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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Triumph of Modernism: An Explanation of the Current Crisis in the Church

Pope St. Pius X
I think what we are seeing in the Church today is the triumph of modernism. Modernism, a declared heresy (in fact the "synthesis of all heresies"), is the "smoke of Satan" that entered the Church after Vatican II. In 1907, Pope St. Pius X who battled modernism throughout his pontificate, required all clergy, religious superiors, professors in Catholic institutions, etc. to take an oath against modernism.
The oath professed belief in revelation, divine acts, miracles and prophecies as the "surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion." It professed adherence to the papal encyclical Pascendi which condemned modernism and its tenets very specifically. The oath rejected the "error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion."
It affirmed moral truth and rejected the idea, implied in Pope Francis' latest document, Amoris Laetitia, that "dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age." It affirmed instead that "the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way."  In other words, "development of doctrine" that involves a break from what was taught before is absolutely impossible.

One of the points that is most important for our age of moral relativism was Pius' statement that "faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source" rather than a "blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and a the motion of a will trained to morality." In other words, Pius rejected the notion that "It can't be wrong when it feels so right" or that each of us is a pope in pew receiving personal messages from the Holy Spirit that can define how much we assent (or dissent) from the faith.

Pope Leo XIII
Modern Catholics need to understand the heresy of modernism because we are immersed in it. Testem Benevolentiae. A decade before Pascendi, Pope Leo warned about ideas creeping into the Church in America. Would our citizens put their faith first or their politics? The answer seems obvious if not least from the latest scandal of Notre Dame giving its highest honor, the Laetare Medal, to Vice President Joe Biden, a cafeteria Catholic and champion of child-killing.  Unless we return to the faith of our fathers, we cannot hope to withstand the tsunami of cultural assaults against moral truth. And unless we understand modernism, we may wallow in confusion about what is really happening around us.
American Catholics, especially, have faced it since the heresy of Americanism, addressed by Pope Leo XIII in

I haven't read the book described in the video below, but I've found Russell Shaw to be a good and honest source so I plan to. The oath against modernism was taken by every priest ordained before 1967 when Pope Paul VI relegated it to the ash heap of history. Why? I will not speculate, but I wonder if he remembered when he made his famous statement that the "smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God," because his action certainly opened a door near the fire.


umblepie said...

A very timely post, thank you yet again.

Aged parent said...

Some years ago I posted this brilliant analysis by Arnaud de Lassus which you may find helpful.

All the best...


Anonymous said...

I was reading Apocalypse again and wondered if smoke of satan is referred to here: "And the fifth angel sounded the trumpet, and I saw a star fall from heaven upon the earth, and there was given to him the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit: and the smoke of the pit arose, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke of the pit. And from the smoke of the pit there came out locusts upon the earth. And power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power: And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree: but only the men who have not the sign of God on their foreheads. And it was given unto them that they should not kill them; but that they should torment them five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man."

[1] A star fall: This may mean the fall and apostasy of great and learned men from the true faith. Or a whole nation falling into error and separating from the church, not having the sign of God in their foreheads. [or a pope/hierarchy]

[1] The key of the bottomless pit: That is, to the angel, not to the fallen star. To this angel was given the power, which is here signified by a key, of opening hell.

[3] There came out locusts: These may be devils in Antichrist's time, having the appearance of locusts, but large and monstrous, as here described. Or they may be real locusts, but of an extraordinary size and monstrous shape, such as were never before seen on earth, sent to torment those who have not the sign (or seal) of God on their foreheads. Some commentators by these locusts understand heretics, and especially those heretics, that sprung from Jews, and with them denied the divinity of Jesus Christ; as Theodotus, Praxeas, Noetus, Paul of Samosata, Sabellius, Arius, etc. These were great enemies of the Christian religion; they tormented and infected the souls of men, stinging them like scorpions, with the poison of their heresies. Others have explained these locusts, and other animals, mentioned in different places throughout this sacred and mystical book, in a most absurd, fanciful, and ridiculous manner; they make Abaddon the Pope, and the locusts to be friars mendicant, etc. Here it is thought proper, not to enter into any controversy upon that subject, as the inventors of these fancies have been already answered, and fully refuted by many controvertists: besides, those who might be inposed on by such chimerical writers, are in these days much better informed.

Struck me how these locusts won't hurt any "green" thing considering that's what real locusts eat and w/ all the climate change/protecting the environment (even from the pope)--but these locusts will devour souls as the devil does (going about like a roaring lion).

And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you, beforehand.

I guess the million dollar question is: "but only the men who have not the sign of God on their foreheads." Harkens back to those in Egypt who didn't have the blood of the lamb on their door posts when angel of death passed over. Truly a time to be sober and watch and examine our lives that we aren't hypocrites/paying lip service like Pharisees in Jesus' time despite all our outward show of being faithful Catholics in contrast to corrupt priesthood.