Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Who is She that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array? (Canticle of Canticles 6.9)
“At the time of Mary’s birth the whole world was plunged in darkness.The heathen nations were steeped in vice and pride… Everywhere there was sin and gloom, no bright spot on the face of the earth. But when Mary was born a light arose amid the darkness: the dawn of the glorious day that was to usher in the Redeemer [the light of men…the Orient from on high… to enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death : to direct our feet into the way of peace (Jn. 1.4; Lk. 1.78,79)]. So, too, the darkness of the sinner’s soul is dispersed by Mary’s holy influence” (Fr. S. Juergens, S.M., S.T.D., in The Ideal Missal, rev. ed., 1962, Nihil Obstatby Arthur J. Scanlan, S.T.D., Imprimatur by C. Eykens of Antwerp, now the 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal published by the Angelus Press).
Holy souls, the seed of Mary who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Apoc. 12.17), “not only advance like the dawn,” says Fr. John Arintero, O.P. in his mystical exposition of the above passage in the Sacred Canticles, “but [are] also beautiful as the moon, that is, similar to the Blessed Virgin, the true Moon of the mystical Heaven lighting up our darkness and watching over our nights.” “The moon,” continues Fr. Arintero, “does not have its own light, but receives it from the sun; so this soul tries to be like Mary and always ready to receive the divine rays of Her Sun Jesus, so as to become, under His continual influence, another new sun; in this way she seems pure and select like Him. For she shines so much with the clarity that she receives, and reflects His divine light so much when enlightening other souls, that she seems to mirror Him and to look like a real sun.” As such, on this blessed day, exactly 105 years ago, when Pope St. Pius X, whose Feast we celebrated last 3rd of September, saw that Apocalyptic day, when immediately after the tribulation of those days [cf., our post “The Great Tribulation“], the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light [cf., commentary of St. Augustine on the same post “The Great Tribulation”], and the stars shall fall from heaven [cf., commentary on our post “The Year that was 1929“] (Mt. 24.29; Apoc. 8.12,) already approaching by the spreading apostasy in his day, issued the Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis on the doctrine of the Modernists:
“The partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; but, what is to be most dreaded and deplored, in her very bosom, and are the more mischievous the less they keep in the open. We allude, Venerable Brethren [addressing the Bishops], to many who belong to the Catholic laity, and, what is more sad, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, animated by a false zeal for the Church, lacking the solid safeguards of philosophy and theology [of the School of St. Thomas Aquinas], nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, put themselves forward as reformers of the Church;…”
Thus how Pope St. Pius X begins his program of immediate necessary action in arresting the great advances which the most deadly plague of the error of Modernism is making. Earlier, in his Syllabus Lamentabili sane of 3rd July 1907, the Sovereign Pontiff condemns and proscribes the errors of the Modernists; this time, he pinpoints and exposes where the greatest danger to the Christian Faith lies: clergymen contaminated by Modernism.
The “Plague of Modernism” at its heart: ‘As for Me…’
Modernism “was the name given to the manifestation of the [‘Rationalist’] movement [cf., our post “Papal Condemnation of Freemasons and their doctrines“] within the Catholic Church at the turn of the nineteenth century” (M. Davies, Partisans of Error: St. Pius X Against the Modernists, p. 9). Within “Bible-only”-Fundamentalism (or Protestantism), this movement took the name Liberalism. Cardinal Newman revealed in 1879 what is at the heart of this error: “Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion… but a sentiment and a taste; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy” (taken from Newman Against the Liberals, pp. 13-14). The Modernist therefore reduces the Catholic Faith from being the system of divinely revealed truths – given assent to by reason, moved by grace, on the authority of God revealing – to “a certain need or impulse” (Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi, Encyclical Letter on the Doctrines of the Modernists); that is, the explanation for the ‘phenomenon’ of religion must be sought not outside or external of man [God, the author and source of His divinely revealed Religion is outside or external of man – “transcendent”] but that “it must therefore be looked for in man” (ibid.).
Now “since religion is a form of life, the explanation must certainly be found in the life of man” (ibid.) – the formula of what is called “the principle of religious immanence” (ibid.). As such religion, for the Modernists, “has its origin in a movement of the heart, which movement is called sense” (ibid.). It is “this sense to which Modernists give the name of ‘faith’, and this is what they hold to be the beginning of religion” (ibid.). “Therefore,” St. Pius X points out, “as God is the object of religion, we must conclude that faith, which is the basis and foundation of all religion, must consist in a certain interior sense, originating in a need of the divine” which need, however, “is experienced only in special and favorable circumstances” so that it “cannot of itself appertain to the domain of consciousness, but is first latent beneath consciousness, or, to borrow a term from modern philosophy, in the subconsciousness, where also its root lies hidden and undetected” (ibid.).
If religion “lies hidden and undetected” “in the subconscious,” then “truth and falsehood in religion are but matter of opinion; one [religion] is as good as another [‘that’s your belief, this is my belief – let’s just respect each other’s views’]; there is no truth [for it is an absolute];… we are not more acceptable to God by believing this than by believing that;… our merit lies in seeking [the truth – that is, doctrinal ‘reformulation’ if not doctrinal ‘evolutionism’], not in possessing; it is a duty to follow what seems to ustrue, without a fear lest it should not be true…” (Cardinal Newman, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, in op. cit., pp. 20-21). This shows clearly that “religious indifferentism [cf., our posts “On Vatican II ‘religious liberty’“; “Papal Condemnation of Freemasons and their doctrines”] lies at the basis of [this movement]” (M. Davies, op. cit., p. 10).
Thus, from the foregoing, it is Modernism that was at the root of the disastrous state of human society which terrified Pope St. Pius X upon ascending to the Chair of St. Peter in 1903. In his first Encyclical, E Supremi Apostolatus (October 1903), he wrote: “Who can fail to see that at the present time society is suffering more than in any past age from a terrible and radical malady which, while developing every day and gnawing into its very being, is dragging it to destruction? … This disease isapostasy*** from God. Truly nothing is more allied with ruin, according to the saying of the Prophet: For behold, they that go away from Thee perish(Ps. 72.27)… This is the distinguishing mark of the Antichrist, with unlimited boldness man has put himself in the place of God [Who alone judges what is truth and good], exalting himself above all that is called God [by rejecting the authority of His Church, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3.15).”
*** That is, the complete defection from the true Faith on the part of one who received it in Baptism; the complete repudiation of the Catholic Religion “by denying, for example, [the] personal God or the Divinity of Jesus Christ” (cf., Fr. H. Jone, O.M.Cap., Moral Theology, 1962 ed.). This is distinct from heresy which is adherence to some of the doctrines revealed by God and rejection of others.
Pride sits in a Modernist
“But it is pride which exercises an incomparably greater sway over the soul to blind it and lead it into error, and pride sits in Modernism as in its own house, finding sustenance everywhere in its doctrines and lurking in its every aspect. It is pride which fills Modernists with that self-assurance by which they consider themselves and pose as the rule for all [in substitution for the divinely constituted authorities]… It is pride whichrouses in them the spirit of disobedience and causes them todemand a compromise between authority and liberty.”
Innovation [being “up to date”] – the passion of the Modernist
Such is the battle cry of the Modernists to subtly rid themselves of the yoke of subjection to God through the authority of Christ’s Church. “… The Modernist as reformer… how great and how eager is the passion of such men for innovation.”
Pretending themselves to be ‘reformers’ of the Church established by the God-Man, they “exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of Tradition [that is, as they say, “Vatican II ‘ecumenism’, ‘religious liberty’, ‘collegiality’, etc. are guaranteed by the ‘Living Tradition’ of the Church – which means approved, proclaimed, and practiced by the Pope!“] “dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind… or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church” (Pope St. Pius X applying to them the words of the Second Council of Nicea). Overall, they desire that Catholic philosophy and theology [under the guiding light of St. Thomas Aquinas – who lived in the Middle Ages!], dogmas and moral canons, Rite of Worship, ecclesiastical government – “especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments” – and authority, especially in “its line of conduct in the social and political world”, and the lifestyle of clergymen and religious “must be brought into harmony with the modern conscience, which now wholly tends toward democracy [ the Synagogue-inspired ‘democracy’: the ‘democracy’ that chose Barabbas over Our Lord and the modern-day representative democracy that prefers ‘liberty of opinion’ and ‘liberty of conscience’ over subjection to “dogmatic Christianity” (cf., Joshua Jehuda, considered by the Synagogue as its important ‘spiritual’ leader in their preparation for Vatican II, in our post “Anti-Christian Conspiracy: A theory – the Synagogue; A fact – the Catholic Church”) – assail the formidable absoulte position of Christ (THE Way, THE Truth, THE Life, Jn. 14.6) and His Church (THE pillar and ground of the truth, 1 Tim. 3.15): it is the clamor of the greater number that decides what is true and what is good, a doctrine of the 1789 Revolution anathematized by Pope Leo XIII (Diuturnum illud) and Pope St. Pius X (Sillon)].”
“Further, none is more skillful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious devices; for they play the double part of ‘rationalist’ and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and as audacity is their chief characteristic[cf., the late Carlo Martini, appointed by Pope John Paul II as the ‘official’ ‘Catholic’ pastor of Milan, in out post “The Late Patriarch Martini of Milan, Reuters, and the Anti-Catholic Propaganda“]…”
Modernist contempt for the God-Man and His Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
“… And, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is more sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the Person of the Divine Redeemer, Whom, with sacrilegious audacity, they degrade to the condition of a simple and ordinary man.”
“… Assail all that is more sacred in the work of Christ…,” that is, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (cf., our posts “Pope Benedict XVI on the New ‘Mass’: Outbalanced ‘Liturgy’ – More a Celebration than Worship“; “The Catholic Sanctuary (II)“).
“… the Person of the Divine Redeemer… they degrade to the condition of a simple and ordinary man”: