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Volume VIII, Number 2, Fall 2012

The general idea of development was caught up and quickened by the publication of darwin's The Origin of Species The same notion began to emerge with regard to the Bible through the work in biblical archeology in the Middle East around The scientific development of historical method during the 18th and 19th centuries, especially in Germany, began to leave its mark on the Church toward , particularly through J. Induction and empirical work lined up against the more deductive approach of the scholastics.

Around the great movement of biblical exegesis was set in motion by German liberal scholars. New and often valid insights concerning the formation of the Pentateuch were glimpsed in the light of J. The influence of the New Testament work of holtzmann, the culminating point of liberal exegesis, began to be felt in Catholic circles. The establishment of Catholic institutes in France and the contributions of Catholic Scripture scholars in Germany and Belgium around the same period marked the beginning of renewed exegetical work in the Church.

In general, Catholic exegetes lagged behind liberal Protestant scholarship, although many of them were unaware of it. Apathy had been created by a lack of historical sense and by an excessive reliance on deductive method. There had also developed a general fear of the new critical methods that had been used so destructively, as in J. Further, with some exception in Germany and Belgium, where Catholic faculties received state support, the Church-State struggles had greatly harmed the opportunities for Catholic scholarship.

The desire to catch up brought with it the risk of hasty conclusion and the danger of intellectual indigestion. Culture and Politics. The final stage of the Church's relationship to political society was discerned by relatively few of the participants in the bitter struggle between Church and State in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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The immediate outcome around the time of Vatican Council I was the hardening of positions into two camps, with antireligious and anticlerical groups opposing Catholics who were religiously and politically conservative and who supported an extremely simplified view of ultramontanism. Liberal Catholic thought had in general been ineffectual. The Church -State struggles had contributed to the destruction of the intellectual structures of the Church, especially in France. The intellectual life of the seminaries had been hampered, although piety prospered.

As a reaction to these struggles, greater centralization of Church authority in Rome gradually increased. Against this background, the decrees of Vatican Council I on papal infallibility were given a rigid and overriding interpretation by conservative Catholic spokesmen, in the tradition of Louis veuillot in France and W. In France political and religious conservatism supported monarchism and projected the image of a Church attached to the old order. The Dreyfus affair revealed anti-Semitic and other unjust attitudes among some Catholic conservatives. Thus the most outspoken in the Church in France were radically split in their political and religious thinking.

In Germany, somewhat less touched by political reactionism than France, reformkatholizismus, especially as represented by F. It was urged that a "religious Catholicism" be substituted for an external and political one. Discussions centered to a large extent on Church discipline and scholarly freedom. In Hochland, a periodical whose liberal aim was to bring the Church out of its cultural ghetto, began publication. In Italy, because of the loss of papal temporal power and the unification of the peninsula, many young priests envisioned a totally new relationship between Church and State.

There was a growing indifference toward the clear-cut philosophies that formed the backdrop of the old conflicts. Some Catholics began to favor an idealistic philosophy that regarded the Church as merely a powerful cultural force, a totally variable expression of a deeper religious aspiration. At the same time catholic action groups began forming to inject Catholic social influence into the mainstream of national life.

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Simultaneously, however, Catholics were forbidden to take part in the political life of a government traditionally opposed to the spirit and demands of the Church. In social thought and action there arose a tension among many young Catholics concerning subordination to bishops and Church discipline in general. In England, both numerically and intellectually, the Church was only beginning to become a social influence. Not until were Catholics permitted to attend the great universities.

In the midst of this complex ebb and flow of philosophies and cultural pressures, Modernism appeared as an abortive and self-destructive attempt at adaptation and rejuvenation. Thinkers, for the most part ill-prepared philosophically, desperately grasped for and tried to force on the Church theories not sufficiently analyzed and purified. The outcome was a necessary reaction of the magisterium to these indigestible syncretisms.

Modernism began as a spontaneous rather than as an organized phenomenon.

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Its four centers of influence were France, England, Italy, and Germany. In Louis A. In M. Loisy had been working on the frontiers of the new criticism, especially in the Old Testament , from to about , and aroused suspicions. During this period the liberal but solid positions of M. In Loisy lost his position at the Institut Catholique in Paris and gradually moved toward work on the New Testament. In he published an article strongly criticizing the notion of inspiration as presented in the encyclical providentissimus deus Through a selection of eschatological texts in the Synoptic Gospels , Loisy presented the essence of Christ's preaching as a literal teaching of an imminent coming of a physical, visible end-of-the-world kingdom.

This theory resembled closely that of the liberal Protestant exegete, Johannes Weiss, which appeared in Loisy concluded: "Jesus announced the Kingdom and it is the Church which came. Blondel attacked this outlook, while advancing his own theory of vital tradition in action as an avenue of approach to the understanding of the Gospels. Loisy's writings caused great anguish among the intellectuals and young clergy in France and Italy.

The two works were among the five of Loisy's books placed on the Index in In , after some ambiguous retractations, Loisy made his submission, an act that rankled him afterward. He asserted that since dogma was formulated in relative terms, it could not aim at an absolute intellectual assent. Rather, it negatively safeguarded against error and it positively prescribed a rule of practical conduct, a personal stance of action in the face of supernatural reality.

Thus the dogma of God as Father is to be assimilated not intellectually, but through filial action toward Him as Father. Meanwhile the French Protestant, Paul sabatier, took a leading part in propaganda for the movement. Similarly Archbishop mignot, who was in contact with Loisy and favored a more liberal attitude toward scholarly work within the Church, was gradually dismayed by the more extreme exegetical positions and by the tendency toward philosophical immanentism. George tyrrell, who had privately distributed certain works, was dismissed from the Society of Jesus for refusing to retract the ideas in his anonymous "Letter to a Professor of Anthropology," which was published in Italy without his permission.

In this work he greatly minimized the function of Church dogma.

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Privately outlining a blueprint of the Church of the future, he became more and more caught up in controversy. He attacked papal infallibility, ultramontane and otherwise, and the ecumenicity of Vatican Council I. Until his death , he kept developing a theory of the relation of revelation to dogma.

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Revelation, as the self-manifestation of the divine in our inward life, was presented as an experience, first of the Apostolic Church, which was normative, and then of every Christian. Revelation, when communicated biblically, he called dogma or prophetic truth, an imaginative and prophetic presentment of divine reality. Prophetic truth was the living shadow of this reality. Later formulations he termed "theology" or "secondary dogmas. They were merely protective or illustrative formulas for prophetic truth, could be later contradicted or discarded, and in general were useful but totally relative formulas.

Revealed truth res was still contained in the formula enuntiabile , but since the prophetic imagery was now transferred to scientific language, no absolute value guaranteed to be true could be assigned to the formula. Conciliar pronouncements were to be accepted only through the subsequent acceptance of the entire Church. Having drastically reduced the intellectual element in the original experience, Tyrrell worked out the rest of his system rather consistently, but through a confusing rhetoric. He never sufficiently accounted for the fact that conciliar formulas themselves have their axes in the Absolute.

At the end of his life he espoused the theory of an error by Christ as to the time of the Parousia. Tyrrell never held the doctrine of exclusive immanence as condemned by Pascendi. Many of his positions, however, were an evident object of the encyclical's attack. These rights, he insisted, were being infringed upon by Roman authority.

Conferring with various high-ranking ecclesiastics in and out of Rome and maintaining a vast correspondence with the leaders of the new thought, he endeavored to give some coherence and organization to the movement.

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Maude petre supported the ideas of Tyrrell and published his life in In Italy the movement had more of a social flavor. Discussion of political and social theory, however, continually drifted back and forth across the terrain of religion and theology. The Italian priest, R. This movement, intended to be independent of the hierarchy, urged reform of the Church's institutional and social structure. Although he was anticlerical in tone, Murri worked out his ideas from a scholastic basis. Later he moved toward an idealism somewhat reminiscent of B. In the exegetical and theological fields Salvatore Minocchi, a priest, founded the review Studi religiosi in as a forum for the new thought.

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He was strongly influenced by Loisy in the exegetical area, and later by Tyrrell in the interpretation of dogma. Another priest, Ernesto buonaiuti, early enamored of Blondel's philosophy of action, became fascinated with immanentism and moved toward a form of social messianism. He emerged as the leading Italian Modernist but was eager to remain within the Church for the working out of his ideas. More on the edge of Modernism and ultimately loyal to the Church were the layman Fogazzaro, whose novel Il Santo became the literary symbol of the movement, and the Barnabite priest, Giovanni Semeria, who worked in religious and biblical criticism.

In the journal Rinnovamento became an important organ for liberal political and religious opinion. Like the Krausgesellschaft founded in Munich in , Reformkatholizismus carried out a program of anti-Roman and antischolastic sentiment.

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It attacked political ultramontanism and insisted on freedom in scientific religious work and on the abolition of the Index. It did not totally overlap Modernism but remained principally on the level of practical Church discipline. The Bavarian priest, K. Gebert, however, in proposed a Kantian and immanentist approach not unlike that reproved by Pascendi.