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                              March 11, 2006

Meet the Metz

by Thomas A. Droleskey

Although I walked out of Shea Stadium on Tuesday, July 16, 2002, as the name of a pharmaceutical product was being broadcast by public address announcer Roger Luce and as flyers advertising it were being distributed throughout the stands, never to return after attending over 1600 games in forty years, my longtime self-identification as a fan of the New York Metropolitans, better known as the Mets, will be with me for the rest of my life. Baseball is a wonderful game that has, like so many other things in our anti-Catholic world, been corrupted by synergistic forces of corporate greed and the self-absorption of players who do not live for the honor and glory of God (and who are, in many instances, signing their own death warrants as a result of the ingestion of anabolic steroids, possession of which is a felony is most states, to "enhance" their performances). Nevertheless, there are stories from the old days that I like to re-tell, and there is that wonderful song, "Meet the Mets," that I can still belt out without even a moment's notice. Lucy Mary Norma loves to listen to me sing that melodic song.

It was while taking a simply terrible theology course at Saint John's University in the Fall Semester in 1971 that I learned that there was a theologian, so-called, whose last name sounded like my favorite baseball team. The works of Father Johann Baptist Metz, a disciple of Father Karl Rahner, S.J., were introduced to me, along with those of Rahner himself and Edward Schillebeeckx and Yves Congar, in a course called The Church and the Modern World. An anthology of articles written by these apostles of the "New Theology" (read: Modernism) was used in the course, which was taught by a Passionist priest, Father Neil Sharkey, who had clearly lost his Faith. I, who turned twenty during that semester of study, was bored to tears by the course. The books made no sense to me. They bore no relationship to the Catholicism I had learned at Saint Aloysius School in Great Neck, New York. It was all I could do read the wretched material and to provide sophomoric essays in response to examination questions about it. No one in the class had any idea what Father Sharkey was talking about, less yet what the authors whose works he chose to employ in his course were trying to communicate.

The passage of nearly thirty-five years, however, has served to provide some insight into the importance of the men who most of my fellow students back in 1971 referred to derisively as "clowns." "Oh, no," I would say even to myself when having to pick up the book in Father Sharkey's course. "I have to read these clowns again. Isn't it time for Ironside to come on?" Well, I can see now how that those "clowns" were major players in the effort to war against the authentic patrimony of the Church.

One of the recurring themes of the theological thought of Joseph Ratzinger, for example, has been that the Church's condemnation of the various aspects of Modernism was conditioned by the historical circumstances in which she existed at that time. The historical circumstances, according to Ratzinger, changed, requiring the Church to reassess the earlier condemnations and to make a reconciliation with principles that were not fully understood at the time of their initial condemnation. This is why, for example, our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has stated that the secular state, an entity that not even the pagans of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome believed in, is the only one that is compatible with Catholic social teaching. The confessionally Catholic state is not only not to be restored. Its existence in the past had been mistaken.

Consider Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's own words, found in the June 27, 1990, edition of L'Osservatore Romano, in this regard:

The text [of the Second Vatican Council] also presents the various forms of bonds that rise from the different degrees of magisterial teaching.  It affirms -- perhaps for the first time with this clarity -- that there are decisions of the Magisterium that cannot be a last word on the matter as such, but are, in a substantial fixation of the problem, above all an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of provisional disposition.  Its nucleus remains valid, but the particulars, which the circumstances of the times have influenced, may need further ramifications.

In this regard, one may think of the declarations of Popes in the last century about religious liberty, as well as the anti-Modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, above all, the decisions of the Biblical Commission of the time.  As a cry of alarm in the face of hasty and superficial adaptations, they will remain fully justified.  A personage such as Johann Baptist Metz said, for example, that the Church's anti-Modernist decisions render the great service of preserving her from immersion in the liberal-bourgeois world.  But in the details of the determinations they contain, they become obsolete after having fulfilled their pastoral mission at the proper moment.

Pope Benedict XVI, you see, has a view of magisterial teaching that is novel, relying upon a fellow practitioner of the New Theology, Father Johann Baptist Metz. The consistent teaching of the Church, reiterated by popes from Gregory XVI through Pius XII, never becomes obsolete. The Ordinary Magisterium of the Church clothes teaching that has been taught "always and everywhere" and believed by everyone with the charism of infallibility. The teaching of the Divine Redeemer is not subject to change. His immutable. His teaching is immutable. And no legitimate development of doctrine can in any way contradict that which has preceded it. The novelties of the Second Vatican Council concerning religious liberty--and Pope Benedict XVI's rejection of the confessionally Catholic state--are contradictions of the Deposit of Faith. The same holds for the novelty of ecumenism. And the same holds for the Modernist approach to Biblical studies, which could lead one Father Bruno Forte, who was consecrated an archbishop by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in 2004, to write that the Resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was a legend. Father Johann Baptist Metz plays a major role, therefore, in the shaping of the mind of Pope Benedict XVI about how to deconstruct and then render into irrelevance, if not contempt, the binding statements of the popes of the past.

Unfortunately for the Holy Father and his fellow disciple of the late Karl Rahner, Father Metz, The Profession of Faith issued by the First Vatican Council excludes any novel interpretations of the consistent teaching of the Church (or the imposition of new liturgical "rites"):

  1. Apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same Church I most firmly accept and embrace.
  2. Likewise I accept sacred scripture
    • according to that sense which Holy Mother Church held and holds,
      • since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy scriptures;
    • nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the fathers.
  3. I profess also that
    • there are seven sacraments of the new law,
      • truly and properly so called,
      • instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ and
      • necessary for salvation,
        • though each person need not receive them all.
        They are:
        1. baptism,
        2. confirmation,
        3. the Eucharist,
        4. penance,
        5. last anointing,
        6. order and
        7. matrimony; and
        they confer grace.
    • Of these
      • baptism,
      • confirmation and
      • order
      may not be repeated without sacrilege.
  4. I likewise receive and accept the rites of the catholic church which have been received and approved in the solemn administration of all the aforesaid sacraments.
  5. I embrace and accept the whole and every part of what was defined and declared by the holy council of Trent concerning original sin and justification. Likewise
  6. I profess that
    • in the mass there is offered to God a true, proper and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that
    • in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there is truly, really and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there takes place the conversion of the whole substance of the bread into His body, and of the whole substance of the wine into His blood, and this conversion the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation.
  7. I confess that under either species alone the whole and complete Christ and the true sacrament are received.
  8. I firmly hold that
    • Purgatory exists, and that
    • the souls detained there are helped by the suffrages of the faithful. Likewise, that
    • the saints reigning with Christ are to be honoured and prayed to, and that
    • they offer prayers to God on our behalf, and that
    • their relics should be venerated.
  9. I resolutely assert that images of
    1. Christ and
    2. the ever virgin mother of God, and likewise those of
    3. the other saints,
    are to be kept and retained, and that due honour and reverence is to be shown Them.
  10. I affirm that the power of indulgences was left by Christ in the Church, and that their use is eminently beneficial to the Christian people.
  11. I acknowledge the
    • Holy,
    • Catholic,
    • Apostolic and
    • Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all the churches [1] .
  12. Likewise
    • all other things which have been transmitted, defined and declared by the sacred canons and the ecumenical councils, especially the sacred Trent, I accept unhesitatingly and profess; in the same way
    • whatever is to the contrary, and whatever heresies have been condemned, rejected and anathematised by the Church, I too condemn, reject and anathematise.
    This true Catholic faith, which I now freely profess and truly hold, is what I shall steadfastly maintain and confess, by the help of God, in all its completeness and purity until my dying breath, and I shall do my best to ensure [2] that all others do the same. This is what I, the same Pius, promise, vow and swear. So help me God and these holy gospels of God.

There is no room for Father Johann Baptist Metz, who was born in 1928, to claim that the past decrees of the magisterium are in any way capable of being reinterpreted. Pope Leo XIII, quoting from the First Vatican Council in Testem Benevolentiae in 1899, warned the Americanist James Cardinal Gibbons about attempting to change the meaning of the doctrines that have been handed down to us from the Apostles:

Now, Beloved Son, few words are needed to show how reprehensible is the plan that is thus conceived, if we but consider the character and origin of the doctrine which the Church hands down to us. On that point the Vatican Council says: "The doctrine of faith which God has revealed is not proposed like a theory of philosophy which is to elaborated by the human understanding, but as a divine deposit delivered to the Spouse of Christ to be be faithfully guarded and infallibly declared. . . . That sense of the sacred dogmas is to be faithfully kept which Holy Mother Church has once declared, and is not to be departed from under the specious pretext of a more profound understanding."

What apostolic or patristic authority can Father Johann Baptist Metz cite for his specious contention that dogmas once defined lose their substance once they have fulfilled the meaning of the historical context in which they were declared? None, that's what. None whatsoever. The only "authority" Father Johann Baptist Metz can cite for his novel approach of substituting Modernist thought for authentic Catholic doctrine is Georg Hegel's dialectical principle, the belief that truth contains within itself the seeds of its own contradiction, producing a clash between itself and its antithesis that results in the creation of a new idea, a synthesis.

For Metz and other proponents of the "New Theology," one era of history closes and a new era dawns as a result of the first era's own internal contradictions. Christendom, therefore, has come and gone, never to be recaptured. The Church must make her accommodation to the ever-evolving realities of our present day, content to pay lip-service to what was taught in the past but intent to obliterate, under the specious pretext of a "more profound understanding," the consistent meaning of what was taught perenially.

Consider this critique of Metz's work, written by an admirer, Bradley Bergan, that one can see very readily summarizes the thought of Pope Benedict XVI on the relationship between Church and State:

Metz' political theology declares that love is the predominant factor in all the Church does and says and teaches and acts, without becoming a political power herself. Because the task of the Church is to be about the work of salvation for all people in all times, she cannot be a political power herself or do her work through political power.

So much for the entire corpus of the encyclical letters on the State written by popes between 1832 and 1939. So much for the Council of Trent. So much for the First Vatican Council. So much for seeking to convert Protestants and Jews and Mohammedans and others to the true Church. Seeking the conversion of others was, perhaps, right in its own time (which lasted up to 1958). However, the Church lives in a different era now. She must accommodate herself to new realities to affirm, as a matter of "love," the world in which she finds herself. I am sorry, ladies and gentlemen, there is no other word to describe such an approach as, objectively speaking, heretical. Such an approach has been condemned throughout the history of the Church. It is not of God. It is of the devil himself, who does not want the Social Reign of Christ the King and of Mary our Immaculate Queen to be restored. It is that simple.

The Modernists, aka the disciples of the New Theology, have not only deconstructed and re-defined the authentic Tradition of the Church and the teaching contained in her Ordinary Magisterium as part of the Deposit of Faith. Oh, no. They have gone to great lengths to empty Sacred Scripture itself of the sense in which it has been taught infallibly by the Church through the centuries. These men, including the current Holy Father, who has praised the historical-critical method of alleged Biblical exegesis, have ignored and defied the injunction of the Pope Saint Pius X, found in Praestantia Scripturae, November 18, 1907:

After long discussions and most conscientious deliberations, certain excellent decisions have been published by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, very useful for the true advancement of Biblical studies and for directing the same by a definitive norm.  Yet we notice that there are not lacking those who have not received and do not receive such decisions with the obedience which is proper, even though they are approved by the Pontiff.

Therefore, we see that it must be declared and ordered as We do now declare and expressly order, that all are bound by the duty of conscience to submit to the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, both those which have thus far been published and those which will hereafter be proclaimed, just as to the decrees of the Sacred Congregations which pertain to doctrine and have been approved by the Pontiff; and that all who impugn such decisions as these by word or in writing cannot avoid the charge of disobedience, or on this account be free of grave sin; and this besides the scandal by which they offend, and the other matters for which they can be responsible before God, especially because of other pronouncements in these matters made rashly and erroneously.

In addition to this, intending to repress the daily increasing boldness of spirit of many Modernists, who by sophisms and artifices of every kind endeavor to destroy the force and the efficacy not only of the Decree, "Lamentabili Sane Exitu", which was published on the third of July of the current year, but also of Our Encyclical Letter, "Pascendi Domenici Gregis", given on the eighth of September of this same year by Our Apostolic Authority, We repeat and confirm not only that Decree of the Sacred Supreme Congregation, but also that Encyclical Letter of Ours, adding the penalty of excommunication against all who contradict them; and We declare and decree this: if anyone, which may God forbid, proceeds to such a point of boldness that he defends any of the propositions, opinions, and doctrines disproved by either document mentioned above, he is ipso facto afflicted by the censure imposed in the chapter "Docentes" of the Constitution of the Apostolic See, first among those excommunications latae senteniae which are reserved simply to the Roman Pontiff.  This excommunication, however, is to be understood with no change in the punishments, which those who have committed anything against the above mentioned documents may incur, if at any time their propositions, opinions, or doctrines are heretical; which indeed has happened more than once in the case of the adversaries of both these documents, but especially when they defend the errors of modernism, that is the refuge of all heresies.

This injunction has not lost its force with the passage of time. It remains fully in force. The fact that Modernists such as Father Johann Baptist Metz want to disobey the words of Pope Saint Pius X because he deems past magisterial statements to be historically conditioned and not applicable in some other "era" does not make them correct. Cardinal Ratzinger himself had pointed out the decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission as being "obsolete." Says who?

We have gone from popes exhorting Catholics to work for the restoration of the Social Reign of Christ the King and of exhorting those outside of the Church to convert to the true Faith to curial cardinals encouraging the Koran to be taught to Mohammedan students in Italy's state-run schools. After all, the "historical moment" of Catholicism has passed from the scene. Europe is becoming Mohammedan. The Church must reconcile herself to this reality and not seek to convert those steeped in a false religion. Quite the contrary, we must affirm their right to persist in a religion and to be taught from a document that calls for the death of "infidels," including Catholics. None of this is from God. None of this is in accord with the consistent teaching and practice of the Catholic Church prior to 1958.

Pope Leo XIII put the matter very bluntly in Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus in 1900:

To reject dogma is simply to deny Christianity.

Pope Leo also noted in that same encyclical letter:

As with individuals, so with nations. These, too, must necessarily tend to ruin if they go astray from "The Way." The Son of God, the Creator and Redeemer of mankind, is King and Lord of the earth, and holds supreme dominion over men, both individually and collectively. "And He gave Him power, and glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve Him" (Daniel vii., 14). "I am appointed King by Him . . . I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession" (Psalm ii., 6, 8). Therefore the law of Christ ought to prevail in human society and be the guide and teacher of public as well as of private life. Since this is so by divine decree, and no man may with impunity contravene it, it is an evil thing for the common weal wherever Christianity does not hold the place that belongs to it. When Jesus Christ is absent, human reason fails, being bereft of its chief protection and light, and the very end is lost sight of, for which, under God's providence, human society has been built up. This end is the obtaining by the members of society of natural good through the aid of civil unity, though always in harmony with the perfect and eternal good which is above nature. But when men's minds are clouded, both rulers and ruled go astray, for they have no safe line to follow nor end to aim at. . . .

This generative and conservative power of the virtues that make for salvation is therefore lost, whenever morality is dissociated from divine faith. A system of morality based exclusively on human reason robs man of his highest dignity and lowers him from the supernatural to the merely natural life. Not but that man is able by the right use of reason to know and to obey certain principles of the natural law. But though he should know them all and keep them inviolate through life-and even this is impossible without the aid of the grace of our Redeemer-still it is vain for anyone without faith to promise himself eternal salvation. "If anyone abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire, and he burneth" john xv., 6). "He that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark xvi., 16). We have but too much evidence of the value and result of a morality divorced from divine faith. How is it that, in spite of all the zeal for the welfare of the masses, nations are in such straits and even distress, and that the evil is daily on the increase? We are told that society is quite able to help itself; that it can flourish without the assistance of Christianity, and attain its end by its own unaided efforts. Public administrators prefer a purely secular system of government. All traces of the religion of our forefathers are daily disappearing from political life and administration. What blindness! Once the idea of the authority of God as the Judge of right and wrong is forgotten, law must necessarily lose its primary authority and justice must perish: and these are the two most powerful and most necessary bonds of society. Similarly, once the hope and expectation of eternal happiness is taken away, temporal goods will be greedily sought after. Every man will strive to secure the largest share for himself. Hence arise envy, jealousy, hatred. The consequences are conspiracy, anarchy, nihilism. There is neither peace abroad nor security at home. Public life is stained with crime.

It is not only public administrators that prefer a purely secular system of government. It is the Holy Father himself, having taken to heart the "insights" of the New Theologians, contemptuous of our Catholic past, while he dismisses as irrelevant the plain Catholic truth contained in the passages above from Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus. Indeed, Pope Pius XI called such a rejection by its proper name in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922:

Many believe in or claim that they believe in and hold fast to Catholic doctrine on such questions as social authority, the right of owning private property, on the relations between capital and labor, on the rights of the laboring man, on the relations between Church and State, religion and country, on the relations between the different social classes, on international relations, on the rights of the Holy See and the prerogatives of the Roman Pontiff and the Episcopate, on the social rights of Jesus Christ, Who is the Creator, Redeemer, and Lord not only of individuals but of nations. In spite of these protestations, they speak, write, and, what is more, act as if it were not necessary any longer to follow, or that they did not remain still in full force, the teachings and solemn pronouncements which may be found in so many documents of the Holy See, and particularly in those written by Leo XIII, Pius X, and Benedict XV.

There is a species of moral, legal, and social modernism which We condemn, no less decidedly than We condemn theological modernism.

Father Metz and his followers must be forced to meet Catholic dogma and to adhere strictly thereto without any deviation or even the slightest hint of novelty. We continue to pray for our Holy Father, so impressed with the novelties of his day, to fulfill Our Lady's Fatima Message, which has become as deconstructed as the Deposit of Faith itself, without delay. Tradition and the fullness of the Faith will be restored as a result of the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart.  We must continue to pray, fast and make as many sacrifices as we can to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart to bring this about.

Vivat Christus Rex!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Pope Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us.

Saint Jerome, pray for us.

Saint Augustine, pray for us.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.

Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us.

Saint Robert Bellarmine, pray for us.

Saint Louis IX, King of France, pray for us.

Saint Henry, pray for us.

Saint Wenceslaus, pray for us.

Saint Canute, pray for us.

Saint Edward the Confessor, pray for us.

Saint Philomena, pray for us.

Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, pray for us.

Blessed Emperor Charles, pray for us.

Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.

Blessed Francisco, pray for us.

Sister Lucia, pray for us.

Appendix: Lamentabili Sane, 1907

With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race. Thus it falls into very serious errors, which are even more serious when they concern sacred authority, the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and the principal mysteries of Faith. The fact that many Catholic writers also go beyond the limits determined by the Fathers and the Church herself is extremely regrettable. In the name of higher knowledge and historical research (they say), they are looking for that progress of dogmas which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas.

These errors are being daily spread among the faithful. Lest they captivate the faithful's minds and corrupt the purity of their faith, His Holiness, Pius X, by Divine Providence, Pope, has decided that the chief errors should be noted and condemned by the Office of this Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.

Therefore, after a very diligent investigation and consultation with the Reverend Consultors, the Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinals, the General Inquisitors in matters of faith and morals have judged the following propositions to be condemned and proscribed. In fact, by this general decree, they are condemned and proscribed.

1. The ecclesiastical law which prescribes that books concerning the Divine Scriptures are subject to previous examination does not apply to critical scholars and students of scientific exegesis of the Old and New Testament.

2. The Church's interpretation of the Sacred Books is by no means to be rejected; nevertheless, it is subject to the more accurate judgment and correction of the exegetes.

3. From the ecclesiastical judgments and censures passed against free and more scientific exegesis, one can conclude that the Faith the Church proposes contradicts history and that Catholic teaching cannot really be reconciled with the true origins of the Christian religion.

4. Even by dogmatic definitions the Church's magisterium cannot determine the genuine sense of the Sacred Scriptures.

5. Since the deposit of Faith contains only revealed truths, the Church has no right to pass judgment on the assertions of the human sciences.

6. The "Church learning" and the "Church teaching" collaborate in such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the "Church teaching" to sanction the opinions of the "Church learning."

7. In proscribing errors, the Church cannot demand any internal assent from the faithful by which the judgments she issues are to be embraced.

8. They are free from all blame who treat lightly the condemnations passed by the Sacred Congregation of the Index or by the Roman Congregations.

9. They display excessive simplicity or ignorance who believe that God is really the author of the Sacred Scriptures.

10. The inspiration of the books of the Old Testament consists in this: The Israelite writers handed down religious doctrines under a peculiar aspect which was either little or not at all known to the Gentiles.

11. Divine inspiration does not extend to all of Sacred Scriptures so that it renders its parts, each and every one, free from every error.

12. If he wishes to apply himself usefully to Biblical studies, the exegete must first put aside all preconceived opinions about the supernatural origin of Sacred Scripture and interpret it the same as any other merely human document.

13. The Evangelists themselves, as well as the Christians of the second and third generation, artificially arranged the evangelical parables. In such a way they explained the scanty fruit of the preaching of Christ among the Jews.

14. In many narrations the Evangelists recorded, not so much things that are true, as things which, even though false, they judged to be more profitable for their readers.

15. Until the time the canon was defined and constituted, the Gospels were increased by additions and corrections. Therefore there remained in them only a faint and uncertain trace of the doctrine of Christ.

16. The narrations of John are not properly history, but a mystical contemplation of the Gospel. The discourses contained in his Gospel are theological meditations, lacking historical truth concerning the mystery of salvation.

17. The fourth Gospel exaggerated miracles not only in order that the extraordinary might stand out but also in order that it might become more suitable for showing forth the work and glory of the Word lncarnate.

18. John claims for himself the quality of witness concerning Christ. In reality, however, he is only a distinguished witness of the Christian life, or of the life of Christ in the Church at the close of the first century.

19. Heterodox exegetes have expressed the true sense of the Scriptures more faithfully than Catholic exegetes.

20. Revelation could be nothing else than the consciousness man acquired of his revelation to God.

21. Revelation, constituting the object of the Catholic faith, was not completed with the Apostles.

22. The dogmas the Church holds out as revealed are not truths which have fallen from heaven. They are an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious effort.

23. Opposition may, and actually does, exist between the facts narrated in Sacred Scripture and the Church's dogmas which rest on them. Thus the critic may reject as false facts the Church holds as most certain.

24. The exegete who constructs premises from which it follows that dogmas are historically false or doubtful is not to be reproved as long as he does not directly deny the dogmas themselves .

25. The assent of faith ultimately rests on a mass of probabilities .

26. The dogmas of the Faith are to be held only according to their practical sense; that is to say, as preceptive norms of conduct and not as norms of believing.

27. The divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels. It is a dogma which the Christian conscience has derived from the notion of the Messias.

28. While He was exercising His ministry, Jesus did not speak with the object of teaching He was the Messias, nor did His miracles tend to prove it.

29. It is permissible to grant that the Christ of history is far inferior to the Christ Who is the object of faith.

30 In all the evangelical texts the name "Son of God'' is equivalent only to that of "Messias." It does not in the least way signify that Christ is the true and natural Son of God.

31. The doctrine concerning Christ taught by Paul, John, and the Councils of Nicea, Ephesus and Chalcedon is not that which Jesus taught but that which the Christian conscience conceived concerning Jesus.

32. It is impossible to reconcile the natural sense of the Gospel texts with the sense taught by our theologians concerning the conscience and the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ.

33 Everyone who is not led by preconceived opinions can readily see that either Jesus professed an error concerning the immediate Messianic coming or the greater part of His doctrine as contained in the Gospels is destitute of authenticity.

34. The critics can ascribe to Christ a knowledge without limits only on a hypothesis which cannot be historically conceived and which is repugnant to the moral sense. That hypothesis is that Christ as man possessed the knowledge of God and yet was unwilling to communicate the knowledge of a great many things to His disciples and posterity.

35. Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.

36. The Resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts.

37. In the beginning, faith in the Resurrection of Christ was not so much in the fact itself of the Resurrection as in the immortal life of Christ with God.

38. The doctrine of the expiatory death of Christ is Pauline and not evangelical.

39. The opinions concerning the origin of the Sacraments which the Fathers of Trent held and which certainly influenced their dogmatic canons are very different from those which now rightly exist among historians who examine Christianity .

40. The Sacraments have their origin in the fact that the Apostles and their successors, swayed and moved by circumstances and events, interpreted some idea and intention of Christ.

41. The Sacraments are intended merely to recall to man's mind the ever-beneficent presence of the Creator.

42. The Christian community imposed the necessity of Baptism, adopted it as a necessary rite, and added to it the obligation of the Christian profession.

43. The practice of administering Baptism to infants was a disciplinary evolution, which became one of the causes why the Sacrament was divided into two, namely, Baptism and Penance.

44. There is nothing to prove that the rite of the Sacrament of Confirmation was employed by the Apostles. The formal distinction of the two Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation does not pertain to the history of primitive Christianity.

45. Not everything which Paul narrates concerning the institution of the Eucharist (I Cor. 11:23-25) is to be taken historically.

46. In the primitive Church the concept of the Christian sinner reconciled by the authority of the Church did not exist. Only very slowly did the Church accustom herself to this concept. As a matter of fact, even after Penance was recognized as an institution of the Church, it was not called a Sacrament since it would be held as a disgraceful Sacrament.

47. The words of the Lord, "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained'' (John 20:22-23), in no way refer to the Sacrament of Penance, in spite of what it pleased the Fathers of Trent to say.

48. In his Epistle (Ch. 5:14-15) James did not intend to promulgate a Sacrament of Christ but only commend a pious custom. If in this custom he happens to distinguish a means of grace, it is not in that rigorous manner in which it was taken by the theologians who laid down the notion and number of the Sacraments.

49. When the Christian supper gradually assumed the nature of a liturgical action those who customarily presided over the supper acquired the sacerdotal character.

50. The elders who fulfilled the office of watching over the gatherings of the faithful were instituted by the Apostles as priests or bishops to provide for the necessary ordering of the increasing communities and not properly for the perpetuation of the Apostolic mission and power.

51. It is impossible that Matrimony could have become a Sacrament of the new law until later in the Church since it was necessary that a full theological explication of the doctrine of grace and the Sacraments should first take place before Matrimony should be held as a Sacrament.

52. It was far from the mind of Christ to found a Church as a society which would continue on earth for a long course of centuries. On the contrary, in the mind of Christ the kingdom of heaven together with the end of the world was about to come immediately.

53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable. Like human society, Christian society is subject to a perpetual evolution.

54. Dogmas, Sacraments and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel.

55. Simon Peter never even suspected that Christ entrusted the primacy in the Church to him.

56. The Roman Church became the head of all the churches, not through the ordinance of Divine Providence, but merely through political conditions.

57. The Church has shown that she is hostile to the progress of the natural and theological sciences.

58. Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him.

59. Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men, but rather inaugurated a religious movement adapted or to be adapted to different times and places.

60. Christian Doctrine was originally Judaic. Through successive evolutions it became first Pauline, then Joannine, finally Hellenic and universal.

61. It may be said without paradox that there is no chapter of Scripture, from the first of Genesis to the last of the Apocalypse, which contains a doctrine absolutely identical with that which the Church teaches on the same matter. For the same reason, therefore, no chapter of Scripture has the same sense for the critic and the theologian.

62. The chief articles of the Apostles' Creed did not have the same sense for the Christians of the first ages as they have for the Christians of our time.

63. The Church shows that she is incapable of effectively maintaining evangelical ethics since she obstinately clings to immutable doctrines which cannot be reconciled with modern progress.

64. Scientific progress demands that the concepts of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and Redemption be re-adjusted.

65. Modern Catholicism can be reconciled with true science only if it is transformed into a non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a broad and liberal Protestantism.

The following Thursday, the fourth day of the same month and year, all these matters were accurately reported to our Most Holy Lord, Pope Pius X. His Holiness approved and confirmed the decree of the Most Eminent Fathers and ordered that each and every one of the above-listed propositions be held by all as condemned and proscribed.

PETER PALOMBELLI, Notary of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition










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