Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Mandatum: The Battle against Modernism is even more relevant today than over 100 years ago...

In 2007 the Holy See ignored St. Pius X's encyclical against Modernism, Pasciendi. Sandro Magister wrote an interesting article in 2007 on the historical genesis of the document, as well as the various - unfinished  - attempts to complete and answer all the questions and undertakings raised in Pasciendi.  

Magister's essay is important for the very reasons that it underscores that Modernism is alive and well; the Church has been unable to excise it from Her body. In truth, Modernism seems to a spiritual virus that has so far been immune to the various antidotes applied. Modernism from our more contemporary perspective, and seeing it active for well over a century, is being driven by an ongoing critical-historical basis. Historicism is founded in philosophy, but the concrete, conscious driving force is the former. Thus, to use simple words, the Modernist can be seen by his constant "moving of the goal posts; be those goal posts, theological, disciplinary, liturgical, philosophical, etc. 

Thus, Fr. Rosica's recent attempt to justify the Pope's washing of the feet of a female Muslim were typically Modernist, as the priest changed the meaning of the Mandatum to be: "...liberation and new life are won not in presiding over multitudes from royal thrones nor by the quantity of bloody sacrifices offered on temple altars, but by walking with the lowly and poor and serving them as a foot-washer along the journey".

Magister quoting the Italian theologian Pizziolo: 

"In the light of these brief notes, one may understand the importance of the themes touched upon in the encyclical 'Pascendi'. The encyclical addresses the foundations of the Catholic faith, at a moment in history in which these appear to have been brought seriously into question. It must certainly be said that the problems raised by the authors accused of modernism were real problems: the relationship between faith and history, and between faith and science; the relation between human conscience and divine revelation; the relationship between the human language of dogma and the supernatural truth that it expresses; the meaning of authority in the Church... But it must also be affirmed that many of the solutions proposed were not compatible with the Catholic faith. This led to the need for intervention by the magisterium.

"We can also add that the magisterium of the time did not have access to a form of theology adequate for facing the questions that the new modern culture was raising. In this sense, the intention of the encyclical was not that of resolving all the problems under discussion, but that of reaffirming the identity and the integrity of the Catholic faith, reassigning to theology the task of reconsidering the topics in question. We can certainly recognize Vatican Council II as a result of this renewed reflection, but without imagining that all the questions that arose during the modernist period have found adequate and definitive answers. These questions remain, to a great extent, very relevant, and demand new efforts of reflection. But in the light of the teaching of "Pascendi," this effort will have to be carried out in full respect for the identity of the faith, and of the tradition of that people of God which is the Church." 

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