Written by John J. Arechiga
“Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them.” [Douay-Rheims translation, Romans 1:19]
The days of yore – traditional Catholicism – effectively ended on July 17, 1967.
Why? On that date Pope Saint Pius X’s comprehensive Oath Against Modernization was replaced with a tepid Profession of Faith. Arguably, the tepid Profession of Faith reopened the modernist floodgates on July 17, 1967 – and is a day that will live in modernist infamy.
A collateral issue is whether the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s tepid Profession of Faith actually abrogated (I.e., did away with) Pius X’s Motu Proprio Oath Against Modernization. This is an issue best left to canon lawyers and Cardinals…
It bears repeating that on September 8, 1907, Pope Saint Pius X did not mince words when he wrote Pascendi Dominici Gregisabout Catholic modernists:
“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.” [Paragraph 2]
“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 (sic) between them, and thus to pass to an examination of the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for averting the evil.” [Paragraph 4]
“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, a 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 doctrines.” [Paragraph 5]
Three years later, on September 10, 1910, Pope St. Pius X, followed up with Sacrorum antistitum, a comprehensive Motu Proprio Oath Against Modernism, to be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.
Interestingly, Sacrorum antistitum is available on the Vatican website in Latin only. You have to look elsewhere for an online English translation. An English print translation of “The Oath Against the Errors of Modernism” can be found in Henry Denzinger’s renowned The Sources of Catholic Dogma, 30th edition, DS (paragraphs) 2145-2147. You have to wonder whether the modernists are trying to hide this oath. The Denzinger translation is substantially as follows:
“I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:19), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical’ misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.
“Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.
“Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.
“I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God. . .” [Denzinger, 30th edition, DS 2145-2147]
The first part of the comprehensive Oath Against Modernism is a strong affirmation of the principal Catholic truths opposed to Modernism: the demonstrability of God’s existence by human reason, the value of miracles and prophecies as criteria of revelation, the historical institution of the Church founded by Christ, the invariable constancy of the essentials of Catholic tradition, and the reasonableness and supernaturality of the Christian faith. The second part of the oath is an expression of interior assent to the decree Lamentabili Sane Exitu and the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis. Particular modernist errors were singled out for censure and rejection. The oath closes with a declaration by the oath taker that he or she is completely opposed to the error of the modernists.
On July 17, 1967, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith replaced Pope Saint Pius X’s comprehensive Oath Against Modernism with a tepid Profession of the Faith. The text of the tepid Profession of Faith is substantially as follows:
“I, N., believe and profess with firm faith each and every truth which is contained in the Symbol of the faith, namely:
“I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
“I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
“I also firmly accept and retain each and every truth regarding the doctrine of faith and morals, whether solemnly defined by the Church or asserted and declared with the ordinary Magisterium, as well as those doctrines proposed by the same Magisterium, above all those which regard the mystery of the Holy Church of Christ, the Sacraments, the Sacrifice of the Mass, as well as the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff.”
Presumably, on July 17, 1967, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith acted with the permission and blessing of Pope Paul VI.
Arguably, the text of the July 17, 1967, Profession of Faith is not an oath against modernism. The halfhearted Profession of Faith does not include a declaration by the oath taker that he or she is completely opposed to the error of the modernists.
In effect the comprehensive September 10, 1910, Oath Against Modernism was replaced with a tepid Profession of Faith on July 17, 1967. In effect the tepid Profession of Faith reopened the modernist floodgates on July 17, 1967.
Arguably, replacement of the comprehensive 1910 Oath Against Modernization with the tepid 1967 Profession of Faith raises a collateral issue. Did the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Profession of Faith abrogate (I.e., do away with) Pius X’s Motu Proprio Oath Against Modernization? Can the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith abrogate a Motu Proprio papal document? This smacks of modernist obfuscation. This is an issue best left to canon lawyers and Cardinals. Moving on…
Today you have to wonder how many priests ordained after July 17, 1967, have even heard about the comprehensive 1910 Oath Against Modernization.
Today’s ruckus – The modernists are here; the modernists have arrived – is not new. The difference is that today’s ruckus has serious implications. The difference is that today’s ruckus has discernible common threads: History may even show either that Pope Francis lost the papacy and spiritual charism by virtue of his scandalous modernist activity and scandalous papal documents or that Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio’s (Pope Francis) election pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis was invalid.
More importantly, buried in the ruckus are questions about how we got to this point. Arguably, it all started July 17, 1967, when the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith replaced the Oath against Modernism first published on September 10, 1910.
The replacement of the 1910 Sacrorum antistitum Oath against Modernism on July 17, 1967, reopened the modernist floodgate – and is a date that will live in modernist infamy…
That being said, it bears repeating: The issue is not removal of the pope, sedevacantism, schism, or the indefectibility of the Church. The primary issue is fraternal correction (Matthew 18:15-18) of scandalous Catholic modernists. To what end fraternal correction? Preferably healing and return of the prodigal sons to the Catholic Church – else excommunication.