Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 17.djvu/63

This page needs to be proofread.


APOLoasnos 47 apologetics

tered in the defense of traditional Catholic faith Letter" (1906), and "Through Scylla and Charybdis"

against the insidious dangers of Modernism. In (1007), in which, while seeldng to justify his posi-

addition to this the vindication of the Christian tion as that of a true Catholic, he plainly revealed

conception of God and the hunmn soul has been how inconsistent were his views with traditional

prompted anew by the steadily growing anti-theistic Catholic belief. At the same time a similar trend

rationalism in the learned world of to-day. Mod- of thought was finding expression in the published

emism is little more than the infiltration of Prot- utterances of Abbate Murri, author of 'Tsicologia

estant liberal thought into the Catholic views of della religione" (1905), and "Democrazia e Cris-

revelation, Holy Scripture, Christology, the Church tianesimo (1906), and of Fogazarro, author of '*U

and the sacraments. The philosophy underlying Santo (1905). •

liberal Protestantism is closely related to the sub- The assertions of all these writers and of their Jectivism of Kant, rejecting external proofs for less prominent followers were, to a large degree, the existence of God and stressins the conscious- the reflex of modern Uberal Protestant thought ar- ness we have of God working within us. Sharing rayed in the specious garb of Catholic terminology, the prejudice of the modern scientific world against Their teaching was, to use the happy saying of Divme intervention in the realm of nature, it re- Father Donat, S. J., "Kant preaching in the robe jects all miracles and prophecies, even the nistoric of a Catholic theologian (Freedom of Science, p. reality of the Rraurrection, and denies the Divinity 167). Not all kept pace with the Abbe Loisy, who of Jesus, to whom, indeed, it attributes surpassing went so far as to hold views subversive of belief goodness and ethical wisdom, but concedes only a in the Divinity of Christ and in the Divine origin knowledge subject to human limitations and not of the Church and of the sacraments. But common wholly free from error. In accordance with its de- to most of them was the view that the Gospel por- structive criticism of the Bible, it declares the traiture of Christ is not wholly true to the ohgmal, Christ of the Gospels to be an idealization of the that miracles, including the Resurrection, elude the historic personage Jesus, the exact portraiture of human power of demonstration, that the old con- whom is beyond recovery. Only a small kernel of ception of faith resting on a positive Divine com- His recorded sayings is accepted as genuine. On munication from without and having for its object the basis of this rigorously sifted evidence, it is a message from God definite in its contents and generally agreed that in His mature years Jesus admitting no change, must give place to the new went about preaching the kingdom of righteousness idea that faith is the conviction of man's responsi- as foretold by the Prophets and making known that bility to God, bora of and fostered by the con- He was the Messias; but that in preaching this sciousness of the presence and working of God Measiahship, He lived and died a Jew, faithful to within us, and that revelation is naught else than the Law, conforming rigidly to its ritual. That He the self-manifestation of the Divine in our inward had in mind the radical innovations of Christianity, life.

that He instituted a Church with a sacramental It would be outside the scope of this survey of system hitherto imknown to Judaism is declared to the recent history of Apologetics to describe in de- be absolutely incompatible with His genuine say- tail the nature and fate of Modernism. That has ings, especially with His insistence on the nearness already been well done in the able article Mod- of the great Judgment and of the end of the world, brnibm, by Father Vermeersch, S.J. (C. £., X-415b). Such in brief is the attitude of liberal Protes- Suffice it to say that in July, 1907, the Decree tantism, common to many scholars calling them- "Lamentabili," of the Holy Office, branded as false selves Christian in Germany, Holland, France and and un-Catholic sixty-five theses expressing Mod- England. Unhappily, their views, so subversive of emist views on Scripture, revelation and faith, the historic Christian faith, found favor with a number Divinity of Christ, prophecies and miracles, espe- of Catholic scholars, some of them of no mean cially that of the Resurrection, the Church and the ability, who were strongly attracted by the brilliant sacraments. This Syllabus of errors was followed studies of men like Hamack and Sabatier, and in September by the Encyclical, 'Tascendi, of Pope who flattered themselves that by interpreting Pius X, condemning Modernism as a synthesis of Catholicism in the light of this phase of modern teachings destructive of Catholic faith. The ex- scholarship, they could make Catholic faith more communication of its chief exponents, Loisy, Tyr- widely respected and more readily acceptable to rell, Murri and Fogazarro, followed soon after, in scholars of university training. For this reason they consequence of their unwillingness to submit, and became known as Modernists. Prominent among their Modernist writings were put on the Index. these liberalizing Catholics were the Abb6 Loisy In refutation of Modernism a verv large number in France, Father T3rrrell, S. J., in England, and of able treatises have been published, some of them in Italy Fogazzaro and Abbate Murri. Loisy's as books and pamphlets, others in the form of earlier writings had put him in the front rank of articles for periodicals and dictionaries. While some Catholic Scriptural scholars. His Modernist views, of these have aimed to show the untenableness of partly revealed in his work "l^van^le et Tfiglise" the whole system from the Catholic standpoint, by (1902), found bolder expression in his "Autour d'lm far the larger number have been directed against Petit Livre" (1903). Of equal influence, if not particular features of the new heresy. Among those scholaniiip, was Father Tyrrell in English-speaking who have done notable service in this field of countries. In his works, Lex Orandi" (1903), and apologetics may be mentioned: Cardinal Mercier, "Lex Credendi" (1906), favorably mentioned in the "Le Moderaisme, sa Position vis-i-vis de la sci- erticle Apologstics (C. E., I-623b), he had given ence" (1908); A. Vermeersch, S. J., "De Moderaismo expression to a few statements of Modernist sig- Tractatus (1910), also his article Modernism, in nincance, which were generally overlooked in ms Volume X of this Encyclopedia; Msgr. Farges, many excellent utterances of an edifying character, article "Modernisme, in the recently issued part of but a new light was thrown on his radical interpre- the new "Dictionnaire apolog^tique de la foi catho- tation of Catholicism in his little treatise printed lique, a masterly treatise of about seventy-five for private circulation, "A Confidential Letter to a thousand words; M. I^pin, S. S., "Les Theories de Friend, Who Is a Professor of Anthropology" (1906). M. Loisy" (1908); "Christoloeie" (1908); "Jesus The storm of criticism provoked by this letter led Messie" (4th ed., 1909); trans. "Christ and the Gos- ooon after to the publication of his "Much Abused pel" (1910); "J6sus Christ, sa vie et son oeuvre**

4


v>