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APPENDIX V.


Americanism and Modernism Condemned.

The movement in the Roman Catholic Church, known by the names 'Americanism' and 'Modernism,' received a severe blow in encyclicals issued by Leo XIII.—see Leo's Works, Bruges ed., vii, 223–33. Denzinger, 530–32,—and Pius X. An official stamp was placed by these utterances on mediæval conditions as a state to which society and the Church of these modern times should return as to a model. Freedom of scholarly investigation and expression in religious matters was greatly limited if not forbidden.

'Americanism,' advocated by Father Isaac T. Hecker of the Paulist Fathers, New York City, and brought to Leo's attention in the Italian translation of Elliott's Life of Hecker, proposed a modified accommodation of certain Roman Catholic doctrinal statements and practices to modern Germanic and Anglo-Saxon views. The movement was denounced by the pontiff in a letter addressed to Cardinal Gibbons, January 22, 1899, as a defiance of the Church and the Apostolic see, whose function, so Leo declared, it is to define infallibly truth and error. He rebuked it as presumption 'for an individual to pretend to define what truth is.'399399    One of the closing clauses of Leo's letter runs, 'The Church is one by unity of doctrine as also by unity of government and at the same time Catholic; and, because God ordained her centre and foundation to be in the Chair of St. Peter, she is legally called Roman." Forthwith, in a public address, Abp. Ireland, who with Bishop Keane and other leading Catholics had approved the movement, withdrew his approval, declaring that when the Roman pontiff speaks all good Catholics submit. Since Leo's encyclical was issued, nothing has been heard of 'Americanism' in the United States. January 13, 1897, Leo had shown his estimate of modern biblical studies by pronouncing genuine I John v, 7, 'There are three that bear witness in 611heaven, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,' a passage not found in the early manuscripts of the New Testament.

'Modernism,' a more liberal movement, has been advocated by scholars in Roman Catholic Europe and calls for the utilization of the results of modern biblical and historical study in a restatement of certain dogmas, such as the dates and authorship of the biblical books, the origin of the seven sacraments, the divine foundation of the Roman primacy and other non-Apostolic institutions. In three encyclicals, 1907–1910, Pius X. made a vehement protest against the movement, threatening its supporters with the severest Church penalties, and outlawing freedom of thought and biblical scholarship so far as they are in any wise opposed to traditional Church views. In 1908, he had a medal struck off representing the Roman pontiff as a sort of St. George, destroying the many-headed hydra of the new heresy.

In the first deliverance, lamentabili, July 3, 1907—called the new Syllabus—Pius in sixty-five propositions denounced the movement as 'changing Christianity into something like free Protestantism.' In pascendi gregis, September 8, 1907, he reprobated 'the Modernists for daring to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther' and for 'setting aside supernatural revelation for subjective opinions drawn from the religious consciousness, as they call it.' In sacrorum antistitum, September 1, 1910, the pontiff stigmatized them as a most crafty set, vaferrimum hominum genus , forbade their writings being read and prescribed the oath, which follows, to be signed by all priests and Roman Catholic teachers, giving assent to Pius's two previous encyclicals and especially in so far as they concern 'what they call the history of dogma.'

The fulminations were met differently by the supporters of the movement. Minocchi in Italy, as also Houtin and Duchesne in France, modified or recalled the free statements they had made in their writings. Loisy of Paris, distinguished for his biblical and historical studies, the eminent Church historians Schnitzer and Koch in Germany, and the brilliant English Jesuit, Tyrrell, persisted and were excommunicated. By papal order a movement to erect a monument to Professor Schell of Würzburg, one of the first advocates of the new method, was stopped. The erection of the monument had already been supported with subscriptions by the Archbishop of Bamberg and the Bishop of Passau.

In full agreement with the maledictions of Leo and Pius have been 612the extravagant honors paid by recent pontiffs to the teachings and method of Thomas Aquinas, who died, 1274, a time when no one dreamed of biblical criticism and modern archæological discoveries. Thomas was elevated by Leo to the place of patron of Catholic schools and pronounced 'the safest guide in philosophy in the battle of faith and reason against unbelief and scepticism.' More recently Pius XI., June 29, 1923, on the 600th anniversary of Thomas's canonization, crowned him the chief teacher outside the Apostolic group.

Protestantism also came in for hard blows from Leo and Pius X. By Leo modern Protestant missions and missionaries in heathen lands were denounced. In his Borromeo encyclical of May 10, 1910, Pius repeated the old blast against 'the would-be reformers of the sixteenth century as having prepared the way for the revolutions of modern times' and characterized them as enemies of the cross— inimici crucis Christi —who 'mind earthly things and whose god is their belly.'


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