Oath against Modernism
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The Oath against Modernism was issued by the Roman Catholic Pope, Saint Pius X, on September 1, 1910, and mandated that "all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries" should swear to it.
The oath continued to be taken until July 1967 when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rescinded it. It is, however, still taken voluntarily before priestly ordination by some clergy such as the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter and by certain members of any confraternity: no one is prohibited from taking the oath, nor is compelled to.
Fr. Thomas Pègues, O.P. (1866–1936), professor of theology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum from 1909 to 1921, was one of the prime movers of the anti-modernist movement within the Church, as is expressed in his 1907 Revue Thomiste article "L'hérésie du renouvellement": Puisque c'est en se separant de la scolastique et de saint Thomas que la pensée moderne s'est perdue, notre unique devoir et notre seul moyen de la sauver est de lui rendre, si elle le veut, cette meme doctrine." His 21-volume Catéchisme de la Somme théologique, 1919, which was translated into English in 1922, went far towards bringing the moral theory of Neo-Thomism to a wider audience.
When John Paul II issued the apostolic letter Ad Tuendam Fidem on ecclesiastical discipline, it provoked dissenters into claiming that the letter was a second oath against modernist thought.
The Oath Against Modernism was promulgated by Pius X in the Motu Proprio Sacrorum antistitum. The swearing of the oath was compulsory for all Catholic bishops, priests and teachers, until its abolition by Pope Paul VI in 1967.
Excerpts from the text
To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.
- I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world....
- ...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...
- ...reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See...
- ...declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition...''
- ...firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way...
- ...promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing...
- ...Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God...
- Dictionnaire du monde religieux dans la France contemporaine, http://books.google.com/books?id=K4onSytrit0C&pg=PA520&lpg=PA520&dq=#v=onepage&q&f=false Accessed 6-9-2011
- http://maritain.nd.edu/jmc/etext/catsum.htm Accessed 6-9-2011
- "On June 29, 1908, Pius X publicly admitted that Modernism was a dead issue, but at the urging of Benigni on Sept. 1, 1910, he issued Sacrorum antistitum, which prescribed that all teachers in seminaries and clerics before their ordination take an oath denouncing Modernism and supporting Lamentabili and Pascendi." "Modernism (Roman Catholicism)". Encyclopædia Britannica.