One of our regular bloggers has an excellent letter published in this week’s Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO). Now, I know anyone can go into town and take a peek at the letters page of that august, or should that be awful, newspaper and find out precisely which of our regulars has made it into print there, but it’s much more fun if you don’t do that and participate instead in the CTNTBC – Catholic Truth Name That Blogger Competition. Prize for Winner: moving two points up the pay scale with a guaranteed Christmas bonus.
As well as guessing the letter author’s name (is it Petrus? Athanasius? Josephine? Gabriel Syme, semperfidelis?) we might as well engage in the issues raised in the letter. Why not? Could be interesting, eh?
Over to all of thee… The Letter – which (amazingly) appears to have been printed in full in the SCO, follows…
I have been following Dr. Harry Schnitker’s ‘History of the Papacy’ series of articles in the SCO these past weeks and I have to say that on Leo XIII and St. Pius X I have been somewhat disappointed with his interpretation of events, as well as with certain glaring omissions that are most certainly applicable to our times.
For example, he writes that the future Leo XIII (Giocchino Pecci) gave only lukewarm support to Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors. This is quite false since it was as Archbishop of Perugia that the future Leo had himself instigated the Syllabus at the Provincial council of Spoleto in 1846, which he later complemented in the Leonine Encyclicals.
This myth of antagonism between the two is further dispelled by the fact that Pius IX raised Archbishop Pecci to the Cardinalate in 1853 and later appointed him to the important post of Camerlengo in 1877. It is also recorded that Pius had previously offered various suburbicarian sees to Cardinal Pecci with a view to bringing him geographically closer to the Pope.
That the Cardinal declined these generous offers is said to have been principally due to his dedication to Perugia, although there is speculation that he was not always in accord with Pius’ Secretary of State, Cardinal Antonelli.
Further suggestions by Dr. Schnitker that there were respective “murmurs of Socialism” and “Murmurs of Protestantism” over Leo XIII’s teaching on Social Justice and the importance of Sacred Scripture to Catholicism are likewise unfounded.
Concerning this latter assertion, it seems odd to me that Dr. Schnitker omitted to mention Leo’s Encyclical Apostolicae Curae, in which Anglican orders are formally declared to be null and void. But then, a reminder of that Encyclical would not sit well with today’s ecumenists.
Nor would St. Pius X’s Apostolic Letter of 1910, called ‘Our Apostolic Mandate,’ condemning the liberal Catholic French lay movement, Le Sillon, sit well with the modern movements Focolare and Sant’Egidio. This may explain why Dr. Schnitker failed to mention that important document in his short biography of Pope Leo’s successor.
Mention was made of St. Pius X’s Anti-Modernist Encyclicals, Lamentabili Sane and Pascendi Dominici Gregis, but only to undermine their value with a retrospective conclusion that they were products of a “Muddled affair” based on a threat to the Church “as he saw it.”
In fact, these Encyclicals were works of incredible intellectual foresight and holy wisdom which exposed and suppressed as “the synthesis of all heresies” the “New Theology” of Modernist exegetes, then threatening to poison the Catholic Faith from within by means of a false notion of “Living Tradition” that Pius X declared in Pascendi to be a ruse to justify doctrinal evolution and innovation.
Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pius XII) confirmed the continued presence of this threat to the faith some 25 years later when he spoke of innovators all around him who wished “to dismantle the sacred chapel and alter the Church in her theology, her liturgy and her soul.”
That these Modernist innovators finally triumphed at the Second Vatican Council is clear from Fr. Ralph Wiltgen’s excellent and impartial book ‘The Rhine flows into the Tiber,’ as well as from the 1967 abolition of St. Pius X’s mandatory anti-Modernist Oath for priests.
And if that is not evidence enough, then we need only consider the unprecedented crisis of faith in the Church today and remind ourselves of the prophetic lament of Pope Paul VI in 1972: “Through some fissure in the walls, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church and set her on a path of auto-destruction.” END.