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"Tear away the mask from Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII

Encyclical of Pope Pius X on the Doctrines of the

8th day of September, 1907,

To the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops
and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion
with  the  Apostolic  See.  Venerable   Brethren,
Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The  office  divinely  committed to Us of feeding
the  Lord's  flock  has  especially   this   duty
assigned  to  it by Christ, namely, to guard with
the greatest vigilance the deposit of  the  faith
delivered  to  the  saints, rejecting the profane
novelties of words and oppositions  of  knowledge
falsely  so  called.  There has never been a time
when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor  was
not necessary to the Catholic body; for, owing to
the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there
have  never  been  lacking "men speaking perverse
things"  (Acts  xx.  30),   "vain   talkers   and
seducers"  (Tit. i. 10), "erring and driving into
error"  (2  Tim.  iii.  13).  Still  it  must  be
confessed  that  the number of the enemies of the
cross of Christ has in these last days  increased
exceedingly,  who are striving, by arts, entirely
new and full of subtlety, to  destroy  the  vital
energy  of  the  Church,  and,  if  they  can, to
overthrow  utterly   Christ's   kingdom   itself.
Wherefore  We  may  no  longer be silent, lest We
should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty,  and
lest  the  kindness  that,  in  the hope of wiser
counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should  be
attributed to forgetfulness of Our office.

Gravity   of the  Situation

2.  That  We  make  no  delay  in  this matter is
rendered necessary especially by  the  fact  that
the  partisans of error are to be sought not only
among the Church's open enemies; they lie hid,  a
thing  to  be  deeply deplored and feared, in her
very  bosom  and  heart,   and   are   the   more
mischievous,  the less conspicuously they appear.
We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong
to  the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more
lamentable,  to  the  ranks  of  the   priesthood
itself,  who,  feigning  a  love  for the Church,
lacking the firm  protection  of  philosophy  and
theology,  nay  more,  thoroughly imbued with the
poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of  the
Church,  and  lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt
themselves  as  reformers  of  the  Church;  and,
forming  more  boldly into line of attack, assail
all that is most sacred in the  work  of  Christ,
not   sparing  even  the  person  of  the  Divine
Redeemer, whom, with  sacrilegious  daring,  they
reduce to a simple, mere man.

3.  Though  they express astonishment themselves,
no one can justly be  surprised  that  We  number
such  men  among  the  enemies of the Church, if,
leaving  out  of   consideration   the   internal
disposition  of  soul,  of which God alone is the
judge, he is acquainted with their tenets,  their
manner  of speech, their conduct. Nor indeed will
he err in accounting them the most pernicious  of
all the adversaries of the Church. For as We have
said, they put their designs for  her  ruin  into
operation  not  from  without  but  from  within;
hence, the danger is present almost in  the  very
veins  and  heart  of the Church, whose injury is
the more certain,  the  more  intimate  is  their
knowledge  of  her. Moreover they lay the axe not
to the branches and shoots, but to the very root,
that  is, to the faith and its deepest fires. And
having struck at this root of  immortality,  they
proceed  to  disseminate poison through the whole
tree, so that there is no part of Catholic  truth
from  which  they hold their hand, none that they
do not strive to corrupt. Further, none  is  more
skilful,  none  more  astute  than  they,  in the
employment of a thousand noxious arts;  for  they
double the parts of rationalist and Catholic, and
this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary
into  error;  and  since  audacity is their chief
characteristic, there is  no  conclusion  of  any
kind  from which they shrink or which they do not
thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance. To
this must be added the fact, which indeed is well
calculated to deceive souls,  that  they  lead  a
life  of  the greatest activity, of assiduous and
ardent application to every branch  of  learning,
and  that  they  possess, as a rule, a reputation
for the strictest  morality.  Finally,  and  this
almost  destroys  all  hope  of  cure, their very
doctrines have given such a bent to their  minds,
that  they  disdain  all  authority  and brook no
restraint; and relying upon a  false  conscience,
they  attempt  to ascribe to a love of truth that
which is in  reality  the  result  of  pride  and

Once  indeed  We had hopes of recalling them to a
better sense, and to this end  we  first  of  all
showed  them  kindness  as  Our children, then we
treated them with severity, and at last  We  have
had  recourse,  though  with great reluctance, to
public reproof. But you know, Venerable Brethren,
how  fruitless  has  been  Our action. They bowed
their head for a moment, but it was soon uplifted
more  arrogantly  than  ever. If it were a matter
which concerned them alone, We might perhaps have
overlooked  it:  but the security of the Catholic
name is at stake. Wherefore, as  to  maintain  it
longer  would  be  a  crime,  We  must  now break
silence, in order  to  expose  before  the  whole
Church  in  their true colours those men who have
assumed this bad disguise.

Division   of the  Encyclical

4. But since the Modernists (as they are commonly
and   rightly   called)   employ  a  very  clever
artifice,  namely,  to  present  their  doctrines
without order and systematic arrangement into one
whole, scattered and disjointed one from another,
so  as  to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty,
while they are in reality firm and steadfast,  it
will  be  of  advantage,  Venerable  Brethren, to
bring their  teachings  together  here  into  one
group,  and  to  point  out the connexion between
them, and thus to pass to an examination  of  the
sources  of the errors, and to prescribe remedies
for averting the evil.


5. To  proceed  in  an  orderly  manner  in  this
recondite  subject, it must first of all be noted
that  every  Modernist  sustains  and   comprises
within   himself  many  personalities;  he  is  a
philosopher,  a  believer,   a   theologian,   an
historian,  a  critic,  an apologist, a reformer.
These roles must be  clearly  distinguished  from
one  another  by  all  who  would accurately know
their  system  and  thoroughly   comprehend   the
principles   and   the   consequences   of  their

Agnosticism its Philosophical Foundation

6.  We  begin,  then,   with   the   philosopher.
Modernists  place  the  foundation  of  religious
philosophy in  that  doctrine  which  is  usually
called  Agnosticism.  According  to this teaching
human reason  is  confined  entirely  within  the
field  of  phenomena,  that  is to say, to things
that are perceptible to the senses,  and  in  the
manner  in  which they are perceptible; it has no
right and no power to  transgress  these  limits.
Hence  it  is  incapable  of lifting itself up to
God, and of recognising His  existence,  even  by
means of visible things. From this it is inferred
that God  can  never  be  the  direct  object  of
science,  and  that,  as regards history, He must
not be considered as an historical subject. Given
these  premises,  all  will readily perceive what
becomes of Natural Theology, of  the  motives  of
credibility,    of   external   revelation.   The
Modernists simply make away with them altogether;
they  include them in Intellectualism, which they
call a ridiculous and long  ago  defunct  system.
Nor  does  the  fact that the Church has formally
condemned these portentous  errors  exercise  the
slightest  restraint  upon  them. Yet the Vatican
Council has defined, "If anyone says that the one
true  God,  our Creator and Lord, cannot be known
with certainty by  the  natural  light  of  human
reason  by means of the things that are made, let
him be anathema" (De Revel., can. I);  and  also:
"If  anyone  says  that it is not possible or not
expedient that man be taught, through the  medium
of  divine  revelation, about God and the worship
to be paid Him, let him be anathema" (Ibid., can.
2);  and  finally,  "If  anyone  says that divine
revelation cannot be made  credible  by  external
signs,  and that therefore men should be drawn to
the  faith  only  by  their   personal   internal
experience  or by private inspiration, let him be
anathema"  (De  Fide,  can.  3).  But   how   the
Modernists  make the transition from Agnosticism,
which is a state of pure nescience, to scientific
and  historic  Atheism,  which  is  a doctrine of
positive  denial;  and  consequently,   by   what
legitimate  process  of  reasoning, starting from
ignorance  as  to  whether  God   has   in   fact
intervened  in  the  history of the human race or
not, they proceed, in their explanation  of  this
history,  to  ignore  God  altogether,  as  if He
really had not intervened,  let  him  answer  who
can.  Yet it is a fixed and established principle
among them that both science and history must  be
atheistic:  and  within their boundaries there is
room for nothing but phenomena; God and all  that
is divine are utterly excluded. We shall soon see
clearly  what,  according  to  this  most  absurd
teaching,  must  be held touching the most sacred
Person of Christ, what concerning  the  mysteries
of  His  life  and death, and of His Resurrection
and Acension into heaven.

Vital Immanence

7. However, this Agnosticism is only the negative
part of the system of the Modernist: the positive
side of it  consists  in  what  they  call  vital
immanence.  This  is how they advance from one to
the   other.   Religion,   whether   natural   or
supernatural,  must, like every other fact, admit
of some explanation. But  when  Natural  theology
has been destroyed, the road to revelation closed
through  the  rejection  of  the   arguments   of
credibility,    and   all   external   revelation
absolutely  denied,  it  is   clear   that   this
explanation  will  be  sought in vain outside man
himself. It must, therefore,  be  looked  for  in
man;  and  since  religion is a form of life, the
explanation must certainly be found in  the  life
of   man.   Hence   the  principle  of  religious
immanence  is  formulated.  Moreover,  the  first
actuation,  so to say, of every vital phenomenon,
and religion, as has been said, belongs  to  this
category,  is  due  to  a  certain  necessity  or
impulsion; but it has its origin,  speaking  more
particularly of life, in a movement of the heart,
which movement is called a sentiment.  Therefore,
since  God  is  the  object  of religion, we must
conclude that faith, which is the basis  and  the
foundation   of   all  religion,  consists  in  a
sentiment which originates from  a  need  of  the
divine.   This  need  of  the  divine,  which  is
experienced  only  in  special   and   favourable
circumstances,  cannot,  of  itself, appertain to
the domain  of  consciousness;  it  is  at  first
latent  within the consciousness, or, to borrow a
term   from    modern    philosophy,    in    the
subconsciousness,   where  also  its  roots  lies
hidden and undetected.

Should anyone ask how it is that this need of the
divine which man experiences within himself grows
up into a religion, the  Modernists  reply  thus:
Science  and  history,  they  say,  are  confined
within two limits, the one external, namely,  the
visible  world,  the  other  internal,  which  is
consciousness.  When  one  or  other   of   these
boundaries  has  been  reached,  there  can be no
further progress, for beyond is  the  unknowable.
In  presence  of  this  unknowable, whether it is
outside man  and  beyond  the  visible  world  of
nature,    or   lies   hidden   within   in   the
subconsciousness,  the  need   of   the   divine,
according  to  the principles of Fideism, excites
in a soul with a propensity  towards  religion  a
certain  special  sentiment, without any previous
advertence  of  the  mind:  and  this   sentiment
possesses,  implied within itself both as its own
object and as its intrinsic cause, the reality of
the  divine, and in a way unites man with God. It
is this sentiment to which  Modernists  give  the
name of faith, and this it is which they consider
the beginning of religion. 8. But we have not yet
come to the end of their philosophy, or, to speak
more accurately, their folly. For Modernism finds
in this sentiment not faith only, but with and in
faith, as they understand  it,  revelation,  they
say,  abides.  For  what more can one require for
revelation? Is not that religious sentiment which
is  perceptible  in the consciousness revelation,
or at least the beginning of revelation? Nay,  is
not  God  Himself, as He manifests Himself to the
soul, indistinctly  it  is  true,  in  this  same
religious  sense, revelation? And they add: Since
God is both the object and the  cause  of  faith,
this  revelation  is  at the same time of God and
from God; that is, God is both the  revealer  and
the revealed.

Hence,    Venerable    Brethren,   springs   that
ridiculous proposition of  the  Modernists,  that
every religion, according to the different aspect
under which it is viewed, must be  considered  as
both  natural  and supernatural. Hence it is that
they   make    consciousness    and    revelation
synonymous.  Hence  the  law,  according to which
religious consciousness is given as the universal
rule,   to  be  put  on  an  equal  footing  with
revelation, and to which all  must  submit,  even
the  supreme  authority of the Church, whether in
its teaching capacity, or in that  of  legislator
in the province of sacred liturgy or discipline.

Deformation of Religious History the Consequence

9.  However,  in  all  this  process, from which,
according to the Modernists, faith and revelation
spring,  one  point  is to be particularly noted,
for it is of capital importance on account of the
historico-critical  corollaries which are deduced
from it. - For the Unknowable they talk  of  does
not present itself to faith as something solitary
and isolated; but  rather  in  close  conjunction
with some phenomenon, which, though it belongs to
the realm of science  and  history  yet  to  some
extent  oversteps their bounds. Such a phenomenon
may be an act of nature containing within  itself
something  mysterious;  or it may be a man, whose
character, actions and words cannot,  apparently,
be  reconciled with the ordinary laws of history.
Then faith, attracted by the Unknowable which  is
united  with  the phenomenon, possesses itself of
the whole phenomenon, and, as it were,  permeates
it  with  its  own  life.  From  this  two things
follow. The first is a sort of transfiguration of
the  phenomenon,  by  its elevation above its own
true conditions, by which it becomes more adapted
to  that  form  of  the  divine  which faith will
infuse  into  it.  The  second  is  a   kind   of
disfigurement,  which  springs from the fact that
faith, which has made the phenomenon  independent
of   the   circumstances   of   place  and  time,
attributes to it qualities which it has not;  and
this is true particularly of the phenomena of the
past, and the older they are, the  truer  it  is.
From  these  two principles the Modernists deduce
two laws, which, when united with a  third  which
they   have   already   got   from   agnosticism,
constitute   the   foundation    of    historical
criticism.  We will take an illustration from the
Person of Christ. In the person of  Christ,  they
say,  science  and history encounter nothing that
is not human. Therefore, in virtue of  the  first
canon deduced from agnosticism, whatever there is
in His history suggestive of the divine, must  be
rejected.  Then,  according  to the second canon,
the historical Person of Christ was  transfigured
by  faith;  therefore  everything  that raises it
above  historical  conditions  must  be  removed.
Lately, the third canon, which lays down that the
person of Christ has been  disfigured  by  faith,
requires  that  everything  should  be  excluded,
deeds and words and  all  else  that  is  not  in
keeping  with  His  character,  circumstances and
education, and with the place and time  in  which
He  lived.  A  strange style of reasoning, truly;
but it is Modernist criticism.

10.  Therefore  the  religious  sentiment,  which
through  the  agency  of  vital immanence emerges
from the lurking places of the  subconsciousness,
is  the germ of all religion, and the explanation
of everything that has been or ever  will  be  in
any  religion.  The sentiment, which was at first
only rudimentary and almost  formless,  gradually
matured,  under  the influence of that mysterious
principle from  which  it  originated,  with  the
progress  of  human  life,  of which, as has been
said, it is a form. This, then, is the origin  of
all  religion,  even supernatural religion; it is
only a development of this  religious  sentiment.
Nor  is the Catholic religion an exception; it is
quite on a  level  with  the  rest;  for  it  was
engendered, by the process of vital immanence, in
the consciousness of Christ, who was a man of the
choicest  nature,  whose like has never been, nor
will be. - Those who hear these audacious,  these
sacrilegious  assertions, are simply shocked! And
yet, Venerable Brethren, these are not merely the
foolish  babblings  of  infidels.  There are many
Catholics, yea, and priests too,  who  say  these
things openly; and they boast that they are going
to reform the Church by these ravings!  There  is
no question now of the old error, by which a sort
of right to the supernatural  order  was  claimed
for  the  human  nature.  We have gone far beyond
that: we  have  reached  the  point  when  it  is
affirmed  that our most holy religion, in the man
Christ   as   in   us,   emanated   from   nature
spontaneously  and  entirely.  Than this there is
surely nothing  more  destructive  of  the  whole
supernatural order. Wherefore the Vatican Council
most justly decreed: "If  anyone  says  that  man
cannot  be  raised  by  God  to  a  knowledge and
perfection which surpasses nature,  but  that  he
can  and  should,  by  his  own  efforts and by a
constant  development,  attain  finally  to   the
possession  of  all  truth  and  good, let him be
anathema" (De Revel., can. 3).

The Origin of Dogmas

11. So far, Venerable Brethren, there has been no
mention   of   the   intellect.  Still  it  also,
according to the teaching of the Modernists,  has
its  part  in  the  act  of  faith.  And it is of
importance to see how. -  In  that  sentiment  of
which  We have frequently spoken, since sentiment
is not knowledge, God indeed presents Himself  to
man,  but  in a manner so confused and indistinct
that He can hardly be perceived by the  believer.
It  is  therefore  necessary  that a ray of light
should be cast upon this sentiment, so  that  God
may  be  clearly distinguished and set apart from
it. This is the  task  of  the  intellect,  whose
office  it  is  to reflect and to analyse, and by
means of which man first transforms  into  mental
pictures  the  vital phenomena which arise within
him, and then expresses them in words. Hence  the
common  saying  of Modernists: that the religious
man must ponder his faith. - The intellect, then,
encountering  this  sentiment directs itself upon
it, and produces in it a work resembling that  of
a  painter  who  restores and gives new life to a
picture that has perished with age. The simile is
that  of  one  of  the  leaders of Modernism. The
operation of the intellect  in  this  work  is  a
double  one:  first  by a natural and spontaneous
act  it  expresses  its  concept  in  a   simple,
ordinary   statement;  then,  on  reflection  and
deeper  consideration,  or,  as  they   say,   by
elaborating its thought, it expresses the idea in
secondary propositions, which  are  derived  from
the  first,  but  are  more perfect and distinct.
These secondary  propositions,  if  they  finally
receive  the  approval of the supreme magisterium
of the Church, constitute dogma.

12. Thus, We have reached one  of  the  principal
points  in  the  Modernists'  system,  namely the
origin and the nature of dogma.  For  they  place
the origin of dogma in those primitive and simple
formulae, which,  under  a  certain  aspect,  are
necessary  to  faith; for revelation, to be truly
such, requires the clear manifestation of God  in
the   consciousness.   But   dogma   itself  they
apparently hold, is contained  in  the  secondary

To  ascertain  the nature of dogma, we must first
find  the  relation  which  exists  between   the
religious  formulas  and the religious sentiment.
This  will  be  readily  perceived  by  him   who
realises   that  these  formulas  have  no  other
purpose than to furnish the believer with a means
of  giving  an  account  of his faith to himself.
These formulas therefore stand midway between the
believer  and his faith; in their relation to the
faith, they are the inadequate expression of  its
object,  and are usually called symbols; in their
relation  to  the   believer,   they   are   mere

Its Evolution

13. Hence it is quite impossible to maintain that
they express absolute truth: for, in  so  far  as
they  are  symbols, they are the images of truth,
and so must be adapted to the religious sentiment
in  its relation to man; and as instruments, they
are the vehicles of truth, and must therefore  in
their  turn  be adapted to man in his relation to
the religious sentiment. But the  object  of  the
religious   sentiment,  since  it  embraces  that
absolute,  possesses  an  infinite   variety   of
aspects  of  which  now  one,  now  another,  may
present itself. In like manner, he  who  believes
may  pass through different phases. Consequently,
the formulae too, which we call dogmas,  must  be
subject   to   these   vicissitudes,   and   are,
therefore, liable to change. Thus the way is open
to  the  intrinsic evolution of dogma. An immense
collection  of  sophisms  this,  that  ruins  and
destroys  all  religion.  Dogma is not only able,
but ought to evolve and to be  changed.  This  is
strongly  affirmed  by  the  Modernists,  and  as
clearly flows from their principles. For  amongst
the  chief points of their teaching is this which
they  deduce  from   the   principle   of   vital
immanence;  that religious formulas, to be really
religious    and    not    merely     theological
speculations,  ought to be living and to live the
life of the religious sentiment. This is  not  to
be  understood  in the sense that these formulas,
especially if merely imaginative, were to be made
for the religious sentiment; it has no more to do
with their origin than with  number  or  quality;
what   is   necessary   is   that  the  religious
sentiment, with some modification when necessary,
should  vitally  assimilate them. In other words,
it is necessary that  the  primitive  formula  be
accepted   and   sanctioned  by  the  heart;  and
similarly the subsequent work from  which  spring
the  secondary  formulas  must  proceed under the
guidance of the heart. Hence it comes that  these
formulas,  to  be  living,  should be, and should
remain, adapted to  the  faith  and  to  him  who
believes.   Wherefore  if  for  any  reason  this
adaptation should cease to exist, they lose their
first  meaning  and  accordingly must be changed.
And since  the  character  and  lot  of  dogmatic
formulas  is  so precarious, there is no room for
surprise that Modernists regard them  so  lightly
and   in   such  open  disrespect.  And  so  they
audaciously charge the Church  both  with  taking
the  wrong road from inability to distinguish the
religious and moral sense of formulas from  their
surface  meaning,  and  with clinging tenaciously
and  vainly  to   meaningless   formulas   whilst
religion  is  allowed  to  go to ruin. Blind that
they are, and leaders of the blind, inflated with
a  boastful science, they have reached that pitch
of folly where they pervert the  eternal  concept
of  truth  and  the  true nature of the religious
sentiment; with that new system  of  theirs  they
are  seen  to  be  under  the sway of a blind and
unchecked passion for novelty,  thinking  not  at
all  of  finding  some solid foundation of truth,
but despising the holy and apostolic  traditions,
they   embrace   other  vain,  futile,  uncertain
doctrines, condemned by the Church, on which,  in
the  height  of their vanity, they think they can
rest and maintain truth itself.

The Modernist as Believer: Individual  Experience
and Religious Certitude

14.   Thus   far,   Venerable  Brethren,  of  the
Modernist considered as Philosopher.  Now  if  we
proceed  to  consider him as Believer, seeking to
know how the Believer, according to Modernism, is
differentiated  from  the Philosopher, it must be
observed that although the Philosopher recognises
as  the object of faith the divine reality, still
this reality is not to be found but in the  heart
of  the Believer, as being an object of sentiment
and affirmation; and  therefore  confined  within
the  sphere  of  phenomena;  but as to whether it
exists outside that sentiment and affirmation  is
a   matter   which   in   no  way  concerns  this
Philosopher. For the Modernist .Believer, on  the
contrary,  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.  On
this   head   the   Modernists  differ  from  the
Rationalists only to fall into the opinion of the
Protestants  and  pseudo-mystics.  This  is their
manner of putting the question: In the  religious
sentiment  one must recognise a kind of intuition
of the heart which puts man in immediate  contact
with  the very reality of God, and infuses such a
persuasion of God's existence and His action both
within  and  without  man as to excel greatly any
scientific conviction.  They  assert,  therefore,
the  existence of a real experience, and one of a
kind that surpasses all rational  experience.  If
this  experience  is  denied  by  some,  like the
rationalists, it arises from the fact  that  such
persons  are  unwilling  to put themselves in the
moral state which is necessary to produce it.  It
is  this experience which, when a person acquires
it, makes him properly and truly a believer.

How far off we are here from Catholic teaching we
have  already  seen  in the decree of the Vatican
Council.  We  shall  see  later  how,  with  such
theories,  added  to  the  other  errors  already
mentioned, the way is opened  wide  for  atheism.
Here  it is well to note at once that, given this
doctrine of  experience  united  with  the  other
doctrine  of symbolism, every religion, even that
of paganism, 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? With what right
can they claim  true  experiences  for  Catholics
alone? Indeed Modernists do not deny but actually
admit, some confusedly, others in the  most  open
manner,  that  all  religions are true. That they
cannot feel  otherwise  is  clear.  For  on  what
ground,   according   to  their  theories,  could
falsity be predicated of any religion whatsoever?
It  must be certainly on one of these two: either
on  account  of  the  falsity  of  the  religious
sentiment  or  on  account  of the falsity of the
formula pronounced by the mind. Now the religious
sentiment,  although  it  may  be more perfect or
less perfect, is always one and the same; and the
intellectual  formula,  in  order to be true, has
but to respond to the religious sentiment and  to
the   Believer,   whatever  be  the  intellectual
capacity of the latter. In the  conflict  between
different religions, the most that Modernists can
maintain is that  the  Catholic  has  more  truth
because  it  is  more living and that it deserves
with more reason the name of Christian because it
corresponds   more  fully  with  the  origins  of
Christianity. That these consequences  flow  from
the  premises will not seem unnatural to anybody.
But what is amazing is that there  are  Catholics
and  priests  who,  We  would fain believe, abhor
such enormities yet act as if they fully approved
of  them.  For  they  heap such praise and bestow
such public  honour  on  the  teachers  of  these
errors  as  to give rise to the belief that their
admiration is not meant merely for  the  persons,
who  are  perhaps  not devoid of a certain merit,
but rather for the  errors  which  these  persons
openly  profess  and  which  they do all in their
power to propagate.

Religious Experience and Tradition

15. But this doctrine of experience is also under
another  aspect  entirely  contrary  to  Catholic
truth. It is extended and applied  to  tradition,
as   hitherto   understood  by  the  Church,  and
destroys it.  By  the  Modernists,  tradition  is
understood  as a communication to others, through
preaching by means of the  intellectual  formula,
of  an  original  experience. To this formula, in
addition  to  its  representative   value,   they
attribute  a species of suggestive efficacy which
acts  both  in  the  person  who   believes,   to
stimulate   the  religious  sentiment  should  it
happen to have grown sluggish and  to  renew  the
experience once acquired, and in those who do not
yet believe, to awake  for  the  first  time  the
religious  sentiment  in  them and to produce the
experience. In this way is  religious  experience
propagated  among  the  peoples;  and  not merely
among  contemporaries  by  preaching,  but  among
future  generations  both  by  books  and by oral
transmission from one to another. Sometimes  this
communication  of religious experience takes root
and thrives, at other times it  withers  at  once
and  dies. For the Modernists, to live is a proof
of truth, since for them life and truth  are  one
and the same thing. Hence again it is given to us
to infer that all existing religions are  equally
true, for otherwise they would not live.

Faith and Science

16.   Having   reached   this   point,  Venerable
Brethren, we have sufficient material in hand  to
enable  us  to see the relations which Modernists
establish between faith  and  science,  including
history  also  under  the name of science. And in
the first place it is to be held that the  object
of  the  one  is quite extraneous to and separate
from the object of the other. For faith  occupies
itself   solely   with  something  which  science
declares to be unknowable for it. Hence each  has
a  separate  field  assigned  to  it:  science is
entirely concerned with the reality of phenomena,
into  which faith does not enter at all; faith on
the contrary  concerns  itself  with  the  divine
reality  which  is  entirely  unknown to science.
Thus the conclusion is  reached  that  there  can
never   be   any  dissension  between  faith  and
science, for if each keeps on its own ground they
can   never   meet  and  therefore  never  be  in
contradiction. And if it be objected that in  the
visible   world   there  are  some  things  which
appertain to faith, such as  the  human  life  of
Christ, the Modernists reply by denying this. For
though such things come within  the  category  of
phenomena,  still  in as far as they are lived by
faith and in the way already described have  been
by  faith  transfigured and disfigured, they have
been  removed  from  the  world  of   sense   and
translated  to  become  material  for the divine.
Hence should it be further asked  whether  Christ
has   wrought   real   miracles,  and  made  real
prophecies, whether He rose truly from  the  dead
and  ascended into heaven, the answer of agnostic
science will be in the negative and the answer of
faith in the affirmative - yet there will not be,
on that account, any conflict between  them.  For
it   will   be   denied  by  the  philosopher  as
philosopher,   speaking   to   philosophers   and
considering   Christ   only   in  His  historical
reality; and it will be affirmed by the  speaker,
speaking to believers and considering the life of
Christ as lived again by the  faith  and  in  the

Faith Subject to Science

17.  Yet,  it would be a great mistake to suppose
that, given these theories, one is authorised  to
believe that faith and science are independent of
one  another.  On  the  side   of   science   the
independence  is indeed complete, but it is quite
different with regard to faith, which is  subject
to  science  not on one but on three grounds. For
in the first place it must be  observed  that  in
every  religious  fact,  when  you  take away the
divine reality and the experience of it which the
believer    possesses,   everything   else,   and
especially the religious formulas of it,  belongs
to  the  sphere  of phenomena and therefore falls
under the control of science.  Let  the  believer
leave  the  world  if  he will, but so long as he
remains in it he must continue, whether  he  like
it  or  not,  to  be  subject  to  the  laws, the
observation, the  judgments  of  science  and  of
history. Further, when it is said that God is the
object of faith alone, the statement refers  only
to the divine reality not to the idea of God. The
latter also is subject to science which while  it
philosophises in what is called the logical order
soars also to the absolute and the ideal.  It  is
therefore  the right of philosophy and of science
to form conclusions concerning the idea  of  God,
to direct it in its evolution and to purify it of
any extraneous elements which may become confused
with  it.  Finally, man does not suffer a dualism
to exist in him, and the believer therefore feels
within  him  an  impelling  need  so to harmonise
faith with science, that it may never oppose  the
general   conception  which  science  sets  forth
concerning the universe.

Thus it is evident that science is to be entirely
independent  of  faith,  while on the other hand,
and notwithstanding that they are supposed to  be
strangers to each other, faith is made subject to
science. All  this,  Venerable  Brothers,  is  in
formal  opposition  with  the  teachings  of  Our
Predecessor, Pius IX, where he lays it down that:
In   matters  of  religion  it  is  the  duty  of
philosophy not to command but to serve,  but  not
to  prescribe  what  is  to  be  believed  but to
embrace what is to be  believed  with  reasonable
obedience,  not  to  scrutinise the depths of the
mysteries of God but to  venerate  them  devoutly
and humbly.

The  Modernists  completely invert the parts, and
to them may  be  applied  the  words  of  another
Predecessor  of  Ours,  Gregory IX., addressed to
some theologians of his  time:  Some  among  you,
inflated  like bladders with the spirit of vanity
strive  by  profane  novelties   to   cross   the
boundaries  fixed  by  the  Fathers, twisting the
sense  of  the  heavenly  pages  .  .   .to   the
philosophical  teaching of the rationals, not for
the profit of their hearer but to make a show  of
science  .  .  .  these,  seduced  by strange and
eccentric doctrines, make the head  of  the  tail
and force the queen to serve the servant.

The Methods of Modernists

18.  This  becomes  still  clearer to anybody who
studies the conduct of Modernists,  which  is  in
perfect  harmony  with  their  teachings.  In the
writings and addresses they seem not unfrequently
to  advocate now one doctrine now another so that
one would be disposed to regard them as vague and
doubtful.  But there is a reason for this, and it
is to be found in their ideas as  to  the  mutual
separation  of  science and faith. Hence in their
books you find some things which  might  well  be
expressed by a Catholic, but in the next page you
find other things which might have been  dictated
by  a  rationalist.  When they write history they
make no mention of the divinity  of  Christ,  but
when  they  are  in  the  pulpit  they profess it
clearly; again, when they write history they  pay
no heed to the Fathers and the Councils, but when
they  catechise  the  people,  they   cite   them
respectfully.  In  the  same  way they draw their
distinctions  between  theological  and  pastoral
exegesis  and scientific and historical exegesis.
So, too, acting on the principle that science  in
no  way  depends  upon  faith, when they treat of
philosophy, history, criticism, feeling no horror
at  treading in the footsteps of Luther, they are
wont to display a certain contempt  for  Catholic
doctrines,   or   the   Holy   Fathers,  for  the
Ecumenical  Councils,  for   the   ecclesiastical
magisterium; and should they be rebuked for this,
they complain that they  are  being  deprived  of
their  liberty. Lastly, guided by the theory that
faith  must   be   subject   to   science,   they
continuously  and  openly  criticise  the  Church
because of her sheer  obstinacy  in  refusing  to
submit and accommodate her dogmas to the opinions
of philosophy; while they, on their  side,  after
having blotted out the old theology, endeavour to
introduce a new theology which shall  follow  the
vagaries of their philosophers.

The  Modernist  as  Theologian:  His  Principles,
Immanence and Symbolism

19. And thus, Venerable  Brethren,  the  road  is
open  for  us  to  study  the  Modernists  in the
theological arena - a  difficult  task,  yet  one
that  may  be  disposed of briefly. The end to be
attained  is  the  conciliation  of  faith   with
science,  always,  however, saving the primacy of
science over faith. In this branch the  Modernist
theologian  avails  himself  of  exactly the same
principles which we have  seen  employed  by  the
Modernist  philosopher,  and  applies them to the
believer:  the  principles   of   immanence   and
symbolism.  The  process  is  an extremely simple
one. The philosopher has declared: The  principle
of  faith  is  immanent;  the believer has added:
This principle is God; and the  theologian  draws
the  conclusion:  God is immanent in man. Thus we
have   theological   immanence.   So   too,   the
philosopher   regards   as   certain   that   the
representations of the object of faith are merely
symbolical;  the  believer  has affirmed that the
object of  faith  is  God  in  Himself;  and  the
theologian   proceeds   to   affirm   that:   The
representations  of  the   divine   reality   are
symbolical.   And   thus   we   have  theological
symbolism.  Truly  enormous  errors   both,   the
pernicious   character  of  which  will  be  seen
clearly   from   an    examination    of    their
consequences. For, to begin with symbolism, since
symbols  are  but  symbols  in  regard  to  their
objects  and  only  instruments  in regard to the
believer, it is necessary first of all, according
to  the  teachings  of  the  Modernists, that the
believer do  not  lay  too  much  stress  on  the
formula,  but  avail  himself of it only with the
scope of uniting himself to  the  absolute  truth
which  the  formula at once reveals and conceals,
that is to say, endeavours to express but without
succeeding  in doing so. They would also have the
believer avail himself of the formulas only in as
far as they are useful to him, for they are given
to be a help and not  a  hindrance;  with  proper
regard,  however,  for  the social respect due to
formulas which the public magisterium has  deemed
suitable  for expressing the common consciousness
until such time as the same  magisterium  provide
otherwise. Concerning immanence it is not easy to
determine what Modernists mean by it,  for  their
own opinions on the subject vary. Some understand
it in the sense that God working in man  is  more
intimately  present  in  him  than man is in even
himself,  and  this   conception,   if   properly
understood,  is  free  from reproach. Others hold
that the divine action is one with the action  of
nature,  as  the action of the first cause is one
with the action of the secondary cause, and  this
would  destroy  the  supernatural  order. Others,
finally, explain it in a  way  which  savours  of
pantheism  and this, in truth, is the sense which
tallies best with the rest of their doctrines.

20. With this principle of immanence is connected
another  which  may  be  called  the principle of
divine permanence. It differs from the  first  in
much  the  same  way  as  the  private experience
differs  from  the  experience   transmitted   by
tradition.  An  example  will  illustrate what is
meant, and this example is offered by the  Church
and   the   Sacraments.   The   Church   and  the
Sacraments, they say, are not to be  regarded  as
having been instituted by Christ Himself. This is
forbidden by agnosticism, which  sees  in  Christ
nothing   more   than   a   man  whose  religious
consciousness has been, like  that  of  all  men,
formed  by  degrees;  it is also forbidden by the
law of immanence which  rejects  what  they  call
external  application; it is further forbidden by
the law  of  evolution  which  requires  for  the
development  of  the  germs  a certain time and a
certain series of circumstances; it is,  finally,
forbidden  by  history,  which shows that such in
fact has been the course of things. Still  it  is
to  be  held that both Church and Sacraments have
been founded mediately by  Christ.  But  how?  In
this  way:  All  Christian consciences were, they
affirm, in a manner  virtually  included  in  the
conscience  of Christ as the plant is included in
the seed. But as the shoots live the life of  the
seed,  so,  too, all Christians are to be said to
live the life of Christ. But the life  of  Christ
is  according  to faith, and so, too, is the life
of Christians. And since this life  produced,  in
the  courses  of  ages,  both  the Church and the
Sacraments, it is quite right to say  that  their
origin  is from Christ and is divine. In the same
way they prove that the Scriptures and the dogmas
are divine. And thus the Modernistic theology may
be said to be complete. No great thing, in truth,
but  more  than  enough  for  the  theologian who
professes that the conclusions  of  science  must
always,  and  in  all  things,  be respected. The
application of these theories to the other points
We  shall  proceed to expound, anybody may easily
make for himself.

Dogma and the Sacraments

21. Thus far We have spoken  of  the  origin  and
nature  of  faith.  But as faith has many shoots,
and chief among them the Church, dogma,  worship,
the  Books  which we call "Sacred," of these also
we must know what is taught by the Modernists. To
begin  with  dogma, we have already indicated its
origin and nature. Dogma is born of  the  species
of  impulse  or  necessity by virtue of which the
believer  is   constrained   to   elaborate   his
religious  thought so as to render it clearer for
himself and  others.  This  elaboration  consists
entirely   in  the  process  of  penetrating  and
refining the primitive  formula,  not  indeed  in
itself  and according to logical development, but
as required by circumstances, or vitally  as  the
Modernists  more  abstrusely  put  it.  Hence  it
happens  that  around   the   primitive   formula
secondary   formulas  gradually  continue  to  be
formed,  and  these  subsequently  grouped   into
bodies    of    doctrine,   or   into   doctrinal
constructions as they prefer to  call  them,  and
further  sanctioned  by the public magisterium as
responding  to  the  common  consciousness,   are
called   dogma.   Dogma   is   to   be  carefully
distinguished   from    the    speculations    of
theologians  which,  although  not alive with the
life of dogma, are not without their  utility  as
serving  to  harmonise  religion with science and
remove opposition between the two, in such a  way
as  to  throw light from without on religion, and
it may be even to prepare the matter  for  future
dogma. Concerning worship there would not be much
to be said, were it not that under this head  are
comprised  the  Sacraments,  concerning which the
Modernists fall into the gravest errors. For them
the Sacraments are the resultant of a double need
- for, as  we  have  seen,  everything  in  their
system   is   explained   by  inner  impulses  or
necessities. In the present case, the first  need
is  that of giving some sensible manifestation to
religion; the second is that of  propagating  it,
which  could  not  be  done without some sensible
form and consecrating acts, and these are  called
sacraments. But for the Modernists the Sacraments
are mere symbols or signs, though not devoid of a
certain  efficacy  -  an  efficacy, they tell us,
like that of certain phrases  vulgarly  described
as  having  "caught  on,"  inasmuch  as they have
become the vehicle for the diffusion  of  certain
great  ideas  which  strike the public mind. What
the phrases are to the ideas, that the Sacraments
are to the religious sentiment - that and nothing
more.  The  Modernists  would  be  speaking  more
clearly  were  they to affirm that the Sacraments
are instituted solely to foster the faith  -  but
this  is  condemned  by  the Council of Trent: If
anyone say that these sacraments  are  instituted
solely to foster the faith, let him be anathema.

The Holy Scriptures

22.  We  have already touched upon the nature and
origin of the  Sacred  Books.  According  to  the
principles  of the Modernists they may be rightly
described as a  collection  of  experiences,  not
indeed  of the kind that may come to anybody, but
those extraordinary and striking ones which  have
happened  in  any religion. And this is precisely
what they teach about our books of  the  Old  and
New  Testament.  But  to  suit their own theories
they  note  with   remarkable   ingenuity   that,
although experience is something belonging to the
present, still it may derive  its  material  from
the  past  and  the future alike, inasmuch as the
believer by memory  lives  the  past  over  again
after  the  manner  of the present, and lives the
future already by anticipation. This explains how
it is that the historical and apocalyptical books
are included among the Sacred Writings. God  does
indeed  speak in these books - through the medium
of  the  believer,   but   only,   according   to
Modernistic  theology,  by  vital  immanence  and
permanence. Do we inquire concerning inspiration?
Inspiration, they reply, is distinguished only by
its vehemence from that impulse which  stimulates
the  believer  to reveal the faith that is in him
by words or writing. It is  something  like  what
happens  in poetical inspiration, of which it has
been said: There  is  God  in  us,  and  when  he
stirreth he sets us afire. And it is precisely in
this sense that God is said to be the  origin  of
the   inspiration   of   the  Sacred  Books.  The
Modernists affirm, too, that there is nothing  in
these  books  which  is  not  inspired.  In  this
respect some might be disposed to  consider  them
as  more  orthodox than certain other moderns who
somewhat restrict inspiration, as, for  instance,
in what have been put forward as tacit citations.
But it is all mere juggling of words. For  if  we
take  the  Bible,  according  to  the  tenets  of
agnosticism, to be a human work, made by men  for
men, but allowing the theologian to proclaim that
it is divine by immanence,  what  room  is  there
left  in  it for inspiration? General inspiration
in the Modernist sense it is easy to find, but of
inspiration  in the Catholic sense there is not a

The Church

23. A wider field for comment is opened when  you
come  to  treat  of  the  vagaries devised by the
Modernist school concerning the Church. You  must
start  with  the  supposition that the Church has
its birth in a  double  need,  the  need  of  the
individual  believer,  especially  if  he has had
some  original   and   special   experience,   to
communicate  his faith to others, and the need of
the mass, when the faith  has  become  common  to
many, to form itself into a society and to guard,
increase, and propagate the  common  good.  What,
then,  is  the  Church?  It is the product of the
collective conscience, that  is  to  say  of  the
society of individual consciences which by virtue
of the principle of vital permanence, all  depend
on  one  first  believer,  who  for  Catholics is
Christ.  Now  every  society  needs  a  directing
authority to guide its members towards the common
end,  to  conserve  prudently  the  elements   of
cohesion   which   in  a  religious  society  are
doctrine and worship.

Hence  the  triple  authority  in  the   Catholic
Church,  disciplinary,  dogmatic, liturgical. The
nature of this authority is to be  gathered  from
its  origin,  and  its rights and duties from its
nature. In past times it was a common error  that
authority  came  to the Church from without, that
is to say directly from  God;  and  it  was  then
rightly held to be autocratic. But his conception
had now grown obsolete. For in the  same  way  as
the   Church   is   a   vital  emanation  of  the
collectivity of  consciences,  so  too  authority
emanates   vitally   from   the   Church  itself.
Authority therefore, like  the  Church,  has  its
origin  in  the  religious  conscience, and, that
being so, is subject to it. Should it disown this
dependence  it  becomes  a  tyranny.  For  we are
living in an age when the sense  of  liberty  has
reached  its  fullest  development,  and when the
public  conscience  has  in   the   civil   order
introduced  popular government. Now there are not
two consciences in man, any more than  there  are
two   lives.   It   is   for  the  ecclesiastical
authority,  therefore,   to   shape   itself   to
democratic forms, unless it wishes to provoke and
foment an intestine conflict in  the  consciences
of  mankind.  The penalty of refusal is disaster.
For it is madness to think that the sentiment  of
liberty,   as   it  is  now  spread  abroad,  can
surrender. Were it forcibly confined and held  in
bonds,  terrible  would be its outburst, sweeping
away at once both Church and  religion.  Such  is
the  situation  for the Modernists, and their one
great anxiety is, in consequence, to find  a  way
of  conciliation  between  the  authority  of the
Church and the liberty of believers.

The Relations Between Church and State

24. But it is not with its own members alone that
the Church must come to an amicable arrangement -
besides its relations with those within,  it  has
others  outside.  The  Church does not occupy the
world all by itself; there are other societies in
the  world,  with  which it must necessarily have
contact and relations. The rights and  duties  of
the   Church   towards   civil   societies  must,
therefore,  be  determined,  and  determined,  of
course,  by its own nature as it has been already
described. The rules to be applied in this matter
are  those  which have been laid down for science
and faith, though in the latter case the question
is one of objects while here we have one of ends.
In the same way, then, as faith and  science  are
strangers   to   each  other  by  reason  of  the
diversity of their objects, Church and State  are
strangers  by  reason  of  the diversity of their
ends, that of the Church  being  spiritual  while
that  of  the  State is temporal. Formerly it was
possible  to  subordinate  the  temporal  to  the
spiritual  and  to  speak  of  some  questions as
mixed, allowing to the  Church  the  position  of
queen  and  mistress  in  all  such,  because the
Church  was  then   regarded   as   having   been
instituted  immediately  by  God as the author of
the supernatural order. But his doctrine is today
repudiated  alike  by philosophy and history. The
State must,  therefore,  be  separated  from  the
Church,  and the Catholic from the citizen. Every
Catholic,  from  the  fact  that  he  is  also  a
citizen,  has  the right and the duty to work for
the common  good  in  the  way  he  thinks  best,
without  troubling himself about the authority of
the  Church,  without  paying  any  heed  to  its
wishes,  its  counsels, its orders - nay, even in
spite  of  its  reprimands.  To  trace  out   and
prescribe for the citizen any line of conduct, on
any pretext whatsoever, is to  be  guilty  of  an
abuse  of ecclesiastical authority, against which
one is bound to act with  all  one's  might.  The
principles from which these doctrines spring have
been solemnly condemned by our  predecessor  Pius
VI. in his Constitution Auctorem fidei.

The Magisterium of the Church

25. But it is not enough for the Modernist school
that the  State  should  be  separated  from  the
Church.  For  as  faith  is to be subordinated to
science,  as  far  as  phenomenal  elements   are
concerned,  so too in temporal matters the Church
must be subject to the State.  They  do  not  say
this  openly  as  yet - but they will say it when
they wish to be logical on this head.  For  given
the  principle that in temporal matters the State
possesses absolute mastery, it will  follow  that
when  the  believer, not fully satisfied with his
merely internal acts  of  religion,  proceeds  to
external   acts,   such   for   instance  as  the
administration or reception  of  the  sacraments,
these  will  fall under the control of the State.
What   will   then   become   of   ecclesiastical
authority,   which   can  only  be  exercised  by
external acts? Obviously it  will  be  completely
under  the  dominion  of  the  State.  It is this
inevitable consequence which  impels  many  among
liberal   Protestants   to  reject  all  external
worship, nay, all external  religious  community,
and   makes   them   advocate   what  they  call,
individual religion. If the Modernists  have  not
yet reached this point, they do ask the Church in
the  meanwhile  to  be  good  enough  to   follow
spontaneously  where  they  lead  her  and  adapt
herself to the civil forms  in  vogue.  Such  are
their ideas about disciplinary authority. But far
more advanced and far more pernicious  are  their
teachings  on  doctrinal  and dogmatic authority.
This is their conception of  the  magisterium  of
the  Church:  No religious society, they say, can
be a real unit unless the religious conscience of
its  members  be  one,  and  one also the formula
which they adopt. But his double unity requires a
kind  of  common mind whose office is to find and
determine the formula that corresponds best  with
the  common conscience, and it must have moreover
an authority sufficient to enable it to impose on
the  community the formula which has been decided
upon. From the combination and, as it were fusion
of  these  two  elements,  the  common mind which
draws up the  formula  and  the  authority  which
imposes  it, arises, according to the Modernists,
the notion of the ecclesiastical magisterium. And
as   this   magisterium   springs,  in  its  last
analysis, from  the  individual  consciences  and
possesses its mandate of public utility for their
benefit,  it  follows  that  the   ecclesiastical
magisterium  must  be  subordinate  to  them, and
should  therefore  take  democratic   forms.   To
prevent  individual  consciences  from  revealing
freely and openly  the  impulses  they  feel,  to
hinder  criticism  from  impelling dogmas towards
their  necessary  evolutions  -  this  is  not  a
legitimate  use but an abuse of a power given for
the public utility.  So  too  a  due  method  and
measure  must  be  observed  in  the  exercise of
authority.  To  condemn  and  prescribe  a   work
without  the  knowledge  of  the  author, without
hearing  his  explanations,  without  discussion,
assuredly  savours  of  tyranny.  And  thus, here
again a way must be found to save the full rights
of  authority  on  the one hand and of liberty on
the other. In the meanwhile the proper course for
the  Catholic  will  be  to proclaim publicly his
profound respect for authority - and continue  to
follow his own bent. Their general directions for
the Church may be put in this way: Since the  end
of   the   Church   is  entirely  spiritual,  the
religious authority should strip  itself  of  all
that external pomp which adorns it in the eyes of
the public.  And  here  they  forget  that  while
religion  is  essentially for the soul, it is not
exclusively for the soul,  and  that  the  honour
paid  to  authority  is  reflected  back on Jesus
Christ who instituted it.

The Evolution of Doctrine

26. To finish with this whole question  of  faith
and  its shoots, it remains to be seen, Venerable
Brethren, what the Modernists have to  say  about
their development. First of all they lay down the
general  principle  that  in  a  living  religion
everything is subject to change, and must change,
and in this way they pass to what may be said  to
be,  among  the chief of their doctrines, that of
Evolution. To the laws of evolution everything is
subject  -  dogma,  Church, worship, the Books we
revere as sacred,  even  faith  itself,  and  the
penalty of disobedience is death. The enunciation
of this principle will not astonish  anybody  who
bears in mind what the Modernists have had to say
about each of these subjects.  Having  laid  down
this  law of evolution, the Modernists themselves
teach us how it works out. And first with  regard
to  faith. The primitive form of faith, they tell
us, was rudimentary and common to all men  alike,
for  it  had its origin in human nature and human
life. Vital evolution brought with  it  progress,
not   by   the   accretion   of  new  and  purely
adventitious  forms  from  without,  but  by   an
increasing penetration of the religious sentiment
in the  conscience.  This  progress  was  of  two
kinds:   negative,  by  the  elimination  of  all
foreign  elements,  such,  for  example,  as  the
sentiment  of family or nationality; and positive
by the intellectual and moral refining of man, by
means   of   which  the  idea  was  enlarged  and
enlightened while the religious sentiment  became
more  elevated and more intense. For the progress
of faith no other causes are to be assigned  than
those  which  are  adduced to explain its origin.
But  to  them  must  be  added  those   religious
geniuses  whom  we  call  prophets,  and  of whom
Christ was the greatest; both  because  in  their
lives   and   their  words  there  was  something
mysterious  which   faith   attributed   to   the
divinity,  and  because  it  fell to their lot to
have  new  and  original  experiences  fully   in
harmony   with  the  needs  of  their  time.  The
progress of dogma is due chiefly to the obstacles
which  faith  has  to surmount, to the enemies it
has to vanquish, to the contradictions it has  to
repel.  Add  to  this  a  perpetual  striving  to
penetrate ever more profoundly its own mysteries.
Thus,  to omit other examples, has it happened in
the case of Christ: in Him that divine  something
which  faith  admitted  in Him expanded in such a
way that He was at last held to be God. The chief
stimulus  of  evolution  in the domain of worship
consists in the need of adapting  itself  to  the
uses  and customs of peoples, as well as the need
of availing itself of  the  value  which  certain
acts   have  acquired  by  long  usage.  Finally,
evolution in the Church itself is fed by the need
of  accommodating itself to historical conditions
and of harmonising itself with existing forms  of
society.  Such  is religious evolution in detail.
And here, before  proceeding  further,  we  would
have   you   note   well  this  whole  theory  of
necessities and needs, for it is at the  root  of
the  entire  system  of the Modernists, and it is
upon it that they will erect that  famous  method
of theirs called the historical.

27.  Still  continuing  the  consideration of the
evolution of doctrine, it is  to  be  noted  that
Evolution  is  due  no  doubt to those stimulants
styled needs, but, if left to their action alone,
it  would run a great risk of bursting the bounds
of tradition, and thus,  turned  aside  from  its
primitive  vital  principle,  would  lead to ruin
instead of progress. Hence, studying more closely
the   ideas   of  the  Modernists,  evolution  is
described as resulting from the conflict  of  two
forces, one of them tending towards progress, the
other towards conservation. The conserving  force
in  the  Church  is  tradition,  and tradition is
represented by religious authority, and this both
by  right  and in fact; for by right it is in the
very nature of authority  to  protect  tradition,
and,  in  fact,  for  authority,  raised as it is
above the contingencies of life, feels hardly, or
not   at   all,   the   spurs  of  progress.  The
progressive  force,  on   the   contrary,   which
responds   to   the   inner  needs  lies  in  the
individual  consciences  and  ferments  there   -
especially  in  such  of  them  as  are  in  most
intimate contact with life. Note here,  Venerable
Brethren,  the  appearance  already  of that most
pernicious doctrine which would make of the laity
a  factor of progress in the Church. Now it is by
a species of compromise  between  the  forces  of
conservation  and  of  progress,  that  is to say
between  authority  and  individual  consciences,
that   changes   and  advances  take  place.  The
individual consciences of some of them act on the
collective  conscience,  which brings pressure to
bear on the depositaries of authority, until  the
latter  consent  to  a  compromise, and, the pact
being made, authority sees to its maintenance.

With all this in mind, one understands how it  is
that  the  Modernists  express  astonishment when
they are reprimanded or punished. What is imputed
to  them as a fault they regard as a sacred duty.
Being in intimate contact with  consciences  they
know  better  than  anybody  else,  and certainly
better than the  ecclesiastical  authority,  what
needs exist - nay, they embody them, so to speak,
in themselves. Having a voice and a pen they  use
both  publicly,  for  this  is  their  duty.  Let
authority rebuke them as much  as  it  pleases  -
they  have their own conscience on their side and
an intimate  experience  which  tells  them  with
certainty that what they deserve is not blame but
praise. Then they reflect that, after  all  there
is  no  progress  without  a battle and no battle
without its victim, and victims they are  willing
to  be like the prophets and Christ Himself. They
have no bitterness in their  hearts  against  the
authority  which uses them roughly, for after all
it is only doing its  duty  as  authority.  Their
sole  grief  is  that  it  remains  deaf to their
warnings, because delay multiplies the  obstacles
which  impede the progress of souls, but the hour
will most surely  come  when  there  will  be  no
further  chance  for  tergiversation,  for if the
laws of evolution may be  checked  for  a  while,
they  cannot be ultimately destroyed. And so they
go  their  way,  reprimands   and   condemnations
notwithstanding,  masking  an incredible audacity
under a mock semblance of  humility.  While  they
make  a  show  of bowing their heads, their hands
and minds are more intent than ever  on  carrying
out  their  purposes. And this policy they follow
willingly and wittingly, both because it is  part
of   their   system   that  authority  is  to  be
stimulated but not dethroned, and because  it  is
necessary  for them to remain within the ranks of
the Church  in  order  that  they  may  gradually
transform   the   collective  conscience  -  thus
unconsciously avowing that the common  conscience
is  not with them, and that they have no right to
claim to be its interpreters.

28.  Thus  then,  Venerable  Brethren,  for   the
Modernists,  both  as  authors and propagandists,
there is to be nothing stable, nothing  immutable
in  the  Church.  Nor  indeed  are  they  without
precursors in their  doctrines,  for  it  was  of
these  that  Our Predecessor Pius IX wrote: These
enemies of divine revelation extol human progress
to  the  skies,  and  with  rash and sacrilegious
daring would have it introduced into the Catholic
religion as if this religion were not the work of
God but of man, or  some  kind  of  philosophical
discovery  susceptible  of  perfection  by  human
efforts. On the subject of revelation  and  dogma
in  particular,  the  doctrine  of the Modernists
offers nothing new - we find it condemned in  the
Syllabus  of  Pius IX., where it is enunciated in
these terms: Divine revelation is imperfect,  and
therefore  subject  to  continual  and indefinite
progress,  corresponding  with  the  progress  of
human  reason;  and condemned still more solemnly
in the Vatican Council: The doctrine of the faith
which  God  has revealed has not been proposed to
human intelligences to be perfected by them as if
it  were  a philosophical system, but as a divine
deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ  to  be
faithfully  guarded  and  infallibly interpreted.
Hence the sense, too, of  the  sacred  dogmas  is
that  which  our  Holy Mother the Church has once
declared, nor is this sense ever to be  abandoned
on   plea   or   pretext   of   a  more  profound
comprehension  of   the   truth.   Nor   is   the
development of our knowledge, even concerning the
faith, impeded by this  pronouncement  -  on  the
contrary  it  is aided and promoted. For the same
Council continues: Let intelligence  and  science
and  wisdom,  therefore,  increase  and  progress
abundantly and vigorously in individuals  and  in
the  mass,  in  the  believer  and  in  the whole
Church, throughout the ages and the  centuries  -
but  only  in its own kind, that is, according to
the  same  dogma,  the  same  sense,   the   same

The Modernist as Historian and Critic

29.   After   having  studied  the  Modernist  as
philosopher,  believer  and  theologian,  it  now
remains  for  us  to  consider  him as historian,
critic, apologist, reformer.

30.  Some  Modernists,  devoted   to   historical
studies, seem to be greatly afraid of being taken
for philosophers.  About  philosophy,  they  tell
you,  they  know  nothing  whatever - and in this
they display remarkable astuteness, for they  are
particularly anxious not to be suspected of being
prejudiced in favour  of  philosophical  theories
which  would  lay  them open to the charge of not
being objective, to use the word  in  vogue.  And
yet  the  truth  is  that their history and their
criticism are saturated  with  their  philosophy,
and that their historico-critical conclusions are
the  natural   fruit   of   their   philosophical
principles.  This  will  be patent to anybody who
reflects. Their three first laws are contained in
those   three   principles  of  their  philosophy
already dealt with: the principle of agnosticism,
the principle of the transfiguration of things by
faith, and the principle which We have called  of
disfiguration.  Let us see what consequences flow
from each of  them.  Agnosticism  tells  us  that
history,  like ever other science, deals entirely
with phenomena, and the consequence is that  God,
and  every  intervention of God in human affairs,
is to be relegated to  the  domain  of  faith  as
belonging  to  it alone. In things where a double
element, the divine and the  human,  mingles,  in
Christ,  for  example,  or  the  Church,  or  the
sacraments, or the many other objects of the same
kind,  a  division  must  be  made  and the human
element assigned to history while the divine will
go  to  faith. Hence we have that distinction, so
current among the Modernists, between the  Christ
of  history  and the Christ of faith, between the
sacraments  of  history  and  the  sacraments  of
faith,  and  so  on.  Next we find that the human
element itself, which the historian has  to  work
on,  as  it appears in the documents, has been by
faith transfigured, that is to say  raised  above
its  historical conditions. It becomes necessary,
therefore, to eliminate also the accretions which
faith  has  added, to assign them to faith itself
and to the history of faith: thus, when  treating
of  Christ, the historian must set aside all that
surpasses man in his  natural  condition,  either
according to the psychological conception of him,
or according to  the  place  and  period  of  his
existence.   Finally,  by  virtue  of  the  third
principle,  even  those  things  which  are   not
outside  the  sphere of history they pass through
the  crucible,   excluding   from   history   and
relegating  to  faith  everything which, in their
judgment, is not in harmony with what  they  call
the  logic  of  facts  and  in character with the
persons of whom they are predicated.  Thus,  they
will  not  allow  that  Christ ever uttered those
things  which  do  not  seem  to  be  within  the
capacity  of the multitudes that listened to Him.
Hence they  delete  from  His  real  history  and
transfer to faith all the allegories found in His
discourses. Do you inquire as  to  the  criterion
they   adopt   to   enable  them  to  make  these
divisions? The reply is that they argue from  the
character of the man, from his condition of life,
from his education, from the circumstances  under
which  the  facts  took  place  -  in short, from
criteria which, when one considers them well, are
purely   subjective.   Their  method  is  to  put
themselves  into  the  position  and  person   of
Christ,  and  then  to attribute to Him what they
would have done under like circumstances. In this
way,   absolutely   a   priori   and   acting  on
philosophical principles which  they  admit  they
hold  but  which  they  affect  to  ignore,  they
proclaim that Christ, according to what they call
His  real  history,  was  not  God  and never did
anything divine, and that as man He did and  said
only what they, judging from the time in which he
lived, can admit Him to have said or done.

Criticism and its Principles

31. And  as  history  receives  its  conclusions,
ready-made,  from  philosophy,  so  too criticism
takes its own from history. The  critic,  on  the
data  furnished  him  by the historian, makes two
parts of all his  documents.  Those  that  remain
after  the  triple elimination above described go
to form the real history; the rest is  attributed
to  the  history of the faith or as it is styled,
to   internal   history.   For   the   Modernists
distinguish  very  carefully  between  these  two
kinds of history, and it is to be noted that they
oppose  the  history of the faith to real history
precisely as real. Thus we have a double  Christ:
a  real  Christ,  and a Christ, the one of faith,
who never really existed; a Christ who has  lived
at  a  given  time  and  in  a given place, and a
Christ who has  never  lived  outside  the  pious
meditations  of  the  believer  - the Christ, for
instance, whom we find in the Gospel of St. John,
which  is  pure  contemplation  from beginning to

32. But the dominion of philosophy  over  history
does  not end here. Given that division, of which
We have spoken, of the documents into two  parts,
the philosopher steps in again with his principle
of vital immanence, and shows how  everything  in
the  history  of the Church is to be explained by
vital emanation. And since the cause or condition
of  every  vital  emanation  whatsoever  is to be
found in some need, it follows that no  fact  can
ante-date   the   need   which   produced   it  -
historically the fact must be  posterior  to  the
need.   See  how  the  historian  works  on  this
principle. He  goes  over  his  documents  again,
whether  they  be  found  in  the Sacred Books or
elsewhere, draws up from them  his  list  of  the
successive  needs of the Church, whether relating
to dogma or liturgy or other matters, and then he
hands  his  list  over  to the critic. The critic
takes in hand  the  documents  dealing  with  the
history  of faith and distributes them, period by
period, so that they correspond exactly with  the
lists  of  needs,  always guided by the principle
that the narration must follow the facts, as  the
facts  follow  the  needs. It may at times happen
that some parts of the Sacred Scriptures, such as
the  Epistles,  themselves  constitute  the  fact
created by the need. Even so, the rule holds that
the age of any document can only be determined by
the age in which each need had manifested  itself
in  the  Church.  Further,  a distinction must be
made between the beginning  of  a  fact  and  its
development,  for  what  is born one day requires
time for growth. Hence the critic must once  more
go over his documents, ranged as they are through
the different ages, and divide  them  again  into
two   parts,  and  divide  them  into  two  lots,
separating those that regard the first  stage  of
the   facts  from  those  that  deal  with  their
development, and  these  he  must  again  arrange
according to their periods.

33.  Then  the  philosopher must come in again to
impose  on  the  historian  the   obligation   of
following  in  all  his  studies the precepts and
laws of evolution. It is next for  the  historian
to scrutinise his documents once more, to examine
carefully  the   circumstances   and   conditions
affecting   the   Church   during  the  different
periods, the conserving force she has put  forth,
the  needs  both  internal and external that have
stimulated her to progress, the obstacles she has
had to encounter, in a word everything that helps
to determine the manner  in  which  the  laws  of
evolution  have been fulfilled in her. This done,
he finishes his work by drawing up in  its  broad
lines  a history of the development of the facts.
The critic follows and fits in the  rest  of  the
documents  with this sketch; he takes up his pen,
and soon the history is made complete. Now we ask
here:  Who  is  the  author  of this history? The
historian?  The  critic?  Assuredly,  neither  of
these  but the philosopher. From beginning to end
everything in it is a priori, and a priori  in  a
way that reeks of heresy. These men are certainly
to be pitied, and of them the Apostle might  well
say:  They  became  vain  in  their thoughts. . .
professing themselves  to  be  wise  they  became
fools  (Rom.  i.  21, 22); but, at the same time,
they excite just indignation when they accuse the
Church  of  torturing  the  texts,  arranging and
confusing them after its own fashion, and for the
needs of its cause. In this they are accusing the
Church  of  something   for   which   their   own
conscience plainly reproaches them.

How the Bible is Dealt With

34. The result of this dismembering of the Sacred
Books and this partition of them  throughout  the
centuries is naturally that the Scriptures can no
longer be attributed to the authors  whose  names
they  bear.  The Modernists have no hesitation in
affirming  commonly   that   these   books,   and
especially  the  Pentateuch  and  the first three
Gospels, have been gradually formed by  additions
to    a    primitive   brief   narration   -   by
interpolations  of  theological  or   allegorical
interpretation,   by   transitions,   by  joining
different passages together. This means, briefly,
that  in  the  Sacred Books we must admit a vital
evolution, springing from and corresponding  with
evolution of faith. The traces of this evolution,
they tell us, are so visible in  the  books  that
one  might almost write a history of them. Indeed
this history they do  actually  write,  and  with
such an easy security that one might believe them
to have with their own eyes seen the  writers  at
work  through  the  ages  amplifying  the  Sacred
Books. To aid them in this  they  call  to  their
assistance  that  branch  of criticism which they
call textual, and labour to show that such a fact
or  such  a phrase is not in its right place, and
adducing other arguments of the same  kind.  They
seem, in fact, to have constructed for themselves
certain types of narration and  discourses,  upon
which  they  base  their decision as to whether a
thing is out of place or not. Judge  if  you  can
how  men  with  such  a  system  are  fitted  for
practising this kind of criticism. To  hear  them
talk  about  their  works on the Sacred Books, in
which they have been able  to  discover  so  much
that  is defective, one would imagine that before
them nobody ever even glanced through  the  pages
of  Scripture,  whereas the truth is that a whole
multitude of Doctors, infinitely superior to them
in genius, in erudition, in sanctity, have sifted
the Sacred Books in every way, and  so  far  from
finding  imperfections  in them, have thanked God
more and more the  deeper  they  have  gone  into
them,  for His divine bounty in having vouchsafed
to speak thus to men. Unfortunately, these  great
Doctors did not enjoy the same aids to study that
are possessed by the Modernists for  their  guide
and  rule,  -  a  philosophy  borrowed  from  the
negation of God, and a criterion  which  consists
of themselves.

We  believe,  then,  that  We have set forth with
sufficient clearness the historical method of the
Modernists.  The  philosopher  leads the way, the
historian follows, and then  in  due  order  come
internal  and  textual criticism. And since it is
characteristic of the first cause to  communicate
its virtue to secondary causes, it is quite clear
that the criticism We are concerned  with  is  an
agnostic,     immanentist,    and    evolutionist
criticism. Hence  anybody  who  embraces  it  and
employs  it,  makes  profession  thereby  of  the
errors contained in it,  and  places  himself  in
opposition  to Catholic faith. This being so, one
cannot  but   be   greatly   surprised   by   the
consideration  which is attached to it by certain
Catholics. Two causes may be assigned  for  this:
first,  the  close  alliance,  independent of all
differences of nationality or religion, which the
historians and critics of this school have formed
among   themselves;   second,    the    boundless
effrontery of these men. Let one of them but open
his mouth and the others applaud him  in  chorus,
proclaiming  that  science  has made another step
forward; let an outsider but hint at a desire  to
inspect  the new discovery with his own eyes, and
they are on him in a body; deny it - and you  are
an  ignoramus;  embrace  it  and  defend it - and
there is no praise too warm for you. In this  way
they  win over any who, did they but realise what
they are doing, would shrink  back  with  horror.
The  impudence  and  the domineering of some, and
the thoughtlessness  and  imprudence  of  others,
have combined to generate a pestilence in the air
which  penetrates  everywhere  and  spreads   the
contagion. But let us pass to the apologist.

The Modernist as Apologist

35.  The  Modernist apologist depends in two ways
on the philosopher. First,  indirectly,  inasmuch
as his theme is history - history dictated, as we
have seen, by  the  philosopher;  and,  secondly,
directly,  inasmuch as he takes both his laws and
his principles from the philosopher.  Hence  that
common  precept  of the Modernist school that the
new apologetics must be  fed  from  psychological
and historical sources. The Modernist apologists,
then, enter  the  arena  by  proclaiming  to  the
rationalists   that  though  they  are  defending
religion, they have no intention of employing the
data  of  the  sacred  books  or the histories in
current use in the Church, and composed according
to  old  methods,  but  real  history  written on
modern principles  and  according  to  rigorously
modern methods. In all this they are not using an
argumentum ad hominem, but are stating the simple
fact  that  they  hold,  that  the truth is to be
found only in this kind  of  history.  They  feel
that  it  is  not  necessary for them to dwell on
their own sincerity in their writings - they  are
already  known to and praised by the rationalists
as fighting under the same banner, and  they  not
only  plume  themselves on these encomiums, which
are a kind of  salary  to  them  but  would  only
provoke  nausea  in a real Catholic, but use them
as an offset to the reprimands of the Church.

But let us see how  the  Modernist  conducts  his
apologetics. The aim he sets before himself is to
make the non-believer attain that  experience  of
the  Catholic  religion  which,  according to the
system, is the basis of faith. There are two ways
open  to  him,  the objective and the subjective.
The first of them proceeds from  agnosticism.  It
tends  to  show that religion, and especially the
Catholic religion, is endowed with such  vitality
as  to compel every psychologist and historian of
good faith to recognise that  its  history  hides
some unknown element. To this end it is necessary
to prove that this religion, as it exists  today,
is  that  which was founded by Jesus Christ; that
is  to  say,  that  it  is  the  product  of  the
progressive  development  of  the  germ  which He
brought into the world. Hence  it  is  imperative
first of all to establish what this germ was, and
this the Modernist claims to be able to do by the
following formula: Christ announced the coming of
the kingdom of God,  which  was  to  be  realised
within  a brief lapse of time and of which He was
to become the Messiah, the  divinely-given  agent
and  ordainer.  Then  it  must  be shown how this
germ, always immanent and permanent in the  bosom
of  the  Church, has gone on slowly developing in
the   course   of   history,   adapting    itself
successively  to  the  different  mediums through
which it has passed, borrowing from them by vital
assimiliation   all   the   dogmatic,   cultural,
ecclesiastical forms  that  served  its  purpose;
whilst,  on  the  other  hand , it surmounted all
obstacles, vanquished all enemies,  and  survived
all  assaults  and  all combats. Anybody who well
and  duly  considers  this  mass  of   obstacles,
adversaries,  attacks,  combats, and the vitality
and  fecundity  which  the   Church   has   shown
throughout  them all, must admit that if the laws
of evolution are visible in her life they fail to
explain  the  whole  of her history - the unknown
rises forth from it and  presents  itself  before
us.  Thus  do  they  argue, never suspecting that
their determination of the primitive germ is an a
priori  of  agnostic and evolutionist philosophy,
and that the formula of it has been  gratuitously
invented   for  the  sake  of  buttressing  their

36. But while they  endeavour  by  this  line  of
reasoning  to  secure  access  for  the  Catholic
religion into souls,  these  new  apologists  are
quite   ready   to  admit  that  there  are  many
distasteful things in it. Nay, they admit openly,
and  with  ill-concealed  satisfaction, that they
have found that even its dogma is not exempt from
errors  and  contradictions.  They  add also that
this is not only excusable but - curiously enough
-  even  right  and  proper.  In the Sacred Books
there are many passages referring to  science  or
history  where  manifest  errors are to be found.
But the subject of these books is not science  or
history  but religion and morals. In them history
and science serve only as a species  of  covering
to  enable  the  religious  and moral experiences
wrapped up in  them  to  penetrate  more  readily
among  the  masses. The masses understood science
and history as they are expressed in these books,
and it is clear that had science and history been
expressed in a more perfect form this would  have
proved  rather  a  hindrance  than  a help. Then,
again,  the  Sacred   Books   being   essentially
religious,  are  consequently necessarily living.
Now life has its own truth  and  its  own  logic,
belonging  as they do to a different order, viz.,
truth of adaptation and of proportion  both  with
the  medium  in  which it exists and with the end
towards which it tends. Finally  the  Modernists,
losing  all  sense  of  control,  go so far as to
proclaim as true and legitimate  everything  that
is explained by life.

We, Venerable Brethren, for whom there is but one
and only truth, and  who  hold  that  the  Sacred
Books,  written under the inspiration of the Holy
Ghost, have God for their author (Conc. Vat.,  De
Revel.,  c. 2) declare that this is equivalent to
attributing to God Himself the lie of utility  or
officious  lie, and We say with St. Augustine: In
an authority so high,  admit  but  one  officious
lie,  and  there will not remain a single passage
of those apparently difficult to practise  or  to
believe,  which  on the same most pernicious rule
may not be explained as  a  lie  uttered  by  the
author  wilfully  and to serve a purpose. (Epist.
28). And thus it will come about, the holy Doctor
continues, that everybody will believe and refuse
to believe what he likes  or  dislikes.  But  the
Modernists  pursue  their  way  gaily. They grant
also that certain arguments adduced in the Sacred
Books,  like  those, for example, which are based
on the prophecies, have no rational foundation to
rest  on.  But  they  will  defend  even these as
artifices of preaching, which  are  justified  by
life. Do they stop here? No, indeed, for they are
ready to admit,  nay,  to  proclaim  that  Christ
Himself  manifestly erred in determining the time
when the coming of the Kingdom of God was to take
place,  and  they  tell  us  that  we must not be
surprised at this since even Christ  was  subject
to the laws of life! After this what is to become
of the dogmas of the Church? The dogmas brim over
with  flagrant  contradictions,  but  what matter
that since, apart from the fact that vital  logic
accepts   them,   they   are   not  repugnant  to
symbolical truth. Are we  not  dealing  with  the
infinite,  and  has  not the infinite an infinite
variety of aspects? In  short,  to  maintain  and
defend  these  theories  they  do not hesitate to
declare that the noblest homage that can be  paid
to  the  Infinite  is  to  make  it the object of
contradictory propositions! But when they justify
even  contradiction,  what  is  it that they will
refuse to justify?

Subjective Arguments

37. But it is not solely by  objective  arguments
that  the  non-believer may be disposed to faith.
There are also subjective ones at the disposal of
the  Modernists,  and  for  those  they return to
their doctrine of immanence. They  endeavour,  in
fact, to persuade their non-believer that down in
the very deeps of his nature and his life lie the
need  and the desire for religion, and this not a
religion of any kind, but the  specific  religion
known   as   Catholicism,  which,  they  say,  is
absolutely postulated by the perfect  development
of  life.  And  here  We  cannot but deplore once
more, and grievously, that  there  are  Catholics
who,  while  rejecting  immanence  as a doctrine,
employ it as a method of apologetics, and who  do
this  so imprudently that they seem to admit that
there is in human  nature  a  true  and  rigorous
necessity with regard to the supernatural order -
and not merely a capacity and a  suitability  for
the  supernatural,  order  -  and  not  merely  a
capacity and a suitability for the  supernatural,
such  as  has  at  all  times  been emphasized by
Catholic apologists. Truth to tell it is only the
moderate  Modernists  who  make this appeal to an
exigency for the Catholic religion.  As  for  the
others,  who  might be called intergralists, they
would show to the non-believer,  hidden  away  in
the very depths of his being, the very germ which
Christ Himself bore in His conscience, and  which
He  bequeathed  to  the  world.  Such,  Venerable
Brethren,  is  a  summary  description   of   the
apologetic  method  of the Modernists, in perfect
harmony, as you may see, with their  doctrines  -
methods  and doctrines brimming over with errors,
made not for edification but for destruction, not
for  the  formation  of  Catholics  but  for  the
plunging of Catholics into  heresy;  methods  and
doctrines that would be fatal to any religion.

The Modernist as Reformer

38.  It  remains  for  Us  now to say a few words
about the Modernist as reformer.  From  all  that
has  preceded,  some  idea  may  be gained of the
reforming mania  which  possesses  them:  in  all
Catholicism  there is absolutely nothing on which
it  does  not  fasten.  Reform   of   philosophy,
especially  in  the  seminaries:  the  scholastic
philosophy is to be relegated to the  history  of
philosophy  among obsolete systems, and the young
men are to  be  taught  modern  philosophy  which
alone is true and suited to the times in which we
live. Reform of theology; rational theology is to
have  modern  philosophy  for its foundation, and
positive theology is to be founded on the history
of  dogma.  As  for  history,  it must be for the
future written and taught only according to their
modern  methods  and principles. Dogmas and their
evolution are to be harmonised with  science  and
history.  In  the  Catechism  no dogmas are to be
inserted  except  those  that  have   been   duly
reformed  and  are  within  the  capacity  of the
people. Regarding worship, the number of external
devotions  is  to  be  reduced, or at least steps
must be taken to prevent their further  increase,
though, indeed, some of the admirers of symbolism
are disposed to be more indulgent on  this  head.
Ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed
in  all  its  branches,  but  especially  in  its
disciplinary  and dogmatic parts. Its spirit with
the public conscience, which is  not  wholly  for
democracy;  a  share in ecclesiastical government
should therefore be given to the lower  ranks  of
the  clergy, and even to the laity, and authority
should be decentralised. The Roman Congregations,
and especially the index and the Holy Office, are
to be reformed. The ecclesiastical authority must
change  its  line  of  conduct  in the social and
political world; while keeping outside  political
and  social organization, it must adapt itself to
those which exist in order to penetrate them with
its spirit. With regard to morals, they adopt the
principle of the Americanists,  that  the  active
virtues are more important than the passive, both
in the estimation in which they must be held  and
in  the exercise of them. The clergy are asked to
return to their ancient  lowliness  and  poverty,
and in their ideas and action to be guided by the
principles of Modernism; and there are some  who,
echoing the teaching of their Protestant masters,
would  like  the  suppression  of  ecclesiastical
celibacy.  What is there left in the Church which
is  not  to  be  reformed  according   to   their

Modernism and All the Heresies

39.  It may be, Venerable Brethren, that some may
think We have dwelt too long on  this  exposition
of  the  doctrines  of the Modernists. But it was
necessary,  both  in  order   to   refute   their
customary  charge that We do not understand their
ideas, and to show that  their  system  does  not
consist in scattered and unconnected theories but
in a perfectly organised body, all the  parts  of
which  are  solidly  joined  so  that  it  is not
possible to admit one without admitting all.  For
this  reason,  too,  We  have  had  to  give this
exposition a somewhat didactic form  and  not  to
shrink  from  employing  certain uncouth terms in
use among the Modernists. And  now,  can  anybody
who  takes  a  survey  of  the  whole  system  be
surprised  that  We  should  define  it  as   the
synthesis  of  all  heresies? Were one to attempt
the task of collecting together  all  the  errors
that  have been broached against the faith and to
concentrate the sap and  substance  of  them  all
into  one,  he  could not better succeed than the
Modernists have done. Nay, they  have  done  more
than  this,  for,  as  we have already intimated,
their system means the  destruction  not  of  the
Catholic religion alone but of all religion. With
good reason do the rationalists applaud them, for
the  most  sincere  and  the  frankest  among the
rationalists warmly  welcome  the  modernists  as
their most valuable allies.

For   let  us  return  for  a  moment,  Venerable
Brethren, to that  most  disastrous  doctrine  of
agnosticism.  By  it  every avenue that leads the
intellect to God is barred,  but  the  Modernists
would seek to open others available for sentiment
and action. Vain efforts! For, after all, what is
sentiment  but  the  reaction  of the soul on the
action of the intelligence or  the  senses.  Take
away  the intelligence, and man, already inclined
to follow the senses, becomes their slave.  Vain,
too,  from  another  point of view, for all these
fantasias on the religious sentiment  will  never
be able to destroy common sense, and common sense
tells us that emotion and everything  that  leads
the heart captive proves a hindrance instead of a
help to the discovery  of  truth.  We  speak,  of
course,  of  truth  in itself - as for that other
purely subjective truth, the fruit  of  sentiment
and  action,  if  it  serves  its purpose for the
jugglery of words, it is of no use to the man who
wants  to  know  above all things whether outside
himself there is a God into whose hands he is one
day  to  fall.  True,  the  Modernists do call in
experience to eke out their system, but what does
this  experience  add  to  sentiment?  Absolutely
nothing  beyond  a  certain   intensity   and   a
proportionate  deepening of the conviction of the
reality of the object. But these two  will  never
make  sentiment  into anything but sentiment, nor
deprive it of  its  characteristic  which  is  to
cause  deception  when  the  intelligence  is not
there to guide it;  on  the  contrary,  they  but
confirm  and  aggravate  this characteristic, for
the more intense sentiment  is  the  more  it  is
sentimental.  In  matters  of religious sentiment
and religious  experience,  you  know,  Venerable
Brethren,  how  necessary  is  prudence  and  how
necessary,  too,  the   science   which   directs
prudence. You know it from your own dealings with
sounds,  and  especially  with  souls   in   whom
sentiment  predominates;  you  know  it also from
your reading of ascetical books - books for which
the  Modernists have but little esteem, but which
testify  to  a  science  and  a   solidity   very
different  from  theirs,  and to a refinement and
subtlety of observation of which  the  Modernists
give  no  evidence. Is it not really folly, or at
least  sovereign  imprudence,  to  trust  oneself
without  control to Modernist experiences? Let us
for a moment put  the  question:  if  experiences
have so much value in their eyes, why do they not
attach  equal  weight  to  the  experience   that
thousands  upon  thousands of Catholics have that
the Modernists are on  the  wrong  road?  It  is,
perchance, that all experiences except those felt
by the Modernists are false  and  deceptive?  The
vast  majority  of  mankind holds and always will
hold firmly that sentiment and experience  alone,
when not enlightened and guided by reason, do not
lead to the knowledge of God. What remains, then,
but  the annihilation of all religion, - atheism?
Certainly it is not the doctrine of  symbolism  -
will   save   us   from  this.  For  if  all  the
intellectual elements,  as  they  call  them,  of
religion are pure symbols, will not the very name
of God or of divine personality be also a symbol,
and  if this be admitted will not the personality
of God become a  matter  of  doubt  and  the  way
opened  to Pantheism? And to Pantheism that other
doctrine of the divine immanence leads  directly.
For  does it, We ask, leave God distinct from man
or not? If yes,  in  what  does  it  differ  from
Catholic   doctrine,   and  why  reject  external
revelation? If no, we are at once  in  Pantheism.
Now  the  doctrine  of immanence in the Modernist
acceptation  holds  and  professes   that   every
phenomenon  of  conscience  proceeds  from man as
man. The rigorous conclusion  from  this  is  the
identity  of man with God, which means Pantheism.
The same conclusion follows from the  distinction
Modernists  make  between  science and faith. The
object of science they say is the reality of  the
knowable;  the  object of faith, on the contrary,
is the reality of the unknowable. Now what  makes
the  unknowable  unknowable  is its disproportion
with the intelligible  -  a  disproportion  which
nothing  whatever,  even  in  the doctrine of the
Modernist, can  suppress.  Hence  the  unknowable
remains  and  will eternally remain unknowable to
the believer as well as to the  man  of  science.
Therefore  if  any religion at all is possible it
can  only  be  the  religion  of  an   unknowable
reality.  And why this religion might not be that
universal  soul  of  the  universe,  of  which  a
rationalist  speaks,  is  something  We  do  see.
Certainly this suffices to  show  superabundantly
by   how   many  roads  Modernism  leads  to  the
annihilation of all religion. The first  step  in
this  direction  was  taken by Protestantism; the
second is made by Modernism; the next will plunge
headlong into atheism.


40.  To penetrate still deeper into Modernism and
to find a suitable remedy for such a  deep  sore,
it behoves Us, Venerable Brethren, to investigate
the causes which have  engendered  it  and  which
foster   its   growth.  That  the  proximate  and
immediate cause consists in a perversion  of  the
mind  cannot  be open to doubt. The remote causes
seem to us to be reduced to  two:  curiosity  and
pride.  Curiosity  by  itself,  if  not prudently
regulated, suffices to explain all  errors.  Such
is  the opinion of Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI.,
who  wrote:  A  lamentable  spectacle   is   that
presented by the aberrations of human reason when
it yields to the spirit of novelty, when  against
the  warning  of  the  Apostle  it  seeks to know
beyond what it is meant to know, and when relying
too  much  on  itself  it  thinks it can find the
fruit outside the Church wherein truth  is  found
without   the  slightest  shadow  of  error  (Ep.
Encycl. Singulari nos, 7 Kal. Jul. 1834).

But it is pride which exercises  an  incomparably
greater sway over the soul to blind it and plunge
it into error, and pride sits in Modernism as  in
its  own  house, finding sustenance everywhere in
its doctrines and an occasion to flaunt itself in
all   its   aspects.  It  is  pride  which  fills
Modernists with that confidence in themselves and
leads  them to hold themselves up as the rule for
all,  pride  which  puffs  them  up   with   that
vainglory  which allows them to regard themselves
as the sole possessors of  knowledge,  and  makes
them  say,  inflated with presumption, We are not
as the rest of  men,  and  which,  to  make  them
really  not  as  other men, leads them to embrace
all kinds of the most  absurd  novelties;  it  is
pride   which   rouses  in  them  the  spirit  of
disobedience  and  causes  them   to   demand   a
compromise  between  authority and liberty; it is
pride that makes of them the reformers of others,
while they forget to reform themselves, and which
begets  their  absolute  want  of   respect   for
authority,  not  excepting the supreme authority.
No, truly,  there  is  no  road  which  leads  so
directly  and  so  quickly to Modernism as pride.
When a Catholic laymen or a priest  forgets  that
precept of the Christian life which obliges us to
renounce  ourselves  if  we  would  follow  Jesus
Christ and neglects to tear pride from his heart,
ah! but he is a fully ripe subject for the errors
of  Modernism. Hence, Venerable Brethren, it will
be your first duty to thwart such proud  men,  to
employ  them  only  in  the  lowest and obscurest
offices; the higher they try to rise,  the  lower
let  them be placed, so that their lowly position
may deprive them of the power of causing  damage.
Sound your young clerics, too, most carefully, by
yourselves  and  by   the   directors   of   your
seminaries, and when you find the spirit of pride
among any of them reject them without compunction
from  the  priesthood. Would to God that this had
always been done with the  proper  vigilance  and

41. If we pass from the moral to the intellectual
causes of Modernism,  the  first  which  presents
itself,  and  the  chief  one, is ignorance. Yes,
these very Modernists who pose as Doctors of  the
Church, who puff out their cheeks when they speak
of modern philosophy, and show such contempt  for
scholasticism, have embraced the one with all its
false glamour  because  their  ignorance  of  the
other  has  left  them without the means of being
able to recognise confusion of  thought,  and  to
refute  sophistry.  Their  whole system, with all
its errors, has been born of the alliance between
faith and false philosophy.

Methods of Propagandism

42.  If  only  they  had  displayed less zeal and
energy in  propagating  it!  But  such  is  their
activity  and  such their unwearying capacity for
work on behalf of their cause,  that  one  cannot
but  be  pained  to see them waste such labour in
endeavouring to ruin the Church when  they  might
have  been  of  such  service  to  her  had their
efforts been better employed. Their  articles  to
delude men's minds are of two kinds, the first to
remove obstacles from their path, the  second  to
devise  and  apply  actively  and patiently every
instrument that can  serve  their  purpose.  They
recognise  that  the three chief difficulties for
them are scholastic philosophy, the authority  of
the fathers and tradition, and the magisterium of
the Church, and on these  they  wage  unrelenting
war.  For scholastic philosophy and theology they
have only ridicule and contempt.  Whether  it  is
ignorance  or  fear,  or both, that inspires this
conduct in them, certain it is that  the  passion
for  novelty is always united in them with hatred
of scholasticism, and there is no surer sign that
a  man  is  on  the way to Modernism than when he
begins to  show  his  dislike  for  this  system.
Modernists and their admirers should remember the
proposition condemned by Pius IX: The method  and
principles  which  have  served  the  doctors  of
scholasticism when treating of theology no longer
correspond with the exigencies of our time or the
progress  of  science  (Syll.  Prop.  13).   They
exercise  all  their ingenuity in diminishing the
force and falsifying the character of  tradition,
so  as  to  rob  it  of  all  its weight. But for
Catholics the second Council of Nicea will always
have  the  force  of law, where it condemns those
who dare, after the impious fashion of  heretics,
to   deride  the  ecclesiastical  traditions,  to
invent novelties of some kind . . . or  endeavour
by  malice  or  craft to overthrow any one of the
legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church; and
Catholics will hold for law, also, the profession
of  the  fourth  Council  of  Constantinople:  We
therefore profess to conserve and guard the rules
bequeathed to the  Holy  Catholic  and  Apostolic
Church by the Holy and most illustrious Apostles,
by the orthodox Councils, both general and local,
and by every one of those divine interpreters the
Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Wherefore  the
Roman  Pontiffs,  Pius  IV. and Pius IX., ordered
the insertion in the profession of faith  of  the
following  declaration:  I  most firmly admit and
embrace   the   apostolic   and    ecclesiastical
traditions     and    other    observances    and
constitutions of the Church. The Modernists  pass
the same judgment on the most holy Fathers of the
Church as they pass on tradition; decreeing, with
amazing  effrontery  that,  while personally most
worthy of  all  veneration,  they  were  entirely
ignorant of history and criticism, for which they
are only excusable on  account  of  the  time  in
which  they lived. Finally, the Modernists try in
every way to diminish and weaken the authority of
the    ecclesiastical   magisterium   itself   by
sacrilegiously falsifying its origin,  character,
and rights, and by freely repeating the calumnies
of its adversaries. To all the band of Modernists
may  be applied those words which Our Predecessor
wrote with such pain: To bring contempt and odium
on  the  mystic Spouse of Christ, who is the true
light, the children of darkness have been wont to
cast  in  her  face  before  the  world  a stupid
calumny, and perverting the meaning and force  of
things  and words, to depict her as the friend of
darkness and ignorance, and the enemy  of  light,
science, and progress (Motu-proprio, Ut mysticum,
14  March,  1891).  This  being   so,   Venerable
Brethren, no wonder the Modernists vent all their
gall and hatred on Catholics who  sturdily  fight
the battles of the Church. But of all the insults
they  heap  on  them  those  of   ignorance   and
obstinacy  are  the favourites. When an adversary
rises up against them with an erudition and force
that  render  him redoubtable, they try to make a
conspiracy of silence around him to  nullify  the
effects of his attack, while in flagrant contrast
with this policy  towards  Catholics,  they  load
with   constant  praise  the  writers  who  range
themselves on their side,  hailing  their  works,
excluding novelty in every page, with choruses of
applause; for them the scholarship of a writer is
in  direct  proportion to the recklessness of his
attacks on  antiquity,  and  of  his  efforts  to
undermine   tradition   and   the  ecclesiastical
magisterium; when one of their number falls under
the condemnations of the Church the rest of them,
to the horror of  good  Catholics,  gather  round
him,  heap  public  praise upon him, venerate him
almost as a martyr to truth. The  young,  excited
and  confused  by  all this glamour of praise and
abuse, some of them afraid of  being  branded  as
ignorant,   others  ambitious  to  be  considered
learned, and both classes  goaded  internally  by
curiosity  and  pride,  often  surrender and give
themselves up to Modernism.

43.  And  here  we  have  already  some  of   the
artifices employed by Modernists to exploit their
wares.  What  efforts  they  make  to   win   new
recruits!   They   seize   upon   chairs  in  the
seminaries and universities, and  gradually  make
of  them  chairs of pestilence. From these sacred
chairs they scatter, though  not  always  openly,
the seeds of their doctrines; they proclaim their
teachings without disguise  in  congresses;  they
introduce  them and make them the vogue in social
institutions. Under their  own  names  and  under
pseudonyms   they   publish   numbers  of  books,
newspapers, reviews, and sometimes  one  and  the
same  writer  adopts  a  variety of pseudonyms to
trap the incautious reader into  believing  in  a
whole  multitude  of Modernist writers - in short
they   leave   nothing   untried,   in    action,
discourses,  writings,  as  though  there  were a
frenzy of propaganda upon them. And  the  results
of  all  this?  We have to lament at the sight of
many young men once full of promise  and  capable
of  rendering  great  services to the Church, now
gone astray. And  there  is  another  sight  that
saddens  Us too: that of so many other Catholics,
who, while they certainly do not go so far as the
former,  have yet grown into the habit, as though
they had been breathing a poisoned atmosphere, of
thinking  and speaking and writing with a liberty
that ill becomes Catholics. They are to be  found
among  the laity, and in the ranks of the clergy,
and they are not wanting even in the  last  place
where one might expect to meet them, in religious
institutes. If they treat of biblical  questions,
it  is  upon  Modernist principles; if they write
history, it is to search out with  curiosity  and
to  publish openly, on the pretext of telling the
whole truth and with a species  of  ill-concealed
satisfaction,  everything that looks to them like
a stain in the history of the Church.  Under  the
sway  of  certain  a priori rules they destroy as
far as they  can  the  pious  traditions  of  the
people,  and  bring  ridicule  on  certain relics
highly venerable from their antiquity.  They  are
possessed  by  the  empty  desire of being talked
about, and they know they would never succeed  in
this  were  they to say only what has been always
said.  It  may  be  that  they   have   persuaded
themselves  that  in  all  this  they  are really
serving God and the Church - in reality they only
offend   both,   less   perhaps  by  their  works
themselves than by the spirit in which they write
and  by  the encouragement they are giving to the
extravagances of the Modernists.


44. Against this host of grave  errors,  and  its
secret  and  open  advance,  Our  Predecessor Leo
XIII.,  of  happy  memory,   worked   strenuously
especially  as  regards  the  Bible,  both in his
words and his acts. But, as  we  have  seen,  the
Modernists   are  not  easily  deterred  by  such
weapons - with an affectation of  submission  and
respect, they proceeded to twist the words of the
Pontiff to their own sense,  and  his  acts  they
described   as   directed   against  others  than
themselves. And the evil has gone  on  increasing
from   day   to   day.  We  therefore,  Venerable
Brethren, have determined to adopt  at  once  the
most  efficacious  measures  in Our power, and We
beg and conjure you to see to  it  that  in  this
most grave matter nobody will ever be able to say
that  you  have  been  in  the  slightest  degree
wanting  in vigilance, zeal or firmness. And what
We ask of you and  expect  of  you,  We  ask  and
expect also of all other pastors of souls, of all
educators and professors of  clerics,  and  in  a
very  special  way  of the superiors of religious

I. - The Study of Scholastic   Philosophy

45. In the first place, with regard  to  studies,
We  will and ordain that scholastic philosophy be
made the basis of the sacred  sciences.  It  goes
without saying that if anything is met with among
the scholastic doctors which may be  regarded  as
an  excess  of  subtlety,  or which is altogether
destitute  of  probability,  We  have  no  desire
whatever  to  propose  it  for  the  imitation of
present  generations  (Leo  XIII.  Enc.   Aeterni
Patris).  And  let it be clearly understood above
all things  that  the  scholastic  philosophy  We
prescribe  is  that  which the Angelic Doctor has
bequeathed to us, and We, therefore, declare that
all  the  ordinances  of  Our Predecessor on this
subject continue fully in force, and, as  far  as
may be necessary, We do decree anew, and confirm,
and ordain that they be by all strictly observed.
In  seminaries where they may have been neglected
let the Bishops impose  them  and  require  their
observance,  and  let  this  apply  also  to  the
Superiors of religious institutions. Further  let
Professors  remember  that  they  cannot  set St.
Thomas   aside,   especially   in    metaphysical
questions, without grave detriment.

46.   On   this   philosophical   foundation  the
theological edifice  is  to  be  solidly  raised.
Promote   the   study   of   theology,  Venerable
Brethren, by all means in  your  power,  so  that
your clerics on leaving the seminaries may admire
and love it, and always find their delight in it.
For  in  the vast and varied abundance of studies
opening  before  the  mind  desirous  of   truth,
everybody  knows  how  the  old  maxim  describes
theology as so far in front of  all  others  that
every  science  and art should serve it and be to
it as handmaidens (Leo XIII., Lett. ap. In Magna,
Dec.  10,  1889). We will add that We deem worthy
of  praise  those  who  with  full  respect   for
tradition,    the    Holy    Fathers,   and   the
ecclesiastical   magisterium,   undertake,   with
well-balanced  judgment  and  guided  by Catholic
principles (which is not always the  case),  seek
to  illustrate  positive theology by throwing the
light of true history  upon  it.  Certainly  more
attention  must be paid to positive theology than
in the  past,  but  this  must  be  done  without
detriment  to  scholastic theology, and those are
to be disapproved as of Modernist tendencies  who
exalt  positive theology in such a way as to seem
to despise the scholastic.

47. With regard to profane studies suffice it  to
recall  here  what  Our Predecessor has admirably
said: Apply yourselves energetically to the study
of  natural  sciences:  the brilliant discoveries
and the bold and useful applications of them made
in  our times which have won such applause by our
contemporaries will be  an  object  of  perpetual
praise  for  those  that come after us (Leo XIII.
Alloc., March  7,  1880).  But  this  do  without
interfering   with   sacred   studies,   as   Our
Predecessor in these most grave words prescribed:
If  you  carefully  search for the cause of those
errors you will find that it  lies  in  the  fact
that  in  these  days  when  the natural sciences
absorb so much study, the more severe  and  lofty
studies  have  been  proportionately  neglected -
some of them have almost  passed  into  oblivion,
some  of  them  are  pursued in a half-hearted or
superficial way, and, sad to say, now  that  they
are  fallen from their old estate, they have been
dis figured by perverse doctrines  and  monstrous
errors  (loco  cit.).  We ordain, therefore, that
the study of natural science in the seminaries be
carried on under this law.

II - Practical Application

48.  All  these  prescriptions  and  those of Our
Predecessor are to  be  borne  in  mind  whenever
there  is  question  of  choosing  directors  and
professors   for    seminaries    and    Catholic
Universities.  Anybody who in any way is found to
be  imbued  with  Modernism  is  to  be  excluded
without compunction from these offices, and those
who already occupy them are to be withdrawn.  The
same  policy  is  to be adopted towards those who
favour  Modernism   either   by   extolling   the
Modernists or excusing their culpable conduct, by
criticising scholasticism, the Holy Father, or by
refusing obedience to ecclesiastical authority in
any of its depositaries; and  towards  those  who
show  a  love of novelty in history, archaeology,
biblical exegesis, and finally towards those  who
neglect  the  sacred sciences or appear to prefer
to them the profane.  In  all  this  question  of
studies,  Venerable  Brethren,  you cannot be too
watchful or too constant, but most of all in  the
choice  of professors, for as a rule the students
are modelled after the pattern of their  masters.
Strong  in  the  consciousness  of your duty, act
always prudently but vigorously.

49. Equal diligence and severity are to  be  used
in  examining  and  selecting candidates for Holy
Orders. Far, far from the clergy be the  love  of
novelty!  God  hates the proud and the obstinate.
For the future  the  doctorate  of  theology  and
canon  law must never be conferred on anybody who
has not made the  regular  course  of  scholastic
philosophy; if conferred it shall be held as null
and void. The rules laid  down  in  1896  by  the
Sacred  Congregation  of Bishops and Regulars for
the clerics, both secular and regular,  of  Italy
concerning  the  frequenting of the Universities,
We now decree to  be  extended  to  all  nations.
Clerics  and  priests  inscribed  in  a  Catholic
Institute or University must not  in  the  future
follow  in  civil  Universities those courses for
which there are chairs in the Catholic Institutes
to  which they belong. If this has been permitted
anywhere in the past, We ordain that  it  be  not
allowed  for the future. Let the Bishops who form
the Governing Board of such  Catholic  Institutes
or  Universities  watch  with all care that these
Our commands be constantly observed.

III. - Episcopal Vigilance Over   Publications

50. It is also the duty of the bishops to prevent
writings infected with Modernism or favourable to
it from being read when they have been published,
and  to  hinder  their publication when they have
not. No book or paper or periodical of this  kind
must   ever   be   permitted  to  seminarists  or
university students. The injury to them would  be
equal to that caused by immoral reading - nay, it
would  be  greater  for  such   writings   poison
Christian  life  at  its  very  fount.  The  same
decision is to be taken concerning  the  writings
of some Catholics, who, though not badly disposed
themselves  but  ill-instructed  in   theological
studies and imbued with modern philosophy, strive
to make this harmonize with the  faith,  and,  as
they say, to turn it to the account of the faith.
The name and reputation of  these  authors  cause
them  to be read without suspicion, and they are,
therefore, all the more  dangerous  in  preparing
the way for Modernism.

51.  To  give  you  some more general directions,
Venerable Brethren, in a matter of  such  moment,
We  bid  you do everything in your power to drive
out of your dioceses, even by  solemn  interdict,
any  pernicious  books that may be in circulation
there. The Holy See neglects no means to put down
writings of this kind, but the number of them has
now grown to such an extent that it is impossible
to  censure  them  all. Hence it happens that the
medicine sometimes  arrives  too  late,  for  the
disease has taken root during the delay. We will,
therefore, that the Bishops,  putting  aside  all
fear and the prudence of the flesh, despising the
outcries of the wicked, gently by all  means  but
constantly,  do  each his own share of this work,
remembering the injunctions of Leo XIII.  in  the
Apostolic   Constitution   Officiorum:   Let  the
Ordinaries, acting in this also as  Delegates  of
the  Apostolic See, exert themselves to prescribe
and to put out of reach of the faithful injurious
books  or other writings printed or circulated in
their dioceses. In this passage the  Bishops,  it
is  true,  receive  a right, but they have also a
duty imposed on them. Let no Bishop think that he
fulfils  this duty by denouncing to us one or two
books, while a great many others of the same kind
are  being  published and circulated. Nor are you
to be deterred  by  the  fact  that  a  book  has
obtained  the  Imprimatur elsewhere, both because
this may be merely simulated, and because it  may
have   been   granted   through  carelessness  or
easiness or excessive confidence in the author as
may   sometimes   happen   in  religious  Orders.
Besides, just as the same  food  does  not  agree
equally with everybody, it may happen that a book
harmless in one may, on account of the  different
circumstances,  be  hurtful  in another. Should a
Bishop, therefore, after having taken the  advice
of  prudent persons, deem it right to condemn any
of such books in his diocese, We  not  only  give
him  ample faculty to do so but We impose it upon
him as a duty to do so. Of course, it is Our wish
that  in  such  action proper regard be used, and
sometimes  it  will  suffice  to   restrict   the
prohibition to the clergy; but even in such cases
it will be obligatory on Catholic booksellers not
to put on sale books condemned by the Bishop. And
while We are on this subject of  booksellers,  We
wish  the  Bishops to see to it that they do not,
through desire for  gain,  put  on  sale  unsound
books.  It  is  certain that in the catalogues of
some of them the books of the Modernists are  not
unfrequently  announced  with no small praise. If
they refuse obedience let  the  Bishops  have  no
hesitation  in  depriving  them  of  the title of
Catholic  booksellers;  so  too,  and  with  more
reason,  if  they  have  the  title  of Episcopal
booksellers, and if they have that of Pontifical,
let  them  be  denounced  to  the  Apostolic See.
Finally, We remind all of the  XXVI.  article  of
the  abovementioned  Constitution Officiorum: All
those who have obtained an apostolic  faculty  to
read  and  keep  forbidden books, are not thereby
authorised  to   read   books   and   periodicals
forbidden  by  the  local  Ordinaries, unless the
apostolic faculty expressly  concedes  permission
to read and keep books condemned by anybody.

IV. - Censorship

52.  But  it  is not enough to hinder the reading
and the sale of bad books - it is also  necessary
to prevent them from being printed. Hence let the
Bishops  use  the  utmost  severity  in  granting
permission  to  print.  Under  the  rules  of the
Constitution   Officiorum,   many    publications
require the authorisation of the Ordinary, and in
some dioceses it has been made the custom to have
a  suitable  number  of  official censors for the
examination of  writings.  We  have  the  highest
praise  for  this  institution,  and  We not only
exhort, but We order that it be extended  to  all
dioceses. In all episcopal Curias, therefore, let
censors be appointed for the  revision  of  works
intended  for publication, and let the censors be
chosen from both ranks of the  clergy  -  secular
and  regular - men of age, knowledge and prudence
who will know how to follow the  golden  mean  in
their  judgments.  It  shall  be  their office to
examine everything which requires permission  for
publication  according to Articles XLI. and XLII.
of the above-mentioned Constitution.  The  Censor
shall  give  his  verdict  in  writing.  If it be
favourable, the Bishop will give  the  permission
for  publication  by  the  word Imprimatur, which
must always be preceded by the Nihil  obstat  and
the  name  of  the  Censor.  In the Curia of Rome
official  censors  shall  be  appointed  just  as
elsewhere,  and  the  appointment  of  them shall
appertain to the Master of  the  Sacred  Palaces,
after  they  have  been  proposed to the Cardinal
Vicar and accepted by the Sovereign  Pontiff.  It
will  also  be  the  office  of the Master of the
Sacred Palaces to  select  the  censor  for  each
writing.   Permission  for  publication  will  be
granted by him as well as by the  Cardinal  Vicar
or  his Vicegerent, and this permission, as above
prescribed, must always be preceded by the  Nihil
obstat  and  the name of the Censor. Only on very
rare  and  exceptional  occasions,  and  on   the
prudent  decision  of  the  bishop,  shall  it be
possible to omit mention of the Censor. The  name
of  the  Censor  shall never be made known to the
authors until he shall have  given  a  favourable
decision,  so  that  he  may  not  have to suffer
annoyance either  while  he  is  engaged  in  the
examination  of  a  writing  or in case he should
deny his approval. Censors shall never be  chosen
from  the  religious  orders until the opinion of
the Provincial, or in Rome of  the  General,  has
been  privately  obtained,  and the Provincial or
the General must give a conscientious account  of
the  character,  knowledge  and  orthodoxy of the
candidate. We  admonish  religious  superiors  of
their  solemn  duty never to allow anything to be
published  by  any  of  their  subjects   without
permission from themselves and from the Ordinary.
Finally We affirm and declare that the  title  of
Censor  has  no value and can never be adduced to
give credit to the private opinions of the person
who holds it.

Priests as Editors

53.  Having  said  this  much  in general, We now
ordain in particular a more careful observance of
Article XLII. of the above-mentioned Constitution
Officiorum. It is forbidden to  secular  priests,
without  the previous consent of the Ordinary, to
undertake the direction of papers or periodicals.
This  permission  shall  be  withdrawn  from  any
priest who makes a wrong use of it  after  having
been  admonished.  With regard to priests who are
correspondents or collaborators  of  periodicals,
as  it  happens  not unfrequently that they write
matter infected with Modernism for  their  papers
or  periodicals,  let  the Bishops see to it that
this is not permitted to happen, and, should they
fail  in  this  duty,  let  the  Bishops make due
provision with authority delegated by the Supreme
Pontiff.   Let  there  be,  as  far  as  this  is
possible, a special  Censor  for  newspapers  and
periodicals written by Catholics. It shall be his
office to read in due time each number  after  it
has  been  published,  and  if  he  find anything
dangerous  in  it  let  him  order  that  it   be
corrected.  The  Bishop shall have the same right
even   when   the   Censor   has   seen   nothing
objectionable in a publication.

V. - Congresses

54.  We  have  already  mentioned  congresses and
public gatherings as among the means used by  the
Modernists   to   propagate   and   defend  their
opinions. In the future Bishops shall not  permit
Congresses   of   priests  except  on  very  rare
occasions. When they do permit them it shall only
be  on condition that matters appertaining to the
Bishops or the Apostolic See be  not  treated  in
them,  and  that  no  motions  or  postulates  be
allowed that would imply a usurpation  of  sacred
authority, and that no mention be made in them of
Modernism,  presbyterianism,   or   laicism.   At
Congresses  of  this kind, which can only be held
after permission in writing has been obtained  in
due  time  and  for  each  case,  it shall not be
lawful for priests of other dioceses to take part
without the written permission of their Ordinary.
Further no priest must lose sight of  the  solemn
recommendation  of Leo XIII.: Let priests hold as
sacred the authority of their pastors,  let  them
take it for certain that the sacerdotal ministry,
if  not  exercised  under  the  guidance  of  the
Bishops,  can  never  be  either  holy,  or  very
fruitful or respectable (Lett. Encyc. Nobilissima
Gallorum, 10 Feb., 1884).

VI - Diocesan Watch Committees

55.  But  of what avail, Venerable Brethren, will
be all Our commands and prescriptions if they  be
not  dutifully  and  firmly  carried out? And, in
order that  this  may  be  done,  it  has  seemed
expedient  to  Us  to  extend to all dioceses the
regulations laid  down  with  great  wisdom  many
years ago by the Bishops of Umbria for theirs.

"In  order,"  they  say, "to extirpate the errors
already propagated and to prevent  their  further
diffusion,   and  to  remove  those  teachers  of
impiety through whom the  pernicious  effects  of
such  dif  fusion  are  being  perpetuated,  this
sacred Assembly, following  the  example  of  St.
Charles  Borromeo,  has  decided  to establish in
each of the  dioceses  a  Council  consisting  of
approved  members of both branches of the clergy,
which shall be charged the  task  of  noting  the
existence  of errors and the devices by which new
ones are introduced and propagated, and to inform
the  Bishop  of  the  whole  so  that he may take
counsel with  them  as  to  the  best  means  for
nipping  the  evil  in  the bud and preventing it
spreading for the ruin of souls or, worse  still,
gaining   strength   and  growth"  (Acts  of  the
Congress of the Bishops of Umbria, Nov. 1849, tit
2,  art.  6). We decree, therefore, that in every
diocese a council of  this  kind,  which  We  are
pleased  to  name  "the Council of Vigilance," be
instituted without delay. The priests  called  to
form  part  in  it shall be chosen somewhat after
the manner above prescribed for the Censors,  and
they  shall meet every two months on an appointed
day under the  presidency  of  the  Bishop.  They
shall   be   bound   to   secrecy   as  to  their
deliberations and decisions, and  their  function
shall  be  as  follows:  They  shall  watch  most
carefully for every trace and sign  of  Modernism
both  in  publications  and  in teaching, and, to
preserve from it the clergy and the  young,  they
shall  take  all  prudent, prompt and efficacious
measures. Let  them  combat  novelties  of  words
remembering   the   admonitions   of   Leo  XIII.
(Instruct. S.C. NN. EE. EE., 27 Jan.,  1902):  It
is impossible to approve in Catholic publications
of a style  inspired  by  unsound  novelty  which
seems  to  deride  the  piety of the faithful and
dwells on the introduction  of  a  new  order  of
Christian  life, on new directions of the Church,
on new aspirations of the modern soul, on  a  new
vocation  of  the  clergy,  on  a  new  Christian
civilisation. Language of this kind is not to  be
tolerated  either  in  books  or  from  chairs of
learning. The Councils must not neglect the books
treating  of  the  pious  traditions of different
places or of sacred relics. Let them  not  permit
such  questions  to  be  discussed in periodicals
destined  to  stimulate   piety,   neither   with
expressions savouring of mockery or contempt, nor
by dogmatic pronouncements, especially  when,  as
is  often the case, what is stated as a certainty
either does not pass the limits of probability or
is merely based on prejudiced opinion. Concerning
sacred  relics,  let  this  be  the  rule:   When
Bishops,  who  alone  are judges in such matters,
know for certain the a relic is not genuine,  let
them remove it at once from the veneration of the
faithful;  if  the  authentications  of  a  relic
happen   to   have   been   lost   through  civil
disturbances, or in any other way, let it not  be
exposed  for  public  veneration until the Bishop
has verified it. The argument of prescription  or
well-founded  presumption  is to have weight only
when devotion to a relic is commendable by reason
of  its  antiquity, according to the sense of the
Decree issued in  1896  by  the  Congregation  of
Indulgences and Sacred Relics: Ancient relics are
to retain the veneration they have always enjoyed
except  when  in  individual  instances there are
clear  arguments   that   they   are   false   or
suppositions.   In   passing  judgment  on  pious
traditions be it always borne  in  mind  that  in
this   matter   the   Church  uses  the  greatest
prudence, and that she does not allow  traditions
of  this kind to be narrated in books except with
the utmost caution and with the insertion of  the
declaration  imposed by Urban VIII, and even then
she does not guarantee  the  truth  of  the  fact
narrated;  she  simply  does but forbid belief in
things for which human arguments are not wanting.
On  this matter the Sacred Congregation of Rites,
thirty  years  ago,  decreed  as  follows:  These
apparitions  and  revelations  have  neither been
approved nor condemned by the Holy See, which has
simply  allowed  that  they be believed on purely
human faith, on the tradition which they  relate,
corroborated  by testimonies and documents worthy
of credence (Decree, May 2,  1877).  Anybody  who
follows  this rule has no cause for fear. For the
devotion based on any apparition, in as far as it
regards the fact itself, that is to say in as far
as it is relative, always implies the  hypothesis
of  the  truth of the fact; while in as far as it
is absolute, it  must  always  be  based  on  the
truth,  seeing  that its object is the persons of
the saints who are honoured. The same is true  of
relics.  Finally,  We  entrust to the Councils of
Vigilance the duty of overlooking assiduously and
diligently   social   institutions   as  well  as
writings on social questions  so  that  they  may
harbour  no  trace  of  Modernism,  but  obey the
prescriptions of the Roman Pontiffs.

VII - Triennial Returns

56. Lest what We have laid down thus  far  should
fall  into  oblivion, We will and ordain that the
Bishops  of  all  dioceses,  a  year  after   the
publication  of  these  letters  and  every three
years thenceforward, furnish the Holy See with  a
diligent    and   sworn   report   on   all   the
prescriptions  contained  in  them,  and  on  the
doctrines  that  find  currency among the clergy,
and  especially  in  the  seminaries  and   other
Catholic  institutions,  and  We  impose the like
obligation on the Generals  of  Religious  Orders
with regard to those under them.

57.  This,  Venerable  Brethren,  is what we have
thought it our duty  to  write  to  you  for  the
salvation  of all who believe. The adversaries of
the Church will doubtless abuse what we have said
to  refurbish  the  old  calumny  by which we are
traduced as the  enemy  of  science  and  of  the
progress  of  humanity.  In order to oppose a new
answer to such accusations, which the history  of
the  Christian  religion refutes by never failing
arguments, it is Our intention to  establish  and
develop  by  every  means  in our power a special
Institute in which, through the  co-operation  of
those  Catholics  who  are most eminent for their
learning,  the  progress  of  science  and  other
realms  of  knowledge  may  be promoted under the
guidance and  teaching  of  Catholic  truth.  God
grant that we may happily realise our design with
the ready assistance of  all  those  who  bear  a
sincere  love  for  the  Church of Christ. But of
this we will speak on another occasion.

58.   Meanwhile,   Venerable   Brethren,    fully
confident  in  your zeal and work, we beseech for
you with our whole heart and soul  the  abundance
of  heavenly  light, so that in the midst of this
great  perturbation  of  men's  minds  from   the
insidious invasions of error from every side, you
may see clearly what you  ought  to  do  and  may
perform  the  task  with  all  your  strength and

May Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of  our
faith,  be  with  you  by  His power; and may the
Immaculate Virgin, the destroyer of all heresies,
be  with you by her prayers and aid. And We, as a
pledge of Our affection and of divine  assistance
in  adversity, grant most affectionately and with
all Our heart to you, your clergy and people  the
Apostolic Benediction.

Given  at  St.  Peter's,  Rome, on the 8th day of
September,  1907,   the   fifth   year   of   our
Pontificate. PIUS X

Freemasonry must die, or liberty must die." -- Charles G. Finney


"Those who sin are slaves, and slaves have no rights." -- Jesus Christ, John 8:34

"Qabalah is the heart of the Western Hermetic tradition; it is the foundation upon which the art of Western magic rests." -- Sandra and Chic Cicero, the authors of "The Essencial Golden Dawn: An Introduction to High Magic", page 96. Llewlellyn Publications "For by thy sorceries were all nations decieved." Rev. 18:23
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-- Thomas Penn

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"Join me in battle, little children, against the black beast, Masonry..." Mother Mary [source: Father Gobbi, Evolution & Freemasonry]
"Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye make to worship them; and I will carry you away beyond Babylon."
Acts 7:43 KJV
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.." (II Corinthians 6:18 KJV)


Joan of Arc on the Bohemians

Seal of Solomon and Freemasonry graphical text link to homesite.