Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | December 6, 2008

Modernism: STILL A HERESY

H/t to Fr. Hulk

my comments in RED

If you want to really trace things back to the beginning, you have to go to the 18th Century philosophical movement called the Enlightenment (I don’t know if I’d call it the Enlightenment, I’d call it the destruction of all things good). This is the major philosophy used by the founders of our country. It basically states that human reason alone is enough for anyone. Divine revelation and rights have no place. This allowed them to reject monarchies, theocracies, etc. and dive straight for democracy. The only problem is that even THEY didn’t believe that EVERYONE has equal rights, that’s why our form of government is a representative republic and not a pure democracy.

In the 19th Century, folks started using the same reasoning as the Enlightenment, and elevated human emotion to the place of reason. That since we are all good and equal (enlightenment) then our emotions are all we need to survive in the world. The cleric Ronald Knox (convert from Church of England) wrote a great book called “Enthusiasm” which does a great job of describing this and criticizing it. This kind of thinking SWEPT through the Protestant churches, mostly the mainline protestant churches (Methodist, Anglican, etc.) and gave rise to the Fundamentalist movement (as a reaction against it) and the more liberal movements (which eventually took over) within the protestant sects. This lead to the idea that everyone in a local church is equal, because everyone’s emotions are valid.

This started a movement in the Catholic Church eventually called “Modernism.” The basic tenants are the same as the protestant movements. Everyone’s emotions and feelings about any issue are all valid. The teachings of the early Church can’t apply to us because we are modern, hip, and with-it (how many times have you heard that, we’re with it, so we no longer do x or y). We get to reshape God into our image and likeness and feel good about it. (there’s the emotions again) The only problem is that in the early 20th Century we had a Pope (Pius X in 1907) who recognized this for what it was and issued a little document (just a little one, there’s the understatement) called the “Syllabus of Errors” which listed all the problems with Modernism, labeled it, and decreed that it was a heresy and could not be taught in the Church. (and it still is a heresy) Rather than really get rid of it (unfortunately), this simply pushed it underground where it festered and festered in the Church against the ‘mean old men in Rome.’

After Vatican II, while the Church was still struggling to understand what the Council said, much less implement the changes (implement? that didn’t happen), the hidden Modernists came out of the woodwork (that’s an understatement). They seized control of the (non) implementation of the Council in most dioceses around the world and hijacked the meaning (is there a word greater than hijacked? that’s what happened). What we then get is the buzz-phrase “the SPIRIT of Vatican II.” Whatever crazy idea that anyone has is suddenly valid and worthy of implementation because it is in the SPIRIT of Vatican II. (Never mind what the Council said, and that it NEVER repudiated the Syllabus of Errors.) When you read the Syllabus, which is still in force, you will see ideas and programs that are alive and well in most parishes, especially in the RCIA process (I know a few parishes). Now, the hip and with-it parish staffs actually laugh at the Syllabus (which is rather sad) and implement its most forbidden concepts.

Now see if any of these sound familiar:

  • Things are just as they are and we have no way of changing or controlling them, especially the urges and ideas that we have.(I may have even said that long time ago, good thing to know it’s heresy, and I no longer ascribe to it)
  • The feelings we have that tell us there is a God, is actually a piece of god (the lower case spelling is on purpose) that resides in all of us and makes all our feelings true and accurate for us.(Do any of you think of the Tabernacles being moved here? It’s to emphasize God present in the community, the emotional aspect?)
  • All religions are equal because they are all the product of the god-within and therefore every religion’s ideas are equal with all others. (Or, all that matters is you’re being a good person and you’re going to heaven. Religion is useless)
  • Jesus was just a historical person, who was really smart and nice, and lilies flew out of his mouth, but he was just a human. (can we say Arianism?)
  • Religion in general and Catholicism in specific have been shaped by the attitudes of each and every age. What we call the faith is nothing more than the attitudes and opinions of previous generations, so we have as much right to rethink and re-imagine the faith to our attitudes and opinions.(This is one I haven’t heard too much)
  • Modern attitudes and opinions are far superior to anything previous in history because we are smarter and nicer people, so we shouldn’t burden ourselves with learning anything from the past.(Or the reverse parallel, because the Early Church did it, we have to do it too)
  • Doctrines and dogmas (the truths of the faith) do not come from any outside unchangeable force, so they ought to evolve and change, especially in light of the previous two points.(that’d be the people trying to get women priests in the Church)
  • All teaching, doctrine and dogma that we currently have must be ‘deconstructed’ and torn apart to understand the real ‘meaning’ that lies at the center.(what, since no salvation outside the Church wasn’t clear enough?)
  • These deconstructed meanings are true if they appeal to the ‘heart’ of the person. (You only need to believe what feels right and fair.)(i.e. Cafeteria Catholicism)
  • Once your own heart has accepted these deconstructed ideals and principles, then you are allowed to build upon them yourself and fashion your own standards of morality and conduct. (relativism)
  • God exists as a reality only in the heart of the believer and not in some external reality. (sola fide)
  • The evidence for God is based solely and completely on a person’s subjective experience in life and not in any sort of truth or teaching. Each person’s evidence for God is just as real and true as any one else’s.(more relativism)
  • This internal evidence of the heart is superior in all ways and forms to rationality and reason.(the separation of reason from Faith)
  • Your experiences are what make you a believer in any particular (or no particular) faith.(let’s get all emotional)

If these ideas, or parts of them are being taught, then you are in the presence of a Modernist. He/She may not know it as modernism (in which case a few friends I have are modernists), because they scoff at the Church’s definitions of things, but modernist they are.

These are just some of the major tenets of Modernism. You can get the full text of Pope Pius X from the EWTN website. Or do an internet search for the latin titles of Pascendi Dominici Gregis and Lamentabili Sane.

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