International Catholic University


Catholic Modernism

James Hitchcock

  1. The Nature of Modernity (I)
  2. The Nature of Modernity (II)
  3. The Church and Modernity (I)
  4. The Church and Modernity (II)
  5. Alfred Loisy
  6. George Tyrrell
  7. Baron Von Hugel
  8. Other Modernists
  9. Americanism
  10. Modernism in America
  11. Condemnation
  12. Aftermath

(Note: Most of the works dealing with Modernism are sympathetic to the Modernists, and students should maintain a critical stance towards the assigned readings.)


I -- The Nature of Modernity (I)

Subjects

Suggested Readings

Suggestions for Review

1) How can modernity be defined? How does the modern mind differ from earlier ages?

2) When does modernity begin and what caused it? Justify your answer in terms of the particular criteria you identify as defining modernity.


II -- The Nature of Modernity (II)

Subjects

Suggested Readings

  • Owen Chadwick, The Secularization of the European Mind in the 19th Century
  • Coates, et al., Emergence
  • Paul Johnson, Modern Times
  • ____________, The Birth of the Modern
  • Peter Gay, The Enlightenment, Vol. I
  • Randall, Making
  • Thomas P. Neill, Makers of the Modern Mind

    Suggestions for Review

    1) Why did modernity develop in ways inimical to religion?

    2) What is Modernism, understood in a secular social and cultural sense?

    3) Discuss the cultural situation the 19th century, in which there was both a return to religion and an increasingly intense attack on religion.


    III -- The Church and Modernity (I)

    Subjects

    Suggested Readings

    Suggestions for Review

    1) What impact did the Protestant Reformation have on the spiritual state of Europe? In what ways did it help usher in the modern world?

    2) How did the Catholic Church respond to the Reformation?

    3) Was the Scientific Revolution anti-religious?

    4) How did the New Science permanently alter the intellectual outlook of the West?


    IV -- The Church and Modernity (II)

    Subjects

    Suggested Readings

    Suggestions for Review

    1) Why was the Enlightenment anti-religious?

    2) How did the Church respond to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution?

    3) What factors led to a religious revival in the 19th century, even as modernity became increasingly secular and anti-religious?

    4) How did popes an other Catholic leaders in the 19th century respond to modernity?

    5) What was "liberal Catholicism" in the 19th century?


    V -- Alfred Loisy

    Subjects

    Suggested Readings

    Suggestions for Review

    1) What intellectual and personal factors caused Loisy to move away from Catholic orthodoxy?

    2) What were his attitudes towards Protestantism?

    3) What were his attitudes towards the traditions of the Catholic Church?

    4) Compare and contrast his approach to doctrine with that of Cardinal John Henry Newman, especially in the latter's Essay on the Development of Doctrine.

    5) To what extent was the thought of Loisy included in the condemnations of St. Pius X? (Found in Reardon, Roman Catholic Modernism, and other places).

    6) What is meant by "historical consciousness" and how did it affect Loisy's thought?

    7) What is meant by "religious experience" and how did it affect his thought?


    VI -- George Tyrrell

    Subjects

    Suggested Readings

    Suggestions for Review

    1) What intellectual and personal factors caused Tyrrell to move away from Catholic orthodoxy?

    2) What were his attitudes towards Protestantism?

    3) What were his attitudes towards the traditions of the Catholic Church?

    4) Compare and contrast his approach to doctrine with that of Cardinal John Henry Newman, especially in the latter's Essay on the Development of Doctrine.

    5) To what extent was Tyrrell's thought included in the condemnations of St. Pius X? (Found in Reardon, Roman Catholic Modernism, and other places).

    6) What is meant by "historical consciousness" and how did it affect Tyrrell's thought?

    7) What is meant by "religious experience" and how did it affect his thought?


    VII -- Baron Von Hugel

    Subjects

    Suggested Readings

    Suggestions for Review

    1) How did the new biblical criticism influence von Hugel?

    2) Should he be called a Modernist in the full sense?


    VIII -- Other Modernists

    Subjects

    Maurice Blondel

    Henri Bremond

    Maude Petre

    Biblical Studies

    Suggested Readings

    Suggestions for Review

    1) How did the new biblical criticism influence the people called Modernists?

    2) What role did Bremond play in the Modernist crisis?

    3) In what ways did spirituality, especially mysticism, serve as a means of "transcending" some of the theological issues of the day?

    4) What did Blondel mean by "action"? Was he a Modernist?

    5) What role did Maude Petre play in the Modernist crisis?


    IX -- Americanism

    Subjects

    Suggested Readings

    Suggestions for Review

    1) What was the situation of Catholics in the United States at the end of the 19th century?

    2) In what sense were some of the American bishops of the time "liberals"

    3) How did they think the Church ought to accommodate itself to the American situation?

    3) How did Leo XIII view the situation?


    IX -- Modernism in America

    Subjects

    William Sullivan

    New York Review

    John R. Slattery

    Suggested Readings

    Suggestions for Review

    1) Discuss the career of William Sullivan in the light of the Americanist movement.

    2) How did the new biblical criticism influence scholars in the United States?

    3) Was there a relationship between Americanism and Modernism?


    XI -- Condemnation

    Subjects

    Suggested Readings

    Suggestions for Review

    1) Delineate one of the following themes as expressed in St. Pius X's encyclicals condemning Modernism: denial of transcendence, materialism, perversion of spirituality, denial of authority, influence of modern culture.

    2) What did St. Pius X mean in calling modernism the "summation of all heresies"?

    3) Discuss the enforcement of the condemnation of Modernism.


    XII -- Aftermath

    Subjects

    Suggested Readings

    Suggestions for Review

    1) Discuss the claim that the condemnation of Modernism blighted the intellectual life of the Church for decades.

    2) How did orthodox Catholic intellectuals come to terms with the issues raised by the Modernists?

    3) In what ways did the Second Vatican Council come to terms with those issues?

    3) Is present-day dissenting Catholic theology a direct descendent of Modernism?


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