could not but admire the patient skill that must have been needed to fashion something like a co-ordinated whole. In their answer to the En- cyclical, "II programmadei Modernisti", the Modern- ists tried to retouch this synthesis. Previous to all this, some of the Italian bishops, in their pastoral letters, had attempted such a synthesis. We would partic- ularly mention that of ^Igr Rossi, Bishop of Acerenza and Matera. In this respect, too, Abbate Cavallanti's book, already referred to, deserves mention. Even earlier still, German and French Protestants had done some synthetical work in the same direction. Promi- nent among them are Kant, "Die Religion innerhalb det Grenzen der reinen Vernunf t " (lSt)3); Schleier- macher, "Der christliche Gl.aubc" (1821-1822); and A. Sabatier, "Esquisse d'une philosophie de la religion d'apres la psychologic et I'histoire" (1897).

The general idea of modernism may be best ex- pressed in the words of Abbate Cavallanti, though even here there is a little vagueness: "Modernism is modern in a false sense of the word; it is a morbid state of conscience among Catholics, and especially yoimg Cathohcs, that professes manifold ideals, cpin-