THE ERRORS OF THE MODERNISTS
THE RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHY OF THE MODERNISTS
(Continued) BRANCHES OF THE FAITH
III. SACRED SCRIPTURE INSPIRATION
IV. THE CHURCH: HER ORIGIN, HER NATURE, AND HER RIGHTS
V. CHURCH AND STATE
VII. CAUSES OF EVOLUTION: CONSERVATIVE AND PROGRESSIVE FORCES IN THE CHURCH
Q. To what causes must one have recourse to explain this progress of faith ?
A. For the progress of faith the same causes are to be assigned as those which are adduced above to explain its origin. But to them must be added those extraordinary men whom we call prophets, of whom Christ was the greatest.
Q. How, as Modernist theologians understand it, did these extraordinary men contribute to progress in faith ?
A. Both because in their lives and their words there was something mysterious which faith attributed to the Divinity, and because it fell to their lot to have new and original experiences fully in harmony with the religious needs of their time.
Q. To what especially do the Modernists attribute the progress of faith ?
A. The progress of dogma is due chiefly to the fact that obstacles to faith have to be surmounted, enemies have to be vanquished, and objections have to be refuted. Add to this a perpetual striving to penetrate ever more profoundly into those things which are contained in the mysteries of faith.
Q. Explain all this to us by an example how, according to the Modernists, did men come to proclaim the divinity of Christ ?
A. Thus, putting aside other examples, it is found to have happened in the case of Christ : in Him that divine something which faith recognized in Him was slowly and gradually expanded in such a way that He was at last held to be God.
Q. What has been the principal factor in the evolution of worship ?
A. The chief stimulus of the evolution of worship consists in the need of accommodation to the manners and customs of peoples, as well as the need of availing itself of the value which certain acts have acquired by usage.
Q. What has been the factor of evolution in the Church ?
A. Finally, evolution in the Church itself is fed by the need of adapting itself to historical conditions and of harmonizing itself with existing forms of Society.
Q. That is evolution in detail. What is, in the system of the Modernists, its essential basis ?
A. Such is their view with regard to each. And here, before proceeding further, We wish to draw attention to this whole theory of necessities or needs, for beyond all that We have seen, it is, as it were, the base and foundation of that famous method which they describe as historical.
Q. In this theory of needs have we the entire Modernist doctrine on evolution ?
A. Although evolution is urged on by needs or necessities, yet, if controlled by these alone, it would easily overstep the boundaries of tradition, and thus, separated from its primitive vital principle, would make for ruin instead of progress.
Q. What, then, must be added to render complete the idea of the Modernists ?
A. By those who study more closely the ideas of the Modernists, evolution is described as a resultant from the conflict of two forces, one of them tending towards progress, the other towards conservation.
Q. What, in the Church, is the conserving force ?
A. The conserving force exists in the Church, and is found in tradition ; tradition is represented by religious authority.
Q. How does religious authority represent this conserving force ?
A. It represents this ‘both by right and in fact. For by right it is in the very nature of authority to protect tradition ; and in fact, since authority, raised as it is above the contingencies of life, feels hardly, or not at all, the spurs of progress.
Q. Where is found the progressive force ?
A. The progressive force, on the contrary, which responds to the inner needs, lies in the individual consciences and works in them, especially in such of them as are in more close and intimate contact with life.
Q. Then, do Modernists place the progressive force outside the hierarchy ?
A. Undoubtedly they do. Already we observe the introduction of that most pernicious doctrine which would make of the laity the factor of progress in the Church.
Q. By what combination of the conservative and the progressive force are wrought, according to the Modernists, modifications and progress in the Church?
A. It is by a species of covenant and compromise between these two forces of conservation and progress that is to say, between authority and individual consciences that changes and advances take place. The individual consciences, or some of them, act on the collective conscience, which brings pressure to bear on the depositaries of authority to make terms and to keep to them.