THE ERRORS OF THE MODERNISTS
THE RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY OF THE MODERNISTS
II. VITAL IMMANENCE
III. ORIGIN OF RELIGION IN GENERAL
IV. NOTION OF REVELATION
V. TRANSFIGURATION AND DISFIGURATION OF PHENOMENA THROUGH FAITH
VI. ORIGIN OF PARTICULAR RELIGIONS
VII. ACTION OF THE INTELLECT IN FAITH
IX. VARIABILITY OF DOGMA
Q. Are these dogmatic formulas, these symbols of the faith and instruments of the believer, at least invariable?
A. ‘The object of the religious sense, as something contained in the absolute, possesses an infinite variety of aspects, of which now one, now another, may present itself. In like manner, he who believes can avail him self of varying conditions. Consequently, the formulas which we call dogma must be subject to these vicissitudes, and are, therefore, liable to change.’
Q. But is there not thus substantial change in dogma?
A. ‘Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution of dogma. Here we have an immense structure of sophisms which ruin and wreck all religion.’
Q. Is this substantial change of dogma not only possible, but even necessary?
A. ‘Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and clearly flows from their principles.’
Q. What is the fundamental principle from which the Modernists deduce the necessity of the substantial change of dogma?
A. ‘Amongst the chief, points of their teaching is the following, which they deduce from the principle of vital immanence namely, that religious formulas, if they are to be really religious and not merely intellectual speculations, ought to be living and to live the life of the religious sense.’
Q. But, since these formulas ought to live the very life of the religious sense, must they not be constructed with a view to this sense?
A. ‘This is not to be understood to mean that these formulas, especially if merely imaginative, were to be invented for the religious sense. Their origin matters nothing, any more than their number or quality. What is necessary is that the religious sense with some modification when needful should vitally assimilate them.’
Q. What do you mean by this vital assimilation by the sense?
A. ‘In other words, it is necessary that the primitive formula be accepted and sanctioned by the heart; and, similarly, the subsequent work from which are
brought forth the secondary formulas must proceed under the guidance of the heart.’
Q. How does the necessity of this vital assimilation entail the substantial change of dogma ?
A. ‘These formulas, in order to be living, should be, and should remain, adapted to the faith and to him who believes. Wherefore, if for any reason this adaptation should cease to exist, they lose their first meaning, and accordingly need to be changed.’
Q. But, then, in what consideration do Modernists hold dogmatic formulas?
A. ‘In view of the fact that the character and lot of dogmatic formulas are so unstable, it is no wonder that Modernists should regard them so lightly and
with such open disrespect.’
Q. What do they unceasingly exalt?
A. ‘They have no consideration or praise for anything but the religious sense and the religious life.’
Q. What, with regard to the Church, is the attitude of Modernists in the matter of dogmatic formulas?
A. ‘With consummate audacity, they criticize the Church, as having strayed from the true path by failing to distinguish between the religious and moral sense of formulas and their surface meaning, and by clinging vainly and tenaciously to meaningless formulas, while religion itself is allowed to go to ruin.’
Q. What final judgment must we pass on the Modernists concerning dogmatic truth ?
A. ‘” Blind ” they are, and ” leaders of the blind,” puffed up with the proud name of science, they have reached that pitch of folly at which they pervert the eternal concept of truth and the true meaning of religion; in introducing a new system in which ” they are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some solid foundation of truth, but despising the holy and apostolic traditions, they embrace other and vain, futile, uncertain doctrines, unapproved by the Church, on which, in the height of their vanity, they think they
can base and maintain truth itself.”‘ *
* Gregory XVI., Encycl. Singulari Not, 7 Kal. Jul., 1834.