Tuesday, June 10, 2014


As some of you will recall, shortly after his election, Pope Francis visited the tomb of Pope Pius X to pray for his intercession. I believe, as I stated before, that Pope Francis sees his papacy as very similar to the thrust of Pope Pius X who abhorred Vatican protocol and demands and etiquette as well. Pope Francis is also against "modernism" as Pope Pius X understood it and its new forms today.


Marc said...

Can you give an example of Francis being "against 'modernism' as Pope Pius X understood it and its new forms today"?

What is an example of modernism's "new forms today"?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

His many homilies and the actions he has taken against the LCWR especially through his surrogate, Cardinal Muller.

For the most part, the Holy Father, while pastoral towards those who know they are sinners and seek the grace of the Sacraments has little or no time for academics who demythologize the Scriptures to make it more palatable to modern ears.

He has no time for those who deconstruct the faith, don't believe in the devil, no like popular devotions, especially Marian ones and who don't adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Modernism is a rationalistic approach to the Bible. The rationalism that was characteristic of the Enlightenment took a protomaterialistic view of miracles and of the historicity of biblical narratives. This approach sought to interpret the Bible by focusing on the text itself as a prelude to considering what the Church Fathers had traditionally taught about it. This method was readily accepted by Protestants and Anglicans. It was the natural consequence of Martin Luther’s sola scriptura doctrine,[citation needed] which asserts that Scripture is the highest authority, and that it can be relied on alone in all things pertaining to salvation and the Christian life.

Secularism and other Enlightenment ideals. The ideal of secularism can be briefly stated as follows: the best course of action in politics and other civic fields is that which flows from a common understanding of the Good by various groups and religions. By implication, Church and State should be separated and the laws of the latter, for example that forbidding murder, should cover only the common ground of thought systems held by various religious groups. From the secularists’ point of view it was possible to distinguish between political ideas and structures that were religious and those that were not, but Catholic theologians in the mainstream argued, following St. Thomas Aquinas, that such a distinction was not possible. All aspects of society were to be organized with the final goal of Heaven in mind. The humanist model which had been in the forefront of intellectual thought since the Renaissance and the scientific revolution was however directly opposed to this view.

Theological rebellion in contradistinction or opposition to the Church's official policies, notably among Jesuits (which Pope Francis fought as a Jesuit leader) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Anonymous said...

[Citation Needed]

JBS said...

What's with the "citation needed"?

Anonymous said...

I am blown away by this.

Father, it appears you merely copied and pasted wikipedia text for the definition of Modernism. MODERNISM IS A HERESY, of which Pope Francis is doing very little to thwart and everything to enhance.
Please explain to us, your readers, the effects of Modernism in the Church and even your parish. We want to know your take on this most dangerous heresy. What is it doing to the Faithful? Are newly-converted Catholics getting proper catechism? Are they being taught error or orthodoxy? What are the dangers of Modernism?

Your examples of Francis' being against Modernism are weak. Vapid. He should do that much in his sleep, and rule the Church with a FIST as the holy Pope Saint Pius X would have done!

Francis is adding one mad novelty after another, the latest to be his prayer circle with the abominable sect of Mahomet and other Christ-deniers, AT THE VATICAN! There can be NO peace without the Divine Christ. I can give Scripture to back that up, if needed.

Father, tell me, why do these words matter not in this age of Modernism:
“It is an insult to the holy name and a disgrace to the Christian faith that in certain parts of the world subject to Christian princes where Saracens [i.e., the followers of Islam, also called Muslims] live, sometimes apart, sometimes intermingled with Christians, the Saracen priests, commonly called Zabazala, in their temples or mosques, in which the Saracens meet to adore the infidel Mahomet, loudly invoke and extol his name each day at certain hours from a high place… There is a place, moreover, where once was buried a certain Saracen whom other Saracens venerate as a saint. This brings disrepute on our faith and gives great scandal to the faithful. These practices cannot be tolerated without displeasing the Divine Majesty. We therefore, with the sacred council’s approval, strictly forbid such practices henceforth in Christian lands. We enjoin on Catholic princes, one and all… They are to remove this offense together from their territories and take care that their subjects remove it, so that they may thereby attain the reward of eternal happiness. They are to forbid expressly the public invocation of the sacrilegious name of Mahomet… Those who presume to act otherwise are to be so chastised by the princes for their irreverence, that others may be deterred from such boldness.” (Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, 1311-1312)

While he is entertaining heretics, he slaps in the face (AGAIN!) Traditionalists, this time calling us "uniformists" and we "are not really Catholic, with one foot out the door.", and then proceeds to tell the Muslims/ world:
Pope to Muslims: People Have 'Freedom to Choose Religion One Judges to be True'
What kind of nonsense is that? This isn't what the Church teaches! Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is DOGMA!

Yes, Pope Francis, dismantle Holy Mother Church, insult the Faithful, and entertain the heretics...heretic bound together by their tails...

~Denis St. Paris

John Nolan said...

The video clip repeats the myth that Giuseppe Sarto's election in 1903 was a result of the front-runner, Rampolla, being vetoed by Austria. The Austrian veto was brought to the conclave by the Cardinal Archbishop of Cracow. The secretary to the conclave Merry del Val tried to prevent it being introduced; an altercation ensued during which the document fell to the ground. When it was read out it caused outrage and there was a surge of support for Rampolla; but it was not enough to secure his election. He had been Leo XIII's Secretary of State and his preferred successor, but too many of the cardinals wanted a change of style and direction.

I don't see the Jesuit Francis having much in common with St Pius X. There is someone who could indeed renew the Church, and coincidentally he has the same surname; Sarto in German is Schneider.

George said...

The Holy Father is the leader of the world's Roman Catholics but he is also a voice of moral authority in the world. The Vatican is a City-state and not a country but it is smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world.The pope is the soverereign head of that state.

I see the meeting that the Holy Father convened in the Vatican garden as being a personal initiative on his part to hopefully see more progress toward peace in the Middle East.

Too many are trying to read a religious significance into this event.

Gene said...

Well, well. Indeed so, Denis St. Paris. Amemn.

Gene said...

Fr, Maybe you should just stop talking about Pope Francis for a while. Your efforts to justify him, apologize for him, and defend him remind me of someone playing Twister with an octopus. Just talk about something else for a while...

Pater Ignotus said...

Denis St Paris - Well, to begin with, Clement was factually wrong. Muslims do not "adore the infidel Mohamet,..." Clement was mistaken.

Also, Vienne/Clement came to pass in the shadow of the Crusades. As the PATRIOT ACT, enacted in the shadow of the 9/11 attack, is now considered by many to be in need of significant revision, or as the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor is now recognized as a terrible miscarriage of justice, or as the Alien and Sedition Acts, an overreaction to "threats" to the USA, were overturned, we just don't look at or understand the Saracens (sic) as Clement did.

We just don't legislate well in times of turmoil.

It is factually wrong to call Jews and Muslims "heretics." "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same." Canon 2089

Forgive me, but Jews and Muslims are not "post-baptismal."

The Pope is right.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Pope Francis said in his first homily as Pope during the Mass in the Sistine Chapel, "anyone who does not worship Jesus worships the Devil" When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness.

Gene said...

So, then, why invite the Devil to the Vatican?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

To evangelize

Gene said...

Fr, I cannot believe you just said that. Again, just stop talking for a while…LOL!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am a Catholic, I follow the pope!

Marc said...

You are an ultramontanist. You blindly follow the Pope.

I hope Christ accepts your Nuremberg defense at the judgment.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Ultrmontanist is better than being a schismatic !

Gene said...

An ultramontanist, quite the fanatic,
Had lunch with a hopeless schismatic.
They spent the whole day
Finding a way
For each to become more dogmatic.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I use the Wikipedia definition because Modernism for the most part refers to how the Bible is interpreted. Yes, after Vatican II but actually beginning in 1942 with Pope Pius Encyclical, Divino Afflante Spiritu, Catholic Scripture Scholars were allowed to use some of the tools that Protestants used in interpreting the Bible just as long as the interpretations did not go against defined doctrine and dogmas.

Unfortunately (in the spirit of Vatican II) much of Scripture scholarship by Catholic theologians became modernistic in terms of the heresy that Pope Pius X opposed and began to deconstruct the Gospels and the rest of Scritpure to get to the "real" historical Jesus as though this is a different Person from the now gloriously Reigning Crucified and Risen Lord.

This has led to a questioning of Jesus divinity, His Virgin conception and birth, His miracles, and even His resurrection, Ascension and Giving of the Holy Spirit. It has led to the questioning of the authorship of the Bible and given to much authority or lack thereof to the communities that originally had an oral tradition and the editors who put these into writing with a theological thrust or contrived propaganda.

This is Modernism and Pope Benedict took a razor to this type of Scripture Scholarship in the Books he wrote while Pontiff.

Anonymous said...

It pains me Father to see some of the uncharitable remarks you've had to deal with in this post. But, much as I hate to say it, you kind of asked for it. Comparing these two popes as "similar" is sort of like comparing Bill Clinton as similar to George Washington. Our deepest Catholic instincts tell us that one doesn't deserve to even be mentioned in the same breath with the other.

Joseph Johnson said...

John Nolan,
Getting back to the Austrian veto thing:

I have read that Rampolla was secretly a Mason and that even though the Austrian veto had nothing to do with that supposed fact, it did spare us from having a Masonic pope elected in 1903. What do you know about this and what are your sources of information?

Pater Ignotus,
I've always had a problem with Muslims calling non-Muslims "infidels." The word "infidel," to my understanding, means "unfaithful." My problem with their use of the word is that it implies that we "infidels" are unfaithful to Islam.

As with your post-baptismal explanation in relation to those who were never baptized (eg. Jews), how can they call us infidels (unfaithful) when we never held that faith (Islam) at some previous point and later departed from it? If anything, some of their ancestors (who were Christian at one time) were the infidels.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon 5:58 - Your "Catholic instincts" are your own and have little or nothing to do with the Catholic faith.

Good Father McDonald's comparison of Pope Francis to Pope Pius X is, to put it mildly, historically untenable. He overreached, to be sure. And his "definition" of Modernism leaves much, much to be desired.

However, his defense of Francis is entirely justified and not in any way worthy of the "Nuremberg" comment or the opprobrium offered by Pin/Gene and St. Denis.

Similarity does exist. Both are legitimate successors of St. Peter and their authority is entirely legitimate. Both hold the office of Bishop, in which is found the fullness of the priesthood and which posses the charism of teaching authoritatively the Catholic faith. Both are worthy of the obedience of Catholics, not because we like what they say or do but because they are the Vicars of Christ.

Most of this silly hand-wringing by traditionalists and those who style themselves "orthodox" Catholics has nothing whatsoever to do with the Deposit of Faith (see St Denis' error regarding what constitutes a heretic), but with personal preferences for cassocks, maniples, and the linear arrangement of candles on the altar mensa. It also has much, in the case of Jews and Muslims in the Vatican Gardens, to do with plain bigotry and prejudice.

It is a tempest in a pontifical teapot, a distraction, and an example of the created drama that sucks the unreflective into its maw over and over and over.

Anonymous said...

"Most of this silly hand-wringing by traditionalists and those who style themselves "orthodox" Catholics has nothing whatsoever to do with the Deposit of Faith (see St Denis' error regarding what constitutes a heretic), but with personal preferences for cassocks, maniples, and the linear arrangement of candles on the altar mensa. It also has much, in the case of Jews and Muslims in the Vatican Gardens, to do with plain bigotry and prejudice."

Where to begin? The assumptions made here? The mind-reading attempts? The condescension?

I guess this is what all these "debate" enthusiasts here like to lap up.

Marc said...

St. John of Damascus wrote that Islam was a heresy in his work called "Critique of Islam."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In as much as Islam has taken some elements of Christianity in the culture in which it was founded and in much the same way as Mormonism was founded, I think one can say legitimately that there are Christian heresies in Islam. They acknowlege Jesus as a historical figure and a prophet only, but not as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity and not as one Divine Being with two natures, human and divine. Thus this is heretical to say the least.

The same is true of their understanding of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is heretical when disconnected from the Divinity of Christ.

While many Christians will point out that Islam honors both Jesus and Mary, they way they do it is heretical to say the least.

Marc said...

I agree with the idea of your last comment, Fr. M. I have to expand on it, though, and say that Islam does not honor Jesus and Mary. Islam honors a person named Jesus, who was not God, was not Crucified, and did not Ressurect from the dead. So, they do not honor the Mother of God, who is more honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim. They honor a person who happens to be named Mary.

This goes back to my discussion with Pater the other day. They say it is blasphemy to ascribe to Jesus the glory which we ascribe to him. He is God. Yet, they do not believe in his Divinity. This is more than a rhetorical or linguistic difference. And it should not be glossed over by saying, "They honor Jesus and Mary" as some attempt to do.

For the same reason, I contend it means nothing to say "they honoro Jesus as an historical figure." No! Jesus, as an historical figure, is God become incarnate to save his people. They have no conception of Jesus as an historical person: there is one objectively true history, and they have it completely wrong.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, that is the heresy but it comes somehow from earlier Christian heresies that may have found new life in those who became Muslim. I am not that familiar with Islam and how it came to be and the culture in which it developed, but certainly Judaism and Christianity predominated at the time.

Marc said...

It comes from Arianism to a large degree, as St. John points out. The history of its creation is important to disprove it and the refute the miraculous claims about how Mohammed came up with it.

It is also iconoclastic. And it led to many being martyred in the iconoclastic period.

I became interested in learning about Islam when my father lived in Saudi Arabia for a year or so during my youth. So I have quite a bit of indirect knowledge about the practice, as well as quite a bit of direct knowledge from my personal study of its history and practice.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - If you want to know what a Muslim means when he/she refers to non-Muslims as infidels, I suggest you ask a Muslim. I think, and an open to correction, that Muslims refer to is as infidels precisely for the reason you suggest - that we are not adherents to Islam.

My reference to things post-baptismal was to show St. Denis that he had misused the term "heretic" to describe Jews and Muslims.

A heretic is someone who, after being baptized, denies some revealed truth which must be believed.

You can't call Jews and/or Muslims "heretics" because they have not been baptized.

Like "modernism," "heresy" and "heretic" are, not infrequently, misused by those who don't know what they mean. They are employed as linguistic cudgels in an attempt to make the user sound official or knowledgeable.

Gene said...

Why would anyone ask a Muslim anything since they lie all the time about their intentions and beliefs? I do not care what a Muslim says about anything. They should simply be ignored.

Marc said...

Many people throughout history delayed baptism for various reasons. But they were still adherents to a heresy prior to their baptism. St. Augustine is an example of this sort of situation.

I don't know that it matters, for practical purposes, whether Muslims are heretics. It is important to know why Islam historically has been viewed as a heresy for the reasons I described in an earlier comment.

Is it impossible, Pater, for anyone other than you to understand these terms "heretic," "heresy," and "modernism"? Or do you just get a kick out of insinuating everyone other than you is interior without providing support?

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - Quoting the Church's Canon Law is not an "insinuation."

"Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith,..."

(The correct number is 751, not 2089 as I posted earlier.)

The misuse of a term indicates to me that the user does not understand the term.

No, it is not impossible for others to understand terms commonly used in churchy discussions. Regarding who can properly be termed a heretic, all one has to do is pick up a book, such as the Code of Canon Law, turn to Number 751, and read.

John Nolan said...

PI, I have not made any reference to Moslems on this thread. My only contribution so far has been to correct a commonly-held fallacy concerning the 1903 conclave.

That said, I remember as a first-year undergraduate (1969-1970) studying the treatise on Islam by Peter the Venerable c.1098-1156, Abbot of Cluny (we studied it in the original Latin, but the better universities in those days expected a certain level of education from their applicants). Peter, like many of his learned contemporaries, was unsure whether Islam was a heathen religion or a Christian heresy.

Heresy is defined in terms of orthodoxy. Bolshevism, Fascism, Nazism can be seen as Marxist heresies. Calvin, himself a heresiarch as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, had Servetus burned for heresy since he denied the Trinity.

Marc said...

For many reasons, I agree with St. John of Damascus that Islam is a heresy. I don't think it follows necessarily that modern Muslims are heretics.

I don't think the Code of Canon Law definition of "heresy" is very accurate insofar as it conflates the heretic with the heresy. A heresy can exist without having any adherents or without having any adherents that would properly be called heretics.

So with that out of the way, maybe now you can explain your charge that I have misused the term "Modernism"...

Joseph Johnson said...

John Nolan,
I think something I wrote earlier (part of which was a question directed at you regarding the 1903 conclave--the other to Pater Ignotus regarding Muslims and their misuse of the the term "infidel") was mistakenly attributed to you.

Anyway, again, I ask, was Cardinal Rampolla later found to have been a member of the Freemasons? Malachi Martin, in his book, "The Keys of This Blood," describes some of the events of the 1903 conclave. I believe it was from that book where I first read of the Austrian veto and Rampolla's alleged membership in the Masons.

The book argues that the veto, while done for purely temporal political reasons, spared the Church from a Freemason pope less than 100 years after the Grand Orient Lodge (in France, I believe) had adopted a resolution to infiltrate and seize control of the Church within a century.

Pater Ignotus said...

John and Joseph - Yes, I saw the name "John Nolan" in Joseph Johnson's post and misattributed the thought. Sorry 'bout that.

Marc - Cite the definition you are using for Modernism from an academic, scholarly source. Then, show how my post on 9 June at 2:07, which you call "a Modernist evaluation of God" fits that definition.

JBS said...

John Nolan,

Poor Pater Ignotus has done the same to me. I think he gets the name of the author of a comment confused with other names contained in the comment.

Marc said...

No, Pater. You said I misused the term. So you should be able to show how I misused it. Go ahead.

John Nolan said...

Joseph Johnson

Accusations of Freemasonry have not only been levelled against Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro but also against his friend Giacomo della Chiesa who was elected Benedict XV in 1914.

The fact remains that the Austrian veto would not have influenced the college of cardinals (in fact it was counterproductive) and Rampolla was never in with a chance, so it's a harenga rubra.

The only reliable source for the 1903 conclave is its secretary, Rafael Maria Jose Pedro Francisco Borja Domingo Gerardo de la Santissima Trinidad Merry del Val y Zulueta. Quite apart from his stupendous moniker, he is something of a hero of mine, being born in London and educated in England.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - Nothing in my post which you declared Modernist fits any description of Modernism I have read.

If you think you are correct, post your evidence. If you have no evidence, then don't.

Marc said...

Pater wrote:

“Can the True God be known differently by people of different religions? Yes.

My father died in 1962 when I was four. My three sisters were all teenagers and in high school in 1962... My sisters' knowledge of the true father we share is substantially different from my knowledge of him. He is the father of us all, he is the same person, but is known by us in very different ways.
That God is known differently by different religions does not mean, ipso facto, that those who do not acknowledge God as Triune are members of 'false' religions or that they are not worshipping the same God as we.)”

I contend this is quite a modernist statement, and Pater claims not only that I have I misused the term, but that I “employed [it as a] linguistic cudgel[] in an attempt to make [myself] sound official or knowledgeable.”

Setting aside the modalist implications of Pater's “father” example, as well as his later clarifications, this argument sounds like the sort of subjectivist, immanentist conception of God that is a part of the modernist idea. “For the Modernist Believer... it is an established and certain fact that the divine reality does really exist in itself and quite independently of the person who believes in it. If you ask on what foundation this assertion of the Believer rests, they answer: In the experience of the individual.” And so, “given this doctrine of experience united with the other doctrine of symbolism, every religion... must be held to be true. What is to prevent such experiences from being met within every religion? In fact that they are to be found is asserted by not a few. And with what right will Modernists deny the truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam?”

This will suffice to show that Pater has unfairly maligned me. I could go on, but it would serve no purpose.

Gene said...

Marc, You are certainly correct in your comments regarding Modernism vis a vis Ignotus' comments. This "experiential/subjectivist" concept of knowledge of God is right out of 19th century neo-protestant thought, which is derived from Enlightenment thought. Schleiermacher was its main proponent, with his "feeling of absolute dependence" as a marker for our awareness of divinity. Of course, everyone but Ignotus realizes that you and John Nolan, and Buck show him to be a dilettante every time you engage him. But, Ignotus has a head like a bowling ball and just keeps stepping back up to be beaten with the same bat. LOL! Most people with his level of understanding and self-awareness are working at MacDonald's...