Oath against modernism

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The oath against modernism was required of "all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries" of the Catholic Church from 1910 until 1967. It was instituted on 1 September 1910 by Pope Pius X in his motu proprio Sacrorum antistitum and rescinded on 17 July 1967 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with the approval of Paul VI.[1]


Pius X had previously defined modernism as a heresy in his encyclicals Pascendi Dominici gregis and Lamentabili sane exitu, both of 1907; Thomas Pègues, O.P. was also influential in the anti-modernist movement within the Church.[2]

Excerpts from the text in English[edit]

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, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists...
  • ...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...


Although no longer mandatory, some clergy, particularly those associated with the Society of Saint Pius X and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, continue to take the oath voluntarily.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ AAS-59-1967 Accessed 19-09-2017 http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19670717_formula-professio-fidei_en.html
  2. ^ 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." Translation: "Since it is in departing from scholasticism and from Saint Thomas that the modernist thinkers have gone astray, our sole duty and our sole means of saving them is to bring them back, if they are willing, to this same doctrine." Dictionnaire du monde religieux dans la France contemporaine, https://books.google.com/books?id=K4onSytrit0C&pg=PA520&lpg=PA520&dq=#v=onepage&q&f=false Accessed 6-9-2011. His 21-volume Catéchisme de la Somme théologique, published in 1919 and translated into English in 1922,, http://maritain.nd.edu/jmc/etext/catsum.htm Accessed 6-9-2011 went far towards bringing the moral theory of Neo-Thomism to a wider audience.