Modernism in the Catholic Church, key characteristics

Pope St. Pius Encyclical X Pascendi Dominici Gregis
Key characteristics

The Papal Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis by the great Saint Pius X is a seminal document for the modern traditionalist movement. The document is a fantastic articulation of what we've seen in seminaries, universities and at the highest levels of the Church. It is prophetic.

Key characteristics on Modernism by Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis (PDG)

  • Modernists are driven by pride, curiosity and ignorance. (PDG 40 - 41)
  • Their "dogmas" are driven by a denial of external revelation and denial of the intervention of God into human history. (6)
  • Therefore, their philosophy arises from the "self" and is mired by subjectivity and relativism. (30)
  • They attribute a mystical quality to this interior "sentimentality" (vital immanence). (15)
  • They believe that since religion is an outgrowth of interior need, all religions are equal because they all grew from this interior place of need in humans and not from an exterior intervention by God. (10)
  • Therefore they believe Jesus was an exceptional man but not God. (35)
  • It therefore follows that the Catholic Church is just one more manifestation of this outgrowth and is therefore not set apart as the True Church and cannot claim Jesus as the only Saviour of mankind. (15)
  • Deformation of human history to support their belief that God doesn't work miracles and is not actively intervening in human history. (9)
  • Modernists cannot as a result of this  false doctrine claim superiority of the Catholic Church and cannot identify "falsities" in other religions.  (14)
  • Their philosophy originates from a place of agnosticism and its logical destination is atheism. (6)
  • They believe in the separation of faith from science but then in a bizarre way re-relate them to one another placing faith subordinate to science. (16)
  • Modernism presents itself as a disparate set of philosophies that are not unified but is really a coherent (and diabolical) system. It's purpose is to empty the Catholic Church of its moral and dogmatic authority, to reduce its prominence and compromise its Truth. All of its "parts are solidly joined so that it is not possible to admit one without admitting all". (39)
  • The ecclesiastical magisterium must be subordinate to individual consciences, and should therefore take democratic forms rather than an authoritative form.
  • It is a "synthesis of all heresies".(39)
  • The Modernist system means the destruction not of the Catholic religion alone but of all religion.

The document was prophetic and we see this all over the place, including in universities, seminaries, and certain parts of the Church, including in Cardinal Kasper's theology. Here's an article that answers the question "Is Vatican II is a manifestation of the heresy of Modernism".

Related Articles