Don Pietro Leone On Modernism Part 4

Continuation of Padre Leone on modernism.

Martires de León 1Martyrs For Christ the King, Casualties Of Modernism

c)The Nature of Obscurantism

In summary, we have given various examples in order to show how Modernism obscures Catholic doctrine: it obscures the Catholic doctrine on sacrilegious Communion; on the order of the ends of Marriage; on the sacrificial nature of Holy Mass; and on the primacy of Peter.

However, it does not only obscure these doctrines, but it obscures them in favour of heresy, since keeping silent about sacrilege is the same as denying it; the reversal in listing the ends of marriage insinuates a reversal of their valuation; presenting Holy Mass in Protestant terms, favours Protestant theology on the Eucharist; and qualifying that which is absolute relativises it.

This obscurantism can be considered as a sort of partial or total eclipse of the Faith. It is partial when it consists of an equivocation which does not amount to a formal contradiction; it is total when it passes over Catholic doctrine in silence, or when it expresses the doctrine in contradictory terms: since the denial of the principle of non-contradiction regarding a given doctrine is the denial of the very possibility of its truth. The result of such denial is a Faith without truth: a Faith determined merely by sentiments and subjective attitudes, which is no longer Faith at all.

II The Consequences of Modernism

If the heresy of the past is like ‘a dagger thrust’ in the words of the Abbé Dulac, the modernist heresy is like a slow poison, in such a way that one can go to bed at night with the Faith and wake up in the morning without it.

Modernism acts like a slow poison inasmuch as, by obscuring a dogma, it weakens the virtue of the Faith: that is to say it weakens the adherence of the will to revealed Truth. In this way Modernism disseminates doubt about all the dogmas of the Faith.

As a result, dogmas are labelled as ‘problems’: ‘the problem of the Resurrection’, ‘the problem of Original Sin’, ‘the problem of Hell’, etc. However, the dogmas of the Faith are not problems: rather they are supernatural Truths 5. They are problems only for those who deny the Faith.

The Faith becomes a problem, then, and is relegated a place alongside other Religions, or is treated as one theme amongst a variety of others. In this way the Faith is substituted for “fables”: ‘they will refuse to listen to truth and will turn to fables’: a veritate quidem auditum avertent, ad fabulas autem convertentur’ (2. Tim.4.4).

The members of the hierarchy and clergy, then, in an illegitimate exercise of their munus docendi, lend importance to other Christian confessions or religions, or alternatively, abandon in large measure the teaching of the true Faith in favour of subjects such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, or politics. Abandoning definitions and anathemata, they make recourse in their official declarations to cascades of intellectualizing and impenetrable verbiage and in their sermons to stories and jokes

The emptiness of this teaching, once stripped of its sophistication, is manifested all too clearly in the children’s catechesis. What visions of truth and of holiness are given them in the pure days of their childhood to root them in the Faith and in the life of the sacraments and the virtues, and to summon them in the final hours of their life to the embrace of Divine Mercy?6.

Obscuring a doctrine, in particular by denying the principle of non-contradiction, has a further, and even more notable, effect, inasmuch as it not only obscures the Faith in its entirety, but also the very notion of Truth. For Catholic doctrines are Truths, objective Truths, indeed they are absolute Truths, more certain than the truths of the senses; and to claim that at the same time and in the same way they can be both true and false, is to deny the very possibility of Truth.

The further one departs from the conception of objective truth and reality, the closer one draws to that of subjective truth and reality. In so doing, however, one is on the road that leads to madness, because madness is nothing other than embracing subjective reality.

The order of the True yields to the order of the Good. Truth is no longer considered a guide to behaviour, but “love”: love, however that is no longer defined by reality. This love, inasmuch as it is rational, is manifested in humanism, a humanism lightly coloured by Christianity with a tendency towards activism; inasmuch as it is emotional, it is manifested in sentimentalism and the excessive concern for the sensibilities of others.

The objective yields to the subjective, and the river of Modernism flows back into that vast ocean of subjectivism from whence it came.