Social/Anthropological causes of Modernism

Social/Anthropological causes of Modernism
Catholic historians and theologians have social explanations as to why Modernism developed as it did and became so popular:
[LIST]
*]Working with the modern philosophical systems was popular. It allowed theologians to work with non-Catholic philosopher contemporaries, and not to be looked down upon as “ancient” for their frequently exclusively Scholastic philosophy.[/LIST][LIST]
*]In the Americas, especially in the United States, priests, bishops and theologians were surrounded by a culture and laity committed to the concept of secularism. Anti-Catholic uprisings during the colonial period and later caused a desire for priests and bishops to “fit in” and to “prove their loyality to the American way”. Documents such as the Syllabus of Errors (which condemned freedom of religion and separation of church and state) were largely ignored by these priests and bishops. The modernistic trend of injecting secular values into Catholicism itself would allow for a much smoother relationship in these areas. Also, some argue, the downplaying of the doctrines taught by the Church contrary to American culture led them to be virtually unknown by succeeding generations of Catholics, causing newly ordained priests and bishops to almost automatically have secularist beliefs.[/LIST][LIST]
*]The evolution of dogmas theory, much like certain interpretations of being saved sola fide (“by faith alone”), allows for a constant updating (critics would say “loosening”) of standards of morality. As moral standards shifted heavily during the 20th century, previously a Catholic would have had to deny his faith to engage in some of the actions of his contemporaries. Now, citing that dogmas can change, it was possible to “update” Catholic morality while not being concerned with possible contradictions.[/LIST]

Shouldn’t this be in the apologetics forum (discussion of doctrines, heresies, and historical controversies)?

Anyway, I think Modernism had more to do with popular psychology and sociology (and also some philosophies). It’s main focus was on the collective consciousness of the Church which produced the Scriptures and other new beliefs in response to various issues–adding them to the actual historical Jesus. Dogmas were not truths revealed by God, but rather ideas that welled up from the church-consciousness and which were formally defined to define the requirements of being a member of the community–therefore dogmas are changeable. This excessive focus on consciousness and social development was big in the 1800s and early 1900s. Modernism in that period was primarly an ivory tower phenomenon.

On the other hand, the Neo-Modernism that we see today is not so much concerned with dogmas, but rather with moral issues–it is more related to the problems you quote–as well as a false notion of love that became popular in the 1960s as a backlash to the wars and violence of the previous generation. Likewise, it is a problem of both the ivory towers and the pew-sitters. John Paul II’s Veritatis Splendor is the major anti-neomodernist magisterial document.

I’m not sure I understand your poll. By changes do you mean Modernism? Of course modernism is bad, it is a major heresy. But not all change is modernism–we have to remember not to look at everything through the lens of suspicion–we also can’t kill the living and growing Church.

As Bishop Fulton Sheen explained, the Church is like a flowing river with a rock-solid riverbed. She has both a solid aspect and a dynamic aspect. He says it is equally erroneous to reject the solid part or the dynamic part. While the Modernists rejected the riverbed, many people out of an overzealousness want to stop the flow of water.

I closed the poll because 1) it isn’t clear what the poll’s object is, and 2) it implies a comparison between the TLM and the NOM, which is a banned topic. Thank you.

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