Reader Rich sent me the following, comparing the recent quotes from James Carroll in the Boston Globe castigating the Holy Father for Summorum Pontificum with the heretical statements of Alfred Loisy in the early twentieth century, and then contrasting them with the encyclical of Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi. An interesting exercise. Here it is:
1. “Pope Benedict, in last week’s denigration of Christian traditions that lack the unbroken “apostolic succession” of Catholicism, for example, was seeking to protect the “deposit of faith,” those core beliefs that were established by the Apostles themselves. But such literalist reading of apostolic succession goes out the window when one learns that none of the actual Apostles thought that they themselves were establishing a “church” in our sense
, independent of Judaism. Similarly, the New Testament is “inspired,” but what does that mean for appeals to “apostolic” authority when one learns that its 27 books were not “canonized” until three centuries after Jesus?” – James Carroll, Boston Globe, July 16, 2007
2. “Jesus preached the kingdom of God, but the Church came instead.” – Alfred Loisy (1857-1940), French Roman Catholic priest, professor and theologian and advocate of Biblical Modernism in the Roman Catholic Church, whose books were condemned by the Vatican, and was excommunicated in 1908.
3. “To hear [Modernists] 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.” – Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On the Doctrines of the Modernists), September 1907.
St. Pius X was pretty straightforward, eh? Now, that’s pastoral, if you ask me.