Obedience and the Power of the Modernists: understanding the resurgence of Modernism in the past 50 years is an article by Father Giovanni Cavalcoli, O.P., Th. D., who is an Italian theologian currently residing in the Convent of Saint Dominic, in Bologna,home of that famous spaghetti sauce that my mom made so well and mine is only a faint resemblance! But I digress. You can read the entire article by pressing this entire paragraph.
I offer some excerpts from the article which I italicize and offer interspersed my comments in bold:
Father Giovanni speaks of the trends in modern theology as promoted by modern theologians as "the “work of auto-demolition”, that Paul VI had spoken about."
The first period is characterized by the famous chaotic and disordered contestations of 1968 and, at that same time, the wild, uncontrolled spreading of heretical doctrines in dogma and morals among seminarians, youth, priests, religious and theologians. The bishops, taken by surprise, and not wanting to be labeled “prophets of doom” or pre-conciliar conservatives, more or less allowed them free rein, at times with the formula ad experimentum (“Let’s see how it goes.”); as if the truth of a doctrine depended on the success it meets.
The disobedience to the Magisterium and to the Pope himself, either openly or covertly in the name of an unspecified “spirit of the Council” began to be a habit which spread among the faithful, intellectuals and people, the clergy, theologians and moralists. [Thus] the so-called “Catholic dissent” was born, and Paul VI spoke about “a parallel Magisterium”.
My comments: I was in the seminary between 1976 and 1980. Yes the academic theologians of that day starting presenting themselves as the "parallel Magisterium" that Pope Paul VI described and they did so proudly as the "loyal opposition!" In terms of experiementation with liturgy and church structures, indeed, this was allowed by the Magisterium and the pope, although I think Paul VI later came to regret his liberalism in this regard. Like Joseph Ratzinger who embraced the Council and some of its modern "spirit" he and Pope Paul VI quickly became very disillusioned with what was happening that the Council Father's never foresaw, yet Pandora's Box had been opened by them or the toothpaste was out and shoving it back in and closing a door that was too heavy and doing so quickly were not options.
Heretical and modernist ideas, especially those along Protestant lines, started to be taught freely, tranquilly and with impunity in Catholic schools and were also found in the publications and press of many so-called “Catholic” publishers. The scandal and anxiety of the devout and orthodox among the faithful, were considered with derision and superciliousness by the modernists – those so-called “progressives” increasingly sure of themselves and convinced they were the new Church of the future and modernity: “in the heart of the world”, in “the Church of the poor” in “the Church of dialogue”, guided directly by the Spirit, truly evangelical, attentive to the “Word of God” and the “signs of the times” and so on.
Throughout this first period, the modernists had the opportunity of becoming more and more dominant in social communications, thus infiltrating into families, in culture - schools, universities, workplaces, parishes, movements, academic environments and Catholic education, seminaries and religious institutes, thus forming an entire generation of new priests, new religious, new leaders, new bishops and even new cardinals. All of this in the face of extremely weak resistance on the part of good pastors and the Holy See, itself weakened and contaminated through ultra-recommended infiltrators by ambitious prelates of dubious orthodoxy.
What was the catastrophic outcome of all this? We see it today before our eyes, growing in proportions, and it could have been but figured out - as it had indeed been figured out and foreseen by those many clear-sighted “prophets of doom”. (We should better say: the “unheeded sentinels”). Or let us say more simply, it was foreseen by those endowed with common sense: that gradually from the modernists and false teachers, free to spread their errors, there would have risen (as indeed it has) a generation or a category holding ecclesiastical power at various levels, more or less ruthless or convinced, more or less oscillating and double-crossing, imbued with their own ideas and therefore, not only able to spread modernist ideas, but order their implementation, subject to disciplinary sanctions, in the name of “obedience” or even, persecution against those that wanted to remain faithful to the Church’s Magisterium.
My Comments: The greatest damage that seminary of the 1970's did was in the area of Scripture Studies and Moral studies. In the area of Scripture, the historical/critical method of studying it was borrowing heavily from the mistakes of liberal Protestants of the late 1800's and 1900's which thus led to the deconstruction of the Scriptures which then led to the questioning of core dogmatic teachings of the Catholic Church such as miracles in general, angels and demons, Immaculate Conception, Virgin Conception and birth, much of what was purported to be the ministry of Jesus Himself including his miracles, His divinity, his nativity and yes, His resurrection. The door to questioning all these dogmas and doctrines had been opened wide with the eye to preparing seminarians, the future priests, theologians and bishops of the Church, to redefine these dogmas and doctrines in accord with the narrow presentation of the "critical-historical" method of interpreting the Scriptures. Fortunately Pope Benedict XVI has laid to rest such nonsense in his books and given us the correct hermeneutic in using the historical critical method.
But I can say from experience what these Scripture scholars did to the Catholic faith of young seminarians during this time period screams for justice from heaven. Many left the seminary and some the Church in total disbelief and disgust.
Then on top of that the new was always taught by showing how bad the old was. Pre-Vatican II old and bad, Vatican II new and far superior!
Moral theology quickly became the most disoriented. I think what was being taught in this area would give license to those who might otherwise have had the capacity to embrace their vows or promises of chastity/celibacy to act out on their impulses no matter what, even if they could live chaste lives. I blame the confusion of the 1960's and 70's in terms of moral theology and sexuality for the breakdown of morality in the clergy and religious. Certainly there will always be people who have pathologies, but their pathologies shouldn't be fueled by false teachings in moral theology.
They are the first to disobey the truth and directives of the Gospel as well as the Supreme Pontiff, and they dare to dish out orders which clash with the sound doctrine or moral and judicial principles of the Church. These are the same ones that in 1968 or in its wake, who wailed against “the barons” and “authoritarianism”; they felt authorized to contest the Pope and bishops, and to enlighten them with expressions of such dogmatic rigor as: “the Church of the rich” of despotism and medieval theocracy from the “age of Constantine”, “Baroque triumphalism “, pharisaical legalism, the Inquisition, sex phobia, and so forth. Now, instead, they ask for absolute obedience and whoever contradicts them is compared to one that disobeys a divine precept. That is, if they still believe in the true God and do not make a god of themselves, along the lines of the sublime intuition of a certain Gnostic pantheist.
My comments: Yes, the new progressives of the Church who are really the ones my age and older trying as hard as they can to infect religious life and Catholic institutions, continue to use the dusty old mantra of accusing traditionalists and those who actually believe what the Church teaches by wailing "against “the barons” and “authoritarianism”; they felt authorized to contest the Pope and bishops, and to enlighten them with expressions of such dogmatic rigor as: “the Church of the rich” of despotism and medieval theocracy from the “age of Constantine”, “Baroque triumphalism “, pharisaical legalism, the Inquisition, sex phobia, and so forth. Now, instead, they ask for absolute obedience and whoever contradicts them is compared to one that disobeys a divine precept. That is, if they still believe in the true God and do not make a god of themselves, along the lines of the sublime intuition of a certain Gnostic pantheist.
The new clericalism or clericalist mentality is to be found primarily in progressive clergy and religious and to question them is forbidden as is calling them out in their clericalism. If you do, they will come down on you hard, harder than any pope or bishop would do in the legitimate sense. Look at rebel clergy groups in Ireland and Australia, men who have taken vows or promises of obedience to their bishop, who himself has taken a vow of obedience to the pope and see how they disobey and try as hard as they can to take others with them and in the most public way. If this isn't clericalism coupled with modernism, I don't know what is!