What happened to the Modernism?

I assume you are looking for instances showing Church leaders teaching what has been condemned? Here’s a few…

Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura (#’s 3-6), Dec. 8, 1864: “From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our predecessor, Gregory XVI, an insanity, namely, that liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be ledally promulgated and asserted in every rightly constitued society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil… But while they rashly affirm this, they do not understand and note that they are preaching liberty of perdition… Therefore, by out apostolic authority, we reprobate, proscribe, and condemn all the singular and evil opinions and doctrines specificallu mentioned in this letter, and will always command that they be held by all the children of the Church as reprobate, proscribed and condemned.”

Vatican II: "2. “This Vatican Synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom… The Synod further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person, as this dignity is known through the revealed Word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed. Thus it is to become a civil right…”

[It is an error to hold that] “Every man is free to embrace and profess that religions which, guilded by the light of reason, he shall consider true” (Syllabus of errors # 15).

Benedict XVI, Address, May 18, 2006: “Likewise, peace is rooted in respect for religious freedom, which is a fundamental and primordial aspect of the freedom of conscience of individuals and the freedom of peoples. It is important that everywhere in the world every person can belong to the religion of his choice and practice it freely without fear, for no one can base his life on the quest of material being alone.”

Pope Leo XIII, Libertas, # 19-20: “…First, let us examine that liberty in individuals which is so opposed to the virtue of religion, namely, the liberty of worship, as it is called. This is based on the principle that every man is free to profess as he may choose any religion or none. But, assuredly, of all the duties which man has to fulfill, that, without doubt, is the chiefest and holiest which commands him to worship God with devotion and piety. This follows of necessity from the truth that we are ever in the power of God, are ever guided by His will and providence, and, having come forth from Him, must return to Him. Add to which, no true virtue can exist without religion, for moral virtue is concerned with those things which lead to God as man’s supreme and ultimate good; and therefore religion, which (as St. Thomas ays) “performs those actions which are directly and immediately ordained for the divine honor,” rules and tempers all virtues. And if it be asked which of the many conflicting religions it is necessary to adopt, reason and the natural law unhesitatingly tell us to practice that one which God enjoins, and which men can easily recognize by certain exterior notes, whereby Divine Providence has willed that it should be distinguished, because, in a matter of such moment, the most terrible loss would be the consequence of error. Wherefore, when a liberty such as We have described is offered to man, the power is given him to pervert or abandon with impunity the most sacred of duties, and to exchange the unchangeable good for evil; which, as We have said, is no liberty, but its degradation, and the abject submission of the soul to sin.”



[It is an error to hold that] “In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship” (Syllabus of errors # 77).

Benedict XVI, Address to ambassador of Spain, May 20, 2006: “The Church also insists on the inalienable right of individuals to profess their own religious faith without hindrance, both publicly and privately…”.

[It is an error to hold that]] “It has been widely decided by law, in some Catholics countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship” (Syllabus of errors # 78).

With regard to false ecumenism, I’ll start with a quote by the person appointed by John Paul II to be the President of the Council for Christian unity: Walter Kasper.

Cardinal Kasper: "The decision of Vatican II, to which the Pope adheres and spreads, is absolutely clear: Today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of the ecumenism of a return, by which the others should ‘be converted’ and return to being ‘catholics.’ This was expressly abandoned by Vatican II. Today ecumenism is considered as the common road: all should be converted to the following of Christ, and it is in Christ that we will find ourselves in the end. …. Even the Pope, among other things, describes ecumenism in Ut unum sint as an exchange of gifts. I think this is very well said: each church has its own riches and gifts of the Spirit, and it is this exchange that is trying to be achieved and not the fact that we should become ‘protestants’ or that the others should become ‘catholics’ in the sense of accepting the confessional form of Catholicism" (Adista, Rome, February 26, 2001, p. 9).

Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (#10), Jan. 6, 1928: “… the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it…”

Benedict XVI, Address to Protestants at World Youth Day, August 19, 2005: “And we now ask: What does it mean to restore the unity of all Christians?.. This unity, we are convinced, indeed subsists in the Catholic Church, without the possibility of ever being lost (Unitatis Redintegratio, nn. 2, 4, etc.); the Church in fact has not totally disappeared from the world. On the other hand, this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one’s own faith history. Absolutely not!” (L’Osservatore Romano, August 24, 2005, p. 8.)

For a thorough treatment of false ecumenism, read the encyclical Mortalium Animos by Pope Pius XI. It is short, easy to understand, and clearly explains the Catholic position.

The meaning of doctrine can never change through a deepening of understanding. That is what the modernists claim, but it has been formally condemned by the Church more than once. The first Vatican Council taught the following:

Vatican I: “For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretense or pretext of a deeper understanding of them.” -Constitutio de Fide Catholica, Chapter iv.

One of the tricks of the modernists is to disguise their error of “evolution of dogma” by calling it “developement of doctrine”. Developement of doctrine simply adds clarity to what has always been believed without changing the meaning. Evolution of dogma, on the otherhand, departs from the traditional meaning of doctrine through a pretended “deeper understanding”.

A true deeper understanding will never change what was believed, but only add clarity to it. The Oath Against Mondernist condemns evolution of dogma.

Oath Against Modernism: “Fourthly, I accept sincerely the doctrine of faith transmitted from the apostles through the orthodox fathers, always in the same sense and interpretation, even to us; and so I reject the heretical invention of the evolution of dogmas, passing from one meaning to another, different from that which the Church first had; and likewise I reject all error whereby a philosophic fiction is substituted for the divine deposit, given over to the Spouse of Christ and to be guarded faithfully by her, or a creation of the human conscience formed gradually by the efforts of men and to be perfected by indefinite progress in the future.”

So, when you said “You are right that truth does not change, but our understanding of truth changes…” you show that you have been more influenced by modernism than you suspected. You then said “otherwise we would have no need for all the past Councils of the Church”.

The purpose of Church councils is not to change the meaning of doctrine to something different than what has always believed. The purpose of councils is to define doctrines that are being denied by heretics. Councils don’t change doctrine, they define and settle it.

Councils simply define as true doctrines that have been handed down from the apostles, and condemn the contrary errors. When heretics began to deny that Jesus was God, a council condemned that error and defined what had been passed down to them from the apostles. When a group began to deny that there were three persons in one God, that error was condemned the the traditional truth was defined.

When a council defines a doctrine, it usually adds a bit of clarity, but does not in any way change the meaning. For example, Christians always believe that the Eucharist was the body of Christ. When the doctrine was defined, it taught the exact same truth, but added clarity by distinguishing between the “accidents” and “substance”. The meaning of the doctrine was exactly the same (the Eucharist is the body of Christ), but the definition added a bit of clarity.

The modernists use every effort to distort and change the meaning of doctrine, and call it “developement of doctrine”. In reality, it is nothing but the condemned error known as “evolution of doctrine”.

Don’t fall for it. What the Church has always taught is still true, even if the modernists no longer believe it.

And I don’t recall saying that the meaning of doctrine can change.

I am not falling for anything; if you read what the Church has said, the fact of the matter is that in doctrine, the doctrine doesn’t change, but our understanding of it can change in that it grows.

One cannot take a knee jerk response to the issue of developement of doctrine and assume that the words mean a modernist approach to doctrine; it can and does also mean a fuller understanding of the doctrine. It all depends on who the speaker is. Failure to understand that results in people with little true understanding of the Church’s teaching going off the deep end and presuming that legitimate discussion and developement of our understanding of doctrine is somehow heretical. We have enough folks falling off the edge of the earth on the right end without pushing more of them over the edge.

I am not one to suggest that anyone follow the whimsical musings of the most recent darling in theological speculation. On the other hand, niether will I make any outright condemnation of a theologian because someone else has decided they are a mondernist. I actually do read what comes out of Rome; I do follow what theologians such as then Cardinal Ratzinger had to say and I think you are over-reacting to assume that I have been somehow “tainted” by modernism.

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