THE REMEDIES FOR MODERNISM
I. RULES RELATIVE TO STUDIES
II. CHOICE OF THE DIRECTORS AND PROFESSORS FOR SEMINARIES AND CATHOLIC INSTITUTES
III. RULES RELATIVE TO STUDENTS
IV. RULES CONCERNING THE READING OF BAD BOOKS
V. INSTITUTION OF DIOCESAN CENSORSHIP
VI. PARTICIPATION OF THE CLERGY IN THE MANAGEMENT AND EDITORSHIP OF NEWSPAPERS
VII. CONGRESSES OF PRIESTS
VIII. INSTITUTION OF DIOCESAN VIGILANCE COUNCILS
Q. In what terms does His Holiness, Pius X., order the constitution of vigilance committees in every diocese?
A. But of what avail would be all Our commands and prescriptions if they be not dutifully and firmly carried out? In order that this may be done, it has seemed expedient to Us to extend to all dioceses the regulations which the Bishops of Umbria, with great wisdom, laid down for theirs many years ago. ” In order,” they say, ” to extirpate the errors already propagated, and to prevent their further diffusion, and to remove those teachers of impiety through whom the pernicious effects of such diffusion are being perpetuated, this sacred Assembly, following the example of St. Charles Borromeo, has decided to establish in each of the dioceses a Council consisting of approved members of both branches of the clergy, which shall be charged with the task of noting the existence of errors, and the devices by which new ones are introduced and propagated, and to inform the Bishop of the whole, so that he may take counsel with them as to the best means for suppressing the evil at the outset, and preventing it spreading for the ruin of souls or, worse still, gaining strength and growth.” (Acts of the Congress of the Bishops of Uiubria, November, 1849, lit. 2, art. 6.) We decree, therefore, that in every diocese a council of this kind, which We are pleased to name ” The Council of Vigilance,” be instituted without delay.
Q. How are the members of the Council of Vigilance to be chosen?
A. The priests called to form part in it shall be chosen somewhat after the manner above prescribed for the censors.
Q. When must they meet, and are they bound to secrecy?
A. They shall meet every two months on an appointed day in the presence of the Bishop. They shall be bound to secrecy as to their deliberations and decisions.
Q. What shall be the duty of the members of the Council of Vigilance?
A. In their functions shall be included the following: They shall watch most carefully for every trace and sign of Modernism both in publications and in teaching, and to preserve from it the clergy and the young they shall take all prudent, prompt, and efficacious measures.
Q. What must be, in an especial manner, the object of their attention?
A. Let them combat novelties of words, remembering the admonitions of Leo XIII. : (Instruct. S. C. NN. EE. EE., January 27, 1902.) “It is impossible to approve in Catholic publications a style inspired by unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order of Christian life, on new directions of the Church, on new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new social vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilization, and many other things of the same kind.” Language of the kind here indicated is not to be tolerated either in books or in lectures.
Q. Must the Councils keep an eye upon the works that deal with pious local traditions and relics?
A. The Councils must not neglect the books treating of the pious traditions of different places or of sacred relics. Let them not permit such questions to be discussed in journals or periodicals destined to foster piety, neither with expressions savouring of mockery or contempt, nor by dogmatic pronouncements, especially when, as is often the case, what is stated as a certainty either does not pass the limits of probability or is based on prejudiced opinion.
Q. What rules must be observed with regard to relics?
A. Concerning sacred relics, let this be the rule: If Bishops, who alone are judges in such matters, know for certain that a relic is not genuine, let them remove it at once from the veneration of the faithful; if the authentications of a relic happen to have been lost through civil disturbances, or in any other way, let it not be exposed for public veneration until the Bishop has verified it. The argument of prescription or well-founded presumption is to have weight only when devotion to a relic is commendable by reason of its antiquity, according to the sense of the Decree issued in 1896 by the Congregation of Indulgences and Sacred Relics : ” Ancient relics are to retain the veneration they have always enjoyed except when in individual instances there are clear arguments that they are false or supposititious.”
Q. What rules must be followed in judging of pious traditions?
A. In passing judgment on pious traditions, let it always be borne in mind that in this matter the Church uses the greatest prudence, and that she does not allow traditions of this kind to be narrated in books except with the utmost caution, and with the insertion of the declaration imposed by Urban VIII.: and even then she does not guarantee the truth of the fact narrated; she simply does not forbid belief in things for which human evidence is not wanting. On this matter the Sacred Congregation of Rites, thirty years ago, decreed as follows: ” These apparitions or revelations have neither been approved nor condemned by the Holy See, which has simply allowed them to be believed on purely human faith, on the tradition which they relate, corroborated by testimony and documents worthy of credence.” (Decree, May 2, 1877.) Anyone who follows this rule has no cause to fear. For the devotion based on any apparition, in as far as it regards the fact itself, that is to say, in so far as the devotion is relative, always implies the condition of the fact being true; while in as far as it is absolute, it is always based on the truth, seeing that its object is the persons of the Saints who are honoured. The same is true of relics.
Q. And, last, must the Council of Vigilance keep a watch on social institutions and writings on social questions?
A. Finally, We entrust to the Councils of Vigilance the duty of overlooking assiduously and diligently social institutions as well as writings on social questions, so that they may harbour no trace of Modernism, but obey the prescriptions of the Roman Pontiffs.
IX. TRIENNIAL REPORT PRESCRIBED TO BISHOPS
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