“Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God and these holy Gospels of God.”

For some work I am doing today I had occasion to re-read the old Oath Against Modernism.

In 1910 St. Pope Pius X issued Motu Proprio a document called Sacrorum Antistitum in which he provided the Church with an °Oath Against Modernism.  He explains what he is about in the first paragraph:

It seems to Us that it has not been ignored by none of the holy Bishops [Sacrorum Antistitum] that the class of men, the modernists, whose personality was described in the encyclical letter Pascendi dominici gregis, have not refrained from working in order to disturb the peace of the Church. They have not ceased to attract followers, either, by forming a clandestine group; by these means, they inject in the very veins of the Christian Republic the virus of their doctrine, by editing books and publishing articles in anonymity or with pseudonyms. By reading anew Our aforementioned letter, and considering it carefully, it is clearly seen that this deliberate movement is the work of the men that we described in it, enemies that are the more dangerous the closer they are; that abuse their ministry by offering poisoned nourishment and by surprising the less cautious; by handing a false doctrine in which the sum of all errors is enclosed. …

Thus, he issued an Oath and all clergy, anyone holding an office, all seminaries profs, etc., were to take.  Period.

It has been awhile since I have posted on this Oath, and I suspect there may be some readers here who have either never read it or never heard of it.

Since this is something every Catholic should know about, for your opportune knowledge, here it is with my emphases and comments.

THE OATH AGAINST MODERNISM

Given by His Holiness St. Pius X September 1, 1910.

To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.

I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. [Consider the context of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This could still apply today.] And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:90), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical’ misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. [This would be hard for some people to understand today. There is a difference between development of doctrine and change of doctrine.] I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.

Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, [remember the historical context.] especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. [This would knock a few people out of their present offices.] I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.

I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God and these holy Gospels of God (which I touch with my hand).

…. Haec omnia spondeo me fideliter, integre sincereque servaturum et
inviolabiliter custoditurum, nusquam ab iis sive in docendo sive
quomodolibet verbis scriptisque deflectendo. Sic spondeo, sic iuro, sic
me Deus adiuvet et haec sancta Dei Evangelia.

I have not heard that the Church released men from this oath if they once took it.

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37 Responses to “Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God and these holy Gospels of God.”

  1. shane says:

    Definitely pertinent to today. I shudder to think what St Pius X would say (or do!) if he had been teleported in time by a century. I’d imagine that more than a few bishops would get transferred to remote dioceses in the African desert.

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks for posting this. I freely and firmly adhere to it.

  3. Nicole says:

    In general, I am a fan of this Oath. [Gosh!] However, I have a real problem with one part of it: [?]

    “Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.”

    Here’s the Latin: “Quinto; certissime teneo ac sincere profiteor, Fidem non esse coecum sensum religionis e latebris sub conscientiae erumpentem, sub pressione cordis et inflexionis voluntat is moraliter informatae, sed verum assensum intellectus veritati extrinsecus acceptae ex auditu,
    quo nempe, quae a Deo personali, creatore ac domino nostro dicta, testata et revelata sunt, vera esse credimus, propter Dei auctoritatem summe veracis.”

    Now, I am NO Latin master, but here is my own translation, which differs a bit from yours: [It's not my translation.] “Fifthly; I hold most certainly and I profess sincerely, the Faith is not a blind sense of religion erupting from the hiding place of the subconscious, under the pressing of the heart and of the bending of the will informed morally, but the true assent of the intellect to the truth from without received by hearing, wherefore truly, we believe to be true, that which from a personal God, the Creator and Our Lord, are testified and revealed, because of the authority of God the mostly highly truthful.”

    Anyway…the part that I have trouble with is the equation of faith to “assent.” Faith is a supernatural virtue and is defined in the First Vatican Council: “This faith, which is the beginning of human salvation, the Catholic Church professes to be a supernatural virtue, by means of which, with the grace of God inspiring and assisting us, we believe to be true what He has revealed, not because we perceive its intrinsic truth by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, Who makes the revelation and can neither deceive nor be deceived.” A virtue is a habit which inclines one to the performance of good works easily, pleasantly and quickly. Assent is a condition of the intellect and will together in relation to an article held in which there is an agreement in both belief and action. This being said, it would seem that faith would be a cause of assent, not the equivalent.

    If I am going wrong…where did I diverge from the correct path? [The word "faith" is used in several senses, and they are interrelated. However, the theological virtue of faith is also not something that originates with us. It comes from God. There is then an interplay of the faith by which we believe and the faith in which we believe. That said, I suspect the author of the Oath Against Modernism got this point right.]

  4. Nicole says:

    heh…I mistyped…”mostly” in my translation…it was supposed to be only “most”, as in “most highly truthful.”

  5. JordanH says:

    Shane,

    I sometimes catching myself speculating like that. What if this holy person of the past were here today? What would they do? Then, I recall that the holy of the past are alive and in a position to effect more change now than they did when they were alive.

  6. UncleBlobb says:

    @Fr. Z: Has the command to take this oath ever officially gone out of legal force?

  7. Tom in NY says:

    “Hark the herald angels sing
    Bultmann is the latest thing
    But they would, if he had not
    Demythologized the lot.”
    Seriously, the struggle continues from the turn of the 20th century through today, not just in Scripture study but elsewhere.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  8. Jack Hughes says:

    I assent to these truths and all the Truths of the Holy Catholic Faith which with God’s grace I hope to die in.

  9. FranzJosf says:

    Does anyone know the approximate year that the Oath stopped being required?

  10. jacobi says:

    The withdrawal of the requirement for this oath during the time of Paul VI was perhaps, in retrospect, the most significant trigger for the flood of relativistic thinking and indeed heresy that poured into the Church in the post Vatican II period. The consequencies were devastating, are with us today and will be for a long time.

    We cannot put the clock back and re-introduce such an oath, I suppose, but this all leads strength to the recent argument by Bishop Schnieder that a Syllabus of Errors covering the Council documents and subsequent misinterpretations be made.

  11. Mike says:

    Nicole,

    Well, I always thought Faith was both. It just matters how you look at it…what is the intellect doing? Assenting. Does it see its object? Not entirely. So the will, moved by Grace, makes its assent by the infused virtue of Faith, which it accepts….

  12. Nicole says:

    Some say Pope Paul VI abolished the taking of the Oath Against Modernism in 1967, but I can’t find any concrete evidence of such other than some obscure encyclopedic reference. (See “Oath Against Modernism” in The Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, p. 926.)

    Whether priests still take it, the Oath still binds those who have taken it before the supposed abolishment, however.

  13. jhayes says:

    But in subsequent developments:

    In September 1998, Pope John Paul II issued the encyclical Fides et Ratio.  He stated that the Church did not have one particular philosophy and condemned the claim that a single system could represent the totality of philosophy as philosophicalpride. Pascendi, Sacrorum Antistitum, Doctoris Angelici and Studiorum Ducem were not mentioned. The role of the Magisterium, he said, is to insist that philosophy is studied.[22]

    Faith, Reason and the University opens with the present Pope celebrating the lively inter-disciplinary exchange[23] he had enjoyed as a young professor at the University of Bonn and concludes with a call to the West to have the courage to examine the basis of its rationality – to recognise the breadth of human reason. On Kant and the others condemned in Pascendi, he had this to say:

    A critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvellous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us.[24]

    The message of both popes is unambiguous: rational enquiry is a good, and that extends to the enquiries of the great modern philosophers.

    http://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20090820_1.htm

  14. Nicole says:

    Hi, Mike,

    Thanks for addressing my question. However, equating faith and assent is not the same as saying that one makes his assent by means of the supernatural virtue of faith. (Also, to answer the question “what is the intellect doing?” by answering “faithing” doesn’t work. I believe I’ve heard the word faith used as a verb in the Taming of the Shrew, but that doesn’t mean that Shakespeare wasn’t taking some literary license. We don’t use faith as a verb…and the word “assent” in question in the Oath Against Modernism is a noun. :) ) Another view that would seem to defeat the equation of faith and assent is by making your last statement, interchanging the two words: So the will, moved by Grace, makes its faith by the infused virtue of assent, which it accepts… It doesn’t work…we do not make our faith, it’s infused in us…and assent is not a virtue.

    So…still can’t reconciling the two words as equal… Any other help?

  15. benedetta says:

    Nicole, the “Fifthly” clause you are quoting regarding assent is a dependent clause. I am not sure the intent of the sentence or the document is to define faith or the Faith in a dictionary sense. The quotation you have provided from First Vatican Council document together with this clause in the Oath Against Modernism read with a consistency.

    Interesting this Oath I am one who has never before read it, ever. I have heard allusions to in unfortunate contexts. I suppose that the fault is mine for having accepted another’s derision of it without considering for myself what it does say. Perhaps there was some reason to keep it from mass consumption while at the same time telling people what to believe about it? At any rate it rings true as if it were written, today.

  16. Brett Judkins says:

    I have the oath posted on my wall at the seminary. Very important for the times we live in.

  17. jhayes says:

    The oath was formally removed in 1967, but back in 1914, Merry del Val had the bad luck of having accused the incoming pope of modernism just before he was elected.

    The heresy hunt in the Church now reached the highest levels. In a letter to Pius X in summer 1914, Secretary of State Cardinal Merry del Val[20] accused the Archbishop of Bologna (a few months earlier made a Cardinal) of modernism. Pius X died on 20August 1914 and the Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna was elected as Benedict XV on 3 September: the Papal study was unlocked, the new Pope sat at his predecessor’s desk and his eyes lighted on the letter of denunciation; Merry del Val was summarily dismissed as Secretary of State and spent the rest of his life merely as Archpriest of St Peter’s. The influence of heretic hunters declined somewhat. Nevertheless, the oath promulgated in Sacrorum antistitum was re-affirmed by the Holy Office in March 1920 and on 29 June 1923, Pope Pius XI re-affirmed Doctoris Angelici in his encyclical Studiorum Ducem.[21] The oath was eventually removed by Paul VI in 1967.

    http://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20090820_1.htm

  18. Trevor says:

    “The heresy hunt in the Church now reached the highest levels. In a letter to Pius X in summer 1914, Secretary of State Cardinal Merry del Val[20] accused the Archbishop of Bologna (a few months earlier made a Cardinal) of modernism.”

    Jhayes,

    I think you pointed out the real problem with the modernist crisis. While it’s undeniable that there were men who held positions (or similar) condemned in Pascendi (e.g. Tyrrell and Loisy), and that the main positions of “modernism” are incompatible with the Christian faith, I think the idea that there was a widespread clandestine group desiring to destroy the Church from within did great damage to Catholic theology in the early twentieth century. Accusing a theological opponent of modernism was a quick way to damage his reputation (regardless of whether the charge was actually true). I think the example of Pere Lagrange is also noteworthy. Lagrange was the Dominician priest who founded the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem. Undertaking the textual critical studies of the Pentateuch called for by Providentissimus Deus, he enjoyed the favor of Leo XIII, and was even on the Pontifical Biblical Commission. However, late in Pius X’s pontificate, he was accused of modernism, and removed from the Commission and censured. Faithful to the Church, he obediently left Jerusalem and devoted himself to prayer, and his example led Pius X to reinstate him after a year. Obviously Lagrange was not a modernist, but the culture of the time led to him being unjustly accused, and unjustly reprimanded.

    If Pascendi is going to have more influence in theological and priestly circles, then so be it. However, I hope the culture of suspicion and accusation that accompanied the encyclical is not resurrected in our own times.

  19. Alan Aversa says:

    What do you mean, Fr. Z, by “This could still apply today.”? It applies today more than ever!

    Read Pope St. Pius X’s introduction to the Oath Against Modernism, Sacrorum antistitum, and this English translation of excerpts from the introduction.

  20. vivaldi says:

    The SSPX still make the Oath.

  21. David2 says:

    For an in-depth understanding of the Oath (including the “fifthly” clause discussed above), one should really read Pascendi Dominici Gregis, the encyclical of St Pius X. In it, the beliefs and teachings of the Modernists are set out in some detail by the Pope, and it is to particular aspects of that Modernist teaching that the clauses of the Oath against Modernism are directed.

    Thus, the clause on “faith” is directed to the evil of a particular teaching about subconscious “religious sentiment” as the germ of all religion and and “the explanation of everything that has been or ever will be in any religion” – without differentiation between the Catholic religion and false religions.

  22. albizzi says:

    Trevor,
    When you say: “The idea that there was a widespread clandestine group desiring to destroy the Church from within did great damage to Catholic theology in the early twentieth century…” are you meaning that the Modernist heresy belongs to the past?
    In my opinion, a huge majority of priests and bishops would refuse to take the Oath against Modernism in the present days.
    In my opinion Paul VI cancelled the obligation to take the Oath because he himself was a modernist. That helped many to consider the Modernism as no longer a heresy. That is the reason why it is so widespread as if it had been proclaimed a new dogma during the council.
    Many ignorant catholics who themselves are modernists don’t even know what is the Modernism.
    Pius X said it was the synthesis of all the previous heresies.
    That makes me very pessimistic about the future of the Church, if the Holy Spirit was not set to intervene nextly…

  23. benedetta says:

    Trevor, What would be the name for the heresy of widespread culture of suspicion towards prolifers or orthodoxy such that priests who display sympathy for these are banned from seminary, etc.? I don’t think this culture ever had to be “resurrected” as you say. Though the modernists aren’t the ones being hunted down and expelled. Cheers,

  24. RJS says:

    Nicole,

    Regarding your question: The supernatural virtue of faith, and what is believed by faith (the object of assent), are two different things. The virtue of faith helps us to believe what has been revealed by God and proposed by the Church. The propositions that require assent come from without – they are objective. For example, the proposition that God is three persons is made known to the intellect externally – it is proposed to us. The virtue of faith helps us to accept that truth, and all other truths proposed by the Church.

    The Modernists reject the idea of dogmas being proposed externally to the intellect (by hearing, for example). They believe that all dogmas have their origin within man – deep within the subconcious – and only come to light after man becomes capable of articulating what began as a certain “sense” within him.

    In reality, the entiire deposit of faith was revealed by Jesus Christ and the apostles, and passed down to us complete. Overtime particular dogmas are defined, but the dogmas themselves did not originate within men. They were given to man directly by God, and only formulated by the efforts of the Church. Does that make sense?

  25. Fabrizio says:

    jhayes said:

    But in subsequent developments:

    In September 1998, Pope John Paul II issued the encyclical Fides et Ratio. He stated that the Church did not have one particular philosophy and condemned the claim that a single system could represent the totality of philosophy as philosophicalpride. Pascendi, Sacrorum Antistitum, Doctoris Angelici and Studiorum Ducem were not mentioned.

    However, Fides et Ratio cites St. Thomas explicitely and as correctly stated in the article you linked, the whole reasonment of Fides et Ratio presupposes a thomistic premise. JPII states therein: This is why the Church has been justified in consistently proposing Saint Thomas as a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology (no. 43) .It is true that the philosophy of the Church cannot coincide in toto with any given system, since we “test evertyhing and retain what is good” as per the Pauline admonition, but that Thomas Aquinas is THE Catholic theologian and the teacher of theologians is stated no less than in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (252§3), which is as binding as it gets. There is a perfect continuity between all Popes as to the inistence on Thomas – and especially his metaphysiscs – as the irreplaceable basis for the philosophical formation of our theologians and philososphers. It would be simply impossible to list all the acts of Magisterium of JPII and BXVI which contain explicit references to St. Thomas a a theological authority and the exemplary theologian.

    The message of both popes is unambiguous: rational enquiry is a good, and that extends to the enquiries of the great modern philosophers.
    The Church has always encouraged rational enquiry: it’s the foundation of the Western Civilization and it is why the Church saved it. What the recent popes are saying now is no different from what was said before BUT there is a critical distinction: We now live in the era of the final dissolution of not only what was once Christendom but even the last vestiges of the Western Civilization. The Popes are giving us clues at to where to start to understand what went wrong and why: one of the first steps is to avoid a FATAL error (which is typical of rad-trads and sedevacantists instead): to confuse the legitimate QUESTIONS posed by the enemies of faith and reason (and thus of the Church) with their wrong ANSWERS. All errors are ultimately theological in nature, and all of them are born – as far as temptation sub specie bonis goes – of WRONG answers given to REAL questions and problems of the society, the culture, the Church or even just the spiritual life or the existential/historical circumstances of those who are incurring them (e.g.: was there any corruption in the Church at the time of Luther? Of course there was so it was not a sign of heresy to wonder about it. But that REAL problem worked as one of the fig leves of heresy ). This IMHO how we should read the great lessons of recent Popes on the points and the mistakes made by heresiarchs and philosophers.

    As to the (great) oath, the obligation was indeed suspended in 1967 and replaced with a Professio Fidei. However, such Profession was modified and extended by order of JPII in 1989 to better specify what kind of truths and what kind of assent is required.

    «Professio fidei» et «Iusiurandum fidelitatis» in suscipiendo officio nomine Ecclesiae exercendo

    Latin:
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19880701_professio-fidei_lt.html

    English:
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19880701_professio-fidei_en.html

  26. RJS says:

    Nicole,

    To add to what I wrote above, there are three things to consider:

    1.) The virtue of faith (which helps us to believe what God has revealed)
    2.) The act of faith (which takes place when the truths are believed)
    3.) The object of faith (the doctrines that are to be believed).

    The Modernists error with respect to the object of faith. They reject the notion that the doctrines which are to be believed (the object of faith), come to man externally. They claim that all doctrines originated within man, and evolve over time with man. For them, nothing is fixed or certain, and everything is subject to substantial change.

  27. amenamen says:

    Even if one is not required by law to take the Oath, there is nothing to stop a person from doing so, at least privately. I wonder how many priests and seminarians have done so in recent years.

  28. Centristian says:

    albizzi says: “In my opinion Paul VI cancelled the obligation to take the Oath because he himself was a modernist.”

    Well, that’s quite a charge, although I realize you’re merely expressing a private opinion. Bear in mind that Pope Paul, himself, took the oath against Modernism as newly-ordained priest.

    It may not be, therefore, that he eliminated the oath because he was, himself, a Modernist. I think it likely had more to do with the fact that he would have, throughout his career, looked with a certain distaste upon the tactics of certain hardliners in the course of their–pardon the term–”witch hunt” against suspected Modernists.

    The Catholic Church, bear in mind, had its own Joe McCarthys who accused alot of clergy and theologians of being Modernists, without solid evidence in many cases. A reader has posted above the example of Pope Benedict XV becoming a victim of this “witch hunt” before he became pope. It’s one thing to correct or punish a priest or bishop or professor who clearly is a Modernist, it’s quite another thing to create a hysteria and to go about looking for Modernists around every corner, blackening the reputations of innocent people in the process.

    By the time Paul VI became pope this “witch hunt” atmosphere had pretty much evaporated, of course, but I think the oath perhaps represented to him something of that era, and something contradictory to the atmosphere he was hoping to foster. I also get the impression that he was forever in a personal combat with hardliner personalities of the past, taking swipes at ghosts that, by the time of his reign, weren’t haunting the Church any longer, only him.

    I’m not defending Pope Paul’s decision to eliminate the oath, but an actual embrace of Modernism need not have been his only possible motivation for doing so.

  29. Tom T says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for the posting of the oath. I have used in my discussions with certain priests
    the encyclical letter Pascendi dominici gregis of St. Pope Pius X mentioning that he noted with alarm the progressive thinking that was taking possession of Western Civilization wherein he defined it as modernism. And when I get, “well, that is all changed now since Vatican II and Pope Paul VI,” I usually respond with quotes from Summorum Pontificum when the discussion of Masses comes about and add quotes from Universae Ecclesia and low and behold the discussion suddenly takes a turn in another direction. I am afraid the horses are already out of the barn and all we can do maybe is close the doors. The interesting part I`ve gotten from the discussion is the similarity between liberalism and modernism with regard to the warning about changing dogmatic beliefs to accomodate realistic views, “I reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that dogma, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christion religion.”
    This is in my view is the stark differance today between liberalism and conservativism. In other words, it is what it is. Nothing is changed. Sorry, I like to pursue the bottem line, and it really dose boil down to change that the liberals claim must happen to accomodate modernistic thought, and what really sends me up to the roof is when I read well, you have to follow the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, after all He is leading us in that direction. I don`t think so. Pax

  30. albizzi says:

    Centristian,
    How many priests do you know who would be ready to take the Oath against Modernism in 2011 without any restriction? Probably less than 5 per cent.
    The Oath was cancelled but the heresy stayed since everybody believed it was no longer considered as such. What did Pope Paul to fight it? Nothing. He prefered to discipline those who fought it.
    That is the proof that the Oath actually was and still is necessary and the witch hunt too.

  31. digdigby says:

    The words ‘Modern’ and ‘Modernism’ have changed considerably since the oath. We live in an age where saying ‘anti-modernism’ is like saying ‘anti-truth’. Ironic that the ‘modernism’ of which ‘The Tailor’ warned us is the reason that this is so. Or to talk like my niece’s idiot friend, “That is so last week!”

  32. THREEHEARTS says:

    Again what replaced the oath? I have always believed the oath as it existed was demanded by all priests and sworn in Latin. What replaced it was told to me by a priest with tears in his eyes and a voice that trembled. This is what he told me and in his defense there was no room in the church and in the main road outside at his funeral. Here are his words, “M*** if I become for you what you ask, then I have to notify the Archbishop and he will tell me to close you down, and I will have to. Every Holy Thursday I place my hands in his and vow to obey him”. Right or wrong with the oath they now swear priests have to obey the Local Ordinary and look at the mess the Church is in now.

  33. jhayes says:

    In response to:

    “what replaced the oath”

    The most recent version of the oath that I have found is this, from 1998. It is to be taken “upon promotion to the diaconate.”

    I. PROFESSION OF FAITH

    I, N., with firm faith believe and profess everything that is contained in the Symbol of faith: namely:

    I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

    With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.

    I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.

    Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFOATH.HTM

  34. kelleyb says:

    A few weeks ago you posted, “Antonio Gramsci, the destruction of Catholic identity, and you”. In it you directed us to an article by George Marlin at the Catholic Thing. After reading both articles I researched gramsci and the Church, and the Heresy of Modernism. Father, am I off base thinking that St. Pope Pius X issued Motu Proprio and the OATH as a response to the malignant metastatic influence of Gramsci work? The response by non Catholic friends after reading Marlin’s article was ” FINALLY the Catholic Church has awakened to the dangers of Gransci”. I contend that Holy Mother Church has been aware of this for decades. The proof lies in the Encyclical on Modernism. Is that correct?

  35. kelleyb says:

    I think the time has come to rename the heresy of Modernism. Too often people confuse the Church’s anti-modernism position with the Church’s desire to return to the anti science dark ages. We have allowed others to define the Church’s world view as archaic.
    I apologize for the double posts this morning.

  36. Nicole says:

    Thanks for everyone who tried to help me out…not to mention Fr. Z as well, thank you :)

  37. anncouper-johnston says:

    @ Tom (NY) Love it! Will copy and paste to facebook. Having done biblical studies under a bloke who had Bultmann coming out of his ears, I can see where it’s at. The same bloke was the first I told that I was considering becoming a Catholic. I told him that from what he had taught us, one appeared to have two alternatives: say the Bible was a fairytale and ditch most of it as man-made or say that from the beginning the Tradition of the Church was intermingled with Scripture and therefore the only decent thing to do was to accept the fact and become a Catholic. His only comment was that I should be sure not to go in because of a possible attraction to the Liturgy because that was about to change. I wasn’t, so I continued my enquiries and came into the Church.

    We so much need Faith AND Reason. Make reason king and you get the sort of mess we are in today, where nobody knows what to believe and the only guide we have is a liberalism which allows anything (but NOT the Christian tradition which has formed our culture – when it comes to that they turn dictatorial and insist in a most illiberal fashion that we accept their mores with no allowance for Christian conscience). Faith without reason results in the sort of silly nonsense of some Pentecostals who insist that you throw away your medication to prove your faith in God’s power to heal (or the Catholic I know who is so convinced something dreadful will befall her that she insists on saying the Rosary at every available minute – that isn’t piety, it’s a psychological disorder: true piety would leave her more peaceful of mind).

    I think the presumed conflict of faith with reason may come from a difference between the Protestant and Catholic way of thinking which originated at the Reformation and which, for some reason, is not as much referred to as the questions of, say, priesthood or the Eucharist. The difference is in the view taken of man after the Fall. Catholic faith sees man as having been damaged by the Fall to such an extent that he needs salvation, but not utterly cut off from God; he can still come to know God through reason (as Vatican I and Dei Verbum both state). The Protestant sees man as entirely cut off from God as a result of the Fall; NOTHING he is or can do is of any use in his relationship with God until he is “born again” (makes a personal decision to believe in Christ); human reason is thus a merely human, worldly, attribute and to be despised as such. The rejection of Tradition and the reliance on (sola) Scriptura also means that once you demonstrate, by reason, that there must have been Tradition along with Scripture in Scripture’s very foundation (in the origins of the Old Testament and according to St Paul, who says he passed on to the Corinthians what he himself had received and proceedes to give an account of the Last Supper) you have nowhere to go.

    Many people date the demise of faith from the Englightenment; I think there is a good case for arguing that the real problem started at the Reformation with the divide of faith from reason and the breaking of the unity of the Church; once you accepted that there was another way other than that ordained by Christ you opened the door to any philosophical argument that could be reasoned out (ironically, given that they discounted reason!) reason by now divorced from faith, which was seen as mere superstition.

    Faith does not contradict reason, it goes beyond it. Our present Pope was Professor in the History of Dogma, so if anyone can distinguish between legitimate development and divergence where doctrine is concerned, he should be, and is, right there – I wouldn’t like to argue the toss with him and he will give anyone who does a good run for their money. We are so fortunate to have him and may God bless him with a long life and in doing so bless the Church.