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THE POPE AND MODERNISM. -4-- -FATHER TYRRELL'S ARTICLES. A cable message published in the "West Australian" on Thursday stated that Father Tyrrell, an English priest, had been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church for having ad versely criticised the Pope's Encyclical on Modernism. On the following day a further cablegram announced that Father Tyrrell had not been excom municated, but had only been "de prived of the sacraments." As a good deal of interest is felt in ecclesiastical and other circles in the controversy which the Pope's Encyclical has aroused, we publish the following resume from the weekly edition of the "Times" of Father Tyrrell's articles: A careful synopsis of the contents of the new Encyclical will render com ment almost needless. It is a root- and-branch condemnation of what the '"Civilta Cattolica' has characteristic ally dubbed "Modernism." The term is not happy. For Christianity was once condemned as modern, and scho lasticism also in its day. Everything old was once new, and, therefore, the term will puzzle posterity. "Liberal ism" was already in vogue, and would have been more explanatory, more dur able. But perhaps a bold denial of all truth and value to what the whole world considers as the mental and moral progress of recent centuries, a bold contention that all ecclesiastical develop ment is simply a mechanical unpacking of what was given in a tight parcel 2,000 years ago, may justify the choice of "modernism" as expressive of the opposite contention-of a belief in time, in growth, in vital and creative evolu tion. To believe that the present is fuller, older, wiser than the past which it incorporates and transcends is, in every age, to be a "modernist." T'he Encyclical condemns such a "modern" interpretation of Catholic ism, in favour of that scholastic inter pretation which throughout is identified with Catholicism itself, and is thus re ferred back to the apostolic age. The attempt to separate Catholicism from its philosophical interpretations, as something plastic and neutral from its forms, is itself "modernism"; so that when the Encyclical tries to show the modernist that he is no Catholic it mostly succeeds only in showing him that he is no scholastic-which he knew. By far the greater part of this leng thy document is occupied with a con troversial exposition of modernism from the pen of some subtle scholastic theologian unusually well versed in the literature of his subject, which, how ever, he criticises entirely in the light of his own categories. Were this not evident, one would sometimes be temp ted to think he might be a traitor in the orthodox camp. For the picture he draws of modernism is so seductive to an educated mind, and the counter part he suggests so repellent, as to make the Encyclical rather "danger ous" reading for the children of this world. But of his good faith there can be no question. There is no hook in his mind for these ideas to lay hold of; he grips them from outside. They are stuck into his brain, but do not grow out of it; nor can he imagine minds constituted otherwise than his own. How far this subtle disquisition on science-theory and the principles of criticism emanates from the mind of Pius X., or is even within his com prehension, is open to question. Its avowed purpose is to silence the recent allegation that the Holy Father con demns because he does not understand. Understanding, it may still be objected, cannot be done by deputy like corre spondence. However, the Pope's own voice is clearly recognisable, not only in those drastic measures which form the most important part of the Ency clical, but also in sundry echoes of the late allocution in which, going outside his sphere as a judge of doctrine, he proceeded to condemn the characters, the secret intentions. and motives of the modernists, extending to their per sons that aversion which he, as a scho lastic. so naturally entertains for their teachings--a deviation from modern "form," for which, however, he has ex cellent precedent in the fathers and the prophets, if not in the Gospels. What sort of men, therefore, are these modernists-these cardinals, archbis hops, bishops, priests, and laymen--not named, but so unmistakable pointed at? For it is universally held that immor ality is the root of heresy, and that "modernism" cannot be ascribed mere ly or principally to that profound ig norance of scholastic philosophy with the demonstration of which most of the Encyclical is occupied. Perhaps for the first time in history (is not this itself a touch of modernity?) the here tics are not charged with gross and brutal forms of vice. Plus X. knows only too well that, as regards the clergy, the regions most free from modernism--Spain, Southern Italy, Sicily, South America-are just those where the traditional cause ought to, but does not, produce the traditional
effect most abundantly. But there are certainly worse, because more spiri tual, forms of immorality than con cubinage. In the modernists we are introduced to hypocrites of the most malignant description "thinly dis guised, who must be revealed to the whole Church in their true colours"; who "with a simulated love of the Church" of which "they boast them selves the reformers" are secretly in league with its enemies; who "play the parts of rationalist and Catholic by turns to catch the unwary"; who astutely "seek the repute of austere morality": who " with novel and cun ning artifices seek the subversion of the Church and of the Kingdom of Christ." "None are more crafty and insidious." "Under pretext of con scientiousness they try to ascribe to their zeal for truth what is simply the result of their pride and contumacy." Their one de sire is "to get themselves talked about." They are eaten up with just that indecent inquisitiveness and in tellectual pride from which scholastic theologians, with their well-known modest hesitancy and reverently-reined curiosity, are so singularly free. Plain ly it is not to such men that God re veals His secrets. Having glanced at some of the posi tions affirmed or denied by the Encycli cal, Father Tyrrell proceeds: -- As an argument it falls dead for everyone who regards its science theory as obsolete; for all who believe that truth has not been stagnating for cen turies in theological seminaries, but has been steadily streaming on, with ever- increasing force and volume, in the channels which liberty has opened to its progress. Religion is derived by deductive rea soning from natural and miraculous phenomena. God is not reached through inward religious experience, but by argument. The divinity of Christ and Christianity can be thus argued so as to coerce the understand ing. The Roman Catholic Church, with the Papacy, the sacraments, and all its institutions and dogmas, was, in its entirety, the immediate creation of Christ when upon earth. There has been no vital development, but only mechanical unpacking of what was given from the first. The Scriptures were dictated by God, and are final in questions of science and history. All doctrinal guidance and ecclesiastical authority is mediated through the in fallible Pope from God to the Church. The Church is the purely passive re cipient of the guidance so received. The Bishops are mere delegates of the Pope; the priests of the Bishops. The laity have no active share of any kind in ecclesiastical concerns; still less in the so-called growth of the Church's mind. Obedience and pecuniary succour are their sole duties. Science is subject to the control of scholastic theology : secu lar government is subject to the control of ecclesiastical government in mixed matters. Their jurisdiction is in the same order; only in different depart ments. There has been no true en lightenment and progress in modern times outside the Church. There is no element of truth in any other re ligious system. For the Middle Ages with their sta tical modes of thought, their crude con
ceptions of government and authority, derived from Pagan Imperialism, their view of physical law as analogous to civil law, imposed or abrogated at the will of the law-giver, there was per haps no other way of apprehending Christianity, which. however, is older than, and therefore separable from, these categories. The Encyclical holds to such categories still; but, rightly or wrongly, the world has swept them aside: nor will any argument, however ingenious, which assumes their validity receive the slightest attention. No such instauratio omnium need be hoped or feared. To do him justice, the Pope shows but little confidence in the spiritual weapon of logical argumentation; and, though the secular arm is somewhat weakened since the good old days, he trusts mainly to what may yet be done in the way of external repression and coercion. Should the repressive measures of the Encyclical be successfully carried out, which is rather difficult to imagine, it is to be feared that modernism, to whose astounding energy, versatility, and diffusion the Encyclical bears re luctant testimony, will be simply driven underground to the catacombs, there to grow and strengthen and organise itself against the not distant day when it shall be able to break forth again with gathered impetus. In spite of sand-barriers the tide will come in-- not peaceably, but with a dangerous rush. It took two centuries to kill Jansenism, whose roots were far fewer and feebler than those of modernism; and whose direction was against, rather than with, that of advancing civilisa tion. If the Pope makes, or seems to make, martyrs and confessors, he may only drive the right wing of modern ism into closer sympathy with the left, and win for the whole compact body the admiration and moral support, not only of the outside world, but also of multitudes of Catholics who, however indifferent or antipathetic to modern ism, are modern enough to dislike any appearance of moral violence and in tolerance, and, still more, any attempt to ascribe intellectual errors to bad faith and to evil motives of which God alone is judge. The harsh intellectualism, the almost fierce antagonism to all inward religi ous experience and union with God which pervade the document, will prob ably alienate the sympathies of multi tudes who. in spite of a hundred re pugnances, are continually drawn to wards the Catholic Church as the mo ther of saints and mystics and who see in mysticism that firm basis of religion which no logic, no "argument from mo tion," can ever supply. And as devout souls will be shocked, so cultivated minds will be revolted by a blow struck, not merely against the "modern ists" of to-day, but. in principle, against their spiritual ancestry --against those names in the past to which Catholics most readily appeal in proof of their Church's contribution to enlightenment and progress. The sceptic of the more aggressive sort is always delighted at any new proof of the essential absurdity of Catholicism; always indignant at "'mod ernisers" who try to separate it from the medieval expression and show that it is adaptable to every age. And Rome naively welcomes this indigna tion, heedless of its source and motive; and greedily swallows the supercilious compliments of her enemies, in her eagerness to bring the testimony of any sort against the hated advocate of the via media. No so-called modernist who under stands the logic of his own position, who is proud of his spiritual ancestry, who realises that union with the Church depends on inward reality more than on outward form, will be moved from his Catholicism by any act of juridical violence of which he may be the ob ject. His faith is not something that can be annihilated in a moment by the word of an angry Bishop. Much as he may prize the sacramental bread of life, he prizes still more the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. To secede would be to allow that his calumnia tors were in the right; that Catholic ism was bound hand and foot to its scholastic interpretation and to its medieval Church polity; that the Pope had no duties and the people no rights. It would be to abandon what he be lieves to be the truth, at the moment of its greatest betrayal. What he will most deeply regret is the loss of one of the Church's greatest opportunities of proving herself the saviour of the nations. Rarely in her history had the eyes of all been waiting upon her more expectantly, in the hope that she might have bread for the starv ing millions, for those who are troubled by that vague hunger for God on which the Encyclical pours such scorn. Pro testantism in its best thinkers and re presentatives had grown dissatisfied with its rude antithesis to Catholicism and was beginning to wonder whether Rome too had not grown dissatisfied with her rigid medievalism. The "modernist" movement had quickened a thousand dim dreams of reunion into enthusiastic hopes. When lo! Pius X. comes forward with a stone in one hand and a scorpion in the other. One thing is certain. Not only in spite of, but because of, the repressive measures of Plus X. "Modernism" has made more rapid and startling advances in the last five years than in the pre ceding twenty. Whether this larger dose of the same medicine will cure or aggravate the disease is yet to be seen.