Categorized | Religion

The Oath Against Modernism for Non-Catholics

On 8 September 1907, Pope St. Pius X issued the encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis, which condemned modernism in relation to the Roman Catholic religion, which, in part, translated from the original Latin, reads:

Undoubtedly, were anyone to attempt the task of collecting together all the errors that have been broached against the faith and to concentrate into one the sap and substance of them all, he could not succeed in doing better than the Modernists have done. Nay, they have gone farther than this, for [...] their system means the destruction not of the Catholic religion alone, but of all religion.

In order to understand this proposition, let us consider, first, what the Catholic church defines as Modernism, which may be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

An exaggerated love of what is modern…The modern ideas of which we speak are not as old as the period called “modern times”. Though Protestantism has generated them little by little, it did not understand from the beginning that such would be its sequel…In general we may say that modernism aims at that radical transformation of human thought in relation to God, man, the world, and life, here and hereafter…

A full definition of modernism would be rather difficult. First it stands for certain tendencies, and secondly for a body of doctrine which, if it has not given birth to these tendencies (practice often precedes theory), serves at any rate as their explanation and support. Such tendencies manifest themselves in different domains. They are not united in each individual, nor are they always and everywhere found together. Modernist doctrine, too, may be more or less radical, and it is swallowed in doses that vary with each one’s likes and dislikes.

In particular, the crisis that the Catholic church faced at the time may be described as three-fold: first, the character of Scripture had been reduced to its materialist view, stripped of its higher meanings, or even worse, disregarded selectively as being merely historical relic.  Such a problem can still be seen not only among those who accept the Second Vatican Council, but among many camps of self-proclaimed Christians today.  In such quarters, Christianity has been reduced to a lukewarm faith of people who continually revise their faith to fit the spirit of the times.

Second, through the idea of democracy, the importance of the hereafter was denied, and secular cults were promoted as the competitor to belief in the Catholic faith.  Since secularism and democracy promote the idea that man bears no responsibility to the Divine, this implied the creation of a society arranged around the potential of a comfortable earthly life.  As a consequence, it allowed for the infiltration of every type of moral impropriety into the daily lives of Catholics.

 Last, an attempt to combine the vocabularies, epistemological, and metaphysics of modern philosophers with that of the Church Fathers occurred, so as to make them compatible with the newly-emerging secular world.

Perhaps, if we can truly understand why the Catholics had been concerned about the state of their faith in 1910, we can also understand why other faiths, particularly the Islamic faith, feels themselves to be in the midst of a crisis.  Such ideas are actively being promoted by the globalist, controlled media, and perhaps with a more hostile face than in the past.  People who make policies in the name of the post-Christian west feel that the Muslim world is such a threat to the modernist way of life that the entire industrialized world must be mobilized against it in order to bring them to democracy and modernism.  Such people, which include not only politicians, but also banksters, media moguls, and pseudo-intellectuals wish for Muslims to renounce their way of life and reject what they feel to be Divine Revelation.

Those well versed in history will perhaps be able to note that during the French Revolution, the idea of total war combined with the spread of militant secularism were the main themes.  Such themes are once again being promoted in an attempt to destabilize the Islamic world, just as they were used to destabilize France.

From Pope Pius X’s stark warning over a century ago, to the troubled period of the early 21st century, the message remains the same. While the encyclical is addressed to the Roman Catholics in particular, the message can be heard by all the religious traditions of the world in general.  It is an exhortation to strength in the face of militant secularism which denies faith, and the worship of the individual instead of God.

In the Oath Against Modernism, we are presented with a sort of plan that upholds Tradition as a whole and defends it against unlawful innovations and revision, the content of which is so edifying as to be worthy of the consideration of every intellectually-oriented practitioner of traditional religion, and to these last, the application of this very oath to each of their respective religious traditions, mutatis mutandis, should not pose much difficulty.

About William van Nostrand

William van Nostrand is a native of Chicago, Illinois and is currently the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of RidingTheTiger.org. He holds a B.A. in Economics as well as a minor in cultural anthropology. His interests are highly varied and include late medieval European architecture, German romantic classical music, and travel.

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