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than of the lay society of that period. We have no
right to take our inheritance from the past, and,
sorting out all its errors, to debit the Church with
these, while we credit lay society with all its truths.
We are the legitimate sons of those who were

Per contra, there is one fact which the Church has
made the centre of its . teaching, thus preparing our
minds and hearts for modern ideas : the fact of the
solidarity in time and space of all beings.

Hence, at a time when absolute metaphysics is
becoming foreign to the conscience and thought of
our generation, some Catholics have found, in the
new intellectual orientation, not the reversal of their
moral and religious life, but a means of further deep-
ening it, of living it out with greater intensity, greater
enthusiasm, and also with greater clairvoyance and
intellectual security.

If it is true, as we have shown above, that the
essential tendency of the modern spirit is to consider
reality in order to try and seize it in all its com-
plexity, dynamism and vitality; if this incessant gaze
of science and of present-day thought at phenomena
is an act of attention that natural prayer, as Male-
branche said of work i.e. of participation in a
work which outreaches the observer's grasp, and in


which he is glad to feel himself a collaborator; if
little by little our humblest and most individual
action changes into a social act, the consequence of
an age-long labour, into which it has found its way;
if our present undenominational thought is really
this, it must inevitably meet another thought the
Catholic which, by different paths, is finding its
way toward the same goal.

Some ten years ago, certain teachers in our uni-
versities did not know what to think when they saw
their lectures being followed, with an eagerness rare
among students, by groups of young priests. Some
members of our universities felt, as it were, confused
and embarrassed by the vigour with which these
unexpected and sometimes undesired auditors
welcomed theories which were devoid of any flavour
of orthodoxy. The priests were never offended,
went on taking notes, and often followed the pro-
fessor after the lecture to ask for information. They
gave evidence of such faith in him, were so open in
heart and mind, that in some lectures he would feel
himself, as it were, supported by the active sympathy
which had grown up between him and the group of
his ecclesiastical auditors. Sometimes there was
opposition, but it was offered with so much sincerity,
and let it be so clearly seen that it concealed no ill-
will, nor even any poor-mindedness, but betokened
such a desire for unity in a higher truth, that it
awakened a cordial response, even among men who
are the interpreters of organised free-thought. Here
and there orthodox anticlericals began to find this
swarming of cassocks at the Sorbonne disturbing.

Pius X, too, was disturbed, and the students of
the various Catholic institutes were ordered not to


show themselves any more on the premises of the
State universities. 1 They obeyed.

There is one bridge less in France, and it was not
the undenominational world that blew it up.

But we must see things as they are. If this bridge
suddenly disappeared, on an order from Rome, yet
it was the Catholic youth who had built it. It is
they who renewed under our eyes the ardour and
hard-working light-heartedness of St. Benezet and
the Freres Pontifes Bridge-building Brothers who
united the two banks of the Rhone. A cyclone
which the stained glass of Avignon symbolises under
the features of an ugly little devil, all black and hairy
might destroy it in a night, but the state of mind
which made bridges possible and necessary did not
disappear. " The next day," say the good Avignon
windows, " St. Benezet was anew at his post, and the
angels of heaven came to bring him stones and to
mix his mortar."

We must not overlook this if we would obtain a
just idea of what is going on above all, of what is
preparing around us.

There are two Catholicisms: one that builds
bridges, another that destroys them. It may perhaps
be said that the Pope, who has the sovereign author-
ity, being on the side of those who destroy, we

1 By a circular letter to the Bishops of France in October 1908.
By a similar measure Pius X forbade first the Italian, and then
the German Catholics to organise interdenominational societies.
(See Letter of Pius X to Count Medolago Albani, Nov. 22, 1909,
and the communiqut in the Osservatore Romano for April 23 in
the same year.) These documents are only the prelude to general
measures, whose details cannot here be enumerated. They are
so much the more significant as they run counter to the evident
desires of Catholics in the countries concerned.


cannot consider any effort as Catholic which is not
inspired and dictated by him.

Are those who speak thus sure that they are dis-
interested? Are they certain they are not delighted
to find a specious reason for escaping the trouble of
rectifying their opinions ?

A consideration of what occurred during the last
years of the nineteenth century leads us to assert that
the university incident I have just recalled was not
an isolated one, but belonged to a whole body of cir-
cumstances which had prepared it to a profound
evolution in the Catholic religious world.

Neither the orders from Rome, nor the desires of
certain polemics, can efface the reality. And the
reality is this : that the youngest elements of the
religious world have for several years been drawn
with irresistible eagerness toward the undenomina-
tional world, neither to give themselves up to the foe
nor to bring him vanquished to the foot of the altar.
A new spirit has come to change the attitude in which
so many generations had become set. 1

1 To obtain an idea of the ensemble, the fulness, force, decision,
delicacy, intellectual worth and religious feeling of the new move-
ment, one should read, especially, Demain, published at Lyons
under the courageous editorship of M. Pierre Jay, from Oct. 27,
1905, to July 26, 1907. It was one of the victims of Pius X's
syllabus, dated Wednesday, July 3, 1907. And also // Rinnova-
menta, rivista critica di idee e di fatti, founded at Milan under the
editorship of Messrs. Aiace Alfieri, Alessandro Casati, and Tomasso
Gallarati Scotti, in January 1907 last issue in December 1909.
Among the works which constitute a kind of inquiry as to the
attitude of the calm, thoughtful and foreseeing among the orthodox
must be cited L. Birot, Honorary Vicar-General of Albi, Le Mouve-
ment religeux, Paris, 1910, and Dr. Marcel Rifaux, Les Conditions
du retour au Catholicisms. Enquete fhilosophique et religtuse,
Paris, 1907.


These young priests felt themselves strong because
there was neither any fear nor any hatred in the
bottom of their hearts.

This movement had enjoyed a piece of good for-
tune rare in these days; it had been able to develop
for a long while without attracting the notice of the
Press. Unobserved, it could spread and realise itself
in every direction. The situation changed when the
papers began to call attention to it : from every
corner of the horizon ran inquisitive, unemployed,
and indeed even uprooted ecclesiastics. Some came
to look on, others hoped to glide into the ranks of the
young enthusiastic phalanx and succeed in making
themselves an important position in it.

The tendency of these young people was so novel
that the most varied and opposed circles misunder-
stood their intentions. Pius X attributed to them
a unity, a cohesion and a sort of plan of campaign,
and went so far as to imagine them a formidable army
which had installed itself in the very heart of the
Church to destroy it. Many free-thinkers regarded
the movement, without satisfaction, as the periodical
renewal of that effort whereby the Church, after
having set herself as long as she can athwart all
progress, ends, as a last resource, by accepting it.
The Protestants were contemptuous : did they not
know that any good there might be in the new move-
ment was their own work? Here and there some
might propose a friendly bearing; but, once they per-
ceived that the movement would certainly not find
its goal in the Churches of the Reformation, they
resumed the attitude more natural to them.

The new tendencies required a new name. Pius
X charged himself with the solemn baptism, and


called them " Modernism." l The name was neither
better nor worse than another. It is true the Pope
hastened to furnish a description of the new-born,
which was singularly unfaithful to it. Its intentions,
activity and mentality were all depicted in colours
scarcely corresponding to the reality; but if it was a
bad portrait, there was at least no mistake about the
persons who represented the new movement, so we
were able to correct the mistakes and accept the

To-day, it can scarcely be used without rendering
oneself liable to confusion; some anticlericals and
some Protestants promptly imitated Pius X, and,
without troubling themselves too much about facts
or their observation, they characterised every revolt,
however pitiful, against the hierarchy or against
dogma, as Modernism.

In this way they prepared two results of equal ad-
vantage to themselves : on the one hand, they per-
suaded both themselves and public opinion that the
vast movement which had declared itself in Catholi-
cism and which is transforming it to its foundations,
would culminate either in a mere negation or in some
Protestant groups; and thus, to speak the dialect of
Canaan, 2 they enrich themselves by " spoiling the
Egyptians"; on the other hand, they escape the
necessity of ascertaining all the life revealed by this
intellectual springtime, this new blossoming of moral
energy in the Church they detest.

1 In the Encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis of Sept. 8, 1907,
Yet this appellation was not invented by Pius X, but, as it seems,
by the Jesuit Fathers of the Civiltd Cattoltca, from whom it was
borrowed by the Pope. The official French text is reproduced
in extenso in Les Modernistes, by Paul Sabatier, 1909, pp. 149-219.

2 See p. 192, note.


To disinterested witnesses, Modernism is a move-
ment which manifested itself in the Catholic Church
at the close of the nineteenth century, noiselessly,
without shock, without direction or unity. Accord-
ing to country, circumstance, degree of culture, it has
taken on various forms : here philosophical, there
historical, farther on strictly exegetical, elsewhere
social or political; but in these very different fields it
has been quite specially a movement of the clergy,
and has been inspired by one dominan.t idea: that
of the incomparable value of religion in general and
of Catholicism in particular, as a synthesis of life and
progress. To the Modernist, the Church was, of all
spiritual societies, that which best realised itself, its
own life and its destinies; for him it is the future,
because of the marvellous plasticity with which it
goes on realising itself. Having assimilated modern
thought, the Modernists believed that they dis-
covered in it the features of a new apologetic, which,
after giving splendid scope to their personal faith,
added thereto the hope that it would find an answer
to the uncertainty, the agonised questionings of the
modern conscience. Hence, in history and in their
intimate experiences, the Church appeared to them
not as a society which had reached its goal, but as a
society on the march.

With a generous impulse they drew towards all
their fellow-citizens, always ready to receive as they
were always ready to give. And to the timorous,
who bade them beware, they answered, "All truth
is orthodox."

Thus Modernism in nowise represented an epi-
demic of disillusion or discouragement, still less a
conspiracy of mutineers to organise a gigantic move-
ment of desertion.


The condemnation pronounced by Pius X only
struck at a phantom. If, to soften the chagrin of the
sovereign pontiff, some insignificant papers an-
nounced, on the day after the Encyclical Pascendi,
that Modernism was dead, they have had since then
many an occasion to recognise their mistake.

The Pope, subjected to the logic which in 1793
caused the fall of a greater and greater number of
the heads of suspected persons, was driven each day
to strengthen the anti-modernist organisation and to
pronounce new condemnations.

If one were to draw up a list of the ecclesiastics
who at the end of Leo XI IPs pontificate seemed to
be the men on whom the Church must count for the
future, one would find hardly one in ten of these who
has not since that time been struck at, in some way
or other, by the Supreme Authority.

And this effort, which was certainly very grievous
to the heart of Pius X, but which he regarded as an
imprescriptible obligation, has remained without

Must we cite a definite case ? After the Encyclical
Pascendi, the seminary of Perugia, one of the most
flourishing in Italy, found itself, despite all prescribed
precautions, invaded by the new spirit. Its pro-
fessors were abruptly changed. Then, in the spring
of 1910, the Archbishop himself, Mgr. Mattei-
Gentili, accused of being insufficiently energetic in
repression, was asked to resign. Finally, the ger-
mination of the new ideas not having been thwarted,
the Holy See, in November 1910, took an unheard-
of decision : it suppressed this seminary, which Leo
XIII had regarded as " the most precious jewel in
his tiara."


As I write these lines it is Milan, the great metro-
polis of Northern Italy, that is being denounced as
a centre of Modernism. Cardinal Ferrari has pro-
tested in a letter to his diocese. 1 The Pope has made
no response to the Cardinal, whose manifesto must,
however, have reached the shores of the Tiber; 2 but
he has congratulated the vigilant sentinels who
opened the fire of revelations, and has sent them an
order, whose imperial clarity our readers will admire :
" Spare neither powder nor cartridges! " 3

Such facts show how the most improbable things
may yet be true. The administration of the Church
is in the hands of a kind of Committee of Public
Safety, by whom individuals, without responsibility
or mandate, are substituted for the episcopate, make
it tremble, and lord it over the Catholic world. 4

We cannot think of going into all this in detail,
nor of showing how the reform of the Roman Con-

1 Inserted in the Rivista diocesana Milanese of Jan. 1911,
pp. 5-24.

2 The whole episcopate of Lombardy has, since then, joined
its protest to that of its metropolitan by a collective letter published
in the Carrier e della Sera for March 2, 1911.

3 Riscossa (published at Braganza, province of Vicenza), Feb. 4,
1911. Adding impertinence to its threats this same paper, a
week later, gave as a title for its first article the proverb

" Milan pu6 far, Milan pu6 dir

Ma non pu6 far delP acqua vin.

" Milan (i. e. the Cardinal-Archbishop) acted vainly, Milan spoke
in vain, he cannot turn water into wine."

4 I have thought it right to choose events which occurred in
Italy, although in France there have been many as grave, because
it may be supposed that Pius X would only know of the latter
through the information of agents and officers of surveillance,
ill-affected towards our country. Perugia and Milan, on the con-
trary, are two Archbishoprics known directly to the former
Patriarch of Venice.


gregations i. e. of the various Ministries of the
Holy See has resulted in placing all the strings of
the management of the Church in the hands of the
single Cardinal Merry del Val. Monsignor Mon-
tagnini, the author of certain papers whose publica-
tion recently moved public opinion * in so lively a
fashion, and Monsignor Benigni, director of a famous
paper in whose success no one would believe had they
not the proofs under their eyes both work on the
Board. 2

But these facts, though they are big with conse-
quences both near and distant, do not enter into the
compass of our study. They are ecclesiastical, not
religious facts. We had, however, to allude to them,
for they represent the reaction from a panic in
religious life. Absolute as the authority of the
sovereign pontiff may be in theory, in reality it is
bounded, corrected, dammed up at every moment,
by traditions, customs and influences. The abrupt
substitution of a group of audacious place-seekers
(arrivistes) for an administration as complex, leisurely
and prudent as that of the Holy See had been

1 See Les Fiches -pontificates de Mgr. Montagnini, ex-auditeur
de Vancienne nonciature a Paris. Depeches, reponses et notes histo-
riques, Paris, 1908.

1 had an opportunity of stating all this at somewhat greater
length when this regime was only beginning ; and in noting the
rdle given by Pius X from the first days of his pontificate to certain
journals specially employed in delation, I noted the slope down
which authority would be hurried. (See Les Modernistes, pp. xxii,
n. i; 10, n.l;4l; 58, n. I ; 221; 224; 225.)

2 Concerning La Correspondance de Rome (the new title for
La Corrispondenza Romano), there is a study rich in precise and
well-verified facts in M. Maurice Pernot's remarkable volume
La Politique de Pie X, Paris, 1910 (with preface by M. fimile
Boutroux), pp. 254-97.


hitherto, was only possible as a consequence of the
confusion and alarm with which authority had been
seized on perceiving that Catholicism was about to
be transformed, and that the new thought had crept
in everywhere.

We will not do this authority the wrong of sup-
posing it would not have employed other means than
terrorisation and violence if such had been at its dis-
posal. Silence is not imposed upon a child by threat-
ening to fling it into the street and leave it there to
die of hunger : still less is silence thus imposed upon
a people spread over the whole world.

The more Pius X perseveres in the struggle to the
death on which he has set forth, the more we see him
driven to take measures which can only hasten the
transformation of the Church. In Rome it has been
clearly seen that every scientific institution is destined
sooner or later to become a bulwark for the new ten-
dencies; and it is openly confessed that the inter-
national scientific centres, founded with a view to
their being impregnable fortresses of orthodoxy, have
to-day become centres of Modernism.

If Modernism is as strong as they say at the
Catholic University of Fribourg, for instance, 1 this
simply arises from its teachers toiling and striving to
respond to the preoccupations of their students; and
if an army of Vatican gardeners does not arrive in
spring to root out every plant from the Cour St.
Damase, no one in the world not even the persistent
Pius X will be able to cut off all the buds 'which,

1 See La Libre parole of Jan. 29, 1911 ; La Croix for Feb. 5 ;
V Entente catholique of Jan. I, 1911 ; and especially La Critique
du liberalisme of the Abbe Emmanuel Barbier (formerly of the
Company of Jesus), Vol. V. p. 486 et seq., Jan, 15, 1911, 601, I,


little by little, have announced the rising of the new
sap at every point in Christendom.

Modernism is present everywhere; nothing has
been able to stay its course. Already its adversaries
have been compelled to form the hierarchy into a
sort of body of police 1 which must watch with
perpetual fear lest there be weakness, complaisance,
infidelity nay, even betrayal. The best-informed
police organisation has never been anything but a
very precarious safeguard for political regimes which
had no other means of government. It has had no
better success in the Church, and only compromises
the honour of those who have recourse to it for a
spiritual task.

Once on this path, the force of things leads to pre-
cautions both useless and puerile. What are we to
think when we see Pius X forbidding the seminarists
those who will to-morrow be directors of con-
science to read any periodicals, even the best ? 2

Be it as it may, one would have a very false notion
of present-day Catholicism if one only beheld it in
the official, officious documents of the Holy See.

1 By the Bull Pascendi, Pius X originated conseils de vigilance
( 149-51), but these do not see everything, and the censeurs
d'office are not infallible. Even those of Rome have, it would
seem, shown culpable indulgence for gross errors. (See Armonie
della Fede, for March 25, 1909.) Quis custodiet custodes ?

2 We must quote the text : " Ne juvenes aliis quesstionibus con-
sectandis tempus terant et a studio prescipuo distrahantur omnino
vetamus diaria quavis aut commentaria, quantumvis optima, ab
iisdem legi, onerata moderatorum conscientia qui ne id accidat religiose
non caverint" Motu proprio, Sacrorum Antistitum, Sept. I, 1910.
Acta apostolica sedis, Vol. II, p. 668. See also the reply to the
Hungarian episcopate, which had asked for elucidations as to th?s
passage. Ibid., p. 855.


There is perhaps no milieu wherein religious evolu-
tion has been so potently at work.

Father Sertillanges, the Dominican, and Professor
in the Catholic Institute of Paris, concludes a recent
work on the prince of scholasticism by a page which is
worth quoting :

" In the brief space of a life so prodigiously full
scarcely thirty years St. Thomas lived out his sys-
tem, in certain parts, at the least, under more than
one recognisable form. The St. Thomas of the
Sentences is not he of the Summa Theologize. One
proceeds from the other, but they are not identical.
If he had lived seven centuries, can it be supposed
that, with that miraculous fecundity of spirit, the
Aquinate would have been ceaselessly repeated? He
who took so much from Aristotle, from Plato, from
Averroes and Avicenna, from Albert the Great, from
every one for thought is always a universal col-
laboration can it be supposed that he would have
passed by a Descartes, a Leibnitz, a Kant, a Spinoza,
and twenty others, without taking anything from
them ?

" To suppose it would be to offer him a deadly
insult. It may be good for the grasping and
effeminate political exile to return to a changed land,
having for his part ' forgotten nothing and learnt
nothing.' But is it not rather our ideal to be
Thomists such as St. Thomas himself would be to-

" When he had nearly brought his Summa Theo-
logize to its conclusion, he talked, they say, of burn-
ing it; after six centuries would he subscribe, without
change or addition, to a single one of its articles?


One could wager on a certainty that he would begin
them over again. They would be both the same and
yet other, for the scope would be different, the nutri-
tion and, in consequence, the nutritive capacity,
renewed." 1

/Let us make nb mistake about it : if a political
party has installed itself so securely in the Church
that it persuades itself and often makes others believe
that it is the only true Catholicism, to accord credence
to these sejf-interested pretensions would be the
grossest historical error concerning our civilisation
which we could commit.

Not only does there exist a Catholicism cured of
all clericalism, but this Catholicism, which was not
born yesterday, has behind it an infinitely longer tra-
dition than has clericalism, and has manifested itself
in every direction by a fruitfulness whose power we
cannot yet estimate. Let us recognise the splendour
of light in which we are living ! French Catholicism
has a Pleiade of philosophers of the very first rank :
Maurice Blondel, Laberthonniere, Edouard Le Roy
and Fonsegrive, are men who need fear no com-
parison, and to every one of them a chapter ought
to be devoted.

The scientific work of M. Loisy, severe as it is in
appearance, is so bathed in reality that the dry bones
of Erudition disappear, and the reader has no more
than the beneficent sensation of reascending through
the centuries to study a thought whereof he is the

The innumerable works of Canon Ulysse Chevalier

1 Saint Thomas cTAquin, Paris, 1910, 2 Vols., 8vo. The passage
quoted is in Vol. II, p. 330.


like those of Monsignor Duchesne and of many
others whom I must not cite are works in which
the Catholic spirit, far indeed from beating a retreat,

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