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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/474

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MODERNISM


420


MODERNISM


us? If so, one must not then oppose the position of modernism to the CathoUc position and reject exterior revelation. But if God deilarcs Himself as nut <lis- tinct from us, the position of modeniisin hi'eoines openly iiantheistie. Sueh is the dileinnui projiosed in the Kneyclieal. Modernism is pantlieistic also by its doctrine of science and faith. Faith ha\dng for object the I'liknowable cannot make up for the want of proportion that modernists i)Ut between the intellect and its object. Hence, for the believer as well as for the jihilosopher, this object remains un- known. Why should not this "Unknowable" be the very soul of the world? It is pantheistic also in its way of reasoning. Independent of and superior to religious forinuUe, the religious sentiment on the one hand originates them and gives them their entire value, and, on the other hand, it cannot neglect them, it must express itself in them and by them; they are its re;dity. But we have here the ontology of jianthe- ism. which teaches that the principle does not exist outside of the exi)ression that it gives itself. In the pantheist philosophy, Being or the Idea, God, is before the world and superior to it, He creates it, and yet He has no reality outside the world; the world is the reali- zation of God.

The Psycholoo.ic.\l Causes of Modernism. — Curiosity and pride are, according to the Encyclical "Pascendi", two remote causes. Nothing is truer; but, apart from offering an explanation common to all heretical obstinacy, we ask ourselves here why this pride has taken the shape of modernism. We pro- ceed to consider this question. In modernism we find, first of all, the echo of many tendencies of the mental- ity of the present generation. Inclined to doubt, and distrustful of what is affirmed, men's minds tend of their own accord to minimize the value of dogmatic definitions. Men are struck by the diversity of the religions which exist on the face of the earth. The Catholic religion is no longer, in their eyes, as it was in the eyes of our ancestors, the morally universal religion of cultured humanity. They have been shown the in- fluence of race on the diffusion of the Gospel. They have been shown the good sides of other cults and be- liefs. Our contemporaries find it hard to believe that the greater part of humanity is phmged in error, es- pecially if they are ignorant that the Catholic religion teaches that the means of salvation are at the dis- posal of those who err in good faith. Hence they are inclined to overlook doctrinal divergencies in order to insist on a certain fundamental conformity of tenden- cies and of aspirations.

Then again they are moved by sentiments of liberalism and moderation, which reduce the impor- tance of formal religion, as they see in the various cults only private opinions which change with time and place, and which merit an equal respect from all. In the West, where people are of a more practical turn, a non-intellectual interest explains the success of here- sies which win a certain popularity. Consider the countries in which modernism is chiefly promulgated: France and Italy. In these two countries, and espe- cially in Italy, ecclesiastical authority has imposed social and political directions which call for the sacri- fice of humanitarian and patriotic ideas or dreams. That there are important reasons for such commands does not prevent discontent. The majority of men have not enough virtue or nobility to sacrifice for long, to higher duties, a cau.se which touches their interestor which engages their .sympathy. Hence it is that some Catholics, who are not quite steady in their faith and religion, attempt to revolt, and count themselves fortu- nate in having some doctrinal pretexts to cover their secession.

The fotmder of the periodical " La Foi Catholique", a review started for the purpose of combating modern- ism, aflds this explanation :" The in.sufficient cultivation of Catholic philosophy and science is the second deep


explanation of the origin of modernist errors. Both hav(> loo long confined themselves to an.^wers which, though fuiKlaMicnlally correct, are hut little suited to the niriUality of our adversaries, and an- fornuilated in a language which they do not understand and which is no longer to the point. Instead of utilizing what is quite legitimate in their posilivi' and crilical tenden- cies, they have only considered them ;;s so many ab- normal leanings that must be ojjposed . . ." (Gau- deau, "La Foi Catholique", I, pp. 62-65). Another point is that the intrinsic nature of the movement of contemporary jihilosophy has been too much despised or ignored in Catliolii' schools. They have not given it that jiartial recognition which is quite con.sonant with the best scholastic tradition: "In this way, we have failed to .secure a real point of contact between Catholic and modern thought" (Gaudeau, ibid.). For lack of professors who knew how to mark out the act- ual path of religious science, many cultured minds, es])ecially among the young clergy, found themselves defenceless against an error whicli seduced them by its speciousness and by any element of truth contained in its reproaches against the Catholic schools. It is scholasticism ill-tmderstood and calumniated that has incurred this disdain. And for the pope, this is one of the immediate causes of modernism. "Modern- ism", he says, "is nothing but the union of the faith with false philosophy". Cardinal Mercier, on the occasion of his first solemn visit to the Catholic Uni- versity of Louvain (S December, 1907), addressed the following compliment to the professors of theology: "Because, with more good sense than others, you have vigorously kept to objective studies and the calm examination of facts, you have both preserved our Alma Mater from the strayings of modernism and have secured for her the advantages of modem scien- tific methods." ("Annuaire de l'Universit(5 Catholi- que de Louvain", 1908, p. XXV, XXVI.) Saint Augu.stine (De Genesi contra Manicheos, I, Bk. I, i) in a text that has passed into the Corpus Juris Ca- nonici (c. 40, c. xxiv, q. 3) had already spoken as fol- lows: "Divine Providence suffers many heretics of one kind or another, so that their challenges and their questions on doctrines that we are ignorant of, may force us to arise from our indolence and stir us with the desire to know Holy Scripture. " From another point of view, modernism marks a religious reaction against materialism and positivism, both of which fail to satisfy the soul's longing. This reaction however, for reasons that have just been given, strays from the right path. Pontifical Documents concerning Modernism. — The semi-rationalism of several modernists, such as Loisy for instance, had already been condemned in the Syllabus; several canons of the Vatican Council on the possibility of knowing God through his creatures, on the distinction between faith and science, on the sub- ordination of human science to Divine revelation, on the unchangeableness of dogma, deal in a similar strain with the tenets of modernism. The following are the principal decrees or documents expressly di- rected against modernism. (1) The pope's address on 17 April, 1907, to the newly-created cardinals. It is a resume which anticipates the Encyclical "Pas- cendi". (2) A letter from the Congregation of the Index of 29 April, 1907, to the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan with regard to the review "II Rinnovamento". In it we find more concrete notions of the tendencies which the popes condemn. The letter even goes so far as to mention the names of Fogazzaro, Father Tyr- rell, von Hligel, and the Abbate Murri. (3) Letters from Pius X, 6 May, 1907, to the archbishops and bishops and to the patrons of the Catholic Institute of Paris. It shows forth clearly the great and twofold care of Pius X for the restoration of sacred studies and Scholastic philosophy, and for the safeguarding of the clergy. (4) The decree "Lamentabili" of the Holy Office, 3-4 July, 1907, condemning 65 distinct