Modernists and the Synod: Intellectual Causes
This post is part two in a series of posts on the Synod of the Family and Modernism. Read part one here.
The Synod of the Family inches ever closer. We must remember to spend our time in prayer and fasting for this event. We are in the fourth greatest crisis of the Church, according to Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Bishops, Cardinals, and even the Pope are speaking openly about the need for Church teaching to change. Many in attendance at the Synod are in favor of allowing the divorced, remarried, and openly homosexual to receive the Holy Eucharist, without amending their lives. This is scandalous to hear from those who have been ordained to safeguard Christ’s teachings with their very lives.
Pope St. Pius X authored the encyclical Pascendi Domini Grecis, or “On Modernism”. He examines how the enemies of the Church are working to corrupt her teachings. Without further ado, we continue:
Q. Surely you do not stigmatize Modernists, those men who pose as Doctors of the Church, as ignorant men?
A. 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 glamor because their ignorance of the other has left them without the means of being able to recognize confusion of thought, and to refute sophistry.
We see the majority of bishops and Cardinals at the Synod of the Family ready to change Church teaching. They puff out their cheeks with statements like “families have changed in the modern world”, or even:
“As these situations especially affect children, we are aware of a greater urgency to foster a true welcome for these families in our communities. For how can we encourage these parents to raise their children in the Christian life, to give them an example of Christian faith, if we keep them at arm’s length? I am especially grateful to the many pastors, guided by my Predecessors, who have worked diligently to let these families know they are still a part of the Church.” -Pope Francis, 5 August Wednesday Audience
This attitude about how the world is different and thus we need “new avenues of creativity when it comes to families” is rooted in modern philosophy. It is not logical, nor is it Catholic to change Church teaching in order to be more inclusive for those who refuse to repent and amend their lives. Part of following Christ is indeed to take up your cross and follow Him (c.f. Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23), but also to repent of our sins and to turn to God, for indeed the end is near (c.f. Matthew 4:17). To change Church doctrine to allow the unrepentant to receive the Holy Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is damaging to the soul of the sinner as warned by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29:
Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.
Scholasticism, as defined by the Concise Catholic Dictionary of 1943 is “the thought of Christian philosophers and theologians originating in the ninth century. It developed a characteristic method of investigation and exposition of thought applied to both philosophy and theology, and showed the relationship of philosophy and theology. It reached its height in the thirteenth century, and its greatest propounder was St. Thomas Aquinas. Scholastic theology unfolds and vindicates the conclusions deduced from dogmas by theologians.”
Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Aeterni Patris, urged for the return of scholastic thinking:
15. “And, indeed, the knowledge and use of so salutary a science, which flows from the fertilizing founts of the sacred writings, the sovereign Pontiffs, the holy Fathers and the councils, must always be of the greatest assistance to the Church, whether with the view of really and soundly understanding and interpreting the Scriptures, or more safely and to better purpose reading and explaining the Fathers, or for exposing and refuting the various errors and heresies; and in these late days, when those dangerous times described by the Apostle are already upon us, when the blasphemers, the proud, and the seducers go from bad to worse, erring themselves and causing others to err, there is surely a very great need of confirming the dogmas of Catholic faith and confuting heresies.”
Scholasticism allows for understanding and properly interpreting scripture, understanding the fathers and councils of the Church, and to combat heresy and error. We see that scholasticism’s greatest strength is combating error as the enemies of the Church are always trying to introduce their errors into her thinking, much like we are witnessing today.
The aforementioned attitudes of modern philosophy are in conflict with scholasticism as modern philosophy is rooted in error. However, these bishops enjoy the glamour of modern philosophy, as the world is enchanted by it. The world promises riches and praise when adoption of its policies is adopted. Due to their ignorance of scholasticism, they fail to realize the errors and heresies of modern philosophy. Thus, they are unable to realize their error and instead proclaim these errors as truth. Continue to fast and pray, as we are indeed in dark times. Dare we hope that Pope Francis will uphold Church teaching?