“Nicodemus saith to him: How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born again?” “Wonder not, that I said to thee, you must be born again.” [John 3:4,7]
Q. Thus far We have considered the Modernist as a philosopher. Now, if We proceed to consider him as a believer, and seek to know how the believer, according to Modernism, is marked off from the philosopher, what must be done ?
A. It must be observed that, although the philosopher recognizes the reality of the divine as the object of faith, still, this reality is not to be found by him but in the heart of the believer, as an object of feeling and affirmation, and therefore confined within the sphere of phenomena ; but the question as to whether in itself it exists outside that feeling and affirmation is one which the philosopher passes over and neglects. For the Modernist believer, on the contrary, it is an established and certain fact that the reality of the divine does really exist in itself and quite independently of the person who believes in it.
Q. And now we ask on what foundation this assertion of the believer rests. (pg25) A. He answers : In the personal experience of the individual.
Q. Is it in that, then, that the Modernists differ from the Rationalists? A. On this head the Modernists differ from the Rationalists, only to fall into the views of the Protestants and pseudo-Mystics.
Q. Plow do they explain that, through individual experience, they arrive at the certitude of the existence of God in Himself ? A. The following is their manner of stating the question : In the religious sense one must recognize a kind of intuition of the heart which puts man in immediate contact with the reality of God.
Q. They attain to God without any intermediary. But what kind of certitude do they pretend to have through this intuition of the heart ? A. Such a persuasion of God s existence and His action both within and without man as far to exceed any scientific conviction. They assert, therefore, the existence of a real experience, and one of a kind that surpasses all rational experience. [[City-“born again moment as opposed to Baptism.”]
Q. IF that is the case, whence comes it that there are men who deny the existence of God ? A. If this experience is denied by some, like the Rationalists, they say that this arises from the fact that such persons are unwilling to put themselves in the moral state necessary to produce it.
Q. Is it, then, this individual experience which makes the believer? (p26) A. It is this experience which makes the person who acquires it to be properly and truly a believer.
Q. But is not all that contrary to the Catholic faith ? A. How far this position is removed from that of Catholic teaching ! We have already seen how its fallacies have been condemned by the Vatican Council. Later on we shall see how these errors, combined with those which we have already mentioned, open wide the way to Atheism.
Q. According to such principles, does it not seem that the Modernists must conclude that all religions are true? A. Evidently; given this doctrine of experience united with that of symbolism, every religion, even that of paganism, must be held to be true. What is to prevent such experiences from being found in any religion ? In fact, that they are so is maintained by not a few. On what grounds can Modernists deny the truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam ?
Q. Do they claim a monopoly of true experiences for Catholics alone ? A. Indeed, Modernists do not deny, but actually maintain, some confusedly, others frankly, that all religions are true.
Q. In fact, is not that an absolutely rigorous conclusion in their system? A. That they cannot feel otherwise is obvious. For on what ground, according to their theories, could falsity be predicated of any religion whatsoever ? Certainly it would either be on account of the falsity of the religious sense, or on account of the falsity of the formula pronounced by the mind. Now, the religious sense, although it may be more perfect or less perfect, is always one and the same ; and the intellectual formula, in order to be true, has but to respond to the religions sense and to the believer, what ever be the intellectual capacity of the latter.
Q. But do the Modernists not maintain the superiority of the Catholic religion? A. In the conflict between different religions the most that Modernists can maintain is that the Catholic has more truth because it is more vivid, and that it deserves with more reason the name of Christian because it corresponds more fully with the origins of Christianity. No one will find it unreasonable that these consequences flow from the premises.
Q. Do not Catholics, and even priests, act as though they admitted such enormities ? A. What is most amazing is that there are Catholics and priests who, We would fain believe, abhor such enormities, and yet act as if they fully approved of them. For they lavish such praise and bestow such public honor on the teachers of these errors, as to convey the belief that their admiration is not meant merely for the persons, who are perhaps not devoid of a certain merit, but rather for the sake of the errors which these persons openly profess, and which they do all in their power to propagate. (p28)
Q. Do not the Modernists extend the principle of religious experience also to tradition? A. There is yet another element in this part of their teaching which is absolutely contrary to Catholic truth. For what is laid down as to experience is also applied with destructive effect to tradition, which has always been maintained by the Catholic Church.
Q. What, then, do the Modernists understand by tradition ? A. Tradition, as understood by the Modernists, is a communication with others of an original experience, through preaching, by means of the intellectual formula. [City – they give “witness” of their experience, so they then can be baptized, and accepted in their church.]
Q. What virtue do they attribute to this intellectual formula in relation to preaching? A. To this formula, in addition to its representative value, they attribute a species of suggestive efficacy. [City -peer pressure]
Q. And on whom does this suggestive virtue act? A. Firstly, in the believer by stimulating the religious sense, should it happen to have grown sluggish, and by renewing the experience once acquired; and, secondly, in those who do not yet believe, by awakening in them for the first time the religious sense and producing the experience*
Q. Is it thus, then, that religious experience engenders tradition? A. In this way is religious experience spread abroad among the nations; and not merely among contemporaries by preaching, but among future generations both by books and by oral transmission from one to another.
Q. By what test do the Modernists judge of the truth of a tradition? (p29) A. Sometimes this communication of religious experience takes root and thrives, at other times it withers at once and dies. For the Modernists, to live is a proof of truth, since for them life and truth are one and the same thing. (City shows of such an example below)
“All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. ” Fredrich Nietzsche, Atheist convert father a Lutheran pastor
Q. If every religion that is living is true, what further conclusion must we come to ? A. That all existing religions are equally true, for otherwise they would not survive.
III. RELATION BETWEEN FAITH AND SCIENCE
Q. Can we now have some idea, of the relations which the Modernists establish between faith and science, including, under this latter term, history ? A. We have proceeded sufficiently far to have before us enough, and more than enough, to enable us to see what are the relations which Modernists establish between faith and science including, as they are wont to do, under that name, history.
Q. What difference do they make between the object of the one and of the other? A. In the first place it is to be held that the object-matter of the one is quite extraneous to and separate from the object-matter of the other. For faith occupies itself solely with something which science declares to be for it unknowable. Hence each has a separate scope assigned to it : science is entirely concerned with phenomena, into which faith does not at all enter; faith, on the contrary, concerns itself with the divine, which is entirely unknown to science. (p31)
Q. Then, according to them, no conflict is possible between faith and science? A. It is contended that there can never be any dissension between faith and science, for if each keeps on its own ground they can never meet, and therefore never can be in contradiction. [City – Un?]
Q. And if it be objected that in the visible world there are some things which appertain to faith, such as the human life of Christ ? A. The Modernists reply by denying this.
Q. How can they deny it? A. They say: Though such things come within the category of phenomena, still, in as far as they are lived by faith, and in the way already described have been by faith transfigured and disfigured, they have been removed from the world of sense and transferred into material for the divine.
Q- Hence, should it be further asked whether Christ has wrought real miracles, and made real prophecies, whether He rose truly from the dead and ascended into heaven, what do they answer ? A. The answer of agnostic science will be in the negative. The answer of faith in the affirmative.
Q. But is that not a flagrant contradiction between science and faith ? A.- There will not be, on that account, any conflict between them. For it will be denied by the philosopher as a philosopher speaking to philosophers and considering Christ only in His historical reality (p31) ; and it will be affirmed by the believer as a believer speaking to believers and considering the life of Christ as lived again by the faith and in the faith.
Q. Faith and science acting thus in entirely separate fields, will there be, according to the Modernists, no subordination of the one to the other? A. It would be a great mistake to suppose that, according to these theories, one is allowed to believe that faith and science are entirely independent of each other. On the side of science that is indeed quite true and correct, but it is quite otherwise with regard to faith, which is subject to science.
Q. Faith subject to science ! But on what ground? A. Not on one, but on three grounds.
Q. According to the Modernists, what is the first ground? A. In the first place it must be observed that in every religious fact, when one takes away the divine reality and the experience of it which the believer possesses, everything else, and especially the religious formulas, belongs to the sphere of phenomena, and therefore falls under the control of science. Let the believer go out of the world if he will, but so long as he remains in it, whether he like it or not, he cannot escape from the laws, the observation, the judgments of science and of history.
Q. What is the second ground of the subordination of faith to science? A. Further, although it is contended that God is the object of faith alone, the statement refers only to the divine reality, not to the idea of God. The latter also is subject to science, which, while it philosophizes in what is called the logical order, soars also to the absolute and the ideal. It is, therefore, the right of philosophy and of science to form its knowledge concerning the idea of God, to direct it in its evolution, and to purify it of any extraneous elements which may have entered into it. Hence we have the Modernist axiom that the religious evolution ought to be brought into accord with the moral and intellectual, or, as one whom they regard as their leader has expressed it, ought to be subject to it. [City – so morality is ever shifting from culture to culture and age to age]
Q. What is the third ground ? A. Finally, man does not suffer a dualism to exist in himself, and the believer therefore feels within him an impelling need so to harmonize faith with science, that it may never oppose the general conception which science sets forth concerning the universe.
Q. Than, according to the Modernist doctrine, faith is in bondage to science? A. Yes. It is evident that science is to be entirely independent of faith, while, on the other hand, and notwithstanding that they are supposed to be strangers to each other, faith is made subject to science.
Q. How did Pius IX. and Gregory IX. stigmatize such doctrines? A. All this is in formal opposition to the teaching of Our Predecessor, Pius IX., where he lays it down that: “In matters of religion it is the duty of philosophy not to command, but to serve; not to prescribe what is to be believed, but to embrace what is to be believed with reasonable obedience; not to scrutinize the depths of the mysteries of God, but to venerate them devoutly and humbly.” * Brief to the Bishop of Wratislau, June 15, 1857.
The Modernists completely invert the parts ; and to them may be applied the words which another of Our Predecessors, Gregory IX., addressed to some theologians of his time: “Some among you, puffed up like bladders with the spirit of vanity, strive by profane novelties to cross the boundaries fixed by the Fathers, twisting the meaning of the Sacred Text . . . to the philosophical teaching of the rationalists, not for the profit of their hearer, but to make a show of science. . . . These men, led away by various and strange doctrines, turn the head into the tail, and force the queen to serve the handmaid.” * Ep. ad Magistros theol. Paris, non. Jul., 1223.
IV. PRACTICAL CONSEQUENCES.
Q. Is the conduct of Catholic Modernists in keeping with their principles? A. This will appear more clearly to anybody who studies the conduct of Modernists, which is in perfect harmony with their teachings. In their writings and addresses they seem not infrequently to advocate doctrines which are contrary one to the other, so that one would be disposed to regard their attitude as double and doubtful. But this is done deliberately and advisedly, and the reason of it is to be found in their opinion as to the mutual separation of science and faith. Thus, in their books one finds some things which might well be approved by a Catholic, but on turning over the page one is confronted by other (p34) things which might well have been dictated by a rationalist.
Q. Do they not play a double part in matters of history? A. When they write history they make no mention of the divinity of Christ, but when they are in the pulpit they profess it clearly. Again, when they are dealing with history, they take no account of the Fathers and the Councils, but when they catechize the people they cite them respectfully.
Q. And in matters of exegesis ? A. In the same way they draw their distinctions between exegesis which is theological and pastoral and exegesis which is scientific and historical.
Q. Is this done also in other scientific work ? A. So, too, when they treat of philosophy, history, and criticism, acting on the principle that science in no way depends upon faith, they feel no especial horror in treading in the footsteps of Luther,* and are wont to display a manifold contempt for Catholic doctrines, for the Holy Fathers, for the (Ecumenical Councils, for the ecclesiastical Magisterium; and should they be taken to task for this, they complain that they are being deprived of their liberty. *
[Prop. 29, condemned by Leo X., Bull, Exsurge Domine, May 16, 1520 : It is permissible to us to invalidate the authority of Councils, freely to gainsay their acts, to judge of their decrees, and confidently to assert whatever seems to us to be true, whether it has been approved or reprobated bv any Council whatsoever.]
Q. What is, consequently, the conduct of Catholic Modernists with regard to the Church’s magisterium? A. Maintaining the theory that faith must be (p35) subject to science, they continuously and openly rebuke the Church on the ground that she resolutely refuses to submit and accommodate her dogmas to the opinions of philosophy.
Q. As to them, how do they treat Catholic theology? A. They, on their side, having for this purpose blotted out the old theology, endeavor to introduce a new theology which shall support the aberrations of philosophers.
END CHAPTER 2
next Chapter 3 – Modernist as Theologian