Church and Religion

Report from Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia (Italy)

We transcribe (*) below the report from Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia [Paul VI Institute of Brescia (Italy)], about Jean Guitton’s serious confession that: "The II Vatican Council has introduced in the Church the method and doctrine of the Modernism, condemned by St. Pius X".

Reply and “Report” from “Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia”:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Lino Albertelli"
To: Marcelo Fedeli
Sent: Monday, December 02, 2002 11:14 AM
Subject: answer

Brescia, December 3, 2002
S. Paulo (Brazil)

We wish to apologize for the delay in replying your e-mail of October 11, 2002, for we wanted to suitably deepen the delicate question you have presented to us, relative to a consideration of Jean Guitton about the supposed modernist character of the II Vatican Council.

We are, now, in conditions to attach a theologian’s report about the question you roused. We hope it may satisfy your demands of elucidation.

Distinguished regards,

General Office
(Dr. Renato Papetti)


ATTACHMENT (Version in English – ipsis literis – of the attachment sent by Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia)

When speaking of modernism, it is good to make a substantial distinction between the philosophical and theological-biblical theory, which we will discourse about, and the concept of modernity seen as a social-cultural fact, which is often misinterpreted as the first theory.

1. Philosophical and theological-biblical theory

A convenient reconstruction of the “modernism” should be carried out in several periods, not excluding the crisis brought about by aristotelism in the 12th century, up to Loisy’s and Buonaiuti’s theories.

The term “modernism” was coined by St. Pius X’s very document “Pascendi”, whose title is “De modernistarum Doctrinis”.

The thesis there condemned were Loisy’s, expressed both in the “petit livre rouge”, namely, “The gospel and the Church”, of 1902, and in the second “petit livre rouge”. Already on January 17th , 1903, the archbishop of Paris, cardinal Richard, had reproached Loisy’s work. The “modernist” theories that worried the Mastership were precisely those related to the field of biblical interpretation.

Indeed, Loisy makes his the thesis of Harnach about the historical-critic method in the approach of the Scripture, and even of the “Depositum Fidei” with all that it achieves.

Unlike is P.G. Lagrange’s work, who, contemporary to Loisy, also approaches the Scripture with scientific method, but he considers the Bible as anthrop-divine synergy.

He will found in Paris the “Revue Biblique”, to which Loisy will oppose, with the publication of “L’Enseignement biblique”, which will not last too long.

Pope Leo XIII (November 16, 1893) promulgates the document “Provvidentissimus Deus”, where P. Lagrange sees the approbation of his exegete method, which joins faith and critic, where divine inspiration and knowledge of the sacred author do not exclude one another: “God teaches in ineffable way only what the sacred author teaches, this is the traditional principle of exegesis. Next we have the principle of good sense; the sacred author teaches only what he wants to teach. We have the principle of literary critic: the author expresses himself within the genre he chose. There is nothing left for us to do but to confront him with a last principle of logic not less elementary: the term does not contain neither the truth nor the error, for one and the other arise when one makes a judgment, that is, a categorical assertion or denial. And there is no categorical judgment but when the author wants to pronounce it” [1]

With this criterion, P. Lagrange, considering on one hand the principle of divine inspiration, and on the other, the principle of the instrumentality of the author, was convict of being able to avoid the injurious conflict between faith and science.

Pope Leo XIII, precisely by this method of approaching the Scripture, will institute the Pontifical Biblical Commission, including P. Lagrange as well (1902).

P. Lagrange, by his turn, will be placed under suspicion in 1912 by St. Pius X, with a letter from the Consistorial Congregation because of his position about the mosaic origin of the Pentateuch, by him expressed and kept in the IV Scientific Congress of Catholics at Fribourg, on August, 1897.

2. «Modernism» in the II Vatican Council

Sure the II Vatican Council has taken care, like it could not make it, of the serious and great problems of humanity that impoverish and threaten the straight conscience which allows people to recognize good from evil, and to act consequently, according to the dictates of faith and of the dignity of man, image and likeness of God, by identity and vocation.

This is the attention that we find in the pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes of exquisitely evangelic style and that is often accused of modernism. But, as we have introduced the modernism stigmatized by the Pascendi, the II Vatican Council in the dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum sits on a totally different position, so much to offer to the Word of God the primacy of the Church.

There is evident ignorance and bad intention in those who see connivance between the doctrine of the Vatican II relative to Revelation and the thesis on which the modernism is based, that is the historical-critic theory.

We hurry therefore to present our theological reflection on the renewed concept of Revelation, introduced by the Dei Verbum, which goes clearly in the opposite direction of the modernist conception.

The renewed concept of Revelation

In order to comprehend the renewed concept of Revelation of the Vatican II, it is necessary to briefly confront the perspectives of Vatican I and Vatican II, from the historical and theological point of view.

Under the historical-cultural profile, it is known that the perspective and context of the two Councils are radically different. The historical-cultural context in which the formulation of the doctrine of Revelation in the Vatican I gushes is determined by a deep fracture between Christian and modern thought. The problematic on Revelation and on the relationship between faith and reason is strongly conditioned by traditionalist and rationalist tendencies, against which the doctrine of Council is placed. The final intention is the sentence of the errors of the time and the climate is determined by the fact that the Church felt besieged by its adversaries. This controversial situation also influenced the official theology in the following years, which made an effort to defend the truth of faith from the errors, accumulating, however, at the same time, a large cultural delay, because of the hardening and crystallization of theological formulas.

The historical-cultural context of the Vatican II is certainly different: the Church does not intend to proclaim specific dogmas nor to pronounce against heretic positions, but proposes to begin a dialogue with the modern world. The Church, getting out to the uncovered, wants to rethink the patrimony of faith, globally considered, and to introduce it in an accessible way to contemporary civilization as to intervene effectively the existential condition of the man of today.

The Vatican II is born in a period of theological Reflection and of a calmer and, above all, more creative ecclesial rethinking and proposes not much to defend, but to expose the doctrine of the Church, showing its organicity, existential importance and up-to-date pastoral.

As for the doctrinal profile, one can summarize the conciliate thinking concerning the concept of Revelation in the following items:

a) The way that the notion tagged along in the conscience of the Church is usually measured and concisely expressed by saying that there has been a passage from an intellectualistic conception to a personalistic historic-salvific conception of Revelation.

The intellectualistic conception understands Revelation as the communication of truths from God to the human intellect, supported by freedom and lightened up by grace.

The historical-salvific conception sees Revelation as a self-manifestation of God Himself in history and in man’s history, through the mission of Jesus and of the Spirit. [2]

There is no opposition, evidently, between these two conceptions, since the second does not exclude, but integrates the first. The self-revelation of God, indeed, also implies in a communication of truths at the intellectual level, recognizable from the poetic point of view.

Nevertheless, there is also diversity between these two perspectives. The second overcomes the first, for the terms of the event of Revelation are not anymore the truths on one side and the human intellect on the other, but are, on one side, God freely present in Jesus’ history and in the history of the Spirit given by Jesus, and on the other side, the man who is called to live his history freely as Spirit’s history, which “makes memory” of the history and the eschatological event of Christ.

b) A second and fundamental theological note on the renewed concept of Revelation is the centrality granted to the mystery of Christ. Jesus Christ is the fullness and the fulfilling of God’s Revelation. Consequently, an indubitably personalistical perspective of Revelation is asserted. [3]

c) Besides, the christcentrism of Revelation allows to better comprehend the unity and distinction between creation and Revelation. The unity is given by the fact that creation finds its truth in the Incarnated Verb. Christ is therefore the full sense of creation. The distinction is described by means of an overcoming or a qualitative surplus of the innovation of the event Christ regarding the horizon of the universal history [4]. The consequence of this formulation is that a theological reflection over the sense of history must start from the event-Christ, that becomes the hermeneutic principle of the universal history.

d) Finally, the sacramental dimension of Revelation is asserted [5]. God’s Revelation happens by means of facts and words (Facta et Verba). This, described as an initiative from God, which aims at His very person, came through some interventions of God Himself oriented to an only end, which is the gift of salvation. This order events and interventions is called “economy” (historic-salvific economy). The sacramental dimension gushes at this point, since the full meaning of the gestures ensues merely through words, that is, from Locutio Dei, which, by its turn, is in Christ Jesus a concrete historical happening.

e) After discoursing over the Revelation as an action of God, the object of Revelation is stressed. This is God’s Word, through which we are lightened about God’s truth and about man’s salvation. And, since God’s Word was made flesh, this truth is not exhausted in the intellectual order, but demands that in Christ the communion of life with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be fulfilled. The object of Revelation is, therefore, a true interpersonal communion between the man and the Most Holy Trinity.

Concluding this brief presentation of the theological characters of the theme Revelation, one easily comprehends that the conciliate perspective shows an unavoidable interest by antropology and by the history in which the human existence is accomplished.

Consequently, the new concept of Revelation unblocks the indifference of the theology for the various sights of culture and communicates an interest that is as much passionate, almost anxious, as what has been inert the previous indifference by way of the manualistic and neo-scholatic theology.

It is about a revolution of the theological method, but not, for sure, towards the criteria of modernism.

[1]. M.J. Lagrange. L'inspiration et les exigences de la critique, in RB.5 (1896) p. 507.

[2]. In the dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius from Vatican I, the aim of Revelation is the participation in the divine knowledge, and consequently the priority is given to wisdom: «Placuisse eius sapientiae et bonitati...revelare» (DS 3004). In the Dei Verbum, on the contrary, it is asserted: «Placuit Deo in sua bonitate et sapientia seipsum revelare» (DV 2). It is not about a contraposition, but diverse accentuations in the way of comprehending the process and the dynamics of Revelation.

[3]. In the Constitution Dei Filius it is observed an almost tangential presence of the figure of Christ in relation to the theme Revelation. It is present, but is substantially seen in an “instrumental” work regarding the action of God which is that of manifesting the set of divine and supernatural truths. On the other hand, in the Dei Verbum the role of Incarnation acquires a decisive dimension in order to illuminate the sense of God’s revelation.

[4]. «The deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all Revelation» (DV 2). And yet «God, who through the Word creates all things and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (Cfr. Rom. 1:19-20). Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation, He went further (insuper) and from the start manifested Himself to our first parents.» (DV 3).

[5]. Cfr. DV 2.

(*) NT. Translation from the original in Italian:


Reply to the report from Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia (Italy)

(English version from the original in Italian – “Risposta al Parere del’Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia”)


Proposed problem:

Jean Guitton confesses: the II Vatican Council has proclaimed what Saint Pius X condemned as Modernist heresy, in 1906:

“When I read the documents relative to the Modernism, as it was defined by Saint Pius X, and when I compare them to the documents of the II Vatican Council, I cannot help being bewildered. For what was condemned as heresy in 1906 was proclaimed as what is and should be from now on the doctrine and method of the Church. In other words, the modernists of 1906 were, somewhat, precursors to me. My masters were part of them. My parents taught me Modernism. How could Saint Pius X reject those that now seem to be my precursors?” (Jean Guitton, Portrait du Père Lagrange, Éditions Robert Laffont, Paris, 1992, pp. 55-56).

"O voi ch'avete l'intelletti sani,
mirate la dottrina che s'asconde
sotto il velame delli testi strani"
(Dante, Inferno, IX, 61-63).

[“O ye who have undistempered intellects,
observe the doctrine that conceals itself
beneath the veil of the mysterious texts!”]

Most Illustrious Sire Dr. Renato Papetti,
Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia.
Laudetur Jesus Christus.


I - Introduction

First of all, allow me to thank you for your most kind attention regarding the question sent to you by my brother, Marcelo Fedeli, and I apologize for my orthography and grammar mistakes, since I have learnt my Italian at home.

I also want to thank Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia for the concern to answer and to “adequately deepen the delicate matter” submitted, entrusting a theologian to elaborate a learned report about Jean Guitton’s statement on the modernist character of II Vatican Council.

Anyway, my gratitude to your kindness and to the work of Istituto Paolo VI cannot help me saying, with a respectful and Christian sincerity, that your answer, that means, the theological report assumed by Istituto Paolo VI – that so much pleased me by its kind attention actually did not satisfy me intellectually.

My brother has submitted to your judgment, and to others as well, the phrase of Jean Guitton that asserts – with all the letters – that “what was condemned as heresy in 1906, was proclaimed as what is and should be from now on the doctrine and method of the Church”. Therefore, that the condemned doctrine of Modernism was retaken and defended by the II Vatican Council.

Guitton, a very dear and reliable friend of Paul VI, and who was invited by this Pope to take part of the Council, had the authority to confess what is very well understood, but that many want to put “under the veil”: that the Modernist doctrine condemned by Pope Saint Pius X was proposed, sometimes in a very misty, concealed and ambiguous way, as Catholic doctrine in the documents of Vatican II.

You answer, through the theological report that you sent to me: “There is evident ignorance and bad intention in those who see connivance between the doctrine of the Vatican II relative to Revelation and the thesis on which the modernism is based, that is the historical-critic theory.” (the underlining is mine).

I’m sorry, but Guitton did not restrict his affirmation to “Revelation” only. He said, generically, that Vatican II “has proclaimed” the Modernist doctrine. But he didn’t mention the Revelation according Modernism and according to Vatican II. Istituto Paolo VI has restricted the matter on its own account.

Otherwise, the theological report itself, that was sent to us, says that: “the pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes of exquisitely evangelic style (…) is often accused of modernism”

Who, besides Guitton, has accused Gaudium et Spes of being modernist?

Were there, therefore, others that regarded the Modernism triumphant in the doctrines and documents of Vatican II?

Is it attributed to Guitton the “evident ignorance and bad intention”?

Or to whom else?

This unclear accusation does not uphold the famous “dialogue”.

If the author of this learned theological report judged that Guitton had “evident ignorance and bad intention”, he should say it clearly. And how could one say that Guitton ignored the Vatican II, in which he deeply took part of? And how could the confidence and friendship between him and Pope Paul VI be explained, if he had “bad intention”?

And yet: Guitton’s phrase was published in the biography that he wrote about Father Lagrange, by request and order of Pope John Paul II. However, there is no proof that John Paul II denied, or even criticized, Guitton’s terrible statement about Vatican II, that is in this book...

I beg you to forgive me, but there is something puzzling about the indirect attribution of “evident ignorance and bad intention” to Guitton. Case you have referred this judgment to him.

And it is not right to write a report about the opinion expressed by Jean Guitton without mentioning him not even a single time, nor even without quoting, not even a single time, his terrible affirmation: “For what was condemned as heresy in 1906, was proclaimed as what is and should be from now on the doctrine and method of the Church.”

If one did not know the phrase from Guitton, that has moved my brother’s query, by only reading the erudite theological report from Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia, one would not know what or who we talk about. The author of the theological report has - very skillfully - tried to answer the question about Guitton’s statement without naming him not even a single time, and without analyzing what he said about the Council, that is, that the Vatican II taught the Modernist thesis condemned by Saint Pius X in the Pascendi.

Why such a silence about Guitton’s phrase?

After these first considerations, let me analyze a little more deeply the theological report that Istituto Paolo VI has sent us.

I will do it, following the same method of yours, in two parts:

I - I will analyze its initial and general statements;

II - I will criticize, if you allow such a boldness, the theological notes you pointed out in order to assure that Vatican II did not teach the thesis of the Modernism.

It is true that I am not a theologian, but if you allow me to reason it out a little bit – as a layman, not as an expert – I will tell you why I was not satisfied with your report.


II - Modernity and Modernism

The erudite report from Istituto Paolo VI begins with a distinction between the concept of Modernity and the theory of Modernism, (as philosophical and theological-biblical theory”). And it evolves as if Modernity concept hadn’t being condemned as much as Modernism. However, the concept of Modernity was condemned by Pius IX in the Syllabus, the doctrinaire document so hated by modernists.

Pius IX condemned in the Syllabus the error of saying that:

“The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization” (80th error condemned in the Syllabus, Denzinger, 1780).

What does Modernity mean?

Modernity is the “civilization” sprung from the principles of Humanism and of Reformation. Modernity produced the world which we live in, as if it was possible to say that today we actually live. Because agonizing is still living, but this is only a way of living…a terminal way of living.

Modernity is contrary and enemy of the Catholic faith, and this has been stated and taught by Pius IX in the Syllabus.

Nevertheless, “according to sociologist Joan Estruch y Gilbert, Director of the Sociology of Religion Investigation Center, from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, “by means of the II Vatican Council, the Catholic Church was incorporated to Modernity and made peace with it” (Acc. Paulo Daniel Farah, The Church considers the convocation of the III Vatican Council, article from Folha de São Paulo, December 25, 2002, p. A-9).

In fact, it is possible to tell Modernity and Modernism apart, for they certainly are not the same thing. Modernism has affinities with Modernity, not only in the root of the words, but also, and even more, in the principles of uninterrupted “progress” and of evolution.

The idea of uninterrupted progress is inherent to Modernity. And Modernism has accepted this principle, by defending the uninterrupted progress of the thought that caused the evolution of dogma doctrine, condemned by Saint Pius X in the Encyclical Pascendi.

According to Tyrrel, who also has been condemned by Saint Pius X – and it was a pity that Saint Pius X forgot Tyrrel in the tiny little list of modernists mentioned in his report –, according to the modernist Tyrrel: “Modernist” as opposed to “Modern” means that one insists about Modernity as a principle. This means the recognition, from the part of religion, of the rights of modern thought, the necessity of summarizing, not between what is old and what is new, without distinction, but between that which, after passing through the sieve of criticism, was recognized as good, as on what is old, as well as on what is new.’ (G. Tyrrel, Mediaevalism, p.143, apud. J. Rivière, Le Modernisme dans l’Eglise, Librairie Letouzey et Ané, Paris, 1929, p. 6 – Bolded and underlined mine).

And you see that the concern in respecting “The rights of the modern thought” was assumed by the Vatican II, which is an argument which is favorable to Guitton’s sentence about the Modernism on the Vatican II.

The distinction that one makes between Modernity and Modernism was already made in those times of polemics about the Modernism, in the first decade of the 20th century.

Monsignor Baudrillart, therewith Rector of the Catholic Institute from Paris, made a speech, in November 4, 1907, approaching this very point: Can one say that Modernism has nothing to do with Modernity?

The future Cardinal Baudrillart declared, at the time:

“Modernism comes from modern. Would there be, therefore, something between modern spirit and Christian spirit, between modern man and Christian man, something that would be radically incompatible, something that the Church, in order to be faithful to its mission, should necessarily condemn?” (Monsignor Baudrillart, Discourse for the Mass of the Holy Spirit, November 4, 1907, Apud. Pierre Collin L’Audace et Soupçon – La Crise du Modernism dans le Catolicisme Français, Desclée de Brouwer, Paris, 1997, p. 45).

The theological report’s answer, dear Dr. Papetti, is that there is nothing in common between Modernism and Modernity.

Cardinal Baudrillart answered yes, there is something in common, and the common point is incompatible with the Catholic Doctrine.

Look at what said Monsignor Baudrillart:

“In essence, the modern man is the ancient man, the man before Christianity, who does not intend to depend on anything but on nature and reason”. “Well then, at the same moment in which Renaissance claimed this sovereignty of the rights of nature and of reason, Protestantism, by its turn, established the principle of free exam of the Sacred Scriptures, and placed it, in matter of doctrine, over the dogma of Church’s authority ” (idem apud op. cit. p. 46).

And commenting these words, Pierre Collin asserts:

“The protestant spirit helped thus to the formation of the modern spirit, characterized by individualism, by religious subjectivism. All those tendencies, by the end of the 18th century found a particularly strong expression in Kant, who deserves to be called ‘the philosopher of the Protestantism and father of the modern spirit’. There is a complete opposition between the modern spirit, thus defined, and the Christian spirit” (Pierre Collin, op. cit. p. 46. Bolded mine).

And Monsignor Baudrillart still says:

“Protestant is the man who does not recognize another religious authority above or outside himself, who draws from his own conscience the religious truth on which he lives: the modern man is the one who understands that he depends only on himself, in other words, that he is a god to his mind. In both situations, you may see that one gets to the doctrine of autonomy and of personal glorification of man. This is the modern spirit, such as it is presented to us nowadays, and it is radically opposite to the Christian spirit” (Monsignor Baudrillart, cited speech, apud. Pierre Collin, op cit., p. 46. The bolded is mine).

Therefore, Modernity has come from Humanism and from Protestantism, both which created the modern, anthropocentric world, contrary to the Christian theocentric cosmovision. In the Modern world, man figures himself as God. Revelation would be something that would rise from man’s inner part. Exactly as it was defined by Modernism, which is son of Protestantism and Kant.

We will see, later, dear Dr, how Revelation is conceived by Vatican II, and according to the report from Istituto Paolo VI.

I have quoted the Syllabus and the Pascendi...

I’m afraid that the name of those papal documents may give you the creeps... and that it would lead you to put my letter away with the definitive comment: “He is an integrist...”

I apologize for thinking and writing this fear of mine that you could reject my text as... “integrist”. But it is so common nowadays, due to Modernity and Modernism, to consider these documents surpassed... Nowadays, so many theologians have the creeps when they read the names of papal documents from other times... they want news… existential and personalistic news. They believe in the Evolution, and everything that comes from the past, that is, from before Vatican II is not supposed to be considered valid anymore. The past should be “aggiornatto”, that is, renewed.

However, the Vatican II is not a little baby anymore: it has already turned 40 years old.

Maybe, because that, there are super-modernists who want to update it in a future Vatican III (Libera nos Domine!).

In Brazil, just yesterday, February 9, 2003, it has been noticed in a big newspaper, that 34 bishops and approximately 2000 priests led by Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns, asked the Pope the summoning of the Vatican III, which a benedictine abbot suggested to be taken place in … Africa (sic!).

Why do passionate advocates of the Vatican II reject almost all Church’s old documents as being surpassed, as being of no value? As if truth would be mutable; as if truth would have the need of being “aggiornata” (i.e. updated).

This is also a noticeable Modernist principle that the Vatican II assumed in order to please Modernity and its famous “men of good will”...

Therefore, the distinction between Modernity and Modernism absolutely did not satisfy me. On the contrary...

I ask you, if you allow me: what does this distinction have to do with Jean Guitton’s phrase anyway?

It has nothing to do with it!

The erudite report from your Institute was well written, but allow me to tell you that it does not answer with serious evidences to the problem that came up with Jean Guitton’s frightening sentence.

Has the Vatican II defended and taught – yes or no – the heretic ideas of the Modernist condemned by Saint Pius X in the Pascendi?

I qualified Guitton’s statement as frightening because his statement is a confession that causes fright and fear, which reveals what Modernists do not intend to be known.

According to Guitton, anyone with sane intellect well realizes the doctrine that is hidden under the veil of the texts and strange terms… of the Vatican II.

And this has not been anyhow answered by Istituto Paolo VI’s report.


III - Has Pascendi invented the name ‘Modernism’?

According to the document that Istituto Paolo VI sent to us, the term Modernism was coined by the document of Saint Pius X, the Pascendi.

And this is also not true.

To begin with, one must reject the statement that the term Modernist was invented by the Pascendi, since it opposes the very text of this papal document, which says ipsis litteris:

“It is one of the cleverest devices of the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called...” (Saint Pius X, Pascendi, n.4, cfr. Denzinger, 2071).

The term Modernist was used in first place by Luther, so informs Rivière. (cfr. J. Rivière, op. cit., p. 14, note 1).

Rivière himself verifies that Rousseau has also used the term Modernist as synonym for materialist (cfr. Rivière, op. cit., p. 15). And yet Rivière says that, according to the Littré dictionary, Modernist “is one who considers modern times superior to the antiquity” (J. Rivière, op. cit., p. 16).

What a beautiful and clear definition, and how well it exposes to the light the mentality of certain Vatican II theologians and of those who follow it as if it were the “Super Council”!

The Catholic Encyclopedia says about this problem:

“The Catholic publicist Périn (1815-1905), professor at the University of Louvain, 1844-1889. This writer, while apologizing for the coinage, describes "the humanitarian tendencies of contemporary society" as modernism. The term itself he defines as "the ambition to eliminate God from all social life". With this absolute modernism he associates a more temperate form, which he declares to be nothing less than "liberalism of every degree and shade" ("Le Modernisme dans l'Eglise d'après les lettres inédites de Lamennais", Paris, 1881). (A. Vermeersch, Modernisme, De Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911,

And continues the Encyclopedia:

“During the early years of the present century, especially about 1905 and 1906, the tendency to innovation which troubled the Italian dioceses, and especially the ranks of the young clergy, was taxed with modernism. Thus at Christmas, 1905, the bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Turin and Vercelli, in a circular letter of that date, uttered grave warnings against what they called "Modernismo nel clero" (Modernism among the clergy).”

“Several pastoral letters of the year 1906 made use of the same term; among others we may mention the Lenten charge of Cardinal Nava, Archbishop of Catania, to his clergy, a letter of Cardinal Bacilieri, Bishop of Verona, dated 22 July, 1906 and a letter of Mgr Rossi, Archbishop of Acerenza and Matera. "Modernismo e Modernisti", a work by Abbate Cavallanti that was published towards the end of 1906, gives long extracts from these letters. The name "modernism" was not to the liking of the reformers. The propriety of the new term was discussed even amongst good Catholics. When the Decree "Lamentabili" appeared, Mgr Baudrillart expressed his pleasure at not finding the word "modernism" mentioned in it (Revue pratique d'apologetique, IV, p. 578). He considered the term "too vague". Besides it seemed to insinuate, "that the Church condemns everything modern". The Encyclical "Pascendi" (8 Sept., 1907) put an end to the discussion. It bore the official title, "De Modernistarum doctrinis". The introduction declared that the name commonly given to the upholders of the new errors was not inapt. Since then the modernists themselves have acquiesced in the use of the name, though they have not admitted its propriety”(Loisy, "Simples réflexions sur le decret 'Lamentabili' et sur l'encyclique 'Pascendi', of September 8th, 1907", p. 14; "Il programma dei modernisti": note at the beginning). (A. Vermeersch, Modernisme, De Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911,

Therefore, the term Modernist was not created by Saint Pius X’s document. And, even if it were, how well found this term would be!

The modernists of yesterday and today defend the thesis of modern origin – Hegel expressed it clearly – which asserts that “the actuality, the present time must always be better; therefore, the modern world is absolutely better than the Middle Ages” (cfr. Sthal apud Domenico Lossurdo, Hegel, Marx e a Tradição Liberal, Ed. Unesp, São Paulo, Brazil, 1998, p. 62).

It is the acceptance of the idea of continuous progress that forces modernist theologians to defend the continuous “aggiornamento” of the Church.

Loisy said that:

“The Gospel was not an absolute and abstract doctrine, by its own virtue directly applicable to all times and to all men. It was, instead, a faith engaged by all parts in the time and the environment where it was born. A work of adaptation was made and will be perpetually necessary in order to this faith to preserve itself in the world” (Alfred Loisy, L’Évangile et L’Église, p. 124, apud J. Rivière, Le Modernisme dans l’Église, ed. cit., p. 62).

Perpetual adaptation means the same thing as aggiornamento. And aggiornamento means, so to speak, Modernism.

I am sorry, but it is not me who state it: I simply repeat it. I accept the idea expressed in a modernist book, favorable to the Vatican II:

“The word aggiornamento, which was chosen [by John XXIII] as a consignee for the actualization of the Church cannot prevent us from feeling a certain tickling if we think about how little it differs from the meaning of the taboo word Modernism” (Father T. M. Schoof, La Nueva Teologia Católica, Ediciones Caros Lohlé, Buenos Aires, 1971, p. 279. The bold part is mine).

And the aggiornamento that was disgracefully presented by Pope John XXIII in the beginning of the Council was the evil root of all modernisms which Guitton recognized in the Vatican II.

I ask you not to rip your clothes by the enunciation of this fact. Do not forget that the Vatican II orders that all must be tolerated, and that one must always dialogue.

So, let us dialogue then.

And let us move forward.


IV - Who was condemned for Modernism?

In the report from Istituto Paolo VI it is said that:

“The thesis there condemned were Loisy’s, expressed both in the “petit livre rouge”, namely, “The gospel and the Church”, of 1902, and in the second “petit livre rouge”.

I partially agree with you…

It is very true that the Pascendi and the Decree Lamentabili condemned specially Loisy’s thesis. But they did not condemn only his thesis. The “Principle of Immanence”, appreciated by Blondel, one of the mentors of Modernism, was also condemned by the Pascendi, which openly talks about this gnostic-smelling principle. This is so real that Blondel realized that the Pascendi texts aimed him and became very disturbed.

What a great effort was made to avoid Blondel’s condemnation!

Maurice Blondel was involved with the modernist movement, and because of that, he stated the following after reading the Pascendi:

“I suffer. Happy are those who died in the Lord”. “I read the encyclical – [Pascendi] – and I remain astonished. Is it possible? What kind of interior and exterior attitude should I take? Above all, how can I prevent many souls from succumbing and doubting Church’s goodness?” (Maurice Blondel, letter to Mourret, in September 17, 1907, apud René Virgoulay, Blondel et le Modernisme, Cerf, Paris, 1980, p. 230)

And to Father Wehrlé, Blondel wrote a letter to on the very same day of September 17, 1907 where he states:

“I perish under the encyclical [Pascendi]” (Apud Virgoulay, op. cit., p. 231).

On September 20, Blondel wrote to the modernist Laberthonnière, who, later on, will also be condemned by Saint Pius X:

“What was condemned was just the eference thesis, the religion that rises from the deepest of the conscience. By doing this, they wanted to aim at us. Subsequently they really believed that they have stroke us (…)” (M. Blondel, apud Virgoulay, op. cit. p. 232).

By his turn, Virgoulay comments:

“Blondel recognizes that he was “aimed at”. He recognizes that they believed to have stroke him (as well as Laberthonnière), but what he does not recognize is having been in fact stroke” (Virgoulay, op. cit. p. 232).

And Wehrlé, replying to Blondel, wrote him:

“You were aimed at with such a precision that repeals any sort of doubt. There have been some precautions in order not to condemn you [nominally], but you are condemned without remission” (Wehrlé to Blondel, letter of September 18, 1907).

Therefore, there is no doubt that modernist philosopher, who is mentioned in the Pascendi, is Maurice Blondel, although he has not personally been quoted in this encyclical.

In the theological report from Istituto Paolo VI, Most Illustrious Dr. Papetti, it is said that just Loisy’s and Buonaiuti’s doctrines were condemned as modernists. And that is a simplification that distorts the historical truth.

Yet, others were condemned by Saint Pius X as modernists, like Father Laberthonnière, Father Georges Tyrrel, Father Turmel, Edouard Le Roy, Father Romolo Murri, Senator Antonio Fogazzarro for his tedious romance “The Saint”, just to name a few of the famous modernists who were condemned. (And so many others who were so close from being caught and who very cunningly escaped from condemnation…).


V - A little digress: the case Lagrange

In the document from Istituto Paolo VI, afterwards, it is made the defense of Father Lagrange, in order to detach him to Loisy.

Also this detachment oversimplifies reality.

Father Lagrange was friend of all these condemned modernists, as well as of those to whom escaping from condemnation as modernist heretics was a close thing. Guitton wrote a biography of Father Lagrange by John Paul II’s request. By the way, it was in this very book about Father Lagrange that Guitton stated that the doctrines condemned as being modernist by Saint Pius X were approved, taught and proclaimed -- by the II Vatican Council. On top of that, the Pope John Paul II, who had ordered this biography to Guitton, did not criticize this frightening statement about the Modernism in the Vatican II.

Let us see, now, Father Lagrange.

Father Lagrange is considered by many people as one of the leaders of the Modernist movement, although he was a lot more skillful and insinuating than Loisy.

Pierre Collin, speaking about the beginning of the Modernism, says:

“However, the history of the Modernism does not begin in 1902 when Loisy’s book [L’Évangile et L’Église] comes out. One of the goals of our study is to insist on the philosophical causes of the modernist crisis. Now, since its publication in 1893, Maurice Blondel’s thesis about L’Action has already caused passionate controversies. The same has happened with the new biblical exegesis practiced in France by Father Loisy and Father Lagrange” (Pierre Collin, op. cit., p. 12. the bolded is mine).

This author distinguishes Father Lagrange from Loisy, yet he says:

“Lagrange is not Loisy, Blondel is not Hébert, but both ones and the others adopt the same ordinary methods from critic and philosophy” (P. Collin, op. cit., p. 70).

“Monsignor Batiffol [Archbishop of Toulouse] made a certain ‘ideological map’ according to which Monsignor Duchêsne would have caused a division amongst his disciples: a leftist group, that tried to reinterpret Catholicism on the basis of a radical exegesis and of a not less radical philosophy of religion; and another moderate group, rightist, that tried to reconciliate the results of critic and theology, always respecting their own methods” [Exactly as the Vatican II intended to do, according to Cardinal Ratzinger’s reasoning. (Acc Cardinal J. Ratzinger, Problemi Del Fondamento ed Orientamento dell’Esegesi Contemporanea, (P. Collin, op. cit., pp. 134-135. The bold is mine)]

“Loisy belonged to the first group [the leftist]; Lagrange and Batiffol himself, to the second” (P. Collin, op. cit., pp. 134-135).

This division into two groups, a more radical one, and another more moderate and consequently more dangerous, because the last can always infiltrate heretical thesis where the radical groups are repealed, such division has always been used by heretic movements.

What would be then the difference between Loisy and Lagrange?

Loisy considered all the histories narrated in the Gospel as myths. Father Lagrange did not accept this conception. For him, the histories told in the Gospel were not myths. They were historical legends:

“Lagrange refuses the term myth, and thus, he refuses the alternative History or Myth. He prefers to talk about ‘Primitive Legendary History’”(acc. P. Collin, op. cit., p. 146).

What a moderation! …

The very report sent by Istituto Paolo VI, illustrious Dr. Papetti, recalls that Father Lagrange, even though Leo XIII had given him support, was suspect of modernism by Saint Pius X.

“Father Lagrange, by his turn, will be placed under suspicion in 1912 by St. Pius X, with a letter from the Consistorial Congregation because of his position about the mosaic origin of the Pentateuch, by him expressed and kept in the IV Scientific Congress of Catholics at Fribourg, on August, 1897. (Document from Istituto Paolo VI).

Since 1897, because of the conference which Father Lagrange made in the International Scientific Congress, in Fribourg, about the historical value of the Pentateuch, a dossier had been opened in the Saint Office, regarding Father Lagrange (P.Collin, op. cit., p.145).

Later on, Cardinal Merry del Val will forbid the publishing of Lagrange’s book about the Genesis (P. Collin, op. cit., p. 145). The Saint Office had already decided that Moses was the real author of the Pentateuch (Acc. Denzinger, 1997, ss.) and yet in 1909 the statement about the legendary character of Pentateuch was condemned (Acc. Denzinger, 2122).

In 1912, Father Lagrange, due to a Rome's decision, had to depart from Jerusalem. (Acc. P. Collin, op. cit., p. 495).


VI - Preliminary problems concerning Vatican II

Finally, the erudite theological report that you sent us, Most Illustrious Dr. Papetti, aims at showing that the Vatican II – unlike what Jean Guitton stated without John Paul II’s correction – would not have been Modernist.

It is written in Istituto Paolo VI's document:

Sure the II Vatican Council has taken care, like it could not make it, of the serious and great problems of humanity that impoverish and threaten the straight conscience which allows people to recognize good from evil, and to act consequently, according to the dictates of faith and of the dignity of man, image and likeness of God, by identity and vocation. (The underlines are of my responsibility).

Therefore, you assure us that “the II Vatican Council has taken care, like it could not make it, of the serious and great problems of humanity”.

But do you – really – believe that: “the II Vatican Council has taken care, like it could not make it, of the serious and great problems of humanity”?

Why, then, did not the Vatican II condemn the communism and the Marxism that caused – and still causes – so much harm to mankind?

The II Vatican Council consciously did not even want to name the biggest problem of mankind in the 20th century: Communism. The Vatican II has not condemned the biggest error of History. This most serious omission will be forever a burden over the Pastoral Vatican II and over the shoulders of its responsibles.

Why has not the Vatican II said a single word against the most serious threat to the Church in all History?

Because it had been signed an agreement between the Vatican and the USSR, in Metz, in which the Pope John XXIII pledged not to condemn the Communism nor the USSR, in the Vatican II, as long as the Soviet Union allowed the coming of representatives of the Schismatic Russian Church to watch the Council. It was the famous Metz Pact, signed by Cardinal Tisserand in the name of the Vatican, and by Nikodin, a so-called Bolshevik Secret Service Colonel, in the name of the USSR.

How can one say that: “the II Vatican Council has taken care, like it could not make it, of the serious and great problems of humanity?

This is also not true.

And how can one still say that the Vatican II tried to “recognize good from evil” in the modern world, if the Vatican II documents do not point out any error in our times and in Nostra Aetate?

How can one tell good from evil, if the Vatican II sees the world with Gadium et Spes?

How could the Vatican II ever be able to distinguish the good from evil, if the Vatican II, following John XXIII’s orientation, has refused to listen to the “prophets of calamities”, which include the prophecies in Fatima?

No. The Vatican II did not help the conscience to distinguish between good and evil, because the Council refused to condemn the evil. It refused to condemn whoever it be. There were no anathemas in Vatican II. Pope John XXIII did not want them. Paul VI did not do them. The Vatican II was just “pastoral”, as Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI have decided. The Vatican II decided to speak with mercy, without condemning anything or anyone. As if mercy did not imply in condemning the errors and those who practice them.

In Istituto Paolo VI's sentence, which we are analyzing, there is another point that we would like to focus.

What does it mean to say that man is “image and likeness of God, by identity and vocation?

That which is an image is not identical.

What sort of identity is there between God and man?


The creature cannot be identical to the Creator.

To admit identity between God and man is Gnosis or Pantheism.

Admitting it implies in admitting a Modernist thesis: Blondel's esoteric Panchristism, or Teilhard de Chardin’s explicit pantheism.

And also this identity between man and God, admitted in Istituto Paolo VI’s document, is neither truthful nor acceptable.

As you can see, dear Doctor Papetti, that I talk to you with truthfulness, because without trustworthiness every dialogue is simply… “ecumenical”, that is, relativist. Which is also unacceptable, since it would mean to base oneself on the equivocal.

And this issue lead us to the famous “dignity of the man”, which is exhaustively spoken in a slippery way by philo-modernists or modernist Christian democrats.


VII - The Religion of Man in the Modernism and in the Vatican II

And yet, you Doctor say on the report you have sent us that Vatican II decided "to act consequently, according to the dictates of faith and of the dignity of man".

It was absolutely necessary that the Council acted according the dictates of faith. It would be absurd if it did not do so!

But that the Council wanted to act according to the dictates of the "dignity of man", this is a principle of Modernity, which is in the heart of the Modernist heresy.

The famous dignity of the man, which is so slippery mentioned, consists, as the Holy Church teaches by means of Leo XIII, on the fact that man was created as image and likeness of God, and that he was called to be adoptive son of God through Baptism. Not on any other humanistic or modernist reason regarding the dignity of man, or yet, and even less, on a pseudo identity with God. Image, I repeat, is not identity. But, to Modernity and to the Modernism, dignity of man means that man is God.

The Humanism, which is one of the foundations of this anti-Christian Modernity, the Idealism and the historical Materialism have placed man in God’s place.

Also the Modernism has endeavored to put Man in God’s place.

You certainly remember what Loisy said:

"In Christ, Humanity elevates itself to Divinity. One could say, if one wants, that humanity adores itself in Jesus, but it must be believed that, by doing this, humanity does not forget its own condition neither that of God" (A. Loisy, L’Évangile et l’Église, p. 253).

By reasoning about the perspectives of the Modernism founded by Loisy, Émile Poulat wrote:

"In fact, [in Loisy’s work] wherever someone turns his look, he would never find a place in which he could detain himself or arrive. Before him, the unlimited future of Catholicism would suppose its transformation, a transformation in respect to which the religion of humanity allows itself to be guessed as a possible prolongation"(Émile Poulat, Histoire, Dogme et Critique dans la Crise Moderniste, Albin, Paris, 1996, p. 98. The highlight is mine).

Well then, Cardinal Montini, when he was still Archbishop of Milan, Montini, Guitton’s friend, wrote a document about The Work and the Christianity, in which he says, with all letters, that tomorrow’s religion will be, perhaps, the religion of man.

"Will not modern man get, one day, as his scientific studies advance and find out the realities hidden behind the dumb face of matter, to pay attention to the wonderful voice of the Spirit that palpitates in it? [Sic!] Will not it be tomorrow’s religion? Has Einstein himself foreseen the spontaneity of a religion of nowadays?..." (Paul VI, March 27, 1960 Speech, apud Documentation Catholique, n. 133, June 19, 1960. The boldface is mine).

And also Maurice Blondel, philosopher very much esteemed by Modernists of today and of yesterday, had said that what man wants, no matter how, is to become God.

Pierre Collin, unsuspected integrist author, wrote:

"According to Blondel, the objective of the will transcends the rights, art, moral, but also metaphysics and religion. In a single word, the first and the last principle of spiritual dynamism is the idea of God, while "we cannot get to know God if we do not wish to become God somehow" (p.338). Definitively, we want to "be God", but man, by acting, sees himself confronted with an alternative that imposes a choice: to be god without God and against God, or to be God by God and with God" (Pierre Colin, L’Audace et le Souçon, Desclée de Brower, Paris, 1997, pp. 193-194).

This phrase could surely make a good sense. But… there is in Blondel’s ideas a certain complacence with the temptation of being God, the temptation that is in the heart of Humanism.

And Blondel, who used to write to the public in "trobar clus", in particular letters, spoke sometimes less mysteriously in "trobar leu", although not so clear yet:

"But all of us must repeatedly persuade ourselves that the assimilated effusion of the divine goodness can only operate and triumph in us through a heavy duty and a crucifying dilatation. It is always the Verbun caro factum est and the caro verbum facta mystery. One is just possible through the other. There is no doubt that the world is deified: we can, and must do everywhere a peregrination to the Holy Places. We breathe the air that He breathed, and there is something of Him that moves in us: everything, however, just makes sense and has efficacy because of the supernatural vocation, from the offered and consented grace, without which all this divine inserted in the creature would be of no use. (Caro nihil proficit), as is private and debit "in the emptiness" and in condemnation (…)" (Maurice Blondel, Letter to Father Valensin, December 5, 1919, in Blondel e Teilhard de Chardin – Correspondência comentada por Henri de Lubac. Moraes Editora, Lisboa, 1988, pp21-22. The boldface is mine).

“There is no doubt the world is deified”?

Is the "divine inserted in the creature"?

The "men of good will" would also interpret optimistically Blondel’s assertion, who leaves on them too thin a veil ...

"Aguzza qui, Dottor, ben li occhi al vero,
chè 'l velo è ora ben tanto sotile,
certo che 'l trapassar dentro è leggero"
(Dante, Purg. VIII, 19-21).

[Here, Doctor, fix thine eyes well on the truth,
For now indeed so subtile is the veil,
Surely to penetrate within is easy]

And, if one takes a closer look at this veil with a little bit more attention, one finds Blondel himself confessing…

"This subject [Panchristism] is one of "the oldest and most esoteric (Sic!!!) subjects of my personal thought and of that which I call my Panchristism".(Letter from Maurice Blondel to Father Auguste Valensin, December 5, 1919, in Blondel e Teilhard de Chardin, correspondência comentada por Henri de Lubac, Moraes Editora, Lisbon – São Paulo, 1968, p, 22. The astonished highlight is mine).

Therefore it is true!

There is something esoteric in Blondel’s misty writings! He said so! Something that he recommended not to be revealed to "Gente grossolana” [People of rough understanding, that is to say, not initiated].

"It is my opinion that we should not offer to its reviewers, and not even to its readers, the unusual and ambiguous expression of panchristism. This word with no preparation and not being explained, we run the risk of, because of its analogy with the word pantheism, suggesting physic or metaphysically etc…" (First note from Maurice Blondel to Father Auguste Valensin, in Blondel e Teilhard de Chirdin, correspondência comentada por Henri de Lubac, Moraes Editora, Lisboa – São Paulo, 1968, p. 57).

Blondel not only confesses that he had an esoteric doctrine, but he demands it not be told to the "gente grossolana ": Valensin and Blondel readers!

In the same book which gives us this precious piece of information, we read a little afterwards:

"No one will ever hinder mankind’s effort of integrating Christ in a Cosmology: otherwise Jesus would not be the Verb"(Acc. Letter from Maurice Blondel to J. Wehrlé, May 9, 1904, in Blondel e Teilhard de Chardin – Correspondência comentada por Henri de Lubac, Moraes Editores, Lisboa – São Paulo, 1968, p. 59).

Teilhard wrote, from Jersey, to his cousin Margareth Teilhard, on April 8, 1919:

"He [Auguste Valensin] told me that, about the universe consistence in Christo, Blondel has so audacious perspectives that he does not dare to follow him so far – however, he told me that Rousselot does not hesitate to do so. I ignored this aspect of Blondel’s thoughts and I will ask someone to explain it to me." (Teilhard de Chardin, Gênesis de um Pensamento, p. 347 in Blondel e Teilhard de Chardin – Correspodência comentada por Henri de Lubac, Moraes Editores, Lisboa – São Paulo, 1968, pp. 59-60).

What were Blondel’s real thoughts, that he did not dare to write, and that he taught esoterically, and because of that, he forbade it to be published?

Maybe he could have said that he had found "in all logical, metaphysical, moral and religious ways" of his thought "that ontogenic and phylogenic Panchristism which we talked many times in common" (Letter from Blondel to Father Auguste Valensin, December 19, 1919, in Blondel e Teilhard de Chardin – Correspondência comentada por Henri de Lubac, Moraes Editores, Lisboa - São Paulo, 1968, p. 38).

And now the veil has almost disappeared, has not it, eminent Doctor Papetti?

Blondel puts in man’s will, that means, in human nature, a desire for the supernatural that will be retaken by Father de Lubac. And modernist Father Auguste Valensin, who was an admirer and disciple of Blondel, graduated Father de Lubac who, in his turn, was one of the major theologians in Vatican II …

What Blondel put under a misty and esoteric veil, Teilhard said clearly:

"As the spirit appears in the Man using, someway, the instincts’ drafts, thus also the Supernatural forms itself continuously by means of creation of our nature" (First note of Father Teilhard de Chardin to Father Auguste Valensin, in Blondel e Teilhard de Chardin -Correspondência comentada por Henri de Lubac, Moraes Editores, Lisboa - São Paulo, 1968, p. 34).

Teilhard de Chardin admitted that the panchristism of Blondel had influenced him:

"With Blondel I had a relationship (through Auguste Valensin) for around one year (right after the First World War, in 1920). Certain points of his thought have acted so much over me: the value of the Action (that became, in my thought, an Energetic almost experimental of the biological potencies of the evolution), and the notion of "panchristism" (to which I had arrived independently from him, but without daring, by that time, to name it so well)"(Teilhard de Chardin, Letter in February 15, 1955, in Claude Cuénot, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Plon, Paris, 1958, pp. 55-56).

Cuénot admits that Teilhard de Chardin’s knowledge was inherited from Blondel’s thoughts, transporting the "cristicism" to the action plan (acc. Claude Cuénot, Aventura e Visão de Teilhard de Chardin, Livraria Moraes Editora, Lisboa, 1966, p.133).

In an article sent to the Assistant Father of the General Supervisor of the Company of Jesus, Father Teilhard de Chardin wrote, in 1948:

"There is an urgent necessity to the Christian faith on that One who is Up-There of incorporating the human Neo-Faith in an Over-There born (already born, and forever...) from the objective apparition of an Ultra-Human before us (releasing of a neo-Humanism that leads automatically to a neo-Cristianism)". (Claude Cuénot , op, cit. pp. 327-328).

In a letter to Leontine Zante, in 1936, Teilhard wrote:

"What increasingly dominates my interest is the effort to establish within myself and to diffuse around me a new religion (let’s call it an improved Christianity if you like) whose personal God is no longer the great neolithic landowner of times gone by, but the Soul of the world..." (Apud Father G.H. Duggan, S. M., The Collapse of the Church in the West - 1960-2000 Bolded mine).

And that Teilhard de Chardin was a gnostic, even the neo-modernists recognized: "... in spite of some critics that are more related to the form than to the content, De Lubac totally agrees with Teilhard. Against him [Teilhard], are not valid [to De Lubac] the accusations of renewing the old Gnosis, accusations formulated by Ëtienne Gilson, Jacques Maritain and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Teilhard is a ‘mystic’ who follows the track of Origen and finds himself entirely in Blondel. All paths lead to Blondel. He is the point of origin and arrival. In fact, the ‘cosmic christology’ [of Teilhard] is already found in Blondel, as well as the eclipse, in Incarnation, regarding the subject of Redemption" (Massimo Borghesi, O Itinerário de Henri de Lubac – A História como Mística, in 30 Giorni, ano VII, n. 1, January, 1993).

Even the gnostic Urs von Balthasar recognizes that Teilhard de Chardin was gnostic! And Father de Lubac, despite all, tries hard to justify him!

Therefore, there is no doubt that this New Religion of Teilhard de Chardin’s is the old Gnosis.

And the II Vatican Council admitted this new humanistic faith, praised by Teilhard de Chardin, when Paul VI proclaimed that the Church has the cult of Man.

Vatican II accepted the anthropocentrism of Modernity and of Modernism –which deifies man. Vatican II, as well, just like the philosophy of Modernity, put Man in God’s place, so that, at the end of the Council, Paul VI declared:

"In this Council [Vatican II] the Church almost made itself slave of mankind".

And yet:

"Humanists of the 20th century: recognize that We also have the cult of the Man".

I know perfectly well that you, eminent Dr. Papetti, know the speech of Paul VI at the end of the Council. But, if you know it – and you cannot be unfamiliar to it – you must admit that the religion of Man, wished as a goal by the Modernists – in the beginning of the 20th century – it has become praised, and in a certain way, accepted in the Vatican II.

Therefore, Jean Guitton demonstrated neither ignorance, nor bad intentions by saying that the Vatican II proclaimed the thesis that Saint Pius X had condemned in the Modernism.

In this closing Speech of Vatican II, Paul VI declared:

"The Church of the Council [Vatican II] (...) was also much attached with man as he really is today, with living man, with man totally taken up with himself, with man who not only makes himself the centre of his own interests, but who dares to claim that he is the principle and final cause of all reality... Secular, profane, humanism finally revealed itself in all its terrible stature and, in a certain sense, challenged the Council. The religion of God made man has come up against the religion -- for there is such a one -- of man who makes himself God.”

“And what happened? A clash, a battle, an anathema? That might have taken place, but it did not. It was the old story of the Samaritan that formed the model for the spirituality of the Council. It [the Council] was filled only with an endless sympathy. The discovery of human needs – and these are so much greater now that the son of the earth has made himself greater-absorbed the attention of the Synod. Recognize at least this our merit, you modern humanists who have no place for the transcendence of things supreme, and come to know our new humanism: we also, We, more than anyone else, have the CULT OF MAN" (Paul VI, Closing Speech of the II Vatican Council, 7 de December 7, 1965).

That was a concord declaration, as never heard before, between the Church – the Civitas Dei by excellence – and the Modern World, with its Humanism, foundation of the City of Man.

And this impossible conciliation could only give birth to the submission, the servitude of the Church to man.

"Another point we must stress is this: all this rich teaching [of the Vatican II] is channeled in one direction, the service of mankind”. (Paul VI, quoted Speech).

It might be said that all this and everything else we might say about the human values of the council [Vatican II] have diverted the attention of the Church in council to the trend of modern culture, centered on humanity. We would say not diverted but rather directed...”

The modern mind, accustomed to assess everything in terms of usefulness, will readily admit that the council's value is great if only because everything has been referred to human usefulness. Hence no one should ever say that a religion like the Catholic religion is without use, seeing that when it has its greatest self-awareness and effectiveness, as it has in council, it declares itself entirely on the side of man and in his service...." (idem).

"In this Council [Vatican II] the Church almost made itself slave of the humanity" (Paul VI, Closing Speech of the II Vatican Council).

In the Sacred Scripture it was proclaimed:

"Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man"(Jer. XVII, 5).

But, disgracefully, Paul VI wrote: "We have faith in the man". (Paul VI, interview in Sidney, December 2nd, 1970).

Finally, after a text that ressembles Rousseau’s, the hymn of glory to the man, made by Paul VI in 1971, by occasion of the first spatial voyage:

"Honor to man! Honor to thinking! Honor to Science! Honor to the synthesis of the scientific and organizational activity of man, man that unlike the all other animals, knows how to give himself achieving tools to his mind and to his hand!"

"Honor to man King of the Earth, and also, from now on, Prince of the sky! Honor to the living being that we are, which mirrors God on itself, and, by dominating things, obeys the biblical ordinance: grow up and dominate"! (Paul VI, Speech in Angelus hour, February 7th, 1971).

It seems like a paraphrase of Gloria in eccelsis Deo!

It seems an exaltation of man, as an idol!

How different was Saint Pius X’s position regarding man:

"It is necessary that, with all means and works, we make disappear radically the huge and detestable evilness proper of our times, that substitutes God by the man" (Saint Pius X, Supremi Apostolatus, 14).

What can we understand, thus, about the dignity of the man?

By dignity of man, should we understand it according to what Leo XIII said about it, that is to say, that man was called to the eminent dignity of adopted son of God or should we understand that man is "identical to God", that man is God, as preached by certain modernists?


VIII - Renewed or New Concept of Revelation?

In the beginning of Istituto Paolo VI’s theological report, dear Dr. Papetti, it is put as a fundamental thesis that the Vatican II established a renewed concept of revelation”.

The term renewed is underscored.

In the report, one reads:

“In order to comprehend the renewed concept of Revelation of the Vatican II, it is necessary to briefly confront the perspectives of Vatican I and Vatican II, from the historical and theological point of view.” (The boldface and underscore are of my responsibility).

Therefore, it is admitted that Vatican II has a renewed concept of revelation.

Renewed does not mean new. Instead, it means that something, that already existed, was redone, without being fundamentally changed. Well, at the end of your report, it is written that the concept of revelation from Vatican II is “new”. And new stands for diverse from old.

This is the conclusion of your Report:

“Consequently, the new concept of Revelation unblocks the indifference of the theology for the various sights of culture and communicates an interest that is as much passionate, almost anxious, as what has been inert the previous indifference by way of the manualistic and neo-scholastic theology” (Bold and underscore are mine).

So, is the concept of revelation from Vatican II different from the one which was accepted previously by the Church?

What has changed?

If the revelation concept is new, why was it said, then, that it was just a renewal?

It seems to me that, at this point, there is a contradiction on your theological report.

Am I wrong?

Father Shoof himself also admits that Vatican II abandoned the old scholastic concept of revelation to adopt a new concept of revelation based on the New Theology doctrines.

“The water drops over the rock managed to do something. However, also in this case, the changing derived from the ecclesiastic teaching, by finally sustaining the orientation of the reformist theologians, and by renouncing, during the II Vatican Council, to its exclusive contract with Scholastic”(Father T. M. Schoof, La Nueva Teologia Catolica, Ediciones Carlos Lohlé, Buenos Aires, 1971, p. 185).

Afterwards, a parallel is made between the circumstances of the I Vatican Council, in 1870, and the II Vatican Council in 1962-1965.

It is stated that “Under the historical-cultural profile, (…) The historical-cultural context in which the formulation of the doctrine of Revelation in the Vatican I gushes is determined by a deep fracture between Christian and modern thought”.

Hence, Vatican I has put in first plane the relation between faith and reason, intending to condemn the newborn errors, be them Rationalism or traditionalist Fideism.

Secondly, the diversity would arise from the fact that, in 1870, Church felt besieged by its adversaries”.

From where it follows the concern of defending the faith crystallized in theological forms, in the dogma.

In Vatican II, the Church wanted to get out to the uncovered, not to condemn errors, but to introduce faith in an accessible way to contemporary civilization as to intervene effectively the existential condition of the man of today”. “The Vatican II is born in a period of theological Reflection and of a calmer and, above all, more creative ecclesial rethinking and proposes not much to defend, but to expose the doctrine of the Church, showing its organicity, existential importance and up-to-date pastoral.”

Thus, there would be two main points of diversity between Vatican I and Vatican II:

  1. A concept of faith and of revelation founded over truths from which appears “an intellectualistic concept” regarding faith and revelation (Vatican I); and a personalistic historic-salvific conception of Revelation”, in Vatican II.
  2. A historical situation where the Church was under siege in the times of Vatican I, and an opening situation in the Vatican II times.

Starting by the historical context, allow me to refuse this presentation.

It is not true that it was only in 1870 that the Holy Church was besieged by its adversaries. In the time of Vatican II the situation was far worse.

At the time of Vatican I, the Church was suffering the attack of secret forces, mainly in France and Germany. There was the Piemont War against the Pontifical States. There was the Franc-Prussian war.

But in the 20th century, the war against the Church had become universal, and deeper than never. Communism was making war against the Church everywhere. Europe was under threat of a bolshevist invasion, or of an atomic war. All the world was submitted to the Marxist danger by means of war, guerrilla or by the revolutionary propaganda. The menace and the war were so serious that several Cardinals and Patriarchs were sent to communist prisons. To the point of forcing John XXIII to surrender before the USSR, ordering the signature of the Pact of Metz. And it was exactly during the Council that came up the missile crisis in Cuba.

Therefore, the historical-cultural circumstances were worse in the times of Vatican II.

Also under the doctrinaire point of view it was never seen before a danger of errors as serious as in the time of Vatican II. Not only Marxism, but Freudianism, Existentialism, Liberalism, Relativism and Subjectivism, Phenomenology, Structuralism, insinuated themselves everywhere, infiltrating even in the seminars. Worse than all these philosophies was the expansion of modernist errors spread by the so called New Theology, that was already censored – but not crushed – by Pius XII in the encyclical Humani Generis.

And one must not forget the liturgical errors sprout in the 20th century by Father Lambert Bauduin, by Father Louis Bouyer, and by the heresies of Father Maurice Zundel, Paul VI’s friend and protegee.

How can Istituto Paolo VI state, thus, that the historical cultural context of Vatican II was not of siege against the Church?

This statement is absurd and against historical reality.

It is curious that modernist and progressist theologians and exegetes, who intend to be very rigorous about the historical reconstruction of the Gospel times, are so little rigorists, and even so little objectives, when exposing the most recent and even the present day historical reality.

It is also curious that Istituto Paolo VI's theological report analyzes only the new revelation concept according to the Vatican II, when Jean Guitton’s statement was far more generic.

But this is something already.

Let us see now the first point which is the one that deals with the concept of revelation according to Vatican I, and the “renewed” concept – or better, new, as it is admitted by your report’s conclusion – according to Vatican II.

In order to make it a clearer exposition, I will examine the several positions about the revelation:

  1. The revelation according to the Catholic doctrine;
  2. The revelation according to Modernism;
  3. The concept of revelation according to the so-called New Theology;
  4. The new concept of revelation of Vatican II, according to the Report from Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia.

As much as possible, I will give the quotations, employing the same words of Istituto Paolo VI's theological report, in order to clarify the problem’s view – as it was answered and not as it was put – that is: has Vatican II accepted, yes or no, the modernist doctrine of revelation?


IX - Revelation According to the Catholic Doctrine

According to the erudite report from Istituto Paolo VI, my dear Doctor Papetti, the concept of Revelation by Vatican I, when compared to the new concept of Revelation by Vatican II, could be summarized in these notes:

Revelation would be intellectualistic. The content would be made of truths disclosed by God Himself to the human intellect. From that follows the importance that was given to the dogma and to the condemnations of heresies. According to the theological report which you sent us: “In the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius of Vatican I, the purpose of the Revelation is the participation in the divine conscience and, as a consequence, the priority is given to wisdom”.

On the other hand, revelation according to the Vatican II would be more historical-salvifical than revelation of truths.

Please allow me to provide a draft of the concept of revelation according to the doctrine of Vatican I and to the way it has ever been. I believe that, regarding this point, we do not disagree:

1)       Revelation is the set of truths taught by transcendent God by means of certain elected men inspired by the Holy Ghost; truths that were taught to them in a supernatural way; truths that were revealed mainly by Christ and through the Holy Ghost that inspired the Evangelists and the Apostles, truths consigned to the Church, that must teach them to all men, as necessary to their salvation.

2)       The revelation is an extrinsic fact to man, and is freely given by means of intellectual illumination.

Were it not extrinsic, how would one explain that Balaan’s mule spoke?

3)       The revelation was consigned to the Church as a deposit of truths (Depositum fidei).

4)       There are two sources of revelation: The Sacred Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition, given to the Church to teach the truth revealed by God, to the salvation of the souls.

Due to this, it is said in the infallible Profession of Faith of the Council of Trent:

“I admit and embrace very firmly the tradition of the Church and Apostles and the remaining observances and constitutions of the same Church. I also admit the Holy Scripture according to that sense which our holy mother the Church has held, and does hold, to whom it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretations of the Scriptures. Neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers”(Profession of Faith of the Council of Trent, Dezinger, 995).

Because of this Council Vatican I infallibly defined:

“This supernatural revelation, according to the Faith of the universal Church declared by the Saint Council of Trent, “(...) are contained in the written books, and the unwritten traditions which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down even unto us”(Council of Trent, Cap. II, on Revelation, Denzinger, 1787).

5)       The knowledge of these truths that are revealed and transmitted by the Sacred Scripture and by the Apostolic Tradition, were given to the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church that teaches them in a dogmatic way, with divine authority, infallibly, and these truths must be held with faith by men. And these truths must be considered non-temporal and universal, immutable in their sense and doctrine.

6)        The truths revealed by God and taught by the Church are infallible and immutable. One can enhance his knowledge on them by deduction, by means of Theology, but always keeping the same sentence and the same meaning. Therefore, these revealed truths must not be adapted and cannot be adapted by a relativistic and variable way, according the times and places.

7)       The Church must keep the Faith Deposit and teach it faithfully. The teaching is done positively by means of the dogmas; and the defense of Depositum Fidei is done negatively, through condemnations of errors and excommunications. The Church transmits the revealed truth but never changes its sense.

One cannot teach the truth without condemning the opposite error.

8)       God makes Himself knowledgeable to us:

a)       Imperfectly, through the creation, by means of the light of reason, that gives us a natural wisdom, with which one can know the existence of God and some of His attributes. That being so, it is the Verb of God creator that enlightens our mind.

b)       By means of  “Locutio Dei” – which means, through the revelation itself – through the Tradition and the Sacred Scripture, mainly by means of the supernatural revelation made by Christ, God’s Verb incarnated, Divine Master (Mt. VIII, 28, and John VIII, 13), who teaches and gives us the Light of the Faith – through Him we could know that God is unitary in His substance and Trinitarian in His Persons, and that the Son of God became man to our salvation.

c)       After life, in Heaven, we will have the Revelation of God by means of the beatific vision, when the glorious Christ will enlighten us with the light of glory.

The revelation through Christ’s grace, and through the Church, is the halfway between the indirect revelation by means of creation – that is imperfect and natural, known by the light of reason – and the beatific vision, direct and supernatural. The revelation recognized by Faith, for those who are not in the situation of invincible ignorance, is preparatory and absolutely necessary in order to have the beatific vision.


X - The Revelation according to Modernism

To Modernism, revelation is personal, done in the inner part of all men by means of an ineffable feeling; by means of which God manifests Himself to each one. Revelation would not consist of communicating truths, but otherwise, of a personal experience, existential and impossible to be put into words, that would reveal no truths about God, but God Himself, the divine nature of God, the divine res.

To the modernists, “the revelation, in order to be truly real, would demand a clear showing of God in the conscience” (Pius X, Pascendi, 31).

“At least, say the modernists (...) by the religious feeling one must recognize a kind of intuition of the heart, which puts man in immediate contact with the very reality of God (...)”(Pius X, Pascendi 37 (14)).

“Furthermore, although it has been said that only God is the object of faith, this must not be understood but of the reality of God, not of the idea of God” (Pius X, Pascendi 42 (17)).

[This point of the modernist doctrine about the revelation of the divine res itself, more than of truths about God, will be admitted by the new concept of revelation preached by the Vatican II, and by the theological report from Istituto Paolo VI].

This revealing feeling would take place in the heart, and not when receiving the truths taught by God Himself to the human intellect.

I repeat: Revelation would not have a set of truths as object. As it is not received by means of intellect, revelation would not have a conceptual character. It would be received as a heart insight, through a personal mystical experience generator of faith, or better saying, personalisticly. It would not be received by means of revelation of truths about the divine nature, but rather, the divine res itself, or God Himself would be received.

I stressed this point because it will be the core of the new concept of revelation of Vatican II, as the theological report from Istituto Paolo VI admits and confesses.

Well, Gusdorff writes:

The gnostic doctrine about revelation as an inner experience of a transforming truth, that leads to the salvation by means that escapes from the control of understanding, is an element of the romantic ontology” (G. Gusdorff, Le Romantisme, Payot, Paris, 1983, I Vol., p. 635).

In fact, to Gnosis, says Hans Jonas, the knowledge “is strictly tied to an experience of revelation, so that the reception of the truth, by a secret and sacred tradition, or by the inner enlightenment, replaces the theory and the argument of reason. (...) On the other hand, the “knowledge” that aims at the secrets of salvation is not a theoretical instruction, all in all, it modifies the human condition, it has, itself, the duty of accomplishing the function of consummating salvation. Thus, the gnostic “knowledge” is one of the most practical ones, because of one of its faces. The ultimate “object” of Gnosis is God: its advent in the soul transforms the knowledge, making knowledge a participant of the divine life” (Hans Jonas, La Religion Gnostique, Flammarion, Paris 1978, p. 56. Bolded text is mine).

According to this text, we can see that the revelation, according to Gnosis is:

1)       Fruit of a inner  “experience of revelation”, not rational. (Exactly as said by Modernism).

2)       God Himself is the object of the revelation, the divine res, and not the truths about God (Exactly as said by Modernism and accepted by the new concept of revelation of the Vatican II).

Therefore, Modernism is a kind of Gnosis.

The modernist doctrine about revelation by means of a personalistic intimate experience is gnostic. And this concept of revelation by means of an intimate experience, personalistic, in which the truth has a secondary importance, as we will see, was acknowledged in the Vatican II. And the scholarly theological report from Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia confirms this.

How did the Vatican II accept this modernist and gnostic concept of revelation?

Therefore, the modernist doctrine of revelation by means of a personalistic intimate experience is also gnostic. And this concept of revelation by means of an intimate experience, personalistic, as we will see, was admitted in the Vatican II.

This inner sentiment is fruit of the divine immanence in the man, in whom would be a seed or a divine germ (which, once again, clearly approaches Modernism to Gnosis).

Evidently, the modernists try to make a shield for themselves of Saint John’s text that says: “Whosoever is born of God committeth not sin: for his seed abideth in him. And he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.” (I John III, 9-10).

In this text of Saint John, we cannot understand the seed of God as it is understood by the gnostics, that is, like something of God’s substance, that would be placed in certain men, and that would deify them. But this seed must be understood as the sanctifying grace of God. If the gnostics were right in their interpretation, it would be easy to tell the sons of God and the sons of devil – mentioned by St. John - apart, and there would be some divine men, and others born to evil, which is evidently heretical.

That is why Saint Augustine, in his commentary to this text from St. Jonh, relates it to the state of grace, and with the state of sin. (Acc. Saint Augustine, Comentário da Primeira Epístola de São João, Paulinas, São Paulo, 1989, p. 105-106).

If this “seed” was something substantial – understood as something from the divine substance, the divine germ – it would cause in man – in all men – the natural need for the divine. Hence, revelation would not be a free supernatural act, but, conversely, a pure natural movement. Thus, the distinction between natural order and supernatural order would disappear.

Regarding this point, the encyclical Pascendi explains that there were two kinds of modernists: the “moderates” and the “integralists”:

“To the “moderates”, the divine immanence would cause in the human nature “not merely a capacity and a suitability for the supernatural, (such as has at all times been emphasized, within due limits, by Catholic apologists), but that there is in human nature a true and rigorous need. Truth to tell, it is only the moderate Modernists who make this appeal to an exigency for the Catholic religion. As for the others, who might be called integralists, they would show to the non-believer, as hidden in his being, the very germ which Christ Himself had in His consciousness, and which He transmitted to mankind.” (Pius X, Pascendi, 37. Bolded text is mine).

To Jacob Boehme, the Divinity would have placed in man something divine, which makes him to desire God and eternity (Acc. Alexander Koyré, La Philosophie de Jacob Boehme, Vrin, Paris, 1971, p. 454).

Moehller, who is a very dear author to the modernists, also says that God placed a divine germ in man:

“Catholic Tradition sees itself, by an act of immediate intuition, in the identity of its subsequent states. Divine germ placed primitively by God in the midst of mankind, it, step by step, develops its virtualities. Therefore, catholicism makes the original christianism “present”. All the rest is heresy, and is outside this vital current from which catholicism came." (Edmond Vermeil, A . Moehller et l'ÉcoleCatholique de Tubingen, Acollin, 1913, p. 35. Apud Gusdorff, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 712).

Father Henri de Lubac did not say anything different in his famous book Le Mystère du Surnaturel, where he provides a revealing quotation about Rahner:

“Father Karl Rahner (...) wrote that the soul has an “unlimited transcendence”, which gives an “infinite character” to the human horizon, and this kind of infinitude constitutes precisely the definition of man and his “boundary” (H. de Lubac, Le Surnaturel, Audier, Paris, 1965, p. 141).

That is to say – not saying it clearly – in “neo-theological” terms, that man is, in fact, God.

In sight of this, it causes perplexities the text from Gaudium et Spes that says:

“Therefore, this Sacred Synod, proclaiming the noble destiny of man and championing the Godlike seed which has been sown in him, offers to mankind the honest assistance of the Church in fostering that brotherhood of all men which corresponds to this destiny of theirs” (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, n. 3. Bold text is mine).

Is there anyone who cannot see that this ambiguous affirmation about the “Godlike seed” could be well accepted by all kinds of Gnosis and mainly by the masonic Gnosis, since one refer to the “brotherhood of men”? Which Theosophist, which Brahmin, which esoteric would dare to say that he refuses this doctrine from Gaudium et Spes about the “Godlike seed” in man?

Can a Council express itself in such an ambiguous way?

Tyrrel, the well-known modernist philosopher, underlined that “revelation it is not a statement, but an experience” (G. Tyrrell, Through Scylla and Charybdis, p. 285). And yet: “The revelation belongs to the category of impression rather than of expression.” (G. Tyrrel, idem, p. 280).

Against all these things, you know it very well, the Holy Church had pronounced itself, demanding, in the Oath Against Modernism, to bear in mind the opposite:

Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and Lord.” (Pius X, Sacrorum Antistitum, Oath Against Modernism, 1907).

And this anti-modernist doctrine was that one the Blondel condemned, calling it of  “extrinsecism monoforist” ...

According to the Modernism, “by nature, revelation is individual, incommunicable: it is a certain experience that each prophet translates the way he can, according to his mental wealth and his upbringing through a play with images and concepts.” (René Latourelle, Teologia da Revelação, Paulinas, São Paulo, Brazil, 1981, p. 327).

To the Modernism, the revelation is not an “experience” restrained to certain chosen men – the Prophets and the Apostles – which would be, afterwards, entrusted to the Church as a Deposit to be kept, and to be taught.

“According to Tyrrel, it is necessary to assume that each individual may have an experience close to prophet’s and the apostles’. The revelation is an experience that is repeated analogously in every individual soul. Our soul answers the Holy Ghost, and the prophet’s experience becomes our experience. The assimilation of the revelation it is not a merely mental apprehension and the acceptance of affirmations and thinking... the exterior teaching must claim a revelation inside ourselves; the prophet’s experience must became experience to us. And we must correspond to this claimed revelation by means of an act of faith, recognizing it as the word of God inside us and for us. ... The revelation cannot come to us from outside; it could not be but caused by the teaching”. (G. Tyrrel, op. cit., pp 305-306, apud Monsignor Maggiollini, Magisterial Teaching on Experience in the Twentieth Century,, p.3)

To the modernist Tyrrel, "without personal revelation, there can be no faith, nothing more than theological or historical assent." (G. Tyrrell, Revelation as Experience, pp. 305-306, apud Mons. Maggiollini, Magisterial Teaching on Experience in the Twentieth Century,

And another contemporary author, John F. Haught, very sympathetic to Modernism, wrote:

“However, the very notion of revelation would never have arisen were it not for the fact that its substance is experienced intimately and palpably by especially sensitive individuals.” (John F. Haugh, Mystery and Promise: a theology of Revelation, Part I, chap. I, p. 9

Because of this notion of revelation as an innner experience from the heart, Modernism has a deeply anti-intellectual, anti-rational, and anti-conceptual character. The Modernism, instead of exalting an intellectual or essential trait of revelation, exalts a presumed existential trait. In this sense, the Modernism is anti-metaphysical, and it replaces the Metaphysics by the History, the stability by the movement, the being by the “becoming”. So, Modernism discloses itself as anti-doctrinal and anti-dogmatic. The modernists promote a religiosity that they call “alive” and intellectually incommunicable.

Is it strange that, with all these anti-intellectual characteristics, Modernism is anti-Tomist and anti-Scholastic?

The inspiration from the heart would have to do with the poetic inspiration...

The Pascendi taught:

“We may ask, what, then, becomes of inspiration?”

“Inspiration, they reply, is in nowise distinguished from that impulse which stimulates the believer to reveal the faith that is in him by words or writing, except perhaps by its vehemence. It is something like that which happens in poetical inspiration, of which it has been said: There is a God in us, and when He stirreth He sets us afire. It is in this sense that God is said to be the origin of the inspiration of the Sacred Books. The Modernists moreover affirm concerning this inspiration, that there is nothing in the Sacred Books which is devoid of it. In this respect some might be disposed to consider them as more orthodox than certain writers in recent times who somewhat restrict inspiration, as, for instance, in what have been put forward as so-called tacit citations. But in all this we have mere verbal conjuring”. (Saint Pius X, Pascendi, n.  22. Bolded text is mine).

As a practical consequence of these notes, Modernism was contrary to the missions and to the doctrinal catechism, and against traditional apologetics. Evidently, if each man can have an inner experience of revelation, catechism and missions are dispensable.

If revelation is possible to anyone, no religion could say that it possesses the whole truth, monopolized by it. God has not given the revelation just to one religion. Thus all religions have truths, which everyone must accept.

Consequently, all religions have truths and can be means of salvation. Thence emerged the plea for ecumenism by the modernists.

“Indeed, Modernists do not deny, but actually maintain, some confusedly, others frankly, that all religions are true” (Saint Pius X, Pascendi, n. 14).

How much alike – or identical – is it to the documents about ecumenism in the Vatican II?

“In the conflict between different religions, the most that Modernists can maintain is that the Catholic has more truth because it is more vivid, and that it deserves with more reason the name of Christian because it corresponds more fully with the origins of Christianity”. (Saint Pius X, Pascendi, n. 14).

Nowadays, it is claimed that the Catholic Church has, the most, the “plenitude of the truth”, therefore, that the other religions have the truth, but not integrally.

“For the Modernists, to live is a proof of truth, since for them life and truth are one and the same thing. Thus we are once more led to infer that all existing religions are equally true, for otherwise they would not survive” (Saint Pius X, Pascendi, n. 15).

It is impossible not to see in here, in the Pascendi, what has been done in the Church since the Vatican II. That is to say, that the Vatican II, also regarding ecumenism, has copied and approved the errors of Modernism.

Jean Guitton did not lie when he stated such a terrible thing.

We have already recalled that, to Modernism, the religious sentiment from the heart would be ineffable, impossible to be translated into words. The religious experience would be not reworded in a logic discourse. Thus, every creed would be absolutely useless, and above all, wrong and deceitful. And this should be so to all religions, not just to the catholic religion. All creeds would be misunderstandings of such inner feeling. What could be acknowledged, though, is that the doctrinal formulas have a quite relative and nearing value, never an absolute one. Therefore, no religion can be the only one to hold the entire and absolute truth. No creed would be completely truthful, nor any religion would have monopoly of the truth. The religions should be open one to another, in order to be enriched by they mutual experiences, by means of the ecumenical dialogue, that would allow an interchange of each one’s experience.

On top of that, Modernism was all imbibed by an evolutionary “metaphysics”.

Influenced by Modern Philosophy, that denied the being, Modernism saw all reality – including the divine – as a flux, as a “becoming”. Consequently, nothing would be fix. There would not be the Truth. The dynamism of the reality would demand the dogmatic formulas to be considered provisory, approaching the real “truth”, that is impossible to be acknowledged.

Revelation, which is always imperfectly expressed, must be constantly improved with new formulas. The expression of faith renewal would be an absolutely necessary demand. [To Modernism, religion would have the need of being continuously... “aggiornata”, using a so dear term of the Vatican II, and placed on evidence by John XXIII, a good friend of the modernist Ernesto Buonaiuti]. The religion and the Church should be perpetually ‘reformed’, as Luther used to say.

Crystallizing revelation into dogmatic formulas would mean killing religion. It was necessary to continuously change revelation in new and always provisory formulas.

Revelation should have a historic character, and, therefore, a relative value, according to the times. As a consequence, there would not be a “depositum fidei” that would endure forever, confided in the Church by God. There would not be any dogmatic truth with absolute value, beyond History.

Thus, both dogmas and excommunications of the past would be errors, fruits of the incomprehension about revelation’s progressive nature.

Against all these errors, Saint Pius X has made include the following clause in the Against Modernism Oath, that has been abolished:

“Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the Apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is just a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.”

“Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the History of dogmas.”

“I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion.” (Pius X, Sacrorum Antistitum, Against Modernism Oath).

The transmission of the religious experience from one generation to another, in History, would be Tradition.

For the Modernists, the concept of Tradition was totally different from the one the Church has always taught.

The catholic Tradition has always been understood as the set of truths revealed by Christ to the Apostles, transmitted by the Apostles from generation to generation, under the infallible safekeeping of the Church. Tradition was something in which all Catholics, universally and in all times, have always believed. It was always believed that there were two sources of revelation: the Scripture and the Tradition (Cfr. Denzinger, I,b).

But, to the Modernists, the concept of Tradition was the very opposite of the concept of the Holy Church:

“There is yet another element in this chapter of the Modernist doctrine which is absolutely contrary to Catholic truth. For what is laid down as to religious experience is also applied with destructive effect to tradition, which has always been maintained by the Catholic Church.”

“Tradition, as understood by the Modernists, is a communication with others of an original experience, through preaching and by means of the intellectual formula. (...)Sometimes this communication of religious experience takes root promiscuously and thrives, at other times it withers at once and dies. For the Modernists, to live is a proof of truth, since for them life and truth are one [and the same thing]. Thus we are once more led to infer that all existing religions are equally true, for, otherwise, they would not survive” (Saint Pius X, Pascendi, Denzinger, 2083).

And in the Against Modernism Oath we can read:

“(...) the Modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact -one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history - the fact, namely, that is a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages the school begun by Christ and his apostles.”

“So I retain and will retain most firmly the faith of the Fathers, and shall retain it until the final breath of my life, regarding the certain gift of truth, which is, was, and will be always in the succession of the Episcopacy from the apostles time, not so that what may seem better and more fitting according to each one's period of culture may be held, but so that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed otherwise, may never be understood otherwise”. (Saint Pius X, Against Modernism Oath, Denzinger, 2147).

Moreover, Monsignor Maggiolini, by criticizing the Modernists, taught that, to them, “Tradition would be the communication of the original experience through intellectual affirmations”. (Monsignor Maggiolini, Magisterial teaching on Experience on the Twentieth Century from the Modernist Crises to the II Vatican Council, cit. art. p. 5).

According to the Modernists, Tradition, understood as transmission of a religious experience, is the result of a dialectic contradiction between a conservative power – the doctrine taught by the authority – and the power that incites the progress, that is born from life. Out of this confrontation, the Alive Tradition arises, this that would be an evolution, rather than a real Tradition. If the Alive Tradition is born from this confrontation, its safekeeping is not a right of the conservative authority, but a right of the laymen through their religious experience, [and mainly how this vital and existential experience is interpreted by theologians] (ac. Saint Pius X, Pascendi, Denzinger, 1095).

Thus, the control over what is taught by Tradition would be transferred from the Church to the “theologians”, or to any simple believer...

Due to that, Blondel stated that “the tradition keeps this same freedom regarding the dogmatic formulas, because the tradition preserves the sense of the transcendent Mystery of any dogmatic formulation, and tradition carries on the development of dogma” (Pierre Gauthier, Newman et Blondel, Cerf, Parigi 1988, p.400).

And by Gauthier’s statement, Blondel’s whole doctrine becomes committed with Modernism.

Tradition would be the “dynamic element, the engine of the progress of the dogmas” (P. Gauthier, op. cit. p. 269). One would rather have mentioned the evolution of the dogma instead.

Therefore, Tradition in the Modernist sense would allow development and growth of revelation in History. That is to say, that dogma “evolutes”, changes.

“In his articles, [Blondel] presented a new definition for ecclesiastic Tradition, inspired in his philosophy of Action. The Gospel is more than a message deposited in the Scripture documents or in the ecclesiastic preaching; it is a living reality that acquired form throughout its life and within the Church community’s experience. This reality is transmitted mainly through tradition, which converts it into acts, in an action in which – according to one of Blondel’s most fundamental ideas – God’s grace and men’s intention are concretely tied up. Since the beginning it has happened, thus, in the Church, a vital unity of the dogma (divine) and history (human); a collective, rather than intellectual conscience. The one that contains all truth of revelation– among others, in its written gospel testimonies and objective institutions – and saves it” (Father T. M. Schoof, La Nueva Teologia Catolica, Ediciones Carlos Lohlé, Buenos Aires, 1971, p. 223).

Due to all this, we are able to understand how wrong are those who intend to interpret the II Vatican Council “under the light of Tradition”. They fail because the term Tradition assumes different meanings in Catholicism and in Modernism.

If Tradition is the engine that prompts inner revelation, so revelation would never be concluded.

Urs von Balthasar recognizes that the doctrine of evolution from the 19th century, that means, the doctrine of Darwin, Spencer and Bergson, has penetrated in Theology as well:

“In fact, along the 19th century, and in the set of movements regarding the idea of evolution, the concept of evolution entered - like an orthodox “rejeton” by Joaquim de Fiore - in Theology itself. It is said, nowadays, about the evolution of dogmas and it is designated by it the uncovering of “all the hidden treasures of wisdom and science”(Col. II, 3) contained in the deposit of revelation entrusted to the Church” (Urs von Balthasar, La Théologie de l´Histoire, Fayard, Paris, 1970, p. 165).

Thus, it would be unacceptable to say that revelation has ended with the death of the last Apostle, as it would be absurd to state that the Apostles had already had the entire revelation. As we saw, this thesis is condemned for being modernist in the Lamentabili Decree. The revelation in history and beyond history would always be tentative and incomplete, while it would approach the end of History itself (Acc. John F. Haught, Mystery and Promise: A Theology of Revelation, Parte III Capítulo 9,

And Von Balthasar has also some reservations against the doctrine about the closure of revelation:

“With the death of the last Apostle, the Revelation was just “concluded” in the sense that the infinite plenty cannot grow up anymore. The revelation can also irradiate its plenty up to the infinite and, under its sun, all can develop themselves up to the last maturity” (Urs von Balthasar, Abater os Bastiões, Borla, Turim, 1966, p. 48).

Evidently, this doctrine of revelation of God in the History had its roots in the gnostic doctrine of Jacob Boehme, repeated thereafter by the pietists which said that it was necessary to search and read God signals in History, - the signs of the time - and finally by Hegel, which have became the great responsible by its diffusion in the western and eastern thoughts, mainly Russian thought.

But this revelation would not be of truths regarding God, but of God Himself that sets Himself free in history, and promotes the deifying of all men and of the cosmos.

Theilhard de Chardin did not say so contrary to these...

This wicked doctrine about Tradition, already condemned by Saint Pius X, has been spread out, through covertly paths, until today. Yet in the time of Pius XII, the Holy See felt the duty of condemning, once more, such modernist conception of Tradition:

“The theologians must also go back to the sources of the revelation, for it is their duty to point out how to find in the Sacred Scriptures and in “tradition”, be that in an explicit or implicit way, that was taught by the living magistrate teaching. Moreover, one should bear in mind that both sources of the divinely revealed doctrine have many and such big treasures of truth that they will never come to an end” (Letter from the Secretary of the Biblical Commission to the Cardinal Suhard, 10 – XI 1948. Denzinger, 2314).

It is from this teaching of Pius XII time that we can see that even back in the old times the Holy See taught that sources of revelation are two – the Sacred Scripture and the Tradition – and that these two sources contain truths, and not experiences, as the Modernists used to say.

And the document above mentioned continues:

“The Divine Redeemer did not consider that the authentic interpretation of this deposit be made by each one of the faithful, not even by the theologians, but just by the Church magisterial”. (Idem, Denzinger, 2314).

How great this truth is, so forgotten nowadays, to the point that it looks like these “Theologians” have sat on the Saint Peter cathedra...

Today, the discussions are more based on the abstruse – and even esoteric, as Blondel confessed – doctrines of these modernist theologians than on the definitions of the councils or on the teachings of the pontifical magisterial.

According to Xavier Tillette, “Almost a century ago, certain thesis, Modernism’s most audacious ones, regarding Jesus Christ, repudiated vigorously by the Magisterial, causes less fear nowadays. Such theses come back in the name of the free analysis and through the discussion among the catholic theologians that, in fact, were contaminated by their protestant colleagues” (Xavier Tillette, Maurice Blondel et la controverse christologique, in Le Modernisme, Cerf, Paris, 1980, p. 129).

What a straightforward confession!

The catholic theology was contaminated by the protestant theology!

And Xavier Tillette also confesses:

The modernism revivals are however incontestable. The truth is that, after the condemnations and authoritative directives (justified at the highest degree), still subsist among the moderns and in the faithful, not reabsorbed sequels, a heavy exegetical and theology contentious.(...) Nowadays the catholic exegetes compete freely both in audacity and shrewdness to their Lutheran and Anglican masters” (X. Tillette, op, cit. p. 130).

And Tillette is not the only one to say it. You see, and will see thereafter, eminent Doctor Pappetti, that Tillette strongly agrees with Guitton’s awful statement.

For example, the famous modernist Yves Congar, that was the very responsible for the thought of the Vatican II, by commenting the refusal of the Council to accept the doctrine about the two sources of revelation, with the support of the Pope John XXIII, decision that led to the Dei Verbum, said:

“November 20, 1962 – the day when John XXIII decided that another conciliar document regarding revelation would be written – will be recognized in the history of the Church as the day in which the decisive closing of the Counter Reform was determined” (René Virgoulay, Blondel et le Modernisme, Cerf, Parigi, p. 449).

Congar salutes the victory of the Reform over the Counter Reform and the refusal in the Vatican II from the traditional doctrine of two sources of revelation in the Dei Verbum as if it was the victory of Luther over Trent.

Therefore, it is the famous theologians favorable to the Vatican II that recognize that in the Council, particularly in the Dei Verbum, document that dealt with revelation, the only point stressed out by the report from Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia, the propositions of Modernism and also of Protestantism were accepted…

As for the role of the theologians, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:

[In the past] “It was the Creed which was responsible for providing the basis for theology. Nowadays, in the Catholic Church, all this – at least in the popular conscience – was submitted to revision, and even the Creed does not seem untouchable anymore, yet, it is now submitted to the control of theologians. Behind this tendency of domination of the experts, one could have already detected something else: the idea of an ecclesial sovereignty of the people, in which the very people determines what it wants to be understood by the Church, for the “Church” seemed much clearly defined as “the People of God” (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Memories (1927-1977), Milestones, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988 p. 134).

Nowadays, after the Vatican II, theologians have the last word. People give ears to the theologians, and not to what the Pope teaches anymore. And when the Pope promulgates the declaration Dominus Iesus, protests from theologians and of Bishops are registered all over. And when the Pope ordains the return of the confessionary and of particular confession, almost no bishop obeys him, and many fathers not even get to know what the Sumo Pontiff has determined. And, even if they knew, nothing would be changed. They praise the Pope and talk about obedience. In reality, they do what they will. The Church is going through an atomization process. It was Paul VI himself who recognized that, after the Vatican II, the Church faces a mysterious auto-demolition process, and that Satan’s smoke had entered in the temple of God. And this smoke can be found in the heretical books of so much well-known theologians.

However, the theologians of the New Theology, which triumphed in the Vatican II, wanted exactly this: the demolition of Christian historic consciousness, which would immediately be turned into the ancientness of the Church itself.

“What must be swept out at any cost is the historical conscience of the Christian, that aged because it was sustained by an insufficient faith. In the body of the Church there are signs of oldness, in fact of decadence, which were the Reform and all its consequences. Saint Augustine and Saint Gregorius Magnus had already seen the Church covered with such ulcerations, and because of this, it was considered that the last times would have arrived.”

“From the historical-philosophical point of view, the Church has become aged, it is old-fashioned since a long time” (Urs von Balthasar, Abbatere i Bastioni, Borla, Torino, 1966, pp. 54-5. Bolded text is mine).

These Neo-Modernist theologians want to demolish the Church and construct a New Church, a New Religion: The Religion and the Church of the Man, as said by Loisy and by Father Teilhard de Chardin.

Damned be you, modernist theologians, who elaborated a doctrine which differs from what the Holy Church has always taught everywhere!

Damned be you, modernist theologians, who speak with words which belong to the old gnostic and cabalistic heresies!

Damned be you, modernist theologians, for you have destroyed everything that could be destroyed in the Holy Church!

Damned be you, modernist theologians, who have absorbed, as if by osmosis, the poison of all heresies!

Damned be you, modernist theologians, who in the light of the truth have always sought the shadows, and in the darkness of heresy, you have always looked for any dim light to praise it!

Damned be you, modernist theologians, “doctors of doubts”, who deny all certainty!

Damned be you, modernist theologians, who conspire in the darkness, to defend the gnostic evolutionary lie against the immutable truth taught by the Magisterial of Peter’s Church!

And there would be so many other damnations to say! …


XI - The New Theology

"O tuo parlar m' inganna, o il mi tenta"

(Dante, Purg., XVI, 136).

["Or your speak deceives me, or it tempts me"]

1) Modernism survived in the New Theology

Every time that comes out a serious heresy, in the History of the Church, immediately sprouts, by its side, the same error, though either more or less disguised. This happened with Aryanism, with Pelagianism, with Jansenism, with Liberalism, with Communism. All such heresies had, aside, as a disguised ally, moderated and balanced, a semi-heresy that strove to justify the heresy with the truth contained in the declared heresy. As it is impossible to find an absolute heresy, without any truths, there will always be those that strive to justify any kind of error by the truth contained in it. The neo-modernists are among those that, in all heresies, want to seek for any truth, forgetting that the more a lie looks like it is a truth, the worst.

This immediately attracts the sympathy of irenics, pacifists and optimistic of all degrees, “que dans tout herésie trouvent des charmes” [who find delight in all heresies]… that means, the famous “seeds of the Verb”…

As if absolute error could exist…

The semi-heretics are those that always look for positive points in all lies. They always search for the “seeds of the Verb” … to betray the Verb!

Once Modernism was condemned, and many of its leaders were excommunicated and left the Church, the explicit heresy became less dangerous.

“Loisy and Tyrrell were gone immediately. Those that remained [at the Church], Blondel, the exegetes Batiffol, Father Garndmaison, Father Lagrange, for example, found themselves, as the remaining of the theological intelligentsia, before the beginning of very hard times” (T. M. Schoof, La Nueva Teologia Catolica, Edicções Carlos Lohlé, Buenos Aires - México, 1971, p. 90).

And notice, dear Doctor, that Father Schoof places Father Lagrange among... moderate modernists.

Other epigone of the modernist heresy, that were smarter and wicker, remained to perpetuate it and make it triumph “under the veil of strange texts”. That’s why Teilhard de Chardin explained to a Dominican Father that left the Church, that he respected his decision, but said that he would stay in the Church, to keep on fighting from within the Church.

“Basically, as you, I consider that the Church (as all alive realities, after some time) gets to a “mutation” period or a period of “necessary reforms”. After more than two thousand years, it is unavoidable… Mankind is about to change. How would the Christianity not make it? More precisely, I consider that the Reform mentioned is not an institution’s or costumes’ matter, but a matter of Faith. Well, this fundamental gesture of generation of a new Faith for the earth, I believe (and I suppose that you also have the same opinion) just Christianity can do. I am convinced about this: it is from a new Christology, extended to the organic dimensions of our new universe, that tomorrow’s religion prepares itself to come out. By saying this, (and it is right here that we disagree: but does not life go on by trials?) I have not yet found a better way for me to promote what I anticipate unless I work the reform from within [the Church]. Very sincerely (not indenting to be critical towards your attitude), I cannot see in the roman trunk but a big enough and diversified enough biological sustaining to operate and to support the so-longed-for transformation. Let us work each one on his place. All that goes up, converges. Very kindly yours” (Teilhard de Chardin, Carta, apud Itinéraires, n0 91, pp. 114-143, e apud Savoir et Servir, n0 56, p. 75.Bolded mine. And I ask you not to judge me a partisan of these magazines that I quoted).

Such tactic, of remaining in the Church, was recommended by Monsignor Duchesne, that said, also, in a letter to Modernist and apostate Father Marcel Hébert:

“Who would be so sincere to confess worries like yours? (…) We are on a turning point (…) Let us teach, then, what is taught by the Church, in its name and under its responsibility”

“We cannot pretend that in all this there is a great part of symbolism that demands exegesis. But we must let this exegesis be done inside and by individuals (…) We might get to a point when, despite all appearances, the old ecclesiastic building will fall down some day… If it happens, nobody will criticize us because we held up the old house as much as we could. It will be said that, at the end, that we did not have another house for us and for those around us” (Monsignor Duchesne to the abbot Marcel Hébert, January 18, 1900. Apud Jean Rivière, op. cit., p. 151-152).

This was what modernist Tyrrell used to advise:

“[We must] stay [in the Church] and do all we can to develop healthier ideas”.

“If the reformers of the 16th century had stayed in the Church, maybe they would have got to a later solution, but for sure to a healthier solution than the one that was done by Trent”. (Hilaire Bourdon, alias of G. Tyrrel, in The Church and the Future, apud Jean Rivière, Le Modernisme dans l’Église, Lib, Letouzey et Ané, Paris, 1929, p. 8).

One of the people who made the possible – and almost the impossible – to stay in the Church was Maurice Blondel, whose doctrine inspired the New Theology, triumphant in the Vatican II.

This work of propagation of modernist doctrines was made in a somewhat secret way. In the Sacrorum Antistitum, Saint Pius X said that Modernists were secretly organized – in a truly secret society – to keep on working.

Several theologians that defended modernist ideas declared how they have had learned the condemned doctrine in the seminaries where they had studied.

In a Jesuit seminar in France, there were masters, like Father Auguste Valensin that had a deplorable role, defending the doctrines of Modernism, mainly Blondel’s. Among the disciples of these modernist masters, Henri de Lubac, Jean Danielou and Hans Urs von Balthasar must be referred to.

These modernists have told that some of their masters used to teach the traditional doctrine in the classes, but thereafter, they would supply the learners with some students handwritten copies of Blondel’s thesis, L’Action, sometimes with a more explicit content than the printed and published one…

Henri de Lubac will say that there were masters who, by a laudable exception, allowed some of their students to read the works of Blondel. So much that he wrote to Blondel that his books have prepared the paths to elaborate his New Theology. (H. de Lubac, Letter to Maurice Blondel, April 8, 1932. Apud, Les Pionniers du Vatican II, in Savoir et Servir, number 56, tome I, p. 55). De Lubac even recognized, in another letter to Maurice Blondel, that his work [of Blondel] “had a capital and deeply beneficial influence over his way of thinking” (Letter from Henri de Lubac to Maurice Blondel, March 5, 1930, in Savoir et Servir, number 56, tome I, p. 60).

Von Balthasar tells us that he used to cover his ears with cotton balls not to hear what his Scholastic Theology professor was saying, while he would read, secretly, the works of Saint Augustine.

What devotion for Saint Augustine! Or how much disdain for the scholastics!

Besides the devoted secret readers of Saint Augustine, would it not have those that, as de Lubac, would secretly read the works of Blondel?

And, besides Blondel, would not they also read books by Loisy, Tirrell among other more praised modernists?

That was how modernists went ahead performing.

In the dominican Saulchoir, Father Chenu, by his turn, made the diffusion of the ideas and doctrines of Modernism. The former disciple of Maurras, Yves Congar, after the condemnation of the French Action, in 1926, changed from the right to the left, and learned the Modernism from Chenu and became a leader and broadcaster of it, until the Vatican II. Meanwhile, Abbé Bauduin did the same thing secretly, in the liturgical field, where Bouyer and Zundel followed him and developed their destructive ideas concerning the Sacred Liturgy. And finally, an identical thing with the work of Monsignor Bugnini, approved by Paul VI (I ask you not to think, dear Doctor Papetti, that I am a follower of Monsignor Lefebvre, or a member of Saint Pius X fraternity, because you would be making a mistake).

It is this underground work – and indeed secret – that bears the so-called New Theology. And while in the seminars the secret diffusion was being made, in the Vatican plots to protect the defenders of the New Theology were engendered.

That the so-called New Theology resulted of a long term underground work – more properly named secret – was recognized by an author very sympathetic to the Modernism and to the New Theology, as well to the Vatican II. I am referring to the Dutch Dominican T. M. Schoof that, in his work with the introduction written by E. Schillebeeckx, stated:

“(…) our intention represents a question “behind of theological novelties”, in order to demonstrate that the current situation, still confusing, has a previous history – somewhat underground – a context that can clarify many things”. (T. M. Schoof, O. P. La Nueva Teologia Catolica, Ediciones Carlos Lohlé, Buenos Aires – México, 1971, p. 24).

Why was this an underground work?

Because it was necessary not to confess its heretical modernist roots.

“The current situation of the catholic theology has its roots easily recognized back to the beginning of this century [the 20th century]: The brief and not that stimulant episode of Modernism; a term that, since then, has such a marked emotional significance that the supporters of the [theological] renovation avoid it instinctively, because their efforts would be named (neo-)modernist biased offhand”. (T. M. Schoof, O. P. La Nueva Teologia Catolica, Ediciones Carlos Lohlé, Buenos Aires – México, 1971, p. 29).

This same author places in the root of the Modernism the exegetical question and the “new apologetics by Maurice Blondel” (Acc. T. M. Schoof, O. P. La Nueva Teologia Catolica, Ediciones Carlos Lohlé, Buenos Aires – México, 1971, p. 31).

After the end of the Second World War, Father Daniélou, one of the New Theology leaders, proclaimed that: “it has arrived the time of repairing the rupture produced between theology and life” (…) Daniélou (…) drafts in a suggestive way the three perspectives drawn out from that statement: return to the biblical, patristic and liturgical fountains; contact with Marxism and with Existentialism, that offers the fundamental notions regarding historicity and subjectivity; and an apostolic dedication to Christian life, both individual and social”. (T. M. Schoof, O. P. La Nueva Teologia Catolica, Ediciones Carlos Lohlé, Buenos Aires – México, 1971, p. 138).

It was Father Garrigou-Lagrange that created the formula “New Theology” to name the thought that, was born from Blondel’s work, was developed afterwards in the books by Henry du Lubac, by Father Daniélou, by Urs von Balthasar, by Chenu, by Congar and the like.

In 1946, Father Garrigou-Lagrange published an article in the newspaper Angelicum, in which he asked:

“Where will the New Theology head? It take us straight to Modernism” (R. Garrigou-Lagrange, O. P.. “La nouvelle théologie, oú va-t-elle?Angelicum, n. 23, 1946, p. 136).

This brought important polemics about the Neo-Modernist character of the New Theology, polemics which had their origin in Maurice Blondel's works.

Those polemics are extremely important, because it was due to them that the theologians of the New Theology were the winners in Vatican II. If the New Theology is modernist, therefore Vatican II approved the Modernism thesis, as said Jean Guitton.

Father Shillebeeckx, famous modernist theologian and one of the most influent experts during Vatican II, wrote:

“Vatican II was a kind of confirmation of what the theologians had done before the Council: Rahner, Chenu, Congar and others (…) the theologians that had been condemned, kept away of their teaching cathedras, sent to the exile, (...) their theology was the one that triumphed in Vatican II”. (Father Schillebeeckx, in “Jesus”, May of 1993).

Therefore, if the new theology is modernist, then Vatican II has approved Modernist theses, as said Jean Guitton.

In the polemics set up by Father Garrigou-Lagrange, one would blame Blondel, first of all, for his definition of truth, which was favorable to Modernism and Relativism. In fact, Blondel used to say that the truth is the real adaptation of the mind and of the life.

This definition, contrary to the definition given by scholastics – that says that the truth is the adaptation of the intellect to the thing (adequatio rei et intellectus) – would destroy thomistic metaphysics, because in the definition of truth, he introduced life – with its continual changes [even though he did not accept the biological evolution] – in place of the thing, generating an evolutionary concept of reality and truth. And this was Modernism.

Father Garrigou-Lagrange commented that, in the article above quoted:

“The truth is, therefore, a conformity of the intellect with reality. Any changes in this universal notion of truth leads to a complete change in the sphere of knowledge. Modernists, says Saint Pius X, have abandoned the eternal notion of truth”,

To Blondel, truth would be the correspondence between intellect and life.

This shift in the notion of truth would carry with it a great responsibility, as it would leave aside a definition that has been approved by the Holy Church for centuries to go, in order to benefit a definition that related the thought with life, which is movable. Not only Blondel, but so many others in his time, were influenced by an evolutionary conception of the world and of reality, by means of Darwin and Spencer thoughts and, above all, by the evolutional and gnostic thoughts of Bergson.

The life was the human life. But Saint Pius X had already condemned the concept that “ truth is not more immutable than man himself, once it develops with him, in him and by means of him” (Saint Pius X. Lamentabili Decree, error 58. Denzinger, 2038). (Acc. Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O. P., Reality – A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought, chap. 57; Realism and Pragmatism,

Father Garrigou-Lagrange was right when he accused of doctrinaire relativism infunded in the definition of truth by Blondel, who, in 1906, wrote:

“As there is always someting new in the world, it is not possible to gather the being in rest, in a purely static definition” (...)” The philosophy since its begging has tended to the neverending movement and does not look for fixidity but in the orientation of its path” (DP, p. 233).

“None of us, neither outside us, nor by means of a practically indispensable simulation, though philosophycally ilegitime, cannot reach, in speculative ways, from fixed objects, distincts and irreductibles ones to atoms of conscience and of substance” (DP. p. 232, apud Francesco Bertoldi, Il Dibattito sulla verità tra Blondel e Garrigou-Lagrange, in Sapienza, vol. XLIII, fasc. 3, pp. 293-310;

Although this author [Bertoldi] is very favorable to Blondel, attempting to understand and excuse him, he himself confesses that “maybe there would have lacked, in Blondel, an effort enough to evidence his clear distinction from Modernism” (Francesco Bertoldi, art. Cit. Conclusione).

It is true that until now one has been discussing what Blondel meant to say, for he is so much obscure and hermetic. Above all, as Blondel himself admits, he is in some ways “esoteric”.

Many would defend him as orthodox. Others think that he is modernist. How to solve this problem?

Nobody has greater authority about the true interpretation of Blondel’s philosophy than he himself. Blondel certainly knew what his complicated and “esoteric” philosophy meant.

And Blondel wrote, in a letter to Loisy, that his philosophy was in harmony with the doctrine of the modernist exegesis maker:

“Your thoughts will triumph if the previous work to which I have dedicated myself is successful” (Maurice Blondel, Letter to Alfred Loisy, February 15, 1903m in R. Marlé, Au Couer della Crise Moderniste, Aubier, Paris, 1959, vol. I, p. 88).

To what looks almost like a cooperation proposal, Loisy answered ironically: “You bear to write encyclicals, and if I am admitted in the next Conclave, I will propose your candidature (…). If I wanted to be a little wicked, I would say that you reproach me because I have not put your philosophy in my history”. (Alfred Loisy, Letter to Blondel, February 22, 1903, in R. Marlé, Au Coeur de la Crise Moderniste, cit. ed., Vol. I, p. 96).

Therefore, Blondel himself recognized the affinity of his philosophy with the modernist system, and wanted to put it to serve the modernist cause.

From the polemic between Garrigou-Lagrange with the Neo Modernists one gets, at the end, in the publishing of the Encyclical Humani Generis, by Pius XII, in 1950, as well as in the punishing of some leaders of the New Theology, as Lubac and Congar, that were left “in standby” for a certain time.

When Pius XII died, and with the election of John XXIII as Sumo Pontiff – Roncalli, that was Buonaiuti's, Turchi's, and Abbé Bauduin's friend – the theologians of the New Liturgy were “awakened” and, far latter, Lubac, Daniélou and von Balthasar, were made Cardinals. They are the ones who triumphed in the II Vatican Council.

That the New Theology came from the philosophy of Action of Blondel, Modernist theologians recognizes it, as the famous Father Comblim, who was in favor of the Liberation Theology, and that wrote in his book about the New Theology:

“It seems to me that what is being formed might be called a theology of action. (…) And action should mean what the examination of the present orientations of theology will show us. Since the first moment, however, the term ‘action’ seems to summon the backing of Maurice Blondel, and this backing is meaningful. It is not meaningless the presence of Blondel's shadow and its being the core of many works and orientation to the present time. If they do not always inspire them, yet Blondel's work and inspiration at least might symbolize their inner sense.” (José Comblin, Teologia da Ação, 30 Anos de Investigação, São Paulo, Herder, 1967, pp. 8-9; cf. ibid. p. 61 e p. 13).

According to Latourelle, the New Theology was born in the Modernism, despite also was influenced by Nedoncelles' and Mounier's Existentialism and Personalism. It is not necessary to say that the theologians of the New Theology regarded the critic protestant theology by Moltman, Bultman, and others, with kindness.

We also saw that Schoof recognizes the New Theology being born from Modernism.


2) The Revelation according to the New Theology

To this theology, osmotic to the protestant New Theology, the revelation arrives to us in the form of history, and not by means of abstract ideas. Father Chenu strongly opposed to the abstract intellectualism in the revelation.

To father Charlier, what is revealed is, before anything, reality, and not abstract ideas: “The faith – according to Father Charlier – supposes that we, by means of a concept and of a formula, can reach the res, that means, the divine reality itself. (L. Charlier, Essai sur le Problème Théologique, Thuillies, 1938, p. 66, apud R. Latourelle, op. cit. p. 253).

Even though Father Charlier talks about concepts and formulas of revelation, these concepts and formulas are just means to reach the divine res, real and final object of the revelation.

Therefore, to the New Theology, theology of religion's initial data are not principles, nor metaphysical truths, not even physical truths, from which results conclusions, but, above all, the divine res itself in history.

“Father Charlier himself assures, about this, that the revelation it is not a communication of truths that can work as the principles of a common science, deductive, but that it is a reality: ‘God that gives Himself to us through Christ in the mystery of Incarnation, to which the Church's mystery is just a continuation’ (L. Charlier, Essai sur le Problème Théologique, Thuilles, Paris, 1938, p. 69). Such reality of the revelation has been evolving, since it was given to the Church, and this growth is the font of our progressive knowledge” (Father T. M. Schoof, La Nueva Teologia Catolica, Ediciones Lohlé, Buenos Aires, 1971, p. 248).

Well, as we saw before, it was the modernists who stated that in the revelation one would be in contact with the divine res itself, and that one would never know the truths related with this divine res. Regarding this point, therefore, the New Theology was, in fact, modernist.

“Father de Lubac used to teach that ‘the salvation mystery destroys all our human concepts’. Because of this, du Lubac describes, as dogmatic evolution's starting point, the savior's act of Christ, ‘the wholeness of the dogma’, that we reach by an extremely real and vital knowledge that holds the subsequent expressions in a superior unity, an idea that recalls Newman's, but that, strikingly, did not receive no straight influence from him” (Father T. M. Schoof, O. P. La Nueva Teologia Catolica, Ediciones Lohlé, Buenos Aires, 1971, p. 249).

“In the last work by Rahner about the evolution of the dogma, a little before the Council, (…) his fundamental idea is that the revelation is a God’s self- revelation, that refers categorically to man’s spirit. It would be, therefore, the communication of God's reality itself, and not only of a determined number of propositions, however, it would disclose itself as a content apprehensible to the intellect by means of words”. (Father T. M. Schoof. O. P., La Nueva Telogia Catolica, Ediciones Lohlé, Buenos Aires, 1971, pp. 261-262).

Chenu basically substitutes Metaphysics by History, as the basis of Theology, giving a dynamic character to the revelation, procedural, movable. The old stability of the faith is replaced by the dynamism of the History.

The New Theology considers, as does Modernism, that revelation, and its corresponding faith, is personal, or better, personalistic. Revelation would be an interpersonal dialogue between God and man, through that thing that New Theology named “Presence”. Like that: “Presence”, without mentioning what this mysterious “Presence” would be. However, one can see that it is the “Presence” of the immanent Divinity in creation, in man, and in history.

The indefinite use of the term “Presence” will allow the modernists, mainly in the field of Liturgy, to play with words in order to treat “Presence” of God in the consecrated Host in an indistinctive form from the Presence of God in the Scripture, in the “community”, etc. If you want an example of the confusion that is made with this mysterious term “Presence”, it is enough to read any article of Monsignor Giussani, where this term “Presence” obsessively appears in a nebulous, mysterious and undefined way.

We must thank to Father Louis Bouyer the revelation of the meaning for this mysterious “Presence”. In one of his books meaningfully entitled Gnosis – The Knowledge of God in the Scripture, there is an entire chapter dedicated to “Schechinah and to the mystic of Merkabah”, in which he explains:

“One could say that nothing is more exclusively characteristic of the biblical notion of God than His transcendence and His immanence, which are constantly together. And very often it is forgotten that these two notions of immanence and transcendence are inventions of Spinoza, who, despite becoming heretic to the Judaic orthodoxy eyes, keeps on being fundamentally a Jew in his stating of such inseparability”. (L. Bouyer, Gnosis – La Connaissnace de Dieu dans l’Écriture, Cerf, Parigi, 1988, p. 51).

Saint Thomas explains, in the Summa Theologica (I, Q 8m a, 3), that God is present in everything by essence, by presence, or by potency. He is present by essence, not in the immanence or pantheistic sense, or gnostic, to which God would be part of everything, but because He maintains continuously the being of creatures. He is present by presence, because God knows everything. He is present by potency, because God rules everything. That was why Saint Pius X, by condemning the immanence notion of Modernists, made a distinction: although one can say, in a certain way, secundum quid, that: “God working in man is more intimately present in him than man is in himself, and this statement, if properly understood, is free from reproach, others hold that the divine action is one and the same with the action of nature, as the action of the first cause to the action of the second cause, and this would destroy the supernatural order, others, finally, explain it in a way which tastes like pantheism and this, in truth, is the sense which tallies best with the rest of their doctrines.” (Pio X, Pascendi, n 0 19. Denzinger, 2087).

To Gnosis, God is transcendent and immanent, but not in the catholic sense. The sameness of expressions, used in a different sense, is to cheat the unaware. To Gnosis, the unknown Divinity is absolutely transcendent, as It has no relation with the created world, which is an evil demiurge's creation. At the same time, Gnosis assures that God is immanent to the world, as there was the fall of Sofia – the very Schechinah of the Cabala – in creation, when the demiurge would have imprisoned Sofia’s (Schechinah’s) divine particle in all creatures.

That the Schechinah is the same gnostics’ Sofia, it is clear, undoubtedly, when we read the works of Gershom G. Scholem, A Mística Judaica [Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism] Portuguese translation, Ed. Perspectiva, São Paulo, 1972; Kabballh, Keter, Jerusalem, 1974; Les Origines de la Kabbale, Aubier, Paris, 1966; Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism and Talmudic Tradition, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, 5725-1965).

Allow me, dear doctor Papetti, to make a quotation of one of these works of Scholem that gives us very important information about the intra divine theosophical process.

“But, while in all other examples, the cabalists avoid to use sensual images to describe the relationship between man and God, they do not show any hesitation when they start to describe the relation of God with Himself, in the sephirotic world. The sex mystery, as it presents itself to the cabalist, has a terribly deep meaning. This mystery of human existence is nothing but a symbol of the love between the divine “I” and the divine “You”, the Saint, blessed be Him, and His Schechinah. O hierós gamos, the “sacred union” of the King and the Queen. Of the Celestial Bridegroom and the Celestial Bride, to mention but some symbols, is the central fact of all divine manifestations' chain in the occult world. In God there is the union of the active and passive, procreation and conception, from where comes all earthly life and happiness.” (Gerschom G. Scholem, A Mistica Judaica – Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism – Portuguese translation, ed. Perspectiva, São Paulo, 1972, pp. 228-229).

It is not necessary, I believe, to explain how this cabalistic notion, transmitted by Jacob Boheme, was adopted by Hegel and, thereafter, by their romantic disciples, up to the protestant theology that, by osmosis, passed it to several modernist and gnostic theologians, as Sergev, Bulgakov and Urs von Balthasar.

And, as we already saw, Father Louis Bouyer dares to identify the mysterious “Presence” – so dear to the actual modernists – with the name of Schechinah, to the last emanation of cabalistic hidden Divinity in the sephirotic tree, the female sex of the hidden Divinity, the gnostics’ Sophia.

It is easy to speak through mysterious terms, and make the public swallow the unknown word – Schechinah – without saying what this mysterious Schechinah is. This method is typically modernist, in order to make people accept their doctrines “under the veil of strange words…”

Thus, the revelation would be religious, mystic, personal, of the divine reality itself, of the divine Mystery that makes itself “Presence” – Schechinah – immanent God inside the man and all creation.

How can one deny that this “Presence” of Schechinah, in the New Theology doctrine, does make it most suspicious of Gnosis?

Back to the notes on revelation according to the New Theology, according to Father L. Charlier, these notes would be:

a)       Through faith we would reach the divine res itself;

b)       The main object of revelation is God Himself, not truths about the divine nature;

c)       What that is revealed is the total Christ, and with him, Trinity, that develops, grows in the Church and in History;

d)       The historical character of revelation gives it a dimension that forces to develop a dogma, which would always be a temporary and imperfect formula, as taught by the Modernists.

The theologians of the New Theology took a position contrary to the traditional doctrine that always understood the revelation as a set of truths revealed by God and consigned as deposit to the Catholic Church.

To the new theologians, the revelation – despite having truths aimed at the intellect – was, mainly, a personal experience, inner, intuitive and ineffable, exactly as preached by the Modernists. The single difference would lie on the fact that the new theologians admitted that, above experience, there would have in it some truths, but of lessened importance than the personal experience of faith itself.

Fathers Chenu, Congar, Charlier and de Lubac, positioned against the aspect “excessively intellectualistic” of revelation, as it has always been taught by the Church.

The starting point of the New Theolgy consisted in considering the revelation as a testimony of God over Himself. But this testimony was not properly the vehicle of a real knowledge. It was something more: the Testimony of the divine reality itself – the divine res – as object of amorous and intuitive perception.

And more: the revelation would be a strolling from darkness to light. This strolling would be accomplished in the historical process through the facts and interrelated words.

Revelation would have, therefore, a clearly interpersonal and dynamic character, between God and the human person, and would not communicate immutable truths. It is useless saying that the New Theology considered revelation a human phenomena, possible to any man of any religion, and not only to one specific and exclusive religion, in other words, the catholic.

The object of the religion would be the divine reality, God Himself, received in the personal experience, that would bring with it truths or concepts that expressed the divine testimony in an imperfect way.

The faith, no doubt, was an allowance to the propositions that expressed the mystery. But, through those expressions, the faith would have in sight the reality of the mystery itself, which means, God Himself.

The progress of the dogma would not come from the progress of studies, but mainly from the progress of the divine reality in the Church. It is the divine reality progress in the Church that would cause the theoretical theological progress.

An unsuspected author, René Latourelle, criticizes the thought of Charlier in these words:

“Therefore, according to Father Charlier, the revelation is mainly a communication of the divine reality itself: mysterious presence offered to the experience of faith. The doctrinal revelation (salvation message communicated to man) clearly lost importance. The data-revealed-reality (God Himself in the mystery of Christ and of the Church) is in a perpetual process of growth. It is all mystery that grows up and, consequently, the knowledge that we have about it. This concept of revelation, besides contradicting the data of Scripture and the Magisterial, that shows the data of the faith as a message, that means, the Good News of the salvation, puts in danger the true notion of dogmatic progress. In fact, according to Father Charlier, this dogmatic progress cannot be conceived as a deeper and more explicit knowledge of the deposit of faith, historical and objectively constructed (clearing up that the Church, thanks to the positive help of the Holy Ghost, disposes, because of that, of a power of penetration that transcend the power of the simple reason). The dogmatic progress should be understood as an assimilation of the divine reality itself, mystically possessed, in supra conceptual contact in the experience of faith”. (R. Lattourelle, op. cit., p. 255).

Allow me to say to you, dear Doctor, that, to me, this is all pure Modernism and Gnosis, placed in a modern terminology. The Cabala does not mean any different.

Latourelle himself also considers the five theological notes on revelation, according to the so called Kerigmatic Theology of Jungman, Rahner, and others:

1)       The revelation would be historical, and its object would be Christ Himself;

2)       The revelation would have a economical character, which means, it would be constituted by events organically tied to one another;

3)       The revelation would be christic, which means, centered in Christ;

4)       The revelation would be salvifical;

5)       And finally, the revelation would be interpersonal.

It is not needed to emphasize how these notes are similar to the notes admitted by the erudite theological report from “Istituto Paolo VI di Brescia”.

The knot of the problem, according to Father de Lubac, would consist in knowing what is properly the revelation. To him, as to the Modernists, it would not be a set of enumerable truths, but a formulary of creeds supplied by Jesus Christ, in which one should believe.

Father de Lubac agreed with the other theologians of his school that the object of revelation was the divine res, and not so much truths about it.

“Christ is, at the same time, the mystery and the revelation of the mystery, the wholeness of the revelation and the wholeness of the dogma” (Henri de Lubac, Bulletin de Théologie Fondamentale e Problème du Dogme. Recherches de Sciences Religieuses, 1948, n. 35, pp. 156-157).

And all this would never be completely encompassed by the doctrinal propositions.

“In Jesus Christ, everything was given and revealed to us at once and for all, (…); consequently, all the posterior explanations, whatever their subjects or ways be, are nothing but little coins of a treasure that is already possessed as a whole. Everything was already contained in a real and actual way in a state of superior knowledge, and not just contained in the principles and premises” (idem, pp. 157-158).

And Latourelle comments:

“If we understood well, Father Lubac puts in the foreground, in the revelation, the very reality of the mystery of Christ. This “Allconcrete” of faith is the object of a global, intuitive, and alive apprehension: superior “real and acting” state of knowledge that pre-contains the dogma with all the richness of their posterior development” (R. Latourelle, op. cit. p. 268).

This faith would be superior, intuitive, global, and alive knowledge, exactly like what has always been called Gnosis.

And continues Latourelle:

“As for this first perception, the necessary conceptual expression, with its notions and propositions, would be like a revelation in a second moment. Thus, the dogmatic development would be understood as an “infinite unfolding of conclusions starting from their premises” (H. de Lubac, idem, p. 139). Or better, it would be like a change of registers: from the intuition to the conceptualization – an initial perception, still global, narrows down in particular truths and in formulas more and more precise, always, however, referring to the normative truth of the same Mystery that is perceived through a superior kind of dogmatic knowledge” (R. Lattourelle, op. cit., p. 268).



Home | Articles | Church Documents
Highlights from the Press | Reader's Corner

© Associação Cultural Montfort
Send questions:
fill this form