Download a Permanent Printable PDF Version of This Article.
The story of Modernism is long and involved. Where to begin?
A long time ago, in a far distant galaxy, there came to be a split in Philosophy – the quest for Truth, or the study of Wisdom, or knowledge of things and the causes of things – into two separate fields:
This split laid the groundwork for Modernism.
After the split, the word Philosophy was used less and less to denote a search for Truth and more and more to identify a particular developed or chosen way of life, consisting of some blending of the increasingly more esteemed and more solidly accepted axioms of natural science with the increasingly less esteemed and more ephemeral axioms of Christian faith. Modernism sprang from over-emphasis of the natural science side of the split.
In Western, i.e., Christian, Culture, from its beginnings, the most important “Truths” around which the intellectual world turns are those fixed and eternal Revealed Truths of Christianity. These are “other-worldly” Truths that cannot be empirically tested, proved or disproved by any methods available to the natural sciences, methods which may only be applied to worldly things.
The errors of Modernism came about due to an increasing infatuation with and obsessive over-emphasis of the Natural Sciences. Whenever natural science makes some great leap forward in history, there follows a period of exuberant celebration of science for its own sake, and some degree of movement away from seemingly inferior “faith” in what has been traditionally taught by those whose responsibility it is to correctly hand on to others the carefully protected and unchanged faith.
This is, precisely, an overemphasis of the world over the other-worldly, the real over the super-natural, the now over eternity, and me over the kingdom. Definitively, Modernism.
Just describing modernism reveals a similarity to the error that first got Galileo into hot water with the pope. Galileo, and Copernicus before him, had no problem with the Church at all, and in fact had strong Church support, until he made some loud public pronouncements regarding how Matthew 25:30 could not be correct if the earth were round, because the people on the other side of the world could not see the Lord coming.
That is what started the whole mess, although the stew got thicker and thicker as the story progressed. But, I maintain, if Galileo had stuck to worldly science – the empirical study of material things – and left Scripture interpretation to the Church, he would never have had any problem with the Church in the first place. It is the attitude that emphatically says, "I know the truth" on a matter on which one cannot possibly know the truth that is at the heart of the errors of Modernism. Although he had a Cardinal-sponsor, Galileo was not a cleric or a theologian or a qualified interpreter of Divine Revelation. He should have just left Scripture interpretation alone. How people on the other side of the world might see the Second Coming is not given, and more importantly, needs no worldly “proof”; blessed are they who have not seen and who believe.
Nicodemus was a searcher, too, and I cannot forget our Lord’s admonition to him towards the end of the Baptismal discourse, when He said to Nicodemus: do not wonder at this. I might be wrong, but, I take that to mean, do not try to understand this. Some revealed things are not given to human understanding; after all, how could we hope to clearly understand such things as being reborn, or a virgin birth, or the Resurrection, or so many other elements of the Creed we profess as believing Catholics? Clear human understanding is strictly for worldly things; an angel cannot be put under a microscope. Modernism says that whatever cannot be put under a microscope is of questionable validity.
Mystery is something about which we may know part, but not all. The problem of Modernism is that adherents most typically cannot bow before the mystery, or even accept that mystery is possible. There must, in the modernist view, be a scientific explanation for everything, eventually.
If, with the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton there was a typical, predictable rise in the popularity of pure science, then the later discoveries by Albert Einstein raised this popularity to an absolute fever pitch. Even though most of any population might not be properly equipped to fully understand the work of the great scientific minds, most could appreciate the momentous breakthroughs that came about as a direct result of their work.
But alongside this rising star of natural science was a shadow-science, a pseudo-science whose leaders aped their heroes among the true scientists. It came to be known among early critics as Scientism, a pseudo-scientific, quasi-religion, that claimed the “scientific method” as the ultimate path to all truth. Its methods were termed by critics to be scientistic to differentiate them from scientific.
In most cases, the scientistic approach took the first two steps of the scientific method, and threw the rest away. These first two steps involved forming hypotheses about things, and then observing them. That’s it. No experiment; no controls; no independent testing; no peer review; no falsifiability; no proof; none of the things that, traditionally, have been used by empirical natural scientists to elevate hypothesis up the line to scientific theories, which are supported by an overwhelming preponderance of solid, multi-sourced independent evidences, and on up the line to laws. Scientism - almost synonymous with Modernism - involves an overemphasis of the mind.
The scientific errors of scientism and the theological errors of Modernism are closely linked, and are often held and taught by the same people. There is the scientistic notion that claims for itself sole official authenticity when speaking on matters scientific; there is the Modernistic notion that claims for itself sole official orthodoxy when speaking on matters of Christian faith. Many of these modern thinkers seek to legislate or otherwise regulate “who’s a scientist,” and with great success in academia, and with some success in civil law, notably in parts of California. Believers are held to be automatically disqualified for doing or teaching science, by mere dint of belief itself. In this view, science is the reserved domain of the atheists, or, at least, the non-Christians. Not a few genuine scientists have been caught up into this error, and not a few Christian scientists have learned to keep very quiet about their faith.
In a similar manner, modernism, and now Postmodernism seek to discredit, reduce and even eliminate the authority of the pope and the hierarchy. Since the disaster of the Reformation, thousands upon thousands of "denominations" profess to be Christian, with many of them hardly recognizable as Christian at all. Among the most orthodox of these have emerged periodic "councils" at which denomination adherents vote to add to, modify or delete from the existing pool of their "Christian" doctrine that guides the denomination. Catholics can't do that, no matter how much that upsets the majority of America's Catholic bishops. (Modernism is alive and well inside the Catholic Church.)
Recall the words of Newman in "Development of Christian Doctrine" speaking of the Church and of her Revealed Truth:
Democracy works well for civil government, but not ecclesial, and that is why the Church insists upon the separation between civil and ecclesial government. Civil government has no ancient creed or liturgy or unchanging revelation to protect. The Catholic Church has never been, is not, and never will be a democracy, again, no matter how much that displeases a majority of America's Catholic bishops who are so clearly infected with the modernism bug. It still remains true. Democracy in ecclesial law is for Protestants, not for Catholics; our belief does not change.
The Modernist notion that all truth is eventually available through natural sources, and the Postmodernist notion that reality is ultimately unknowable, leaves no place for a protected, ancient, unchanged Revelation. Scientism and Modernism promote error. The errors they officially concretize form the bases for other errors to be built upon them. The errors of modernism are both of the world, and of the kingdom. And they are huge.
The Unholy Trinity of the Modern Era
Darwin observed and wrote about finches in the Galapagos Islands whose beaks “evolved” differently from eating different types of seeds, and of more wooly and less wooly breeds of sheep, and so on and so forth. In every single instance he wrote of differences observed within – never between – species. All of the finches remained finches; all of the sheep remained sheep; nothing he ever observed or wrote about ever became a species other than the original species it belonged to. What Darwin was observing was breeds and races; in other words, micro evolution, which operates very strictly within species. Yet his theory, which he hypothesized and observed and wrote about, was titled the evolution of species. Where’s the speciation? His theory described macro evolution, or an evolution between species, which is something he never even observed. And neither has anyone else. Ever.
A new species is defined as a new group of creatures that may reproduce with each other, but may no longer reproduce or interbreed with the parent species. No such new species, from microbes to narwhales, has ever been observed, by anyone. In fact, today, Darwinian evolution as a field of study is undergoing a sort of implosion, with the two major branches, the punctuated equilibrium school (punk-eek to students) battling with the fundamentalist gradualist school, and with insults and name-calling entering the game. The problems are legion.
There exists no evidence, for instance, fossil or living, of any link species between any two species, fossil or living, which makes a rather embarrassing statement about evolutionary empiricism, or scientific soundness. This lack of link species or mutation evidence is most sharp and glaring before, during and after the period known as the Cambrian Explosion, but is present, clear and obvious everywhere in the fossil record.
Added to that difficulty is the complete lack of a transition mechanism to explain punk-eek. If a so-called fortuitous monster mutation were to appear, then, what would it mate with? And if a large group of fortuitous monsters were to mass-mutate into being, in perfectly sexually complimentary pairs, then, how would their common DNA code begin and remain in perfect synch?
And then there is the difficulty of the law of entropy, or the third law of thermodynamics, which tells us that things left alone become simpler over time, not more complex. And then there is the problem of irreducible complexity, which has produced the rather startling mathematical proof that the entire universe has not been in existence long enough for even the very simplest of single evolutionary events to have possibly occurred, by many orders of magnitude. An irreducibly complex system is defined as one from which if you remove any single part, the system will no longer perform its function. The simplest single-celled life forms are, precisely, irreducibly complex systems made up of irreducibly complex systems, which are made up of irreducibly complex systems, and the clear level of complexity of the very simplest life forms known approaches the incalculable. I hesitate to say miraculous.
Forgetting for the moment the leap from single-cell to many celled life forms, and disregarding the leap from simple cell division on up to complex sex required in higher life forms, let us consider just a sex organ; consider for a moment the male (or female) sex organ, which is an irreducibly complex system. In its long, gradual, evolutionary history, what was it, exactly, just one second before it was fully functional? How, without a function, did it ever manage to get naturally “selected?” How, through this long process, did it stay precisely in synch with its opposite organ? How did it even come to be? I cannot claim to know the mechanics of how all of the earth’s diverse life forms came to be as they are; the only thing I can say about it with absolute certainty is neither can anyone else. To see more arguments refuting Darwin's silly theory visit the Darwinism page.
Freud, easily the most quoted name in psychology and the father of psycho-therapy, has been thoroughly exposed as a complete fraud and quack in multiple sources, as has been the second most quoted name in psychology, Jung, and as has been the third most quoted name in psychology, Kinsey. This modern psychological “science” so dear to the hearts of modernists directly opposes Christian teaching regarding, just for one instance, the notion of sin. Psychology denies sin, or defines it down into something less; usually something corporate or collective and less individual. The goal of psychology is to make you feel good about yourself; the goal of Christianity is to make you more self-less. Bishop Sheen put it this way:
Freud's own notes document his malpractice even as he malpracticed it. To see more arguments refuting Freud's silly theory visit the Freudianism page.
Marx’s theories appear to be, for the most part, relegated to the dust bin of history; but sometimes appearances may be deceiving. Marx, of course, is thought of today as a great “social thinker.” But he didn’t write any social manifesto, what he wrote was the Communist Manifesto, and he wasn’t any great social thinker, he was a bloody revolutionary. And there are strains of his bloody revolutionary thinking running through elitist intellectualism today.
Any objective reading of the works of Marx will immediately show the fatal flaws and utter stupidity of his positions. Not just the economic flaws, but even the notion of worldly perfection - utopia - heaven on Earth, can only be the output of a silly twit or an outright ding-bat. Perfection is not of this world but the next; however, no real Marxist believes in any other world than this. And yet, embraced by the new pseudo-intelligentsia, his views have been pushed into the very fabric of world culture. Marx remains the darling of the Left. Indeed, the terms Marxist and Leftist are essentially synonymous. To see more arguments refuting Marx's silly theory visit the Marxism page.
Early in the 20th century there formed the Marxist Frankfurt School, which was less an institution than a way of thinking, lead by certain modern elitist intellectuals, such as Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. The Frankfurt School was a group that was greatly disillusioned with pure Marxism because of the failure of general, world-wide working class support for bloody revolution, and who then attempted to mix Marxist economic theory with the theories of Freud, with the purpose of sowing the seeds of a future general revolution. The future impetus for revolution would come from the psyche as well as from economic discontent.
Their primary objective was to sow discontentment, by gradually vilifying all authority and all tradition, right along with capitalism. They were perfectly free to do that, and they did it, with great success, and their ideas infect much of American academia today. Which partially explains how so many today must go to the university in order to learn that they are oppressed, which is an interesting place to learn such a thing. The thinking of the Frankfurt School spread throughout Europe, England and America, settling in the universities. The goal remained Marxist Utopia, but to get there, the grand planners believed, first, there must be revolution, and to bring about revolution, authority had to be called into question, meaning promoting the notion of Revolutionary Man, who would by nature oppose their straw villain, Authoritarian Man. Leading to revolution, anarchy, and, ultimately, a whole new form of authority, hopefully with them in charge rather than someone else. These were the seeds intended to sprout the future Communist revolution.
This was the planned, slow and methodical indoctrination of young students to make of some of them Revolutionary Man types, unhappy, disenfranchised, aimless, pointless, angry rebels without a cause. They would help to bring about a possible state of anarchy, which, like a desperately fought war, could provide an opportunity for the real political revolutionaries to seize and wrest political power from a legitimate, but weakened and distracted government.
This notion really took off during the 60s and 70s, with Eric Fromm and Abraham Maslow, who were widely publicized, popularized and promoted in the secularist press. Fromm described his ideal, admirable and non-authoritarian “revolutionary” this way:
Isn’t that nice?
Maslow’s cover story to new teachers was that they sought to develop an educational revolution in which young people would have their beliefs and value systems reshaped to ensure that they were not and would not become potential “authoritarians.” God forbid.
During this period, John Dewey developed the ideas that coalesced into Humanism, and, in educating educators, imbued new young educators with the anti-establishment notions he hoped they would pass on to their students. Modernist opposition to the old, championing of the new, and pure anti-authoritarianism, born originally of the Enlightenment but fed by modernism, has had it’s successful long march through the institutions, similar to Mao’s long march through China, and it now owns academia. It owns the classroom.
“Down with authority” – the motto of the modern era – has little to do with real science. Remember, science was originally held to be the liberating factor for Modernism. Modernism was ringing the death toll for all critical thinking in Western culture. And the end of critical thinking means the end of the thinking Catholic. It's a double hit on science and on theology, in the interest of a poor and very fuzzy ideology.
Today, the most popular and least proved positions of scientism are broadly accepted by most populations as being axiomatic, or givens, assumed proven, and no longer in need of any proof; an axiom is a known. Thus it is with Darwin’s origin of species, neo-Darwinism’s selfish genes, Freud’s infantile traumas, neo-Freudianism’s repressed memory syndrome, the Gnostic-Jungian hidden meaning behind coincidences, and, the collective subconscious, Marx’s modes of production, the neo-Marxian global village, and so many other “truths” today that have nothing whatsoever to back them up other than thin air and quick, broad consensus. (We all just “know” that the globe is warming (or cooling again) due solely to the activity of man.)
There are all sorts of sub-errors that are built upon the foundation of these major errors, and recognized by all with certainty. We have our population problem, for instance. The simple fact that England has a higher population density than China, and Hong Kong has a higher population density than Bangladesh, does not even cause us to consider that the problems of China and Bangladesh might be related to government organization or other problems – no; we have a population problem, and we need population, i.e., human control programs.
And, we who represent a small percentage of the world’s population consume most of “our precious resources” at the expense of the masses who are not so wealthy or so fortunate as to live here. Disregard the fact that we produce more than we consume, and that indeed we export more than we consume; the important thing is that someone else does not consume as much as we do.
Plus, “our precious resources” are running out; we are to disregard the fact that proven reserves of every usable natural resource, including fuel, each year increases by a staggering amount; we have a precious resource problem. We all know that. It’s the same with food. It’s the same with money. It’s the same with industrialization. We actually have the audacity to be more industrialized than poor countries.
One of my favorites is pollution. The Persian Gulf experienced the biggest oil dump in the history of the world, probably ten thousand to a hundred thousand times bigger than the Exxon Valdez disaster. But it took much less time and a whole lot less money – none, in fact – to clean it up. The fragile and, oh, so delicate earth did it all by itself, and people are now catching fish there, and they have been since shortly after the oil solidified and settled to the bottom in great tarry blobs. Those tar blobs are now covered with sea life. TV scientist Carl Sagan was certain, CERTAIN, that if Sadam lit the Kuwaiti oil fields, the world would experience something like a nuclear winter, which would cause mass extinctions, and from which even mankind might not recover intact. Surprise.
Modernism portrays ideology as science
All the major axioms and all the givens so rigidly embraced by today's intelligentsia are false, but still embraced, and used as a foundation to build upon. For no reason other than that other people held in high esteem hold to these same axioms.Today, a clear majority among all of TTRSTF4 really believe that Darwin's theory regarding the origin of species, the evolution of species and even the origin of life is true, despite the fact that no part of any of it has ever been proved by anyone, and none of them can prove any part of it. It remains axiomatic.
Today, the entire SLIMC1 , academia and even the medical profession really believe that Freud's (and Jung's, and Kinsey's) preposterous theories are true, despite the fact that no part of any of it has ever been proved by anyone, and none of them can prove any part of it. It remains axiomatic.
Today, the entire SLIMC1 , academia, most of the Democratic Party, many in the Republican party, and teachers everywhere, really believe that socio-economic systems naturally evolve and that Capitalism is just one natural evolutionary stepping-stone on the way to our natural destiny, which is, soverign-stateless, governmentless, classless Utopia to which Socialism leads us. And they rigidly believe all this despite the fact that no one has ever proved any part of it, and none of them can prove any part of it. It remains axiomatic.
I challenge you to find any culture during any period in history in which the culture's intelligentsia were so absolutely rigid in their foundationless beliefs. (Excluding Islam, of course.)
The essential error in Modernism might be in its certainty; a Gnostic-like certitude about its “knowledge.” But Modernism encompasses many ancient heresies. Pius X pointed out that every single heresy yet identified is included in Modernism because Modernism opposes all dogmas, and most dogmas were defined to defend Truth against specific heresies.
It is important to note that the characteristics of Modernism involve:
This last characteristic is elsewhere condemned by the Church as the sin of indifferentism, in which the sinner holds that it doesn’t matter what you believe so long as you believe in something. That is not what the Church teaches; we may not be indifferent to the name of Jesus Christ, and it does indeed matter what we believe.
The Church Christ Founded v. Modernism
Modernism is most dangerous to immortal souls when its champions are consecrated or even ordained ministers with an office of teaching, and who profess their clearly heterodox teaching to be both orthodox and official. Indifferentism is not the path to ecumenism.
Hilaire Belloc put it this way:
As Trent addressed the errors attendant to the Reformation, Vatican I addressed, among other things, some of the errors attendant to Modernism. Among other things (and not for the first time) Vatican I taught, as dogma, that God is the Author of Scripture, and hence all of Scripture is free of error; and further, that the infallible Church maintains the sole right to correctly interpret her Scripture. It further anathematized anyone who would dismiss or question Scriptural miracles, or even hold “that miracles can never be recognized with certainty.”
Nowhere has the Church claimed, however, to infallibly teach or enact dogma or doctrine relating to astronomy, physics, mathematics, biology or anything else other than Christian faith and morals, as revealed and/or enlightened by Scripture and Tradition. We have no Catholic dogmas on chemistry, for instance. Today, Vatican II has been and is being held by many to have been some sort of pivotal point at which the Church had “turned a corner” to allow us to think that Scripture could contain all sorts of errors, pertaining not only to areas of history and material science, but even religion itself. But it is rather stunning to see how few times (if ever) it is noted, by the new experts, how many times that Vatican II’s Dei Verbum refers in its own footnotes back to the very strongest pronouncements of Vatican I. And yet, today we see Catholic instructors using Catholic textbooks in Catholic higher educational institutions teaching, in such subjects as the Historical-Critical Method of Scripture study, the “scientific” questionability of miracles.
Here are the Canons of Vatican One regarding the anathemas against Modernism:
As mentioned earlier, Vatican II referred back in many places to these very pronouncements; nothing in this teaching has been “undone” or set aside.
John Paul the Great addressed the Modern heresy again, referring back to this and other documents; he further warned against over-correcting, or going too far in the other direction.
But Modernism continued and grew long after Vatican I, both within and outside the Church. About the turn of the century (19th to 20th) the most serious issue was the difference between Modernist and Catholic perceptions of dogma.
In the Modernist view, dogma develops, changes, is discarded, and even created as the need arises; this is not only what they seek to do, but how they miss-interpret and miss-teach Church history.
In the Catholic view, dogma is officially created only when a Revealed belief is questioned; dogma is defined in order to settle the matter. Dogma and lesser doctrine develops over time only in so much as teaching regarding it might change due to evolution of language and the need to make the teaching clear to newer generations.
But Modernism was becoming increasingly anti-authoritarian and anti-tradition. Since public Revelation is fixed and eternal, unchanged since the death of the last Apostle, core doctrine regarding it cannot change or be discarded. This, and anything seen to be fixed and unchanging, flies in the face of Modernism, which seeks authority over all, including immutable truths. So we see that Modernism, while falsely claiming to oppose authoritarianism, is iteself the ultimate form of authoritarianism.
Reginald John Campbell was a Congregational minister, later to become an Anglican, who startled the evangelical world by his exposition of his Modernist Advanced New Theology in 1907. A contemporary of his was a Father Tyrrell, who, despite the title, was an agnostic Modernist. He founded and produced a monthly Modernist Review, which called itself the organ of the “internationalist Modernist movement,” and which received the unfavorable attention of Pius X in Pascendi.
His defense of his position: “It is the irresistible facts concerning the origin and composition of the Old and New Testaments; concerning the origin of the Christian Church, of its hierarchy, its institutions, its dogmas; concerning the gradual development of the papacy; concerning the history of religion in general--that create a difficulty against which the synthesis of scholastic theology must be and is already shattered to pieces.” Alfred Firmin Loisy wrote, in 1902, the Modernist The Gospel and the Church; for this and for other works of the same order he was excommunicated in 1908.
He stated that he was brought to his position "by his studies chiefly devoted to the history of the Bible, of Christian origins and of comparative religion". His positions were the main ones addressed by Pius X in the Syllabus of Errors (Lamentabili Sane) in 1907.
Pius X, writing on the causes of the development of the doctrine of the Modernists, in 1907, said this:
It is a sad fact that something approaching the opposite has occurred in many Catholic institutions in America, with young would-be clerics being systematically weeded out of the seminary for being too “rigid” in their doctrine for today’s more inclusive and pluralistic ministry requirements. These days it appears that the seminarian (and the Deacon-candidate, and the theology major, and the future minister of any kind) who is faithful to Rome is up the same political creek and in the same political boat with the secular scientist and secular teacher who is forced to be so carefully quiet about his or her Christian faith, as they work to earn their daily bread in a work environment in which Scripture and Christian expression are officially religiously censored. And, it is sad that the same title – faith and reason – should need to come up again and again in contentiousness in Church documents. The Church has addressed this over and over again; and it is not only the outside world does not listen, but the Church, in its vastness, does not seem to listen. The popes and the councils seem to have wasted their breath.
On the bright side, the anti-authoritarian revolutionary philosophy of Scientism and Modernism is now driving the establishment bus in nearly every important institution in America; indeed, it is the establishment. And, remember, the seeds of future revolution have been well sown. It might be poetic justice if the would-be revolutionaries were to be gored by their own ox.
Current infections of Modernist thought incorporate existentialism and phenomenology into the disease, and a variant of Modernism winds up teaching that, in essence, man is unable to understand reality, and that "truths" are merely relative ideas. No absolute truth exists. See? Note the direct opposition to the position of classical empirical natural science, which was Modernism’s beginning point.
Welcome to Postmodernism.
In the field of theology, the absence of absolute truth dictates that doctrines that have been infallibly defined by the Church may be changed according to the times; they may be either rejected outright or reinterpreted to fit modern preferences.
So in that regard and others, there is little difference between Modernism and Postmodernism; they are mere variants of unrestrained pride. Both are among the most serious heresies because they allow one to reject any doctrine that has been defined, including such central ones as the divinity, virgin birth, resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Christ.
For graphic examples of such teaching, which was done in the name of Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, by his authority and in his teaching institution, visit the Cafeteria Catholic 1, Cafeteria Catholic 2, Cafeteria Catholic 3, Cafeteria Catholic 4, and Cafeteria Catholic 5 pages.
Modernism and Postmodernism both allow the reintroduction of the errors of all previous heresies, as well as any false teaching that suits the whim of the teacher. Modernism and Postmodernism are especially dangerous because their advocates often phrase their beliefs in orthodox or nearly orthodox terminology.
One common ploy used by many of them is to insist that they are giving the orthodox Catholic interpretation. The error is often expressed by some new symbolic interpretation. For example:
This is absolutely not orthodox Catholic teaching; but it sounds good, doesn’t it? Modernism is very smooth.
John Paul the Great described this Post-Modern movement as follows:
The end of this problem is not in sight. The Church continues to consistently condemn Modernism, and yet “branches” of the Church (or Catholic educational institutions within them,) acting as if they were independent franchise operations, continue to teach the errors born of Modernism. Of course, my viewpoint is limited to that of a lay Catholic in the Dayton, Ohio area; perhaps the view is different from somewhere else. The only good thing I see in all of this is that, in each area of contentious issues in Church history that I have looked at, I found pretty much the same thing. The pope and the councils say one thing, and the individual Churches around the world say another, if not explicitly, then implicitly, by their actions or lack of actions. Apparently there has always been this contentiousness, and perhaps there always will be.
Moderninsm contains all previous heresies. Heresies have always been with us, heresies will always be with us. If the world were a perfect place, if there were no sin, there would be no need for the Church on earth. Heresies have often been started by Church leaders, but they have always been corrected by the councils and the popes. We have the promise of Christ Himself that heresies will never prevail against the Church, in His statement to Peter: And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The Church is truly, as the Apostle Paul put it, "the pillar and ground of the truth".
All that is needed today to arm us against the errors of Modernism is discernment of the message, and the messengers.
And so we should thank God for Scripture, and for the Catechism, and for the popes, and for the councils.
And may the Saints preserve us.
The Counter Revolution of Science: Studies on the Abuse of Reason; F. A. Hayek; Liberty Fund; 1952.
Darwin On Trial; Phillip E. Johnson; Inter Varsity Press; 1993.
Darwin’s Black Box; Michael J. Behe; Simon & Schuster; 1996.
What’s Wrong With Freud? Rudolf Allers, M.D., Ph.D.; Roman Catholic Books; 1941.
Psychological Seduction: The Failure of Modern Psychology; William K. Kilpatrick; Roger A. McCaffrey Publishing; 1983.
Victims Of Memory: Sex Abuse Accusations and Shattered Lives; Mark Pendergrast; Upper Access Inc.; 1996.
Kinsey: Crimes & Consequences; Judith A. Reisman, Ph.D.; Inst. For Media Education; 1998
The American Family and The State; Joseph Rl Peden and Fred R. Glahe; Pacific Research Institute; 1986.
The Ultimate Resource; Julian L. Simon; Princeton; 1974. Pascendi Dominici Gregis; Pius X; September 8, 1907.
The Great Heresies; Hilaire Belloc; TAN; 1938; Chapter 7: The Modern Phase; Page 144.
Vatican I. FIDES ET RATIO; John Paul II.
PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS; On the Doctrine of the Modernists; September 8, 1907; Pius X.
The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church; Jacques Dupuis; Alba House; 1996.
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma; Ludwig Ott; TAN; 1960.
The Road to Serfdom; F. A. Hayek; Chicago Press; 1944.
Bureaucracy; Ludwig Von Mises; Center for Futures Education; 1944.
The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality; Ludwig Von Mises; Libertarian Press; 1972.
The Culture of Disbelief; Stephen L. Carter; Anchor Books; 1993.
The Death of Common Sense; Philip K. Howard; Random House; 1994.
Illiberal Education; Disnesh D’Souza; Vintage; 1992.
Imposters In The Temple; Martin Anderson; Simon & Schuster; 1992.
Life Of Christ; Fulton J. Sheen; Image; 1977
Hover-Link Footnotes: For the convenience of those readers using devices that lack a mouse, these footnotes are provided for all webpages, in case any webpage contains any hover-links. (If you don't have a mouse, you can't "hover" the mouse over a link, without clicking, to just to see the related Acronym appear.)
Return to Latest News page
Return to HOME PAGE
Respond to This Article Below The Last Comment
Date: Tue May 19 17:15:51 2009
From: Susan Greve
Location: georgetown ohio
You have blown me away! I need to speak with you on the phone. I am doing research for a book and plugged in socialism as a heresy which somehow led me to your www. I have been so disturbed by things at my parish and could have written your same stuff on the Athenaeum. Please contact me. I am in Cinti archdiocese. My daughter is a Nashville Dominican sister as a point of reference.
Date: Thu May 21 19:18:58 2009
From: Vic Biorseth
These days I’m kind of occupied driving a big rig, with a blue-tooth thingy in my ear, but that’s to keep in communications with dispatch and so forth. It’s not good to talk too much while driving, and the places I get loaded and unloaded are very noisy, and many restrict cell phone use anyway. Once upon a time I was on a dedicated run, home evenings, sleeping in my own bed in my own house, almost like a regular person. But then, Chrysler began to morph into another branch of Obama Motors, and now I’m hauling other stuff, and am virtually “over the road” again, at least on weekdays, and running into weekends sometimes too. This is me, sleeping on a truck again, as best I can.
Just home now due to loads slowing down before the holiday weekend. Will be gone tomorrow on a run, and then hopefully off most of the holiday. Which means family time, and our 41st anniversary.
Look at the Copyright notice at the bottom of this page. As long as your planned work is decent, you will be able to quote, paraphrase or even copy chunks of this website, so long as you give appropriate credit and supply a link back to this site. If you really, really need to talk, we’ll need to set up a time when I’m home and free.
May the Lord bless and keep you, and calm your anxieties.
Date: Thu Sep 09 23:59:35 2010
Thank you for this article. I recently started college, and I feel as if my professors are trying to beat the religion out of me. Before college, I was ignorant to any of their arguments against God, religion, and even government, and therefore easily bought into them, assuming that these arguments must be correct, as they were from my "educators." My history professor, for example, never fails to say something negative about religion, government, and the very notion of truth; he insists that religions and governments are merely ways of controlling the "ignorant," "common people," and such organizations promote male dominance in society, and use power as a means to keep the "ignorant," "common people" fearful. Aside from this, he says that "authorities," too, enforce religion and government to tame the masses. Anyhow, I am glad that I now know both sides to his arguments, and see the faults of his points, as well as the hypocrisy of his dismissal of authorities, for , by subjectively "teaching" an objective subject to "ignorant" students, he has merely taken a role in this system of authorities that he (supposedly) despises. Meanwhile, my biology text book essentially compares belief in God to belief in elves, but does assure that evolution has been proven. It's odd that the textbook fails to mention any gaps in evolution between species. I think you get my point.
Thank you again for taking the time to write this article. It has been helpful to me in many ways. God bless.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Converted Page to SBI! Release 3.0 BB 2.0.
Date: Thu Feb 28 12:58:24 2013
Location: Reston, Virginia, USA
in your article on moderism, you say that it all began "a long time ago in distant galaxy...". I am writing a research paper and cannot seem to find a clear answer to when moderism all began. Would you say humanism in the 14th century is to blame?
Date: Fri Mar 01 05:36:40 2013
From: Vic Biorseth
The reason you cannot find a clear answer to when modernism began is that there is no such clear answer; there is no specific date we can point to. The heresies and errors of modernism didn't just go poof and appear on the scene. They were the perhaps predictable outcome of a turn from authority and from tradition to "new" ideas, pertaining to the world in general and the self in particular.
Turning away from authority and tradition, even in the slightest way, necessarily means turning away from God and religion at the same time. These anti-authority, anti-old-way notions gained strength from such major changes as the Enlightenment and the Reformation, but they didn't coalesce into what Vatican I addressed, in 1868, until the Industrial Revolution, and they really began to come to a head during and after the failed Communist Revolutions of 1848.
Paramount among the many contributing popular intellectual trends contributing to modernism during this entire period were the wildly popular "discoveries" of Sigmund Freud. Attention was increasingly concentrated on the self, introspection, self awareness, self actualization and liberation from social inhibitions and external authority. All of this promoted, of course, the notion of a naturally evolving, evolutionary aspect of human society and good social norms.
The Church, of course, stood juxtaposed against all that. Pius X in 1907 wrote the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis in an attempt to purge the heresy of modernism out of the clergy; bishops and priests and theologians were required to swear an anti-modernist oath, and an anti-modernist commission was established to purge modernist error from all teaching within the Church. It was that serious.
The whole problem - or, the most important aspects of it - stems from concentrating our core beliefs in our selves. Self belief. That you must believe, first, in yourself. This is such an easy error to make; promotion of self-belief is a commonplace today. This is not a Judeo-Chrisitian Principle; it is, rather, a purely worldly value.
You must believe, first and foremost, in God. Self comes last, not first.
There is the story of G. K. Chesterton conversing with friends, and a young man leaves and walks away from the discussion; one of the participants says of him, "Now there's a bright young man; he will go far, because he believes in himself." And Chesterton thought about all the prisons and asylums full of people who believed in themeslves. He thought about all the ruthless despots and dictators who had pillaged the earth and ravaged humanity, but who believed in themselves. And he opined that himself was the very last thing any young man ought to believe in.
"Well then," he was asked, "what, precisely, is a man to believe in, if not himself?"
Chesterton thought about it for a moment, and then replied, "I shall write a book in response to that question."
The title of the book is Orthodoxy. I strongly recommend it. It might not help you with your research paper, but it will help you to understand the strength of the Church versus the dangers of Modernism.
Date: Mon Sep 15 2014
From: Vic Biorseth
Changes pursuant to changing the website URL
and name from
Thinking Catholic Strategic Center to
Catholic American Thinker.
Pulled the trigger on the 301 MOVE IT option June 1, 2014. Working my way through all the webpages. .
Date: Mon Jun 15 21:08:42 2015
Just found your website and find it interesting on the subject of Modernism. However, I believe that all of the popes since Paul VI were Modernists and all were ardent supporters of the "reforms" (the transformation of Catholicism into Modernism/Protestantism/Masonry)thus making them heretics.
Date: Tue Jun 16 2015
From: Vic Biorseth
You will have to show me the official teaching(s) of any of these Popes that was (were) heretical, regarding fixed doctrine on faith and morals from the original teaching of Christ and His Apostles before I will agree. Popes are human beings and make errors. The Holy Spirit protects and prevents the Vicar of Christ only against error in teaching the original Good News, but not from error on any other worldly topic. Communism, for instance, as a strictly worldly sociopolitical legal organization, didn't exist until the 19th century. Even at that, for any Pope, only official and complete embracing of Communism would be heretical, since Communism, at its core, attacks all religion in general and Christianity in particular, opposing every doctrine and even the existence of God.
Never be lukewarm.
Life itself demands passion.
He who is indifferent to God has already forfeited his soul.
He who is indifferent to politics has already forfeited his liberty.
In America, religion is not mere window dressing and citizenship is not a spectator sport.
Do not allow our common destiny as a whole people to just happen without your input.
Catholic American Thinker
Free E-zine Subscription
You will receive immediate email newsletters with links to new articles as they are published here. Your email is perfectly secure here; we use it only to send you the
Catholic American Thinker
and nothing else.
The Purpose of this grouping of links is to highlight pseudo-science topics with nothing behind them other than broad consensus, described by F. A. Hayek as Scientism.
The Scientism Pages.
Describing the abandonment of the scientific method in favor of "Democracy in Science", meaning, science done by gathering of popular consensus among "scientists". Old-Boy's-Club science, with awards, congratulations, drinks and cigars all around. (My list of scientists is longer than your list of scientists, therefore my opinion is scientific, and yours is not.)
The Scientism Pages highlight Democratic Group Think in Material Science. The Scientism Pages identify Popular Ideas touted as Scientific by silly, sophmoric "Scientists".
Refuting Scientism, the term coined by F. A. Hayek for modern pseudo-science. Refuting Scientism is another ho-hum, heavy-sigh, here-we-go-again effort to return to truth, common sense and sanity.
The Modernist Heresy: Western Man's Descent from Philosophy into Modernism. Modernism is the heresy of heresies, because it carries within it all previous heresies, being as it is a direct, frontal assault upon faith and all doctrine and dogma.
The Population Problem: A Real Problem, or a typical Scientistic Myth? If England has a higher population density than China, and Hong Kong's is higher than Bangladesh, then maybe the real problems are not related to any over - population problem.
The Enlightenment and Scientism advance at the expense of Western Civilization. From Voltaire to Enlightenment and Scientism to Modernism, the ill-informed cheer the process along even as it destroys Western Culture.
"There is no such thing as Scientism" say those who practice it. If Scientism is a false term, then by what title to we refer to "Scientific Theory Established By Vote"?
Eco-Nazi -ism: global problems demanding global solutions, and, global mastery. The Eco-Nazi movement actually describes two movements: those who say "it's the economy, stupid" and those who say "it's the ecology, stupid."
Global warming is outed as another global consensual fraud. So what else is new? As a global consensual fraud, global warming is not the biggest, the oldest, the longest running, or the most expensive. It’s just the latest one.
Well, is it Global Cooling, or is it Global Warming? Is there any consensus? What is needed is some real Scientistic Consensus on whether we should all be screaming "Global Cooling!" or "Global Warming!" as we all run about, on queue, mindlessly waving our arms in terror.
This ain’t Health Care. It’s all a giant pile of lies. No, it isn’t really Health Care. Nothing in Obamunism is what it appears to be.
The HIV=AIDS=DEATH myth has cost many human lives and untold billions of dollars. The HIV to AIDS Myth may be the greatest and most massive international hoax since Piltdown Man. HIV=AIDS=DEATH is the formula, but where, pray tell, is there any empirical evidence at all supporting it?
A fatal false premise is a deadly logical trap for the mal-educated person. A Fatal false premise with broad general consensus will always trump reason, evidence and critical thinking.
Against the great Communist Lie; the old, current and newer forms. Our argument: The whole “Communist Dream” is a lie; the history of “Communist Revolution” is a lie; virtually everything about Communism is just a big elaborate flagrant categorical lie.
Silly premises built on crumbling foundations: Global Villageism & Evolutionism. The Dem Global-Villagers insist the US Constitution was written to cover all citizens of Earth; Disciples of Scientism and Evolutionism all genuflect before their high priest, Richard Dawkins.
The Galileo Inquisition: Contemporary Icon for the Enlightenment and Scientism. The Galileo Inquisition was no small affair at the time, but over the centuries it has grown and become a club with which to beat the Church, and to promote the myth of the "Dark" ages.
If you can't find the page you're looking for, try the