Don Pietro Leone Modernism Part 2

Father Pietro Leone continues on with MODERNISM.


2. Obscurantism

Obscurantism concerns the communication of heresy. Heresy is the obstinate denial, or doubt, of a Catholic dogma. 1.

In the past, heresy was explicit. Examples are Martin Luther’s 95 Theses posted on the cathedral door at Wittenberg. Nowadays, by contrast, in the context of Modernism, the heresy is implicit: it is implied, insinuated, suggested, favoured by obscurantism.

This obscurantism operates in two principal ways: by silence or by equivocation (ambiguity). By silence a given doctrine is no longer taught; by equivocation it is expressed in a way that furthers heresy.

We shall consider each way in turn.

a) Silence

Many doctrines are passed over in silence, i.e. those that are considered “negative”, such as the existence of Hell, Mortal Sin, and sacrilegious Holy Communion.

Let us look at sacrilegious Communion. This doctrine is almost never taught or preached any more. In fact, the passage from Saint Paul that condemns it, which appears in the Old Roman Rite on the Feast of Corpus Christi and on Maundy Thursday, was suppressed in the New Rite.2.

Clearly this silence, as indeed silence on any article of doctrine, is not merely something neutral: the failure to accomplish an act; but something positive: a veritable act, an act of denial. Because if someone is entrusted with a doctrine to preach as a moral principle and does not preach it, the only explanation possible is that he does not deem it necessary for moral conduct, and therefore, for all intents and purposes, he denies it.

If a worker notifies the headmaster of a school that there is a live electric cable in a certain classroom, and cautions him to warn students not to enter for fear of electrocution, but the headmaster omits to warn them, his silence, for all intents and purposes, amounts to a denial of the fact in question.

To the Modernists’s silence on Catholic doctrines, we can apply the declaration of Pope Felix III regarding the Patriarch Acacio in the 6th century: ‘Error cui non resistitur approbatur, et veritas quae minime defensatur, opprimitur: error which is not opposed, is approved, and the truth which is defended only minimally, is oppressed’.

b) Equivocation

The second method of obscuring doctrine is equivocation. Let us put this equivocation in its context.

As for witnessing to the Faith, the Catholic assents to that which a doctrine declares and denies that which it denies: he says yes to yes and no to no, as the Lord Himself teaches us (Mt. 5.37): ‘But let your speech be yea, yea, no, no: and that which is over and above these is of the evil one.’ The heretic of the past, by contrast, says yes to no and no to yes; while the modern heretic, by means of equivocation, says yes and no to yes, and yes and no to no.

As for epistemology, it should be said that if a strength of dogma is its clarity, a strength of Modernism is its confusion. Clarity illuminates the mind to accept the truth, while confusion confounds the mind to accept falsity.

We will proceed to give three examples of equivocation.