Oath Against Modernism

Cardinal Vaughan: "Oath against modernism? No problem!"
I have a book for sale at my Catholic store which I obtained recently. From the passages I have read, the 'Letters of Herbert Cardinal Vaughan to Lady Herbert of Lea - 1867 - 1903', may not sound a riveting read, but it really does give a great insight into the heart, mind and soul of a much loved Cardinal who apparently led Catholics heroically in England and Wales as a great Shepherd and pastor to the Faithful. I suspect there will be at least one person who reads this blog who will happily take it off my hands.

Cardinal Vaughan's school, or at least the school set up in his memory, is at the centre of an ongoing disagreement with the Diocese of Westminster. That issue has been documented by bloggers such as Damian Thompson with much more knowledge of the situation than myself. Could it be, however, that there is a sense in which the battle over Vaughan may touch slightly upon the problems of modernism within the Catholic Church in the wake of the 'spirit of Vatican II'? Could it be that a whole raft of issues in the Church today touch upon the problems of modernism? Do I hear a resounding, "No s**t, Sherlock?!"

As I say, I know that I am ignorant of many of the issues debated concerning the school, but I doubt, for instance, that Cardinal Vaughan would have had a problem with a Catholic school verifying the Catholicity of parents, for instance, before allowing admission to their children to the school.  I also doubt very much whether Cardinal Vaughan would have had a problem signing the Oath Against Modernism posted up by Fr Z and Fr Blake and Fr John Boyle today.

The oath raises questions: Would Tina Beattie, professor of theology at Roehampton University, sign it, for instance?  Would the editorial team of The Tablet, sign it? Would Catholic teachers and teachers of seminarians sign it?  How many individuals in the Church today would 'get it'? Would, even, the majority of our Bishops today be willing to sign it? Reading over the extraordinary oath, it is almost as if Pope Pius X sensed an immediate future for the Church that was a little more than bleak, as if the foundations of the Church were about to be shaken and that while knowing the gates of Hell shall never prevail against Her, desperately wanted to protect Her from the new age of 'rationalism' that was to assail Her and, to a point, infect Her. Popes, thankfully, desire to protect the Bride of Christ.

The very fact that he wanted this document signed by professors, preachers, priests, teachers and everyone who was anyone in any kind of teaching role within the Church makes it clear that if he didn't see the enemies of the Church within Her already, attempting to dismantle the Faith, then he at least saw them at Her gates.  The same goes for Pope Pius XII with his definition of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Something that had long been believed by Christians perhaps has to be defined as an article of Faith, because a new age of 'progressive' thought believed by 'rationalists' seeks to undermine the supernatural origin of the Church and the uniqueness and sinlessness of the Blessed Virgin. Both Popes seem to have had a prophetic foresight of things to come after their reign.

The same can even be said for Pope Paul VI, so often criticised by traditional Catholics, with Humanae Vitae. Every Pope must be 'in the thick of it' and can perhaps see the 'wolves' surrounding the Church at different times and epochs when new philosophies threaten Her, not with extinction, but with persecution and a new variety of unbelief and heresy. And so it is today, with Pope Benedict XVI with Summorum Pontificum, the subsequent clarification, Universae Ecclesiae and the new translation of the Roman Missal.  The actions of Popes can be mystifying to some, but looking back and even to the present day, it is as if many are gifted with foresight and like true defenders of the Faith, strategise a generation, maybe two, in advance, sometimes, even as a kind of 'damage limitation' exercise.  They look out onto the horizon and see dark clouds on the way, in a way in which we cannot or do not, and plan for what is to come.

Anyway, back to Cardinal Vaughan, here is a nice excerpt from the book which, as I say, is available to anyone who wants it who can make me an offer if they choose. My store is something of an online car boot sale...

'I shall say Mass for you tomorrow, that we may both grow during the next year more and more fervent in His service, more and more dead to self, more and more purified from earthly motives and more and more helpful to one another.  How much we have to be thankful for during the past year!  We have both been permitted to do much in His service, more than in any former year, so far as I am concerned, for of your past I cannot judge: but, however that may be, how mch has been accomplished by our feeble hands: the College is where I could hardly have expected this time last year; the Tablet and now the Vatican are certainly heralds and champions of the Truth; the Catholic Truth Society has taken a hold and will spread still more.  These three are important national works and are limited to no local or subordinate object and end.  And these three have been emphatically our works, in which you have certainly had as great as, and probably a more meritorious share than, I have.  Then there are all your more local works at Salisbury.  And your books, which will spread truth and piety like the widening circles in the water. Let us then thank Our Lord tonight and say our Te Deum, and never give way to thoughts of sadness and despondency. There is still always one great dark cloud before you, I mean your children: but have patience and believe that patience hath a perfect work, and that by prayer and work we shall in the end obtain all we ask of God. What a sermon! Forgive me...'


The Tablet? A herald and champion of the Truth? I guess that someone there forgot to sign the Oath Against Modernism...

Comments

Liz said…
The oath no longer stands, it's dead theology like so much else. No one has to swear to this defunct and silly oath, so quite why you think it would be telling if they (Tina et al) did not is beyond me. Obviously you and father Ray have confused your private desires with the official teachings of God's Church. I know you're relatively new to the RCC (having converted after 20 years of age, the time when obedience and love for God is formed), so here's the basics again: Someting YOU think in your head (about your sexuality, obeying a defunct law, or saying a mass in a dead tongue) is your BELIEF. Something the CHURCH says in its infalliable proclamations is TRUTH. BELIEF/TRUTH- two different things.
The Bones said…
So...not something you would sign then?

When did everything change again?

I think you are suggesting that the documents of the Second Vatican Council say what you want them to say, rather than what they do say:

From Sacrosanctum Concillium

36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.

3. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.

4. Translations from the Latin text into the mother tongue intended for use in the liturgy must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned above.

16. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.

Have you read the Second Vatican Council documents? Also, where have you got the idea that the Church changed its position on homosexuality? What document, 'pray tell' are you citing?
The Bones said…
The thing is, it is terrible that one Catholic should believe one thing about human sexuality and another should believe another, for one to cling to the Faith of Christ and for another to imagine she has the Faith of Christ, without recourse to the Church's Magisterium as expressed in the Catechism.

In the old days, people who believed things antithetical to belief were called heretics. It was obvious they were heretics and they didn't mind being called heretics because they espoused something that mocked Christian belief. They espoused it and often preached it. At least they were honest. Nowadays, people mock Christian beliefs and have the audacity to tell everyone they are Catholics or Christians.

These people have gained places of great authority in the Church, teaching positions - it is these people Pius X wanted to reach and wanted to declare, with him, that which the Church has always believed.

The problem isn't the fact that this oath is 'defunct and silly'. It isn't silly. The problem is that you would never sign it anyway and that you disagree with one of the Popes of the Church, who sought to defend the Church against heresy, liberalism and modernism. The problem is that the Church is no longer of 'one mind, one heart' under the unity of the Vicar of Christ. I could go on, but you get the gist.
Liz said…
No, you have decided which bits of the endless wreckage of Catholic doctrinal history are in synch with yourown BELIEFS and are now pretending these beliefs are facts. That's the problem with liberal-trad hybrids, they can't understand the fact/belief distinction and don't trust their convictions, ergo they pretend that every belief is really a fact. Obedience to a Church means obeying the consensus in this country, not obeying every passage of antiquated law you can find that says something vaguely similar to a belief you happen to like because it confirms your prejudices and passions (all of which are disgustingly sex obsessed)
The Bones said…
You don't even like the documents of the Second Vatican Council, do you?
Liz said…
Since the oath no longer stands I no longer have to obey it. There have been many encyclicals and oaths repealed over the years, we don't have to swear allegiance to them either. I am more inclined to agree with his predecessor, Pius IX, whose encyclical on 'moderate rationalism' states that:

"All the dogmas of the Christian religion are indiscriminately the object of natural science or philosophy, and human reason, enlightened solely in an historical way, is able, by its own natural strength and principles, to attain to the true science of even the most abstruse dogmas; provided only that such dogmas be proposed to reason itself as its object."

Read that? It's Papal writ - all dogmas are to be subjected to human reason. Including your own beliefs and prejudices. A Pope wrote it. Pius IX (the most Enlightened Pope) continues:

"The method and principles by which the old scholastic doctors cultivated theology are no longer suitable to the demands of our times and to the progress of the sciences. The decrees of the Apostolic See and of the Roman congregations impede the true progress of science"

So the 'demands of our times' may be considered when understanding what is theologically permissible. It is no longer sufficient to cite the doctrine and dogma of an old authority, since these authorities did not live in our world, nor were they speaking of it. You may not like it, but then you're not the Pope. Pius IX WAS, so he has some authority here.

here's some more Pius IX for you:

"it appertains to the civil power to define what are the rights of the Church, and the limits within which she may exercise those rights...The teaching of those who compare the Sovereign Pontiff to a prince, free and acting in the universal Church, is a doctrine which prevailed in the Middle Ages [but is no longer relevant].

The Church has not the power of defining dogmatically that the religion of the Catholic Church is the only true religion...Roman pontiffs and ecumenical councils have wandered outside the limits of their powers, have usurped the rights of princes, and have even erred in defining matters of faith and morals [therefore] the sacred ministers of the Church and the Roman pontiff are to be absolutely excluded from every charge and dominion over temporal affairs"

Temporal affairs.... like what governments decide is permissible, what people get up to in civil society etc etc. A Pope has spoken. Now please be silent on these matters
Liz said…
Pope Paul VI (a bit before your time, but much loved by authentic believers) repealed the oath of which you speak so lovingly. This oath has been repealed by the highest office in the Church and has therefore passed into the realm of opinion. As such you have no right to place any emphasis on it as more binding than any other opinion. Once again, I draw attention tot he fact that you can only love Holy Mother Church when it is convenient or supports your beliefs, you cannot find it within yourself to submit humbly to her most holy teachings
The Bones said…
You don't even like the documents of the Second Vatican Council, do you?
The Bones said…
You are suggesting that I and those who believe the fullness of Catholic teaching are not 'authentic believers'?
John Kearney said…
Bones you must forgive Liz. She is not so much a modernist as someone who believed what her priests told her, and it so suited her lifestyle that she accepted that she knew all about Vatican II. Of course whe will never have read the documents. She will have heard that she can follow her conscience in moral matters, forghet Jesus. Sin is apparently is only commited in some kind of context. What that means I do not know but Liz will believe it. I recently started kneeling for Communuion and receiving on the tongue. Someone will have told Liz that standing and receiving in the hand happened in the first six hundred years so we are returning to that practice. Liz will never ask the question - why? And if the Church both in the East and the West unanimously gave it up, what is the reason we are returning to the first six hundred years. Liz mocks you for being a new Convert but in fact she has been walking in the darkness for I do not know how many years, accepting and trusting and believing ignorance was knowledge. I was like that once, most catholics were. Just look at the remark that it is at 20 when the love of Gos is formed. It is nonsense but someone said this and she believed it. Liz should start reading about the saints of the Chruch, Terese of Lisieux, Maria Gorretti, if we have to wait till 20 no wonder young people are leaving in droves. Be of good heart, Bones. Do not acceplt such rubbish criticism. You are a thinker and the Church needs people like you.
The Bones said…
Who chooses what documents in Church history are 'wreackage'?

Could it be you?

Could it be you who place yourself above the authority of Popes down the ages?
Liz said…
No, I am insisting that you do NOT believe in the fullness of Catholic teaching. Come out and celebrate Pius IX if you do. His words were never repealed. Yet they directly contradict those of Pius X who you so lovingly adhere to (even though his oath is now mere opinion and not binding). You will bind yourself to an opinion and ignore the encyclicals of a Pope who directly opposed his ideas. The Church, by writ of Pius IX (never repealed), is not a secular sermonising institution or a public PR machine, it has no license (theologically or politically) to intervene in what people do. It is clear that Pius X was a schismatic: he contradicted his predecessor and his oath was repealed by his successor. Yet you pretend this oath is still in force, and anyone who does not swear allegiance to it is acting as a heretic. WHO THE HECK ARE YOU to call anyone a heretic?? Are you the Pope??? There is a consequence for overstepping the bounds of the laity and it's very hot. You might want to stop pretending to be a mini-priest or you could end up there (please God that you don't suffer the torments of Hell for your own heresy and disgustingly arrogant presumptions to speak for a Being you know not)
Liz said…
Paul VI chose to condemn that encyclical tot he wreckage. How else should we label it? It WAS binding, now it is not. The Church cannot err. You know that. So what are our options? Affirm the Church cannot err and that Pius X was wrong and his encyclical is wreckage and opinion. The only other option is to believe it is still valid, but that the Church is in conflict with itself. So what then? Yet another schism? Catholicism=Universal faith. Stop trying to drive a stake into the gaps of her teachings and split the Church. Your own OPINIONS are not worth splitting a Church over. Please, if you can't abide by law it is better not to speak, you're behaving like a jumped up Luther of the modern age
The Bones said…
And should a future Pope or the present one condemn aspects of what emerged from Pope Paul VI's reign to history, you will regard all that emerged from it as 'wreackage'?

Let's say a Pope like Benedict XVI issued another Oath that was very similar...

what then?
The Bones said…
Oh, sorry, the Pope did just condemn to history something that emerged under Paul VI's reign - the Roman Missal - now replaced with a more authentic translation.
The Bones said…
Yes, because the opinions of a layman in Brighton are really going to split the Church, aren't they? Good grief...
Liz said…
I'd accept it. I accept the Truth of the RCC - there is no other way. Well, there is, but it's deeply schismatic, anti-Catholic, self-centred, and arrogant. I COULD pretend that I am at liberty to point to ANY old encyclical when I want to defend an OPINION I happen to hold. But then why bother being a Catholic at all? Why not just defend my own opinions using reasons, as Pius IX suggested we should do in an encyclical that has yet to be repealed? Why would I feel the need to constantly back up idle gossip with age old documents as if that made my opinions any more valid or reasonable? I would have to be pretty cowardly and simple minded to do such a thing

But then the current Pope hasn't issued an encyclical telling us to condemn modernity once again. I suspect he won't, but then I can't see into his mind (I am merely guessing that, as an astute guy, he will realise that the off-on-off-on relationship to modernity that has marked Catholic history since the nineteenth century will start to look a bit silly if the Church turn-coats again - this is after all an institution that is supposed to be infallible. Apart from which, why would he bother? Pius IX was clearly onto something - the teachings of twelfth-century monks can't really guide twenty-first-century believers, our worlds are simply too different. Better to let reason play some part in life.)
Liz said…
"Oh, sorry, the Pope did just condemn to history something that emerged under Paul VI's reign - the Roman Missal - now replaced with a more authentic translation."

Fine, so we will no longer use the Roman Missal. What's your point? If someone said "it is hardly surprising that heretics do not follow the Roman Missal" you would have a point - that person would be arrogantly and disgustingly daring to issue a proclamation of heresy (which you are expressly forbidden to do by the way) against those who are refusing to continue to abide by a repealed institution. That would be an outrageous thing for a lay person to do. Oh wait, it's exactly what you did. Only you can't see it because you only believe the bits of the faith that you happen to like
The Bones said…
Sorry, I'm still waiting for you to cite any Church document that suggests that the Church's teaching on human sexuality has changed...

Without wishing to sound silly, you are all talk, and no trousers.
The Bones said…
Is it possible that you have dispensed with Faith and enthroned reason as your God?
Liz said…
Why is this now about sexuality? Why do you care so much? Is it such a big thing for you? Is your life exclusively concerned with condemnation and hatred of those who happen to love members of their own sex? Can't you find love in worship and fidelity to God?

What do you want? Pius IX (see above) says explicitly that the Church has nothing to do with these issues. Once again:

"The Church has not the power of defining dogmatically that the religion of the Catholic Church is the only true religion...Roman pontiffs and ecumenical councils have wandered outside the limits of their powers, have usurped the rights of princes, and have even erred in defining matters of faith and morals [therefore] the sacred ministers of the Church and the Roman pontiff are to be absolutely excluded from every charge and dominion over temporal affairs"

So, why does it matter at all? I'm not gay, I have no need to or interest in condemning those who are. It is a temporal affair that falls outside the province of the Church. It is your opinion once again causing confusion. Your wretched sex-obsessed life is causing you to err and, frankly, to befoul the purity of the Church. Just imagine if the Blessed Virgin were among us today - would you honestly speak ENDLESSLY to her about homosexuality? Or would you prefer to focus on something more spiritual than the preferences of others?
Liz said…
Where have I done that? Pius IX (Pope) said reason is necessary. A Pope said it. If you are irrational then I am very sorry, but don't pretend that reason is anti-Catholic. Again, you spit on the encyclical of a Pope to make yourself feel superior
The Bones said…
No, I am saying that Reason is a gift given by God to men. It is a natural good, but that that Reason being enthroned in the place of Faith, Reason without the supernatural gift of Faith, it is open to grave error.

I'll have to leave someone else to tackle you on Pius IX.
The Bones said…
No, I cited the Church's teaching on human sexuality because in a previous comment you suggested that it had changed.

Oh no. It has changed in your mind, perhaps (No, I'm not just talking about homosexuality for goodness sake), because in your 'reasoning' it has changed.
Liz said…
The Church's teaching on sexuality has changed (sort of). As you will (or should) know, the traditional, millennia-old doctrine was that marriage must be open to conception. Humanae vitae changed this by stating that the position of the RCC was that every sexual act within marriage had to be open to conception. This is a change. No Church father or Pope had ever claimed "every act" within marriage was essentially procreative. They had only claimed that marriage itself was intended to produce children. Now, the reason they didn't need to make the broader claim was that no one had sex outside of marriage. It is only when people start doing that that the Pope has to move the goal posts and change the Church's teachings. So, yeah, those teachings have changed. Clearly
The Bones said…
You will find it ironic when I say that you search the letter of the law, but lack the spirit of the law and of Faith in Christ and His Church indeed, the Deposit of Faith guarded by the Pope. The spirit of the Catholic Faith gives assent to all that the Church teaches. The Spirit is He Who has led the Church into all Truth - and to believers also, into the Truth which can only be found in Holy Church.

Fancy some light reading?

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~aversa/modernism/sa.pdf
Anonymous said…
If our Bishops have even heard of Pascendi or know about Modernism I'd be amazed. So enamoured are they with VII and the 'spirit of VII' they just seem to be under its spell. Its year zero for them. As for Tina and the Tablet I suspect the oath would have no effect - it would just be met with glazed eyeballs.

BJC
Tim said…
I had reservations about the oath's adequacy in the face of so many current errors but Liz's critique of it has convinced me to sign. Thanks Liz.
JB said…
Liz, I think you are labouring under a total misapprehension, and are in fact misquoting Bd. Pius IX (“the most Enlightened Pope” as you call him); those quotes that you are using for your defence are actually taken out of context from Bd. Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors. The purpose of that Syllabus was to collate all of the relevant erroneous propositions taken from previous Papal condemnations and put them in one place under specific headings, such as “PANTHEISM, NATURALISM AND ABSOLUTE RATIONALISM”, “MODERATE RATIONALISM”, etc. To quote from Wikepedia on the Syllabus regarding its style “The Syllabus was made up of phrases and paraphrases from earlier papal documents, along with index references to them, and presented as a list of "condemned propositions". For instance, in condemning proposition 14, "Philosophy is to be treated without taking any account of supernatural revelation", the Syllabus asserts the truth of the contrary proposition — that philosophy should take account of supernatural revelation. The Syllabus does not explain why each particular proposition is wrong, but it cites earlier documents to which the reader can refer for the Pope's reasons for saying each proposition is false.”

So, to take one of the examples which you quote from the encyclical (under the heading MODERATE RATIONALISM) “The Church has not the power of defining dogmatically that the religion of the Catholic Church is the only true religion...Roman pontiffs and ecumenical councils have wandered outside the limits of their powers, have usurped the rights of princes, and have even erred in defining matters of faith and morals [therefore] the sacred ministers of the Church and the Roman pontiff are to be absolutely excluded from every charge and dominion over temporal affairs", this is actually a condemned proposition; if you were to believe that proposition in any way, shape or form, then you would most certainly not be enjoying the encouragement of Bd. Pius IX but his condemnation!

Another example: if you were to say that the Government can change the Church's teachings regarding human sexuality, and interfere in the Sacrament of Marriage as defined as being between one man and one woman, you would fall under this condemned proposition from the Syllabus (no 44): "The civil authority may interfere in matters relating to religion, morality and spiritual government: hence, it can pass judgment on the instructions issued for the guidance of consciences, conformably with their mission, by the pastors of the Church. Further, it has the right to make enactments regarding the administration of the divine sacraments, and the dispositions necessary for receiving them."

So, I think it is correct to say that St. Pius X does not “directly contradict” his predecessor Bd. Pius IX when he issued the encyclicals and oath against Modernism. And a canonised Saint cannot be a “schismatic” by virtue of the fact that he was Canonised!

If I may be allowed to make one further quote from you “A Pope has spoken. Now please be silent on these matters.”
The Bones said…
Thank God for the educated!
Liz said…
Thank God indeed! JB, I was obviously aware of that (the document is on the Vatican website under the heading of 'Condemnation of Papal errors'!) - I was illustrating that Laurence the convert knows nothing about theology. Had you not pointed this out he would have assumed this was the words of Pius IX. My point is you should not 'dabble' in theology- the RCC is the body that deals with theology, we deal with trying to save our souls through it. Since neither Laurence nor myself are priests,nor are we elected to the Holy See todiscuss these things, it's fatuous to discuss them online. Glad to see at least one person knows the basics of Papal history though!!!
Dominic said…
I was just about to make the point that JB did.

Liz, you've really shown yourself up on that one. A bit of silence and humility is in order, I think. You've completely disqualified yourself from being taken seriously in doctrinal matters.