Is modernity wrong?


#1

Here are a few modern ideas which many people assume to be true and good:

  1. Pluralism
  2. Dogma is bad
  3. Individuality
  4. Anything not harming others’ bodies or property should be legal

Are these ideas just wrong? Are they compatible with Catholicism? How can we argue for against them if yes to the first and no to the second?


#2

The first thing we have to do to discuss your question is what you mean by modernity. I suspect you mean modern philosophy and thought, at least for the most part. Is that right?


#3

I mean the way people think, act, how governments are arranged, the values people profess and live by.


#4

It is not wrong. Popes Francis and BXVI celebrate the ordinary mass every day.


#5

[quote="Reborn2013, post:4, topic:343580"]
It is not wrong. Popes Francis and BXVI celebrate the ordinary mass every day.

[/quote]

Well, nobody has mentioned this.


#6

For a Christian, apostolic tradition is everything. Therefore, Modernism in religion is an evil. The Church recognizes religious toleration, i.e. pluralism. Modern atheistic socialism should always be rejected by Christians.

Should “anything not harming others’ bodies or property” be legal? That is a matter of prudential judgment. Look at how many great evils, abortion, illicit drugs, anti-family policies are promoted but people who use those slogans.


#7

Pluralism, by definition, means that people of different backgrounds (race, religion, social class) are together in society, but still hold onto their different traditions and interests. I know that we should pray for unity and pray that everyone comes to find the truth that is the Catholic Church, but I don’t see the Church telling someone of a different religion that they can’t be around Catholics in society. The church most definitely has no problem with people of different races and social classes being together, just look at all the different type of folks at Mass.


#8

The short answer: yes, no. We argue this by referencing Church teaching, and often simple common sense will at least bring up problems with them. For example, if all religious are valid, why did our Lord die? Et cetera.

3 and 4 are aspects of Americanism and Enlightenment philosophy; John Locke comes to mind. I suppose pluralism as well, but Locke and other thinkers had an idea of pluralism that included only certain Protestant groups, and certainly not the Catholic Church (because it opposed 3,4, and was conveniently written off as a foreign threat). Late 19th and early 20th century Popes addressed Americanism, do a search. Many of the same American ideas condemned popped back into question in the 1960s.

By the way, I had a friend in college named Andy Klein.


#9

The problem is that words have lost their meaning. You can embrace pluralism in the sense of classical liberalism and be opposed to modernity in the theological sense. Read the classical liberal philosophers such as John Lock and John Stuart Mill. The traditional sense in which pluralism was advocated by these authors is with regard to not doing violence to heretics for being heretics. This is a good thing but it has given way to a use of the word ‘tolerance’ today that merely reflects a sentimentality about not causing people offense and valuing their beliefs equally to yours.


#10

If modernity means being of the world, then I say it’s wrong. Jesus said we’re in the world, but not part of the world. At least we shouldn’t be. But this is getting harder and harder. I don’t think we should argue with people who don’t want to follow the ways of God or Catholicism. You can tell them you think they’re going the wrong way, but if you’re arguing with them, then you’re not following God neither. IMHO


#11

Yes indeed.

Pluralism is one of the features of post-modern society that, rather than hinder evangelisation, can provide opportunities. Christ engaged with differences in people and ideas. He reached out to the margins and boundaries of a wide and varied people who had wide and varied ideas and beliefs, and within the crossings of these boundaries, he created a centre at the margins. It was there, at the margins, amongst peoples of wide and varied cultures and beliefs, he created His Church. Christ did not consider pluralism as a stumbling block, nor should we.

St Paul when he went to Athens looking at the plethora and mish-mash of beliefs and idols of the people there could have thrown up his hands in horror and though “What a mess, there’s no point wasting my time here”, but he didn’t. He saw value in what the people of Athens believed and built upon it.


#12

No. The above ideas are most definitely NOT “just wrong” and with the exception of number two they are compatible with Catholicism. Where one can run into problems is in how one defines the terms.

  1. Pluralism, properly applied, is a good thing in that it prevents people being thrown to the lions or otherwise persecuted. It allows the Church to preach her message unhindered. It permits everyone to exercise their free will choice to accept or reject God and the Church.

  2. Dogma is bad - this is an oxymoron since everyone has “dogma”. Everyone holds certain core views. We all have ideas that we are “dogmatic” about.

  3. Individuality is really just another way of saying “pluralism”

  4. Anything not harming others’ bodies or property should be legal - Isn’t this really, in a sense, what the Golden rule says? The problem here is not in the principle that this statement embodies, but rather in how one defines what things are harmful.

So - clumping all of these things together…
A pluralistic society with many individual voices and varied dogmas must discuss openly (and hopefully) respectfully various matters effecting said society so as to determine what is or is not Harmful" to said said society and the individuals therein.
The results of such discussions should - to the extent possible - respect the various dogmatic positions of individuals and groups while granting to all the greatest latitude of belief and action consistent with the core principle of not harming others’ bodies or property.

Does this make sense??

To me the problem in “modernity” is a combination of how number four is defined and applied combined with a distortion and / or erosion of numbers 1 and 3 (number two being a non-starter).

Peace
James


#13

This hardly a definition. This will make the discussion difficult, because there are no common frames of reference being provided. And though they are related, there is still a considerable difference between modernity and modernism.


#14

Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, who the Pope selected to head up his “Gang of 8” council, recently spoke on just this issue in Dallas. His talk is long and very interesting, but here is a key summary point about modernism:

The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in the 20th Century. In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council. On the contrary: neither the world is the realm of evil and sin –these are conclusions clearly achieved in Vatican II—nor is the Church the sole refuge of good and virtue. Modernism was, most of the time, a reaction against injustices and abuses that disparaged the dignity and the rights of the person.

The whole thing is worth reading. It is available on Whispers in the Logia here: whispersintheloggia.blogspot.fr/2013/10/the-councils-unfinished-business.html

Probably worthy of its own thread.


#15

Are you referring to Pius X encyclical against modernism? Or something else?


#16

These ideas are not modernism, they are post-modernist ideas. Modernism and post-modernism are very different things.

Modernism included rationalism, certainty, uniformity, clear definitive concepts with absolute outcomes, respect for authority etc… Post-modernism is very different. Post-modernism is about diversity, individualism, emotion, hedonism, narcissism, suspicion of authority, and a desire to be able to do what one wishes when one wishes so long as it doesn’t interfere unduly with another person’s wishes to do likewise.


#17

The problem with “modernism” is that it is vague enough to be both compatible and incompatible with Catholicism. It really depends on what one means by “modernity” or “modernism”, which varies from person to person. Pius X and preVII Popes condemned as modernism/liberalism ideas commonly thought of as “modern” or “liberal” at the time, but what is considered modern or liberal changes. It’s just too hard to do the classic anathema and move on.

Which is why Vatican II happened–to change the way the Church interacts with the modern world.


#18

His Holiness Pope Saint Pius X; Pascendi Domenici Gregis 1907

"38. It remains for Us now to say a few words about the Modernist as reformer. From all that has preceded, it is abundantly clear how great and how eager is the passion of such men for innovation. In all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing on which it does not fasten. They wish philosophy to be reformed, especially in the ecclesiastical seminaries. They wish the scholastic philosophy to be relegated to the history of philosophy and to be classed among absolute systems, and the young men to be taught modern philosophy which alone is true and suited to the times in which we live. They desire the reform of theology: rational theology is to have modern philosophy for its foundation, and positive theology is to be founded on the history of dogma. As for history, it must be written and taught only according to their methods and modern principles. Dogmas and their evolution, they affirm, are to be harmonized with science and history. In the Catechism no dogmas are to be inserted except those that have been reformed and are within the capacity of the people. Regarding worship, they say, the number of external devotions is to he reduced, and steps must be taken to prevent their further increase, though, indeed, some of the admirers of symbolism are disposed to be more indulgent on this head. They cry out that ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments They insist that both outwardly and inwardly it must be brought into harmony with the modern conscience which now wholly tends towards democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy and even to the laity and authority which is too much concentrated should be decentralized The Roman Congregations and especially the index and the Holy Office, must be likewise modified The ecclesiastical authority must alter its line of conduct in the social and political world; while keeping outside political organizations it must adapt itself to them in order to penetrate them with its spirit. With regard to morals, they adopt the principle of the Americanists, that the active virtues are more important than the passive, and are to be more encouraged in practice. They ask that the clergy should return to their primitive humility and poverty, and that in their ideas and action they should admit the principles of Modernism; and there are some who, gladly listening to the teaching of their Protestant masters, would desire the suppression of the celibacy of the clergy. What is there left in the Church which is not to be reformed by them and according to their principles?"

Cardinal Maradiaga, October 2013
"The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in the 20th Century. In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council. On the contrary: neither the world is the realm of evil and sin –these are conclusions clearly achieved in Vatican II—nor is the Church the sole refuge of good and virtue. Modernism was, most of the time, a reaction against injustices and abuses that disparaged the dignity and the rights of the person."


#19

The underlined and bolded parts above…

Vatican II actually said these things? Can I get citations please?


#20

[quote="Jaberwocky, post:19, topic:343580"]
The underlined and bolded parts above......

Vatican II actually said these things? Can I get citations please?

[/quote]

If you find it in the documents, please let me know.


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