Q. To proceed in an orderly manner in the statement of the errors of Modernism, how many characters are to be considered as playing their parts in the Modernist?
A. ‘To proceed in an orderly manner in this some what abstruse subject, it must first of all be noted that the Modernist sustains and includes within himself a manifold personality: he is a philosopher, a believer, a theologian, an historian, a critic, an apologist, a reformer. These roles must be clearly distinguished one from another by all who would accurately understand their system, and thoroughly grasp the principles and the outcome of their doctrines.’
THE RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY OF THE MODERNISTS
Q. We begin, then, with the philosopher what doctrine do the Modernists lay down as the basis of their religious philosophy?
A. ‘Modernists place the foundation of religious philosophy in that doctrine which is commonly called Agnosticism.’
Q. How may the teaching of Agnosticism be summed up?
A. According to this teaching, human reason is confined entirely within the field of phenomena, that is to say, to things that appear, and in the manner in which they appear: it has neither the right nor the power to overstep these limits. Hence it is incapable of lifting itself up to God, and of recognizing His existence, even by means of visible things.
Q. What conclusion do the Modernists deduce from this teaching?
A. ‘From this it is inferred that God can never be the direct object of science, and that, as regards history, He must not be considered as an historical subject.’
Q. Given these premisses, what becomes of Natural Theology, of the motives of credibility, of external revelation?
A. ‘Every one will at once perceive. The Modernists simply sweep them entirely aside; they include them in Intellectualism, which they denounce as a system which is ridiculous and long since defunct.’
Q. Do not, at least, the, Church’s condemnations make them pause?
A. ‘Nor does the fact that the Church has formally condemned these portentous errors exercise the slightest restraint upon them.’
Q. What, in opposition to Modernism, is the doctrine of the Vatican Council upon this point?
A. ‘The Vatican Council has defined: ” If anyone says that the one true God, our Creator and Lord, cannot be known with certainty by the natural light of human reason by means of the things that are made, let him be anathema “;* and also : “If anyone says that it is not possible or not expedient that man be taught, through the medium of divine revelation, about God and the worship to be paid Him, let him be anathema “;** and finally: ” If anyone says that divine revelation cannot be made credible by external signs, and that therefore men should be drawn to the faith only by their personal internal experience or by private inspiration, let him be anathema.”***
Q. ‘It may be asked: In what way do the Modernists contrive to make the transition from Agnosticism, which is a state of pure nescience, to scientific and historic Atheism, which is a doctrine of positive denial; and, consequently, by what legitimate process of reasoning they proceed from the fact of ignorance as to whether God has in fact intervened in the history of the human race or not, to explain this history, leaving God out altogether, as if He really had not intervened?’
A. ‘Let him answer who can. Yet it is a fixed and established principle among them that both science and history must be atheistic; and within their boundaries there is room for nothing but phenomena; God and all that is divine are utterly excluded.’
Q. ‘What, as a consequence of this most absurd teaching, must be held touching the most sacred Person of Christ, and the mysteries of His life and death, and of His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven?’
A. ‘We shall soon see clearly.’
* De Revel., can. 1.
**Ibid., can. 2.
***De Fide, can. 3.