Saturday, July 15, 2017


So … in my experiences, observations, and readings over the past four or five years, I have come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is failing in the mission given to it by Jesus Christ: Go and make disciples of all nations. I think the Church has gotten too world-friendly, a conspirator with the world instead of a challenge to it. I have serious doubts it would even be recognized today by any saint up to the 20th century, let alone the original Apostles and the Fathers of the Church.

It’s easy to say things went wrong at Vatican II. Indeed, according to what I’ve learned, things did seriously derail in that 1962-65 council. The mass changed in the entirety of its character. The Church’s mission veered from making disciples of all nations to ecumenism – “all paths to God are worthy and true.” Priests changed, churches changed, the liturgy changed, the music changed, the art changed. And not, in my opinion, for the better.

But the fault lies deeper than Vatican II. Earlier, also. The fault began with a heresy called “Modernism,” and the Church wrote its first defense against it in the Papal encyclical Pascendi of 1907. The word itself was first coined in 1769 (Modernism having been conceived during the “humanism” of the 1700s and later birthed through the French Revolution), but wasn’t used with frequency until the 1880s.

What exactly is Modernism?

Some consider the term too vague, but let me first explain what it isn’t. It is not a condemnation of everything modern. The Church doesn’t do that. Nor is every project of reform to be decried as Modernist. It is not anti-Science, nor anti-State.

Here are some phrases that might shed some light on what Modernism is:

- An exaggerated love for what is modern

- An infatuation with modern ideas

- The “abuse of what is modern”

- The “tendency to innovation”

Some more strident definitions:

- “The ambition to eliminate God from all social life”

- “Liberalism of every degree and shade”

Sound familiar?

And this crap has been around for over a century!

Modernism is actually an umbrella term, a term that encompasses many ideas, each of which may be applied or held to varying degrees.

Some more generalized components of Modernism:

- A spirit of complete emancipation, a weakening of ecclesiastical authority

- The elevation and unshackling of science

- The idea that the state should never be hampered by religious authority

- The primacy of private conscience over doctrine or dogma

- A spirit of movement and change, a sweeping form of evolution that abhors anything fixed and stationary (see: Francis, Pope)

- A spirit of reconciliation, through feelings of the heart, of all beliefs, even nonbelief as atheism

A philosophical definition of Modernism:

- “The critique of our supernatural knowledge according to the false postulates of contemporary philosophy”

Is this starting to make sense?

Let’s be a bit more blunt here.

The goal of Modernism is nothing short than a radical transformation of human thought regarding God, man, the world, and life and afterlife. It does this through a “perversion” of dogma – supernatural knowledge, in other words – the truths of the Faith revealed in the words and teachings of Christ.

A Modernist views such dogma as the work of man in time adapted to humanity’s varying needs. A Christian may be a modernist and, if so, he seeks to bring his Church into harmony with the times.

Again, sound familiar?

True Catholics see dogma as supernatural and mysterious, divinely given to us by God. Faith is an act of the intellect made under the conscious power of the will. By this true Catholics hold firmly to what God has revealed and what the Church has discerned disciples of Christ to believe.

The Modernist errs when he considers the only necessary source to be private consciousness as opposed to divinely revealed dogma. Many also reject miracles – the miraculous – and prophecy as signs of God’s action in our world.

Hmmm …. Private consciousness … Conscience … again, sound familiar, in light of the Francis papacy?

The way to combat Modernism, once it is recognized – if ­it is recognized – is to isolate the element of truth from the error. Every error contains an element of truth. Once the truth is isolated, expanded, and extolled, then the framework of error can be dismantled.

But first the error must be acknowledged.

So ... that’s Modernism in 700 words. I still don’t have a full grasp on it; something like this is a subject for a book that I haven’t found yet. But I think I can recognize it when I see it. So can many others. Remember, Modernism was first officially acknowledged by the Vatican in 1907. 55 years later it infected the council at Vatican II. To what degree can be debated; indeed is, among sedevacantists and traditionalists like the SSPX. As can the effects of Modernism in the post-V2 Church. I have no doubt I am a member of a Modernist Church that bears only a passing resemblance to the Church of 1907. I need more information though, and will continue reading, studying, observing. This whole Modernism thing is something I am currently trying to understand, and probably will be working on it for a long while now.

Note: most of the material for this post was gleaned from the article “Modernism” in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia.

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